Republican Party

Tea Party Leaders Preparing for Primary Fights to Bolster GOP's Ideological Purity

Back in January the Christian Science Monitor declared “Scott Brown: the tea party’s first electoral victory,” following his surprise win in the special election to fill the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy. But now the Boston Globe reports that conservatives and Tea Party activists are mulling over a primary challenge to the Massachusetts Republican. According to the Globe, Brown’s votes in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, ratifying the START Treaty, and reforming Wall Street (but only after it was watered down to win his support) made him toxic to many Tea Party members and other movement conservatives. The Family Research Council has pledged to back a primary challenger to any Senator who voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the National Republican Trust PAC promised to do the same to any Republican who supported START.

More surprisingly, movement conservatives in Virginia are hoping to block George Allen from running again for the seat he lost to Jim Webb in 2006. Allen, a former Senator and Governor best known for using a racial slur against his opponent’s campaign worker, is already finding himself in trouble with Tea Party groups even though he hasn’t even announced his candidacy yet. The Washington Post reports that Allen’s voting record in the Senate may sink his chances among Virginia Tea Partiers:

For months, it appeared that former U.S. senator George Allen would have a clear path to the Republican nomination if he chose to try to reclaim his old job.

But in the summer, grumbling about his past began, culminating in a Web site outlining the reasons some fellow Republicans oppose him: He's too moderate. He's part of the establishment. He's partly to blame for the record spending and ballooning deficit in Washington.

By this month, no fewer than four Republicans billing themselves as more conservative than Allen were considering challenging him for the right to run against Sen. James Webb, if the Virginia Democrat seeks reelection.

"There are some concerns based on his record and his rhetoric," said Mark Kevin Lloyd, chairman of the Lynchburg Tea Party and vice chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation, a statewide umbrella group. "People are looking at things in a new light," he said.

Allen, who received a 92.3% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, was hardly considered a moderate in the Senate. But apparently 92% isn’t enough:

But during his one term in the U.S. Senate, some Republicans complain, he backed President George W. Bush's proposals to increase spending; supported No Child Left Behind, a costly program to create a national education report card; favored a federal program to subsidize the costs of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries; and voted to expand the Hate Crimes Prevention Act to include crimes based on sexual orientation.

Jamie Ratdke, who recently stepped down as chairwoman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation in order to explore a Senate bid, said she began to consider a run for the Senate after attending a Tea Party convention that featured Rick Santorum, Lou Dobbs, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli as speakers:

Radtke said that she had considered running for the state Senate next year but that she began thinking about the U.S. Senate instead after Virginia's first tea party convention, which drew an estimated 2,800 people to Richmond in October.

Radtke, who worked for Allen for a year when he was governor and she was right out of college, said it's time for a new candidate. She said that Allen was part of "George Bush's expansion of government" when he was senator and that she was concerned about some of his stances on abortion.

Allen has said that abortions should be legal in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is endangered, and he owned stock in the manufacturer of the morning-after pill.

If George Allen is deemed not conservative enough for the Republican Party, then expect many more extremist candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell to win contested GOP primaries. Allen hurt his chances by supporting healthcare and education initiatives that were backed by President Bush and the Republican leadership, and is also deemed too moderate because he voted to include sexual orientation under hate crimes protections and believes in exceptions under a ban on abortion.

While running for reelection in 2006, Allen received wide praise at FRC’s Values Voter Summit for his staunch conservative beliefs, but now he is under attack from the Right for being “too moderate” even though he hasn’t served in public office since he lost the 2006 race. As Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County board of supervisors and a likely primary opponent, says, Allen’s “base has moved on.”

House GOP Picks Ethically-Challenged Freshmen for Judiciary Committee

The House Republican Leadership recently announced that incoming Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino and Arkansas Congressman Tim Griffin have been assigned seats on Rep. Lamar Smith’s Judiciary Committee. Marino and Griffin, who were profiled in Right Wing Watch’s The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress, are peculiar picks for a committee which has “jurisdiction over matters relating to the administration of justice in federal courts, administrative bodies, and law enforcement agencies” since both Republicans were dogged by corruption and ethics scandals prior to their successful bids for Congress.

Marino resigned from his position as a US Attorney in the wake of a brewing scandal over his ties to resort owner and convicted felon Louis DeNaples. He described DeNaples as his “close friend” and provided a reference for DeNaples when he attempted to win state approval to have slot machines at his resort.

But when Marino’s own office opened an investigation into DeNaples over his ties to organized crime, Marino's assistants discovered the reference and the Department of Justice (DOJ) transferred the case to the US Attorney of Binghamton, NY. The DOJ later launched an investigation of Marino “for allegedly violating several department guidelines” over the “reference letter he wrote to help Louis DeNaples get a casino license,” but the investigation ended once Marino resigned.

Responding to criticism about his ties to DeNaples, Marino declared during an interview that he has evidence the DOJ gave him permission to serve as a reference. However, Boryk Krawczeniuk of The Times-Tribune found that DOJ officials never gave him permission, and Marino failed to produce his “evidence.” Krawczeniuk writes that the DOJ confirmed to multiple news outlets that Marino never sought or received such permission: “an Associated Press story, quoting an anonymous Justice Department source, said the department had ‘no record’ that Mr. Marino sought or received Justice authorization to serve as a reference for Mr. DeNaples. A Justice spokeswoman confirmed the department had no such record last week to The Citizens’ Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, which is owned by the same company as The Times-Tribune.”

Eventually, Marino backed away from his false claim that he was given permission from the DOJ, and “told the Sunbury Daily Item he never asked the Justice Department for permission to serve as a reference.”

After Marino resigned in order to end the DOJ investigations into his actions, he quickly obtained a $250,000-a-year job as “DeNaples’ in-house lawyer.” In his financial disclosure form, Marino under-reported his income and stated that his DeNaples’ salary was just $25,000 annually.

The conservative blog RedState’s Zack Oldham said of Marino’s actions: “The reality is just as bad as–if not worse than–the optics of this scandal.”

Marino’s relationship with DeNaples and his attempts to cover-up his ethics troubles were not his first encounter with ethics questions. As a District Attorney, Marino approached a judge to toss out his friend’s conviction on drug charges. After the Judge refused, the Luzeme County Citizens Voice reports that Marino “approached another judge and won the expungement, but the plan backfired when the second judge learned of the first judge's involvement in the case.”

Despite the corruption accusations, false statements, and the DOJ investigation which plagued Marino’s legal career, House Republicans still picked him for a Judiciary Committee post. Perhaps, Marino was picked due to his staunchly anti-immigrant views, as incoming Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) intends to use the committee to push a hard line agenda that includes overturning the 14th Amendment’s of birthright citizenship. Marino opposes comprehensive immigration reform, backs Arizona’s draconian SB 1070, and was endorsed by Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, which has been described as a “nativist extremist organization.” Just as Smith said that President Obama was “awfully close to a violation of [his] oath of office” as a result of his immigration policy, Marino said he would consider impeaching the President over his handling of immigration.

