FreedomWorks

FreedomWorks

FreedomWorks was formed with the 2004 merger of Citizens for a Sound Economy, headed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and Empower America, co-founded by supply-side pioneer Jack Kemp, to push for lower taxes— especially on investment and inheritance— smaller safety-net programs, and fewer regulations on business and industry.

Ted Cruz Mocks His GOP Colleagues, Calls Newtown Families 'Props' and Takes Credit for Blocking Background Checks

In remarks to a Tea Party group, Sen. Ted Cruz again showed why he's a political liability for the GOP.

Right Wing Round-Up - 2/14/13

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/4/13

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/7/12

The Smearing of Planned Parenthood Reaches a New Low

Earlier today, Erick Erickson of Red State retweeted a tweet from Kristina Ribali, the Director of New Media at FreedomWorks, linking to a "disgusting" LifeNews.com article accusing Planned Parenthood of promoting a video that shows young women "how to cover up those nasty cuts and bruises that result from a beating."

The video in question does, in fact, appear to be a demonstration from an obviously abused young woman attempting to conceal the bruises and lacerations on her face with make-up until she hears a noise off-screen and quickly turns off the camera ... at which point a message appears that reads:

65% of women who suffer domestic violence keep it hidden.

Don't cover it up.

Share this and help someone speak out.

A URL for the London-based domestic abuse helpline that produced the ad is then provided.  Obviously, the entire purpose of the ad is to juxtapose the scene presented against the real message of speaking out against domestic violence, and LifeNews even eventually admits this, yet still presents the video as if Planned Parenthood is encouraging young women to conceal abuse:

But the way Planned Parenthood headlines it—with “How to look your best the morning after,” teens are mislead by Planned Parenthood into the cover up mentality. On the anti-domestic violence site, the video is introduced with the headline: “Don’t cover it up.” That headline makes a world of difference to young teens who run across the video.

Presumably, the reason Planned Parenthood headlined the video "How To Look Your Best The Morning After" is because the video is titled "How To Look Your Best The Morning After."  The title is intentionally misleading in order to drive home to real message. 

And, of course, LifeNews was not alone as the geniuses over at Twitchy are likewise outraged about the video because they are apparently equally clueless: 

The video, which is from a legitimate organization fighting against domestic violence, does end with “don’t cover it up.”

But the way Planned Parenthood framed it, the message is just the opposite: “You probably had it coming, girls. May as well try to doll yourselves up afterward.” Appalling.

But, what else can one expect from an organization that routinely aids and abets the purposeful selective aborting of female babies, and covers up statutory rape?

...

Heartbreaking and beyond repugnant ... Where is the feminist outrage at teaching young women to “look their best” after being violently beaten? So far, crickets. Abortion trumps all, you see.

Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with this video, other than posting it on one of its Facebook pages ... but the hatred of the organization has become so pathological that even simply linking to a video urging women not to cover up domestic abuse is portrayed as an effort to encourage women to cover up domestic abuse! 

Beck Tells Tea Party Activists They're Being Attacked, Just Like Washington, Lincoln, & Reagan

Over the weekend, Glenn Beck traveled to Arizona where he delivered a "spoken word speech while accompanied" by music to Tea Party activists attending a FreedomWorks "FreePAC" event.  For an hour, Beck lamented the loss of America's greatness while beseeching the audience to rise up and save this nation, but warning them that by doing so, they would be making themselves unpopular to the media and the elites who would ridicule and marginalize them, just as they have always done in the past: “They did it to Abraham [in the Bible]. They did it to Washington. They did to Lincoln. They did it to Reagan. They’re doing it to you”:

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.

Right Wing Round-Up

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 10/13

Sharron Angle

Fundraising: Raised $14 million in three months (WaPo, 10/12).

GOP: Leading Nevada Republicans endorse Reid over Angle (Politico, 10/12).

Religious Right: ADL criticizes Angle for refusing to condemn her pastor’s anti-Mormon comments (KVVU, 10/8).

Extremism: Cites Dearborn, Michigan and a non-existent town in Texas as outposts of Sharia law (CNN, 10/9).

Ken Buck

Controversy: Referred to a rape victim’s situation as “buyers remorse;” suspect even admitted that it was rape (PFAW, 10/12; Colorado Independent, 10/12).

