Conservatism

Israel as a Republican State of Mind

Mike Huckabee's pilgrimage is another sign of the blurred lines between American and Israeli politics. 

AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem, Wednesday, August 19, 2015. M ike Huckabee met reporters Wednesday at the Waldorf-Astoria on a campaign stop. This particular Waldorf-Astoria was in downtown West Jerusalem. Huckabee wanted to talk about Iran. The folks with microphones and cameras mostly wanted him to talk about his previous campaign event. That was a fundraiser at the Israeli settlement of Shilo in the West Bank—or as Huckabee insistently called the area, "Judea and Samaria," which he said was part of Israel. The journalists' interrogation grew fiercer, and the ex-governor of Arkansas said time was up. As he made his escape, a foreign correspondent sitting strategically near the door asked: "Do you also think Gaza is part of Israel?" and another said, "Would you be the first president to abandon the two-state solution?" "I'm not sure," Huckabee replied to one question or the other...

The GOP Primary Is a Mess. Can Anyone Unite This Party?

(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)
(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik) The Republican presidential candidates stand on stage before the first GOP primary debate in Cleveland on August 6. J eb Bush is starting to remind me of someone. Tall guy, former governor, worshipped his politician dad? That's right, I'm talking about Mitt Romney. It isn't just the part about their fathers, or the fact that like Romney, Bush is the representative of the "establishment" and doesn't get a lot of love from the Tea Party base, or even that he seems to share Romney's propensity for reinforcing his most glaring electoral weaknesses. (Jeb spent much of the last week explaining how the Iraq War was actually a tremendous success and we just need to bring back the Bush Doctrine, which is a great way to win over the many voters pining for a rerun of George W.'s term in office.) It's also that Bush's only path to his party's nomination may be to duplicate what Romney did successfully in 2012: use his money (and dogged persistence) to hang around while...

No Time for Tone

AP Photo/John Minchillo
AP Photo/John Minchillo Republican presidential candidates from left, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and John Kasich take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, August 6, 2015, in Cleveland. W ell, now at least we know where the Republican candidates stand on the minimum wage, paid sick days, student debt, climate change, CEO pay, and four decades of American wage stagnation. Just kidding. Somehow, the Fox News questioners never quite got around to asking the candidates what they planned to do to help actual existing Americans cope with a profoundly rigged economy and a climate growing annoyingly inhospitable to living things. Then again, the candidates were asked what God would want them to do on their first day in office, other than repeal Obamacare and invade Iran, and they could have used the occasion to talk about minimum wages and heat waves,...

Why Jeb Bush's Pitch to the Koch Brothers Should Scare You

(Photo: AP/John Raoux)
(Photo: AP/John Raoux) Jeb Bush speaks at a small business town hall meeting in Longwood, Florida, on July 27. A t the Koch brothers’ big California confabulation last weekend, each of the invited candidates who submitted to questioning on the main stage by Politico ’s Mike Allen made pointed pitches to ideological proclivities of both the multi-billionaire brothers and their deep-pocketed fellow travelers. But the winner of the pitching contest may turn out to be the one least expected to win himself some Koch-love. When she wasn’t offering to “throw a punch” at Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina applauded the “patriotism” of Charles and David Koch, implying that their neo-libertarian ideology of self-enrichment was a boon to the nation. Marco Rubio, in a smooth performance that likely persuaded some of his electability, took aim at the Obama administration’s new EPA “clean energy” regulations, suggesting they would benefit “some billionaire somewhere who is a pro-environmental cap-and-...

Why Deep Red States Are Rethinking the Death Penalty

There are few things that embody big government more than capital punishment—and a small but growing conservative movement wants it repealed. 

AP Photo/Nati Harnik
AP Photo/Nati Harnik Nebraska lawmakers, including Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, center, and Sen Beau McCoy of Omaha, center rear, follow the vote to abolish the death penalty on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. M arc Hyden hasn’t always opposed capital punishment. The first time he remembers talking about the subject he was six years old, standing on the playground of his elementary school, telling a friend he supported the death penalty because his parents were Republicans. “It was more of a glacial change,” says Hyden of his own path to opposing capital punishment. “I had always been taught that this is what conservatives do, that we support the death penalty.” But as he grew older, the more and more he learned about it, the harder and harder it was for him to justify his support of the practice. “I was grasping.” Hyden has since stopped grasping. Now 31, he’s one of the nation’s leading conservative anti-death-penalty activists, a small but growing group that sees the death penalty as...

