Heritage Foundation

Right Wing Leftovers - 5/8/13

  • It is nice to know that someone like Mark Sanford can abandon his government post and his family to fly out of the country to visit his mistress and then get re-elected to Congress by conservative family values Republican voters in South Carolina.
  • Rev. Steve Kern, the husband of Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern, has announced that he is seeking a state Senate seat.
  • Samuel Rodriguez says that right-wing Christian activists will abandon immigration reform efforts if gay couples are included in the legislation.
  • Is anyone shocked?: "A co-author of a new Heritage Foundation study highly critical of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration proposal also wrote a doctoral dissertation in which he argued that immigrants generally had an I.Q. that was 'substantially lower than that of the white native population.'”
  • No, Tamerlan Tsarnaev will not be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Finally, Gary Bauer says that political correctness "has promoted institutional intolerance of traditional ideas and views. As a result, many people of faith are being pushed into the same proverbial closet that everyone else has been invited to leave."

NOM's 'Historic' Fail

For weeks, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown has been touting the “historic” March for Marriage, telling supporters “this is our time” to "change history." A month ago he wrote excitedly about a “game-changer,” a $500,000 matching gift from one of the major donors that keep NOM afloat. Brown had been inspired by a massive turnout for an anti-marriage-equality protest  in France, and hoped for something similar in Washington. But even with big donors and heavy-weight Religious Right co-sponsors, Brown and his allies couldn’t pull it off. Not even close.

In reality, NOM’s rally had a few, perhaps several, thousand attendees.  (NOM’s Thomas Peters claims 15,000, which seems, um, generous.) And every time one of the speakers tried to make the crowd feel like part of a larger movement by talking about the 200,000 people they said marched recently for one-man/one-woman marriage in Puerto Rico, or the hundreds of thousands or millions in France and Spain, or even the 585,000 who have signed the Manhattan Declaration or the half million who marched against legal abortion, it only served to highlight how few bothered to show up in Washington. According to various speakers, the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia sent five busloads; anti-gay state senator Ruben Diaz claimed 32 buses from New York. Brian Brown gave a shout out to some Chinese Christians from Chicago.

The ethnically diverse speakers’ list was a mix of old and new, including some familiar faces on the anti-gay circuit, such as Harry Jackson, Gary Bauer, and Iowa’s Bob Vander Plaats. Harry Jackson led the crowd in a chant that he said was a prayer for the Supreme Court: “Let God arise and his enemies be scattered.” Bauer delivered a blustery message to the Republican Party that if they “bail” on marriage, he’ll lead as many people as he can out of the GOP (which may not be that much of a threat). Vander Plaats urged Supreme Court justices to look to the Founding Fathers, Billy Graham, and Pope Francis. Also speaking were Doug Mainwaring, now making the circuit as the anti-equality gay man the Religious Right loves to love; Frank Schubert, the mastermind of the dishonest Prop 8 campaign and every anti-equality campaign since then; and Jim Garlow, who made a name for himself among the Religious Right with his pro-Prop 8 organizing. Garlow insisted you cannot call yourself a Christian and support the Court’s “obliterating” what he called a “core aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Garlow should have seen the packed crowd at the morning’s pro-equality interfaith service at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation.) Garlow warned Supreme Court justices that they will one day stand before “the Chief Justice of the Universe” and will be held accountable if they defy His ways.

A couple of groups sent under-30 speakers to say how wrong the media is to suggest that Millennials are a lost cause on this issue.  But facts are facts, and polls show that support for marriage equality is overwhelming among under-30 Americans: 72 percent of Millennials believe same-sex couples should be able to get legally married, including 58 percent of under-30 Republicans.

Many of the speakers were on-message to the point of being boringly redundant, repeating the message on marchers’ pre-printed signs: “Kids do best with a mom and a dad” and “Every child deserves a mom and a dad.” Sometimes this came with a strong shot of gender stereotypes: mothers provide tenderness and fathers provide protection.  Brian Brown even showed a video of the Religious Right’s newest heroine, the 11-year old who testified against marriage equality in Minnesota and asked which of her parents she did not need, her mother or father. Perhaps someone could explain that no same-sex couples seeking to get married have any desire to force her to get rid of either parent.

NOM’s backers for the marriage march included the far-far-right-wing Catholic group Tradition, Family & Property, with its scarlet banners, capes, and marching band (see Adele Stan’s reminder who TFP is), Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, a couple of Catholic dioceses, the Knights of Columbus and the Institute on Religion and Democracy.  Brown gave special thanks to the Mormon-run GFC Foundation for providing grants for buses.

 

DeMint: 'Secular Socialistic' Obama Orchestrating Crises for Political Gain

Former U.S. Senator and current Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint appeared on Today’s Issues with American Family Association head Tim Wildmon where he reiterated his “no compromise” mantra by arguing that President Obama and his allies are so extreme that there is no point in working with them.

When Wildmon asked if Obama even “has a conscience,” DeMint pointed to a 2008 quote by Rahm Emmanuel, whom DeMint mistakenly called “Raul Emmanuel,” about the financial crisis to suggest that Obama and his allies are deliberately creating crises in order to implement sweeping policy changes.

“What they understand on the liberal side is that the failures of their policies actually have empowered them to actually advance their policies,” DeMint told Wildmon, “A financial/economic crisis allows the president to reconfigure our whole economic and cultural system to redistribute the wealth the way he wants.”

After blaming the left for the 2008 financial crisis, DeMint argued that Obama has a “secular socialistic view” and that his “policies hurt people.” Consequently, people with a “faith and freedom view” shouldn’t even bother working with him.

Listen:

Richard Land Explains How to Tell Your Gay Friends They Can't Join the Boy Scouts

Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission appeared yesterday on Istook Live, the Heritage Foundation radio show hosted by former Congressman Ernest Istook, to discuss why the Boy Scouts of America should maintain its ban on gay members.

