One subject was conspicuously absent from the Republican debates on Tuesday night: The fact that the previous weekend, three of the candidates had attended a conference in Iowa run by a fringe religious-right minister who was actively advocating the death penalty for gays — and, oh, saying that if his son married a man, he would show up for the wedding and smear his body in cow manure.
The man in question is Kevin Swanson, a talk-radio host and conspiracy theorist who hosted “Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference,” an assembly for far-right conservative Christians that was well documented by Right Wing Watch.
Among the guest speakers were Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — who were also invited candidates at Tuesday’s undercard debate — plus Ted Cruz, who was even on the main stage and is polling in the low double digits nationally.
A worst-of reel of highlights from Swanson’s event was shown this week on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, with Maddow wondering if any of those three GOP candidates would be asked about Swanson at the debate.
Maddow’s discussion of the event begins at the 5:55 mark below.
But if anything, Maddow missed a whole other raft of material on Swanson: His hatred of women who go to college and get jobs — instead of submitting to their husbands as God intended. His views on this point were memorably articulated when he and his radio co-host Dave Buehner went on a tear in early 2013, decrying feminism as the influence of evil, ugly women who are taking over society. (And they even implicated in Tea Party hero Sarah Palin into this — for having a husband to whom she does not submit, but instead makes him submit to her.)
Editor’s Note: The YouTube account of Right Wing Watch has been suspended by the site due to third-party complaints of copyright infringement, and so videos of the conference are temporarily unavailable.
“Remember, the goal is to get that girl a job,” Swanson said, “because she needs no stinkin’ husband, she’s got the fascist corporation and government-mandated insurance programs and socialist welfare that will take care of her womb to tomb. Who needs a cotton-pickin’ husband? Who needs a family? That’s pretty much the worldview that’s dominating, my friends. That’s what the college is all about.”
Later in 2013, Swanson and Buehner railed against gay influences in the Girl Scouts of America, urging listeners not to buy those delicious temptations, Girl Scout Cookies. And this conversation also steered back to that whole women-in-college-and-getting-jobs calamity.
Buehner said, with Swanson in full agreement: “Keep the end goal in mind: Are you trying to create a woman who’s going to compete with men in the marketplace — or are you trying to create a woman who will be a helpmeet to a man, so he can compete in the marketplace?”
But we’re not done yet…
Swanson somehow tied up racism and sexism into one masterpiece of a rant: He hates Abraham Lincoln — whom he links directly to Karl Marx — for enslaving all of America under big government in 1865; and from there, he segues into an apologia for the genocides and mass sex slavery found in the Bible.
So there you are: The man with whom Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal were all proud to share a stage on the weekend before a nationally televised debate. Anything for a vote in Iowa, huh?