McCain Has Far-Right on Speed Dial

It’s all over but the shouting in the Republican primary, and more and more right-wing figures are falling in line behind the presumptive nominee. Still, there are some hold-outs, unwilling to reject McCain (as James Dobson has) but hoping to squeeze the last few drops of their leverage into yet more concessions.

It seems to be working. Rather than looking towards building a broader coalition for the general election, McCain still seems to be concentrating on the last few corners of the Right. Grover Norquist, who just weeks ago was lambasting McCain for not signing his tax pledge, now gets to hear McCain mouth the promise again and again. And Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council must have been pleased to have been one of the first people McCain called when the senator was trying to manage the New York Times lobbyist story:

"It's early in the process and he's made inroads with social conservatives," said Perkins, who got a call from McCain shortly after his morning press conference. "He's been very aggressive about handling this and he assured me this is not true." McCain's campaign is pointedly attacking the Times, which last month endorsed the senator. And that always plays well in the conservative community, Perkins says.

"When I speak to social conservatives around the country I tell them I read my Bible daily to see what God has to say about matters of importance," Perkins says, "and then I read the New York Times to see what the other side has to say."

The Real McCain

On the one hand, you have John McCain-supporter Sam Brownback telling pro-lifers that McCain is "our best hope to advance the cause of human dignity on a broad spectrum of life issues" and "the best pro-life candidate to win in 2008." On the other hand, you have Republicans for Choice endorsing McCain.

Why Seek Consensus When You Can Complain?

As we have noted several times in the past, nothing can rally the Right quite like a battle over judicial nominations - and just because there aren't any high profile battles taking place right now doesn't mean the Right isn't still complaining about the issue:
In an interview with Cybercast News Service, Curt Levey, general counsel of the Committee for Justice, pointed out there is always a temptation for those who are in the opposite party from the president "to not fill vacancies in the hopes that the next president will be from their party." "That temptation becomes very great when you're only a few months away from an election," Levey added. However, Levey and others question whether the Thurmond Rule has ever actually existed. There is no explicit deadline for the rule to take effect within the election year, and the term "consensus nominee" also has no definitive meaning.
Levey might not believe the Thurmond Rule exists, but it does and this article from 1980 explains where it origniated:

REPUBLICANS FIGHT CARTER NOMINEES 14 September 1980 The New York Times Senate Republicans have begun an organized campaign to use various parliamentary strategems, from committee boycotts to filibusters, to ''slow down or completely stop'' Presidential appointments that could outlast the Carter Administration. The action was taken last month by the 41-member Senate Republican Caucus, which appointed a three-member committee to sift 155 pending Presidential nominations and weed out those whose terms would overlap that of a new President. The primary targets include 13 judicial nominees as well as nominees to vacancies on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the Legal Services Corporation, among other agencies. Not affected are nominations to advisory boards and those who serve at the pleasure of the President without any fixed term. Republicans contend that they are merely upholding a Senate tradition in preventing President Carter from making election-year appointments to positions that a Republican President could be able to fill.

If Republicans are concerned about getting President Bush's judicial nominees confirmed before he leaves office, one way to overcome the Thurmond Rule would be to consult with senators and nominate consensus nominees - of course, that is exactly the opposite of what they are doing:

Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, one of 14 senators who broke a logjam of judicial appointments in the 2005 ''Gang of 14'' compromise, said Thursday the White House has failed to consult with him on appointments to the federal district court in Denver. ''I have not been consulted with by the White House in any way, shape or form on these judicial nominations,'' said Salazar, a Democrat. ''In my view, it's a violation of our understanding with the president and the requirement of the Constitution.'' ... With pressure mounting to supply the president with names of potential judges, [Republican Senator Wayne] Allard said Thursday that he and Salazar could not agree on candidates after beginning discussion in September. Allard said he had proposed a list of four candidates that included a Democrat, an undecided and two Republicans one of which was endorsed by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, a former Denver district attorney. But Allard said Salazar, a Democrat, was unhappy with the list. Allard said he submitted the names anyway. ... Allard said the president has already vetted the names he submitted and is ready to release them.

