Club for Growth

Club for Growth

Club for Growth (CFG) touts itself as the inheritor of Ronald Reagan's "vision of limited government and lower taxes" and it advances this anti-government vision through its support of political candidates who hew to its right-wing economic orthodoxy. The Culb for Growth has aggressively opposed several moderate Republicans often to the consternation of GOP political leaders.

'Pro-Gay, Pro-Immigration Reform' Mega-Donor Steers Money To Anti-Gay, Anti-Immigrant Republicans

Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, emulating the Koch brothers, is creating another right-wing fundraising outlet to back Republican politicians. Politico reports today that Singer’s fundraising network, the American Opportunity Alliance, will “bring together some of the richest pro-business GOP donors in the country, several of whom share Singer’s support for gay rights, immigration reform and the state of Israel.”

While noting that Singer, whose son is gay, is trying to aid Republican politicians who support immigration reform and LGBT equality, Politico points out that many of the candidates he supports “have not necessarily signed on to Singer’s broad agenda,” and that Singer “has been supportive of the Club for Growth, the hard-right organization of economic conservatives, giving the group more than $850,000 over the years, including a $100,000 check last cycle.”

In the 2012 election, many of Club for Growth’s top recipients were among the GOP’s most vocal opponents of gay rights and immigration legislation.

Club for Growth spent over $5.5 million on behalf of Ted Cruz in his upset victory in the Texas GOP primary, catapulting the nihilistic, Tea Party crusader into the U.S. Senate. Several House Republicans blamed Cruz for sinking immigration reform legislation, and he is now championing anti-gay legislation and spouting off harsh denunciations of gay rights.

The group is also a major supporter of Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the point man for the anti-immigrant movement, best known for his comments about how undocumented young people are drug traffickers with “calves the size of cantaloupes” and his comparison of immigration to terrorism and the Holocaust.

King also has a horrendous record on gay rights: He claimed same-sex marriage would take children away from their parents and force them to be “raised in warehouses”; likened gay people to unicorns and leprechauns; warned gay marriage would lead to socialism and called on gay people to stay in the closet.

The Club for Growth also is also a major cheerleader for Georgia congressman and Senate candidate Paul Broun, who believes that immigration reform is part of a ploy to doom America and “destroy our Constitution.” Broun also introduced a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and said “he opposes health insurance covering sex-change or hair-transplant procedures because he personally likes ‘being a boy.’”

One former Republican congressman told the conservative Washington Times that the Club’s “priority is to invariably go with any conservative, anti-gay, pro-life Republican they can find” and “endorse how the Christian coalition groups do.” The group also steered money to a leading anti-gay group.

Singer is also tied to the Koch brothers’ fundraising network, which has donated handsomely to anti-gay candidates and groups such as Concerned Women for America, which even defends the Ugandan anti-gay law.

It is hard to reconcile Singer’s personal support for gay rights and immigration reform with his sizeable financial support for candidates who oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians and reform efforts.

Singer’s strong backing of not only organizations like the Club for Growth but also the House GOP leadership — which refuses to even allow House members to vote on immigration reform measures or gay rights bills such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) — shows that Singer seems perfectly comfortable with propping up politicians who are working against the causes of LGBT equality and immigrant rights as long as they advance his “hardcore conservative” economic agenda.

Right Wing Leftovers - 7/24/13

  • Mike Huckabee continues his feud with the Club For Growth.
  • Last night, Glenn Beck donated $100,000 to John Hagee's Christians United for Israel.
  • You know, it would be interesting to see The Blaze write a story like this about the things that appear on Glenn Beck's own program.
  • Rick Joyner weighs in on the Trayvon Martin murder case verdict and the problems of racism, admitting that "with the recent controversy over the Martin/Zimmerman tragedy, I have had many racist thoughts surface in my own heart."
  • Finally, "Coach" Dave is out with a new video in which he speculates that every new member of Congress is, upon taking office, immediately greeted by a gang of thugs who threaten them and their families with blackmail or violence.

Who's Ted Cruz? Getting to Know the Next Senator from the Tea Party

Cross-posted at AlterNet

The power center that Dick Armey and FreedomWorks have been aggressively building in the U.S. Senate around reigning extremist Jim DeMint will almost certainly welcome Ted Cruz in January. The Republican convention gave most Americans their first look at Cruz, who has become a Tea Party folk hero after crushing the establishment candidate, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in a bitterly contested primary.

Ted Cruz loves to portray his victory as an upwelling from the grassroots, as he did during his Tuesday night speech from the platform. “I have the honor of standing before you this evening for one reason, because thousands upon thousands of grassroots activists stood united, not for a candidate, but for the sake of restoring liberty.”

It is certainly true that his impressive come-from-behind primary victory captured the fervor of anti-government Tea Party activists as well as conservative evangelicals that Cruz has been courting for years at religious right gatherings. But it wasn’t an act of spontaneous combustion. Pouring gasoline on the prairie fire were national right-wing super PACs and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. Club for Growth Action dropped millions into the race on Cruz’s behalf; Jim DeMint’s Tea Party-backing Senate Conservatives Fund also kicked in with seven-figure spending. (DeMint has since cut his formal ties to the group so that it could create a super PAC.) A FreedomWorks spokesperson said after Cruz’s primary that wins by candidates like Cruz would “force Romney to the right.”

