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Part 2, Tony Perkins edition: The best of the worst NOM “Judge Bus” lowlights from the heartland

NOM Exposed NOM Tour Tracker-Iowa Right-wing

Gotta hand it to Arisha — it can’t be fun following NOM’s circus around for the third time in four months. If you missed Part One of the “best of the worst,” read all about it. It doesn’t get much better in Part Two. Apparently, Tony Perkins is no Brian Brown. Who knew? — Eden

By Arisha Michelle Hatch


Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, joined NOM’s Judge Bus tour for the final two stops of the day and made it clear that he has zero desire to be interviewed by me.

In Dubuque, he was joined by Steve King and 14 “no, no, no” supporters and 4 equality supporters for a short whistle stop at a local park.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Dubuque #3

Perkins opened his stump speech with a joke involving an architect, a surgeon and a judge on a plane debating which profession is the oldest.

The joke goes as follows: the surgeon says that his profession is the oldest because in Genesis God said that Eve was created from the rib of Adam. The architect steps in and says no, before a surgeon removed a rib from Adam, a world of chaos was created by an architect – therefore an architect is the oldest profession. The judge then steps in and says, “who do you think created the chaos?”

Insert courtesy laugh from the crowd here.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Dubuque #2

“We cannot capitulate to a rogue court,” Congressman Steve King added.

“Where did you go to law school?” Dan Ernst, a local well-respected lawyer, questioned from the crowd. “I went to the University of Michigan the finest law school in the midwest.”

King didn’t respond.


Clinton, Iowa was not only the last stop of the day on Thursday, but more importantly, marked a relief from
Perkins’ surgeon-architect-judge “joke” for at least 16 hours.

And in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t any funnier the second time we heard it, although the courtesy laugh/applause from the audience of 24 (plus 6 children) was the same.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Clinton #1

Thank God for Clinton.

We also got to hear King’s anecdote about Pres. Reagan’s handling of the 1981 Air Traffic Controller’s Strike for the ump-teenth time.

In an attempt to ease voter-concerns about any public safety concerns related to removing three judges from
the Iowa courts, King has taken to citing the anecdote.

For our under-30 Trial Trackers, a brief refresher in history.

In 1981, 13,000 of our country’s 17,500 air traffic controllers seeking higher-wages walked-off the job despite a no-strike clause for federal employees claiming that the strike would threaten public safety and shutdown air transportation. In a White House Rose Garden press conference, The Great Communicator (Reagan) said that if controllers went through with the strike they would be fired. They did. Reagan fired them and no planes crashed.

Because the country survived that fiasco, removing three judges should not result in chaos for Iowans, King surmised – over and over again.

Although the analogy is tangental, at best, it did allow Judge Bus organizers to express another party-talking point – in addition to the now stereotypical “party of no, no, no” refrain – we got to hear Reagan, Reagan, Reagan.


  • 1. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:09 am

    ::shakes head in dismay at ridiculous "joke" and Reagan references::

  • 2. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:19 am

    ditto : ( s….

  • 3. StraightForEquality  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Subscribe now, read later.

  • 4. Wine Country Lurker  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:59 am


  • 5. Jonathan H  |  October 28, 2010 at 4:24 am

    Subscribing so I have lots to read when I get home.

  • 6. JonT  |  October 28, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Sounds like a plan.

    And Perkins didn't want to be interviewed? Big surprise, the coward.

  • 7. Kate  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:19 am

    Brian, come back! We miss you. (Incidentally, Arisha, any word about why he left?)

  • 8. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:22 am

    ditto question! (Hi Kate!)

  • 9. Kate  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Hi, Gregory! I love you.

  • 10. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Love you BACK! mmmwwwahhh!

  • 11. Anonygrl  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:43 am

    LOVE! WANT SOME! Kisses and hugs to everyone! 🙂

  • 12. Anonygrl  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:46 am

    The obvious answer to "Who created the chaos?" is (in a completely deadpanned voice) "God."

    And if we are voting on the retention of Tony Perkin's god, I am all for NO NO NO.

  • 13. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Thanks anonygrl! Back at you!

  • 14. AndrewPDX  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Well, they had all these Reagan anecdotes they wanted to use, but didn't dare try it in California, as NOM's typical geriatric supporters still remember his stint as governor, back when he ran on the "I'm not a politician" Democrat platform.
    They figured Iowa would be safer.

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • 15. Kate  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Oh no; I remember Reagan as governor…… I guess I'm geriatric now. Bummer!

  • 16. Ed Cortes  |  October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Me too – I was in college then, and hated him as governor. A woman I knew said she'd vote for him to be president just to get him out of the governors office!

    and checkin' da box

  • 17. Joel  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:24 am

    I certainly don't get the connection between firing 13,000 air traffic controllers and voting three judges out of office…

    Isn't that a bit of a stretch?

    And the joke is lame. I'm not even going to repeat it to my co-workers today.

  • 18. Guest  |  October 28, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Also, someone please explain to me how 75% of our air traffic controllers can get fired yet we're still doing just dandy.

