What’s behind Kathy Barnette’s Surge?

Kathy Barnette and family
Kathy Barnette and family

There are five U.S. Senate primaries on May 17.  Pennsylvania may be the most important, because it is key to Republican hopes to recapture a Republican Senate majority. It has also become close and hotly contested with the two front-runners being unexpectedly challenged by  an outspoken ultra-MAGA candidate.

Kathy Barnette is a 50-year-old black conservative woman. She is a strong Christian and considers herself an ultra-MAGA. A recent Fox poll shows her support surging in the eight candidate primary and closing fast on front-runners Dr. Mehmet Oz, 61, a TV celebrity heart surgeon, and Dave McCormick 57,  decorated Army war veteran, businessman, and former U.S. Treasury Undersecretary.  President Trump has endorsed Oz, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz has endorsed McCormick. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst bravely endorsed Barnette.

The latest Fox News Poll published on May 11 shows Dr. Oz in a narrow lead at 22 percent over McCormick at 20 percent and 19 percent for Barnette. Two other candidates are not far behind with significant support: Carla Sands and Jeff Bartos. Eighteen percent are undecided.   Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania primary has no run-off provision. Whichever of eight candidates gets the most votes wins, even if the winning percentage is ridiculously low.   

Barnette’s surging support stems from Republican voter doubts that Oz and McCormick are the strong and courageous conservatives needed in the Senate.  McCormick, in my opinion, is a conservative, but Trump has spent most of his time supporting Oz by trying to beat down McCormick. McCormick is the only Pennsylvania native of the top three candidates. McCormick is a West Point graduate and has a PhD in international affairs from Princeton and had a very successful business career as well as high levels of federal government experience.  Many voters believe Oz is not a conservative on family issues. Although Oz is being pushed as the only one who can win, he has by far the highest unfavorable rating by Pennsylvania Republicans at 46 percent to 45 percent positive, a net one percent negative. Barnette has the lowest unfavorable rating of only 12 percent, but a positive rating of 41 percent. McCormick has the highest favorable rating at 49 percent, with 27 percent unfavorable.  Barnette’s supporters are the most enthusiastic, but she has far less campaign financing resources.

Barnette is controversial with the mainstream media and some Fox commentators because between 2013 and 2020 she had posted criticisms of Islam and LGBT on Facebook and Twitter. Fox News’s Sean Hannity harshly criticized her for this, lamenting that she had not been thoroughly vetted by the media. Hannity’s criticism was so harsh that President Trump described Hannity’s attack as “too heavy handed.”  Trump also complained that Barnette had not been sufficiently vetted and said he did not think she could win against the radical Democrats in Pennsylvania. However, he added that she might later “have a wonderful future in the Republican Party,” which he might “fully support.”

Barnette has not to my knowledge directed any personal criticism of Dr. Oz concerning his religion. Dr. Oz identifies with the mystic Sufi sect of Sunni Islam. Oz also holds dual citizenship in Turkey and the U.S.  McCormick, however, warned President Trump privately that Oz’s Muslim faith would be a liability in the Senate race.

I have written over 60 articles on Islam and the Middle East and have probably read over 50 books on the subject as well as the Koran and the principal sayings of Muhammad that give clarity to the Koran. Judging from her Facebook posts, Barnette is well-read and educated on the real nature of Islam according to the Koran and the teachings and example of Muhammad. However, the official narrative of the Federal Government and most of the media and academia on Islam, since the second Bush presidency, has been a white-washed fantasy that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance.  Islamic doctrines derived from the Koran and teachings of Muhammad are on balance neither peaceful nor tolerant. Muhammad’s revelations of the Koran and his teachings in the Sunna grew more Jihadic and anti-Christian in his later years. However, although the most consistent theme in Islam is to follow the example of Muhammad, many modern adherents to Islam are essentially secularized or purely cultural Muslims and eschew Islamic Supremacy, Jihad,  and the harsh culture of Sharia Law.

