Everybody is running for the GOP presidential nomination

Operation_Upshot-Knothole_-_Badger_001Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced her presidential campaign for the 2016 GOP nomination this morning (Monday, April 4). Yesterday (Sunday, April 3) retired neurosurgeon and Obamacare critic Ben Carson also announced his campaign. Meanwhile former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee plans to announce his campaign tomorrow (Tuesday, April 5).

They join an already packed tent that includes three senators (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio).

Huckabee is a perennial candidate for office who moonlights as a Fox News host when not mulling a presidential run; he’s the most likely to appeal to the socially conservative grassroots. Carson meanwhile has never run for office, giving him outsider appeal.

Carson and Huckabee regularly spew anti-LGBT venom; venom that likely packs their campaign coffers too.

Both have used colorful language to describe the LGBT community. Carson in 2013 was forced to withdraw as commencement speaker at John Hopkins University in Baltimore for comparing same-sex marriage to pedophilia.

Of course Huckabee’s choice words and metaphors are the most widely known. A Southern Baptist minister trained at Fort Worth’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has repeatedly denounced same-sex marriage in particular, comparing it to alcoholism.

Along with fellow Republican presidential candidates Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, he appeared in a documentary claiming the push for marriage equality threatens traditional Christianity.

But Fiorina has approached LGBT issues more delicately in comparison. The former corporate executive was the 2010 Republican nominee for the Senate in California, running against pro-LGBT stalwart incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer. Though she largely dodged details in 2010, she stated her belief that marriage is an institution between a man and woman. But she also acknowledged the changing views on same-sex marriage at the time. She supported civil unions and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Despite the historic Republican wave, she still lost to Boxer by 10 points.

But don’t worry, more straight white men are expected to announce their GOP bids soon, including former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. So start popping the popcorn folks, this election season’s gonna be fun.

—  James Russell

GOP presidential candidates run toward 2016

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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry

This past weekend, potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders spoke to the grassroots. They’re gearing up for what’s expected to be a blood bath, pitting establishment Republicans against those more aligned with the Tea Party.

Up in Des Moines, Iowa, 20 presidential contenders spoke at the inaugural Iowa Freedom Summit, hosted by the hard right Rep. Steve King and conservative advocacy group Citizens United. Among the speakers were broke straight boy and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. and failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, business mogul Donald Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The goal of the summit, according to its website, was to “bring grassroots activists from across Iowa to hear directly from conservative leaders on how we can get America back on track by focusing on our core principles of pro-growth economics, social conservatism, and a strong national defense.”

The perceived “establishment” — perennial candidate Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — were not in attendance. But another establishment contender, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, braved the event and bellowed to the crowd.

The Huffington Post reported that, fortunately for us, same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues were not high on the agenda. In fact, the only mention of same-sex marriage was when King, introducing Christie, mentioned his veto of a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in his state. But these potential candidates’ agendas speak far louder than their words. Cruz, for instance, needn’t worry about his conservative bonafides. He has announced plans to introduce an amendment allowing states to ban same-sex marriage anyway even if the Supreme Court makes marriage equality legal nationwide.

Fortunately Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, another 2016 contender, filled the hate gap. Speaking at the “The Response: Louisiana,” a prayer rally sponsored by the staunchly anti-LGBT American Family Association on the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Jindal spoke for 15 minutes about God, himself, moral decay and the United States. He insisted it wasn’t a chance to score political points with social conservatives.

—  James Russell

Somebody tell Mike Huckabee how the court system works, please

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Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a once and likely future presidential candidate, went on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Tuesday, Jan. 20, to explain how just because federal courts — and eventually probably even the U.S. Supreme Court — issue rulings saying that laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, that doesn’t mean that the president or Congress or state governors and legislatures don’t have to abide by those rulings.

As reported by TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com, Huckabee said:

“If the federal Supreme Court rules that same sex marriage is protected under the 14th Amendment, you still have to have Congress and the president act to agree with it, because one branch of government does not overrule the other two. This idea that a judge makes a ruling on Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning same-sex marriage licenses are being given out, that’s utter nonsense, because there’s not been any agreement with the other two branches of government.

“One thing I am angry about, though, Hugh, is this notion of judicial supremacy, where if the courts make a decision, I hear governors and even some aspirants to the presidency say well, that’s settled, and it’s the law of the land. No, it isn’t the law of the land. Constitutionally, the courts cannot make a law. They can interpret one. And then the legislature has to create enabling legislation, and the executive has to sign it, and has to enforce it.

Ummmm, I’m no constitutional legal scholar by any stretch. But I am pretty sure that good ol’ Mike hasn’t got the first clue about how our judicial system works and how the courts actually interact with the other two branches of the federal government (and with state governments).

From what I recall from those long-ago days when I was in school, Congress and state legislatures can make laws, and it is precisely the duty of the courts — all the way up to and including the Supreme Court — to make sure that those laws do not violate the rules of the Constitution. And when the courts decide that a law is unconstitutional — as is happening over and over again with marriage equality bans — those laws don’t get to stay in effect.

Even when Hewitt, a conservative himself who happens to be a professor of law (at the same school where the head of the right-wing National Organization for Marriage teaches), reminds Huckabee about the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes that the federal constitution, and federal law generally, take precedence over state laws, and even state constitution), Huckabee refused to be swayed. He promised that even if he were the only one, he would insist on standing firm against all the courts in all the land because “because I believe it is the right position, it’s the Biblical position, it’s the historical position.”

