For right-wing advocates, big conservative wins in the Supreme Court’s recently completed term have only confirmed the importance of electing a president in 2016 who will give them more justices in the mold of Samuel Alito and John Roberts. The Roberts and Alito nominations, and the conservative majority created by their confirmations, represent the triumph of a decades-long push by right-wing funders, big business, conservative political strategists, and legal groups to take ideological dominion of all levels of the federal judiciary.
Right-wing groups have long made attacks on the federal judiciary a staple of their rhetoric. Many claim America’s decline began with Supreme Court rulings against required prayer and Bible readings in public schools in the 1960s. Roe v. Wade, and more recently, judicial rulings in favor of marriage equality, have been characterized as “judicial tyranny” and “judicial activism.” Of course right-wing legal groups have been pushing hard for their own form of judicial activism, and have pushed Republican presidents to nominate judges they can count on.
As Jeffrey Toobin notes in a recent profile of presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz in the New Yorker,
Conservatives like Cruz never stopped denouncing liberals for their efforts to use the courts to promote their ideological agenda, even as they began to do much the same thing themselves. The heart of Cruz’s legal career was a sustained and often successful undertaking to use the courts for conservative ends, like promoting the death penalty, lowering the barriers between church and state, and undermining international institutions and agreements.
Right-wing activists are proud of what they have accomplished, as Richard Land, long-time leader of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told National Journal’s Tiffany Stanley. As Brian Tashman reports in RWW, Land “waxed nostalgic for the days when President Bush was in office…and especially for Bush’s commitment to nominating ultra-conservative federal judges.”
“Alito and Roberts are the gifts that keep on giving, and we would have gotten neither one of those without our involvement,” Land said, predicting that Roe v. Wade will soon be “thrown onto the ash heap of history.”
…The Supreme Court’s ruling this year in the Hobby Lobby case shows the Religious Right’s strong focus on the judiciary is paying off. And Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told Stanley that conservatives will continue to use the courts as part of their strategy to keep “the barbarians at bay.”
But in spite of their wins, and their success in creating the most pro-corporate Court since the New Deal, right-wing activists are nervous that some of their big wins, like Hobby Lobby and Citizens United, were 5-4 decisions. They want to pad their majority and continue their march to remake America via the courts.
Since federal judges have to be confirmed by the Senate, right-wing groups are also using the Supreme Court in 2014 Senate campaigns. An anti-choice PAC, Women Speak Out, followed the Hobby Lobby ruling almost immediately with attacks on Mark Pryor and other Democrats for not having supported the confirmation of Samuel Alito.
On the day of the Court’s decisions in Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, tweeted “Today’s SCOTUS rulings were a win for our 1st Amendment freedoms, a loss for Hagan, Obama, & DC bureaucrats.”
Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who represents right-wing groups, told the Washington Post, “These Supreme Court decisions, it’s a reminder to people on our side of the aisle of the importance of the court, and then the importance of recapturing the Senate.”
Religious Liberty ‘Hanging by a Thread’
Right-wing pundits and organizations are already ramping up their rhetoric on judges as a 2016 presidential campaign issue, with many touting the 5-4 decision in Hobby Lobby as evidence that religious liberty is “hanging by a thread.”
Rush Limbaugh went on a tirade against Hillary Clinton after she criticized the Hobby Lobby ruling:
Can I tell you the truth about the Hobby Lobby ruling? We're in such dangerous territory in terms of losing our freedom that we cheer when five out of nine people uphold the Constitution. We're not advancing anything, folks. We are barely hanging on here. … And here comes Hillary Clinton thinking this decision is a step toward the kind of anti-women policy seen in extremist undemocratic nations is outrageous.
The woman is either a blithering idiot or a total in-the-tank statist, maybe a combination of the two. But this is not a step toward anything. This is a temporary halt in the onslaught toward totalitarianism.
We're just barely hanging on. We cheer! We conservatives stand up and cheer when we manage to get five people to see it the right way. "Oh, my God! Oh, Lord! Thank you so much, Lord. You saved another day." Five people out of nine, five said the Constitution means what it says. The troubling thing to me is the four people that didn't! Liberty and freedom are hanging by a thread here!
That theme was echoed by the Archdiocese of Washington’s Msgr. Charles Pope:
“OK, We won. But the Hobby Lobby vote should have been 9-0. Wake up, America. Your liberty is on the line!”
It is simply outrageous that four Supreme Court Justices, and many Americans, cannot see the clear and offensive proposition of the Government in this regard…..We won today, but barely. It should have been 9–0. Wake up, America; your religious and other liberties are hanging by the thread of one vote.
Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer of American Values weighed in in similar fashion:
“While we celebrate this victory, the fact remains that four justices on the Supreme Court, including the two appointed by Obama, evidently share his narrow view of America's first freedom and were willing to trample the religious liberty of millions of Americans in order to advance their radical pro-abortion agenda.
This narrow decision, with four liberal justices eager to go the wrong way, is a stark reminder to every man and woman of faith that their religious liberty is hanging by a thread.
