Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Iowa's new Tea Party kingmaker plunged into movement conservatism when Iowa State students accused Red Cross of discriminating against gay men

Beth Reinhard, a political correspondent for the National Journal, has profiled 28-year-old Ryan Rhodes for The Atlantic. Rhodes is currently organizing the Iowa Tea Party's two-week-long statewide bus tour in June, which will train hundreds of voters to participate in the Iowa caucuses and showcase presidential candidates along the way. Rhodes is closely aligned with Kent Sorenson, Kim Pearson and Glen Massie.
His unlikely road to grassroots activism began with a protest over a campus blood drive after he returned to Iowa State in 2007. A handful of students were accusing the Red Cross of discriminating against gay men by refusing to take their higher-risk blood.
     To Rhodes, the protest smacked of political correctness, and he plunged into movement conservatism. He read Barry Goldwater's "The Conscience of a Conservative," William Blackstone's "Commentaries on the Laws of England," and Thomas Paine's "Common Sense." He started going to church. He interned at the Leadership Institute, a boot camp for conservative activists in Virginia.
  Rhodes appeared on Iowa Press in early March.

The Omaha World-Herald and other media outlets are reporting that in a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin pledged his support for Iowa State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal in the face of attacks by conservatives like Rhodes because of Gronstal's vow to block attempts to introduce constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships.
     Said Harkin: “He’s a great state senator. I will do everything I can ... to back him up. He’s right on this issue.”
     Rhodes, co-chair of the "Iowa Tea Party Patriots" immediately attacked Sen. Harkin, saying “He’s not listening to the people ... He’s made it very apparent he doesn’t care what people think.”
     Harkin said he believes Gronstal has made the right decision.
     Harkin said: "The courts have spoken, and state lawmakers should not be in the business of trying to override court decisions. This court decision was unanimous. It wasn’t like a split decision. It was a unanimous decision by judges appointed by Republicans and Democrats.”
     Rhodes response: “If Harkin wants to abdicate the three branches of government, he can be our guest.”


  1. Seems like he was just homophobic.

  2. How does reading Thomas Paine and going to church mix. Thomas Paine was a deist who believed Christianity was a disease upon the world. So he lied about reading Thomas Paine.

  3. Tea Party's finest. Clearly, some of Harkin is listening to the "people". The Tea Party (like the other political parties), is not always right. Other Americans have voices as well. The Tea Party is making them louder and louder.