January 2009

Perkins Being Courted to Take on Vitter?

Last year, when Sen. David Vitter became linked to a prostitution ring, there was speculation that he might face a primary challenge in 2010 from the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins though, at the time, Perkins sounded more than willing to forgive and forget:

"There's room to make a mistake and come back," said Tony Perkins, an evangelical former state representative and head of the Family Research Council in Washington. Perkins, who calls Vitter a personal friend, said he would vote for the senator if he proves he has "moved on." 

A few weeks back we noted that, when the new session of Congress opened, Vitter unleashed a flurry of bills designed to ingratiate himself to religious conservatives and seal off any primary attempt to attack him from the right. 

And now, according to Bayou Buzz, Vitter was right to be concerned because Perkins has been approached by various high-level Republicans who want him to try and take Vitter out:

Secondly, Vitter is hoping to block off any potential challengers on the right. His particular concern is former Louisiana state representative Tony Perkins, who presently heads up the Family Research Council in Washington DC. Perkins ran for the U.S. Senate in 2002 as a protégé and former campaign manager of another senatorial candidate, Woody Jenkins. Perkins has built quite a conservative power base in Washington, and has become a major media spokesman for conservative family values. He has been approached by key national Republicans who feel Vitter may have an uphill fight in his reelection efforts, and some party operatives are trying to entice Perkins to come back home and take another run.

Dirtiest RNC Race Ever and Nothing Will Change

Ralph Z. Hallow reports that, according to insiders involved in the race to become the next chairman of the Republican National Committee, the current campaign, which is to be decided tomorrow, has become the "dirtiest ever":

From anonymous charges of racism, old-fashioned graft and outright incompetence, the six-man race for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee has devolved into the dirtiest - and most closely watched - in recent history.

The 168 members who Friday will elect the next chairman have been inundated with anonymous e-mails attacking the characters and capabilities of the various candidates and, in at least one case, accusing a candidate of conspiring with political consultants to cash in on the millions of dollars in future advertising by the party.

"This is dirtiest ever - and remember, I was the longest-serving state party chairman in the history of this committee," said RNC member and former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett, a supporter of Mike Duncan, the incumbent national chairman who is seeking a second two-year term.

One candidate, South Carolina Republican Chairman Katon Dawson, is the subject this week of an unsigned e-mail to RNC members that bore a hypothetical USA Today front page with the banner headline, "RNC members choose 'whites only' chairman," as a warning of how a Dawson win would be spun.

...

On Monday, Indiana RNC member James Bopp Jr., who formed a self-described conservative rump group of RNC members to fight the [Michael] Steele candidacy, sent members a signed e-mail basically accusing Mr. Steele of lying about his casual relationship with the RLC.

It quoted Mrs. Whitman as saying that she was proud to join with "Michael Steele in creating a powerful and influential group that can bring our party back to its roots while promoting the common-sense centrist values we all hold so dear." The word "centrist" among members of the dominant strain of the Republican Party is an epithet.

...

Another anonymous e-mail to members noted that Saul Anuzis does not have a formal education beyond high school - he attended college for four years but did not finish his degree - and called the salaried Michigan Republican chairman "a paid political hack whose greed and misconduct lost him his job in government. After fifteen years of trying to make it in business, he came back to what he knew best: politics for pay."

A particularly vicious whack at Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state and the other black man chasing the chairman's post, appeared in a Jan. 6 anonymous e-mail claiming he was "dangerously incompetent" as secretary of state and accusing him of using taxpayer money to finance TV ads to "boost his own name recognition" in preparation for his failed run for governor.

As entertaining as it has been to watch them tear each other apart, Hallow reports that the viciousness stems from the fact that, in terms of actual substance, there doesn't appear to be any actual differences among the candidate's stances on the hot-button issues of the day:

However, when The Times submitted three questions on the biggest hot-button issues - gay marriage, immigration and federal bailouts - little substantive difference emerged among the six men.

Mr. Duncan was the lone candidate who did not respond initially to the questions, instead sending a single response attacking President Obama and not even doing so on the issues in question. All six men support a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants and doubt the government's competence to bail out industries failing in the marketplace.

So no matter who wins, it looks like we'll have yet another anti-gay, anti-immigrant, obstructionist chairman at the RNC. 

How has that been working out for them lately?  

