Mike Huckabee

Rick Scarborough Preaches to the Choir at the How To Take Back America Conference

For weeks we have been covering the run-up to the How To Take Back America Conference, writing about the fringe Religious Right activists who are hosting it and the Republican leaders like Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann who will be addressing it, asking just how radical one has to be before they find themselves shunned by the GOP.

Earlier this week, we released a report on the organizers and participants which chronicled the various right-wing conspiracy theories and inflammatory rhetoric they have spewed over the years and, given that their long records of firey fringe activism are well-known, nobody can feign surprise when these activists got up to the podium and spewed those same rabidly fringe views at the conference.

Case in point: Rick Scarborugh of Vision America.

Scarborough, who served on Mike Huckabee's Faith and Values Committee during the latter's presidential campaign, unleashed a fiery sermon more befitting a Sunday sermon than a political gathering. But since the two are essentially one in the same for Scarborough and the other participants, his proclamations that he is neither a Republican nor a Democrat but rather a "Christocrat" who will support only candidates who proudly stand up on the campaign trail and say "yes, there's a God" and who realizes that the Constitution is a godly document designed to guide this nation by Christian principles, just as the Bible is designed to guide the lives of all of mankind. He then rails against Republican failures to defund the Department of Education and Planned Parenthood before turning his attention to President Obama and "his minions" who are intent on giving civil rights to "sodomites" while banning the Bible and putting Christians in jail. Eventually he turns to the "shadow government" constructed by President Obama filled with "well-financed, well-heeled, and highly-staffed professional infidels who have dedicated their life" to destroying America.

How Crazy Is Too Crazy For the GOP?

For weeks now, we have been posting on the How To Take Back America Conference and the utter insanity that has long plagued the hosts of the conference, wondering why on earth Republican leaders like Mike Huckabee or Reps. Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Tom Price, Tom McClintock and Trent Franks are inexcusably lending credibility to this event and to its organizers.

To put this upcoming conference into perspective, let us put it this way: If you thought last week's Values Voter Summit  - where speakers called for public abortions, claimed that pornography turns you gay, proclaimed that gays and liberal Christians are enemies of God who deserve to be struck down, and announced that they had been chosen by God to stand for truth and suffer the consequences - was crazy ... well, you ain't seen nothing yet.

And so we have pulled together our years of monitoring of the people and organizations behind the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference and put it all together in our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus, entitled "Why Are GOP Officials Embracing Extremists at Upcoming ‘How to Take Back America’ Conference?"

Here is an excerpt of the report, from the section focusing on the event's co-chair, Janet Porter:

It is probably impossible to overstate the extremism and lunacy of Janet Porter, whose radio program and Faith2Action.org website gives her a platform for promoting the most unhinged of conspiracy theories.

Porter is Mike Huckabee’s biggest fan. She first fell in love when she organized the 2007 Values Voter Debate to which she had personally invited a gospel choir to sing “Why Should God Bless America?” and after which Porter (then Folger) declared that Huckabee had been revealed as the answer to Christians’ prayers for a presidential candidate who shared their views, proclaiming him to be the “David among Jesse’s sons.” During the presidential primaries, she started a front group to attack Huckabee’s arch nemesis Mitt Romney and wrote columns claiming that only Huckabee could prevent Hillary Clinton from throwing all Christians into prison and save her fantasy world from this “evil queen and her dragon of slaughter.”

She has since claimed that God has cursed America for voting for Obama, that anyone who voted for him is bound for hell , and that anyone who has ever voted for a pro-choice candidate is also living under a curse. She has actively pushed the Birther conspiracies and even alleged that Obama’s presidency was the culmination of a decade-long Communist conspiracy twenty years in the making. After the election, but before the inauguration, she called on God to prevent Obama from taking office, while warning that "AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN" to this nation because we deserve God's judgment.

Among other fears she has recently been stoking: the Obama administration is creating internment camps for conservatives and building mass evacuation buses to take them there, while warning that the H1N1 flu vaccine is really a nefarious plot by the government to kill millions of Americans. She helped to create and inflate the Right’s false claims that a Department of Homeland Security report was equating conservatives and veterans with terrorists; as noted above, she’s now pushing comparisons between the Obama administration and the rise of Nazism.

Porter has written a book called “The Criminalization of Christianity” and claims that hate crimes legislation will lead to Christians being thrown in jail. More recently she’s joined the chorus of extremists falsely claiming that the bill would “give heightened protection to pedophiles.” As part of her campaign against hate crimes legislation, Porter has repeatedly invited on to her radio show Ted Pike, a rabid anti-Semite who claims hate crimes laws are part of a Jewish plot for world domination.

The report also examines the equally crazy views and activities of other event co-sponsors like Phyllis Schlafly, Joseph Farah, Mat Staver, and Rick Scarborough, all in an effort to get an answer to one rather simple question: just how radical does a right-wing activist have to become before they are shunned by “respectable” Republican leaders?

