Mike Huckabee

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.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Both the NRCC and the RNC have responded to Arlen Specter's defection with a rousing "good riddance" ... and a plea for donations.
  • Mike Huckabee responded to the news by saying it just goes to prove the importance of his PAC and electing "Republicans who will not sell their values for votes."
  • Concerned Women for America, the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and Liberty Council, and others have officially come out in opposition to the confirmation of David Hamilton, while Gary Marx says Hamilton's nomination "does not bode well" for their hopes that Obama would nominate moderates.
  • It looks like Michael Steele's control over the RNC is getting weaker by the day.
  • Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, and the Susan B. Anthony List all say that, despite Kathleen Sebelius's confirmation, they are not giving up the fight.
  • You know what we don't see enough of?  Gambling interests attacking the Christian Coalition for its hypocrisy.
  • WorldNetDaily profiles Michael Ferris, the man who made home-school popular, founded Patrick Henry College, and drafted the Parental Rights Amendment.
  • Once again I must ask: can Michelle Bachmann go one day without saying something moronic?  And once again the answer is no.
  • Right-wing anti-marriage darling Carrie Prejean was hobnobbing at Liberty University today with Jerry Falwell Jr. before heading off to join Matt Barber and Mat Staver on their radio program, thus officially completing her transformation from D-list celebrity to A-list Religious Right hero.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Politico reports that there is a rebellion brewing among the GOP's base and that "activists and officials say the party is as resolute as ever, if not more so, on cultural issues – regardless of the soundings of some party elites."
  • Carrie Prejean continues to capitalize on her anti-gay Miss USA fame and has signed on with "one of the country's premier Christian PR firms, A. Larry Ross Communications—which represents such evangelical powerhouses as Rick Warren."
  • You know the times they are a changing when Promise Keepers starts opening its events to women.
  • YouDiligenceTM is teaming with Focus on the Family to provide Internet safety services to families who want to protect their children from online predators and cyber-bullies and inappropriate online exchanges. Maybe they should have put this in place a few weeks ago.
  • Mike Huckabee says George Soros is behind the Obama administration's decision to release the torture memos.
  • Concerned Women for America's Wendy Wright wonders if the timing of the swine flu scare was "a political thing to push the [Kathleen] Sebelius nomination through." Seriously. Glenn Beck makes the same allegation.
  • Finally, there is this, which speaks for itself:
  • Utah County Republicans defeated a resolution opposing well-heeled groups that a delegate claims are pushing a satanic plan to encourage illegitimate births and illegal immigration.

    Don Larsen, a Springville delegate, offered the resolution, titled "Resolution opposing the Hate America anti-Christian Open Borders cabal," warning delegates that an "invisible government" comprised of left-wing foundations was pumping money into the Democratic Party to push for looser immigration laws and anti-family legislation.

Klingenschmitt Prays in Jesus' Name for God to Curse His Enemies

Last week, we mentioned a few times that Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation had called upon the United States Chief of Naval Operations to investigate the fact that Gordon Klingenschmitt has been "attempting to create the false impression that he is still an active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces."

Klingenschmit quickly added a disclaimer to his website, explaining that his views “do not represent the views of the U.S. Navy” and that the picture of Klingenschmitt in uniform “is a picture of his former self, taken while he was serving on active duty, therefore he was not impersonating an officer,” but was none-too-pleased with AU and MRFF, saying that both “Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein are bone-heads.”

But apparently insulting them was not enough for Klingenschmitt, because AU reports that he is now calling on his supporters to launch “imprecatory” prayers against both men:

“Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who recently issued a press release attacking me personally,” prays Klingenschmitt on his Web site. “God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround me and tell lies about me. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore, find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with godly people. Plunder their fields and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants. And remember their sins. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

As AU explains, imprecatory prayer is basically asking God that bad things will happen to your enemies – things like death, loss of income, loss of property, etc. In other words, Klingenschmitt is asking God to curse both AU and MRFF.

