Republican Party

LOL Ridge: I Can Haz VP?

Ever since John McCain suggested last week that he was open to the possibility of naming a pro-choice running mate, perhaps someone like Tom Ridge, the reaction from the Right has been consistent and nearly unanimous agreement that doing so would be an utter disaster.

But apparently there are some in the GOP who still think it would be a good idea if McCain tapped someone like Ridge … Tom Ridge, for one:  

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said Sunday he thinks Republicans would accept a vice presidential candidate who supports abortion rights.

But, he said, whomever John McCain picks as a running mate should defer to McCain on the issue.

McCain opposes abortion rights, but he riled some conservatives last week when he suggested his running mate could — like Ridge — support abortion rights.

"What he was saying to the rest of the world is that we need to accept both points of view," Ridge said in a broadcast interview. "He's not judgmental about me or my belief. He just disagrees with me."

Ridge is believed to be on McCain's short list of vice presidential candidates, though it would be a major break with Republican orthodoxy for McCain to pick a running mate who supports abortion rights.

"I think that would be up to, first of all, to John to decide whether he wants a pro-choice running mate; then we would have to see how the Republican Party would rally around it," Ridge said. "At the end of the day, I think the Republican Party will be comfortable with whatever choice John makes."

Religious Right Leaders Bash Obama, Abortion Rights at "Non-Political” Event

A group of national Religious Right leaders used a press conference held in Washington the day before The Call – a “non-political” youth prayer rally on the mall – to talk about the event and to denounce Sen. Barack Obama and criticize Christians who are considering voting for him. Lou Engle, the increasingly visible organizer of similar rallies around the country said the event was designed to mobilize young Christians around ending abortion. Immediately after saying the event was not political, and was not about endorsing a candidate, he launched into an attack on Sen. Obama’s pro-choice record and implicitly questioned the candidate’s faith, describing politicians “who say they’re Christian.” Engle, who is also actively backing anti-gay ballot initiatives on marriage, called pro-choice and pro-equality efforts “false justice movements.” Bishop Harry Jackson, the most visible African American Religious Right spokesman, wasn’t coy about his political message for the day: if Sen. McCain chooses a pro-abortion vice president he will give the election to Obama. Jackson called it “tantamount to political suicide.” Jackson also returned to his standard denunciation of abortion as “black genocide” and “pandemic extermination.” Jackson said that America needs God’s favor, and that this year’s election – an important “expression of desire” for the people of God – will basically let God know whether we deserve it. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins said that it’s right for evangelicals to offer solutions on issues like AIDS, fiscal policy, and racial reconciliation, but that doesn’t mean all issues are equal. He said young evangelicals are more fervently anti-abortion than their parents, and that waning evangelical support for the Republican Party was a reflection of how poorly the party functioned in power, not a sign of reduced commitment. Asked about Sen. Obama’s outreach to evangelical voters, Jackson said he thought it was good to be considered a swing vote, and hoped that it could push both parties closer to evangelical concerns. Engle was less enthusiastic, denouncing Obama’s record on abortion issues in graphic terms and warning young evangelicals that if they compromised on abortion, history would stand in judgment of them the way it stands in judgment on churches’ silence on slavery. Former presidential candidate and long-shot VP possibility Mike Huckabee said the purpose of the event was “not political at all.” Huckabee, like Engle, cited Martin Luther King, Jr. as a role model, saying it took “not a politician but a preacher” to remind the country of the evils of racism. During Q&A, Huckabee said he’d support McCain no matter who he chose as VP, but he thought a pro-choice running mate would hurt McCain by draining enthusiasm and intensity from his evangelical supporters.

The McCain Meltdown

It is hard to overstate the shockwave that John McCain sent through the GOP’s right-wing base with his comments earlier this week that he would not rule out the possibility of naming a pro-choice running mate (though not a pro-gay one, of course).

Right-wing leaders were quick to denounce the statement, with Tony Perkins telling the Washington Times yesterday that “if he picks a pro-choice running mate, I don't see how he can win this race."  And today, Phyllis Schlafly weighed in, calling it a “mistake,” and others obviously share that assessment:

"If Tom Ridge is on the ticket, I will not be voting Republican," Home School Legal Defense Association President Mike Farris said told The Washington Times. He thought for a moment, then added: "I won't be voting Democratic either."

The widely influential founder and chairman of the American Family Association Chairman, Donald P. Wildmon, said a Ridge pick would be a "disaster for Republicans."

Concerned Women for America Chairman Beverly LaHaye said "many will walk" away from the Republican ticket if it includes a pro-choice vice president.

Elsewhere, state-based right-wing leaders, many of whom have had personal meetings with McCain, are likewise making their displeasure known

“It absolutely floored me,” said Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values. “It would doom him in Ohio.”

Burress emailed about a dozen “pro-family leaders” he knows outside Ohio and forwarded it to three McCain aides tasked with Christian conservative outreach.

“That choice will end his bid for the presidency and spell defeat for other Republican candidates,” Burress wrote in the message.

He and other Ohio conservatives met privately with McCain in June, and while the nominee didn’t promise them an anti-abortion rights running mate, his staff said they could “almost guarantee” that would be the case, Burress recalled.

Now, Burress said, “he’s not even sure [Christian conservatives] would vote for him let alone work for him if he picked a pro-abortion running mate.”

James Muffett, head of Michigan’s Citizens for Traditional Values, met with McCain along with a handful of other Michigan-based social conservatives Wednesday night.

To select a running mate who supports abortion rights would be “wrong-headed, short-sighted, fracture the Republican Party and not allow us to capitalize on the Democratic Party’s fracture right now,” Muffett argued.

“If he does that, it makes our job 100 times harder. It would dampen enthusiasm at a time when evangelicals are looking for ways to gin up enthusiasm.”

McCain, Muffett said, got that message in their meeting.

“Some people in the movement say it would be the kiss of death. He heard that in the room last night.”

Predictably, Gary Bauer - one of McCain’s earliest right-wing supporters who seems to only show up when the candidate does something to anger Bauer’s right-wing allies - appeared on the scene to assure them that there was nothing to worry about:

Gary Bauer, founder of the Campaign for Working Families, said he isn't worried.

"I’m confident that at the end of the day, the running mate will be pro-life," he told Family News in Focus.