When Crackpots Attack

It seems as if a gaggle of D-list right-wing activists are now demanding the head of “Human Events” editor Jed Babbin:

Radio host and bestselling author Gregg Jackson and a growing list of other conservative leaders, lawyers and activists are calling on Eagle Publishing to dismiss editor Jed Babbin and take immediate and decisive steps to restore the credibility of Human Events. Among the names widely known in social conservative and pro-life circles are Dr. Ted Baehr, President of Movieguide; Ambassador Alan Keyes, former Reagan appointee and presidential candidate; Dr. William Greene of RightMarch.com; Coach Dave Daubenmire, talk show host and author; and Brian Rohrbough, President of American Right to Life.

The editor of what was Ronald Reagan's favorite conservative weekly, Human Events, Babbin only recently admitted in an explosive radio interview that Mitt Romney illegally instituted same-sex "marriage" and $50 government-funded abortions. He now claims that Human Events faithfully reported these facts to their readers, but when asked to support that erroneous claim by citing specific articles in the four years since Romney's illegal orders went into effect, Babbin angrily professed not to remember and abruptly hung up, ending the interview.

On numerous occasions, Jackson and others had gone to great lengths to share Romney's far left wing record with Babbin and other writers at Human Events such as Ann Coulter, David Limbaugh and John Gizzi, but they all chose to suppress Romney's radical record in Massachusetts and in doing so deceived countless conservative readers.

Here is the current list of those demanding Babbin’s firing – how many names do you recognize?  If you said “more than 5,” … well, you did better than me.  If this group of nobodies is the best they can come up with, I don’t think Babbin has much to worry about :

The still growing list of conservative leaders, attorneys, radio talk show hosts and pundits calling for Human Events to dismiss Jed Babbin and chart an authentic conservative course for the future includes the following:

Dr. Ted Baehr, President, Movieguide.org
Dr. Alan Keyes, former Reagan ambassador and presidential candidate
Bob Enyart, radio host KLTT-AM, www.kgov.com author, former national TV host
Brian Rohrbough, President of American Right to Life
Rev. Earle Fox, Ph.D (Oxford), author, philosopher, president, Road to Emmaus School of Judeo-Christian Apologetics (www.theRoadToEmmaus.org)
Dr. William Greene, President, RightMarch.com
"Coach" Dave Daubenmire, founder, Pass The Salt Ministries, talk show host and author
Steve Deace, radio talk show host and author
Tom Hoefling, Chairman, America's Independent Party, www.AIPNEWS.com
Dr. Scott Lively, President, Abiding Truth Ministries
Dr. Paul Cameron, Chairman, Family Research Institute
Ray Neary, Director, Pro-Life Massachusetts (former President, Massachusetts Citizens for Life)
John O'Gorman, Massachusetts Citizen for Life, Member, Board of Directors 2002-2008
Atty. 'Robert Paine,' author: The Governor's New Clothes: How Mitt Romney Brought Same-Sex Marriage to America
Tricia Erickson, President Angel Pictures, LLC
Dewey L. Crepeau, Esq, Executive Director, A Gift of Hope Adoptions
Bob Denny, Founder, Guardians of the Inheritance
Gregg Jackson, radio talk show host and author of Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies
David Jeffers, author of Understanding Evangelicals: A Guide to Jesusland
Kenny Bolton, pastor and radio talk show host of "The Black Conservative"
Joseph L. Langlois, Attorney at Law
Tom Blumer, owner, BizzyBlog.com and Monetary Matters
Kerry Lee Morgan, Esq., ReviveTheRepublic.com
John Haskins, editor, www.UndergroundJournal.net
Patrick Flynn, Chairman, America's Independent Party of Michigan
Steve Schulin, founder, Maryland Independent Party
Richard Selfridge, Chairman, Constitution Party of Massachusetts
Rev. Michael Carl, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, CentrePoint News
Ryan Sorba, author, "The Born Gay Hoax" (upcoming)
Dr. Gregory Thompson, Founder, Asleep kNOw More Ministry www.asleepknowmore.com
Michael Walsh, Chairman, America's Independent Party of Iowa
Judy Zabik, Treasurer, Alan Keyes for President/America's Independent Party

Anyway, the upside of this meaningless posturing is that it gives me an opportunity to share an anecdote I came across a few years ago while reading Lou Canon’s biography of Reagan regarding the fact that “Human Events” was “Ronald Reagan's favorite conservative weekly”:

Reagan liked to clip stories from Human Events and aides waged a long and losing battle to keep the publication out of his hands. On the campaign plane [Mike] Deaver sometimes hid it from him, and Stu Spencer kidded Reagan by saying that if he made mistakes in his speech they wouldn’t let him have his next copy. After Reagan became president he sometimes complained that he couldn’t clip a story out of Human Events without ruining another story on the reverse side. According to one source, this led Dick Darman to jocularly suggest that Reagan be given two subscriptions. During his tenure as White House chief of staff, Ken Duberstein dealt with the problem by reading Human Events articles that Reagan had clipped and returning them to the president with memos that corrected any perceived misstatements.  

Finally, speaking of Reagan, Will Bunch has a new book out called "Tear Down This Myth: How The Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future" that looks pretty interesting.

Saving Their Ammunition for Judicial Fights?

NPR ran a piece earlier this week about how Sen. John Cornyn has quickly established himself as “a thorn in the [Obama] administration's side." It explains that Cornyn's efforts may be part of a larger plans since, as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, he needs to figure out how to “rouse a demoralized base.” The piece also contained this quote:

"There's such a Barack Obama love fest going on that I don't interpret his moves as partisan," says Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network, which works to get conservatives named to the judiciary. "[Cornyn is] concerned with process, fairness and the Constitution."

Considering that Long runs the Judicial Confirmation Network and is therefore obviously concerned primarily with the issue of judicial nominations, this statement suggests that she is quite pleased with Cornyn’s early obstructionism, primarily in terms of setting the groundwork for eventual opposition to President Obama’s judicial nominations. 

In fact, this sort of preliminary obstructionism might be designed specifically with that purpose in mind, as Byron York explained in a recent blog post on why Senate Republicans didn’t put up more of a fight over the nomination of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner:

The reason is, Republicans have decided not to fight.  One key Senate Republican told me last week that members of the minority party have just so much ammunition, and using it against a cabinet official who serves at the pleasure of the president is not as wise as saving it to use against, say, a judicial nominee seeking a lifetime appointment to the bench. 

York notes that this might be “good news for conservatives who hope Republicans will fight if Barack Obama nominates a series of liberals to the federal courts of appeals” and the Committee for Justice agrees, saying of York’s explanation, “We hope this is true”:

Obama has a chance to pull the judiciary sharply to the left even if he does not greatly change the make up of its highest court.  With Obama enjoying approval ratings in the 60's and the media, along with the Democratic majority, trumpeting any dissenting voice as divisive, the GOP is going to need every bit of political ammunition it can muster to combat Obama's nominees that are seen as activists and out of touch with American values.

Perry Woos the Right With State Address

Given that Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison seems intent on challenging Republican Governor Rick Perry next year, it looks like Perry is getting a head start on sewing up right-wing support as he attempts to hold her off:

Gov. Rick Perry delivered his state of the state address to a joint session of the Legislature as if it were a campaign speech.

...

[W]ith the Republican governor planning to run for re-election next year — and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison preparing to challenge him — there was plenty to energize a conservative, red-meat political base Perry is counting on.

“As we consider the growing threats to our nation’s unborn, I believe it’s time to add another layer of protection for the most vulnerable Texans,” he said.

Perry said pregnant women should be required to see an ultrasound before being allowed to get an abortion. And he advocated adult stem cell research — not embryonic stem cells, a flash point for anti-abortion advocates whom the governor invited as Capitol guests.

“I was thrilled to have him discuss that,” said Joe Pojman of Texas Alliance for Life.

Hutchison supports abortion rights, although with restrictions. Perry’s political team plans to use the issue against her in the GOP primary, where social conservatives will make up about a quarter of the vote.

For those keeping score, Perry spent more time on abortion (seven sentences) than on college tuition (one sentence) or reducing insurance rates and expanding children’s health coverage (zero and zero) ... Tuesday’s speech was a triumph for social conservatives — especially on abortion and Perry’s support of another issue popular with the conservative base — requiring voters to show a photo ID.

“All this stuff, the base really has a passion for,” said Kelly Shackelford of Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute.

Interestingly, Rick Scarborough, who has already made his opposition to Hutchison's intended run well known, was also in attendance and apparently has gotten over his "grave disappointment" in Perry due to the Governor's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani during the GOP primaries:

The governor stood in front of the chamber, the San Jacinto flag behind him. The Rev. Rick Scarborough, an influential East Texas evangelist and Perry guest, applauded from his seat in the back.