This is actually the second time that AU has been the target of imprecatory prayers from some fringe Religious Right figure, as Wiley Drake issued a similar call back in 2007 after they contacted the IRS when Drake endorsed Mike Huckabee using church letterhead. 

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Nate Silver wonders why Mike Huckabee doesn't get more respect.
  • Andrew Sullivan says that Ed Whelan was involved, during his time in the Bush Administration, in discussions of torture, but Whelan denies it, calling it a vicious lie. [UPDATE: See this post regarding the EPPC's demand that we prominently note Sullivan's retraction.]
  • Ed Brayton points out that David Hamilton's decision in Hinrichs v Bosma says the exact opposite of what right-wing groups like the Traditional Values Coalition are claiming it says.
  • Matthew Yglesias tears apart Liz Cheney claim that waterboarding is not torture.
  • When Michael Steele canceled his speaking engagement with the Religious Action Center earlier this week, he cited an "urgent family commitment." As Ben Smith points out that that was not necessarily the case.
  • AU points out that Gordon Klingenschmitt has now changed his website after they pointed out that he might have been violating the law by presenting himself as an active-duty member of the armed services.
  • John McCain is claiming that the author of the "controversial" DHS report has been fired, but Think Progress checked and found out that its not true.

Huckabee Too Polite To Come Right Out And Say It

If there is one word that can best describe Mike Huckabee's response to losing the Republican primary to John McCain after being savaged by the fiscal conservatives and snubbed by the social conservatives, it would be "bitterness."

As we've noted a few times before, for a guy who is presumably planning on making another run for the White House in 2012, Huckabee seems to be spending a lot more time settling scores with those who refused to back him than attempting to win them over ahead of his next campaign, which doesn't seem like a particularly smart political strategy.

And here he is yet again, calling out FreedomWorks' Dick Armey for mocking Huckabee's anti-Wall Street message when he was running for office while now trying capitalize on the right-wing "tea party" opposition to the bailouts and stimulus package and whatever else all those protests were supposedly about: 

"The tea parties are mostly an honest spontaneous effort by ordinary people from all over the political spectrum to express their outrage at government hubris from absurd spending, corporate bailouts, etc.," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told ABC News in an email today, asked for a comment about today's protests.

...

Now, of course, Armey and FreedomWorks are rallying the tea party protests around the country that are protesting big government, Wall Street bailouts, higher taxes and President Obama's housing plan.

"As for Armey," Huckabee writes when I ask him to weigh in, "he and about 75% of the so-called 'conservatives' owe me a big apology. They misrepresented my record, took my statements totally out of context, and accused me of economic liberalism, which is utter nonsense. My campaign upset their orderly apple cart, because it really was run by grass-roots conservatives and small business owners and not those who as it turned out were wholly owned subsidiaries of recklessly run corporations and lobbyists.”

Huckabee says Armey and his cohorts "never listened to what I was saying, but just spoke out to protect their pals who were funding their faces—there’s a word for people who get to paid to show love, but polite people don’t use it openly. I’ve found it amazing to watch the huffy puffy types who skinned me alive during the campaign jump out and support TARP, and then change their tune when Obama and the Dems proposed stimulus.

We'll try and be polite here as well and not mention the word that Huckabee obviously has in mind.

When he was running for the nomination, there were lots of articles quoting sources familiar with Huckabee's tenure in Arkansas that remarked on his petty vindictiveness and willingness to hold a grudge.  Those tales never worked their way into the narrative around his campaign as they couldn't overcome his media-driven reputation as a "aw shucks" bass-playing everyman ... but it sure seems as if Huckabee is doing everything he can to make sure that it becomes a theme in his next potential campaign.

Focus Strikes Back At Those Tempted To Write Them Off

Earlier this week we mentioned the recent colum by Kathleen Parker, who used a small feud between Focus on the Family and right-wing radio host Steve Deace to proclaim that the Religious Right was "finished as a political entity."

