Why Is There So Much God in Our Politics? The Religious Right’s Theocratic Plan for the 2012 Election

“; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” (Article VI, Constitution of the United States.

From: Church and State magazine, via AlterNet

N.B.: “; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”  (Article VI, Constitution of the United States.

By: Rob Boston

“He’s been married three times and is an admitted adulterer, features that would seem to make Newt Gingrich an unlikely standard-bearer for the hyper-moralistic brigades of the Religious Right. But with a little mental gymnastics, all things are possible.

“Maybe the guy in the race that would make the best president is on his third marriage,” Steve Deace, a prominent Religious Right leader in Iowa, recently mused to writer Michelle Goldberg of “The Daily Beast” website. “How do we reconcile that?”

One way is to do what Deace did and compare Gingrich with King David, the Old Testament figure who committed adultery with another man’s wife but later repented.

“I see a lot of parallels between King David and Newt Gingrich, two extraordinary men gifted by God, whose lives include very high highs and very low lows,” Deace added.

The rise of Gingrich, whose campaign was on life support as recently as the summer, has stunned many political analysts. Once again, they may have underestimated the Religious Right.

In an unusually religion-soaked primary season, faith has been front and center for months, as a crowded field of GOP hopefuls seeks to assure conservative Christians that they’re ready to hoist the banner for faith and family, as the Religious Right defines those terms.

The Almighty has frequently been pressed into service. Addressing a crowd of young Republicans in Atlanta Nov. 12, businessman Herman Cain, who has since suspended his campaign, announced that God told him to run for president.

“I had to do a lot of praying for this one, more praying than I have ever done before in my life,” Cain said. “And when I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses: ‘You have got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’… Once I made the decision, I did not look back.”

But there was a problem: Cain was the fourth Republican candidate to claim God’s blessing. The deity also convinced U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to run and gave a green light to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. For good measure, God assured Karen Santorum, wife of former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, that her husband should also be in the race.

God, it is said, works in mysterious ways. Those who claim to serve God – or, in this case, the Religious Right – usually work in more predictable ways. And this campaign season has seen the Religious Right playing its appointed role: purging the Republican Party of moderates and working to keep the candidates as closely aligned with its theocratic vision as possible.

It would be easy to argue that the Religious Right is seeking to dominate the GOP race – and is doing a pretty good job of it. For months, political pundits ensconced in Washington, D.C., insisted that the race was really no race at all. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney would be the nominee, they declared.

Just one problem: Republican voters hadn’t signed off on that deal. As summer blended into fall, poll watchers noted with interest that Romney rarely cracked 25 percent support in any national poll. Furthermore, other candidates were constantly nipping at his heels and sometimes overtaking him.

In late summer, Perry briefly topped Romney in national polls before self-destructing due to a string of debate gaffes. Cain then took the lead, before he tumbled over allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity and announced on Dec. 3 that he was suspending his campaign. By that point, Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, had leaped ahead.

It didn’t take a CNN political analyst to figure out what was going on: Romney’s support just wasn’t that deep, and the candidate hadn’t generated much genuine enthusiasm. Among Religious Right voters especially, the Mormon who served one term as governor of a bluer-than-blue state was looking like a crap shoot. Some Religious Right activists signed onto Romney’s campaign seeing him as the most likely person to depose President Barack Obama, whom they despise. But plenty of others continued to press for a purer candidate.

For their part, most of the GOP contenders worked hard to win Religious Right support. In October, every major hopeful spoke at the Values Voter Summit, an annual confab held by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and other groups. (See “Bombast, Bigotry and the Bible,” November 2011 Church & State.)

On Nov. 19, the Religious Right significantly upped the ante. Three groups – the Iowa-based Family Leader, the National Organization for Marriage and CitizenLink (the overtly political arm of Focus on the Family) – sponsored a forum on “values” issues at First Federated Church in Des Moines.