McCain has a solid pro-life voting record on abortion issues and has promised to appoint "strict constructionists" to the Supreme Court.

First, The NBRA Is Going to Need a Time Machine

As we’ve noted several times in the past, the National Black Republican Association is a fringe right-wing group that seems to have little in the way of staff or money, yet still manages to generate attention for itself every election cycle by running ridiculous ads and then waiting for the media to report on them:

[NBRA Chair Frances] Rice managed to put up a "Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican" billboard in South Carolina this year, and, leading up to the elections, ran a radio ad in swing states. In the ad a black woman says, "Dr. King was a real man," and another responds, "You know he was a Republican."

Rice said she wanted to start a conversation about the history of the Republican Party. The tactic proved its worth in media coverage. She ticks off the news outlets that covered the campaign.

"I spent a few thousand and garnered half a million in free coverage by my estimate," Rice said.

NBRA.jpg

Given the success the NBRA has had with this tactic, they apparently have bigger plans in mind:  

A Sarasota-based group that grabbed national headlines when it put up several billboards in Florida proclaiming "Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican" says it will be doing it again.

This time the National Black Republican Association says it would like to put up 50 of the controversial billboards in Denver. The group wants the billboard to be up in time for the Democratic National Convention which is scheduled for August 25th - 28th.

Hmm … considering that the convention is now less than two weeks away, that seems like an expensive and almost impossible task.  But just to make sure, I called the advertising specialists at The Media Team in Denver to inquire about the cost and possibility of actually doing so.  

When I told them that I was interested in finding out the cost and availability of 50 billboards in Denver for the week of the convention, they literally laughed at me.  They then explained that the only things available at this late date would be Spanish language and low traffic billboards and, when I asked how much it would cost, hypothetically, to rent just one prime location billboard for the week of the convention, the estimate was $25,000, with the rates for other billboards ranging from $5,000 to $18,000 depending on location.  

So unless the NBRA has several hundred thousand dollars on hand – and a time machine that allows them to go back and make reservations for the billboards before they were all booked – it looks like this is just another self-aggrandizing boast designed to make it seem as if the NBRA has any influence at all.  

Right Says McCain Should Pick Ridge If He Wants To Lose

Just yesterday we were noting the Right’s repeated warnings to John McCain not to pick Mitt Romney as his running and their incessant clamoring for him to pick Mike Huckabee.  Now it looks like Huckabee himself is getting into the act:

"I think a lot of people, not just social conservatives, but a lot of the Republicans I know are not necessarily comfortable with Romney," Huckabee told CBSNews.com. "But it has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with inconsistencies in positions he's held, and that's it."

In our earlier post on this, we cited Tony Perkin’s advice that McCain needed to pick a running mate who is “strong where he is weak” and had a “record of delivering” on the issues that matter to the Right and speculated that McCain’s statement yesterday that he wasn’t ruling out the possibility of naming a pro-choice running mate, possibly Tom Ridge, was not going to go over well with the Right.

And it hasn’t:

But social-conservative leaders say a pro-choice nominee would cripple Mr. McCain politically with the Republican Party base.

"I think McCain has to have a running mate that clearly connects with social conservatives in the party," said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. "That is where he is lacking. So if he picks a pro-choice running mate, I don't see how he can win this race."

Asked whether social and religious conservatives would walk away from Mr. McCain if he picks Mr. Ridge or some other pro-choice running mate, Mr. Perkins said, "I'm not going to say people will stay home, but there is a core of voters whose level of enthusiasm influences people further from the core.

"So if McCain picks a pro-choice running mate, the strength of turnout on Election Day is not going to be there for him," Mr. Perkins said.

Considering that the Right’s support for McCain is tepid at best and hinges almost entirely on his choice of running-mate, McCain can hardly afford to pick someone like Ridge.  In fact, just last week, Richard Land told CBS that Ridge would be an unmitigated “catastrophe,” so it’s not as if McCain hasn’t been warned.

And just in case McCain needs any more advice on picking a running mate, Rick Santorum is there to give it to him:

If the Republican victory strategy is to disqualify Obama, McCain can't do anything that would disqualify himself in the minds of these less-than-ideological voters prepared to shift his way. As such, McCain's vice presidential pick has to be a nonevent, something of a yawner.

McCain needs someone who isn't going to upset the essential conservative base of the Republican Party, but will not raise red flags to moderates who have disqualified, or are ready to disqualify, Obama.

...

Better for John McCain to be safe than sorry.

How Many Pro-Hucakbee/Anti-Romney Efforts Do They Need?

Earlier today, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins participated in an on-line Q&A on The Washington Times’ website during which he set out the characteristics the Right is looking for in John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate.  His choice of words that the running mate “needs to be strong where he is weak” by having “have a record of delivering” on the issues that matter to the Right suggests that he, like so many others, is not particularly enthused about McCain:

Question: There has been a lot written about possible VP candidates for McCain that will be acceptable to the Christian value voters. Who are a few possibilities that you could see this coalition being comfortable with?

Answer: To date I have resisted the temptation to play the name game. Rather, I have focused on the qualities we would like to see in John McCain’s running mate. His running mate needs to be strong where he is weak, someone who is not reluctant to talk about the issues that remain top priority for most social conservatives; the sanctity of human life, the preservation of traditional marriage and the strengthening of the family. Not only must this person be able to communicate a concern and a commitment for these issues, they have to have a record of delivering on these and other issues.

So who would be a good choice?  Mike Hucakbee, of course:

Answer: There is no question in my mind that Mike Huckabee would raise the intensity level of support for John McCain, something the Senator really needs. I do have some policy differences with Mike, but we share a common view on most, if not all, of the social policy issues. I think he would compliment John McCain and I would be supportive of him as John McCain's running mate.

It seems that just about every right-wing activist currently supporting McCain wants him to pick Hucakbee and is warning him not to pick Mitt Romney.  In fact, as we reported yesterday, McCain is currently in Michigan meeting with former Huckabee supporters who are telling him the same thing yet again.  And just in case that message hasn’t yet sunk in, another group of Huckabee supporters in Ohio are starting groups all over the state in order to get the message out: 

Some Ohio social conservatives say they know whom they don't want John McCain to pick as his running mate: former Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney.

