November 2010

Meet Tim Walberg: The Birthers’ Man in Washington

Following the midterm elections, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Today, meet Tim Walberg, who “was a tea partier before there was a tea party”:

Tim Walberg, who is returning to the House next year after representing Michigan's 7th district for one term from 2007-2009, brags that he “was a tea partier before there was a tea party.” Indeed, Walberg enthusiastically embraces the most extreme aspects of the Tea Party—from corporate pandering and vowing to cut social safety-net programs to far-right views on social issues and a predilection for conspiracy theories.

Walberg is perhaps most famous for his unabashed embrace of birtherism. Asked by a radio show caller if he thinks President Obama is an American citizen or a Muslim, Walberg responded:

"You know, I don't know, I really don't know," Walberg responded. "We don't have enough information about this President. He was never given a job interview that was complete."

"But that's not the issue now," Walberg went on. "He is President. Right now, we need to make sure that he doesn't remain as President. Whether he's American, a Muslim, a Christian, you name it."

While other candidates have tried to tiptoe away from their own birther claims, Walberg later doubled down, saying that he would “take [Obama] at his word that he’s an American citizen”…and then suggested that Congress impeach Obama in order to obtain a copy of his birth certificate.

But birtherism isn’t the only right-wing conspiracy theory that Walberg backs. He has repeated the bizarre—and completely debunked—theory that the Chinese are drilling for oil off the coast of Florida. And he continues to repeat discredited ideas about the origins of the Iraq war. He said that Saddam Hussein funded the Al Qaeda terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks, and insisted in a debate last month that Iraq “absolutely” had weapons of mass destruction before the American invasion—something that even George W. Bush now admits is not true.

Walberg backs an extreme pro-corporate economic agenda. When Walberg first won election in 2006, the ultra-conservative Club For Growth counted his victory as its own, bragging that its PAC “scored its first-ever knock-out of an incumbent” when Walberg defeat a moderate incumbent in the Republican primary. The Club for Grouth had poured millions of dollars into Walberg’s 2006 campaign, spending $1 million in the primary, and then producing vicious attack adds against his Democratic opponent in the general election. This year, American Future Fund, an especially shadowy group with ties to Big Agriculture, spent over $500,000 to run an ad attacking Walberg’s opponent with false claims about health care reform and clean energy legislation.

And, it seems, Walberg’s big business backers will get what they paid for. The League of Conservation Voters named him to their 2010 Dirty Dozen, the second time he had made that list. During his one previous term in Congress, LCV said, “Walberg opposed every major clean energy reform…earning a 0% LCV score.” LCV continued, “During his two years in office, he was on the wrong side of conservation and clean energy on 32 out of 33 votes. He even voted against the No Child Left Inside Act, designed to help educate children about the natural environment.” Indeed, no clean energy effort is too small to earn Walberg’s disdain: on the campaign trail, he slammed Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm for riding her bicycle to work.

Walberg wants to dramatically cut social safety net programs, and directs much of his scorn on Social Security. He’s advocated for privatizing the program, and agreed with a supporter at a Tea Party event who said Social Security is unconstitutional and “a Ponzi scheme.” In 2006, he called Social Security “socialism at its finest,” adding, “That’s defined as socialism when the government is required to take care of us all.”

Walberg’s Religious Right credentials are also stellar. He opposes abortion rights, including in cases of rape or incest. As a member of the House, he cosponsored two bills that, according to NARAL, “would end all legal abortion, most common forms of birth control, stem cell research, and in vitro fertilization". He voted against a bill that would have provided for stem cell research.

In 2008, Walberg was the only member of the House education committee to vote “no” on extending funding for the Head Start program. He objected to a provision in the bill that prohibited Head Start preschools from discriminating based on religion, warning that a Christian parochial school might have to hire a Muslim or “a Wiccan from a coven in Ann Arbor.”

In the House, Walberg voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and against expanding hate crimes legislation to include gender identity and sexual orientation, and against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He also opposed equal pay legislation and the 2008 Paycheck Fairness Act.
 

