Iowa

GOP Candidates Really Don't Want To Talk About 'Kill The Gays' Conference

A couple of weeks ago, we reported extensively on a conference in Iowa organized by extremist pastor Kevin Swanson, at which three Republican presidential candidates joined Swanson on stage shortly before he went off on a series of rants about how the biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, Harry Potter is bringing God’s judgment on America, and how if your gay child gets married you should show up to the wedding covered in cow manure.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow ran a segment on the conference, but other than that, as a number of commentators have noted, the media has been strangely silent on the Republican candidates’ participation in this event.

Today, Des Moines Register columnist Rekha Basu reports that she reached out to the campaigns of the three candidates, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal (who has since dropped out of the presidential race), and found them rather reluctant to talk about it.

A spokesperson for Huckabee, who at the event deflected a question about Swanson’s extremism, told Basu after viewing video of some of Swanson’s remarks that Huckabee “appreciated the opportunity” to speak at the conference. The Cruz and Jindal campaigns didn’t bother to reply at all. (Before the conference, Cruz had been asked about his participation by CNN’s Jake Tapper, but brushed off the question.)

Calls and emails seeking a reaction to Swanson's remarks by spokespeople for Cruz and Jindal (who suspended his campaign Tuesday) went unanswered. Huckabee’s spokeswoman Alice Stewart asked for documentation and was sent a video link. She responded the next day saying, "Gov. Huckabee appreciated the opportunity to speak with an audience in Iowa about the importance of standing up for our religious liberties."

Basu also reached out to The Family Leader, an influential Iowa conservative group that sponsored Swanson’s conference and will be hosting candidates for a “presidential family forum” later this week. A Family Leader spokesman at least went as far to say that the group doesn’t condone executing gay people, but didn’t comment on the wisdom of sponsoring Swanson’s conference:

Asked if Vander Plaats or the Family Leader condemn Swanson’s remarks, Drew Zahn, its director of communications wrote in an email: “The Family Leader absolutely condemns any call for violence against homosexuals. Our involvement with the conference was intended to advocate and preserve our First Amendment religious liberties and the rights of conscience for all Americans. The Family Leader consistently advocated the Bible's principle of treating others as you would be treated, a principle come to life in the friendship between TFL President Bob Vander Plaats and One Iowa's Donna Red Wing.”

But Zahn wouldn’t say whether the organization would express those views to Swanson, or would have withdrawn sponsorship from the program if they had known what he would say.

We really wonder how long Cruz and Huckabee will be able to continue to plead ignorance about Swanson’s extremism after being asked about it repeatedly.

Extremist Congressman: God Raising Up Ted Cruz To Save America's Soul

Ted Cruz has picked up the endorsement of Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, who is not only an influential political force in the first-in-the-nation caucus state but also a prominent face of the anti-gay and anti-immigration movements.

“For almost a year now, my regular prayer has been that God would raise up a leader whom he will use to restore the soul of America,” King said in a video message, asking Iowans to “do your duty for God and country, come to caucus, and support Ted Cruz for president of the United States.”

The congressman made waves nationally when he suggested that young immigrants are mostly drug smugglers who’ve “got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” but he’s been making similar comments for years, once likening immigrants to livestock while calling for an electrified border fence and depicting immigration as a “slow-motion Holocaust” and “a slow-rolling, slow-motion terrorist attack on the United States.” He has a long record of portraying immigrants as a violent threat that will destroy the country and civilization itself.

King has also been a leader among opponents of LGBT equality, warning that same-sex marriage will usher in socialism, leave children raised in warehouses instead of families and “throw this country into an endless trauma.” The congressman has also baselessly asserted that gay rights laws have legalized man-lawnmower marriage and pedophilia.

While Cruz may be happy that King thinks that God is backing his candidacy, he shouldn’t be complacent: King previously said that a Mitt Romney win in 2012 would be a victory for God.

Rand Paul Suggests Doing Away With The Postal Service

In a radio interview yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul said that if he were to become president, he would pare down the federal government so much that he might even do away with the U.S. Postal Service.

Paul joined Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson, who played a clip of last week’s Republican presidential debate in which the Kentucky Republican said that he wants “a government really, really small, so small you can barely see it.”