In a move that may say as much about their continuing uneasiness regarding McCain as it does about their mistrust of Romney, an alliance of Buckeye State social conservatives is trying to form a group: Social Conservatives Against Romney.

Although McCain is keeping his potential vice-presidential choices a tightly held secret, Romney is said to be on the short list.

"Christians are praying earnestly for the right person," said Diane Stover, a Parma resident who was a delegate for GOP candidate Mike Huckabee, a favorite of many social conservatives, in the Ohio primary. "McCain wouldn't have been our person. But we definitely feel like it would be a huge help to John McCain to pick someone we can be confident will represent the value-voter position. I don't think it helps him (McCain) at all in Ohio if he picks Romney."

Jane Maines of Hamilton, also a former Huckabee delegate, said the anti-Romney Ohioans hope their group will spread to other states.

Stover and Maines are among about a dozen activists who met near Cincinnati last week, with Stover participating via phone from the Cleveland area, to discuss how to launch the group.

"We're hoping this will become hugely widespread," Maines said.

Presumably, the fact that McCain is not ruling out the possibility of naming a pro-choice running mate is only going to displease the Right further:

IN A WIDE-RANGING INTERVIEW aboard his campaign plane this morning, John McCain said that he is open to choosing a pro-choice running mate and named former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge as someone who merits serious consideration despite his support for abortion rights. McCain also criticized Barack Obama's presidential campaign for attempts to "politicize" the debate over Georgia and criticized President Bush for failing to recognize the true nature of Vladimir Putin.

"I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party," McCain said. "And I also feel that--and I'm not trying to equivocate here--that Americans want us to work together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don't think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out."

Keyes Supporters Try to Throw McCain Off CA Ballot

While Alan Keyes is busy penning 11,000 word attacks against John McCain and his right-wing supporters, his own supporters in the American Independent Party are hard at work trying to get McCain tossed from the ballot in California:

A John McCain presidency would be illegal because the Arizona senator was not born in the United States, says a lawsuit filed this week by the American Independent Party.

The minor party says it wants McCain's name removed from ballots in California because federal law would bar the former Vietnam War POW from taking office were he to be elected in November, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution disqualifies McCain from assuming office because he was born in the Commonwealth of Panama in 1936, while his father was stationed at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, the lawsuit contends.

The American Independent Party claims it will be "irreparably harmed by Senator McCain's illegal and illegitimate presence on the ballot." The plaintiffs in the case want McCain enjoined from running for president.

Also named in the lawsuit are the Republican National Committee and the California Republican Party. The lawsuit argues the GOP is engaging in "unfair competition" by putting forth an "illegitimate" presidential nominee.

"The harm sustained by being forced to compete against-and potentially be defeated by-and illegal and illegitimate campaign cannot be monetarily remedied nor can it be remedied after the November general election in any manner," the petition said.

The lawsuit was brought by Markham Robinson of Vacaville, Calif., chairman-elect of the American Independent Party. The AIP has nominated author Alan Keyes for president.

The Right’s Half-Hearted Support For McCain

Matt Taibbi, fresh off his time undercover at John Hagee’s church, returns to the pages of Rolling Stone to chronicle John McCain’s on-going struggle to win over the Christian Right. Taibbi tracked down Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel who was deeply involved in the July meeting in Colorado where a variety of right-wing heavy-hitter decided to finally  back McCain because they basically had no other option and then issued their own “Declaration of American Values” which, Staver tells Taibbi, they want to make clear was not a declaration of support for McCain:

It's McCain's newfound status as the lesser of two evils that recently won him a previously unthinkable triumph — the pledged support of more than 100 Christian groups who met in Denver on July 1st to create a so-called "Declaration of American Values." Organized by Mat Staver, chairman of the fundamentalist group Liberty Counsel, the declaration was an attempt to reunite a Christian right that, as Staver tells me, had suffered "through a fractious primary season. There were a lot of hurt feelings." The group — which included notables on the religious right like Phyllis Schlafly and Tim Lahaye — settled on a list of 10 basic principles, including the perennial sanctity of life and anti-gay-marriage stuff, as well as some weirder and less biblically obvious demands supporting unfettered gun ownership and opposing taxation "of a progressive nature."

And while the group came out in support of McCain, Staver is anxious that this not be interpreted as a broad expression of enthusiasm by the Christian right. "Uh, the media somewhat didn't accurately report that," he says with obvious fright in his voice. "This wasn't a Declaration of American Values in support of John McCain. This was a statement of support for those core values." It was agreed, Staver clarifies, that supporting McCain in this election was merely the best choice for the "short term." And the reason for that, he says, is that the election of Barack Obama would "decimate American values." From there, Staver is off and running about Obama's record on abortion rights and gay marriage, and how generally an Obama election would bring about the end of civilization; he said almost nothing about McCain.

This is a point Staver seems eager to get across, as he told the same thing to Dan Gilgoff back in July, explaining that their support for McCain was done out of political necessity and is aimed at asserting their influence within the Republican Party in order to try and prevent this sort of situation in the future: 

Last week's decision by nearly 100 conservative Christian activists meeting in Denver to coalesce around presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain was a major coup for a candidate whose relationship with the Christian Right has been famously stormy. But the Denver meeting's organizer, Mathew Staver--founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law--says the activists' new unity around McCain should not be taken as evidence of a stepped-up religious outreach effort by the Arizona senator, or as a sign that evangelicals are warming to him personally.

In fact, Staver said in an interview yesterday that much of the Denver meeting was focused on building a long-term strategy for the Christian Right to avoid getting stuck with another figure like McCain.

Taibbi also relates this anecdote, which suggests either that James Dobson has changed his mind once again on whether he’ll support McCain or that his spokesman can’t keep track of his waffling:

As a result, the most influential leaders on the Christian right are keeping their distance. "Uh, no," says a spokesman for Focus on the Family, when I ask if Dobson has changed his mind about McCain, even with Obama on the ticket. "He hasn't changed his mind. No way."

Richard Land Doth Protest Too Much

Back when Fred Thompson was being hailed as the Republican Party’s savior, there was one man showering Thompson with praise every opportunity he had: Richard Land.  Last July, Land gushed to the Washington Post that Thompson was the second coming of Reagan and the great right-wing hope:

"I'm around a lot of Baptists," Land said. "They find Fred Thompson to be a tantalizing combination of charisma, conviction and electability. He's got a Reaganesque ability to connect with ordinary folk that is powerful."