Cruz also benefitted from endorsements by an impressive roster of right-wing figures. During the primary he bragged that he was the only candidate this year supported by all four of his favorite senators: DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Pat Toomey. he Cruz campaign used video of a Palin campaign visit for its GOTV efforts. After his primary win an excited Breitbart blogger quoted Sarah Palin’s celebration on Facebook. She wrote that Cruz's victory was a win "both for Ted and for the grassroots Tea Party movement," and that the “message of this race couldn't be clearer for the political establishment: the Tea Party is alive and well and we will not settle for business as usual. Now, it's on to November!”

While the media accurately describes Cruz as a darling of the Tea Party and its corporate backers, he also had strong backing from religious-right figures. Cruz has campaigned for support at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit and the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference, where he said “we are engaged in spiritual warfare every day.” James Dobson and David Barton are among the religious-right leaders who backed Cruz; Rick Santorum endorsed Cruz on Glenn Beck’s television show.

Cruz embodies Ralph Reed’s desire to merge the Tea Party and religious right. In his convention speech, Cruz talked about the Tea Party movement as a “Great Awakening” – a not-so-subtle shout-out to religious-right leaders who are calling for a spiritual great awakening that they believe will turn the nation back to God and its Christian roots. At Rick Santorum’s event on Wednesday afternoon, Cruz mocked media conversations about divisions between different “chunks” of Republicans, declaring the party united. “We’re all here because we believe in values and principles bigger than ourselves,” he said.

Meet The Religious Right Extremists Behind The Pro-Bachmann Super PAC

A secretive ‘Super PAC’ tied to an Ohio political operative is planning to aid congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign after working to defeat South Carolina congressman John Spratt in the last midterm election. Chris Cillizza writes that “Citizens for a Working America, as the group is known, will be chaired by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Ed Brookover, a longtime political consultant and adviser to Bachmann, will be involved as will conservative lawyer and economist Marc Nuttle.”

Ken Blackwell’s ties to the Religious Right are well known, but Nuttle’s activism has flown below the radar.

Blackwell was Ohio’s Secretary of State from 2002-2006 whom after leaving office, unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006 and chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009. He is now a senior fellow with the ultraconservative Family Research Council, a senior fellow with the far-right American Civil Rights Union, and a board member the pro-corporate Club for Growth. Columbus-based televangelist Rod Parsley vigorously backed his failed gubernatorial campaign and Religious Right activists endorsed his abortive bid for RNC chair. His staunchly anti-gay views will serve him well in the Bachmann camp, as Blackwell once compared gay people with arsonists and kleptomaniacs and same-sex couples with farm animals.

Nuttle is a Republican adviser and economist with deep ties to an extreme movement within the Religious Right composed of advocates of Seven Mountains Dominionism. Nuttle is in fact Chairman of The Oak Initiative, a far-right organization dedicated to promoting the Seven Mountains ideology. The group claims in its mission statement, “The Oak Institute is being developed to raise up effective leaders for all of the dominant areas of influence in the culture, including: government, business, education, arts and entertainment, family services, media, and the church,” otherwise known as the Seven Mountains of society that Dominionists think should be controlled by fundamentalist Christians.

The Oak Initiative’s president Rick Joyner, the founder of MorningStar Ministries, has claimed that God is planning to destroy California and that God used Hurricane Katrina to punish America for tolerating homosexuality. The Oak Initiative’s board is filled with leading proponents of Seven Mountains Dominionism, including Jerry Boykin, Janet Porter, Lance Wallnau and self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs. Lou Sheldon, the head of the Traditional Values Coalition who described LGBT activism as “the very face of evil,” is also a board member.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (Blackwell’s boss) and 2000 GOP presidential candidate Alan Keyes addressed the Oak Initiative’s 2011 Summit alongside Nuttle, where Perkins called gays and lesbians “hateful” people who are “pawns” of Satan and Keyes urged Congress to impeach President Obama before he seizes power with the help of foreign countries. At the Summit, Boykin said that Obama is creating his own Brownshirt army to usher in Marxism and Joyner suggested that a secretive cabal crashed the economy to help Obama win the presidential election.

Nuttle spoke to Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries on how to “apply proper biblical principles to the marketplace and the workforce” and that God “has a plan and a solution for this current world crisis we find ourselves in.” Nuttle said that people “don’t have to figure” out all the economic solutions, “all you have to do is be obedient” to God. He also claimed that the United States is the only country with a government subservient to God: “Every other government in the world is some sort of government authority, it’s a dictatorship, or Islam where government is God, or where the dictator is God, or the Constitution is God, over the constituents.” Nuttle argued that “the fight is against the 30% [of politicians] who don’t care” about the decline of the economy, “because then there’s more room for government. Government’s what they want, socialism is the goal.” He ended his speech by saying, “lock your shields with each other against the enemy.” 

Earlier this year he addressed Liberty University’s Awakening 2011, the Religious Right political event hosted by Mat Staver of the LU-affiliate Liberty Counsel. Nuttle also appeared on God Knows with Jacobs, where he shared with the 'Prophet' his plan to solve the nation’s debt troubles.

As heads of the pro-Bachmann Super PAC, Blackwell and Nuttle will surely help Bachmann link her far-right economic views with her deep-seated social conservative activism.

