Values Action Team

Teaching Brownback a Lesson

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Sen. Sam Brownback.

Since he announced that he was supporting Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' nomination to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, he has watched the Family Research Council pull out of the Values Action Team meetings he oversees and his reputation as a pro-life champion has taken a beating.

And now, to make matters worse, his home has been reportedly burglarized:

Burglars made off with thousands of dollars worth of property stolen from the Topeka home of U.S. Senator Sam Brownback last week ... The Senator's wife Mary Brownback returned home around 1:30 p.m. Thursday to find the items missing. Officials say a computer, a television, a video game, a check book and 100-pieces of jewelry were taken.

At least there is some good news on the horizon for Brownback, coming in the form of this admission by one of his biggest critics that pro-life activists have a very short memory and probably won't hold his current heresy against him when he runs for governor next year:

A pro-life activist predicts that if Senator Brownback (R-Kansas) runs for governor in his state, he will still receive the support of the pro-life movement despite his controversial decision to support the nomination of pro-abortion Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services secretary.

...

Mark Crutcher, the president of Life Dynamics, Incorporated, says pro-life Republicans know they can "pull a stunt" like Brownback did because pro-life activists often have short memories.

"Right now there's probably a lot of anger in Kansas, I would assume, and a lot of people are sickened by Brownback's sell-out," Crutcher shares. "But let's say that he runs for governor and he continues to tell people, 'Oh, I'm pro-life. I did that for some other reason' -- or whatever excuse he uses for his sell-out."

According to Crutcher, that explanation may just work on the voters. "The thing that bothers me [about] the history of the pro-life movement is that once the initial anger and fervor of the moment goes away...if he runs against some pro-abort Democrat, we'll...rally behind this guy."

Last week, Crutcher was blasting Brownback for his willingness to "throw the unborn under the bus for some political advantage" and saying that the pro-life movement has been "stabbed in the back by people like Sam Brownback so many times" that it should have learned its lesson by now.

But apparently the only lesson to be learned from this entire ordeal is that Republican politicians can stab pro-life activists in the back whenever it suits their needs and fully expect to maintain their political support.

Brownback's Values Action Team Crumbles

Yesterday we noted that Sen. Sam Brownback was losing his pro-life credentials because of his support of Kathleen Sebelius' nomination to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.

It was pretty obvious that this is going to become a contentious issue for the Religious Right ... but we never would have predicted that it would get this bad this quickly:

While Brownback’s decision to back Sebelius may prove advantageous for Republicans in the Senate chamber, he frustrated some of his closest allies among Washington’s pro-life groups, such as the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America. Tuesday, Brownback hosted his weekly “Values Action Team” meeting in one of the Senate office buildings, where pro-family groups gather to coordinate with legislators. A representative from the Family Research Council stood and told the senator they were withdrawing from the group because of his support of Sebelius.

But Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright, while “disappointed” in Brownback’s support of Sebelius, said the focus now should not be on Brownback but on preventing Sebelius’ confirmation.

“I don’t want this to be a Rush Limbaugh–Michael Steele,” she said. “We are focused more on infighting and our opponents slip right by.”

It is probably no coincidence that today FRC launched its own effort to sink Sebelius' nomination:

Women deserve better, patients deserve better -- all Americans deserve better. It's clear that President Obama has chosen to put a radical abortion agenda ahead of the desire for reforms everyone can agreed upon.

Click here to contact your two U.S. senators and let them know that women and all families deserve a better choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services. This nomination is moving quickly, so please -- act now. And forward this email to friends and family so they can weigh in too.

Too Little, Too Late?

The last time we wrote about the House Values Action Team it was to note that its right-wing agenda had been gutted in the House Republicans’ 2008 campaign agenda for American families. At the time, House VAT chairman Joe Pitts dismissed the obvious implication that House Republicans were trying to distance themselves from the GOP's right-wing base, saying that "when we come out with the whole big picture," the social issues the Right cares about will be front and center.

But it looks like Pitts has realized that vague assurances are not going to cut it this time around and so the VAT is back with its own agenda to let the Right know they have not been forgotten:

Hoping to get their issues back on the front page of the GOP agenda, socially conservative Republicans will introduce their wish list on Thursday to the House Republican Conference.

The House Values Agenda, crafted by Values Action Team (VAT) Chairman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), has five major components: life, religious liberty, marriage, parental rights and protecting children.

Bills on each issue will be introduced later this year.

...

Much of the legislation on the values agenda has been introduced in previous Congresses, but it highlights issues — such as abortion and gay marriage — that some social conservatives have felt have been ignored by Republicans this election year. Social issues were a huge component of President Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004.

The package also includes several bills aimed at regulating indecent programming and protecting children from online predators.

Of course, even this time around the social issues the Religious Right cares about still isn't going to get much play from House Republicans:

Pitts spokesman Andrew Cole said that, for now, the agenda will be encouraged on an internal conference level rather than in a large rollout, citing the importance of keeping the conference firmly focused on energy.

So the VAT is unveiling an agenda aimed at pleasing the Right, which has been feeling jilted and neglected, on its favorite issues of abortion and gay marriage, but it doesn't plan to actually push the issues in any high-profile manner. That kind of halfhearted outreach ought to really energize the Right heading into the November election.

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Values Action Team Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/10/2009, 12:05pm
It has been a rough couple of weeks for Sen. Sam Brownback.Since he announced that he was supporting Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' nomination to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, he has watched the Family Research Council pull out of the Values Action Team meetings he oversees and his reputation as a pro-life champion has taken a beating.And now, to make matters worse, his home has been reportedly burglarized:Burglars made off with thousands of dollars worth of property stolen from the Topeka home of U.S. Senator Sam Brownback last week ... The Senator's wife Mary Brownback returned... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 03/05/2009, 6:09pm
Yesterday we noted that Sen. Sam Brownback was losing his pro-life credentials because of his support of Kathleen Sebelius' nomination to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.It was pretty obvious that this is going to become a contentious issue for the Religious Right ... but we never would have predicted that it would get this bad this quickly:While Brownback’s decision to back Sebelius may prove advantageous for Republicans in the Senate chamber, he frustrated some of his closest allies among Washington’s pro-life groups, such as the Family Research Council and... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 07/17/2008, 3:31pm
The last time we wrote about the House Values Action Team it was to note that its right-wing agenda had been gutted in the House Republicans’ 2008 campaign agenda for American families. At the time, House VAT chairman Joe Pitts dismissed the obvious implication that House Republicans were trying to distance themselves from the GOP's right-wing base, saying that "when we come out with the whole big picture," the social issues the Right cares about will be front and center. But it looks like Pitts has realized that vague assurances are not going to cut it this time around and so the VAT is... MORE >