Ad: DSCC launches new ad blasting Buck’s record as a prosecutor (Daily Kos, 10/12).

Religious Right: American Right to Life rescinds endorsement of Buck (CBS, 10/12).

Debate: Blasts Stimulus Plan and Afghan strategy in debate with Bennet (Chieftain, 10/8).

Carly Fiorina

Ad: Boxer hits Fiorina for backing Arizona’s SB 1070 in Spanish-language ad (LA Times, 10/12).

Religious Right: Anti-choice, anti-lgbt equality groups spend money to back Fiorina (SF Gate, 10/12).

Palin: Calls Palin “qualified” to be President but chooses to campaign with McCain over her (Politico, 10/12).

Film: BraveNewFilms tackles Fiorina’s time running HP (NYT, 10/10).

Joe Miller

Poll: In statistical dead heat with Murkowski in Public Policy Polling (Politico, 10/12).

Controversy: Said he won’t answer questions about “personal issues” (Anchorage Daily News, 10/11).

Taxes: Supported higher taxes during pipeline lawsuit (Anchorage Daily News, 10/12).

Ad: New pro-Murkowski PAC airs ads blasting Miller’s “radical ideas” (AP, 10/12).

Christine O’Donnell

Debate: Faces off with Coons in CNN debate tonight at 7:30 (Baltimore Sun, 10/12).

Poll: Coons leads O’Donnell by 16% in Fox News poll (TPM, 10/12).

Ad: Refers to Coons as “The Taxman” in latest ad (NYT, 10/12).

Rand Paul

Ad: PolitiFact confirms Conway’s charge that Paul supports a $2,000 Medicare deductable (St. Petersburg Times, 9/13).

Taxes: Calls for elimination of federal income taxes, backs national sales tax (AP, 9/12).

Clinton: Says the former President, who backs Conway, is a “less than honorable” person (PoliticsDaily, 10/12).

College: Paul’s student group often mocked Christians at Baylor (Politico, 10/12).

Dino Rossi

Outside groups: Crossroads GPS and other pro-GOP groups pummel Murray to help Rossi (Seattle Times, 10/11).

Poll: Elway poll shows Rossi trailing Murray by 13% (PoliticalWire, 10/12).

Ad: Murray campaign blasts Rossi’s extreme views on choice and contraception (CQ, 10/12).

Marco Rubio

Health Care: Dubs reform law a “disaster” (Herald Tribune, 10/8).

Debate: Meek and Crist call Rubio an extreme candidate in debate (WaPo, 10/7).

Tea Party: Crist says only he can “stop the Tea Party mess that Mr. Rubio would bring to Washington” (Miami New Times, 10/12).

Pat Toomey

Climate Change: Disputes notion that human activity contributes to climate change (Think Progress, 10/12).

Tea Party: FreedomWorks to kickstart GOTV efforts for Toomey (FreedomWorks, 10/11).

Ad: Democrats blast Toomey for backing Social Security privatization (HuffPo, 10/12).

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).

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 9/22

Your update on the right-wing candidates running for US Senate for 9/15-9/22.

Sharron Angle

Radical Right: Speaks at John Birch Society and Oath Keepers-sponsored event in Utah, describes crowd as “mainstream America” (Salt Lake Tribune, 9/20).

Tea Party: Planned Las Vegas convention featuring Angle quietly cancelled (TPM, 9/20).

Health Care: Claims that pre-existing conditions coverage can be “addressed very well by the free market” (Huffington Post, 9/21).

Poll: Fox News poll shows Angle and Reid running neck-and-neck (Washington Times, 9/21).

Ken Buck

Ads: New Democratic ads hit Buck over the 17th Amendment and reproductive health (CNN, 9/21).

Civil Rights: Left-leaning group holds rally protesting Buck’s views on contraception and choice (Denver Westward, 9/21).

Economy: Favors extending all of the Bush tax cuts (Colorado Independent, 9/17).

Carly Fiorina

Poll: New poll shows Fiorina trailing Boxer by 8% (Public Policy Polling, 9/21).

Ad: Boxer blasts Fiorina’s performance as CEO of HP (Daily Kos, 9/18).

