Republican Party

When In Need of Electoral Help, Scream "Gay Marriage"

As far as I can recall, Sen Elizabeth Dole had never been one to make controversial social issues a centerpiece of her politics and had never really been one for paling around with the Religious Right.  I might be wrong about that, but my understanding was that while the Right liked her she was never a particularly vocal supporter of their agenda and only rarely, if ever, showed up at their events. Heck, until I wrote this post, Dole had been mentioned here so rarely that she hadn't even warranted a tag on the blog.

Which makes this mailer she and the North Carolina Republican Party are sending out targeting her opponent all the more pathetic - PageOneQ has the story and the images:

 

Letting David Barton Make Our Point

It's that time of the year again; that time when right-wing televangelists turn over their television programs to right-wing operatives in an effort to mobilize "values voters" for the benefit of the Republican Party.

Just yesterday we posted footage from Rod Parsley's "Breakthrough" featuring Wendy Wright and Janet Parshall and now we come to find out that Kenneth Copeland, one of the televangelists whose finances are being investigated by Sen. Chuck Grassley, has had right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton on his program all week for the same purpose:

During their discussion, Barton urged Copeland's viewers to take a look at the voter guides and report cards that various public policy organizations issue as they seek to make their choices, saying that often voter guides of "secular" organizations are extremly useful because if a group like the ACLU rates a candidate highly, then they know that that is not a candidate they want to support.

So in that vein, here is a clip of David Barton talking about the importance of the Supreme Court and how much of a difference the confirmations of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito have made to the Religious Right's agenda.  Because Roberts and Alito have a "fear of God," it has led to decisions starting to come out "right on Biblical values," whereas the four "liberal" Justices, Barton declares, have "no fear of God, there's nothing in their behavior that tells me that they fear God."  And, Barton insists, the next president will shape the course of the nation for the next fifty years with their Supreme Court picks because "that is where reighteousness is determined":

Palin Declares Herself "Hardcore Pro-Lifer" During Dobson Lovefest

Focus on the Family has put James Dobson's phone interview with Sarah Palin up on its website.  The mutual admiration between the two was quite palpable as they heaped praise upon one another, with Dobson telling Palin repeatedly that he and many others were praying not only for her but also for a "miracle" regarding the election.

Dobson likewise thanked Palin for her "powerful pro-life testimony" regarding the birth of her youngest son Trig, who was born with Down Syndrome, to which Palin admitted while she was scared after first learning of it during her pregnancy, she was a "hardcore pro-lifer" and it provided not only an "opportunity for me to really be walking the walk and not just talking the talk" but also an opportunity to "help us in our cause here allowing America to be a more welcoming nation for all of our children." 

Palin then thanked Dobson for all he has done for the movement, declaring that "if it were not for you, so many of us would be missing the boat in terms of hearing the message in understanding what we can do to further the cause of life."

Dobson went on to praise the Republican Party platform as the most pro-life, pro-family party platform in history, which Palin seconded, and when Dobson asked her if she thought John McCain would seek to implement it if elected, she said she did "from the bottom of my heart" and reiterated that it was important for Americans to know "that John McCain is solidly there on those solid planks in our platform that build the right agenda for America." 

When Dobson asked if she was discouraged by the current poll numbers showing them trailing, Palin insisted that she was not and that she had always been the underdog but always pulled out a victory when necessary and that she was just "putting this in God’s hands that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on November 4th." 

The interview concluded with Dobson telling Palin of a prayer call earlier in the day when those participating asked God for a miracle regarding the election and then invited Palin to visit them in person at Focus on the Family, promising to roll out the red carpet when she does. 

Rough transcript of the interview below.  Audio available: Part I and Part II

Disclaimer: Regarding the "hardcore pro-lifer" quote mentioned earlier, I am not sure if she called herself a "hardcore pro-lifer" or simply "hardcore pro-life." Either way, the point is the same. Also, I didn't transcribe Palin's words exactly as she spoke them because frankly I got sick of my spellchecker asking me if I meant "talking" every time I wrote "talkin'" and "looking" whenever I wrote "lookin'." Furthermore, some sections I didn't transcribe but did provide a short synopsis of what they were saying or the points they were making, especially in cases where Dobson's questions lead to a response from Palin that I did transcribe.

Dobson: I want to tell you that I’m one of those great fans too and I just want you to know that Shirley and I are praying for you, for your safety and for your health and that God’s perfect will will be done on November the fourth. Shirley just had a prayer event here – she’s Chairman of the National Day of Prayer – and we had 430 people here for the weekend. They prayed for the whole weekend. It was not a political event but we were sure asking for God’s intervention.

Palin: Well, it is that intercession that is so needed and so greatly appreciated. And I can feel it too, Dr. Dobson. I can feel the power or prayer and that strength is provided through our prayer warriors across this nation and I so appreciate it.

Dobson: Well, you hear that everywhere you do, don’t you?

Palin: I do, and that is what allows us to continue to be inspired and strengthened. And it’s just a great reminder also when we hear along the rope lines that people are interceding for us and praying for us; it’s our reminder to do the same, to put this all in God’s hands, to seek his perfect will for this nation and to, of course, seek his wisdom and guidance in putting this nation back on the right track.

Dobson: You may not recall it, but in April, before all of this happened, before you were selected by Senator McCain to be his running mate, I wrote to thank you for welcoming little Trig into this world, your little baby with Down Syndrome. And I just wanted to express to you what a powerful testimony that was to the sanctity of human life. And you wrote me a very gracious letter back and there are just so many parents out there who also admire you for your love and care for that precious child.

Palin: Well, I so appreciated your words and yeah, when we found out I was about thirteen weeks along when I found out that Trig would be born with Down Syndrome. To be honest with you, it scared me though and I knew that it would be a challenge and I had to really be on my knees the entire rest of the pregnancy asking that God would prepare my heart. And just the second that he was born it was absolute confirmation that that prayer was answered with all of us just falling so in love with him. And then this whole new world has been opened up to me since then. I’ve always had near and dear to my heart the mission of protecting the sanctity of life and being pro-life, a hardcore pro-lifer, but I think this opportunity for me to really be walking the walk and not just talking the talk. There’s purpose in this also for a greater good to be met. I feel so privileged and blessed to have been, I guess, chosen to have Trig enter our lives because I do want it to help us in our cause here in allowing America to be a more welcoming nation for all of our children.