Co-host C.J. Wheeler asked Land how to tell her gay peers and colleagues, “You’re my friend, but I don’t want you to be a Boy Scout leader. You’re my friend, but I’m tired of your agenda being forced down my throat.” She lamented that “it’s a hard world to really walk in out there” for “the average person out there who has friends in these communities,” because apparently life is really tough for straight people who support discrimination against their gay friends.

Land explained that gays and lesbians shouldn’t be treated any differently, except when it comes to their inclusion in the Boy Scouts, marriage and other social institutions. He told Wheeler to tell her gay friends that she respects them but thinks that if they are allowed to join the Boy Scouts they will jeopardize the ability of the organization to “protect children” and consequently “human tragedies will follow.”

Land also explained that “the homosexual activists have gone after [cultural] icons” such as the military, marriage and Disney in order to realize their “breathtaking” agenda.

Land: They do not believe in a live and let live philosophy. Let’s be very clear about what their agenda is, their agenda is to have the homosexual lifestyle affirmed by society as healthy and normal and as a perfectly acceptable to young people and to have those who disagree with that ostracized the level of being Ku Klux Klansmen.

Istook: I do want to expand on the Scouting part but you mentioned the overall agenda, Dr. Land, because it’s not just in Boy Scout’s, we see it in the policy toward same-sex marriage, we see it creeping into something’s such as the ‘anti-bullying agenda.’ What are the different fronts of this conflict?

Land: Well, every front, but the Boy Scouts are an icon and so the homosexual activists have gone after the icons, the cultural icons of our culture. They’ve gone after the military, the most admired institution in American society, the American military; they’ve gone after Disney, the family-friendly supposedly network and family-friendly entertainment venture; they’ve gone after marriage, what can be holier than marriage; now they’re going after the Boy Scouts, nothing is more American than Apple Pie than Boy Scouts. They are going to go after every front, they’ve gone after the cultural icons first but there is no place that they are not going to go and as I said there overall agenda is really quite breathtaking.

Randy Thomasson: Gay Rights Ushering in Civil War

Save California’s Randy Thomason on Friday appeared on Istook Live, the Heritage Foundation radio program hosted by former Republican congressman Ernest Istook, to discuss the Supreme Court case on Proposition 8.

He accused the California state officials who refused to defend Prop 8 of “dissing God” and went on to warn that “usurpers of the United States Constitution” have methodically and stealthily “infiltrated” the government and the courts in order to launch another civil war.

This not the characteristic of a Republic when there are sworn public servants, they have raised their right hand and they have pledged to defend the state constitution, to do their duty, to implement the law, they have made a public pledge before God and now they are dissing God, they are dissing the United States and the state constitutions and the people who elected them. An uninformed public that allows this to happen is just as bad when they vote foolishly or they vote wickedly. We have evidence abounding that there is a civil war occurring in the United States of America, it’s not being done with guns or knives, but it’s being done by usurpers of the United States Constitution and they have positioned themselves in power, they have infiltrated the constitutional land of the United States, they have gotten there with the help of ignorant people or wicked people and then they have implemented their own will.

Thomasson later said that President Obama is using lies and deception to bring about gay rights laws.

He has finally in an election year, last year, decided that he needed money from wealthy homosexual businesspersons and their supporters and he came out with the truth. He really is a supporter of everything homosexual, bisexual, transsexual; he has imposed it on the military, he’s imposing it on marriage, he’s imposing it on our culture.



There are professional liars and there are professional double-talkers, and I’m not sure what you have here but you do have someone that is giving multiple messages. He already gave his message, he gave his message last year, in an interview he said that he supports homosexual marriages being legal, and that means everywhere. So it doesn’t matter what he says now. I guess he is working on a legacy; well the legacy is that America is really going down, down. Not simply because of foolish voters who don’t check out the real policies or real positions of the candidates or don’t even check out what’s best for children, but they listen to the lies and the myths and statements of candidates themselves and they just vote on image or they vote on feeling. That’s really self-idolatry.

DeMint: Democrats Want Immigration Reform to Recruit 'New Voters and Union Members'

Former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, the incoming president of the Heritage Foundation, spoke with Janet Mefferd yesterday about immigration reform and the future of the GOP.

DeMint was unhappy with President Obama’s immigration proposal and the bipartisan framework presented this week in the Senate, both of which include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Democrats, he claimed, “are much more interested in new voters and union members than they are in fixing the system and honoring our heritage of immigration.”

Unfortunately, and I’ve worked with the folks who are advocating for this for a number of years and it appears the Democrats are much more interested in new voters and union members than they are in fixing the system and honoring our heritage of immigration. I don’t think we can help our naturalized American citizens by tearing down those things that create the opportunity in our country, and border sovereignty, rule of law, those things create the freedom and opportunity that immigrants come here for. And if we change the things that make us successful then we hurt the very people that we’re saying we want to help. So this is an irrational approach in my mind. I know there’s some people involved with this who want to do the right thing and solve the problem. But I’m afraid the people driving this, like the president, are just more interested in the citizenship track than they really are fixing our system.

DeMint, the architect of the 2010 Tea Party takeover, also denied that the GOP needs to moderate its positions to appeal to more voters after its drubbing among women, young people, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans in 2012. “We’re just not telling our story well and we’re not doing a good job of showing the victims of progressive liberal policies,” DeMint said. “And there are a lot of them around the country and minorities are the biggest victims of these policies.”

We have ideas that we want people to embrace because those ideas make our country better and lives better for Americans. So it’s easier for Obama, who just finds out what people want to hear and he tells them that. He doesn’t have to deliver any particular policy or laws. We do. But we have success stories all over. We have fantastic job creation where energy is being developed in states. We have job creation where you have freedom in the workplace not to join a union, that’s why Boeing is in South Carolina. We’re just not telling our story well and we’re not doing a good job of showing the victims of progressive liberal policies. And there are a lot of them around the country and minorities are the biggest victims of these policies. I’d say Republicans have done a miserable job of communicating. And that’s why I left the Senate. We need to take our message directly to the American people and make those ideas so winsome that candidates have to embrace them.
 