Just in Case, Right Wing Ready for Anti-Obama Campaign

Few constituencies were more surprised by Barack Obama’s win in last week’s Iowa Democratic caucus than the right-wing media—Clinton obsession has been its bread and butter for over a decade. Nevertheless, the Right is doing its best to prove it will pull no punches no matter who the Democrats nominate.

The Right has hardly refrained from attacking Obama—remember his visit to Rick Warren’s church over a year ago? Or last summer, when the National Clergy Council declared “Obama's Christianity [to be] woefully deficient”? But the last few days have seen a seeming uptick in the number of anti-Obama articles: For example, Human Events editor-at-large Terence Jeffrey warned that the Democrat is “the most pro-abortion presidential candidate ever.” A CNSNews piece surveyed African-American religious-right activists on the candidate, such as Rev. Clenard Childress of, who implied that abortion is worse for blacks than was lynching, and Jesse Lee Peterson of BOND, who said, “For Barack Obama to support abortion shows a lack of love for the black community and especially for the unborn."

But the Illinois senator’s faith seems to be the most appealing target of the Right. Newsmax correspondent Ronald Kessler offers a menacing warning that Obama attends a black church whose pastor propounds the “thesis that blacks in America are oppressed.” “At the least,” writes Kessler, “Obama’s membership in [Rev. Jeremiah] Wright’s church suggests a lack of judgment and an insensitivity to views that are repugnant to the vast majority of white Americans who are not bigots.”

(In particular, Kessler objects to the “Black Value System” on the church’s website. “One can only imagine the outrage that would erupt if a white presidential candidate like Romney subscribed to something called the White Value System,” he writes. One can only imagine what Kessler would think if he knew about the Religious Right’s “Black Contract with America on Moral Values.”)

But if Kessler wants to present Obama as a radical Christian, he’s going to have a lot of competition from those on the Right who want to present Obama as a radical Muslim, a (needless to say, inaccurate) smear that continues to be distributed as an e-mail forward. Daniel Pipes (nominated by Bush to the U.S. Institute of Peace) wrote an article for David Horowitz’s FrontPage Magazine purportedly “confirming” the senator’s secret Muslim past.

Kessler concludes his report on Obama’s pastor with a bizarre comparison:

But media bias or not, if Obama is his party’s nominee, his Republican opponent will rightly be able to make use of Rev. Wright and his radical teachings as effectively as supporters of George H.W. Bush used Willie Horton’s furlough to help Bush win the presidency.

The 20-year-old Horton ad would hardly be the first campaign strategy to come to mind, unless Kessler were recalling the ad’s widespread reputation as a crypto-racist attack on Michael Dukakis. In that sense, comparing it to these insinuations about the black church may be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Will David Barton Be Huck’s Secretary of Education?