Like Marino, freshman Tim Griffin was forced to resign as a US Attorney and faced his own ethics questions. Griffin worked his way up through the Republican Party ranks through his work in opposition research and was known as “a protégé of Karl Rove.” He worked for the Bush presidential campaigns and has ties to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Griffin then aided efforts in the Bush White House to replace US Attorneys with partisan appointees, and then-US Attorney Paul Charlton said that Griffin “spread the rumors around the White House that Bud Cummins,” who was the US Attorney of Northeast Arkansas at the time, “was not a good U.S. attorney.”

When Cummins was fired, Griffin was appointed to take his place. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNaulty later testified that “Cummings was fired to make a place for Griffin at the urging of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers,” the former White House Counsel. Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s Chief of Staff, wrote in an email that “getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.” Former US Attorney David Iglesias, said that Tim Griffin “never should have been U.S. Attorney, he was fundamentally unqualified.”

However, Griffin resigned from his position as US Attorney when the BBC uncovered documents showing his work in “vote caging” operations in Florida while he was working for the Bush reelection campaign. Griffin tried to suppress the vote by designing and sending out “caging lists” which “were heavily weighted with minority voters including homeless individuals, students and soldiers sent overseas.”

The Arkansas Leader wrote that “The White House intended to fully consolidate the entire federal criminal justice system into its political operation” and Griffin’s “resignation or dismissal ought to be imminent.” Griffin resigned from his post as US Attorney on May 30, 2007.

Now, two former US Attorneys who resigned under the cloud of scandal will have seats on the Judiciary Committee. By selecting Marino and Griffin, the Republican leadership rewarded coveted posts to two freshmen with serious and troubling ethics questions on the committee which oversees the court system, the rule of law, and law enforcement.

Sharron Angle Pondering Second Statewide Run

After being lifted from fringe figure in the Nevada State Assembly to become an all-star for Religious Right and Tea Party groups across the country, Sharron Angle is now plotting her next move after losing to Harry Reid in November. Even though voters in Nevada rejected Angle in three separate elections, including races for the State Senate, House, and US Senate, Angle is floating another bid for higher office.

According to Guy Benson, the political editor of the conservative Townhall.com, Angle may be a candidate for “statewide office” in 2012 despite her humbling loss to Reid:

Amidst the blame game, Angle is plotting her next move. A well-informed source says Angle is seriously considering another run for statewide office. “Running for office gets in your blood,” the source said. “Sharron’s developed a huge donor list, she has lots of national connections, so there are several options she’s weighing.” This confidant wouldn’t say whether Angle has her eyes on John Ensign’s seat in 2012, but said she would likely make a decision about her future by “late spring.” Others dispute that any such explicit timetable exists, referencing post-election interviews in which Angle more vaguely mentions contemplating “lots of options.”

In fact, Angle’s recent moves suggest that her political career is far from over. Angle bragged during her concession speech about her fundraising capabilities and help from donors outside of the state, and many of her Tea Party supporters and campaign workers didn’t even want her to concede to Reid at all and instead “charge voter fraud.” And just last week she announced the creation of the Patriot Caucus, which will help her preserve her fundraising capabilities and political standing. Already, the group is building ties to key players in the Nevada Tea Party, including Eric Odom of Liberty.com.

If Angle wants to run statewide, US Senate may be her only option since the races for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Controller and Treasurer were all decided this November. The incumbent Republican John Ensign has been dogged by ethics scandals and many Republicans expect him to be challenged in a primary. Angle has experience running against leading Republican figures, running unsuccessfully against State Senate Republican Leader Bill Raggio in 2006 and defeating the former Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden in the 2010 primary.

Following his vote in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Ensign made himself a top target of groups such as the Family Research Council which vowed to back and finance a primary challenger to anyone who voted to repeal DADT. Now, they may look to Angle to rally Religious Right activists and her Tea Party brethren to make another run for the Senate.

Herman Cain: The Right Wing Sleeper Candidate in 2012?

Politico’s Ben Smith discussed today the unforeseen possibility that right wing activist Herman Cain could be a surprise Republican candidate for president, after he bested all other Republicans in an online straw poll conducted by the conservative blog RedState. Cain, an African American businessman and radio talk show host, even topped Sarah Palin, who came in second, to be the favorite of the right wing blogosphere. Erick Erickson of RedState writes, “I like Herman Cain and, though truth be told I never thought he’d make it past Mike Pence, I am delightfully surprised by the results.”

There is already a Draft Cain movement and he operates his own political action committee, called The Hermanator PAC (seriously). He has received praise from conservative darlings from Bishop Harry Jackson and Bryan Fischer to Joe the Plumber, and Cain himself is talking-up his chances at a presidential bid, telling The Daily Caller: “I will run proudly as a non-establishment candidate. I think the public has an appetite for a non-establishment candidate.” More recently, Cain told Fischer on the American Family Association’s radio program that after Republican gains in November, he is “one step closer” to running for President. When pondering a run, he explained: “No I don’t want to…but I feel like I must run.”

Of course, a 2012 presidential run wouldn’t be Cain’s first foray into politics. Cain is closely involved with Tea Party organizations and co-signed a letter with prominent right wing leaders asking the GOP leadership make “restoring traditional moral values” a key part of their agenda. He also ran for US Senate in 2004 in his home state of Georgia but garnered just 26% of the vote and lost to Senator Johnny Isakson in the GOP primary.

During the 2006 election, Cain was the public face of America’s PAC, a group that used stereotypical language and imagery when calling on Black voters to support Republicans. Cain, who voiced many of the group’s ads, maintained, “The main thing that America’s Pac is up to is it basically is challenging the thesis or the belief on the part of the Republican Party that they cannot attract the black vote.” America’s PAC suggested that Democrats were “decimating our population” by supporting abortion rights:

“Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies,” a female announcer in one of the ads says, as rain, thunder, and a crying infant are heard in the background.

“The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual's right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote. Why don't they want our lives?”

Or as put in another ad:

Michael: And if you make a little mistake with one of your ho’s, you’ll want to dispose of that problem toot sweet, no questions asked, right?

Dennis: Naw, that’s too cold. I don’t snuff my own seed

Michael: Huh. Really? (pause) Well, maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican!

America’s PAC was heavily backed by Republican financiers and led by a conservative activist who said that teaching evolution is “tantamount to teaching atheism.” Another one of their ads suggested that Democrats who opposed the Iraq War were treacherously allied with racist and right wing leader David Duke, who also opposed the war:

Now, I can understand why a Ku Klux Klan cracker like David Duke makes nice with the terrorists. They fight voting rights in Iraq, just like he does back home. But what I want to know is why so many of the Democrat politicians I helped elect are on the same side of the Iraq war as David Duke.

According to a report by the New York Sun, “Many of the ads with conservative social themes are sandwiched between hip-hop songs that convey blunt sexual messages. A spokesman for America’s Pac, John Altevogt, said no stations have refused the ads, but a few asked for minor edits, such as the removal of the word ‘cracker’ from the David Duke spot.”

