Mike Huckabee

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."

A Preview of the How To Take Back America Conference

I've already written several posts about the right-wing How To Take Back America Conference scheduled for next month, hosted by various Religious Right leaders including Phyllis Schlafly, Janet Porter, Rick Scarborough, Mat Staver, Joesph Farah, Don Wildmon, and others.  But the effectiveness of my efforts to describe it pale in comparison to hearing it directly from the participants themselves. 

Fortunately, earlier this week several of the hosts gathered for a pre-conference webcast and Porter has now posted several videos from the webconference, starting with a segment featuring Schlafly urging people to attend the event and another featuring General Jerry Boykin previewing his presentation on "the threat of Islamic extremism."

But I'm not posting them because, frankly, they are not that interesting ... at least not in comparison to this segment featuring Scarborough declaring that this conference is the first step to bringing together the Right in order to "turn out the infidels" and fill Congress with true leaders like Rep. Michele Bachmann.  Declaring that the 2008 election felt like a crucifixion, Scarborough took solace in the fact that "God always does his best work right after a crucifixion" and said that now was the time for Christians to rise up, stop Obama from "stealing from the American people" and save this nation (skip ahead to the section between the 6:00 to 8:00 minute mark):

That was followed by a rambling ten-minute presentation by Porter who wallowed in the various conspiracy theories that she's been fixated on recently about government internment camps and mass evacuation buses and a nefarious plot by the government to kill millions of Americans under the guise of providing flu vaccines.  Behold:

Have I mentioned that Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann are both going to be speaking at this event?

Barton Says Thomas Jefferson Would Make The Religious Right Look Moderate

Last week we noticed that David Barton was scheduled for a segment on Mike Huckabee's weekend program on Fox News.  We assumed that Barton would use the opportunity to spread his bogus, one-sided views that America was founded as a distinctly Christian nation and that is exactly what he did, giving his standard presentation about how essentially every one of the Founding Fathers was a dyed-in-the-wool Christian believer, including Thomas Jefferson who, Barton claims, was, even as "the least religious founder [was] way out there even further than most Religious Right today would be."

One of Barton's central claims is that the majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution held seminary degrees, thus making them extremely religious.  This was a claim that Huckabee himself made during his presidential election and one that was quickly shot down:

During the Republican debate, Mike Huckabee said he believes one of the defining issues facing the country is the sanctity of human life. Arguing that the issue is of historical importance, he invoked the Declaration of Independence's rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and said that most of the signers of the declaration were clergymen.

Not even close.

Only one of the 56 was an active clergyman, and that was John Witherspoon. Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister and president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).

A few more of the signers were former clergymen, though it's a little unclear just how many. The conservative Heritage Foundation said two other signers were former clergymen. The religion web site Adherents.com said four signers of the declaration were current or former full-time preachers. But everyone agrees only Witherspoon was an active minister when he signed the Declaration of Independence.

One issue that may contribute to the confusion about which signers had a history in the clergy is that during the time the Declaration was written, people who studied at universities often received doctorates of divinity, a common degree designation, even if they were not working clergy, said Mary Jenkins of the Independence National Historical Park. As for religious affiliations, all of the signers were Protestant Christians with one exception, Charles Carroll of Maryland, who was Roman Catholic.

We'd like to give Huckabee every benefit of the doubt, but even if you consider former clergymen among the signers the best you could come up with is four. Out of 56. That's not "most," that's Pants-on-Fire wrong.

It's pretty obvious that Huckabee got this "fact" directly from Barton and that the two have a close personal relationship, as demonstrated by the fact that Huckabee introduced Barton by proclaiming that he is " a big fan and, for the past several years, a friend" of his. This reinforced Huckabee's past statements that Barton is "the greatest living historian on the spiritual nature of America's early days" and maybe even the single best historian in America today.

We've written a great deal about Barton's "history" in the past and how he uses it to further the Religious Right's political agenda, including this report on his work from a few years ago entitled "Propaganda Masquerading as History."

But Barton's mission can basically be summed up with this explanation he gave of his work last year, which is to try and ensure that every aspect of this nation's life operates in accordance with Biblical principles:

The Bible clearly teaches that the way people view their own history affects the way they behave. God wants us to know our history and learn its lessons. At WallBuilders, we present American history, and we do so with a Providential perspective. In short, history not only shows God’s workings and plans but it also demonstrates the effectiveness of biblical principles when applied to church, education, government, economics, family, entertainment, military or any other aspect of life.