 

Dobson: A Decade of Abandonment Issues and Empty Threats

If you want to get a sense of the extent to which the Religious Right is locked in a seemingly fruitless but entirely co-dependent relationship with the Republican Party, just take a listen to James Dobson's radio program this week.

For the next three days, Dobson is airing a speech he delivered back in February 1998 (presumably at the Council for National Policy meeting) laying out the Religious Right's abandonment issues and experience of repeatedly being abandoned by the GOP.

And the reason that Dobson decided to air this speech now is because the big GOP gains in the recent election just might be history repeating itself and Dobson feels the need to issue a "pre-emptive" warning: 

James Dobson (from 1998 speech): In 1995, I was looking for a politician, a Republican leader who had a chance to win the White House who understood what I'd been saying, who understood that moral foundation to the universe, who was willing to articulate it and willing to fight for it.

And I decided that Phil Gramm just might be that man. I heard him on TV, I liked what he said, I thought maybe he might be the one that we could get excited about, and so I asked for an appointment to see him and he agreed to see me.

And I flew to Washington DC from Colorado Springs and with me that day were Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, and Betsy DeVos. We went in an sat down and I had this on my heart, something I really want to say. And he starts by telling us that he only has forty minutes, he has to go to something, and he begins talking - and he talked, and he talked, and he talked for thirty minutes and we just got ten minutes left and he's still talking.

And so I finally said "Senator, it's not polite to interrupt a Senator when he's talking, but I came a long way to say something to you and if you don't ever let me say it, I'll leave here and you won't ever know what I came to say."

So he talked some more and then he said "okay, what is it you came to say?"

I said "Senator, there are millions and millions and millions of people out there, good family people trying to raise their kids, trying to keep them moral, trying to teach them what they believe, that are very agitated and are very concerned because they don't hear anybody echoing what they believe. And they're not known to the New York Times, they're not represented by the New York Times. And they're not known inside the Beltway, people don't talk about those folks inside the Beltway. It's as though they don't exist, or if they do, they're called names like Hillary Clinton called them last week. And they're not know to the Washington Post who referred to them as poor, uneducated, and easy to control. That's the attitude."

And I said "Senator, if you would hone in on those people and speak their language and talk to their hearts and identify with the things they care about instead of just talking about taxes and the economy and money - they care about more than money. If you will do this, you will have millions of people following you."

I'll never forget what he said. What he actually said was "I'm not a preacher and I can't do that."

And I said "Senator, you will never reach our people." And we got up and left. And Senator Gramm was out of the race in Louisiana just a few weeks later.

Ryan Dobson: That was my dad, Dr. James Dobson, speaking twelve years ago to a large assembly of people concerned about public plicy and, more specifically, about the failure of Republicans to fulfill their promises made to the American people back in 1994.

Dad, that was powerful.

James Dobson: Well, there are times when a speaker is on fire and you ain't heard nothing yet because you can hear where I'm going in the next two days and we will put flesh on those bones.

Ryan Dobson: And, in a way, is this not a warning to the newly elected officials to not abandon their base?

James Dobson: Well Ryan, that's why we're airing it, because this does represent something of a warning to the new Republican majority because it's happened before. They've been there before.

In 1994, they suddenly found themselves in the majority. No one predicted it and there they were and they did it by promising some things to the American people. And immediately set out to abandon them and that is what we're going to be talking about in the next two days.

Ryan Dobson: They immediately started talking about bipartisanship, reaching across the aisle, building bridges. To be honest, I never elect somebody to be bipartisan - I elect somebody to be conservative. I do not elect anybody to reach across an aisle - I elect them to be conservative.

James Dobson: And you expect them to tell the truth about what their values are. And we have not seen anything yet that would indicate the Republicans are about the lie to us, so this is pre-emptive, but that's where we're going because this is history repeating itself.

