Republican Party

Brownback and GOP Losing Pro-Life Cred Over Sebelius

In yesterday’s round-up we mentioned that American Life League President Judie Brown had declared that, due to Sen. Sam Brownback's support of Kathleen Sebelius' nomination to become Secretary of Health and Human Services, he had lost the right to ever be called “pro-life” again.

And Brown is not alone in calling out Brownback from apparently squandering his pro-life credentials by backing Sebelius – Jill Stanek piles on as well, blasting him for being apparently unconcerned about what sort of “damage this abortion lover” will do to the country:  

That some pro-lifers don't understand the harm done is also disturbing … Brownback thinks he needs to move to the middle if he's going to get the keys to the governor's mansion in 2010.

But here is where Brownback in particular made a common pro-life politician's mistake, which too many pro-lifers accept: Casting dreams for what he could do for us tomorrow, Brownback didn't do the right thing today.

I don't care what pro-life politicians promise they will do for me tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. I only care what they do for me today. In fact, they're only where they are today because they cast dreams in a previous campaign to do something for me today.

Now to the damage this abortion lover could do as HHS secretary.

Operation Rescue is likewise livid:

"It is unimaginable that a Catholic pro-lifer such as Sen. Brownback would support Sebelius' nomination to a post where she can advance her extremist abortion agenda on the national level. There is so much documentation of her ardent support of indicted late-term abortionist George Tiller that is hard to believe that the Senator from Kansas is simply ignorant of her record. We pray that Mr. Martin's information is in error," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

"We at Operation Rescue are urging our supporters to contact Sen. Brownback's office and ask for confirmation on this story," said Newman. "Our own calls to his office have been met with equivocation. We believe that the people have a right to know the truth on where the Senator stands."

[An interesting side-note: Human Life International rips into Catholic United for backing Sebelius, asking if “the word 'integrity' means to these self-proclaimed 'faithful Catholics’” but says not a word about Brownback, who is also Catholic.]

But the Family Research Council is not so much concerned with Brownback’s failure to oppose her as it is with the entire Republican Party’s failure to stand up for the pro-life agenda by sinking her nomination:

The biggest example of this divide between conservatives and the GOP may be found in President Obama's pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). With the exception so far of Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the nomination of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kans.)--arguably the most pro-abortion governor in the nation -- has been met by the Republican leadership with a collective yawn. Here is a woman who aligns herself against 80% of the country in suggesting that the government knows better than parents in children's health decisions, and yet the GOP can't muster the will to fight her nomination. As governor, she hosted a private reception for a notorious partial-birth abortionist, vetoed bills that would have made abortion clinics cleaner for women, and blocked court reforms that would have helped to prevent third-term abortions. Like President Obama, she even opposed protection for infants who are born alive during an abortion.

If Republicans won't take a stand now, when will they? Once Sebelius is confirmed, she will control the largest government agency in America with more power and resources to advance a radical social agenda that will drive a deeper wedge between parents and their children. Grassroots conservatives understand what's at stake here. Why doesn't the Republican leadership?

Right Wing Round-Up

Today's best reporting on the Right from around the web:

  • Steve Benen examines Michael Steele's pathetically abject apology to Rush Limbaugh.
  • Speaking of Limbaugh, Media Matters catches Tony Perkins proclaiming that Limbaugh "is more in touch with the conservative base of the Republican party than most Republican leaders."
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center says that "the Mississippi Legislature has voted once again to honor an occasion organized by a staunch white supremacist."
  • RH Reality Check catches Life News calling Catholics United a bunch of "fake Catholics."
  • Americans United's Rob Boston is "underwhelmed by the news that James Dobson will no longer serve as chairman of Focus on the Family."
  • Crooks and Liars has posted a good clip from the Daily Show's coverage of CPAC.
  • Finally, Media Matters posted a big collection of quotes from Republican Senators who had previously challenged the constitutionality of filibustering judicial nominees.

An Epic Battle Brewing in Texas

We've covered the forthcoming showdown between Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry and Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison a few times already, primarily to note that state-level Religious Right figures like David Barton and Rick Scarborough have already started to line up behind Perry in what is shaping up to be an epic and nasty primary as Hutchison challenges Perry in the GOP's gubernatorial primary.

Today, Politico reports that players on the ground are expecting a battle like nothing they have ever seen:

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison hasn’t formally announced she’s running for governor, but Texas Republicans are nevertheless gearing up for a knock-down, drag-out 2010 primary brawl between Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry, a race that will pit the nation’s longest-serving sitting governor against one of its most popular statewide politicians.

Perry’s campaign has already slammed Hutchison as “Kay Bailout Hutchison” because of her support for President George W. Bush’s bailout legislation last year — and Perry’s State of the State address last month focused on the Republican Party’s failures in Washington. It was reported that a Perry operative was recently digging into City Hall documents in search of unfavorable information about Hutchison’s husband, a prominent bond attorney.

Hutchison’s camp has returned fire by portraying Perry as an ineffectual executive who has worn out his welcome in Texas.Even Sarah Palin has gotten into the act, endorsing Perry and suggesting Hutchison was not sufficiently opposed to abortion rights.

“The level of animosity between these two is unbelievable. In a business that thrives on animosity, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. This is going to be a war,” said one senior GOP operative from Texas. “The governor doesn’t like being nudged out, and the senator believes she’s entitled to the governorship — she gave the guy a chance four years ago.”

“This is one of those races where people avert their gaze, because it portends to be so ugly and nasty that a lot of people don’t want to have much to do with it,” added longtime Texas Republican pollster David Hill.

