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Posts for February, 2012

Rick Santorum’s delusional response to the Ninth Circuit ruling

Timothy Kincaid

February 8th, 2012

Those who are losing the battle to keep gay citizens relegated to second class status and denied civil equality have a new mantra: “they called me a bigot!”

And, as Rick Santorum illustrated in his comments about yesterday’s Ninth Circuit ruling upholding Judge Walker’s finding that Proposition 8 is a violation of the US Constitution, this claim need not have even the flimsiest of filaments of truth for the martyr’s song to be played.

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The Ninth Circuit decision yesterday said that marriage, if you believe in traditional marriage, between a man and a woman and exclusively that, you are in fact, the only reason you could possibly believe that, is because you are a bigot. That there is no rational basis for you to have marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. There, there’s no, no rational basis. Your belief of marriage between a man and a woman is purely irrational based on hatred and bigotry. That’s what they just wrote.

No. That’s not what they wrote. Not even close.

What the court said was that the State of California could not discriminate in the providing of services to gays and lesbians without a rational basis. And that a rational basis needed to be tied to a legitimate government goal. They didn’t say that any person who opposes equality is irrational, just that there was no legitimate goal which could be rationally tied to the proposition.

But even assuming that Santorum has forgotten anything that he may have incidentally picked up at law school (yeah, he actually went to law school) about rational basis and is every bit as stupid as he appears to be, he simply cannot justify the “hatred and bigotry” claim.

Actually, what the court said was:

Ultimately, the “inevitable inference” we must draw in this circumstance is not one of ill will, but rather one of disapproval of gays and lesbians as a class. “[L]aws singling out a certain class of citizens for disfavored legal status or general hardships are rare.” Romer, 517 Ë.Í. at 633. Under Romer, we must infer from Proposition 8′s effect on California law that the People took away from gays and lesbians the right to use the official designation of ‘marriage’—and the societal status that accompanies it—because they disapproved of these individuals as a class and did not wish them to receive the same official recognition and societal approval of their committed relationships that the State makes available to opposite-sex couples.

This is an accurate assessment. Disapproval and a desire not to give the same official recognition. No reference to hatred or bigotry and no name calling at all.

Either Santorum is astonishingly stupid, an unabashed liar, or accidentally let slip his own personal motivations.

Rick Rolls Romney

Jim Burroway

February 8th, 2012

It was a huge night for Sen. Rick Santorum, whose triple-play win last night seems to show that Republican primary voters and caucus voters are still looking for that anybody-but-Mitt candidate. And it was that dissatisfaction with the presumptive nominee that allowed Santorum to dominate the field like a man on a dog.

In Missouri’s primary, Santorum captured his biggest win with 55% of the vote, more than twice as much as Gov. Mitt Romney’s 25% showing. Rep. Ron Paul came in at 12%, and 4% selected “uncommitted,” which can be read either as a Newt Gingrich vote (Gingrich failed to qualify for Missouri’s ballot) or as “none of the above.” Santorum scored a total shutout in Missouri, winning every single county in the state.

Missouri’s primary election is an oddity. There are no delegates up for grabs. In fact, the voting there is largely meaningless because the delegates won’t be selected until the state party convention on April 21, and there is no relationship between last nights votes and how the party’s state delegates are ultimately chosen. Missouri GOP leaders are free to heed or ignore last night’s vote altogether. So how well last night’s results will translate into delegates remains an open question.

But in the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses, the fight for delegates was real, and Santorum had a similarly spectacular night there as well. In Minnesota, Santorum pulled in 45% of the vote and six delegates. Paul came in second with 27% of the vote (3 delegates), followed by Romney at 17% (2 delegates) and Gingrich at 11% (1 delegate). Yes, you read that right: Paul beat Romney in Minnesota. And like in Missouri, Romney didn’t win a single county in Minnesota either.

But the real surprise was Colorado, where Romney was expected to do well. Instead, Santorum took the state with 40% of caucus voters (earning 5 delegates) against Romney’s 35% (4 delegates), followed by Gingrich’s 13% (2 delegates) and Paul’s 12% (1 delegate).

The worst loser of the night would have to be Gingrich. He had a terrible showing, which is bound to have an impact to his already troubled fundraising. Santorum, on the other hand, may be able to use these wins to convince Republican voters to give him another look — and GOP anybody-but-Mitt donors somewhere else to put their money.