Right Wing Leftovers

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Heritage Action, Family Research Council and Club for Growth have jointly announced "their opposition to any additional short-term continuing resolutions."
  • Glenn Beck's The Blaze, of all places, exposes the dishonesty behind James O'Keef's NPR sting video.
  • Could we really be so lucky as to see a Michele Bachmann presidential campaign?
  • Gary Bauer says that "If, God forbid, one of the conservative legislators is harmed in any way by a protestor, the blame will rest squarely with the unions and indirectly with President Obama for failing to condemn the climate of hate that the left has been encouraging for weeks."
  • Just let me say to John R. Guardiano that if it were Religious Right anti-choice activists protesting in Wisconsin, the entire right-wing echo chamber would be lauding them as heroes and true American patriots.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Bryan Fischer: "If you want to trace the recognition of gay marriage in the U.S. to its source, Mitt Romney is it, the man who kick-started the push to legalize sexually abnormal relationships at the state level. The man would be a disaster in the White House on social issues."

CPAC Anti-Choice Panel Pledges to "Drive" GOP's Agenda

CPAC’s anti-abortion rights panel “The Pro-Life Movement: Plans and Goals” was galvanized over the election of a Republican-led House, believing that the GOP leadership was committed to passing anti-choice legislation.

Hosted by Tim Goeglein, the head of Focus on the Family’s policy arm CitizenLink and a former Bush Administration staffer, the panel focused on attacking the health care reform law, Planned Parenthood, and Republicans who aren’t categorically anti-choice.

According to Goeglein, “the pro-life movement is becoming younger,” and the panel featured young leaders like Anna Franzonello of Americans United for Life, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, and activist Erin DeLullo.

Goeglein tried to balance his belief that the anti-choice movement was gaining support and energy with his fear that social conservatives may devolve into political obscurity and lose their place in the broader right-wing coalition. He said that smear-artist Lila Rose represents a “new generation” of the movement, but also anxiously insisted that the “pro-life and pro-traditional marriage” positions must “remain central to the conservative movement.”

DeLullo made the case that the anti-choice community needs to quickly mobilize against Republicans like Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels who proposed a “truce” on social issues. She maintained that the Club for Growth, a pro-corporate group best known for funding primary opponents against more moderate Republican incumbents, should serve as a model for a “permanent political organization” that is “dedicated fulltime to make sure the ‘anti-life’ vote is as suicidal as a vote to raise taxes.” “The right to life cannot be put on the backburner,” DeLullo said, arguing that the group must act now to stop “‘trucers’ like Mitch Daniels.” Of course, there are already a plethora of social conservative political action committees, but maybe DeLullo was making a plug for her own firm.

AUL’s Franzonello claimed that “abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women,” and discussed her vehement opposition to emergency contraception and legal exceptions for cases of rape and incest. She also floated the “death panel” conspiracy theory about health care reform, saying that the law jeopardizes the lives of “elderly and disabled persons,” along with pushing the debunked claim that it promotes taxpayer-subsidized abortions.

Later, Hawkins of Students for Life, a self-declared “abortion abolitionist,” discussed ways anti-choice groups can drive the conservative movement. She noted that while young voters tend to generally hold liberal and Democratic-leaning views, they tend to be more opposed to reproductive rights than prior generations. The abortion issue, Hawkins argued, gives right-wing organizations an opening among young voters. Hawkins said that young voters are increasingly opposed to legal abortion because “Planned Parenthood nearly snuffed us out of existence,” and then allegedly tried to coerce young women on college campuses to have abortions.

Hawkins lavished praise on “prayer warriors” and Lila Rose, calling her “a modern day muckraker” who will “go down in history” for her role smearing Planned Parenthood. She said that young anti-choice activists should embrace Rose’s tactics in order to get the attention of Republican politicians and Fox News, saying, “We can drive their agenda.”

CPAC Anti-Choice Panel Pledges to "Drive" GOP's Agenda

CPAC’s anti-abortion rights panel “The Pro-Life Movement: Plans and Goals” was galvanized over the election of a Republican-led House, believing that the GOP leadership was committed to passing anti-choice legislation.

Hosted by Tim Goeglein, the head of Focus on the Family’s policy arm CitizenLink and a former Bush Administration staffer, the panel focused on attacking the health care reform law, Planned Parenthood, and Republicans who aren’t categorically anti-choice.

According to Goeglein, “the pro-life movement is becoming younger,” and the panel featured young leaders like Anna Franzonello of Americans United for Life, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, and activist Erin DeLullo.

Goeglein tried to balance his belief that the anti-choice movement was gaining support and energy with his fear that social conservatives may devolve into political obscurity and lose their place in the broader right-wing coalition. He said that smear-artist Lila Rose represents a “new generation” of the movement, but also anxiously insisted that the “pro-life and pro-traditional marriage” positions must “remain central to the conservative movement.”

DeLullo made the case that the anti-choice community needs to quickly mobilize against Republicans like Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels who proposed a “truce” on social issues. She maintained that the Club for Growth, a pro-corporate group best known for funding primary opponents against more moderate Republican incumbents, should serve as a model for a “permanent political organization” that is “dedicated fulltime to make sure the ‘anti-life’ vote is as suicidal as a vote to raise taxes.” “The right to life cannot be put on the backburner,” DeLullo said, arguing that the group must act now to stop “‘trucers’ like Mitch Daniels.” Of course, there are already a plethora of social conservative political action committees, but maybe DeLullo was making a plug for her own firm.