Will Perkins Back Huckabee 2012?

During his presidential campaign, one of Mike Huckabee's biggest and most frequent complaints was that Religious Right insiders were refusing to back his presidential campaign while they were frequently saying nice things about Mitt Romney.

The most notable glaring examples came from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council who, though he had nice things to say about Huckabee, not-so-subtly made it clear that he supported Romney.

Following the election, Huckabee continued to complain about this, but there were signs that he and Perkins were beginning to overcome the rift.

And now that Huckabee has won the Values Voter Summitt straw poll, it looks like Perkins might be willing to give serious consideration to the possibility of backing Huckabee if he decides to run again in 2012:

Mike Huckabee was the summit's choice to get the Republican nomination in 2012. Perkins said "When Huckabee spoke this weekend, it's as if he never walked away from his Presidential campaign. He is in touch with people through his many speaking engagements and his talk show." There is no official endorsement of Huckabee by the Family Research Council, but Perkins said, "He looks forward to talking with Huckabee in the upcoming months." Perkins also appeared last Sunday night on Huckabee's show on the Fox News Channel.

How To Take Back America ... From the Nazis

Back in 2007, I wrote a post about a DVD produced and sold by Kitty Werthmann, the head of the South Dakota chapter of the Eagle Forum, called "Freedom to Dictatorship in 5 Years":

From her own experience, Mrs. Kitty Werthmann will help you see we are walking the same path as the Nazi's. When she was 12 years old living in Austria there was order, prayer and pictures of Jesus. Hitler took over and all that was removed! Unemployment rose to 35%, bank loans rose to 25%, unions called strikes - all this with 98% of the people claiming to be Catholic! Soon there was massive welfare. Cries went out for equal rights for woman. Socialism took women out of the home, raising the children, and into the factories. They took the children away from the family and raised them by the state. The Health department offered training for the elderly but they were killed.

Given that Phyllis Schlafly, head of the Eagle Forum, is co-chairing the upcoming How To Take Back American Conference along with Janet Porter, I guess it comes as no surprise that Werthmann has been tapped to speak at the conference, along with various members of Congress and former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, to explain how America is becoming just like Nazi Germany:

In the past weeks you've heard me talk about the How to Take Back America Conference being held in St. Louis this Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26, with speakers like: Gov. Mike Huckabee, "Joe the Plumber," U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Steve King, R-Iowa, Tom McClintock, R-Calif., Dr. Tom Price, R-Ga., and Three-Star Gen. Jerry Boykin. But someone who'll be there that you didn't hear about is Kitty Werthmann. Kitty was 12 years old when Adolf Hitler was elected fuhrer of Austria.

She is 83 with a "vivid memory" of what happened in her homeland next. She witnessed the government take over the banks and the auto industry. Sound familiar? In the last nine months, Obama and the Democrats in Congress have successfully orchestrated the government takeover of Chrysler and General Motors along with countless banks.

She witnessed the "compulsory youth" service and indoctrination. That sounds a little like Obama's call for "mandatory volunteerism" for America's youth.

...

"The media was taken over by the government right away," Kitty recalls. "We got free radios and the radio stations were government-run. If you listened to a foreign radio station like the BBC, there was capital punishment," said Werthmann.

They had Joseph Goebbels; we have Mark Lloyd, the diversity czar, who is already poised to shut down private radio stations like his hero Hugo Chavez did – threatening licenses and waging outrageous fines on stations (up to $25 million dollars) who say things he doesn't like.

...

"Each person was allotted ration cards like a pound of sugar per month." Werthmann said. "If your grandma died, and you used her ration card to buy sugar, the grocery store would report you. Then, the Gestapo showed up, but rather than arrest you, they recruited you as informant of your neighbors, boss, friends and family. You couldn't trust anybody, not even the mailman," Werthmann added. Weekly reports were required or arrests were made.

Sounds a little like Obama's recruitment of government informants, i.e. the "snitch program," to turn in offenders for "fishy" speech. No arrests just yet, but the Department of Homeland Security has already tagged pro-family Americans as "the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States."

...

Werthmann said it took five years for Hitler to rise to a dictatorship, and is amazed at how fast history is repeating itself here. "It has to be done fast," she added, "so people won't catch on."

I guess we know who'll be leading the "How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists" workshop at the conference.

Allow me to ask one last time: what are members of Congress and people like Mike Huckabee doing associating themselves with this type of insane right-wing rhetoric? 

Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll and He Couldn't Care Less

No surprise here:

Mike Huckabee won the Values Voter Summit Presidential Straw Poll. This is the second straw poll that was ever conducted at the Values Voter Summit and was only open to registered participants, who were in attendance. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said, “We were surprised that the event’s turnout was more than double our expectations, clearly showing intensity among social conservatives. This was the first time potential conservative candidates could present their vision for change. We have over 1,800 registrants and over 175,000 unique online viewers.”