Dobson: One of the most touching and dramatic moments in the last year for me was when you were speaking at the Republican National Convention and little Trig was sitting on Piper’s lap and she wet her fingers and mashed down his hair that was sticking up in the back. I’m sure that she has seen you do that many times. Boy, that really grabbed my heart, I’ll tell you.

Palin: I know, that was kind of a nice manifestation there of our little mother hen there in Piper, but just of that innocent child-like love that kids certainly have for one another and truly that is that love that our country needs more of. And Dr. Dobson, you have been just on the forefront of all of this, of all of this good for so many years. And your reward is going to be in Heaven because I know that you take a lot of shots also but please know that on our end, kind of outsiders looking in at what you have accomplished all these years, if it were not for you, so many of us would be missing the boat in terms of hearing the message ann understanding what we can do to further the cause of life, and of ethics in our nation, those things that we should be engaged in. We owe so much to you.

Dobson: Well you are very kind in saying that, but we are on the same team in that regard. I’m just trying to serve the Lord like you are and listening to his voice. Wtih egard to the sanctity of human life, it just grieves me greatly how the blood of maybe forty-six, forty-eight million babies who have been aborted cries out to God from the ground. The pro-life and pro-family message is very much a part of who you are, isn’t it?

Palin: It is. It is. And again that’s just been a part of who I’ve been all these years but now with a greater opportunity that I feel blessed to be in this position. A greater opportunity to perhaps help others understand what we can do to usher in more of that respect for life. I’m very, very privileged.

[Dobson asks about media attacks on her and Joe the Plumber – she says that if she can’t handle the attacks, she shouldn’t have offered herself up as VP.]

Dobson: [He had doubts and concerns about McCain and Republicans but] The Republican Platform is the strongest pro-life, pro-family document to come out of a political party, even more so than the platforms during the campaigns of Ronald Reagan. There are principles there that I’ve been fighting for for thirty, forty years and you are tying to articulate those same principles, aren’t you?

Palin: Absolutely, and Dr. Dobson thank you so much for recognizing that. This is a strong platform [built] around the planks in this platform that respect life and respect the entrepreneurial spirit of this great country and those things, back to the social issues that are what Republicans, at least in the past, had articulated and tied to stand on. Now, finally, we have very solid planks in the platform that will allow us to build an even stronger foundation for our country. It’s all good and it’s encouraging. You would maybe have assumed that we would have gotten further away from those strong planks. But no, they're there, they're solid, we stand on them and again I believe that it is the right agenda for the country at this time. Very, very clear and contrasted tickets in this election November 4th. People are going to see the clear contrasts, you just go to the planks in our platforms and that’s where you see them.

Dobson: In your private conversations with Senator McCain, it is your impression that he also strongly supports those views? I know that he did not oppose that platform when it was written. Do you think he will implement it?

Palin: I do, from the bottom of my heart. I am such a strong believer that McCain believes in those strong planks and we do have good conversations about some of the details of the different planks and what they represent. I’m very heartened that John McCain … he doesn’t want a Vice President who will check the opinions … of me at the door and we talk about some of these and they’re very important. It’s most important though, as you’re suggesting, that Americans know that John McCain is solidly there on those solid planks in our platform that build the right agenda for America.

[Dobson asks what lessons she has learned. Palin says she can’t fight with the media, but has faith that their message will get out and faith that God will help them get that message out there. Dobson says millions of people are praying for her and asks if she is discouraged by the polls.]

Palin: I am not discouraged at all, even hearing those poll numbers because, for some reason, I have found myself over and over again in my life being put in these underdog positions and yet still when victory needed to be reached in order to meet this greater good, it’s always worked out just perfectly fine despite the fact that over and over again I’ve been, and I know John McCain has been, in underdog positions. To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder and it also strengthens my faith because I’m going to know at the end of the day, putting this in God’s hands, that the right thing for America will be done, the end of the day on November 4th. So I’m not discouraged at all, I’m just fine with the position that we are in today.

Dobson: [Talks about prayer call] “We were just asking for, rather boldly asking, for a miracle with regard to the election this year … let me just say that you that, regardless of the outcome of this election, we would love to have you come by and see us here at Focus on the Family sometime. I know that this is an extremely stressful time for you and we’re not asking you to come now, but when the time permits, we’ll roll out the red carpet for you.”

Palin: I don’t even need any kind of red carpet but I would absolutely love to. Dr. Dobson, Todd is sitting right next to me here in this vehicle before we get on an airplane, so Todd and I too, after I speak with you, I’ll share this conversation with him and we’ll be praying too for your ministry and for those pastors whom you have just mentioned also. Collectively, we can do all that we can within us to strengthen our country and to let Americans know that government has to be on their side, it’s their government and as we seek God’s wisdom and His will in this election, we have to have faith that it’s all going to be good at the end of the day there on November 4th as this country moves forward.

[Dobson and Tom Minnery gush about the interview.]

Tony Perkins "Troubled," Time Magazine Reports

Time Magazine's Massimo Calabresi just wrote an entire blog post lamenting the fact that "in the three presidential debates, McCain and Obama have completed a surprising sweep: no mention of 'God,' the 'Lord,' or even a higher power."

Calabresi concludes by declaring that this is especially "noteworthy" to "people who care about the presence of religion in politics."  And whom would those people be? 

"Whether intentional or not the discussion of God and the role of faith appears to have been relegated to the Saddleback forum in this general election,” says Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, who calls the development “troubling.”

Of course Perkins is troubled by it - his whole purpose in life is to equate God with the Republican Party and if the candidates aren't talking about God or the social issues the Religious Right care about, then his role in the process is diminished. 

If Calabresi is going to make bold declarations regarding "people who care about the presence of religion in politics," he might want to try and find examples beyond Religious Right activists who've dedicated their entire careers to trying to mix the two in a very dangerous way.

Racist GOP Newsletter in California

If people are up in arms over the latest mailing from the Virginia GOP, they ain't seen nothing yet. 

Check out this report from The Press-Enterprise in California:

The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women's group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps -- instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" -- a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps."

The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.

The group's president, Diane Fedele, said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the club's meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama made over the summer about how as an African-American he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

"It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness of his statement. I really don't want to go into it any further," Fedele said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn't my attempt."

...

"I didn't see it the way that it's being taken. I never connected," she said. "It was just food to me. It didn't mean anything else."

...

Sheila Raines, an African-American member of the club, was the first person to complain to Fedele about the newsletter. Raines, of San Bernardino, said she has worked hard to try to convince other minorities to join the Republican Party and now she feels betrayed.

"This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party," she said. "I'm really hurt. I cried for 45 minutes."

