CPAC

CPAC: Merit Selection for Judges is an Evil Leftist Plot

A group of right-wing legal advocates warned CPAC participants – or more accurately, a tiny subset of CPAC participants – about “The Left’s Campaign to Reshape the Judiciary.”

Panelists discussed the meaning of “judicial activism” and why the kind of right-wing judicial activism we’ve seen from the Supreme Court doesn’t qualify. (Overturning health care reform? Also not judicial activism.) But the main thrust of the panel was the supposedly dire threat posed by efforts at the state level to replace judicial elections with a merit selection process. 
 
The increasing tendency of judicial elections to become big-money affairs funded by individuals and groups who regularly appear before judges has increasingly raised concerns about judgeships – including state supreme court justices – being for sale to the highest bidder, such as corporate interests looking for courts that won’t hold corporations accountable for misconduct.
 
But today’s panelists – Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackleford, American Justice Partnership’s Dan Pero, the Center for Individual Freedom’s Timothy Lee, and the American Civil Rights Union’s Ken Klukowski, warned against merit selection, a nonpartisan alternative that is employed in a number of states and under consideration in others. Pero called merit selection “a power grab by the liberal left,” citing People For the American Way, among others he said were liberals trying to use the courts to impose their vision on America.
 
Timothy Lee, perhaps mindful of the small crowd drawn to the panel, urged participants to explain to others why the courts were important, no matter what other issue they cared about. For example, he said, the Citizens United decision overturning Supreme Court precedent and substantially crippling the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law rested on the fact the Samuel Alito had replaced Sandra Day O’Connor on the high court.
 
Klukowski echoed Lee’s call, saying that the fight for “constitutional conservatism” can’t succeed without the right judges in place: “The U.S. Constitution is only as good as the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that interpret it.” He complained about the Supreme Court’s rulings that Guantanamo detainees have habeas corpus rights and about other federal courts recognizing marriage equality and ruling against the ban on gay servicemembers.
 
And while panel members celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, Klukowski said it’s not clear that there’s a majority in the Court for overturning other gun restrictions. He specifically complained that it is a felony for someone who went through a “messy divorce” and was under a restraining order to have a gun.
 
Klukowski said that he and Ken Blackwell have written a book called Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservativism can Save America and made an appeal for all stripes of conservatives – social, economic, and national security – to stop fighting each other and work together.

CPAC: Merit Selection for Judges is an Evil Leftist Plot

A group of right-wing legal advocates warned CPAC participants – or more accurately, a tiny subset of CPAC participants – about “The Left’s Campaign to Reshape the Judiciary.”

Panelists discussed the meaning of “judicial activism” and why the kind of right-wing judicial activism we’ve seen from the Supreme Court doesn’t qualify. (Overturning health care reform? Also not judicial activism.) But the main thrust of the panel was the supposedly dire threat posed by efforts at the state level to replace judicial elections with a merit selection process. 
 
The increasing tendency of judicial elections to become big-money affairs funded by individuals and groups who regularly appear before judges has increasingly raised concerns about judgeships – including state supreme court justices – being for sale to the highest bidder, such as corporate interests looking for courts that won’t hold corporations accountable for misconduct.
 
But today’s panelists – Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackleford, American Justice Partnership’s Dan Pero, the Center for Individual Freedom’s Timothy Lee, and the American Civil Rights Union’s Ken Klukowski, warned against merit selection, a nonpartisan alternative that is employed in a number of states and under consideration in others. Pero called merit selection “a power grab by the liberal left,” citing People For the American Way, among others he said were liberals trying to use the courts to impose their vision on America.
 
Timothy Lee, perhaps mindful of the small crowd drawn to the panel, urged participants to explain to others why the courts were important, no matter what other issue they cared about. For example, he said, the Citizens United decision overturning Supreme Court precedent and substantially crippling the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law rested on the fact the Samuel Alito had replaced Sandra Day O’Connor on the high court.
 