AUL’s Franzonello claimed that “abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women,” and discussed her vehement opposition to emergency contraception and legal exceptions for cases of rape and incest. She also floated the “death panel” conspiracy theory about health care reform, saying that the law jeopardizes the lives of “elderly and disabled persons,” along with pushing the debunked claim that it promotes taxpayer-subsidized abortions.

Later, Hawkins of Students for Life, a self-declared “abortion abolitionist,” discussed ways anti-choice groups can drive the conservative movement. She noted that while young voters tend to generally hold liberal and Democratic-leaning views, they tend to be more opposed to reproductive rights than prior generations. The abortion issue, Hawkins argued, gives right-wing organizations an opening among young voters. Hawkins said that young voters are increasingly opposed to legal abortion because “Planned Parenthood nearly snuffed us out of existence,” and then allegedly tried to coerce young women on college campuses to have abortions.

Hawkins lavished praise on “prayer warriors” and Lila Rose, calling her “a modern day muckraker” who will “go down in history” for her role smearing Planned Parenthood. She said that young anti-choice activists should embrace Rose’s tactics in order to get the attention of Republican politicians and Fox News, saying, “We can drive their agenda.”

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.
 

 

Ken Blackwell & Mike Lee Team Up to Pass Balanced Budget Amendment

Ken Blackwell wears many hats:

Ken Blackwell is the Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council, and the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow for Public Policy at the Buckeye Institute in Columbus, Ohio. He is a visiting fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the American Civil Rights Union. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union and Pastors Retreat Network. Mr. Blackwell is also the Chairman for the Coalition for a Conservative Majority, and a member of the National Rifle Association’s Public Affairs Committee. He is a columnist for the New York Sun, a contributing editor and columnist for the conservative news and opinion site Townhall.com, and a public affairs commentator for the Salem Radio Network.

To this list we can now add Chairman of a new group named "Balanced Budget Amendment Now" which, as its name suggests, is going to be focused solely on passing a Balanced Budget Amendment and has already received the support of Senator-Elect Mike Lee (R-UT): 

A new organization has launched to campaign for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, Balanced Budget Amendment Now. Focused solely on passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA), the group seeks to enlist 5,000 – 10,000 voters in each congressional district who will urge their members of Congress to vote for a BBA. This organization will be chaired by the Honorable Kenneth Blackwell, a longtime taxpayer advocate and fiscal conservative.

"We're glad to see the historic change in Congress and in state houses across America. The people have spoken forcefully, and they reject the profligate spending and massive expansion of government that they see in Washington, DC. The new Congress will face tremendous pressure as they seek to cut spending, and Balanced Budget Amendment Now will be there to remind them that they weren't elected to trim spending or slow down the rate of growth, but to cut, de-authorize and balance the budget.

"To that end, we want to give the 112th Congress and future Congresses a valuable tool to keep spending in check, a BBA to the Constitution. Our first step towards this goal is a vote on the BBA by October 1, 2011, the first day of the next fiscal year. Only by the active participation of 'We the People' can we force Congress and the President to act, before it's too late to avoid an economic collapse," concluded Blackwell.

Balanced Budget Amendment Now has asked Senator-Elect Mike Lee (R-UT) to draft BBA language and to enlist the support of his colleagues. Senator-Elect Lee stated, "The time has come for Congress to do the right thing and pass a balanced budget amendment. The majority of states in this country balance their budgets every year. Requiring Congress to do the same simply requires self-restraint, fiscal discipline, forethought and a commitment to follow both the roles and restraints outlined in the Constitution."

Lee concluded, "I applaud the efforts of groups like Balanced Budget Amendment Now for moving this issue forward. This is the type of dialogue and discussion Congress and our citizens need to engage in at this critical time in our nation's history. A balanced budget amendment is an important first step to reclaiming our future."

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 10/27

Sharron Angle

Ad: Controversy over latest anti-immigration ad, Latino groups call it “one of the ugliest anti-illegal immigrants ad campaigns in history” (AP, 10/26).

Voting: Accuses Reid camp of trying to “steal” the election (Politico, 10/26).

Campaign: Stopped paying her staff in latest FEC filing (HuffPo, 10/25).

Outside groups: Pro-GOP groups outspend Democrats 2:1 in Nevada (AP, 10/23).

Ken Buck

Religious Right: Denies existence of separation of church and state (Think Progress, 10/26).

Women: Mother Jones investigates Buck’s handling of the rape case (Mother Jones, 10/26).

Ad: PFAW releases new ad on Buck’s corporate backers (PFAW, 10/25).
 

Joe Miller

Background: Records show Miller’s unethical, dishonest behavior at job (WSJ, 10/26).

Gay rights: Miller gives confusing, contradictory interview to Rachel Maddow about gay rights and federalism (HuffPo, 10/26).

Palin: Rally keynoted by Palin will feature Mike Huckabee, Jim DeMint and Michele Bachmann (Politico, 10/26).

Media: Avoids press other than Fox News (CBS News, 10/21).

Christine O’Donnell

Poll: Trails Coons, especially among self-described moderates (Miami Herald, 10/27).

Constitution: Hammered for not knowing what’s in the 14th Amendment (Politico, 10/27).

Tea Party: Tea Party Express bus tour coming to Delaware (The News Journal, 10/27).

Rand Paul

Campaign: Paul campaign coordinator charged with assault, demands apology from woman he attacked (Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/27; TPM, 10/27).