...

The newsletter is not the first such episode Barajas has had to respond to this week. The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday posted an image it said was captured from the Sacramento County GOP Web site that showed Obama in a turban next to Osama bin Laden.

It said: "The difference between Osama and Obama is just a little B.S." The site also encouraged members to "Waterboard Barack Obama," a reference to a torture technique. The Sacramento County party took down the material Tuesday after being criticized.

Mark Kirk, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County GOP chairman, said he expects Chairman Gary Ovitt to also have a talk with Fedele and to attend the group's local meeting next week to discuss the issue with members, although the county GOP has no formal oversight role over the club. Kirk said these kinds of depictions hurt the party's ongoing efforts to reach out to minorities.

I wonder if you could use those Obama Bucks to buy the Obama Waffles they were selling at the Values Voter Summit.

How To Feign Outrage, Fourteen Years After the Fact

For the last several days, the Right has been up in arms over this audio clip of Virginia Senate candidate Mark Warner warning that the state was on the verge of being taken over by the Religious Right

"Next weekend, you're going to see a coalition that has just about completely taken over the Republican Party in this state.

"And if they have their way, will take over state government, made up of the Christian Coalition, made up of right-to-lifers; but it's not just the right-to-lifers, it's made up of the NRA; but it's not just that, it's made up of the home schoolers; but not just that, it's made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of different views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to them and what it means to be an American.

Not surprisingly, it is being shopped around by Warner's opponent, Jim Gilmore,  who is currently getting crushed in the polls. 

So offensive were Warner's remarks, apparently, that the Family Research Council felt compelled to issue a statement:

Today, FRC Action decried comments made by Democrat Party Senate candidate Mark Warner. Warner, who served formerly as Governor of Virginia, was recently recorded speaking at a Democratic Party event. In his speech, Warner accused pro-lifers, homeschoolers, and members of the National Rifle Association, as threatening to "what it means to be an American."

...

"You have to wonder what Mark Warner finds so offensive about these groups," said FRC Action Executive Director David Nammo, "Is it the open practice of one's faith or the insistence on the right to bear arms that threatens Warner's America? The protection of innocent human life or the desire of parents to educate their own child? Perhaps Mark Warner should explain to the citizens of Virginia what parts of the Constitution he does agree with since it is clear he holds much of it suspect."

Oddly, nobody at the Family Research Council seems to know how to do any basic "research" - or understands the meaning of the words "recently recorded" - because, if they did, they'd realize that they probably should have issued this statement back in 1994 when Warner actually said it in relation to right-wing efforts to elect Iran-Contra criminal Oliver North ... or at least back in 2001 when the the RNC and Gilmore first tried to use the quote against him:

RADIO ATTACK AD DRAWS ANGRY DENIAL BY WARNER ; NATIONAL GOP SPOKESMAN DEFENDS COMMERCIAL
31 October 2001
The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Republicans launched a sharp-edged radio advertising attack on Mark R. Warner yesterday, saying the Democratic gubernatorial candidate views abortion foes, home-school advocates and "people of faith" as a threat to the nation.

Warner angrily denied the claim and demanded the GOP pull the commercial.

The 60-second ad is produced and paid for by the Republican National Committee, led by Gov. Jim Gilmore. It features a conversation between a man and a woman during which the woman suggests that Warner considers social and religious conservatives as "wanting to radically change American life, and said our views were threatening."

...

The commercial is based on remarks attributed to Warner seven years ago, shortly before Virginia Republicans met in Richmond to nominate Iran-contra figure Oliver L. North for the U.S. Senate.

North went on to lose to incumbent Democrat Charles S. Robb. At the time, Warner was chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

...

Referring to the expected nomination of North, a favorite of the Republican Party's conservative activists, Warner, according to a state GOP-supplied transcript, reportedly told the National Jewish Democrat Council on May 25, 1994:

"Next weekend, you're going to see a coalition that has just about completely taken over the Republican Party in this state.

"And if they have their way, will take over state government, made up of the Christian Coalition, made up of right-to-lifers; but it's not just the right-to-lifers, it's made up of the NRA; but it's not just that, it's made up of the home schoolers; but not just that, it's made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of different views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to them and what it means to be an American.

It’s Two Things in One

David Brody reports that Religious Right activists are descending on St. Louis in order to offer their prayers and support to Sarah Palin before her big debate:

Starting tonight, Palin supporters will gather at the vice-presidential debate site in St. Louis and hold prayer rallies for her.

This effort is being put together by The Christian Defense Coalition. They have a track record of holding prayer vigils and pro-life demonstrations on the big political and religious issues of the day. The Brody File has been told that big time Evangelical heavyweight Phyllis Schlafly will be there along with some members of Concerned Women for America, the Defense of Life group, homeschool groups and many more. In addition a co-chair from the Republican Party of Missouri will be there though I am told these events are not officially sanctioned by the GOP.

Organizer Reverend Patrick Mahoney tells me that if Palin wasn't on the ticket they would not be holding rallies. But he says they want to make a loud and clear statement that she has energized the faith community in a real and tangible way. So they'll be specifically praying for her and the issues that they believe she is passionate about like the life issue, traditional marriage, etc.

The inclination here by the media may be to dismiss these pro-life people of faith as a sideshow. Or to simply say that they are just craving media attention. Not so fast.

What they will be doing the next two days is simply a microcosm of what will be taking place by many Evangelicals across the country. They are praying for Palin. Why? Because first of all, her faith journey resonates with them and additionally it is important to remember that these folks understand that for the first time in national politics they have a pro-life Christian woman who they believe represents their faith and values.

That is one way of putting it.  Another, more accurate, way of putting it would be to say that anti-abortion activists are descending on St. Louis to protest Joe Biden which is, after all, how they described it last week:

Operation Rescue and the Christian Defense Coalition have announced plans for demonstrations surrounding the Vice-Presidential debate to be held in St. Louis on October 2.

The groups, which are coordinating with Defenders of the Unborn, Concerned Women for America, and other pro-life groups, have planned events that will both support pro-life Republican vice presidential nominee, Gov. Sarah Palin, and stand in opposition to the pro-abortion Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Joe Biden.

It’s kind of like how, back in January, the CDC announced it was hosting a “non-partisan prayer vigil” for all the presidential candidates in New Hampshire that was, in reality, an anti-abortion protest aimed at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Who Is Snubbing Evangelicals?