Klukowski echoed Lee’s call, saying that the fight for “constitutional conservatism” can’t succeed without the right judges in place: “The U.S. Constitution is only as good as the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that interpret it.” He complained about the Supreme Court’s rulings that Guantanamo detainees have habeas corpus rights and about other federal courts recognizing marriage equality and ruling against the ban on gay servicemembers.
 
And while panel members celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, Klukowski said it’s not clear that there’s a majority in the Court for overturning other gun restrictions. He specifically complained that it is a felony for someone who went through a “messy divorce” and was under a restraining order to have a gun.
 
Klukowski said that he and Ken Blackwell have written a book called Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservativism can Save America and made an appeal for all stripes of conservatives – social, economic, and national security – to stop fighting each other and work together.

Texas Think Tank Toasts GOP Freshmen

Early risers got a chance to start the second day at CPAC by quaffing champagne mimosas and rubbing shoulders with a group of freshman GOP representatives. The reception was hosted by the Texas-based Institute for Policy Innovation, a think tank founded in the 1980s by Dick Armey and dedicated to “Advocating lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a smaller, less-intrusive government.”   Greeting the mimosa drinkers was IPI President Tom Giovanetti, who once complained that Republicans “blew it” in the 1990s when they got a congressional majority and failed to fire all the Keynesians from the Congressional Budget Office.

IPI pushes a libertarian economic agenda: no estate taxes, privatized social security, etc. Giovanetti urged the new members of Congress to rely on his scholars for free expertise on free-market-oriented health and technology policies. Incidentally, Newt Gingrich spoke at the group’s “Reclaiming Liberty” event last November, at which he lavished praise on Rep. Louie (“a terrific national asset”) and evangelist James Robison (“an amazing person.”)Gohmert
 
But I digress. The CPAC reception featured several GOP freshmen who took turns talking about why they ran for office. Most said they ran to secure America on behalf of their children and/or grandchildren; two had personal beefs with the Obama about family car dealerships that were lost when GM was reorganized as part of the federal bailout.
 
Not surprisingly, each of the members praised National Republican Campaign Committee chair Pete Sessions for overseeing the big GOP gains in the House. Sessions’ remarks were notable primarily for what may be the single least inspiring evocation of “American exceptionalism” ever uttered: “an idea and a thought process that we need to buy into.”

Texas Think Tank Toasts GOP Freshmen

Early risers got a chance to start the second day at CPAC by quaffing champagne mimosas and rubbing shoulders with a group of freshman GOP representatives. The reception was hosted by the Texas-based Institute for Policy Innovation, a think tank founded in the 1980s by Dick Armey and dedicated to “Advocating lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a smaller, less-intrusive government.”   Greeting the mimosa drinkers was IPI President Tom Giovanetti, who once complained that Republicans “blew it” in the 1990s when they got a congressional majority and failed to fire all the Keynesians from the Congressional Budget Office.

IPI pushes a libertarian economic agenda: no estate taxes, privatized social security, etc. Giovanetti urged the new members of Congress to rely on his scholars for free expertise on free-market-oriented health and technology policies. Incidentally, Newt Gingrich spoke at the group’s “Reclaiming Liberty” event last November, at which he lavished praise on Rep. Louie (“a terrific national asset”) and evangelist James Robison (“an amazing person.”)Gohmert
 
But I digress. The CPAC reception featured several GOP freshmen who took turns talking about why they ran for office. Most said they ran to secure America on behalf of their children and/or grandchildren; two had personal beefs with the Obama about family car dealerships that were lost when GM was reorganized as part of the federal bailout.
 
Not surprisingly, each of the members praised National Republican Campaign Committee chair Pete Sessions for overseeing the big GOP gains in the House. Sessions’ remarks were notable primarily for what may be the single least inspiring evocation of “American exceptionalism” ever uttered: “an idea and a thought process that we need to buy into.”