However, the ads failed to produce significant gains for the GOP among Black voters, as nine in ten African Americans backed Democratic candidates in 2006.

Certainly, the Tea Party, the Religious Right, and the GOP will seek Cain’s help to attract Black voters in case his presidential run fails to get off the ground. Judging by his track record at America’s PAC in 2006, they may want to look elsewhere.

 

Mike Pence: Obama Treats Country “Like a Dog”

With growing speculation over his presidential ambitions, Indiana Republican Mike Pence is taking the anti-Obama rhetoric into high-gear. Pence is the winner of the Family Research Council’s 2010 Values Voter Summit straw poll, and is seen as a favorite of the Religious Right. By stepping down from his position as House GOP Conference Chair because he couldn’t commit to serving a full term, Pence signaled that he could potentially run for governor of Indiana or President. In an interview with US News & World Report, Pence rejects the social issues “truce” proposed by Indiana’s governor, defends the prominent role of social conservatives in the Republican Party, and maintains that Obama wants Americans “simply to obey” like a dog:

You’re about to start hearing a lot about a conservative Republican Indiana congressman, Rep. Mike Pence. That’s because the Hoosier, considered a shoo-in to win the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2012, is weighing a challenge to outgoing Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and about 10 others in the Republican presidential primaries. “We’ve gotten encouragement to run for governor in 2012,” says Pence, a former broadcaster. “We’ve also gotten more than a little bit of encouragement to consider running for president.”

While Pence will decide in the spring, the presidency currently has his attention. Not just because he thinks President Obama is stretching the traditional boundaries of the office and isn’t worthy. “The current administration is the most egregious example of excess,” he says, accusing Obama of treating the nation like “a dog whose duty is not to ask why ...but simply to obey.” As he considers a run, Pence also has become a student of the presidency and recently delivered thoughtful speeches on the office.



But he sees Ronald Reagan as “the last president in my lifetime to really model a traditional American presidency.”

While some may say Daniels is the better-positioned Hoosier for 2012, the social and fiscal conservative Pence senses an advantage. He won’t go along with Daniels’s push for a truce on social issues to let candidates focus on economic topics. “To those who say we should simply focus on fiscal issues,” Pence says, “I say you would not be able to print enough money in 1,000 years to pay for the government you would need if the traditional family collapses.”

Hispanics Support Republicans Says Republican Opposed By Hispanics

Rep. Lamar Smith says that the GOP should go ahead and press it's anti-immigration agenda because Hispanics support the Republican agenda and don't really care about the issue of immigration:

"The idea that we need to listen to our liberal Democratic friends who say you have to be for amnesty if you want to get Hispanic votes, we've disproved that this year -- and I hope we've laid that to rest," he adds.

With the understanding that "Hispanics have the same values that almost every other American has," he thinks the GOP can attract Hispanic voters by treating everybody as Americans.

"They care about education for their children, they care about jobs for their family members [and] they care about good healthcare, of course," Smith reports. "According to the various polls they've been taking of Hispanic voters, immigration is number five. I think it's in the single digits, it's so far down the list of their priorities."

The Texas representative goes on to point out that the Republican Party ran more new Hispanic candidates this year than Democrats, many of whom are identified "as having a pro-enforcement or anti-amnesty stance."

He finds it interesting that "Republican Hispanics are not going with the stereotype that they have to be for amnesty, but actually that they want to enforce immigration laws." He thinks that should also send a powerful message that "you can be respectful, you can be for law and order, you can be for the rule of law, and you can be for secure borders and opposed to amnesty and be elected, either as Hispanics or Anglos."

Of course, this argument might be more convincing if Somos Republicans, "the largest and fastest growing Hispanic Republican Organization in the Southwest," hadn't recently written a letter to Reps. John Boehner and Eric Cantor begging them not to let Smith and Rep. Steve King become assume key leadership positions because of their radical anti-immigrant views and rhetoric:

As we are already looking toward the 2012 Presidential Elections, we respectfully ask you to take heed to our request out of concern for our nation. Congressmen Smith and King have repeatedly engaged in rhetoric that is aimed negatively toward Hispanics. Steve King has used defamatory language that is extremely offensive to Hispanics, which is found in numerous congressional records. We believe Steve King’s behavior is not appropriate for a high-level elected Republican who might be in charge of a committee that handles immigration rules. Steve King and Lamar Smith have adopted extreme positions on birthright citizenship, and promise legislation that would undermine the 14th amendment of the constitution, which both swore an oath to uphold.

While it is indeed the duty of the Judiciary and Immigration committees to oversee and enforce existing immigration laws, Representatives Smith and King have engaged in an ill-advised platform and rhetoric that has been perceived as insensitive with their inflammatory “immigration statements,” and this has caused an exodus of Hispanic voters to the Democratic party. We ask that you review Mr. King’s and Mr. Smith’s congressional statements desiring to “pass a bill out of the House to end the Constitution’s birthright citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants,” or what Steve King has made reference to “anchor babies.” We find both this rhetoric and this un-constitutional conduct reprehensible, insulting and a poor reflection upon Republicans because we don’t want our Party to be viewed as the Party of changing the United States Constitution.

...

It is our sincere belief that if representatives Smith and King were to become the Chairs of the House Judiciary and Subcommittee on Immigration, and if they indeed continue such insensitive rhetoric towards Hispanics, the conditions for a Republican presidential candidate to garner the necessary Electoral College Delegates to win the 2012 presidency will not be possible.

The Right's Reagan Worship a Relatively Recent Development, Plotted Primary Challenge in 1984

Steve Kornacki has an article at Salon about liberal disappointment with President Obama and calls to support a challenger to him in 2012 in which he uncovered an article from 1983 that I just want to highlight because I think it is interesting:

Hard-line conservatives will meet this weekend in Dallas to discuss complaints against the administration and perhaps lay some groundwork for challenging President Reagan if he seeks re-election in 1984.

"We've either got to fish or cut bait," said Howard Phillips, chairman of the Conservative Caucus. "Either we get some changes out of the administration or we have to go in a different direction."

Phillips said the purpose of the Dallas meeting of about 20 conservatives would be to "see if there is a consensus among conservatives about where we go from here."

Phillips and conservative publisher and fund-raiser Richard Viguerie are openly urging Reagan not to run again in 1984.

"I would think the conservative cause and the Republican Party would be better served if the president doesn't run for re-election," said Viguerie.

"If the president is not off the dime to turn this thing around in the next several weeks, I think there will be an all-out effort to persuade him not to run in 1984," said Phillips.

To hear the Religious Right tell it now, Ronald Reagan was the greatest president this nation has ever known ... but at the time he was in office, he was such a disappointingly feckless compromiser that conservatives weren't even sure they could support him if he ran for re-election:

Not all conservatives happy with Reagan
16 August 1984
The Dallas Morning News

...

 

[Cal] Thomas said that Reagan has surrounded himself with too many pragmatists "who believe in government by negotiation rather than by leadership.'