A recent poll shows Hutchison leading Perry by twenty-five points, and so Perry has gotten to work shoring up support from the state's right-wing base:

Part of Perry’s strategy is to render her unacceptable to conservative voters who traditionally make up a large share of the primary electorate. He recently spoke at an anti-abortion rally, where he touted his support of legislation that would require doctors to show women seeking an abortion a sonogram.

He recently drew headlines as one of several Southern governors who threatened to turn down a portion of the stimulus money directed to their states.

“Perry is clearly catering to the hard-core conservatives. These are people that dominate at the state party level,” said [James Henson, the director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas.]

As Mark McKinnon, the media adviser to former President Bush, put it: "This will be a hall of fame Texas political brawl. Even if you don’t have a favorite, this is a race that will be entertaining just to hear the shoulder pads crack.”

Rick Santorum Just Like All Those Other Losers

Last week we noted that one of the defining messages at the Conservative Political Action Conference was that Republicans have lost control of Congress and the White House not because the voters had rejected the conservative agenda, but because they GOP had failed to fully embrace that agenda.

You see, conservative principles can never and have never failed and so the GOP's political losses can only be attributed to the party's failure to adhere to those principles, leading to strange statements like the one made by Rep. Paul Ryan explaining that Democrats massive victories in the last two elections are proof that it is really conservative values that are winning.

This sort of logic also leads to odd statements such as this

Former Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum says conservatives lost the majority in Washington because they were unethical, incompetent and unprincipled.

Santorum told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington that even though the media claims conservatism failed in 2008, it was “conservatives who failed conservatism and that failed America.”

He said the Republican Party became rife with dishonest politicians who claimed to carry the conservative mantle but were not willing to implement conservative principles.

I see.  So it was all those unethical, incompetent and unprincipled “conservatives who failed conservatism" that were thrown out of office, causing the GOP to lose its majority in Congress and control of the White House? 

An interesting theory, especially coming from Former Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum.

Is that how he lost his seat to a Democrat in 2006, by being an incompetent and dishonest politician who failed conservatism? 

CPAC: Paul Ryan's Pretzel Logic

The Conservative Political Action Conference is currently underway and the first speaker, Congressman Paul Ryan, sought to rally the GOP's shock troops by proclaiming that "the Republican Party's road out of the wilderness leads through CPAC" and then offering up a rather convoluted explanation of why they have been devastated at the polls in recent elections.

One of the articles of faith among those on the Right is that their party has suffered at the polls in recent years because the GOP has abandoned the conservative agenda, not that voters have rejected that agenda. 

Of course, in order for that sort of argument to make sense, you have take it to its logical conclusion by arguing that the massive Democratic wins in the last two election cycles were, in reality, wins for conservative values - which is exactly the argument Ryan made during his speech:

If you are so inclined, you can watch CPAC's live stream here.

CPAC is Coming, Lower Your Expectations

The Washington Times reports that organizers of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference are expecting record turn-out this year as the movement tries to get its act together after seeing its Republican allies tossed out of office during the last several elections:

CPAC is expected to draw nearly 9,000 activists and college students from across the country, up from the record 7,000 who attended last year, when the main attractions were personal appearances by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the four remaining Republican presidential nomination hopefuls - former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene says that CPAC is an opportunity for movement leaders to find ways to overcome its current problems and win back the trust of voters … and he sees hope for them all in the fact that GOP is, at the moment, exhibiting an ability to stay on message:

“In calling President Obama's $787 billion plan a 'spending' rather than a 'stimulus' package, the Republican Party finally is showing signs of doing a better job of formulating its message,” Mr. Keene told reporters at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

If Republicans voting essentially in lock-step in opposition to President Obama’s efforts to ameliorate our current economic crisis because it was a “spending” bill rather than a “stimulus” bill is their best evidence that things are turning around for them, then it look like they are going to be wandering in the political wilderness for several election cycles to come.

Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Anyway, CPAC starts tomorrow and the American Family Association will be streaming it live, so you’ll be able to watch it here.

One last thing, I am the only one who finds the AFA's choice of image for its CPAC site a little odd:

Was Mitt Romney's speech dropping out of the presidential race really the highlight of last year's event? How sad is that?

LaBarbera Continues His Crusade Against the Log Cabin Republicans

A few weeks ago, Peter LaBarbera unleashed a pre-emptive attack against new Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, warning him not to even consider meeting with the Log Cabin Republicans, whom he called "homosexual activists whose agenda would restrict our precious religious and First Amendment freedoms by using the government to promote aberrant sexual lifestyles."

On a related note, we mentioned last week that John McCain's daughter and former campaign manager are scheduled to speak at the LCR's convention in April ... and guess what?  LaBarbera is not happy about that either:

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, says McCain is taking the wrong message to young voters.

"I'm afraid that some Republicans are going to think, 'Hey, we have to go pro-gay and try to be hip to get the youth vote,'" suggests LaBarbera. "Look, the kind of youth who are going to be the long-term heroes in the Republican Party are going to be the principled youth of today -- and the principled youth don't want us to play around or go half-way on homosexuality, or just fight gay marriage and not anything else."

Also speaking April 17 at the Log Cabin conference will be Steve Schmidt, John McCain's former campaign manager. The topic of Schmidt's address is "Moving Forward." LaBarbera admits he feels "very sorry" for people like Schmidt, who has a lesbian sister who is living in a domestic-partner relationship.

"They believe that they're showing love for their family member by promoting homosexuality and embracing homosexuality -- and that's just not the case," the Christian activist emphasizes. "Homosexuality is a sin whether your sister or brother or son is engaged in it. We want to hope that those people will come out of that lifestyle because it's wrong."

This latest salvo comes amid a feud LaBarbera is having with Jamie Ensley, the president of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, who responded to LaBarbera's attack on the LCR and Steele by calling LaBarbera's Americans For Truth About Homosexuality a “radical Christian domestic terrorist group” and comparing it to Nazis.