Land added: "He also has the same Teflon coating that Reagan had: Bad stuff just doesn't stick."

Despite his obvious support for Thompson over the other GOP candidates, Land insisted then, and continues to insist today, that he does not endorse candidates and is now citing that bogus position as justification for the fact that he is not being courted hard by John McCain:

CBSNews.com: You've not always been the biggest McCain fan. Has he done a good job in this campaign reaching out to you, and reaching out to the Southern Baptists you represent?

Richard Land: Well, I don't endorse candidates. And so, girls who don't dance don't get invited to as many dances. I have not been the main object of Senator McCain's attention because he knows I don't endorse candidates. It's my understanding that he has been reaching out to people that are considered opinion makers in the evangelical and the conservative Catholic world. I've had some contacts with the campaign. They have called me and asked me questions from time to time. And I have met with the senator a couple of times.

But just because he doesn’t “endorse” candidates, whatever that means, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have all sorts of opinions and advice for the McCain campaign regarding the issue of judges and his running mate:

I think he's done a pretty good job. I think that the speech that he gave at Wake Forest on judges was a very helpful one--in which he reiterated that he was looking at Alito and Roberts as the kind of judges that he would appoint to be confirmed.

I think that the vice presidential choice that John McCain makes is probably the most important choice he's going to make in this entire campaign. Because he has no room for error, no margin for doubt. If he picks a pro-choice running mate, it will confirm the unease and the mistrust that some evangelicals--and don't forget this, social conservative Catholics--feel about McCain.

If he picks a pro-life running mate, it will help to ease their concerns and confirm to them that, while he may not have been their first choice, he may not have been their second choice, that it's better to vote for a third class fireman than it is to allow a first class arsonist to become president.

Land goes on to rule out potential VP’s like Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge while praising Mike Hucakbee, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Eric Cantor, and reiterating his attack that Barack Obama is the “most radically pro-abortion candidate to ever be nominated by a major party” and predicting that Obama will have no success in his efforts to “peel off a sizeable chunk of white evangelicals” because they have no intention of “surrendering their pro-life values.” 

But still Land insists that not only is he not endorsing any candidate, he’s not even supporting one, while making his preference perfectly clear to anyone who can connect the dots:

CBSNews.com: Now, finally, I know you can't endorse anybody. But, there's no doubt who you're supporting.

Richard Land: Well, I don't support anybody. I do what I call upon Southern Baptists to do. I say that Southern Baptist pastors should never endorse candidates. But I think that Christians, of all stripes, should vote their values, their beliefs, and their convictions. And that those are far more important than their economic self interest. And so, I plan to practice what I preach. I'm going to vote my values, my beliefs, and my convictions. I don't endorse candidates. But I look for candidates who endorse my values and my beliefs and my convictions. And I will leave people to connect their own dots.

What is the National Black Republican Association?

We’ve written about the National Black Republican Association a few times in the past, mostly to point out that they are a small, fringe group that tries to make a name for itself every election season by doing things like running ridiculous ads about how the "Democratic Party is a racist party.” 

Over the weekend, the Sarasota Herald Tribune published a lengthy profile of NBRA Chairman Frances Rice and her antics, which seem to be accomplishing little more than angering and alienating her would-be political allies:

When hearing that the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Jim Greer, had expressed disappointment in her magazine, The Black Republican, which Greer had secured party money to publish, Rice dismissed it with a wave of her hand.

The magazine featured a picture of Ku Klux Klan members burning a cross, with the caption "Every person in this photograph was a Democrat."

Article titles included "Democrats embrace their child molesters," and "Top 10 Democratic sex scandals in Congress," and "Democrats wage war on God."

"Obviously we weren't consulted before she decided to do any of this," said Tony Cooper, president of the Tampa Black Republican Club. "It's a fruitless debate and it may conjure up more ill will toward the party. We should be spending money on debating the Democrats on the issues."

Said Deon Long, president of Florida's Federation of Black Republican Clubs: "We thought those billboards were asinine."

Greer, the state party chairman, said the party is no longer donating to the NBRA. While pictures of himself and Gov. Charlie Crist were on the cover of the magazine, along with favorable articles about them, Greer said he had no knowledge of the other content until after the magazine was published.

"Mrs. Rice has some very strong views on certain issues," Greer said. "It showed us that before we donate to anything, regardless of how it appears, the party needs to ensure it takes a look at all the content."

The article notes that Palm Beach County Republican Party donated $20,000 to start the NBRA back in 2005 and, since then, “nearly everyone else originally part of the NBRA … has since dropped out. The original board included eight members from around the country, and Rice's husband. In a matter of months, all the board members except Rice, her husband and Cadogan resigned.”  Apparently the final straw came after Rice insisted on sending out a press release praising President Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina. 

Rice appears to run the organization with an iron fist, accusing those who disagree with her or not a being “a real Republican” and seemingly having a complete disregard for tax laws governing non-profit organizations, with the Tribune reporting that Rice has shuttered NRBA’s 527 and is relying on donations that have come through the NBRA’s non-profit 501c4 arm to engage in what appears to be partisan electoral work despite the fact that “under the IRS code, [501 c4s] are not allowed to help elect candidates or push partisan politics as their primary purpose.”

But Rice seems to have no regrets about her tactics or her role as a fringe, right-wing activist – in fact, she seems to thrive on it:

"This is the first time in my life that I have felt I am actually doing something about what the Democrats have done in the past and are doing now to black people," Rice said. "If the Democrats had left us alone after the Republicans freed us from slavery we wouldn't be having this discussion today. They are keeping blacks in virtual slavery."

Grassley Gets Bounced From Iowa Delegation

Normally, merely being a Republican Senator from any state in the nation would all but assure said Senator of getting a spot on his or her state’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in September.  But not if you are Charles Grassley of Iowa and your state party has been taken over by right-wing zealots who are upset about your investigation into potential financial improprieties at several high-profile televangelist ministries:   

Evangelical Christians in Iowa, dominant in the state's Republican Party, have denied Sen. Charles E. Grassley his request for a place on the state's delegation to this summer's Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Mr. Grassley may attend the party's Sept. 1-4 nominating convention in St. Paul, but not as a voting delegate.

