Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wild Times at the Iowa State Fair with Bachmann, Pawlenty, and Santorum

This week, several Republican presidential candidates delivered speeches at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, IA, in anticipation of the Iowa Republican Straw Poll in Ames on Saturday. C-SPAN has devoted extensive coverage to the candidates' talks at the Iowa State Fair, capturing hecklers, debates with listeners, and quotes that reflect Religious Right sensibilities. For all of the recent focus on GOP candidates' approaches to economic issues, events at the Iowa State Fair serve as a reminder that candidates' views on social issues remain important.

First, after Michele Bachmann delivered her talk, tensions arose when her husband Marcus appeared. A heckler in the audience condemned Marcus for his controversial comments on LGBT people and reported support for so-called reparative therapy. "According to Marcus, I'm a barbarian! Pray the gay away, right Marcus? Treat me like a second-class citizen! Shame on you!" the heckler shouted, chanting "Shame on you!" afterwards.

The heckling begins at the 0:30 mark in the video below. (Click here if you're having trouble viewing the video.)

Tim Pawlenty was also confronted in a more reserved manner by the same man, identified by the Minnesota Independent as Gabe Aderhold . At the beginning of the video below, Aderhold makes the following statement to Pawlenty.

"I thought our country was about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone, no exceptions. So Tim Pawlenty, I want to know know, when will you stand up for me …because you are discriminating against me and it hurts, it really does."
Pawlenty replied with a defense of "traditional" marriage at the 1:05 mark of the video. (Click here if you're having trouble viewing the video.)
"From my perspective, I'm not at the point, nor will I ever be at the point where I'll say that every domestic relationship is the same as traditional marriage. The relationship between a man and a woman in a traditional marriage is important to our country, our society, our culture. I think it should remain elevated, not just in our words but under our laws."

Finally, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum gave a lengthy talk at the Iowa State Fair, emphasizing his beliefs that rights are allegedly God-given and that America is a "Judeo-Christian country." At the 10:45 mark of this C-SPAN video, Santorum defended the Mosaic religious code and the moral concept of natural law as values that undergird America.

"Who we are, ladies and gentlemen, is a country that believe that our rights come to us from our creator, to each and every one of us equally. I love the Constitution. I love the Constitution and I love the Tea Party, but when the Tea Party says its all about the Constitution, they're only  half right. Our country with a Constitution  without the Declaration of Independence, ladies and gentlemen, is France, okay? Because ... the Constitution is the how of America. The Declaration of Independence is the why, who we are. I talked about this last night when I had my debate with Ron Paul on the Tenth Amendment. Who we are is a country that has its rights given to us by God to each and every one of us. Why? Because we are creatures of God. And what did God give us those rights to do? He didn't just give us those rights to do whatever you want. No. There are laws. The Mosaic code. There are laws. There's a natural law. Nature and nature's God as it said in the Declaration. There are values that hold this country together as a Judeo-Christian country, and those values is what made America America. When they said unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they said the value, the right to life was invaluable, that that couldn't be violated, and it's being violated in America today."
At the 13:26 mark, Santorum's rhetoric included praise for the "institution of marriage," a subtle swipe at those who support LGBT equality.
"Our founders said life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They didn't say guarantee of happiness. They didn't say provision of happiness. They said that every American would have the right to pursue happiness, but it isn't happiness that some on the far right and some on the far left suggest. Happiness isn't the pursuit of pleasure. Go look it up in Websters, if you can get an old dictionary of that time. Happiness was the pursuit of what was morally good. God gave us rights so we could follow his will. Our founder John Adams, every founder, read them, every founder said the same. Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other. You cannot be free and live whatever life you want ... If we truly want to be free, we have to be a good and decent moral society. We have to believe in the foundational principle of the family and the institution of marriage, and we have to stand for those principles, because that's where that moral values are inculcated."
Finally, Santorum celebrated his anti-abortion advocacy at the 4:30 mark.

"On moral, cultural issues, no one stood up and fought for the santity of human life as much as I did in the United States Senate ... I was the author of the partial-birth abortion ban act. Again, an abortion measure that ... went at the heart of the abortion industry, indentifying what is in the womb, which is a child. We finally got this issue out before the American public."

Despite the heavy focus on economic and health care issues at the recent Iowa GOP debate, the Iowa State Fair is a strong reminder that several Republican candidates stand firm in their opposition to reproductive rights and LGBT equality. Social issues will remain a powerful undercurrent in the 2012 election, with several candidates from the Religious Right promoting an anti-LGBT, anti-abortion agenda.

For additional; commentary, visit the following links.

Truth Wins Out: Gay Man Confronts Tim Pawlenty on Marriage Equality; Pawlenty Punts

Think Progress: Gay Man Challenges Pawlenty on Opposition to Marriage Equality: 'Do you think I'm a second class citizen?


  1. What makes me sick is that the same ppl who exalt heterosexual marriage and family are the ones that later are found out to have affairs and such. Hypocrites.