Scarborough and Perry have not always seen eye to eye. There was, for example, the governor’s unfortunate support of anti-gun, pro-abortion rights candidate Rudy Giuliani in last year’s presidential race.

“I’ve talked with him about that,” Scarborough said darkly, as if alluding a prodigal son’s wayward years.

NAE Begins Search of Cizik’s Replacement

Last month, Richard Cizik, Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, resigned from his position after telling NPR, among other things, that his views regarding marriage equality were shifting.  That interview led to an outcry from NAE members and other Religious Right leaders that eventually forced him from the organization.

Now the NAE has begun the search for his replacement:

America’s largest evangelical body launched a search for a new director of government affairs on Tuesday to replace Richard Cizik who was forced to resign in December over controversial remarks he made about same-sex civil unions and abortion.

The National Association of Evangelicals, which claims to represent 30 million evangelicals, is considering candidates who can represent the organization before Congress, the White House and the Courts based on the principles found in the NAE document “For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility.”

...

Required qualifications include, among others, personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, agreement to and affirmation of the NAE Statement of Faith, and participation in an NAE affiliated congregation.

It looks like the NAE is taking no chances this time around because, as the article points out, the job description says that candidates must be willing and able to affirm and articulate “NAE policies, priorities and positions in writing and speech (including but not limited to For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility).”  That policy paper makes it abundantly clear that the organization has no intention of moderating its position when it comes to opposing any effort to achieve equality in marriage:

The Bible makes it clear that God cares a great deal about the well-being of marriage, the family, the sanctity of human life, justice for the poor, care for creation, peace, freedom, and racial justice. While individual persons and organizations are at times called by God to concentrate on one or two issues, faithful evangelical civic engagement must champion a biblically balanced agenda … We commit ourselves to work for laws that protect and foster family life, and against government attempts to interfere with the integrity of the family. We also oppose innovations such as same-sex “marriage” … We also oppose the expansion of “rights talk” to encompass so-called rights such as “same-sex marriage.”

Right Wing Leftovers

  • How cool is Facebook?  So cool that even the hipsters over at the American Family Association now have their own page.
  • John Hagee writes that he is praying "fervently for [Barack Obama's] success" and calls on the Religious Right, when they disagree with the new president, to do so with "the same civility and respect that he has thus far shown to us."
  • The AP reports that the Arkansas Family Council is trying to intervene in a lawsuit stemming from the recent passage of the law banning gays from adopting children, arguing that the current Attorney General is not supporting of the law and trying to bring in the Alliance Defense Fund to help defend it.
  • Much like the right-wing criticisms that helped sink Mike Huckabee's presidential aspirations, some commentators are now saying that Gov. Bobby Jindal "doesn't actually walk his conservative talk."
  • Phill Klein now has his own website called Stand With Truth where he can share his views:
  • President Obama did not mention abortion once in his inaugural address despite the issue being the most divisive in our nation. Just as President Franklin Pierce did not once mention slavery in his only inaugural address in 1853, less than a decade before the issue plunged the nation to war.

    On abortion, politician Obama has survived through political calculation, deception and with gratitude to a self-indulgent culture full of distraction and willful ignorance. And his first actions have been aggressively opposed to this significant civil rights issue. Yet, President Obama will not escape the judgment of history.

  • Finally, last week we noted that Sen. Orrin Hatch had stepped in to help save Rob Schenck's annual National Service for the Pre-born, allowing it to be held at the new Capitol Visitor Center - now some footage of the event has been put on-line:

Focus Gets Former Bush Administration Loyalist, Plagiarist

Via the Colorado Independent, we find out that Timothy Goeglein, the Bush Administration’s liason to the Religious Right, has landed a new gig as chief lobbyist for Focus on the Family Action:

Fort Wayne native Tim Goeglein has been named the top Washington lobbyist and spokesman for Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family.

Goeglein worked in the Bush White House as the administration’s chief liaison to conservative religious groups until he resigned a year ago after admitting he plagiarized numerous columns that appeared in The News-Sentinel.

The Colorado-based organization said Goeglein will be its “eyes and ears in Washington” as the group lobbies on issues such as blocking marriage of gay couples and banning abortion.

