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‘You’re Fundamentally Wrong On Civics’: Rachel Maddow Explains The Constitution To Rick Santorum

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One of the greatest match-ups in the world of modern politics has to be top liberal journalist Rachel Maddow interviewing one of the most right-wing anti-gay political crusaders, Rick Santorum. And it was. Watch.

Rick Santorum knows people who used to be gay but no longer are, regrets his infamous statement comparing same-sex marriage with “man-on-dog” marriage – though stands by his beliefs surrounding it – and doesn’t “spend a whole lot of time thinking about” issues like same-sex marriage or if people choose to be gay.

So he said Wednesday night when he sat down with MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow for a heated and powerful interview that ended up revealing far more than the Republican former U.S. Senator who is again running for president bargained for – including getting a lesson on how the Constitution actually works.

“Can I ask you if you believe people choose to be gay?,” Maddow gently inquired.

“You know, I’ve never answered that question because I don’t really know the answer to that question,” Santorum, guardedly responded. Which is a bit stunning since he has worked closely with people who are gay, and has claimed to have good friends who are gay. 

“I suspect that there’s all sorts of reasons that people end up the way they are. And I’ll sort of leave it at that,” Santorum said, trying to wiggle out of a politically dangerous answer. “There are people who are alive today who identified themselves as gay and lesbian and who no longer are. That’s true. I do know — I’ve met people in that case,” he offered, after Maddow pushed for a better answer. 

“So, I guess maybe in that case, may be they did” choose to not be gay, Santorum concluded.

Not satisfied, Maddow continued.

“Do you think people choose to – people can choose to be heterosexual?”

“All I’m saying,” Santorum insisted, “I do know people who have lived a gay lifestyle and no longer live it.”

“Again, I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about these things to be very honest,” he added.

Maddow reminded him that he talks about gay issues and LGBT rights “all the time.” She brought up his 2003 interview when he told a reporter that since the Supreme court had just struck down the ban on sodomy, he said it was a slippery slope to legalizing “man on child, man on dog, whatever the case may be.”

Santorum told Maddow he regretted that remark.

“It was a flippant comment that should have come out of my mouth. But the substance of what I said, which is what I’ve referred to, I stand by that. I wish I had not said it in a flippant term that I did, and I know people were offended by it, and I wish I hadn’t said it.”

But he couldn’t bring himself to apologize for it.

The two began the interview with a debate over the Constitution. 

Santorum offered his view, which is that Congress and the President have as much right to say a law is unconstitutional as does the Supreme court, and he strongly suggested that the opinions of the legislative and executive branches of government are equal to that of the supreme Court on constitutional law.

The Supreme Court is “not a superior branch of government. I mean, if the Congress comes back and says, you know, we disagree with you and were able to pass a law and get it signed by the president and say, courts, you’re wrong, I mean,” Santorum argued, forcing Maddow to interject.

Here’s the exchange, via Real Clear Politics:

SANTORUM: Why not? Why? 

MADDOW: You can amend the Constitution. 

SANTORUM: Why?

MADDOW: They’re ruling on the constitutionality of that law. 

SANTORUM: What if they’re doing it with an — from an unconstitutional basis? I mean —

MADDOW: They decide what’s constitutional. That’s how our government works.

SANTORUM: No, no, that’s not necessarily true. The Congress has the right. 

When I took my oath of office as a United States senator, what did I say? I would uphold the Constitution. 

And my feeling is, and I think it’s clearly from our founding documents, that the Congress has a right to say what’s constitutional. The president has a right to say what’s constitutional. And that’s part of the dynamic called checks and balances. 

MADDOW: Yes. But — I mean, you’re fundamentally wrong on civics, right? If there is, if there is a question as to the constitutionality of a law, it gets adjudicated. 

SANTORUM: Right.

MADDOW: And the second syllable of that word means it get decided in the judiciary, the Supreme Court decides whether or not a law is constitutional. So, you could not now pass a law – 

SANTORUM: But if they have —

MADDOW: — that said we’re banning same sex marriage.

The debate went back and forth, with Santorum at one point explaining his view of how the Supreme court decided that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

“I think what was going on with this court is what Justice Kennedy was saying. You know, we sort of see this definition of liberty is whatever we want it to be. And this is sort of where the culture is going right now and so this is what we’re going to do,” Santorum insisted, wholly ignoring the 14th Amendment on which the Court based its opinion.

“He didn’t tie to it any constitutional basis,” Santorum insisted, wrongly. “There’s no precedent that set — that gives him the ability to create this new right in the Constitution,” he decried, again ignoring that the Supreme Court has many times stated marriage is a fundamental right.

“And so, if it’s created on a whole cloth, it can be re-created in a different way out of whole cloth. And I think that’s the role of the Congress is to pressure the court to get it right.”

UPDATE –
The video at the top is what MSNBC provided, it is not the complete interview. For real political junkies, here’s the complete interview, which includes the beginning portion that MSNBC cut:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g2FKzhB9Os 

 

Image: Screenshot via MSNBC
Transcript via Real Clear Politics

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses

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Embattled Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel is launching two advisory groups in an effort to expand the party’s appeal to voters and examine what went wrong in the wake of stunning, historic midterm election losses – and she’s turning to some of the right’s most extreme leaders to perform the investigations.

Political analysts on both sides of the aisle generally agree that Donald Trump, Trumpism, the party’s lurch to far right wing extremism including white nationalism, white supremacy, Christian nationalism, antisemitism, authoritarianism, fascism, and the “Big Lie” of stolen elections hurt, not helped candidates in the 2022 midterms.