Andrew Jackson's Dark Legacy Belongs to All of Us -- Democrat and Republican Alike

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons) D uring the height of the 2008 presidential campaign, I paid a visit to what was then an annual gathering of the Conservative Caucus, a right-wing group founded by the late Howard Phillips, who also helped found the religious right. Unlike his compatriots among the religious right’s founding fathers, Phillips, a large man with the voice of a radio actor, relished the use of extreme language to characterize his perceived enemies: Gays were “sodomites” and “perverts”; Planned Parenthood was “Murder Incorporated.” He also cozied up in public to neo-militia groups such as Missionaries to the Pre-Born. In a small meeting room at a hotel in Arlington, Virginia, the Conservative Caucus convened for its yearly Constitution Day awards event, a notably low-budget affair with nothing on the menu but hotel-supplied hard candies and pitchers of water—and vitriol, no small measure of it trained on the surging Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama. Receiving the...

What Some Black Church Leaders Have Wrong About Gay Marriage -- and Civil Rights

From Stonewall to Black Lives Matter, the African American LGBT community has always been on the forefront of fights for equality.

(Photo: AP/Jacqueline Martin)
(Photo: AP/Jacqueline Martin) On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples had a right to marry anywhere in the country. T he African American church and its leadership have often been at the forefront of movements for equality. But the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage has shed light on the resistance to social change among some black church leaders —and has left them sounding more like white conservative leaders. On June 26, the Court ruled that two consenting adults have the right to get married—even if they are the same gender. As conservatives lamented the loss of morality and warned of the hellfire that would soon rain down upon us, President Barack Obama and the White House celebrated the decision. Just a few hours later, Obama delivered a eulogy for Clementa Pinckney. Pinckney was a South Carolina state senator and a pastor at the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church before he was shot and killed, along with eight...

Republicans Need to Find a New Culture War to Fight

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais In this Friday, June 26, 2015 file photo, people gather in Lafayette Park to see the White House illuminated with rainbow colors in commemoration of the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. W hile Antonin Scalia's dissents in last week's two blockbuster cases were full of his usual colorful bombast (I can't wait to respond to a line of baloney someone gives me with "That, sir, is pure applesauce !"), there was one line that stuck out for me. In Obergefell v. Hodges , the gay marriage case, Scalia aimed his withering contempt at Anthony Kennedy's assertion in the majority opinion that two people can find "other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality" in the bond of marriage. "Really?" Scalia wrote. "Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality (whatever that means) were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest...

Scalia's Presumption of Reasonable Republicans

Justice Scalia's dissent in King v. Burwell rests on a deeply misguided faith in GOP leaders at the state level. 

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, October 5, 2011, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. J ustice Antonin Scalia’s dissent from the Supreme Court’s recent decision on Obamacare reveals an almost touching belief that his Republican confreres are actually empirically sentient and can, if prodded, respond to reality. In that decision, which was handed down on June 24, the Court upheld the payment of federal subsidies to low-income recipients of Obamacare in states that haven’t set up their own exchanges. Were the Court to strike down the subsidies, as Scalia argues it should have, states without exchanges, he writes, would surely set them up: The Court predicts that making tax credits unavailable in States that do not set up their own Exchanges would cause disastrous economic consequences there. If that is so, however, wouldn’t one expect States to react by setting up their own Exchanges? And wouldn’t...

How the Presidential Primary Is a Proxy War Between the Kochs and the Republican Establishment

Is Reince Priebus democracy’s last best hope?

 

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Adam Gabbatt of The Guardian holds images of Republican candidates as he interviews Howard "Cowboy" Woodward during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 26, 2015. T here’s a battle brewing in the Republican Party, one that could be acted out in a most unseemly way in the nomination contest for the GOP standard-bearer. The wrangling between the Republican establishment and the Koch wing of the party promises some great entertainment for liberals who follow the presidential primaries; unfortunately, it also promises to be bad for our democracy. At this early stage in the presidential campaign, Scott Walker, the Koch-made Wisconsin governor , leads the pack in Iowa, polling at 18 percent, according to a June survey by Morning Consult . The likely establishment choice, a candidate formerly known as Jeb Bush (now just “ Jeb! ”), is tied for second with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul, the...

Scott Walker's Shady Deals Win Him Campaign Cash From Billionaires

The dark money web behind Walker's ascendance. 

