Ralph Reed

Get To Know Herman Cain, The Next President of the United States

Are you familiar with the name Herman Cain? 

We first wrote about him when he came to our attention thank to his involvement with a series of outrageous election ads back in 2006:

A group called America’s PAC has raised almost $1 million to run highly inflammatory radio ads targeting African American voters, urging them to vote Republican in November, according to the New York Sun.

One ad, called “Don’t Go There,” features an exchange between two men. The first man says the second man has no reason to vote Republican because he is unemployed, an adulterer, and won’t serve in the military, and finally he comes to abortion:

Michael: And if you make a little mistake with one of your ho’s, you’ll want to dispose of that problem toot sweet, no questions asked, right?

Dennis: Naw, that’s too cold. I don’t snuff my own seed …

Michael: Huh. Really? (pause) Well, maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican!

Another ad on abortion accuses the “Democrat Party” of “decimating our people” by supporting abortion laws. Over the sound of a thunderstorm and a crying baby, a woman says, “Democrats say they want our votes. Why don’t they want our lives?”

In another ad, “Hazardous Dukes,” the “Michael” character says David Duke visited Syria to support terrorists in Iraq. The speaker continues,

Now, I can understand why a Ku Klux Klan cracker like David Duke makes nice with the terrorists. They fight voting rights in Iraq, just like he does back home. But what I want to know is why so many of the Democrat politicians I helped elect are on the same side of the Iraq war as David Duke.

Duke, the founder of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was a Republican state representative in Louisiana and ran for governor as a Republican.

Other ads blame Democrats for Hurricane Katrina and voting irregularities in Florida in 2000, call Social Security “the most discriminatory government program we have,” invoke Martin Luther King, and assert that “it’s only the Republicans who support our troops.”

Since then, he's been paling around with Ralph Reed and hosting a daily radio program for the American Family Association ... and today he told the AFA's spokesbigot Bryan Fischer and co-host that based on the midterm election results, the climate just might be perfect for his own presidential run:

So we have to look forward to.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Corrupt huckster Ralph Reed assures us that thrice-married Newt Gingrich's religious transformation is the real deal.
  • Speaking of Reed, here is fifteen minutes of him bloviating about the upcoming election.
  • On, and Sarah Palin recorded robocalls for Reed's new organization.
  • Jim Garlow is an expert on the afterlife and says Matt Damon's movie gets it all wrong.
  • Why CNS thinks anyone cares what Bill Dononhue thinks about the new Superman is beyond me.
  • Bryan Fischer says that President Obama's appearance on "The Daily Show" was "one of the lowest points in the history of the presidency."
  • Finally, Chuck Colson contemplates the possibility of social conservatives launching a third party - I, for one, hope that they do:

Taking the Tea Party Seriously

 In less than two years, the Tea Party movement emerged with an angry shout, became a major player in the national debate over health care reform, toppled incumbent senators and defeated candidates backed by the GOP establishment, and pushed radically right-wing views about the role of government into public debate. And they’re about to see a number of their candidates elected to Congress.

For a while last year, journalists and other political observers weren’t sure whether to take the Tea Party movement seriously as a force in American politics. But Lawrence Rosenthal, head of the Center for Comparative Study of Right-Wing Institutions at the University of California Berkeley, and his colleague Christine Trost decided it was worth a serious look. Last Friday, the Center hosted Fractures, Alliances and Mobilization in the Age of Obama: Emerging Analyses of the Tea Party Movement, the first academic conference on the topic.  It was an interdisciplinary event, featuring historians, sociologists, political scientists, political theorists, scholars of race and gender, and journalists, each taking a look at the movement from a different angle. As a senior fellow at PFAW Foundation, I made a presentation on the connections between the Tea Party and the Religious Right at the leadership, activist, ideological, and political levels.
 
In his introductory remarks, Rosenthal emphasized the “emerging” nature of the work being presented. The Tea Party is new to the political scene, and the upcoming elections and their aftermath will tell us a lot more about its impact.  It’s impossible to do justice to a day-long conference in a short blog post, so  I’ll mention just a few of the presentations that struck me as particularly interesting.   If you’re interested in more, you can find the conference agenda here, and Berkeley folks expect video of the presentations to be available online shortly at the Center’s website. A volume of conference papers is planned for next year.
 
A few items from my notes, with apologies to any scholar who feels I’m off-point with any of these hyper-condensed items:
  • From Rosenthal’s opening remarks, a comparison of the role Fox News has played in the Tea Party’s rise with the role of Berlusconi’s media empire in his rise to political power in Italy.
  • From the keynote address by author Rick Perlstein, a reminder that angry reaction to liberal political ascendancy is a regular part of our history, and that the lack of a robust left-wing populism opens the door to the dangers that are particular to right-wing extremism.   
  • Several scholars reporting that one-or-the-other descriptions of the movement (grassroots or Astroturf?) are usually too simplistic; at this point the movement is a fluid mixture not easily categorized.
  • Professor Christopher Parker from the University of Washington presented polling data showing that supporters of the Tea Party movement are more likely to harbor negative attitudes toward Blacks, Latinos, and gay people.
  • Professor Martin Cohen from James Madison University presented a fascinating look at another movement that built power within the GOP: he analyzed the effectiveness and impact of the Religious Right’s “first wave” – think Falwell and Moral Majority – and its “second wave” – think Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition. He suggested that the Tea Party movement currently sounds more like the first wave in the level of public anger and hostility to compromise, and argues that the movement would have a bigger impact if it takes some lessons from the second wave. (Lessons, by the way, that Reed himself is happily imparting through his new Faith and Freedom Coalition)
  • Professor Alan Abromowitz from Emory University presented evidence that the increasing partisanship of recent decades set the stage for the kind of no-compromise politics of the Tea Party crowd.  Since the 1970s, Republicans have had steadily smaller regard for Democratic presidential candidates, with the biggest fall among the most active.
  • Charles Postrel, San Francisco State University historian and award-winning author, challenged the use of the term “populism” in connection with a movement that is drawing inspiration from the likes of the John Birch Society and right-wing author Cleon Skousen, who is being heavily promoted by Glenn Beck.
  • Chip Berlet, who analyzes right-wing movements for Political Research Associates, discussed ways that right-wing populists use demonization, scapegoating, and conspiracy theories to justify "apocalyptic aggression."
  • Lisa Disch, a University of Michigan professor of political science and women’s studies, gave a fascinating “contrarian” analysis that described the Tea Party and the racial resentments evident in the movement as an outgrowth of the New Deal rather than a rejection of it.
  • Devin Burghart, Vice President for the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, discussed the group’s recent report, Tea Party Nationalism, and its findings about the infiltration of local Tea Party groups by racist and anti-immigrant activists.
The Berkeley conference raised a lot of questions that will provide scholars with avenues for additional research, including greater analysis of the relationships between the grassroots and grasstops of the movement.
 
