Conservatives are tripping over themselves to paint a halo on the Kentucky clerk who was jailed for trying to keep gay people from getting married in her county. So brave. Ah, America, where you can simultaneously hold the Constitution up as a holy totem and conveniently forget anything in it you don’t like. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:
5. Louie Gohmert
Last week, I announced to the world if the House and Senate will treat Iran — the Iran treaty as a treaty, I will not run for my congressional seat again. It’s the only thing that I have left that our leadership wants beside my integrity.
And after last week that I spent in Egypt, I feel so compelled to do absolutely everything I can to derail this president’s drastic move towards a nuclear holocaust. I won’t run again if the House voted on my attached resolution and the Senate voted on ratification.
Gohmert further told Breitbart that “the foolish cowardice of Neville Chamberlain in 1938 will pale by comparison” to the cravenness of congressional Republicans.
In fairness, if nuclear holocaust were to occur, we wouldn’t want to die in Washington, either.
4. Tony Perkins
Remember Tony Perkins? He’s the head of the Family Research Council, the far-right hate group that has repeatedly claimed that gay people were sexual predators, while employing degenerate reality star Josh Duggar as its executive director. He’s the same Tony Perkins who said the anti-bullying campaign “It Gets Better” was “immoral” and “disgusting,” and spoke out in favor of Uganda’s infamous “kill the gays” law.
Fox & Friends invited the very same Tony Perkins to share their couch this week to promote his new book, No Fear, a jeremiad of the struggles of Christian “young people who have taken a stand for Biblical truth” and suffered for it; the book, he said, is “a message of hope for the rest of us.” (Who is “us”? If you have to ask, it’s probably not you.)
Media Matters has assembled a supercut of Fox News hosts giving Perkins a platform to shill his book and spew his noxious riff on the Christian persecution narrative. Which is hilarious in a mirthless kind of way when you consider that the network accuses the Black Lives Matter movement of being a hate group, while Megyn Kelly and her colleagues continue to wheel out Tony Perkins every time they need an old, sensible-sounding white man to rattle his saber against the dreaded gays.
To Kelly’s credit, she did try (not terribly hard) to nail Perkins down on one point: When you open the door to religious liberty exemptions, and start letting government officials opt out of their sworn duties, where does it end? Would a Muslim clerk be permitted a “religious accommodation”? Do you have to allow interracial marriages if the God of your understanding opposes them?
Perkins did not answer, but merely tried to characterize Davis as a reasonable woman caught under the boot of big, bad liberalism.
Kim Davis should rest easy knowing she has a such a sterling moral champion in Tony Perkins on her side. He even gave her his new book when she got released from jail, and promised to include a new chapter about her martyrdom in a subsequent edition.
3. Mathew Staver
Of course Perkins isn’t the only conservative stalwart for Kim Davis.
Mathew Staver, former dean of the law school at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, has been representing the recalcitrant county clerk in her crusade to maintain the sanctity of marriage in her domain of Rowan County, Kentucky. (According to Davis, marriage is an eternal, sacred bond between a woman and three men — one of them twice).
As an attorney and head honcho at Liberty Counsel — the righteous anti-gay, anti-abortion counterpart to that vile haven of black magic and Baphomet worship, the ACLU — he has defended Davis’ criminal actions, likened her to a Jew living in Nazi Germany, fought to get her released from jail, and become a white knight in the modern conservative Christian theocratic movement, fighting for your right to practice their religion. Staver even had the temerity to threaten the deputy clerks, who opposed Davis by issuing licenses in her absence, with civil action.
The “religious liberty” rhetoric espoused by Staver is designed to give the impression that Christians of conscience are being oppressed, and would much rather turn the other cheek and go on their way. Right Wing Watch has gathered 10 horrible things Staver has said over the years, making it pretty clear that he’s on the warpath, and his views on gay people place him comfortably in the Dark Ages — and hand in hand with presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
Via Right Wing Watch
2. Sarah Palin
The Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill against the Iran deal was a buffet of bonkers. The event was headlined by Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, who conveyed all the usual bombast (the president is “lawless,” said Cruz; our leaders are “stupid,” said Trump — yawn). But then the erst-governor of Alaska and onetime (we pray) VP candidate Sarah Palin put in an appearance as well — a cartoonish blast of nonsense, hypocrisy, and silliness so bizarre and uninformed even Glenn Beck is embarrassed to have ever supported her.
