Election 2016

Ann Coulter: Trump Is The Only Candidate Who 'Genuinely Loves America'

Ann Coulter has made no secret of her love for GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, gushing at a campaign rally in Iowa earlier this week that “President Trump” is proof that “God hasn’t given up on America yet.” Coulter took the Trump love-fest to Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway’s program yesterday, declaring that in Trump, the Republican Party finally has a candidate “who genuinely loves America.”

Coulter told Conway that she understands “why the Democratic Party wants to transform America into a third-world hellhole” through immigration reform, because Latinos “have been trained to memorize the symbol of the Democratic Party and will go and bloc vote for the Democrats,” but that she was baffled by “why the Republicans are going along with it.”

The answer, she said, was because of pressure from all their big corporate donors who do not care about America” or “American culture.” But thankfully, she said, “Trump is exposing them all.”

“We finally have someone who genuinely loves America and is not beholden to the donors,” she said. “He will be beholden to no one but regular Americans when he, well I hope, when he becomes president.”
 

 

Ted Cruz Urges Pastors To Preach Against Planned Parenthood This Sunday

In recent weeks, Ted Cruz has really stepped up his efforts to become the Religious Right's candidate of choice in the GOP primary, even partnering with radical Christian nationalist David Lane for a conference call earlier this week seeking to mobilize right-wing pastors to pressure Congress to shut down the government, if necessary, in the effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

Cruz is continuing this effort by sending out an email today via David Barton's WallBuilders network urging pastors to use their sermons this weekend to preach against Planned Parenthood and even providing a link to a sample sermon for them to use.

Provided by Lane's American Renewal Project, the sermon warns that God will harshly judge America for the sin of legal abortion and explicitly calls upon those in the congregation to contact their representatives in Congress to demand an end to any funding for Planned Parenthood:

Proverbs provides clear insight into God’s character. He has a personal hatred for seven things. God judges them to be so odious that they are an abomination to Him. His character will never allow His hatred of an abomination to evolve into a toleration of it.  His children should be resolved to reflect His character, not to redefine it.

The Wise give shape to their personal and national character by loving what God loves and hating what God hates. Fools worship gods created by their vain imagination. They drift from the compass of God’s character. Their ears become deaf to His voice and their hearts become calloused to the touch of His hand. Any accumulative error of moral judgment is disastrous on a personal and a national level.

The abomination of any individual or any nation begins with the first act of disobedience to God. He finds rebellion disgusting, abhorrent and repugnant because it leads to a separation from Him and a loss of intimacy with Him.

When an individual or a nation stiff arms the character of God and embraces an abomination as the law of the land, it ends in disaster. When rebellious people disregard the compass of the most powerful, it is a very short step to dismembering the bodies of the most vulnerable. Like other nations, America has taken that step. It is time for a turnaround.

...

Recent videos exposing the gruesome practice of Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of the organs of babies from their mother’s womb. Exposing evil to the light of day has brought waves of sorrow to millions of tenderhearted people. Sorrow is redemptive only when it leads to repentance. Repentance requires a stopping point and a turning point. Without both there is no Spiritual Awakening on a personal or a national level.

There must be a point in which the accumulative error of an evil decision thrust upon the nation by secularist jurists stops. It must be followed by a turnaround that is spiritual, not political. That day has come. Let the breath in your lungs be used to pray for it to begin in your own heart.

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A repentant person turns towards Jesus, and receives God’s forgiveness. A praying church mobilizes an army of repentant people calling on God to use His children as instruments to guide lost people and a wayward nation back to The Father. God can do more in five minutes, through the life of one obedient person than millions of rebels can accomplish in 50 years of their own effort. Be the one. The Victory is His. Pray for it. It is only a breath away.

After you pray for your life to be back on course, pray for your Congressmen and Senators to hear from God regarding the ending of the slaughter of the innocent. Let them know that you are praying for them, and you are expecting them to do the right thing. You will no longer tolerate any excuse when they have the chance to vote to end government sponsored support of the murder and dismemberment of babies in this session of Congress. God hates it. You can stop it. For God’s sake, make it happen.

Rafael Cruz: 'The Devil Overplayed His Hand' With SCOTUS Gay Marriage Decision

As we have noted before, Rafael Cruz, father of senator and Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, is essentially a poor man's David Barton since a significant amount of his stump speech consists of information that he has lifted directly from Barton's own presentations.

While speaking last week to a gathering in Georgia, Cruz incorporated Barton's latest false claim that the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling will now force churches to hire gays into his own speech as well.

During his speech, which was clearly a campaign event for his son as the father is a frequent campaign surrogate and he finished his remarks by explaining why Ted is the best candidate in the GOP primary before handing out endorsement forms to those in attendance, the elder Cruz declared that "the Devil overplayed his hand" with the gay marriage decision.