Tea Party: Wins endorsement from Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks PAC (WaPo, 9/21).

Economy: Supports extending tax cuts for the wealthy (AP, 9/20).

Campaign: WSJ profiles Fiorina’s focus on the San Joaquin Valley (WSJ, 9/21).

Joe Miller

Government: Big-Government critic received farm subsidies (AP, 9/21).

GOP: Knocks Murkowski for running as a write-in candidate (CNN, 9/21).

Poll: Rasmussen poll shows Miller leading with 42% (Rasmussen, 9/21).

Economy: Changes position on unemployment benefits after criticism (ThinkProgress, 9/21).

Tea Party: Receives endorsement from Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks PAC (Business Wire, 9/20).

Christine O’Donnell

Campaign: Used $20,000 of campaign money to pay rent for house and served as her own campaign’s treasurer (Christian Science Monitor, 9/21).

Religious Right: Journalist unearths 2008 comment where she called homosexuality an “identity disorder” (ABC News, 9/20).

Poll: Fox News poll shows Chris Coons leader 54-39% (Fox News, 9/21).

Bewitched: Reactions to “dabbled into witchcraft” comment vary (Yahoo News, 9/20).

Ad: DSCC slams O’Donnell in new ad on finances (DSCC, 9/17).

Rand Paul

Government: AFL-CIO mailer condemns Paul’s views on Social Security, workplace safety (Politico, 9/20).

Media: Criticized by journalists for not speaking to press about views (WHAS, 9/20).

Palin: Sarah Palin fundraises with Paul and joins him for Fox Business interview (Mediaite, 9/18).

Education: Knocked for supporting Dept. of Education’s elimination (McClatchy, 9/21).

Dino Rossi

Economy: Stimulus-critic Rossi visits shipyard that benefited from Stimulus funding (Seattle Times, 9/17).

Government: Rossi hammered for views on government subsidies for refueling tanker competition (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/21).

Poll: Patty Murray leads Rossi by 5% in new poll (Rasmussen Reprots, 9/16).

Immigration: Opposes both a path for citizenship and deportation of illegal immigrants in the US, offers no alternatives (Seattle Times, 9/20).

Marco Rubio

Tea Party: Speaks to “Forward with the Constitution Rally” in St. Augustine (St. Petersburg Times, 9/19).

Ad: Crist disparages Rubio for earmarks in new ad (TPM, 9/20).

Pat Toomey

Fundraiser: Scott Brown (R-MA) to fundraise in Philadelphia for Toomey (Boston Globe, 9/21).

Poll: Leads Joe Sestak 48-40% in Fox News poll, 50-43% according to Quinnipiac (PA2010, 9/21).

Economy: Signs pledge to back Estate Tax repeal (CBS21, 9/20).

Wall Street: Ties to Wall Street banks come under scrutiny (LA Times, 9/17).

Ralph Reed's Spiritual Battle Plan for Political Victory

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition held a conference in Washington, D.C. this past Friday and Saturday. It attracted some of the expected Religious Right figures – Ken Blackwell, Gary Bauer, etc. – and featured such goodies as Dinesh D’Souza discoursing on the source of President Obama’s “rage.”

This was also the weekend for a FreedomWorks Tea Party rally in D.C., and Reed didn’t pull a huge crowd – a couple of hundred people. Maybe that’s because his event was sandwiched between Glenn Beck’s pre-Labor Day gathering at the Lincoln Memorial and next weekend’s Values Voter Summit, traditionally the big item on the Religious Right political calendar, which could easily attract ten times as many activists as Reed got. 
 
But Reed is interested in different kinds of numbers. He says he’s all about building a grassroots organization that turns out targeted voters. Reed puffed with pride when he recounted the surprise 2002 victory of Georgia GOP Gov. Sonny Purdue, who was behind in the polls right up until Election Day. The pollsters’ likely voter models couldn’t and didn’t take account, Reed says, of the fervent voter registration and turnout work he was organizing in evangelical churches. And he told participants that if conservatives implement his model across the country this fall, it won’t just be a big victory for conservatives, but a historic, earth-shaking victory including races nobody thinks are even in play.
 
