Rick Santorum

Don't Be Fooled: Marco Rubio And Rick Santorum Are Two Of A Kind

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Some were taken by surprise when former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum endorsed his former opponent Marco Rubio as soon as he dropped out of the Republican presidential race on Wednesday. But it shouldn’t come as a shock that the conservative true believer, notorious for his anti-gay and anti-abortion crusades, would back the supposedly “mainstream” Florida senator.

While the press likes to portray Santorum as a kooky culture warrior and Rubio as an establishment square, the two hold many of the exact same positions.

The similarities start with their dangerous views on abortion rights. Rubio wants to ban all abortions with no exceptions even for survivors of rape and incest or for women withlife-endangering pregnancies. In the very first 2016 Republican presidential debate, Rubio went so far as to suggest that the U.S. Constitution may already ban abortion. Rubio has hailed anti-abortion activists as similar to those who fought for the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and civil rights for African Americans and has pledged to “immediately” re-impose the Mexico City Policy, which would block crucial funding to women’s health groups outside of the U.S. A vocal critic of Planned Parenthood, Rubio once made the absurd claim that women at Planned Parenthood clinics are “pushed into abortions so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit.”

He told one conservative pundit that because “there is no way that you can read that Constitution and deduce from it that there is constitutional right to an abortion,” he would only appoint Supreme Court justices who see Roe v. Wade as a “flawed” decision.

The Florida senator is aggressively courting the Religious Right, which should come as no surprise since his stances on social issues are barely distinguishable from Santorum’s.

Rubio joined Santorum and four other Republican presidential candidates in pledgingto sign legislation making it legal to discriminate against same-sex couples. He even implied his support for Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who attempted to use her county office to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, by claiming that people can and should “ignore” laws or court rulings that do not “adhere to God’s rules” because “God’s rules always win.” “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin,” he said.

Rubio has called same-sex marriage “a real and present danger” to freedom and religion, arguing that only someone who has a “ridiculous and absurd reading of the U.S. Constitution” would agree with the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision and promising that his nominees to the Supreme Court would disagree with the ruling.

The potential for a President Rubio to be nominating the next few Supreme Court justices could prove especially frightening seeing that the senator, in an address to afar-right Florida grouprejected the separation of church and state as unconstitutional.

He has also embraced the Right’s phony religious persecution rhetoric, running campaign ads and delivering speeches about how conservative Christians like himself who oppose gay marriage are the real victims of discrimination in America. During Saturday’s debate, he said that Christians in America face far more discrimination than Muslim-Americans.

On the economy, Rubio might even be furtherto the right of many in the GOP. For starters, as New York Times reporter Josh Barrow explained, Rubio “would impose no tax at all on interest, dividends or capital gain income from stocks” as part of a larger tax-slashing regimen that Barro called “a big tax cut for people who are already doing well.” Think of it as the Bush tax cuts on steroids: disproportionate government aid to the ones who need it the least that costs the government trillions of dollars in revenue.

Rubio, who was first elected to the Senate as a Tea Party favorite, has also vowed torepeal Wall Street reform and oppose any increase in the minimum wage, and has adopted a “do-nothing” and denialist approach to climate change.  

Despite this record, the media has given Rubio flattering coverage, portraying him as a mainstream candidate who can thwart radicals like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Part of Rubio’s reputation as somehow more “moderate” or “mainstream” comes from his previous support for a bipartisan immigration reform bill. But of course Rubio ended uprenouncing the bill and tacking further to the right on immigration than many of his Republican colleagues.

Even though Santorum, when asked last week, couldn’t name a single legislative accomplishment of Rubio’s, it is obvious that Rubio has succeeded in doing at least one thing: embracing the ideology of the GOP’s extremist wing without being held accountable for it.

PFAW

Rick Santorum Leaves GOP Race But His Bigoted Legacy Will Remain

Despite winning the 2012 Iowa Republican caucuses, Rick Santorum managed to get just one percent of the vote in Monday’s contest and reportedly plans to drop out of the presidential race in a speech tonight. According to National Journal, the former Pennsylvania senator had “spent 86 days campaigning in Iowa since the 2014 election, more than any candidate from either party,” as he attempted to rebrand himself as a “blue collar conservative” class warrior. But Santorum couldn’t escape his polarizing image as a Religious Right culture warrior.

Santorum joined his fellow GOP candidates Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee in claiming that the president can simply ignore Supreme Court rulings that he or she doesn’t like, specifically pledging to defy the court on marriage if he were to become president himself.