Huckabee Rolls Out the Robo-Calls

Yesterday, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported that Mike Huckabee is working hard to hold on to the influence he gained during the Republican primary via his political action committee, Huck PAC.  Unfortunately, Huckabee's popularity with grassroots conservatives has not necessarily been translating into significant funding, and so Huck PAC is focusing, at the moment, on building up an army of volunteers:

The former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate this week will boost his political action committee's effort to string together a nationwide web of grass-roots organizers.

That network, with foundation-laying parties set for more than 120 homes Thursday night, is meant to push conservative causes forward and to fight much of the work supported by a similar - and larger - coalition topped by President Barack Obama.

...

Looking ahead, Huckabee's outfit appears ready to focus less on dollar signs than on door knockers. During his presidential run, Huckabee surprised the political world by stretching his low-budget campaign into a second-place showing, with much of his support swelling up from evangelical Christians and those who favor a national sales tax.

So far, that combination of light wallets and devout followers seems to be propping up Huck PAC.

The PAC has been outpaced both in fundraising and in direct candidate support by that of Romney ... Romney's Free and Strong America PAC, begun roughly at the same time as Huckabee's, spread more than $230,000 to 80 congressional candidates last year. Huckabee spent about $49,000 to support political causes last year, including 30 candidates ranging from Republican presidential nominee John McCain to an Iowa state legislative hopeful.  

Given his relatively small fundraising totals, perhaps what Huckabee needs to generate some cash for his PAC is some new controversial issue he can start hammering away on in order to scare up donations, kind of like he tried to do a few weeks ago with the stimulus bill. 

Maybe something like the Freedom of Choice Act ... and as Marc Ambinder reports, that seems to be exactly what he's doing:

Ex-AR Gov. Mike Huckabee has recorded an automated telephone call warning pro-lifers that Democrats and President Obama plan to eliminate all state and federal laws restricting abortion. The calls have been reported in Virginia and Washington State. The caller identification traces the origin of the recording to a Northern Virginia telephone number, 703-263-0488; that number is used by FiSERV, Inc. an automated call center used by conservative groups. Huckabee's statement refers to the Freedom of Choice Act, which President Obama has promised to sign into law, although it has not yet been introduced in the new Congress. Proponents say the law would simply codify the regime that Roe v. Wade allows and would reduce abortions; opponents insist that it's not constitutional and would effectively reduce the latitude that states have to restrict abortion. A spokesperson for Huckabee's PAC did not return an e-mail seeking comment.

You've got to hand it to Huckabee; for all his talk of bringing a new message to the Republican Party, he sure does have a knack for trotting out the standard right-wing tropes whenever he needs to raise some money or remind everyone that he is still around.

Update: We have been informed by FiSERV that they were not the originator of this call:

In fact, Fiserv was not the originator of those calls, nor are we an automated call center or a telemarketer. Fiserv is the leading technology company for the financial services industry.

We operated a data center in Virginia using that number for incoming calls, but last year we sold that business, and no longer own that number. When we contacted the phone carrier about why our name was still on the caller ID, they said the number is now used by ccAdvertising, who may be conducting the Robocalls. The carrier is working to remove the Fiserv name, as it is not correct.

The Right In Disarray As Lay-Offs Loom

CQ has a good article noting that both the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives, two of the core segments of the Republican Party’s base, are in disarray and see no figure on the horizon at the moment who is capable of unifying either movement, much less bringing them together.  In fact, about the only option they have at the moment is to come together in opposition to President Obama and try to derail his political agenda: 

Other movement leaders, such as former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a Texas Republican who now chairs the grass-roots small-government group FreedomWorks, are dismayed over the $700 billion financial industry bailout, pushed last year by President George W. Bush and supported in the end by almost half the Republicans in the House and two out of three from the GOP in the Senate. “It’s a dangerous time for fiscal conservatism,” he said.

Indeed, many conservatives say they have little hope that congressional Republican leaders will carry their standard, said Richard Viguerie, the conservative direct-mail guru who helped stir the Reagan revolution in 1980. “Who in the world is ever going to follow Mitch McConnell? Who is going to follow John Boehner?” Viguerie asked in reference to the party’s Senate and House floor leaders. “They look weak. They talk weak, and they have no plan or vision.”

Social conservatives such as Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, say Bush was hardly better on their issues. Apart from his down-the-line opposition to abortion rights, Perkins says, Bush was “not a consistent conservative.”

Most movement leaders are arguing for a return to what they see as the tried-and-true conservative game plan of limited government and traditional values. Most of all, they want congressional Republicans to stand up to the new president. That’s why Perkins is among the movement leaders taking heart in the House stimulus vote. “It was the first time in the six years I’ve been in Washington that the Republicans have stood with the conservatives,” he said.

CQ also reports that right-wing groups are in even deeper trouble at the moment because, traditionally, advocacy groups see their donations increase whenever a president representing the opposing ideology is elected. But that is not happening this time around, thanks to the current economic crisis, and now groups like the Family Research Council might be forced to actually downsize: 

If moderate voices don’t knock over the hard-liners, financial pressures might. Often a shift in power in Washington benefits interest groups of the opposite ideology, as was the case for conservative advocates after Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 and for liberal groups after Bush won in 2000. In each case, fired-up partisans increased their donations to interest groups that pledged to fight the new president. But such donor enthusiasm has yet to materialize for conservatives since Obama’s victory.

For example, two weeks after the November election, Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs-based conservative group, announced it was cutting a fifth of its workforce, or more than 200 employees. The move followed a staff reduction of nearly 50 in September. Now, Perkins says, the Family Research Council may soon follow suit because its revenues are down 15 percent from the previous year.