"The Devil always overplays his hand," he said, "and the Devil overplayed his hand with that decision on June 26. You've got to realize that that decision was not about homosexual marriage, that decision was a decision against religious liberty. What was the basis for their decision? It was the 14th Amendment. That means they're calling homosexuality a civil right. Understand me well, if they're calling homosexuality a civil right, that means that the next obvious step is a homosexual may come to your church and demand to be hired, whether as pastor or a janitor is immaterial, and if you say, 'I'm sorry I cannot hire you because it violates my religious faith,' you're going to be slapped with a civil rights discrimination lawsuit. Or they may come to your Christian ministry or to your Christian school or to your private business. Civil rights discrimination lawsuits are going to be a dime a dozen."

Is Ted Cruz The 'Evangelical and Constitutional Warrior' the Right Has Been Waiting For?

We reported yesterday that Ted Cruz may be winning the “Christian nation primary” by building support among conservative evangelical funders, leaders and voters. It turns out others have been noticing the same trend.

Messiah College Professor John Fea, a reputable Christian historian who has challenged the inaccurate Christian-nation history of David Barton, wrote yesterday that Cruz may be the candidate “best suited to consolidate the votes of the powerful evangelical wing of the GOP.”

Among the factors Fea cites:

  • Cruz sees the world in black and white, with little room for nuance, and knows how speak “with a fierceness informed by his deeply held Christian faith”;
  • Cruz “speaks evangelical,” and is comfortable talking about the Bible and using terms like “revival”;
  • Cruz promotes David Barton’s view of American history and will be speaking at Barton’s “ProFamily Legislators Conference” in November.

Right-wing blogger Terresa Monroe-Hamilton also weighed in yesterday, declaring, “Ted Cruz is the evangelical and constitutional warrior we have waited for.” Earlier this month Monroe-Hamiltion praised Cruz as a “rock star” in the south and called him a “statesman” with “a spine of steel.” In her new post, she praises Cruz’s rhetoric about the “war on faith in America today” and his attacks on Planned Parenthood.

Ted Cruz is not only appealing to the evangelical vote, he’s fighting for Christians and for the lives of the unborn. His honest and obvious devotion to his Christian faith is one of the things that appeals to so many Americans. Approximately 1 in 4 voters have identified themselves as evangelical in exit polls since the 2004 election cycle. In key Republican contests such as Iowa and in some of the Southern states that Cruz has said are critical to his run, that figure was higher during the last presidential campaign — nearly 50 percent. The evangelical vote is key to Cruz’s campaign goals and strategies. He is gifted at motivating and mobilizing voters. He’s also the favorite son of the Tea Party conservatives. Cruz is just the warrior we have waited for.

 

Jindal Encourages Questioner Who Warns That UN Arms Treaty Will Lead To Gun Confiscation, Civil War

At a campaign stop in Pella, Iowa, yesterday Gov. Bobby Jindal took a question from an audience member who asked if President Obama and Hillary Clinton realize that if they “sign off our sovereignty to have the United Nations rule whether we have weapons or not” by signing the U.N Arms Trade Treaty that it “will cause a civil war.”

Rather than pushing back against the questioner’s unfounded claims and dire warning about the treaty, Jindal promises the audience that “I’m not for giving one ounce of America’s sovereignty to the United Nations or any other international body, period” and boasted of having received an award from the NRA, which has been aggressively pushing the conspiracy theory that the U.N. treaty will lead to private gun confiscation in the U.S.

“This whole idea that we’ll give away America’s interests or rights to international bodies makes no sense to me and shouldn’t be done and no president should do that and no politician should support it,” Jindal said. “Any politician that says that shouldn’t get another vote and should be kicked out of office regardless of their other positions, quite frankly.”

Jindal then played directly to the questioner’s fears: “If they don’t want law-abiding citizens to have guns, they should change the Constitution, they should stop trying to take away or give away our rights. But you know, they just don’t trust us. Let’s be honest. They don’t want us to have First or Second or 10th Amendment rights. The left doesn’t think we’re smart enough to live our own lives.”

Cruz: 'Liberal Fascism' Seeks 'To Persecute, To Punish, To Fine' Any Christian Who Opposes Gay Marriage

On Friday, Ted Cruz held a "Rally for Religious Liberty" in Iowa where the Republican presidential hopeful showcased a handful of Christians who have supposedly been persecuted for their religious beliefs and opposition to gay marriage.

Prior to the event, Cruz sat down with Ed Berliner on Newsmax to discuss the issue, which Cruz blamed on "liberal fascism" which has a "hatred and intolerance for Christians."

