Meet the New Republican Flamethrowers

These are the conservative voices that make the GOP mainstream cringe.

(From L to R, Chris Schneider/Getty Images, John Moore/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images and REUTERS/John Adkisson)
National Journal
Alex Roarty
See more stories about...
Alex Roarty
Nov. 18, 2013, 4:50 a.m.

Re­pub­lic­ans aren’t only wor­ried about what might come out of Paul Broun’s mouth. Here are oth­ers who have party strategists wor­ried.

Ken Buck: “You can choose who your part­ner is. I think birth has an in­flu­ence over [ho­mo­sexu­al­ity], like al­co­hol­ism and some oth­er things, but I think that ba­sic­ally you have a choice.” Sen­ate de­bate in 2010

Any list of dis­astrous Re­pub­lic­an Sen­ate can­did­ates since 2010 al­ways in­cludes Christine O’Don­nell, Shar­ron Angle, and Todd Akin, but Buck should be on it, too. The 2010 GOP nom­in­ee in Col­or­ado cost the party a win­nable seat by run­ning a gaffe-prone cam­paign that let Sen. Mi­chael Ben­net squeak out a vic­tory. No mis­step was more prom­in­ent than the one when, dur­ing a na­tion­ally tele­vised de­bate on Meet the Press, he called be­ing gay a choice and com­pared it to al­co­hol­ism. The sharp-edged so­cial con­ser­vat­ism doesn’t play well in in­creas­ingly lib­er­al Col­or­ado.

Mark Har­ris: “There is not the med­ic­al evid­ence that an in­di­vidu­al that chooses the ho­mo­sexu­al life­style is born that way. That is a choice.” In­ter­view on Speak Out Char­lotte in Ju­ly 2013

Har­ris would be a new­comer to of­fice, but not to polit­ics. The Baptist pas­tor last year led the move­ment in North Car­o­lina to ad­opt a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment ban­ning gay mar­riage, a meas­ure that passed over­whelm­ingly. But a re­newed de­bate over same-sex mar­riage is the last thing na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­ans want, es­pe­cially as pub­lic sup­port for it swells. Har­ris would dash those plans, and his un­apo­lo­get­ic evan­gel­ic­al­ism will make him prone to oth­er rhet­or­ic­al mis­takes.

Joe Miller: “Ul­ti­mately, we’ve got to trans­ition out of the So­cial Se­cur­ity ar­range­ment and go in­to more of a privat­iz­a­tion.” In­ter­view with ABC News in Ju­ly 2010

The best thing many Re­pub­lic­ans say about Joe Miller is that they don’t think he can win. The 2010 GOP nom­in­ee already suffered one em­bar­rass­ing de­feat three years ago, when Sen. Lisa Murkowski ran a write-in cam­paign to de­feat him in the gen­er­al elec­tion. Now in a three-per­son primary race, GOP op­er­at­ives hope rank-and-file voters re­mem­ber him as the man who has vowed to ul­ti­mately rid the coun­try of So­cial Se­cur­ity. Not to men­tion the man whose cam­paign once put a re­port­er in hand­cuffs.

Phil Gin­grey: “[Akin] went on and said that in a situ­ation of rape, of a le­git­im­ate rape, a wo­man’s body has a way of shut­ting down so the preg­nancy would not oc­cur. He’s partly right on that.” Ac­cord­ing to the Mari­etta Daily Journ­al in Janu­ary 2013

He’s not Paul Broun, but he’s close. The 71-year-old House mem­ber has a vot­ing re­cord every bit as ex­treme as his col­league’s, and his rhet­or­ic is nearly as con­tro­ver­sial. Gin­grey made head­lines early this year when he de­fen­ded Akin’s in­fam­ous sug­ges­tion that a wo­man can stop her­self from be­com­ing preg­nant after a rape. Re­pub­lic­ans will have a bet­ter shot at de­feat­ing Michelle Nunn if he, not Broun, is the nom­in­ee, but just barely. Demo­crats are con­fid­ent they will win if they face either one.

Bob Vander Plaats: “If we’re teach­ing the kids, ‘Don’t smoke, be­cause that’s a risky health style,’ the same can be true of the ho­mo­sexu­al life­style. That’s why I think we need to speak the truth once in a while.” In­ter­view with Think­Pro­gress in April 2011

Every­one who fol­lows Iowa polit­ics knows Bob Vander Plaats. And every­one who knows Bob Vander Plaats knows the out­spoken so­cial con­ser­vat­ive loves to court con­tro­versy. His sug­ges­tion that ho­mo­sexu­al­ity is a pub­lic-health risk is his best-known gaffe, but it’s hardly the only com­ment that would haunt him in a gen­er­al elec­tion. The group he runs, the Fam­ily Lead­er, sug­ges­ted dur­ing the last pres­id­en­tial cam­paign that black men and wo­men were bet­ter off dur­ing slavery be­cause at least then they lived in a two-par­ent house­hold. Even many Re­pub­lic­ans find him off-put­ting: In 2010, he lost the party’s gubernat­ori­al fight to Terry Bran­stad.

What We're Following See More »
‘PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE’
Priebus Asks Party to Unite Behind Trump
9 hours ago
THE LATEST
FEELING THE MIDWESTERN BERN
Sanders Upsets Clinton in Indiana
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.

Source:
TRUMP IS PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE
Ted Cruz Bows Out, Effectively Ceding the Contest to Trump
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."

Source:
TAKES AT LEAST 45 DELEGATES
Trump Wins Indiana, All but Seals the Nomination
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.

Source:
THE QUESTION
What’s the Average Household Income of a Trump Voter?
15 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Seventy-two thousand dollars, according to FiveThirtyEight. That's higher than the national average, as well as the average Clinton or Sanders voter, but lower than the average Kasich voter.

Source:
×