She accused Obama of implicitly supporting violence against police officers “since he still hasn’t called off the dogs.” By “dogs,” we suppose she means the Justice Department probe into the city of Ferguson, or perhaps the #BlackLivesMatter movement… I don’t know. That’s the magic of Palin: her language is vacuous and loaded at the same time — void of meaning and pregnant with innuendo. (“Who’s our enemy? You know who.”)
Although there to voice her disapproval of the Iran deal, she failed to articulate a single coherent thought against it, opting instead to goad the audience into easy cheers with code words like “Reagan.” (Remember when Reagan actually sold weapons to Iran? Neither does Palin, apparently.)
You know you’ve gone too far when even Glenn Beck washes his hands of you.
“Sarah Palin has become a clown,” he said later. “I’m embarrassed that I was once for Sarah Palin. Honestly — I’m embarrassed.”
At least someone on the right knows how to feel some shame.
1. Mike Huckabee
For any number of reasons, a Mike Huckabee presidency is a highly alarming prospect, but what specifically concerns me this week is his flagrant ignorance of American history and jurisprudence — an ignorance he has been loudly and proudly preaching to score political points with evangelicals and anti-gay-marriage crusaders.
At the carnival supporting Kim Davis’ release Tuesday, Huckabee echoed what is now a familiar line among conservatives angling to delegitimize the Obergefell ruling: The Supreme Court, Huckabee said, has no standing to make the law. “Five unelected lawyers,” by which he means the five-Justice majority that ruled prohibitions against same-sex marriages were unconstitutional, do not have the right to make the law. That right is reserved exclusively for elected officials at the local, state, and federal level.
Appearing on radio host Michael Medved’s show, Huckabee elaborated:
The Supreme Court in the same-sex marriage decision made a law and they made it up out of thin air. Therefore, until Congress decides to codify that and give it a statute it’s really not an operative law and that’s why what Kim Davis did was operate under not only the Kentucky Constitution which was the law under which she was elected but she’s operating under the fact that there’s no statute in her state nor at the federal level that authorizes her
In other words, until a legislative body gets around to actually writing a law, we don’t have to follow the Supreme Court ruling. After all, he said, the Dred Scott decision “still remains to this day the ‘law of the land,’ which says that black people aren’t fully human. Does anybody still follow the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision?”
So, Huckabee believes that Dred Scott, which holds that African-Americans don’t have citizenship, is still the “law of the land.” (It’s okay — he isn’t the only GOP candidate to forget the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.)
He also believes that the Supreme Court is basically an impotent body that has the capacity to do… well, nothing basically. (He’s in good company. Fellow GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson also believes it’s high time we revoked Marbury vs. Madison, the landmark 1803 decision that established the Supreme Court’s role in judicial review.)
But what a relief to know then that President Huck would have no trouble ignoring the Hobby Lobby decision! And Citizens United! And Shelby County!
In fact, the answer to Huckabee’s ignorance can be found in any middle-school history textbook (outside of Texas, anyway). But since cracking open a book can be such a pain, here’s PolitiFact to save us some time:
[T]he Supreme Court can clearly overrule the other two branches of government. Congress may pass a law and the president can sign it, but the Court can invalidate it.
The Supreme Court, however, only has the ability to interpret laws — not to draft or enforce them. So the president is obligated to enforce the law as determined by the courts, said Katy Harriger, a professor of constitutional law at Wake Forest University.
[… T]he Supreme Court indeed has the power to overrule the other branches through judicial review — the court’s ability to rule that a law passed by Congress and signed by the president is unconstitutional. While there are certainly tools the president and Congress can use to go around a Supreme Court decision it doesn’t like — such as amending the Constitution or selecting justices that support the alternate position — these are difficult to accomplish and usually require years of effort, making them rare. The much more common result is for the executive and legislative branches accept a Supreme Court decision as the final word.
Huckabee may not like this state of affairs, but on balance, we rate his claim Mostly False.
My guess is that Huck mostly doesn’t care.
Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments!
Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.