Pat Robertson: The GOP's Voice of Reason

Pat Robertson recently told Dan Gilgoff that, while he doesn’t approve of many of President Obama’s cabinet appointments and his handling of the stimulus legislation, he hopes that Obama succeeds because if “he succeeds, the country succeeds”:   

It's not over, but I still want to give him the benefit of every doubt, and I definitely hope he succeeds. It wouldn't be good for Americans for him not to. We don't want a president who fails at domestic and foreign policy.

So you don't subscribe to Rush Limbaugh's "I hope he fails" school of thought?

That was a terrible thing to say. I mean, he's the president of all the country. If he succeeds, the country succeeds. And if he doesn't, it hurts us all. Anybody who would pull against our president is not exactly thinking rationally.

You know that the Republican Party and its agenda are in disarray when Pat Robertson is the only person within its ranks who is capable of sounding reasonable.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The scheduled airing of the American Family Association's "Speechless: Silencing Christians" on a television station in Grand Rapids, Michigan has been cancelled.
  • Speaking of the AFA, they have rolled-out something called "Project Push Back" but I have no idea what its purpose is supposed to be.
  • The President of the Virginia State Bar recently visited Liberty Law School and proclaimed that "the Virginia State Bar is thrilled with Liberty University" and told the students that faith and law are not contradictions.
  • The Right is not happy that the Republican Governor of Utah has come out in support of civil unions.
  • Sarah Palin is not amused by people making donations to Planned Parenthood in her name. Palin is also poised to name a new justice to the state supreme court and appears to be a bit boxed in, as neither of the candidates chosen by the Alaska Judicial Council meet her conservative standards, so this will definitely be worth keeping an eye on.
  • Finally, Frank Schaeffer, whose father Francis was influential in the rise of the Religious Right, has penned an open letter to Barack Obama to tell him that they cannot be worked with:
  • As someone who appeared numerous times on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson, as someone for whom Jerry Falwell used to send his private jet to bring me to speak at his college, as an author who had James Dobson giveaway 150,000 copies of my one of my fundamentalist "books" allow me to explain something: the Republican Party is controlled by two ideological groups. First, is the Religious Right. Second, are the neoconservatives. Both groups share one thing in common: they are driven by fear and paranoia. Between them there is no Republican "center" for you to appeal to, just two versions of hate-filled extremes.

    The Religious Right supply the kind of people who at McCain and Palin rallies were yelling things such as "kill him" about you. That's the constituency to which your hand was extended when looking for compromise on your financial bailout bill.

    There's only one thing that makes sense for you now. Mr. President, you need to forget a bipartisan approach and get on with the business of governing by winning each battle. You will never be able to work with the Republicans because they hate you. Believe me, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are the norm not the exception. James Dobson and the rest are praying for you to fail.

A Pre-Emptive Strike Against The Big Tent

We've mentioned before that new RNC Chairman Michael Steele is walking a fine line as he tries to adhere to his pledge to honor the Republican Party's right-wing platform as well as his own slightly more moderate views and desire to build bridges with moderates within the party.

And while we have seen nothing to suggest that Steele has any current plans to actually engage in any outreach beyond the GOP's anti-gay, anti-choice core, Peter LaBarbera is taking no chances and demanding that, under no circumstances, should Steele even contemplate meeting with the Log Cabin Republicans:

Americans For Truth (AFTAH) President Peter LaBarbera today urged Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele not to promote the divisive agenda of the homosexual activist group 'Log Cabin Republicans' - which has just 20,000 members nationwide -- at the expense of the huge, grassroots pro-family conservative GOP base.

AFTAH is encouraging Republicans and pro-family citizens nationwide to contact Steele and the RNC to urge them not to sell out the conservative GOP platform by courting an organization that works to undermine traditional marriage and supports anti-religious, pro-homosexual special-rights legislation.

...

"Michael Steele and the GOP need to do the math: it is foolish and impractical to risk alienating millions of pro-family, pro-life, conservative grassroots Republicans to appease a tiny homosexual special interest group with fewer members than the population of Liberal, Kansas," LaBarbera said. "If the Republican Party is to turn itself around, it must reach out aggressively to real, pro-family minorities like Steele himself -- not homosexual activists whose agenda would restrict our precious religious and First Amendment freedoms by using the government to promote aberrant sexual lifestyles."

When Steele was elected to head the RNC last month, he declared that his goal was to bring "a brand new message to the American people," and it looks like he can expect the full support of the GOP's anti-gay base ... so long as his new message in no way differs from the traditional GOP message.  

Targeting Hutchison, Deep in the Heart of Texas

In yesterday's Right Wing Leftovers, I mentioned that both Phyllis Schlafly and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison are scheduled to speak at the Denton County [Texas] Republican Party's annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner in a week or so.

I thought that seemed odd because hard-line Religious Right leaders, like Rick Scarborough, are currently livid that Hutchison is planning on challenging current Republican Governor Rick Perry because they see her as insufficiently right-wing, primarily on reproductive choice issues. But I couldn't find anything from Schlafly or the Eagle Forum going after Hutchison on this, so I didn't mention it. 

But now I see that Matt Lewis at Townhall is reporting that Texas Eagle Forum president Cathie Adams has teamed up with David Barton to undermine Hutchison's primary bid:

Pro-life Activists in Texas, including Texas Eagle Forum President and RNC Committeewoman Cathie Adams and WallBuilders Founder and President David Barton, are also weighing in on the issue by pointing the differences between Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

An email recently distributed by the two says: “Senator Hutchinson served for many years as an Honorary Advisory Board Member of the WISH List, whose mission is to raise money to identify, train, and elect pro-abortion Republican women at all levels of Government.”

