Ralph Reed

Tom DeLay, Out on Bail, Reunites with Abramoff buddy Ralph Reed at Faith and Freedom Rally

Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) is out on bail after he was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. DeLay was also subject to an investigation over his links to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In fact, DeLay played a central role in the Abramoff scandal on the illegal use of Indian gambling money.

Another member of the Abramoff’s crooked scheme was Religious Right activist Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition. Abramoff stealthily financed Reed’s anti-gambling organization in Alabama with money from casinos in Mississippi that were afraid of increased competition. Reed claimed he didn’t know it was gambling money, claims Abramoff laughed off as “ridiculous.” In a humiliating defeat, Reed lost his 2006 race to be the Republican nominee of Lt. Governor of Georgia, and in 2009 founded the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Does it come as a surprise to anyone that DeLay, while out on bail, will be speaking at a Faith Freedom Coalition rally in Texas?

Surely, DeLay and Reed are the best people to talk about the importance of America’s “time-honored values” and “sound public policy at every level of government.”

The only thing that could make DeLay and Reed’s Texas rally more perfect would be if Jack Abramoff himself made an appearance. Too bad he now works for the ethics watchdog United Republic.

Reed: There is Nothing Obama Won't do to Win Re-Election

There are few political operatives active today that are as ruthless and cynical as Ralph Reed.

Reed is, after all, the man who infamously declared that he specializes in "guerrilla warfare," and bragged "I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag." 

Reed also knowingly took hundreds of thousands of dollars from corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff to manipulate and mobilize his Religious Right allies to fight gambling expansions in order to protect Abramoff's client's gambling interests.  Reed even had some of the money laundered through third-parties in order to try and conceal its origins, yet continues to insist to this day that he is "proud" of the "outstanding" work he did on behalf of Abramoff and his clients.

So it is a little ironic to see him speaking to the Palms West Republican Club in Florida recently, in a video recorded and posted by Conservative New Media, as he warns that there is no candidate who is as tough, mean, and cynical as President Obama and that his campaign will be "coming with a knife in an alley" to launch an all-out scorched earth campaign against the Republican nominee:

Religious Right to Romney: Safety Net Un-Biblical

When Mitt Romney stepped on his Florida primary victory message by declaring that he wasn’t concerned about the very poor – and that he’d patch any holes that just might be in their safety net – most observers thought his mistake was declaring disinterest in the poor. But to right-wing activists, Romney’s bigger problem was his support for any kind of social safety net.
 
The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack called Romney’s comments “unconservative,” saying that “The standard conservative argument is that a conservative economic agenda will help everyone.” 
 
“The safety net contributes to poverty,” declared Rush Limbaugh. “It does not solve it.” Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint told a reporter, “Those are the programs that are hurting, not just the poor, but our country.” 
 
Religious Right leaders added another touch: the safety net is un-Biblical. Yesterday, Liberty Counsel pushed out a statement promoting the Christian Reconstructionist notion that the Bible gives the government no role in addressing poverty:
Romney wrongly assumes that it is the role of government to provide more entitlements to help the poor. In fact, that is not the role of government. The historical biblical view of helping the poor is that they are best helped by individuals and the faith community. Government programs tend to enslave the poor in an endless cycle of poverty. The biblical model is that both, the giver and the recipient, are blessed. When government steps in between the giver and the recipient, the giver loses the blessing of giving and the recipient is often left in a worse, rather than better, position. Romney's statement that he would rely on government programs to help the poor indicates his intent to continue the same failed big government programs and policies….it is the duty of the church, the faith community, to look after the poor, the orphans, and the widows.
Longtime Religoius Right activist Gary Bauer made the same point in a USA Today column in January, arguing that “nowhere in the Bible are we told that government should take one man's money by force of law and give it to another man. Jesus' admonition was a personal command to share, not a command for Caesar to "spread the wealth around." 
 
There are, of course, alternative views about what the Bible has to say. President Obama, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast this week, cited the Biblical principal that much will be expected of the person who has been given much. (Laughably, Obama has been criticized by Ralph Reed for discussing how his faith influenced his approach to policy-making.) Writing recently for Sojourner’s, an economically liberal evangelical group, Tim King called Bauer’s claims about scripture “false,” saying that biblical injunctions related to forgiveness of debts and the release of slaves are “forms of government mandated redistribution of wealth” and “laws concerned with justice not encouragements to charity.”

