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Ted Cruz and Ben Carson top picks in Value Voters presidential straw poll

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Tea Party Republican Ted Cruz walked away from this weekend’s Value Voters summit as the first choice in the conservative conclave’s annual presidential straw poll, according to the Washington Post.

The Texas senator, known more for his rhetorical bomb-throwing than for legislative accomplishments, received 25 percent of the vote, down from the 42 percent he received in 2013.

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Retired neurosurgeon and Tea Party favorite Dr. Ben Carson, came in second with 20 percent of the vote, while former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was third with 12 percent. Perennial presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, was fourth with 10 percent, followed by fifth place finisher, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, with 7 percent.

Rand Paul, considered by many to be a leading contender for the 2016 nomination,  trailed in sixth place demonstrating a lack of enthusiasm for the libertarian-leaning senator by the 2,000 mostly evangelical attendees interested mostly in religious and social issues.

Carson, a regular fixture on conservative talk shows who has never held public office, was the first choice by voters for the vice presidential slot.

The Value Voters conference, hosted by the the conservative Family Research Council, began holding presidential straw polls in 2007.  Previous winners have included, Cruz, Huckabee, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Indiana Governor  Mike Pence, and Rand Paul’s father, former congressman Ron Paul.

Ron Paul’s win in 2011 was dismissed by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins after he accused Paul of busing in over 600 voters.

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To date, no Value Voters straw poll winner has  been elected president, with only Romney receiving the GOP nod in 2012.

Romney lost to incumbent President Barack Obama, winning only 206 electoral college votes to Obama’s 332.

The former Massachusetts governor, who did not speak at the conference, is rumored to be considering another run.

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Catholic peaders promised transparency about child abuse — but they haven’t delivered

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It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

Even after the claim was settled and the compensation paid in February 2019, however, the archdiocese didn’t publish Donahue’s name on its list of accused priests. Nor did it three months later when Giacalone’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, criticized the church publicly for not adding Donahue’s name to the list.

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Mike Pompeo’s behavior is straight out of Nixon VP’s playbook: historians

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expletive-laden dust-up with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly is on message for the Trump-led Republican Party. Complaining that Kelly’s question about Ukraine was “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” Pompeo has rallied the Republican base by slamming a journalist doing her job.

Whether he knows it or not, Pompeo is drawing from a playbook written a half century ago and perfected by a politician once voted the worst vice president in American history. Secretary Mike Pompeo, meet Vice President Spiro Agnew.

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‘Our chances of ever exiting the nightmare are shrinking’: Paul Krugman explains how the GOP is getting worse

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It is a great detriment to civil discourse that the divide between left and right in the United States is often depicted as being purely cultural — as if one’s politics were solely mediated by aesthetics, such as whether one prefers shooting guns or drinking lattes. This fabulist understanding of politics is harmful inasmuch as it masks the real social effects of the policy agendas pushed by left versus right. Seeing politics as aesthetic transforms what should be a quantitative debate — with statistics and numbers about taxation and public policy, questions of who benefits more or less from policy changes — and devolves it into a rhetorical debate over values.

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