The Court as Right-Wing Campaign Issue for 2016
Right-wing pundits and presidential candidates frequently use the federal judiciary as an issue to excite base voters. Back in 2012, one of the most effective things Mitt Romney did to shore up his weak support among conservative activists was to name a judicial advisory team headed by Robert Bork. That year, Terence Jeffrey, who worked on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaigns and has written for right-wing publications, wrote:
Three of the nine justices on a U.S. Supreme Court that has decided many significant issues by 5-4 votes over the past decade will turn 80 years of age before the 2016 presidential election.
The three justices are Antonin Scalia, an anchor of the court’s conservative wing, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an anchor of the court’s liberal wing, and Anthony Kennedy, who is often the decisive swing vote in 5-4 opinions….
Bobby Jindal is among the crop of potential 2016 presidential candidates who is making an issue of the courts. In an interview with a conservative Christian blogger during last month’s Iowa state Republican convention, Jindal suggested if Republicans take control of the Senate this year they would block additional nominees. Asked about federal judges overturning state marriage bans for same-sex couples, Jindal said, ““This shows you the importance of the November elections. We don’t need this President putting more liberal judges on the bench.”
It is important, whether you are a lawyer or not, to understand what it means for the courts to actually apply the Constitution as opposed for them just to create new laws or to read things and just decide they are going to contradict what the other two branches of government did. We’ve gotten away from these three separate but equal branches of government and instead we’ve got these activist judges who are overreaching. We have to recognize the problem for what it is,” Jindal added.
He emphasized the importance of elections and their impact on judicial confirmations because sometimes Constitutional amendments will correct the problem, and other times federal judges will just overrule them.
Mike Huckabee has seemingly made attacks on the judiciary a centerpiece of his campaign. In May, he called for the impeachment of an Arkansas judge who ruled in favor of marriage equality. Last year, urging Senate Republicans to block an Obama appeals court nominee, he said, “Judges can linger on for decades after a President leaves office, and a bad one can wreak havoc that echoes down the ages.”
Meanwhile, presidential contender Rick Santorum and the right-wing Judicial Crisis Network are attacking Chris Christie for not sufficiently making right-wing ideology a litmus test for his state judicial appointments. Santorum told Yahoo News earlier this month, “To see a record as abysmal as Gov. Christie’s record in the state of New Jersey, I guarantee you that will be a red flag for most voters in the state of Iowa, but also most voters in the Republican primary.” (Earlier this month, while in Iowa campaigning for Gov. Terry Branstad, Christie said he supports the Court’s Hobby Lobby decision; he had initially declined to say whether he supported the decision.)
The Judicial Crisis Network has also slammed Christie, saying his failure to “deliver on judicial activism” may have doomed his 2016 presidential hopes. It has created an entire website devoted to trashing Christie’s judicial record to conservative voters: www.christiebadonjudges.com. In June, Fox News ran an op ed by JCN’s Carrie Severino using Christie’s alleged failure to appoint right-wing ideologues to the state supreme court as a way to discredit him with conservative activists.
Christie didn’t deliver on judicial activism. Has he doomed his 2016 bid?
If a candidate’s tenure as governor is his road-test for the presidency, Governor Chris Christie just flunked.
As a candidate for governor, Christie talked the talk on judges, vowing to "remake" the New Jersey Supreme Court and to transform the most activist court in the nation into one that operates under the rule of law.
Despite having the opportunity to appoint four of seven justices on the court since taking office, Christie has repeatedly nominated individuals with no discernible judicial philosophy….
And while elected representatives must stand for re-election every few years, federal judges sit for life.
Today’s nominee could still be playing the same tricks in 2050 or beyond. That is why the issue of judges matters so much during presidential primaries and caucuses….
Right-wing advocates have been talking for a while about how important it is to their judicial plans not just to elect a Republican, but to elect a Republican committed to making the kind of Supreme Court nominations they want. In February, right-wing activist Mychal Massie complained that many justices nominated by Republican presidents over the past few decades did not turn out to be ideological warriors (though that is hardly the case with more recent nominees).
But forward-thinking conservatives are keenly aware that we must be concerned about the future as well, and not just because of Obama. Based on age alone, one of the primary areas of concern is that the person elected president in 2016 will potentially have at least four Supreme Court Justices to replace. Two of the potential four are liberals, so a Democrat president would simply be replacing liberals with liberals, ergo, it would be a wash. But of the other two the one is a solid Constructionist, and the other is a swing vote who has, in recent years, ruled based on Constructionism enough times that we should be concerned if a Democrat president replaces him….
As you can see, the potential for the political complexion of the High Court to be changed for decades to come should be of critical concern if a Democrat wins the presidency in 2016. But, it is myopic betise on an epic level to even for an instant believe we need not be concerned if a Republican wins. Especially if it is an establishment Republican….
With Karl Rove and Reince Priebus pulling the strings of the GOP and RNC, the Republican Party resembles a RINO theme park more than it does the Party true conservatives have supported.
With them controlling things from behind the curtain it is not just critical that the next president be “conservative” but he/she must be a legitimate conservative whose conservative bonafides are unimpeachable. It does conservatism no good to elect a Mitt Romney, John McCain, or Jeb Bush type. The 2016 election will place in office a person with the potential to change the face of SCOTUS for many decades to come. And as John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, et al. have showed us — it’s not just Democrats who are betraying us.