DeMint’s Bold Plan for Heritage: How to Lie More Effectively

Former Sen. Jim DeMint, hero to the overlapping Tea Party and Religious Right wings of the Republican Party, was kindly granted space by the Washington Post to tell us what he plans to do in his new job at the Heritage Foundation.

DeMint, a former ad man, promises to launch a “conservative revival” by figuring out how to do a better job selling conservative policies to the American public. That’s not exactly a big shift for the folks at Heritage, which is and always has been a giant marketing operation for right-wing “ideas.”

The most revealing thing in DeMint’s column is his use of a thoroughly debunked lie that Republicans tried to use against President Obama in last year’s campaign.  Says DeMint of President Obama, “He disabled welfare reform last year, when he took away the work requirements that were at the heart of that law’s success.”

That false claim earned politicians like Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum “Pants on Fire” ratings from Politifact and similar ratings from other fact checkers.  It’s a gross distortion of an Obama administration decision to give states more flexibility to come up with new ways to meet the law's work requirements – something sought by Republican governors.  Even some Republicans, including one architect of welfare reform, called the charge false when the Romney campaign made it.

As we know from his climate change denialism, DeMint isn’t as concerned about truth as about creating his own reality -- the way Fox News and the right-wing echo chamber have tried to do.  “One lesson I learned in marketing is that, for consumers and voters, perception is reality.”

Maybe reporters should start referring to Heritage as a “perception tank.”

Leaving the Senate, Jim DeMint is Looking Forward to Working with Glenn Beck

Sen. Jim DeMint called in to Glenn Beck's radio program today to discuss his decision to resign from the Senate to become the president of the Heritage Foundation.  DeMint explained that, with the re-election of President Obama, conservatives were not going to be able "to do anything positive at the federal level for the next four years" so he needed to be somewhere outside of government, working on solutions for when Obama's policies inevitably bring America "to its knees" ... and that will entail partnering with people like Beck to get the message out; a prospect that Beck was very eager to embrace:

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/6/12

Right Wing Leftovers - 12/6/12

  • Sen. Jim DeMint is resigning from the Senate to become the next president of the Heritage Foundation and FRC's Tony Perkins is thrilled: "We are proud to partner with Heritage on numerous projects, including our annual Values Voter Summit and our recently completed national bus tour. With a good friend like Jim DeMint joining this great organization, I look forward to that partnership deepening even further."
  • Speaking of the Values Voter Summit, regular VVS speaker Stephen Baldwin has been charged with tax evasion.
  • We'll see how the Religious Right feels about Sheldon Adelson spending hundreds of millions of dollars on elections when they learn that he considers himself to be "basically a social liberal."
  • The Barna Groups analyzes the role of faith in the 2012 election and finds that "Notional Christians — the large segment of voters who consider themselves to be Christian but are not born again — voted decisively in favor of Mr. Obama." Of course, this will not stop the Religious Right from insisting that all Christians share their views and must vote Republican.
  • Rick Green is not happy with Bob Costas' commentary on gun violence, telling him to "study up on this issue, learn the facts, and apply some common sense."  If only he'd give the same advice to David Barton.
  • Finally, FRC prays that the Supreme Court will protect "traditional marriage": "God, our nation is flooded with sin and debauchery. Move upon our Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution, the laws of Congress, the will of the people, and 'the laws of nature and of nature's God.' Cause us to return to you. Send revival to your Church and awakening to our nation and a turning of the cultural tide, including our laws, politics and policy. Make us, yet, a City on a Hill and a light for You to the nations. Help us fervently to pray until our courts preserve natural, historic, biblical marriage just as You intended it!"

'I Don't Want Everybody to Vote' – The Roots of GOP Voter Suppression

The lower the turnout tomorrow, the better Mitt Romney will do. It’s always been this way for Republicans. Anyone who doubts that needs to watch the video below. 

The media frequently reports on right-wing and GOP voter suppression efforts, but they rarely acknowledge the root cause – Republicans do better when fewer people vote. This is the driving force behind the GOP’s draconian voter ID laws and efforts to limit early voting, voter registration drives, and provisional voting.
 
The right wing and GOP have whipped up hysteria around voter fraud, which is virtually non-existent, in order to justify roadblocks to voting for millions of Americans. I’ll let Paul Weyrich explain why.
 
Weyrich is widely regarded as the “founding father of the conservative movement.” He founded ALEC and co-founded the Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority, Council for National Policy, and Free Congress Foundation, among others.
 
Speaking more than 30 years ago at a right-wing conference in Dallas, Weyrich set out the case for voter suppression. The right-wing and GOP are still acting on it to this day.
 
Watch:
"I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

 

New Religious Right Video: Secularism Means Doom For America

One of the sessions at the recent Values Voter Summit featured a showing of a new half-hour video produced by the American Family Association called “Divorcing God: Secularism and the Republic.” (Back in the summer it was being promoted as "Divorcing God: Secularism, Sexual Anarchy, and the Future of the Republic.") The video features an array of Religious Right leaders and academics, whose argument can be summarized this way:  America, whose greatness is decaying because the country has turned its back on the God who inspired the founding fathers, is doomed if it continues to allow secularists to push religion into the closet.  It's time for Christians to fight back.

And just to be clear, the God in “one nation under God” isn’t any old generic God, but the same Christian God who made western civilization possible.  It’s familiar to anyone who has followed the Religious Right’s “Christian nation” rhetoric, filled with founders’ quotes about religion and  attacks on the Supreme Court’s rulings on church-state separation.

