Harry Reid

Romney: Still no JFK

The big question going into Mitt Romney’s speech was whether he’d directly take on the fact that many evangelicals tell pollsters they’d be uncomfortable voting for a Mormon. After saying that efforts “to establish the anti-religion of secularism must come to an end,” Romney seemed to be about to address directly the question of his faith, saying, “You may have heard I’m Mormon.” But he only made a lame joke about a fellow Mormon, U.S. Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader of the Senate, and moved on. No J.F.K. speech tonight. Romney focused on a new centerpiece of his campaign – to make single motherhood a shameful condition. Romney pledged that the focus of his wife’s work as first lady would be to encourage marriage. He ended his speech by returning to the theme of his family, oddly asserting that his whole family would be under the spotlight, and that his whole family would be held to a higher standard, and would be a model for the nation. Does that mean the five brothers would never go away? Or was it just a veiled shot at the multiple marriages among most of the other GOP candidates?

Playing the Racist Card, Again

It seems as if Gary Marx has managed to pull himself away from his $8,000-a-month position with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to pen an action alert in his capacity as Executive Director of the Judicial Confirmation Network to urge supporters to contact their senators and demand a vote on the nomination of Leslie Southwick:

The Liberal Left led by Senator Ted Kennedy, Minority Leader Harry Reid, and People for the American Way will stop at nothing in order to keep common sense constitutionalist judges like Leslie Southwick off the bench. Ultimately, their unprecedented judicial filibusters are a backdoor political sabotage to manipulate the Senate rules. Their goal is to create a radical new precedent where for the first time in history a future Supreme Court nominee like Justice Roberts or Alito will be forced to receive 60 votes for confirmation rather than a simple and fair majority vote.

The vote on whether to filibuster Judge Southwick is likely to occur this week ... possibly as early as Wednesday. This is our last chance to make our voice heard. The time to call your Senators' offices is today!

Marx then encourages activists to take the time to read an op-ed penned by his partner at the JCN, Wendy Long - who, like Marx, serves on Romney’s National Faith and Values Steering Committee – in which she trots out the Right’s standard claim that those who raise concerns about Southwick’s judicial record and philosophy are really just calling Southwick a racist:

Just when you thought "white male in the South" didn't equal "presumptive racist," a disgusting spectacle with that familiar theme is unfolding in the United States Senate.

[Senator Richard] Durbin is doing essentially what [Duke Prosecutor Mike] Nifong and [Al] Sharpton did: attacking someone else as a racist in order to advance his own political agenda. Never mind the facts, never mind the law, just play the race card against a white man in the south and you know you have a good chance to bring him down.

It seems that whenever anyone dares to oppose any of President Bush’s judicial nominees, the Right sees some nefarious ulterior motive at work – and that is how they manage to convince themselves that opposition to Southwick stems not from concerns about his record but from some sort of deep-seeded hatred of Southern white males … the same way they said opposition to Miguel Estrada was really due to anti-Latino prejudice … and opposition to Priscilla Owen was the result of flagrant anti-woman bias … and opposition to William Pryor was actually due to anti-Catholic bigotry … and opposition to Janice Rogers Brown was in actuality rooted in racism.    

Claiming to be Misled, Senate Chaplain Bows out of Far-Right Conference

Black in brochureSenate Chaplain Barry Black has cancelled his scheduled appearance at a right-wing conference hosted by televangelist D. James Kennedy’s Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, the AP reports, “after he was pictured with columnist Ann Coulter and other prominent conservatives in a brochure promoting the event.”

Black told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that he wouldn't be addressing next month's Reclaiming America for Christ Conference because his appearance wouldn't uphold the Senate chaplain's "historic tradition of being nonpolitical, nonpartisan, nonsectarian," a spokeswoman for the chaplain said Thursday.

Spokeswoman Meg Saunders said Black, a Seventh-day Adventist and a former Navy chaplain, had received "a very generic invitation" in fall 2005 to speak at the March conference and had agreed because there was room on his schedule.

After learning more about the other speakers and the event's featured topics, Black became "concerned" and canceled his appearance, Saunders said. "He felt the information had been incomplete," she said.

Over the last three decades, D. James Kennedy has established himself as one of the most powerful religious-right leaders in the country – called an “ivy-league Jerry Falwell.” Kennedy’s Center for Reclaiming America for Christ is dedicated to mobilizing its supporters against abortion, gays, and evolution, and his Center for Christian Statesmanship is dedicated to honoring almost exclusively Republican politicians who take up the religious-right standard in office. His 2007 conference will reflect those missions:

Reclaiming America for Christ 2007 is coming, and “evil” is counting on you.