Obama Cites Jesus and the Right Loses Its Mind

It seems like all we ever hear from the Religious Right is how important it is for our political leaders to let their faith influence their public policy decisions.  But apparently that only applies when it leads politicians to support the conservative political agenda because when President Obama cites Jesus, it seems to make the Right lose their minds.

Yesterday, during the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama cited a passage from the Book of Luke to support his view that the well-off should be expected to contribute more:

And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.

But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.”

And now right-wing leaders and Republicans are outraged, with Sen. Orrin Hatch lashing out about it on the Senate floor and Rep. Phil Gingrey walking out in protest while Ralph Reed, of all people, is saying that Obama went "over the line":

Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition said that for the president to tie his tax policy to Jesus’s teachings “is theologically threadbare and straining credulity.”

“I felt like it was over the line and not the best use of the forum,” Reed said. “It showed insufficient level of respect for what the office of the president has historically brought to that moment.”

And of course Bryan Fischer, who thinks the Bible ought to be the foundation for all our public policy, including putting animals to death, was incensed that Obama would dare to claim that the teachings of Christ support his agenda when, in fact, his agenda "is in the spirit of Joseph Stalin" and Karl Marx:

As we have said before, it is amazing President Obama even bothers to talk about his Christian faith because nothing he says will ever be acceptable for the "real" Christians in the Religious Right.

Romney Blasts Obama's 'Assaults' on 'Life', 'Religion' and 'Marriage'

On a conference call last night with Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Mitt Romney laced into President Obama, arguing that he is leading an “assault on life,” an “assault on religion” and an “assault on marriage” as part of a larger “assault on American values.” With Gingrich quickly moving up the polls in Florida with the support of more conservative, evangelical voters, Romney used the conference call to pick up the same rhetoric used by unsuccessful candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann and dish out red meat to Religious Right voters.

Romney, once a stalwart defender of Roe v. Wade, said President Obama shows a “disregard for the sanctity of human life [that] is absolutely appalling” and is leading an “assault on life” by rescinding the Mexico City Gag Rule, which bars the government from funding NGOs that use their own finances for family planning which include abortion services or referrals. Romney also distorted Obama’s statement marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, claiming that the President thinks pregnant women “can get rid of the child and therefore have an equal opportunity,” when actually Obama concluded his statement by saying that “we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”

He went on to say that Obama is conducting an “assault on religion” through the administration’s opposition to employment discrimination on religious grounds and attempts to ensure that women cannot be refused birth control coverage in their insurance plans or medical procedures because of loopholes, calling it “an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen.”

Romney concluded his diatribe by attacking a push for equal rights for gays and lesbians as an “assault on marriage,” and pledged to promote the Federal Marriage Amendment and stop Obama from paving “the path to same-sex marriage.”

Listen:

Romney: I think he is detached from reality when he says that he wants to ‘reclaim American values.’ There has been in my view an assault on American values since the beginning of his administration. Clearly from the beginning the assault on life with his abandonment of the Mexico City Policy and with the Vice President being sent to China and saying we understand the one-child policy there and of course the abuses associated with that policy are alarming and disturbing, and then on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade just a couple of days ago he said that the wonderful thing about Roe v. Wade is that it provides an equal opportunity for girls to equal boys, meaning that they don’t have to have a child anymore, if they become pregnant they can get rid of the child and therefore have an equal opportunity. The disregard for the sanctity of human life is absolutely appalling.

Then of course there’s the assault on religion. I think a lot of people were surprised that he felt that the government should be able to determine who is and who is not a minister and fortunately the Supreme Court disagreed with him on that, but now he’s gone forward and said that religious institutions, universities, hospitals and so forth, religious institutions have to provide free contraceptives to all their employees, even if that religious institution is opposed to the use of contraception, as in the case of the Catholic Church. Even in that regard, fighting to eliminate the conscience clause for health care workers who wish not to provide abortion services or contraceptives in their workplace, in their hospital for instance. It’s an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen.

There’s been an assault on marriage. I think he is very aggressively trying to pave the path to same-sex marriage. I would unlike this president defend the Defense of Marriage Act. I would also propose and promote once again an amendment to the constitution to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.

GOP Presidentials Line Up to Kiss Ralph Reed's...Ring

Remember that “game-changing” endorsement of Rick Santorum by a group of evangelical leaders desperate to deny the Republican nomination to Mitt Romney?  As Brian reports, there wasn’t really that much of a consensus in Texas.  And it certainly didn’t make it to South Carolina, where Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry all paraded before a gathering convened by Ralph Reed’s “Faith and Freedom Coalition” just hours before the latest debate.  All had their fans in the crowd, and Gingrich seemed to have more, or at least more vocal, backers, than Santorum.