Among the stars of the video is Princeton University’s Robert George, the Religious Right’s favorite intellectual. George, a leader of the National Organization for Marriage, is one of the authors of the Manhattan Declaration, whose signers fancy themselves potential martyrs for opposing abortion and LGBT equality in America. Others include Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute; Michael Farris, homeschooling advocate and chancellor of Patrick Henry College; and Matthew Spalding, of the Heritage Foundation. The founders clearly believed that God punishes nations, says Dacus, and when countries allow their societies to become amoral, there’s a price to be paid, not just by those individuals but society as a whole.  The video suggests that the current fight between secularists and those who want to preserve the country’s divine foundation is the last stand for the future of freedom on planet earth.

Another DVD being handed out at the Values Voter Summit hit similar themes about the importance of the nation’s foundation on biblical principles.  It features a 2010 “State of the Nation” speech delivered by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.  Ham argues that the nation is threatened by the teaching of evolution and by the Supreme Court. “There really is no such thing as separation of church and state,” says Ham, who warns that “Christianity in this nation is becoming outlawed more and more in various quarters.”  Ham blames the decline more on church leaders than on secularists.  The Bible is the “absolute authority,” he says, but too many Christians have undermined the authority of scripture by compromising on the truth of the 6,000 year-old earth and great flood described in Genesis.  And that means quoting the Bible in policy debates on abortion and gay marriage has lost its effectiveness.

Meanwhile, French scholar Denis Lacorne has just published Religion in America: A Political History (Columbia University Press, 2011), in which he examines two competing narratives about American identity.  One derives from the secular values of the Enlightenment and reflects a desire to preserve liberty by freeing it from the power of an established church.  The second ties American identity to the Puritans and Protestantism.  These two narratives are reflected in competing notions of church-state separation evident today in our politics and on our Supreme Court.  At a presentation at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. this week, Lacorne suggested that what he calls the neopuritan narrative was developed in the first half of the 19th century by historians who wanted to resurrect the influence of the Puritans, who he says were generally ignored by the founding fathers in their debates over religious liberty and whether or not to make the Constitution an explicitly Christian document.  (They chose not to.)

 

Values Voter Summit 2011 & America in 2013

As RWW readers know, the Values Voter Summit, the year’s biggest political gathering for the Religious Right, took place in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.  Every Republican presidential candidate with the exception of Jon Huntsman addressed the summit, evidence of the continuing importance of Religious Right activists and political groups to the GOP. Polls suggest that the Religious Right is about twice as big as the Tea Party, with significant overlap between the two movements. Ron Paul’s campaign packed in enough voters to win the straw poll, but it would be wrong to say he was the favorite of the Values Voter crowd. It was up-and-coming candidate Herman Cain who won the loudest cheers (and took second place).

The two days of speeches from presidential candidates, congressional leaders, and Religious Right activists painted a clear picture of where they’ll try to take the country if they are successful in their 2012 electoral goals.  In their America, banks and corporations would be free from pesky consumer and worker protections; there would be no Environmental Protection Agency and no federal support for education; women would have no access to abortion; gays would be second-class citizens; and for at least some of them, religious minorities would have to know their place and be grateful that they are tolerated in this Christian nation. 
 
Here’s a recap of some major themes from the conference.
 
Religious Bigotry on Parade
 
In one of the most extreme expressions of the “Christian nation” approach to government, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has stated repeatedly that the religious liberty of non-Christians is not protected by the First Amendment.  More specifically, he says Mormons are not protected by the First Amendment.  For whatever reason, VVS organizers scheduled Romney and Fischer back-to-back on Saturday morning. 
 
Before the conference, People For the American Way called on Romney to take on Fischer’s bigotry, which he did, albeit in a vague and tepid manner, criticizing “poisonous” rhetoric without naming Fischer or explaining why his views are poison.  Getting greater media attention were comments by Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who in his introduction of Texas Gov. Rick Perry insisted on the importance of electing a “genuine” follower of Christ. Reporters who accurately saw this as a swipe at Romney’s faith asked Jeffress about it, and he labeled Mormonism a cult.  (Mormons consider themselves Christians, but many Christians, including Southern Baptists, believe Mormon theology is anything but.)  Following Romney at the microphone, Fischer doubled down, insisting that the next president has to be a Christian “in the mold of” the founding fathers.  Fischer’s inaccurate sense of history is eclipsed only by his lack of respect for church-state separation and for the Constitution itself – even though he insisted that his religious test for the presidency was really a “political test.” Romney took only four percent in the VVS straw poll, even though he has been leading in recent polls of GOP voters.
 
Beating up on Obama
 
Religious Right leaders routinely denounce President Barack Obama, so it is no surprise that a major theme of the VVS was attacking the president and his policies.  Perhaps the nicest thing anyone said about the president was Mitt Romney’s snide remark that Obama is “the conservative movement’s top recruiter.”    Among the nastiest came from virtue-monger Bill Bennett, who said, “if you voted for him last time to prove you are not a racist, you must vote against him this time to prove you are not an idiot.” Rep. Anne Buerkle, one of the Tea Party freshmen, said flat out that the president is not concerned about what is best for the country. 
 
Health care and foreign policy were top policy targets.  Many speakers denounced “Obamacare,” and most of the presidential candidates promised to make dismantling health care reform a top priority. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Religious Right favorite who is leading a legal challenge to the health care reform law, said that if the Supreme Court did not overturn it, Americans would go from being citizens to subjects.  Just about every speaker attacked President Obama for not being strong enough in support of Israel, and repeated a favorite right-wing talking point by pledging to “never apologize” for U.S. actions abroad.
 
Gays as Enemies of Liberty
 
It is clear that a Republican takeover of the Senate and White House would put advances toward equality for LGBT Americans in peril.  Speaker after speaker denounced the recent repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers in the armed forces; many also attacked marriage equality for same-sex couples.  And many portrayed liberty as a zero-sum game, insisting that advances toward equality posed a dire threat to religious liberty. Rep. Mike Pompeo said “You cannot use our military to promote social ideals that do not reflect the values of our nation,” concluding his remarks with a call for the election of more Republicans, saying “ride to the sounds of the guns and send us more troops.”
Another member of the 2010 freshman class – Rep. Vicky Hartzler – attacked the Obama administration for “trying to use the military to advance their social agenda,” saying, “It’s wrong and it must be stopped.” Predictably, the AFA’s Fischer was the most vitriolic and insisted that the country needs a president “who will treat homosexual behavior not as a political cause at all but as a threat to public health.”
 