Paul told Mickelson that this microscopic government might not have room for a postal service. “I think the federal government ought to defend us from foreign attack and have a judiciary and, let’s see, I would say the post office, but they screw up the post office too, so we really don’t even need them for the post office,” he said. “So I want a government that’s really small.”

“I would have a country that defends us from foreign attack, a country that sort of keeps the peace and a country that has a judiciary, a legislative branch, but a country where the federal government didn’t do much,” he added.

Paul’s previous contribution to postal reform was trying to amend a bill to allow guns in post offices.

Kevin Swanson Defends Linking Gay Kiss To Colorado Wildfires

At this weekend’s National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, which featured GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, conservative radio host Steve Deace revealed that a Republican presidential candidate had dropped out of the summit after learning of the extremism of the conference’s organizer, Kevin Swanson. (Although Deace didn’t name the candidate, Ben Carson was at one point named as a confirmed speaker but later disappeared from the event’s schedule.)

Deace said that the candidate’s campaign manager had called him up and asked him about Right Wing Watch’s reporting on Swanson, including Swanson’s support for the death penalty for gay people and his blaming of natural disasters in his home state of Colorado on such affronts to God as gay people marrying and feminist women who wear pants. Deace said that he laughed and assured the campaign manager that these were all lies made up by Right Wing Watch, but that the candidate dropped out anyway.

It might be more difficult for Deace to pretend that we fabricated all of these statements after this weekend’s conference, where Swanson repeated both views with great enthusiasm. After yelling quite a bit about Leviticus, Swanson clarified on Saturday that he does not actually want the U.S. to implement the death penalty for gay people at the moment, but instead to wait and give them time to repent first.

Then, in the same speech, Swanson declared that anyone who believes in God must see that there “might be a connection” between wildfires and flooding in Colorado and the state’s government refusing to enforce biblical law, and specifically a picture that ran on the front page of the Denver Post showing Colorado’s House speaker kissing his husband after a vote on civil unions.

“You see, when this happens, it is the most egregious, the most abominable, the most arrogant insult to Almighty God,” Swanson said of the Denver Post photo. “And then, the very same year, we had the very worst fires, the most devastating fires we ever did in the state and the worst floods. In the very same year, we had the most devastating floods and the most devastating fires and the worst possible legislature in terms of well, any standard of God’s laws as conveyed in [the Bible].”

“You’ve got to believe that God is the judge of the earth and indeed there might be a connection between the worst flood, the worst fires, and the worst government in the history of the state of Colorado,” he said.

He then defended his statement that thanks to gay rights and pro-choice laws, Colorado might be becoming worse than North Korea, saying, “Well, they murder. We put homosexuals on the front page of newspapers.”

America is held to a higher standard, he said, because of its “godly heritage” stemming from “white guys” like Irish immigrants.

“We’ve got a heritage, we’ve got a great heritage, goes back 2,000 years,” he said.
“Seems to me there’s a lot of white guys in America with a lot of heritage that goes all the way back to the 500s and 600s with Patrick and others. Friends, is America a more evil nation than North Korea in the eyes of God? And I say maybe. Maybe not, I don’t know. But I’d say we’re getting pretty close.”

Ted Cruz Dodges Question About Appearing With Wildly Anti-Gay Pastor

As we have been reporting this week, three Republican presidential candidates — Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — are scheduled to appear this weekend at an Iowa “religious liberties” conference organized by wildly anti-gay pastor and activist Kevin Swanson. To give you a flavor of this event, three speakers, including Swanson, have advocated or defended imposing the death penalty on gay people.

So we were relieved yesterday when one of these candidates finally had to answer for his participation in Swanson’s conference. At the end of an interview with Cruz yesterday, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked the Texas senator how he reconciles his constant cries of liberal “intolerance” against Christians with appearing alongside such an intolerant figure as Swanson.

Cruz, predictably, dodged the question by claiming ignorance of Swanson’s record and launching into his standard stump speech about the supposed persecution of Christians in America.

You can watch the exchange starting about 15 minutes into this video:

Tapper ran out of time to press Cruz on the issue, but we hope that Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal will continue to face questions about their participation in this event.

Does Mike Huckabee Think Sodomy Bans Are Still Valid?