That’s right. The only thing evil requires for its triumph is for Christians to say and do nothing.

According to the brochure, attendees will receive “Power packed training sessions taught by ‘culture war’ veterans” on “How to recruit and mobilize your pastor and church” to combat abortion, homosexuality, and “Darwin’s deadly legacy.”

And although the conference, in Fort Lauderdale, is at the same time as the much larger Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, a number of prominent right-wing speakers will make the trip down, including Coulter, Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Frank Pavone of Priest for Life, and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. (Schlafly and Coulter are scheduled for both conferences.)

Although Center for Reclaiming America Executive Director Gary Cass claims “It's not political,” his organization’s history and the choice of speakers makes that assertion pretty unconvincing.

Mitch McConnell: <em>Minority</em> Leader

What can be expected from Senate Republicans in the upcoming term?  Other than gridlock and blatant partisanship, apparently not very much.

Over the weekend, new Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that, unless Democrats acquiesce to votes on President Bush’s judicial nominees, the Republicans would not hesitate to resort to the filibuster

The Senate's next Republican leader issued a veiled threat Friday to block action on legislation if Democrats refuse to allow confirmation votes on President Bush's troubled judicial nominations.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who will become minority leader Jan. 4, told the conservative Federalist Society not to feel bad about the Senate election results because Republicans will hold 49 seats in a body that requires 60 votes to end a filibuster and bring legislation or presidential nominees to a final vote.

If the “Democrats want our cooperation, they'll give the president's judicial nominees an up-or-down vote,” McConnell said.

As we’ve noted before, if McConnell and others are really concerned about judicial nominees not getting an up-or-down vote, perhaps they can start hounding Sen. Sam Brownback to lift his hold on the nomination of Janet Neff.

In addition, considering that just last year McConnell was chomping at the bit to get rid of the filibuster once and for all when it came to judges, it is sort of odd that he’d now be threatening to filibuster other things if judges don’t get votes. And does McConnell really think that even lower court judges who are voted down in Committee must get a vote, despite the clear practice to the contrary on judges as well as legislation in Senates controlled by both parties?  

This sort of bogus “Democrats-had-better-do-as-we-say” claim to bipartisanship looks to be a key part of McConnell’s strategy heading into the new session, positioning the GOP in such a way that they can try and blame Democrats for any showdowns in the Senate

“I think that they’ll have to deal with us.”

Soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s confidence could fool you. You’d think he wasn’t giving up majority digs for minority ones, the way he talks.

But he is — though you had better believe he’s ready to fight for minority rights.

In a brief interview at the Capitol with National Review Online on Thursday, the Kentucky Republican said that he has “a good personal relationship” with incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but plans on “cooperat[ing] only if they move to the center” policy-wise. He’s as curious as everyone else is if the buzz about there being more conservative Dems in the Senate now is true. “We’ll see if they really mean it.”

It is hard to understand why McConnell thinks Democrats need to “move to the center,” considering that they just picked up six seats in the Senate – five of which were held by Republicans Senators who had received 100% ranking from the joint Family Research Council Action/Focus on the Family Action voter guide and the endorsement of Gary Bauer’s Campaign for Working Families.

If anyone needs to “move to the center” it ought to be Senate Republicans, since it was five of their own right-wing colleagues who lost their seats in the last election. 

After all, it is because of these losses that McConnell is now the incoming Senate Minority Leader.