Loving Wall Street, Hating Wall Street Protesters
 
On the same day that moving pictures of Kol Nidre services at the site of Occupy Wall Street protests made the rounds on the Internet, Values Voter Summit speakers portrayed the protests as dangerous and violent.  Others simply mocked the protesters without taking seriously the objections being raised to growing inequality and economic hardship in America.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the “growing mobs” associated with the protests and decried “the pitting of Americans against Americans.” (Too bad he didn’t stick around to hear the rest of the speakers).  Glenn Beck denounced “Jon Stewart Marxism” and warned that the protests were the sign of an approaching “storm of biblical proportions” in which “the violent left” would smash, tear down, kill, bankrupt, and destroy.  Pundit Laura Ingraham simply made fun of the protesters and held up her own “hug the rich” sign.  Rising star Herman Cain defended Wall Street, blaming the nation’s economic crisis on policymakers, not reckless and irresponsible financiers.  Nobody wanted to regulate the financiers; speakers called for a repeal of the Dodd-Frank law. 
 
A number of speakers promoted Christian Reconstructionist notions of “Biblical economics,” with Star Parker declaring that “this whole notion of redistribution of wealth is inconsistent with scripture” and calling for the selection of a candidate with commitment to the free market according to the Bible.  Ron Paul also insisted “debt is not a political principle.”  The AFA’s Bryan Fischer said that liberalism is based on violating two of the Ten Commandments, namely thou shall not steal, and thou shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.  Liberalism, he said, is “driven by angry, bitter, acquisitive greed for the wealth of productive Americans.” 
 
No Love for Libertarians
 
A major theme at last year’s Values Voter Summit, as at other recent Religious Right political events, was an effort to make social-issue libertarians unwelcome in the conservative movement by insisting that you cannot legitimately claim to be a fiscal conservative if you are not also pushing “traditional family values.”  The same theme was sounded this year by the very first speaker, Tony Perkins.  Another, Joe Carter, took a shot at gay conservatives, saying it was not possible to be conservative and for gay marriage – it simply made you a “liberal who likes tax cuts.”  Carter said “social conservative” should be redundant. Ingraham echoed the theme, calling for an end to conservative modifiers (social, fiscal, national security) and, echoing popular Christian writer C.S. Lewis, called for a commitment to “mere conservatism.”  There were far fewer mentions of the Tea Party movement itself at this year’s VVS, perhaps owing to the movement’s unpopularity – or to the fact that the GOP itself has essentially become one big Tea Party party.
 
Crying Wolf on Religious Persecution
 
Religious Right leaders routinely energize movement activists with dire warnings about threats to religious liberty and the alleged religious persecution of Christians in America.  William Bennett said liberals are bigoted against “people who publicly love their God, who publicly love their country.”  Retired Gen. William Boykin said Christians are facing the greatest persecution ever in America.   The American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow warned that the next president will probably select two Supreme Court justices, and that if it isn’t a conservative president, our Judeo-Christian values could be “eliminated.”  Crying wolf about persecution of Christians in America is offensive given the very real suffering of people in countries that do not enjoy religious freedom.  Several speakers addressed the case of a Christian pastor facing death in Iran.  That is persecution; having your political tactics challenged or losing a court case is not.
 
America is Exceptional; Europe Sucks
 
Republican strategists decided a couple of years ago that “American exceptionalism” would be a campaign theme in 2010 and 2012, and we heard plenty of talk about it at the Values Voter Summit.  Among the many who spoke about American exceptionalism was Rep. Steve King, who said “this country was ordained and built by His hand,” that the Declaration of Independence was written with divine guidance, and that God moved the founding fathers around the globe like chess pieces .  Liberals, said the Heritage Foundation’s Matthew Spalding, don’t share a belief in American exceptionalism or the American dream. Many speakers contrasted a freedom-loving, God-fearing America to socialist, post-Christian Europe.  Rick Perry said “those in the White House” don’t believe in American exceptionalism; they’d rather emulate the failed policies of Europe.  Gen. Boykin declared Europe “hopelessly lost.”
 
Smashing the Regulatory State
 
The anti-government, anti-regulatory fervor of billionaire right-wing funders like the Koch brothers was on vibrant display at the VVS.  Without the slightest nod to the fact that regulating the behavior of corporations’ treatment of workers, consumers, and the environment is in any way beneficial, a member of a Heritage Foundation panel said conservatives’ goal should be to “break the back” of the “regulatory state.”  Some presidential candidates vowed to halt every regulation issued during the Obama administration.  Michele Bachmann said her goal was to “dismantle” the bureaucracy.
 
Judging Judges
 
Many speakers criticized judges for upholding abortion rights, church-state separation, and gay rights. Newt Gingrich took these attacks to a whole new level, calling for right-wing politicians to provoke a  constitutional crisis in which the legislative and executive branch would ignore court rulings they didn’t like.  He called the notion of “judicial supremacy” an “affront to the American system of self-government.” Aside from Gingrich’s very dubious constitutional theory, the speech seemed out of place at a conference in which speakers had been calling for the Supreme Court to overturn the health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
 
Deconstructing the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’
 
VVS speakers love quoting the Declaration of Independence, but some are clearly a little troubled with the notion that the “pursuit of happiness” is an inalienable right, one that might apply, for example, to happy, loving gay couples.  Rick Santorum said that the founders’ understanding of “happiness” meant “the morally right thing” and doing what God wants.  Steve King said the  pursuit of happiness was not like a tailgate party, but the pursuit of excellence in moral and spiritual development.  Michele Bachman has equated the pursuit of happiness with private property.
 