You can listen to Huckabee here.

 

—  Tammye Nash

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Rick Santorum in N. Texas

Rick Santorum speaks at Fairview Farms in Plano on Wednesday night. (Photos by Patrick Hoffman/Special to the Voice)

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum rolled into Plano on Wednesday night for a campaign rally at Fairview Farms — a corral barn normally rented out for parties — in a Central Expressway mini mall next door to Party City and Duke’s Roadhouse.

In the 41-degree weather, a mostly white crowd in coats and knit caps stood huddled outside the Fairview entrances, standing on tip-toe, angling their cameras in the air and peering through window lattices to get a peek at the Pennsylvania senator.

WBAP Talk radio host Mark Davis, who hosted the rally, announced: “I am not here to introduce to you the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I’m here to introduce to you the conservative alternative to Barack Obama.” (Incidentally, Davis was recently a guest speaker at a meeting of Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, a gay GOP group.)

It seemed oddly fitting that Santorum should spill into Plano the day after his ideological opposite, Dan Savage, spoke at the University of North Texas’ 12th Annual Equity and Diversity Conference. Nine years ago, after Santorum compared homosexual relationships to bestiality, Savage led a successful campaign to redefine Santorum’s surname to mean a frothy by-product of anal sex. Both men call the others’ action vulgar.

“He’s not running for president,” Savage told Dallas Voice last week. “He’s running for a Fox News contract just like [Mike] Huckabee.”

—  Daniel Villarreal

NBC does its part to save us from Trump

Donald Trump

This morning NBC announced its new fall line-up, which includes The Celebrity Apprentice. The show’s host, Donald Trump, announced he’s not running for president during NBC’s “upfronts,” the announcement of the new season.

Trump said the decision wasn’t easily made, “especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country.” However, Trump never seemed serious. In earlier statements, he made his priorities clear when he said he would make no announcement before the end of the Celebrity Apprentice season because of his contract with NBC.

Since the White House Correspondents Dinner where President Barack Obama and Seth Meyers made Trump the butt of many of the evening’s jokes, Trump has lost 10 points in most polls. Ratings on his show plummeted. Before Trump’s announcement, NBC said (threatened?) that his show could continue with a different host.

—  David Taffet

Openly gay candidate Fred Karger is 1st Republican to file to run for president in 2012

Fred Karger

Fred Karger, an openly gay Republican, this morning became the first person to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in 2012.

He becomes the first openly gay candidate to ever run for president.

Karger has worked on a variety of Republican campaigns including Reagan-Bush in 1984. From 1977 until he retired in 2004, he was vice president of the Dolphin Group, a political consulting company.

In 2008, he founded and became co-director of Californians Against Hate in reaction to Proposition 8. He filed formal ethics violation complaints leading to investigations of the Mormon Church and the National Organization for Marriage in California and Maine. He organized four boycotts of companies that donated more than $100,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign.

Karger doesn’t expect to do well among religious conservatives, but his strategy is to win in early primary and caucus states New Hampshire and Iowa. Both of those states have large numbers of independent voters and both have legalized same-sex marriage.

By this time in the 2008 campaign cycle, at least a dozen candidates had announced that they were running in the two parties. Yesterday, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced he was forming an exploratory committee, the first step in becoming a candidate. He is the only candidate other than Karger to formalize his plans.

Other Republicans have indicated that they are deciding whether to run, but no others have announced. Former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee said he would have to walk away from a lucrative deal with Fox to run. Donald Trump said he’s considering a run but due to contractual constraints, he can’t make an announcement until the season of The Apprentice ends.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are also potential candidates. Jimmy McMillan, the New Yorker who ran for mayor on the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, said he plans to run as a Republican.

Although Karger is the first openly gay man to run for president, James Buchanan, the 15th president, is the only one to have never married and was probably gay. He lived with Franklin Pierce’s Vice President Rufus King whose nicknames were Aunt Fancy, Miss Nancy and Mrs. Buchanan. King died while in office. Nieces of the two men destroyed their correspondence after their deaths so little written evidence of their relationship remains.

—  David Taffet

Poll: Gov. Perry, President Obama tied in Texas

Gov. Rick Perry

If Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry runs for president, he may have a hard time winning his own state.

A hypothetical matchup between Perry and President Barack Obama shows them tied in Texas, with each capturing 45 percent of the would-be vote, according to a survey conducted earlier this month by Public Policy Polling.

Perry faired the worst of several Republicans who were pitted against Obama in hypothetical matchups, according to the Texas Tribune:

Former Alaska Gov. and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin would beat Obama in Texas by just a single point, 47 percent to 46 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads Obama in Texas 49 to 42, while former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich leads the presdient 48 to 43. The Republican who fares best against Obama in Texas is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who trounces him 55 to 39.

In other polling news, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney easily won the first presidential straw ballot of the 2012 cycle, capturing 35 percent of the vote among New Hampshire Republicans. Texas Congressman Ron Paul finished second with 11 percent, followed by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty with 8 percent and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 7 percent. Gov. Perry was not included in the poll.


—  John Wright