And an accompanying flier notes that, “Governor Perry has always been active in the pro-life movement," and that "Senator Hutchinson supports legal abortion until viability and has called for the removal or weakening of the pro-life plank of the Republican party.”

The biting part is that the flier compares and contrasts John Cornyn and Rick Perry's conservative records versus Kay Bailey Hutchinson -- who is closely compared to President Barack Obama.

That ought to make for some interesting conversation at the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, since Schlafly just happens to be the national head of the Eagle Forum, who's state affiliate is now attacking Hutchison by comparing her to Barack Obama. 

On a related note, Lewis also linked to this video Rick Scarborough released last month blasting Hutchison for daring to run for Governor and demanding that she return all the donations she received for her Senate campaign:

Definitive Proof of the Communist Conspiracy

I honestly don't even know how to go about describing Janet Porter's latest column in which she exposes the current economic recovery efforts as part of a Communist conspiracy to take over the United States ... a conspiracy that has apparently been in the works for nearly twenty years and directly involves Barack Obama.

You see, Sam Webb, chairman of the Communist Party USA is apparently pleased with President Obama's handling of the economic crisis and, Porter reports, he might not be the only Communist rejoicing.  Because, as it turns out, a few months ago Porter received an email from her friend, Wiley Drake (you know, the guy who ran as Alan Keyes' vice president and once called for imprecatory prayers against Americans United) but she didn't write about it at the time because "it just seemed too extreme." But now, in light of recent developments, it seems downright prophetic.

As it turns out, the email from Drake was actually written by a guy named Tom Fife who claims to have regularly traveled to Russia in the early 1990's, where he reportedly met a woman who was active in the Communist movement ... and it was from her that he first heard the name "Barack."

As Porter admits, she "can't prove whether it's true or not, but in light of all that is happening, it just doesn't seem that far-fetched anymore" and then proceeds to re-print Fife's email in which he describes how he came to be informed by this unnamed Russian woman that America "will have a black president very soon and he will be a Communist."

We'll let Fife take it from here:

"Yes, it is true. This is not some idle talk. He is already born, and he is educated and being groomed to be president right now. You will be impressed to know that he has gone to the best schools of presidents. He is what you call 'Ivy League.' You don't believe me, but he is real and I even know his name. His name is Barack. His mother is white and American and his father is black from Africa. That's right, a chocolate baby! And he's going to be your president."

She became more and more smug as she presented her stream of detailed knowledge and predictions so matter-of-factly – as though all were foregone conclusions. "It's all been thought out. His father is not an American black, so he won't have that social slave stigma. He is intelligent and he is half white and has been raised from the cradle to be an atheist and a Communist. He's gone to the finest schools. He is being guided every step of the way and he will be irresistible to America."

...

She was full of little details about him that she was eager to relate. I thought that maybe she was trying to show off that this truly was a real person and not just hot air.

She rattled off a complete litany. He was from Hawaii. He went to school in California. He lived in Chicago. He was soon to be elected to the Legislature. "Have no doubt: he is one of us, a Soviet."

...

She continued with something to the effect that America was at the same time the great hope and the great obstacle for Communism. America would have to be converted to Communism, and Barack was going to pave the way.

So there you go, all the way back in 1992 some unnamed woman in Moscow knew all about Barack Obama and the intricate Communist plot to take over America ... and all it took was fifteen years and a group of borderline lunatics like Folger, Drake, and Fife to unravel it in the pages of WorldNetDaily.

I know that I should probably just start ignoring Porter, as I do all the other insanity that appears on WND, but I can't because I am still terrified by the fact that this woman was a close adviser to Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign and Huckabee himself praises her in his book, citing her as among the "new wave of leaders" who will remake the Republican Party.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Former McCain adviser Meg Whitman plans to run for Governor in California, while Joe Scarborough suggests he might be interested in running for the Senate from Florida.
  • Elaine Donnelly says that if "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is repealed, President Obama "will bear full responsibility for consequences that would devastate the volunteer force."
  • Norm Coleman says God wants him to be in the US Senate.
  • Phyllis Schlafly and Kay Bailey Hutchison are both scheduled to speak at the Denton County [Texas] Republican Party's annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner.
  • You know what America needs now? A conservative answer to Doonesbury published by Richard Viguerie.
  • Grover Norquist is angry that some Governors did not declare last Friday "Ronald Reagan Day" and is accusing them of putting "pusillanimous petty partisanship above patriotism."
  • Finally, Richard Land responds to reports that President Obama will issue an executive order reversing President Bush's ban on federal funds for stem cell research, likening it to cannibalism:
  • Reduced to its basics, killing the tiniest human beings in their embryonic stage of development for the possible medical benefits of older and more developed human beings is quite simply high-tech cannibalism in which we devour our own young for the sole purpose of treating other human beings who are merely fortunate enough to be older and able to defend themselves in a way the tiniest human beings are not.

The Right That Cries Wolf

I can't tell you how many times over the years I have been watching the Religious Right that they have threatened to bolt the Republican Party if the GOP doesn't fully embrace its cultural and political agenda.  And then, every election season, the Right backs down and goes all-out to help elect Republican candidates to office.

Most people think that the GOP is already inexorably linked and fundamentally beholden to the movement, but apparently Religious Right leaders see it differently ... and from their perspective, if the GOP does't get its act together and start doing their bidding, then they are going to see their decade's long symbiosis soon come unraveled all together.  That, at least, seems to be what Tony Perkins is telling Dan Gilgoff.