Health Care: Wants to repeal the “Patient’s Bill of Rights” (The Hill, 10/26).

GOP: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell embraces Paul after opposing him in the primary (Politico, 10/26).

Pat Toomey

Government: Can’t name any programs beside “study abroad” he would cut (Think Progress, 10/26).

Poll: Tied with Sestak in Reuters/Ipsos poll (TPM, 10/26).

Outside groups: Club for Growth pledges to spend an additional $1 million to boost Toomey (WSJ, 10/21).

Pat Toomey: The Real Extremist in Pennsylvania

Watching his once formidable lead in the polls crumble, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey asserted, “It’s very clear. The person who is the extreme candidate that is so far out of touch with Pennsylvania is Joe Sestak.”

A huge part of Pat Toomey’s campaign strategy seemed to be based on remaking his image to come across as a moderate Republican. In an election year with the likes of Ken Buck, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and Joe Miller, even solidly conservative Republicans could come-off as “moderate” due to the elevated extremism on the Right.

But Pat Toomey is certainly no moderate on either economic or social issues:

• Pat Toomey was rated one of the most right-wing members of Congress: “more conservative voting record than J.D Hayworth, Jim DeMint, and was about as conservative as Jesse Helms,” and “had a considerably more conservative voting record than Rick Santorum.” Toomey is so far to the Right that he even felt that Mike Huckabee was too moderate.

• An anti-choice zealot, Pat Toomey called for doctors to be thrown in jail for performing abortions. Furthermore, Toomey doesn’t just want a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage, but even tried to prohibit gay and lesbian couples from adopting children.

• He led the Club for Growth for four years, a vehemently pro-corporate advocacy group that recently exclaimed: “Privatize Social Security? Hell Yeah!” Toomey himself has worked to privatize Social Security throughout his career.

• Back in 2006, Toomey described his pro-corporate advocacy as “all about protecting our Christian heritage” and “a culture that is under assault.” For Toomey, “protecting our Christian heritage” also includes preventing oversight on Wall Street’s reckless “derivatives trading.” Not only is Toomey a staunch opponent of Wall Street Reform, but worked a derivatives trader.

• He stood with Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins, James Dobson and Tim LaHaye to support the Family Research Council’s Kenneth Blackwell to become Chair of the Republican National Committee. When leading Focus on the Family, James Dobson enthusiastically campaigned for Toomey when he ran for Senate in 2004.

Pat Toomey’s ultraconservative views have made him a darling of pro-corporate groups and the Religious Right. His plan to come across as a moderate is as absurd as it is scary.

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 10/20

Sharron Angle

Terrorism: Angle refuses to apologize to Canadian Ambassador who condemned Angle for saying that terrorists are crossing into the US from Canada (AP, 10/19).

Latinos: Says that Latino students, and herself, look Asian (NYDN, 10/19).

Ad: Claims that Harry Reid is in “the conga line” with Michelle Obama (Slate, 10/19).

Fundraising: Spent over $5 million on fundraising (Salon, 10/18).

Palin: MissesTea Party Express kickoff with Palin, who praises Angle and slams Reid (Nevada News Bureau, 10/18).

Ken Buck

Religious Right: Claims that homosexuality, “like alcoholism,” is a choice (KDVR, 10/19).

Poll: New data shows Buck losing lead, in dead heat with Bennet (HuffPo, 10/19).

Women: Stands by comparison of rape allegation to “buyers remorse (Daily Kos, 10/18).

Carly Fiorina

Religious Right: Courage Campaign asks Fiorina to refuse support from National Organization for Marriage in internet ad (YubaNet, 10/19).

Government: Can’t name spending programs she would cut (LA Times, 10/18).

Palin: Skips rally with Sarah Palin and Michael Steele (NYT, 10/17).

Experience: Fortune magazine exposes Fiorina’s failed record running Lucent Technology (Fortune, 10/15).

Ad: Boxer hits Fiorina for backing Palin, offshore drilling, and repeal of assault weapon ban (Boxer, 10/15).

Joe Miller

GOP: NRSC spends $162,000 on ads to help Miller (WaPo, 10/19).

Ethics: Admits he broke ethics rules while working for Fairbanks; judge set to rule on disclosing more information (ADN, 10/19).

Security: Miller’s security firm under investigation for arresting reporter (Alaska Dispatch, 10/19).

Immigration: Cites East Germany as a success in wall-building (Mediaite, 10/19).

Debate: Skips debate with McAdams and Murkowski (ADN, 10/18).

Christine O’Donnell

Constitution: Questions Separation of Church and State, stumped on the content of 14th and 16th Amendments (ThinkProgress, 10/19).

Taxes: Chris Coons claims that O’Donnell can’t prove assertion that the Democrat wants a $10,000 tax increase (News Journal, 10/19).

Media: Jeffrey Shaffer looks into “Christine O'Donnell and the rise of cable TV politics” (Christian Science Monitor, 10/19).

Rand Paul

Poll: Democratic poll shows Paul trailing Conway by 2% (WaPo, 10/19).

Debate: Heated debate with Jack Conway, might back out of next one (McClatchy, 10/18).

Religion: Conway ad on “Aqua Buddha” spurs debate on religion (NYT, 10/18).

Marco Rubio

Debate: Crist dubs Rubio an “extreme right-wing candidate” in debate (Miami Herald, 10/19).