 

"To get any lasting changes, the president must be more forceful in asserting his views and his policies,' Thomas said. "I would like to see it change, but the whirlpool of pragmatism is very strong.'

[Paul] Weyrich said that Reagan has "started down the right road, but we haven't gotten very far.'

He said that although the GOP has great expectations for a second term, it won't continue to enjoy widespread support from conservatives unless the party takes action on anti-abortion legislation and school prayer, and does more things for families.

"The allegiance they (Republicans) have is more in contrast to whom the opposition is,' he said. "Reagan has been a disappointment, but we have to re-elect him because Mondale would be a disaster.'

Weyrich said conservatives are hopeful that if Reagan wins the election in November, the cast of characters in the White House will change. That would help, he said, because Reagan is very much a product of the people who surround him.

"It is not unreasonable to suggest that he will change,' Weyrich said. "It is not beyond the realm of possibilities.'

Richard Viguerie, a New Right fund-raiser and publisher of Conservative Digest, said the New Right was much quieter this year than four years ago, before Reagan was in the White House, but said the relative quiet should not be interpreted as a sign of reduced effectiveness.

"I think my organization has been significantly enlarged and strengthened,' he said. "We will mail out twice as many letters as we did four years ago and I'm working to increase the assets and resources of the movement.'

Viguerie said the major complaint with Reagan and the Republicans is that on many issues, their policy isn't that much different from the Democrats'.

"The only real difference is in rhetoric,' he said. "On issue after issue, they (Republicans) are arguing about the last 5 to 10 percent of the budget instead of fighting against the program itself.'

Tea Party Nation Backs Hate Party Defender for RNC Chair

I know that Tea Party activists have been working hard to rebut the movement's reputation for racism, so I am sure that this decision will raise a few eyebrows:

One day after former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska declined to throw her hat into the ring to become the Tea Party movement’s choice to lead the Republican National Committee, a leading Tea Party group threw its support behind Saul Anuzis of Michigan.

Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, announced in a statement on Tuesday that he was supporting Mr. Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party. Mr. Phillips said the leadership race was a critical “battle for the heart and soul” of the party.

“Capturing the chairmanship of the R.N.C. is important to the Tea Party movement,” Mr. Phillips wrote in a letter to the members of his group, one of the largest Tea Party organizations in the country. He added: “We need a conservative in as chair of the R.N.C. If not, we will end up with the same class of G.O.P. knuckleheads that blew it so badly in 2006 and 2008.”

And the reason it'll raise eyebrows is because of Anuzis' support of Kyle Bristow:

Saul Anuzis, leader of the Michigan GOP until last year, announced earlier this week that he would be challenging Michael Steele for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Anuzis had made a failed but significant run against Steele, the party’s first black leader, for the same post in 2009.

Writing about his hopes for the RNC, Anuzis, an avid Twitter user and blogger, especially emphasized his tech-savviness at online social networking as an asset for making electoral gains for the party. What Anuzis didn’t mention was the kind of contacts he cultivated offline in Michigan, in particular his vocal support of the right-wing extremist Kyle Bristow. Bristow led the Michigan State University campus branch of Young Americans For Freedom (MSU-YAF) and was so virulent in his politics that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) began listing it as a hate group in 2006. Bristow also served as a Republican precinct delegate.

Bristow’s MSU-YAF engaged in extensive racist activities. One of its first stunts was presenting a 13-point agenda that would have established a “Caucasian caucus” at MSU and, in turn, eliminated all student government representation for practically every other non-white, non-heterosexual, non-male or non-Christian student group at the university. Bristow was on record saying, “Homosexuality kills people almost to a degree worse than cigarettes. … these [pro-gay rights] groups are complicit with murder.” MSU-YAF sponsored a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day” contest, held a “Koran Desecration” competition, jokingly threatened to distribute smallpox-infested blankets to Native American students, and posted “Gays Spread AIDS” fliers across campus. Bristow’s YAF also brought several extremists to speak at the MSU campus, including Holocaust denier Nick Griffin, leader of the whites-only British National Party.

None of this seemed to bother Anuzis. “This [Bristow] is exactly the type of young kid we want out there,” Anuzis, then already the GOP state chair, said on a radio program in May 2007, the year after MSU-YAF’s more outrageous activities were made public. “I’ve known Kyle for years and I can tell you I have never heard him say a racist or bigoted or sexist thing, ever.” Just this past October, Anuzis’ Michigan GOP issued a press release attacking a Democratic candidate for secretary of state because she once interned at the SPLC, which the release said used “fear and intimidation” in its hate group listings.

Since receiving this outpouring of support from Anuzis, Bristow has graduated to the top ranks of the American radical right. Now a law student at the University of Toledo, Bristow recently self-published a novel, White Apocalypse, whose plot revolves around a series of violent revenge fantasies against Jewish professors, Latino and Native American activists. A major subplot ends in the bloody assassination of a character apparently based on an SPLC staffer. Several notable white supremacists and anti-Semites have endorsed the novel.

Just yesterday Anuzis was asked about his past support for Bristow and he again refused to disavow it.

Right Wing Round-Up

More Religious Right Groups to Boycott CPAC, Compare GOProud to John Birch Society

Last week the American Principles Project announced that it would boycott the next CAPC convention if organizers allowed the gay conservative group GOProud to participate.

Now, the APP has gotten other Religious Right groups to sign on to a letter to announcing their intent to likewise withdraw from the event:

A coalition of conservative groups led by the American Principles Project today sent a letter to David Keene, Chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and his fellow board members announcing their withdrawal from participation in the 2011 CPAC.

The letter, signed by leaders of American Values, Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage, cites the decision to allow GOProud to participate in CPAC, explaining that the inclusion of this group that stands in diametrical opposition to a core principle of conservatism made it necessary to take action.

“This is the line in the sand,” stated Frank Cannon, President of the American Principles Project, an organization dedicated to upholding our most fundamental American Principles. “True conservatives and conservative organizations are rejecting the efforts to destroy conservatism from within by those attempting to marginalize social conservatism. And if that means rejecting CPAC, these conservative leaders have the courage to stand by their principles.”

In the letter, the leaders of these organization actually compare GOProud to the John Birch Society:

Exclusion of GOProud would not be without precedent in the modern history of conservatism. In 1962 William F. Buckley, Jr., called on the Republican Party and the conservative movement generally to dissociate themselves from the John Birch Society. There was no doubt then that the Birch Society embraced such principles as anti-communism and limited government. Yet Buckley and others rightly recognized that there were views its founder and leader possessed, and transmitted to the organization, that, as he wrote in the pages of National Review, were “far removed from common sense.” Buckley concluded, “We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner.”

A political generation ago, the John Birch Society embraced conspiracy theories about President Eisenhower, challenging his anti-communist credentials. Today GOProud describes Jim DeMint’s culturally conservative views as “bizarre.”

You know what is the greatest thing about this comparison? 

Last year, the John Birch Society was a co-sponsor of CPAC.