AP Photo/Morry Gash, File
AP Photo/Morry Gash, File Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker giving a thumbs up as he speaks at his campaign party, in West Allis, near Milwaukee, on November 4, 2014. I f the Koch brothers have their way, the next president will be a guy they all but created—and one whose propensity for alliances and questionable deals with robber barons and at least one dirty political player mark a quality only an oligarch could love. When Walker, after winning Wisconsin’s 2010 gubernatorial election, burst on the national scene in 2011 with his jihad against the state’s public-sector unions, he seemed to come out of nowhere. But he had been groomed for years by powerful anti-labor forces, rising from the state assembly under the tutelage of Michael Grebe, president of the Bradley Foundation, a major backer of right-wing, anti-labor politicians and policies. Grebe also served as Walker’s campaign chairman. In Sunday’s New York Times , reporters Patrick Healy and Monica Davey detail the role of the...

How the GOP Plans to Cut Affordable Housing (Again)

A 2008 program to help tens of thousands on housing waitlists is finally set to be funded, but House Republicans have other plans.

(Photo: AP/Bloomington Herald-Times/Jeremy Hogan)
(Photo: AP/Bloomington Herald-Times/Jeremy Hogan) Seekers of Section 8 housing line up in Bloomington, Indiana, in 2011. The National Housing Trust Fund, created in 2008, is set to finally be funded in 2016, but House Appropriations Committee Republicans just last month passed a housing and transportation bill that strips the fund to cover cuts in other housing programs, and prohibits any funding in the future. I n almost every part of the country, families struggling to pay rent and seek help find themselves at the end of a very long line. In California, I spoke to a woman who told me she was assigned a number higher than 57,000 on the waiting list when she applied for a subsidized apartment. In the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where the lottery opens every few years for Section 8, which gives recipients money to pay rent and is the biggest of the programs, only 30 or 40 of about 2,500 applicants will receive vouchers. And that’s just when local agencies are even accepting...

Scott Walker's Long Crusade

Walker's road to the White House has been years in the making. 

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks to the American Federation For Children in New Orleans, Monday, May 18, 2015. This article originally appeared at The Washington Spectator . W hen Scott Walker met 91-year-old Nancy Reagan in 2012, he told her he had a personal connection with her late husband: Walker’s recall election had fallen on the anniversary of President Reagan’s death. Back home in Wisconsin, Walker would try to impress intimate gatherings of Republicans by telling them Nancy Reagan had arranged for Walker to be the first to touch the Reagan inauguration Bible since Reagan’s death. Writing in The Progressive , I debunked the story : it turned out Nancy Reagan never made any special arrangement for Walker, and the Bible in fact has been touched by a number of people since Reagan’s death. While it is not uncommon for Republicans to have a cult-like infatuation with Reagan, Walker has been obsessed with him since starting the Jesus USA Club in...

Marco Rubio's Far-Right Foreign Policy Gambit

The GOP hopeful wants 2016 to be all about Iran and Cuba. 

AP Photo/David Goldman
AP Photo/David Goldman Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio speaks at the Georgia Republican Convention, Friday, May 15, 2015, in Athens, Georgia. I f the GOP field seemed obsessed with repealing the Affordable Care Act in 2012, there’s a good chance that 2016 will be all about undoing President Obama’s foreign policy. With the ACA now firmly entrenched in the American political psyche—not to mention American law—Republican frontrunners have taken aim on Obama’s record on Iran, Cuba, and Syria. Like the battle over who was more vigorously opposed to Obamacare, Republicans will first use foreign policy as a way to whittle down their own crowded playing field, writes Steve Inskeep at npr.org. Naturally, this strategy is a risky one. Competing to see who can go furthest right on foreign affairs may play well in the primaries, but it can make the GOP nomination that much less palatable come November 2016. If there’s a progressive silver lining in this story, it’s here:...

White Privilege and the Limits of Public Forgiveness

Mike Huckabee's vocal support for Josh Duggar is in sharp contrast to his indifference to black victims of police violence.

(Photo: AP/Nati Harnik)
(Photo: AP/Nati Harnik) Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee speaks in Iowa in April. The GOP presidential candidate was quick to voice his support for Josh Duggar, who this past week admitted to having molested children while a teenager. I n America, public forgiveness is largely dependent on race. In the weeks after Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August, pundits and media outlets were quick to jump on a robbery Brown allegedly committed minutes before being fatally shot. Among them was 2016 hopeful Mike Huckabee, who told NewsMax TV, “It's a horrible thing that he was killed, but he could have avoided that if he'd have behaved like something other than a thug.” For Huckabee, (alleged) theft was grounds for death. That is, if you look a certain way. Contrast these statements with Huckabee’s recent defense of reality TV regular Josh Duggar, who admitted last week to having molested young girls as a teenager in 2002 and...

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