Outside groups: American Crossroads spends big to back Rubio (The Ledger, 10/18).

Palin: Campaigns with Sarah Palin and Michael Steele on Saturday (Politico, 10/18).

Pat Toomey

Outside groups: Club for Growth, formerly led by Toomey, set to expand pro-Toomey ad campaign (Washington Independent, 10/19).

Tea Party: AP looks into how Toomey won backing from both the tea party and GOP establishment (AP, 10/19).

Poll: Loses lead, now in dead heat with Joe Sestak (LA Times, 10/19).

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 9/29

Your update on the right-wing candidates running for US Senate for 9/22-9/29.

Sharron Angle

Government: Angle and her husband are both covered by government health care plans (Alternet, 9/28).

Health Care: Criticized for mocking “Autism” coverage (The Plum Line, 9/27).

Fundraising: Comedian Dennis Miller to raise money for Angle (LVRJ, 9/28).

House: Angle’s unpopularity may hurt Nevada’s GOP House candidates (The Hill, 9/28).

Poll: One poll shows Reid leading Angle by 5%, other finds a tie (Las Vegas Sun 9/25, LVRJ 9/28).

Ken Buck

Poll: DSCC poll shows Buck trailing Bennet by 2% (Politico, 9/29).

GOP: Senators McConnell and Cornyn host fundraiser for Buck (AP, 9/28).

Right-wing: Tries to portray himself as more moderate after primary (RCP, 9/24).

Carly Fiorina

Corporate: Rightwing Koch brothers take interest in Fiorina’s campaign (LA Times, 9/25).

Outside groups: Chamber of Commerce and FreedomWorks to bolster Fiorina (LA Times, 9/28).

Poll: Trails Boxer by 8% in new poll of California voters (San Jose Mercury News, 9/25).

Ad: New ad labels Boxer as “arrogant” (The Atlantic, 9/23).

Joe Miller

Government: Expresses support for increased spending for public health and education in 2004 survey (KTUU, 9/24).

Controversy: Classified himself as “low-income” on hunting license application (Anchorage Daily News, 9/27).

Outside groups: Tea Party Express to help Miller against McAdams, Murkowski (Daily News-Miner, 9/28).

Christine O’Donnell

Finances: CREW looks into O’Donnell’s poor financial record (News Journal, 9/29).

Science: Declares evolution “a myth” on Politically Incorrect (Huffington Post, 9/25).

Controversy: Falsely claims she attended Claremont McKenna and Oxford for graduate school (Mediaite, 9/29).

GOP: Shames Republican leadership for not supporting complete repeal of Health Care Reform (ABC News, 9/28).

Rand Paul

Ad: Blasted for supporting $2,000 Medicare deductible (Herald Leader, 9/29).

Right-wing: Member of ultraconservative medical group (Courier Journal, 9/24).

Poll: Leads Conway by just 2% in latest poll of Kentucky voters (TPMDC, 9/27).

Economy: Speaks out against raising taxes on wealthy (Huffington Post, 9/27).

Dino Rossi

Controversy: BIAW fined for illegally supporting Rossi’s gubernatorial campaign (Seattle PI, 9/24).

Ad: CommonsenseTen hits Rossi on housing crisis (Politico, 9/24).

Marco Rubio

Controversy: Releases Spanish-language ad despite support for English-only policies (Florida Independent, 9/29).

Social Security: Reverses himself on Social Security privatization (St. Petersburg Times, 9/28).

Finances: New questions about Rubio’s expenses flare (Orlando Sentinel, 9/24).

Pat Toomey

Poll: Toomey holds slight lead, but one-third of Pennsylvania voters still undecided (WPVI, 9/29).

GOP: Distances himself from spending under Bush Administration (AP, 9/27).

Right-wing: Columnist examines Toomey’s far-right beliefs while leading Club for Growth (Inquirer, 9/26).

Heritage Foundation on Money and Morals

The Heritage Foundation, one of the co-sponsors of the Values Voter Summit, held a breakout conversation to push one of the conference’s central themes: the indivisibility of social and economic conservativism. The overall political goal was aptly summed up by the Heritage Foundation’s Jennifer Marshall, who spoke of the need to call attention to the “moral bankruptcy” of the war on poverty and the welfare state.

Heritage has been promoting for some time now “Indivisible,” a small book of essays with a gimmick: Heritage asked people known for being social conservatives to write on an economic theme, and vice versa. Anti-gay crusader Harry Jackson, for example, contributed a chapter on the evils of the minimum wage, which he says is a form of coercion of employers that “reminds me of slavery.”
 
One of the speakers on the Heritage panel was Stephen Moore, founder of the radically anti-tax Club for Growth and now the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal’s notoriously right-wing editorial board. Moore said the growing national debt erodes the nation’s moral fabric, and he called for an end to the progressive income tax and the estate tax (described as a “death tax,” which he called “obscene.”) Moore also called global warming “the biggest myth of the last one hundred years,” suggesting that the bumper crop of reality- and science-denying congressional candidates may have friendly WSJ editorials to fall back on when challenged on their climate change denialism.
 
Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, now at the Family Research Council, warned that federal spending in the U.S. is approaching levels of western Europe, and warned that anytime government has gotten big “it has accelerated the collapse of the most basic economic unit in our country and in western civilization – the family.”
 