Apparently, the latest "last straw" stems from the fact that the RNC elected Michael Steele as its next chairman, with Perkins complaining that some of Steele's statements and positions are "less than encouraging" and proclaiming that "social conservatives are not going to be banging the door down to establish a relationship with the GOP. The party leadership is going to have to show a good-faith effort" to keep them in the fold:

[S]ocial conservatives are still committed to the issues and still involved in the political process, but don't see the GOP as the only means to affect things in this culture. And to the degree that the party is not moving with them, they are not going to move with it. There is not the strong connection to the Republican Party that there once was. I'm more representative of the younger generation and I don't have as strong allegiance to the Republican Party. And to the degree that they try to avoid the values issues and put them at the back of the bus, I don't have a lot of desire to mess around with that.

...

It's quite clear that the Republicans in the last few years have tried to move away from those issues and deemphasize those issues. You saw it in the presidential election, with more emphasis on religion and its role in the public square more from the Democratic Party than from the Republicans. I'm not saying it's genuine from the Democrats. It's yet to be seen. Obama has overturned the Mexico City Policy, a clearly pro-abortion move. But the Republicans can't just assume that because social conservatives are not supportive of Democrats means they'll support Republicans.

Gilgoff then asked Perkins just when the relationship went sour:

It is something that happened after 2004, when there was a great emphasis by the Republicans and the president on the need to protect marriage. It was used to secure a second term for President Bush and to expand Republican control of Congress. And after the election, the issue was basically dropped.

That, combined with corruption that distracted the Republican Party, Mark Foley—it all added up to where people began to scratch their heads and say, "This is not the party that is really reflecting our values."

Of course, we've had two national elections since then and, both times, the Religious Right has fully supported the GOP's candidates and pressed its grassroots activists into getting out the vote on their behalf.

So one has to ask just how much longer will the Right go on supporting a Republican Party that isn't "really reflecting our values"? Of course, the answer to that question is "forever" because they have nowhere else to go.  They know it, the GOP knows it, and so does everyone else who pays attention to these sorts of things. 

The Right Tests Its Strength in Targeting DOJ Nominees

Earlier this week, we noted how, after eight years of claiming that the Senate's role was to rubber stamp the President's nominees, a gaggle of Religious Right activists had suddenly discovered the importance of checks and balances and the chance to provide an opportunity for "serious deliberation" on potential appointees ... mainly because they didn't like some of President Obama's choices to serve in the Justice Department.

A lot of this initial opposition was driven by the right-wing Catholic group Fidelis, which has been targeting David Ogden with press releases and reports and the Family Research Council, which has been targeting him as a man who "has built a career on representing views and companies that most Americans find repulsive."

And now it looks like the fight against Ogden, Dawn Johnsen, whom the Right hates because she worked at NARAL, and Thomas Perrelli, whom they hate for representing Terry Schiavo's husband, has become the first full-fledged test of the Religious Right's influence under the new president:

Christian conservatives are challenging President Barack Obama's picks for top Justice Department positions, charging that past clients like Playboy taint their resumes.

The criticism comes ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing Thursday for David Ogden, Obama's pick for deputy attorney general, the No. 2 position at the Justice Department.

...

The challenge to Obama's Justice picks come as conservative evangelicals seek to limit the power of the new Democratic administration and maintain their own within the Republican Party.

Some Republicans believe a tight embrace of social conservative values turns off independents and moderates, but many Christian right leaders resist compromise and contend that, if anything, the GOP has strayed too far from its principles.

For it's part, the Right is throwing all of its standard accusations at the nominees: 

"Ogden has been an activist in the support of a right to pornography, a right of abortion and the rights of homosexuals," said Patrick Trueman, a former Justice Department official during the first Bush presidency who is now in private practice.

"It isn't so much that he's represented pornographers or that he's been a porn attorney, but it's his world view, and his world view reflects President Obama's world view," said Trueman, echoing criticism from conservative activist groups like the American Family Association and Focus on the Family.

...

Tom Minnery, a vice president at Focus on the Family, charges that through the nominations, the new Democratic administration is not depoliticizing, but re-politicizing the Justice Department.

"They take our breath away the more we learn about these people," said Minnery. "This is left-wing politicization of the Justice Department. This is not a Justice Department that looks like America."

As a side note, Focus on the Family has an article up opposing these nominees on its CitizenLink website that carries this title: "Obama's Judicial Nominees Stand on Anti-Family Principles"

Memo to Focus: people nominated to work in the Justice Department are not "judicial nominees" - people nominated to be judges are. 

Scarborough Strikes Back

Earlier this week, Doug Bandow penned a piece for The American Spectator that took as its starting off point a recent edition of the Rick Scarborough Report in which Scarborough declared that “the persecution of Christianity in America has begun.” Bandow took issue with Scarborough’s hyperbole, writing a piece about how Christians are being persecuted all over the world, but not in America:

There may even be "growing hostility against religion in America and particularly against Christians," as Scarborough asserts, at least in the cultural realm. But this hostility does not amount to persecution. After all, America's outgoing president is an avowed evangelical, the Republican Party's 2008 vice presidential nominee was an outspoken evangelical, and the new president is a self-identified Christian. The last chose a high-profile evangelical minister to pray at the inaugural. Some Christians may be treated badly, but Christians are not being persecuted … not in America. Cultural and social hostility doesn't count. Christians still enjoy a privileged existence in America. We should use our advantages here to help believers in other countries who face persecution and sometimes death for their faith. Even if all we can do is pray, we must seek to be our brother's keeper.

Now, Scarborough has struck back, saying that just because the persecution of Christians in America isn’t as bad as it is elsewhere around the world, doesn’t mean that they aren’t still under attack:

Nowhere have I ever asserted that the persecution of Christians or Christianity in America is equivalent to that in many parts of the world, and I pray that I will never be compelled to say as much, but to summarily dismiss my contention that it has “begun” is to be less than fair with the facts.

