Secular Right | Reality & Reason

TAG | Republican Party

Mar/12

10

Shocking News

Via the Washington Post, but even so this is not, perhaps, the most surprising news:

The fragile gains Republicans had been making among female voters have been erased, a shift that has coincided with what has become a national shouting match over reproductive issues, potentially handing President Obama and the Democrats an enormous advantage this fall.

In the 2010 congressional midterm elections, Republican candidates ran evenly with Democrats among women, a break with long-established trends. That was a major reason the GOP regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Now, female voters appear to be swinging back to Democrats.

A number of polls show that Obama’s approval among women has risen significantly since December, even as it has remained flat among men. The same trend, which began before the controversy in recent weeks, is also showing up further down the ballot.

When a Wall Street Journal-NBC News survey asked in the summer which party should control Congress, 46 percent of women favored Democrats and 42 percent preferred Republican control.

But in a survey released Monday, compiling data since the beginning of the year, that figure had widened considerably to a 15-point advantage for the Democrats, according to polling by the team of Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff. Fifty-one percent favored Democratic control; only 36 percent wanted to see the Republicans in charge…

Both sides have tried to shape the narrative in this battle for and about women. But many Republicans are beginning to wish they had never waded into what has become a heated conversation over contraception, who should have it and what it says about people who use it.

GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s campaign, said Republicans need to return to pocketbook and fiscal issues. “We know what works,” she said, “and we need to get back to it.”

Quite.

And even those who saw the “contraception” controversy as being over religious freedom rather than contraception should have realized the political dangers of the territory into which they were sailing, and navigated it with distinctly more skill than they have shown.

Terri Schiavo, part deux? We’ll have to see, but there can be no doubt that, under these circumstances, choosing Santorum, a character with strongly-held views on the , uh, perversity of contraception (“a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be”), as the GOP’s nominee would both drown out any argument over religious freedom and be an extraordinary act of electoral self-destruction.

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Jun/11

11

Blow Ye The Trumpet in Houston

A message from Texas governor, and possible GOP presidential hopeful, Rick Perry:

Fellow Americans,

Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.

Some problems are beyond our power to solve, and according to the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, this historic hour demands a historic response. Therefore, on August 6, thousands will gather to pray for a historic breakthrough for our country and a renewed sense of moral purpose.

I sincerely hope you’ll join me in Houston on August 6th and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking God’s forgiveness, wisdom and provision for our state and nation. There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.

Rick Perry,
Governor

The language of politics will always reflect the traditions and the culture of the constituency to which it is designed to appeal, but, blimey…

Incidentally, check out Joel 2 (King James Version), if you haven’t already done so. It’s bonkers, of course, but rather beautiful.

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Jun/11

11

God: Swing Voter, Fickle Too…

Via New York Magazine

After a thorough investigation, Daily Intel has discovered that God is separately backing at least three different contenders for the Republican presidential nomination. Over the course of the past few months and even years, God has sent signs and direct messages to each of these candidates encouraging them to run, presumably without telling them that he supports other candidates as well.

God has apparently thrown His weight behind Herman Cain, soon-to-be candidate Michele Bachmann and that strange Rick Santorum, a candidate for whom one electoral humiliation is not enough.

Under the circumstances, I can only conclude that God is a Democrat.

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May/11

11

Nutabee

If Mike Huckabee decides to run again, I’ll again be waiting excitedly to see if he releases the texts of some or all of the sermons he gave in his earlier years.

In the meantime, (via Mother Jones), there’s this:

…Huckabee has joked that he “answers” to “two Janets.” One is his wife, Janet Huckabee. The other is Janet Porter, the onetime co-chair of Huckabee’s Faith and Values Coalition. And Porter, the former governor has said, is his “prophetic voice.” But that voice has said some weird things over the years: Porter has maintained that Obama represents an “inhumane, sick, and sinister evil,” and she has warned that Democrats want to throw Christians in jail merely for practicing their faith. She’s attributed Haiti’s high poverty rate to the fact that the country is “dedicated to Satan,” and she suggested that gay marriage caused Noah’s Flood. And there’s this: In a 2009 column for conservative news site WorldNetDaily, Porter asserted that President Barack Obama is a Soviet secret agent, groomed since birth to destroy the United States from within.

