Mike Huckabee

Huckabee and Bachmann to Headline Event Co-Hosted By a Birther

If there is one Religious Right figure through which any and every fevered right-wing conspiracy theory can gain exposure, it is Janet Porter.  

Hate crimes legislation will throw Christians in jail? Check

The Department of Homeland Security report was really an attack on conservatives? Check.

Barack Obama was not born in the United States and is ineligible to hold the office of President? Check.

In fact, in most of these instances, Porter has not only been avidly spreading these falsehood but has actually played a leading role in their propagation, having been behind WorldNetDaily's effort to inundate Congress with faxes opposing the "Pedophile Protection Act," having led a coalition that called for DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's resignation, and regularly hosting leaders of the Birther movement on her radio program.

Case in point:  yesterday she hosted Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook, the Army reservist who filed suit challenging his deployment to Afghanistan on the grounds that Obama is ineligible to serve as president of the United States and commander-in-chief, and his lawyer Orly Taitz , the "queen bee of people obsessed with Barack Obama's birth certificate."

The interview was pretty much what one would expect from a discussion among a trio of right-wing conspriacy theorists, with Cook asserting that he was concerned that obeying his deployment orders would be illegal and that, in turn, any orders he issued while on duty would likewise be illegal and that he and all his soldiers would therefore be in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

The most fascinating part of the program, in my opinion, came when Cook handed to phone over to Taitz and Porter welcomed her back to the program, saying that America is a safer place because of her efforts.  The two discussed Taitz's work in a manner that suggests extreme familiarity between the two women, as if the two have been working together closely on this effort and, at the end of the above audio clip, Taitz explains that she is representing both Alan Keyes and "somebody that you know really well, Pastor Wiley Drake" to which Porter responds affirmatively.

As it turns out, Porter does know Drake, as she hosted him on her program back on April 28th.

Drake is the man who recently declared that the murder of Dr. George Tiller was an answer to his prayers, literally, and that he is likewise that he is praying for the death of President Obama.

On a similar note, Porter also recently hosted Bill Keller on her program, the man best known for his crusade to convince America that a vote for Mitt Romney was a "vote for Satan."

It's not really a surprise that Porter would have people like Keller and Drake on her program, considering that she clearly shares their rabidly right-wing views, as demonstrated by the fact that she declared ahead of the November election that anyone who voted for Barack Obama was going to hell.

But was is surprising is that people like Mike Huckabee, who tapped Porter to co-chair his presidential campaign's Faith and Family Values Coalition, and Rep. Michele Bachmann would agree to headline the How To Take Back America Conference in September which is being co-chaired by Porter even though she had made a career of promoting the worst rhetoric that the Right has to offer.

Even by the standards of the Religious Right, Porter inhabits the fringe of the movement and has, since the election, ventured further and further out to sea, wallowing in conspiracy theories and Christian victimization, claiming that Obama's election was the result of a communist conspiracy twenty years in the making and calling on God to prevent him from taking office, while warning that "AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN" to this nation because we deserve God's judgment.

And yet, when she co-hosts an event, instead of running for the hills out of fear of ever being seen with her, Huckabee and Bachmann jump at the chance to address it.  

It boggles the mind.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The New York Times examines the factors at work behind Sarah Palin's sudden resignation.
  • Mike Huckabee says its unfair to call Palin a "quitter" while predicting that Mark Sanford's political career is over.
  • The ACLU is taking a look at Sally Kern's "proclamation for morality."
  • Rick Scarborough has found a new crusade: Obama's various czars, which he complains "are unelected and unaccountable [and] have too much money and power, and are remaking America in ways none of us could have imagined."
  • Jesse Lee Peterson lambastes Michael Jackson's memorial service saying it was all "about unrealistically lifting up a black Michael as the 'king' in order to lift up blacks, and, in so doing, lowering the value of the hated white man."
  • Personhood advocates claim their movement is gaining momentum.
  • Ted Cruz, who is running for Texas Attorney General, unveils a list of endorsements and backers [PDF] that includes, Cathie Adams of the President of Texas Eagle Forum, Kelly Shackelford of the Free Market Foundation, Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ, David Barton of Wallbuilders, Tim Goeglein of Focus on the Family Action and many other right-wing figures.
  • Finally, Harry Jackson, Niger Innis, Dr. William Owens, Sr, Bishop Dale Bronner and Pastor Terry Millender have penned a letter to President Obama urging him to fight the "disintegration of marriage" by saving DOMA and opposing marriage equality:
  • Changing the definition of marriage will have many unintended consequences, which will hurt generations to come. If one redefines marriage, then the family is redefined. If the family is redefined then the nature of parenting must also be redefined.

    “We are concerned that an attempt to recognize and adjust to one group’s sense of alienation may actually confuse future generations of children about their sexuality and blur lines of responsibility in our families. The very definitions of motherhood and fatherhood may be unnecessarily challenged in years to come.

    “Same-sex marriage is not a civil right. The laws enacted by Congress during a century of struggle for equal rights for African Americans were intended to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, not on the basis of an individual’s sexual preferences or personal behavior.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Mike Huckabee will be kicking off the Values Voter Summit.
  • The GOP does not have a lot of celebrity supporters, so I really, really hope  that it makes good use of Victoria Jackson.
  • I'm pretty sure that most of the Young Cons' "success" - as measured by YouTube views - has come from people who are mocking them.
  • The Birther movement in Congress is picking up more supporters.
  • Apparently, today was National "Stop S. 909" Day whereby the Religious Right mobilized to oppose hate crimes legislation. Strangely, outside of this one article, I could find no evidence that these groups were actually doing any mobilizing.
  • Bishop Jackson says he'll soon be filing paperwork to launch a voter initiative, similar to California's Proposition 8, that would affirm marriage between a man and a woman in DC.
  • Pat Mahoney and Rob Schenck delivered their official prayer ahead of Sonia Sotomayor's hearing.
  • Charlie Crist has massively out-raised his primary rival, and darling of the social conservatives, Marco Rubio.
  • Gary Bauer continues to insist that Sarah Palin's decision to suddenly resign was a brilliant move.
  • The House of Representatives voted 399-1 for the Capitol Visitors Center to have a plaque acknowledging the role of slave labor in the construction of the Capitol. The one "no" vote came from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who insists he did so in order to protect America's Judeo-Christian heritage.
  • Finally, who ever could have ever predicted that putting David Barton and other religious-right ideologues on the panel of experts responsible for setting Texas schools' social studies curriculum would lead to them asserting that civil rights leaders like César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall are given too much attention?