Barber: Religious Right Are The Only "Complete Conservatives"

Matt Barber and Shawn Akers dedicated a recent Liberty Counsel "Faith & Freedom Radio" program to pushing back against GOProud's effort to get the Republican Party to ignore the Religious Right's social issues agenda, blasting GOProud as liberal group that is masquerading as a conservative organization in order to divide the conservative movement and explaining that the only true conservatives are those who are conservative on social, fiscal, and national defense issues:

Barber: Groups like GOProud are liberal/libertarian organizations that are in place, and I believe furtively so, to really create a divide and conquer scheme within the Republican Party, to really divide and separate and try to splinter off people from the Tea Party movement when, in reality, the vast majority are, as I point out, those three-legged Reagan stool conservatives.

Akers: In order to form a complete conservative, you have to have all three of those things. And if any one of those things is missing, you have something but its not a stool. It won't hold you up. You are not a conservative. You have to be fiscally conservative, defense conservative, and socially conservative.

Barber: You are absolutely right.

Akers: [And] those three legs are not created equal. The fact is when we talk about social issues ... name me an issue that is not social. Social simply means that it has to do with society - what we mean is moral. Fine, show me one of those issues that doesn't deal with morality.

We we talk about defense, we're talking about literally when we will take up arms. You'd better have a moral set on why or when you are doing that.

When we're talking about economics, we're talking about who's going to receive what, how you're going to manage money, who's going to get paid what, how we're going to handle all of the things in our lives - there shouldn't even be a moral component, it had better exist in a moral framework or you've got a very bad system on your hands.

So the fact is of those three stools, they're all three social conservative legs. You can't separate social conservatism from the rest.

Barber: And take the hot button social conservative issues, the ones that they really like to talk about: abortion and so-called gay rights.

On the abortion issue, I'm sorry, but if you claim to be a conservative and you're pro-abortion, you're not a conservative.

I don't think anybody who is not pro-life is qualified or fit to serve. If they can't understand a fundamental right to life, they don't belong in office as far as I'm concerned.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All, again, inexorably linked. You cannot have one without the other and liberty, of course, was at the forefront. And groups like GOProud seek to remove our liberties, they seek to radically redefine family. They push a radical, leftist homosexual agenda and we're not going to let them get away with it.

Evangelical Christians make up overwhelmingly the base of the conservative movement and even of the Republican Party and it is ill-advised of Republicans to go against, really, the will of the Evangelical conservative movement, of the complete conservatives, of the Reagan conservatives and they do so at their own peril, the conservative movement does so at its own peril.

Believers in American Exceptionalism More Likely to Support Torture

We have written about the ways that Tea Party candidates, Religious Right leaders like David Barton, and pundits like Glenn Beck have been promoting the idea of a divinely-inspired American Exceptionalism, and attacking President Obama for being an enemy of exceptionalism who is out to destroy it. 

A new survey released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute makes it clear that there’s fertile ground for politically exploiting this concept, especially among Republican voters. When voters were asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement that “God has granted America a special role in human history,” 58 percent of Americans agree. Not surprisingly, white evangelicals agreed overwhelmingly – 83 percent – along with 76 percent of those who identify with the Tea Party movement and 75 percent of Republicans. Among Democrats, about half – 49 percent – agree. More than two thirds of Americans with no religious affiliation reject the idea that God has given the US a special role in history.
 
Perhaps more interesting is the survey’s findings that white Americans who affirm this notion of divinely inspired American exceptionalism are much more likely to favor military strength over diplomacy as the best way to preserve peace than those who reject exceptionalism, and significantly more likely to believe that torture can be justified. Americans are about evenly split on the question of whether torture can ever be justified against suspected terrorists, but only about a third of Republicans and those identifying with the Tea Party agree that torture can never be justified. Fifty-five percent of those who believe in a divine role for the US believe torture can sometimes be justified; only 42 percent of those who reject that role are willing to accept torture under some circumstances.
 
It’s worth noting that half of white evangelicals believe that torture can never be justified, making this one among several issues in which Tea Party supporters are to the right of other Christian conservatives even though there is major overlap between the two groups. E.J. Dionne and William Galston of the Brookings Institution, in a paper commenting on the survey findings, note that “While white Christian conservatives and Tea Party supporters are in broad agreement on many issues, there is a harder edge to Tea Party views on immigration, multiculturalism, and Islam.”
 
Those differences could contribute to the ongoing public struggles to define what the 2010 election meant and what kinds of issues should be considered part of the Tea Party agenda. The crucial role played by Latino voters in Democratic Senate victories in Nevada, California, and Colorado also point to ways in which the Tea Party movement’s hard-edge positions on immigration and Islam, and its lack of concern about racial discrimination, could interfere with efforts by some GOP and Religious Right leaders to broaden the demographic base of the Republican Party. 

CPAC Board To Decide GOProud's Fate

As we noted yesterday, the American Principles Project and several other Religious Right goups have been threatening to boycott next year's CPAC conference if the gay conservative group GOProud to participate again this year.

Now WorldNetDaily is reporting that the pressure is getting to organizers at the American Conservative Union, which has decided to put to issue to a vote before CPAC's board of directors, and that more groups are planning on boycotting the event if GOProud is not given the boot:

The Conservative Political Action Conference board of directors is voting whether to permit a homosexual activist group, GOProud, to participate in CPAC again this year.

CPAC's organizer, the American Conservative Union, is under pressure after the American Principles Project issued an open letter announcing its withdrawal from the conference over GOProud's participation.

"If someone is tempted to think for a moment that GOProud is a benign force, then they should examine GOProud's insistence that the Republican party abandon social issues entirely. This makes them the friend of the Democratic party, which long ago embraced every radical sexual expression under the sun," said Robert Knight, senior correspondent for Coral Ridge Ministries.

With several more social conservative groups dropping out or threatening to do so behind the scenes, ACU chairman David Keene called on CPAC's board of directors to decide whether GOProud should be welcomed at the conference for a second straight year, according to a source on the board.

The results of the vote will be announced on Monday.

"We've decided to put our resources elsewhere," said Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel. "We're going to attend the Values Voters Summit and Awakening 2011."

Staver explained that the latter conferences would both respect all three legs of the conservative "stool" described by President Ronald Reagan: fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and social conservatism.

With Norquist Grilling RNC Candidates, Will the Social Agenda Be Ignored?

For the last few days we have been noting the battle between the Religious Right and the gay conservative group GOProud set off by the latter's effort to get the Republican Party to ignore the social issues that are at the heard of the former's entire agenda.

This question is obviously going to be a significant one as the GOP prepares to take control of the House and sets out its agenda heading into 2012 ... which makes this announcement rather interesting:

Conservative activist Grover Norquist will quiz candidates running for Republican National Committee chairman at a debate to be held just two weeks before elections, he told Hotline On Call Wednesday.

Norquist, who runs Americans for Tax Reform, will moderate the Jan. 3 debate at the National Press Club. It's an effort, he says, to take the race for chairman beyond the 168 members of the national committee and to bolster transparency.