Needless to say, this did not sit well with Tom Minnery, senior vice president of Focus on the Family Action, who has now taken to the page of (where else?) WorldNetDaily to set her and everyone else straight:

Parker's animus is as puzzling as her myopia. Unlike many reporters, she has never visited, never phoned, never gained her information firsthand, never sought out our side of any issue. She is content to shoot from a great distance, always with second and third-hand information.

No wonder she misses so badly.

Minnery defends James Dobson's and Focus's support of John McCain on the gorunds that they really had no other option in the face of "the almost viciously pro-abortion positions of Obama" and then takes issue with the supposed divide between younger evangelicals who care about things like poverty and global warming and old-guard figures like Dobson who only care about abortion and gays, saying that it is groups like Focus really represent the agenda of the evangelical voters in America:

One reporter went so far in an interview with me as to point out that two evangelical leaders who emphasize these newer issues have been leaders at two conservative religious organizations, Richard Cizik at the National Association of Evangelicals and Pastor Joel Hunter at the Christian Coalition.

She missed her own point. These men "have been" leaders. Neither is in his role today, precisely because these organizations got fed up with so much emphasis on these issues. They are not unimportant matters, but they will have secondary influence as long as the unborn are killed in their mothers' wombs and as long as the definition of marriage is threatened. These are the problems that motivate most evangelicals to engage politics. Mike Huckabee did not win the Iowa caucuses by talking about the polar ice caps. He did it by emphasizing marriage, faith and the pro-life cause.

And by the way, At Focus on the Family we believe we fight poverty every day by teaching people how to keep their marriages intact. It's how we spend 90 percent of our income, and the failure of the intact family is a leading cause of poverty in our country. Like many reporters, this one wasn't convinced. If it's not a government program, it's not a poverty program.

In their haste to pronounce us dead, reporters routinely ignore the most profound grass-roots uprising of our era, the writing of marriage definitions into 30 state constitutions. That's 30 victories in all 30 states that have put this question to voters, and many of those victories have been landslides. This has been a continental phenomenon, from the Midwest, through the South, the Intermountain West, and the Left Coast states of Oregon and (shudder!) sophisticated California. The marriage movement lags only in the older states of the Eastern seaboard, which do not permit citizen initiatives.

And here is the most ignored fact of all. In nearly every marriage amendment state, the action was led by organizations nurtured to life by Focus on the Family's James Dobson, who the media routinely offer up as exhibit A, the T-Rex of Jurassic Park.

If Minnery sounds bitter, it's mainly because he is sick of being written off every few years, saying that "with nearly every election cycle now come the somber reports in the news media of the death of the Religious Right. In the 20 years I've been in the movement, we have died four times."