One journalist who has done serious investigative work along those lines is AlterNet’s Washington Bureau Chief Adele Stan (full disclosure – I have written articles for AlterNet and Stan). Stan and AlterNet’s Don Hazen have edited Dangerous Brew: Exposing the Tea Party's Agenda to Take Over America. Dangerous Brew is an anthology of writing from AlterNet contributors on the Tea Party movement.  
 
On Monday night, Stan was joined by Sarah Posner, associate editor at online magazine Religion Dispatches (more disclosure: I serve on the advisory council and have written for RD) and Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones magazine for a conversation about the book and the movement at Washington, D.C.’s Busboys & Poets.  Their conversation touched on some of the same themes discussed in Berkeley, including the outsized role played by News Corp, the impact of economic and cultural anxieties, and the need for progressives to stop being surprised when the far right rises from its dormancy whenever liberals gain political power. 
 
Posner discussed the interconnections between the Religious Right and Tea Party movements. Mencimer, who has spent a lot of time on the road getting to know Tea Party members, encouraged progressives to recognize that, whatever the motivations and machinations of the corporate interests and GOP strategists who are working to hijack the movement to their own purposes, many Tea Party activists are individuals motivated by love of country and excited about their first intense experience of democratic participation. Stan encouraged members of the diverse crowd, representing many strains of the progressive movement, to introduce themselves to others in the room, because the energized Tea Party movement is going to give progressive activists a lot of reasons to get to know each other in the coming years.

New Ralph Reed Ad Campaign Literally Declares "It's Us Vs Them"

Ever since he was anointed as "The Right Hand of God" fifteen years ago, Ralph Reed has enjoyed a reputation as the Religious Right's leading political operative. 

So influential is Reed, in fact, that even his work exploiting his Religious Right allies on behalf of disgraced criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff's gambling clients could not sink his career, as he returned last year with a new group called the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which he touted as a more hip, more strident "21st Century version of the Christian Coalition on steroids, married with MoveOn.org, with a sprinkling of the NRA." And the rest of the right-wing movement eagerly embraced him once again.

But at heart, Reed is just another right-wing political hack, and a pretty blatant and unoriginal one at that.  And nothing better demonstrates that the FFC is spending half a million dollars to run a more absurdly over-the-top radio ad than you could even imagine: 

The Faith and Freedom Coalition will announce Tuesday evening that it is launching a $500,000 radio ad campaign to increase evangelical and conservative turnout next week.

The socially conservative group, led by Ralph Reed, will target 18 House and Senate races with the independent expenditure effort.

At the top of its list is the Nevada Senate contest, where Republican Sharron Angle is trying to unseat Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid. The group will also debut ads bolstering the Republican nominees in the tight Colorado and Washington Senate races.

Incumbent House Democrats being targeted by the group are Ciro Rodriguez (Texas), Paul Kanjorski (Pennsylvania), Jerry McNerney and Loretta Sanchez (California), Tom Perriello (Virginia), Sanford Bishop and Jim Marshall (Georgia), John Spratt (South Carolina), John Boccieri (Ohio), Allen Boyd and Ron Klein (Florida), John Salazar (Colorado), Leonard Boswell (Iowa) and Lincoln Davis (Tennessee).

Here is ad Reed is running against Harry Reid and its theme is literally "us vs. them" - you really need to listen to it in order to fully understand just how truly awful it is:

It's Us versus Them. Big government versus a big belief in faith and freedom. Sharron Angle versus Harry Reid.

Reid is a "them," like Obama, like Pelosi. He voted for their stimulus plan that only wasted our money, civilian trials for foreign terrorists, and government-run health care.

Angle is one of us. She says it is faith in God and the freedom to become all we want that made America great.

We must choose an "us." Someone who gets it, will protect our freedom, and defend our faith.

Please, vote faith, vote freedom, vote Angle.

It's Us versus Them.

The various other versions of the ad can be found here.

The Right truly has become a parody of itself.

Together Again: Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson Reminisce

Ralph Reed joined Pat Robertson today on "The 700 Club," ostensibly to discuss his new novel "The Confirmation" but spent most of the fifteen minute segment talking politics.

At first, Reed explained how the plot of his novel is loosely based on the Clarence Thomas confirmation fight, saying that it was that issue that made him realize that he was really engaged in a spiritual battle:

Robertson: The whole concept though was based, I guess, on Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing.

Reed: Yeah, and you know Pat I was then at the Christian Coalition and you I worked very closely together on that confirmation. And I'll never forget while we were in the midst of that fight, I got a call one night from Bill Bright who was then still with us and was at Campus Crusade and he said "you know, I never do this but I was on my knees at five o'clock this morning praying for this man." And he goes "I generally don't get involved in legislative battles, but I want to write a personal letter to every member of the Senate and ask them to vote for Clarence Thomas."

And what that showed me Pat, and of course he was ultimately confirmed, it showed me that this is not just a temporal or a political or a legislative battle, that there's a spiritual realm.

So what I try to show in "The Confirmation" is yes they are negative attack ads and yes there are hit pieces in the newspaper, but God is on the throne ... that there is a genuine struggle between good and evil and that Godl'y men and women can get involved in the political process and they can advance and build his kingdom.

Next the discussion turned to the Tea Party movement, which Robertson said was a descendant of the Christian Coalition before turning to the issue of politicians who use the Religious Right for political benefit, which Robertson singling out President Bush:

Reed: I will predict this, on November 2 you are going to see the biggest turnout of evangelical Christians in a midterm election in modern American history, even bigger than in 1994. You know there is a survey Pat that showed that half of the Tea Party Movement were evangelicals.

Robertson: Sure, I think some of the carry over from the Christian Coalition, they morphed into this. What about this Tea Party? I'm a little bit ambivalent, they need some structure.

Reed: Well, I have to tell you I'm a big fan. I know a lot of the organizers personally. I work closely with the Tea Party Patriots and in fact two of those three national leaders I worked with in Georgia for many years. And I want to tell you Pat, they're believers by and large. They are people who are not looking for power, they're looking to give back, not to get anything from the system.

I predict that with them, as with the pro-family movement of which you were such a key pioneer, that there will come sophistication, maturation and structure over time. But it's kind of like at the beginning of the so-called Religious Right it was a few guys flying around in airplanes doing rallies. But now look how sophisticated it is. But that took thirty years.

Robertson: Well, I hope that they'll be included. In your book, it's very well presented, the evangelicals are sort of on the outside and viewed with disdain by some of the insiders. You wrote it very well.

Reed: You know a little about that.

Robertson: Yeah, I know where that disdain is. Out in the front they hug you and kiss you and behind the scenes they make fun of you.

Reed: Right. Or the other way around, they want to meet with you in private before the election but then don't want to be seen with you at the cameras.

Robertson: I had that with the late, great President Bush. I know exactly how it is. Let's not let anybody know you are coming in. Guard the room, so we don't have any cameras.