Earlier this week, we noted that Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals wasn’t making any friends on the Right by blasting John McCain for completely selling out to them.  It looks like Cizik has no fear of rubbing salt in the wound, telling Dan Gilgoff that the Religious Right’s party-line commitment to the GOP is “unbiblical. It says you don't think. If you're simply voting on same sex marriage and abortion, you're not thinking. What I'm saying is that a lot of evangelicals don't think, sad to say.”

But more interesting, especially in light of the fact that Rob Schenck and the Family Research Council are accusing Barack Obama of snubbing evangelicals, is the fact that, according to Cizik, the McCain campaign is completely snubbing the NAE and other leaders:

The McCain campaign has beefed up its religious outreach efforts recently. How is their evangelical outreach going?

We put in a request with the McCain campaign and it was never responded to. Many figures in the Republican Party have reached out to the campaign stating their concern that the candidate has not reached out to evangelical leaders, but it went nowhere. And since we're so deep into the campaign, we can only assume that we're not going to get an answer. We had some people, including a governor and a major party official, who said to the campaign, "I think you should meet with some of these evangelicals." I have subsequently interpreted that they didn't think they needed to because they had an idea of their own and that maybe that was Sarah Palin.

Has the Obama campaign reached out to the National Association of Evangelicals?

We put in a request and an answer came back rather quickly: They wanted us to come to a meeting in Chicago with some 25 other leaders. And I went. One is left to conclude that the McCain people have concluded that they don't need such a meeting.

Economic Crisis the Result of “Breakdown in the Family”

There have been several articles recently suggesting that with John McCain’s decision to name Sarah Palin as his running mate, the focus of the election was shifting toward wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage and that the so-called “culture war” was about to be reignited, to the benefit of the Republican Party.

But that was before the economy went into a meltdown and became the primary issue in the campaign.  Of course, just because the focus has shifted away from their issues doesn’t mean that the Religious Right isn’t desperately trying to find ways of exploiting the current economic crisis to further their own agenda:

While the economy clearly is at the forefront of voter priorities, conservative Christians also draw a connection between traditional social issues like abortion and gay marriage and the economy, said Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Family Research Council.

"As there's a breakdown in the family and the family weakens, it's only logical it will hit Wall Street," Perkins said. "A nation cannot be strong just because of a financial structure alone. It has to have strong families and values."

Obviously, as soon as women stop having abortions and gays stop trying to get married and adopt children everything on Wall Street will turn right around.  It’s as simple as that.

What Makes a Maverick?

I know I have written about this before and that there are bigger issues facing this nation at the moment, but it is driving me nuts, so I am writing about it again.

As I marveled at last time, the conventional media wisdom that John McCain's decision to tap Sarah Palin as his running mate was a sign that he was reclaiming his reputation as a "maverick" despite the fact that the choice was a complete and utter capitulation to the Religious Right.

I'm fully aware that trotting out definitions of words is a hackneyed device, but in this case, it seems kind of relevant - Maverick: an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party.

Back in 2000, McCain established his reputation as a "maverick" by bucking his "party" and especially the "group" of Religious Right activists who constitute that party's base with his infamous declaration that they were "agents of intolerance" and a "corrupting influences on religion and politics." So at least in that context, his reputation as a maverick was not completely underserved. 

But since then, he has completely caved to the realities of Republican politics, fallen back in line, and cravenly sublimated himself to the Right's demands.  Yet, for some reason, the media fails to recognize this glaringly obvious fact. 

But even more amazing is the fact that, ever since he named Palin to his ticket, the Religious Right has begun praising McCain's "maverickness."

Shortly after McCain made the announcement, the Family Research Council hailed Palin as "McCain's Co-Maverick." Earlier this month Gary Bauer declared that his "maverick reputation" would "appeal to swing voters." And now, buried in this long US News article, we get Michael Medved saying "Both Palin and McCain are mavericks, authentic, and original."

What group or party does the Right think McCain thwarted in picking Palin, other than his own VP short list of Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge?  The media and the pundits?  Whoever it was, it certainly wasn't the GOP or the Religious Right.  

For the media, McCain initially established his "maverick" reputation by exhibiting independence from the Republican Party and the Religious Right.  He has since negated that persona in a multitude of ways, much to the delight of the Republican Party and the Religious Right, who are now inexplicably crowing that McCain's "maverick" reputation will be advantageous in November.    

It seems that the media considering McCain a "maverick" because he once parted ways with the Republican Party and its right-wing base, and the Republican Party and its right-wing base thinks he's a "maverick" because he picked a running mate that confounded the media.

Needless to say, both cannot be true.  And, in fact, neither is.

Frankly, the fact that the Religious Right is now hailing McCain for his "maverick" reputation shows just how undeserved that reputation really is.  

What It Takes to Be President

There has been a lot of speculation about whether or not Sarah Palin has the necessary qualifications to be Vice President or, if necessary, President.  As such, McCain supporters have been desperately trying to come up evidence that she does, claiming that she has foreign policy experience because Alaska is near Russia, that she has national security credentials because she is "commander in chief" of the Alaska National Guard, and that “she knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America.”

Those efforts to prop up Palin came crashing down yesterday when top McCain’s surrogate Carly Fiorina admitted that Palin was unqualified to run a company such as Hewlett Packard - a comment for which Fiorina has now been “disappeared.”  

But as it turns out, concerns about experience and qualifications aren’t really all that important anyway, as Sen. Elizabeth Dole learned yesterday while hanging out with the good folks from the local Christian Coalition affiliate.  All that really matters is the fact that McCain is a “Christian and a hero”: 

Among those on bus were U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole; Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party chairman; Buddy Roemer, former Louisiana governor who is campaigning for John McCain; state Sen. Robert Pittenger, candidate for lieutenant governor; and Jack Sawyer, candidate for N.C. secretary of state.

More than 550 people came out for the 15th annual God and Country Banquet sponsored by the Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition. The group recognized candidates attending from parties, but the dinner was highlighted by speeches from Roemer, Dole and Pittenger.

"I want to live in a godly nation," said Walter Leake, coalition chairman and emcee of the event. Speakers included testimonies about their faith with their appeals for votes.

[Roemer] was clearly stumping for his longtime friend and told the story of McCain's faith during his prisoner-of-war experience.

"Being a hero doesn't make you a good president," he said. "But being a Christian and a hero is a good start where I come from."

Like McCain, Palin is a Christian and is certainly being treated like a hero, so I guess that’s all we really need to know.