Religious Right leaders will certainly be keeping the issue of judicial nominations at the forefront of the 2016 campaigns. This week, George O. Wood, who heads the Assemblies of God denomination, wrote:
Moreover, we should encourage voting because elections have consequences. One of those consequences is that the president nominates judges who serve on district and appellate courts and on the Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate must then approve those nominees. It is a sad fact that no evangelical sits on the Supreme Court—even though evangelicals constitute a very large faith community in America. I suspect that at present no evangelicals could even be nominated or confirmed to a federal bench because they hold views that are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. People in our Fellowship need to remember that when they cast a ballot, they effectively decide who will sit as a federal judge. Indirectly, they are casting a vote for or against a robust understanding of the free exercise of religion.
As part of Matt Barber’s apparent quest to bring down the Religious Right from the inside by making it look completely ridiculous, his website today published this column by contributor Luke Hamilton about how the “Demokratik Party” is deciding between “Shrillary” and the “hardcore socialist progressive” Elizabeth Warren.
Hamilton writes that Hillary Clinton may not capture the “Demokratik” nomination because “she has looked more ready for a knockout than the Oval Office. It’s hard to tell with her pantsuits, but those legs look rubbery and her corner has got to be concerned.”
If voters instead nominate and elect Warren president, Hamilton warns, it would represent “a contiguous communist coup with long-ranging repercussions.”
That’s right, voters using the democratic, constitutional process to elect a president are actually carrying out a communist coup!
At one point, it seemed virtually predetermined that Shrillary would be the 2016 Demokratik Presidential candidate. So it’s surprising that recently she has looked more ready for a knockout than the Oval Office. It’s hard to tell with her pantsuits, but those legs look rubbery and her corner has got to be concerned. Her political blunders over the past several weeks seem to confirm the fact that the political acumen in that family resides exclusively in Bubba. For someone with such extensive experience with the limelight and televised interviews, it is hard to believe that she misspoke so badly by claiming poverty after Bill left office. She has since tried to fall back on relativism and insist that she and Bill aren’t broke but they’re also not like some of those people who are “truly well off”. Riiiight, because the rest of us have made $100m over the past 20 years.
But hold the phone! There appears to be a new snout in the pigpen. The whisper campaign is gaining a full head of steam to draft Senator Elizabeth “Fauxcohontas” Warren into the race for President. According to Edward Klein, the author of Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. The Obamas, the President has tasked Valerie Jarrett with the job of convincing Elizabeth Warren to run in 2016. It is hard to know if Klein’s sources are accurate, but it is logical to think that Obama is involved in this effort. Primarily because Obama is incessantly distracted from doing his actual job by anything and everything. This project would allow him to avoid geopolitical crises like the Islamification of Iraq, unknown numbers of people (with unknown identities!) pouring over our borders, ongoing attacks faced by our allies Ukraine & Israel, and an American economy more fragile than the sanity of Ed Schultz. Also, it’s logical to think that Obama would be interested in convincing Warren to run for President because playing Kingmaker to the next progressive socialist in the White House would scratch his egomaniacal itch and cement his name as the first of a new generation of Marxist “forefathers” who fundamentally transformed the United States into poverty-stricken irrelevancy. A Chicago Machine Marxist is an unfortunate accident, a Chicago Machine Marxist followed by an East Coast Socialist Egghead is a contiguous communist coup with long-ranging repercussions.
What would a Warren Presidency mean for the country? Like Obama, she’s a hardcore socialist progressive, but there is a subtle difference. Obama seems to feel the need to explain his redistributive policies, almost apologetically at times. Warren is unashamed of her avarice. Her boilerplate stump speech seems to suggest that she would be able to tap into the populist anger which Clinton is so desperately trying to access; anger at the capitalist cronies who have benefited from the Clinton, Bush, and Obama presidencies. But unlike libertarian conservatives, who share her anger at crony capitalism, her only solution seems to be the vilification of success and the exponential growth of central authority. In many ways, a Warren presidency would complete the transformation begun on Barack’s watch, which explains why Jarrett is helping measure lawn space for Elizabeth’s presidential teepee.
In an attempt to woo social conservatives in advance of a possible presidential bid, Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a speech at Catholic University today, where he attempted to come across as a uniter on social issues like marriage equality and abortion rights while assuring his party’s right flank that he agrees with their hardline policy positions.
The Florida Republican drew heavily from the Religious Right’s persecution narrative to claim that while LGBT people have faced discrimination in the past, he and fellow opponents of marriage equality are now the victims of widespread “intolerance.”
“We should acknowledge that our nation is marred by a history of discrimination against gays and lesbians,” he said. “There was once a time when our federal government not only banned the hiring of gay employees, it required federal contractors to identify and fire them. Some laws prohibited gays from being served in bars and restaurants, and many states carried out law enforcement efforts targeting gay marriages.”
“Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since then,” he continued. “Many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the law’s failure to recognize their relationship as a marriage, and supporters of same-sex marriage argue that laws banning same-sex marriage are discrimination. I respect their arguments, and I would concede that they pose a legitimate question for lawmakers and society.”
But now, according to Rubio, it is gay-rights opponents whose rights are under attack.