So, to hear the Dobson's explain it, the real problem with Newt Gingrich and the Republican radicals who took over Congress in 1994 was that they were too committed to "bipartisanship" and "reaching across the aisle" and that is why they eventually lost their majorities.

I would also just like to point out that we have had three presidental elections since Dobson delivered this speech ... and in each one Dobson has supported the Republican candidate despite his deep disappointment with the party and even after vowing repeatedly that never to support John McCain.

So you have to wonder just what kind of "pre-emptive" warning Dobson thinks he is sending to the GOP this time around considering that he's been sending this very same warning to them for more than a decade and yet, inevitably, when it comes time to cast his vote, Dobson swallows his pride, falls in line, and throws his support to the Republicans. 

 

GOProud Urges GOP To Ignore Religious Right's Agenda

There only thing that angers the Religious Right more than being told that their social issues agenda does not matter is seeing the GOP downplay their social issues agenda in order to appease other parts of the conservative coalition.

So I can only imagine that this letter from the gay conservative group GOProud and several Tea Party leaders calling on the GOP to ignore social issues is probably not going to go over too well with the Religious Right:

A gay conservative group and some Tea Party leaders are campaigning to keep social issues off the Republican agenda.

In a letter to be released Monday, the group GOProud and leaders from groups like the Tea Party Patriots and the New American Patriots, will urge Republicans in the House and Senate to keep their focus on shrinking the government.

"On behalf of limited-government conservatives everywhere, we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement," they write to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell in an advance copy provided to POLITICO. "This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue."

...

"For almost two years now, the tea party has been laser-focused on the size of government," said Barron, who said his group and the tea partiers are part of the "leave-me-alone coalition."

"No one has been talking about social issues - not even the socially conservative candidates who won tea party support," [GOProud's Chairman Christopher] Barron said ... "We're not talking about pushing social conservatives out of the tea party movement. Those people aren't only welcome but they're a critical part of this movement." said Barron.

You really have to marvel at the gall of a gay conservative like Barron talking down to the social conservatives in the movement and basically telling them that they are a "critical part" of the coalition so long as they accept that their agenda is going to be completely ignored.

Considering that a large part of the Religious Right's agenda is rooted in militantly opposing "the gay agenda," I am guessing that they are not going to take too kindly to efforts by a gay conservative group to relegate them to the sidelines.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • FRC hails the Supreme Court for allowing the continued enforcement of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
  • Ken Cuccinelli says President Obama is worse than King George.
  • Housewives of God.
  • Newt Gingrich says conservatives need to "replace the left."
  • Peter LaBarbera, like David Barton, thinks the government ought to be regulating gay sex.
  • And finally, behold the on-going futility of debating Bryan Fischer:

Barber Calls Courts "Accomplice to Kidnapping" in Ruling Against Lisa Miller

As we have been noting for nearly a year now, Liberty Counsel has been steadily representing Lisa Miller in her on-going battle to prevent her former partner, Janet Jenkins, from having any access to their daughter. To that end, Miller has repeatedly defied court ordered custody arrangements to such an extent that the courts finally granted sole custody to Jenkins.

This latest court ruling was the topic of Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program earlier this week and the level of fundamental dishonesty spread by LC's Matt Barber and Rena Lindevaldsen was rather staggering, including the claim by Barber that the courts have, in ruling against Miller, been acting as "an accomplice to kidnapping":

Of course, Lisa Miller has engaged in actual kidnapping and has been gone for almost a year at this point ... all while her representatives at Liberty Counsel claim to have no idea as to her whereabouts.

Meet Congresswoman-Elect Vicky Hartzler: Missouri’s Anti-Gay Zealot

Following last Tuesday's election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Our seventh candidate profile is on Missouri's Vicky Hartzler:

Although Ike Skelton, the long-time representative in Missouri’s fourth congressional district, was far from a supporter of LGBT equality, Vicky Hartzler, who defeated him in this year’s election, has based her political career on supporting discrimination against gays and lesbians.