We don't agree with Minnery on much, but we can understand his frustration - because we are equally tired to having to keep making this same point.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • David Smith, the executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, is urging parents to pull their children out of school on the "Day of Silence" because it will keep them from being indoctrinated and have the added advantage of hurting schools monetarily because school funds are based on a daily average attendance.
  • Gary Bauer is concerned that President Obama is hiring too many Muslims and not enough conservatives.
  • Inviting Obama to speak at Notre Dame is akin to inviting a Holocaust denier to speak at the Holocaust museum.
  • Pressure continues to mount on RNC Chair Michael Steele.
  • The American Life League is calling on Sen. Sam Brownback and Sen. Pat Roberts to use "their power to reject the nomination of pro-abortion radical Gov. Kathleen Sebelius" even though both have already endorsed her nomination.
  • Finally, Mike Huckabee weighed in on the Iowa Supreme Court marriage ruling with this rather mundane statement - he's never going to rally with right-wing troops with this sort of talk:
  • The unanimous decision handed down today from the Iowa Supreme Court to allow same sex marriage is disappointing. All Iowans should have a say in this matter, not a handful of legislative judges. This issue is too important to not be made by the people of Iowa. It is my hope that the Legislature will take the necessary steps to properly resolve this matter.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • At a rally for Bob McDonnell, Mike Huckabee trotted out his line urging McDonnell supporters to deflate the tires of Democrats to keep them from going to the polls on election day.
  • Speaking Huckabee, he spoke yesterday at Rider University where he unveiled two new proposals: "He said there should be term limits for members of Congress. And he said senators should once again be elected by state legislatures, not popular vote."
  • Newt Gingrich is predicting that “if the Republicans can’t break out of being the right wing party of big government, then I think you would see a third party movement in 2012.”
  • Mark Levin is refusing to use the term "liberal," insisting instead on the term "statist" for those with whom he disagrees: "These folks are not liberals, because liberal in its classical sense is the opposite of authoritarian. They are the authoritarians — if you listen to them, they constantly speak of the government doing this and the government doing that. They are government-centric, or Statists. They represent the power of a central heavy-handed government against the people."
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry has proclaimed April as Abortion Recovery Awareness Month.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Mike Huckabee is currently traveling around Virginia raising tens of thousands of dollars for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell.
  • Speaking of Huckabee, it looks like his daily radio updates are quite popular and are about to get a big boost.
  • It looks as if Kay Bailey Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign is trying to undermine Gov. Rick Perry by using his own support from Sarah Palin against him.
  • Is Sen. John Cornyn really threatening to drag the Al Franken-Norm Coleman election out for "years"?
  • Liberty University profiles an alumni: Fox News's Shannon Bream.
  • This, amazingly, does not appear to be a joke.
  • Don Feder declares that "the New York Times' relationship with Barack Obama is similar to a famous intern's connection to former President Clinton -- minus the stained dress."
  • The American Family Association hates "Family Guy."  They also hate Pepsi.  And now they hate Pepsi for running ads during "Family Guy."
  • The Traditional Values Coalition declares that David Hamilton will have "'empathy' for the poor, child molesters, abortionists, murderers" and predicts that his "confirmation will be one more nail in the coffin of freedom in America."
  • Have you ever wanted to listen to Alan Keyes ramble on about the Constitution for two hours?  Well, now is your chance and it will only cost you $25. Of you can sign up for 28 hours of Keyes' delivered indoctrination for the bargain price of $150.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Judicial Confirmation Network takes heart in the fact that "75 percent of Senate Republicans" voted against Elena Kagan's nomination to be Solicitor General, saying it shows that if President Obama tries to make a similar appoint to the Supreme Court, "there will be a formidable GOP Senate contingent ready to take a stand to protect the Constitution and the Court."
  • Focus on the Family takes a different view: "The only thing more egregious than Obama's nominations of pro-abortion, anti-family activists to the Department of Justice is the Senate's swift confirmation of so many of them, with very few objections."
  • Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network reported a nearly 10% increase in donations in 2008, giving it $278.7 million in total revenue.
  • For some reason, the AP is running stories about Mike Huckabee comparing abortion to slavery as if this is not something he has been saying for years.
  • The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is using telemarketers to target state legislators who it accuses of blocking their efforts to get a marriage amendment on the ballot.
  • A Roman Catholic bishop in Indiana says he will boycott a pro-life banquet if RNC Chairman Michael Steele is allowed to speak.
  • Sometimes you have to wonder if there is any hook that Day Gardner will not use as an opportunity to decry abortion.
  • The Washington Times is launching it own three-hour syndicated radio program later this spring.
  • Finally, this week's installment of the Family Research Council's Washington Watch Weekly featured Rick Berman discussing EFCA.  Berman was billed as "the executive director of the Center for Union Facts," which he is ... but he is better known as a shameless corporate shill who is referred to as "Dr. Evil."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Wendy Long says President Obama promised new and higher standards for bipartisanship" on judicial nominations and says that his first nominee "does NOT count," despite the fact that the nominee’s home state Republican Senator is on board.
  • The Family Institute of Connecticut Action is demanding that Reps. Michael Lawlor and Sen. Andrew McDonald be removed from their positions as co-chairmen of the Connecticut General Assembly's Judiciary Committee because they have launched "an outrageous unconstitutional attack on religious liberty."
  • Why is it that in every article discussing the future of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the only person ever quoted as opposing it is Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness?
  • Presumably, Gordon Klingenschmitt will be heading down to Florida to make this his next crusade in his never-ending war to protect the nation's chaplains.
  • Good news: registration for this year's Values Voter Summit is now officially open.
  • Finally, Mike Huckabee writes that "if conservatives would really live according to the principles of classic conservatism, all of America would be conservative today" and, once again, takes the opportunity to criticize those who doubted the message of his presidential campaign:
  • It was especially disgusting to me to watch some of the very leaders who had smugly dismissed my candidacy for president because I had the audacity to speak out against the excesses of Wall Street and Washington as early as February 2007 now stand up and flop-sweat as they explained why they were about to support the government taking off the striped shirts of the referee and put on the jersey of a team to play the game for one team against another all in the name of "saving the markets."