He personally pledged to commit civil disobedience against gay marriage and end its “promotion” in public schools, urged Kentucky clerk Kim Davis to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, alleged that gay marriage violates the First Amendment and said he would continue to enforce the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act.

Santorum, who believes that “our civil laws have to comport with the higher law,” argued that the gay marriage ruling was illegitimate because it went “against the natural law.” But because people didn’t heed his warnings, the U.S. is turning into a dystopian secular theocracy where Christians face widespread legal and societal persecution if they dare to defend their purported right to discriminate against gay people. Now, Santorum says that everything he once predicted, such as the imminent decriminalization of pedophilia and man-dog sex, has come true.

He also claimed that Roe v. Wade is similarly invalid because it contradicts “nature’s law” and provokes divine judgment, equating the legalization of abortion with the Holocaust and blaming racism in America on Planned Parenthood.

But at least Santorum offered us one of the more interesting moments of the campaign.

Santorum, who has routinely suggested that President Obama is aiding terrorism, faced a question from a South Carolina activist about the president’s plot to nuke the city of Charleston. He naturally responded not by putting her conspiracy theory to rest but by decrying Obama as a “tyrant” bent on destroying America.

Kim Davis' Lawyer Compares Her To Martin Luther King Jr.

Mathew Staver, the anti-gay activist who represented Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her failed attempt to prevent her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, marked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by emailing supporters of his organization, Liberty Counsel, a fundraising email that included an excerpt from King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”

Naturally, Staver, who has previously likened Davis to King and to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, ended his letter by directly comparing Davis to the civil rights leader:

P.S. Dr. King was a highly principled man and firmly held to his convictions until his untimely death.

Today, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis stands as an example to all of us as a person of conviction who was jailed for her principled resistance to an unjust law. Yet, the Lord has restored her in ways she couldn't have imagined!

While no one wants conflict, we have no choice but to resist an unjust law, particularly one that will force us to participate in acts that directly conflict with the Natural and Revealed Law.

Staver isn’t alone in comparing Davis to King.

Back in September, Rick Santorum said that Davis was following in King’s footsteps:

Seven GOP Candidates Seek To Out-Pander One Another In Courting The Religious Right

Last week, we noted that several Republican presidential candidates were scheduled to participate in a "Free to Believe" broadcast hosted by notorious anti-gay activists Rick Scarborough, who claims that HIV/AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality and that gay parents are sending their kids to hell, and Tony Perkins, who says gay people are pawns of the Devil who want to "recruit" children.

On her program last Friday, Rachel Maddow also took note of the fact that the leading 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls had no problem participating in an event organized and co-hosted by an extremist like Scarborough:

The event itself was broadcast on Saturday morning from the headquarters of the Family Research Council, the group led by Perkins, and wound up being four hours of sanctimonious self-pity and mind-numbing dullness interspersed by short videos submitted by Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, and Rick Santorum all blatantly pandering to the Religious Right.

After Bush kicked things off by providing a vague promise to be a "strong advocate of religious liberty" as president, Carson turned things up a notch by declaring that "the greatest threat to religious freedom in America today is secular progressivism," as demonstrated by the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, and vowing that, if elected president, he will work with Congress to pass legislation exempting Christians from having to recognize this decision.

Carson was followed by Cruz, who insisted that Christians "face an unprecedented attack on our first freedom from an aggressive secular state that seeks to push faith out of the public square entirely" and likewise promised that, if elected president, he'll make it his first order of business to see that "the persecution of religious liberty ends today."

Later in the broadcast, Carly Fiorina told those watching that "religious liberty is under assault in our country" and that America needs a leader who will fight to "take our country back." And that leader should be her, Fiorina explained, because "my faith has been tested in good times and in bad and never found wanting."

She was followed by Huckabee, who trotted out his standard campaign promise to simply ignore the Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage and abortion and essentially outlaw them both through executive action.

Up next, Rubio declared that "it shouldn't surprise us, this all-out assault on our liberties, because we have a president that, when he was a candidate the first time, he said that those of us that have traditional values are bitter people who cling to our guns and to our religion." He went on to promise that, as president, he will proudly "stand up for those" who are called "bigots and haters" for opposing gay marriage and abortion.

Santorum finally closed things out by decrying the "virulent assault" on religious liberty in America as demonstrated by "the lack of tolerance" for those who oppose gay marriage, promising that, as president, he will not only sign the First Amendment Defense Act, but "then we'll move further" and reverse the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling.

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/15/16

Santorum: Allowing Gay Marriage Like Changing 'The Chemical Equation For Water'

Rick Santorum came up with another creative way to illustrate his opposition to marriage equality yesterday, telling Iowa radio host Simon Conway that allowing states to expand marriage to same-sex couples is like saying “the states have the right to redefine the chemical equation for water, it can be H3O instead of H2O.”