The Inscrutable Sarah Palin

In the wake of Sarah Palin's abrupt resignation announcement last week, I have been trying mightily to avoid all of the speculating, bloviating, and predicting about what it all mean because, frankly, nothing about her meteoric rise or her subsequent erratic behavior has ever made any sense to me. 

I vividly recall staring at the television last year on the day that John McCain plucked her for obscurity by naming her his running mate, slack-jawed and wondering what on earth was going on.  And I had exactly the same reaction last week when she announced that she was resigning.

But even by low standards by which Palin is normally judged, her incoherent explanation of her decision has only become more confusing in the ensuing days, particularly her insistence that even though she was leaving her post with a year left in her term, she was not quitting.  In fact, she went so far as to claim that staying in the job to which she was elected was itself a form of quitting:

Life is too short to compromise time and resources... it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: "Sit down and shut up", but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and "go with the flow" ... Some Alaskans don't mind wasting public dollars and state time. I do. I cannot stand here as your Governor and allow millions upon millions of our dollars go to waste just so I can hold the title of Governor.

Considering that this makes no sense whatsoever, it is not surprising that just about every commentator has pointed out that this explanation makes no sense and so Palin, in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, sought to explain it yet again while, of course, portraying herself as a victim of some nefarious double-standard:

Palin responded Monday by saying there's a double standard. She brought up the fact [Lisa] Murkowski left the Legislature when her father, then-governor Frank Murkowski, appointed her to the U.S. Senate seat he gave up to become governor.

"The double standard that's applied here is a bit perplexing. ... Didn't Lisa Murkowski leave office to go take her dad's seat? (Govs.) Huntsman left, Napolitano just left ... ," Palin said, referring to governors who took positions in President Obama's administration.

Indeed, but there is a pretty obvious difference:  Lisa Murkowski left to become a US Senator; Jon Hunstman left to become the US Ambassador to China: and Janet Napolitano left to become the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security.

They didn't just leave - they resigned their positions to take higher-ranking positions.  Palin, on the other hand, just left. 

Is it possible that she really doesn't understand this rather obvious and important difference? 

I have to say that, with this announcement, Palin's career has now come full-circle, at least to my mind:  I didn't understand what was going on when McCain chose her, and still don't ... and now I don't understand what she is doing suddenly announcing her resignation.  

I may not agree with the likes of Mike Huckabee or James Dobson or Tony Perkins or any other leader of the Religious Right, but there is a coherence and purpose to the things that they do and the positions that they take. 

With Palin, it is entirely a mystery. 

Bachmann Joins How To Take Back America Conference

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the How To Take Back America Conference being held in St. Louis in September.  As I wrote then, the event was being hosted by Phyllis Schlafly and Janet Porter and co-hosted by a group including Don Wildmon, Mat Staver, Rick Scarborough, Joseph Farah, and others.

As I wrote at the time:

Just about every insane right-wing conspiracy theory currently in circulation has been embraced by one or more of the organizers of this event, all of whom have actively worked to spread the fear that Obama and the Democrats are out to destroy Christianity and turn America into a socialist hellhole.

The focus of that post was on the fact that Mike Huckabee had been scheduled to deliver the keynote address, which was remarkable considering that just about everyone involved in planning this conference had gone completely off the deep end following President Obama's election.

The idea that Huckabee would gladly associate with this group, though surprising, was at least somewhat understandable considering that many of the organizers were also huge supporters of his presidential campaign and even served on his campaign's Faith and Family Values Coalition.

But Huckabee isn’t going to have the right-wing adulation all to himself as Rep. Michele Bachmann has now confirmed her appearance at the conference as well:

Religious Right, Heal Thyself

Yesterday I wrote a post noting that a bunch of Religious Right groups had come together to form a new coalition known as The Freedom Federation which unveiled a "Declaration of American Values" and pledged to work together to "plan, strategize, and work together on common interests within the Judeo-Christian tradition to mobilize their grassroots constituencies and to communicate faith and values to the religious, social, cultural, and policymaking institutions."

I also noted that the effort was spearheaded by Rick Scarborough and Mat Staver and, though it has a fancy new name and includes several prominent groups, doesn't really seem to have an agenda that in any way differentiates it from any of the umbrella groups the Right has launched over the years.

Case in point: ValuesVoters.org.

Back in 2006, this coalition grew out of Vision America’s “War on Christian and Values Voters Conference” and had an equally strong roster of right-wing supporters, including Phyllis Schlafly, Alan Keyes, Lou Sheldon, Janet Folger, D. James Kennedy, and Rod Parsley.  It even unveiled its own "ValuesVoters’ Contract with Congress: A Declaration of American Renewal" that reads a lot like the Freedom Federation's own Declaration of American Values ... with the key difference being that, at the time, Republicans still controlled Congress.  Thus, while the last version was designed to be a "contract with Congress," this new version is a mere "declaration of values."