Below are the results of the poll:

1. Mike Huckabee (170 votes, 28.48%)
2. Mitt Romney (74 votes, 12.40%)
3. Tim Pawlenty (73 votes, 12.23%)
4. Sarah Palin (72 votes, 12.06%)
5. Mike Pence (71 votes, 11.89%)
6. Newt Gingrich (40 votes, 6.70%)
7. Bobby Jindal (28 votes, 4.69%)
8. Rick Santorum (15 votes, 2.51%)
9. Ron Paul (13 votes, 2.18%)
10. Undecided (31 votes, 5.19%)
11. Other (10 votes, 1.68%)

Huckabee actually won the last Values Voter Straw Poll as well among votes cast by those in attendance, but lost the overall straw poll because Romney supporters dominated the on-line voting.  This year, FRC did away with the on-line voting and, not surprisingly, the change worked to Huckabee's advantage.

Though I have to say that Huckabee doesn't seem particularly impressed with his own victory, given this rather muted statement he released:

Its always flattering to win one of these but its a long way from deciding to run and from the election. My heartfelt thanks for the affirmation of the people at the values voter summit.

Values Voter Summit Gets Underway

The year's Values Voter Summit is just getting underway and, thanks to the American Family Association, you can watch it on-line, while CSPAN is also webcasting it, as is FRC itself.

On a related note, the Washington Times reports that Gov. Rick Perry, whose name originally appeared on the Summit's Presidential Straw Poll, has asked that his name be removed and that, in an effort to prevent the accusations of ballot stuffing that plagued the 2007 straw poll, organizers have decided that only in-person voting will be allowed this year:

Mr. Perry, who will address the summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in person, asked that his name be removed from the ballot, Family Research Council spokesman J.P. Duffy confirmed.

...

Summiteers will get to witness an in-person rematch of the 2007 grudge match between fellow former Republican Govs. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.

At the 2007 summit, Mr. Romney beat Mr. Huckabee by 1,595 to 1,565 in combined Internet and in-person votes, with some Huckabee partisans grumbling Mr. Romney used his immense personal wealth to generate Internet support. This year, only in-person voting will be permitted.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Carrie Prejean has been confirmed as a speaker at the Values Voter Summit.
  • CNN: Former professional football player Jay Riemersma announced Monday that he is running for Congress in Michigan in 2010 ... Since retiring from professional sports, Riemersma has been working for the conservative Family Research Council.
  • The AFA gets a small victory in its boycott of Pepsi.
  • Orly Taitz continues her effort to keep Gary Kreep out of her Birther lawsuit.
  • Finally, Mike Huckabee announces that journalism is dead:

    Survivors include the American people, who long ago stopped buying the ink-stained drivel that smeared the pages of paper and the people who attempted to read it. No memorial is planned as the practitioners of propaganda seem to be unaware that they have passed away and continue to publish anyway.

Huckabee's EMP Warnings

Last month we noted that Mike Huckabee was scheduled to be one of the speakers at the "Protecting America Against Permanent Continental Shutdown From Electromagnetic Pulse" conference.

The conference was held earlier this week and Huckabee used his address to declare an EPM attack one of the greatest threats we face as a nation and lash out at the "cynics" who make "snarky" comments about the threat:

“This is a clear and present danger to our way of life in our country,” Huckabee said. “We are so dependent on electricity, its loss is a catastrophe, not an inconvenience.”

Huckabee was the keynote speaker on the second day of an EMPACT America conference exploring the threat of an EMP incident and what can be done to protect against it.

...

Huckabee said while some people would sneer at and make “snarky comments” about those predictions, it did not make them less likely.

“We should not minimize the threat of EMP,” he said. “There’s always going to be cynics. There were cynics who didn’t believe the Japanese were a threat (to attack Pearl Harbor) and there were cynics who didn’t believe radical Islam was a threat" ... Recalling the unpredicted terrorist attacks of 9/11, Huckabee said, “The greatest threat we face today is the naiveté about the threat of our enemies. Any country who has the capacity to explode a nuclear device is a threat.”

On a related note, TNR's Michael Crowley wrote an article on this whole EMP issue earlier this summer called "The Newt Bomb: How a pulp-fiction fantasy became a GOP weapons craze."

Reinstituting Discrimination to be Vander Plaats First Order of Business

Yesterday, Bob Vander Plaats formally announced his candidacy for the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nomination in Iowa, and vowed to make repealing marriage equality his first order of business:

Republican Bob Vander Plaats, 46, a Sioux City businessman, officially announced his campaign in his hometown of Sheldon on Monday by saying he would issue an executive order putting the issue same-sex marriage in the hands of the legislature and the voters of Iowa on his first day in office.