Finally, Reed marvelled at the impact Robertson has had, noting that it has taken generations, but now Regent University graduates like Gov. Bob McDonnell and Rep. Michele Bachmann are Republican leaders:

Reed: We're celebrating this year fifty years of your ministry and I was thinking about it as I was coming to do the show and you've got Scott Rigell who's a Regent University grad who's running for Congress right here in the Second District, one of the most high-profile races in the country.

Bob McDonnell, a Regent grad, is governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. You've got people serving in positions of influence and effectiveness all over the country at very high levels.

Robertson: Michele Bachmann is one of ours too.

Reed: Is Michele Bachmann?

Robertson: Yeah, she's a Law School grad ...

Reed: Well, there you go. I rest my case.

And through the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which I really learned how to do that here at the Christian Coalition, the reality is that sometimes you don't see the full impact you are going to have on a country until a generation or two later.

Iowa: Mobilizing Pastors To Remove Judges

Yesterday we noted how Rick Scarborough of Vision America was mobilizing pastors across Texas to help Republicans win the upcoming mid-term elections and now, via the Iowa Independent, we see that similar efforts are underway in Iowa as part of the right-wing effort to vote out three Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality:

A pastor from Waukee is wading into the retention election for three Iowa Supreme Court justices, asking religious leaders around the state to inform their congregations about “out of control” judges. But some contend the effort is actually encouraging churches to violate federal tax law.

Jeff Mullen, senior pastor of Point of Grace Church in Waukee, has launched IowaPastors.com, a site that aims to “build strategic partnerships to mobilize Pastors and Congregations to pray effectively and to vote righteously.” The site, along with its sister site – IowaJudges.com — focuses almost exclusively on the judicial retention vote. A disclaimer on the sites says they are “not associated with any other organization.”

Mullen and church officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment. But in a video posted on the site, Mullen takes direct aim at the judges, pointing specifically at the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in April 2009 that legalized same-sex marriage. And while he never specifically says pastors should encourage their congregations to vote “no” on retention, it’s clear he disagrees with the court’s decision.

“Our freedoms are in peril today because of judges. Not legislators, but judges,” Mullen said, later adding: “Inform your congregation about the importance of the judicial retention election and what it means to turn the ballot over and vote their values.”

Mullen is distributing voter guides put together by the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, a state affiliate of Ralph Reed new organization, and also appears to have partnered with Iowa Renewal Project, which is an American Family Association-backed effort that supported Mike Huckabee during the GOP primary:

Casino Jack Director: "Ralph Reed is a Fraud"

Last week I wrote a post noting how, on the same night that I watched the documentary "Casino Jack and the United States of Money," Ralph Reed was on Alan Colmes' radio program defending the work he had done for Jack Abramoff, saying it "was outstanding, I'm proud of it, and it advanced sound public policy."

It looks like Alex Gibney, the director of the "Casino Jack" documentary, took notice of our post and decided to weigh in on Reed's claims with a post over at The Atlantic entitled "The Deceptions of Ralph Reed" which adds even more detalis:

Let's say it plain: Ralph Reed is a fraud ... Let's be clear: there was probably nothing illegal about what Reed did. But, he was engaged in a kind of spiritual fraud: telling his supporters that he was opposed to gambling when, in fact, gambling was making him rich.

Reed still denies that he knew that the millions of dollars paid from him came from casino profits. There are publicly available e-mails that prove that is not so. More to the point is the view of his old business partner, Jack Abramoff. On a visit to see Abramoff in prison, Jack made it clear to me that Reed knew precisely where the money was coming from. Is that credible?

In the Alan Colmes radio show, Reed throws Abramoff under the bus, damning his credibility by noting that Jack is a convicted felon (true), though Reed "loved him and still loves him." Whether Abramoff feels the same way, he has no motive to lie about dealings with Reed. Having served his time, Abramoff is a pretty good witness to the kind of spiritual corruption that his old partner Reed represents.

Reed correctly notes that he has never been charged with a crime and implies that he had been fully investigated by John McCain's Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. But the implication is deceptive. According to one very famous, disgraced former lobbyist, Reed was supposed to have been called before McCain's committee but Karl Rove intervened and pressured McCain not to call Reed.

...

To Reed, Abramoff committed the unpardonable sin of getting caught, and that's why Reed prays for him. Well, Abramoff did his time and now seems to be willing to speak the truth. Reed should pray for himself.

Religious Right Thrilled With Its Few Scraps From The GOP

For the last several weeks, Religious Right leaders had been warning Republicans that social issues had better be included in the agenda GOP leaders were going to lay out for the party moving forward.

House leaders have finally released their "Pledge to America," so how did the social conservatives fare

[T]he “Pledge” turned out to have little of substance for the value voters movement.

“We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity. We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values,” it said in the introduction.

The only specifics that followed in the subsequent 21 pages, however, were a promise to “permanently end taxpayer funding of abortion and codify the Hyde Amendment,” and to pass conscience clauses into law for physicians and medical workers.

So you'd think that the Religious Right would be livid that the GOP so blatantly simply threw them a few superficial bones in order to keep them quite ... but you'd be wrong, because they are overjoyed with the few scraps they received:

“We are pleased that the Republican leadership saw the wisdom of honoring our demand for a clear statement of commitment to life, marriage, and the free and full participation of religious believers and faith-based institutions in our public life.

The American Principles Project, Susan B. Anthony List, American Values and Let Freedom Ring submitted more than 20,000 petitions. Supporters and signers of the Manhattan Declaration made thousands of phone calls. The GOP leadership clearly got the message.

Once again, social conservatives have proven that they are the conscience of the party. They have stood up for the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions; the dignity of marriage as the union of husband and wife; and religious freedom and the rights of conscience.”

And of course Ralph Reed is declaring victory as well

House Republicans rightly rejected the idea that Tea Party issues like cutting spending and delimiting government are somehow at odds with the pro-family agenda of honoring marriage and unborn life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Pro-family candidates are the most likely to be fiscal conservatives, and Tea Party candidates are the most likely to be pro-life. The agenda embraces time-honored values like traditional marriage and ending taxpayer-funded abortion as well as lower taxes and reduced spending. The message was unmistakable: we will not be divided by a false choice between fiscal responsibility and strong families. We will fight for both, and indeed we must do both if we are to restore America’s promise.

This is absolutely laughable - there is one throwaway mention of marriage and one passing mention of religious liberty in 21-pages of text and yet the Religious Right is acting like it pulled off a major coup.

Ralph Reed "Proud" Of His Work For Jack Abramoff: "It Was Outstanding & It Advanced Sound Public Policy"

Last night I watched "Casino Jack and the United States of Money," a documentary all about the shady dealings of Jack Abramoff and his cronies.  One of those cronies was Ralph Reed, who just so happened to be on Alan Colmes' radio program last night pitching his new novel "The Confirmation."

First, Colmes asked Reed about his infamous "I do guerrilla warfare ... You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag" quote, which Reed claimed was simply a poor choice of words for his method of taking on the boring, ground-level grunt work like knocking on doors and turning out voters - it is not sexy or flashy, but it wins elections.