He said he regretted that liberals out-organized conservatives in 2006 and 2008 and he pledged never to let that happen again in his lifetime. He gave activists detailed marching orders and the ability to pull up both fiscal and faith-based conservatives from a massive voter database he is compiling.
 
He’s hoping that House Republicans will help the cause when they unveil their reform agenda later this month, and that new candidates will build bridges to voters that haven’t always been comfortable with the conservative movement, including women, African Americans, and Latinos. Reed talked excitedly about Florida’s Marco Rubio, who conservative leaders see as their movement’s Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama rolled into one appealing right-wing package.
 
Reed places himself and his activists squarely within both the Tea Party and Religious Right movements, saying their two goals are to return America to the “Constitutional limited government” our founders intended and return America to God. Of course, spiritual warfare is all the rage on the Religious Right, and Reed is no exception, telling workshop participants “this is ultimately a spiritual battle” and endorsing Pastor Jim Garlow’s prescription for 40 days of prayer and fasting before the election.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Media Matters: Robertson's advice to women: "[M]ake yourself as attractive as possible".
  • Warren Throckmorton: Lou Engle regrets the promotion of Anti-Homosexuality Bill during TheCall Uganda; urges bill supporters not to give in to Western opposition.
  • Andy Birkey: Bachmann: ‘No question’ Obama is worst president in history.
  • Joe.My.God: Yuma AZ Mayor Says "Limp-Wristed" Homos Shouldn't Be In Military.
  • Timothy Kincaid: “Public Advocate” becoming publicly paranoid.
  • Eric Lach: SC County GOP Calls On Knotts To Resign Over 'Raghead' Comment.
  • Think Progress: Tea Party and FreedomWorks plan demonstration against mandatory trash collection.
  • David Neiwert: Glenn Beck's 'Overton Window' ad: Try not to laugh. We dare you.
  • Chris Rodda: No, Mr. Beck, John Adams Did Not Think Governments Must be Administered by the Holy Ghost.

Look Who's Joined The Tea Party

As I've noted several times already, the social conservatives in the Religious Right have been trying desperately to associate themselves with the Tea Party movement, even though Tea Party activists have been uninterested in making issues like abortion or gay rights a key part of the movement's agenda.

This, in turn, has lead some Religious Right activists to try and hijack the Tea Party name and attach it to his own Religious Right agenda, while others has tried to partner with the fiscal conservatives leading the Tea Party movement, even though they have been on less-than-friendly terms in recent years.

Now comes news that several local Tea Party groups are forming a federation with several established national groups in order to better coordinate strategy:

Several tea party leaders announced plans Thursday to form a national federation to promote the movement's conservative message and to counter the idea that the tea parties are politically unsophisticated and disorganized.

Tea party leaders from Memphis, Tenn., Richmond, Va., and Orlando, Fla., along with representatives of several other groups announced the new National Tea Party Federation during a rally outside the Minnesota Capitol. They said 21 tea party groups around the nation had joined the federation.

Memphis Tea Party founder Mark Skoda said recent media coverage had questioned whether the conservative tea parties, which number in the thousands nationwide, were too loosely organized to be politically effective in the national midterm election. He said the federation intends to convey a unified message about the tea party's brand of fiscal conservatism, which emphasizes limited government, less public spending and free markets.

He said the organization also hopes to rebut allegations about the movement: "Everything from calling the tea party members racist, that we are violent, that somehow we are fermenting another Kristallnacht. These accusations are indeed false and they won't stand."

The organizers said that the federation does not intend to direct activities by the farflung groups, but to improve communications among them, along with affiliate groups such as Americans for Tax Reform, Let Freedom Ring and Citizens United.

Now it makes sense that local Tea Party groups would partner with national groups that share their agenda ... but look who else has joined this federation:

One of the affiliated organizations, the Family Research Council, works primarily to oppose abortion rights and gay marriage. Skoda said the tea party movement would not make those issues part if its core mission but could still find points of common ground with conservative social-issue groups.

"The family needs to have low tax rates, choice on health care, no mandate on health care, and the automony to make decisions. The family is an important part of our strategy," Skoda said.

So to the extent that issues like taxes and health care can be considered "pro-family" issues, the Tea Party activists are fine to partner with the likes of FRC, but they won't be taking on the contentious social issues that are FRC's primary focus.