Tea Party Leader: "I Don't Want To Speak Chinese"

CPAC has been remarkably dull so far today, but the Tea Party Express' Amy Kremer livened things up a bit by proclaiming that Tea Party and CPAC activists need to ensure that conservatives retake the White House in 2012 because she doesn't want to have to speak Chinese:

Tea Party Leader: "I Don't Want To Speak Chinese"

CPAC has been remarkably dull so far today, but the Tea Party Express' Amy Kremer livened things up a bit by proclaiming that Tea Party and CPAC activists need to ensure that conservatives retake the White House in 2012 because she doesn't want to have to speak Chinese:

Horowitz Condemns CPAC for Purported Islamist Ties

Following in the footsteps of right-wing pundit Frank Gaffney, David Horowitz is accusing CPAC of having connections to radical Islam. Horowitz spoke at a CPAC panel in 2009, where he was introduced by notorious anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller, and the David Horowitz Freedom Center is a CPAC participating organization. But Horowitz, who recently defended Glenn Beck in his linking of the progressive movement to the Muslim Brotherhood and claimed that public school teachers encourage the indoctrination of students into “Jihadist doctrines," has now joined other CPAC detractors like Gaffney to blast the involvement of Suhail Khan. Khan is a board member of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, and tomorrow is leading a panel on inclusion in the conservative movement.

Gaffney first charged Khan with ties to extremist groups in early January. Now Horowitz and another anti-Muslim activist, Robert Spencer, are joining a coalition of anti-gay Religious Right groups in boycotting the conference.

Rick Scarborough, the head of Vision America, recently placed an ad in The Washington Times attacking CPAC for including the gay conservative group GOProud, and today condemned the gathering for supposedly slighting Religious Right groups (a fear also present at the conference).

The American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, which supports the CPAC boycott, reports:


A full-page ad in The Washington Times -- placed by Vision America -- challenges the direction of CPAC. Vision America president Pastor Rick Scarborough, who initiated the project, notes that the "driving force" in the conservative movement, generally speaking, has been Christians.

"Right now [though], libertarians are trying to force us out -- and I just simply decided that enough is enough," says the longtime Christian activist. "So we're trying to speak out, and we're finding that it's resonating with a lot of folks."

...

Islamic influence within CPAC?

Meanwhile, a terrorism expert who is also advocating for a drastic change in the leadership of CPAC believes the event has been compromised by radical Islamic influences. Author and activist David Horowitz says a CPAC board member by the name of Suhail Kahn has not been forthcoming about his ties to extreme Muslim groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Suhail Kahn is a member of the board of the American Conservative Union. He's moderating a [CPAC] panel," Horowitz explains. "His father created an Islamist mosque in California that held fundraisers for Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number-two [man] in al-Qaeda. This was in the [19]90s."

Terrorism expert Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, comments as well on Kahn.

"Suhail Kahn has also spoken about how Muslims should be eager to die for the Palestinian question, using the same kind of language that suicide bombers have employed," he notes. "This is not really somebody who should be considered moderate or certainly not conservative."

Spencer is calling for changes. "There needs to be a drastic overhaul at the top of CPAC -- and [for] the American Conservative Union that runs it," he says.

Horowitz Condemns CPAC for Purported Islamist Ties

Following in the footsteps of right-wing pundit Frank Gaffney, David Horowitz is accusing CPAC of having connections to radical Islam. Horowitz spoke at a CPAC panel in 2009, where he was introduced by notorious anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller, and the David Horowitz Freedom Center is a CPAC participating organization. But Horowitz, who recently defended Glenn Beck in his linking of the progressive movement to the Muslim Brotherhood and claimed that public school teachers encourage the indoctrination of students into “Jihadist doctrines," has now joined other CPAC detractors like Gaffney to blast the involvement of Suhail Khan. Khan is a board member of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, and tomorrow is leading a panel on inclusion in the conservative movement.