Porter’s long history in the Christian right made her a natural ally for Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, as he laid the foundations for his presidential run in 2007. An acolyte of the late televangelist D. James Kennedy, Porter rose quickly through the ranks of the Christian right, first as director of the Ohio Right to Life chapter in the 1990s. Later, she founded and served as president of Faith2Action, a right-wing group that promotes a theory known as Christian Dominionism—in which Christians are duty-bound to control the instruments of government in advance of the second coming of Christ.

Porter, in turn, seemed enamored with the candidate. In WorldNetDaily, she lavished praise on Huckabee. At one point, she composed a medieval ballad in which Huckabee, referred to as “Sir Mike-A-Lot who we all Like a lot,” slayed Hillary Clinton (represented by the “the evil queen and her dragon of slaughter”). Huckabee eventually signed Porter up as co-chair of his Faith and Family Values Coalition, a prestigious group of evangelical who’s-who’s tasked with reaching out to religious voters.

Porter had strong words for Huckabee’s competition, as well. She publicly suggested that former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson might be the anti-Christ. In the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses, she cut an ad attacking Huckabee’s two most serious rivals, Mitt Romney and John McCain. The ad was paid for by RoeGone, a short-lived 527 formed by a Porter deputy with the stated ambition of becoming the conservative MoveOn.org (it fizzled).

Porter’s most dramatic arguments for Huckabee centered on what she believed was the impending prohibition on Christianity—the subject of her 2004 book, The Criminalization of Christianity: Read This Book Before it Becomes Illegal! In her view, the 2008 election represented a make-or-break moment for people of faith. “I’m writing this letter from prison, where I’ve been since the beginning of 2010,” she began one column. “Since Hillary was elected in ’08, Christian persecution in America has gotten even worse than we predicted.”

Her efforts for Huckabee did not go overlooked by the candidate. In his campaign memoir, Do the Right Thing, he calls her a “prophetic voice,” and includes Porter on a short list of evangelicals—including Left Behind creator Tim LaHaye—who made his rise possible. He singles her out for praise for helping to organize the Values Voters Debate and credits her prayers and fasting with his strong performance at a “turning point” in the campaign…

If Huckabee actually believes any of this, he belongs in a straitjacket, not the White House.

Now, about those sermons….

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May/11

10

Rick Santorum, No Thanks

Here’s the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin on Rick Santorum:

At the Republican presidential debate on Thursday Rick Santorum was asked about Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’s suggestion that there be a social truce. Santorum answered, “Anybody that would suggest we call a truce on moral issues doesn’t understand what America is all about.”

That is wrong. In fact, it’s the precise opposite of what America is about. As a matter of political tactics you can think a truce is a bad or good idea, but it does not define America or our system of government.

You can look to the Declaration or the Federalist papers or the Constitution and make a principled argument that America is about individual liberty or limited government (which secures the former). But it’s not about moral issues or any issue.

Our country was founded on the notion that limited government (bound by the rule of law and hemmed in by the separation of powers) is essential to maintain a free, diverse and prosperous people. It is precisely because we disagree on so many issues that we support a political system that tempers majority control with individual rights. It’s not about one side winning on certain issues or even demanding that certain issues be at the forefront of our agenda…

…Santorum’s assertion, quite frankly, reflects a certain constitutionally illiteracy and is at odds at a fundamental level with modern conservatism. Indeed, since the presidency requires that the chief executive “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” — which presupposes one understands what’s in it — Santorum has in the most concise way possible demonstrated his lack of qualifications to serve.

One can only agree. Next, please…

Read the whole thing.

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Apr/11

30

Mitch Daniels: Still Looking at 2012?

