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Right Wing Round-Up - 10/23/15

  • David Nir @ Daily Kos: GOP conspiracy theory eviscerated: IRS never targeted tea party groups, and DOJ won’t file charges. 

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/23/15

  • BREAKING” from BarbWire: Paul Ryan voted for ENDA … eight years ago.
  • Actual news out of Utah: “God’s Not Dead 2 Will Premier at World Congress of Families IX in Salt Lake City on October 28.”

Jeb Bush: Rise Of Donald Trump Made Me Cut Campaign Staff

Today, Jeb Bush joined televangelist Pat Robertson for an ostensibly nonpartisan presidential forum, where the former Florida governor received a warm introduction from Religious Right legal activist Jay Sekulow, whose son just so happens to work for Bush. Robertson himself has put Bush at the top of his 2016 “dream ticket.”

The two had an amiable chat about tax policy and foreign policy with little discussion of the polarizing social issue stances that have helped turn Robertson into a notorious political figure — although apparently not toxic enough for the GOP establishment favorite. Towards the end of the interview, Robertson turned to the news that Bush’s presidential campaign is cutting staff and salaries amid declining poll numbers.

Bush put a positive spin on the news, insisting that he wanted to create a “lean and mean” campaign and send staffers “to beautiful states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.”

He also placed some of the blame on Donald Trump: “The circumstances when we started the election were different. I have not met a person who thought Donald Trump would be the front-running candidate at this point. God bless him for his success in that regard, we’ll see how long that lasts, but you have to adapt.”

Adding that fundraising is “hard work” and “not as easy as people might think it is,” Bush quipped to the televangelist: “I know you guys do great but your product is a time-tested product, it’s been around a long time.”

“You don’t have all the controversy,” Robertson replied.

Mike Huckabee Calls For Mass Civil Disobedience By Gun Dealers

After calling on public officials to defy the Supreme Court on marriage equality, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is now urging gun dealers to flout a potential executive action that would reportedly “impose background checks on individuals who buy from dealers who sell a significant number of guns each year.”

While Huckabee dodged Newsmax host Steve Malzberg’s question as to whether Congress should launch impeachment proceedings against President Obama if takes such a step, saying that “that should be up to Congress,” he called for an “absolute, unapologetic, just complete ignoring of such an order by those gun shop owners.”

“We have to stand up and say, ‘no, we’re not going to do it,’” he said.

Sandy Rios: Clinton Benghazi Hearing Was A 'Disaster' For Republicans

In case you needed any further evidence that the Benghazi Special Committee hearing with Hillary Clinton yesterday did not go well for the GOP, American Family Radio host Sandy Rios panned the performance of the House Republicans as a “disaster.”

After calling Clinton a “consummate professional at lying and covering-up,” Rios conceded today that the former secretary of state was “wonderful” and “looked great,” while Republicans on the committee appeared to be grandstanding and incompetent.

“They are not capable, they are lined up with a professional,” she said. The right-wing radio host was also upset that Democrats on the panel were even allowed to ask Clinton questions.

The hearing went poorly for the GOP that Fox News had to cut away early from its coverage.

Ann Coulter: Anyone Who Supports Immigration Reform Is Dumb

Immigration reform opponents are furious that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who has voiced vague support for immigration reform, is on the verge of becoming speaker of the House.

Ann Coulter, who has been urging conservatives to rally behind Donald Trump and his anti-immigration stance, told religious broadcaster Eric Metaxas yesterday that her first choice for speaker of the House is Rep. Steve King, the Iowa Republican infamous for likening immigrants to livestock and expounding on the size of their calves.

Coulter said that while she also likes Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., the choice of the House Freedom Caucus, King is an “articulate,” “smart” and “incredible” communicator for the anti-immigrant right.

After comparing Trump to Roman senator Cincinnatus, hailing them as ideal citizen-statesmen, Coulter went on to explain how to find out if someone is smart or not: “The shortcut is, where do they stand on immigration? It is the litmus test of our day, it tells you how bright someone is, it tells you whether they care about the country, it separates the mice from the men.”