The most controversial posting Barnette made on Islam was in 2015, when she posted what may have been a quote from Dr. Peter Hammond’s book, Terrorism, Islam, and Slavery, that “Pedophilia is a Cornerstone of Islam.”  This may have been an exaggeration of Hammond based on acknowledged records considered sacred doctrine (Sunna) by Islamic scholars and clergy that Muhammad’s second or third of 12 wives, Aisha, the daughter of Muhammad’s closest colleague and later Caliph Abu Bakr, was betrothed to Muhammad at age 6, and the marriage was consummated at age 9. This is according to Aisha’s own recorded account. This may not have been an unusual arrangement in Arabia circa 622 AD. Although these records are found in Islamic Foundational documents, the practice of very early betrothal and marriage was not foundational in the sense of being one of the most important doctrines of Islam such as Islamic Supremacy, Jihad, and Sharia.  Barnette is also looking at this practice through a Biblical Christian lens.

Sharia is essentially the Koran and other words of Muhammad coded into a manual of Islamic Sacred Law governing almost every aspect of Muslim life. One of the most popular English translations is Reliance of the Traveller by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri.

Dr. Oz seems to be a nice guy, and the Sufi sect of Islam has in recent years tended to be more peaceful than radical Sunni and Shia Muslims prefer. However, the founder of the radical Jihadist Muslim Brotherhood was also a Sufi.   

Hannity’s lamenting about the lack of vetting of Barnette seemed rather unfair to me.  It is especially unfair given that “radical” Islam, which is really the fundamentalist Islam of the Koran and Sunna, is a prominent danger to U.S national security and public safety and that no one has dared question Dr. Oz about where he stands on key Islamic doctrines. Many key Islamic doctrines are clearly hostile to and prone to violence against Christians, Jews, and, in fact, all non-Muslims.  Some are severely restrictive and harsh to women. Many Western European countries have banned and criminalized criticism of Islam or Islamophobia. This would be a severe violation of First Amendment rights to Americans, but  the American left and some of their allied establishment Republican virtue-signalers would be happy to implement such dangerous laws.  

Laura Ingraham’s interview of Kathy Barnette on Fox was much more evenhanded and sympathetic.  

Barnette’s criticism of LGBT also comes from a straight-forward understanding of the Bible. But we have reached the point of cultural decline that shuns strong Biblical passages like Romans 1:18-32 and shouts down any Biblical wisdom or criticism of LGBT. We are seeding a whirlwind of social disaster, and Barnette has been courageous enough to warn us.

Barnette has also been adamant in her claim that the Biden presidential victory in 2020 was rife with election fraud. This drives the Philadelphia media nuts.

Partisan “fact-checkers” have tried to discredit Barnette’s service in the Army Reserves and the Alabama National Guard, but this service has now been documented.

This morning, Saturday, even a CNN fact-checker report found that a deceptive attack ad from a pro-Oz Super Pac wildly distorted Barnette’s position on Black Lives Matter, race, and policing. This awful pack of lies came because she had used “BLM” and “police” as hashtags on a conservative  internet article she had written. These nasty big-money Pacs have no official connection to the campaigns they support, but their bias is often clearly visible.

Meanwhile, the front-runner in the Republican Governor’s race, Senator Doug Mastriano,  has tied his campaign to an alliance with Barnette, and an influential pro-life organization in Pennsylvania has endorsed her. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has questioned Dr. Oz’s ties and dual citizenship in Turkey.  

Kathy Barnette has recently published her life story, which is highly rated and selling well on Amazon: Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: Being Black and Conservative in America. She was born in extreme poverty in Alabama. Her mother had been raped and gave birth to her,  when she was only 12-years-old. Yet Kathy was able to graduate from Troy State University in Alabama. She moved from Virginia to Pennsylvania in 2018.

I believe Trump is the best president America has ever had, but he is not perfect and makes mistakes. I actually believe he makes far fewer mistakes than most politicians, but in personnel and political endorsements he makes frequent mistakes. Endorsing Dr. Oz is one of those mistakes and could be a big one.

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