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Posts for January, 2012

Molotov Mitchell Hopes for a Big Santorum Splash

Jim Burroway

January 18th, 2012

Ummm…

Meanwhile Columbia, S.C. native Molotov Mitchell, an evangelical Christian video artist whose YouTube political commentaries against Newt Gingrich’s infidelities hit hundreds of thousands of Iowa cell phones via text message and went viral with over 33,000 views prior to the Iowa Caucuses, re-released a pro-Santorum punk-rock video that deals with one of Santorum’s harshest critics, Chicago sex columnist Dan Savage. Savage, a gay rights activist, is the originator of Santorum’s “Google problem,” an effort to redefine the conservative’s name as an obscenity. Mitchell said, “Mitt Romney is kind of like the RINO country club hetero version of Dan Savage, and in his own vacuous way, far more dangerous to hetero-traditionalism. I hope Santorum makes a big splash on Romney’s empty suit this Saturday.”

Mitchell was one of a handful of American Evangelicals who defended Uganda’s “Kill-the-Gays” bill in 2010. I don’t think this will help Santorum’s Google problem at all.

Santorum affirms all relationship, Box of Rocks is disgusted

Timothy Kincaid

January 16th, 2012

Rick Santorum doesn’t hate gay people. Why, some of Rick’s friends’ neighbor’s cousin’s relatives are gay. So of course he doesn’t hate gay people and his wife can tell you so.

When a mother asked what to tell her son, Mrs. Santorum told her to blame her son. (Examiner)

Karen Santorum, Rick’s wife, answered first. “I think it’s very sad what the gay activists have done out there; they vilify him, and it’s so wrong,” she said. “Rick does not hate anyone.” Mrs. Santorum noted that opponents “can’t even find one example” of her husband hating gay people.

Rick Santorum cast his opposition gay marriage as a “public policy difference,” lamenting that “some see that public policy difference as a personal assault.”

Santorum then chimed in with some fascinating statements:

“There’s all sorts of other relationships that people have, and they are valuable relationships — whether they are amorous relationships or friendship relationships or familial relationships — they’re all important, they all have value they all should be affirmed,” Santorum added. “But that does not mean that we should change the laws to order — to create an atmosphere where children and families are not being promoted.”

The Box of Rocks vehemently disagrees with Rick Santorum on this issue. The Rocks do NOT think all relationships have value or should be affirmed.

For example, the Box of Rocks will never affirm ‘man on child’ relationships, which Santorum is on record as equating to same-sex relationships. The spokesman for the Box of Rocks noted, “That Rick Santorum is a pretty sick puppy. And I don’t mean in the ‘man on dog’ way.”

Maggie Gallagher endorses Rick Santorum

Timothy Kincaid

January 16th, 2012

National Organization for [Catholic] Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher has endorse Pope Rick, as was anticipated. In doing so, she had far less to say about his policies or qualifications than she did about the meanies who are mocking the candidate:

They will go after him not just to defeat Rick Santorum, but to smear his good name, to associate it with their own muck, to take a decent and honorable man and try literally to make his name mean mud.

Oh, Maggie, no one is trying to literally make his name mean mud! Even a box of rocks knows that.

The box of rocks is very familiar with mud and considers mud to be a good friend. But it tries to keep a garden hose handy if there is any chance of coming in contact with santorum.

The coronation of Pope Rick marred by dissent

Timothy Kincaid

January 16th, 2012

When the collection of social conservatives met, the public perception was that the purpose was to coalesce around one Republican candidate, shifting support from a variety of ‘non-Mitt’s to just one not-Mitt in hopes of having a social conservative as the Republican candidate. In reality, they met so each could try and convince the others to support they guy they supported. And just a few days after the white smoke went up, it now seems that all that was really accomplished was a sharp division into two not-Mitt camps.

Which is not very surprising. The collection of “leaders” who met are not known for their humility; in fact, they mostly exist for the purpose of being disagreeable and opposing things they don’t like. Concession is not part of their vocabulary.