As you may recall, Norquist was savaged by Religious Right leaders for joining GOProud's advisory council, with Tony Perkins slamming him for selling out the conservative movement.

So I wonder how the Religious Right feels about the next RNC chair being vetted by someone like Norquist who clearly does not care about their social issues agenda and, presumably, has no interest in including such questions in the debate process.

Religious Right Wants Jewish TX House Speaker Replaced With a "True Christian" Conservative

Back in 2009, a battle erupted in the Texas House of Representatives as Republicans fought over which member would serve as Speaker of the House.  The Religious Right lined up behind Tom Craddick, but everyone else supported Joe Straus who ended up winning, leading Rick Scarborough to decry it as a "coup."

And now a similar battle is unfolding yet again, as the same coalition of right-wing activists have mounted an effort to replace Straus with someone more inclined to do their bidding:

A group of conservative groups is trying to capitalize on that frustration, issuing a letter Nov. 4 calling for a new Speaker. The signatories include representatives from a lot of major conservative groups, including Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Right to Life, Americans for Prosperity, the Texas Eagle Forum, [Vision America,] Liberty Institute, former Republican Party of Texas Chairman Cathie Adams, and former Republican Party of Texas vice-chairman David Barton. Of particular concern to grass roots conservatives is the fate of bills requiring showing photo ID prior to voting and bills that limit property taxes.

And, not surprisingly, the effort has started to take on religious overtones

[A] handful of outside socially conservative groups are running a fairly deceitful but noisy campaign trying to pressure lawmakers who actually like the speaker’s management style to vote against him.

They blame him for the failure of the sonogram bill but the pro-life Texans for Life said the claim is false. They blame him for the failure of voter ID by permitting the Democratic filibuster, but that’s false. Straus followed the direction of his colleagues in the Republican caucus

They said that Straus appointed moderate chairman, but the budget under Straus was more fiscally conservative than the last one under Craddick.

Now, the so-called grassroots effort has crossed over the line with coordinated email and robocall programs calling for a true Christian speaker. Straus is Jewish.

The Texas Freedom Network reports that supporters have also been sending out emails explaining the importance of replaced Straus with a Christian:

Has the religious right’s effort to topple Texas House Speaker Joe Straus become an anti-Semitic smear campaign? Quorum Report (subscription required) has now posted various e-mails from groups and individuals opposed to Straus, who is Jewish. Excerpts:

“Straus is going down in Jesus name.”

“[W]e finally found a Christian conservative who decided not to be pushed around by the Joe Straus thugs.”

Another e-mail calls for replacing Straus as House Speaker so

“…that our nation will again prosper and hold to values that the Christians and Republicans hold so dear in their souls.”

Straus only needs the support of 76 members and has reportedly already secured pledges from nearly twice that number, but his opponents are not giving up. 

In fact, just today, Mike Huckabee through his support behind challenger Ken Paxton:

While Republicans across Texas and across the nation had many great victories on November 2nd, the battle for true conservatism is not over. Now, as the majority Party in many State Houses, and the U.S. House, Republicans have the duty and ability to select strong conservatives to be new Speakers of the House. That position should be filled by one who has the knowledge, ability and relationships to create and push a strong conservative agenda. In Texas, that’s Ken Paxton.

Huck PAC and I are pleased to again endorse Ken, this time for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

Soon to start his fifth term in office, Ken has twice been named "Texas Taxpayer Hero" by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. Ken proudly believes in the sanctity of life, and supporting conservative family values like traditional marriage between one man and one woman. Ken recognizes that the matters of social issues directly impact our economy, and I’m confident having Ken’s conservative voice lead the new Texas House of Representatives will result in some great accomplishments.

I hope you will join me in supporting Ken Paxton. Texas is fortunate to have him serving in the State House, let’s make sure we make him the next Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

The Absurd Hypocrisy of James Dobson

As I mentioned the other day, James Dobson has dedicated the last three days of his radio program to airing a speech he delivered back in 1998 at a gathering of the Council for National Policy in which he laid out his views regarding the GOP's continual abandonment of the Religious Right and the issues they hold dear. 

Today, Dobson aired the final portion of that speech in which he focused largely on attacking the Republicans for ignoring basic moral principles in order to maintain political power and threatened that the Religious Right would leave the coalition if the party continued to do so:

It's a lack of conviction that there is a boss to the universe and that there are moral standards that we are held to and we need officials who will stand up and represent them.

What that conveys to the constituency I'm talking about is that principle does not matter, it's party over principle. That there are some things that you stand for whether it is popular or politically astute to do so or not. That's what that pro-moral community stands for.

And yet it seemed to me that what I heard from the Republicans in Indian Wells was we cannot have power if we stand on principle - please don't take away our power.

What good is it to have power if you don't use it for good?

The Republican Party was born in the crucible of conviction and courage and moral righteousness, that's where the Republican Party started.

It took a stand against slavery in a day that cost six hundred thousand lives in the Civil War. But they knew is was wrong and they took a stand on it, whether win, lose, or draw, that's God business. They took a stand on what was right.

If they party has left that and it is now going to mouth these two things every two years and then go on to something else, I think we need to look for another. And it would be tragic if that happened. I don't want that to happen. There are many state houses of government where Republicans will suffer if that happens. It will be a disaster for the country, but somebody said "if you do that, you have no voice at all." I don't think we have a voice now. I can't hear the voice.

So, to hear Dobson tell it, the problem with the GOP it its utter lack of conviction to stand on principle even if it means losing some political power. 

Of course, that sort of condemnation from Dobson might carry a bit more weight if Dobson didn't repeatedly do the same thing, constantly threatening to abandon the Republican Party only to fall back in line when Election Day approached.

Does anyone remember this?

Should John McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime. I certainly can’t vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on the virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life.

That announcement was followed just a few months later by this one:

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.

If Dobson is going to spend three days airing a speech blasting the Republican Party for abandoning its principles for the sake of politics, maybe he should spend the rest of the week examining his own blatant hypocrisy.

Neo-Confederate Radical Catches GOP Wave, Elected to Arkansas State House

As the Republican Party lurches farther to the right and comes to the successful conclusion of its Southern Strategy, even the party’s most radical candidates can win elections. In an open Democratic seat in Arkansas, where Republicans made significant gains in the election, Republican candidate Loy Mauch defeated his Democratic opponent. According to the Arkansas Times, State Representative-elect Mauch is a staunch Neo-Confederate who is “a current member of The League of the South,” a white supremacist group, and an avowed opponent of Abraham Lincoln and his legacy. He describes the Confederate Battle Flag as “a symbol of Jesus Christ” and “Biblical government,” and an affiliate of the Sons of Confederate Veterans he led presented a speech entitled “Homage to John Wilkes Booth.” David Koon of the Arkansas Times writes:

For seven years, Mauch was the commander of James M. Keller Camp 648 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He stepped down as commander last year. In 2004, angered by the city of Hot Springs' refusal to remove a statue of Abraham Lincoln displayed in the Hot Springs Civic and Convention Center, the Keller Camp hosted a conference in Hot Springs called "Seminar on Abraham Lincoln — Truth vs. Myth," with a keynote address called "Homage to John Wilkes Booth."