Rand Paul: Bernie Sanders' Socialism Will 'Eliminate' Critics

Rand Paul repeated his mantra that Bernie Sanders could turn into a murderous dictator if elected president, this time in an interview yesterday on the conservative network Newsmax.

While speaking with host Ed Berliner, Paul said that he “spends quite a bit of time on Bernie” during appearances at college campuses to let students know that “there’s nothing sexy or cool about socialism.”

The Kentucky senator said that “socialism is anti-choice” and deadly. “If you choose to challenge the state,” he said, “they have to get rid of you, they have to arrest you or they have to eliminate you.”

Republicans Revive Debunked 'Gun-Running' Conspiracy Theory At Clinton Benghazi Hearing

There were two types of questions that House Republicans posed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at yesterday’s hearing of the Benghazi Special Committee: 1) questions that had nothing to do with Benghazi (see Blumenthal, Sidney), and 2) questions that were already thoroughly assessed and answered in the seven previous investigations into the 2012 attack.

As an example of one question of the latter sort, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., asked Clinton whether the targeted U.S. facilities were being used to send weapons to armed Syrian groups.

This theory, popular among conservative activists and pundits, goes that the Obama administration used the American annex in Benghazi to arm Al Qaeda, ISIS and other radical Islamists…who then attacked the Americans, for some reason.

The Benghazi gun-running conspiracy theory has already been evaluated and debunked — much like the mythical “stand down order” — by a Republican-led congressional investigation. But Pompeo decided to ask Clinton about the long-discredited claim anyway:

The theory was first posed to Clinton in a 2013 hearing by Sen. Rand Paul, who himself admitted that he didn’t “have any proof” of the allegation.

The Associated Press reported last year that the claim doesn’t hold water…unless you believe that Republicans are aiding the supposed cover-up:

A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Republicans criticized the Obama administration and its then-secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is expected to run for president in 2016. People in and out of government have alleged that a CIA response team was ordered to "stand down" after the State Department compound came under attack, that a military rescue was nixed, that officials intentionally downplayed the role of al-Qaida figures in the attack, and that Stevens and the CIA were involved in a secret operation to spirit weapons out of Libya and into the hands of Syrian rebels. None of that is true, according to the House Intelligence Committee report.

Here is what the GOP-led report [PDF] found:

Rand Paul Warns Donald Trump Would 'Probably Be The Largest Loser' In 'The History Of The Country'

In a Newsmax interview posted online yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul said he was confident that Republican primary voters will eventually turn against frontrunner Donald Trump once they realize he is a “disaster” who, if nominated, would “get swamped in a landslide.”

“Donald Trump would be probably the largest loser of any candidate ever in the history of the country if he were our nominee,” the Kentucky Republican told host Ed Berliner. “He’s the worst nominee we could possibly think of.”

He explained that Trump is only leading because “people haven’t started looking really seriously at the record” of the different candidates, agreeing with Berliner’s point that “America is just simply too smart to elect Donald Trump as president.”

Kevin Swanson Angry Gays Are Using Accountants

Religious Right broadcaster Kevin Swanson appeared today on American Family Radio’s “Today’s Issues” to promote his National Religious Liberty Conference in Iowa next month. Of course, when someone like Swanson, who backs laws that make homosexuality an offense punishable by death, talks about liberty, he means liberty from the oppressive gay menace.

Swanson told host Tim Wildmon, the president of the American Family Association, that persecution in America is “happening all over the place,” lamenting that now “accountants who refuse to submit forms for homosexual couples” are facing persecution.

“We’re looking at a massive increase in persecution,” he said, warning that religious radio stations will soon be taken off the air if they “refuse to give equal time to homosexuals on the basis of sexual orientation.”

He continued: “We’re all at stake. If you don’t want your pastor in jail, if you want your religious radio station still broadcasting, if you want your job and if you’re a Christian, you had better take this matter seriously in the 2016 elections. The next Supreme Court justices appointed by the next president will be, I think, the determining factor as to whether or not we will live in a highly socialist country in which Christians are persecuted or if we are going to remain free as Christians in the marketplace and in our churches.”

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