But what is a bit surprising is that the conservative evangelical theocratic alternatives are narrowed down to Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Neither really seem to be ideal choices. They are both Catholic, you see. Papists, devotees in the cult of Mary, the tools of a foreign dictator, and worshipers of Mystery Babylon the Great Harlot. While that cultist polygamist Romney might be completely unacceptable, the pagan idolaters Santorum and Gingrich should be only marginally more acceptable – and that simply because Catholicism is a cult more familiar than the secretive Mormonism cult. *

(It is rather amusing when people who hate each other find common cause only in hating someone else even more.)

But it didn’t take long for the American Family Association to set the record straight. (OneNewsNow)

“The Evangelical community still holds a divergent opinion on who the nominee should be,” Rick Tyler, senior advisor to Winning Our Future PAC, a pro-Gingrich group, told OneNewsNow.com. “Rick Santorum won a straw poll that had a questionable methodology.”

“Rick has a very good record on evangelical issues but has no ability to beat Mitt Romney and less so for Barak Obama,” said Tyler. “Endorsing Rick only serves to help Romney who has a terrible record on the issues evangelicals care about.”

Tyler added that at least nine Gingrich supporters did not attend the meeting. He also said such notable evangelicals like Don Wildmon, American Family Association founder, Beverly LaHaye, founder of Concerned Women of America, Pastor Tim LaHaye, Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church and Prop 8 organizer, leading Christian researcher George Barna, former congressman JC Watts, Thomas Sowell, a conservative thought leader, Richard Lee, founding pastor of First Redeemer Church in Atlanta, Georgia and Mat Staver, dean of Liberty Law School have all endorsed Gingrich.

It’s hard to say why they are so devoted to Gingrich. Maybe it’s because his background is Protestant and they have doubts about the sincerity of his devotion to the Catholic Church. Maybe it is because they suspect that Rick Santorum truly would take any position or do without question any action directed by the Vatican. Or maybe they recognize that in a debate with a box of rocks, that Gingrich has hope of coming out on top.

But whatever the reasons, the advocates of theocracy are demonstrating what many of us have known for a while: their supposed influence and power has long been more theater and bluster than substance.

[* I'm not expressing my views, but the views of many evangelical fundamentalist Christians who view both the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church as being heretic.]

Box of Rocks on Pope Rick

Timothy Kincaid

January 15th, 2012

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In response to the ecclesiastical selection of Rick Santorum as the exalted one, the boxs of rocks didn’t have much to say. However a spokesman noted that the Box of Rocks has little support from the theocratic minded as it generally tries to avoid those who are likely to cast the first stone.

Habemus Santorum!

Jim Burroway

January 14th, 2012

A group of 150 cardinal (meaning primary or major) leaders of the Evangelical movement met in conclave in Texas to choose their standard bearer for the Republican presidential nomination. The white smoke has cleared and Rick Santorum emerged as their Vicar:

Tony Perkins wraps Texas meeting of social conservatives for media, says CBN confirms the report. Slate has this quote from Tony Perkins:

“What I did not think was possible appears to be possible,” said Perkins. After three rounds of balloting, “there emerged a strong consensus around Rick Santorum as the preferred candidate of this room.” It was a “clear, clear majority,” 115 out of 150, by the time other candidates were dropped off the ballot.

Sounds like it was straight out of the Sistine Chapel, doesn’t it? Team Santorum is ecstatic:

Answered Prayer! He brings 3 major voting blocks together! Evangelicals 2. Catholics 3. Jews (strong support of Israel) #GameOn

Santorum challenges box of rocks for the imbecile vote

Timothy Kincaid

January 11th, 2012

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Chafing at the Box of Rocks’ showing in New Hampshire, Rick Santorum was quick today to prove that he – not a box of rocks – is the truly stupid candidate this year. (WSJ)

In South Carolina, Mr. Santorum plans to hit Mr. Romney on issues like championing “Romneycare,” the health-care law he advocated and signed as governor of Massachusetts and “signing marriage licenses for homosexual couples,” said Mr. Gidley [Santorum's national spokesman].