Colmes then turned to Reed's work with Jack Abramoff exploiting his clout within the Religious Right to protect Abramoff's client's gambling interests, which Reed defended on the grounds that he made it clear that he would not accept any money that was derived from gambling and never was. 

Of course, as I explained several years ago when I wrote a report of Reed and his ties to Abramoff, this explanation is entirely self-serving and frankly rather pointless, as Reed was fully aware of why Abramoff was working on there and where the funding for the effort was coming from, which is why it had to be routed through Grover Norquist in order to hide its origin:

In 1999, Abramoff subcontracted Reed’s firm to generate opposition to attempts to legalize a state-sponsored lottery and video poker in Alabama, an effort that was bankrolled by the Choctaw Tribe in order to eliminate competition to its own casino in neighboring Mississippi. Reed promised that Century Strategies was “opening the bomb bays and holding nothing back” and his firm ultimately received $1.3 million from the Choctaws for this effort, which included engaging the Alabama chapter of the Christian Coalition, as well as influential right-wing figures such as James Dobson, to work to defeat the proposals.

The strategy had one small problem: the Alabama Christian Coalition had an explicit policy that it “will not be the recipient of any funds direct or in-direct or any in-kind direct or indirect from gambling interests.” (Emphasis in original.) Knowing this, Reed and Abramoff worked to hide the source of the $850,000 paid to the Christian Coalition for its anti-gambling efforts by funneling money from the Choctaws through Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington, DC anti-tax organization headed by their old College Republican friend Grover Norquist. When asked why the tribe’s money had to be funneled through conduits such as ATR, a Choctaw representative stated it was because Reed did not want it known that casino money was funding his operation: “It was our understanding that the structure was recommended by Jack Abramoff to accommodate Mr. Reed’s political concerns.”

Nonetheless, Reed repeatedly assured the Christian Coalition that the funding for its work was not coming from gambling interests. This was technically true as the Choctaws were paying for it out of their non-gambling revenue, though their objective was obviously to protect their own gambling interests and revenue. According to emails obtained during a Senate investigation into Abramoff’s activities and reported in the media, Reed was well aware of who was paying for this anti-gambling effort. When the information began to surface in the press and the Christian Coalition learned of the source of the $850,000 it had received, it demanded an explanation from Reed who apologized in a letter saying he should have “explained that the contributions came from the Choctaws,” thus admitting that he had been fully aware of the source of the funding. But by the time Reed offered his “after-the-fact apology,” the gambling initiative had been defeated and the Christian Coalition had been duped.

When word of Reed’s work for Abramoff first broke, Reed claimed that he had “no direct knowledge of [Abramoff’s lobbying firm’s] clients or their interests.” But according to the report recently released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Abramoff’s bilking of the tribes, Reed was informed by Abramoff as early as 1999 that the money that was funding his anti-gambling operations was coming from the casino-owning Choctaw tribe.

The report published an email Abramoff sent to Reed instructing him to “page me with a page of no more than 90 words ... informing me of your completion of the budget and giving me a total budget figure with category breakdowns. Once I get this, I will call Nell [Rodgers] at Choctaw and get it approved.” A subsequent email to Reed asked him to send “invoices as soon as possible so I can get Choctaw to get us checks asap.”

Thus, Reed was clearly aware that the funding for his anti-gambling work was coming from the Choctaw and that he was indirectly working to protect the tribe’s multi-million dollar gambling interests. Despite the repeated references to the Choctaw in Abramoff’s emails, Reed continued to publicly insist that he did not know the source of the funding.

Reed told Colmes that he would not accept this sort of work today, which is not surprising given that it was this very work which caused him to lose his race to be the GOP nominee Lt. Governor of Georgia, but insists that he did nothing wrong and that the work he did for Abramoff "was outstanding, I'm proud of it, and it advanced sound public policy":

Value Voter Recap: We're All Tea Partiers Now (Including God)

The so-called Values Voter Summit, organized by the Family Research Council and sponsored by a number of right-wing groups, brought more than 2,000 activists (their count) to Washington D.C. for two solid days of speeches, workshops, networking, and a chance to spend time with others who passionately hate President Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership. Addressing the crowd were a number of GOP presidential hopefuls, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rep. Mike Pence (who eked out a narrow victory over Huckabee in the straw poll). Not surprisingly, conference speakers echoed the themes heard at the smaller Faith and Freedom conference convened by Ralph Reed just one week earlier.

Here were the top themes emerging from these Religious Right political conferences.
 
1) We’re All Tea Partiers Now (Including God)
 
The Faith and Freedom conference and Values Voter Summit signaled the Religious Right’s full embrace of (or effort to co-opt) the Tea Party movement and its activists’ anti-Washington energies. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a superstar in both the Religious Right and Tea Party movements, railed at Tea Party critics: “If you are scared of the Tea Party movement, you are afraid of Thomas Jefferson, who penned our mission statement [the Declaration of Independence].”
 
The events were also designed to attack the notion that the Tea Party movement is, or should be, focused only on economic issues and not on moral ones. This is more than the ongoing effort to solidify a working electoral partnership among fiscal, social, and national security conservatives. This is an ideological campaign against the very idea that one can legitimately be a fiscal conservative without embracing the Religious Right’s “family values” agenda on issues such as legal abortion and marriage equality. At the Values Voter Summit, there was little patience for libertarians who consider themselves economically conservative but socially liberal. Sen. Jim DeMint, greeted as a folk-hero for his success at backing Tea Party challengers to establishment GOP candidates, took on the idea directly, saying “you can’t be a true fiscal conservative if you do not understand the value of a culture that is based on values.” 
 
Others echoed the theme. A Heritage Foundation video declared that faith is necessary for liberty. Rep Mike Pence, the dark-horse winner of the summit’s straw poll, said America’s darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles. Newt Gingrich declared that activists have to go back to making the moral case for free enterprise, not the economic case. David Limbaugh decried “economic justice,” which he called a leftist euphemism for “confiscation.” 
 
At a Values Voter Summit panel on the Tea Party movement, two activists described their work as being inspired in part by instructions they received from God in the early morning hours, like Glenn Beck; one insisted that her activism was not just about taxes but about getting America to turn back to God.
 
2) Nothing is more important than the 2010 and 2012 elections.
 
Nearly every speaker said that the 2010 election is the most important in our lifetime. Speakers insisted that President Obama, his administration, and Democratic congressional leaders are not only wrong, they are evil and are out to destroy the American experiment in limited government and individual liberty.  It is simply not possible to overstate the level of anger and hostility directed toward Obama (described as an America-hating narcissistic Marxist), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. 
 
Activists were told they must fast, pray, and work hard to defeat Democrats this November. The Family Research Council urged people to visit the website of Pray and A.C.T, a campaign led by Jim Garlow, who has been a rising star on the Religious Right since leading religious organizing on behalf of California’s anti-gay Prop 8. Ralph Reed is promising to share with local activists a massive new database of faith-based and fiscally conservative voters that he is building. 
 