Harry Jackson: Hurricanes, Hard Times Setup for Christians to Take Control

Bishop Harry Jackson, the Religious Right’s most visible African American spokesman, who has recently been shilling for an Astroturf campaign accusing environmentalists of waging a “war against the poor” got back basics when he kicked off this year’s Values Voter summit with a breakfast touting his High Impact Leadership Coalition, pushing his books, and asking for financial support for his anti-gay road tour in Florida to push a constitutional ban on same-sex couples getting married.

But Jackson also had his eye on a bigger prize – “We’re in a time of crisis when the Christians have to determine the course of the nation.” This isn’t a new theme for Jackson. At previous events he has called for activists to bring about “the rule and reign of the Cross” to America. Jackson was introduced by one of his associate pastors, who had sounded the same theme, saying, “now is the moment in history when Black and White churches in America must come together to direct the affairs of our nation.” It’s clear that electing the McCain-Palin ticket is an important step – the warm-up speaker was the chair of African Americans for McCain in Illinois who was promoting a new magazine for Black conservatives that pitches a David Barton-esque view of the Republican Party as the champion of Black America.

Jackson has adopted McCain’s audacious claim to be an outsider seeking change even thought Republicans have controlled the White House for the past eight years. Jackson was so eager to distance himself from the people he helped put into power that he engaged in some overt Bush-bashing, chastising the president and Karl Rove for selling out Christians by not forcing passage of the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment.

Jackson claimed that the series of hurricanes and tropical storms, the bad economy, and the war in Iraq are all part of God’s plan to create such hard times in America that people will turn to the church. “God is setting the state for our voice to be heard once again,” he said. “If they’re not going to listen to us in good times, it may take bad times to set that platform.” While joking that he didn’t want to sound like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, he said Wright raised an interesting question – is America, or should America, be under God’s judgment? Jackson said that if Christians, who he said have been playing defense for too long, would go on the offense and count on God’s help to overcome the nation’s sins, there’s still time to avoid that wrath. (Unless, I guess, you’re in the path of one of those stage-setting hurricanes.)

Jackson also told of being confronted in a Boston Market by a gay activist who confronted him about his role on an anti-gay conference call in California, which People For the American Way Foundation documented. “We have spies that are working against us; even in this meeting there may be some spies.” Jackson urged attendees to join in the 40 days of prayer and fasting that evangelical Christians in California have planned seeking God’s help in passing Proposition 8, and suggested it could also balance the fasting and prayers that Muslims all over the world are doing during Ramadan – “there is spiritual warfare going on.”

The Perils of Courting the Right

It is no secret that Barack Obama's campaign has made a concerted effort to reach out to evangelical voters in this election, especailly younger evangelicals.  Among those it has courted is Cameron Strang and his father, Charisma Magazine founder Steven Strang - who is more of an old-guard evangelical who was an early supporter of Mike Huckabee and, just last week, endorsed John McCain.  

Cameron Strang had even been tapped to deliver the benediction at the Democratic convention, but pulled out at the last minute over concerns that his presence could be seen as an endorsement.  But that doesn't mean that he doesn't have advice for the Obama campaign on how to deal with Sarah Palin and her extreme views on abortion:

Strang, who participated in a faith caucus at the convention but decided that speaking on national television would be too political, said Obama has a chance to peel away evangelicals, particularly the younger voters who read his magazine. Obama has effectively emphasized areas of common ground, like social justice and the environment, Strang said. But he warned of a backlash if Democrats hammer Palin's hard-line stance on abortion.

''If they use it as wedge issue, it will push away Christian voters and they will undo everything positive they've accomplished in terms of faith outreach,'' said Strang, who recently changed his voter registration from Republican to independent. ``I think a lot of moderate Christians are still up for grabs.''

As we have noted repeatedly in the past, the idea that there is a "new evangelical" movement afoot that can be wooed away from the Religious Right and the Republican Party hinges on the belief that many of the movement’s leaders and followers are more moderate on social issues such as abortion and homosexuality, or at least will not make those issues the sole basis of their voting decisions.

The fact that Strang is advising the Obama campaign not to expose Palin's ulta-right-wing views on abortion less he risk alienating "moderate Christians" just highlights the danger of making those assumptions.

John McCain: A Good Listener

As Tony Perkins explained to James Dobson’s audience earlier this week, the Religious Right is thrilled with John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate not only because Palin is everything they have been praying for, but because it demonstrates, for once, that McCain “can listen.” 

And not only will McCain “listen” to the Right, he will respond accordingly to their screams and threats – at least that is how Richard Viguerie sees it:

Conservatives who refused to fall in line behind the Republican Party--who maintained their independence, at the price of being ridiculed as "cranky" or "impossible to please"--are the ones responsible for John McCain's brilliant, game-changing selection of Sarah Palin, Richard A. Viguerie said.

"Those who backed John McCain as the 'lesser of two evils' did no favors to themselves, their movement, or to Senator McCain," said Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. "He needed to know what conservatives really thought, and he needed to know what had to be done to get conservatives enthusiastically on board his campaign.

"As we know now, what he had to do was pick Sarah Palin," he said.

[Credit goes to] conservatives, especially religious conservatives, who "went nuclear" in their criticism in the past couple of weeks before the announcement upon hearing that the pick might be Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge, or someone nearly as disastrous for the McCain campaign and the Republican Party. ("Those of us who spoke up strongly were roundly criticized by some conservatives," Viguerie noted.) It was our firestorm that stopped that catastrophe from coming to pass.

"Across this country, conservatives and Republicans at every level let John McCain know what he needed to do to get them fired up and excited and ready to go door-to-door and make phone calls and do all the things that have to be done. They told him, and he listened, and his selection of Sarah Palin has completely turned his campaign around … [T]hose conservatives who held to their principles are the men and women 'in the arena' who can claim their own share of John McCain and Sarah Palin's triumph last night."

So that is why Religious Right leaders - who, until last week, were nearly unanimously unenthusiastic about McCain - are now full-throated supporters:  because they stared him down and won and now know that he can be bullied and intimidated into doing their bidding.  

Quite a maverick.

Bauer Exposes McCain Campaign's Hands-On Role in Crafting GOP Platform

On Tuesday, Focus on the Family released audio of a special James Dobson radio program, recorded last Friday after John McCain's announcement that Sarah Palin would be his running mate.  Containing analysis of the decision from Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, Tom Minnery, and Kelly Shackelford, the group of right-wing heavyweights discussed everything from the elation at the announcement felt among those gathered for the Council for National Policy meeting to Gary Bauer’s role as the McCain campaign’s surrogate to the Republican Platform Committee in crafting the “the strongest pro-life platform in the history of the Republican Party.”