The Box of Rocks’ national spokesman marveled at that comment, noting that governors don’t sign marriage licenses.

What New Hampshire Means

Jim Burroway

January 11th, 2012

As with Iowa, not much in national terms, but for different reasons. It remains to be seen whether New Hampshire or Iowa will stand out as an anomaly. But it may mean something in state politics where there are murmurings that the state legislature may take up a bill repealing that state’s marriage equality law. If state lawmakers looked to these results as an indication of their own electoral futures, they may notice that two of the three top finishers have kept the National Organization for Marriage at arm’s length. Yes, Romney signed and won the primary, but 40% of the the GOP’s own voters backed candidates who didn’t. What’s more, audiences openly booed Santorum’s making Teh Gays a central talking point of his campaign, making that the most visible indication of how Granite Staters feel about anti-gay politics.

Whether that matters in the state legislature or not however isn’t a given. State Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) seems to understand the temperature of the state electorate, and warned the GOP candidates to avoid discussing the state’s effort to repeal its 2009 marriage equality law, declaring such talk “off message” even though she herself is a staunch opponent of marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples, having resigned as Attorney General in protest after Governor John Lynch signed the marriage equality bill into law. But social conservatives have an amazing capacity for self-delusions of power and grandeur. Gingrich’s victory speech last night, which didn’t mention Romney’s inconvenient existence, had Gingrich crowning himself the winner of “the conservative primary” as he all but measured the White House’s drapes. And in a related late-breaking development, a box of rocks moved ahead to edge him out of his third place finish. Meanwhile Perry has already saddled up for South Carolina after pulling out an upset victory over the write-in candidates. Santorum is already there as well, where he hopes his Iowa streak will leave a mark.

Romney Again

Jim Burroway

January 10th, 2012

The results are in for last night’s New Hampshire GOP Primary. There weren’t too many surprises with the final results: Romney, as expected, came in with a strong first place showing. Given that he was governor of neighboring Massachusetts, he was practically a native son in political terms, making his strong showing unsurprising. Also, as expected, Ron Paul came in second. Huntsman was expected to do well in the state, having put all of his eggs in the Granite State basket. He came in third, and it’s not clear where his campaign goes from here.

Gingrich came up short, pulling on only 10% of the vote, as further evidence of his rapidly dropping popularity. A Box of Rocks came on surprisingly strong, ahead of Santorum and Perry. Cowboy Perry barely outpaced the write-ins to finish at the rear, with Santorum settling in just a short distance up it.

And that’s a wrap at BTB Elections Central for New Hampshire. Now it’s on to South Carolina where the fun really begins.

Box of Rocks coasts on to another day of victory

Timothy Kincaid

January 10th, 2012

Today the Box of Rocks sat quietly and was bothered by no one. However, Rick Santorum found himself subjected to chants of “bigot” as he entered a campaign event. Which got me thinking, what does Santorum say on his website about matters of equality (Santorum, not santorum… that’s a different website).

In the section of “What I Believe” titled “Appointing Constitutionalist Justices and Judges Who Refuse to Legislate from the Bench”, he says the following:

Rick Santorum is no stranger to the issue of judges. … in 2004 when activist judges sought to legislate from the bench and redefine marriage, Rick spearheaded the debate in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

First, let’s consider whether that makes any sense at all. As of 2004, not a single Federal Judge had found anything favorable about marriage. However, a number of state judges had concluded that state constitutions disallowed discrimination against gay people and had demanded that either marriage or some equivalent be provided so that citizens can have equal access, so these must be the judges he’s talking about.

Which seems to suggest that Santorum thinks that as President he could appoint “Constitutionalist” state judges. But surely that can’t be the case. Even a box of rocks knows better than that.