Activists were also told that they must plan to keep sacrificing their time, energy and money for the next two years to make sure that Obama is defeated in 2012. Former Sen. Rick Santorum told activists not to expect dramatic improvements even if they win big in November: things won’t really change for the better as long as the White House is in Obama’s hands. Activists were warned that these two elections may be the last chance to stop the nation’s slide toward socialism and the end of America as we know it.
 
Right-wing speakers are optimistic about the possibility of delivering both the House and Senate into Republican hands and electing a conservative Republican president in 2012. FRC’s PAC held a fundraiser Friday night for Christine O’Donnell, the new Tea Party-backed GOP Senate candidate from Delaware, and other like-minded candidates.   Ralph Reed said that voter registration and focused turnout campaigns being waged by his and other right-wing groups would turn this from a good election cycle for Republicans into a historically sweeping one. And there’s particular excitement that Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio could be the face of the GOP’s future: right-wing strategists see him as Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama rolled into one appealing, Latino-vote-getting package.
 
3) Repealing Health Care Reform the Top Legislative Priority
 
According to several Values Voter Summit speakers, health care reform legislation signed into law by President Obama wasn’t really about health care at all. It was about extending the power of the federal government into tyrannical realms. Repealing “Obamacare” before it fully goes into effect is the top legislative priority of movement leaders. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was one of several speakers who called the legislation unconstitutional, saying that if the legislation was allowed to stand, it would effectively spell the end of any limits on federal power. 
 
4) Muslims Replace Immigrants as a Top Target
 
While previous conferences have portrayed unchecked illegal immigration as the most dire threat to America, this year’s speakers picked up on the right-wing generated furor over a proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan – the inaccurately dubbed “Ground Zero Mosque” – to make repeated bitter denunciations of Islam. Immigration was not completely ignored: Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, in a list of complaints, denounced the White House for being an administration “whose idea of a rogue state is Arizona,” and the Heritage Foundation sponsored a workshop on “The Real Cost of Illegal Immigration.” But the real energy was in attacking Islam, which was a primary focus of remarks by Bill Bennett and Gary Bauer.
 
5) Pursuit of Happiness With an Asterisk: Gays Need Not Apply
 
Not surprisingly, all the talk about individual liberty being at the core of our national identity did not extend to the freedom of gay and lesbian Americans to pursue happiness by marrying the person they love. Several speakers exhorted attendees to help mobilize conservative voters in Iowa to turn out for upcoming retention elections and vote against Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled that denying gay couples the freedom to marriage violated the state’s constitution. The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who insisted that there is no confusion about what is right in the sight of God and what is evil in the sight of God, said that politicians who support, defend, and promote “counterfeits” to marriage (which include not only marriage equality but also civil unions and domestic partnerships) are doing something evil and deserve condemnation. Fischer repeated Religious Right claims that LGBT equality and religious liberty are incompatible: “we are going to have to choose between the homosexual agenda and religious liberty because we simply cannot have both.”
 
The federal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law which forbids gay members of the Armed Forces for serving openly and honestly, was also high on speakers’ minds. Sen. James Inhofe urged people to call their senators in advance of a scheduled vote on a defense authorization bill that would include language to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as well as language that would, in his words, turn military hospitals into abortion clinics. 

Ralph Reed's Spiritual Battle Plan for Political Victory

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition held a conference in Washington, D.C. this past Friday and Saturday. It attracted some of the expected Religious Right figures – Ken Blackwell, Gary Bauer, etc. – and featured such goodies as Dinesh D’Souza discoursing on the source of President Obama’s “rage.”

This was also the weekend for a FreedomWorks Tea Party rally in D.C., and Reed didn’t pull a huge crowd – a couple of hundred people. Maybe that’s because his event was sandwiched between Glenn Beck’s pre-Labor Day gathering at the Lincoln Memorial and next weekend’s Values Voter Summit, traditionally the big item on the Religious Right political calendar, which could easily attract ten times as many activists as Reed got. 
 
But Reed is interested in different kinds of numbers. He says he’s all about building a grassroots organization that turns out targeted voters. Reed puffed with pride when he recounted the surprise 2002 victory of Georgia GOP Gov. Sonny Purdue, who was behind in the polls right up until Election Day. The pollsters’ likely voter models couldn’t and didn’t take account, Reed says, of the fervent voter registration and turnout work he was organizing in evangelical churches. And he told participants that if conservatives implement his model across the country this fall, it won’t just be a big victory for conservatives, but a historic, earth-shaking victory including races nobody thinks are even in play.
 
He said he regretted that liberals out-organized conservatives in 2006 and 2008 and he pledged never to let that happen again in his lifetime. He gave activists detailed marching orders and the ability to pull up both fiscal and faith-based conservatives from a massive voter database he is compiling.
 
He’s hoping that House Republicans will help the cause when they unveil their reform agenda later this month, and that new candidates will build bridges to voters that haven’t always been comfortable with the conservative movement, including women, African Americans, and Latinos. Reed talked excitedly about Florida’s Marco Rubio, who conservative leaders see as their movement’s Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama rolled into one appealing right-wing package.
 
Reed places himself and his activists squarely within both the Tea Party and Religious Right movements, saying their two goals are to return America to the “Constitutional limited government” our founders intended and return America to God. Of course, spiritual warfare is all the rage on the Religious Right, and Reed is no exception, telling workshop participants “this is ultimately a spiritual battle” and endorsing Pastor Jim Garlow’s prescription for 40 days of prayer and fasting before the election.

Ralph Reed's FFC Conference Is Going To Change Your Life!

Ralph Reed may have seen his political aspirations go up in flames thanks to his years of exploiting his Religious Right cronies for the benefit of corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff but, as we noted last week, that hasn't stopped a slew of right-wing leaders from signing on to participate in his upcoming Faith and Freedom Conference.

And Reed, whose ego and penchant for hyperbole have been the one constant throughout his career, is here to tell you, the ACLJ's Jordan Sekulow, and anyone who will listen that they had better plan on attending his awesome conference because it is not only going to change America, but it will change the lives of all those in attendance:

As you know, I was at the Christian Coalition in the 90s and I worked on the Bush campaign in 2000 and '04 and I decided to take that knowledge and that experience and, for lack of a better term, create a 21st Century Christian Coalition meets MoveOn.org with a smattering of the NRA.

So the Faith and Freedom Coalition is a grassroots permanent public policy organization that combines pro-family activists with what we might call the Tea Party activists uniting on the economic agenda as well as the pro-family agenda. We now have 400,000 people involved in the organization; we have state organizations in 23 states and as you mentioned, we're having our meeting, national gathering in DC September 10-11.

We're going to have over 60 of the leading conservative and pro-family activist leaders and organizers in the nation and I urge you to be here. It's going to change the life of our nation and it will change your life if you are able to be there. 