But speaking of money, Romney’s drubbing shows that there are limits to how far nearly-unlimited financial resources can go. Romney’s win last week in Florida had pundits believing that it was now his election to lose. It now looks like Midwesterners are thinking maybe he should. Lose, that is.

Presidential Candidates React

Jim Burroway

February 7th, 2012

Mitt Romney does it old school, via a press relase:

“Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”

Newt Gingrich, via Twitter:

“Court of Appeals overturning CA’s Prop 8 another example of an out of control judiciary. Let’s end judicial supremacy”

Rick Santorum, also via Twitter:

“7M Californians had their rights stripped away today by activist 9th Circuit judges. As president I will work to protect marriage.”

Ron Paul:

Press Secretary Jay Carney on behalf of President Obama:

“I’m not going to comment on litigation particularly as here where we are not party to it, but the president’s positions on these issues writ large are well known, and he’s long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny right and benefits to same-sex couples.”

On the flip side, former GOP Presidentical candidate, current Libertarian Party Presidentical candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson tweeted:

“Prop 8 – Sometimes a Court gets it right”

Gingrich Defeats Romney!

Jim Burroway

February 1st, 2012

That’s Gingrich’s takeaway anyway, vowing to keep on campaigning in the 46 remaining states (even though he failed to make Virginia’s ballot). And he did trounce Romney among those who identified as Tea Party supporters, Evangelicals, and the “very conservative.” Gingrich’s geographical strength also was revealing. Romney carried central and southern Florida, home to a lot of people who moved there from the north, while Gingrich carried northern Florida and the panhandle, which is more representative of the type of voters found in the rest of the South.

But after trouncing Romney in South Carolina, Gingrich couldn’t hold up against Romney’s improved debate performance and overwhelming financial advantages.Romney won with 46%, taking all 50 delegates up for grabs, while Gingrich came in a very second with 32%. The real story in the next few weeks will be how that affects Gingrish’s ability to raise money between now and Super Tuesday. As for the rest of the lineup, Santorum trailed the Box of Rocks with 13% of the vote, and Paul pulled up the rear with 7%. It should be noted however that Paul wasn’t really contesting Florida. While the other three are campaigning for votes and momentum, Paul is in it for the delegates. With Florida’s winner-take-all contest and the impossibility that Paul could come in first, the ability to rack up any delegates in this contest was nill. So he wisely decided not to spend much time and money campaigning there. And if there’s one thing we know about Paul, it’s that he may not be rich, but he certainly knows how to deal with money.

Santorum wins in Iowa!! (kinda)

Timothy Kincaid

January 19th, 2012

“Wasn’t that weeks ago?” you may be wondering. “And didn’t Romney win by 8 votes?”

Mitt Romney 30,015
Rick Santorum 30,007

Well, that was with 100% of the precincts counted. But now that the Iowa Republican Party leadership has officially “lost” eight precincts, the official winner is Rick Santorum:

Rick Santorum 29,839
Mitt Romney 29,805

No, I’m not making this up. In a scenario that could only be dreamed up by Dodgson, the leadership of the Republican Party in the great state of Iowa have “officially” declared Santorum to have received more votes than Romney in their (meaningless) caucus tally. (WaPo)

“It’s done,” said a party spokesman, who asked that his name not be used. About the missing votes, he said: “We never got ‘em. We tried to track ‘em down, and for whatever reason, we don’t have them.”

Romney graciously chose not to debate the validity of a tally based on “lost” ballots, saying, “The results from Iowa caucus night revealed a virtual tie . . .We once again recognize Rick Santorum for his strong performance in the state.”

But in characteristic manner, Rick Santorum gloated.

This latest defeat of Governor Romney in Iowa is just the beginning, and Rick Santorum is committed to continuing the fight as the clear, consistent conservative voice in this race.

I’m guessing that Rick Santorum actually believes that when they lose your opponents votes, it means that you’ve “defeated” him. The Box of Rocks, which has been enjoying some quiet time with its family, said through a spokesman, “I really pity that man. He is dumber than… well… it’s hard to come up with a comparison.”

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

20120115-162432.jpg

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

20120111-165713.jpg

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.

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