But on to his performance. If I were considering how effective a president Rick Santorum could be, I’d look to the issues he spearheaded. And I’d have to say that on the Federal Marriage Amendment, Rick Santorum was a phenomenal failure.

To pass the Senate and be considered by the states, the FMA had to pass both houses of Congress by a two thirds vote. In the House in 2004 that was 290 votes in favor, and in the Senate it required 67. So Sentorum’s goal, his measure of competency, was obtaining 67 Senate votes in favor of the amendment.

There were at that point 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and 1 Independent. To achieve his goal, Santorum needed to keep hold of the presumed support of all 51 Republicans and pick up support of a third of Democrats.

But before he could pass the FMA and start campaigning in the states, he had one further roadblock. He needed to get a vote. And if the Senators don’t want to vote on an issue, they can fillibuster – or just keep talking. As long as a Senator wants to talk – be it about the bill or his neighbor’s dog or reading the phonebook (as as happened) – they are entitled to do so.

However, there is a ‘sit down and shut up’ provision to keep any one Senator from disrupting business. If any Senator wishes to end debate and just vote already, he can call for cloture. And if three fifths (60) Senators agree, debate stops immediately and the bill itself is voted on. So before he could get his 67 Senators to send the FMA to the states, he needed 60 who were wanted to take a vote.

He didn’t even get half.

Santorum managed to get three Democrats to vote on whether to vote (Byrd, Miller, and Nelson), but he lost twice as many Republicans who refused to bring the FMA to cloture (Campbell, Chafee, Collins, Snowe, Sununu, and McCain – yes, that McCain). His cloture vote fell flat 48 to 50 (Senators Kerry and Edwards were unavailable.)

So what Santorum is loudly touting on his website is that on the FMA, he is a failure. A colossal failure. The box of rocks doesn’t have a website and is making no claims as to its ability to spearhead anything. On this matter of intellect and wit, the rocks win. Again.

But to really set himself apart from a box of rocks, Rick Santorum goes further to explain his understanding of the judicial process and the roll of the judiciary in a checked and balanced government:

Rick Santorum believes that the Judiciary is a critical part of our system of government, but it is the third branch of government under our Constitution, and should not act like the first. President Obama often prefers when it does legislate instead of Congress. For example, when he refuses to defend the Congressionally approved Defense of Marriage Act.

Okay, it can be difficult to understand the workings of Santorum’s brain, but if I have this correct, when the President chooses not to defend a law he thinks unconstitutional, then the judiciary is acting like Congress. By hearing argument in a lawsuit brought by the State of Massachusetts, the judiciary is, in Santorum’s words, “legislating from the bench” and is “usurping” the role of Congress.

I’m a bit at loss as to what Santorum thinks the Judiciary is to do when a lawsuit is presented. Really, I’m not being facetious. I have no idea what he thinks is the appropriate response when a State sues the federal government for what it perceives to be an encroachment on states’ rights. I suspect that it all depends on what the position of his Church is on the matter.

Although Rick Santorum served in the Senate for twelve years, it’s abundantly clear that a box of rocks has a far better grasp on the separation of powers and role of the judiciary.

Box of Rocks takes impressive 3-0 lead

Timothy Kincaid

January 9th, 2012

In the battle of intellect between Rick Santorum and a box of rocks, the rocks are making a surprisingly strong showing. While the rocks haven’t said anything incredibly stupid at all today, Rick Santorum described his position on recognition of gay couples thusly:

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The question is do I think I can beat President Obama cuz I have strong feelings on the issue of marriage and other social issues. Everyone on the stage yesterday and the day before has pretty much has the exact same position I have on all those issues. President Obama says he has the same position I have on gay marriage. So people always talk about the… the only difference is between myself and any of them is that when someone asks me a question I answer it.

I must have missed the press conference wherein the President announced that he has the same views on gay marriage as Rick Santorum. But, knowing the President’s positions, we can now conclude that:

Or that Rick Santorum is so incredibly stupid that he doesn’t know what President Obama has said on the subject. (One alternate possibility is that Santorum knows Obama’s position and is betting that his audience does not. Frankly, I don’t think he’s bright enough for that sort of political calculation.)