Mixed Reactions to Beck's Religious Rally

I spent the weekend trying a sense of just how the Religious Right is responding to Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, but haven't seen any sort of dominant narrative emerge.  Instead, it has mostly been a mish-mash of vague statements and generalities. 

Jim Garlow asserted that the theme of the weekend's events was quite obvious: a call to decency and a return to God:

For starters, a call to decency reigned. Not some bland, gray, boring form of mundane living, but rather the centuries-old respectable virtues that gave us the America we now enjoy.

Sometime around 1960, morals jumped off the bridge without first attaching the bungee cord. The result is a nation with everything from devastated families, drug- and crime-infested communities to a hedonistically driven national debt.

...

America, by margins of 70 percent to 80 percent believe in the values that made us, whether it be in maintaining “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance or “In God We Trust” on our coins. Americans have grown weary of the oligarchic cultural elite oppressing the masses.

To discerning persons, the rally was not about Glenn Beck. It was not about Sarah Palin. This rally was about freedom, honor, our American heritage, and sacrifice. And foundationally, it was about God.

But the best Deacon Keith Fournier could come up with was to blast the media while claiming that those who attended the event left with hope and encouragement:

Clearly, Glenn Beck's dreams for a Rally which could "restart the heart of America" exceeded all expectations. Even the Press, which for days leading up to the event had minimized, mocked and trivialized the event, immediately began to acknowledge its massive size and possible significance. Then, they quickly regrouped and the punditry began all over again. I imagine the implications of the event will be fodder for much pontificating for weeks. However, any honest reporter must admit that this was clearly an historic event.

The people who gathered in the Capitol on August 28, 2010, from all over the Nation and representing a wide cross section of the people of the United States of America, left filled with hope, encouraged and challenged to serve and participate.That can only be good for what ails this Nation.

For his part Ralph Reed responded by accusing the media of missing the point about the rally by focusing on Beck's Mormon faith:

The evangelicals participating in the Restore Honor event are not endorsing Glenn Beck’s theology, nor is he asking them to; they are joining in his clarion call to restore America’s honor and founding principles. Together, we and millions of our fellow citizens are calling America back to its Judeo-Christian values of faith, hard work, individual initiative, the centrality of marriage and family, hope, charity, and relying on God and civic and faith-based organizations rather than government for our security and prosperity.

We have always partnered with those with whom we had theological differences: the Jewish community in defending the state of Israel, Roman Catholics in defending life, Mormons in defending marriage. The media can’t have it both ways. Either evangelicals are theologically narrow and judgmental, or they are just as politically sophisticated and mature and capable of building coalitions with 80% friends who they do not view as 20% enemies. It seems they get criticized no matter what they do.

Of course, one of the reasons the media is asking questions about the pairing of evangelical leaders with Beck is because people on the right keep making a big deal about it:

Glenn Beck promotes a false gospel. However, many of his political ideas can help America.

Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. Mormonism is not a Christian denomination but a cult of Christianity.

The country needs to get back to the simplicity of the Bible. The reason our country is in bad shape is that ministers for the most part do not share the truth. Many endorse false gospels including Mormonism.

In fact, I think this "Prayer Point" in Faith 2 Action's latest email pretty much sums up the tension among the Religious Right between wanting to be a part of Beck's new religious crusade while worrying that Christians are being misled by Beck's faith:

Pray for all those involved in the large rally being held at the Lincoln Memorial tomorrow. Pray that many will learn about our nation's true heritage and that no one will be deceived into joining the Mormons. Pray that Glenn Beck will leave Mormonism and come to true salvation in Christ.

Reed Unveils More Speakers at Faith And Freedom Conference

Earlier this month I wrote about Ralph Reed's upcoming Faith and Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing to be held in Washington, D.C., September 9-11 which Reed is calling the "the political equivalent of NFL minicamp."

Today, Reed sent out an email urging activists to register and provided the first look at the line-up of scheduled speakers he has landed:   

  • Gary Bauer, President, American Values
  • Ken Blackwell, Senior Fellow of Family Empowerment, Family Research Council
  • Glen Bolger, Political strategist and pollster
  • Jim Bopp, Legal Counsel, Faith & Freedom Coalition
  • Brent Bozell, President, Media Research Center
  • Herman Cain, Conservative radio talk show host
  • Tucker Carlson, Political correspondent
  • Teresa Collett, Congressional candidate (R-MN 4th district)
  • Kellyanne Conway, President and CEO, Women Trend
  • S.E. Cupp, Author, “Losing Our Religion”
  • Majorie Dannenfelser, President , Susan B. Anthony List
  • Brian Donahue, Founder, CRAFT Media/Digital
  • Erick Erickson, Founder, RedState.com
  • Mindy Finn, E- Media strategist
  • J. Randy Forbes, Congressmen (R-VA-4th district)
  • John Fund, Political journalist and conservative columnist
  • Dr. Jim Garlow, Coauthor, “Cracking Da Vinci's Code”
  • Tim Goeglein, Vice President, Focus on the Family
  • Ed Goeas, Political strategist and pollster
  • Deal Hudson, Director, Morley Institute for Church and Culture
  • Richard Land, President, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • Anna Little, Congressional candidate (R-NJ-6th district)
  • Dana Loesch, Conservative radio talk show host
  • Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Leader
  • Jack St. Martin, Partner, Orange Hat Group
  • Jason Mattera, Political Blogger and Author of “Obama  Zombies”
  • Thaddeus McCotter, Congressman  (R-MI-11th district)
  • Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia
  • Mark Meckler, Tea Party Leader
  • Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform
  • Star Parker, Congressional candidate (R-CA-37th district)
  • Tony Perkins, President, the Family Research Council
  • Tom Price, Congressmen (R-GA-6th district)
  • Karl Rove, Sr. Advisor, White House
  • Patrick Ruffini, E-Media Strategist
  • Chip Saltsman, Former Campaign Manager, Mike Huckabee for President
  • Rick Santorum, Former U.S. Senator
  • Tim Scott, Congressional candidate (R-SC-1st district)
  • Orit Sklar, Executive Director, Fulton County Republican Party
  • Mark Smith, President, Ohio Christian University
  • Matt Smith, Priest
  • Bill Stephens, President, Florida Faith & Freedom Coalition
  • Jim Talent, Former U.S. Senators
  • Hans von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow , Heritage Foundation
  • Jackie Walorski, Congressional candidate (R-IN-2nd district)
  • Lynn Westmoreland, United States Congressman (R-GA-3rd district)

Interestingly, the names Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabe are not on this list despite the fact that Reed has been using them in his promos for weeks now: 

Gingrich, McDonnell, Rove Sign on For Ralph Reed's Political "Minicamp"

Why is it that when Ralph Reed is involved, nothing can ever just be what it is? 

For instance, his new Faith and Freedom Coalition is not just a new Religious Right group, but rather the "Christian Coalition on Steroids."

And Reed is not just another Religious Right operative, but the Religious Right's Steve Jobs.