“We are here today because we say unapologetically and unequivocally that there cannot be true freedom without faith in almighty God,” announced the disgraced-and-rebounding Reed, who led the Christian Coalition to prominence in the 1990s and launched the Faith & Freedom coalition in 2009 as a voter turnout machine for conservative evangelicals.  He claims that he is going to register 2 million new voters on his way to compiling a database of 27 million voters who will be contacted over and over up and through Election Day.  “If you thought we turned out in 2010, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” he warned Democratic leaders.  Reed said “in 2012 we’re going to stand up and be counted and we’re going to say that people with faith in God aren’t what’s wrong with America, they’re what’s right with America and we need more of them engaged and more of them involved.” 

The audience may not have been united on a candidate, but the candidates were unanimous in their avowed devotion to the Religious Right’s anti-abortion, anti-gay agenda, and their promises to fight “secularism” and the Obama administration’s alleged love affair with European-style “socialism” and its supposed “war on religion.” Also on the list: promises to repeal “Obamacare,” appoint right-wing justices to the Supreme Court, and shrink government.  Reed promised that a Republican Congress and president would “dramatically slash” the corporate tax rate and take the capital gains tax to zero.

Rick Perry, whose once-mighty support has virtually evaporated in recent months, promised to set the audience on fire.  His rambling remarks – punctuated with fist-pumping exclamations like “God and country!” – were well received, but South Carolina doesn’t seem likely to resurrect his candidacy.

The Supreme Court

Several candidates and their backers talked about the importance of the next president’s ability to appoint Supreme Court justices.  Jay Sekulow, head of the Religious Right legal group American Center for Law & Justice, is one of Romney’s most prominent Religious Right backers.  Sekulow talked about counting to five when he prepares Supreme Court cases, and said he was confident that with a President Romney making appointments in the mold of Justices Roberts and Alito, “I’m not going to have to worry about my math skills.” Reed, who introduced Gingrich, cited Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito as the kind of justices he was looking forward to – and not someone like Sotomayor.  The Obama administration’s Justice Department also came in for sharp criticism, with Reed saying that Attorney General Eric Holder needs to “go back to where he came from.”

Pursuit of Happiness: The Gay Exception

One candidate after another cited the Declaration of Independence’s reference to the unalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”  -- and then went on to call for a constitutional amendment that would prevent any state from allowing same-sex couples to get married.  Romney said he would defend the Defense of Marriage Act and called for a constitutional amendment on marriage.  Santorum said government based on the principles of strong faith and strong families was needed to constrain bad behavior and immoral activity.  Perry dropped his voice to a dramatic whisper to assure gay people that “I love you regardless of what you’ve done. I hate your sin, but I love you.”

Threats to “Religious Liberty”

Many speakers argued that Christians in America are besieged by rampaging secularists.  Romney said President Obama had put America on a path to being “more and more of a secular nation.” Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) asserted, “The greatest minority under assault today are Christians – no doubt about it.” Rick Perry decried liberals in Congress and on the courts who he said wanted to “whitewash the public square of all spiritual references” and “sanitize from our history books our Judeo-Christian roots.”  “If I am president of the United States, I will not allow them to do it! I will welcome people of faith to the public arena!” said Perry.  “This is our country, ladies and gentlemen. This is our time. And it is time for people of faith to take this country back!”  Romney and Reed promised that 2012 would bring more than political victory; it will bring spiritual awakening and renewal to America.

Ron Paul’s Biblical Economics

Journalist Adele Stan has reported on Ron Paul’s ties to Christian Reconstructionists and their religious view of limited government. Paul cited the Bible to support his monetary policies, saying “The Bible says we’re supposed to have honest currency and we’re not supposed to print the money.”  He also cited Biblical stories from Isaiah and Elijah about the importance of the “remnant” – the small number of people who could be counted on to hear the word of God.  The portrayal of conservative Christians as the righteous remnant is a popular theme at Religious Right gatherings.

