Rick Santorum with George W. Bush and Arlen Specter
During last night’s Republican debate, rival candidate Mitt Romney attacked former Sen. Rick Santorum for endorsing pro-choice Republican (later turned Democrat) Sen. Arlen Specter over the more conservative primary challenger Pat Toomey. Santorum defended the endorsement claiming that he effectively traded the endorsement for a promise on judicial confirmations:
We had a conversation. He asked me to support him. I said “Will you support the President’s nominees?” We had a 51-49 majority in the senate. He said “I’ll support the President’s nominees, as chairman.”
That would have been the wrong thing to do. As chairman of that committee, I supported Roberts and Alito because I thought they were qualified for the jobs, but I made no deal. … There was no conversation where I made any commitment to him with respect to supporting any judges who hadn’t been nominated and whom I didn’t know about. I just didn’t do that and wouldn’t do that.
Given Specter’s long history of support for Republican Supreme Court nominees not named Bork and the two senators’ long record of mutual electoral support, Santorum’s accusations seem dubious at best.
Virginia Senate Committee Passes Amended Ultrasound Bill |
The Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee has passed an amended version of the GOP-sponsored ultrasound bill that will require women who are considering abortion to undergo an ultrasound 24 hours before having the procedure. The bill was revised on the House floor Wednesday at the request of Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who withdrew his support of the original measure amid public uproar and national media attention. The amended bill requires only an external, trans-abdominal ultrasound, as opposed to the original language that would have mandated pregnant women undergo invasive transvaginal ultrasound imaging without their consent. The vote was 8-7 along party lines, with eight Republicans voting to send the bill to the full Senate. The amended bill passed in the Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday by a vote of 65-32, though it is expected to die once it returns to the Senate as the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jill Holtzman-Vogel (R), has said she will strike it. — Fatima Najiy
ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes spoke to former presidential candidate Rick Perry, now a Gingrich supporter, immediately after last night’s GOP presidential candidates’ debate. The Texas governor and the former speaker have long been allies in pushing some of the more unusual parts of their agendas. Most notably, Gingrich wrote an effusive forward to Perry’s book Fed Up! which argues that Medicare, Social Security and many other important programs are unconstitutional.
In his interview with Keyes, Perry expressed complete confidence that Gingrich would implement Perry’s tenther constitutional agenda if Gingrich became president:
KEYES: Are you confident that [Gingrich] will adopt those policy recommendations that you proposed [on the Tenth Amendment]?
PERRY: Oh, I am . . . . [Gingrich] doesn’t just talk about the Tenth Amendment, he believes it. And he will, without a doubt.
KEYES: Have you been advising him to adopt your policy recommendations from your book?
PERRY: I don’t need to advise him. I mean, he’s read the book and he’s there.
Florida House Committee Passes Anti-Muslim Bill |
Florida’s House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that ostensibly targets the use of foreign law in Florida courts, but which is widely understood as an attack on the non-existent problem of American courts relying on Islamic law. The Florida bill closely resembles a similar anti-Muslim bill that recently stalled in the Virginia legislature due to objections from business groups that it would prevent routine business practices such as contracting with foreign companies to resolve potential disputes using another nation’s law. Twenty-two states are currently considering similar laws, and an earlier version of these bills was recently declared unconstitutional by a federal appeals court after it was enacted in Oklahoma. To learn about the network of bloggers, advocacy groups and wealthy funders pushing Islamophobic fantasies to state lawmakers, see the Center for American Progress’ report Fear, Inc.
MESA, Arizona — Approximately 40 undocumented students and supporters rallied outside the Arizona Republican presidential debate on Wednesday to protest the candidates’ opposition to the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act would allow certain youth to apply for residency and citizenship after graduating from high school and completing two years of college or the military. It passed the House of Representatives in 2010 and received a majority of votes in the Senate, but failed due to a Republican filibuster.
All four remaining GOP presidential contenders oppose the DREAM Act for undocumented students. (Newt Gingrich supports it only for those who enter the military.) Most notably, Mitt Romney pledged to veto the DREAM Act if elected president.
ThinkProgress spoke with a few of the protestors in-between chants of “veto Romney, not the DREAM Act!” and “up, up with education, down, down with deportation”. Erika Andiola singled out Newt Gingrich for criticism, saying that as “an undocumented person, I don’t want to serve the country in the military, I want to serve this country as a lawyer.” Dulce Matuz told ThinkProgress about the difficulty she endured enrolling at Arizona State University as an undocumented student. Though she’d lived in Arizona for years, her immigration status precluded her from paying the normal in-state tuition rate of $2,500 per semester; instead, her and her family were charged $8,500 per semester.
As further proof that conservative efforts to paint President Obama as the enemy of religion are a red herring, nearly two dozen leading Catholic nuns filed a brief in the Supreme Court last week supporting the president’s signature legislative accomplishment. The Catholic sisters who joined the brief include the leaders of many prominent religious orders providing health care and other services to the needy. As they explain in their brief:
Amici curiae represent the leadership of Catholic women’s religious orders from across the United States. Amici and the orders they serve have a long history of public service in healthcare in America dating back to the 1700s. These services include founding hospitals and free clinics and providing free healthcare to the underprivileged and uninsured. The work by Amici gives them a unique perspective on the unmet healthcare needs of the poor, as well as on the positive impact that will result from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or the “Act”). . . .
Amici have witnessed firsthand the national crisis that prompted Congress to pass the ACA. In particular, Amici have seen the devastating impact of
the lack of affordable health insurance and healthcare on women, children, and other vulnerable members of society.
Amici believe that a civilized society must ensure the provision of basic healthcare to its citizens regardless of their ability to pay for it. They further believe it is a moral imperative that all levels of government institute programs that ensure the poor receive such care. They believe Medicaid expansion under the Act is critical to the communities they serve.
These nuns have unique stature to explain why their support for the Affordable Care Act flows from their faith, given that so many of them have devoted their lives to providing care to those most in need. Nevertheless, their views are hardly unique within their church’s hierarchy. Pope Benedict XVI called health care an “inalienable right,” and added that it is the “moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens.”
At last night’s GOP presidential candidates debate, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) was asked why he’s promised to address “the dangers of contraception in this country” if elected president. In response, he cited a particularly unfortunate author:
What I was talking about is, we have a society — Charles Murray just wrote a book about this and it’s on the front page of the New York Times two days ago — which is the increasing number of children being born out of wedlock in America, teens who are sexually active. What we’re seeing is a problem in our culture with respect the children being raised by children, children being raised out of wedlock, and the impact on society economically, the impact on society with respect to drug use and a host of other things, when children have children. And so, yes, I was talking about these very serious issues. and, in fact, as I mentioned before, two days ago on the front page of the New York Times, they’re talking about the same thing.
First of all, Santorum’s decision to justify his skepticism of contraception by citing the problem of unwed mothers is like something out of the Bizarro Planet. Here in the actual world, contraception is the solution to the problem of unplanned pregnancies, not the cause.
Likewise, Santourm’s decision to rely on Charles Murray is no less distressing. Murray co-authored The Bell Curve, which argues that black people score lower on IQ tests because they are genetically inferior to whites. To reach this conclusion, Murray relied on studies backed by the Pioneer Fund, whose original mission was to pursue “race betterment” for people “deemed to be descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution.”
Murray’s latest book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, is a similarly rigorous work of scholarship. In the words of former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, Murray’s latest opus proves that the racially-challenged author is unwilling “to submit his politics to the check of uncongenial evidence” and instead would “prefer to avoid encountering the evidence that might shake his politics.” Sadly, this description also applies to Santorum.