While we’re getting entertainment from the Birther spectacle in the press, in Iowa – where the 2012 campaign begins – the remnants of the former Republican party are trying to drum back up a winning proposition.

Looking over the wasteland represented by nutjobs like Pat Buchanan and recurring talkshow ‘others’, as well as the right-wingers, must make GOP planners sad. From a meeting that raises the majority of campaign funds for the right, held last week, came a few notes that the majority ought to listen to. There, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s replacement, Chet Culver, faced a crowded field of right-wingers, but there will be a mighty effort to unseat him and other public representatives in the legislature.

Most recently, prominent leaders of Iowa’s ideology-driven social conservative movement criticized state Republican leadership for not doing enough to overturn the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, saying 2010 could be “the year of the primary.”

Barbour, who this week assumed the chairmanship of the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) following the resignation of scandal-tinged South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford from the organization’s top spot, was in Iowa to help raise money for the state Republican Party. He was also asked to come to the Hawkeye State because the RGA’s help will be essential for the party to defeat incumbent Democratic Gov. Chet Culver in 2010.

But if Iowa’s GOP wants to have any chance of defeating an incumbent, it must stick together. The party should also strive to be inclusive, Barbour said, adding that the need to build coalitions and to attract voters means it is not the time to focus on “purity.”

“There are a lot more things that unite us than do divide us,” Barbour said. “Or as President Reagan used to say, remember that a fellow that agrees with you 80 percent of the time is your friend. He’s not some 20-percent traitor.”

Defeating Culver was a reoccurring theme of the evening, with RPI Chairman Matt Strawn pointing out there are “just 496 days until Iowans tell Chet Culver his services are no longer needed.”

We are well aware of the tendency of the right wing to bring straying elements into the fold and keep them voting on even the most destructive measures. We saw the arm-twisting in its vilest form when Medicare Part D was passed through falsified estimates of future costs and threats against congresspeople’s family members.

While the Democrats may lose some power by being diverse, they definitely gain on the character aspect by making issues, not power, their main focus. It would be sad to lose our public interest emphasis – not to mention we would have nothing to gain by doing so.

The ‘purity’ designation is being applied to the religious element. While most voters are not inclined to dictate to women how they should reproduce and how doctors ought to treat their patients, the fundies that do are vital to the right wing to turn out voters. They have to be brought along, integrated by pacification, and the right is hard at work figuring out how to achieve just that.

The telephone trees are still there, waiting for a chance. The right wing is still convinced that your nutty Aunt Tillies are the silent majority. A lot of craziness is finding itself tamped down for just long enough to get back into the saddle of power, with the promise that the government will be back on their side if they can just lie low long enough. Pssst, Aunt Tillie, ditch the ‘birther’ ruckus for a bit.

While the left is busily at work trying to get the economy back on track, get us out of atrocities abroad, get the public back again as the entity our government protects, the nutjobs are working to convince its loyalists that doing good is evil.

Their successes in that field worked to divert taxpayer funds into the trough they fed off of for too many years. The right wing is out in force in Iowa, where legalizing gay marriage has brought differences to a head. The right is sure they can again begin boring holes there that will bring down the solid foundation our country needs.

President Obama is hard at work bringing his own message about what’s good for this country to public attention, but he’s getting a lot of interference from those who should be working hard to do the same. Keeping the eyes on the prize works for the right wing, and it can work for those who are doing right, too.

Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.