And Reed's works is not just standard voter mobilization, but rather guerilla warfare and saturation bombing.

And so, of course, his upcoming Faith and Freedom Coalition Summit is not just a political conference, but "the political equivalent of NFL minicamp":

The Faith & Freedom Coalition will hold its first national Conference and Strategy Briefing with top grassroots leaders, pastors, and activists in Washington, DC, on September 9-11. The Faith & Freedom Coalition, founded by Ralph Reed, will inform and train its state and chapter leaders, activists, and supporters in preparation for the 2010 elections.

To date confirmed speakers include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former White House senior advisor and Fox News contributor Karl Rove, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia, former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, Congressmen Randy Forbes, Tom Price, and Lynn Westmoreland, among many others.

Hundreds of grassroots activists will gather for training, workshops and breakout sessions on voter registration, Get-Out-the-Vote tactics, and how to utilize Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites to build a volunteer network. Among scheduled panels: "Mama Grizzly" candidates who are making 2010 the "Year of the Conservative Woman," and leading Tea Party organizers, including Jenny Beth Martin with Tea Party Patriots.

"This is not just a conference or a retreat," said Ralph Reed. "This is the political equivalent of NFL minicamp. We will train and equip our activists on how to block and tackle in the churches and precincts as we prepare for the most important election of our lifetimes."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Ralph Reed says reports of the Religious Right's death are greatly exaggerated. Uh ... duh.
  • Tom Tancredo issues a rather amazing threat.
  • Norm Coleman for RNC Chair?
  • Hooray, the anti-choice "Freedom Ride for the Unborn" gets underway this weekend.
  • There is so much to mock in this OneNewsNow article that I don't even know where to start.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Gary Bauer: "Sherrod’s speech is a perfect example of the corrupting influence of so-called 'social justice' that demonizes wealth and promotes socialism under the guise of civil rights. Worse, her speech is another example of left-wing activists attributing political differences to racism."

Sharron Angle Plays Matchmaker for Tea Party, Religious Right

 

As we’ve noted before, religious right leaders are desperate to jump aboard the Tea Party bandwagon. Now Tea Party backed candidate Sharron Angle is returning the favor, networking with Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed and attributing her political success to God.

The Tea Party movement is better-known for its alignment with libertarian, anti-Washington sentiment than for its ties to social conservatism. But in an effort to build as broad a coalition as possible in her effort to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle is checking all the boxes.

Over the weekend, Angle participated in an interview with Ralph Reed, the longtime conservative activist, founder of the Christian Coalition, and the man once deemed the "right hand of god" by Time Magazine. And in the course of answering a question about her rise from relative obscurity, the Nevada Republican made a rather bold declaration. Her path to victory, she said, was God's plan.

Beck, Barton, Six Degrees, and Seven Mountains

When I received email alerts yesterday from Wallbuilders, Renewing American Leadership, and the Faith and Freedom Coalition announcing that their respective leaders - David Barton, Jim Garlow, and Ralph Reed - were all going to appear on Glenn Beck last night, I knew something remarkable was going on.

As it turned out, these men with also joined by several other Religious Right leaders, including NOM's Robert George and John Hagee (John Hagee!?):

The discussion went pretty much as you would expect it would when a bunch of Religious Right leaders who are convinced that America was, is, and ought to always be a Christian nation team up with a far-right conspiracy nut ... so it is not really worth covering.

Instead, I want to use this to further explore something I mentioned last week in my "The Religious Right and Six Degrees of Dominionism" post: though not every person who shares a stage with a controversial figure can be said to share that figure's views, those who either invite such figures to participate in their events or else themselves agree to appear at events hosted by such figures are offering, on some level, their validation of such views. 

In the case of last night's Beck program, it would be unfair to say that Robert George shares the radical views of John Hagee just because they shared the stage; but it is fair to say that Beck does, at least in part, or else he would never have invited Hagee on to participate in this panel.  By the same token, by appearing on Beck's program, George is signaling that he is entirely comfortable using that venue as an outlet through which he is eager to share his own views with an audience who shares Beck's views.

Which brings me to my main point: two of the men featured on Beck's program last night also appeared at Convergence 09:

Perhaps you recall our posts about Convergence 2010, where Janet Porter prayed for control over the media and Cindy Jacobs discussed her personal interactions with Jesus and conducted faith healings and Harry Jackson was declared to be a "modern day Martin Luther King" and Jim Garlow explained how he brought in Lou Engle to lead spiritual warriors in fasting and prayer to pass Proposition 8.

Well, Convergence 09 also featured Jacobs, Jackson, and Garlow plus several other prophetic intercessors like Dutch Sheets, Chuck Pierce, and Seven Mountains leader Lance Wallnau ... as well as David Barton.

According to the schedule, Barton spoke for three hours, but unfortunately I have not been able to find any video of his speech ... but he clearly was there:

And I did manage to track down this email announcement from Generals International announcing the conference - note especially the militant language and central role that spiritual warfare was to play in the event:

Mike and I would like to invite you to gather together with us and intercessors from across the world to raise up a prayer army to both awaken and reform this nation.

One does not have to be prophetic to realize that we are at one of the most serious junctures of history our nation has ever known. Some are even suggesting that the United States as it stands is in the balance. Critical times require us as intercessors and believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to rally for troop training. We need a new generation of Generals to arise and war for the soul of our nation!

With this in mind, we know that we cannot pray the way we have in the past season. We need new prayers for a new day. Every army has to come aside for training and equipping. They need to learn how to work with spiritual intelligence and use their weapons of warfare.

We have often said that if we want to see what we have never seen, we have to do what we have never done. This also means that if we want to see this nation not lose her destiny, then we are going to have to fight to ensure that we become the city set on a hill our forebearers fought for!

With this passion in our hearts, we are calling you to come and prepare for battle in what we are calling Convergence ‘09: Raise Up An Army! We have brought together one of the finest teams of equippers we could find to help us mobilize to change the nation, including David Barton, Dutch Sheets, Lance Wallnau, Chuck Pierce, Harry Jackson, Jim Garlow, Cheryl Sacks, Jim Hennesy, Klaus Kuehn, Mike Jacobs and Cindy Jacobs.

Again, I have been uable to find any of the video from the conference, but I did find these "action shots" of Jacobs performing some sort of faith healing on stage:

Now, I will admit that I have been following Barton's work closely for quite some time now and have never heard him talk about Dominionism or the Seven Mountains Mandate.  But I also had no idea that he associated with Dominionists like Jacobs and company either. 

Barton is currently traveling the East Coast with Jim Garlow on their Next Great Awakening Tour and Garlow clearly has deep ties to Jacobs and Engle and Seven Mountains theology.