In June, Vander Plaats also said he would issue an executive order stopping same-sex marriage until the legislature either passes a law legalizing it or passes a constitutional amendment banning it. He furthermore said after doing so, he said he fully expects Democrats to try to remove him from office for “promoting lawlessness.”

Not surprisingly, Mike Huckabee and his PAC have endorsed Vander Plaats and trumpeted his announcement:

On Monday, September 7, Bob Vander Plaats officially announced his candidacy for Iowa Governor in his hometown of Sheldon, Iowa. Bob is a candidate endorsed by Governor Huckabee and backed by Huck PAC. In his announcement speech Bob addressed issues that he is passionate about and believes are important to all Iowans such as the debt, business climate, education, size of government, tax reform, strong families, and the balance of the three branches of government.

On September 18 the members of Iowa Team Huck along with some Team Huck members from out of state will be celebrating Bob Vander Plaats' official announcement by hosting a fundraiser to give an additional boost to his campaign. Now that is teamwork!

Huckabee's Health Care Reform Solution: Start Over

Literally:

We are too smart to really believe that a new government run health care plan won’t have bureaucrats trying to come between us and our doctors, or that it will be anything other than another government program that will cost us billions of dollars.

The President’s biggest problem last night, however, is that as he spoke last night and made so many great promises, he forgot to read what Congress is getting ready to vote on. He talked as if the process is just starting. It isn’t. We are trying to decipher 1000 page bills and 600 page bills, and no one, including the President can explain any of it.

It’s time to hit the reset button Mr. President. Let’s start all over.

If You Boycott WND, You Boycott Everyone

Yesterday Jon Henke over at The Next Right wrote a post blasting the sort of nonsense spewed by WorldNetDaily as well as those organizations and individuals who "choose to support WND through advertising and email list rental or other collaboration":

In the 1960's, William F. Buckley denounced the John Birch Society leadership for being "so far removed from common sense" and later said "We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner."

The Birthers are the Birchers of our time, and WorldNetDaily is their pamphlet. The Right has mostly ignored these embarrassing people and organizations, but some people and organizations inexplicably choose to support WND through advertising and email list rental or other collaboration. For instance, I have been told that F.I.R.E (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) - an otherwise respectable group that does important work - uses the WND email list. They should stop.

No respectable organization should support the kind of fringe idiocy that WND peddles. Those who do are not respectable.

As Terry Krepel of Media Matters quickly pointed out, one of the organizations that has rented WND's mailing list is the Republican National Committee.

I'd like to add a few more: what about Mike Huckabee and Representatives Michele Bachmann, Tom Price, and Steve King who will all be appearing at the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference, which features WND among its sponsors and has WND founder, editor and CEO Joseph Farah serving on it host committee?

Or what about the 2007 Values Voter Debate featuring GOP presidential hopefuls like Huckabee, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, and Ron Paul, where Farah served as a moderator?

Or, for that matter, what about CPAC, where Farah has been a speaker and panel participant?

Henke is threatening to "boycott any of those organizations that will not renounce any further support for WorldNetDaily" ... but if he did that, he'd literally have to boycott the entire right-wing political movement.

Taking Up Huckabee's Challenge

It seems that Mike Huckabee is battling back against those criticizing his claim from last week in which he said that Sen. Ted Kennedy would have been told to go home and die under President Obama's healthcare reform plan:

In his weekend Fox News show “Huckabee,” the 2008 Republican presidential candidate said his remarks were overblown and taken out of context.

“I spoke on my radio show and pointed out that when Senator Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he chose to fight with all that was within him and to do that for life instead of choosing the pain pill that President Obama spoke of in his answer to James Stern during his White House town hall meeting,” Huckabee said.“George Stephanopoulos, Time magazine, Huffington Post and scores are liberal bloggers have gone berserk, saying I have made things up.”

Huckabee then challenged the media outlets that covered the comment.

“What did I say that wasn’t true?” he asked. “Listen to what I said. It was actually a tribute to Senator Kennedy and an observation that he did what Americans would want to do, follow the best healthcare they can find.”

Well, since we covered his comment, allow us to take up his challenge and point out exactly what wasn't true.

Here's what Huckabee said:

"[I]t was President Obama himself who suggested that seniors who don't have as long to live might want to consider just taking a pain pill instead of getting an expensive operation to cure them," said Huckabee. "Yet when Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 77, did he give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die? Of course not. He freely did what most of us would do. He choose an expensive operation and painful follow up treatments. He saw his work as vitally important and so he fought for every minute he could stay on this earth doing it. He would be a very fortunate man if his heroic last few months were what future generations remember him most for."