Goeglein is perhaps best remembered for having to resign from his White House position after it was discovered that he had regularly plagiarized material when he was writing for the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel:

A White House official who serves as President Bush's middleman with conservatives and Christian groups has resigned after admitting to plagiarism. Twenty columns he wrote for an Indiana newspaper were determined to have material copied from other sources without attribution.

Timothy Goeglein, who has worked for Bush since 2001, acknowledged that he lifted material from a Dartmouth College publication and presented it as his own work in a column about education for The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The White House said Goeglein has apologized for not upholding the standards expected by the president. A White House statement says the president was disappointed to learn of the matter and was saddened for Goeglein and his family. It said Bush has long appreciated his service and knows him to be a good person who is committed to his country.

Sweeping Statements and Faulty Logic

Tony Perkins just wants to be clear that he doesn’t think that every gay man preys on young men … just that a lot of them do:

Another openly gay politician is snared in a sex scandal with a teen.  Portland's first openly gay mayor, Sam Adams --- who just took office earlier this month --- has now acknowledge he lied to cover up a sexual relationship he had with a young man he was "mentoring" in 2005.

This is reminiscent of former Congressman Mark Foley, who was caught hitting on male teens who served as pages on Capitol Hill.

While I know that not every homosexual person preys on youth, it sure seems that many of the sex scandals involving homosexual public figures disproportionately involve young, easily influenced and impressionable teens.

Repeated incidents like these only serve to validate the Boy Scouts policy prohibiting homosexual scout masters.  The Boy Scouts have stood their ground despite enormous pressure from homosexual activists and their corporate allies who have cut off donations to the Scouts.  These businesses and government agencies that are carrying the water for the homosexuals on this issue should be forced to explain their intolerance of the truth every time there is a case like this.

By that sort of logic, “repeated incidents” like those involving Larry Craig and David Vitter only serves to validate my position that Republicans should not be allowed to serve in Congress.

Donohue Wants You To Have Children You Can’t Afford

LifeNews reports that the proposed stimulus plan includes a provision allocating money to Planned Parenthood for its contraceptive services ... and predictably anti-choice activists are voicing concerns:

A Clinton-era program allows states to seek a waiver to offer Medicaid “family planning” services -- including people who are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. If they seek the waiver, the federal government matches the state funding with $9 for every $1.

On Friday, when the House Energy & Commerce Committee considered the congressional Democrats’ spending bill, the committee eliminated the waiver requirement.

As a result, all 50 states will now offer Medicaid “family planning” services (including contraception) with the federal government offering the same $9 to $1 match. Although the money doesn't fund abortions directly, it goes to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion business, which would otherwise have to spend its own money on contraception.

Pro-life advocates say the governmental funds frees up Planned Parenthood dollars to promote and perform abortions that it would otherwise have to spend on family planning.

This does not seem all that remarkable, and when ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi about it yesterday, she provided a rather coherent explanation:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

Now, people can differ about whether or not this sort of thing counts as “stimulus” but the fact that the federal government is giving money to states to help cover the costs of their programs at a time when they are facing massive budget shortfalls seems pretty self-explanatory, as does the idea that allowing families to make informed decisions about having children (and avoid unexpected pregnancies) ultimately ends up saving money for both states and the federal government. 

But then again, I’m not Bill Donohue, who sees this as proof that Pelosi, Obama, and the Democrats hate children:

“Looks like the Democrats have abortion and contraception on the brain. Last week, President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on federal funds being used to promote and perform abortions overseas. Now we have Pelosi arguing that the way to balance the budget is not by cutting expenditures, but by cutting kids. Her comment matches up well with what Obama said during the presidential campaign about comprehensive sex education: speaking of his own daughters, he said that ‘if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.’

“We have reached a new low when high-ranking public office holders in the federal government cast children as the enemy. But at least it explains their enthusiasm for abortion-on-demand.”

Over at TPM, Elana Schor explains that, once again, this is much ado about nothing.

UPDATE: The Christian Defense Coalition likewise weighs in:

Christian Defense Coalition calls Speaker Pelosi's decision to add contraceptives to the economic stimulus package bigoted, racist, elitist and anti-child.

...

This policy would lay the foundation for racism and eugenics because it would seek to reduce the number of children to the nation's poorest economic groups, which tend to be persons of color and other minorities.

...

Speaker Pelosi's actions are even more troubling and hypocritical when one realizes she herself has five children. Perhaps she thinks they have more value because they are white European children.