Apr/11

3

What Happened to Those Fiscal Priorities? (2)

Via the New York Times (emphasis added):

The state budget plan that moved toward enactment on Wednesday calls for 10 percent cuts in aid to public colleges and universities, but it would add about $18 million a year in tuition assistance for students attending some private religious schools.
The added money would be available to any theological student who met a new set of criteria for the state’s so-called Tuition Assistance Program grants. The major potential beneficiaries would be an estimated 5,000 men who attend dozens of Orthodox rabbinical schools in New York, state officials and religious leaders said.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat whose Brooklyn district includes a large Orthodox population, called the additional financing “a matter of equity, to rectify the fact that New York State has denied rabbinical college students tuition assistance for all these years.”

Mr. Hikind and other lawmakers have sought unsuccessfully for about 10 years to adopt the new criteria by amending the Tuition Assistance Program rules, eliminating a long-established ban on state tuition assistance for undergraduate students who attend religious schools, like yeshivas, that are not chartered by the state Board of Regents.

In negotiations this month, Republican leaders in the Senate asked that the new rules be included as part of the 2011-12 budget agreement. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Democratic leaders in the Assembly have agreed, said Jeffrey Gordon, a spokesman for the State Division of the Budget.

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Mar/11

29

Whoaa!

Via Politico:

SAN ANTONIO — Newt Gingrich stood before thousands of evangelical churchgoers Sunday night to deliver a dire warning that nation’s Christian roots are under attack.

“I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

The former House Speaker held up his own faith (he converted to Catholicism two years ago) as proof of his undying patriotism.

Sigh.

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Mar/11

19

Giving More Power To The IRS

This story comes from Mother Jones, and it comes with plenty of ‘coulds’, so some caution is called for. Nevertheless it doesn’t make pretty reading. Here’s a key extract:

Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?

In testimony to a House taxation subcommittee on Wednesday, Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee, confirmed that one consequence of the Republicans’ “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” would be to turn IRS agents into abortion cops—that is, during an audit, they’d have to determine, from evidence provided by the taxpayer, whether any tax benefit had been inappropriately used to pay for an abortion

The proposed law, also known as H.R. 3, extends the reach of the Hyde Amendment—which bans federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake—into many parts of the federal tax code. In some cases, the law would forbid using tax benefits—like credits or deductions—to pay for abortions or health insurance that covers abortion. If an American who used such a benefit were to be audited, Barthold said, the burden of proof would lie with the taxpayer to provide documentation, for example, that her abortion fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.

“Were this to become law, people could end up in an audit, the subject of which could be abortion, rape, and incest,” says Christopher Bergin, the head of Tax Analysts, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit tax policy group. “If you pass the law like this, the IRS would be required to enforce it.”

Ugh.

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Sep/10

15

DeMint’s Choice

One reason that Delaware’s best-known GOP candidate will have such a mountain to climb in the general election is the emergence of fresh embarrassments like these comments (via New York magazine today) from a 1996 debate on whether creationism should be taught alongside evolution:

CHRISTINE O’DONNELL, Concerned Women for America: Well, as the senator from Tennessee mentioned, evolution is a theory and it’s exactly that. There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact, and I say that because for theory to become a fact, it needs to consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests. The tests that they put — that they use to support evolution do not have consistent results. Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it’s merely a theory.

Yes, but…Oh, never mind. Well, how about creationism, then?

CHRISTINE O’DONNELL: Well, creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the Earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that.

Okey dokey.

You can bet your bottom taxpayer dollar that O’Donnell’s Democratic opponent will do everything that he can to keep voters focussed on the Republican candidate’s more exotic, uh, issues. After all, it sure beats talking about government bloat, rising taxation, a faltering recovery and all the rest of those topics that the Democrats would much rather avoid.

And we can also be sure that O’Donnell’s triumph has made it easier to portray Republicans elsehere in a similar light.

As I said, DeMint’s choice.

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