He criticized judges who are “redefining marriage from the bench,” claiming that pro-marriage-equality decisions take away the rights of “Americans like myself” who oppose same-sex marriage: “Those who support same-sex marriage have a right to lobby their state legislature to change its laws. But Americans like myself who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage also have the right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws without seeing them overturned by a judge.”
Calling tolerance a “two-way street,” he lamented that “today there is a growing intolerance on this issue, intolerance towards those who continue to support traditional marriage.”
“I promise you that even before this speech is over, I’ll be attacked as a hater or a bigot or someone who’s anti-gay,” he said. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay. It is pro-traditional marriage.”
The theme was repeated by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore, and Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, who joined a panel discussion after Rubio’s speech.
“I think the myth of somehow those who are concerned about these issues from a more conservative standpoint are simply going to evaporate, I think that that is actually fueling some of the things that Sen. Rubio talked about right now, when he did talk about this growing intolerance of those who would define marriage as a conjugal union of a man and a woman,” Moore said.
Nance praised Rubio for his “unifying” message, as opposed to the “divisive” tone of President Obama whom she said “has pitted gays against straights”:
“I believe that this president has been so divisive for this nation. He has pitted men against women, he has pitted wealthy against poor, he has pitted gays against straights, and I was so happy and encouraged by the tone that Sen. Rubio took. It was a unifying message that he gave us today, and I think it was a winning message.”
Sen. Rubio’s office has posted video of his remarks. His comments on LGBT equality and abortion rights begin about 13 minutes in:
In a salivating profile of “Rick Perry 2.0,” Breitbart News senior editor-at-large Noel Pollack praises the Texas governor’s cool new glasses and his articulate, well-researched speeches to even the most “skeptical, if not hostile, audiences.”
“Indeed, Perry is so fluent and confident in the arcane details of cutting-edge policy issues that it is difficult to understand why he has developed a reputation for gaffes.”
Yes, that is a real sentence.
But don’t worry, Pollack reports that despite the fact that Perry is a genius, he is getting help from “some Hollywood conservatives who are advising him (though he will not reveal exactly whom, for fear of blowing their cover).”
Perry tells Pollack that he doesn’t understand why everyone focused on his comparison of gays to alcoholics, a connection he also made in his book “On My Honor”: “I spoke for 59 minutes about job creation and for one minute about that.”
When my Breitbart California colleague Adelle Nazarian and I met Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the magnificent La Valencia hotel in tony La Jolla, he looked more like a venture capital executive than a governor. He was dressed in shirtsleeves and a pale blue tie,
earphones plugged into his iPhone, tapping away on his MacBook Pro and wearing the dark-rimmed glasses that have become the trademark of the post-2012 Perry persona.
It's Rick Perry 2.0.
In addition to boosting California's fortunes, Perry seems keen on boosting his own--politically, at least, in advance of the 2016 presidential campaign. He is openly considering a second run at the job, after his 2012 effort foundered on immigration policy controversies and debate gaffes. And deep-blue California is the perfect training ground for Perry to hone his message and practice speaking to skeptical, if not hostile, audiences.
Perry has spent hours being briefed on domestic and foreign policy issues at the state's array of think tanks, including Stanford's Hoover Institution. He has spent days with tech entrepreneurs and scientists, and was deeply impressed, he says, by a visit this week to General Atomics, which is developing alternative energy sources. He has cultivated a connection to the Scripps Research Institute, taking interest in their work on adult stem cells.
Indeed, Perry is so fluent and confident in the arcane details of cutting-edge policy issues that it is difficult to understand why he has developed a reputation for gaffes. Yet his one-on-one spark sometimes fails to come across onstage.
Perry tells me he is working on that, too, practicing his presentation skills with some Hollywood conservatives who are advising him (though he will not reveal exactly whom, for fear of blowing their cover).
Perry is frustrated by missteps, such as the controversy over his remarks about homosexuality. "I spoke for 59 minutes about job creation and for one minute about that," he laughs.
Yet he regards such episodes as part of a learning process. In this case, Perry says, the lesson he took from San Francisco is to stay focused on the core issue--which, for him, is the economy. "Gay or straight," he says, "if you don't have a job, that's not good."
Alex Jones is miffed about reports that one of Hillary Clinton’s clients when she was a defense attorney was an accused child rapist, because as we all know in the American system of justice unsavory clients do not deserve legal representation.
On his radio program yesterday, Jones launched into a rant against Clinton, attacking her for the well-known photo of her looking at her phone, which he called “disgusting ” and “gangster,” and upbraiding her fellow “women who run the State Department right now who are overthrowing Ukraine and turning it over to Nazis and turning areas of Syria and Iraq over to Al Qaeda.”
He said that Clinton and other women have a warped way of thinking that leads to “endless evil”: “I hate men, that’s a Freudian slip because they’re kind of like men, and hate my kids.”
“I’d vote for the Le Pen lady over in France, she’s a Tea Party type libertarian, I’d get down and kiss her feet,” he said of the leader of France’s neo-fascist National Front party Marine Le Pen.
“I see flaming, evil, criminal fascism, I know it when I see it, and that’s what Hillary Clinton is and has always been,” Jones said. “We just can’t seem to ever get rid of her, it’s like cancer, it just keeps coming back.”