But beyond this contract, which never amounted to anything, the only thing the group managed to accomplish was the infamous Values Voter's Debate at which presidential no-shows like Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney were questioned in absentia and Mike Huckabee was proclaimed the "David among Jesse's sons."

After that, the coalition ceased to function and its website went dark ... until it essentially resurfaced as The Freedom Federation.

The amazing thing about this new incarnation is that it seems to be trying to present itself as some sort of nonpartisan "common ground" effort:

Calling themselves the Freedom Federation, the groups see an urgent need to collaborate to protect the Judeo-Christian values that they feel are being threatened.

Rather than approaching such issues as life, marriage, justice and politics as individual organizations, the Freedom Federation is hoping to get past the divisive rhetoric among Christians and tackle the issues together.

...

The groups at the launch hesitated to label the federation a purely conservative Christian one although most of the groups are of historic, orthodox faith-based traditions. They were looking to avoid the "left, right" language and instead place emphasis on the common core values that bring them together across ethnic, party and generational lines.

The coalition's desire to "avoid left-right language" ought to be relatively easy to accomplish since there is nothing even remotely "left" about it.

But as the participants explain, this is not some sort of effort by the Religious Right to find common ground with its political opponents, but rather an attempt to heal divisions within its own ranks and come together for the common purpose of saving the nation's "Judeo-Christian moral foundation":

"The battles that we face today [and] the needs of the culture are too big for blacks to fight it by themselves, Hispanics to fight it by themselves or any one group to fight the battle by itself," said Bishop Harry Jackson, who leads the High Impact Leadership Coalition, at the launch of the federation on Tuesday.

"Today the most urgent issues as far as we're concerned ... can only be solved by a unified group that sees themselves first as Christians and secondarily [as] some other subculture," Jackson emphasized.

...

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told The Christian Post that the federation is not in reaction to the media's negative portrayal of Christians but rather in response to the shared core values they have.

Through ongoing communication with one another, the groups realized that they have more in common than they have differences and it became very apparent that they needed to work together, Staver explained.

"When you break down all the rhetoric and you get past all the labels and so forth, we begin to realize that we agree on a lot of these issues," Staver said.

The federation was also birthed out of a sense of urgency. The Judeo-Christian values, Staver said, have been weakened, injustices have increased, and the life and marriage issue as well as the role of government in people's lives have "crescendoed to a certain point where we are concerned with the need to protect these values."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Family Research Council has rolled out a new project dedicated to fighting Democratic efforts to reform health care.
  • Apparently, a showing of AFA's "Silencing Christians" generated thousands of protests to a Florida television station.
  • Creflo Dollar and his son Jeremy are being sued by a man who claims they stole his idea for a business selling devotional text messages for $4.99 a month.
  • The Club for Growth is considering running ads in the Republican Party's Senate primary race against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
  • Paul Cameron continues his tasteless and offensive crusade to equate gays with pedophiles.
  • Mike Huckabee personally recommends that we read this piece by his good friend William Murray blasting the idea of recognizing "sodomy pride month."

Michael Jackson Is In Hell

I've seen a lot of fawning coverage of Michael Jackson in the wake of his death last week.  But what I hadn't seen was anyone claiming that he was roasting in hell ... until now:

World's Leading Internet Evangelist Claims Michael Jackson is in Hell

Sadly, Michael grew up in the Jehovah's Witnesses cult. This is the cult born out of the depraved mind of Charles Taze Russell and denies the very deity of Christ. You can go to Google and type in "cults Jehovah's Witnesses" and it will give you many websites to document their false theology. However, Michael has not only followed the false theology of the Jehovah's Witnesses, he made the choice to live his life in rebellion to God and His Word and follow all kinds of false religions and teachings.

During his 2005 trial for child molestation, instead of turning to Christ for strength, he turned to a cult I have exposed and talked about, Kaballah which was popularized by singer Madonna, signified by the "red string" bracelet he wore throughout the trial. He had during his life several high profile spiritual advisors, Orthodox Jew Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and New Age tool charlatan Deepak Chopra, a tool of satan I have warned you about in past Devotionals. Jackson was also heavily influenced by several of his brothers who are deep in the false religion of Islam. Clearly Michael Jackson was a man lost and searching.

I know it makes people feel better when a famous person or someone they know dies, though think that they are in Heaven. This is why I have literally given my life 24/7/365 these past 20 years for the Gospel, because the FACT is, those who die without Jesus will not be in Heaven, but in the flames of hell for all eternity. What you believe matters, and based on what he believes, Michael Jackson is not in Heaven, but in eternal torment and punishment for his sins.

Keller is perhaps best known for declaring back during the Republican Primary that a vote for Mitt Romney was a vote for Satan and launching a campaign to make that position known. 

Obviously, Keller inhabits the far fringes of the Religious Right movement, out there where Janet Porter resides - after all she just invited Keller onto her radio program a few weeks ago.

Have I mentioned that Porter was also co-chair of Mike Huckabee Faith and Family Values Coalition during his presidential campaign and is co-hosting a conference later this year at which Huckabee is going to be the keynote speaker? 

It never hurts to occasionally remind everyone about the sorts of people with whom Porter, and by extension Huckabee, chooses to associate themselves.

Huckabee Talks Economics (Kind-of): There's No Lack of Money, Only a Lack of Morality

There is always one thing I can be sure of when Mike Huckabee addresses an audience: That the listeners will get an extensive lesson on what it means to be "moral" and "righteous." Sparingly will I hear Huckabee articulate an in-depth economic position or how he believes we can get out of the current recession.

It may have something to do with the fact that he was a pastor for a great deal of his adult-life and obtained a Bachelor's degree in Religion before going to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for a year. He's simply not too well versed in economics or economic theory.