  2. That's one way of doing it, and an important one. All they have is clich├ęs and platitudes of the kind you quote Pawlenty and Santorum as bleating forth. Once we put a human face on the targets, and those platitude cease to be mere abstractions, they lose their appeal -- except to the most extreme and dehumanized fundies.

  3. It is very encouraging to see the common people holding the candidates' feet to the fire on these very important issues. I love these clips. I laughed out loud watching Romney (I think it was on CNN's site) try to assure an angry heckler that he wouldn't touch his Medicaid or Social Security, AND he wouldn't raise taxes. Seriously? How does that math work? It doesn't!

    I think more and more people are finally starting to understand that "I won't raise taxes" means "I'm going to cut your social programs while helping the wealthy get wealthier." The GOP is all about promoting their wealthy corporate donors.

    Nothing makes people finally start thinking for themselves like economic hardship and disparity. Let's hope voters really send a strong message - and in a good way - during this next election.

  4. The defense of "traditional marriage" seems to me to be a losing argument for them. More and more Americans are accepting the idea of gay marriage.

  5. Exfundy -- Very true. You've heard about the latest sex scandal involing a "pro-family" lawmaker, correct?

    Infidel753 -- Bingo. When LGBTs and other targeted groups stop being boogeymen and start being real people, it's much harder to demonize them.

    Cognitive Dissenter -- I got a chuckle out of the Romney heckling incident too. "Corporations are people!?" The heckler caught Mitt off-guard, and he showed his true colors with THOSE words.

    Let's hope more people are questioning these campaign promises in the face of our current hardships.

    Donna -- I have a feeling, though, that right-wingers will cling to these arguments for a long time, even as they continue to alienate thoughtful voters.

  6. So hateful, so desperate. These nutjobs needs to learn that they can't control everything in life. Of course, they will never learn, so let's hope there are enough good people out there to ensure they don't come to power and enact their hateful, bigoted agenda.

    The very phrase "traditional marriage" makes me nauseated these days. I'm in a hetero marriage, but hey, we never had kids, so I guess we're just not doing the lord's work. I suppose I'll be burning in hell with all the other fun people.

    Seriously, when I read the headlines these days, I start to wonder what century I'm in...

  7. You might like this article:

    And it's interesting to note that the Prime Minister at the time, Paul Martin, is an observant and practicing Catholic, as was PM Jean Chretien. Despite that, we have gay marriage and legal, government-funded abortion here. I seem to recall Paul Martin being criticized by the Catholic Church over such issues, but he was adamant about separating his private, religious life from his role as leader of our country.

    I KNOW our current, right-wing Christian Evangelist leader is less interested in such a separation, although he still manages to maintain more of a distinction than his American counterparts. In Canada, leaders never seem to discuss their religion. Harper has in fact made a point of hiding his rather extreme religious views. By contrast, in the US, it seems you must be an observant Christian to be elected president. I find that difference between our countries very interesting!

  8. Knatolee -- Thanks for the link to the commentary. If same-sex marriage hasn't ruined Canada, right-wingers need to realize that it won't ruin the U.S. either.

    Regarding U.S. versus Canadian politics, I'd personally rather see candidate be open about their extreme fundamentalism than hide it. That way, what you see is what you get, and you can vote accordingly.

    I'm pleased that the political pressure to come across as a person of faith isn't as strong in Canada as it is in the U.S. I want to believe that a qualified non-Christian could be president, but I don't think the country is ready yet.

  9. What a sick bunch of theocratic garbage. The First Amendment apparently only applies to RRRW Christians.

  10. Buffy -- It's Santorum, so I'm not surprised one bit.

  11. I love Santorum's logic. If you want to be free you must bind yourself up within the narrow confines of his narrow religious views. Yeah, sounds like freedom to me. Because you know those ancient Israelites were all about the freedom. I think I remember them all painted up in blue woad and yelling freedom ... oh wait ... that was the Scottish. Never mind.

  12. Well, for all that we don't care as much about religion up here, we still haven't had a non-Christian Prime Minister (or one who wasn't white, for that matter!) We did have a woman for ten minutes, but she didn't really count!

    I agree with you that they shouldn't hide their faith either. But Harper knows that if people had really been paying attention to his beliefs, he probably wouldn't have gotten a majority government. (I could be wrong, of course.) Still, he has taken pains in the past to come off as mainstream, which he isn't. Now that he has a majority, I don't think he has to hide anymore because he's basically unstoppable for the next four years.

    Noodleepoodlee, LOL!!! :)

  13. Noodleepoodlee -- If elected president (unlikely, in my opinion), I fear that Santorum would inject his religious beliefs into policy left and right.

  14. Ahab, I'm afraid Santorum, Bachmann, Palin, Perry (etc) would see God's mandate to give us all some "old time religion." Looks like some people are starting to pay attention. Just put a new post up on Leah Burton's new book.

    And Knatolee, glad to give you a giggle.


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