Berliner asked Cruz how he planned to bring both sides together when the Republican Party has a reputation that it "does not like homosexuals, that you are anti-gay" and that it supports anti-gay discrimination. Cruz, predictably, refused to address that issue, insisting simply that "I'm a Christian and Scripture commands Christians to love everybody" before declaring that the real issue is the supposed government persecution of people of faith.

After absurdly asserting that Christian business owners should not have to provide services to a gay couple any more than a Muslim imam should be forced to conduct a Jewish wedding, Cruz blamed it all on "liberal fascists" who hate freedom and American values.

"What we're seeing now," he said, "is this liberal fascism and intolerance where their object is to persecute, to punish, to fine any Bible-following Christian or believer that believes in the biblical definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And that is profoundly inconsistent with who we are as Americans."

Berliner then again attempted to get Cruz to explain how, while holding such a position, he could ever hope to convince gay activists that he doesn't hate them, and again Cruz wasn't interested in answering that question.

"There are some activists who, frankly, manifest a hatred and intolerance for Christians, who are persecuting Christians," Cruz said. "That is unfortunate. As I said, I think we should love everybody."

Cruz then went on to declare that religious liberty was "the foundational right upon which this nation was built and, for I, am proud to stand with these heroes gathered tonight to defend religious liberty."

Ted Cruz Allies With Pastor Who Said 9/11 Was God's Punishment

Ted Cruz is partnering with the American Renewal Project, the right-wing organization led by Christian Nation extremist David Lane, for what the Washington Post describes as “an ambitious 50-state campaign to end taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood.”

Lane won’t be the only radical activist organizing this campaign:

More than 100,000 pastors received e-mail invitations over the weekend to participate in conference calls with Cruz on Tuesday in which they will learn details of the plan to mobilize churchgoers in every congressional district beginning Aug. 30. The requests were sent on the heels of the Texas Republican’s “Rally for Religious Liberty,” which drew 2,500 people to a Des Moines ballroom Friday.



The Tuesday conference calls with pastors will begin with a message from Cruz, who will be followed on the call by Doug Stringer, a pastor who works with American Renewal and Response USA to plan statewide prayer rallies at the request of conservative governors such as [Bobby] Jindal and [Rick] Perry.

Stringer is a self-proclaimed apostle who has said that the September 11 attacks were divine retribution against America for abortion and homosexuality.

“The Response” prayer rallies Stringer organized for Jindal and Perry featured prayer guides similarly blaming Hurricane Katrina and deadly tornadoes on abortion rights and gay marriage.

As Peter mentioned earlier, Cruz has had no problem aligning himself with the most extreme of Religious Right activists, and has even borrowed their rhetoric verbatim:

Cruz has been positioning himself as the champion of religious liberty and defender of the conservative Christians he says are the targets of a “jihad” by gay-rights activists and an “atheist Taliban.” On Friday night he held a “Rally for Religious Liberty” in Iowa highlighting victims of “religious persecution” — in other words, business owners who have refused to provide wedding-related services to same-sex couples and gotten into trouble for violating anti-discrimination laws.

Steve King Claims Obama 'Apologized To Africa For Slavery' When 'There's Nothing To Apologize For'

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who has been very impressed with Donald Trump’s candidacy, joined Minnesota talk radio host Dan “Ox” Ochsner earlier this month to discuss Trump’s far-right positions, which he said have “tapped into the emotions of fed-up Americans.”

Americans, King claimed, are “fed up” with President Obama “dismantling our military” and apologizing to “every continent out there” for things like slavery when “there’s nothing for us to apologize for.”

“They’ve delighted in dismantling our military, and it seems as though he’s apologized to every continent out there,” he said, “you know, he apologized to Africa for slavery and genuflects to the Arabic princes and genuflects to the emperor of Japan, and it goes on and on. Americans are tired of apologizing, Ox. We’re a proud people. We’re the vigor of the planet and there’s nothing for us to apologize for until they come and thank us for the things we’ve done.”

Contrary to King’s claim, Obama has not formally “apologized to Africa for slavery” and never went on what the Right has called an “apology tour.”

Is Ted Cruz Winning The Christian Nation Primary?

Christian-nation activist David Lane has been fuming for years that conservative evangelicals divided their Republican primary votes in 2008 and 2012, allowing John McCain and Mitt Romney to capture the GOP presidential nominations even though neither was a favorite of the party’s Religious Right activists. Lane, who believes America was founded by and for Christians, has vowed to prevent that from happening again, and has been hosting events in early primary states giving conservative pastors a chance to hear from and evaluate GOP presidential candidates.

Lane has also been working to recruit and train an “army“ of pastors to run as candidates and bring thousands of conservative evangelical volunteers into the 2016 race. Those events have been attended by several GOP hopefuls, including Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal. But while Lane has not publicly thrown his support to a candidate, evidence suggests that Ted Cruz is being anointed to carry the hopes of Lane and his supporters.