Yesterday, Rick Santorum appeared on “The Capitol Hill Show” with Tim Constantine to tout Chris McDaniel’s campaign in the Mississippi Republican primary against Sen. Thad Cochran, a race he described as part of a larger battle within the GOP to weed out supposed moderates.
Santorum said that Republican leaders have silenced conservative figures like himself:
You look at our side and it’s, ‘You got to be quiet about this issue, you can’t talk about this issue, you got to stay away from this issue.’ When you do that, you’re not making the argument to the American public as to why you’re right and of course you’re going to lose on that issue if you never talk about it. That’s the problem, is that we have a bunch of people who run the Republican Party from the financial point of view who don’t believe in the party platform and have been trying to cow us into walking away from it.
“Will you run again in 2016? Will you carry the mantle of the conservative movement?” Constantine asked.
In response, Santorum strongly hinted that he will in fact run: “Well, I’m in South Carolina today.”
In an interview with USA Today’s Capital Download today, Rick Santorum defended his one-time — and possibly future — presidential rival Rick Perry’s comparison of homosexuality to alcoholism, arguing that homosexuality is indeed a choice.
Santorum, who has notoriously attempted to explain his opposition to marriage equality by speaking about beer and paper towels, told USA Today that while politicians should avoid making comparisons, Perry’s larger point was “accurate.”
Back in 2011, the former Pennsylvania senator back in 2011 insisted that homosexuality is a choice because he knows of “people who were gay and lived a gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore.”
Santorum also claimed in the USA Today interview that Hillary Clinton may not win the Democratic nomination for president if she decides to run because she is “old” and not “young and bling” enough for Democratic voters.
Surprise! Yesterday, the same Republican politician who tried to save his foundering presidential campaign with a gay-baiting TV ad defended ex-gay therapy and compared homosexuality to alcohol abuse.
Speaking at a summit in California, Texas Gov. Rick Perry responded to questions about the Texas Republican Party’s endorsement of ex-gay therapy in its new far-right platform by arguing that homosexuality is like alcoholism: “Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”
Perry is far from the only Republican figure to have expressed this view.
Another former GOP presidential candidate who is also considering a second run, Gov. Mike Huckabee, likened homosexuality to alcoholism in a 2009 interview with Esquire:
Huckabee says he doesn't know if homosexuality is inborn, but he believes you can control the behavior. He compares homosexuality to obesity or alcoholism: "Some people have a predisposition to alcoholism. Does that mean they're not responsible for getting drunk? No."
Fellow 2012 presidential contender Rick Santorum cited “people who were gay and lived a gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore” as a reason to oppose gay rights. Michele Bachmann’s husband heads a clinic that practices ex-gay therapy. Ted Cruz’s father and political adviser, Rafael Cruz, has defended ex-gay therapy as legitimate “biblical” counseling, adding, “sexual orientation is a choice, it’s not a civil right.”
Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema recently got in trouble with his own party after he, among other offensive remarks, compared gay people to alcoholics. So did top Religious Right leaders Mat Staver and Tony Perkins. Robert Jeffress, a Texas pastor close to Perry, also “equates being gay with alcoholism or a genetic proclivity toward violence,” according to the Dallas-based D Magazine.
Despite story after story about the GOP’s purported shift on gay rights, the party is still mired in anti-gay bigotry.
Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum are slated to appear at a September “American Heritage Summit” in Washington, D.C., hosted by a right-wing Iowa pastor Cary Gordon of Cornerstone World Outreach.
Along with Gordon and the pair of likely presidential candidates, the guests include conservative pseudo-historian David Barton, Iowa-based talk show host Steve Deace and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King.
Gordon became heavily involved in politics during the 2010 campaign to remove Iowa Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality, and he endorsed Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign, helping the former Pennsylvania senator to win the Iowa caucuses.
At an anti-gay marriage rally in 2011, Gordon described marriage equality as a demonic attempt that would bring about America’s destruction, warning that Iowans must “protect the virtue of true Americanism from our own mental barbarians who attack our minds with the God-hating secularism of Europe” or risk being “extinguished from the earth.”
Gordon even predicted that gay marriage would increase the murder rate: “The natural problem that causes is an overt immorality. The crime rates go up, people suffer, people are stealing and murdering and [doing] all the things morality tells you not to do.”
The pastor, insisting that it is a “glaringly obvious fact that being ‘gay’ is a behavior, and has nothing to do with civil rights,” charged in a 2010 blog post that the same-sex marriage ruling put Iowa on the road to Nazism: “True pastors, in the fashion of Christ, will not and cannot bow before the arrogance of Caesar and Herod. We have learned from our past mistakes. We will not repeat the mistake made by Lutheran pastors when confronted with German fascism.”
“[T]o the intelligent religious man, homosexuality will always be un-natural for a myriad of obvious reasons one shouldn’t have to explain,” Gordon wrote. “To the intelligent evolutionist, it will NEVER agree with the doctrine of ‘survival of the fittest.’”
Gordon’s church also released a video asserting that same-sex marriage would legalize incest, pedophilia and bestiality.