... And Out Come The Wolves

It has only been a few hours since Michael Steele's GQ interview first hit the blogs, but a variety of right-wing leaders have already blasted him for his heresy on the issues of homosexuality and reproductive choice.

As we mentioned before, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Charmaine Yoest, formerly of FRC and now president of Americans United for Life, and anti-choice activist Jill Stanek had all weighed in to question his commitment to the right-wing agenda and his standing as Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

And the hits just keep on coming:

Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition: "I'm a little surprised that Michael Steele, being the leader of the Republican Party, is at odds with the pro-life platform, the platform that conservative put in place... If this is his viewpoint, he has made it be known. I'm just surprised that the leader of the party is at odds with the pro-life platform."

Evangelical leader Lou Engle: "Steele's argument that abortion is a matter of "individual choice" is extremely disappointing, especially in light of past statements in which he promised to protect and defend human life. "Steele's remarks to GQ indicate that he may be confused about "choice" and the "law." The law is supposed to protect human life, not permit the taking of it. And, it can never be a "choice" for an individual to take a life."

Mike Huckabee has likewise spoken out via a post on his Huck PAC blog:

Comments attributed to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are very troubling and despite his clarification today the party stands to lose many of its members and a great deal of its support in the trenches of grassroots politics. Since 1980, our party has been steadfast and principled in believing in the dignity and worth of every human life. We have supported a Constitutional amendment to protect life and the party has taken the position that no one individual has the supreme right to own another person in totality including the right to take that life. For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it's a violation of the most basic of human rights--the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. His statement today helps, but doesn't explain why he would ever say what he did in the first place.

Finally, Ken Blackwell, who's support for Steele helped put him over the top during the RNC election back in January, has issued a not-so-veiled call for him to step down:

"Chairman Steele, as the leader of America's Pro-Life conservative party, needs to re-read the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, and the 2008 GOP Platform. He then needs to get to work -- or get out of the way."

Blackwell's decision to cut himself loose from Steele is, in many ways, primarily an effort to save his own reputation.  He was the Religious Right's choice for RNC Chairman but dropped out early in the election when it was clear he wasn't going to win. He then endorsed Steele, of whom the Right was already suspicious, and set about attempting to explain his decision by saying that he had been assured that Steele fully supported the GOP platform which, as Religious Right leaders are fond of reminding everyone, was among the most right-wing platforms the party has ever had.

As Blackwell explained it:

Over breakfast on January 30, Mr. Steele and I discussed the 2008 platform. During that conversation he earnestly expressed his full support of the platform. This is a platform that is unabashedly pro-life, strongly grounded in Second Amendment freedoms, and fully embracing limited government and the rule of law.

That conservation and my perception of Mr. Steele’s authentic embrace of those principles provided me with the basis upon which I could endorse him with a clear conscience and firm conviction once I determined it was time for me to exit the race.

...

Principle must trump politics. I would rather endorse no one than endorse someone I feared might abandon the GOP’s values and priorities.

