Who Is Bob Vander Plaats And Why Does It Matter?

Earlier this year, we introduced you to the FAMiLY LEADER, the extreme anti-gay group in Iowa, and its leader, Bob Vander Plaats. Tomorrow, Vander Plaats is hosting a “Thanksgiving Family Forum” for presidential candidates.  If history is any guide, this event promises to be a veritable cornucopia of attacks on gays and women’s health care and a celebration of fringe social views.

Here’s a rundown of that history, just to remind you who and what Republicans presidential candidates choose to associate themselves with — something that definitely matters.

Vander Plaats — The Lowlights

  • Vander Plaats said gays are a “public health risk” akin to smoking:
  • Vander Plaats repeatedly suggested President Obama was born in Kenya and praised Donald Trump’s birther investigation:
  • Vander Plaats erupted in laughter at a “faggot” joke, saying “that’s pretty good”:
  • Vander Plaats’ political career has been marked by failure:
    • 2002: ran for the GOP gubernatorial nomination and lost.
    • 2006: ran for the GOP gubernational nomination again, dropped out during the primary, joined the GOP ticket as Jim Nussle’s running mate, and promptly lost again.
    • 2010: ran for the GOP gubernational nomination again and lost, again.

This local TV news report from Des Moines last night outlines most of the recent controversies facing Vander Plaats and his organization — and why his influence is on the wane. Check it out:

Stay tuned to ThinkProgress LGBT and our twitter feeds for live updates on tomorrow’s presidential forum in Iowa.