With a majority of nine out of 17 members on the Iowa Republican central committee, religious conservatives made Iowa Christian Alliance President Steve Scheffler chairman of Iowa's 40-member delegation in a vote immediately after their state party convention July 12.

"The Republican Party of Iowa is moving significantly to the right on social issues," the just-ousted Iowa Republican National Committee member Steve Roberts told The Washington Times. "It hurts John McCain's chances to win this state."

Other party officials said money for the party is drying up because of past mismanagement and current religious dominance, which has turned traditional Republican politics upside down.

"It's pretty well controlled now by the Christian Alliance," Mr. Roberts said. "If somebody came to me and wanted to be a delegate to the national party convention, I used to say, 'Talk to the state party chairman or to Grassley.' Now it's very simple. You go to the Christian Alliance, and they determine who is a delegate, and you have to do exactly as they say."

In recent weeks, religious activists replaced Mr. Roberts as the national Republican committeeman and also replaced the national committeewoman with pro-life advocates who also oppose gay marriage.

Barring Mr. Grassley from voting-delegate status is seen as a blow to him as the senior Republican official in the state, who normally might have led the convention's delegation.

Mr. Grassley had said "yes" when asked by Iowa Republican Chairman Stewart Iverson if he wanted to be a voting delegate to the national convention, Mr. Iverson said.

Political observers in Iowa saw the move against Mr. Grassley as retribution for his having tangled with evangelical pastors in his state. He initiated a Senate Finance Committee investigation of six televangelists for conspicuous personal spending.

The Ever-Principled James Dobson

It was just five months ago that James Dobson declared unequivocally that he would not, under any circumstances, ever support John McCain for president, saying “I cannot, and I will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience.”   In fact, so opposed to McCain was Dobson that he went so far as to organize an effort to secure one million signatures in opposition to McCain’s nomination and then publicly reiterated his vehement opposition to his nomination just a few months later.  

But wouldn’t you know it, like every other craven political calculation and empty threat he has ever made, Dobson has changed his mind and concluded that Barack Obama is such a monumental threat to this nation that he almost has no other choice but to blatantly violate his own conscience for the greater good of the Republican Party:

Conservative Christian leader James Dobson has softened his stance against Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, saying he could reverse his position and endorse the Arizona senator despite serious misgivings.

"I never thought I would hear myself saying this," Dobson said in a radio broadcast to air Monday. "... While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might."

So why is Dobson suddenly changing his tune?  In short, he is absolutely terrified of Obama:

He is also supportive of the entire gay activist agenda.  We're not just talking about showing respect for people and equal rights for all citizens of the United States.  It’s not referring to it in those terms. He’s talking about homosexual marriage. I mean, he makes no bones about that. He's talking about hate crimes legislation which would limit religious liberty, I have no doubt about that, that ministers and others - people like us - are going to very quickly be prohibited from expressing your faith and your theology on certain views.  … Just so many aspects of his views on that issue that keep me awake at night frankly … that he is so extreme, that he does threaten traditional family life and pro-moral values … This has been the most difficult moral dilemma for me.  It’s why you haven’t heard me say much about it because I have struggled on this issue.  And there are some concerns here that matter to me more than my own life and neither of the candidates is consistent with my views in that regard. But Senator McCain is certainly closer to them then Senator Obama, by a wide margin. And there's no doubt, at least no doubt in my mind, about whose policies will result in more babies being killed. Or who will do the greatest damage to the institution of marriage and the family. I'm convinced that Senator McCain comes closer to what I believe. So I am not endorsing Senator McCain today … But as of this moment, I have to take into account the fact that Senator John McCain has voted pro-life consistently and that's a fact. He says he favors marriage between a man and a woman, I believe that. He opposes homosexual adoption. He favors smaller government and lower taxes and he seems to understand the Muslim threat, which matters a lot to me – I am very concerned about that.

Below is the full transcript of today’s program in which Dobson and the Southern Baptist Convention's Al Mohler explain just how “alarming” Barack Obama’s political and theological views are and the dire threat he poses to “traditional family life and pro-moral values":

Dobson Snubs Scarborough's "One Day Crusade"

Phill Kline has been something of a right-wing cause célèbre ever since he used his position as Attorney General in Kansas to launch a one-man crusade against Planned Parenthood and subpoena "records of more than 80 women and girls who received abortions in 2003 at two clinics" in the state, ostensibly in a "search for evidence of illegal late-term abortions and child rape." As it turned out, it was his obsession with abortion that did him in when he was up for re-election in 2006 when he lost his position to Paul Morrison. But then, in an odd twist, the Johnson County Republican Party's precinct leaders elected him to finish out the remainder of Morrison's term as Johnson Country Attorney General and now he is running for re-election, even though he hasn't been particularly keen on actually showing up for work. And now the Kansas City Star reports that Klein is scheduled to join Rick Scarborough at one of his one-day "Crusade to Save America" events on July 28th in Overland Park - and Scarborough is insisting that this is not election-related at all:
A conservative organization based in Texas is reaching out to pastors and their churches in Johnson County before the upcoming Aug. 5 primary. The Rev. Rick Scarborough, who founded Vision America, said this week that his group would not be endorsing any candidate. But Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline, who is seeking a full four-year term, is expected to share his faith at three of four events set up for clergy and at a public rally July 28, Scarborough said. Scarborough said Kline would appear not as a candidate but as district attorney. “We can’t endorse a candidate and don’t, but we do hope people will vote not as Republicans or Democrats but as followers of Christ,” Scarborough said. “We try to get Christians to vote their biblical values.” ... Kline has been “forewarned and carefully advised” that nothing will be said about his candidacy, Scarborough said. “Legally, any elected official can come to an event and discuss his faith,” Scarborough said. Kline also is expected to provide an update to his constituents on his criminal case against Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Overland Park, where abortions are performed.
Not too long ago, James Dobson personally endorsed Kline's re-election bid and Scarborough even invited Dobson to participate in the event, but it looks like even James Dobson has enough sense to avoid being seen in public with the likes of these two right-wing zealots:
Organizers had hoped that James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, would speak at the rally, but a spokesman with the group said he would not be able to attend.

Feuding Anti-Abortion Activists Agree: Obama Bad

When Randall Terry, founder of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, recently sued Troy Newman over the use of the name, he certainly opened up a can of worms.