Today, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition announced that Gov. Chris Christie will speak at its “Road to Majority” conference this month, where perhaps Reed can offer the embattled governor advice on how to downplay scandals.
But the director of the New Jersey Faith and Freedom Coalition, Larry Cirignano, doesn’t seem to be much of a fan of his state’s governor.
On his Facebook page, Cirignano has posted columns attacking Christie from the right, including articles titled “Chris Christie dooms NJ to judicial activism and himself to obscurity” and “Chris Christie’s court pick has a pro-choice, anti-free press record,” which criticizes the governor for having “rolled over” on nominees for the Supreme Court.
Cirignano also shared a post “exposing ‘Republican’ Christie” as a secret Democrat for backing a “radical pro-abortion and pro-gun control” judicial nominee.
Last year, Christie was accused of snubbing the “Road to Majority” summit to attend a Clinton Global Initiative event.
Right-wing pundits have expressed outrage and disgust over Christie’s decision to sign a law banning ex-gay therapy for minors, even linking it to the bridge scandal, and lashed out at the governor for declining to appeal a court ruling in favor of marriage equality and appointing a Muslim-American to a judgeship.
But the Indiana Republican, now the state’s governor, is joining a long line of Republicans who voted against the stimulus but then took credit for stimulus dollars that went toward projects in their districts.
The Times of Northwest Indiana reports today that Pence, rumored to be considering a presidential run, is now taking credit for projects in his state that were funded by the stimulus bill that he opposed.
Consider the governor's visit to Hammond on Thursday: Pence cheered the start of the Indiana Gateway rail improvements that will help speed freight and passenger rail travel through Northwest Indiana.
"I say let's blow the horn, let's get the Gateway open and be on the way to a more prosperous Indiana," Pence proclaimed at the Hammond-Whiting Amtrak station.
The $71.4 million project will cut delays at region rail crossings by 70 hours a year, shave an hour off Amtrak trips between Chicago and Detroit, and create an estimated 700 jobs, according to Pence's Indiana Department of Transportation.
But the money for the project isn't coming from INDOT.
The Indiana Gateway is being paid for by the federal government through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more commonly known as the stimulus.
As a congressman, Pence had a lot to say about the stimulus when it was being debated by the U.S. House. As chairman of the House Republican Conference, he led opposition to the stimulus in the chamber and condemned it repeatedly in national television appearances.
Pence defended his stance by explaining that the previous Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, was a stimulus hypocrite too:
"I do support the state of Indiana's efforts, over the last administration and this administration, to marshal those dollars and put them to work in ways that I think are going to help Northwest Indiana's economy grow and really maintain our posture as the Crossroads of America," Pence said.
Pence also noted he is not the first Hoosier governor to blast stimulus spending on one hand, and grab for stimulus cash with the other.
Former Gov. Mitch Daniels also condemned the stimulus. But the Republican had no qualms about taking some $1 billion in stimulus money that was intended to provide "extra" funds for Indiana schools, and instead using it to replace a regular state payment to school corporations.
That stimulus switcheroo enabled Indiana to maintain its budget reserve though the Great Recession and is the foundation of the $2 billion state bank account that Pence regularly touts as evidence of his sound fiscal management.
When Ben Carson lauded Republicans who take a politically-motivation position on abortion rights in order to win elections, one of his fellow potential GOP presidential candidates was not impressed.
In an interview with Newsmax TV host Steve Malzberg yesterday, Rick Santorum took issue with Carson’s support for Oregon GOP Senate nominee Monica Wehby’s “savvy” and “pragmatic” pro-choice position, which Carson implied does not comport with Wehby’s personal beliefs. Santorum told Malzberg that Wehby’s stance on abortion rights is “indefensible” and shouldn’t be celebrated.
Carson, a conservative activist who like Santorum is considering a run for president in 2016, yesterday hailed Wehby for supporting a woman’s right to choose because she “knows there’s no way you’re going to win in Oregon” otherwise.
Meanwhile, Santorum still hasn’t commented on the legalization of same-sex marriage in his home state of Pennsylvania.
While very few people showed up last year for Larry Klayman’s rally to overthrow President Obama, the conservative activist said Friday that a “Second American Revolution” is needed to stop Hillary Clinton from winning the 2016 presidential election.
If Clinton wins, Klayman writes, she will “usher in the death knell of the United States of America” and “subjugate the American people to political slavery.”
Conservatives – and I am one with a large libertarian streak as well – are prone to see doom around every corner. But the present state of the nation is such that one cannot over-exaggerate the peril America now finds itself in – for on the horizon looms the now odds-on favorite to be our next president, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The possible election of the female partner of the Bonnie and Clyde duo of Bill and Hillary Clinton would usher in the death knell of the United States of America. Having fought the Clintons tooth and nail during the 1990s, and having pursued them for their commission of a host of crimes, ranging from Whitewater, to China-gate, to Travel-gate, and Monica Lewinsky-gate to name just a few of the 40 or so of their misdeeds, I speak from experience.