Box of Rocks – 2; Santorum – 0

Timothy Kincaid

January 7th, 2012

GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum seems determined to illustrate his inability to grasp basic logic concepts. The LA Times brings us his latest.

Reporting from Manchester, N.H.— For the second time in as many days, Rick Santorum waded into the issue of gay marriage, suggesting it was so important for children to have both a father and mother that an imprisoned father was preferable to a same-sex parent.

Citing the work of one anti-poverty expert, Santorum said, “He found that even fathers in jail who had abandoned their kids were still better than no father at all to have in their children’s lives.”

Allowing gays to marry and raise children, Santorum said, amounts to “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to. You may rationalize that that isn’t true, but in your own life and in your own heart, you know it’s true.”

Oddly, my heart doesn’t tell me that depriving children of same sex parents the legal and social protections they need will somehow cause imprisoned heterosexuals to be involved in the lives of their children.

Santorum on discrimination

Timothy Kincaid

January 6th, 2012

CBS News:

“I have a question and it’s about gay people,” asked the first man to be called on at a Santorum town hall meeting here today. “They are children of God too. Do they have the right to marriage? Do they have the right to serve in the military? Should they be treated like any other citizen? Under your presidency, would you protect their rights or would you diminish them?”

Santorum answered that he doesn’t believe marriage or serving in the military are inalienable rights, but “privileges,” adding, “It’s not discrimination not to grant privileges.”

It’s not discrimination not to grant privileges? Really?

The sad thing is that he probably believes it.

Yeah, I know it’s a cheap shot. But really, Rick Santorum is just… well, not very bright. It’s not only that his policies are not well thought through or that his views are theocratic. It’s the man… he’s just… okay I’ll say it, Rick Santorum is stupid.

Santorum’s New Hampshire Catholic problem

Timothy Kincaid

January 6th, 2012

New Hampshire is about 35% Catholic and when you consider those who vote in the Republican primary, I suspect the percentage is higher. Which is really bad news for Rick Santorum, the candidate running to bring US law into conformity with Vatican dictates.

Because “Catholic” in New Hampshire isn’t the same thing as Catholic in the Santorum household (Wall Street Journal)

An October poll by the University of New Hampshire found that state voters overall opposed the repeal bill two-to-one. Among likely GOP primary voters, 47% opposed repeal versus 39% in favor, the poll found.

Pirozzi Monier, a Goffstown, N.H., retiree who was at a town hall held by candidate Rick Santorum Thursday night, says she has “deeply rooted Roman Catholic” beliefs, but said, “Would I be opposed to friends getting married who are gay? No.”

In what she described as a typical New Hampshire attitude, she said she believes in staying out of her friends and neighbors’ business. “I’m old Yankee stock,” she said. ‘Good fences make good neighbors.”

In case you’re exposed to santorum

Timothy Kincaid

January 5th, 2012

Now that Rick Santorum has received some attention in Iowa, it is likely that there will be an uptick in his funding and perhaps an increased expanse in his electioneering. Now I would never dream of telling you to protest Mr. Santorum’s events or even consider hinting to you about of what might be an effective way to make a silent protest… but I think if I were to be exposed to santorum, I’d want some flushable moist wipes with me.

Out Of Many, Fewer

Jim Burroway

January 4th, 2012

One aspect of the GOP race which greatly benefited former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the splintered tea-party/Evangelical vote across five other candidates: Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Ron Paul, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann. It’s worth noting that while Romney is the front-runner by virtue of his narrow Iowa win, his massive war chest and a well-established national organization, three out of four Iowa Republican caucus-goers nevertheless voted against him.

