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August 24, 2010

Republican National Committeewoman adds 2 and 2, Arrives at an Answer of......SEVENTEEN!

Maybe some of you have already heard that Kim Lehman, one of the Iowa members of the Republican National Committee, used her twitter account to accuse President Obama of admitting to being a Muslim in his 2009 Cairo speech.

That's a great piece of political ammo to use against the Democrats this November. It's a pity that it's not true.

Kim Lehman jumped to conclusions, and when she was called on her tweet after the fact, she totally punted an explanation. Does Barack Obama have Muslim sympathies? From a human standpoint, I would HOPE so. He was raised in a Muslim country by a Muslim stepfather, and he attended a Muslim school during his impressionable youth. I submit to you that any person who doesn't have some sympathy for Muslims after this level of immersion in their culture is a freakin' psychopath; and the thought of a psychopath with nuclear launch codes is a wee bit unsettling. With all that being said, it's one hell of a jump to conclude that Barack Obama IS a Muslim, practicing or not. I'm not in possession of the full text of his Cairo speech, but I assure you that if Obama had come out and said "Yeah, I'm one of you. Hot Salami Bacon, my bruddas!" at this event, we sure as hell would have heard about it. Not just from the small contingent of right-wing press that are still allowed to practice their craft, but from the press in the Muslim world. Do you think that the Muslim world could have kept quiet about this admission of his Super Sekrit Status as a Muslim? Hell no, asking them to remain quiet about this sort of thing would be like asking a 17-year old Ace to keep his jello-pit threeway with the Prom Queen AND the Head Cheerleader under wraps: When you've just had The Greatest Day of Your Life, it's hard to keep from sharing the news with everyone you meet. And if there's one thing that the professional gay lobby and the Muslim world have in common, it's the willingness to claim ANY public figure as One of Their Own if there's even the slightest hint of sympathies.

Is Obama a weak-kneed appeaser where Muslims are concerned? That's not an unreasonable conclusion. It's sure as hell more accurate than saying you just KNOW that he's a Muslim because of the context of his speech. After all, Neville Chamberlain appeased Hitler in the leadup to WW2, but to the best of my knowledge he's not known as a Nazi. Why not? Probably because he wasn't a Nazi.

But let's not limit this analysis to human nature and deductive reasoning. I'm "Russ from Winterset", and since Winterset is located in Iowa, let's delve into some reasons why I consider Kim Lehman to be a Source of Dubious Merit.

Back in 2008, Kim Lehman was a member of the Iowa Republican Party Central Committee while she was simultaneously serving as the chairwoman of Iowa Right to Life. During the primary campaign that year, she was a big booster of Peter Teahen, a candidate for Congress in Iowa's Second District (Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and the SE quarter of the state). In the time since that election, it has been alleged that Peter Teahen was less than truthful about his overseas exploits, contributed $250 to Julie Thomas (a Democratic candidate with a strong Pro-Abortion belief system) in 2002, and was actually a registered Democrat as late in the game as 2007. Despite these inconvenient facts, he found the director of IRL solidly in his corner.

When Marianette Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa doctor with a long career in the Army Medical Corps behind her, beat Mr. Teahen in the primary, I believe that Ms. Lehman decided that if her choice was not on the ballot, she would vote NONE OF THE ABOVE and try to convince as many Republicans as possible to vote that way as well. Twenty days before the election, Iowa Right to Life put out a press release calling MMM a "pretender" on pro-life issues.

Now, I'll admit that Dr. MMM does have a small gray area where it comes to abortion (rape, incest & cases where the life of the mother is legitimately at risk), but saying that someone who opposes between 90 and 95% of abortions being performed in America is "pro-abortion" is, put it bluntly, COMPLETELY FREAKING STUPID! And how about Ms. Lehman's claims that Dr. MMM failed to return a questionaire to IRL, causing this hit job to be published? Well, I've read the Republican Party Platform during the last few election cycles here in Iowa, and I'll be dammed if I can find the plank that states "All Republican Candidates for Office in the State of Iowa shall complete and return Iowa Right to Life questionaires promptly." Should she have filled out the questionaire? Sure, but just MAYBE she thought that running against a candidate with a sub-1% Pro-Life rating could get her the benefit of the doubt in Iowa's bluest district. It's not like she's a 50-50 moderate on the issue like Rudy G - she opposes almost all of the elective situations where abortion is a choice.

The worst thing about this whole scandal, in my opinion, is how she handled it after the fact. A lame excuse blaming the offending article on her underlings at IRL smacks of a total unwillingness to stand fast and avoid buckpassing. Even if this excuse is true, it shows me that Kim Lehman ran an organization where her underlings felt free to torpedo a Republican candidate running against a VERY pro-abortion Democrat, and the leader of an organization with this sort of internal culture has no place in Republican or Conservative politics.

Kim Lehman was censured by the Iowa Republican Party after the '08 election, and during that censure process she agreed to resign her position at IRL to avoid any further conflicts of interest in the future. Unfortunately, Ms. Lehman waited until February of 2010 to resign from IRL, and a blogpost at The Iowa Republican dated February 10, 2010 showcases an email exchange that makes me think that Ms. Lehman didn't learn the proper lesson from her censure.

What's my point here? I believe that Kim Lehman has demonstrated a willingness to stretch the truth to the point of breaking in order to advance her personal agenda. Doing that for the pro-life cause might be grounds to give her some grudging respect for her devotion to the cause, but I think that the MMM situation demonstrates that Kim Lehman twisted the facts (or presided over an organization who twisted the facts and then submitted the article in her name, if you believe the "my employees did it" defense) in order to benefit her personal choice in the Republican primary.

I believe that Kim Lehman recklessly accused Barack Obama of being a Muslim, based on nothing but the desire to defeat him politically. This may be acceptable behavior if your name is Dick Morris and you're an amoral political hack; however, I expect a self-declared Christian activist to behave in a Christian manner. And for God's sake, forgetting Christianity for a second, her charges and her idiotic response to being called on them is just plain STUPID. Stupidity is bad, but stupidity combined with hypocrisy is worse.

Anyone who goes out on a limb with Kim Lehman should be forewarned that Kim has no reservations about sawing that limb off and letting all of you fall out of the tree with her. One of my Iowa Blog-amigos put it best when he told me "she has a history of not doing her homework on candidates and is quick to spout off." We're all painfully aware of what happens when you elect a Party Chairman with those sort of shortcomings, and I have no interest in supporting a National Committee member who thinks this is a winning strategy.

(Thanks to David Chung @ HawkeyeGOP and "Herschel Krustofski" of the late "Krusty Konservative" and currently with The Iowa Republican for background info on this post.)

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posted by Russ from Winterset at 12:42 PM

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