Mauch said that he believes Lincoln didn't follow the Constitution. Of the statue of Lincoln in the convention center, Mauch said: "I didn't think it had any place down in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He wasn't friendly to Arkansas. He didn't have anything to do with Arkansas. Nobody in Arkansas voted for him."

A prolific writer of letters to the editor (Garland County Democratic Party chair George Hozendorf said one of the only things he knew about Mauch was that he recalled a letter to the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record in which Mauch advocated for enlarging the controversial Confederate flag and Confederate soldier statue at the fork of Central and Ouachita Avenues), Mauch took pen in hand in 2008 during the controversy stirred up by Huntsville businessman James Vandiver's decision to respond to the election of Barack Obama by flying a Confederate battle flag in front of his motel.

"The government has lost its moral authority over God-fearing Americans," Mauch wrote to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "I wish more patriots like James Vandiver would take their stand for what the Confederate Battle Flag truly symbolizes."

When asked what the Confederate flag symbolizes, Mauch said: "It's a symbol of constitutional government. It's a symbol of Jesus Christ above all else. It's a symbol of Biblical government."

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s profiles of the League of The South, which calls for Whites to “establish a Christian theocratic state and politically dominate blacks and other minorities,” and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which has ties to extremist groups such as the League and the Council of Conservative Citizens, reveal their radical underpinnings. The SPLC has documented the Southern Republican politicians who have ties to such racist groups, and Mauch appears to be the latest example of a politician who views the Southern Confederacy with nostalgia and praises its history with religious fervor and nationalistic devotion.

Religious Right Blasts GOProud For Trying To Co-Opt Movement and Destroy Society

As we noted yesterday, the gay conservative group GOProud was urging the Republican Party to ignore the Religious Right's social issues agenda and the effort, not surprisingly, was not going over well with the Religious Right.

Concerned Women for America responded by saying that rather than ignoring social issues, such issues must be placed "at the very top of the list," which is a view shared by Gary Bauer, who dismisses GOProud as a "liberal group": 

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about the GOP establishment trying to co-opt the Tea Party into abandoning its commitment to fiscal conservatism. Unfortunately, at least one liberal group has already convinced some Tea Party leaders to abandon values issues.

I was very disappointed to read this morning that a pro-homosexual rights group has gotten more than a dozen Tea Party activists to sign on to a letter to new members of Congress. According to Politico, the letter urges them to focus exclusively on fiscal issues, and to oppose the consideration of social issues as part of the agenda for the new Congress. That is terrible advice, and it presents a false choice ... Tonight, I will be attending a reception for new House members. I promise you I will encourage them to fight for the entire conservative agenda — including values issues!

The Family Research Council also weighed in to blast GOProud as a phony conservatives who are out to co-opt the movement in an effort sow anarchy and destroy the fabric of society:

A group that had nothing to do with bringing the Republicans to power suddenly wants to dictate what the party does with it. GOProud, an aggressive pro-homosexual organization that desperately wants to be taken seriously by conservatives, is trying to force its way into the movement by persuading a small handful of tea partiers to sign on to a social truce for the 112th Congress.

...

If anyone's doing the co-opting, it's GOProud--whose "social truce" isn't a truce at all. If Republicans stand down on social issues, it's in this group's interest! GOProud is the one actively fighting for same-sex "marriage," homosexuals in the military, and gay "rights." Essentially they're saying, "We'll keep marching our priorities forward and you" (meaning conservatives) "stand down."

I say, no way! For starters, that won't fly with the broader Tea Party movement which is solidly in the social conservative camp (see DeMint, Jim). Secondly, it's a losing strategy for America. We need to shrink the size of government, but America needs strong families. Those families--not GOProud's phony substitutes--are the backbone of society. Think about the welfare costs associated with the breakdown of social order. Think about the cost in terms of crime and the criminal justice system. What about the loss of human potential? Do these folks really think we can just eliminate those government expenditures overnight? What this crowd is advocating will lead to anarchy, which, ironically, would provide GOProud and friends a perfect environment for their lifestyle.

Dobson: A Decade of Abandonment Issues and Empty Threats

If you want to get a sense of the extent to which the Religious Right is locked in a seemingly fruitless but entirely co-dependent relationship with the Republican Party, just take a listen to James Dobson's radio program this week.

For the next three days, Dobson is airing a speech he delivered back in February 1998 (presumably at the Council for National Policy meeting) laying out the Religious Right's abandonment issues and experience of repeatedly being abandoned by the GOP.

And the reason that Dobson decided to air this speech now is because the big GOP gains in the recent election just might be history repeating itself and Dobson feels the need to issue a "pre-emptive" warning: 

James Dobson (from 1998 speech): In 1995, I was looking for a politician, a Republican leader who had a chance to win the White House who understood what I'd been saying, who understood that moral foundation to the universe, who was willing to articulate it and willing to fight for it.

And I decided that Phil Gramm just might be that man. I heard him on TV, I liked what he said, I thought maybe he might be the one that we could get excited about, and so I asked for an appointment to see him and he agreed to see me.

And I flew to Washington DC from Colorado Springs and with me that day were Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, and Betsy DeVos. We went in an sat down and I had this on my heart, something I really want to say. And he starts by telling us that he only has forty minutes, he has to go to something, and he begins talking - and he talked, and he talked, and he talked for thirty minutes and we just got ten minutes left and he's still talking.

And so I finally said "Senator, it's not polite to interrupt a Senator when he's talking, but I came a long way to say something to you and if you don't ever let me say it, I'll leave here and you won't ever know what I came to say."

So he talked some more and then he said "okay, what is it you came to say?"

I said "Senator, there are millions and millions and millions of people out there, good family people trying to raise their kids, trying to keep them moral, trying to teach them what they believe, that are very agitated and are very concerned because they don't hear anybody echoing what they believe. And they're not known to the New York Times, they're not represented by the New York Times. And they're not known inside the Beltway, people don't talk about those folks inside the Beltway. It's as though they don't exist, or if they do, they're called names like Hillary Clinton called them last week. And they're not know to the Washington Post who referred to them as poor, uneducated, and easy to control. That's the attitude."

And I said "Senator, if you would hone in on those people and speak their language and talk to their hearts and identify with the things they care about instead of just talking about taxes and the economy and money - they care about more than money. If you will do this, you will have millions of people following you."

I'll never forget what he said. What he actually said was "I'm not a preacher and I can't do that."

And I said "Senator, you will never reach our people." And we got up and left. And Senator Gramm was out of the race in Louisiana just a few weeks later.

Ryan Dobson: That was my dad, Dr. James Dobson, speaking twelve years ago to a large assembly of people concerned about public plicy and, more specifically, about the failure of Republicans to fulfill their promises made to the American people back in 1994.