Scarborough goes on to recount several of the standard right-wing horror stories they trot out whenever they are playing the victim, before finally rehashing the usual lies about ENDA and hate crimes and threats of worse to come: 

Barack Obama has made it clear that a top priority for his new administration is the passage of ENDA and Hate Crimes Legislation including sexual orientation as a special protected class.  In fact, while he was holding his hand on the Bible swearing to uphold the Constitution of the United States which guarantees freedom of religious expression, our new “Christian” President’s staff was changing the official White House website to reflect his commitment to pass new laws which if enacted, will limit my free speech as a Pastor and will “ENDA” the rights of Christian business owners from prohibiting “transgendered” people from using the restroom of their choice or choices depending on which sex comes to work in the transgendered’s body that day.

I agree that we are not now experiencing the kind of persecution that many in many parts of the world are experiencing, but ask million of Americans who work for companies who have forced them to attend sensitivity training seminars, if they feel comfortable reading their Bibles during lunch hours or sharing their deeply held Biblical convictions regarding politically incorrect issues, if they think their experiencing persecution.  Ask a Christian public school teacher if they feel persecuted during staff meeting when sex education or gay pride events are discussed.  Ask the Christian students who are being told every day that what their pastor taught them and their parents believe about creation is a lie, how they feel about persecution in America.

Shame on anyone who would dare to say that the persecution of Christians has not begun in America!  And if we refuse to speak out about it now, while we still have the right to speak, we will see the day when we cannot speak out, without experiencing REAL persecution.  Mark my word.

While The Right Stays Mum on Steele, Duke Loses It

When he was running for chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele frequently came under attack from those who felt he was insufficiently committed to the right-wing agenda, with Don Wildmon of the American Family Association even sending out an email attacking Steele.  

But now that he has been elected to take over the RNC, Steele got right to work trying to win his critics over:  

Michael S. Steele, whose sixth-ballot victory Friday made him the first black leader of the Republican Party, immediately began mending fences within the Republican National Committee and showing conservative leadership muscle after the long and nasty five-way contest for chairman.

Mr. Steele began his first day as national chairman with several members saying that he has a number of formidable tasks ahead, chief among them to unite the ideological and regional factions in the party that have become increasingly obvious.

In particular, party officials said, Mr. Steele will have to use his considerable charm and rhetorical skills to allay the fear among conservatives in the South that he is too moderate.

For his part, Gary Bauer, who was one of the few right-wing leaders who didn’t publicly endorse Steel’s opponent, Ken Blackwell, says the Religious Right has nothing to worry about from Steele:

[Bauer] does not share the concerns of some conservatives who worry that Steele is too moderate on social issues and may move the party in a more centrist direction.
 
"I know him personally. He's a smart guy, and I think he understands that the only chance that the Republican Party has in the future is to be consistent about its core message -- and that core message is smaller government, lower taxes, a strong national defense, pro-family, and pro-life," he contends. "So, I do not see Michael Steele in any way undermining any of those key, central ideas that are held so strongly by most conservatives and most Republicans."

Presumably, this is not going to assure Bauer’s allies on the right:

Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee wants the GOP to reach out to candidates who support gay marriage and are pro-choice. Steele told Fox's Chris Wallace that it was "important" to reach out to those voters.

WALLACE: You are one of the co-founders of something called the Republican Leadership Council which supports candidates who favor abortion and gay rights.

STEELE: Yes.

WALLACE: Does the GOP needs to do a better job of reaching out to people who hold those views?

STEELE: I think -- I think that's an important opportunity for us, absolutely. Within our party we do have those who have that view as well as outside and my partnership with Christy Todd Whittman was an effort to build a bridge between moderates and conservatives.

So far, we haven’t seen any press releases or commentary from other Religious Right groups and leaders, which makes us suspect that they are none-too-pleased with the RNC’s choice … but at least they are not losing their minds, like David Duke:

I am glad these traitorous leaders of the Republican Party appointed this Black racist, affirmative action advocate to the head of the Republican party because this will lead to a huge revolt among the Republican base. As a former Republican official, I can tell you that millions of rank-and-file Republicans are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore! We will either take the Republican Party back over the next four years or we will say, "To Hell With the Republican Party!" And we will take 90 percent of Republicans with us into a New Party that will take its current place!

Dirtiest RNC Race Ever and Nothing Will Change

Ralph Z. Hallow reports that, according to insiders involved in the race to become the next chairman of the Republican National Committee, the current campaign, which is to be decided tomorrow, has become the "dirtiest ever":

From anonymous charges of racism, old-fashioned graft and outright incompetence, the six-man race for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee has devolved into the dirtiest - and most closely watched - in recent history.

The 168 members who Friday will elect the next chairman have been inundated with anonymous e-mails attacking the characters and capabilities of the various candidates and, in at least one case, accusing a candidate of conspiring with political consultants to cash in on the millions of dollars in future advertising by the party.

"This is dirtiest ever - and remember, I was the longest-serving state party chairman in the history of this committee," said RNC member and former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett, a supporter of Mike Duncan, the incumbent national chairman who is seeking a second two-year term.

One candidate, South Carolina Republican Chairman Katon Dawson, is the subject this week of an unsigned e-mail to RNC members that bore a hypothetical USA Today front page with the banner headline, "RNC members choose 'whites only' chairman," as a warning of how a Dawson win would be spun.

...

On Monday, Indiana RNC member James Bopp Jr., who formed a self-described conservative rump group of RNC members to fight the [Michael] Steele candidacy, sent members a signed e-mail basically accusing Mr. Steele of lying about his casual relationship with the RLC.

It quoted Mrs. Whitman as saying that she was proud to join with "Michael Steele in creating a powerful and influential group that can bring our party back to its roots while promoting the common-sense centrist values we all hold so dear." The word "centrist" among members of the dominant strain of the Republican Party is an epithet.