Among the most striking information was Gary Bauer’s revelation that, contrary to the McCain’s campaign’s claims that it was taking a hands-off approach to the platform, they were actively involved and supportive of the Right Wing’s efforts to craft the hardline document that emerged.   In fact, Bauer reports that he was tapped by the McCain campaign to be their surrogate and that the campaign was "very open to the kind of changes" the Religious Right was pushing.

Among the other interesting facts contained in the program was Shackelford’s declaration that CNP members felt that God was answering their prayers with Palin and Tony Perkins' assessment that McCain has shifted dramatically in their direction from a year ago and that his decision to name Palin as his running mate shows that “he can listen.” But perhaps the most entertaining thing about the program was the shame in Dobson’s voice as he explained how he has gone from a vocal critic of McCain to someone who, “if I went into the polling booth today, I would pull the lever for John McCain.”

Listen with player below or to the mp3 here

 

Dobson: Have you ever, in your life, seen as large a crowd of people give a standing ovation to [the Palin announcement on] CNN? Have you ever seen that happen?

Kelly Shackelford: I don’t think so and the other thing is, a number of people literally had tears in their eyes. I think that there was such pent-up worry, prayer that had been going on for so long and they really felt like the Lord was answering those prayers with somebody who is pro-life, somebody who is committed to the definition of marriage and the issues that we believe in so strongly.

Tony Perkins: This was a tremendous strategic decision by the McCain campaign.  They have seen social conservatives drifting away from them over the last year and, in part in the last year there’s been some pushing and shoving going on as the social conservatives have not signed on to the McCain campaign.  But he has shown …

Dobson: Tell me about it. I’ve been pretty explicit about it.

Perkins: And there’s a reason for that because he’s not where he is today a year ago.  But he has shown that he listens and I though two weeks ago at the Saddleback Forum he did a tremendous job at being straight-forward and he got the attention of social conservatives that he can listen, he can respond.  And then today, with this selection, I think the strongest among the names that have been out there, he has shown that he cares about these issues and has solidified a strong conservative, pro-life, pro-family ticket for the Republican Party.

Dobson: Gary, you have been advising the McCain campaign for some time and so you really signed on with him before any of the rest of us made up our minds …

Gary Bauer: I’ve been watching not only today, I’ve been watching the last couple of weeks and giving my advice to everybody I could within the McCain campaign.  I would disagree with my good friend Tony, I think this is where John McCain’s been for a long time.  He really does have a twenty-five year pro-life voting record, except for a couple of notable exceptions, but I thought this choice was just outstanding. I actually think over the last couple of weeks, from Saddleback where he was very clear on these issues to what he’s been emphasizing in his speeches and town meetings, the platform which was adopted this week – just an outstanding pro-life platform – and now this vice presidential selection, there’s just a real commitment that he’s showing here.

Dobson: I’ve been pretty vocal in my opposition to John McCain. I haven’t done it on Focus on the Family, but I’ve done it in the media and for some good reasons.  I could right now tick off fifteen or twenty things that have concerned me.  And, having made that statement, the assumption is that I must stay with it even if the circumstances change. And they have changed.  Saddleback changed me.  What I heard John McCain say at Saddleback didn’t eliminate all of the concerns but it did draw me in his direction.  And then, of course, this selection and other things.  Tony, you said McCain seems to be changing - Gary, you disagreed with that - but it sure looks that way to me.  And so, I am not endorsing John McCain.  I have only endorsed a presidential candidate once in my life and that was George Bush in the second term after I’d watched him for four years.  I just don’t endorse presidential candidates and I don’t see myself doing that this time. But I am moving closer and closer to being able to say … well, I’ll say it now, if I went into the polling booth today, I would pull the lever for John McCain.

Bauer: I got appointed by the McCain campaign to be their advisor on the platform.  It was an interesting assignment.  I arrived there, usually I’m on the outside beating on whoever the nominee is to do better, but when I got there and met with the McCain staff people I was immediately amazed, surprised and happy to hear them say “look, we think it’s a great platform already, it’s pro-life but we know people might want to strengthen it and we’re open to that.  We want to work with people, we don’t want to alienate anybody and we’d like you to go back and forth between the delegates and us and see if we can work these things out.”  I think that Kelly will affirm that, other than a few places, there really weren’t many brutal fights. Most of it was done in a very collegial way with the McCain people being very open to the kind of changes that made the platform draft even better than it was when it started.

Dobson: Would you agree that this is the strongest pro-life platform in the history of the Republican Party?

Shackelford:  There’s no doubt.  I was on that sub-committee and every pro-life leader who was there watching from Phyllis Schlafly to you name the pro-life group, they were all watching and they all said this is the strongest pro-life platform ever in the history of the party.   We not only kept the famous plank that was put in during the time of Ronald Reagan, but we added additional strong language that made it even stronger.  It was really incredible to be a part of this and I will affirm what Gary said; this is my third platform committee in a row and it was different than the last ones.  The McCain campaign not only did not fight us as severely as the last campaigns did but they actually were in favor of the platform becoming more conservative because they knew that’s where the people were.

Schlafly's Advice: Don't Marry Sarah Palin

When John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate, the Right could barely contain its glee and among those most ethused by the pick was Phyllis Schlafly who, even after Palin was a no-show at her convention reception, had nothing but praise for her and her priorities: 

Schlafly told WND McCain's choice of Palin was the best he could possibly have made.

"Sarah Palin has reinvigorated the entire Republican Party," she said. "And it's across the board. It's not just pro-lifers. She's a breath of fresh air. She's right on every issue."

Schlafly addressed criticism that Palin is hypocritical, because her demanding job as a political leader, while mothering five children, conflicts with the traditional values she espouses.

"We do stand up for the role of the full-time homemaker," Schlafly replied. "On the other hand, a lot of women work hard. I think people who don't have any children, or have one or two, don't understand what life is like with more children."

This reminded me of a post entitled "Don't Marry Phyllis Schlafly" that I wrote a few years back after Schlafly blasted Steve Forbes for apologizing for publishing a widely criticized piece by Michael Noer in his magazine entitled "Don't Marry Career Women."

In the original piece, Noer listed several reasons why "whatever you do, [no men should] marry a woman with a career."  When Forbes, the publisher, was forced to apologize for running the piece, Schlafly came to Noer's defense:

Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly feels Forbes has no reason to apologize since the facts and statistics Noer cited were sound. In fact, she suggests, an article like this should have been written 20 years ago, and this one still hits the right note today because, contrary to the feminist myth, a woman really cannot "have it all" -- at least, not all at the same time.