I supported Mr. Steele because, by energetically advocating the principles and policies in the GOP platform, he can reunite and grow the GOP once again. Republicans face daunting challenges, but by being true to our principles Republicans can be the real agents of change.

Of course, Steele's commitment to those principles is now being called into question ... as is Blackwell's judgment in supporting him, which largely explains why he was among the first to tell Steele that it might be time for him to "get out of the way."

Huckabee's Loyalists: Where Are They Now?

Since dropping out of the Republican Primary last year, Mike Huckabee has settled into a lucrative career as a television host, radio commentator, author, public speaker, and political pundit. While he is enjoying his new-found roles, his former supporters are increasingly going off the deep end.

When he was running for office, he rounded up a gaggle of second-tier Religious Right figures to serve on his Faith & Family Values Coalition and increasingly that list seems to be becoming the primary source for much of the craziness that is engulfing the movement. 

Since Huckabee’s campaign ended, Jerry Jenkins has been seen discussing whether Barack Obama is the Antichrist or merely a pre-cursor to the Antichrist; Star Parker has been heard declaring that public schools are “cesspools” designed to indoctrinate students with “anti-Christian worldviews”; Mat Staver has been proclaiming that letting gays get married will lead to a whole generation of violent criminals; Jerry Cox has been hard at work ensuring that gays cannot adopt children; Kelly Shackelford has been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars defending Sarah Palin and warning that gays are out to destroy Christian businesses; and Rick Scarborough has been complaining about the relentless persecution of Christians in America.

But nobody has gone more off the rails than Janet Porter, the co-chair of Huckabee’s coalition (though her last name was Folger at the time). Starting with her declaration that anyone who voted for Obama was going straight to hell and her prayers to God to keep him out of office and continuing through to her joining up with the Birthers and allegations that Obama’s presidency was the culmination of a decade-long Communist conspiracy, Porter has been a one-woman source of right-wing lunacy.

Just last week she declared that our nation is currently being cursed by God for electing Obama and now she is warning that a massive catastrophe is on the way. Citing Teen Challenge founder David Wilkerson, who claims that weeks before September 11th he had been warned by God that a calamity was coming and so he stayed up all night on Sept. 10th making sandwiches, Porter declares that another, even worse, catastrophe is on the way because Wilkerson has prophesied it and, as she says, “we'd be crazy not to listen” to him.

Here is Wilkerson’s warning:

For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires—such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago.

There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting—including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath … God is judging the raging sins of America and the nations. He is destroying the secular foundations

First, I give you a practical word I received for my own direction. If possible lay in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials. In major cities, grocery stores are emptied in an hour at the sign of an impending disaster.

As for our spiritual reaction, we have but two options. This is outlined in Psalm 11. We “flee like a bird to a mountain.” Or, as David says, “He fixed his eyes on the Lord on his throne in heaven—his eyes beholding, his eyelids testing the sons of men” (v. 4). “In the Lord I take refuge” (v. 1).

I will say to my soul: No need to run...no need to hide. This is God’s righteous work. I will behold our Lord on his throne, with his eye of tender, loving kindness watching over every step I take—trusting that he will deliver his people even through floods, fires, calamities, tests, trials of all kinds.

Unfortunately for us, Wilkerson says he does not “know when these things will come to pass,” but does know that they are coming and it is up to each of us to “do with the message as you choose.”

Most people would choose to ignore it, but not Porter:

With the election of the most pro-abortion president (and Congress) in history, there's no question that we deserve God's judgment … The bottom line is that we are economically and morally bankrupt. And it's reported that Iran now has all they need to build nukes.

So, when the guy who made the 2,000 sandwiches on Sept. 10 warns us: "AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN," I think we would do well to heed it.