Speaking at the Southern Baptist Convention, however, Huckabee has come up with his explanation for the turmoil on Wall Street. De-regulation? No. Sub-Prime Lending? No. It's a lack of morality and righteousness. Apparenty, there's still enough money to go around; there's just not enough morality.

"Wall Street did not melt down because it was a money problem," Huckabee said. "It melted down because there was a moral problem, and it's high time we address that what really is breaking this country is not a lack of money. It's a lack of morality, and without righteousness and character our nation will perish."

While I'm not sure how this could be molded into an economic agenda, there's no doubt in my mind that Huckabee will figure it out before the 2012 presidential race.

Thankfully, he had some positive thoughts at the end of the speech. Huckabee assured the audience that even if the far-right doesn't achieve their goals legislatively, they will win in the end:

"The Bible makes it very clear that the outcome is a good one -- maybe not as we see it here, but in the end, Jesus wins," Huckabee said. "And I'm willing to say that for those of us who will, standing with Him is never a mistake. Standing for what He stands for will never lead us wrong. . ."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Washington Post interviewed Focus on the Family's Jim Daly and he seems to be quite a change from James Dobson, though he also says "we're not going to back out of that or back off expressing a Biblical world view in the public square."
  • WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can prove he or she was present at the birth of Barack Obama.
  • Gordon Klingenschmitt announced a state-wide 'Prayer Rally for Jesus' in Lodi, California for August.
  • Liberty University announced a policy change that will allow the College Democrats to exist as an unofficial club and also changed the College Republicans from an officially recognized campus group to the new unofficial status.
  • Rep. Steve King has recorded a call on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage which questions Iowans about their views on same-sex marriage.
  • Don Feder and Boycott The New York Times triumphantly announced its 100th web posting.  Wow, a hundred posts in ten months.  Where do they find the time?
  • Finally, Mike Huckabee ripped the RNC for backing Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio, calling it "outrageous" and claiming "they ought to get behind the guy who would do a whole lot more, in my mind, to unite and fire up Republicans."

Janet Porter's Terminal Optimism

One thing I will say about Janet Porter is that she is always moving forward with her efforts to shape America to suit her fevered right-wing dreams and is constantly positive that the next thing is the one that is going to turn it all around.

In her most recent column, Porter declares that the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference is going to be a key event in the Right's resurgence as it wrests control away from President Obama and saves America from its descent into socialist paganism:

But this isn't funny any more.

If you're not laughing, sign up today for the How to Take Back America Conference in St. Louis Sept. 25 and 26. I'm co-chairing the event along with Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and a host committee that includes: Rick Scarborough of Vision America, Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, Mat Staver, of Liberty Counsel and Don Feder, from the World Congress of Families. Speakers include Gov. Mike Huckabee, Delta Force Leader Gen. Jerry Boykin and California Rep. Tom McClintock.

For those of you who want to take our country back while there's still something left of it, every speech, workshops and panel will all have something in common: They will all answer the most often asked question about taking America back: "How?"

See you in St. Louis.

Frankly, I'd be a little more frightened by this if it wasn't pretty much the same thing Porter was declaring back in 2007 ahead of the Values Voter Debate she also organized:

You know that I'm one for taking action, so I'll cut straight to the chase. There's a big event coming up and you need to be a part of how it's going to re-shape America.

What: The GOP Values Voters Presidential Debate

When: Sept. 17, 2007

...

We must know just how close we are to winning everything we've been working for in the last three decades: one more seat on the Supreme Court can restore the right to protect children again to the people of each state. We have a chance to protect the institution of marriage from the courts that are attacking it. We have the right to protect our freedom of speech, freedom of religion and right to own property.

If you are sick of reacting and tired of retreat, this is your time. This is our time. Our moment in history to change the future. Please pray for the event and become involved in it: submit your questions for the candidates to f2ainfo@f2a.org. We need to hear the questions that are burning in your heart. Quit shaking your fist at the television and write the questions that you want answered!

Following the debate, Porter predicted that "the Values Voter Straw Poll will unify the pro-family movement and determine the nominee" and that that nominee would be Mike Huckabee, whose presidency would be the culmination of all of the Right's political efforts:

My eye is on the prize – the Supreme Court – and Huckabee is the only guy in the race that we know will give it to us. Everything is on the line, whether we win it all or lose it all. Yet, during this time of moral crisis, many of our leaders are silent. Others just throw rocks. Dante put it this way:

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of moral crisis, remain neutral."

I'm going to keep sending donations until I reach the $2,300 maximum so I will have a clear conscience when my children and grandchildren ask me the question I know will come. That question? "Where were you when they were killing babies?" I want to answer: "I did everything I could to stop it."

If you will vote now with your pocketbook to help elect the only guy we know for certain will give us the judges we need on the bench, we can have a much better answer. When our children and grandchildren ask us: "Where were you when they were killing babies?" we can reply: WE WERE THE ONES WHO STOPPED IT.

One more election, one more judge. Everything we've worked for is within our reach. Don't let our last chance pass us by. Multiply next December's pro-life donations by more than a hundredfold: Go to www.mikehuckabee.com now and vote for life.

Remind me how that worked out again?

So here we are two years later and Porter is organizing another right-wing confab featuring Mike Huckabee and a gaggle of fringe leaders who will take back America and I find myself decidedly unimpressed because ... well, it all sounds just so familiar

I said it before, I'll say it again: Values Voters are going to determine the outcome of this election. Don't believe me? Wait and see. One more prediction: With this election, we're going to take back the Supreme Court of the United States, stop the killing of unborn children, protect the institution of marriage and regain our freedoms of speech and religion. We're going to take back America. You heard it here first.

Huckabee: A Right-Wing True Believer

When Mike Huckabee was seeking the Republican Party's nomination during the last election, the Religious Right's DC powerhouse insiders wanted nothing to do with him, forcing him to seek support from a variety of second and third-tier activists and leaders who inhabit the fringes of the movement. 