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that FRC was complaining that groups like FreedomWorks and the other libertarian organization's did not represent the "true tea parties" because the "real" Tea Parties cared about social issues? 

If so, why as FRC now joined up with all those libertarian Tea Party organizations when they have been explicitly told that their social issues will have no place on the agenda?

The Religious Right's Fight For The Tea Party Mantle

Ever since Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll, traditional Religious Right activists have been arguing that the event was overtaken by Libertarians and therefore did not represent "true" conservatives ... a belief that was only reinforced by the fact that Young Americans for Freedom's Ryan Sorba was booed by the audience for his attack from the stage on the conservative gay group GOProud.

For decades, CPAC has been the conservative gathering in Washington, but this year a man who for years had been relegated to the sidelines of the movement suddenly won the event's straw poll thanks largely to the support from Tea Party activists, which re-exposed a basic rift between the economic conservatives and social conservatives that in recent years the movement has been trying hard to bridge ... apparently without much success:

The rise of a new conservative grass roots fueled by a secular revulsion at government spending is stirring fears among leaders of the old conservative grass roots, the evangelical Christian right.

A reeling economy and the massive bank bailout and stimulus plan were the triggers for a resurgence in support for the Republican Party and the rise of the tea party movement. But they’ve also banished the social issues that are the focus of many evangelical Christians to the background.

And while health care legislation has brought social and economic conservatives together to fight government funding of abortion, some social conservative leaders have begun to express concern that tea party leaders don’t care about their issues, while others object to the personal vitriol against President Barack Obama, whose personal conduct many conservative Christians applaud.

“There’s a libertarian streak in the tea party movement that concerns me as a cultural conservative,” said Bryan Fischer, director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association. “The tea party movement needs to insist that candidates believe in the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.”

...

There’s no centralized tea party organization, and anecdotes suggest that many tea party participants hold socially conservative views. But those views have been little in evidence at movement gatherings or in public statements, and are sometimes deliberately excluded from the political agenda. The groups coordinating them eschew social issues, and a new Contract From America, has become an article of concern on the social right.

The contract, sponsored by the grass-roots Tea Party Patriots as well as Washington groups such as FreedomWorks and Americans for Tax Reform, asks supporters to choose the 10 most important issues from a menu of 21 choices that makes no mention of socially conservative priorities such as gay marriage and abortion.

“They’re free to do it, but they can’t say [the contract] represents America,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a veteran of the Christian right. “If they do it they’re lying.”

Groups such as FreedomWorks, said Perkins, bring a libertarian bias that doesn’t represent the “true tea parties.”

As we noted a few weeks ago, social conservatives like Perkins have long been at war with Tea Party/economic conservatives like Dick Armey, but had recently swallowed their pride and linked up with Armey's FreedomWorks in an attempt to get in on the Tea Party activism which Armey's activism has come to represent:

Tea party activism is so entirely driving the right-wing movement at the moment that the most influential Religious Right organization is willing to co-host an event with a group lead by a man who publicly and repeatedly insulted them as stupid, shallow demagogues just to get in on the action.

If that doesn't tell you just where the Religious Right fits in to the conservative movement, I don't know what does.

And now you have Perkins claiming that FreedomWorks doesn't represent the "true tea parties," which is laughably pathetic and just goes to prove, as we have been arguing all along, that the Religious Right is desperately trying to co-opt the Tea Party narrative and graft their own religious agenda on to a movement that, from its founding, has had no real interest in such issues.

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.

Conservative Action Project: A New Name For the Same Old Right-Wing Agenda

Several months ago, I wrote a post noting the emergence of the new right-wing coalition calling itself that Conservative Action Project. At the time, all that I could figure out about it was that its membership included several Religious Right leaders and it seemed to operate out of the Council for National Policy.

Today, the Washington Post examines the role that new media is playing in shaping and disseminating conservative messaging throughout the right-wing echo chamber and reports that the Conservative Action Project is playing a a key role in that effort through the weekly meetings hosted by the Family Research Council:

Inside the Beltway, much of it is fueled by the Conservative Action Project (CAP), a new group of conservative leaders chaired by Reagan-era attorney general Edwin Meese III. CAP, whose influential memos "for the movement" circulate on Capitol Hill, is an offshoot of the Council for National Policy, a highly secretive organization of conservative leaders and donors.