As I have said, there is a danger in playing "six degrees" with some of these connections ... but it is also completely fair to point out these connections, especially since they seem to be playing a bigger and bigger role within the "mainstream" of the Religious Right as a movement.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Shockingly, the Religious Right opposes Elena Kagan.
  • The Maine ethics commission has rejected the National Organization for Marriage's request to have its investigation dismissed.
  • Does it seem odd that an out-of-state Republican group would spend $500K+ to get Green Party candidates on the ballot in Texas?
  • Giving Elliot Spitzer a TV show is just like giving O.J. Simpson a TV show.
  • Ralph Reed and Marco Rubio meet up in California.
  • Bryan Fischer continues his "all public policy should be based on the Bible" agenda by explaining that it is okay to make immigrants show their papers because Nehemiah had papers.
  • Attention potential spies:  Peter LaBarbera is on to you.

Reed's "Christian Coalition 2.0" Launches Annual Convention

It was just one year ago that Ralph Reed announced the formation of his Faith and Freedom Coalition, a more hip, more strident "21st Century version of the Christian Coalition on steroids, married with MoveOn.org, with a sprinkling of the NRA."

And slowly Reed has been working to build it into a brand new right-wing powerhouse, teaming up with leaders like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann and Richard Land and Rick Santorum while setting up affiliates in several states in order to train "Tea Partiers, home schoolers and other conservatives to give them the tools they need to identify, educate and turn out conservative voters in their area."

When Reed decided not to run for Congress earlier this year, he explained that it was because he believes that "electing 50 to 100 men and women of character and conservative beliefs to Congress and statewide office over the next two election cycles is a more efficacious way to advance the conservative agenda than seeking public office myself in 2010."

It is becoming increasingly clear that Reed is intent on recovering whatever influence and prestige he may have lost due to this close ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff [PDF] by turning his Faith and Freedom Coalition into a right-wing powerhouse and recapturing his glory days with the Christian Coalition ...and that is why the FFC will be hosting its very own right-wing conference in Washington DC this fall: 

Your Faith & Freedom Coalition is growing by leaps and bounds. We now have more than 300,000 members within 50 states. We have state affiliates up and running in 20 states despite the fact that we have been in operation for only six months. And, just this last week we helped elect conservatives in New Jersey and California who are going to stand up to the liberal agenda. Conservatives across the country recognize that only a grassroots organization like FFC can harness the anti-Obama sentiment boiling in our country and channel it to stop this dangerous administration.

I’d like to invite you today to our first ever Citizen Action Leadership Summit being held in Washington, DC September 9-11 at the famed Mayflower Hotel. We’ll be bringing together activists, donors and famous conservative speakers for three days of training, networking and strategy sessions. We’ve invited a who’s who of special guest speakers, which includes:

Sarah Palin

Newt Gingrich

Karl Rove

Jeb Bush

And many others.

Please visit our website today to make reservations for this historic conservative gathering.

Interestingly, this Citizen Action Leadership Summit is being just one week before the Values Voter Summit, the annual gathering of social conservatives hosted by FRC, Focus on the Family, American Family Association, American Values and others. 

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Ralph Reed Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 11/06/2012, 6:37pm
Ralph Reed will hold "a news briefing to discuss the results of a post-election survey showing the impact of the evangelical vote and other faith-based voters on the outcome of the 2012 elections." We can't wait. Matt Barber is now apparently an expert on energy independence. The Family Research Council is predicting "massive turnout among Values Voters" and is taking credit for that turnout. Phyllis Schlafly says "increasingly atheistic public schools ... are probably the biggest reason for this decline in religion among youth.... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 11/02/2012, 5:31pm
Ralph Reed declares that that the entire presidential race "can now be boiled down to two key counties" in Ohio. William Owens is outraged by an ad urging African Americans to vote in favor of marriage equality in Maryland. The Family Research Council is out with a new ad urging people to vote against President Obama ... because of Dan Savage? Glenn Beck says media outlets are sitting on incriminating emails regarding the Libya attack in order to protect President Obama and that if they aren't released, he will "expose them." Finally, Penny... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 10/26/2012, 5:41pm
Sahil Kapur @TPM: Conservative Scholars Bullish That A Romney Supreme Court Could Reverse Longstanding Liberal Jurisprudence. Zeke Miller @ BuzzFeed: Romney Surrogate: Colin Powell Endorsed Obama Because He's Black. Michelangelo Signorile @ Huffington Post: Romney: 'Some Gays Are Actually Having Children. It's Not Right on Paper. It's Not Right in Fact.' Jeremy Hooper: NOM responds to 'worthy of death' pastor; jumps on the 'mischaracterized' bandwagon. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Ralph Reed, lost in translation. MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 10/25/2012, 11:37am
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will hold a town hall teleconference with Ralph Reed, the disgraced former head of the Christian Coalition who is making a political comeback with a conservative voter turnout project called the Faith and Freedom Coalition. That group is sending voters flyers warning that reelecting Obama would allow the president to “complete America’s destruction.” They also compare Obama’s policies to the threat posed to America by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. For all Paul Ryan’s talk about values, it’s worth... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 10/10/2012, 2:22pm
Yesterday, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released the results of a survey finding that "the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today." Those findings were quite alarming to CNBC's Larry Kudlow, who brought Ralph Reed on to his program yesterday to reassure him that the numbers were not really as bad as they looked.  After Reed speculated that the rise in young people claiming no religious affiliation... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 10/02/2012, 5:35pm
Paul @ PFAW Blog: Scott Brown Names Scalia as his Favorite Justice. Amanda Terkel @ Huffington Post: Susan B. Anthony List Launches Super PAC With $500,000 Ad Buy In Swing States. Andy Kroll @ Mother Jones: Ralph Reed's Group: An Obama Victory Means "He Can Complete America's Destruction." Eric Kleefeld @ TPM: Democrat Targets West’s Military Career In Brutal TV Ad. Timothy Johnson @ Media Matters: NRA's "Massive Obama Conspiracy": This Is Sparta! Edition. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/27/2012, 5:34pm
Adele Stan @ AlterNet: 3 Big Lies in Religious-Right 'Voter Guide' Hitting 13 Million Cell Phones. Simon Maloy @ Media Matters: Jennifer Rubin: Obama's Terrorism Record Worse Than Bush's (9-11 Doesn't Count). Jeremy Hooper: Conservs (like Matt Barber) trying to pass off Obama '08 rally as a Romney '12 event. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: A topic Akin should try to avoid. Rosie Gray @ BuzzFeed: Catholic League Responds To Controversial Artwork With Obama Bobblehead And Fake Feces. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 09/24/2012, 5:42pm
Rosie Gray @ BuzzFeed: Anti-Obama Movie Mailed To 1 Million Ohioians. God Discussion: Christian conservatives to gather at 'Restoring America Conference.' Rob Boston @ Wall of Separation: Murky Math: Why Ralph Reed’s Latest Political Claims Don’t Add Up. Zack Ford @ Think Progress: Paul Ryan On ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’: ‘I Think We Need To Move On.’ Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: The GOP's emergency-room argument never dies. Chris Rodda: Book Excerpt: Barton’s Lie About Jefferson and... MORE >