Huckabee's Eternal Predicament: Grassroots Support and No Money

Mike Huckabee might currently be sitting atop the polls of potential 2012 GOP presidential candidates but, just as happened during his 2008 run, his support among grassroots activists is not translating into fund-raising:

Recent polls show he is among the early frontrunners for the 2012 GOP presidential bid, but when it comes to fundraising this year, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee trails well behind his chief rivals.

The former Republican presidential candidate e-mailed supporters Thursday night announcing he has raised a little over $300,000 in the first six months of the year, a cash haul that is only about 20 percent of the $1.6 million former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took in the same period.

It's also about a third of what former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has raised since January. Her political action committee, SarahPAC, reported raising $730,000 through July 1, but a spokeswoman for Palin said the Alaska Republican took in an additional $200,000 in the early days of July after announcing she was stepping down as governor.

In addition, Newt Gingrich’s PAC, American Solutions for Winning the Future, took in more than $8 million in the first half of the year.

Perhaps these low fund-raising numbers for Huckabee explain why the PAC recently had to undergo a "restructuring" and why Huckabee is charging candidates his PAC has endorsed more than $30,000 to speak at their fund-raisers.

LEADING GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO ATTEND BIRTHER CONFERENCE!

The Washington Post released a poll today that it says shows that "as Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin prepares for the next stage of her political career, a majority of Americans hold an unfavorable view of her, and there is broad public doubt about her leadership skills and understanding of complex issues."

Alex Koppelman disputes that assessment but what I find most interesting is the poll result that shows that Mike Huckabee leading the way among potential 2012 GOP nominees:

27. (ASKED OF REPUBLICANS AND GOP-LEANING INDEPENDENTS) If the 2012 Republican presidential primary or caucus in your state were being held today, and the candidates were (READ LIST) for whom would you vote?

Mike Huckabee 26%
Mitt Romney 21%
Sarah Palin 19%
Newt Gingrich 10%
Tim Pawlenty 4%
Jeb Bush 3%
Haley Barbour 1%
Bobby Jindal (vol.) 2%
Charlie Crist (vol.) *
Other/None of these/Would not vote/No opinion 14%

Obviously, polls conducted more than three years before the next presidential election are not particularly reliable or meaningful, but that hasn't stopped Huck's Army from proclaiming that it "shows strong support for Gov. Huckabee if he decides to build on his second place finish in the 2008 Republican Primary."

But taking this poll for what it is worth, allow me to semi-misleadingly exploit it in order to declare "LEADING GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO ATTEND BIRTHER CONFERENCE!" to just try and hammer home the fact that Huckabee is headlining the How To Take Back America Conference which is being hosted by at least three bona fide Birthers: Janet Porter, Joseph Farah, and Rick Scarborough.

As I have said before:

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

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

And now this man is currently leading the field of future GOP presidential nominees.

If that doesn't terrify you, I don't know what will.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Haaretz: "Mike Huckabee plans to broadcast his weekend show on Fox News from the site of a disputed Israeli construction project in East Jerusalem, a New York politician has told Haaretz. New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said Huckabee will air the talkshow during a solidarity visit to the site of the project, which is in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah."
  • Associated Press: "An independent investigator has found evidence that Gov. Sarah Palin may have violated ethics laws by accepting private donations to pay her legal debts."
  • In other Palin news, Vanity Fair provides her with the copy editor she so badly needs.
  • Focus on the Family has a new blog.
  • Finally, Carrie Prejean will be speaking at the Republican Party of Florida's "Drive the Discussion" event next month where she'll be sharing the stage with Bruce Jenner and Jonathan Krohn.

Can Someone Be Too Crazy For Janet Porter? Yes and No

Despite the fact that we had apparently written about him a few times, I was not familiar with Ted Pike until today.  We had apparently mentioned him back in 2006 when he signed on to some letter with a bunch of other right-wing activists like Paul Weyrich, Sandy Rios, Robert Knight, Dr. Paul Cameron, Peter LaBarbera, Gary Glenn, and Brian Camenker calling on then-Governor Mitt Romney "to declare immediately that homosexual “marriage” licenses issued in violation of the law are illegal and to issue an order to all state and local officials to cease violating the law."

And we mentioned him again not long after that when he said that hate crimes legislation was “the most dangerous legislation ever to come before Congress,” claiming that it would “lead inexorably to the end of free speech.”

But that was about it, until I stumbled across this post he wrote on his National Prayer Network website complaining about how his right-wing allies don't want to be seen as having anything to do with him:

For the past seven months, I have repeatedly seen the religious right ignore vital information about the hate bill threat and opportunities to defeat it for only one possible reason: they didn't want to be seen as influenced by me.