So it is just worth pointing out once again: Porter was co-chair of Huckabee’s faith coalition and hailed by him in his book as "one of the main catalysts" for his success in the Republican primary.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Religious Right is acting as if President Obama has sold them out with his decision to reverse Bush's stem cell policy.
  • Want to go skeet shooting with Mike Huckabee and Duncan Hunter?  Of course you do!  And for just $250, you can.
  • Tony Perkins sees the bright side of the economic crisis and the news that religious affiliation in this country is dropping, saying that the two are linked and that "if this poll is taken next year" the outcome will be different because "as the economy goes downward, I think people are going to be driven to religion."
  • Finally, Ken Blackwell and Star Parker team up to try to explain why African Americans don't support the Republican Party:
  • Black marriage and families were not always in this sorry state. A substantial body of research shows that the breakdown followed the growth of socially intrusive big government in the 1960s - the same socially intrusive big government that the Democratic Party continues to promote today.

    But these facts are mainly discussed only in conservative intellectual circles - which are overwhelmingly white. Most blacks don’t hear it, or think about it much. The churchgoers probably know it in their bones, but they don’t act on it in the voting booth.

    Instead, the black community drowns in the message that conservatives are racists and that it’s racism that causes black poverty and lack of opportunity.

Huckabee: Everything to Everyone and Unloved By Them All

Mike Huckabee is something of an odd political animal: a Republican politician who insists the he is both a fiscal and social conservative but can't get support from either the fiscal or social conservatives in the party.

He made this point when he spoke last week at CPAC, saying that the two issues were fundamentally intertwined.  For his effort, he was rewarded with a measly seven percent of the vote in the conference's straw poll, well behind winner Mitt Romney whom he absolutely loathes and views as the incarnation of everything wrong with the Republican Party.

In his recent book, Huckabee referred to himself as "politically homeless" and didn't hesitate to lash out at the both wings of the GOP base, calling the fiscal conservatives a bunch of East Coast blue-blood snobs and the leaders of the Religious Right a bunch of sell-outs ... something that will undoubtedly not help his efforts to win them over if he decides to make another run at the White House.

But just because nobody in the Republican Party is moved his insistence that he alone represents everything the GOP claims to stand for doesn't mean he is going to stop saying it ... or criticizing those in the party who refuse to buy it:

Q: Despite you being a reasonably successful two-term governor, the Republican Party bosses didn't seem to like you or seem to appreciate your entrance onto the stage for the primaries. Why?

A: Part of it was that I had the audacity to suggest that there was a Washington-to-Wall Street axis of power that was ruining the party. Now, what I was excoriated for proves out to be that I was prophetic.

Q: In a line or two, what kind of a Republican are you?

A: I would describe myself as a "total conservative, a conscientious one." And that I believe that one doesn't separate the fiscal and social issues because they are tied together. The theme of my book was that if families and a culture start breaking down, it is going to lead to a larger government and far more expensive government.

...

Q: Were you at all punished by conservative Republicans for being too soft on social issues, in the sense that you were too willing to use government to address social issues?

A: I never wanted government to be the first line of defense. In fact, I think really what I got punished for was not having enough money to defend myself against the attacks of the people who had enough money to frame me in a way that was totally inaccurate. Once people started doing their own research and homework, I don't think they ever came to those conclusions.

When asked if he plans to run again, Huckabee responds that he just doesn't know but vows that, if he does, he's not going to change a thing:

I wouldn't change any positions because those are convictions. That's one of the problems I have with people who take a poll to find out what they believe this week. I think one of the reasons that I got as far as I did was because people knew that what I was saying was consistent with what I had always said and what I had always done.

Considering that that worked out so well last time, we can only hope that he follows through on the pledge.