Notably weird speeches
 
Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel gave a meandering address that moved from U.S. policy on Israel to the war on Islamic radicalism to an attack on the United Nations to denunciations of sexologist Alfred Kinsey and humanist/educator John Dewey for undermining western civilization. He warned against conservatives using rhetoric that might push the growing Latino population into the maw of the “leftist machine,” making an aside about Latinos whose names end in “z” having a special connection to Israel.
 
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who ended up taking third place in the straw poll, seemed personally hurt that conservative evangelicals weren’t rallying around him given all that he had done for them and the price he had paid for it.  He whined, “Don’t you want a president who’s comfortable in his shoes talking about these issues?”
 
Rep. Steve King of Iowa said that people who support marriage equality or legal abortion don’t do so because they have a value system supporting those things, but because they want to spite the Religious Right – “because they know it’s precious to us.”
 
Former Fox TV personality Glenn Beck gave a trademark lurching speech contrasting visceral anger with his recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s “with malice toward none.” The speech was long on mockery of Wall Street protestors and on the messianic narcissism that was on display at his Lincoln Memorial rally last year.  “We need to give America the same choice” that Moses gave Israel, he said: good or evil, light or dark, life or death, freedom or slavery.  He said America is in a religious war, a race war, a class war, and other wars.  In one breath he insisted that the nation “must return to God” and talked about the “country’s salvation” – and in the next he denounced the notion of “collective salvation,” which he has elsewhere attributed to President Obama and denounced as evil and satanic.
 

Perkins: If Obama Is Re-Elected, It Will Spell The End For America

Today, Tony Perkins stopped by The Heritage Foundation to participate in a Blogger's Briefing and promote the upcoming Values Voter Summit.

During the briefing, Perkins accused the media of seeking to ruin any conservative candidate that promotes an agenda that seeks to pull America back from the brink of social and fiscal destruction caused by the Obama administration, and asserted that if President Obama is re-elected in 2012, it will literally spell doom for this nation:

There is one thing that is very clear in my mind, and I think in many voters as I travel the country and speak in churches among social conservatives: there's a recognition that this administration, given another four years, will destroy this country. I don't think that the moral or fiscal fabric of America can withstand another four years of an Obama administration.

Perry to Address Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit

Family Research Council Action, the political arm of the Family Research Council, just announced that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will address the upcoming Values Voter Summit in Washington. As Religious Right leaders continue to coalesce behind Perry — FRC president Tony Perkins was among those attending a pro-Perry gathering of conservative leaders at James Leninger’s ranch earlier this month — addressing the Values Voter Summit should only help his standing among social conservatives. Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are the only other presidential candidates who have so far committed to the event. Other Religious Right leaders scheduled to speak include Gary Bauer, Brent Bozell, Mathew Staver, Phyllis Schlafly and Bill Bennett, along with lesser known but radical activists like Lila Rose, Jerry Boykin and Star Parker:

Family Research Council Action (FRC Action) has confirmed that GOP presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) will speak at the Values Voter Summit this October 7-9 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Gov. Perry joins other Republican presidential candidates, including U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), at the largest annual gathering of pro-family activists in the nation's capital.

The annual event, which is expected to draw 2,000 grassroots activists from across the country, will have a speaker line-up that includes House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Steve King (R-IA), Dr. Bill Bennett, Mark Levin, Lt. Gen. William Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.), Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Erick Erickson, Ed Morrissey, Heritage Foundation fellow Edwin Meese III, Lila Rose and Phyllis Schlafly. The 2011 Values Voter Summit is cosponsored by AFA Action, American Values, The Heritage Foundation, Liberty University, and Liberty Counsel. A presidential straw poll, exhibit hall, book signings, breakout sessions and much more will be packed into this three-day conference. On Saturday evening Family Research Council will award Heritage Foundation fellow Edwin Meese, III with its 2011 Vision and Leadership Award.

O'Bierne Speaks to College Antifeminists

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the sixth annual national conference of the “Network of enlightened Women” (NeW), a college conservative group that “meet[s] regularly to discuss issues relating to politics, gender and conservative principles” – sort of a politically ambitious anti-feminist book club. NeW nabbed a high-powered keynote speaker in Kate O’Bierne, a National Review editor and former VP of the Heritage Foundation. O’Bierne, the author of “Women Who Make the World Worse: and How Their Radical Feminist Assault is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military and Sports,” spent her hour-long speech viciously bashing feminism and trying to disprove the “phoney baloney wage gap.” O’Bierne insisted that “professional feminists” will never be satisfied, and cannot “declare victory and go home” because they have no home to go to and no job to fall back on.

O’Bierne also railed against the liberal media, but noted what she saw as a silver lining: that liberals don’t know that conservatives exist, or more importantly, what they’re saying and doing. She might want to check in with Bryan Fischer.

Meanwhile, a number of NeW chapter presidents spoke about how to thank the gentlemen in their lives for being so chivalrous, how awful it is that “hookup culture” is depleting their pool of marriageable men, and how a “true beauty” self esteem workshop could be improved by adding makeup tutorials.

Knight: Gay Staffers Control Congress And Washington DC

At the Freedom Federation’s The Awakening 2011, right-wing activists unleashed their venom at the gay community and supporters of gay rights at the “Religious Liberty and the LGBT Agenda” panel. Robert Knight, a columnist for the Washington Times who is the executive director of the far-right American Civil Rights Union, maintained that gay congressional staffers represent one of the most difficult hurdles for opponents of LGBT equality. According to Knight, who has also worked for a wide range of conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Media Research Center, and Coral Ridge Ministries, gay staffers have “veto power” over legislation because they “work all hours and, I think, tend not to have family lives.” He went on to say that the “gay subculture” in D.C. “intimidates the overriding Washington culture” and that opponents of gay rights are “undermined from within”:

Erickson Wants Conservative Movement to Abandon Norquist Over CPAC

While the Conservative Political Action Conference may be over, the controversy over the gathering’s handling continues. RedState Editor-in-Chief and CNN commentator Erick Erickson first criticized GOProud, the gay conservative group whose involvement in CPAC sparked a Religious Right boycott, for attacking prominent right-wing leaders. Now, Erickson is going after Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform and a GOProud adviser who knocked CPAC boycotters as “loser organizations.”