When John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson all wisely chose to skip the Values Voter Debate organized by Janet Porter and other such activists (though they were grilled by the organizers nonetheless) on stage stood Mike Huckabee, smiling as a choir sang "Why Should God Bless America?" and assuring the organizers that though "many [other candidates] come to you. I come from you."

Huckabee's appearance led Porter to declare him the "David among Jesse's sons" and not long thereafter she became co-chair of the Huckabee campaign's Faith and Family Values Coalition where she was joined by the likes of Rick Scarborough, David Barton, Mat Staver, Don Wildmon, and Star Parker.

When Huckabee wrote a book following the end of his campaign, he singled out these supporters as a "new wave of leaders…[with] prophetic voices…[who are] determined to follow their convictions instead of the conventional wisdom."

In the months since President Obama's election, many of these people have gone completely off of the deep-end and, whenever I have written about them, I have included a mention of the fact that they once served as part of Huckabee's campaign coalition.  I did so because I was operating under the assumption that, given how radical his one-time supporters have become in recent months, his first order of business were he to make another run for the GOP nomination would be to distance himself from these people. 

But obviously I didn't need to keep reminding people of his ties to these fringe figures because, as it turns out, he apparently intends to keep right on courting them, which is why he'll be a featured speaker in September at their How To Take Back America Conference:

Just look at this list of organizers and hosts:

Michael Farris is the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College, as well as the author of the Parental Rights Amendment.

Don Wildmon is Chairman of the American Family Association, the boycott-happy right-wing group that recently went after Miley Cyrus for Twittering her views that Jesus loves everyone, whether they are gay or straight.

Joseph Farah is the founder of WorldNetDaily, one of the main forces behind the "birther" movement and just about every other right-wing conspiracy.

Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum believes that married women can't be raped by their husbands.

Mat Staver is the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, the group that is still selling the "proud to be a right-wing extremist" cards, who, earlier this year at CPAC, declared that gay marriage would lead to an entire generation of violent criminals.

Rick Scarborough of Vision America recently traveled to Notre Dame to protest along with Alan Keyes and Randall Terry and, just last week, issued a statement decrying the administration's recognition of LBGT pride month, saying that gays have nothing to be proud of and that those "who engage in unnatural acts should hang their heads in shame."

But none of Huckabee's former supporters has become more deranged than Janet Porter of Faith2Action, who declared that anyone who votes for Obama will go to hell, has used her column at WorldNetDaily to advance the birther conspiracy against Obama and lead the fight against hate crimes legislation, dubbed the "Pedophile Protection Act", by inundating Congress with faxes, all while simultaneously leading the right-wing effort against the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism by launching an ad campaign demanding Janet Napolitano's resignation.

Just about every insane right-wing conspiracy theory currently in circulation has been embraced by one or more of the organizers of this event, all of whom have actively worked to spread the fear that Obama and the Democrats are out to destroy Christianity and turn America into a socialist hellhole. 

And Mike Huckabee, instead of trying to distance himself from the lunacy of his former supporters, openly and willingly continues to associate with them. 

Absolutely amazing.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Apparently Roy Moore sees nothing ironic or hypocritical about attacking Sonia Sotomayor as someone who will let her ideology get in the way of her judging. 
  • Speaking of Moore, his gubernatorial campaign picked up its first big endorsement today: Chuck Norris.
  • W. James Antle III writes that "social conservatives are currently less popular than social conservatism" and until they can figure out how to overcome that problem, they'll keep getting ignored by the GOP.
  • Former Buffalo Bills tight end Jay Riemersma has decided to run for Congress in the state of Michigan. Riemersma was also the Family Research Council Midwest Regional Director of Development.
  • Finally, Mike Huckabee declares that now is a really good time for the GOP.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Family Research Council has announced that Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Maggie Gallagher, and others would be gathering for an anti-marriage rally tomorrow in Albany, NY.
  • Sen. David Vitter says that his prospects of being re-elected in 2010 are "very good," despite the revelations that he had been involved with a prostitution ring.
  • The Christian Defense Coalition erected a 16 foot cross, the Star of David and a sacred symbol for the name of Jesus in front of the White House on Sunday, June 7 because "the group is troubled and finds hypocritical that President Obama would highlight religious liberty and freedom at his recent speech in Cairo, yet here in America he chooses to cover up Christian religious symbols and trample on religious liberty."
  • Only in Texas is Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a woman with a "near-perfect scores from anti-tax groups and the gun-rights lobby, and an 89.4 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union [while] NARAL Pro-Choice America, which advocates abortion rights, has given her a zero the past four years, the same score she gets from gay-rights advocates," considered insufficiently conservative.
  • In its coverage of George Tiller's funeral, the Christian Post notes that the service was being protested by Westboro Baptist Church, which it calls "a virulent cult that has terrorized funerals across the nation."
  • Finally, David Brody has posted a CBN segment on the Reclaiming God in America Conference, featuring quotes from Mike Huckabee saying that the only reason Prop. 8 passed was because of prayer and Newt Gingrich saying he was "compelled to get back into the arena to take on the secular fanatics who are trying to destroy our relationship with God."

Lou Engle's New Political Movement

In recent months, Lou Engle, founder of The Call, has been becoming increasingly political. 

When Engle was organizing a Call event on the National Mall last year, he repeatedly insisted that the event was not about politics but simply a call to "fasting and prayer for the benefit of the nation." Of course, the fact that it was held just months before the election and featured political operatives and figures like Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, and Mike Huckabee rather undercut that assertion.

When he organized another Call event in California explicitly to fight for the passage of Proposition 8  where he was joined by James Dobson, it became clear that it was only a matter of time before Engle officially announced that he was starting a full-fledged political organization that would seek to turn the tens of thousands who attend his Call events into a bona fide political force. 