A few weeks ago we noted that Mike Huckabee was going to be appearing alongside right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton at an event in Iowa and wondered if a Barton endorsement would be forthcoming. That endorsement has not yet come through, but Barton might want to get on the ball because, if Huckabee ends up becoming the next president, he just might be rewarded with a top-level position in his administration. In a lengthy interview with Terence Jeffrey, Editor in Chief of the right-wing Cybercast News Service, Huckabee discussed his views on education and the two debated the role of religion in public schools, with Huckabee saying he doesn’t support state-sponsored prayer in school mainly “because I'm afraid in this kind of culture we live in you will have some namby-pamby squishy thing that doesn't even resemble a prayer.” That view then led to this exchange:
Governor, our whole system of government is based on an understanding of natural law that comes from God. The Declaration of Independence says that our rights are inalienable and we are endowed with them by our Creator. Shouldn't our public schools at least recognize that there is a God, and that our rights come from God, and that the ultimate source of our law is God? Absolutely, and that's what our Declaration of Independence said. That's what our Founding Fathers believed. And we shouldn't have a revisionist history that denies the part of our spiritual heritage. So the public schools should teach children there is a God, and our rights come from God? They should teach them that? If they teach our history, they have to teach that. But they don't have to teach them how they are going to specifically believe in that God. That's where the line comes. But the thing is, we shouldn't be afraid of giving kids the truth about our American history and heritage. We ought to make sure they know what it is. David Barton, who is one of my dear friends, and probably, I think, maybe the greatest living historian on the spiritual nature of America's early days, is a person who I wish was writing the curriculum. But unfortunately, we have a time where people just don't even acknowledge what our curriculum is.
For those who don’t know, Barton is a right-wing, Republican Party activist and self-taught “historian” intent on showing that the Founding Fathers intended to create a nation that was “firmly rooted in biblical principles” Lately, he has been peddling a book and DVD that claim to explain the history of the Democratic Party and it responsibility for everything from slavery and segregation to lynchings and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan - a history that conveniently ends with the passage of the civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s makes absolutely no mention of the political transformation that overtook the country in its wake and the rise of the Republican Party’s “Southern Strategy.” Barton’s “historical” work has been discredited as rife with distortion and “laced with exaggerations, half-truths and misstatements of fact” - but Huckabee thinks he just might be one of the “greatest living historians” and wishes that he was writing public school curriculum. In fact, Barton has been involved in shaping public school curriculum through his position on the National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools’ Advisory Board. The NCBCPS is dedicated to getting Bible courses taught in public high schools around the country and produces curriculum for just that purpose - curriculum that is flagrantly unconstitutional.

Romney Hit On Stem Cells

CNS News reports that some on the Right are not impressed with Mitt Romeny's views on stem cell research: "Wendy Wright, president of the conservative Concerned Women for America, told Cybercast News Service that Romney's position 'shows a need for more education.'"

FRC Blasts GOP Loyalty Pledge

The Family Research Council is not happy with the Virginia Republican Party's demand that primary voters pledge to support the GOP nominee in the general election: "The only loyalty oath the party might consider is one in which the candidates themselves pledge support for the values and principles in the party platform. Rejuvenating any political party begins not with a loyalty oath from voters, but with renewing the party's loyalty to its voters."

Anatomy of a Right Wing Outrage

If you haven’t heard about the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco yet, chances are you will be hearing about it soon.  As such, it provides a good opportunity to take a look at how the Right manages to create controversies and propel them into the media.

It starts off with a group like Concerned Women for America finding something it takes offense at – in this case, a provocative flyer for the Folsom Street Fair


An "Admitted Homosexual"?

A CNS News article on the Maryland marriage ruling refers to openly gay State Sen. Richard Madaleno as "an admitted homosexual."

Human Events, CNS, and the Media Research Center

Terence Jeffrey, long-time editor of Human Events, is taking over as editor-in-chief of the Cybercast News Service, which is a project of the Media Research Center: "I am honored to join Its ability to debunk liberal bias by delivering legitimate news is unsurpassed. I look forward to seizing new opportunities to perpetuate the mission of Cybercast News Service and the Media Research Center."

Who's Who At the Values Voter Debate

Below are short biographies of those who have been mentioned as participating in tonight's "Values Voter Presidential Debate" in Fort Lauderdale, Florida:

One Of These Things Is Not Like the Others

A new study by the Barna Group shows that "Evangelical Christians' priorities for change in government and society deviate from average Americans' priorities more than any other subgroup ... 'Overall, evangelical Christians stood out as the segment that holds views that are most dissimilar from the typical perspective of Americans,' the Barna Group said. 'They were at least 10 percentage points different than the national average in relation to eight of the 11 issues tested' and were 'significantly different on 10 of the 11 dimensions.'"