The workshop came to an awkward end when an audience member who said he has complications from diabetes and tens of thousands of dollars in chronic medical expenses wondered what the panel would offer people like him once they abolish “Obamacare,” and the panelists had nothing much to offer beyond standard right-wing talking points about medical malpractice, medical savings accounts, and marketplace competition. He didn’t seem convinced that they understood or cared about his problem.

Americans for Job Security: Corporate Astroturfing Extraordinaire

The same group who hailed the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United as an “unequivocal victory” has launched new ads to promote corporate interests in this year’s election. After spending handsomely to criticize Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s Democratic primary opponent with offensive and inaccurate ads, Americans for Job Security today began to run television ads against Rep. Zack Space (D-OH) and Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), along with Democratic candidates Bryan Lentz in Pennsylvania and Trent Van Haaften in Indiana. The group has already spent close to $3 million in the election, and is a huge booster of Republicans such as Pat Toomey and Ken Buck.

Americans for Job Security is a true corporate creation: founded in 1997, it initially received two $1 million contributions from the American Insurance Association and the American Forest and Paper Association. In fact, it is registered as a 501c6 trade association, and consequently does not have to disclose its donors to the IRS.  Also, since it generally runs  “issue ads,” it is not required to disclose its donors to the FEC, although the thin line between political advocacy and lobbying is often difficult to see. The Washington Post writes that even though Americans for Job Security classifies itself as a trade association, it “spends the vast majority of its budget on television and radio ads before elections,” and the vast majority of them are negative.

The ads slam the stimulus package, which improved job growth and Real GDP and prevented total economic collapse, and dishonestly malign progressive legislation. In their ad against Bryan Lentz, who is running to replace Joe Sestak, Americans for Job Security alleges that health care reform cuts $500 billion from Medicare, a claim FactCheck.org forcefully debunked as a gross distortion. When criticizing Rep. Space for backing the American Clean Energy and Security Act (“cap and trade”) in their new ad, the group claims the bill would “kill Ohio jobs.” However, a University of California, Berkeley study found that ACES “would create between 918,000 and 1.9 million new jobs, increase annual household income by $487-$1,175 per year, and boost GDP by $39 billion-$111 billion.”

Like the Club for Growth, Americans for Job Security is not afraid to take on Democrats and even some conservative Republicans who they feel haven’t fully embraced the pro-corporate agenda. Public Citizen claims that “Americans for Job Security is a sham front group that would be better called Corporations Influencing Elections” and also alleged that it was “one of the most egregious offenders” in circumventing FEC rules on “electioneering activity.”

Utilizing hefty and anonymous corporate donations to run a misleading and deceptive ad campaign, Americans for Job Security proves that it is truly the epitome of pro-corporate astroturfing.

Don't Print Up Those "Rubio 2012" Buttons Quite Yet

Ben Smith reports that Richard Land is apparently quite smitten with Marco Rubio and is tossing out his name as a possible presidential candidate in 2012: 

Marco Rubio's remarkable fundraising haul -- $3.6 million this quarter, he just announced -- is a reminder of the scale of his stardom inside the Republican Party, all of whose core constituencies seem to like the guy.

He's already hearing every day (and brushing it off) that he should run for president in 2012, and at the inevitable moment in the cycle (as in every party, every cycle) when Republicans panic about their field of nominees, he's likely to be uniquely attractive: young, conservative, Hispanic, and from a swing state besides.

The buzz for a Rubio candidacy is broad, and deep. Observers like Matt Lewis have made the case publicly, and my impression is that if a swathe of conservative leaders haven't talked up his candidacy, it's only because they haven't been asked. I was talking to the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land earlier this year for another story when he brought Rubio up, unasked.

"The longer nobody catches fire, the more space heir is for Marco," he said. "It wouldn’t be unheard of for a freshman Senator from Florida to be the nominee – particularly one who was Speaker of the [Florida Assembly].

"He's got more experience than Obama had," Land continued. "There are a lot of Hispanics in this country who would find someone with Marco’s ethnic background very appealing. Although I like Sarah [Palin] I think Sarah’s got a lot more impediments to a nomination than Marco Rubio does."

I was surprised to hear it from Land, a leading figure on the Christian right, with which Rubio hasn't been particularly associated. Rubio is more generally seen as the darling of the Wall Street-financed Club for Growth and of the fiscally-oriented Tea Party movement. But Land said he'd heard a great deal about Rubio from Baptist ministers in Florida, who said "he walks the walk."

If Rubio is thinking of plotting a run for the White House before he's even been elected to Congress, it might behoove him to remember that last time around, Land couldn't stop talking about how Fred Thompson was a "Southern-fried Reagan" who possessed "a tantalizing combination of charisma, conviction and electability," while gushing that to "see Fred work a crowd must be what it was like to watch Rembrandt paint.”

Tea Party Activism and The Religious Right

I have to take issue with Andrew Sullivan's assertion that the Tea Party movement is "Christianist" at its core.

By "Christianist," Sullivan means essentially the Religious Right and the idea that the Religious Right's anti-gay, anti-choice political agenda has played a central in Tea Party activism is ludicrous. 

When the movement began last year, the "TEA" in Tea Party stood for "Taxed Enough Already" and was aimed at the bailouts and stimulus measures put in place in an attempt to stabilize our economy.

At first, the Religious Right more or less watched from the sidelines as the fiscal conservative groups like Freedomworks, National Taxpayers Union, Americans For Tax Reform, and The Club for Growth started to institutionalize the Tea Party effort. 