Romney v (Gingrich v Santorum)

The current story of the GOP primary seems to be whether Santorum or Gingrich can rally enough conservatives who distrust Romney to wrest the nomination away from him.  On one South Carolina radio station, Gingrich and Santorum ads ran back to back on Monday, each making the “electability” case.  Santorum and Gingrich both attacked Romney’s ability to challenge “Obamacare,” and each used their remarks to argue that they could best carry the banner of unapologetic conservatism.   Santorum bragged that he opposed the Wall Street bailouts while Romney, Gingrich, and Perry supported them.  He claimed that he was the only one whose economic plan was grounded in building strong families.  Gingrich pledged that he would challenge Obama to seven 3-hour Lincoln-Douglas-style debates, even offering to let Obama use a teleprompter (those jokes never go out of style at GOP gatherings), saying, “I think I can tell the truth without notes better than he can lie with a teleprompter.”  Gingrich’s brashness was mirrored in the comments of Rep. Trent Franks, who once called President Obama an “enemy of humanity,” told the Faith & Freedom crowd that in a debate with President Obama, Gingrich “will eat Mr. Obama’s cookies and all accoutrements thereto.”

Appropriating a Sanitized MLK

Several speakers noted that the Faith & Freedom rally and GOP debate were taking place on Martin Luther King Day.  Romney expressed admiration for King, who he referred to as “a great man.”  But King’s Poor People’s Campaign and demand for government help in finding people jobs would not have won any praise from Romney or others at this event.  Neither would Jesus’ teaching that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.  Building on the backlash against Gingrich and Perry’s criticism of Romney’s record as a “vulture capitalist,” Romney denounced “class warfare” and charged that Obama wants to create an “entitlement society.”  Obama, he said, wants to replace ambition with envy, and “poison the American spirit by replacing a sense of unity with a sense of class warfare.”  According to Romney, believing “one nation under God” means not noticing economic inequality. Others took the same line. Santorum, who says it’s un-American to even talk about a “middle class,” said Obama “wants to rule us” and thinks he can win by “dividing America up.”  He said that Obama is destroying the incentive to create wealth.

In his eagerness to rally the Founding Fathers to his side, Romney mangled history in a way that called attention to the importance of MLK Day being more about learning and less about empty platitudes.  According to Romney, the Founders’ choice of words about the unalienable right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence indicated that they meant to create an opportunity society.  “This would be a nation where people would pursue happiness according to their dreams,” said Romney. “We would not be limited by the circumstances of our birth, we would not be limited by our race or gender…”   Well, Mr. Romney, we’re closer to that ideal, thanks to the work of Martin Luther King and countless others, but the founders were quite willing to limit people’s opportunities based on race and gender.  And they weren’t the last.

Abramoff: Ralph Reed Was "A Tap Dancer And Constantly Just Asking For Money"

Last year, Alan Colmes had Ralph Reed on his radio program talking about his latest novel.  During the interview, Colmes asked Reed about his work with Jack Abramoff, which Reed defended, saying the work "was outstanding, I'm proud of it, and it advanced sound public policy."

Reed told Colmes that when he worked with Abramoff, he made it clear that he would not accept any payment that derived from gambling revenues and that Abramoff arranged to have him paid from non-gambling revenues.

Last night, Colmes had Abramoff on his program and asked him about Reed's claims, which Abramoff laughed off as "ridiculous":

Colmes: Does that accurately represent what happened?

Abramoff: No. Not at all.

Colmes: In what way?

Abramoff: It's ridiculous. I mean, even the tribes that had other business, 99% of their revenue came from gaming. But a lot of those tribes had nothing but gaming.

Colmes: So, in other words, Ralph Reed was saying "hey, I'll work with you but I don't want to be paid with gambling money, I'm too clean for that." But are you saying that conversation never happened?

Abramoff: No. Never happened. Ralph didn't want it out that he was getting gambling money and, frankly, that was his choice and I think it was a big mistake.

Colmes also asked Abramoff what he meant in his infamous email to his partner Michael Scanlon that Reed "is a bad version of us," which Abramoff explained meant that Reed was "a tap dancer and constantly just asking for money."

Reed: When The Government Helps The Poor, It Takes Away Our Liberty

Someone, presumably Billy Kirkland, the National Field Director of Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition, uploaded a video to YouTube of a presentation that Ralph Reed recorded for some sort of Tea Party class on the Constitution, at least judging by the context of Reed's remarks. 

What the video was recorded for exactly is hard to say because there is very little information provided by the person who uploaded it, but in it Reed asserts that when the government creates programs to help the poor or senior citizens, it takes away our liberty:

The sad thing is that we as a nation have lost our way and we began to lose sight of the wisdom of the Constitution and the Declaration, we began to ask government to do more than it should do to meet every need; to take care of every hurting person; to set up a huge welfare state that meets every need we have; to have entitlement programs to take care of the poor, the underclass, senior citizens, and others.