When Conway asked Santorum about Sen. Ted Cruz’s recent remarks about the need for conservatives to unify around one presidential candidate (him), Santorum took a dig at Cruz, implying that the Texas senator is a “libertarian” for wanting to return the decision about marriage equality to the states.

“Look, I’m very proud of the conservative record I’ve put together,” he said. “There’s no one who’s fought more on moral and cultural issues. I’m not a libertarian. There are people in this race that want the states to decide whether there should be same-sex marriage or polygamy or marijuana use. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that the states have the right to redefine something that’s not capable of redefining.

“For me, when you say the states have the right to define marriage, it’s like saying, well, the states have the right to redefine the chemical equation for water, it can be H3O instead of H2O. Well, the states can’t do that. Why? Because nature dictates what water is, nature dictates what marriage is, and the states don’t have the right to violate what nature has dictated.”

Santorum & Huckabee: Instead Of Gun Laws, Obama Should Oppose Abortion Rights

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum reacted to President Obama’s executive action on gun-sales background checks yesterday by saying that the president should instead use his role as “an African-American male from a big city” to address the “breakdown of the family” and oppose abortion rights.

“The president was in a unique position as a president of the United States, an African-American male from a big city, where this problem is the most acute,” Santorum told Newsmax TV’s Steve Malzberg, “and he’s done virtually nothing about it except focus on the object that is used in the commission of the crime instead of the fundamental underpinnings of why these crimes are being committed because of this breakdown of society caused by the breakdown of the family.”

Santorum also implied that the president was hypocritical for caring about gun deaths when he voted in the Illinois legislature against the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act,” an unnecessary anti-choice messaging bill that he was concerned would undermine Roe v. Wade . The former Pennsylvania senator falsely claimed that this vote means that Obama “was for killing children after they were born if the mother wanted that child to be killed.”

“So the idea that this president is out there talking in very passionate terms, and, I think, compelling and sincere terms, about innocent lives lost and has advocated for the taking of innocent lives through abortion and even infanticide,” he said, “and then sat on the sidelines as a person who could probably do more to solve the problems of the inner cities as an African-American president and done nothing with respect to the helping and improving of the family, I just think that it’s, again, the problem with liberalism is that it looks for simple solutions that have good soundbites instead of looking at the fundamental problems that are a little more complex and difficult to deal with.”

Santorum’s fellow Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee made a similar statement in a Facebook post today, asking Obama why he is promoting gun background checks rather than granting “personhood” rights to fertilized eggs and fetuses.

Barack Obama says if we can save one life with gun control we should. Well Mr. President instead of restricting our...

Posted by Mike Huckabee on Wednesday, January 6, 2016

 

Santorum: Iowa Christian Right Leader 'Settling' With Cruz Endorsement

Influential Iowa social conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats has, depending on who you ask, either the ability to propel his chosen Republican presidential candidate to a caucus victory or the ability to latch onto the winning campaign. So it was a big deal, if not surprising, when Vander Plaats endorsed Ted Cruz earlier this month, snubbing his 2008 and 2012 picks Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, respectively.

In an interview with conservative Iowa radio host Simon Conway yesterday, Santorum said that Vander Plaats, who heads the group The Family Leader, was “settling” with his pick of Cruz, citing Cruz’s efforts to allow states to ban same-sex marriage rather than controlling marriage on the federal level.

“Look, I understand it,” Santorum said. “Ted’s a fine guy and has really been a scrapper in Washington. I think what Mike and I both feel is that when it comes to the issues that are near and dear to The Family Leader, the family issues, marriage in particular, I think we need a stronger voice, a more principled voice that understands there’s a higher law there that we have to abide by and just because a state wants to do something doesn’t mean a state should be able to.”

This prompted Conway and Santorum to launch into an extended debate about the role of government in marriage, which Conway argued the government should have nothing to do with at all.

Santorum disagreed, saying that the government has a responsibility to ensure the “continuity” of culture, citing low birth rates among native Europeans — the unspoken subtext of which is that low birth rates necessitate greater immigration. “If you look at Europe … they’re decrying the fact that Europe is barren,” he said, "they’re not having children, and the people who are having children are not Europeans, or native Europeans, so you’ve got some really big problems and it’s beginning to occur in this country.”

He added that laws governing marriage also serve to “encourage people to behave the right way” when “fidelity, monogamy are not a natural thing” but “are learned behaviors.”