A number of former OR activists issued a statement on Newman’s behalf, calling for Terry’s repentance for “unbiblical lifestyle decisions”; “[W]e can no longer remain silent while Mr. Terry continues to fleece unsuspecting pro-life people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars for his personal and selfish gain,” they added. Terry responded with his own list of supporters vouching for his character.

And Flip Benham, who runs Operation Rescue/Operation Save America, put aside his distaste for Terry (“Giving more money to Randall Terry is like giving booze to an alcoholic,” he has said) to attack both Newman and the former OR activists who criticized Terry. “These are the same ones who would not stand with Operation Rescue leadership in the fall of 1993 and call the premeditated shooting (murder) of abortionists, sin,’” wrote Benham, recalling the darkest period of the militant anti-abortion movement.

But while Flip Benham’s Operation Rescue and Troy Newman’s Operation Rescue remain locked in their bitter name dispute, there is at least one thing they can agree on: Barack Obama.

Newman’s OR called for anti-abortion activists to descend upon an Obama appearance at the National Council of La Raza convention in San Diego this past weekend:

“Abortionists are famous for targeting minority communities and those who are most vulnerable. When Obama throws his support behind the abortion industry, he is also tacitly supporting the exploitation of Latinos and African Americans,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger. “Operation Rescue urges all pro-life supporters in the San Diego area to let their voices be heard in protest of Obama’s extremist abortion policies, and his tacit approval of the abortion industry’s despicable pattern of racial exploitation.”

Meanwhile, Benham’s group is conducting an anti-abortion campaign in Atlanta, which doesn’t seem to have much to do with Obama. But in announcing a church OR plans to picket, the group adds:

According to their bulletin, this is a UCC church which will host the Human Rights Campaign Gospel Concert. The HRC is the largest group advocating gay & lesbian rights and the UCC is the denomination of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Barak Obama. For the first time in the history of our nation, we have a man running for president who is neither a Christian nor a patriot.

Lest John McCain get too excited about this new source of support, they don’t have a whole lot of nice things to say about him, either. Benham wrote back in October, “[T]here is no way we true evangelical Christians will support Giuliani, McCain, Thompson, or Romney.”

And Randall Terry, who led a small band of protesters against GOP candidate Rudy Giuliani over the winter, recycled the same language (“an enemy inside your camp”) for McCain in an interview with Playboy:

Q: What impact would a John McCain presidency have on the pro-life agenda?

A: If McCain would appoint judges who would overturn Roe, it could be a huge boon. I don’t think we have any assurance that would happen. Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter and Sandra Day O’Connor were all appointed by Republican presidents who did not do their homework. If presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. had done what they said they would do, we would already have overturned Roe because we wouldn’t have had Kennedy, Souter and O’Connor. There’s a very strong movement afoot in the conservative wing of the Republican Party to deny McCain the White House. Their attitude is, an enemy outside your camp makes you vigilant and unites you, but an enemy inside your camp makes you dead because he can cut your neck in the night or poison your food by day.

The Predictable Return of the National Black Republican Association

Via Sam Stein, we learn that the National Black Republican Association has made another of its election year forays onto the political scene with yet another series of ads spouting all sorts of nonsense.  

They first made a name for themselves back in 2006 when they ran a few ads, with one claiming that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican and another stating that “Democrats have bamboozled blacks” and “want to keep us poor while voting only Democrat.”  And now that the 2008 election if upon the nation, the NBRA has re-emerged with a new series of ads – one calling the Democratic Party racist, the other calling Barack Obama an elitist (Stein has the video):

1. Racist Democrats and Obama

Narrator: The Democratic Party is a racist party.

Bill and Hillary Clinton played the race card against Barack Obama.

Hillary supporter Paul Begala said the Democratic Party can't win with just "eggheads and African-Americans."

Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell said a large block of white Democrats in Pennsylvania would not vote for Obama because he is black.

Hillary said her supporters are white Democrats who will not vote for a black man.

The Democrats claim all the racist Democrats became Republicans.

That's not true.

Racist Democrats declared they would vote for a "yellow dog" before a Republican because the Republican Party was the party for blacks.

Bull Conner, Lester Maddox, and George Wallace died Democrats. Former Klansman Robert Byrd is still a Democrat in Congress.

Today racist Democrats will not vote for Obama, a black man.

Learn the truth.

Visit our website at http://www.NBRA.info

----------

2. Arrogant Obama

Narrator: Dr. King said judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

Barack Obama sounds good, but character is judged by action when no one is looking.

Obama voted no on the minimum wage bill.

Obama said no to school choice scholarships for poor black children trapped in failing schools.

Obama voted yes for a bill to kill babies born alive in a botched abortion.

Bitter is what Obama called blacks and whites who love God.

Racist is what Obama called his white grandmother who raised him and made sacrifices so Obama could get a good education and become a millionaire.

Obama's friends are terrorist Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright who said innocent Americans deserved to die on September 11th.

Obama is an arrogant elitist who turned his back on poor blacks and his own country.

Learn the truth.

Visit our website at http://www.NBRA.info

These ads raise the questions of what the NBRA actually does other than running controversial ads every couple of years and just how much of an impact the organization has within the conservative movement?  Judging by their appearance at last year’s CPAC conference, the answer to both is not very much.

This is the main hall where most of the speakers and panels were hosted:

CPAC1.jpg

This is the tiny room at the end of a well-hidden hallway where the NBRA assured a few dozen listeners that the organization was slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with because last year their website received over one thousand visitors:

CPAC2.jpg

Major Columnist: Obama Not a Christian

Cal Thomas’s syndicated column, which is printed in hundreds of newspapers, seldom strays from the right-wing line. There is one subject, though, where Thomas has been critical of the Right: The columnist, who helped establish the modern Religious Right as a lieutenant for Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, has since denounced such “cynical harvesting” of conservative Christians’ votes. There was a “perception that the church had become an appendage to the Republican Party,” he wrote, adding that “little was accomplished in the political arena and much was lost in the spiritual realm, as many came to believe that to be a Christian meant you also must be ‘converted’ to the Republican Party and adopt the GOP agenda and its tactics.”

But if Thomas is nominally a critic of the Religious Right, he is still unable to resist employing its most crass and shameless tactic: attacking the faith of his political opponents. Reacting to Barack Obama’s outreach to young Christians, Thomas attempts to disqualify Obama from the religion.

