Monday, August 29, 2011

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad: Inappropriate to link homophobic killing of Waterloo teen to discussion tenor he sets as governor

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Gronstal and wife Carolyn
Compare and Contrast... Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Council Bluffs Democrat, vowed again to use his position to block debate over a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa. He has said repeatedly that he won't help write discrimination into Iowa's constitution.
     Meanwhile, today, at his weekly press conference, Republican Governor Terry Branstad was told by a reporter that the recent fatal beating of Marcellus Andrews might have been related to his sexual orientation and then was asked what he thought his role as governor was, to control the tenor of the debate about gay rights in Iowa, given its fierceness. printed his response:
     Refusing to connect any dots, Branstad replied, according to The Des Moines Register: "I think it's inaapropriate to try to link these two."
     “The fact of the matter is, we need to protect the health, safety and well-being of all the citizens, regardless – if somebody is murdered, it needs to be investigated and prosecuted and people held responsible for it.
     “But I see no link whatsoever and I think it’s inappropriate to try to blame people that are not associated with having committed a crime. I think we need to focus on the people who committed the crime and they need to be brought to justice.”
     Witnesses allege that Andrews’ attackers yelled “faggot” and other anti-gay slurs during the incident attack.

Gov. Branstad
In other Terry Branstad refusal-to-connect-the-dots news, his spokesman brushed off questions about the $56,000 that Derek Hill's wife and mother-in-law gave Branstad's campaign last year and Hill's subsequent appointment as administrator of the Iowa Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and his current status as a finalist for a top Iowa Air National Guard post.
    Speaking on behalf of the governor, Tim Albrecht said donations by an individual or a family member should not disqualify someone from serving the state.
     But wait, there's more Terry Branstad news! Democratic leaders and the state employees union are suing him for vetoing parts of a measure which would have prohibited shutting down 36 Iowa unemployment offices, then redirecting the money elsewhere. The plaintiffs say he can't do that with a line-item veto — and they cite a successful 2004 Republican court challenge against then-Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack.
      Finally, Branstad defended the expense of his taxpayer-funded 43-city "jobs bus tour," coming on the heels of loud criticism by the Iowa GOP of President Obama's recent Aug. 15-17 bus tour, which it called a “fraud of a bus tour to spin his failure to put Americans back to work.”
     As always, the Iowa GOP made its accusations with a straight face.

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