GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As the debate rages on about the views of the Republican party, one Iraqi war veteran has been waging a battle of words on the Internet.
“West Michigan has historically been a very progressive area as far as the right is concerned,” said Daniel Dobson, a war veteran and political blogger.
Dobson did two tours in Iraq and was in the National Guard for six years, then in the reserves for three.
“I was in transportation units in both tours and, you know, it had its moments. It got intense here and there,” he said.
Dobson is also an openly gay Republican and has been writing on the Agema controversy on his social and political blog, “Area Writer Takes On The Universe.”
“With Dave Agema, he doesn’t represent even a slim minority of what people actually think,” said Dobson. “He represents a fringe, an extremist element in the party. I think it’s good for the party to ask him to leave.”
Dobson’s passions have been stirred by Agema’s anti-gay and Muslim comments over the past few months.
That includes these comments at a Michigan CPAC speech.
“I have a dream we get a president that doesn’t glorify gay NFL players,” said Agema.
The comments continued on Facebook where he posted a number of statements over the past few months.
“Well, it seems I’m in good company, the LGBT community is now going after Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty,” Agema said.
He also posted a link to an anti-gay article in the past which said in-part, “part of the homosexual agenda is to get the public to affirm their filthy lifestyle, as one homosexual admitted….”
There was also a post online that seemed to support the anti-gay policies in Russia that are being discussed in advance of the Olympics.
The post that was attributed to Agema said, “Read their law. Common sense in Russia!”
Agema has also spoken out about terrorism and the Muslim heritage, saying in a previous speech, “My goal is to stop terrorism. I really don’t like it. Quite frankly, I shouldn’t say this, but it’s actually true. Not every Muslim is a terrorist but most terrorists are Muslim.”
“The big tent, the point is not to limit the message of the GOP but to expand it,” said Dobson.
Associate Political Science Professor at GVSU Don Zinman says with heavy weights in the Republican Party like Betsy DeVos now weighing in, more people are starting to take more notice.
“Betsy DeVos is a former party chairwoman. She wants to win elections,” said Zinman.
DeVos has recently called on Agema to resign his post as one of only two committeemen within the RNC that represent Michigan.
Republican Justin Amash also weighed in Tuesday, echoing that sentiment.
The DeVos family also has deep pockets and the speculation is that there could be financial implications.
It’s no secret that the family has contributed to political causes in the past.
In the January/February issue of Mother Jones Magazine, journalist Andy Kroll points out in his article that contributions were made to a number of groups writing, “Since 1970, DeVos family members have invested at least $200 million in a host of right-wing causes, think tanks, media outlets, political committees, evangelical outfits, and a string of advocacy groups.”
“Nowhere has the family made its presence felt as it has in Michigan, where it has given more than $44 million to the state party, GOP legislative committees, and Republican candidates since 1997,” Kroll also writes.
Whether there is financial action taken because of this debate remains to be seen.
Agema hasn’t commented on the criticism except for a Facebook post that read:
“Just got back from an 8 day out of the country vacation scheduled this past summer… While I was gone it seems the same people are feeding half truths to the news within the GOP, stirring up divisiveness… I stand on the same issues I always have, God Family and country. There are times I have posted or linked an article to encourage discourse. This does not constitute endorsement of that position.”
He has also had supporters posting comments on his page, urging him not to resign as on of Michigan’s elected committee members of the RNC.
“Dave Agema is considered a leader in the RNC conservative caucus where there used to only be a handful of members in this caucus, They are now over 100,” writes David Wells.
Tyler Wagenmaker adds, “I hope you do not give in to some of the calls out there (e.g. – Betsy DeVos) to resign your position.”
However, Dobson says extreme right leaders like Agema need to take a closer look at what big government means as the debate continues.
“The idea that we could or should use the government to implement a social morality that isn’t shared by the entire country is far out of line with Republican ideas. I think any government that is interested in what I do in the bedroom is too big,” said Dobson.
Dobson’s blog can be found at danieldobson.blogspot.com.