And here is what President Obama actually said:

[E]nd-of-life care is one of the most difficult, sensitive decisions we're going to have to make. I don't want bureaucracies making those decisions. But understand that those decisions are already being made in one way or another. If they're not being made under Medicare and Medicaid, they're being made by private insurers. We don't always make those decisions explicitly. We often make those decisions by just letting people run out of money or making the deductibles too high or the out-of-pocket expenses so onerous that they just can't afford the care.

And all we're suggesting -- and we're not going to solve every difficult problem in terms of end-of-life care; a lot of that is going to have to be we as a culture and as a society starting to make better decisions within our own families and for ourselves. But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that's not making anybody's mom better, that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know, and your mom know, that you know what, maybe this isn't going to help, maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller [emphasis added].

Obviously, the President was talking about situations where further medical treatment is unlikely to provide any medical benefit to the patient, not situations where, as Huckabee claimed, there was some operation available that would cure them that they couldn't have because the President wants them to just take a pill and go home to die.

So here, specifically, is the part that is not true:

"Obama himself who suggested that seniors who don't have as long to live might want to consider just taking a pain pill instead of getting an expensive operation to cure them."

It also just so happened to be the foundation of his entire claim.

Mike Huckabee's Health Care Expertise

Last week, Sam Stein caught Mike Huckabee declaring that Sen. Ted Kennedy would have been told to go home and die under President Obama's healthcare reform plan:

The 2008 Republican presidential candidate suggested during his radio show, "The Huckabee Report," on Thursday that, under President Obama's health care plan, Kennedy would have been told to "go home to take pain pills and die" during his last year of life.

"[I]t was President Obama himself who suggested that seniors who don't have as long to live might want to consider just taking a pain pill instead of getting an expensive operation to cure them," said Huckabee. "Yet when Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 77, did he give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die? Of course not. He freely did what most of us would do. He choose an expensive operation and painful follow up treatments. He saw his work as vitally important and so he fought for every minute he could stay on this earth doing it. He would be a very fortunate man if his heroic last few months were what future generations remember him most for."

Where is he getting his misinformation? From Mat Staver?

On a related note, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review conducted an interview with Huckabee recently in which he laid out his own plan for healthcare reform, but bitterly lamented that nobody takes his recommendations seriously "because people still think I'm an idiot":

HUCKABEE: The real issue is the uninsured. Identify the people who are truly uninsurable. ... I've said for a long time that they misidentified it. The issue is not who's uninsured but who's uninsurable. Some people are uninsured because they choose to be. They either don't fill out the paperwork for the government programs they already qualify for ... or they're young, healthy, virile, indestructible 20-something-year-olds.

I think there ought to be a high-risk insurance pool ... for people who have a debilitating long-term disease -- maybe a child who's hydrocephalic or simply autistic or has severe developmental disabilities. It would work a lot like TEFRA (the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act) begun in 1982 under Reagan. Only about 18 states participate, but Arkansas was one of them and so that's why I'm very familiar with it.

We went through a process of revamping it. ... The basic idea is that, historically, families would have to impoverish themselves in order to qualify for the assistance that was necessary to keep their child at home. What this did was allow them to get services that they really needed. ... We put in a sliding-scale copay. We had parents making $300,000 a year in combined income, so they certainly weren't qualified for Medicaid. But on the other hand, if they had to suddenly start absorbing $100,000 in medical expenses it would kill them. So they ended up paying a portion of it.

Q: Has anybody approached you or tried to follow Arkansas' lead on that?

HUCKABEE: No, because people still think I'm an idiot. I think I could walk across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris and, you know, they would come along and say that Huckabee can't swim.

Mike Huckabee And Friends

I've written a lot of posts recently (and not so recently) about the sorts of right-wing figures that Mike Huckabee regularly associates with, especially in light of his upcoming appearance at the How To Take Back America Conference which is being hosted by a gaggle of radical right-wingers such as Rick Scarborough, Janet Porter, Phyllis Schlafly, Don Wildmon, and others.

One of those others is Mat Staver, who is the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, the group that was selling the "proud to be a right-wing extremist" cards earlier this year, and who recently declared that gay marriage would lead to an entire generation of violent criminals and also blasted the state of Vermont for granting marrige equality, saying "if [elected officials] can't understand this basic human relationship between a man and a woman, then they absolutely are not competent for public office" and warning that "what we are seeing in America is literally the beginnings of another revolution" from the "silent majority" who will draw a line in the sand, leading to "another American Revolution."

Staver also served on Huckabee's Faith and Family Values Coalition during his presidential campaign. But it seems as if Huck's relationship with Staver is not limited purely to domestic political needs because, via Marc Ambinder, we see that the two of them are heading off to Israel together:

This February I am headed back again [with] my wife Janet, Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel and Congressman Bob McEwen and anyone interested in seeing the Holy Land. This will be one of the most unique trips I have ever put together as it will not only include the biblical points of interests, but it also will provide a unique insight on the political and governmental aspects of the State of Israel, including an international town hall with government officials from Israel.