One big sign came late last month, when news that broke that Farris and Dan Wilks had given $15 million to Keep the Promise, a pro-Cruz super PAC. Not coincidentally, David Lane told NBC News last year that, “With Citizens United…you can have somebody who gives $15 or $20 million into a super PAC and that changes the game.” The billionaire Wilks brothers from Texas have become sugar daddies to right-wing groups generally, and to David Lane’s Pastors and Pews events specifically.

A couple weeks later, Cruz stopped by the headquarters of the American Family Association. Lane’s American Renewal Project operates under the AFA’s umbrella, and Cruz sounded like he was reading Lane’s talking points. Cruz told AFA President Tim Wildmon that mobilizing evangelical Christian voters is the key to saving America, saying, “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.”

Cruz has been positioning himself as the champion of religious liberty and defender of the conservative Christians he says are the targets of a “jihad” by gay-rights activists and an “atheist Taliban.” On Friday night he held a “Rally for Religious Liberty” in Iowa highlighting victims of “religious persecution” — in other words, business owners who have refused to provide wedding-related services to same-sex couples and gotten into trouble for violating anti-discrimination laws.

Iowa-based Religious Right radio host Steve Deace was rapturous, declaring the Cruz rally “the best candidate event I’ve ever attended” and saying Ted Cruz is the first candidate he has seen actually put on an event designed to ignite a “revival.” The rally, said Deace, was a reminder “that God’s not dead” and confirmed Deace’s decision “to support Cruz and do so early.”

And yesterday, the Washington Post’s Katie Zezima and Tom Hamburger reported that Cruz “will take a lead role in the launch this week of an ambitious 50-state campaign to end taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood” – a campaign announced via an email from Cruz that was distributed by Lane’s American Renewal Project.

David Carney, a Republican strategist who worked on that recall effort with David Lane, who leads the American Renewal Project, a group sponsoring this week’s pastor outreach effort. The two are joined by Wayne Hamilton, a Texas-based organizer who has worked in the past with Perry and was campaign manager in 2014 for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The effort appears to be funded through American Renewal, which officials said spent about $10 million supporting candidates in 2014 and is considered likely to spend $15 million or more this year organizing opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

In addition, religious broadcast organizations have pledged to air public service spots urging Christian viewers to contact their members of Congress. Carney said the effort has received commitments of support from the Bott Radio Network, which has 100 Christian radio stations in the Midwest, and from American Family Radio, which owns 190 Christian radio stations in 20 states as well as national religious-television broadcasters.

The Post reports that the anti-Planned Parenthood campaign will include conference calls for pastors this Tuesday. The calls will begin with a message from Cruz followed by Doug Stringer, a dominionist who has emceed Lane-organized prayer rallies for Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, and Nikki Haley, with more planned in the coming months, including one in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 26.

Cruz said at his rally on Friday that the reason Americans have a federal government that “comes after” free speech, religious liberty, life, and marriage is that 54 million evangelicals did not vote in the 2012 presidential election. “I’m here to tell you,” Cruz said, “we will stay home no longer.”

Cruz’s Iowa campaign chair, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, told the crowd at Friday’s rally that “Ted Cruz is the man who God has prepared for this moment.” He’s hardly the first. Cruz’s father Rafael, whose far-right rhetoric on the campaign trail has made him a Religious Right folk hero in his own right, says God has “destined” his son for “greatness.” And the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, who calls Lane a “good friend” and often functions as a promoter of Lane’s activities, has called Cruz’s political career “a thing of God.” 

 

Iowa GOPer: God Raising Up Ted Cruz To Save America

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who chairs Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, introduced the Texas Republican at the candidate’s “Rally for Religious Liberty” in Des Moines on Friday.

Schultz told the crowd that just as Jesus Christ threw the moneychangers out of the Temple, Cruz will go to Washington D.C. to “throw the moneychangers out.”

“When you read the Scriptures and when you look at our country’s history, you can see that God prepares and raises special men and women to protect and fight for His people and I believe this is one of those moments in time,” Schultz said. “Ted Cruz is that man who God has prepared for this moment in time to be our champion, to fight for our husbands, our wives, our children, our grandchildren, for our country.”

Scott Walker: I Don't Know About Birthright Citizenship

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is trying to walk back his call to end birthright citizenship, which is assured by the 14th Amendment.

In an interview with CNBC, the GOP presidential candidate said today that he actually has no position on the amendment’s clear language: “I'm not taking a position on it one way or the other.”

Walker’s vague response to a straightforward question about the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship, which has emerged as a hot topic in the presidential campaign thanks to Donald Trump, is par for the course for the candidate.

