Sunday, April 13, 2014

Republican hopefuls suck up for 2016 votes at Anti-Freedom Summit in New Hampshire

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Your 2016 GOP: Over the cliff, in the name of freedom.

Yes, the 2016 campaign has already begun, and some big-name Republicans were in New Hampshire yesterday for a right-wing pissing contest:

The Republican presidential primary is up and running in New Hampshire, where conservative prospects lined up in Manchester Saturday for the first cattle call of the 2016 cycle. 

Speakers at the New Hampshire Freedom Summit, which was sponsored by Citizens United and Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity, included Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, all of whom would be top tier presidential contenders should they run.

Donald Trump also spoke.

Huckabee seemed especially determined to show he could compete for conservative votes against politicians like Paul and Cruz, who have each earned a devoted following among tea party activists. While the two senators mostly stuck to their usual talking points, Huckabee offered an extra large serving of red meat.

"My gosh, I'm beginning to think that there's more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States," he said in his remarks. "When I go to the airport, I have to get in the surrender position, people put hands all over me, and I have to provide photo ID and a couple of different forms and prove that I really am not going to terrorize the airplane – but if I want to go vote I don't need a thing."

Huckabee is apparently trying to position himself as the stupidest Republican in the field, and on the merits of his comments yesterday he's succeeding. Though of course the competition is fierce.


It's hardly worth commenting on someone who thinks North Korea is a freer place than the United States (and presumably the entire Western world), but it's awfully rich of any Republican to criticize the national security state that has arisen in the wake of 9/11 given that it was the warmongering and torture-loving Republican administration of Bush and Cheney that put those restrictions in place. And it's simply ridiculous to suggest that for some reason airport security is akin to election security given that voter fraud (according to the evidence as opposed to Republican scaremongering) amounts to a microscopic problem that hasn't even come close to impacting the outcome of any election, whereas lapses in airport security (and, more broadly, all security involving air travel) can lead to event such as, you know, 9/11. Seriously, anyone who cares at all about what happened on 9/11, including the families of the victims, should take Huckabee's comment as a gross and insensitive insult. Because that's what it was, along with being insanely stupid. Perhaps he should go to North Korea for some re-education.

Otherwise, though, it's awfully rich of any Republican to talk about freedom when pretty much that entire party is doing its utmost to deny freedom to so many Americans, like the freedom to vote, the freedom to have access to affordable health care (including birth control), the freedom to have one's reproductive rights respected, the freedom to receive equal pay for equal work, the freedom to have the same opportunities to succeed as the rich and privileged, and so on.

But, no, this is the party that only wants freedom for the rich and privileged, and for people to own whatever firearms they want without restriction, for companies to be able to do whatever they want without regulation, for people to be able to use their theocratic Christianity to discriminate against anyone they want, and so on.

In other words, they want freedom for themselves, everyone else be damned to the dystopia of their right-wing desires.

Yes, they talk up FREEDOM, but Republicans are anything but the liberty-loving freedom fighters they claim to be.

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