Gaffney first charged Khan with ties to extremist groups in early January. Now Horowitz and another anti-Muslim activist, Robert Spencer, are joining a coalition of anti-gay Religious Right groups in boycotting the conference.

Rick Scarborough, the head of Vision America, recently placed an ad in The Washington Times attacking CPAC for including the gay conservative group GOProud, and today condemned the gathering for supposedly slighting Religious Right groups (a fear also present at the conference).

The American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, which supports the CPAC boycott, reports:


A full-page ad in The Washington Times -- placed by Vision America -- challenges the direction of CPAC. Vision America president Pastor Rick Scarborough, who initiated the project, notes that the "driving force" in the conservative movement, generally speaking, has been Christians.

"Right now [though], libertarians are trying to force us out -- and I just simply decided that enough is enough," says the longtime Christian activist. "So we're trying to speak out, and we're finding that it's resonating with a lot of folks."

...

Islamic influence within CPAC?

Meanwhile, a terrorism expert who is also advocating for a drastic change in the leadership of CPAC believes the event has been compromised by radical Islamic influences. Author and activist David Horowitz says a CPAC board member by the name of Suhail Kahn has not been forthcoming about his ties to extreme Muslim groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Suhail Kahn is a member of the board of the American Conservative Union. He's moderating a [CPAC] panel," Horowitz explains. "His father created an Islamist mosque in California that held fundraisers for Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number-two [man] in al-Qaeda. This was in the [19]90s."

Terrorism expert Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, comments as well on Kahn.

"Suhail Kahn has also spoken about how Muslims should be eager to die for the Palestinian question, using the same kind of language that suicide bombers have employed," he notes. "This is not really somebody who should be considered moderate or certainly not conservative."

Spencer is calling for changes. "There needs to be a drastic overhaul at the top of CPAC -- and [for] the American Conservative Union that runs it," he says.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Tell Justice Clarence Thomas to Recuse Himself.
  • Slate: The Abortion Tax.
  • Alvin McEwen: Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council Comes Out With Another Distorted Study.
  • Adam Serwer: Peter King’s Muslim HUAC Hearings Are A Scene From His Own Personal Thriller.
  • Think Progress: NRA Head Wayne LaPierre On Tucson Shootings: ‘Government Policies Are Getting Us Killed.’

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Tell Justice Clarence Thomas to Recuse Himself.
  • Slate: The Abortion Tax.
  • Alvin McEwen: Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council Comes Out With Another Distorted Study.
  • Adam Serwer: Peter King’s Muslim HUAC Hearings Are A Scene From His Own Personal Thriller.
  • Think Progress: NRA Head Wayne LaPierre On Tucson Shootings: ‘Government Policies Are Getting Us Killed.’

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Maggie Gallagher of NOM gives Rick Santorum’s CPAC speech a rave review.
  • American Family Association talkers rail against “CPAC and its Acceptance of Unconservative Groups.”

CPAC: How to Make Illegal Immigrants Go Home

CPAC’s panel on “real immigration reform” was moderated by Mark Krikorian of the nativist Center for Immigration Studies, which is connected to a network of anti-immigrant and white supremacist groups and individuals. Krikorian grumbled jokingly about his panel, which was not presented in the main ballroom, being at the “kid’s table.”

But the star of the panel was Kris Kobach, a right-wing activist who is now the Kansas Secretary of State, and who Krikorian suggested may be in a future CPAC presidential straw poll. Kobach, who helped draft Arizona’s HB 1070 law, offered his help to activists in other states to get similar laws passed.
 
Kobach promoted “attrition through enforcement” – basically denying illegal immigrants any opportunities to improve their lives so that they will just choose to go home – a strategy he said is working quite well in Arizona. He slammed the Obama administration for suing Arizona rather than welcoming the state’s help enforcing immigration laws.
 