Speaking at a candidates’ briefing in Iowa last week, Mike Huckabee responded to a question about the status of state anti-sodomy laws, which were struck down by the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, by launching into a speech about how, as president, he would ignore the Supreme Court’s recent marriage equality decision because “the court cannot make law.”

“We have a situation here in Iowa where the federal government has usurped their authority,” a questioner at the Caffeinated Thoughts briefing asked Huckabee. “Sodomy is against the law, on the books, this very day, and the Supreme Court has issued a decree and we have states’ rights here, they have no jurisdiction over Iowa, just as they have no jurisdiction over prostitution in Las Vegas, Nevada. What we are asking for is we’re asking for some brave soul to stand up and say that this is wrong, you’ve violated states’ rights, we’re going to impeach the five justices that voted like they didn’t have a brain in their head.”

(The questioner seems to have been confused on a number of levels: Iowa’s sodomy law was repealed by a statute, while the state's Supreme Court allowed gay couples to marry.)

“Well, I think, let’s be very clear,” Huckabee responded, “the court cannot make law.”

While he didn’t directly address Lawrence, Huckabee said that the next president should simply ignore the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling.

“It means that the next president ought to have the courage to say, ‘We appreciate the court decision, but we ignore it because it’s not constitutional, there’s nothing in the Constitution that gives the federal government the authority to dictate or mandate what the definition of marriage is, and until the elected representatives have decided on this, there’s nothing for us to follow other than, ‘Thank you for your thoughts and opinions,’” he said. The former governor has repeatedly argued that court rulings have no legal authority unless Congress or state legislatures pass new laws.

Huckabee added that his Supreme Court nominees would have to publicly declare that they “do not believe in judicial supremacy.”

Elsewhere in his talk, Huckabee repeated his pledge to ban abortion (and possibly some forms of birth control) through a “personhood” edict granting full constitutional rights to zygotes and fetuses, thereby bypassing any effort to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade, an idea that he said was “fairy dust.”

In response to an audience member who asked about how to deal with the “mainstream media,” Huckabee responded that Iowans can ask him directly about his views on issues like abortion rights.

“If I tell you that I’m pro-life, demand to test me on that,” he said. “If I tell you that I really don’t believe in judicial supremacy, put me to the test. Ask me just exactly what I would do. If I tell you that we will end abortion, not just by promising to have a constitutional amendment, which is fairy dust to say we’re going to do those [things], but to tell me how I’m going to do it by invoking the Fifth and 14th Amendment, put me to the test and see if I know what I’m talking about.”

Cruz, Jindal And Huckabee To Join Multiple Speakers Who Want Gays Put To Death

UPDATE BELOW: McDurmon insists that he no longer believes in the views he espoused in this video.

Yesterday we reported that GOP presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal are all scheduled to speak at an upcoming "National Religious Liberties Conference" in Iowa next week that has been organized by far-right pastor Kevin Swanson, who has openly and repeatedly defended laws that impose the capital punishment on gay people.

Given that the chief organizer of this event holds such views, it should comes as no surprise to discover that several of the other scheduled speakers share similar views, in particular Phil Kayser, pastor of Dominion Covenant Church, and Joel McDurmon, president of the Christian Reconstructionist organization American Vision, which espouses the Christian Reconstructionist view that "men must choose in their civil affairs to be governed by God’s law" as explicitly set out in the Old Testament. 

Kayser, who is scheduled to lead two workshops at the conference, was at the center of controversy back in 2011 when he endorsed Ron Paul for president and Paul's campaign proudly welcomed the endorsement only to try and cover it up once Kayser's extremist views on homosexuality became known, as Talking Points Memo reported at the time:

Paul's Iowa chair, Drew Ivers, recently touted the endorsement of Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska who also draws members from Iowa, putting out a press release praising "the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul's approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs." But Kayser's views on homosexuality go way beyond the bounds of typical anti-gay evangelical politics and into the violent fringe: he recently authored a paper arguing for criminalizing homosexuality and even advocated imposing the death penalty against offenders based on his reading of Biblical law ... Reached by phone, Kayser confirmed to TPM that he believed in reinstating Biblical punishments for homosexuals -- including the death penalty -- even if he didn't see much hope for it happening anytime soon.

