Danny Carroll

Culture Warriors Danny Carroll & Gopal Krishna Picked To Head Iowa GOP

Last month, we wrote that the Iowa Republican Party had picked a new co-chair , Danny Carroll, a social conservative culture warrior who serves as a lobbyist for The Family Leader.

Shortly after Carroll became co-chair, the state party chairman, libertarian-leaning A.J. Spiker, announced that he was resigning from his position. And this weekend, Carroll was elected to replace him as the chairman of the Iowa GOP.

It’s unclear how long Carroll’s reign over the state party will last and if he will still be at its helm in 2016, when he would be in charge of running the Iowa caucuses. New state central committee members will be seated in June, and could possibly then oust him as chairman.

But in the meantime, Carroll’s election seems to show that the Iowa GOP has no intention of softening on social issues.

Here is Carroll opining last year that banning gay marriage will help fix “just about every problem facing society today”:

And here he is in 2010 blaming teen suicides on the end of school-sponsored prayer:

And let’s not forget the new co-chair of the Iowa GOP, elected this weekend. Gopal Krishna of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition (the state branch of Ralph Reed’s group) will succeed Carroll as the state party’s number two. Krishna, who boasts that "the first three letters of my name are G-O-P,"  looks to be just as much of a culture warrior as Carroll.

For instance, here’s Krishna in 2011 warning that the United States has become “a multicultural haven for every weird and kinky lifestyle”:

Iowa Republicans Pick Anti-Gay Crusader And Roy Moore Backer To Co-Chair Party

Last month, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called for Michigan GOP committeeman Dave Agema to resign over anti-gay, anti-Muslim comments. Apparently, the Iowa Republican Party didn’t get the message. Barely a week after the Agema controversy broke, the Iowa GOP picked an anti-gay crusader to be the state party co-chair.

Danny Carroll, a former state representative who took over as the Iowa GOP’s co-chair on February 3, is a lobbyist for The Family Leader, the right-wing social issues group run by Bob Vander Plaats, who is considering running for Senate. While Vander Plaats’ over-the-top rhetoric is better known, Carroll is equally adamant in his opposition to gay rights and his Christian-nation view of government.

Back in 2010, Danny Carroll, then the head of Iowa Family Policy Center, refused to endorse the candidacy of Republican Terry Brandstad even after he won the gubernatorial primary because of what he saw as Brandstad’s insufficient opposition to gay rights. Brandstad merely wanted to pass a state constitutional amendment overturning the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2009 marriage equality ruling; Carroll’s preferred candidate, Vander Plaats, led a campaign to target and oust the judges behind the ruling. Carroll assured Vander Plaats’ supporters that they were “answering to God Almighty.” After the election, Vander Plaats was hired to head The Family Leader, a new umbrella group that encompassed the Iowa Family Policy Center.

At a Family Leader conference last year, Carroll insisted that more important than the breakdown of families was the “crisis is in the definition of family” – that is, the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage. He said the group was pushing for a state constitutional amendment on marriage equality because “just about every problem facing society today could be fixed, eliminated or significantly reduced if we held up marriage between one man and one woman for life.”

Over the past several years, Carroll has used his influence in Iowa to back candidates who share his far-right views. In 2008, he co-chaired Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign in Iowa. In 2012, he went for Michele Bachmann, who he declared was “biblically qualified” for the presidency.

But Carroll’s first choice in 2012 was maybe even further to the right than Bachmann: He backed the short-lived presidential campaign of Alabama Judge Roy Moore, who became famous for defying a court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from a government building, and who now wants to hold a Constitutional Convention to pass an amendment banning same-sex marriage. When Moore dropped out of the race, Carroll lamented, “He’s a great guy. I love him and respect him. He’s a hero, that’s for sure. And he’s an honorable person. I can’t say anything negative against Judge Moore. Just the reality of politics, I guess.”

Carroll seems to share Moore’s leanings. In a speech in 2010, Carroll blamed the Supreme Court ruling banning school-organized prayer for recent teen suicides in Iowa and railed against legal abortion and gambling. He said these trends could only be reversed by electing people “who will stand up and unashamedly and without apology assure us that they will be guided by absolute and timeless Christian morals that comes from a regular reading of God’s Word.”