For more than two hours, six candidates focused on Religious Right concerns: abortion, same-sex marriage, the role of religion in public life and so on. The moderator, Republican pollster Frank Luntz, also gave each candidate a chance to explain his or her Christian faith and tell personal stories about times when they’ve had to rely on God.

Romney, perhaps having no desire to spend two hours explaining Mormon theology to a crowd of fundamentalist Christians, skipped the event. But the other attendees were eager for the chance to assure Religious Right voters of their solidarity. Highlights included Gingrich’s assertion that no atheist is fit to be president and several candidates’ tearful retellings of medical emergencies they faced.

Aside from the forum, Religious Right forces are active across the country but especially in Iowa, where the movement’s foot soldiers have a headlock on the state Republican Party apparatus. In many other politically critical states, Religious Right groups are moving aggressively to implement “get-out-the-vote” programs to increase turnout by far-right church-goers.

Former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, having failed as a political consultant and a novelist, has gone back to his roots and is now running the Faith & Freedom Coalition. Backed by right-wing fat cats, Reed has vowed to contact 29 million religious conservative and Tea Party voters in 2012. While notorious for exaggerating, Reed’s operation is being lauded as the bridge between Religious Right voters and the anti-government Tea Party brigades.

Some new faces are also on the scene. The Response, a Pentecostal-themed movement that gave a boost to Perry by holding a massive Houston prayer rally shortly before he announced, is striving to go nationwide. The group, which has a distinctly theocratic dominionist character, held a prayer event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, shortly before the Iowa caucuses. Although pitched as a call for national revival, the rally’s close proximity to the nation’s first voting event of 2012 raised eyebrows.

In addition, a group of wealthy venture capitalists in northern California is bankrolling United in Purpose, a group that vows to register five million far-right Christians for the 2012 election. Like Reed, the Silicon Valley-funded group pins its hopes on a sophisticated voter ID program that claims to track people by how they’ve voted in the past and by their magazine subscriptions and even the purchases they’ve made online.

United in Purpose has been flogging a video called “One Nation Under God,” which it is urging supporters to show at local events. The video features “Christian nation” advocate David Barton, Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson and anti-abortion activist Lila Rose, but the only candidate it gives air time to is Gingrich.

The group also plans to target conservative pastors.

“They’re the shepherds of the flock,” Bill Dallas, the group’s head, told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a great mass media channel.”

Indeed, pastors who lead fundamentalist flocks are under quite a bit of scrutiny this election season. Outfits like the Family Research Council and the Faith & Freedom Coalition will be targeting pastors for political action, urging them to exhort congregants on their Christian duty to vote. Pastors will also be asked to distribute biased “voter guides” produced by groups like the Faith & Freedom Coalition that purport to objectively compare candidates’ views but in reality always portray the GOP office-seeker favorably.

Some organizations are going beyond that. For several years now, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Religious Right legal group founded by TV and radio preachers, has been prodding pastors to openly defy federal law by endorsing or opposing candidates from the pulpit. Every fall, the ADF sponsors “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” a day during which pastors are urged to intervene in elections.

The ADF, a $35-million-a-year operation based in Scottsdale, Ariz., claims that more than 500 pastors took part in the project in 2011, and the group is aiming for even more in 2012, when “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will take place on Oct. 7.

What does all of this Religious Right involvement mean for American politics? Although many Americans may not realize it, the theocratic right has had a profound effect on the political system and has helped reshape the American political landscape.

More than 30 years ago, when the modern version of the Religious Right was launched, the Rev. Jerry Falwell and other leaders talked openly about taking over the Republican Party. They soon began doing it. During the heyday of TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, political analysts used to track the growth of the Religious Right in the states, noting that its shock troops held a controlling interest in many state GOP branches.

Now firmly entrenched in the party apparatus, Religious Right operatives have become a force that cannot be ignored. Republican hopefuls on the national stage bypass this movement at their peril. (It’s no coincidence that one former GOP presidential candidate who refused to continually kowtow to the Religious Right, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, was mired in the single digits before quitting the race.)