Santorum Says He'd Enforce Unconstitutional DOMA As President

In an interview with the Catholic news network EWTN broadcast on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said that, if elected, he would ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Windsor and enforce the parts of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that the court found unconstitutional. Santorum also said that he would attempt to undermine the court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade by considering fetuses to be “persons” under the law.

Santorum made the remarks as part of a series of conversations EWTN is running between influential social conservative thinker and activist Robert George and presidential candidates. George previously pressed TedCruz and Mike Huckabee to commit to positions undermining the Supreme Court on marriage equality and abortion rights.

Matthew Franck, a colleague of George’s at the Witherspoon Institute who was filling in for him, asked Santorum how, as president, he would treat the Supreme Court’s Obergefell marriage equality ruling. Santorum responded that while there is little a president can do to defy Obergefell, which affected state laws, he “would confront the court” on its DOMA decision and say “this was a decision that was extraconstitutional, that law is good, valid law and I would enforce that law.”

Before the Supreme Court struck down parts of DOMA, President Obama continued to enforce the law but refused to defend it in court, saying that it was unconstitutional. At the time, Santorum called Obama’s move a “power grab” and said that deciding the law’s constitutionality was the “province of the Supreme Court.”

Franck also asked Santorum about the anti-choice “personhood” strategy, which proposes that Congress make an end-run around Roe v. Wade by declaring fetuses and zygotes to be “persons” with full protections under the 14th Amendment.

Santorum, who has previously pledged to back “personhood” legislation, didn’t discuss the logistics of such a move, but said that the president has an “obligation to push back on a court that got it wrong.”

Six GOP Hopefuls Vow To Enshrine Anti-Gay Discrimination Into Law

In the wake of the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, anti-gay Religious Right groups rallied around a piece of legislation known as the First Amendment Defense Act, which would prohibit the federal government from "taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."

In essence, the law would give individuals and businesses a license to openly discriminate against gay people and others in the name of "religious liberty," so naturally anti-gay groups have lined up in support of the legislation.

Today, several of these groups — the American Principles Project, Heritage Action for America, Family Research Council Action — announced that six GOP presidential hopefuls have all signed a pledge to, if elected to the White House, push for the passage of the FADA within their first 100 days in office:

American Principles Project has joined together with Heritage Action for America, the action arm of the Heritage Foundation, and FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, to invite each of the candidates running for President to sign the following pledge:

“If elected, I pledge to push for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and sign it into law during the first 100 days of my term as President.”

So far, six candidates have signed the pledge:

•   Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

•   Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)

•   Dr. Ben Carson

•   Carly Fiorina

•   Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)

•   Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas)

...

Maggie Gallagher, Senior Fellow at American Principles Project, released the following statement:

“It has become clear that the First Amendment Defense Act is rapidly becoming a signature issue that unifies the GOP. Three out of the four top contenders for the nomination — Carson, Cruz, and Rubio — have pledged to prioritize passing FADA in their first 100 days of office. Additionally, Bush, Graham, Paul, and now for the first time, Donald Trump, have publicly expressed support for FADA. Real, concrete protections for gay marriage dissenters appear to be just one election victory away.”

Religious Right: Bible Dictates Laws & Economic Policy But Islam Not a Religion Because It Is A Political & Economic System

Donald Trump’s call to bar all Muslims from entering the country was widely recognized as an appeal for explicit religious discrimination and generated significant pushback.  But many of Trump’s right-wing defenders have turned to an argument that has long bounced around Religious Right circles: that Muslims are not entitled to the religious liberty protections of the First Amendment because Islam is somehow not a religion. A few years ago, for example, retired Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin called Islam “a totalitarian way of life” that “should not be protected under the First Amendment.”

At this week’s Republican presidential debate, Rick Santorum explained why he believes Islam is not protected under the First Amendment, an argument made repeatedly by the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. Here’s Santorum:

The fact of the matter is, Islam is different. I know this is going to come as a shock to a lot of people, and I mean this sincerely. Islam is not just a religion. It is also a political governing structure. The fact of the matter is, Islam is a religion, but it is also Sharia law, it is also a civil government, it is also a form of government. And, so, the idea that that is protected under the First Amendment is wrong.

Conservative columnist and radio host Andrew McCarthy has similarly defended Trump’s comments, saying that Islam is not merely a religion because it “has ambitions to be more than a religion, that is to say that it is an ideological, sweeping system that does not recognize a division between spiritual life on the one hand and political and civic life on the other.”