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Mike Huckabee Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/23/2011, 6:37pm
Rick Santorum defends the Crusades. Ken Cuccinelli is scheduled to speak at Regent University. As promised, Randall Terry's crew was arrested at Speaker John Boehner's office today, though Terry himself was not. Mike Huckabee needs to make up his mind about how easy it will be to beat President Obama in 2012. For some reason, the ACLJ has been very silent on their loss in their suit against health care reform. Matt Barber says that everyone who doesn't realize that Muslims are out to enslave us all are "idiots." Finally, John Hagee explains... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/22/2011, 6:37pm
Mike Huckabee sounds like a man who loves his millionaire lifestyle more than he does the prospect of a grueling presidential run. On a related note, John Thune says he is not going to run for president. But Gov. Bob McDonnell is very open to the idea of being someone's VP. Benny Hinn is being sued by his Christian book publisher for violating a morality clause in his book contract. John Stemberger's hearing on his misconduct complaint will be in June. Phill Kline stands by his witch-hunt against Planned Parenthood. Finally, the quote of the day from Bryan... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/22/2011, 10:25am
Michele Bachmann South Carolina: Slams Obama's foreign policy and says striking workers should be fired in address to GOP activists (Spartanburg Herald Journal, 2/20). Health: Criticizes Michele Obama for encouraging breast feeding (WaPo, 2/19). Veterans: Faces resistance to her plan to dramatically cut funding to veterans (The Daily Beast, 2/18). Haley Barbour Iowa: Tells state's governor that he will campaign in Iowa if he decides to run (Des Moines Register, 2/21). Huckabee: Wins praise on race-issues and political strategy from Mike Huckabee (CNN, 2/21). Race: Silent on proposed car tag... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/22/2011, 10:25am
Michele Bachmann South Carolina: Slams Obama's foreign policy and says striking workers should be fired in address to GOP activists (Spartanburg Herald Journal, 2/20). Health: Criticizes Michele Obama for encouraging breast feeding (WaPo, 2/19). Veterans: Faces resistance to her plan to dramatically cut funding to veterans (The Daily Beast, 2/18). Haley Barbour Iowa: Tells state's governor that he will campaign in Iowa if he decides to run (Des Moines Register, 2/21). Huckabee: Wins praise on race-issues and political strategy from Mike Huckabee (CNN, 2/21). Race: Silent on proposed car tag... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/18/2011, 6:28pm
Rep. Michele Bachmann is seeking prayerful "inner assurance" about whether she should run for president. Mike Huckabee really likes going to Israel. Alan Keyes says Sarah Palin is a phony and a hypocrite. Rick Santorum warns that multiculturalism will destroy America. Tim Pawlenty will headline the Tea Party Patriots' "American Policy Summit-Pathways to Liberty" in Arizona next week. Looks like CPAC is going to try to win back the support of social conservatives. Finally, you should really take the time to listen to Peter LaBarbera... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/15/2011, 1:53pm
Mike Huckabee continues to insist that he hasn't yet made up his mind about whether he intends to make another run for president. But yesterday he was in Tennessee to headline a fundraiser for an ultra-right wing anti-choice group called Tennessee for the Center for Bioethical Reform which operates under the tag line" Graphically Exposing The Injustice of Abortion" and "on the principle that abortion represents an evil so inexpressible that words fail us when attempting to describe its horror. Until abortion is seen, it will never be understood." The CBR is... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/15/2011, 1:53pm
Mike Huckabee continues to insist that he hasn't yet made up his mind about whether he intends to make another run for president. But yesterday he was in Tennessee to headline a fundraiser for an ultra-right wing anti-choice group called Tennessee for the Center for Bioethical Reform which operates under the tag line" Graphically Exposing The Injustice of Abortion" and "on the principle that abortion represents an evil so inexpressible that words fail us when attempting to describe its horror. Until abortion is seen, it will never be understood." The CBR is... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/08/2011, 10:25am
Michele Bachmann Health Care: Calls reform law the “crown jewel of socialism,” plots its repeal every day (Iowa Independent, 2/7). South Carolina: Plans to address Republican groups in South Carolina (Spartanburg Herald Journal, 2/3). House: Tense relationship between Bachmann and Speaker Boehner (US News & World Report, 2/3). Haley Barbour Health Care: Joins with other GOP governors to protest reform law (Reuters, 2/7). Fundraising: Tight knit group of corporate donors finance Barbour’s PAC (Politico, 2/6). Mike Huckabee Foreign Affairs: Wants to redraw Mideast... MORE >