At the national level, the Religious Right has helped push the GOP much farther to the right, acting as a screen that filters out moderates.

Thanks largely to the Religious Right, liberal Republicans are an all- but-extinct species. Even moderates are becoming scarce in the party. While this wasn’t all the Religious Right’s doing, the movement certainly played a key role through its constant promotion of “culture war” issues.

This year, Religious Right groups had hoped to coalesce early behind a single candidate and propel him or her to the nomination. For a number of reasons, it didn’t work out. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, a favorite of the Religious Right, decided to sit out the race. Some candidates, notably Bachmann when she was in the race and Santorum, aggressively wooed the Religious Right by putting culture war issues at the crux of their campaign but are perceived as unlikely to prevail over Obama.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) actually has a fairly strong record in support of Religious Right issues but his libertarian focus on shrinking the size of the federal government and anti-war stance hurt him with fundamentalists.

That left Romney by default – until Gingrich began to rise. But the former speaker has yet to seal the deal, and some in the Religious Right remain skeptical.

In late November, Gingrich got some unsolicited advice from Richard Land, a lobbyist with the Southern Baptist Convention. Land warned Gingrich, a convert to Roman Catholicism, that evangelical women are concerned over his matrimonial track record.

“You need to make it as clear as you possibly can that you deeply regret your past actions and that you do understand the anguish and suffering they caused others including your former spouses,” wrote Land in an open letter to Gingrich. “Make it as clear as you can that you have apologized for the hurt your actions caused and that you have learned from your past misdeeds.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, also believes Gingrich has some work to do. Gingrich has been on a tear attacking “secular socialism” for months and blasting courts for upholding church-state separation – he has even proposed impeaching certain federal judges – but Perkins told Fox News that the former speaker needs to stress social issues even more so religious conservatives will realize he’s sincere.

Ironically, the internal divisions among the Religious Right may do exactly what they don’t want: provide a boost to Obama. In the lead-up to the 2008 election, followers of the Religious Right splintered over the flock of GOP candidates. U.S. Sen. John McCain captured the nomination but failed to generate significant enthusiasm among the far right. Obama’s team, meanwhile, did aggressive outreach to religious groups and even managed to peel off some evangelical support.

Obama is employing the same strategy again. In October, Obama met with top leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals at the White House. He has also met with leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, a key constituency whose membership includes a lot of swing voters.

In late November, Democratic leaders held a press conference in Washington, during which they vowed to aggressively reach out to religious groups and voters.

The Daily Caller, a conservative website, reported that U.S. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who heads up religious outreach for the party, said, “As we organize going forward to next year there will be significant efforts on our part to reconnect the fundamentals of our policies to the teachings that we all learned, be it in the Old Testament or the New Testament.”

Clyburn added that in the past, Democrats “were so strong in our doctrine that there ought to be a separation of church and state, that we often took it to an extreme, and I think that’s how we got disconnected [from voters].”

Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn said he regrets the Religious Right’s influence over the presidential campaign and U.S. political life. The culture war obsessions of the Religious Right, Lynn said, don’t reflect the concerns of most Americans.

“Our nation faces many serious problems, but a lack of religion in our political system isn’t one of them,” remarked Lynn. “In fact, this election has already become deeply entangled with religion, with four candidates now claiming that God told them to run. Enough is enough.”

Rob Boston is the assistant director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which publishes Church and State magazine.

Emphasis Mine

see:http://www.alternet.org/story/153685/why_is_there_so_much_god_in_our_politics_the_religious_right%27s_theocratic_plan_for_the_2012_election?akid=8157.123424.Pq9QR6&rd=1&t=12

Politicians’ Public Acts Trump Their Personal Behavior

From National Memo,

by Cynthia Tucker

“I don’t want to talk about Newt Gingrich’s many marriages. I really don’t. Nor do I want to talk about an alleged extramarital affair that Herman Cain may have carried on for 13 years. There are so many better reasons to doubt the leadership skills of both men — sound, practical grounds to resist their claims of fitness for the nation’s highest office.