“I am through apologizing for what this country was founded on: a firm conviction that a free people cannot be self-governed unless they have a strong conviction to religion and morality,” he added.

In an interview with radio host Jan Mickelson earlier this month, Carroll agreed with Mickelson’s assessment that his appointment to serve alongside the Ron Paul-supporting state party chair A.J. Spiker represented “a marriage between the Paulistas and the evangelicals, or the Teavangelicals” in Iowa. In a possible signal that the party was patching things up, Carroll last week endorsed Brandstad’s reelection bid.

Carroll is hardly alone as a hard-right social conservative in the state-level leadership of a party that just last year proposed softening its image to expand its base. As Brian noted last month, it was odd that Priebus singled out Agema, since anti-gay sentiment is a common feature among RNC committee members. In fact, in Iowa, Carroll will be serving alongside RNC committeewoman Tamara Scott, who once warned that gay marriage will lead to man-Eiffel Tower marriage and who blamed the recession in part on legalized same-sex marriage.

The Family Leader Wants a Winner, While Bachmann Pushes for Religious Right Support

After narrowing their decision to four candidates in the Republican field, The Family Leader is set to announce their endorsement on Monday…or their decision not to endorse at all. With the caucus less than a month away, Bob Vander Plaats claims that their desired candidate must not only be conservative but must also have the strength to defeat Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination and ultimately President Obama. While Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry have all signed The Family Leader’s pledge, Newt Gingrich recently penned a letter committing to their right-wing agenda and pledging faithfulness to his third wife. The conservative Iowa Republican reports:

Bob Vander Plaats and his Family Leader organization plan to make a decision on whether or not to make an endorsement, and whom they might endorse, by next Monday. The group’s backing is one of the most sought after in the GOP presidential race, especially in Iowa.



“That’s going be a great question, because if you read the pledge that he wrote and submitted, there’s a lot of our verbiage in there,” Vander Plaats said. “He takes some strong stances on life, marriage and religious freedom. As we read it, we wondered why he didn’t sign the pledge, but he did almost everything we talked about and used a similar language.”



Vander Plaats says he is looking for an “authentic conservative”, but adds that viability is one of the issues The Family Leader will consider when picking their candidate. “If you’re going to beat Obama, then you also have to beat Romney to get the nomination,” The Family Leader CEO said. “If we were to endorse on what we’re looking for, we’re looking for a very conservative principled, but we’re also looking for someone who can win.”

While Vander Plaats may be concerned about electability, the campaign of the very-unelectable Michele Bachmann organized a group of the state’s Religious Right leaders, including Danny Carroll of The Family Leader, to promote her struggling campaign:

A group of conservative Christian faith leaders are hitting the road to urge conservatives to caucus for Michele Bachmann – not the race’s frontrunner, Newt Gingrich.

 

“Frankly, we’re looking to shake things up a little bit,” former Iowa Rep. Danny Carroll, a conservative Republican from Grinnell, told reporters at a news conference at the Iowa Capitol this morning.

The pastors delicately made it clear that they don’t think Gingrich is the best choice for president. Nor is Rick Santorum, a religious conservative who has been courting the evangelical vote in Iowa.

“(Gingrich) is tremendous in debates,” said Brad Sherman, an evangelical Christian minister with Solid Rock Christian Church in Coralville. “Part of me wants to say I’d love to see him debate Obama because I think he would chew him up. But I have to live by principle – and Michele Bachmann has proved it.”



Carroll said during the news conference: “We have determined that Michele Bachmann is Biblically-qualified to be the president, to be a leader. She is capable. She is trustworthy. She fears God and she hates dishonest gain.”

Iowans should to go to the caucuses on Jan. 3 “unless you support someone other than Michele Bachmann. Then you should take the night off,” he said.

Carroll and various faith leaders are embarking on an eight-city tour of Iowa – Oskaloosa, Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Mason City, Council Bluffs and Sioux City – to call on Christians “to be informed.”
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