Also speaking at the event is McDurmon, who recently took over as president of American Vision, and who likewise believes that "God revealed that the homosexual act is a civil crime, and it just so happens that He revealed that the homosexual act as a civil crime deserves the death penalty."

In fact, McDurmon's views are so extreme that, back in 2009, he criticized Uganda for not going far enough with its draconian anti-gay legislation, saying that if the nation was "going to go to Old Testament law ... they should also make the death penalty for adultery" and other Old Testament crimes as well.

But as he explained the time, Uganda was absolutely right to seek to put gays to death because "it is perfectly normal [and] it definitely should be in place [that] homosexuality should receive the death penalty":

So let us reiterate once again that, in 2015, three Republican presidential hopefuls — including a sitting senator, a sitting governor, and one former governor — are all scheduled to speak at an event organized by and featuring several speakers who openly advocate putting gay people to death.

UPDATE: McDurmon has released a statement insisting that his position is that "the Bible does not criminalize 'homosexuality,' but only the homosexual act of sodomy" and therefore he does not believe "that homosexuality in general should receive the death penalty; but rather that the Bible teaches that the 'act' of sodomy should receive such."

We'll leave it up to readers to determine whether or not this clarification makes his position any less extreme.

UPDATE 6/16: McDurmon has contacted us to request that we note that he has written a new book in which he explains why he no longer holds the views he espoused in the above video:

While there are, as I said, tons of Theonomy books already, there have always been some outstanding questions that I felt have never really been addressed directly—at least not to my satisfaction. In conjunction with my studies for the Worldview Study Bible (still forthcoming), I’ve had to tackle the toughest passages head-on. The theological framework that has developed from that study have led me to answer some of the outstanding questions as well as revise a few of my previously held views. I’ll give you the bottom line here, and you can read the exegesis and explanations in the book (and I assure you that you will be blessed by doing so):

Contrary to what usually been merely assumed, I do not believe civil government has authority to punish First Table offenses under the New Testament administration. While I was not completely settled on these questions before, I am now. The book explains why.

Contrary to my own previous views on sodomy and adultery, I do not believe the death penalty continues for these under the New Testament administration. This applies also to certain other forms of incest and sexual perversion punishable under the Old Covenant. I do not believe the civil government has any jurisdiction here and should be out of the marriage business altogether. The book explains why.

But yes, God’s law still continues in many ways, still binds modern governments in many ways, and yes, it does so in a glorious way that creates the only standard for a society of liberty. For example, murderers, rapists, and kidnappers ought to be executed; but the modern prison-industrial complex ought to be abolished.

Why the title? Simple: Jesus, Paul, Peter, and others all teach that love fulfills the law, and that if you wish to love, you will follow the law. Love is the law fulfilled, and the law is love exemplified. Love is not an emotion, it is a way of life. God’s law explains to us in various situations what the loving thing to do is. Thus, the law gives us the boundaries of what is love and what is not. The book explains both sides of this: love and law.

RNC Member: Disease Outbreaks Caused By Socialism In Schools, Not Anti-Vaxxers

Tamara Scott, an Iowa conservative activist who serves as a Republican National Committee member for the state, invited two anti-vaccine activists on to her “Truth for Our Time” radio program last week, where she said that the real problem causing disease outbreaks in schools isn’t people refusing to be vaccinated but instead the new “socialistic” model of schooling where children are forced to share pencils.

Scott spoke with Elaine Dannemann, the proprietor of the “Vaccine Liberation Army” website who has said that she is in a primordial, cosmic war” against vaccines, about a new California law that requires daycare workers to be vaccinated against measles and whooping cough.

Scott was outraged, saying that the real health problem in schools is socialism and that the best thing you can do for your children’s health is to take them out of public schools.

“The schools are some of the germiest places you’ll ever be around,” she said. "They’ve gone to this socialistic teaching where you no longer have your own pencils you’re responsible for so you can learn how to take care of things and be a good steward; it’s all socialistic in the middle of the table, you’re all facing each other, handling each other’s things. And the schools, yet, when my kids were in school, kept wondering why they kept having all the issues with strep throat and all the issues with all these childhood illnesses continually happening. Because it’s the new way they’re doing school in the classroom. So, if you want to keep your kid healthy, take them out of public school. It will help them mentally, emotionally, academically and now, physically, it would help them as well.”