But we are destined for several more news cycles, it seems, dominated by the personal peccadilloes of public men. There are several reasons for that, but none more important than this: Cain and Gingrich belong to a political club that has branded itself the Party of Purest Personal Morality. The GOP has not worn its “family values” mantle wisely or well, but it insists on wearing it still.

So here we are, witnessing the spectacle of new and firmly denied charges of adultery (Cain) grabbing headlines while old, more-or-less acknowledged facts of adultery (Gingrich) are relegated to footnotes. Is there a statute of limitations?

(I don’t want to confuse allegations of a consensual affair with serious charges of sexual harassment and assault, which have also been leveled against Cain. Sexual harassment is an abuse of power that often crosses the line into illegal treatment of employees; it deserves public disclosure.)

For decades, I’ve watched as the flimsy veil of privacy afforded to presidential candidates was ripped, flayed and finally shred to tiny scraps, leaving every medical infirmity, every romance, every intemperate moment exposed to public view. I’m not sure we are better off for that.

The presidency of John F. Kennedy seems impossible now, given his very active social life. Lyndon Johnson would have been brought down by his lechery long before Vietnam did him in. The entrance of women into the presidential press corps did much to bring the private lives of politicians into public view. Feminists, understandably, rebelled against a journalistic standard that allowed too many powerful men to treat their wives shabbily while basking in the glow of an adoring public who believed them to be public servants of unblemished moral character.

But there was a certain naivete about the revelations that became standard news fare with the hapless Gary Hart: They sully a politician’s reputation without telling us much about the person’s character. Some voters still believe that a politician who lies to his spouse is unworthy of office because he cannot be trusted to keep his marriage vow. That thinking suggests that any person who betrays his sacred marital pledge will certainly betray the country sooner or later.

Alas, humankind is much too complicated for such a simple rule to be true. While Bill Clinton’s philandering kept his GOP rivals occupied for much of his second term, George W. Bush was never accused of stepping outside the bonds of marriage. Who was the better president? Clinton lied, disgustingly so, about Monica Lewinsky, but he didn’t lie about an issue critical to the fate of the republic.

Bush may never have betrayed his wife, but he betrayed the entire country by taking us to war on the wings of a wretched lie. Nothing about his marriage could have informed us about his capacity for deceiving the public.

So, does a politician’s personal life tell us anything we need to know? Perhaps.

If the politician is someone like Gingrich, who led the Republican House of Representatives when it impeached Clinton, it tells us much about his capacity for sheer, brazen hypocrisy. During the impeachment process, Gingrich was carrying on an extramarital affair with Callista Bisek, who later became his third wife.

Of course, Gingrich’s capacity for stunning hypocrisy was already clear before that. So is the hypocrisy of many “family values” Republicans, who cannot be bothered to care for poor children once they are outside the womb, who denounce gay couples as threats to heterosexual marriage, and who would split up immigrant families if any member is in the country illegally. Their public record tells us all we need to know.

We don’t need to peer through the keyhole to figure out whether our politicians are men and women of decency and integrity. Just look at what they do in public.”

(Cynthia Tucker, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a visiting professor at the University of Georgia. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.)

Emphasis Mine

see: http://nationalmemo.com/content/politicians-public-acts-trump-their-personal-behavior

 

 

Economist: Idea That Deregulation Leads To Jobs ‘Just Made Up’

“Republicans favor tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, but these had no stimulative effect during the George W. Bush administration, and there is no reason to believe that more of them will have any today,” writes Bruce Bartlett. He’s an economist who worked for Republican congressmen and in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

From HuffPost – see link below

N.B. If deregulation created jobs, we would have had a labor shortage by 2008.