Kobach offered a seven-point plan to implement his “attrition through enforcement” strategy and called for the political will to make it work nationally. In addition to building the border wall, adopting zero-tolerance policies for illegal immigrants and stepping up workplace raids, his plan includes cutting off federal law enforcement funds for “sanctuary cities” like San Francisco and denying federal education funds to any state that allows illegal immigrant students to pay in-state tuition to state colleges. He said Kansas is about to join Arizona and Georgia in requiring people to provide proof of citizenship to register to vote.
 
Kobach pushed for states to challenge birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment and push Congress to adopt the “original understanding” of the 14th Amendment. (This right-wing talking point on the 14th Amendment is demonstrably, historically false.) He claimed to know about a Mexican woman who had previously given birth to triplets in the U.S. who was, while about to give birth to twins, lowered by ropes over the fence and into the U.S. in order to have her children become citizens. (The claim that there’s an “anchor baby” movement is another bogus claim by anti-immigrant activists.)
 
Other panelists included Dino Teppara of the Indian American Conservative Council who called the DREAM Act a “nightmare” and denounced the use of “politically correct” language on immigration. He called for Congress to find ways to clear the backlog of those trying to enter the country legally.
 
Another panelist, Jayne Cannava, from the group Pro-English, denounced a “mindless pursuit of diversity” and called for state laws making English the official language.   She said drivers’ license exams in every state should be offered only in English, and she praised other state legislative proposals like one that would require English proficiency as a condition of receiving any public assistance.

CPAC: How to Make Illegal Immigrants Go Home

CPAC’s panel on “real immigration reform” was moderated by Mark Krikorian of the nativist Center for Immigration Studies, which is connected to a network of anti-immigrant and white supremacist groups and individuals. Krikorian grumbled jokingly about his panel, which was not presented in the main ballroom, being at the “kid’s table.”

But the star of the panel was Kris Kobach, a right-wing activist who is now the Kansas Secretary of State, and who Krikorian suggested may be in a future CPAC presidential straw poll. Kobach, who helped draft Arizona’s HB 1070 law, offered his help to activists in other states to get similar laws passed.
 
Kobach promoted “attrition through enforcement” – basically denying illegal immigrants any opportunities to improve their lives so that they will just choose to go home – a strategy he said is working quite well in Arizona. He slammed the Obama administration for suing Arizona rather than welcoming the state’s help enforcing immigration laws.
 
Kobach offered a seven-point plan to implement his “attrition through enforcement” strategy and called for the political will to make it work nationally. In addition to building the border wall, adopting zero-tolerance policies for illegal immigrants and stepping up workplace raids, his plan includes cutting off federal law enforcement funds for “sanctuary cities” like San Francisco and denying federal education funds to any state that allows illegal immigrant students to pay in-state tuition to state colleges. He said Kansas is about to join Arizona and Georgia in requiring people to provide proof of citizenship to register to vote.
 
Kobach pushed for states to challenge birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment and push Congress to adopt the “original understanding” of the 14th Amendment. (This right-wing talking point on the 14th Amendment is demonstrably, historically false.) He claimed to know about a Mexican woman who had previously given birth to triplets in the U.S. who was, while about to give birth to twins, lowered by ropes over the fence and into the U.S. in order to have her children become citizens. (The claim that there’s an “anchor baby” movement is another bogus claim by anti-immigrant activists.)
 
Other panelists included Dino Teppara of the Indian American Conservative Council who called the DREAM Act a “nightmare” and denounced the use of “politically correct” language on immigration. He called for Congress to find ways to clear the backlog of those trying to enter the country legally.
 
Another panelist, Jayne Cannava, from the group Pro-English, denounced a “mindless pursuit of diversity” and called for state laws making English the official language.   She said drivers’ license exams in every state should be offered only in English, and she praised other state legislative proposals like one that would require English proficiency as a condition of receiving any public assistance.