Walker, who wrote a book about himself called “Unintimidated,” has told reporters that he doesn’t know if President Obama is a Christian or loves America, refused to say whether he believes in evolution or if people choose to be gay and has consistently equivocated or flip-flopped on topics ranging from reforming the immigration system to abortion rights.

The governor appears to be trying to appeal to a GOP establishment that has tried to alter the party’s stained image on immigration at the same time as he is trying to win over Trump’s supporters “by going on the attack and emphasizing his conservatism on key issues.”

Afraid of angering the party’s dominant right-wing flank, Walker is now bravely standing for nothing.

Final Nail In The Coffin For GOP 'Autopsy' Report: Republicans Rally Around Trump's Anti-Immigration Plan

Remember the GOP autopsy report, the document the Republican National Committee commissioned following the party’s pummeling in the 2012 elections? It may be hard to remember since the report, which called for the party to remake its image but supported no substantive changes in public policy, has been pretty much ignored by Republican politicians since its much-heralded release.

The Republican “autopsy” came in part in response to Mitt Romney’s abysmal performance among Latino voters after he promoted a draconian “self-deportation” strategy for immigrants. At the time, even Donald Trump denounced Romney’s “crazy policy of self-deportation,” calling it “maniacal”: “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote. He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.” GOP leaders claimed that they were ready to get on board with immigration reform.

Although the autopsy urged the GOP to “embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform,” the House GOP leadership refused to even bring a bipartisan reform bill, approved by the U.S. Senate, up for a vote. However, House Republicans did approve an extreme measure from one of the party’s most toxic voices on immigration: Rep. Steve King of Iowa.

Seeing that the party has pretty much abandoned any pretense of working towards immigration reform, it is no surprise that Trump’s immigration platform, which calls for mass deportation and even “self-deportation,” also includes a measure to abandon the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship. This measure to curb what Republicans derisively dub “anchor babies” has proved so popular among Republicans that it has also won backing from Trump’s 2016 rivals Scott Walker, Ben CarsonRand PaulBobby JindalLindsey GrahamRick Santorum and Ted Cruz.

While Trump hopes to win the GOP nomination and, in the process, move the field even farther to the far right, the GOP has effectively given up on its own recommendations to build bridges to a community which increasingly sees it as xenophobic.

Just read what the autopsy report had to say in response to Romney’s collapse among Hispanic voters:

If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In the last election, Governor Romney received just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. Other minority communities, including Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, also view the Party as unwelcoming. President Bush got 44 percent of the Asian vote in 2004; our presidential nominee received only 26 percent in 2012.



If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States, they won’t pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn’t matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In essence, Hispanic voters tell us our Party’s position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door.



On issues like immigration, the RNC needs to carefully craft a tone that takes into consideration the unique perspective of the Hispanic community. Message development is critical to Hispanic voters.

The Constitution The Republicans Can't Stand

This post was written by PFAW President Michael B. Keegan and originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

If you are running for office as a Republican today, you have to mention your reverence for the Constitution at least as much as you mention your love for Ronald Reagan.

The Second Amendment-- every word should be taken literally because it was literally ordained by God! The First Amendment protects my right to discriminate against gay people! Neither the Constitution nor the Bible contains the word "Obamacare"!

But Republican politicians have a few glaring blind spots when it comes to the Constitution. One of those is the 14th Amendment, a pillar of our inclusive democracy, a key component of which Republican presidential candidates are now asking us to ignore or change.

In its infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the descendants of enslaved people were disqualified from U.S. citizenship. After we fought a civil war, the U.S. ratified the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868, which overturned Dred Scott in its opening lines, declaring, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

During the congressional debate over the 14th Amendment, both its supporters and detractors recognized that this birthright citizenship clause would apply to everyone born on U.S. soil, not just the descendants of slaves. In 1898, the Supreme Court ruled that even after the passage of the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act, the U.S.could not deny citizenship to Wong Kim Ark, a California-born son of Chinese immigrants, because the 14th Amendment guaranteed him citizenship.

Yet, anti-immigrant activists and their allies in the GOP are now fighting against this most American of constitutional principles.

In an immigration plan released this week, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump called for ending birthright citizenship. No matter that he didn't say how he would do that(while most people acknowledge that it would take a constitutional amendment to change the policy, some claim it was never included in the 14th Amendment in the first place). His Republican rivals started jumping to join him. Scott Walker told reporters that he "absolutely" wanted to change the Constitution's definition of citizenship, adding, paradoxically, that "to me it's about enforcing the laws in this country." Ben Carson said it "doesn't make any sense" to allow "anchor babies." Bobby Jindal joined the fray. So did Lindsey Graham. Rand Paul and Rick Santorum had already expressed their support for undoing the citizenship provision, with Paul sponsoring a constitutional amendment to do so and Santorum saying the 14th Amendment doesn't even say what it says.

