U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is upset about President Obama's comments that a Supreme Court decision to overturn the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, would represent “unprecedented, extraordinary” judicial activism. Senator McConnell said today that the president is trying to "intimidate" the Supreme Court: “With his words, he was no longer trying to embarrass the Court after a decision; rather, he tried to intimidate it before a decision has been made. And that should be intolerable to all of us.” Oh, cry me a river. Senator McConnell is ignoring the right's decades-long assault on an independent judiciary. Last year, for example, Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that judges who make decisions he think represent judicial activism should be arrested. Gingrich has also said that judges who engage in what he calls "judicial supremacy" should be impeached. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also attacks what he considers judicial activism and argues that judges can be held "accountable" by ending lifetime tenure. He even calls the Supreme Court "nine oligarchs in robes." Read More
Just a few days ago we told you about a good ol’ tactic right-wingers like to use: questioning a politician’s Christianity or claiming the politician is not Christian at all.
This morning it was Franklin Graham’s turn. Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe taking questions from the panel. The conversation went something like this (quotes paraphrased):
MSNBC: Is President Obama a Christian?
Graham: Ask him. I assume he is, but it’s not for me to say.
MSNBC: What about Mormon Mitt Romney, is he a Christian?
Graham: I can’t know what’s in another man’s heart.
MSNBC: Is Rick Santorum a Christian?
Graham: Oh, totally.
MSNBC: But you just said …
Graham: I know what I said. Rick Santorum is a Christian.
MSNBC: Isn’t that a double standard?
Graham: You have to look at what a person does with his life (this one is an actual quote). Oh, and by the way, thrice-married Newt Gingrich is a Christian, too.
You just can’t make this stuff up. A little background:
Back in 2007, actor Chuck “Walker, Texas Ranger” Norris attacked the Texas Freedom Network because we had pointed to dangerous flaws in proposed legislation requiring that Texas public schools teach classes about the Bible. Calling TFN “paranoid,” Norris falsely argued that we were “fighting against the very positions and purposes for which our Founding Fathers raised up this country.” Fortunately, the bill passed only after we succeeded in adding to it nearly all of the safeguards for religious freedom we had proposed.
In any case, the year before — in 2006 — Norris and his wife had also joined the board of directors of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. “There has been a great social regression since the Bible was removed from our schools,” that right-wing evangelical organization claims on its website.
Of course, there isn’t a shred of evidence to support such an absurd claim. But that hasn’t stopped the National Council, Norris and other religious-righters from trying to claim the moral high ground in the culture wars they declared long ago.
Then today Norris
Today Texas Gov. Rick Perry ended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and threw his support behind former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia. Perry’s withdrawal from the race wasn’t a big surprise — his support in polls was very low after a series of embarrassing stumbles and gaffes over the past few months.
On the other hand, Perry’s endorsement of Gingrich is at least a little surprising. The Texas governor had aggressively courted conservative evangelical voters throughout a campaign that began just after he hosted a large prayer rally in a Houston football stadium last August. Perry had repeatedly pointed to his positions on social issues, including his desire to “protect” traditional marriage by opposing same-sex unions. But he decided to support thrice-married Gingrich anyway.
Moreover, just before today’s announcement, ABC News released an excerpt of an interview with one of Gingrich’s former wives. She says Gingrich had asked her for an open marriage so that he could continue an affair with the woman who would become his third (and current) wife.
In her most provocative comments, the ex-Mrs. Gingrich said… Read More
The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the fringe-right American Family Association as a hate group, but that didn’t stop politicians from flocking to AFA’s religious-right confab in Iowa this weekend. Yesterday, for example, maybe-presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke at the event, and he praised another speaker we’re all familiar with: phony historian David Barton, who says separation of church and state is a myth and has flirted with white supremacist groups. Mother Jones quotes Gingrich:
“I never listen to David Barton without learning a whole lot of new things. It’s amazing how much he knows and how consistently he applies that knowledge.”
And what did Gingrich learn during Barton’s speech at the event? Well, Jesus hates taxes — progressive income taxes, estate taxes, even the capital gains tax:
“Jesus has two entire teachings on the capital gains tax.”
Seriously, David? Oh, and Barton says Jesus doesn’t like the minimum wage either. One might be excused for wondering which Holy Book Barton is sourcing on all this: the Bible or the Republican Party platform?