And that is just what he did at the recent Rediscovering God in America conference that we mentioned earlier. In this clip, Engle declares that he is no longer willing to be "silenced" by the limits of The Call's 501c3 status and so he started a 501c4 group known as The Call to Action and that this conference was its first official act.

The goal of Engle's Call to Action is to "redefine voting" for the next generation as a "prophetic act" and train them that they don't vote Democrat or Republican but vote "moral absolute truths," creating a mass army of young, motivated Christian voters who will pledge never to vote for a candidate who is not anti-choice, thereby creating a "spiritual revolution [and] training a generation to seize technology and turn the tide": 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Why is the Baptist Press, which fancies itself a reputable news service, quoting Peter LaBarbera?
  • Good news:  Roy Moore is running for governor.
  • Mike Huckabee is again throwing his lot in with the conservative underdog and getting set to endorse Florida Senate hopeful Marco Rubio.
  • Liberty University has declared that a chapter of the College Democrats can only receive official recognition if it inserts two clauses into its constitution – one stating that they are a pro-life organization and the other that they support the traditional view of marriage.
  • Pat Toomey made 5 times as much in the last 17 months as he would make in a year he becomes a US senator, thanks largely to a Club for Growth salary of $336,049 and $325,000 in bonuses in 2008.

The Best Thing Ever To Happen to Huckabee

It is rapidly becoming clear that the emergence of the National Council for a New America is just about the best thing that could have happened to Mike Huckabee politically. The new organization, with its obvious effort to push social conservatives aside, has allowed Huckabee to establish himself as a bona fide champion of those who feel they are being marginalized by the Republican party and solidify his effort to position himself as their candidate of choice in 2012. 

Even though Rep. Eric Cantor has been working to appease Huckabee (and by extension the Religious Right groups who have suddenly discovered Huckabee's appeal) it doesn't look like Huckabee is about to let this "controversy" dissipate, at least not without one last shot:

A new group was recently formed that is calling itself a group of experts for the purpose of making the Republican Party attractive to voters again. The strategy is supposedly to go on a listening tour so they can talk to the American people and hear what people are concerned about.

It's hard to keep from laughing out loud when people living in the bubble of the Beltway suddenly wake up one day and think they ought to have a listening tour; even funnier when their first earful expedition takes them all the way to the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

...

In my book, "Do the Right Thing," I dedicate an entire chapter called "Politically Homeless" to the unfortunate attitude between some in the party who treat values voters as if they were embarrassing distant cousins who are allowed to come to the family gatherings a couple of times a year, but aren't expected to be seen beyond that. Values voters are conservative on social issues, and economic ones as well.

For those on the listening tour, listen to this: If the party elite want to abandon principled leadership to protect life, support traditional marriage while going along with deficit exploding spending, interference and micro-managing of private business and failing to police corruption and govern competently, then hearing aids or a panel of experts won't help.

The ironic thing is that while this opportunity for Huckabee to establish himself as the Religious Right's most stalwart and committed advocate fell right into his lap, Huckabee himself may have been undermining his ability to capitalize on it because, ever since the election, he's been busy poking his eyes of all of those Religious Right leaders who did not support him. 

As he says in his column, he dedicated a whole chapter to the "politically homeless" values voters ... but what he doesn't mention is that the focus of the chapter was on the fact that he was now "politically homeless" because those who were leaders of the social conservative movement had refused to support him during the primary, as I explained in my review:

What is astonishing is the outright contempt with which Huckabee treats the religious right establishment and its leadership. His sense of betrayal courses through the chapter on the subject, in which he laments that he has now been made “politically homeless,” declaring that the “generals” of the movement are going to be surprised with they see their foot soldiers abandon them for true leaders—presumably, Huckabee and the gaggle of right-wing figures who supported his campaign.

“[I]n so many ways, I was the perfect choice for them. I was not coming to them, I was coming from them,” Huckabee writes, going on to complain that “none of the candidates had accomplished more on the life issues than I had—no one,” and that “no one in the race supported traditional marriage more strongly than I did.” And yet the religious right establishment was not only lukewarm to his candidacy, most were downright hostile. Huckabee attacks the influential Arlington Group for jerking him around and goes after several high-profile leaders by name: Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Bob Jones III, and especially Gary Bauer, whom he calls “politically clueless.”

...

In the end, Huckabee declares that the movement is no longer led by “clear-minded and deeply-rooted prophets with distinct moral lines,” but rather by “political operatives…whose goal was to be included and invited” to hobnob with the insiders. Yet Huckabee concludes that, in the end, it was probably best that the religious right establishment didn’t back him because they would have just “thought that they were solely responsible for any success I might have had.”

The fact that Huckabee was able to do so well without their support is clearly a great source for pride for him, so much so that he declares that the success of his campaign will be the harbinger of a “new wave of leaders…[with] prophetic voices…[who are] determined to follow their convictions instead of the conventional wisdom.” Those constituting this “new wave” of leadership, according to Huckabee, is a veritable who’s who of fringe right-wing second-stringers like Janet Folger, Don Wildmon, Michael Farris, Rick Scarborough, Mat Staver, and David Barton. The one thing they all have in common, interestingly enough, is that they endorsed Mike Huckabee.

If Huckabee really wants to become the Right's choice in 2012, he's going to have to start doing a lot more defending and a lot less criticizing of its leadership. 

Cantor Moves to Appease Huckabee and the Right

Just yesterday I wrote a post noting that Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council were not happy with the new National Council for a New America and it's obvious lack of concern about the social issues that are central to the Religious Right's agenda and wondered if Mike Huckabee might be about to emerge as key player in any unfolding drama.