WASHINGTON — Key proposals from the Republican presidential candidates might make for good campaign fodder. But independent analyses raise serious questions about those plans and their ability to cure the nation’s ills in two vital areas, the economy and housing.

Consider proposed cuts in taxes and regulation, which nearly every GOP candidate is pushing in the name of creating jobs. The initiatives seem to ignore surveys in which employers cite far bigger impediments to increased hiring, chiefly slack consumer demand.

“Republicans favor tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, but these had no stimulative effect during the George W. Bush administration, and there is no reason to believe that more of them will have any today,” writes Bruce Bartlett. He’s an economist who worked for Republican congressmen and in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

As for the idea that cutting regulations will lead to significant job growth, Bartlett said in an interview, “It’s just nonsense. It’s just made up.

Government and industry studies support his view.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks companies’ reasons for large layoffs, found that 1,119 layoffs were attributed to government regulations in the first half of this year, while 144,746 were attributed to poor “business demand.”

Mainstream economic theory says governments can spur demand, at least somewhat, through stimulus spending. The Republican candidates, however, have labeled President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus efforts a failure. Instead, most are calling for tax cuts that would primarily benefit high-income people, who are seen as the likeliest job creators.

“I don’t care about that,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry told The New York Times and CNBC, referring to tax breaks for the rich. “What I care about is them having the dollars to invest in their companies.”

Many existing businesses, however, have plenty of unspent cash. The 500 companies that comprise the S&P index have about $800 billion in cash and cash equivalents, the most ever, according to the research firm Birinyi Associates.

The rating firm Moody’s says the roughly 1,600 companies it monitors had $1.2 trillion in cash at the end of 2010. That’s 11 percent more than a year earlier.

Small businesses rate “poor sales” as their biggest problem, with government regulations ranking second, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Of the small businesses saying this is not a good time to expand, half cited the poor economy as the chief reason. Thirteen percent named the “political climate.”

More small businesses complained about regulation during the administrations of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, according to an analysis of the federation’s data by the liberal Economic Policy Institute.

Such findings notwithstanding, further cuts in taxes and regulations remain popular with GOP voters. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that most Democrats and about half  of independents think “reducing environmental and other regulations on business” would do little or nothing to create jobs. But only one-third of Republicans felt that way.

The GOP’s presidential hopefuls are shaping their economic agendas along those lines.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says his 59-point plan “seeks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation and government programs.”

Businessman Herman Cain would significantly cut taxes for the wealthy with his 9 percent flat tax plan. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said in a recent debate, “It’s the regulatory burden that costs us $1.8 trillion every year. … It’s jobs that are lost.”

The candidates have said little about another national problem: depressed home prices, as well as the high numbers of foreclosures and borrowers who owe more than their houses are worth.

After the Oct. 18 GOP debate in Las Vegas, a center of foreclosure activity, editors of the AOL Real Estate site wrote, “We didn’t hear any meaningful solutions to the housing crisis. That’s no surprise, considering that housing has so far been a ghost issue in the campaign.”

To the degree the candidates addressed housing, they mainly took a hands-off approach. “We need to get government out of the way,” Cain said. “It starts with making sure that we can boost this economy and then reform Dodd-Frank,” which is a law that regulates Wall Street transactions.

Bachmann, in an answer that mentioned “moms” six times, said foreclosures fall most heavily on women who are “losing their nest for their children and for their family.” She said Obama “has failed you on this issue of housing and foreclosures. I will not fail you on this issue.” Bachmann offered no specific remedies.

Romney told editors of the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom. Allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up.”

Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the Texas governor’s “immediate remedy for housing is to get America working again. … Creating jobs will address the housing concerns that are impacting communities throughout America.”

Bartlett, whose books on tax policy include “The Benefit and the Burden,” recently wrote in the New York Times: “People are increasingly concerned about unemployment, but Republicans have nothing to offer them.”

The candidates and their supporters dispute this, of course. A series of scheduled debates may give them chances to explain why their proposals would hit the right targets.