Staver has also been deeply involved in the Religious Right's efforts to scuttle any healthcare reform, both through the Freedom Federation and through his own group, Liberty Counsel.

Which brings us to this new FactCheck.org piece which took a look an email analyzing healthcare reform legislation that has been rocketing around conservative websites and inboxes for the last few weeks that FactCheck says is almost entirely false:

Our inbox has been overrun with messages asking us to weigh in on a mammoth list of claims about the House health care bill. The chain e-mail purports to give "a few highlights" from the first half of the bill, but the list of 48 assertions is filled with falsehoods, exaggerations and misinterpretations. We examined each of the e-mail’s claims, finding 26 of them to be false and 18 to be misleading, only partly true or half true. Only four are accurate.

...

We can trace the origins of this collection of claims to a conservative blogger who issued his instant and mostly mistaken analyses as brief "tweets" sent via Twitter as he was paging through the 1,017-page bill. The claims have been embraced as true and posted on hundreds of Web sites, and forwarded in the form of chain e-mails countless times. But there’s hardly any truth in them.

The conservative blogger to which FactCheck points is Peter Fleckenstein and his "Common Sense from a Common Man" blog at http://blog.flecksoflife.com.

As I was reading through the list of false claims that FactCheck examined, they seemed very familiar ... and in fact, they were.  And that is because Liberty Counsel recently released is own "analysis" of the healthcare reform legislation called "Obama Administration’s Health Care Plan." And just take a guess as to where most of the claims came from?

And, of course, once Liberty posted it's piece, that gave the false claims added "legitimacy" and so it became a "source" for others on the Religious Right looking to spread them.

Understanding the "How" In "How To Take Back America"

According to this email from the American Family Association, along with getting to hear from people like Mike Huckabee and Representatives Michele Bachmann, Tom Price, Steve King, attendees to the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference are going to have the opportunity to attend a variety of informative workshops where they will learn important things like "How to counter the homosexual movement," "How to stop the killings: pro-life solutions," "How to defend America vs. missile attack, " and even "How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists":

Joseph Farah Eulogizes Ted Kennedy

Would you expect anything else

I know there's an old adage that one shouldn't speak ill of the dead.

But I don't subscribe to the idea that when evil and foolish people die we should pretend they were something other than evil and foolish.

And Ted Kennedy was evil and foolish.

He wasn't just a politician with whom I disagreed.

He was a rotten man – a wicked man.

...

Over four decades he has served as a kind of "enemy within" the American political system – attempting to elicit the support of the Soviet Union against President Reagan's policies in the 1980s, ignoring the tax-cutting prescription of his elder brother, failing to learn the real lessons of Vietnam, failing even to learn the lessons of his own brother's errors of appeasement in the Bay of Pigs, practicing his own unique brand of plantation racism and blaming America for all the problems of the world. That's Ted Kennedy.

That even one of the 50 states would deem him worthy of serving in the U.S. Senate for most of his life is something of a national disgrace.

Have I mentioned that, next month, Mike Huckabee will be headlining an event that Farah is co-hosting?

Huckabee Hearts the Illinois Family Institute

Until just last month, the Illinois Family Institute had been listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Just days after the organization was removed from the SPLC list, IFI's Laurie Higgins penned a piece entitled "Church Should Fight Homosexuality Like It Did Nazism" (see this updated post for Higgins' explanation about why she was not responsible for this title and insisted that it be changed): 

We reassure ourselves that if we had lived during the age of slavery or in Germany during the rise of Nazism or during the post-Civil War era when virulent racism still poisoned American life, we would never have stood idly by and done nothing, but I'm not so sure. Look at the church's actions today when homosexuality and gender confusion are affirmed to and in our nation's children through our public schools using our hard-earned money. Where is the church? Where is the outrage? Where are the church leaders who rejoice in being persecuted?

I've asked this question before and I will ask it again: How depraved does the behavior have to be and how young the victims before the church, starting with those who have freely chosen to assume the mantle of pastor or priest, will both feel and express outrage at the indecent, cruel, and evil practice of using public money to affirm body and soul-destroying ideas to children?

In October, IFI is holding its "Family, Faith and Freedom Banquet" and guess who has been tapped as the keynote speaker:

Family, Faith and Freedom Banquet

Crowne Plaza O'Hare
5440 N. River Road
Rosemont, Illinois

Tuesday, October 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Dinner tickets are $100 each.
Tickets for dinner and a private reception with Gov. Mike Huckabee are $250.

Jeremy has the audio of the announcement in which Huckabee urges activists to attend because "I've got a lot to tell you about what I see happening as I travel across this nation and how, together, we can bring back the values that we all share: family, faith, and freedom. More importantly, by attending this banquet, you'll be helping the Illinois Family Institute continue to stand strong in promoting pro-family values across this great state. More than ever, we need to support organizations like IFI who boldly stand for the sanctity of life, religious freedom, and natural marriage."