Back in September, Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins defended similar comments by Ben Carson:

“Religious freedom and our liberty is ordered liberty under the Constitution,” Perkins said. “And as Dr. Caron pointed out, and I know this is driving the left crazy, that Islam is not just a religion, Islam is an economic system, it is a judicial system, it is a compressive system which is incompatible with the Constitution. That’s what Dr. Carson said and he happens to be correct.”

More recently, Perkins defended Trump with a dubiously specific statistic, saying that “only 16 percent of Islam is a religion — the rest is a combination of military, judicial, economic and political system.” Televangelist Pat Robertson also said this month that people should not view Islam as a religion but rather a “political system masquerading as a religion.”

Wait a minute. Aren’t these the same people who repeatedly insist that the Bible is the final authority on everything, from laws regulating personal relationships to economic and tax policy, and environmental protection? Anti-marriage-equality activists have insisted that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was in violation of “God’s law” and therefore “illegitimate.” 

David Barton, an oft-discredited “historian” and Republican Party activist who is currently heading up a Ted Cruz super PAC, argues that the Bible opposes minimum wage laws, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, any progressive form of taxation and even net neutrality. He says the Constitution came right out of the Bible. If you applied Tony Perkins’ calculations to David Barton’s Bible, what percentage would come up as religion?

Many Religious Right leaders have embraced Seven Mountains dominionism, which is grounded in the belief that the right kind of Bible-believing Christians are meant to control all the important spheres of culture, including government, business, education, and entertainment. For example, the American Pastors Network’s Sam Rohrer says this:

Government leaders are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Justice, promoting God’s moral law as the foundation of right and wrong, encouraging those who do well biblically, and executing judgment on those who break the law.

Along those lines, three Republican presidential candidates, including current Iowa frontrunner Ted Cruz, recently joined a “religious freedom” rally organized by a pastor who argues that the Bible requires the government to execute gay people.

And don’t forget David Lane, whose American Renewal Project is mobilizing conservative pastors to get more involved in politics — and who argues that America was founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, and that the Bible should be a primary textbook in public schools.

So, a thought for Religious Right leaders: If you are going to argue for stripping Muslims of their First Amendment religious liberty protections based on your interpretation of Islam as an enterprise that is more political and ideological than religious, you may have to trim your own political sails quite a bit. Either that, or quit pretending you are proponents of religious freedom, and admit that you, like Bryan Fischer, believe the First Amendment applies only to Christians, or, like Tony Perkins, that gay-supporting Christians don’t deserve the same legal protections because a “true religious freedom” has to “come forth from religious orthodoxy.” Just don’t try to pretend your definition of “religious freedom” owes anything to Thomas Jefferson or the First Amendment. 

Religious Right Leaders Rally Around Ted Cruz At Secret Endorsement Meeting

Religious Right leaders are intent on being the ones to pick the Republican presidential nominee this time around and they’re throwing their collective weight behind Ted Cruz.

The movement’s leaders have been seething for eight years now that they were forced to rally behind Republican presidential candidates they weren’t excited about — John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.  After years of angling to prevent that from happening in 2016, “several dozen” Religious Right leaders met in secret in early December and voted to rally around Ted Cruz.

National Review’s Tim Alberta describes the event, which Cruz backers entered with the upper hand. It took five ballots for Cruz's supporters to browbeat backers of Marco Rubio into submission and give Cruz the three-quarters supermajority needed. Those who attended the meeting had vowed to either publicly support the eventual winner of the day’s balloting or to remain silent in the Republican primary. Reports Allen,

The impact was felt immediately on the 2016 campaign. Three prominent participants — direct-mail pioneer and longtime activist Richard Viguerie, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, and The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats – announced their support of Cruz within 72 hours of the meeting at the Sheraton. 

Cruz, of course, had plenty of conservative evangelical support before this meeting. We noted back in the summer that he was consolidating support from the Christian Nation crowd, including discredited “historian” David Barton  —  who heads a Cruz super PAC  —  and billionaire fracking brothers Farris and Dan Wilks  —  who have pumped $15 million into the pro-Cruz super PAC effort. Since then, Cruz has been holding and attending “religious liberty” events  —  including one hosted by a pastor who calls for the execution of gays, and one at Bob Jones University, famous for claiming religious backing for its racial segregationist policies.

Cruz openly promotes the efforts of Christian-nation zealot David Lane to “take back” the country by using pastor-candidates to mobilize high evangelical turnout. Cruz told American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon this summer, “Nothing is more important in the next 18 months than that the body of Christ rise up and that Christians stand up, that pastors stand up and lead.”

Lane, who matches Cruz’s contempt for “establishment” Republicans, said back in 2013, “We’re going to try to eliminate the stuff that [GOP leaders] do to us every four years, which is picking somebody who has no chance of being viable and they kill us off and we have the McCains and the Romneys left.” Lane had cheered attacks on Romney’s faith and the “false god of Mormonism.”

