Mike Huckabee

Right Wing Leftovers

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

Michael Jackson Is In Hell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Right Wing Leftovers

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

Janet Porter's Terminal Optimism

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

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

But this isn't funny any more.

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

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

See you in St. Louis.

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

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

What: The GOP Values Voters Presidential Debate

When: Sept. 17, 2007

...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remind me how that worked out again?

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

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

Huckabee: A Right-Wing True Believer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just look at this list of organizers and hosts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Absolutely amazing.

Right Wing Leftovers

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

Right Wing Leftovers

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

Lou Engle's New Political Movement

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

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

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

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

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

Right Wing Leftovers

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

The Best Thing Ever To Happen to Huckabee

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

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

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

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

...

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

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

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

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

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

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

...

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

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

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

Cantor Moves to Appease Huckabee and the Right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cantor spokesperson Brad Dayspring extended a conciliatory hand towards Huckabee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newt Gingrich: The New Face of the Religious Right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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Mike Huckabee Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 08/08/2012, 11:35am
Missouri congressman Todd Akin eked out a win last night over  two rivals in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, adding to a list of Religious Right backed candidates winning competitive primaries, including Richard Mourdock of Indiana and Ted Cruz of Texas. Akin is more than just a dogmatic conservative-- he's a darling of the Religious Right, earning perfect 100% ratings from the Family Research Council, National Right to Life and Concerned Women for America . Akin has also worked Religious Right with activists Tony Perkins, Janet Porter, Rick Scarborough, Tom DeLay and... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 07/31/2012, 5:30pm
Joining televangelist Pat Robertson who earlier today said that same-sex marriage will be the “death knell” of the Democratic Party, Mike Huckabee and other leading conservatives have denounced the party’s decision to include marriage equality in its platform. Huckabee told Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association that the move is the “best thing that’s ever happened to the Republican Party” and “may end up sinking the ship.” He said that while people tolerate people who “choose to live in lifestyles that they don’t necessarily... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 06/20/2012, 10:32am
Last night, the Family Research Council hosted a webcast entitled "Two Weeks for Freedom: Catholics and Evangelicals Together for Freedom" that was billed as kicking off "a two week period of nationwide prayer and action in support of religious liberty" by mobilizing conservative Christians to oppose the Obama administration's contraception mandate. The first guest on the program was Mike Huckabee, who declared that it was become clear that "this administration is not just indifferent to people of faith, it's hostile" and warning that if all Christians don't... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/30/2012, 4:45pm
America is on the brink of collapse, and Truth in Action Ministries is warning in a new film, as a result of gay rights, liberalism and secular government. The group unveiled The Price of Freedom following a series of films blaming America’s ills on the IRS and homosexuality, calling for its criminalization. The film features Mike Huckabee, anti-gay activist Harry Jackson, Liberty Counsel’s Harry Mihet, Movieguide’s Ted Baehr and tea party activist Paul Jehle, along with the predictably ominous scenes from gay rights rallies and parades. Others participating in the film... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/10/2012, 11:23am
Mike Huckabee kicked off day two of the annual CPAC conference by voicing his outrage that President Obama thinks he's a theologian for daring to cite Scripture and proceeded to lecture Obama on what it means to be a real Christian: MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 12/15/2011, 2:26pm
We have long marvelled at how Mike Huckabee manages to use his folksy "aw shucks" charm to craft a reputation as a rather reasonable moderate rather then the anti-gay Religious Right ideologue that he is. Huckabee regularly associates with all sorts of radical Religious Right figures and promotes the same agenda but, for some reason, these connections never seem to damage his reputation with the media or the general population. Nothing better demonstrates this disconnect then the fact that today Huckabee is in Michigan headlining a fundraiser for radical anti-gay activist Gary Glenn... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 12/08/2011, 1:52pm
Lately, Mike Huckabee has been making the rounds on right-wing radio promoting a new anti-choice documentary he produced with Citizens United called "The Gift of Life" which profiles anti-choice activists as well as those who were "saved from the abortionist": Huckabee is scheduled to premier the film in Iowa next week and he invited the candidates seeking the Republican nomination to join him for the event where each would be given five minutes to address the audience and flaunt their anti-choice credentials ... and so far, four candidates have accepted the invitation:... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 12/01/2011, 2:18pm
Today is World AIDS Day, a day for "people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died." Which, of course, means anti-gay activists like Peter LaBarbera decided to "commemorate" it with press releases calling for cutting AIDS funding while promoting efforts to "re-stigmatize" homosexuality. So, in this vein, let us "commemorate" World AIDS Day by highlighting a few of the Religious Right's more outrageous AIDS-related statements from recent years: Rick... MORE >