Sensenbrenner Too Busy With Immigration to Talk About Immigration

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article on the growing dissatisfaction among the business community, normally staunch Republican supporters, with the GOP’s hard-line anti-immigration stance. As the WSJ reported “Hard-line lawmakers are betting that a focus on enforcement -- stopping illegal immigration at the border and stepping up deportation -- will energize conservative voters.” Some in the GOP seem to be taking it a step further, telling traditional business supporters that if they don’t like it … well … too bad
That may explain why the debate doesn't seem to be moving in the business community's direction. "If the business community were voting on this, they'd be winning. But they're not convincing anybody they're voting on this," says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who backs House Republicans' focus on enforcement, says: "If the business community believes they would be better off with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, they should go help them." … Christmas-tree grower Arlene Frelk, of Merrillan, Wis., says she was unsuccessful recently when trying to meet in Washington with Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) to discuss immigration. Ms. Frelk, a Republican, did meet with a Sensenbrenner aide; she came to Washington as part of a "fly-in" organized by the American Agri-Women and wanted to tell the lawmaker that the House-passed immigration bill he sponsored would harm her business. On the way home, she says she and her daughter saw the Judiciary Committee chairman at the airport baggage claim. When they approached him, Ms. Frelk says, Mr. Sensenbrenner told her that "this is his free time and he didn't want to be bothered" and walked away.
Sensenbrenner was probably returning from one of the various anti-immigration hearings he’s been chairing around the country over the last month – hearings he says are important because they allow lawmakers "to hear testimony from local people, as well as to talk with them informally." If Sensenbrenner really was interested in hearing from local people and talking informally about the need for comprehensive immigration reform, he’ll probably never get a better opportunity than when he’s picking up his luggage at the airport  - unfortunately, he apparently doesn’t like to be bothered in his free time by constituents who are directly impacted by his legislation.  
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Harry Reid Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/26/2010, 4:52pm
Allow me to simply note the irony of the fact that the Family Research Council uses the line "our military is for protection, not politics" ... in a new ad opposing Harry Reid's re-election: They fought in trenches … stormed beaches … cut through sweltering jungles … marched over burning deserts. Our military has protected our soil, seas and skies. Today, they're drawn into a new battle. Harry Reid and homosexual activists are attempting to advance their political agenda by overturning 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Our military is for protection, not politics.... MORE >
, Wednesday 07/14/2010, 4:37pm
  As we’ve noted before, religious right leaders are desperate to jump aboard the Tea Party bandwagon. Now Tea Party backed candidate Sharron Angle is returning the favor, networking with Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed and attributing her political success to God. The Tea Party movement is better-known for its alignment with libertarian, anti-Washington sentiment than for its ties to social conservatism. But in an effort to build as broad a coalition as possible in her effort to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle is checking... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 06/16/2010, 4:16pm
I have to admit that it never fails to amaze me how anti-choice activists can take any issue and turn it into an excuse to talk about abortion: Today, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reed, John Lewis and other members of Congress including John Boehner are unveiling a plaque honoring the efforts of Black slaves who helped build the nation's Capitol Building. "It is appropriate to recognize the fact that our forefathers helped to build the Capitol," said Alveda King, Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, and a leader of the www.prolifefreedomrides.com campaign. "Yet,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/31/2010, 10:31am
Earlier this week, a man named Norman Leboon was arrested for posting a video threatening to kill Rep. Eric Cantor and it was soon revealed that Leboon had made some 2,000 videos that contained pseudo-religious incantations with random warnings and threats, including videos that targeted President Obama, Vice President Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as well as threats against judges, David Duke, and even against the movie "Babe." So it seems pretty clear to everyone that Leboon's myriad of threats were most likely driven by some sort of mental illness ... everyone, that is,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/26/2010, 12:09pm
WSFA 12 News in Alabama reports that local doctor Randy Brinson is concerend about what health care reform will do to his practice: Montgomery Doctor 'Troubled' By New Health Care Law Brinson says he literally read every page, every word of the monster bill over 3 days. "That is totally different with the way medical care is delivered today," said Dr. Brinson. A conclusion critics and supporters of the new law agree on. It's the middle part of the 2,700 page bill that troubles Dr. Brinson ...Troubling because Dr. Brinson says medical professionals in the state have a far better... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/23/2010, 10:06am
Via Alan Colmes we learn that Wiley Drake has advanced from minor leagues of praying for the death of individuals like President Obama to the big leagues of praying for the wholesale death of all 219 members of the House of Representatives who voted for health care reform: Orange Country Pastor Wiley Drake fired off an email to his supporters this morning, telling them that all 219 Democrats have been placed on the “imprecatory prayer list.” “We’ll remember in November and pray Psalms 109 while waiting,” he urged, before listing each offending congressman by... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/19/2010, 9:54am
Back when Mike Huckabee was running for President, Rick Scarborugh of Vision America and Randy Brinson of Redeem The Vote set out to host a series of "Patriot Pastors" rallys on his behalf across Iowa ahead of the caucuses. Though Huckabee and Brison had big plans for the events, they never amounted to much, though Huckabee went on to win Iowa anyway. Now, two years later, Huckabee, Brinson, and Scarborough are teaming up again, this time for an email blitz aimed at defeating health care reform: This weekend's health care showdown in Congress will test the political clout of... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 01/13/2010, 6:18pm
Following up on our post from earlier today about Harry Jackson's "National Marriage Summit" strategy session on how to fight marriage equality, Jackson's latest column features excerpts from a letter signed by summit participants that has been sent Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Barbara Lee and the Congressional Black Caucus in which they claim that the two sides cannot peacefully co-exist because gay marriage destroys society and undermines the role of faith: Why are we so animated about this topic? … In every nation where same-sex unions have... MORE >