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5. Iowa Republicans

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Former Arkansas governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has a strange obsession with Beyoncé Knowles, whom he has repeatedly criticized, and even compared to a prostitute. Thanks to the trolls running the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll in Iowa, we now know that he’s not alone.

Tucked in between serious questions about the 2016 Iowa caucus, the pollsters asked a leading question on Queen Bey. And the results were glorious.

Beyonce poll

In other words: By a 40 to 38 percent margin, likely Republican caucus-goers agree that Beyoncé is “mental poison.”

Suddenly, those electoral victories by Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Joni Ernst make a bit more sense.

With Huckabee nearly certain to jump into the 2016 race, he may end up having to moderate his crazier views to appeal to a broader electorate. But fear not, Iowans: There are still plenty of other right-wing luminaries who spend a surprising amount of time worrying about whether Beyoncé is a demon.

4. Ben Carson

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

When New Jersey governor Chris Christie suggested that parents “need to have some measure of choice” over whether to vaccinate their children, pretty much every prospective presidential candidate rushed to get their own views on the record.

Somewhat surprisingly, Dr. Ben Carson — usually a fountain of crazy soundbites — took a measured, responsible stance: “Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them.”

It didn’t last long.

During a Tuesday appearance on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, Carson reiterated that we risk public health crises like the current measles outbreak in California when parents don’t vaccinate their kids. But he also explained who’s really to blame: Immigrants!

“These are things that we had under control. We have to account for the fact that we now have people coming into the country sometimes undocumented people who perhaps have diseases that we had under control,” Carson said. “So now we need to be doubly vigilant about making sure that we immunize them to keep them from getting diseases that once were under control.”

As Caitlin MacNeal points out at Talking Points Memo, “According to the World Health Organization, about 93 percent of children in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, from which a majority of undocumented children have emigrated from, have gotten a measles vaccination.” In other words, the immigrants that Carson fears are more likely to be vaccinated than many American children.

But still, Carson’s point is well taken: It’s not going to be that easy for Rand Paul to steal his role as 2016’s Michele Bachmann. And the countdown to Carson appearing on Michael Savage’s radio show begins now.

3. Del Marsh

Del Marsh

From hypermasculine homosexual stormtroopers to the gay massage-related decline of the military, we’ve heard a lot of terrible arguments against marriage equality. But few have been as desperate as the one unleashed last week by Alabama state senator Del Marsh (R).

With gay marriage nearly a reality in the Heart of Dixie, Marsh felt compelled to bust out the Tea Party’s biggest gun in a last-ditch argument for segregation: We can’t afford it!

“You gotta look at the financial aspect of this as well,” Marsh told a local radio host. “Let’s face it. If gay marriage is approved, I assume that those types of unions, those people would be entitled to Social Security benefits, insurance. Where does it end?”

Think Progress has the audio:

Sure, LGBT couples have been paying taxes towards those benefits for their entire adult lives…but we can’t pass on gay debt to our grandchildren!

Thankfully for Senator Marsh, he needn’t worry. While Alabama can’t afford many things, gay marriage isn’t one of them. According to a 2014 study from the Williams Institute, legalizing gay marriage would bring the state about $13.9 million in its first year.

2. James David Manning
Few people in America can spin a crazy conspiracy theory better than Harlem-based pastor James David Manning. In between appearances on and protests of Fox News, Manning has attracted attention for claiming that President Obama “released the homo demons on the black man” and made a secret deal to support terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda, among other wild assertions.

Manning may have outdone himself with his latest speech, eloquently titled “Don’t let your son cut off his penis.” According to the pastor, Justin Bieber is actually a woman who cut her breasts off — thanks to President Obama’s “evil spirit.”

The insane video speaks for itself:

Please, for the love of God, somebody ask Iowa Republicans what they think about Manning’s theory.

1. Benjamin Cole

It’s been a tough couple of days for this week’s “winner,” Republican aide Benjamin Cole.

Cole, who served as Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R-IL) senior advisor for policy and communications, started the week with an embarrassing story about his failed attempts to kill an article about Schock’s extravagantly decorated, Downton Abbey-themed office. But soon, crystal chandeliers and pheasant-feather displays would be the least of his problems.

On Thursday, ThinkProgress uncovered a series of Facebook posts in which Cole compares black people outside his Washington DC apartment to escaped zoo animals engaging in “mating rituals” (the posts were punctuated with the hashtag “#gentrifytoday” for good measure). And it gets worse.

Shortly thereafter, BuzzFeed News uncovered more racist posts, including complaints that “white people who live in my building are routinely harassed by Black miscreants,” musing about “the deportables,” and a suggestion that a White House mosque be built for President Obama.

Image via BuzzFeed

Image via BuzzFeed

Once it became apparent that his communications director couldn’t even handle a personal Facebook page, Schock gave Cole the boot on Thursday afternoon.

But he should keep his chin up. Maybe Stephen Fincher is hiring.

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.