...

At 7:30 a.m., members of the Conservative Action Project gather at the Family Research Council, a social conservative group.

CAP grew out of a series of meetings of conservatives, determined to engineer a political comeback, in the weeks after Obama's election. One took place during a Council for National Policy meeting at a D.C. hotel, conservatives said. The secretive council was formed in the early 1980s to coordinate what was then called the "New Right."

Key players in CAP, members said, include Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway; Greg Mueller, president of CRC Public Relations; and former congressman David M. McIntosh (R-Ind.). Its only paid staff member is Patrick Pizzella, an official in the George W. Bush administration, who works out of the Council for National Policy offices.

Among CAP's projects was supporting the Health Care Freedom Coalition, whose more than 50 economic and social conservative groups quietly built health-care opposition, CAP members said. The coalition is a spinoff of FreedomWorks, the D.C.-based group that works extensively with tea-party activists.

CAP also worked unsuccessfully to defeat David F. Hamilton, Obama's first appellate judicial nominee. A Nov. 9 CAP memo calling Hamilton "an ideologue first and a jurist second" helped trigger blog blasts from Erickson and an anti-Hamilton speech at the conservative Federalist Society by Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Judiciary Committee Republican.

Armey Partners With Stupid, Lazy Demagogues

It was just the other day that I was noting that Mike Huckabee, who had long been identified with the socially conservative wing of the movement, had suddenly jumped on the Tea Party bandwagon.

But for those who need more proof that tea party activism has become the driving force of the entire right-wing movement, look no further than fact that the Family Research Council is hosting an event next week featuring several tea party groups

On Tuesday, February 2 at 8 p.m. EST, Family Research Council's headquarters will be the host site for a special webcast, State of the Union, Voice of the People. This live webcast, one week after the President's address, will provide a voice to the American people and an opportunity for them to give their own State of the Union response. Family Research Council is partnering with TVTownhall.com and eight leading national conservative organizations that represent a combined membership estimated to be over 15 million Americans.

...

Organizations joining Family Research Council include THE New Voice, the Institute for Liberty, Media Research Center, Let Freedom Ring, Americans for Prosperity, Concerned Women for America, TEA Party Patriots and Freedomworks.

The inclusion of Freedomworks is especially telling.  While the organization has been at the forefront of the tea party activism, it has long had a rather icy relationshyip with the Religious Right.  Back in 2006, right around the time Republicans lost control of Congress, Freedomworks' chairman Dick Armey had this to say about the socially conservative wing of the party: 

"[James] Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies. I pray devoutly every day, but being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid. There's a high demagoguery coefficient to issues like prayer in schools. Demagoguery doesn't work unless it's dumb, shallow as water on a plate. These issues are easy for the intellectually lazy and can appeal to a large demographic. These issues become bigger than life, largely because they're easy. There ain't no thinking."

That set off a round of attacks and counter attacks between Dobson's supporters and Armey that eventually involved FRC's Tony Perkins.  It continued into 2008, when Armey even attacked Perkins outright and questioned his conservatism.

Tea party activism is so entirely driving the right-wing movement at the moment that the most influential Religious Right organization is willing to co-host an event with a group lead by a man who publicly and repeatedly insulted them as stupid, shallow demagogues just to get in on the action.

If that doesn't tell you just where the Religious Right fits in to the conservative movement, I don't know what does.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Think Progress: SC Lt. Gov. compares people getting gov’t help to ‘stray animals’ who ‘breed’ because they don’t know better.
  • Steve Benen: The way forward on health care reform in 2010.
  • Towleroad: Tim Tebow Defends Participation in Super Bowl Ad for Evangelical Anti-Gay, Pro-Life Group Focus on the Family.
  • David Weigel: Tea Partiers and FreedomWorks Craft a 2010 Agenda.
  • Minnesota Independent: Bachmann to be part of Quist’s health care forum (that would be this Quist.)
  • RH Reality Check: "Personhood" the Priority at American Life League's Training Conference.
  • Finally, Rickrolling takes on an ingenious new form.
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FreedomWorks Top Posts