After Janet Porter, head of Faith2Action, informed me that conservative witnesses were being turned away by Sen. Leahy’s Senate Judiciary Committee, I immediately quoted her, mounting a national campaign of protest. She called back to tell me that Andrea Lafferty of Traditional Values Coalition and some of her radio listeners had “reamed her out" for even talking to me! She warned me that if ever again I mentioned publicly that I had talked to her, she would never answer any call from me -- even concerning an imminent hate bill threat!

Now why would Janet Porter get "reamed out" by Andrea Lafferty for talking to Pike?

Maybe this is why:

Ted Pike, the national director of the Oregon-based National Prayer Network, has for years engaged in an anti-Semitic campaign that denigrates the Jewish religion, as well as what he perceives as Jewish-controlled organizations and leaders. Through a series of Web-based articles, Internet radio interviews, videotapes, and books, Pike constantly claims Jewish control over the government and media and asserts Jewish hatred of Christians and the alleged desire of "evil" Jewish leaders and organizations to control what Christian Americans do and say.

To promote his virulent anti-Semitic ideology, Pike often works under the guise of opposing federal hate crimes legislation and upholding free speech and Christian values. He gives interviews to extremist cable TV and Internet radio shows to further disseminate his anti-Semitic views and also links from his organization's Website to various anti-Semitic sites. Similarly, a variety of extremists, including neo-Nazis, post Pike's columns to their own hate sites, where they praise Pike's anti-Semitic invective.

It should be pointed out that Porter had Pike on her radio show on both May 4 and April 28 of this year and that, at least according to Pike, she didn't say that she was going to stop talking to him, merely that she would stop taking his calls only if he mentioned publicly that they were in contact.

I've often wondered just what someone would have to do in order to be shunned by the likes of Janet Porter, considering that she apparently knows no limits herself.  Now we know: promote virulent anti-Semitic ideology ... and only then will they be cut off if they make their connection to Porter known. 

Have I mentioned that Porter is going to be co-hosting the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference featuring Mike Huckabee and Michelle Bachmann and served as co-chair of Huckabee's Faith and Family Values Coalition during his presidential campaign?  Just wanted to point that out.

Mike Huckabee's Costly Endorsement

Last month, Mike Huckabee and his HuckPAC endorsed Les Phillip who is running for a seat in Congress representing District 5 in Alabama. Huckabee called him "a true American success story" and "an outstanding Conservative Republican who fully understands the important issues facing his district, his state and his country. His principles are the same as those of Huck PAC and me." As such, Huckabee was "pleased to endorse Les Phillip and urge you to support him and his campaign."

When Huckabee headlined an event for Phillips a short time later, Phillips glowed that it was a "complete success" ... but that was presumably before he realized that it had just cost him tens of thousands of dollars:

One of the most curious fundraising reports of the second quarter came from Republican Les Phillip, who is looking to challenge Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Ala.) in a top national race.

If you've heard of Phillip, it's probably because he welcomed former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to his district for a fundraiser during the second quarter, and Huckabee endorsed him.

It was an expensive endorsement.

According to his Federal Election Commission report, Phillip raised just $17,000 and spent more than $56,000 during the second quarter.

His disbursements include a $33,990 speaking fee for Huckabee, $600 for photography for the Huckabee event, $438 for a lunch with Huckabee, $6,233 for a stage rental and equipment (presumably for the Huckabee event), and a $2,350 facility rental fee (also presumably for the Huckabee event).

In other words, Phillip spent nearly $45,000 to raise less than $20,000 and took a major financial hit for the Huckabee event.

Perhaps the most painful part is the fact that he was forced to loan his campaign $50,000 in four installments after the event.

The purpose listed? A "Personal Loan from Les Phillip to cover general campaign expenses and Mike Huckabee event expenses."

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

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

Hate crimes legislation will throw Christians in jail? Check

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It boggles the mind.

Right Wing Leftovers

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

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

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

Right Wing Leftovers

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

The Inscrutable Sarah Palin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Palin, it is entirely a mystery. 

Bachmann Joins How To Take Back America Conference

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

As I wrote at the time:

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

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

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

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

Religious Right, Heal Thyself

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

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

Case in point: ValuesVoters.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

...

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

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

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

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

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

...

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

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

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

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

Right Wing Leftovers

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

Michael Jackson Is In Hell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Right Wing Leftovers

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

Janet Porter's Terminal Optimism

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

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

But this isn't funny any more.

