Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker has frequently mentioned the fact that he was an Eagle Scout when he was younger on the campaign trail, largely due to having been a politician virtually his entire adult life and having very few accomplishments outside of politics to cite on the campaign trail.
However, what Walker recently said about the Boy Scouts of America is absolutely disgusting. After the Boy Scouts’ National Executive Committee recommended a resolution to the Boy Scouts’ National Executive Board that, if adopted by the executive board, would end the ban on gay adults serving as Boy Scout volunteers and employees, Walker publicly defended the ban on gay adults in the Boy Scouts. Even worse, Walker compared LGBT people to pedophiles, which is a total characterization of the vast majority of LGBT people in this country. Here’s what Walker said:
I have had a lifelong commitment to the Scouts and support the previous membership policy because it protected children and advanced Scout values.
I’m not a fan of the Boy Scouts, since they’re a quasi-religious organization that openly discriminates against atheists and others who are not of a religious faith of any kind. However, for Walker to claim that discriminatory policies against LGBT people “protected children” amounts to blatantly stirring up homophobia, since Walker is implying that LGBT people are pedophiles, which is not true for the vast majority of LGBT people. This kind of attack from Walker is straight out of the same playbook that the bible-thumping religious right in this country has used for decades in opposition to LGBT rights and in support of discrimination against LGBT people.
Furthermore, the President of the United States is traditionally the honorary president of the Boy Scouts, so, if the Boy Scouts continue with that tradition after the 2016 elections, Scott Walker is effectively running for honorary president of the Boy Scouts by running for President of the United States. For an overt bigot like Walker to be the chief executive of the United States and the honorary leader of the Boy Scouts would be a national travesty.
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) announced yet another bid for the Republican presidential nomination earlier today. This time, he’s trying to appeal to working-class voters, saying that “working families don’t need another president tied to big government or big money”.
However, Rick Santorum is not a real champion of the working class.
For starters, Santorum has a long history of taking far-right positions and making offensive remarks on various issues, especially on social issues like abortion and marriage equality. For example, Santorum has staunchly opposed marriage equality, going as far as to claim that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to people marrying dogs, which is absolutely false and absurd. On LGBT rights in general, Santorum has claimed that the Boy Scouts allowing openly gay people to join the Scouts would “murder” the organization, another absolutely false and absurd claim. On abortion and reproductive rights, Santorum has staunchly opposed the idea that women should be able to make their own decisions about their reproductive health, going as far as to say that survivors of rape who get pregnant via rape should “accept what God has given”, effectively saying that he thinks that women should be forced to carry an unwanted fetus to term.
When it comes to economic issues, Santorum’s “appeal” to working-class Americans is phonier than a $3 bill. For starters, Santorum supports eliminating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and instituting a flat federal income tax rate. I have two things to say about this ridiculous idea. First, a flat income tax would make income inequality, already a serious problem in this country, even worse, because the wealthiest Americans would receive most, if not all, of the tax cuts from a flat income tax. Second, who the hell would be responsible for collecting taxes if the IRS were eliminated?
Rick Santorum is a phony and a far-right crackpot who would make an absolutely horrible president.
Michael Boggs, a former right-wing Democratic Georgia State Representative (yes, there used to be right-wing Democrats in office in Georgia and other Southern states), will not be confirmed by the U.S. Senate and will not be re-nominated by President Barack Obama to a lifetime term to a federal judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
While this isn’t a pretty victory by any stretch of the imagination, since there’s still a large number of federal judicial vacancies, this is a progressive victory because Boggs would have been a rubber stamp for the Republicans’ far-right agenda had he been confirmed as a federal judge.
When Boggs ran for and won a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, Boggs campaigned as an ultra-conservative, supporting the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda, the Confederate flag, and school prayer and opposing openly-gay Boy Scout leaders, reproductive rights, and marriage equality. During his 2000 campaign, Boggs’s campaign distributed this flyer touting his pro-discrimination and anti-equality views on social issues and stating that he was running as a Democrat simply to get a committee chairmanship and advance far-right legislation (at the time, Democrats controlled the Georgia House of Representatives). More importantly, as a Georgia State Representative, Boggs built up a right-wing, pro-discrimination, and anti-equality voting record that is far out of line with what is expected of Democrats of today’s Democratic Party.
Michael Boggs’s bid to be a federal judge is, at least for the next two years, is over, and this is the last progressive victory in 2014. While I expect very few progressive victories in 2015, given that Republicans will have increased power in Congress and in numerous state governments, I hope that us progressives score some victories, and I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year.