This event comes just days after Huckabee is scheduled to appear at the How To Take Back America Conference, which features another SPLC hate group, MassResistance, and raises anew the question of just how radical an organization has to be before Huckabee will refuse to be seen with them.  At this point, there is seemingly no limit.

Huckabee's Busy September

I willingly admit that I have no idea what an Electro-Magnetic Pulse is or how big of a threat it poses to the United States. But it apparently is a big enough threat to warrant the existence of a group called EMPACT America Inc that has people like Rep. Trent Franks and former Congressman Curt Weldon on its Board of Advisors, which ought to at least give you some sense of what they are all about:

EMPACT America works with local citizenry, civic-minded companies, and grassroots activists to help prepare communities in New York and across America to prepare for an EMP attack. Working with local city governments and first responders, EMPACT America provides for coordination, education, and consulting services, helping to create a growing grassroots movement focused on EMP preparedness and recovery.

Next month, EMPACT America is hosting a conference entitled "Protecting America Against Permanent Continental Shutdown From Electromagnetic Pulse" at which both Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich will be speaking [PDF]:

Mike Huckabee will be joining our conference as a keynote speaker on Thursday, September 10 ... EMPACT America is conducting a national conference bringing in the most knowledgeable minds in the world about EMP. Scheduled speakers include U.S. Congressional leaders, Department of Defense experts, and many other experts on EMP. In addition, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will deliver an exclusive video address on EMP prepared specifically for this conference.

It looks like Huckabee's schedule for September is rapidly filling up with speaking engagements at right-wing conferences - first its this EMPACT, then he's off to the Values Voter Summit, before winding up at the How To Take Back America Conference.

2012: Huckabee, Birthers, and The Right

Public Policy Polling released a poll yesterday showing that among possible 2012 GOP presidential contenders, Mike Huckabee is currently faring the best in a possible match-up against President Obama:

Our fifth monthly national survey matching up Barack Obama against some possible 2012 opponents comes to the same two primary conclusions as the other four:

1) Obama leads all comers

2) Mike Huckabee, at least at this early stage, is the strongest GOP candidate

In this particular iteration of the poll, Huckabee comes the closest to Obama that he has yet, trailing just 47-44. That's tightened since the President led 48-42 a month ago.

Huckabee also has the best overall favorability rating of the Republican quartet we tested, at 45/28.

Obviously, polls conducted three years before the next election don't mean very much, but the results are still interesting nonetheless, especially in light of another poll PPP recently released on just who the "Birthers" are and what they seem to believe.  Today, PPP broke out the numbers a bit and found out that, among the Birthers, Sarah Palin is their favorite candidate, followed by Huckabee:

The birthers love them some Sarah Palin. She's the most popular politician in the mix with them at 66% favorability. Next is Mike Huckabee at 58%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 46%, and Mitt Romney at 43%.

In a follow-up post, PPP's Tom Jensen says that non-Birther Republicans tend to like Huckabee most:

60% of those folks (the reasonable wing of the party?) have a favorable opinion of Mike Huckabee, 58% have one of Sarah Palin, 57% have one of Mitt Romney, and 52% have one of Newt Gingrich.

Since Huckabee appears to have a 58% favorability rating among Birthers and a 60% favorability rating among non-birthers, it'll be interesting to see what happens to his ratings after he appears at the How To Take Back America Conference next month, which is being hosted by three bona fide birthers, foremost among them conference co-host Janet Porter who has recently been obsessed with spreading claims about how government internment camps and mass evacuation buses are part of a nefarious plot by the government to kill millions of Americans under the guise of providing flu vaccines.

You know, somebody really ought to ask Huckabee whether or not he agrees with the insanity being spread by the hosts of this event at which he is scheduled to be a keynote speaker, seeing as there have been a couple of polls recently sugesting that he just might be the GOP front-runner in 2012.

Texas Curriculum: Thurgood Marshall Out, Newt Gingrich In?

Back in April, the Texas Freedom Network reported that the Texas State Board of Education had named both David Barton of WallBuilders and the Rev. Peter Marshall, who suggests that California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were divine punishments for tolerance of homosexuality, to its social studies curriculum “experts” panel.

When Barton and Marshall released their recommendations for changing the curriculum, they suggested, among other things, dropping mentions of both César Chavez and Thurgood Marshall.

"Review committees" are now putting together a draft of a new curriculum based on recommendations from the "expert" panel and it looks they are set to fill their history books with figures like Newt Gingrich, James Dobson, and Phyllis Schlafly:

Texas high school students would learn about such significant individuals and milestones of conservative politics as Newt Gingrich and the rise of the Moral Majority under the first draft of new standards for public school history textbooks, but nothing about people or groups considered more liberal.