Dad, that was powerful.

James Dobson: Well, there are times when a speaker is on fire and you ain't heard nothing yet because you can hear where I'm going in the next two days and we will put flesh on those bones.

Ryan Dobson: And, in a way, is this not a warning to the newly elected officials to not abandon their base?

James Dobson: Well Ryan, that's why we're airing it, because this does represent something of a warning to the new Republican majority because it's happened before. They've been there before.

In 1994, they suddenly found themselves in the majority. No one predicted it and there they were and they did it by promising some things to the American people. And immediately set out to abandon them and that is what we're going to be talking about in the next two days.

Ryan Dobson: They immediately started talking about bipartisanship, reaching across the aisle, building bridges. To be honest, I never elect somebody to be bipartisan - I elect somebody to be conservative. I do not elect anybody to reach across an aisle - I elect them to be conservative.

James Dobson: And you expect them to tell the truth about what their values are. And we have not seen anything yet that would indicate the Republicans are about the lie to us, so this is pre-emptive, but that's where we're going because this is history repeating itself.

So, to hear the Dobson's explain it, the real problem with Newt Gingrich and the Republican radicals who took over Congress in 1994 was that they were too committed to "bipartisanship" and "reaching across the aisle" and that is why they eventually lost their majorities.

I would also just like to point out that we have had three presidental elections since Dobson delivered this speech ... and in each one Dobson has supported the Republican candidate despite his deep disappointment with the party and even after vowing repeatedly that never to support John McCain.

So you have to wonder just what kind of "pre-emptive" warning Dobson thinks he is sending to the GOP this time around considering that he's been sending this very same warning to them for more than a decade and yet, inevitably, when it comes time to cast his vote, Dobson swallows his pride, falls in line, and throws his support to the Republicans. 

 

GOProud Urges GOP To Ignore Religious Right's Agenda

There only thing that angers the Religious Right more than being told that their social issues agenda does not matter is seeing the GOP downplay their social issues agenda in order to appease other parts of the conservative coalition.

So I can only imagine that this letter from the gay conservative group GOProud and several Tea Party leaders calling on the GOP to ignore social issues is probably not going to go over too well with the Religious Right:

A gay conservative group and some Tea Party leaders are campaigning to keep social issues off the Republican agenda.

In a letter to be released Monday, the group GOProud and leaders from groups like the Tea Party Patriots and the New American Patriots, will urge Republicans in the House and Senate to keep their focus on shrinking the government.

"On behalf of limited-government conservatives everywhere, we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement," they write to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell in an advance copy provided to POLITICO. "This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue."

...

"For almost two years now, the tea party has been laser-focused on the size of government," said Barron, who said his group and the tea partiers are part of the "leave-me-alone coalition."

"No one has been talking about social issues - not even the socially conservative candidates who won tea party support," [GOProud's Chairman Christopher] Barron said ... "We're not talking about pushing social conservatives out of the tea party movement. Those people aren't only welcome but they're a critical part of this movement." said Barron.

You really have to marvel at the gall of a gay conservative like Barron talking down to the social conservatives in the movement and basically telling them that they are a "critical part" of the coalition so long as they accept that their agenda is going to be completely ignored.

Considering that a large part of the Religious Right's agenda is rooted in militantly opposing "the gay agenda," I am guessing that they are not going to take too kindly to efforts by a gay conservative group to relegate them to the sidelines.

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Republican Party Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Monday 06/23/2014, 3:39pm
Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick, the GOP nominee for Lt. Governor, addressed Friday night’s session of the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference. Patrick said that America is a Christian nation, that politics is about building God’s kingdom, and that America’s policies must be grounded in the Bible. Excerpts from Dan Patrick's remarks: Patrick portrayed his resounding come-from-behind victory over incumbent David Dewhurst as God’s will. He said he started every campaign appearance by saying, “’I’m a Christian first, I... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 07/17/2013, 11:02am
Senators and presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Ted Cruz will head to Iowa this week as featured speakers at a closed-door event for conservative pastors that has been organized by David Lane, an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as “the principle textbook” for public education and a “Christian culture” has been “re-established.” He... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 06/20/2013, 2:48pm
Here’s a question for Ralph Reed and the ‘Teavangelical’ wing of the conservative movement: how can you portray yourselves as serious about governing when the keynote speakers at last week’s “Road to Majority” conference were Donald Trump and Sarah Palin? Palin’s conference-closing remarks on Saturday featured a breathtakingly offensive joke about the Syrian civil war, which has taken an estimated 100,000 lives. She said we should just “let Allah sort it out.” Palin also had choice words for the bipartisan immigration reform bill moving... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 08/21/2012, 6:44pm
The Republican Party’s platform committee spent the day addressing amendments to sections of the platform draft that came up through subcommittees.  It seems that the DC delegation had managed to get into the draft platform some vague language supporting improved representation. It didn’t last.  The language said that while the Party is opposed to statehood, there could be constructive alternative means of representation that should be considered.  Even that was too much.  James Bopp, delegate from Indiana, dripping contempt for DC, called for that to be hacked... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 08/21/2012, 10:34am
Yesterday, the head of the Log Cabin Republicans said that the Republican Party platform might actually contain language saying that all Americans have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Imagine! Although the language included no reference to LGBT people, Log Cabin argued that it would be a “positive nod” toward them.  A nearly imperceptible, practically meaningless nod, perhaps.  Anti-gay groups typically use similar rhetoric to soften their image.  Even the most stridently anti-gay Religious Right leaders insist they don’t hate... MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Tuesday 05/08/2012, 4:42pm
The Greene County, Virginia Republican Committee publishes a monthly newsletter for members called “The Constitutional Conservatives.” The newsletter is heavy on Tea Party rhetoric about how Obama and liberals are ruining America, and so forth. But even by these standards, an item in the March newsletter stands out. In the “Whitehouse Watchdog” column, editor Ponch McPhee says that America cannot survive four more years under Obama, a “political socialist ideologue” who is “unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized.” McPhee... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 01/18/2012, 2:44pm
Remember that “game-changing” endorsement of Rick Santorum by a group of evangelical leaders desperate to deny the Republican nomination to Mitt Romney?  As Brian reports, there wasn’t really that much of a consensus in Texas.  And it certainly didn’t make it to South Carolina, where Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry all paraded before a gathering convened by Ralph Reed’s “Faith and Freedom Coalition” just hours before the latest debate.  All had their fans in the crowd, and Gingrich seemed to have more, or at... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 10/24/2011, 12:25pm
Today on The 700 Club televangelist and past Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson warned that the Republican primary base is pushing their party’s potential nominees to such extremes that they will be unelectable. While Robertson has said that he will not make an endorsement this cycle, in 2008 he caught flak from many in the Religious Right for supporting Rudy Giuliani. After a segment on Herman Cain’s ever-changing and completely incoherent views on abortion rights, Robertson told viewers that he thinks that the Republican presidential nominee may be unelectable if he... MORE >