Coming after the failed presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama, a second “Clinton presidency” would be disastrous, not just because they would resume their practice of selling off anything of value for their political expediency – as they did with the Communist Chinese, with pardons, Commerce Department trade missions seats, overnight stays in the White House’s Lincoln Bedroom, judgeships, commissionerships, Cabinet secretary spots and anything else under their control – but because they have no moral compass. For the Clintons, and Bill would undoubtedly be right there at Hillary’s side, anything goes to further their hubris and hungry thirst for power. And, while they are not black Muslim-sympathizers like Obama and his racist comrades, Hillary has a documented certifiable history of taking money from Islamic interests, not just the Communist Chinese. In effect, the entire country would be put up for sale at a Bonnie and Clyde auction to further subjugate the American people to political slavery under their rule.
Yes, by the standards of yesteryear, Richard Nixon is not a crook, and whatever his shortcomings, Tricky Dick at least was not a traitor. Hillary Clinton, following the lead of her corrupt predecessors and her own felonious history and continuing modus operandi (and Benghazi is just one recent example during her tenure as Obama’s secretary of state), would make Nixon look like a saint.
All of this is why We the People must wage our Second American Revolution now, before it is too late, to free the nation and ourselves of the scourge of the likes of the Obamas and Clintons. If we do not do it now, then all is likely to be lost.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal would like to be president, so he spent the weekend at Liberty University doing what a Republican presidential wannabe does: courting Religious Right leaders by assuring them that he is one of them and shares their vision for America. Jindal spoke at Liberty’s commencement address on Saturday, where he spouted Religious Right talking points about the “war” on religious liberty by a “left” that wants to “silence people of faith.” And on Friday night, he spent two hours talking about his faith in a session with politically influential pastors organized by Christian-nation zealot David Lane.
The Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger reports that Jindal talked the pastors through his conversion from Hinduism to Protestantism in high school, while not spending much time on his conversion to Catholicism a few years later in college. Jindal positions himself solidly in the conservative religious coalition by calling himself an “evangelical Catholic.” According to the Post,
The visiting pastors flew to Lynchburg over the weekend at the invitation of the American Renewal Project, a well-funded nonprofit group that encourages evangelical Christians to engage in the civic arena with voter guides, get-out-the-vote drives and programs to train pastors in grass-roots activism. The group’s founder, David Lane, has built a pastor network in politically important states such as Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and South Carolina and has led trips to Israel with Paul and others seeking to make inroads with evangelical activists.
The group that Lane invited to Lynchburg included Donald Wildmon, a retired minister and founder of the American Family Association, a prominent evangelical activist group that has influence through its network of more than 140 Christian radio stations.
As regular RWW readers know, the Post’s description, while accurate, only begins to describe David Lane, who we reported last year is “an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as ‘the principle textbook' for public education and a ‘Christian culture’ has been ‘re-established.’” Lane believes Christians “must be retrained to war for the Soul of America and quit believing the fabricated whopper of the ‘Separation of Church and State.’” He says America must repent for breaking the founders' covenant with God or face the wrath of God, which he said last year would include car bombings in Los Angeles, Des Moines, and Washington, D.C. as a consequence of abortion rights, the national debt, and “homosexuals praying at the inauguration.”
Jindal’s personal appeal to Religious Right leaders may encourage them to take a closer look at his record. Given his hostility to abortion rights and LGBT equality and his record of privatizing public education, using tax dollars to promote creationism, and rejecting Medicaid expansion, far-right pastors will probably like what they see.
CBN’s chief political reporter David Brody fawns over every Republican politician he meets, and a recent blog post gushes over Rand Paul’s presidential prospects. You see, Brody explains, Rand Paul sometimes wears blue jeans, and his jeans “could take him into straight into The White House.”
“While other politicians are wearing a suit and tie, Paul is different,” he writes. “Paul’s choice of leg attire represents something. Whether the senator from Kentucky knows it or not, it’s his calling card to say he’s unique, different, and a trendsetter within the Republican Party.”
He goes on to hail Paul’s decision to wear jeans as a sign that “he’s leading” and “creating a new playbook and trying to create a new, younger, more diverse GOP voting constituency.”
Brody’s belief that Paul is radically transforming the foundering public image of the GOP is sadly not that unlike the general Republican playbook of changing the party’s appearance while not actually altering any of their ultraconservative stances.
Let’s be clear: Anyone who thinks Rand Paul can’t win the GOP nomination for president of the United States is foolish. He can. And if he wins, his “jeans” will be the reason. The jeans symbolize something that no other potential candidate for president possesses. Let’s explore.
You see, Rand Paul likes to wear jeans. While other politicians are wearing a suit and tie, Paul is different. At the recent CPAC event, all the other politicians went with the traditional look. Not Paul. Jeans were in order.
Some conservative commentators were upset. Peggy Noonan remarked that, “it’s not unusual for a man to wear jeans with a tie and jacket. They look like happy farmers, or cable TV anchors whose desks don’t show their legs. That being said, could we not wear grown-up suits when we are running for high office?”
But Noonan fails to grasp the deeper meaning.
Paul’s choice of leg attire represents something. Whether the senator from Kentucky knows it or not, it’s his calling card to say he’s unique, different, and a trendsetter within the Republican Party. His libertarian “genes” are represented in those blue jeans.
What we are witnessing is a man who has no desire to use the same tired old GOP playbook that’s been trotted out for decades. He’s creating a new playbook and trying to create a new, younger, more diverse GOP voting constituency.