Those are all good objectives. The problem is when we ask the government to do more then what it is specifically charged to do at the federal level in the Constitution, then we have the danger of our liberties being taken away. And that is exactly what has happened.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Could we really be so lucky as to get Joe The Plumber to run for Congress?
  • Bryan Fischer continues his crusade against bears or, as he refers to them, "conscienceless marauders."
  • Naval chaplains are claiming they were discriminated against for promotions because of their evangelical beliefs.
  • I have no idea why Mat Staver was introducing honorees at Glenn beck's rally in Israel, but he was.
  • Finally, Ralph Reed dismisses dominionism as "a conspiracy theory largely confined to university faculty lounges and MSNBC studios."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • If Michele Bachmann thinks she is going to be able to downplay her anti-gay views and history, she had better think again though, of course, she'll always have GOProud there to defend her.
  • Gary Bauer tries to win libertarians over to the anti-gay marriage side.
  • Reminder: Harry Potter is very dangerous.
  • Cindy Jacobs records a video urging people to attend "The Response."
  • Finally, Ralph Reed says "the evangelical vote is not Lady Gaga; it’s more like Madonna. We don’t need to reinvent what’s been around for awhile, we just need to keep it sharp." I have no idea what that means.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The New York Times profiles Mike Bickle and his International House of Prayer.
  • Ralph Reed is supporting Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally.
  • The Family Leader drops the crazy slavery language from its candidate pledge.
  • The ACLJ's "Ground Zero Mosque" lawsuit has been tossed out of court.
  • Glenn Beck is moving to Texas.  That sounds about right.
  • Apparently conservatives just need to be more militant.
  • Don't tell the Tea Party, but Michele Bachmann used to work for the IRS.

At Ralph Reed Confab, Obama Portrayed as Enemy of Faith and Freedom

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition gathering in Washington, D.C. this past weekend was essentially a relentless repetition of the GOP’s 2012 attack themes on the Obama administration, mixed with Religious Right leaders’ demands that the Tea Party not abandon social conservatives’ priorities and conservative politicos’ appeals for unity behind whichever candidate emerges from the presidential crowd.  Just about everyone running, or thinking about running, for the presidency on the Republican side was in attendance with the exception of Newt Gingrich.

One of the easiest, and most frequently used, ways to get applause at F&F was to pledge that Obama will be a one-term president.  Among the other major themes:
 
American Exceptionalism
 
Former Senator Rick Santorum, who officially announced his presidential bid this morning, said his campaign theme will be American exceptionalism.  Unfortunately, for Santorum, it seems that every Republican candidate is talking about American exceptionalism – and the claim that President Obama, Democrats, and “liberal elites” don’t believe that the U.S. is the God-ordained greatest nation in the history of the world – so it’s going to be hard to break away from the pack on that score.  Gary Bauer claimed that American elites don’t believe the words of the Declaration of Independence. 
 
‘Obamacare’ = Socialism = The End of Freedom
 
Many speakers cited health care reform as the ultimate example of the Democrats’ commitment to freedom-destroying socialism.  Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network said it was one example of progressives’ tendency to say “to hell with the Constitution” when it got in the way of their policy goals.  Rep. Allen West even attacked the notion of “shared sacrifice,” which he said was code for “redistribution of wealth,” which is how the right-wing looks at progressive taxation.  Rep. Tom Price, who clearly needs to spend some time studying American history, called the health care reform bill “the furthest reach of oppression that this society has ever seen.”  Others similarly insisted that the implementation of the law would mean the end of liberty in America.  Michele Bachman shouted, “I will not rest until we repeal Obamacare. America will not rest until we repeal Obamacare.”  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said the fight against Obamacare is just one sign that federalism is reemerging.  He argued that Americans need to understand that there is a “liberty pie” that does not grow – and it has only two slices, government power and individual liberty – and one necessarily grows at the expense of the other. 
 
America Needs More Religion (as long as it’s not Islam)
 
The FFC was long on Religious Right rhetoric on religion and politics.  The pastor who gave the opening prayer for the conference gave thanks for “a nation founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”  The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins exulted that it was good to be among folks who are “not ashamed to defend the Christian principles on which this nation was founded.”  The Republican National Committee’s Reince Priebus said America’s greatness is “rooted in our faith” and that “faith in our God, and faith in our savior” is “not a convenience, it is the foundation of a good life.” But Islam was clearly deemed a threat, with one participant telling a contentiouspanel on Sharia law that in Minnesota “we practically have a Muslim state.”  
 