Today, with Bachmann dropping out and Perry going back to Texas to ask God if he still wants him to run, we may begin to see a consolidation of the tea party/Evangelical vote around Santorum. That could be significant.  If the Iowa votes cast for those three “Not Mitt” candidates — Santorum, Bachmann and Perry — all went to Santorum, it would have brought his total up to 40% against Romney’s 25%. Sure, not all of those votes would have consolidated to Santorum; some would have likely drifted over to Romney or Paul, but take a quick glance at the polling data (as all of the campaigns are doing right now) and you can quickly see how the Iowa race would have been very different without that split.

Ron Paul, who came in a solid third in Iowa, probably won’t benefit much from such a consolidation, especially in closed primary states where non-Republicans can’t easily cross over to vote in the GOP primary. Whether a smaller field will help Santorum overcome his huge deficit in money and organization is still an open question. I doubt it.  But social conservative extremists are beginning to see this consolidation as the only way to stay in the game. Bob Vander Plaats, head of Iowa’s anti-gay Family Leader, endorsed Santorum just two weeks ago, not long after Santorum’s campaign admitted that Vander Plaats indirectly solicited money from Santorum’s campaign. (The asking price for an endorsement was reportedly as high as one million dollars.) Today, Vander Plaats is calling on Bachmann, Perry and Gingrich to step out of the race:

“The worst thing that can happen to Mitt Romney is to run head to head against Rick Santorum,” he told reporters at Santorum’s campaign headquarters here tonight. “He wants to have a multiple candidate field, so I think some of these candidates — they need to reassess where they are at tonight.”

…”We did this drill four years ago. Had Fred Thompson not stayed in the race in South Carolina and takes nine percentage points, Huckabee wins South Carolina,” he said.

“If Huckabee wins South Carolina, McCain is out of the race and it’s Huckabee-Romney going into Florida. So what I’m saying is that we have to be smart about getting a pro-family conservative to go up against Mitt Romney.”

Perry is re-assessing and Bachmann has announced that she is “suspending” her campaign. And now we have this shot from Newt Gingrich, which should cause the Romney camp a few headaches this morning:

Laura Ingraham: Can you see a scenario under which the two of you would align together to try to defeat the establishment candidate, Mitt Romney?

Newt Gingrich:Absolutely. Of course. I mean Rick and I have a 20-year friendship, we are both rebels, we both came into this business as reformers, we both dislike deeply the degree to which the establishment sells out the American people. We both think Washington has to be changed in very fundamental ways, and we have lots of things that fit together. And the thing that’s interesting is if you take the votes, you add to that Perry and Bachmann, you begin to see the size of the conservative vote compared to Romney…if you take, you know, Santorum and Perry and Bachmann and Gingrich you get some sense of what a small minority Romney really represents.

Update: Mother Jones’s David Corn says that Newt is ready to settle scores in the time-honored tradition he established as the bomb-throwing House Speaker. Meanwhile, it looks like Perry still thinks he’s in the race despite his fifth place showing in Iowa.

It’s Romney By A Perfectly Coiffed Hair

Jim Burroway

January 4th, 2012

After spending millions of dollars and campaigning more or less nonstop for four years, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney barely squished passed the late surging Sen. Rick Santorum by a mere eight votes. Santorum is now the last Not Mitt in the race, having dethroned a long line of other Anyone-But-Mitts who had held the frontrunner or near-frontrunner status over the past several months. And what a line that was, beginning with Rep. Michele Bachmann, then Texas Gov. Rick Perry, then pizza magnate Herman Cain, then former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, all of whom courted the tea party and Evangelical wings of the GOP. When caucus day came, it just happened to line up with being Santorum’s turn. According to entrance and exit polls, Santorum came in first with the tea party vote and the Evangelical vote, both by wide margins. If you were against abortion or wanted a candidate with “strong moral character,” then you almost certainly voted for Santorum. You also voted for him if you had only made up your mind in the past few days, indicating that he likely captured the vote that had been shifting from one candidate to another in search of the socially conservative Not Mitt for the past several months.