Emphasis Mine

see:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/gop-candidates-plans-on-economy-housing_n_1066949.html

The Definitive Guide to Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in the 2012 Republican Primaries (So Far)

The Republican field for 2012 is pretty competitive–when it comes to regressive statements and bigotry, that is.

From AlterNet, by Sally Kohn

“There is a reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital. Stretched out between the memories of two presidents, the water reminds us that politics are merely a reflection of American society, for better or worse. The best of our society was on display 48 years ago when hundreds of thousands of Americans stood in scenic unity along the reflecting pool in support of civil rights. Today, the 2012 presidential elections reflect a nation still plagued by bias and inequality. Troubled and ugly waters indeed.

The following is a guide to use when you consider casting a vote for one of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates. You may be among the Americans who have lost faith in Obama or the Democratic Party and pondering a step to the right. Faulty as the Democrats may be, read this guide and remember that liberals still believe abolishing slavery was a good idea and that women should not be confined to the kitchen—which is not something you can say about all of the Republican contenders.

Rick Santorum, Former Senator from Pennsylvania

In 2003, then-Sen. Santorum conflated being gay with bigamy, incest and having sex with farm animals, then said, “That’s not to pick on homosexuality.” Really?

Later, Sen. Santorum actually copped to his prejudices, but spun them as a positive trait. “You can say I’m a hater, but I would argue I’m a lover,” Santorum said. “I’m a lover of traditional families and of the right of children to have a mother and father…. I would argue that the future of America hangs in the balance.” Sounds like a hater to me.

In 2008, Santorum tried to manufacture liberal angst about then-candidate Barack Obama, saying Democrats feared Obama “may go to Indonesia and bow to more Muslims.” That’s not to pick on Muslims, right? Still, the one thing I can say about Santorum is at least he’s openly and consistently bigoted. There’s something oddly old fashioned about that.

Michele Bachmann, Representative from Minnesota

Bachmann signed the infamous “black kids were better off under slavery” pledge and ushered in a real high point in the campaign season as pundits struggled in-artfully to talk about the nation’s ugly racial history. Then Bachmann demeaned President Obama’s economic policies by alleging he’s tying the U.S. economy to Zimbabwe.

But Bachmann is not all rhetoric—she takes it to the streets. In 2006, then State Sen. Bachmann hid behind a bush to spy on a gay rights rally, crouching with her husband Marcus who runs a cure-away-the-gay reparative therapy organization of which she is “extremely proud.”

Speaking of her husband, Bachmann’s gender does not make her a feminist. She once told wives “to be submissive to your husbands” like she was when Marcus told her to go to grad school and run for Congress. “I was going to be faithful to what I felt God was calling me to do through my husband,” Bachmann said.

Herman Cain, Former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza

I hate to suggest that an otherwise ridiculously under-qualified black conservative is only a contender for the Republican nod because mildly self-aware conservative voters think they can cover up their profound racial resentment toward the current black president by endorsing Cain. So I won’t suggest it.

Rick Perry, Governor of Texas

Gov. Perry has some extreme beliefs. “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme,” and “Medicare needs to be changed or potentially abolished” are two that have gotten lots of attention since he joined the race. But it’s his constant embrace of “states’ rights” that has me most worried, given that “state’s rights” was a pro-segregation refrain when white southerners wanted to preserve the right to own slaves. And taking “state’s rights” to a whole new creepy level, Perry has actually endorsed the idea of Texas seceding to become a separate nation. Maybe the Confederate flag can be re-appropriated?

There’s more. Activists and bloggers are now digging into Perry’s relationship with David Barton, a pseudo-historian and close ally of Glenn Beck who has argued that the California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were “God’s punishment for tolerating gays.” Barton also argued that Martin Luther King, Jr., doesn’t deserve credit for civil rights because “only majorities can expand political rights“—in other words, Barton thinks white people in power should get all the credit. If Obama got flack for his ties to Jeremiah Wright, Perry should be scrutinized for his embrace of Barton and his extremism.