Reproductive Rights and Gay Rights = Big Government
 
In the “Social Issues: Why They Still Matter” panel, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal discussed “the psychology of those who are trying to undermine the moral fiber of this country,” arguing that liberals are compelled by a lust for power and therefore need to “control people” and “lower standards of society as a whole.” Fund explained that “if you can lower standards” by permitting legal abortion and gay equality, then liberals can gain control over society, and insisted that “we have to bring back shaming” of women who had abortions because “we need to be judgmental about this issue, we need to call out people for the choices that they made, ‘shaming’ is not a bad word in this society.” On a separate panel, National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher said, “When you redefine marriage, you also redefine the relationship between Genesis and the American tradition,” which would jeopardize freedom because “in some cases, the power of government is already being used to marginalize and stigmatize people who disagree with the foundational ideas of same-sex marriage.”
 
Obama as Enemy of Israel
 
Michele Bachman was one of several speakers who misportrayed recent Obama administration comments about Israel, calling them a “shocking display of betraying our greatest friend and ally.” One participant commented that “life, liberty, and Israel” were the elements that make up “the pursuit of happiness.” Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said Obama may soon be referring to Israel as “the Zionist regime” and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission implied that Obama may bringing upon the country the curse of God for his policy towards Israel. Peter Roff of U.S. News and World Report lamented that “the American Jewish community is for some reason enamored of Democratic politicians in general and Barack Obama specifically.”
 
Unified Conservative Movement
 
FRC’s Perkins was among many Religious Right speakers who argued for keeping social conservatives’ priorities at the forefront of the movement in the name of conservative movement unity.  Perkins used a strange mixed metaphor, saying it is the “bottom of the ninth for our beloved country” and no time to lapse into an undisciplined orchestra, calling for a “rousing symphony” – drums of national defense, the horns of economic abundance, and the strings that bind a strong family.  Among others who sounded the same theme were Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence, who said, “we have to recognize that our present crisis is not just economic or political but moral in nature” and touted the importance of the sanctity of life, “traditional marriage,” and the importance of organized religion in our daily life.
 
Haley Barbour, one of the potential presidential candidates who decided not to run, devoted his remarks to lecturing attendees about the need to rally behind whichever candidate was nominated even though the nominee won’t be perfect.  “In politics,” he said, “purity is the enemy of victory.” Tony Blankley warned that the media and Democrats would love to “divide and conquer” the movement.
 
Advocating for social issues at the FFC was clearly preaching to the choir.  But some Tea Party activists were clearly annoyed by the “you’re nothing without us” attitude of Religious Right activists Jordan Sekulow and Matt Barber at a panel on the “Teavangelicals” that was moderated by the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody.

Richard Land Says Ralph Reed Was "Victimized by Abramoff"

Richard Land was one of the dozens of speakers Ralph Reed lined up for his Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference, so it makes sense that he would have some nice things to say about him ... but his ill-informed gushing over Reed's supposed brilliance is downright embarrassing:

"Ralph invented the game and how to play the game. He's got a PhD in political science," said Dr Richard Land the head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Church, the nation's largest denomination with 16 million members.

"He's one of them. He's and evangelical. He understands the evangelical and the conservative Catholic positions. He understand what rings their chimes and what doesn't."

"Any time Ralph Reed is involved in something it's going to make a difference. If I were running for office the very first thing i would do is hire Ralph as a consultant," Land said. "Ralph knows how to do this."

...

"Most evangelicals who know about it, view Ralph as a victim and that he was victimized by Abramoff like so many others," Land said adding, "Conservatives don't have any problem with people making money."

First of all, Reed received his Ph.D in history, not political science.  And secondly, only in the intentionally myopic view of the Religious Right was Reed in any way a "victim" of Jack Abramoff. 

Reed was a knowing participant in Abramoff's scheme to use the Religious Right to protect his client's gambling interest and Reed, as such, went out of his way to conceal the source of that money from his Religious Right allies. 

Abramoff and his colleague Jeff Scanlon called Reed a "bad version of us" and yet, to this day, Reed maintains that he "proud" of the work he did for Abramoff and insists that "it advanced sound public policy."

Hardly the words one would expect from someone who was "victimized by Abramoff."