To Schlafly, this is a simple question of practicality. "You can't have it all at the same time. There are not that many hours in the day," she asserts. "Now, with our lengthened lifespan, a woman can have it all; I think I've had it all," she says, "but you don't have it at the same time. A baby is extremely demanding -- even more demanding than a husband."

But the issue Noer's article raises is not really about women who have careers, the pro-family spokeswoman points out. What the author is really highlighting in the Forbes article, she contends, is the problem of wives who set the wrong priorities.

"A lot of the newspapers ... have published articles about how some of the most highly educated women -- women who graduated from the elite colleges and then got graduate degrees like MBAs or JDs -- have put their career ahead of husband and family," Schlafly notes. "In many of these cases, in the woman's scale of values, the husband is ranking third," she says.

The real issue is not women having careers, Schlafly says, but women making their careers their highest priority, above family. When that type of situation takes place, she observes, it is not likely that a husband will stick around.

Presumably, Schlfaly's enthusiastic support of Palin stems from the fact that Palin has her priorities straight and won't be putting her "career ahead of husband and family" because, after all, a "baby is extremely demanding -- even more demanding than a husband."

We Want to Believe

Yesterday, David Barton wisely suggested that people ignore John McCain's reputation as a "maverick" and ignore whatever it is he says in favor of judging him based on his actual record.  With that view we couldn't agree more, but now it looks like Barton is so giddy by McCain's decision to name Sarah Palin as his running mate that he's gone into full-on Kool-Aid-drinking mode:

Delegates including David Barton of Aledo, a former vice chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, said McCain's choice of Palin had cemented support for the GOP ticket among faith voters who had some distrust of him.

"It was an affirmation to conservatives and faith voters that McCain really is a good guy. He's not just pandering," Barton said.

Although McCain had met with faith groups before announcing his choice of Palin, Barton said, "Everybody was at arm's length and said, ‘We'll see.' Now it's a full embrace."

Barton is right about one thing: McCain's not "just pandering" to the Right with the Palin pick, he's flagrantly and unabashedly pandering to them.

Sarah Palin Is Your New Ronald Reagan

In less than a week, one-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has gone from a complete unknown to savior of the Republican Party.  From the moment she was announced as John McCain's vice presidential pick, the Right has been gushing nonstop, heaping praise upon her, and proclaiming her the answer to all of their prayers.

And so it doesn't really come as much of a surprise that, after days of non-stop Palin hagiography, the Right is starting to run out of ways to express its adulation and that all that was left was to pay her the greatest compliment they know by christening her "the next Ronald Reagan":

"A week ago, conservatives and most Republicans were down-in-the-dumps, listless, unengaged. That lack of enthusiasm is a thing of the past. Tonight, thanks to Senator McCain and Governor Palin, conservatives and Republicans are fired up as they have not been since Ronald Reagan was president," he said.

"Sarah Palin is the next Ronald Reagan," Viguerie, the Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, said.

"In less than a week, Governor Sarah has captured the heart and soul of this convention, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement. She brings together social conservatives, and economic conservatives and libertarians, and people who are fed up with the Culture of Corruption that infests our nation's politics," he said.

"From this moment forward, there's no limit on where Sarah Palin might go," Viguerie concluded.

This is especially remarkable considering that Viguerie has, in recent years, been not only a militant critic of John McCain but the GOP in general - just a few months ago he was demanding the wholesale resignation of the Republican Party's leadership for destroying the GOP's reputation and having "failed - or outright betrayed - the conservative voters who put them in their positions."

How prevelant is this idea becoming?  Even Michael Reagan is making it:

I've been trying to convince my fellow conservatives that they have been wasting their time in a fruitless quest for a new Ronald Reagan to emerge and lead our party and our nation. I insisted that we'd never see his like again because he was one of a kind.

I was wrong!

Wednesday night I watched the Republican National Convention on television and there, before my very eyes, I saw my Dad reborn; only this time he's a she.

McCain’s Anti-Choice Choice

In the moments after John McCain revealed his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate, a group of right-wing luminaries held a conference call to publicly swoon over her selection. “She could not be a better Vice Presidential pick,” gushed Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group. Ken Blackwell, the controversial former Ohio Secretary of State and vice chairman of the GOP platform committee, concurred: “I just think that John McCain couldn’t have made a better choice.”

The reason for their enthusiasm was clear – abortion. Or rather, Palin’s opposition to it, even in cases of rape or incest. Blackwell called the McCain-Palin ticket the “strongest pro-life team with a pro-life platform in the history of the Republican party.” Coming from an anti-abortion zealot like Blackwell, that’s not faint praise.

Not surprisingly, the speakers thought Palin stacked up favorably against Joe Biden. In response to a question posed by Sarah Posner, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said that Palin is a good Catholic and Biden is no Catholic at all: “He's a Catholic who's contradicting one of the key tenants of Catholicism. And claiming that he's practicing is simply not true. You can't practice the faith when you deny it.” (Pavone failed to note that Palin was rebaptized into the Assemblies of God as a girl.)

McCain has worked for years to cultivate his maverick image, including deliberate efforts to obscure his strong anti-choice record and sentiments. But no such ambiguity is possible with Palin on the ticket. “For those who have had ambivalence or who have simply been unsure of how pro-life Senator McCain is – and of course his voting record is very strong on pro-life – now that ambivalence will certainly be counteracted by this VP selection,” said Pavone.

McCain shouldn’t take too much comfort in the heaps of praise from the far right because it cuts both ways. As he removes lingering doubts among Religious Right voters, he is creating new doubts among moderate voters who are increasingly seeing the holes in his maverick schtick. He’s riding a public opinion seesaw, and not even real straight talk will get him off it.

McCain's Capitulation to the Religious Right Now Complete

Back in 2000, John McCain solidified his "maverick" reputation by lambasting the Religious Right, labeling Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance" and decrying the Right's role within the Republican Party:

They are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country.

Since then, McCain has been working hard to get back in their good graces, though the Right has been openly skeptical and their support for him has been lukewarm at best.  But all of that changed with his decision to name relative-unknown Sarah Palin as his running mate.

I can say without exaggeration that, in all my years of watching the Right, I have never seen them as excited about anything as they are about the Palin nomination.  Nor, for that matter, have I ever seen a prominent politician more blatantly capitulate to their demands:

James Dobson, Focus on the Family:  "A lot of people were praying, and I believe Sarah Palin is God's answer.”