Jeb Bush has been getting unearned credit for acknowledging that birthright citizenship is a "constitutional right" that we shouldn't "take away" -- just a few days after implying that if he had a "magic wand" to change the Constitution he would use it to do just that. Similarly, John Kasich has renounced his previous support for repealing birthright citizenship, but now says he doesn't want to "dwell on it." Carly Fiorina's and Rick Perry's passionate defense of the 14th Amendment is that it would take too much work to change it. This is what now passes for moderation. What ever happened to defending basic constitutional rights?

The Republican presidential contenders' rush to badmouth a basic constitutional right -- in an apparent attempt to appeal to their supposedly Constitution-loving far-right base -- speaks volumes about what they really mean when they talk about constitutionalism. They use their pocket Constitutions for the parts that come in handy. The rest of it? Not so much.

PFAW

Kasich and Bush: More Like Other Extreme GOP Candidates Than Perceived

This post by PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager was originally published in the Huffington Post. 

Discussions of Governor Kasich's role in the 2016 election have centered around his strategy of defining himself to voters as an alternative to Jeb Bush: a moderate, compassionate conservative without Bush's last name. This strategy presupposes that both Bush and Kasich are in fact middle-of-the-road Republicans who hold moderate positions that would make them electable next November.

That proposition is false. While Kasich and Bush certainly took a more measured tone in the first Republican debate compared to, say, Donald Trump, their policy positions and records as governor in Ohio and Florida show that they're just as extreme and far-right as the rest of the Republican field.

Few issues demonstrate the extreme agenda of Bush, Kasich, and the Republican Party more than a woman's right to choose. Kasich has directly targeted access to legal abortion in Ohio though enacting medically unnecessary, cumbersome laws that closed abortion clinics. He signed a bill including a policy that restricts rape crisis counselors from providing referrals to abortion services to rape survivors. Jeb Bush calls himself the "most pro-life governor in modern times." As governor, he tried to restrict the ability of a mentally disabled rape victim to have an abortion. The "Scarlet Letter" law enacted during Bush's term as governor required a single mother who did not know the father of her child to pay for a month-long newspaper ad before putting her child up for adoption. The ad had to include personal details about the mother and her sexual history, complete with dates and locations where the child could have been conceived. Bush and Kasich are just as bad as their fellow candidates like Scott Walker, who recently signed a 20-week abortion bill even though he promised voters in his last campaign that the right to choose is between a woman and her doctor; or Marco Rubio, who co-sponsored a 20-week abortion bill in the Senate.

On Social Security, Kasich and Bush support former President George W. Bush's plan to privatize Social Security. Had his plan been enacted, the stock market crash of 2008 would have decimated Social Security savings of seniors across the country. That doesn't seem to bother anyone in the Republican field other than, of all people, Donald Trump. He's actually spoken out against cuts to Social Security and Medicare, calling them "not fair" to workers. On immigration, Kasich and Bush have used less offensive language than Donald Trump, but both - and the rest of the leading Republican candidates - oppose President Obama's policies that protect DREAMers and families from deportation. Neither Bush nor Kasich nor any leading Republican candidate supports comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship, even though that's a commonsense policy that would enable undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows, stay with their families, and contribute to the American economy.

Kasich and Bush have reiterated time and again that their economic experience would make them ideal presidential candidates. The extreme GOP base might like those policies, but the fact is, they've made it more difficult for working class families to get ahead. After accounting for inflation, the average Ohio household earned less in 2013 than it did in 1984. Kasich's 2015 budget cut taxes by only $24 for middle-class Ohioans, raised taxes by $20 for taxpayers in the lowest income bracket, yet included a $10,000 tax cut for the wealthiest Ohioans. Bush keeps trumpeting his tenure as governor, but as the Washington Post reported, "Florida owed a substantial portion of its growth under Bush not to any state policies but to a massive and unsustainable housing bubble -- one that ultimately benefited rich investors at the expense of middle-class families." Bush also provided tax cuts to the wealthiest Floridians while cutting funding for essential programs for senior citizens and children. Kasich and Bush's failed economic policies are par for the course for Republican candidates: Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie have both been hammered for their states' economic woes.

Far-right policy positions defined the gubernatorial terms of Bush and Kasich. Now that they're running for president, we can't let them run from their records. Bush and Kasich's extreme agendas are in line with every single other Republican candidate that was on stage during the first debate.

Randy Borntrager lives in Ohio and is the political director of People For the American Way, D.C.-based progressive advocacy organization. He has previously served as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy and the communications director and interim executive director of the Ohio Democratic Party.