Right Wing Round-Up

Reed: Cain and Bachmann Will Be The Religious Right's Candidates of Choice

Ralph Reed's "Faith and Freedom Conference & Summit" kicks off on Friday and, as today's New York Times reports, it serves as proof that Reed has been able to shrug off his deep ties to Jack Abramoff and regain his prominence and prestige as a leading Religious Right organizer:

As with the Christian Coalition, this group’s conference roster includes nearly all the likely contenders for the presidential nomination, including former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Herman Cain, a retired businessman, and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, as well as a famous almost-candidate, Donald Trump. There will also be evangelical leaders like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and establishment Republicans like Speaker John A. Boehner and Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman.

...

Many of the retirees gathered here could not even recall who Ralph Reed was, let alone ponder his past. But they loved his message. Weaving together themes of the Tea Party and evangelical Christians, he called the debt crisis a sign that the country has lost sight of its founding moral principles. He said that by working together, fiscal and cultural conservatives can “begin the process of turning the country around.”

Yesterday Reed appeared on The Jordan Sekulow Show to discuss the upcoming conference, during which he predicted that Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain would be the Religious Right's candidates of choice:

Sekulow: Ralph, let me ask you about the field. Has anyone caught your attention that maybe is a name that people aren't talking about enough or that is really exciting social conservative voters?

Reed: It's awfully early, but there are two that I'm hearing on the ground that are really getting a close look. One is Herman Cain, who is a terrific speaker and has a compelling personal testimony in addition to his conservative credentials. And the other is Michele Bachmann.

I think if they both go - and Cain's in and Bachmann looks like she's going to get in - they're both going to do extremely well among this constituency.

Reed then went on the predict that this event was not only going to change the lives of those in attendance, but the life of the nation as well ... which is the same thing he said last year:

Huntsman Signs Up For Faith and Freedom Conference

Republican presidential aspirants continue to flock to Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition. Reed today announced that former Utah governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman will speak to the group’s Conference and Strategy Briefing on June 3rd. Other GOP presidential contenders addressing the gathering include Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain, along with Donald Trump, House GOP leaders John Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan, and numerous Republican congressmen.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition seems to be the restoration of Reed’s Christian Coalition, and he has focused on building a presence in key primary and general election states like Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

Despite Reed’s duplicitous and corrupt background, Republicans persistently seek his support. The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody today profiled the group’s plans for the 2012 election and collaborations with the Tea Party movement:

"We anticipate we're going to knock on over 2 million doors," Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, told CBN News.

"We're going to register between 1 million and 2 million new voters so we're going to add 1 to 2 million new voters," he predicted. "And then we'll end up contacting somewhere between 25 and 40 million voters."



The Faith & Freedom Coalition doesn't just focus on social issues. Leaders know that fiscal concerns are huge and will be a major priority but they don't plant to co-opt the Tea Party movement.

"We're saying to them you need to continue to be who you are as Tea Party leaders," conservative strategist Gary Marx told CBN News. "At the same time, there are areas where we can work together and be allied -- like the example of cutting abortion funding for groups like Planned Parenthood," he said.

Right Wing Leftovers

Reed's Infatuation With Trump Continues

For the last several weeks, Ralph Reed has been announcing the latest additions to his upcoming "Faith & Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing" next month. 

He's been racking up a who's who of Republican and conservative leaders ... but today he made the biggest announcement yet:

I am pleased to announce that business leader, television star, best-selling author, and potential presidential candidate, Donald Trump is confirmed to address the Faith and Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing in Washington, D.C., on June 4th.