A former state legislator, she was the spokeswoman and public face of the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri, which successfully amended the state constitution to include a ban same-sex marriage (which was already banned by statute) in 2004. The New York Times writes that her group used “church functions, yard signs and a ‘marriage chain’ of rallies across the state,” and Hartzler “said she hoped that the outcome would send a loud message to the rest of the country: ‘Here in the heartland we have a heart for families, and this is how deeply we feel about marriage.’”

Her work helped her receive praise from Religious Right leaders like Mike Huckabee, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Penny Nance of Concerned Women PAC.

Mother Jones asked if Hartzler was the “most anti-gay candidate in America” since she believes that repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will “put us at risk,” maintains that sexual orientation is a choice and therefore gay people aren’t entitled to civil rights, and dubbed hate crimes legislation one of the “the extreme agenda items of the gay movement.”

Paul Guequierre of the Human Rights Campaign told Mother Jones that while “Ike Skelton has not been a friend of the LGBT community,” unlike Hartzler, “he does not wake up in the morning thinking about what he can do to harm the LGBT community.”

A staunch anti-choice activist, Hartzler supported legislation which “would have allowed for prosecutors to charge women who obtained late-term abortions with murder” and “also have permitted second-degree murder charges to be filed against doctors who performed such procedures.” She was also the chief sponsor of a bill that would pressure women seeking an abortion to view their sonograms. Throughout her career in the State House, she consistently received perfect ratings from the right-wing Missouri Family Network.

Hartzler wrote a book for Christian activists running for office called “Running God’s Way: Step by Step to a Successful Political Campaign,” which “discusses how to run a political campaign by using events and stories in the bible as a guide.” Phyllis Schlafly gave her a laudatory introduction at an Eagle Forum event, calling her book “a manual for action.”

In a profile by the American Family Association, Hartzler said that she found inspiration from God to run for public office at the age of nine, and her book maintains that “Christians must become more active in politics if they are to have the impact God calls them to have.” Hartzler said that her book provides Christian candidates with “the tools and inspiration they need to bring God’s light in a darkening world.”

According to one sympathetic review in a local newspaper, Hartzler’s book “praises Absalom — a rebellious son of King David, God’s anointed leader for Israel and according to Christian theology an early example of divinely ordained rule prefiguring that of Jesus Christ — as being the “first politician” and an example for modern political leaders. In Hartzler’s words, ‘Absalom won over the hearts of the people of Israel using time-tested campaign strategies. We, too, can campaign successfully following these same guidelines.’”

A climate change denier, Hartzler asserted that she does not believe in climate change since she read “some articles that [said] it’s actually decreasing, that we have climates getting colder…and certainly, I don’t believe that if there is a climate change that man has a very significant role in that.”

Hartzler ran an ugly anti-immigrant ad against Ike Skelton, where she claimed that by voting to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program he supports “welfare benefits” for “illegal immigrants”, and criticized him for opposing a measure that would prohibit illegal immigrants from attending public schools as “giving illegal immigrants free education.”

She appealed to Tea Partiers by slamming government spending, as she blasted Congress’s spending plans and said that “we just want the government to leave us alone here in Missouri’s 4th.” However, according to the Kansas City Star, Hartzler’s “farm has received $774,325 in federal subsidies from 1995 to 2009.” She defended the government farm subsidies as a “national defense issue,” and claimed that she would not support cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or defense.

In an editorial board interview she couldn’t name any programs she would cut funding to other than “the Lady Bird Highway Beautification projects. She indicated that garden clubs could do some of this work along the highways, saving public funds.”

However, Hartzler does appear to support spending money to expand the role of the Navy in Missouri, as she argued that under Skelton’s watch the landlocked state has “the smallest Navy here that we have had since the early 1960s.”

Hartzler blended her Tea Party lip service and Religious Right advocacy to topple one of the most powerful members of the House, and will now bring her years of anti-equality and anti-choice activism to become a prominent voice of the Far-Right in the GOP-led House.

