Article Title:Cuckoos and elephants
Category:Comment
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:18th July 2011 - 02:26 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Internet Archive link:https://web.archive.org/web/20170423044601/http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/31/article_10619.php
Story ID:10619
Text:Some of the US Republican presidential nominees are dangerous extremists. In this article, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum will be profiled. While none of them may become the eventual nominee, their political stances should cause concern amongst US friends and allies. Sarah Palin needs no introduction. She is the former Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, unkindly called the "crystal meth capital of the United States". During her period as Alaska Republican Governor (2001-2006), Palin was a strong backer of anti-environmental programmes that overrode wilderness, endangered habitat and endangered species protections. She was responsible for the dead "Gravina Island Bridge" and authorised the Alaska terminus of the TransCanada Pipeline Project, despite Canadian indigenous protests at its questionable status under native title and ownership legislation. She also allowed offshore oil drilling in protected Arctic marine environmental habitats, delisted the polar bear as an endangered species, and allowed Alaska's Department of Fish and Game to hunt wolves. In the last years of her term, Palin faced recurrent questions about gubernatorial ethics, related to a controversial senior public servant dismissal. Although she left the post of Alaskan governor in 2006, questions still remain about her conduct during that period, which may endanger her future presidential aspirations. After failure as Republican Vice-Presidential nominee alongside Senator John McCain in 2008, Palin became a FoxNews pundit and was closely associated with the antitax Tea Party libertarian/neoconservative movement in 2010, which had mixed results. Palin is a member of the Pentecostal Wasilla Bible Church. She is anti-abortion, opposed to same-sex marriage, stem cell research, gun control and supports teaching intelligent design creationism in schools, as well as abstinence-based propaganda designed to scare adolescents away from having teenage sex. She is a climate change denialist (unsurprisingly). She is seen as vulnerable on environmental issues and ethics questions if her presidential run gathers momentum. Thus far, she has written two semi-biographical books that popularise her positions on social, economic and political issues. Rick Santorum is a former US Republican Senator for Pennsylvania. He is a hardline conservative Catholic, and opposed the constitutionally protected 'right to privacy' in the context of gay sex, abortion rights and enforced medical treatment of comatose people in persistent vegetative states. He was an architect of the radical US welfare privatisation policies enacted in the "Welfare Reform Act" passed under the Republican-dominated US Congress of the mid-nineties. He is also believed to have close ties to Iain Duncan-Smith, failed former UK Tory leader, head of the "Centre for Social Justice" and authored a chapter in a book that dealt with the question of "compassionate conservatism" under the Bush administration. As well as that, he set forth his belief in a sectarian religious base for public policy in a book of his own. He was a strong backer of the Bush administration "War on Terror" and credulous when it came to the (non) existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq as a basis for commencement of the Iraqi War in 2003. He is highly sectarian when it comes to Islamist insurgency in contexts like Iran and Syria and is a hardliner on illegal immigration issues. He also backs intelligent design creationism teaching in schools. His point of vulnerability is probably his strongly hawkish and credulous foreign policy stance. Michele Bachmann is the most extreme of this trio insofar as social issues goes. Formerly a Minnesota State assemblywoman, Bachmann is a Minnesota Member of the House of Representatives, elected in 2006. She has close ties to televangelist Pat Robertson's "Regent University", and runs a 'Christian counselling' service with her husband in Stillwater, Minnesota. Bachmann is a former antitax attorney. She has made her name as a fiscal conservative as well as social conservative, attacking increased (Bush administration) tertiary student funding assistance, opposes minimum wage safeguards for low-paid workers, supports overriding environmental protection safeguards in the context of oil exploration, opposes Wall Street corporate bailouts, is a climate change denialist and opposes President Obama's public healthcare reforms. She is currently serving on the House Committees on Financial Services and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In 2010, she was one of the contributors to a Coral Ridge Ministries DVD entitled Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger. Alarmingly for US European allies that have comprehensive welfare states and proper public healthcare systems, she believes that these are signs of (gasp) socialism!!! Insofar as social issues goes, she backed a stillborn Minnesota ban on same-sex marriage and supports the anti-SSM Federal Marriage Amendment. She is a backer of a controversial Minnesota-fundamentalist metal/rap outfit, "You Can Run But You Can't Hide," which engages in scare tactics to keep women subordinate, uses graphic antiabortion propaganda and without any basis in fact, attacks Attention Deficit Disorder as a 'diabolical fiction.' She also seems to be somewhat challenged in terms of perceptions of US social and political history. The latter's extremism may prove to be her undoing. Let us hope wiser heads prevail. However, one of the three cited figures might become vice-president in any future Republican administration if Obama is defeated in 2012. That prospect is hideous to contemplate. Recommended: Sarah Palin: Going Rogue: An American Life: New York: Harper Row: 2009 Sarah Palin: America by Heart: Relections on Faith, Family and Flag: New York: Harper Row: 2010. Rick Santorum: It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good: Wilmington: ISI Books: 2006. Gary Streeter (ed) There is Such a Thing As Society: Twelve Principles of Compassionate Conservatism: London: Politicos: 2003 -Rick Santorum: "The New Wave of Compassionate Conservatism" Coral Ridge Ministries: Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger: DVD, 2010. Craig Young - 18th July 2011    
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