Jackson Begs CPAC Not To Throw Religious Right "Under The Bus"

It is actually kind of sad to witness the desperate attempts by the Religious Right to get CPAC to care about their right-wing social agenda, like fighting gay marriage, as demonstrated by this clip of Bishop Harry Jackson pleading with attendees not to throw them under the bus:

Rep. Steve King Hates Illegal Immigrants, Loves Steve King

Rep. Steve King has staked out turf on the far right of the House Republican caucus. But he’s got more competition there, which may explain the relatively paltry audience that came to hear him in a cavernous CPAC ballroom.

King chastised his GOP colleagues, saying that if they had pulled out all the stops they could have killed “Obamacare” in the last Congress in spite of Nancy Pelosi’s “iron fist.” King called the 87 Republican freshman “God’s gift to America.”
 
But his speech was mostly a loving message about King himself, with him bragging about his work as a state legislator and congressman, and noting with emotion-laden pride that his granddaughter was named “Reagan” and had no chance of growing up to be a Democrat.
 
He took credit for stopping immigration reform (“amnesty”) in the last Congress and said that if anyone brings it up in the new Congress they should have a scarlet letter A pinned to them. King, who has infamously compared illegal immigrants to cattle, said today that most of them are criminals. He called for a wall within two fences to be built along the entire border with Mexico.
 
King bragged that he was the first to ask for legislation to repeal health care reform and demanded that his GOP colleagues insert language into the continuing resolution to prevent the federal government from spending any money to start implementing reform. Otherwise, he said President Obama will send the roots of that “malignant tumor” as deep as he can.
 
King’s speech touted the seemingly mandatory evocation of “American exceptionalism,” though he had one small critique of the Bill of Rights. The right to keep and bear arms, he said, should have been the First Amendment.

Rep. Steve King Hates Illegal Immigrants, Loves Steve King

Rep. Steve King has staked out turf on the far right of the House Republican caucus. But he’s got more competition there, which may explain the relatively paltry audience that came to hear him in a cavernous CPAC ballroom.

King chastised his GOP colleagues, saying that if they had pulled out all the stops they could have killed “Obamacare” in the last Congress in spite of Nancy Pelosi’s “iron fist.” King called the 87 Republican freshman “God’s gift to America.”
 
But his speech was mostly a loving message about King himself, with him bragging about his work as a state legislator and congressman, and noting with emotion-laden pride that his granddaughter was named “Reagan” and had no chance of growing up to be a Democrat.
 
He took credit for stopping immigration reform (“amnesty”) in the last Congress and said that if anyone brings it up in the new Congress they should have a scarlet letter A pinned to them. King, who has infamously compared illegal immigrants to cattle, said today that most of them are criminals. He called for a wall within two fences to be built along the entire border with Mexico.
 
King bragged that he was the first to ask for legislation to repeal health care reform and demanded that his GOP colleagues insert language into the continuing resolution to prevent the federal government from spending any money to start implementing reform. Otherwise, he said President Obama will send the roots of that “malignant tumor” as deep as he can.
 
King’s speech touted the seemingly mandatory evocation of “American exceptionalism,” though he had one small critique of the Bill of Rights. The right to keep and bear arms, he said, should have been the First Amendment.

CPAC: A Christian Nation Needs a Biblical Military

At the CPAC panel on “How Political Correctness is Harming America’s Military,” Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness continued her campaign against gay and lesbian members of the armed forces serving openly and honorably, but she was upstaged by GOP congressional candidate Ilario Pantano, who insisted that America is meant to be a Christian nation and that the military must reflect biblical values.

Donnelly’s remarks were a mostly unsurprising reprise of the arguments she used in her failed effort to prevent Congress from repealnig Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.   She slammed the Pentagon for advancing equal opportunity “to an extreme” and recycled arguments about living in close quarters and chaplains supposedly being forced to abandon their religious beliefs.
 
One of Donelly’s main arguments did not seem exactly respectful of our armed forces: she said repeatedly that servicemembers can’t be counted on – or trained – to control their sexual urges. That’s why, she said, we are losing so many ship captains due to sexual misconduct. Sexual mistreatment of women in the military is not their fault, she said, but it’s not surprising.
 