Obama has declared himself a committed Christian. He can call himself anything he likes, but there are certain markers among the evangelicals he is courting that one must meet in order to qualify for that label.

Thomas offers an interpretation of media reports on the particulars of Obama’s faith—what the candidate says about hell, for example—and pronounces a verdict: Not only is what is supposedly in Obama’s heart “contrary to what Evangelicals and most Catholics believe,” Thomas claims, but he is not even a Christian. Instead, according to the columnist, Obama is a “false prophet.”

Here’s Obama again: “I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.”

Any first-year seminary student could deconstruct such “works salvation” and wishful thinking. Obama either hasn’t read the Bible, or if he has, doesn’t believe it if he embraces such thin theological wisps.

Obama can call himself anything he likes, but there is a clear requirement for one to qualify as a Christian and Obama doesn’t meet that requirement. One cannot deny central tenets of the Christian faith, including the deity and uniqueness of Christ as the sole mediator between God and Man and be a Christian. Such people do have a label applied to them in Scripture. They are called “false prophets.”

This kind of perverse attack is nothing new—indeed, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah offered a similar column a couple weeks ago on his far-right website. And in practicing this kind of politics, Thomas is merely joining alongside marginal groups who assert that only those with certain political views can be “true Christians,” and more broadly, rejoining the Religious Right effort to merge religion and partisan politics.

But while the rumors casting aspersions on Obama’s faith continue to swirl aimlessly in e-mail forwards, on disreputable websites, and among fringe groups, today they are being uncritically promoted in hundreds of newspapers. Thomas—even as he denounces in name the Religious Right, and even as he promotes a book against political polarization—is doing his part to legitimize religious inquisition as a campaign strategy.

The “Most Honest Book” Ralph Reed Has Ever Written

Ever since losing the Republican primary for Lt. Governor in Georgia thanks to his ties to corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed’s once stratospheric career has come fully crashing back to earth.

Once hailed as “The Right Hand of God,” Reed built the Christian Coalition into one of the most powerful political organizations in the country in the mid-1990s, only to watch its, and his, influence wane after backing Bob Dole in 1996.  Shortly thereafter, Reed left the Coalition, which went into a tailspin, while he set up his own public relations and public affairs firm, Century Strategies, in Georgia with an eye on running for office.  Things looked good, with Reed becoming chairman of the Georgia Republican Party in 2002 and serving a key role in the Bush campaign in 2004, until his shady business dealings with Jack Abramoff came to light and doomed his chance of winning elected office.

Since then, Reed has more or less fallen off the public radar, though he has been spotted occasionally offering analysis on CNN, stumping with Mitt Romney, and offering political advice to John McCain.  But with his political career seemingly at a standstill, it looks like Reed has decided to try out a new career as the author of a new political thriller:

As the general election approaches, a contentious battle for the Democratic nomination continues right up to the convention between the two remaining candidates. The Republican contender is a military hawk, loathed by the religious right. And the country has the possibility of the first African-American president.

Campaign 2008? No, the plot for "Dark Horse," a political thriller by Ralph Reed.

Mr. Reed, the 46-year-old former head of the Christian Coalition and a onetime darling of the Republican Party who fell from grace, has penned a work of fiction that mirrors the current political landscape. But he put his own twist on the race. The defeated Democratic candidate becomes a born-again Christian and wins the White House as an independent.

Of course, just because Reed is taking a break from his political work doesn’t mean that his new book doesn’t serve the very narrative he has been honing for two decades:

In an interview, Mr. Reed calls the book "a fable of sorts." "If the Republican Party were to try to chart a course without the faith-based constituency that has become critical to its success," Mr. Reed says, "it will find itself in permanent minority status.”

Reed told the Wall Street Journal that this novel was the "most honest book, without question, I've written."  Considering that Reed has penned several books in the past, all of them nonfiction, it seems a little curious that he considers his one work of fiction to be the “most honest” thing he’s ever written.

Reed Advises McCain Not to Court Right-Wing Leaders

You know that something odd is happening within the Republican Party when a high-profile Religious Right leader is publicly advising John McCain NOT to seek the endorsement of other high-profile Religious Right leaders.  

And you know that something really odd is happening when that figure is Ralph Reed, whose own political career tanked thanks to McCain’s own investigation into the corrupt world of Jack Abramoff.   Yet here Reed is, nearly two years later, doling out campaign advice to McCain as the candidate struggles to overcome the controversy generated by the endorsements of John Hagee and Rod Parsley:

John McCain should stop seeking endorsements from evangelical pastors and instead appeal directly to their church members, said Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition executive director.

“John McCain doesn't need to be standing at a bank of microphones next to a particular leader,'' Reed said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's “Political Capital With Al Hunt,'' to be broadcast today. “My advice would be stay away from endorsements and stick to the issues.''

Reed, 46, said McCain's strategy of wooing evangelicals shouldn't be “top down,'' and his meetings with leaders and activists should be held in private.

“He needs to connect with them'' by touting his opposition to same-sex marriage and his anti-abortion record, said Reed, a regional director of President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.

McCain has made “some real progress'' in repairing his relationship with evangelicals, Reed said. He cited a May 6 speech at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in which McCain promised to choose judges in the mold of U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Both were among the five justices who voted in June 2007 to weaken the senator's landmark campaign-finance law.

“It was one of the best speeches on judicial conservative philosophy from a Republican nominee in my career,'' Reed said.

McCain clearly needs some help on figuring out how best to woo the right-wing base he needs in November, but it’s not clear that he should be taking advice from a guy who lost his own Republican primary race because of his history of exploiting that base for professional gain.

Viguerie Demands Wholesale Republican Resignations

Richard Viguerie is not happy about the current state of the GOP: "The Republican Party must have new leadership, or conservatives will continue to withhold support, and the Party will crash in flames in November ... Accordingly, Republican Party leaders must resign. Leaders in the White House, the Congress, and the Republican National Committee and its affiliates, along with most Republican leaders at the state level, have failed – or outright betrayed – the conservative voters who put them in their positions. The result is that the Republican Party's brand has become a negative to an extent greater than in the Watergate era, perhaps even worse than in the days of Herbert Hoover."