Phyllis and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Today cannot be a very good one for the Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly.  First off, President Bush basically laughed at those on the right who have been hyperventilating over a supposed conspiracy to install a “North American Union,” which has been one of the Eagle Forum’s primary focuses in recent months.  

When asked about the allegations that he is secretly planning to destroy American sovereignty, Bush replied:

"It's quite comical, actually, when you realize the difference between reality and what some people are talking on TV about," Bush said. "You lay out a conspiracy and then force people to try to prove it doesn't exist.

"There are some people who would like to frighten our fellow citizens into believing that relations between us are harmful for our respective peoples," Bush said, accusing opponents of engaging in "political scare tactics."

"I just believe they're wrong," he said. "I believe it's in our interest to trade. I believe it's in our interest to dialogue. I believe it's in our interest to work out common problems for the good of our people."

In between fulminating about the dangers of this non-existent union, Schlafly has also been warning Americans about the dangers of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), claiming it is designed to “compel the United States to pay billions of private-enterprise dollars to the ISA bureaucrats, who can then transfer our wealth to socialist, anti-American nations (euphemistically called ‘developing countries’) ruled by corrupt dictators.”  

And now, according to the Wall Street Journal, it looks as if President Bush is about to stiff her on that too: 

Bush Finds Fears of North American Union "Comical"

Accuses those who've been warning of conpriacy of using "political scare tactics": "It's quite comical, actually, when you realize the difference between reality and what some people are talking on TV about. You lay out a conspiracy and then force people to try to prove it doesn't exist. There are some people who would like to frighten our fellow citizens into believing that relations between us are harmful for our respective peoples."

Supreme Court's Rightward Lurch Will Motivate Right in 2008

The Supreme Court’s past term made clear its lurch to the right following the appointment of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, as outlined in a recent People For the American Way Foundation report. Awareness of this fact has spread from legal analysts to the general public: A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows less than half of Americans think the Court is balanced, and 31 percent think it’s too conservative – up from 19 percent two years ago. This was the context for Sen. Chuck Schumer’s speech at the American Constitution Society last week. “There is no doubt we were hoodwinked,” he said of the confirmation hearings.

Nevertheless, right-wing activists maintain that, despite their victory in confirming Roberts and Alito and the obvious rightward tilt of the last term, the Supreme Court remains a “bastion” of liberalism. "After decades of liberal judicial activism on so many issues, the court's position remains decidedly on the left,” said Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Right-Wing Children Are The Future

Bay Buchanan urges participants at the Conservative Student Conference to become "true leaders" and replace the current elite: "You all are our hope -- I mean that ... we need to clean out Washington. Move them aside and bring in some new fresh faces."