“There, I’ve just said it,” she concluded. “I may never be able to run for office, that quote will follow me with some of the liberal news organizations, but it is true, that’s probably the best thing you can do for your child right now.”

Scott has previously interviewed vaccine critic Gary Kohls on her program.

Steve King: Monarchs 'Lost Their Head' Because Of Behavior Like Boehner's

In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway yesterday, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, compared the power that the speaker of the House wields to “the scenario that brought about the Magna Carta” and caused “many British kings” to “lose their heads.”

Conway asked King about the efforts of Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., to reinstate an Army sergeant who was reportedly discharged for hitting an Afghan police commander who had raped a boy, efforts that he said were being held up by House Speaker John Boehner. King, who has endorsed Dan Webster, the favored speaker candidate of the House’s far-right members, told Conway that there have been “lots of discussions of how to change the rules” in the House “so that it brings out the will of the group.”

“Their job is not to impose their will on the group, as we have seen repeatedly,” he said of the House Republican leadership, “but instead to bring out the will of the group that you represent. And if you don’t do that, if you’re imposing your will on them instead of bringing out the will of them, you’re replicating the scenario that brought about the Magna Carta, for example. And how many British kings lost their head because they didn’t listen to their constituents? They don’t teach that in the history books very well, but I’m sure that heads rolled multiple times throughout history because of that, and that’s of course the big reason why the United States became the United States and separated itself.”

GOP’s Favorite Iowa Radio Host Once Again Defends The Confederacy

Jan Mickelson, an influential conservative radio host in Iowa who frequently interviews Republican presidential candidates, has a bit of a rocky history of discussing the Civil War. Earlier this year, he made Sen. Lindsey Graham exceedingly uncomfortable when he said South Carolina was “invaded” in the Civil War, “pretty much like the Russians are invading the Ukraine.” He also made waves in August when he suggested enslaving undocumented immigrants who refuse to leave the state.

Yesterday, Mickelson waded again into the issue of slavery and the Civil War when he invited military historian Edward Bonekemper onto his program to discuss Bonekemper’s new book “The Myth of the Lost Cause,” which pushes back against myths about the Civil War, including a number that, it turns out, are espoused by Mickelson himself. The interview took place immediately before Michaelson interviewed GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.

When Mickelson said that the war was about “both” slavery and states’ rights, Bonekemper responded, “Well, the only state right that was being defended was the right to have slavery.”

Mickelson was having none of this and insisted that the war was not about slavery, but about “Lincoln’s notion that the states were a creation of the federal government,” just as the current debate over climate change policy isn’t about science, but about the government imposing “its will through the EPA on everybody else.”

More than that, it was about the jurisdictional claims of the federal government and the philosophies about how much the government of the United States was centralized. And the debate was over Lincoln’s notion that the states were a creation of the federal government, rather than the other way around.

A contemporary version of that same notion is the global warming or the climate change debate. The federal government starts with the premise that there’s man-made climate change and starts to impose its will through the EPA on everybody else, and out here in the cheap seats, we say, ‘Number one, you don’t have jurisdiction. Number two, you don’t have science on your side so this is just a big power grab.’ So everything that I just said gets reduced to the notion of ‘climate change, climate change, climate change,’ and the nuance of the argument gets left behind, just like when you say that the only thing these people were concerned about was slavery, which was the shortcut for everything I just mentioned, who owns what and whom and who’s in charge, who’s accountable to whom and what are the limits of the federal government. I think it’s way too simplistic to just reduce it to the one word, slavery.

Later in the program, after another heated debate with Bonekemper in which the radio host insisted that the Civil War was “all about money and tariffs and the propagandists in the North turned this into a slavery issue to cover their tracks much, much later,” he took on the issue of the Confederate flag.

“I got the sense when I lived [in South Carolina] that it’s a big FU to the North and they still are stinging from being an occupied nation 100 years later and they’re still mooning the North with it,” he said. “That’s basically it. There’s no slavery content to it, they just don’t like northerners.”

Rand Paul: Put Stickers On School Windows Warning 'You Will Be Shot'

Falsely suggesting that the recent mass shooting at an Oregon community college took place in a gun-free zone, Sen. Rand Paul said yesterday that as president he would encourage every school in America to place stickers on its windows warning potential criminals that teachers are armed and “you will be shot.”