Well, guess what?  Greg Sargent reports that that is exactly what is happening as Rep. Eric Cantor scrambles to appease the Right by reaching out to Huckabee:

In a fresh round of GOP infighting over the soul of the battered party, Mike Huckabee just took a shot at a host of potential primary rivals, disparaging Eric Cantor’s new group to revive the GOP, the National Council for a New America, and the high-profile Republicans that make up the group’s “panel of experts.”

The experts Huckabee was referring to include Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Bobby Jindal, all of whom are being talked about for 2012.

Huckabee’s broadside came in a statement attacking Cantor’s group, which Cantor has said was formed partly to “listen” to the American people.

“It is a sad day when our party comes to the point where we think it is necessary to form a `listening group’ to find out what Americans think we should be fighting for,” Huckabee said. “Our problem is not lack of `experts,’ but too many of them and not enough attention to the hard working people in our communities that aren’t connected to the Beltway, but to the heartland.”

In a sign that social conservatives aren’t in the mood to give Cantor’s group room to rebrand the party, Huckabee also took a shot at the group’s lack of immediate emphasis on social issues, saying that the group has dismissed “values voters” and urging an emphasis on “traditional marriage” and the GOP’s role as “a party that values life.”

Cantor spokesperson Brad Dayspring extended a conciliatory hand towards Huckabee.

“Eric reached out to Governor Huckabee, appreciates his efforts as a leader in our nation and he looks forward to remaining in close communication with all leaders,” Dayspring told me, adding that social issues would be a focus of Cantor’s group: “All issues, all topics, and all ideas will be included in the dialogue that the National Council for a New America will have.”

Will The Right, Unwilling to be Turned Aside, Turn to Huckabee?

Last week Steve Benen wrote a post about the National Council for a New America and its agenda for re-branding the Republican Party.  As he noted, the agenda covered issues like tax cuts, healthcare, energy, and national security while social issues were noticeably missing:

[W]hat may be the most interesting thing about this new group's "policy framework" is what it doesn't say. There's no mention of gays, abortion, state-sponsored religion, guns, or immigration. It's almost as if Republicans don't feel like fighting a culture war anymore.

Hey, activists in the GOP base, is sounds like the Republican Party is trying to throw you under the bus. Are you going to take this lying down?

As it turns out, the Religious Right isn’t about that take this lying down, judging by this Washington Update from the Family Research Council:

In another step away from its conservative roots, Republican members of the House unveiled The National Council for a New America in hopes of recasting the Party's ailing identity. The effort only underscores the Republicans' present identity crisis, as the GOP leadership kicked off the campaign devoid of the values that once caused voters to identify with the party.

The group's priorities, which were unveiled at a pizza parlor press conference, include the economy, health care, education, energy, and national security. Notice anything conspicuously absent? Former Gov. Jeb Bush explained the values void by saying it was time for the GOP to give up its "nostalgia" for Reagan-era ideas and look forward to new "relevant" ideas. (Yes, because that worked so well for Republicans in 2006 and 2008!) Bush ignored the fact that abandoning the array of principles that Reagan espoused is exactly what got the GOP into this mess. No one is suggesting that we try living in the past, but President Reagan's principles are the ones that guided our nation from its very inception. Turning away from those fundamental truths would be a death knell for the GOP as little would be left to distinguish the Republicans from the Democrats.

Too many Republicans leaders are running scared on the claims of the Left and the media that social conservatism is a dead-end for the GOP. If that were the case, why are pro-family leaders like Mike Huckabee creating such excitement in the conservative base? The Republican establishment doesn't draw a crowd. Governor Sarah Palin does. Also, take a look at the recent Pew Research poll, which showed overall support for abortion in America has dropped eight percentage points in the last year and support for it among moderate and liberal Republicans has dropped a whopping 24%. Based on that, how can the GOP suggest that life is a losing issue? If there were a road sign for the GOP on this new journey, it would read: Welcome to the wilderness. You're going to be there for awhile.

The interesting side-note here is that FRC is, for the first time that I can recall, approvingly citing Mike Huckabee. During the GOP primary campaign, they and pretty much every other “mainstream” Religious Right group were decidedly unexcited about him and conspicuously unsupportive of his candidacy – something which Huckabee repeatedly complained about during the campaign and continues to complain about even today.

Since then, Huckabee has been working to position himself as the champion of the social conservatives within the party and now it is looking as if his efforts might be starting to pay off.  The Religious Right, growing concerned that the GOP could start shoving them aside in an effort to start winning elections, might soon find that the man for whom they had no love the last time around to be the one to whom they’ll have to turn to try and save their place in the party.

Newt Gingrich: The New Face of the Religious Right?

The latest issue of Americans United's "Church and State" has a lengthy cover story by Rob Boston analyzing just who might step up to lead the Religious Right in the years to come, now that many of its well-known leaders have passed away and others are aging and scaling back their workloads.

Boston takes a look at a variety of potential candidates - including Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Tony Perkins, Rick Warren, Rod Parsley, and Rick Scarborough - but he starts off his list with Newt Gingrich:

The idea of Newt Gingrich as the next leader of the Religious Right is not as odd as it sounds. During his tenure as speaker of the House of Representatives, Gingrich was known mainly for his promotion of small government, low taxes and libertarian ideas, but a lot has changed since 1999; in recent years Gingrich has increasingly been stressing Religious Right themes.

The new push began in 2006 when Gingrich published a book titled Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation’s History, a tome that promotes a “Christian nation” history that’s always popular with the Religious Right.

In a recent interview with Dan Gilgoff of U.S. News & World Report, Gingrich talked about his desire to unite conservative evangelicals with traditionalist Roman Catholics in support of a broad conservative agenda.