Norquist has long been a target of far-right groups for his outreach to Muslim Americans and gays and lesbians, and Erickson believes that his fellow conservatives should abandon and replace the Norquist-led ATR and Wednesday Meetings over his role in the CPAC controversy:

Are you a loser? If you are the Heritage Foundation, Media Research Center, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, the American Principles Project, Jim DeMint, Jim Jordan, Rush Limbaugh (given his comments yesterday on CPAC), and others — you are losers.

Grover Norquist says so. Norquist, last week, called those who chose not to participate in CPAC and those who share those views “losers.”



The source of Grover Norquist’s power comes from two things: (1) Americans for Tax Reform’s Tax Pledge, which could easily be duplicated by an organization not headed by someone who picked up checks written by a man serving 23 years in jail for financing jihad activities; and (2) the Wednesday morning meeting in which tons of conservative groups participate.

(By the way, did Grover ever give that money back or send it to a charitable cause?)

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Grover Norquist has an off the record meeting every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in which candidates come to pitch themselves, conservative organizations come to promote their wares, and even Al Gore and George Soros have come to.

It’s become a “see and be seen” sort of meeting and information exchange. Mitch McConnell typically sends someone. The House Republicans send someone. Etc., Etc., Etc.

Grover Norquist’s latest remarks, both regarding principaled [sic] social conservatives and Congressman West, are deeply troubling. If you aren’t troubled yet, google Jack Abramoff Grover Norquist.

I suggest a new Wednesday morning meeting of conservatives — one that combines the fiscal conservative organizations that constantly see their legs cut out from under them when Grover sides with UPS and the unions against FedEx, the national security organizations that continue to be concerned about Grover Norquist’s ties to possible jihadists, and the social conservative organizations Grover Norquist would like to purge from the movement.

Make it the place to plan and strategize within the conservative movement — something that does not really happen any more at Grover’s place. Make it the first step to taking back the conservative movement and moving away from the pay to play concerns that have so plagued the few, but taint so many.

It is time. Losers Unite!

Erickson Wants Conservative Movement to Abandon Norquist Over CPAC

While the Conservative Political Action Conference may be over, the controversy over the gathering’s handling continues. RedState Editor-in-Chief and CNN commentator Erick Erickson first criticized GOProud, the gay conservative group whose involvement in CPAC sparked a Religious Right boycott, for attacking prominent right-wing leaders. Now, Erickson is going after Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform and a GOProud adviser who knocked CPAC boycotters as “loser organizations.”

Norquist has long been a target of far-right groups for his outreach to Muslim Americans and gays and lesbians, and Erickson believes that his fellow conservatives should abandon and replace the Norquist-led ATR and Wednesday Meetings over his role in the CPAC controversy:

Are you a loser? If you are the Heritage Foundation, Media Research Center, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, the American Principles Project, Jim DeMint, Jim Jordan, Rush Limbaugh (given his comments yesterday on CPAC), and others — you are losers.

Grover Norquist says so. Norquist, last week, called those who chose not to participate in CPAC and those who share those views “losers.”



The source of Grover Norquist’s power comes from two things: (1) Americans for Tax Reform’s Tax Pledge, which could easily be duplicated by an organization not headed by someone who picked up checks written by a man serving 23 years in jail for financing jihad activities; and (2) the Wednesday morning meeting in which tons of conservative groups participate.

(By the way, did Grover ever give that money back or send it to a charitable cause?)

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Grover Norquist has an off the record meeting every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in which candidates come to pitch themselves, conservative organizations come to promote their wares, and even Al Gore and George Soros have come to.

It’s become a “see and be seen” sort of meeting and information exchange. Mitch McConnell typically sends someone. The House Republicans send someone. Etc., Etc., Etc.

Grover Norquist’s latest remarks, both regarding principaled [sic] social conservatives and Congressman West, are deeply troubling. If you aren’t troubled yet, google Jack Abramoff Grover Norquist.

I suggest a new Wednesday morning meeting of conservatives — one that combines the fiscal conservative organizations that constantly see their legs cut out from under them when Grover sides with UPS and the unions against FedEx, the national security organizations that continue to be concerned about Grover Norquist’s ties to possible jihadists, and the social conservative organizations Grover Norquist would like to purge from the movement.

Make it the place to plan and strategize within the conservative movement — something that does not really happen any more at Grover’s place. Make it the first step to taking back the conservative movement and moving away from the pay to play concerns that have so plagued the few, but taint so many.

It is time. Losers Unite!

GOProud: Driving a Wedge Deep Into The Heart of the Conservative Movement

With CPAC kicking off tomorrow, Metro Weekly profiles GOProud, the gay conservative group that has set off a culture war within the conservative movement and whose participation in the conference led to a boycott by several Religious Right organizations. 

And while we don't agree with most of GOProud's agenda and believe their sense of smug self-satisfaction is annoying and entirely undeserved, we do whole-heartedly support their effort to drive a deep wedge into the conservative movement in order to marginalize the "nasty, anti-gay bigots" who make up the Religious Right: 

''No, we're not giving cover to bigots," he argues. "What we're doing is separating the people who don't agree with the left-wing agenda from the real bigots. You can be against ENDA and hate crimes and federal safe schools legislation and not be a bigot. If you're Tony Perkins, you're a bigot. You're against all of that stuff not because of any federalist reasons, but actually because you're just a nasty, anti-gay bigot.''

...

''When you demonstrate some common ground, when you say, 'You wanna know what? We actually think that these policies that you support anyway are good for gay people, and here's why,' then all of a sudden they say, 'Well, wait a second, maybe I don't have a problem with gay people. All of these crazy things that we've been told by the Tony Perkinses of the world aren't true. These guys and gals, they're not here trying to snatch my children, they're not here in leather chaps.'''