The Kentucky Republican told Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson that the Oregon shooting was “an incredible tragedy, but it’s even made worse by the president politicizing it and jumping in.” The president “doesn’t understand,” he said, that “the problem is mental illness and not necessarily gun registration or gun ownership.”

“The other common denominator, other than mental illness,” he added, “is that people are going to places where guns are prohibited. So  when you have a gun-free zone at a school, it’s like an invitation, if you are crazy and want to shoot people, that’s where you go. I would do the opposite. I would have and encourage every school in American put stickers on every window going into the school saying, ‘We are armed. Come in at your own peril. We have concealed carry for teachers who have it and we also have armed security and you will be shot.’”

Such stickers should be placed on “every cockpit of every commercial airliner” and on “every school,” he said.

Paul said that he would support preventing “people who have exhibited criminal insanity” from owning guns, but that such laws would have to be made at the state level. But he added that broader issues, such as the lack of a “Christian foundation” in the country, may also be influencing mass shooting.

“I do think that we have generalized problems in our country that may somehow influence, I’m not sure they’re the answer, but I think that we lack a certain belief in right and wrong, a certain Christian foundation or religious foundation to our country anymore,” he said, “and I think some of this perversion is coming from that. But also there’s some things that are just inexplicable, that’s just mental illness, they’re not getting better with treatment and they’re not going to get necessarily better with religious influence as well.”

Carly Fiorina Falsely Claims She Never Called Obergefell The 'Law Of The Land'

As a number of commentators have pointed out recently, Carly Fiorina’s swift rise in Republican presidential polls has given her an opportunity to display what Mother Jones called her “adventurous relationship to the truth,” which includes deliberately misleading statements on everything from the contents of the Planned Parenthood smear videos to her record as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

Fiorina displayed her signature truthiness once again in an interview Friday with Iowa conservative radio host Jan Mickelson, who asked her to defend her statement that Supreme Court decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges are “the law of the land,” which he said would turn off voters in Iowa.

Fiorina insisted that she had never said that, speculating, “I think that is a quote from someone else, not from me,” and suggesting that Mickelson might be thinking of her Republican rival John Kasich.

In fact, Fiorina said those very words in an interview with the Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts in May when asked about the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in the marriage equality case.

“I think the Supreme Court decision will become the law of the land, and however much I may agree or disagree with it, I wouldn’t support an amendment to reverse it,” she said. “And I very much hope that we will come to a place now in this nation where we can support their decision and at the same time support people’s right to hold religious views and to protect their right to exercise those views.”

Fiorina told Mickelson that “there is an argument to be made for judicial engagement to rectify when the law begins to impinge on the personal immunities and privileges of citizens,” but seemed to imply that the denial of marriage rights was not such a case. Grasping onto the Right’s argument that LGBT equality undermines religious freedom, she called for the passage of state Religious Freedom Restoration Act laws similar to a controversial one passed and later amended in Indiana, which would have opened the door for anti-LGBT discrimination. She also called for the passage of such a law at “the federal level” — there is already a federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, so presumably Fiorina supports one that would expand the ability of people to discriminate against LGBT people.

Fiorina also promised that if she were to become president, she would “appoint the right justices” and “spend a lot of time” with potential nominees “to see how well they hold up to pressure, because people look like they’re one thing and then become another thing when they can’t take pressure.”

When Mickelson suggested that Sen. Ted Cruz might fit the bill for a Fiorina Supreme Court, Fiorina laughed: “Well, wouldn’t that be an interesting selection. He clearly can stand up to pressure.”

UPDATE: Fiorina appeared again on Mickelson’s program on Monday, where he confronted her a clip of her “law of the land” comments. Fiorina evaded the question, telling Mickelson that she had “no idea what reference that snippet was from,” but that if it was “about gay marriage” she was saying that “we profoundly disagree with this” and will focus on finding Supreme Court nominees who will overturn it.

What I said, for example, was we need to be, if that was about gay marriage, we profoundly disagree with this, we need to invest our political capital and our leadership now in protecting religious liberty all across this nation, which means every state needs to enact a religious freedom protection act, as we have a national act. And it also reminds us how important it is who’s on the Supreme Court. So, let’s focus our energies on making sure we have the right nominees and the right protections and liberties.