Gingrich, Gilgoff reported, is traveling around the country speaking to clergy on behalf of David Barton, a Religious Right pseudo-historian who has written books promoting the theocratic “Christian nation” viewpoint.

“In the last few years I’ve decided that we’re in a crisis in which the secular state, if allowed, will fundamentally and radically change America against the wishes of most Americans,” Gingrich told Gilgoff. “You’ve had such rising hostility to religious belief that I wanted to reach broadly into the country and dramatically raise public awareness of threats to religious liberty.”

The ex-speaker added, “It’s time to challenge head-on secular domination in the West.”

Gingrich has formed a new organization, Renewing American Leadership, that partnered with the Rev. Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association to sponsor anti-tax rallies around the country on April 15. Although taxation is not traditionally a Religious Right issue, the push is a good example of Gingrich’s efforts to add to the “culture war” agenda and unite the various factions of the conservative movement.

I'd like to second Boston's assertion that Gingrich could very well become a leading figure within the Religious Right and I'll offer this recent email from the American Family Association up as evidence:

We fully expect someone like Huckabee to gladly associate himself with people such as Barton, Staver, Engle, and Falwell, becuase he has done so before and they were all big supporters of his presidential bid.

But, until recently at least, one person you would never see at a third-tier Religious Right event such as this was Gingrich.  His partnering with the AFA and Barton and now his participation in events like this all suggest that Gingrich is making a serious play to establish himself as a respected and influential player within the Religious Right, perhaps as part of his effort to unify the conservative movement ahead of his own potential presidential run.

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Mike Huckabee Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/22/2011, 11:29am
Mike Huckabee tells the AFA's OneNewsNow that he supports reinstating Don't Ask, Don't Tell:  Mike Huckabee says he would support legislation aimed at reinstating the 1993 law that prohibits homosexuals from serving openly in the military. In January former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said if he were to become president in two years, he would work to reinstate the prohibition of open homosexual service. Now former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, another potential GOP presidential hopeful, tells OneNewsNow that he, too, would support re-imposing the ban. "I would -- because... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/22/2011, 9:26am
Michele Bachmann History: New Hampshire politicians take jabs at Bachmann's history blunder (Politico, 3/17). 2012: Deep roots in conservative movement bolster her campaign prospects (TNR, 3/17). Haley Barbour Campaign: Expanding campaign and presence in early state (NYT, 3/22). Mississippi: State taxpayers paid for $300,000 of his out-of-state traveling costs (Clarion Ledger, 3/21). Foreign Affairs: Calls for reducing troop level in Afghanistan (CBS News, 3/16). Mitch Daniels Book: Signs book deal with conservative publisher (AP, 3/21). 2012: Wife raises doubts about potential run (... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/21/2011, 11:24am
Speaking at a "Faith, Family and Values" fundraiser yesterday for Statesville Christian School in North Carolina, Mike Huckabee praised the school for instilling Christian values, saying he wished that every leader in the world shared their Christian worldview: Huckabee also said that when he grew up (in the town Hope, Ark., in the late 1950s and 1960s), folks were more open about their faith. “We were not ashamed of Judeo-Christian heritage,” he said. “And schools and the community did everything they could to support it.” ... He said that the kind of... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 03/14/2011, 10:30am
While Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann raised eyebrows after consistently and wrongly asserting that the Battles of Lexington and Concord occurred in New Hampshire, rather than Massachusetts (and later implying that Bay Staters were not proud of the American Revolution), the birther website WorldNetDaily was touting an interview between Bachmann and right-wing radio personality Jeff Katz. “I am concerned about the future of this country; I am concerned about the existence of the country my dad handed down to me,” said Katz, “And just yesterday my boys brought home... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/09/2011, 3:23pm
Last night, Alan Colmes had Mike Huckabee on his radio program and asked him about all the news he has been making lately -  from criticizing Natalie Portman to claiming that President Obama grew up in Kenya - most of which he blamed on Media Matters. But for our purposes, I want to highlight a section at the end of the interview where Colmes asked Huckabee about why he went on Bryan Fischer's radio program, given Fischer's unapologetic bigotry.  Starting at the 11:00 mark, Colmes recounted some of Fischer's more recent outrages and Huckabee claimed that he was not responsible... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/08/2011, 10:26am
Michele Bachmann Health Care: Decries secret funding of reform law which wasn't actually a secret (Minnesota Post, 3/7). Energy: As gas prices rise over Mideast crisis, Bachmann blames Obama (CNN, 3/7). Religious Right: Invites Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel to her Tea Party Caucus (RWW, 3/4). Haley Barbour Campaign: Adds staff to leadership PAC (The Fix, 3/7). Iowa: Will join Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich and others at conference hosted by Steve King (Des Moines Register, 3/7). Background: Made millions as a lobbyist for the energy industry, now repeating their arguments (HuffPo, 3/3).... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/07/2011, 6:46pm
Sen. John Ensign will not seek re-election. Matt Barber says President Obama is a dictator for not defending DOMA. Shockingly, Phyllis Schlafly doesn't know what she is talking about. Bryan Fischer says Mike Huckabee "is exactly right about Natalie Portman's out-of-wedlock pregnancy. She made two poor life decisions: conceiving a child outside marriage, then celebrating it before the nation." ABC is apparently preparing a pilot for a new show called “Good Christian B**ches.” The AFA has already announced a boycott. Finally, the quote of the... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/04/2011, 10:40am
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Richard Land took a preemptive strike against Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who raised eyebrows after calling for a “truce” on social issues and is considering a run for president. Land writes just one day after a WSJ poll found that the majority of GOP primary voters would be sympathetic to the “truce” offered by Daniels, who believes that the nation should be focusing on economic issues instead of fighting the “culture war.” Land, like many other Religious Right leaders, has come out swinging against Daniels’s... MORE >