But Donnelly’s comments seemed thin gruel compared to the Religious Right red-meat hurled into the crowd by Ilario Pantano, a former and current GOP congressional candidate from North Carolina.   Pantano, a former Marine, didn’t dwell about the specifics of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because he wanted to talk more broadly about the threat of moral relativism to the nation and the military.
 
He insisted that America is and was meant to be a Christian nation and that our problems come from denying the truth of Jesus:  “The ultimate founding document of the United States is the Bible.” The nation’s problems were unsurprising given that we have kicked God out of classrooms, courts, and foxholes. Pantano’s made attacks on the “Ground Zero Mosque” part of his 2010 campaign.
 
It’s time to start offending people, he said, and time to start talking about God’s truth. He said that America’s media, academic and cultural institutions have been infiltrated by agents of atheistic, socialist and communist regimes. (In Q&A with reporters afterward, he confirmed that he was not speaking only about our history but also about today.)
 
The divide between the east and the west, he said, boils down to Christian and non-Christian. America was “undeniably” founded as a Christian nation and to suggest otherwise “is simply untrue.” He argued that members of the military have to be grounded in biblical truths, and blamed the thousands of suicides among veterans on the “God-shaped hole in our hearts.” 
 
Pantano, who said he and his children are learning Chinese, asked, “What are the Chinese afraid of?”
 
“It’s not capitalism, it’s not Google, it’s not Wal-mart, it’s not Boeing, it’s not Islam. They’re afraid of Jesus Christ."

CPAC: A Christian Nation Needs a Biblical Military

At the CPAC panel on “How Political Correctness is Harming America’s Military,” Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness continued her campaign against gay and lesbian members of the armed forces serving openly and honorably, but she was upstaged by GOP congressional candidate Ilario Pantano, who insisted that America is meant to be a Christian nation and that the military must reflect biblical values.

Donnelly’s remarks were a mostly unsurprising reprise of the arguments she used in her failed effort to prevent Congress from repealnig Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.   She slammed the Pentagon for advancing equal opportunity “to an extreme” and recycled arguments about living in close quarters and chaplains supposedly being forced to abandon their religious beliefs.
 
One of Donelly’s main arguments did not seem exactly respectful of our armed forces: she said repeatedly that servicemembers can’t be counted on – or trained – to control their sexual urges. That’s why, she said, we are losing so many ship captains due to sexual misconduct. Sexual mistreatment of women in the military is not their fault, she said, but it’s not surprising.
 
But Donnelly’s comments seemed thin gruel compared to the Religious Right red-meat hurled into the crowd by Ilario Pantano, a former and current GOP congressional candidate from North Carolina.   Pantano, a former Marine, didn’t dwell about the specifics of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because he wanted to talk more broadly about the threat of moral relativism to the nation and the military.
 
He insisted that America is and was meant to be a Christian nation and that our problems come from denying the truth of Jesus:  “The ultimate founding document of the United States is the Bible.” The nation’s problems were unsurprising given that we have kicked God out of classrooms, courts, and foxholes. Pantano’s made attacks on the “Ground Zero Mosque” part of his 2010 campaign.
 
It’s time to start offending people, he said, and time to start talking about God’s truth. He said that America’s media, academic and cultural institutions have been infiltrated by agents of atheistic, socialist and communist regimes. (In Q&A with reporters afterward, he confirmed that he was not speaking only about our history but also about today.)
 
The divide between the east and the west, he said, boils down to Christian and non-Christian. America was “undeniably” founded as a Christian nation and to suggest otherwise “is simply untrue.” He argued that members of the military have to be grounded in biblical truths, and blamed the thousands of suicides among veterans on the “God-shaped hole in our hearts.” 
 
Pantano, who said he and his children are learning Chinese, asked, “What are the Chinese afraid of?”
 