  • 19. Phillip R  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Yea, I don't even get the humor in the joke really. *shrug* The whole anti-judge deal is ridiculous. However, I am glad that the turnout's have been pretty small since some people will always be followers and sheep.

  • 20. Ronnie  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:36 am

    NO NO NO…the egg came first…..but Eve had to sit on it because there was no Chicken to hatch it…..I', just saying….<3…Ronnie

  • 21. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:40 am

    LOL!! 😀

  • 22. RebeccaRGB  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:50 am

    …Wait a minute…

    The joke goes as follows: the surgeon says that his profession is the oldest because in Genesis God said that Eve was created from the rib of Adam. The architect steps in and says no, before a surgeon removed a rib from Adam, a world of chaos was created by an architect – therefore an architect is the oldest profession. The judge then steps in and says, “who do you think created the chaos?

    Uhh, an architect, because he just said <q>a world of chaos was created by an architect</q>?

    Lame-joke-telling FAIL.

  • 23. Richard A. Walter (s  |  October 28, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Funny how Tony Perkins calls it a "rogue court" when the decision goes against what he wants, but the judges are doing their job when their rulings favor discrimination. What is deep inside you, Tony, that has you so scared? Are you a closeted gay man who has had it drummed into your psyche that you are not a human being, so you are out to try and convince those of us who know better that we are vile, and not worthy to live? You really need to get out of the hellhole you are living in and get some real help. And by real help, I mean a board-certified professional, not someone whose counseling ceertification comes from the university of "Close Cover Before Striking."

  • 24. Joel  |  October 28, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Does anybody know how the polls look for the three Justices up for retention?

  • 25. nightshayde  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Something I read yesterday gave the impression that it was very close. I'm sure I've got the numbers slightly wrong, but I think it was 44% YES, 40% NO, 16% UNDECIDED.

    Apparently there are quite a lot of people who don't even bother to vote on the judges' retention. It's usually a total non-issue.

    Before this whole Iowa thing, I didn't even realize that we do pretty much the same thing in California. I filled out my sample ballot here last night with a whole new appreciation of the judge-retention process.

  • 26. Kate  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:10 am

    I made the mistake of sending my CA ballot before Ann posted about always voting to retain judges, which is advice I would have gladly taken. Not knowing anything about the ones on the CA ballot, I left them blank. Unfortunately, I learned the day after I mailed the ballot that one of them was a supporter of ours. Damn.

  • 27. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Kate, no doubt the next ballot will also have judges up for retention!

    Just to reiterate for everyone, my personal view is to always vote yes for every judge. It's because I don't think the judges should have to stand for election at all.

    Judges who are merely popular may not be doing the job they should be doing. Judges who are doing the job they should be doing may not be popular. The executive and legislature are popularly elected, the judiciary is the one branch that, IMO, should not be subject to popular vote.

    Impeachment for inability to do the job, moral turpitude (JFGI) or other just causes should be sufficient check on an out-of-control judiciary.

    /end of Ann's rant on judicial elections (for now).

  • 28. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:49 am

    Thank you Ann and Kate! I'm voting today.

  • 29. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:50 am

    and TU nightshayde for introducing topic : D

  • 30. Ed Cortes  |  October 28, 2010 at 4:04 am

    hehe – I had to google JFGI!!!!!

  • 31. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 4:08 am

    Ed, you learn something new every day, huh?

  • 32. JonT  |  October 28, 2010 at 6:45 am

    FWIW, in Colorado, there is a 'Blue Book' that is set out to every voter before an election.

    In this book are objective descriptions of all the measures, referendums and amendments on the ballot, as well as a 'report card' for each judge up for retention.

    The report card basically is an anonymous vote by A) All of the judges who work with that judge (a percentage recommending retention), and B) a vote by all of the lawyers appeared in a courtroom with that judge.

    Then there's a blurb about who the judge is (time on the bench, career synopsis, etc).

    I actually read these 🙂 In all the time I've been voting, I've only ever voted against retention of two judges, because their co-workers (other judges) and the lawyers appearing in their courts strongly believed they should not be retained (getting like a 20% recommendation for retention) due to sloppy or invalid work, incompetence, showing up late or not at all, hard to work with etc.

    So, if you aren't going to read those, then go ahead and vote yes on retention, but I do believe it's a better idea to make an informed vote rather than just saying yes or no all down the line.

    Just saying… 🙂

  • 33. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Jon, if we had such a book here, I would be all over that. It isn't very easy here to find out much about most of the judges on the ballot.

  • 34. Rhie  |  October 28, 2010 at 10:38 am

    I agree with you. I don't think judges, sheriffs, cops, DAs, or any other profession involving the law should be subject to voting.

    However, I am still finding the best of the judges and voting. Voting yes on everything would only work if a plurality of voters did so. They won't. They will vote for the anti-everything including thinking judges. I want the good ones, who will make fair law whether I agree with it or not. So, I find out who they are and vote for them.