That Was Then, This is Now

As we noted the other day, the Religious Right was none-too-pleased that Rajan Zed, a Hindu clergyman, was scheduled to deliver the opening prayer in the United States Senate yesterday. Some were so opposed to it, in fact, that they got arrested for disrupting Zed’s prayer by shouting and calling it an “abomination” [see the video here.] The Carpetbagger Report has a good post on this issue which notes that, several years ago, the Family Research Council likewise objected when similar situation arose:
Back in September 2000, I took on a highly entertaining project while working at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala, a Hindu chaplain, was invited to be the very first Hindu in American history to lead a congressional chamber in prayer. AU opposes official congressional prayers, but nevertheless believes that if lawmakers are going to have one, they better be even-handed about it. The Family Research Council didn’t see it that way. The group flipped out, said Samuldrala’s prayer could lead to “moral relativism and ethical chaos,” and explained its belief that religious liberty “was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country’s heritage.” In other words, as the FRC saw it, minority faiths are separate and unequal, First Amendment be damned. I had a blast mocking the FRC for this, calling reporters and making the far-right group look pretty silly for demanding more religion in the public square and then balking at a religious invocation on the House floor. Eventually, the FRC not only backpedaled, it said the announcement condemning Samuldrala’s prayer was distributed by accident.
It appears that FRC either didn’t learn its lesson from this previous incident or has completely forgotten about it, as FRC is now fretting that Zed’s prayer is a sign that the U.S. Senate has taken "just one more step away" from America's Christian heritage and FRC president Tony Perkins just released this “special publication”:
There is no question that under the first amendment Zed enjoys freedom in this country that Christians do not enjoy in his home country. But does that mean it is appropriate for him to open the nation’s highest elected body in prayer? I think not … No one can legitimately challenge the fact that the God America refers to in the pledge, our national motto, and other places is the monotheistic God of the Jewish and Christian faith. There is no historic connection between America and the polytheistic creed of the Hindu faith. I seriously doubt that Americans want to change the motto, “In God we Trust, which Congress adopted in 1955, to, “In gods we Trust.” That is essentially what the United States Senate did today.
While we are on the subject, it should be noted that, according to various news sources, the three protestors were members of Operation Save America, which makes this quote all the more ludicrous:
The Rev. Flip Benham, director of Operation Save America/Operation Rescue, lambasted the decision to turn the prayer ceremony over to a non-Christian. He said that the protesters recited the First Commandment and offered prayers. They were not part of an organized group but were Christians who happened to be in Washington to fight the hate crimes bill. They did not know there was to be a Hindu prayer, Benham said.
Three members of Operation Save America just happened to be in the nearly empty Senate chamber yesterday morning at the very time that a Hindu clergyman was scheduled to deliver a prayer, yet they had no idea it was taking place despite the fact that various right-wing news outlets had been writing about it for weeks? Wow, what an amazing coincidence. Good thing they were there or else this “abomination” would have simply taken place quietly and Operation Save America would have completely missed out on an opportunity to generate some press coverage for itself.

Christian Protestors Disrupt Hindu Prayer

CNS reports that "three Christian protestors were removed from the U.S. Senate chamber's observation gallery Thursday when they disrupted the morning prayer -- being delivered for the first time in history by a Hindu chaplain." UPDATE: The AP identifies them as Ante Nedlko Pavkovic, Katherine Lynn Pavkovic and Christan Renee Sugar.

Protestors Warn Immigration Bill 'Diversion' for 'Fascist One World Order'

“If you continue to believe that the illegal alien invasion is the biggest threat to America, you will never understand that there is something far more dangerous to our country called the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America,” said Daneen Peterson at a small rally in Washington, D.C. last Friday. Peterson explained that “the overwhelming human tsunami of illegal aliens and MS-13 gang members” will cause “complete anarchy,” which in turn will “allow the shadow government to step forward and visibly take over this country. They will use martial law to install a fascist One World Order, dictatorial government in plain sight instead of operating clandestinely as they do now."

Peterson’s warning is familiar to a significant faction of the anti-immigrant movement, who believe that President Bush, an obscure college professor, and the Council on Foreign Relations are secretly plotting to create a European Union-style government in North America. While the supposedly well-advanced march to a “North American Union,” featuring a new flag and a unified “Amero” currency, has not been taken seriously outside of far-right and nativist web sites and news sources, the theory has had major backing from “Swift Vet” co-author Jerome Corsi, CNN host Lou Dobbs, Phyllis Schlafly, Judicial Watch, Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid, right-wing news site, long-shot Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, and the grandfather of right-wing conspiracy-mongering, the John Birch Society.

And while Peterson called the immigration debate a “diversion” from the “North American Union” scheme, many activists see them as of a piece: Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Virginia), who has introduced a resolution to oppose the vaporous plot, has also stated that immigration reform is just the first step: “It will lead us on a path to likely have a North American currency, will further break down the borders between our countries, and it really undermines the concept of the United States of America in favor of something called North America.”