While Santorum soundly won the expectations race in Iowa, it’s hard to see how he can carry the momentum forward through the rest of the long primary season. He’s been effectively broke throughout the race, although this win will likely bring a huge fundraising bonus with it. But it will come too late to put together badly needed organizations in the upcoming races. Already, he has lost the ability to appear on the ballot in Virginia; he had no organization there to collect the signatures and turn them in. And so far, he’s been relatively untouched by the so-called super-PACs which played such a huge role in the campaign. That won’t last long now that he has their attention.

Meanwhile, third place Ron Paul’s entrance and exit poll results reveal his challenges ahead. If his critics charge that he is not a “true Republican” — whatever that’s supposed to mean these days — they can probably find data to back that up. Iowa is an open caucus state, meaning that it’s easy for anyone to show up at a caucus and participate even if they hadn’t been registered as a Republican for very long. Of those who identified as independent, Paul captured 43% of those votes, smashing the rest of the filed with that segment. He also captured 40% of those who claimed they were “moderate or liberal” and 33% of those who had never participated in a caucus before.  These numbers demonstrate the challenge he faces. He came in third in a state with a relatively open caucus. We might expect him to do similarly well in other open primary states as well. But his base of support will almost certainly be sharply curtailed in closed primary states where non-Republicans won’t be allowed to easily change their registration or participate.

Which means that it now looks like the GOP nomination is Mitt’s to lose.

But while we’re discussing Paul, here’s another surprising thing about his numbers. He came in second place among Evangelicals, capturing 18% of the vote behind Santorum’s 32%. That’s comfortably ahead of Romney’s 14%. It’s also well ahead of Gingrich’s and Perry’s 14% each and Bachmann’s 6%. The latter three assiduously courted that vote and lost. Paul’s play for the Evangelical vote took place mostly behind the scenes by hiring anti-gay activist Michael Heath to serve a leading role in the Iowa campaign. It won him the endorsement of a prominent Christian Reconstructionist, who advocated for the death penalty for gay people. Not that Rev. Phil Kayser thought it should be necessary to kill very many homosexuals. Just killing a few of them “would have a tendency of driving homosexuals back into their closets.” It turns out that Paul’s campaign platform of effectively demolishing the role of the Federal Government in most affairs fits in very nicely with Christian Reconstructionsist theology, and Paul’s campaign was initially thrilled with Kayser’s endorsement. “We welcome Rev. Kayser’s endorsement and the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.,” his campaign announced, before quietly erasing that announcement from Ron Paul’s web site with nary an explanation. “We’re thankful for the thoughtfulness with which he makes his endorsement and hope his endorsement and others like it make a strong top-three showing in the caucus more likely.” A top three showing is exactly what he got.

As for the rest, Rick Perry is going back to Texas to find out what God wants him to do next, Michele Bachmann is bowing out so her husband can keep on buying doggie sunglasses in a totally not-gay way, Gingrich has become bored by the whole thing now that he’s not the center of attention, and Jon Huntsman — well, we’re not quite sure where he is exactly.

Paul describes Santorum in one sentence

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011

Speaking to Jay Leno, republican presidential candidate Ron Paul tagged Rick Santorum in one accurate sentence. And no it didn’t include the phrase “frothy mix”.

CNN reports that when Paul was asked on Friday about former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, he said Santorum does not like “gay people and Muslims.”

Yep, that pretty much covers it.

Oh Yeah — Santorum’s Not Down With It Either

Jim Burroway

December 6th, 2011

From CNN:

“I would suggest that we give out humanitarian aid based on humanitarian need, not based on whether people are promoting their particular agenda,” Santorum said. “Obviously the administration is promoting their particular agenda in this country, and now they feel its their obligation to promote those values not just in the military, not just in our society, but now around the world with taxpayer dollars.”

…“He said he’s for traditional marriage, and now he’s promoting gay lifestyles and gay rights, and he’s fighting against traditional marriage within the courts, and I think he needs to be honest,” Santorum said.

GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum joins Gov. Rick Perry in denouncing the Obama Administration’s memorandum on international LGBT human rights abuses.

The Daily Agenda for Saturday, November 19

Jim Burroway

November 19th, 2011

TODAY’S AGENDA (OURS):
Transgender Day of Remembrance: Several locations. While tomorrow is officially the day set aside to remember those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia, some TDoR events are taking place today. TDoR began in reaction to the brutal murder of Rita Hester, who was killed on November 28, 1998. Her murder resulted in the creation of the Remembering Our Dead web site and a candlelight vigil in 1999. In the first nine months of 2011, 116 transgender people have been killed around the world, according to Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM). They also say that there have been at least 681 murders in 50 countries since 2008. Observances for the Transgender Day of Rememberance typically consist of the reading of the names of those who have died because of their gender identity, expression, presentation or perception of gender variance. Observances are being held in cities all around the world. Click here to find an observance near you.

TODAY’S AGENDA (THEIRS):
Thanksgiving Family Forum: Des Moines, IA. The anti-gay Family Leader will host a Thanksgiving Family Forum with GOP presidential candidates Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Ron Paul, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, pizza magnate Herman Cain, and Rep. Michele Bachmann “sitting shoulder to shoulder around a ‘Thanksgiving table’.” That hokey piece of stagecraft is the brainchild of organizer Bob Vander Plaats, who has this as a dress code: “the audience attire will be ‘business casual,’ but the candidates were asked ‘to dress like they’re going to Thanksgiving dinner’.” Which means that one of them will be wearing a loud green sweater with a giant white snowflake.

Noticably absent from the banquet is Gov. Mitt Romney, which has Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats steamed at the snub. “Mitt Romney has dissed this base in Iowa and this diss will not stay in Iowa,” he told Fox News. “This has national tentacles. … This might prove that he is not smart enough to be president. …I think what will happen is what happened in 2008. He’s been in this position before. He’s been on top of polls only to find his campaign tanking and sucking air.” Tell us how you really feel, Bob.

Family Leader promises that “ALL the questions will be centered around issues relating to the family and are designed to gauge the constitutional and biblical worldviews of the candidates.” And to make sure none of the candidates move too far from an anti-gay agenda, two ten-minute segments of the two-hour forum will be headed by Focus On the Family’s Tom Minnery, and the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown. The remainder of the one hour and forty minutes will be moderated by Fox News’ Frank Lutz. It begins at 4:00 p.m. at the First Federated Church in Des Moines. While the event is open to the press, the latest word has it that no major network will be televising it. Thank God for small favors.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
American Council of Christian Churches Calls AIDS “God’s Wrath”: 1989. Peter Steinfels wrote in the New York Times about a gathering earlier in November of U.S. Catholic Bishops in Baltimore that had met to hammer out a document responding to the AIDS crisis. The bishops decided overwhelmingly to reject the theological proposition that AIDS was in any way a punishment from God, a position held by one in four Americans, according to a recent poll. J. Gordon Melton, director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, had published 68 statements on AIDS from 45 different religious groups in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, and found “a remarkable” across both liberal and conservative religious groups recognizing that AIDS was not just a gay problem, and “that special ministries should be established to serve AIDS victims, their families and friends, and that the civil rights of homosexuals or of those with the AIDS virus should be protected.” But, The Times learned, that consensus wasn’t unanimous:

The Bible repeatedly describes God as employing all kinds of terrors, natural and human, to punish those who disobey his commands. These biblical accounts naturally governed the reaction of the American Council of Christian Churches, a fundamentalist group that recently expressed dismay at the consensus discovered by Mr. Melton. The council, which claims to represent about two million ”Bible Christians,” promptly went on record upholding the idea that AIDS is God’s wrath visited on homosexuals and drug addicts, although for their ultimate benefit if they turn to Jesus.

If you know of something that belongs on the Agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

As always, please consider this your open thread for the day.

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