PFAW

'What's Wrong With Slavery?' And Jan Mickelson's Other Worst Pro-Confederacy, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Gay Moments

If you are a presidential candidate, you spend a lot of time talking to people in Iowa. And if you’re a Republican, that means a lot of time on Iowa conservative radio, including popular programs hosted by right-wing activists Steve Deace and Jan Mickelson.

The fact that Deace and Mickelson have long histories of extreme rhetoric has not dissuaded Republican candidates from joining their shows. But Mickelson just upped the ante with comments he made on his program today.

Media Matters caught Mickelson proposing that undocumented immigrants in Iowa become “property of the state” and pressed into hard labor. When a listener called in to point out that Mickelson’s proposal “sounds like slavery,” Mickelson asked, “Well, what’s wrong with slavery?” Undocumented immigrants, he went on to say, are the ones who are enslaving American citizens:

It will be interesting to see if any of the GOP candidates who have been on Mickelson’s radio program recently — which, according to Media Matters’ count, includes Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal — repudiate his remarks.

But the fact is that if these candidates were concerned about Mickelson’s rhetoric, they should have stopped going on his show long ago.

When Graham appeared on his program in June, Mickelson declared his allegiance to the Confederacy, as Graham scrambled to distance himself:

Mickelson has also backed Jim Crow-type voting laws.

Today’s comments are hardly Mickelson’s first foray into anti-immigrant extremism either. He has proposed barring undocumented children from public schools and said that if someone has a Hispanic name and is involved with the police, “I assume you’re not here legally.” After an interview with anti-immigrant activist Ann Corcoran, Mickelson promised to press every candidate he had on his show to oppose the U.S. resettlement of refugees from war-torn Muslim countries, which he said was an “act of jihad.” When he asked Rand Paul about it, Paul said the U.S. shouldn’t resettle Iraqi refugees because “we won the war.”

Mickelson’s anti-gay activism includes calling AIDS an “invention” of God to punish homosexuality and agreeing with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad on the issue of homosexuality.

The Iowa talk radio host also enjoys promoting fringe right-wing conspiracy theories. Mickelson helped to bring the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory into the GOP mainstream, asking Paul on his program about the supposed federal plan to take over Texas .

And just last week, Mickelson was getting Rep. Steve King to entertain the conspiracy theory that a botched EPA mine cleanup in Colorado was a deliberate plan to pollute a river to create a Superfund site:

Republican candidates may try to avoid Mickelson’s show after today. But given their track record, we somehow doubt that they will.

Ben Carson Says He's Open To Drone Strikes On American Soil To Fight Immigration

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson dropped by Pinal County, Arizona, today to speak with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a favorite of anti-immigrant activists and one-time GOP candidate for Congress, where the candidate said he was open to drone strikes in order to combat unlawful immigration along the southern border.

The television station KPHO captured part of the exchange, in which reporter Dennis Welch, apparently responding to an earlier comment from Carson, says that “drone strikes on American soil seems a little over the top, even to entertain that idea.”

“You can entertain all kinds of things,” Carson responds. “Here’s the take-home point: The take-home point is that we have excellent military leaders and we need to employ their expertise because this is a war we are fighting. That’s the bottom line."

Welch also tweeted that Carson said the drone strikes could go after “caves and things” on the southern border:

Rand Paul Claims That His Personhood Bill Is Merely Meant To Start A 'Debate'

Sen. Rand Paul was the chief sponsor in the last Congress of a “personhood” bill that would have granted full constitutional rights to zygotes, thereby banning all abortions, in-vitro fertilization, and even possibly common forms of birth control. But for someone who champions an unambiguously anti-abortion plan, Paul has been curiously unwilling to talk about it in a straightforward manner.

In his communications with anti-abortion activists, Paul has taken a hard line, writing in a fundraising email for one pro-personhood group that his Life at Conception Act would “collapse” Roe v. Wade without even needing a Constitutional amendment and telling another Religious Right group that American civilization won’t “endure” without ending all abortion.

“Now the time to grovel before the Supreme Court is over,” he enthusiastically declared in an email for the pro-personhood National Pro-Life Alliance. “Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion using the Constitution instead of amending it.”

But to the mainstream media, Paul has been more circumspect, claiming that the no-exceptions abortion ban he sponsored would have “thousands of exceptions,” saying that the country is too divided to change any abortion laws, and opining that laws about the very procedure that his bill would attempt to ban nationwide would be best left up to the states.

Paul took the obfuscation tack again in an interview last week with the Catholic television network EWTN, responding to news anchor Raymond Arroyo’s question about his Life at Conception Act by saying that the goal of the bill is to merely “drive the debate about when life begins” and to make liberals talk about abortion.