Jan Mickelson Promotes Radical Tax Protester Theory In Interview With Santorum

Iowa conservative talk radio host Jan Mickelson’s morning program has become a required stop for Republicans campaigning in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. Nearly every GOP presidential candidate has appeared on Mickelson’s program at least once this year, which is remarkable given that Mickelson recently suggested enslaving undocumented immigrants and often asks his guests to comment on right-wing conspiracy theories such as those surrounding Jade Helm 15 and a toxic spill in Colorado.

Rick Santorum got the full Mickelson treatment yesterday when the radio host asked him to comment on a theory espoused by anti-government tax protesters that the 16th Amendment was never actually ratified and therefore the federal income tax is illegal.

The two got to talking about the “strange bedfellows” behind the 16th Amendment, which Mickelson compared, seemingly disapprovingly, to the coalition of “the business community lined up with the feminists” who backed the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.

He then threw Santorum a curveball: “So, do you think the 16th  Amendment actually really passed?”

“There’s a whole book about the 16th Amendment, it was never legally ratified because the language in many, many different states was not uniform and there was all kinds of trickery involved,” Mickelson continued, apparently referring to William Benson’s 1985 book “The Law that Never Was,” whose contentions have been repeatedly debunked.

Santorum didn’t take a stand on the validity of the 16th Amendment (which he has said he wants to repeal), but did agree that progressives are nefarious tricksters. “That’s the progressives!” he said. “It’s the same group, it’s the same group of people. It was the progressive movement that pushed the income tax and it’s the same progressive movement that’s out here pushing Obamacare and all the other socialism that we’re seeing pushed.”

President Bobby Jindal Would 'Fire' Entire Congress

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has spent the past decade in elected office, is trying his hardest to portray himself as a political outsider. He took this to a new level yesterday in an interview with Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway , when he promised that if he were elected president he would not only call for the removal of House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but would also try to “get rid of” all 535 members of the House and Senate.

In response to a caller who slammed Boehner and McConnell and asked if Jindal “would you do everything within your power to honestly get that man removed from the position of speaker of the House,” Jindal responded, “Absolutely, but I wouldn’t just stop there. More than that needs to go.”

Citing the fact that Republicans in Congress have not yet defunded Planned Parenthood and were unable to block the Iran nuclear deal, he said, “It’s ridiculous. I’m sure that there are 535 Americans in this country who are capable of serving, they’re not indispensable to the future of our country. So absolutely, not only do we need to change leadership, we need to get rid, I’m ready to fire them all.”

Planned Parenthood Vote Shows The GOP Can't Sidestep It's 'Definitional Problem With Rape'

The House today approved a bill that would block federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood for one year, unless the organization certifies that it will no longer perform abortions, something that it does not currently use federal funds for.

The vote, driven by a smear campaign from anti-choice extremists, was divided mostly along party lines, with the notable exception of Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, who voted “present.” In a video statement, King explained that he didn’t think the House bill went far enough in attacking the “diabolical” Planned Parenthood, taking particular issue with the fact that the bill would allow Planned Parenthood to continue offering abortions for women who have survived rape or incest:

Leading anti-choice groups have been trying desperately to stop anti-abortion lawmakers from talking about abortion rights for rape survivors after disastrous comments by Missouri’s Todd Akin and Indiana’s Richard Mourdock helped to sink their respective 2012 Senate bids.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser, one of the most influential leaders in the anti-choice movement, held trainings to teach Republican politicians how to change the subject when rape comes up. Dannenfelser has been very clear that she opposes rape exceptions in abortion bans, which she has called “abominable,” “regrettable” and “ intellectually dishonest,” but will urge lawmakers to support a bill that has to contain such exceptions for political reasons.

But hard as Dannenfelser and her allies might try to get anti-choice lawmakers to shut up about rape, they face an uphill battle. Although most anti-choice activists oppose rape exceptions, a vocal portion of the movement believes that lawmakers should automatically reject any bill that includes such exceptions.