The Right Prepares to Challenge the IRS

It is no secret that, heading into the 2008 election, the Republican Party’s right-wing base is anything but energized about having to vote for John McCain.  Facing dim prospects, the McCain campaign is doing what it can to court the Right, as is the RNC, while Religious Right power-brokers are working overtime to get pastors involved all over the country. 

For instance, a few weeks ago, Kenyn Cureton, the Family Research Council’s Vice President for Church Ministries, appeared on Janet Folger’s “Faith2Action” radio program where he revealed their plans to encourage pastors to speak out leading up to the election and, in his words, “cross the line”:

 “The pastors need to speak clearly about it. I’ll tell you we are working with the Alliance Defense Fund on a series of sermons this fall for pastors to preach, so that they educate their people on the issues.

“We’re gonna be talking about the value of life, the value of family and the value of freedom, basically talking about abortion and stem-cell research,” he continued, “and then also about the gay agenda and then finally about our Christian heritage and how it’s being stripped from every corner of society. And then finally we’re gonna be doing a candidate comparison message that is going to ask pastors to cross the line.”

At the time, it wasn’t know exactly what FRC and the Alliance Defense Fund were planning, but today the ADF revealed that it intends to find preachers who are willing to defy the current tax laws and openly challenge the IRS:

A conservative legal-advocacy group is enlisting ministers to use their pulpits to preach about election candidates this September, defying a tax law that bars churches from engaging in politics.

Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale, Ariz., nonprofit, is hoping at least one sermon will prompt the Internal Revenue Service to investigate, sparking a court battle that could get the tax provision declared unconstitutional. Alliance lawyers represent churches in disputes with the IRS over alleged partisan activity.

The action marks the latest attempt by a conservative organization to help clergy harness their congregations to sway elections. The protest is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 28, a little more than a month before the general election, in a year when religious concerns and preachers have been a regular part of the political debate.

As Americans United’s Rob Boston put it, “If a few misguided churches want to become cogs in a political machine, they can simply give up their tax exemptions and play by the same tax and election-law rules as everybody else.”   But the Right refuses to do that and has decided, instead, to challenge the constitutionality of the law in the court.

And given the current make-up of the Supreme Court and the likelihood that the next president will be placing one or more justices on the Court, it is quite possible that the outcome of this right-wing legal challenge, should it make it to the high court, will rest heavily on the outcome of the very election they are seeking to influence.

Syndicate content

Republican Party Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 04/21/2010, 2:21pm
Remember just a few months ago when Scott Brown was elected to the US Senate, winning the seat held by the late Ted Kennedy and everybody was talking about how it signaled the rebirth of the conservative movement, not just in Massachusetts but nationwide? Even Brian Camenker of MassResistance was giddy about it. Well, it looks like the dream has quickly faded, as Camenker and other Massachusetts conservatives are vowing to sit out the coming election:  Social conservatives – abortion foes, gay marriage opponents, transgender rights critics – may sit out the 2010... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 04/14/2010, 10:30am
It looks like Tea Party activists are starting to get a little more savvy about the image they portray and trying to counter the movement's growing reputation as the natural home for cranks, as Orly Taitz has been dropped from a Tax Day Tea Party in California at which several GOP candidates are scheduled to speak:  Several California Republican political candidates, including Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina, were scheduled to share the stage this week with one of the leaders of the "birther" movement that claims President Obama was not born in this country and is thus... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 04/07/2010, 5:24pm
Ben Smith reports that Richard Land is apparently quite smitten with Marco Rubio and is tossing out his name as a possible presidential candidate in 2012:  Marco Rubio's remarkable fundraising haul -- $3.6 million this quarter, he just announced -- is a reminder of the scale of his stardom inside the Republican Party, all of whose core constituencies seem to like the guy. He's already hearing every day (and brushing it off) that he should run for president in 2012, and at the inevitable moment in the cycle (as in every party, every cycle) when Republicans panic about their field of... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/22/2010, 9:37am
Last night, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Senate's version of health care reform legislation, making it the latest step in what has been a long and bitter process to overhaul the nation's health care system.  And given how vehemently opposed the Right has been to this effort, it doesn't come as much of a surprise to see that their response to this development has been nothing short of apoplectic, starting with the Susan B. Anthony List which had been planning on giving Rep. Bart Stupak its "Defender of Life" Award but has now publicly rescinded the offer:... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 03/18/2010, 11:40am
Via Americans United, we see that the Virginia legislature has passed a resolution commending Pat Robertson for his many right-wing accomplishments [PDF] in honor of his upcoming 80th birthday: WHEREAS, Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson, an inspirational televangelist and longtime host of the Christian television program, The 700 Club, is recognized in 2010 for his many contributions to the Commonwealth and his fellow citizens; and WHEREAS, Dr. Robertson was born on March 22, 1930, in Lexington, Virginia, the son of Absalom Willis Robertson and Gladys Churchill Robertson, graduated from... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/15/2010, 11:22am
There have been several articles recently on the tension between the traditional Religious Right social conservatives and the ascendent Tea Party activists, due primarily to the fact that the lattter has not made the former's anti-gay, anti-choice concerns a part of the agenda.  And while the Religious Right groups have been working hard to shoe-horn their agenda into the Tea Party movement and claim the mantle, nothing better represents their growing nervousness that they are being left on the sidelines by the GOP than this Washington Post op-ed by the Susan B. Anthony List's... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/12/2010, 11:00am
Ever since Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll, traditional Religious Right activists have been arguing that the event was overtaken by Libertarians and therefore did not represent "true" conservatives ... a belief that was only reinforced by the fact that Young Americans for Freedom's Ryan Sorba was booed by the audience for his attack from the stage on the conservative gay group GOProud. For decades, CPAC has been the conservative gathering in Washington, but this year a man who for years had been relegated to the sidelines of the movement suddenly won the event's straw... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/08/2010, 6:55pm
Pat Robertson wants it known that he did not blame the earthquake in Chile on the persecution of Augusto Pinochet. It's amazing how quickly people go from "I don't care who you are, this is funny" to "I deeply apologize" when they get caught for sending out racist emails. Today, California State Sen. Roy Ashburn admitted he was gay, but also defended his anti-gay voting record. Hannah Giles will be a featured speaker at the Franklin County [PA] Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner. Conservatives hit back at Liz Cheney and company over their attacks... MORE >