McDaniel has now tapped some of the very purveyors of that failed extremism to lead the shrinking party’s efforts to broaden its outreach and correct its errors.

“The RNC is tapping nearly a dozen people to serve in what it’s calling a ‘Republican Party Advisory Council’ – a group that includes former Donald Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, evangelical leader Tony Perkins and a pair of Senate candidates who ran this year,” Politico reports.

READ MORE: Franklin Graham’s Ugly Lie Ahead of Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Tony Perkins is a far right wing religious extremist and anti-LGBTQ activist who decades ago reportedly had ties to white supremacist groups, which he has denied. For decades he has been president of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

Deeply embedded in Republican theocratic politics, Perkins was appointed twice by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal government body that has a history of advancing the agenda of America’s Evangelical Christian movement.

He is also a past president of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).

READ MORE: Hate Group Head Tony Perkins Prays for ‘Conflict’ and ‘Gridlock’ to ‘Settle Upon’ DC if Biden Enacts His Agenda

CNP’s members are believed to include far right activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, whose attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results have been the subject of numerous reports. Also, Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, which has faced allegations of racism, and far right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. Other members of the Council for National Policy include two other heads of organizations that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups: Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel; and Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association.

“The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who in the wake of his loss has called on the party to move on from ‘consultant one-size-fits-all strategies,'” Politico reports.

READ MORE: ‘Lowest Common Denominator’: Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacist He Dined With Despite Advisers’ Urgings

Masters is a “Big Lie” purveyor who has also promoted the white nationalist conspiracy theory of the “Great Replacement,” which falsely claims immigrants – people of color – are “replacing” white Americans.

Separately, Politico adds, the RNC is commissioning an investigation into what went wrong, commonly referred to as an “autopsy” to ensure in future elections the same decisions are not made. That work will be lead by current RNC members.

 

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Questions Swirl Around Herschel Walker as New Report Shows His Georgia Residence Was Rented Out for Over a Decade

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Where Herschel Walker lives has been a question since before he officially announced his candidacy as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Numerous reports have looked into claims he lives in Texas and not the Peach State, which some Georgia voters might find problematic, but new reporting exposes what could lead to tax or voting fraud investigations.

Walker’s Georgia home, according to reporting from The Daily Beast‘s Roger Sollenberger, is owned by his wife, who for years has rented it out.

When Walker announced his candidacy, after a strong push from Donald Trump, it “was widely known at the time that the Republican hopeful had been living in Texas for decades, though he has claimed to maintain a residence in Atlanta for ’17 years.’ Less widely known, however, was that Walker’s wife collected tens of thousands of dollars in rental income for that residence, according to his 2021 financial disclosure forms.”

READ MORE: ‘The Child Would Not Be Safe’: Woman Who Says Herschel Walker Pressured Her to Have Abortion Says She Felt ‘Threatened’

While it is unclear if the home was rented out when Walker officially launched his Senate run, the “house doubled as the Walker campaign’s first official address when he launched his bid in August 2021. Fulton County tax and property records show the home is solely owned by Walker’s wife, Julie Blanchard, who also collected rental income from 2020 and 2021 ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, according to the disclosure—defining the asset as ‘Georgia residence.'”

CNN last week reported that “Republican Herschel Walker is getting a tax break intended only for a primary residence this year on his home in the Dallas, Texas, area, despite running for Senate in Georgia.”

“In Texas, homeowner regulations say you can only take the exemption on your ‘principal residence,'” CNN’s K-File reported. “Walker is listed to get a homestead tax exemption in Texas in 2022, saving the Senate candidate approximately $1,500 and potentially running afoul of both Texas tax rules and some Georgia rules on establishing residency for the purpose of voting or running for office.”

READ MORE: Raphael Warnock Blasts Herschel Walker Over Kanye West Endorsement: ‘My Mama Told Me Birds of a Feather Flock Together’

Even after he launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate Walker still filed for the Texas tax exemption.

On Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a nine-page complaint filed with the state’s Attorney General’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The complaint alleges “Herschel Walker appears to have committed a felony in August 2021 when he registered to vote in Georgia,” and “Herschel Walker appears to have committed a felony when he voted in the 2022 Georgia primary and general elections.” These are allegations and have not been investigated by authorities.

When he announced is candidacy, “Walker’s main GOP rival challenged him to ‘move here, pay taxes here, register and vote in some elections’ before running,” The Journal-Constitution notes. “Warnock’s allies have taken a similar line of attack, framing the Republican as an out-of-state charlatan.”

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Trumps Latest Tactic? Attacking Special Counsel’s Sister-in-Law

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Donald Trump is going all-in on attacks against the family of special counsel Jack Smith. Instead of mounting a defense for his actions, Trump deployed one of his top tactics: attacking anyone trying to hold him accountable.

One of Trump’s right-wing allies posted a claim that Smith’s sister-in-law, who is allegedly a psychologist and whose patients were “crying” and “sobbing” over Trump’s 2016 election.

“And I’m supposed to get a fair shake from this person, who’s under tremendous pressure from his family, but he is actually worse than they are?” Trump rambled on his personal social media site. “Can Republicans, and fair-minded people, generally, allow this to happen? Jack Smith is nothing less than a hit man for Obama, his Attorney General Eric Holder, and Andrew Weissmann. Weaponization. Our Country is in big trouble, a real mess!”

Smith was hired by Trump’s administration to serve as an acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee during Trump’s first year in office, his biography states. During this same time, the new Trump Justice Department was firing most of the U.S. Attorneys hired under President Barack Obama’s administration. One of those biggest names was Preet Bharara, who helped Trump with the transition while serving as the U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York. He was fired the same month that Trump hired Smith in 2017.

 

 

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