 

 

 

 

 

Right Lines Up Squarely Behind DeMint, Threatens to Take Out Any Republican Who Opposes Him

Since the election, it has become abundantly clear that Sen. Jim DeMint has become the member of Congress who represents the agenda of the GOP's right-wing base and Tea Party movement.

Earlier this week, the Family Research Council announced that it was seeking one million people who were willing to pray for DeMint as takes on the Republican establishment and seeks to remake it in his own image.

And now Richard Viguerie and dozens of right-wing leaders are opening threatening the entire GOP establishment that they will seek to destroy any Republican who stands in DeMint's way:

Prominent conservative leaders are putting critics of Sen. Jim DeMint on notice: Stop blaming the South Carolina Republican for the GOP’s failure to take back the majority in the Senate -- or else.

Led by conservative icon Richard Viguerie, who heads the Web site ConservativeHQ.com, a group of three dozen high-profile DeMint backers, say they will respond to the senator’s detractors “in word and deed.”

“Conservatives will not only challenge and beat more Republican senators in Republican primaries, but conservatives will stop funding and volunteering for the NRSC and the RNC,” Viguerie wrote in a letter addressed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. “Instead, conservatives will send their money to, and volunteer for, Senator DeMint’s Senate Conservative Fund and the candidates Senator DeMint supports.”

And Viguerie and his counterparts didn’t stop there:

“It would be our goal for the Senate Conservatives Fund to raise more money than the NRSC,” the letter continues. “Conservatives will also work to defeat in Republican primaries those Republicans who retain consultants who criticize or try to undermine Senator DeMint.”

...

In his letter Viguerie warned that “such false and unfair attacks aid and abet President Obama, the Democratic Party and the liberal media,” adding: “We consider such attacks on Senator Jim DeMint an attack on us and all conservatives.”

As of Friday the letter was co-signed by 36 leaders and the writers are seeking to double that number by Monday.

The Republicans made huge gains in the election just over a week ago ... and they are already at each others throats.

VA Gov. McDonnell Will Display Catholic League Nativity Scene

Earlier this week, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League announced that they had sent out a "Holy Family Nativity Scene" to all of the nation's 50 governors asking them to display it in the Capitol Rotunda as part of an effort to counter the "atheists [who] are out in force this year trying to neuter Christmas."

And apparently Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is eager to play his part, though he will be displaying it in the Governor's Mansion instead of the Capitol: 

The Catholic League's manger will find shelter in the Executive Mansion ... Gov. Bob McDonnell, a practicing Catholic, has received the league's tabletop crèche and intends to incorporate it in his holiday display in the Executive Mansion. He said this week that a Nativity scene is traditionally part of his family's holiday décor.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue asked the nation's governors to display the scene in their capitols alongside any secular symbols, such as a Christmas tree, this coming holiday season.

In an interview yesterday, Donohue said he is happy that McDonnell embraced the gift and plans to display it in the mansion. He still would like to see it added to any other holiday display in the Capitol.

"We would prefer the most public spot possible, but the fact that it would be displayed anyplace would be suitable enough for us," he said.

Pat Boone All-American Meats Is a Real Thing

Have you ever thought "gee, I sure wish I could buy some mail-order meat from Pat Boone and have some of the proceeds go to support the Religious Right"?

Well, you are in luck:

Iconic 1950s clean-cut crooner Pat Boone has partnered with an Oklahoma businessman to launch a mail-order steak business that will benefit conservative Christian causes.

Pat Boone All-American Meats will compete with Omaha Steaks and expects to appeal to Christian, conservative women over age 55.

Half of Boone's royalties will go to nonprofit organizations -- including Mercy Corps, the hunger relief program Boone and Christian community members started in his home. The business also will partner with other groups, including Focus on the Family and the Parents Television Council. About 5 percent of sales will go combat world hunger.

Pat Boone All-American Meats: A Taste Of What Makes Us Great.