Cruz has been courting Religious Right activists for years, even before the underdog, Tea Party-fueled victory in the GOP primary that propelled him into the U.S. Senate. Back before that election, he told the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference, “we are engaged in spiritual warfare every day.” That message hasn’t changed: Just last week his campaign’s “prayer team” was told that “we’re in a spiritual battle today as never before.”

For the Religious Right, what’s not to like about Cruz? His anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-government bona fides are unquestionable. His father, Rafael Cruz, an unabashed Christian-nation extremist and anti-gay bigot who says that it is God’s plan for his son to be president, makes an effective ambassador for Cruz to the far right.

Is anyone not jumping on the Cruz bandwagon? A group of Latino Republicans held a press conference yesterday to denounce Cruz for his anti-immigrant positions  —  which they said were the same Romney “self-deportation” policies by another name  —  and for Cruz’s support of Donald Trump’s bigotry.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, a leader of the effort to get the Religious Right to rally around a single candidate, has tried this before, without much success. In 2012, Perkins and other conservative evangelicals had tried to create unity around a single alternative to Romney. Perkins declared after a January 2012 gathering that Rick Santorum had emerged with a “strong consensus.”

But the voting process and outcome were disputed by Newt Gingrich supporters, and the idea that evangelical leaders could deliver their followers to Santorum was undermined when Gingrich won the next event, South Carolina’s primary. Richard Viguerie, among others, urged Gingrich to drop out in order to boost Santorum’s chances. In the end, Santorum went on to win other southern primaries but couldn’t catch Romney.

In January 2012, after he won that supposed consensus endorsement for Santorum, Perkins dismissed suggestions that the meeting was too late to have an impact, even though it came after Romney had already won Iowa and New Hampshire and was building up a head of steam. Perkins clearly decided not to let that happen again.

Wayne Allyn Root: Hillary Clinton Committed 'Hanging' Offense, But Is Blackmailing The FBI To Stay Out Of Jail

Today is a big day for conservative activist and former Libertarian vice presidential nominee Wayne Allyn Root, who, as the Republican presidential candidates descend on his home state of Nevada for tomorrow’s debate, joined Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Rick Santorum at a summit hosted by anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney before moving on to emcee a rally for Donald Trump.

The proximity of presidential candidates did not cause Root to hold back on his rhetoric, telling the audience at Gaffney’s forum that Hillary Clinton has committed “a hanging, treasonous offense” involving foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation but is getting off the hook by blackmailing FBI Director James Comey and other Republicans in Washington.

“Can you imagine a Republican secretary of state working for a Republican president starting a foundation for charity that collects money from foreign governments by the hundreds of millions and billions and then takes the money and hands out government contracts to the same country that made the contribution from the State Department?” he asked. “That’s not a criminal offense, that’s a hanging, treasonous offense.”

When a member of the audience asked Root “when we are going to nail Hillary,” Root responded that he wasn’t sure because “I don’t know if Comey, the FBI director, is totally on the straight-and-narrow.”

“I believe we’ve got massive blackmail going on in the United States government,” he said. “The NSA, the IRS, their goal is to find out everything about Republicans — not everybody, Republicans.”

“They want to know everything about us, especially Republican politicians in Washington, D.C., and then they blackmail them,” he explained. “Is Comey susceptible to that? I have no idea, but I certainly have my suspicions about the Supreme Court justice of the United States voting twice for Obamacare.”

Root has previously shared his theory that Chief Justice John Roberts was blackmailed into ruling against challenges to the Affordable Care Act.

Frank Gaffney's Presidential Summit Begins With 'Secret Muslim' Conspiracy Theory

Frank Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy, has come under fire in the past couple of weeks thanks to Donald Trump, who cited a shoddy poll conducted by Gaffney’s organization when he called for a ban on all Muslims entering America.

Conveniently, just as Gaffney’s impressive record as a conspiracy theorist was coming under scrutiny, he was planning yet another summit designed to attract Republican presidential candidates, this time in Nevada ahead of tomorrow’s presidential debate.

It was only fitting, then, that within the first hour of today’s summit — which will be attended by Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum — the topic turned to whether or not President Obama is secretly a Muslim. (Gaffney himself hasopenly entertained the idea.)

Admiral Ace Lyons, who received an award from CSP alongside Sen. Jeff Sessions earlier this year, took a question from a woman in the audience who told him, “I’d like to know why no one — that’s literally no one — is gutsy enough to call a Muslim a Muslim in our White House. It’s pretty obvious that he is.”