“We get trapped by the other side, the liberals who always want to talk about the very beginning of gestation,” he said. “And I think it’s important to want to talk about and make them express their opinion that a six-, seven-, eight-pound baby has no rights. But I believe for religious and scientific reasons that life begins at the beginning, otherwise we just keep finding an arbitrary time.”

Paul has won praise from anti-choice activists for trying to turn criticism of his extreme anti-abortion policies back on liberals. But he can hardly claim to be starting a “debate” when he won’t even cop to what his true policy position is.

Wait. Is Ben Carson Pro-Choice?

Ben Carson has made a point of courting Religious Right voters, suggesting that God called on him to run for the GOP presidential nomination and perfecting the right-wing persecution narrative about how conservatives are being repressed by a Nazi-like government and politically correct culture. It seemed that it went without saying that Carson would emerge as a staunch opponent of abortion rights.

However, as Politico’s Katie Glueck pointed out in an article today, Carson and his campaign have been using the exact same language used by a good many supporters of abortion rights, saying that while abortion may be objectionable, it should not be outlawed.

The attention to Carson’s ambiguous position on abortion rights comes after it was revealed that Carson once used aborted fetuses in his medical research, to which he offered an incomprehensible explanation. Back in 1992, he disavowed an anti-choice campaign ad that featured his remarks, telling the Baltimore Sun at the time that he did not believe in legal sanctions on abortion and had referred patients to doctors who offer abortion services:

“As a physician who does not believe in abortion, when faced with a patient who has severe medical problems, I would refer someone for an abortion,” Carson told the Baltimore Sun in September of 1992. “I believe that person needs to hear both sides … I would never advocate it’s illegal for a person to get an abortion. I think in the long run we do a lot of harm when we bludgeon people.”

In an interview with Glueck, a spokesman for Carson’s campaign made a similar argument, saying that while Carson personally opposes abortion, he doesn’t think the laws should be changed to take away that choice. 

We can’t imagine that this position will sit well with Carson’s enthusiastic Religious Right fan base. But we also aren’t sure that Carson’s campaign even knows what his position on abortion rights is.

“He believes in quality medical care, No. 1, and secondly, he believes in people making their own decisions based on facts and information,” said Carson communications director Doug Watts, when asked whether Carson stands by his previous decisions to refer women whose fetuses had genetic defects to doctors who provide abortions. He does, Watts said.

“He believes people ought to have all the facts available to them, but he is steadfastly opposed to abortion,” Watts continued. “Referring it on does not mean he is advocating it, he’s advocating they are getting qualified medical supervision. He has always believed that the battle over abortion had to be waged in the hearts and minds of Americans, that you cannot legislate morality. But he also believes we’re winning the debate.”

Many pro-abortion rights politicians also personally have qualms about the procedure, but don’t feel it’s their role to pursue legal restrictions on the measure. Pressed repeatedly to name a legal restriction Carson supports, Watts demurred even as he stressed that the candidate is adamantly anti-abortion.

“It’s not a matter of legality, because there is legal abortion, but you’re asking for his point of view, where his restrictions are,” he said in a follow-up call. “Restrictions are not necessarily in his mind determined by laws. He believes that life begins at conception and that he is opposed to abortion after that.”

Carson has, in fact, come out in support of a bill in Congress that would ban abortion at 20 weeks, and he has said that cases in which giving birth endangers the life of the mother are rare — but should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. But Watts reiterated that the legal realm is not Carson’s focus.

“It is legal,” Watts said of abortion. “And as I say, he does not think the issue is one that can be legislated as much as having to win the hearts and minds of people, to discover the morality or immorality of abortion. He is unequivocally, completely, positively opposed to abortion.”



He thinks it is not something that is legislated,” Watts said of reining in abortion. “There’s been all kinds of laws over the years on abortion, some far more harsh than we have today, some less harsh. But what’s going on, to properly address the issue in his mind, is speaking to people in their hearts and minds so they realize the immorality of the act.” (emphasis added)

Rand Paul: 'So Much Of Our Population' Lacks 'Work Ethic'

In an interview with the Catholic television network EWTN last week, Sen. Rand Paul said that the main problem that must be addressed in the immigration debate is that we have “almost defeated the work ethic in our country” and “we’ve destroyed the ethic of work in so much of our population.”

When EWTN anchor Raymond Arroyo asked the Kentucky Republican about the 250 Disney employees who were let go after training their replacements who came to the U.S. on temporary visas, Paul said the U.S. must “look very carefully at how many people we need.”

But he added that immigration is a “two-fold problem” because “we’re rotting from the inside” thanks to unspecified “people” who lack a work ethic.

“We also have almost defeated the work ethic in our country,” he said. “And so, for like picking crops, hard work, if we didn’t bring in migrant labor, we’re rotting from the inside. We have people who really — we’ve destroyed the ethic of work in so much of our population.”

 

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