...

The first draft for proposed standards in "United States History Studies Since Reconstruction" says students should be expected "to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority."

...

Conservatives form the largest bloc on the 15-member State Board of Education, whose partisan makeup is 10 Republicans and five Democrats.

David Bradley, R-Beaumont, one of the conservative leaders, figures that the current draft will pass a preliminary vote along party lines "once the napalm and smoke clear the room."

But not all conservative board members share that view.

"It is hard to believe that a majority of the writing team would approve of such wording," said Terri Leo, R-Spring. "It’s not even a representative selection of the conservative movement, and it is inappropriate."

Another board conservative, Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, said he thinks that students should study both sides to "see what the differences are and be able to define those differences."

He would add James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to the list of conservatives. Others have proposed adding talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the National Rifle Association.

Mercer says he would also mention groups like the National Education Association, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood and the Texas Freedom Network so that students will be "able to identify what’s conservative ... [a]nd what is liberal in contrast."

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Mike Huckabee Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 07/06/2011, 1:19pm
In 2009, Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action organized a right-wing conference in St. Louis called "How To Take Back America" that was co-sponsored by the likes of WorldNetDaily, The American Family Association, Vision America, Liberty Counsel, and WallBuilders.  The keynote speakers at the conference were Mike Huckabee and Rep. Michele Bachmann. The line-up at this conference was so radical that we put together a report on the participants which gave special attention to the truly fringe views espouse by Porter:  It is probably impossible to overstate the extremism and lunacy... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 07/05/2011, 4:00pm
Linda Harvey of Mission America interviewed Gary Glenn, the head of the American Family Association’s Michigan chapter, during her radio show on how the Religious Right should respond to gay rights victories. Glenn, a prominent activist that Mike Huckabee calls his “very special friend,” warned that companies should be wary of hiring lesbian and gay employees because of what Glenn calls the “severe medical consequences” of being gay. Approvingly, Harvey argued that employers should take note that gays lives unstable lives and added, “I would not think of a... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 06/02/2011, 4:44pm
Bryan Fischer really does not understand the definition of a "hate crime." The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants the California Attorney General to investigate Harold Camping for fraud. WND says White House Counsel Bob Bauer resignation "marks the beginning of the Obama eligibility cover-up starting to unwind." It is pretty clear that nobody on the Religious Right actually cares about Newt Gingrich's serial infidelity. Glenn Beck will speak at Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference. Mike Huckabee does not want to be President... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 05/27/2011, 10:16am
In 1976, Mike Huckabee dropped out of seminary school so that he could go to work for James Robison: In 1976, after college, Huckabee was enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Texas, when he came into contact with the televangelist James Robison. It was Robison who famously declared that he was “sick and tired of hearing about all of the radicals and the perverts and the liberals and the leftists and the Communists coming out of the closet,” and was ready “for God’s people to come out of the closet” and take back the nation. Despite Huckabee... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 05/23/2011, 11:45am
Last year, Mike Huckabee received the "National Hero of Faith" award from Rick Scarborough, a self-proclaimed "Christocrat" who believes that AIDS is God's judgment for immoral behavior, and even showed up in person at the Vision America gala to receive it. This year that honor will go to the man that Huckabee calls the "single best historian in America today" and whom he wishes everyone would be forced to listen to at gunpoint - David Barton [PDF]: MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 05/20/2011, 4:37pm
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is meeting with the Council for National Policy. Donald Trump is burning bridges in Iowa. Sarah Palin says she has the "fire in the belly" needed to run for president, which I translate as means "people please pay attention to me." Is Joseph Farah really threatening to sue Esquire? It seems that God just didn't want Mike Huckabee to run for president. Finally, John Stemberger reports that the Florida Bar has dismissed the complaint that was brought against him over his representation of Rifqa Bary. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/18/2011, 10:11am
Politico reports today that the prominent Republican politicians and activists are increasingly displeased with the current field of presidential candidates (I wonder why) and are pressuring Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to jump into the race. “With Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s decision not to run, the party’s elites are holding out a desperate hope to persuade Daniels, who is publicly reluctant, in part because of his wife’s concerns,” Mike Allen writes, adding that the one scenario which “terrifies Washington Republicans” is “the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 05/17/2011, 11:20am
Ever since Mike Huckabee announced that he would not be running for president in 2012, countless pieces have been written speculating which remaining candidate benefits the most from his decision.  Is it Michele Bachmann?  It is Tim Pawleny? Is it Herman Cain or Rick Santorum?  But I have a different question:  which remaining candidate will be the one to welcome the support of the fringe Religious Right leaders who made up Huckabee's Faith and Family Values Coalition the last time around? In 2008, Huckabee could get no love from the "establishment"... MORE >