After what appeared to be a brief consultation with Gaffney, Lyons responded: “Well, all I can say is he certainly acts the part, doesn’t he?”

It’s hardly surprising that Lyons got that question since he spent his entire speech claiming that President Obama is deliberately working to take America down from within with the help of the Muslim Brotherhood, which he said has infiltrated every U.S. national security agency and is shaping foreign policy.

“When the president of the United States is not interested in America leading or America winning, then you understand that greatest threat to our national security resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” Lyons declared to applause.

Obama, he said, has been pushing policies that are “anti-American, anti-Western, but pro-Islam, pro-Iranian and pro-Muslim Brotherhood.”

“I have to ask you,” he said. “Why would an American president embrace the Muslim Brotherhood when their creed is to destroy America from within by our own miserable hands and replace our constitution with Sharia law? It makes absolutely no sense.”

What Rick Santorum Gets Wrong About ISIS

The New York Times came out with a story yesterday about why ISIS leaders are hoping that the U.S. sends in troops to battle them in order to fulfill their prophecy of waging an apocalyptic showdown with American forces in Syria, where the true forces of Islam will defeat Western crusaders.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum may want to read the report and similar observations from other ISIS experts, as he told the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins on his “Washington Watch” program yesterday that ISIS is glad that President Obama opposes sending ground troops into Syria and that he has denied that the terrorist group represents Muslims at large.

The GOP presidential candidate said that the U.S. should in fact “identify and accept the fact” that ISIS is “an Islamic Sunni caliphate” and then “invade their land.”

He went on to say that ISIS is not perverting the Islamic faith but “really is an orthodox interpretation of Islam.”

Rick Santorum Has A 'More Practical Way' Than Trump To Ban 'A Lot Of' Muslims

Rick Santorum reacted today to Donald Trump’s call for banning all Muslims from entering the country by insisting that he has “a more practical way than the way Donald Trump is suggesting” to ban not all Muslims, “but a lot of them.”

Santorum told Stephen Bannon on the SiriusXM program “Breitbart News Daily” this morning that he has “proposed actual concrete things in our immigration law that would have not the effect of banning all Muslims, but a lot of them.”

“We start changing our immigration laws, we can deal with this problem,” he said. “I think the way Trump has proposed it, it may have some constitutional infirmity. We can do it in a more practical way than the way that Donald Trump is suggesting.”

Santorum also told Bannon that while he is considered an “enemy of ISIS,” the terrorist group doesn’t “call President Obama an enemy” because he “creates the false narrative which allows ISIS to survive.”

“The reason they called me an enemy was because I identified them accurately and said why they had to be defeated, just like I explained to you,” he said. “To them, that made me an enemy, because I was someone out there telling the truth which will, if the American public and the West would believe it, would lead to the destruction of ISIS. They don’t call President Obama an enemy because President Obama creates the obfuscation, creates the false narrative which allows ISIS to survive.”

“They’re very happy that the president’s out there trying to convince the Muslim world that they’re illegitimate,” he added.

Santorum told Newsmax TV yesterday that ISIS in fact sees Obama “as an ally.” ISIS, however, does not seem to agree with this view.

Rick Santorum: Obama Won't Bomb ISIS! (Except Those 6,000 Airstrikes)

Rick Santorum declared at Friday’s “Presidential Family Forum” in Iowa that President Obama refuses to bomb ISIS, despite the fact that the U.S. has launched over 6,000 airstrikes against ISIS militants. He then went on to say that airstrikes are actually a bad idea that actually benefit ISIS, which he said has the sympathies of the majority of Muslims.

After recounting how he told President Bush that “we have to stop calling this a war on terror” and instead declare “war against radical Islam,” Santorum said that “the theology of a majority of people in the Middle East are exactly the theology of ISIS,” even though “they may not be violent.”

“We have a president who won’t even identify ISIS as Islamic nor will he identify it as a state,” Santorum said. “He says we can’t bomb them because we can’t recognize them as a state because it will give them too much prestige; we can’t say they’re Islamic because it will give them too much credibility. This is delusional and it’s costing lives.”

The U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIS has killed over 20,000 ISIS fighters and helped Kurdish forces retake cities such as Sinjar, Kobani and Tel Abyad.

GOP Candidates Seek Endorsement Of Iowa Anti-Gay Leader Bob Vander Plaats

Seven Republican presidential candidates will be travelling to Iowa today to take part in a “presidential family forum” hosted by The Family Leader, a social conservative group led by activist Bob Vander Plaats, who is seen as a kingmaker in the Iowa caucus.

Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum will all be speaking at the forum, at which the candidates are arranged family-style around a Thanksgiving table. (At the 2011 forum, Michele Bachmann memorably took it upon herself to serve water to all of the male candidates.)

The endorsement of Vander Plaats, whose backing helped catapult Huckabee and Santorum to Iowa caucus victories in 2008 and 2012, is one of the most coveted in the state. While most observers think that Cruz will nab Vander Plaats’ endorsement, the activist is keeping his options open. Vander Plaats told a reporter that although Donald Trump was unable to make tonight’s forum, he told him, “If you can guarantee me your endorsement, I will turn the plane around and get there.”

As Vander Plaats’ previous endorsements of Huckabee and Santorum show, he has a powerful machine ready to push an ideologically pure social conservative. Back in 2010, Vander Plaats also led a successful effort to remove three Iowa Supreme Court judges who participated in the court’s landmark unanimous marriage equality decision.

But to get that endorsement, candidates must cater to an activist far the right of mainstream voters. Not only does Vander Plaats want to remove from office or defund the courts of judges who find in favor of marriage equality, he believes that anything, like gay marriage, that “goes against the law of nature” is by definition unconstitutional . He argues that the government is an institution of God and therefor its purpose is “to promote righteousness” and to apply “God’s principles and precepts.” He once warned that God might withdraw his blessing from America because of a Wiccan prayer at the Iowa state capitol.

Vander Plaats has suggested that marriage equality could lead to legal protections for pedophilia and “ a parent marrying their child” and compared the “public health risk” of homosexuality to second-hand smoke. He has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for his “decisive leadership” in preventing “homosexual propaganda” in his country.

Taking its anti-gay sentiment to a new level, The Family Leader was a sponsor of a conference earlier this month — at which Cruz, Huckabee and then-candidate Bobby Jindal spoke — whose organizer, Kevin Swanson, called for the death penalty for gay people and warned that God would judge America for liking the Harry Potter series too much. (The group later clarified that it does not support violence against gay people but declined to denounce Swanson.)

Speaking at an event last year, Vander Plaats played a video showing a gay pride event alongside the Boston Marathon bombing and mass shootings as illustrations of the “darkness” that has fallen over America:

Vander Plaats had also dabbled in birther conspiracy theories, implying in 2011 that the president’s birth certificate was missing and praising Trump for his “bold” crusade to uncover the truth about the president’s past.

Rick Santorum Rails Against 'Dangerous' Rights For Transgender Youth

Yesterday on “The Steve Malzberg Show,” Rick Santorum offered his opinion on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which was successfully repealed yesterday, and a case in Illinois where the Department of Education sided with a transgender girl who accused her public school of carrying out discriminatory policies.

Santorum, naturally, is not a fan of protections for trans youth, which he labeled as “dangerous.”

Just discussing the issue of transgender youth in schools, Santorum said, would harm kids: “I don’t know why children at that age — why this is even an issue, the idea that we are introducing this type of real dangerous confusion for young people at this early age, do we really care about what we’re doing to millions of children who don’t have gender confusion and basically introducing the subject and saying, ‘maybe you should, maybe this is something you should start thinking about at age seven.’ I mean this is really dangerous and it’s going too far because it is having an impact on not just folks who may be in a difficult situation at an early age but many who would never have been in that situation but now are being confronted with it.”

Rick Santorum: Martin Luther King Jr. Would Tell Kim Davis To Break Law Over Gay Marriage

Earlier this month, Rick Santorum appeared on the Daystar program “Marcus and Joni” to promote his presidential bid and defend Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has been trying to prevent her county office from issuing marriage licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.

Santorum defended Davis, claiming that she should be “applauded” for her “courageous” actions and asserting that the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage is illegitimate since it violates biblical precepts.

“Clearly, the laws on marriage don’t follow the natural law, they don’t follow God’s law, so in Martin Luther King’s viewpoint, he would have said that this is a law that you have an obligation to resist and that’s what Kim Davis is doing,” he said. “She is standing up and saying, ‘I am not going to follow an unjust law.’”

Previously, Santorum likened Davis to a girl who was murdered during the Columbine massacre, who according to a popular but debunked myth was killed for believing in God.

Santorum also invoked the Nuremberg trials, suggesting that people who are demanding that Davis comply with the court’s order are using the same argument employed by Nazis at Nuremberg following World War II, that “we were just following the law.”

He said that people must defy court rulings like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, which he said is even more far-reaching than Roe because it is “forcing people to be complicit with something they find immoral,” and that Congress and the presidency must also “push back and change the law.”

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