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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 9, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 41
Republicans in disarray
Chaos as House Speaker candidate withdraws
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Republicans in disarray
Chaos as House Speaker candidate withdraws

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy, said to be the odds on favorite to succeed John Boehner as Speaker of the House, threw the GOP caucus into disarray when he withdrew his name from consideration on October 8.

McCarthy's candidacy was derailed when about 40 hardline right wing Republicans announced they would support Congressman Dan Webster of Florida. With the loss of that many votes, McCarthy might have won nomination by the GOP caucus, but would have been short of the 218 votes needed to win election when his name was submitted to the full House.

'I am not the one to unify the party,' McCarthy told his caucus, according to New York Republican Peter King. 'As shocked members left the room there was a sense of total disarray, with no clear path forward and no set date for a new vote,' the New York Times reported.

Until future notice, John Boehner remains Speaker, although he has resigned from the post.

McCarthy seemed certain to succeed Boehner until he blurted out that the House Select Committee on Benghazi was merely a political stunt to wreck Hillary Clinton's political career. At that point Webster and Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz decided to challenge him. Webster had previously mounted an unsuccessful challenge to Boehner.

Kevin McCarthy, friend of the FRC
Although McCarthy was the so-called 'moderate' in the race for Speaker, he has a long history of support for anti-Gay extremists.

He is, for example, a supporter of the Family Research Council (FRC), listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

In 2010, when SPLC added FRC to its list of hate groups, the anti-Gay organization struck back with an open letter signed by a number of Republican Congressmen - McCarthy included - and other right-wing leaders.

In the letter, McCarthy promised to 'stand in solidarity with Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, National Organization for Marriage, Liberty Counsel and other pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and family.'

That was not McCarthy's first foray into political Gay bashing. As a freshman Congressman in 2007, he voted against ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), which would have barred discrimination based on sexual orientation. As a member of California's Assembly in 2002, he voted against civil unions and for the state version of DOMA, defining marriage as 'one man and one woman.'

McCarthy has earned a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee because of his firm stand against reproductive choice. He voted against Obamacare, and has voted repeatedly to repeal the measure, because he objects to insurance coverage for contraceptive care.

Daniel Webster, friend of the Duggars
Congressman Daniel Webster, candidate of the Christian right faction of the Republican Party, is a personal friend of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and an in-law of Gil and Kelly Bates, another Christian reality TV couple.

Webster is the friend of even worse people, however. He homeschooled all six of his children, using a curriculum developed by a group called the Advanced Training Institute, formerly headed by Bill Gothard.

Gothard believes in an almost Puritan version of Christianity. His homeschool courses discourage dating, for example, and he frowns on rock music - even 'Christian rock' - and Cabbage Patch dolls.

Gothard also believes that a father should be able to veto his daughter's suitors. A woman who works outside her home is suspect, in Gothard's eyes, because by doing so she's putting herself under the authority of a man who is not her husband.

Gothard stepped down as head of his institute in 2014, however, after reports that he had sexually harassed multiple women and failed to report allegations of child abuse in the organization.

Jason Chaffetz not a friend of women
Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the third candidate in the race, also has a long record of anti-Gay positions.

In 2013, he was a cosponsor of the so-called Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, the Republican reply to the landmark Supreme Court decision USA v. Windsor, striking down DOMA.

The Republican measure was the first attempt to authorize discrimination against same-sex couples under the pretext of First Amendment religious freedom protections. Although the bill did not advance, it offered the enemies of equality a rhetorical framework for subsequent campaigns.

At the same time as he was trying to undermine marriage equality, Chaffetz was one of the Republican Congressmen who voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act because the measure included language explicitly protecting Lesbians and Trans women.

In 2009, Chaffetz unsuccessfully tried to block the District of Columbia's marriage equality law from going into effect, claiming that 'I represent the majority of Americans on this issue.'

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