...

Not everyone agrees with Breitbart and Norquist, even outside of the right-wing anti-gay groups. The Heritage Foundation and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) are the two biggest names to drop out of CPAC based, at least in part, on GOProud's role at the conference.

This is Barron's time to go on the attack.

Of the Heritage Foundation's decision, he says, ''They've chosen to – and it's a mystery to me why – but they've chosen to align themselves with the losers" ...

''Look, Heritage does a lot of good work, and I didn't want – it looks terrible for them, and I didn't want to have them humiliate themselves. But they've seemed hell-bent on it. Their story keeps changing and now we're down to the truth, which is: It was about us. And they've lost donors. They've lost supporters.''

With a nod of agreement from LaSalvia, Barron concludes, ''There's a lot of people in the conservative movement who are looking very differently at the [Heritage Foundation].''

He's singing the same tune when it comes to DeMint, who is joined by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in claiming GOProud as part of his reason for staying away from this weekend's conference.

Of those calling for the boycott, Barron says, ''They're all excited that Jim DeMint is boycotting. And that's fantastic. I'm glad that he's willing to be on the Island of Political Misfit Toys with [World Net Daily's Joseph] Farah and the Concerned Women for America.''

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Heritage Foundation Top Posts

The best-known and most influential right-wing think tank, the Heritage Foundation owes much of its success to savvy marketing and PR and the generous donations of right-wing benefactors, foundations and wealthy corporations. The foundation boasts about its influence on Capitol Hill yet insists that it does not "lobby." MORE >

Heritage Foundation Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 10/11/2013, 10:00pm
The marriage panel at today’s Values Voter Summit—which featured Tony Perkins, Brian Brown, Ryan Anderson and Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation—spent most of the time equating support for same-sex marriage with a loss of free speech for marriage equality opponents. They suggested that people in jurisdictions that legalized same-sex marriage are not allowed to express their opposition to marriage equality (of course, this conference where speaker after speaker has denounced gay marriage is taking place in a jurisdiction—Washington D.C.—where gay... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 09/30/2013, 5:45pm
Matthew Yglesias @ Slate: The ‘Vitter Amendment’ Is Total BS.  Alex Ruthrauff @ Wonkette: U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Suddenly Very Worried The Tea Party Lunacy They Fostered Might Shut Down Government.  Steve Benen @ Maddow Blog: A ‘post-democracy’ phase. Zeke Miller @ Swampland: Hidden Hand: How Heritage Action Drove DC To Shut Down. Eric Boehlert @ Media Matters: What Epic Propaganda Looks Like.  Rob Boston @ Americans United: Misusing Madison: FRC Promotes Upcoming ‘Summit’ With Fake Quote From The Father... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/26/2013, 12:15pm
The Heritage Foundation, like Sen. Ted Cruz, has been strongly urging senators to vote against a bill they actually support in order to shut down the government until President Obama and Senate Democrats agree to defund Obamacare. And, being Heritage, they don’t mind completely reversing a position they held until just last year to do it. Essentially, Heritage and other right-wing groups like Club for Growth want Senate Republicans to join Cruz in blocking debate (or voting against cloture) on the continuing resolution (CR) until Senate Democrats agree to establish a 60-vote threshold... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 09/20/2013, 5:33pm
Oliver Willis @ Media Matters: These Pictures Prove Fox Is Lying: Democrats Didn't Walk Out Of Benghazi Hearing. Michelle Goldberg @ The Daily Beast: The Sinister Side of Homeschooling. David Edwards @ Raw Story: Catholic League president: ‘Less than 5 percent of the priests involved in molestation are pedophiles.’ Jason Linkins @ Huffington Post: Ted Cruz vs. The Universe. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: A lucrative scam. Igor Volsky @ Think Progress: GOP Congressman Compares Effort To Defund Obamacare To The Civil Rights Movement. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 09/13/2013, 5:31pm
Employees at Focus on the Family are facing yet another round of layoffs. Meet the new, hard-line, action-oriented Heritage Foundation. This is what happens when Glenn Beck tries his hand at topical comedy. This sorry spectacle literally went on for half an hour. A poll commissioned by FreedomWorks found that "78 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially moderate." That cannot be good news for the Religious Right. Rand Paul loves the peaceful Jesus Finally, FRC prays that God will stir... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 07/29/2013, 12:45pm
The Heritage Foundation has been trying to position itself at the center of the opposition to the Senate’s bipartisan immigration proposal, an effort that got off to a rocky start when the group issued a deeply flawed report on immigration reform’s costs that was co-written by an enthusiastic racist. Like most opponents of meaningful immigration reform, Heritage opposes creating a roadmap to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants who are currently living and working in the United States. But, like its allies in the GOP, the group doesn’t really have an idea of how... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 05/30/2013, 1:56pm
With immigration reform moving toward a vote in the Senate, anti-immigrant forces are ratcheting up their rhetoric.  On Wednesday night, Eagle Forum hosted an “emergency” phone briefing intended to spur grassroots lobbying by their activists.  It featured dire warnings about the Senate bill spelling doom for America, attacks on pro-reform Sen. Marco Rubio, and a joking suggestion that activists planning a visit to Sen. Susan Collins’ office “shoot her.” Joining Eagle Forum’s Colleen Holcomb were Stephen Miller (standing in for his boss Sen. Jeff... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 05/14/2013, 11:28am
Pat Buchanan is the latest right-wing figure to jump to the defense of Jason Richwine, the advocate of racist pseudo-science who was booted from the Heritage Foundation last week. In his latest syndicated column, Buchanan argues that Hispanic Americans exhibit “underclass behavior” and warns of the dangers of “racially mixed communities.” “With the immigration bill granting amnesty to 12 million illegals, an open door to their dependents and a million new immigrants each year, almost all from the Third World, America in 2040 is going to look like Los Angeles... MORE >