James Dobson: “[A]n outstanding choice that should be extremely reassuring to the conservative base of his party.”

James Dobson:  I have only endorsed one presidential candidate in my life and that was George Bush in the second term after I had watched him for four years … So I’m very reluctant to do that … But I can tell you that if I had to go into the [voting booth today], I would pull that lever.

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council: “Senator McCain made an outstanding pick.”

Connie Mackey, FRCAction:  “I am elated with Senator McCain's choice.”

Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel: "Absolutely brilliant choice.”

Richard Land: “Governor Palin will delight the Republican base.”

Rick Scarborough, Vision America, “I’m elated. I think it’s a superb choice."

Ralph Reed: “They’re beyond ecstatic. This is a home run.”

Gary Bauer, American Values: "[A] grand slam home run."

Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: “She is the best possible choice.”

Janet Folger, Faith2Action: “[T]he selection of Sarah Palin is more than ‘Brilliant!’ ‘Electrifying!’ and ‘Energizing!’ The selection of Sarah Palin will lead to words like: ‘Rejuvenating!’ ‘Victory!’ and ‘Landslide!’"

Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America: “Governor Palin will change the dynamics of the entire presidential race.”

Janice Shaw Crouse, CWA's Beverly LaHaye Institute: “She is an outstanding woman who will be an excellent role model for the nation's young people.”

David Barton, Wallbuilders: "The talk won't be about, 'look at Sarah Palin' as much as 'look at what McCain's choice of Palin says about McCain's core beliefs.”

Jonathan Falwell: “John McCain made it very clear that his administration was going to be a pro-life administration, and he proved that’s his belief and his passion today with the choice of Sarah Palin.”

Jerry Falwell, Jr.: “I think it’s a brilliant choice.”

Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life: “And then when [Palin] was announced — it was like you couldn’t breathe. [We] were grabbing each other and jumping up and down.”

Gary Marx, Judicial Confirmation Network: "I can tell you that this pick tells millions in the base of the party that they can trust McCain. More specifically that they can trust him with Supreme Court picks and other key appointments’"

David Keene, American Conservative Union: “The selection of Governor Palin is great news for conservatives, for the party and for the country. I predict any conservatives who have been lukewarm thus far in their support of the McCain candidacy will work their hearts out between now and November for the McCain-Palin ticket."

In eight years, John McCain has gone from attacking the Right's "corrupting influences on religion and politics" to answering James Dobson's prayers. Absolutely remarkable.

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Republican Party Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Monday 09/13/2010, 12:49pm
“Every state needs a least one sheriff like Joe Arpaio,” Sharron Angle told a convention of right-wing bloggers in Las Vegas. And now “Sheriff Joe” of Maricopa County, Arizona, intends to push his hardcore anti-immigrant agenda and promote SB 1070 around the country. After his stint on reality TV with Fox’s “Smile…You’re Under Arrest!” Sheriff Joe is looking to eclipse Tom Tancredo in anti-immigrant politics and demagoguery. Sheriff Joe will soon address a New Hampshire Republican Party conference and is also slated to speak at the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/09/2010, 11:24am
The other day we noted how the Religious Right was beginning to grow alarmed at the possibility that Republicans were going to focus solely on economic issues as they set out their electoral strategy and governing agenda, ignoring things like abortion and marriage because, as Haley Barbour says, talking about social issues just means the GOP is "using up valuable time and resources that can be used to talk to people about what they care about." Well, the fear appears to be quite real, prompting the architects of the Manhattan Declaration to send out an email warning that "... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/09/2010, 10:56am
Two separate reports have revealed the flood of corporate dollars buttressing the Republican Party’s push to retake the House and Senate this November. Big business, whether rewarding Republican endeavors to block progressive legislation such as Wall Street reform or simply expecting a GOP wave, has ramped up efforts to support Republican politicians and expenditure committees. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “in both the first and second quarters of this year, the broad finance, insurance and real estate sector has favored Republican candidates and committees in... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 09/07/2010, 10:49am
Earlier this year, House Republicans launched a website called "America Speaking Out," which allowed Americans to "share their priorities and ideas for a national policy agenda" that they wanted Congress to focus on. In a few weeks, House GOP leaders are expected to roll out set of guiding principles and agenda that is based on the suggestions they have received and reportedly distributed a 22-page draft packet to members earlier this month.  And the draft focuses largely on issues related to jobs, spending, health care, and the economy while almost entirely... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Monday 08/30/2010, 1:21pm
It may seem too obvious to be said, but let’s say it. Beck’s claim that his event was nonpolitical doesn’t pass the smell test, the laugh test, or any other test. He picked Sarah Palin to speak just because she’s a military mom, not because she’s the darling of the Tea Party movement, right?  Alveda King, who invoked “Uncle Martin” repeatedly with her own “I have a dream” speech (let’s just say his version’s place in history is secure), used her remarks to press two of her major political projects, criminalizing... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Saturday 08/28/2010, 1:41am
Right Wing Watch has been watching the recent morphing of Glenn Beck from political hatchet man into messianic religious figure. That self-transformation continued at America’s Divine Destiny, the Friday night warm-up to Beck’s Lincoln Memorial rally. The three-hour program at the Kennedy Center for the Arts combined gospel music, patriotic songs, and speeches about the need for spiritual renewal in America. It is impossible to overstate Beck’s assessment of the importance of his events. Toward the beginning of Divine Destiny, he stated , “this is the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 08/27/2010, 3:00pm
Gary Bauer marvels at Sarah Palin's star power: Gary Bauer, chairman of American Values, thinks it is evident that Palin still has a lot of star power. "Sarah Palin is the only figure in the Republican Party that can go into any mid-size city in America and put 10,000 people in an arena -- so she's a force to be reckoned with," he notes. While Julie Ingersoll actually attends fundariser headlined by Palin last night in Jacksonville, Florida: This was a fundraiser for Heroic Media, a faith-based non-profit that publicizes alternatives to abortion. Originally planned for an... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/26/2010, 5:31pm
Speaking of Religious Rigth activists being upset about the fact that Ken Mehlman has come out, you knew it was just a matter of time before Peter LaBarbera weighed in, which he is doing by blasting RNC Chair Michael Steele for saying he is happy for Mehlman and saying that this is proof of why gays must be kept out of the Republican Party: Why couldn’t Mr. Steele just have kept quiet about this tragic revelation by which another sexually confused man seeks to rationalize his misbehavior (sin) by declaring homosexuality part of his inherent being? Nope, instead, like a three-year-... MORE >