  • 35. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Rhie, I hate to say this, but I am only willing to take so much time to study my ballot. This last one was two pages, 14" paper, covered with things I needed to decide how to vote on.

    State governor, lt. gov., AG, insurance commissioner, secretary of state, state superintended of public instruction, US Senator, US Representative, local assessor, bond measures, about a dozen state propositions, local propositions, water board, healthcare board, and a then dozen judges.

    I spend a fair amount of time and care on this. I read the papers, listen to NPR podcasts, read editorials, read recommendations from editorial boards, the League of Women Voters, the state and local Democratic Parties, Courage Campaign, Calitics, Equality California, etc., etc.

    There is, unfortunately, no easy way here for me to research the dozen judges on the ballot. If there were I might take a different position, but for now I vote Yes on all of them. If they become more contentious then we will have more of the specter of judges having to raise money and campaign, and I think that that way lies the death of the independent judiciary.

  • 36. Rhie  |  October 28, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Oh I get why you do it and wasn't trying to imply that you didn't care. I just choose differently, is all.

    I also have a mail in ballot, and get it weeks ahead of time. The candidates all have easily accessible websites, or wiki pages. There are a bunch of non-partisan Washington candidates websites to check out as well.

    I know not all states care this much about getting the info out and I know some candidates can barely use a word processor let alone build a website.

    The important thing is to vote and vote your conscience.

  • 37. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Rhie, I didn't take your comment that way and didn't mean to rant at you. I'm sorry if I was harsh.

  • 38. Rhie  |  October 28, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Oh, hey no problem. I didn't think you were harsh. I just wanted to be clear since sometimes words and intent don't translate properly online.

    I think it is interesting that different people have such diverse ways of approaching this process.

    The most important thing is that people get involved, however they choose to do so. This is a process like nothing else and a real privilege.

    I only get angry at the people who think it's not important or who are really apathetic about the process.

  • 39. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 11:54 am

    @Rhie – agreed!


  • 40. Rhie  |  October 28, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Hugs! 🙂

  • 41. Santa Barbara Mom  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:53 am


  • 42. Bob  |  October 28, 2010 at 5:59 am

    Well thanks for that nightshayde, good to see the benefit of the Iowa tour thing,

  • 43. Sagesse  |  October 28, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Down with unanimous rogue courts (yes, sarcasm)..

  • 44. Kathleen  |  October 28, 2010 at 2:55 am


  • 45. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Hi Kathleen! OT -fiona posted a link…that led me to find this one…have you seen "Kit goes to college" videos? very cute otter.

  • 46. Kathleen  |  October 28, 2010 at 4:06 am

    I hadn't seen that site before. Thanks! Btw, I was surprised to learn that otters need to learn to swim. They're taught by their parents – and are often rather reluctant students.

    Do you think we could convince P8TT to give us an 'otter board'? lol

  • 47. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 5:24 am

    so very cute! I loved it! : D I second it! (an otter board)

  • 48. Anonygrl  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Random OT good news for California. Whitman doesn't seem to have been helped at ALL by the Votabus tour (yes, I know she was not the focus, but still, if encouraging Latinos to vote conservative was the overall aim… ).

  • 49. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:38 am

    And she seems to have been really hurt by the teary accusations of their former housekeeper, who she threw under the (metaphorical) bus.

  • 50. Kate  |  October 28, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Whom. (Sorry, Ann; just couldn't resist. I figured you could take it OK.)

  • 51. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Yes, thank you! Whom, indeed!

  • 52. Bob  |  October 28, 2010 at 5:54 am

    does anyone know if any candidates were actually helped by the Vota Bus tour????? I mean repubs

    The repubs seem to all be so extreme that their own campaigns actually seem to be working against them, of course that's looking at it from this side, it is so freaking scary to watch your elections from another country…….

    To actually have such extremists campaigning on old racist issues and fear of minorities. It's blatant and sickening to see politics sinking to this level in this generation.

    Hope those old white folks don't outnumber us at the polls…….

  • 53. Ed  |  October 28, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Well I hope there are many "old white folks" like me who get out and vote the same way you will Bob 🙂

  • 54. Bob  |  October 28, 2010 at 7:28 am

    well said, Ed clarification old white republicans ? then I guess you can also leave off old and white, better just say hope those republicans don't outnumber us at the polls.

    Or even better how bout hope those extremists don't outnumber us at the polls. I think that is more correct?

  • 55. ol&p  |  October 29, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I feel compelled to correct your recap of the Air Traffic Controllers strike. They were not striking for more money, they were well paid, although that was a demand. The main reason was that the system was outmoded, but no one wanted to hear that. The controllers had no public support and eventually went back to work. Several years later during the George H. W. Bush administration it was discovered that there were computers in the system that used vacuum tubes and the country was shocked that the system was outmoded! Who would have guessed?

    It always bothers me when people say the strike was over higher pay. It was an attempt to get the system updated, which took many years to get the people in positions of authority to listen.

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