So when he wears those blue jeans, it neatly fits in with his persona. After all, his libertarian “genes” fit perfectly inside those blue jeans. It’s non-traditional, just like libertarians. He’s not waiting around for others to figure out what the Republican Party needs to do and be. He’s stepping to the plate first. He’s leading.
He also understands that the traditional Republican orthodoxy of the past needs to change in order to win future elections. Does that mean those conservative principles need to change? No, of course not. But a fresh, different approach is needed.
And Rand Paul is going to do his best to walk that new path…in a pair of blue jeans that could take him into straight into The White House.
UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh also seems to think the incident was staged.
Fox News contributor Bernard Goldberg is promoting the claim that Hillary Clinton staged the incident where a woman threw a shoe at her during a speech in Las Vegas.
On a post for Goldberg’s website, blogger Arthur Louis writes that “Hillary arranged to have the shoe thrown at her,” having “calculated that this would make her seem presidential.”
“Hillary, claiming to be unsure what was thrown, called out ‘Was that a bat?’ I don’t think she meant bat as in baseball,” he continues. “I think she meant bat as in creepy flying rodent. Perhaps she based her guess on the premise that likes attract.”
A couple of nights ago, as Hillary Clinton started to address a gathering of recycling experts in Las Vegas, a woman came striding down the aisle toward the stage and threw a shoe at her. Hillary, claiming to be unsure what was thrown, called out “Was that a bat?” I don’t think she meant bat as in baseball. I think she meant bat as in creepy flying rodent. Perhaps she based her guess on the premise that likes attract.
The incident called to many minds the occasion, late in his second term, when George W. Bush, during a public appearance, was forced to duck two shoes thrown by a Muslim journalist. He did so coolly and deftly, like a veteran baseball player trying to avoid being beaned by Roger Clemens. Hillary, on the other hand, ducks flying shoes like a girl, as you can plainly see on the video.
There is a political axiom, I believe first posed by Euclid or Archimedes, that when Hillary does something, or when something happens to her, she has carefully calculated it beforehand. This is almost always true, the one trivial exception being the nomination and election of Barack Obama in 2008.
So it would not be stretching logic to suppose that Hillary arranged to have the shoe thrown at her. Remembering the Bush incident, she may have calculated that this would make her seem presidential. This would explain why Ms. Ernst was not pounded to a pulp by Hillary’s bodyguards, and why she seems on the verge of getting off scot free. Don’t be too surprised, the next time you visit Phoenix, if you see her sitting at a table in a downtown Hillary for President store front, stuffing and sealing envelopes.
I am just guessing, of course, but let’s all watch for possible further evidence that Hillary is trying to remind us of other presidents in their finest hours.
Last month, we wrote that the Iowa Republican Party had picked a new co-chair , Danny Carroll, a social conservative culture warrior who serves as a lobbyist for The Family Leader.
Shortly after Carroll became co-chair, the state party chairman, libertarian-leaning A.J. Spiker, announced that he was resigning from his position. And this weekend, Carroll was elected to replace him as the chairman of the Iowa GOP.
It’s unclear how long Carroll’s reign over the state party will last and if he will still be at its helm in 2016, when he would be in charge of running the Iowa caucuses. New state central committee members will be seated in June, and could possibly then oust him as chairman.
But in the meantime, Carroll’s election seems to show that the Iowa GOP has no intention of softening on social issues.
Here is Carroll opining last year that banning gay marriage will help fix “just about every problem facing society today”:
And here he is in 2010 blaming teen suicides on the end of school-sponsored prayer:
And let’s not forget the new co-chair of the Iowa GOP, elected this weekend. Gopal Krishna of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition (the state branch of Ralph Reed’s group) will succeed Carroll as the state party’s number two. Krishna, who boasts that "the first three letters of my name are G-O-P," looks to be just as much of a culture warrior as Carroll.
For instance, here’s Krishna in 2011 warning that the United States has become “a multicultural haven for every weird and kinky lifestyle”:
The Washington Post today looked into Rand Paul’s efforts to build a national political operation as he gears up for a presidential campaign, and revealed that Paul had hired Fritz Wenzel to serve as his pollster:
For the rest of this year, his national team’s chief duties will be to take the lead in their respective states in planning fundraisers and meet-ups and helping Paul’s Washington-based advisers get a sense of where support is solid and where it’s not. This is especially important in key early primary battlegrounds, such as Iowa and New Hampshire, and in areas rich in GOP donors, such as Dallas and Chicago.
“A national leadership team is an important step, and it’s a critical one for the movement going forward,” said Fritz Wenzel, Paul’s pollster. “Rand has tremendous momentum, and the formation of this team will guide him as he gets closer to a decision and [will] serve as a foundation for a campaign.”
Wenzel runs Wenzel Strategies, the group behind several wildly inaccurate and conspiratorial polls, especially through its work as the polling arm for the far-right website WorldNetDaily. Wenzel’s group has:
Since Rand Paul is trying to distance himself from his own and his father’s extremist views, tapping WorldNetDaily’s pollster is probably not a good start to his effort to rebrand himself as a serious Republican leader.