Eventually, groups like the American Family Association climbed on board, as did leaders like Ralph Reed, but that was done in order to try and capitalize on the Tea Party success and tie their "Christianist" agenda to the already established Tea Party activism.  

The presence of Religious Right fringe figures like Roy Moore and Rick Scarborough at the National Tea Party Convention is more a sign of the power of the Tea Party narrative than it is of Religious Right control or influence over the movement or its agenda.

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the fundamental merging of overall right-wing movement under the banner of the Tea Party than the fact that the Tea Party front-runners at Freedomworks recently partnered with Religious Right powerhouses like the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America despite that fact that, just a few years back, Freedomworks' founder Dick Armey was calling the socially conservative wing of the movement a bunch of stupid, lazy demagogues.

At the moment, Tea Party activism is the face of the conservative movement and so it is no surprise that Religious Right groups are climbing aboard the bandwagon in an effort to try and utilize it to press their own agenda.  

The Tea Party movement does not have a Religious Right agenda at its core, but rather as a component ... and that is only because Religious Right groups have set out aligning themselves with the movement in order to co-opt and exploit it.

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Club for Growth Top Posts

Club for Growth (CFG) touts itself as the inheritor of Ronald Reagan's "vision of limited government and lower taxes" and it advances this anti-government vision through its support of political candidates who hew to its right-wing economic orthodoxy. The Culb for Growth has aggressively opposed several moderate Republicans often to the consternation of GOP political leaders. MORE >

Club for Growth Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/18/2014, 11:10am
Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, emulating the Koch brothers, is creating another right-wing fundraising outlet to back Republican politicians. Politico reports today that Singer’s fundraising network, the American Opportunity Alliance, will “bring together some of the richest pro-business GOP donors in the country, several of whom share Singer’s support for gay rights, immigration reform and the state of Israel.” While noting that Singer, whose son is gay, is trying to aid Republican politicians who support immigration reform and LGBT equality,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 07/24/2013, 4:35pm
Mike Huckabee continues his feud with the Club For Growth. Last night, Glenn Beck donated $100,000 to John Hagee's Christians United for Israel. You know, it would be interesting to see The Blaze write a story like this about the things that appear on Glenn Beck's own program. Rick Joyner weighs in on the Trayvon Martin murder case verdict and the problems of racism, admitting that "with the recent controversy over the Martin/Zimmerman tragedy, I have had many racist thoughts surface in my own heart." Finally, "Coach" Dave is out with a new video... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 08/31/2012, 12:30pm
Cross-posted at AlterNet The power center that Dick Armey and FreedomWorks have been aggressively building in the U.S. Senate around reigning extremist Jim DeMint will almost certainly welcome Ted Cruz in January. The Republican convention gave most Americans their first look at Cruz, who has become a Tea Party folk hero after crushing the establishment candidate, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in a bitterly contested primary. Ted Cruz loves to portray his victory as an upwelling from the grassroots, as he did during his Tuesday night speech from the platform. “I have the honor of... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 08/18/2011, 10:37am
A secretive ‘Super PAC’ tied to an Ohio political operative is planning to aid congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign after working to defeat South Carolina congressman John Spratt in the last midterm election. Chris Cillizza writes that “Citizens for a Working America, as the group is known, will be chaired by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Ed Brookover, a longtime political consultant and adviser to Bachmann, will be involved as will conservative lawyer and economist Marc Nuttle.” Ken Blackwell’s ties to the Religious Right... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 04/19/2011, 4:37pm
Tony Perkins will not give up on reinstating Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Mike Huckabee continues his long war with The Club for Growth. Ann Coulter is desperate for attention. Phyllis Schlafly continues to fret about a North American Union. Finally the utter fear that Matt Barber and Shawn Akers have of transgender individuals is really quite pathetic.  MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/11/2011, 5:30pm
Heritage Action, Family Research Council and Club for Growth have jointly announced "their opposition to any additional short-term continuing resolutions." Glenn Beck's The Blaze, of all places, exposes the dishonesty behind James O'Keef's NPR sting video. Could we really be so lucky as to see a Michele Bachmann presidential campaign? Gary Bauer says that "If, God forbid, one of the conservative legislators is harmed in any way by a protestor, the blame will rest squarely with the unions and indirectly with President Obama for failing to condemn... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 02/14/2011, 1:16pm
CPAC’s anti-abortion rights panel “The Pro-Life Movement: Plans and Goals” was galvanized over the election of a Republican-led House, believing that the GOP leadership was committed to passing anti-choice legislation. Hosted by Tim Goeglein, the head of Focus on the Family’s policy arm CitizenLink and a former Bush Administration staffer, the panel focused on attacking the health care reform law, Planned Parenthood, and Republicans who aren’t categorically anti-choice. According to Goeglein, “the pro-life movement is becoming younger,” and the panel... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 02/14/2011, 1:16pm
CPAC’s anti-abortion rights panel “The Pro-Life Movement: Plans and Goals” was galvanized over the election of a Republican-led House, believing that the GOP leadership was committed to passing anti-choice legislation. Hosted by Tim Goeglein, the head of Focus on the Family’s policy arm CitizenLink and a former Bush Administration staffer, the panel focused on attacking the health care reform law, Planned Parenthood, and Republicans who aren’t categorically anti-choice. According to Goeglein, “the pro-life movement is becoming younger,” and the panel... MORE >