FreedomWorks was formed with the 2004 merger of Citizens for a Sound Economy, headed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and Empower America, co-founded by supply-side pioneer Jack Kemp, to push for lower taxes— especially on investment and inheritance— smaller safety-net programs, and fewer regulations on business and industry. MORE >

FreedomWorks Posts Archive

Josh Glasstetter, Monday 04/29/2013, 12:33pm
In remarks to a Tea Party group, Sen. Ted Cruz again showed why he's a political liability for the GOP. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/14/2013, 6:35pm
PFAW: PFAW Applauds Senate Judiciary Committee Approval of 13 Nominees, Including D.C. Circuit Court Nominee Caitlin Halligan. David Corn@ Mother Jones: FreedomWorks Made Video of Fake Giant Panda Having Sex With Fake Hillary Clinton. Billy Corriher @ Think Progress: Meet The Shady Secret Money Group Helping The NRA Buy Up Judges And Attorneys General. Hemant Mehta @ Friendly Atheist: Illinois Family Institute Warns Us About What Will Happen if the State Legalizes Gay Marriage. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: NRA's Wayne LaPierre: Be afraid, be very afraid. David... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 01/04/2013, 6:45pm
Joe Strupp @ Media Matters: Dick Armey Dishes On FreedomWorks’ Deals with Beck & Limbaugh.  Matthew Yglesias @ Slate: Sen. John Cornyn’s Outrageous Op-Ed on the Debt Ceiling. Alex Koppelman @ The New Yorker: The GOP’s Sandy Problem. Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: Republican Congressman Claims Hammers Could Be Outlawed Under Assault Weapons Ban.  Jeremy Hooper @ Good As You: Hubristic Thomas More Law Center claim discrimination is victimized position. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 12/07/2012, 6:38pm
David Corn @ Mother Jones: Dick Armey: "This Kind of Secrecy is Why I Left" FreedomWorks. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Jindal re-embraces 'dumbed-down conservatism.' Zack Beauchamp @ Think Progress: Fox News Op-Ed Says Women’s Nature Is To Be Dominated By Men. Towleroad: Bill O'Reilly Believes That the 'Gay Rights Agenda' is at the Root of the 'War on Christmas.' Ben Dimiero & Eric Hananoki @ Media Matters: The Dick Morris/Newsmax Super PAC Boondoggle. Daily Kos: GOP did, in fact, spend big on Todd Akin's behalf.... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 12/06/2012, 3:23pm
Earlier today, Erick Erickson of Red State retweeted a tweet from Kristina Ribali, the Director of New Media at FreedomWorks, linking to a "disgusting" LifeNews.com article accusing Planned Parenthood of promoting a video that shows young women "how to cover up those nasty cuts and bruises that result from a beating." The video in question does, in fact, appear to be a demonstration from an obviously abused young woman attempting to conceal the bruises and lacerations on her face with make-up until she hears a noise off-screen and quickly turns off the camera ... at... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 10/16/2012, 11:37am
Over the weekend, Glenn Beck traveled to Arizona where he delivered a "spoken word speech while accompanied" by music to Tea Party activists attending a FreedomWorks "FreePAC" event.  For an hour, Beck lamented the loss of America's greatness while beseeching the audience to rise up and save this nation, but warning them that by doing so, they would be making themselves unpopular to the media and the elites who would ridicule and marginalize them, just as they have always done in the past: “They did it to Abraham [in the Bible]. They did it to... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 08/31/2012, 1:30pm
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 >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 11/04/2010, 5:50pm
Stephanie Mencimer @ Mother Jones: Ralph Reed's Teavangelicals. Crooks and Liars: Michele Bachmann Accuses Obama Administration of Taking India Trip at Cost of $200 Million a Day. Joe.My.God: Democratic Iowa Senate Leader Vows To Block Any Gay Marriage Repeal Attempt. David Weigel: FreedomWorks: Social Issues Lost Colorado for Ken Buck. Steve Benen: What they lack in governing abilities, they make for with 'guerrilla tactics'. Sam Stein @ Huffington Post: Sarah Palin Complains About Invasion Of Her Privacy On First Episode Of Her Reality Show. MORE >