Anti-Evolution Billboards in Oregon, Georgia Demonstrate Man, Monkey Look Different

Group promotes teaching creationism in public school.
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Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/16/2010, 5:41pm
The group responsible for last week's ridiculous list of 25 worst Americans in history will now be sponsoring GOProud's Homocon 2010. CBN's David Brody says President Obama's apparent support of the right of Muslims to build a facility near Ground Zero "may be the fatal blow" in making him a one-term president. Remember Steven L. Anderson? For some reason, the LA Times decided to give space to the AFA's Tim Wildmon to complain about the Prop 8 ruling. Mike Huckabee continues to lead in Iowa polls. Charles Colson and the Manhattan Declaration will be... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/05/2010, 5:27pm
Is it just me or does Alan Keyes' attempt to claim that President Obama desires to turn us all into slaves utterly dependent upon the government rely on a rather odd understanding of the institution of slavery:  Keyes compared the institution of slavery with liberalism and socialism. “What did it mean to be a slave?” Keyes asked. “It meant that you actually had guaranteed shelter, guaranteed clothing. Your master guaranteed your food, your clothing, your shelter and a job. “Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?” he said. “That’s exactly what... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 07/06/2010, 5:23pm
Sadly, James Traficant has been DQ'd from running for office again. Rep. Mike Pence will be headlining the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's October banquet. BeliefNet is now under new ownership. Joseph Farah continues to defend Rep. Michele Bachmann ... who is being attacked for hanging out with him. FL GOP Gov. candidate Bill McCollum has picked up the endorsement of the Florida Family Policy Council's John Stemberger. Kelly Boggs warns others not to jump to conclusions over the arrest of some Christians at a Muslim festival in Michigan like he did.... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 06/25/2010, 5:10pm
Yesterday I posted a press release from Rabbi Yehuda Levin claiming that if Elena Kagan is confirmed to the Supreme Court, she will issue "extremist decisions" from the bench that will, in turn, unleash a "backlash" of anti-Semitic violence across the nation to sweep the nation. As such, Kagan's confirmation represents an "existential threat" to Jews in America and she therefore must be defeated. Now obviously, that is insane.  But, as Media Matters notes, apparently not too insane for CNSNews to pick it up and turn it into an article.  And not... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 06/23/2010, 10:55am
When the news broke that Grover Norquist had agreed to join the board of GOProud, the conservative gay group, the reaction from the Religious Right was disappointment mixed with an attempt to edify Norquist about supposedly radical nature of the group in order to get him to see the error of his ways. When that didn't work, they tried convincing him that his willingness to work with GOProud was going to undermine his "prestige" and effectiveness as social conservatives wondered if they could trust him. That didn't work either, so now they have gone into full-attack mode, as Brent... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 05/13/2010, 4:43pm
When I saw that Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network had spent nearly an hour discussing Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court with Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of, I certainly wasn't expecting it to be exciting. But I didn't expect it to be downright painful ... but that is exactly what it was, as Jeffrey tried to use the Citizen's United decision, which he held up as a fundamental victory for the First Amendment, to make the case that Kagan should have resigned her position as Solicitor General... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 05/07/2010, 5:35pm
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has been forced to issue a statement trying to explain why his office paid George Rekers $120,000 for his anti-gay testimony. Marco Rubio sits down for an interview with Human Events. Frank Pavone says his "pro-life freedom rides" are just like the civil rights movement: "In that case, it was skin color. Today, it's the age of the child -- the fact that the child is still in the womb. But it's the same fundamental mistake that we think that we can exclude some human beings." I'm starting to think that the GOP ... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 05/07/2010, 10:24am
Franklin Graham continues to milk his "victimhood" for all it is worth: "I think it is waking people up across this land," said evangelist Franklin Graham, the honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, who was disinvited from Pentagon observances because of his remarks on Islam. "I think people realize, many Christians, how we're losing our religious freedoms a little bit every day and if we don't stand up and exercise the freedoms that God has given us in this country, we will lose them." ... In his keynote address at the Cannon House Office... MORE >