“It’s not capitalism, it’s not Google, it’s not Wal-mart, it’s not Boeing, it’s not Islam. They’re afraid of Jesus Christ."

Santorum: "America Belongs to God"

Rick Santorum stood up for the importance of social issues and blasts the judiciary, claiming it has no right to redefine life and marriage before declaring that "American belongs to God":

Santorum: "America Belongs to God"

Rick Santorum stood up for the importance of social issues and blasts the judiciary, claiming it has no right to redefine life and marriage before declaring that "American belongs to God":

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CPAC Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/09/2012, 2:01pm
Michele Bachmann kicked off her speech to CPAC by relating the three things she learned while running for president: where John Wayne was born; the day Elvis Presley was born, and the importance of remembering the third thing in your list MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/09/2012, 11:42am
The first panel discussion of the day at CPAC was entitled "Do 'We Still Hold These Truths?': The Future of the Conservative Movement" and featured remarks by Jeffrey Bell, the Policy Director at the American Principles Project who explained that the ultimate goal of "the Left" is not socialism or equality but rather the destruction of religion and the family ... and it has been ever since the movement was formed during the French Revolution: MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Wednesday 02/08/2012, 7:14pm
Bloomberg reported on Monday that Google, joining with the likes of the NRA and Heritage Foundation, will be a primary sponsor of CPAC, the right-wing conference kicking off tomorrow in DC. Google portrayed its sponsorship as just another way for the company to reach campaign professionals, candidates, and tech-savvy young adults: The company says it will have a presence at both Republican and Democratic events during this year’s election season, including each party’s convention. Google also had a role in the Iowa caucus last month. The CPAC event was attractive because half the... MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Wednesday 02/08/2012, 7:14pm
Bloomberg reported on Monday that Google, joining with the likes of the NRA and Heritage Foundation, will be a primary sponsor of CPAC, the right-wing conference kicking off tomorrow in DC. Google portrayed its sponsorship as just another way for the company to reach campaign professionals, candidates, and tech-savvy young adults: The company says it will have a presence at both Republican and Democratic events during this year’s election season, including each party’s convention. Google also had a role in the Iowa caucus last month. The CPAC event was attractive because half the... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 02/08/2012, 3:00pm
Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, along with several Republican senators and congressmen, are set to appear at the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference, but the GOP brass aren’t the only ones set to be at CPAC. As we’ve previously reported, CPAC will play host to anti-gay groups such as the Family Research Council, the birther leader of WorldNetDaily, and the Apartheid-nostalgic Youth for Western Civilization. But that isn’t all. Following speeches from Senate Minority Leader Mitch... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/07/2012, 1:47pm
For the last several years, there has been a feud underway between various Religious Right groups and the organizers of the annual CPAC conference, primarily over the participation of the gay conservative group GOProud. Religious Right groups had been boycotting the event in recent years, but the American Conservative Union, which organizes the event, got a new chairman last year who has made it a priority to try and unify the movement.  As such, GOProud has been kicked out and now the Religious Right leaders are flocking back to the event. But it is not just Religious Right leaders... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/12/2012, 12:35pm
Last year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the group Youth for Western Civilization hosted a panel with anti-immigrant activist Bay Buchanan, former congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo (R-CO), former congressman Virgil Goode (R-VA) and Pennsylvania congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) which focused on the purported persecution and marginalization of white Americans due to what Tancredo called “the cult of multiculturalism” that is a “dagger pointed at the heart of Western Civilization.” It appeared that Republican leaders and CPAC had... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 12/13/2011, 12:35pm
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has for years been waging a war against the gay conservative group GOProud, and attacking the American Conservative Union for allowing GOProud to participate in its annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). But this year, under new leadership, the ACU has decided to kick GOProud out of CPAC and has instead invited Religious Right luminaries and past CPAC-boycotters Mike Huckabee and Tony Perkins to address the summit. GOProud also finds itself in hot water after allegedly outing over Twitter a pollster for Rick Perry’s campaign in... MORE >