A 20-week abortion ban that passed in the House earlier this year and will be coming up for a vote in the Senate next week has been mired for years in anti-choice infighting about rape exceptions. Before a version of the bill came up for a House vote in 2013, Republican leaders scrambled at the last minute to add a rape exception to neutralize controversial comments made by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks.

In January of this year, the House was planning to vote on the bill to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but scrapped the plan after a coalition led by female Republican lawmakers objected to a provision that would have required rape survivors to report the crime to law enforcement. An exasperated Sen. Lindsey Graham told anti-choice activists the next morning, “I’m going to need your help to find a way out of this definitional problem with rape.”

After extensive negotiations, the House finally settled on a bill that includes an exception for rape survivors if they first undergo a 48-hour waiting period.

But, as Steve King’s “present” vote shows, as long as they’re spending time attacking abortion rights, the GOP is going to be stuck with what Graham called “this definitional problem with rape.”

Steve King Warns Of Changing 'Demographics' Of Immigration: 'I Like The America We Had'

In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday, Rep. Steve King warned that President Obama is “seeking to change the demographics” of the U.S. through his immigration and refugee resettlement policies, asking, “How long is it before the culture of America is changed?”

Mickelson, who has called for enslaving undocumented immigrants , asked King about the Obama administration’s announcement of a slight uptick in the number of Syrian refugees the country will accept and the fact that refugees are eligible for some public benefits.

King had a simple explanation for the president’s policies: He wants to “change the demographics” of America in order to increase the number of “Democrat voters.”

The Iowa Republican challenged advocates of refugee resettlement to “tell me how you want America to look, because America’s being transformed because of immigration policy and I’m like Ann Coulter, I like the America we had.”

Why would you do this if you were president of the United States? He’s seeking to change the demographics of the United States of America. And changing the demographics changes the politics, they’re going to have Democrat voters at least two-to-one, some numbers go all the way to five-to-one, and I’m not speaking only of Muslims, I’m speaking of the Central American immigrants that come into America too.

So, any way to win. Bill Clinton accelerated the naturalization of more than a million people before his ’96 re-elect, and we were appalled by that. But this president is pushing, and it turns out to be millions. And we should look at the kind of character that America’s going to be.

As much as I love and appreciate people from any place on the planet, this country has been made up of, is a center-right country, is Christian based, that is our morality, we believe in freedom of religion but if you brought in, say, all the Muslims in the world into the United States, you know it changes the culture.

So if it turns into a few hundred thousand every year, how long is it before the culture of America is changed? And we’re willingly, we’re knowingly and willingly changing the culture of America by government policies driven out of the White House and we aren’t even having a national debate about how that changes our country and is it good or is it bad. I have not seen either the level of assimilation of Muslims into the broader American society, or any place in the world, for that matter. So I’d like to see that model, point to that, tell me how you want America to look, because America’s being transformed because of immigration policy and I’m like Ann Coulter, I like the America we had.

Steve Deace's Only Comfort Is That Kim Davis' Conservative Critics Will Go To Hell

Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace invited influential state conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats on his program last week to discuss Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who had just been released from jail after refusing to allow her office to follow the law and issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Vander Plaats was very proud of himself that all of his warnings about gay marriage destroying religious liberty had come true, telling Deace, “Our team said to me today, they said, ‘Bob, you ought to feel like you’re prophetic in some of this stuff.’”

Deace, meanwhile, had nothing but contempt for Republican politicians and conservative activists who failed to defend Davis’ lawbreaking.

“Beware of those in a culture war who write, you know, really principled and highly intellectual thought pieces for conservative or Christian outlets, and then in a time of crisis and confrontation like this, they say, oh this is not the right hill to die on,” he fumed. “What they really mean, Bob, is there’s never a right time to stand for anything nor is there ever any hill to die on. And these are the people, they’re going to hold the jail cell open for us when the Marxists throw us inside too.”

He added that his only comfort was that those conservatives are on their way to Hell: “It reminds me of the famous quote from Dante, that the hottest places in Hell are reserved for these kind of cowardly quislings. And I’ll just flat-out say it on the radio, the mere thought of that comforts me. The mere thought of that statement being true comforts me, because it confirms that God is just and they have received their award in full.”

“And judgment is mine, declares the Lord,” Vander Plaats added. “And so therefore we’re glad we serve a just God.”

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