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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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News

After Declaring Churches ‘Essential’ and Ordering States to Let Them Reopen Trump Spends Sunday at His Golf Club

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Despite having no constitutional authority to do so President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the nation’s governors to allow churches and all houses of worship to reopen “right away.” He threatened to “override” any governor who did not. To support his actions he declared churches “essential.”

On Sunday President Trump headed to the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, according to press pool reports.

About 100,000 people in America have died from the coronavirus.

Sunday’s golf outing follows Trump spending several hours on the links on Saturday, the first time he’s golfed in 76 days.

Several protesters on Sunday stood outside the entrance to Trump’s club resort.

“I care do you, 100,000 dead,” one protestor’s sign read.

Related: Trump Demanded Churches Re-Open After Polls Found ‘Staggering Decline’ in Support From Christian Conservatives: Report

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News

GOP Sees President’s ‘Re-Election Less Certain’ Now That Voters Have Seen the Real Trump: Report

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According to a report from the Washington Post, Donald Trump, who had hoped to run a campaign on a strong economy before his botching of the coronavirus pandemic led to almost 40 million job losses, is now looking at running a campaign similar to 2016 that was described as “disruptive.”

The Post notes, “Trump’s moves in recent days make clear that the president has decided to revive the disruptive themes of his 2016 bid, aimed at branding his opponent as a corrupt member of the Washington establishment and himself as an insurgent problem-solver. It’s a message that often has seemed incongruent with the present reality as Trump leads the federal government’s response to the worst crisis in a generation,” however, “Trump’s reluctance to recalibrate his political tactics even as the country faces twin health and economic crises could be the gamble that determines his fate in an election less than six months away, according to campaign officials, strategists and pollsters on both sides of the aisle. The approach also stands as a test of whether running again as a disrupter can work in a time of already profound disruption.”

The problem for Trump this go-around is that the public has watched his performance over the past three and a half years, and what was sold in 2016, may not work this time.

“[Joe Biden pollster John] Anzalone pointed to public polling indicating that Trump’s handling of the coronavirus has cost him significantly with voters, who give the president low marks for his stewardship. Biden has gained ground with suburban voters, independent voters and senior citizens, groups that had previously leaned toward Trump but have drifted away during his presidency, Anzalone said,” the Post reports.

The report notes that the pollster explained that, “… some voters who cast their ballot for a ‘hypothetical Trump’ in 2016 have been disappointed with the real version and will be prime targets for Biden in the coming months. He pointed to senior voters, who have had some of the most dramatic swings away from Trump toward Biden in recent polls.”

“It’s different than voting on the hypothetical Trump — someone who’s going disrupt things and be a change agent,” he elaborated. “That hasn’t gone very well for him, and it is perceived by voters that it hasn’t gone very well for him.”

Republican insiders agree, saying Trump faces an uphill battle as the November election nears.

“Some Republicans acknowledge that the political landscape has changed since 2016, making Trump’s pathway to reelection less certain,” the Post notes. “Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, said Trump’s support is stronger with rural voters than it was in 2016, but ‘we’ve still got work to do in suburban parts of the state.’”

Also hindering the President’s 2020 re-election bid is his inability to hold his widely-covered MAGA rallies.

“The campaign has not had discussions with the state party about having rallies in Wisconsin, Jefferson said, a sign that such events might be a ways off. He said the prospect of not having rallies would be ‘disappointing’ but pointed to the effort by Trump’s team to mount a virtual campaign,” the Post reports. “Some Trump advisers have begun to prepare for the prospect that rallies may not be able to return until just weeks before the election. That level of uncertainty has permeated some of the comments of allies who still favor Trump to win but now acknowledge the unprecedented challenge he faces in vying for a second term at a time of public disruption and hardship.”

You can read more here.

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'DANGEROUS FOOLS'

Republicans Think Bill Gates Is Using COVID-19 to Implant Tracking Devices Into People

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Bill Gates COVID-19

A new poll from Yahoo News and YouGov show that 44 percent of Trump-supporting Republicans think Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is using the coronavirus epidemic as a way to secretly implant microchips into billions of people so he can track their movements.

Additionally, 50 percent of Americans who primarily watch Fox News believe the conspiracy theory even though neither Fox nor Trump have ever repeated it.

The poll results are troubling because they suggest that even if a coronavirus vaccine becomes available, conservatives may reject it as a form of social control. In fact, the poll found that 56 percent of Trump voters say they’re either unsure about or likely to reject a COVID-19 vaccine, something that could cause the epidemic to continue killing people even after a preventative measure has been found.

This far-right conspiracy theory against Bill Gates has been pushed Rick Wiles on his TruNews platform and the pseudoscientific Natural News “alternative health” blog. It has also circulated on conservative social media groups as part of the right-wing’s growing hysteria against vaccinations and other government public health regulations.

While The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated millions towards COVID-19 research, Snopes points out the rumor started because in December 2019 the organization financed a pilot study to explore the possibility of an entirely hypothetical vaccine that would “impart an invisible mark” or a small infrared “quantum dot” tattoo allowing medical workers to use a smartphone or black light to determine who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t.

The rumor has also been propelled by Gates’s interest in “digital identity” technology which would give each person “a cloud-based storage of medical and/or personal-identification documents accessible only with the consent of the owner but available anywhere in the world.”

Gates has also publicly praised South Korea for its stringent contact tracing methods, using Bluetooth phone technology and public surveillance camera footage to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But neither Gates nor his foundation have ever discussed inserting microchips into people to track them.

Regardless, medical misinformation now seems to be a defining characteristic among a majority of Republicans. The poll also found 53 percent of Fox News viewers, 49 percent of Trump voters, and 44 percent of all Republicans think the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment against COVID-19 even though multiple studies have shown that to be untrue — in fact, it can even trigger fatal heart arrhythmia in patients.

Additionally, 65 percent of Fox News viewers, 58 percent of Trump voters, and 57 percent of Republicans believe “Chinese scientists engineered coronavirus in a lab, from which it accidentally escaped,” a conspiracy theory that has been denied by federal intelligence agencies.

Roughly 73 percent of Fox News viewers, 68 percent of Trump voters, and 63 percent of Republicans, say they’re more worried about COVID-19’s effect on the economy than its effect on people’s health. The same percentages also think the economy should reopen “as soon as possible to prevent further economic damage.”

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