Nel's New Day

January 29, 2015

What They Said Last Weekend: GOP Presidential Wannabes

The 2016 election circus started in Iowa last weekend at the Iowa Freedom Summit as conservative possible presidential candidates gave the crowd a feeding frenzy of far-right rhetoric. In some mysterious way, the state with under one percent of the nation’s population and composed of over 90 percent whites gets more press than any other place in the nation.

To satisfy the crowd, all candidates put hope on the future of the United States by returning to a past with small government and big business with the country’s military power forcing countries to do the bidding of the U.S. Solutions to problems are sealing the borders (at least the southern one), eliminating the Affordable Care Act, closing government agencies, cutting taxes and regulations small business, erasing unions, privatizing schools, and protecting Christian liberty and traditional marriage.

Scott Walker: Declared the winner and possible toy of the enormously wealthy Koch brothers, the Wisconsin governor bragged about allowing more concealed weapons, decreasing voters through stricter laws, and cutting state spending. His anti-union crusade excludes police and firefighters comes from a colonial management style. He also lied in his speech (what a surprise!) when he said that his changes prevent things happening such occurrences as when Wisconsin’s 2010 “outstanding teacher of the year” winner got laid off. In truth, Megan Sampson self-nominated herself for an award as a first-year teacher of English, and she is still teaching. After Walker used “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” as his union, the pro-union band Dropkick Murphys tweeted, “Please stop using our music in any way … we literally hate you.”

Ted Cruz: A preacher’s son like Walker, the senator claimed, “Our rights are from God, not government.” He added, “[The] Constitution binds the mischief of government.” Claiming that the federal government is filled with “senseless obstacles,” Cruz wants to reassign the 110,000 IRS employees to guard the Mexican border, expunge the “locusts” at the EPA, repeal “every word” of Obamacare, and replace the federal income tax with a flat regressive tax rate. His new mantra may be “Show me where you have stood up and fought.” He said, “If you’re a single mom waiting tables, you can do anything.” Saint Reagan got a nod when Cruz declared the key to a 2016 victory was “reassembling the Reagan coalition” of evangelicals, libertarians, blue-collar democrats, women, and youth. [Good luck on getting the women back with current proposed legislation!]

Chris Christie: The combative, bullying New Jersey governor morphed into a deferential, solicitous man for the Iowa event, touting himself as pro-life, conservative, and successful because of his great minority backing. His brashness, according to Christie, comes from an Irish father and Italian mother who taught him to be open and forthright.  The audience swallowed his speech–hook, line, and sinker.

Carly Fiorina: The loser to California’s Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010 immediately bragged about her religion by telling about the plaque her Sunday School-teaching mother gave her: “What you are is God’s gift to you and what you make of yourself is your gift to God.” As the CEO “of the largest technology company in the world,” she claims to know that the promise of the United States is not from weak managers such as President Obama and Hilary Clinton but instead from the real leaders (presumably her) who “create possibilities.”

Ben Carson: The retired brain surgeon pushed the need for conservative family values, using his single mother as an example. The only black GOP candidate, he wants people to listen to their parents and “not social psychologists” as well as charter schools and prosecution of business owners who hire any undocumented person. According to Carson, government expenditures of $5,000 for Medicaid could buy “boutique” private insurance. All public lands would be open to oil and gas drilling, if Carson had his way.

Donald Trump: The pro-business approach from this New York-based real estate mogul contrasted to the other, more ideological candidates. Referring to two possible candidates who didn’t attend, he said Mitt Romney should go away because he “failed” and “choked” running for president in 2012, and “the last thing we need is another Bush.” (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul did not attend; they attended the Kochs’ donor summit in southern California). Ironically, he said that the country needs to rebuild the “crumbling” roads, bridges, and airports, something the GOP leadership has refused to consider. To Trump, current mainstream weak, bungling GOP leaders don’t know how to close deals.

Rick Santorum: The former representative and losing presidential candidate who tied Mitt Romney in the 2012 GOP caucus has shifted from an evangelical scold to a proponent of privatized education and rebuilding the family. The GOP should focus on working people instead of  business owners and entrepreneurs.

Sarah Palin: “America needs a hero again, and screw the left and Hollywood who can’t understand what we see in someone like Chris Kyle [the protagonist of American Sniper] and all of our vets.” She said a lot of other things, including pointing three fingers at someone, but most of it was largely incoherent. You can listen to it here.

Mike Huckabee: The crowd had thinned considerably before the former Alabama governor and  presidential loser got up to speak. In contrasting ISIS and climate change, he said, “I believe most of us would think that a beheading is a far greater threat than a sunburn.” Accused of being insufficiently conservative on fiscal and education, he tried to recoup his losses by saying that education should be a “local function” and blamed income inequality on regulations and government overreach.

Rick Perry: Trying to look like a border warrior, the former Texas governor and failed presidential candidate looked for immigration hawks: “If Washington refuses to secure the border with Mexico, Texas will.” He also bragged about the big job creation in his state during his time in office, something going downhill with the gas prices.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal skipped Iowa to host a prayer rally backed by some of the most extreme Christian activists. The promotional materials for Jindal’s event were exactly the same as those for a rally held Texas Gov. Rick Perry held in 2011 to launch his presidential candidacy, but fewer than 10 percent of Perry’s 35,000 audience attended this event. Messages were the usual anti-choice and anti-LGBT positions, including ranting from Jim Garlow who believes that same-sex marriage is demonic. The group also wants to delete IRS restrictions that try to keep tax-exempt churches out of electoral politics. Jindal, who claims he is “not for discrimination against anybody,” wants a constitutional amendment to allow discrimination against same-sex couples. Describing himself as an “evangelical Catholic,” his language matches that of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the aftermath of Jindal’s rally, organizer Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association was fired from his position as AFA’s director of issue analysis a few days before almost 100 RNC members take an AFA-funded trip to Israel. Fischer has said that the Jewish religion is counterfeit and Jews don’t have First Amendment rights. Fischer has kept his AFA talk show as a platform for his hate speech.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared in a panel with Cruz at the Koch brothers’ donor forum on the same weekend as the Iowa event. All of them suggested that they would reject a deal to cut $10 in spending for every $1 in new taxes. Four years ago, the House decided that the ideal cuts-to-revenue ratio would be a 5-to-1 ratio in GOP favor of “85% spending cuts and 15% revenue increases.” The responses from these three senators show a marked move to the right in just four years by refusing a 10-to-1 cut.

The senate terms for both Paul and Rubio are up in 2016, forcing them to make plans about running for both offices. At this time, Kentucky state law does not permit this for Paul.

The best humor, however, is Mitt Romney’s born-again shift in opposing income inequality. This quiz shows his attempts to usurp Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) position on this issue.

Doing well in Iowa and pandering to the far Christian right doesn’t predict success in a national campaign. Past winners in Iowa have been Rick Santorum, Pat Robertson, and Pat Buchanan. These appearances, however, do push the major candidates to the right and show what we can expect to hear during the next 21 months.


1 Comment »

  1. Love this: “possible toy of the enormously wealthy Koch brothers.”


    Comment by Lee Lynch — January 31, 2015 @ 7:14 PM | Reply

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