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

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

See you in St. Louis.

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

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

What: The GOP Values Voters Presidential Debate

When: Sept. 17, 2007

...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remind me how that worked out again?

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

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

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Mike Huckabee Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 04/19/2011, 9:33am
Michele Bachmann Book: Considering a proposal to write her memoirs (AP, 4/18). South Carolina: Rally in South Carolina a bust (CBS News, 4/18).  Birther: Continues to float birther conspiracy on Fox News (The Atlantic, 4/18).  Budget: Falsely claims that the top 1% pay 40% of taxes (PolitiFact, 4/13).  Haley Barbour South Carolina: Wins Charleston County GOP straw poll (The State Column, 4/18).  New Hampshire: Takes two-day swing in New Hampshire (Boston Globe, 4/15).  Mike Huckabee South Carolina: Meets with supporters from the 2008 campaign (RCP, 4/18). ... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 04/13/2011, 12:28pm
As we noted last week, David Barton has deep ties to the Seven Mountains Dominionist/New Apostolic Reformation movement.  In fact, at this very moment, Barton and Jim Garlow are participating in a "Government Transformation Summit For Visionary Leaders" summit [PDF] in Texas with one of the movement's key leaders, Ed Silvoso. And today I just stumbled across this video posted on YouTube that Barton apparently recorded for something called the "Convergence Conference" which, based on the info posted on the YouTube page, seems to be a series of events behind put on... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 04/12/2011, 9:36am
Michele Bachmann Iowa: Slams marriage equality in speech to The Family Leader (Politico, 4/11). Religious Right: Wins straw poll at Liberty University's The Awakening 2011 (Freedom Federation, 4/11).  Budget: Refuses to endorse budget compromise (NPR, 4/11).  Haley Barbour Background: Experience as a lobbyist may make problems for campaign (AP, 4/12). New Hampshire: Traveling to Republican events in New Hampshire this week (Boston Globe, 4/11). Herman Cain South Carolina: Talks about the "ultimate destruction of the IRS" at Furman University (CSBT, 4/9). ... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 04/11/2011, 3:06pm
Janet Porter continues to nab more endorsements for her extreme “Heartbeat bill,” the Ohio legislation which would criminalize most abortions, as she announced at The Awakening that Mike Huckabee has endorsed her bill. Porter, who brought in two fetuses to testify on behalf of the bill in the State House, was able to get the legislation out of committee by just one vote after Ohio Right to Life Society criticized the bill as plainly unconstitutional. Along with Huckabee, Porter said that Republican Rep. Steve Chabot and potential Senate candidates Josh Mandel and Ken Blackwell... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 04/07/2011, 3:54pm
As we noted earlier, Jon Stewart and Mike Huckabee had an extended discussion on last night's "The Daily Show" about David Barton and the entire Religious Right agenda to claim that the United States is and always ought to be a Christian nation governed by Biblical principles.  In the third clip, Huckabee claimed that Stewart was "an incredible exaggerator" on this issue, which was rooted in needless fear about their intentions. Given that much of this discussion was rooted in Huckabee's praise for, and defense of, Barton, I wanted to stress the point that Barton... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 04/07/2011, 9:39am
A few weeks back, we captured video of Mike Huckabee being introduced by David Barton at the Rediscover God in America conference in Iowa, during which asserted that he wished every American would be forced - at gunpoint - to listen to Barton's teachings. Last night, Huckabee appeared on "The Daily Show" and Jon Stewart ended up dedicating nearly the entire interview to questioning Huckabee about his support for and praise of Barton and his pseudo-history: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 04/04/2011, 3:14pm
As we have been noting for nearly a year now, a theology known as "Seven Mountains" has been slowly creeping its way into "mainstream" Religious Right activism.  Beginning with Janet Porter's "May Day for America" prayer rally on the National Mall last year, this Dominionist theology has become increasingly common place in Religious Right events, ranging from the National Day of Prayer events to Jim Garlow's "Pray and Act" 2010 election effort. As we have explained before, Seven Mountains dominionism seeks to place Christians in control... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/25/2011, 11:30am
Mike Huckabee tells the audience at the Rediscover God in America conference that America is in a battle of good against evil and needs "spiritual warriors" who will not allow the nation to fall "to the hands of those who would enslave us." God created the United States and only God can destroy it, and so it is up to pastors to mobilize their congregations to stand for righteousness, even if it is unpopular ... like Iowans did in removing three judges from the state Supreme Court for recognizing marriage equality: MORE >