It is good to see that Trump's oafish behavior of late has not soured the Republican establishment on him or dampened their willingness to be seen with him in any way.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Texas Governor Rick Perry has issued a proclamation urging residents to pray for rain.
  • Read through this and tell me exactly where Ralph Reed "takes on the liberal media."
  • FRC is mobilizing activists to urge the Supreme Court to accept the case of Davenport v. American Atheists.
  • Speaking of FRC, Peter Sprigg is upset with proposed curriculum in Maryland that doesn't show gays as perverted miserable freaks.
  • Know how the Religious Right is always going on about European countries are shutting down the rights of Christians?
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Ken Hutcherson: "The Babylonian empire failed, the Persian Empire failed, the Greek Empire failed, and the Roman Empire was dispersed when the people failed to remember what made them great. The common denominator for the failure of all these world powers was the breakdown of the family." Really?  I'd really like to see some documentation for this claim.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Speaker John Boehner announced that Paul Clement will defend DOMA and NOM is very happy.
  • It was reported that Donald Trump talked to Ralph Reed about running his campaign, but Reed says that is not so.
  • Right-wingers don't care when Glenn Beck spews crazy nonsense all day ... but they do care when he steals their crazy nonsense and doesn't give them credit.
  • Yet another member of Congress - Tim Huelskamp - has no qualms about joining Bryan Fischer on his radio program.
  • Mat Staver thinks it is perfectly okay for Nevada to ban those who do not "have a religious affiliation" from performing marriages.
  • Finally, is anyone surprised that The Oak Initiative eventually took a turn toward Birtherism?
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Ralph Reed Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/19/2014, 11:00am
Pat Robertson’s protégé Ralph Reed, who formerly ran Robertson’s Christian Coalition and now leads the Faith & Freedom Coalition, appeared on the 700 Club today to discuss his new book, “Awakening.” Reed said that after the GOP’s defeat in the 2012 election, he realized that the United States can only “turn around” and return to greatness if the Religious Right rises into a powerful political force as it did in the 1980s. Robertson added that Reed’s book seems to take “a page out of my playbook” from his 1988... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/18/2014, 5:36pm
David Edwards @ Raw Story: Ralph Reed: Making divorce harder for women is a ‘better solution’ than food stamps. Evan McMurry @ Mediaite: Tea Party Rep. Shuts Door in Reporter’s Face over Spending Questions. Laura Bassett @ Huffington Post: GOP Lawmaker Says Sick Leave, Equal Pay Bills Make Women 'Look Like Whiners.' Dylan Scott @ TPM: Louisiana Public School Finds Out It Can't Force Christianity On Students. John M. Becker @ The Bilerico Project: Uganda's First Lady: Gays Don't Exist Because Cows. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/18/2014, 4:35pm
Anti-gay activist Ralph Reed of the Faith & Freedom Coalition stopped by former congressman J.D. Hayworth’s NewsMax show, “America’s Forum,” today to warn that “bigotry against evangelical Christians is the last acceptable form of bigotry left in the country.” Fittingly, Pat Robertson’s protégé made the comments after Hayworth delivered a rant about how Muslim-Americans are supposedly imposing Sharia law in Minnesota. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/12/2014, 1:51pm
After delivering his remarks at CPAC, Ralph Reed sat down with the PolitiChicks to discuss the lack of attention given to social issues like gay marriage or abortion at the conference. Reed said it was unfortunate that these issues did not receive more attention not only at CPAC but from Republican candidates in general "because I think they're winning issues." These sorts of social issues "never go away," Reed said, so any Republican running for office needs to just "plant your feet, stand and fight, and make it clear where you stand." What is particularly... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/10/2014, 5:34pm
Sarah Posner @ Politico: The Movie the Faithful Want You to See. Jeremy Hooper: FRC Sr. Vice President: Gayness 'leads to the withering of the soul and the erosion of society.' Mariah Blake @ Mother Jones: Meet the American Pastor Behind Uganda's Anti-Gay Crackdown. Andy Towle @ Towleroad: Ralph Reed: Conservatives Can't Put the Gay Marriage Genie 'Back in the Bottle.' David Weigel @ Slate: Steve Stockman’s Awesome Hot Tub Party. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/07/2014, 3:20pm
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right. This week, here at Right Wing Watch we have been monitoring the Conservative Political Action Conference, the American Conservative Union’s annual summit that has been packed with typical right-wing blustering over taxes, Benghazi, Ronald Reagan, not to mention plenty of good old fashioned anti-government conspiracy theories: 5) Wayne LaPierre’s American Nightmare NRA head Wayne LaPierre told CPAC attendees yesterday that “political and media elites... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/07/2014, 12:50pm
Speaking at CPAC, today, Ralph Reed defended Louisiana’s constitutionally dubious voucher program -- which the Department of Justice warned was resegregating schools -- by comparing President Obama to notorious segregationist George Wallace. The Faith and Freedom Coalition head told CPAC today that Obama was harming black children and lifted from the spiritual “Go Down, Moses,” to tell Obama: “Let those children go!” Reed also chastised “left-wing bullies” for defeating Arizona’s right-to-discriminate bill and completely misrepresented the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/11/2014, 3:24pm
It looks as if right-wing grifter Ralph Reed has a new book coming out soon entitled "Awakening: How America Can Turn from Moral and Economic Destruction Back to Greatness." In an effort to promote the book, Reed has filmed a series of short videos highlighting different aspects of the topics covered in his book, including one that purports to reveal with "real" Barack Obama, whom Reed met back in 1997 when they both served on a Harvard working group tasked with studying "civil engagement and social capital." Reed says his participation in that working group was... MORE >