Ron Paul, Representative from Texas

The libertarian member of Congress has said plainly that he would have voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And a newsletter Paul published in 1992 says the Los Angeles riots only stopped when blacks went to “pick up their welfare checks.” Another Paul newsletter alleged that black children “are trained to hate whites, to believe that white oppression is responsible for all black ills, to ‘fight the power,’ to steal and loot as much money from the white enemy as possible.” Paul has denied authoring these newsletters, though they were published by him and called “The Ron Paul Political Report.” Perhaps for Paul—or whoever he let write under his name—libertarianism means government shouldn’t stop people like him from being racist.

Mitt Romney, Former Governor of Massachusetts

In April of this year, Romney said conservatives have to hang something called the Obama Misery Index “around [the President’s] neck.” In the same speech, Romney tried to step it back, saying “We’re going to hang him—uh, so to speak, metaphorically—with, uh, with, uh—you have to be careful these days, I’ve learned that.” It was either an idiotic choice of metaphors or a revealing slip of the noose—I mean tongue. In the past, Romney has used the racial epithet “tar baby” to demean government programs.

And if Obama has Jeremiah Wright and Rick Perry has David Barton, some wonder whether Romney should have to answer for the racist history of the Mormon Church, which until 1978 did not allow blacks to become priests or lead certain ordinances. In 1963, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was quoted in Life Magazine defending his religion’s racism, saying, “Darkies are wonderful people.”

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney was for marriage equality before he was against it. Now, to prove his homophobic bona fides, he’s signed an anti-gay marriage pledge by the National Organization for Marriage. Santorum and Bachmann have also signed.

Jon Huntsman, Former Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China

Last but not least, there’s Jon Huntsman. But the fact is he is far too knowledgeable, experienced and, above all, reasonable to have a shot at winning with the increasingly fringe Republican base. Huntsman has far too few overt or even veiled racist, sexist or homophobic rants under his belt to gain popularity with today’s influential right wing voters.

Oh, and I’ve skipped Newt Gingrich, because he’s a joke even to Republicans.

+++

Whether it’s a reflection of actual values or of the values that GOP candidates feel they must project, all the people above oppose abortion rights. All except Ron Paul favor amending the United States Constitution to prevent two men from getting married. All have engaged in feverish anti-immigrant rhetoric and complained that the Obama administration, which has deported more Americans than the Republican president before him, isn’t doing enough to persecute immigrants.

Republican voters say that jobs are their number one concern. Do they think aborted fetuses and gay couples are stealing their jobs along with blacks and immigrants? How else can we explain such persistent pandering to manufactured culture wars, even in the midst of very real and ominous economic disaster that is affecting all of us?

A friend told me that the reflecting pool on the Mall rippled during last week’s earthquake. Unlike Michele Bachmann, I don’t think it was a message from ananti-government God, but I do think the symbolism is stunning in the context of these candidates—all of whom have a shot at becoming the next president. The ripples in the reflecting pool were not ripples of hope and change that echoed from 1963 all the way to the election of Barack Obama. Rather, they were ripples of fear emanating from the GOP candidates and targeting our nation’s most vulnerable communities.

The recent earthquake also cracked the Washington Monument. It was as though, already destabilized by centuries of racism and bias, the tremors of politics unearthed the structural cracks. If we brush off hateful views as political theater, we face a deepening of the cracks that threaten to fracture our entire political system and society.

Then again, as Mitt Romney said, one has to be careful with metaphors.”

Sally Kohn, Chief Agitation Officer of the Movement Vision Lab, is a community organizer, writer and political commentator. You can read more about her work at:http://movementvision.org.

emphasis mine

see:http://www.alternet.org/story/152244/the_definitive_guide_to_racism%2C_sexism%2C_and_homophobia_in_the_2012_republican_primaries_%28so_far%29?page=entire