...

Another anonymous e-mail to members noted that Saul Anuzis does not have a formal education beyond high school - he attended college for four years but did not finish his degree - and called the salaried Michigan Republican chairman "a paid political hack whose greed and misconduct lost him his job in government. After fifteen years of trying to make it in business, he came back to what he knew best: politics for pay."

A particularly vicious whack at Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state and the other black man chasing the chairman's post, appeared in a Jan. 6 anonymous e-mail claiming he was "dangerously incompetent" as secretary of state and accusing him of using taxpayer money to finance TV ads to "boost his own name recognition" in preparation for his failed run for governor.

As entertaining as it has been to watch them tear each other apart, Hallow reports that the viciousness stems from the fact that, in terms of actual substance, there doesn't appear to be any actual differences among the candidate's stances on the hot-button issues of the day:

However, when The Times submitted three questions on the biggest hot-button issues - gay marriage, immigration and federal bailouts - little substantive difference emerged among the six men.

Mr. Duncan was the lone candidate who did not respond initially to the questions, instead sending a single response attacking President Obama and not even doing so on the issues in question. All six men support a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants and doubt the government's competence to bail out industries failing in the marketplace.

So no matter who wins, it looks like we'll have yet another anti-gay, anti-immigrant, obstructionist chairman at the RNC. 

How has that been working out for them lately?  

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Republican Party Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 02/11/2011, 7:23pm
If there is one message to take away from CPAC’s panel on immigration, it’s that White America is in serious jeopardy and may soon succumb to immigration, multiculturalism, and socialism. The panel “Will Immigration Kill the GOP?” featured former congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Virgil Goode (R-VA), Bay Buchanan of Team America PAC, and special guest Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). The group Youth for Western Civilization sponsored the panel, and its head Kevin DeAnna was also a panelist. Youth for Western Civilization is a far-right group that regularly criticizes... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 02/11/2011, 7:23pm
If there is one message to take away from CPAC’s panel on immigration, it’s that White America is in serious jeopardy and may soon succumb to immigration, multiculturalism, and socialism. The panel “Will Immigration Kill the GOP?” featured former congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Virgil Goode (R-VA), Bay Buchanan of Team America PAC, and special guest Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). The group Youth for Western Civilization sponsored the panel, and its head Kevin DeAnna was also a panelist. Youth for Western Civilization is a far-right group that regularly criticizes... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 01/27/2011, 3:28pm
Jim Garlow was not impressed by President Obama's State of the Union address and has taken it upon himself to draft his own dream SOTU address that he wishes Obama had delivered in which he begs God's forgiveness for systematically destroying America ... and Garlow decided to publish it on the American Family Association's blog, of all places:  Under my watch, more babies are being killed in the womb that under any other president, as I am the most pro-abortion president in the history of the US. I am ashamed of this. I am sorry. I ask for forgiveness. I have tragically hastened... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 01/27/2011, 3:28pm
Jim Garlow was not impressed by President Obama's State of the Union address and has taken it upon himself to draft his own dream SOTU address that he wishes Obama had delivered in which he begs God's forgiveness for systematically destroying America ... and Garlow decided to publish it on the American Family Association's blog, of all places:  Under my watch, more babies are being killed in the womb that under any other president, as I am the most pro-abortion president in the history of the US. I am ashamed of this. I am sorry. I ask for forgiveness. I have tragically hastened... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/18/2011, 10:47am
Michele Bachmann GOP: Scheduled to address Montana GOP's Lincoln/Reagan Dinner on Feb 5 (Politico, 1/17). Iowa: Conservatives in Iowa excited about Bachmann's appearance at Iowans for Tax Relief event this week (Minnesota Public Radio, 1/17). Religious Right: Ultraconservative writer Joseph Farah praises potential Bachmann bid (WND, 1/11). Haley Barbour Immigration: Draconian Arizona-style law on immigrant rights to be considered by the Mississippi state legislature (Fox News, 1/17). 2012: Says he won't make a decision about a presidential run until the spring (WSJ, 1/14). John Bolton... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/18/2011, 10:47am
Michele Bachmann GOP: Scheduled to address Montana GOP's Lincoln/Reagan Dinner on Feb 5 (Politico, 1/17). Iowa: Conservatives in Iowa excited about Bachmann's appearance at Iowans for Tax Relief event this week (Minnesota Public Radio, 1/17). Religious Right: Ultraconservative writer Joseph Farah praises potential Bachmann bid (WND, 1/11). Haley Barbour Immigration: Draconian Arizona-style law on immigrant rights to be considered by the Mississippi state legislature (Fox News, 1/17). 2012: Says he won't make a decision about a presidential run until the spring (WSJ, 1/14). John Bolton... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 01/10/2011, 2:22pm
After the news broke that Rep. Michele Bachmann was considering a bid for the Presidency, the Minnesota Congresswoman immediately found strong support in the GOP’s far-right base. While much attention has been paid to her leadership role in the Tea Party, as she chairs both the Tea Party and the Constitutional Conservative Caucuses, Bachmann is also one of the Religious Right’s most beloved members of Congress. She built her political career in Minnesota as a fierce opponent of the teaching of evolution, reproductive rights, and LGBT equality. Once elected to the House of... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 01/05/2011, 11:30am
Incensed over the participation of the conservative gay-rights group GOProud in the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, far-right activists are now trying to connect the major conservative event to the Muslim Brotherhood. The American Conservative Union (ACU), which hosts CPAC, has been the target of Religious Right groups and leaders over their handling of GOProud’s involvement, with Joseph Farah even calling for conservatives to “purge” the ACU from the movement. Already, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women For America, American Values, the... MORE >