Florida

Perry Names Stemberger Co-Chair Of Leadership Team For FL GOP Event

Last week we noted that John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council was hinting that he was going to be endorsing Rick Perry for President, despite the fact that Michele Bachmann had recently headlined a fundraising event for his organization.

Today, the Perry campaign issued a press release announcing that Stemberger would be serving as co-chair of his leadership team for the upcoming Florida Presidency 5 event:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry today announced his leadership team for Presidency 5 (P5), with Speaker Dean Cannon serving as chairman. Gov. Perry will participate in Florida P5 this week, including the P5 debate, CPAC and straw poll in Orlando, Fla.

...

In addition to Speaker Cannon, conservative activists John Stemberger and Pam Olsen will serve as co-chairs.

Stemberger was Chairman of the Florida4Marriage.org campaign which outlawed marriage equality in Florida in 2008 and was deeply involved in the Rifqa Bary saga in 2009.  In fact, his actions during the Bary case resulted in Stemberger eventually facing misconducted charges and a ten million dollar lawsuit, though the complaint was eventually dismissed and the lawsuit was dropped.

In addition to being a Religious Right activist, Stemberger is also a personal injury attorney who has, in this capacity, put forth some rather novel legal arguments:

An attorney suing Dollar Rent-A-Car has apologized for filing a lawsuit that characterized the Irish as hopelessly tethered to pubs and pints and unfit to drive the highways of America.

John Stemberger admitted he made a mistake and promised Wednesday to rewrite the negligence lawsuit he filed in March.

The suit was filed on behalf of the family of Carmel Elizabeth Cunningham, an Irish woman who was killed last year when her boyfriend, Sean McGrath, crashed their rental car. He is also Irish.

Prosecutors say McGrath, 33, was drunk at the time of the crash and have charged him with manslaughter. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

In the suit, Stemberger claimed Dollar "knew or should have known about the unique cultural and ethnic customs existing in Ireland which involve the regular consumption of alcohol at `Pubs' as a major component to Irish social life.''

He went on to charge that Dollar "knew or should have known that Sean McGrath would have a high propensity to drink alcohol.''

Update:  Sarah Posner reports that the other co-chair, Pam Olsen, is a Cindy Jacobs associate and the founder of the Tallahassee International House of Prayer:

Olsen founded the Tallahassee International House of Prayer after she "received a prophetic word through Cindy Jacobs that God was going to use her as a mighty weapon against the enemy through the prayer movement and that He was going to raise up a physical location that would be a place of refuge for people, pastors and missionaries to come and pray."

Stemberger To Endorse Perry Because Bachmann Not A Realistic, Viable Candidate

Last month we noted that Michele Bachmann was headlining a fundraising event for the Florida Family Policy Council where she received the organization's William Wilberforce Award.

But just because the FFPC thinks Bachmann is a hero for her willingness to stand "firm for principles of life, marriage or family in the face of opposition," that apparently doesn't translate into support for her presidential campaign as FFPC president John Stemberger is announcing his pending support for Rick Perry because Bachmann is just not a realistic or viable candidate ... and Mitt Romney "wasn’t Mormon enough":

Florida evangelical leader John Stemberger is a step away from endorsing Rick Perry for president, a big coup for the Texas governor and a loss for fellow Republican Michele Bachmann. Stemberger's likely endorsement follows some top-level Perry staff hires.

"We really like Michele Bachmann She has stellar credentials when it comes to our issues. She is an amazing woman. Our primary drive is principle and the issues," Stemberger said. "But we also have to be realistic, pragmatically, and determine who’s viable."

Stemberger said that meant he and the Florida Family Policy Council, which has an email list of about 65,000 Florida evangelical voters, had two choices.

"This is a two man race between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. And there’s a growing consensus among evangelical leaders and, to some degree, among those in the tea party and pro-life Catholics that Rick Perry is the most trustworthy candidate on our issues," Stemberger said.

"There are too many trust issues with Mitt Romney," he continued. "The issue not that he is a Mormon. The issue is that he wasn’t Mormon enough. If he had been consistent with traditional Mormon values his whole career, that would make me feel a lot more comfortable about where he’s coming from. Perry is a lot more solid on our issues."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Michele Bachmann spoke at the Florida Family Policy Council awards banquet last night where she received the organization's "William Wilberforce Award."
  • Rick Joyner says "the Obama’s extravagant lifestyle at the expense of taxpayers is far out of bounds, especially with the hard times so many are going through now."
  • NOM continues to lose in its effort to flout disclosure laws.
  • Religious Right activists are threatening to sue if they are prevented from praying at Ground Zero on 9/10, even though they have no reason to think that they will be.
  • You know your movie is bad if you are reduced to sending out press releases announcing that someone drove three hours in bad weather to see it.
  • Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann will all be attending the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Kick-Off Rally on Sept. 22.

Right Wing Round-Up

CGBG Helps Finance Rabidly Anti-Gay Liberty Counsel

Since the Charity Give Back Group was forced to defend its financing of right-wing organizations like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, spokesman Kevin McCullough (who himself has propagated virulent anti-gay rhetoric) has stated that the campaign to have companies withdraw from the CGBG represents bullying. Tony Perkins, the president of the FRC, even said it was an attempt to “censor” Christians. After Apple dropped out of the CGBG, which was previously known as the Christian Values Network, McCullough told The Christian Post, “We're not asking Apple to embrace our position or the other side's position. We just want them to stay neutral,” and the FRC is calling on activists to tell companies to “remain neutral in the current cultural battles.”

But by indirectly assisting the FRC and Focus on the Family, two of the major ‘culture war’ players, companies listed in the CGBG’s virtual mall are inadvertently finding themselves anything but ‘neutral’ parties. Both groups are heavily involved in the electoral politics and lobbying, which makes it difficult to consider them purely charitable organizations. FRC is one of the most prominent Religious Right advocacy groups in Washington D.C., and Focus on the Family has a policy arm (CitizenLink) dedicated to political activism. If companies really wanted to ‘remain neutral in the current cultural battles,’ that is more reason to drop out of the CGBG’s list.

While FRC and Focus have received the most attention, another group listed as an affiliated organization is Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel is a sister organization of Liberty University and Liberty Action, part of the network established by the late Jerry Falwell. Liberty Counsel’s Liberty Alerts depict their legal victories as “Gaining Ground in the Culture War,” and the head of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver, wrote a book called Take Back America that he descried a Liberty Action flyer called “an Invaluable Resource to Help Win the Intensifying Culture War!” Staver’s deputy at Liberty Counsel Matt Barber even described liberalism as “hatred for God” and demanded President Obama’s impeachment for providing family benefits to federal employees in domestic partnerships. Most recently, they defended Lisa Miller, who kidnapped her daughter and fled the country to escape a court order granting her former partner custody of the child, and the Florida teacher who used his Facebook to post anti-gay messages. Like FRC and Focus, Liberty Counsel consistently propagates the most stringent anti-gay rhetoric.

Barber has argued that marriage equality is “rebellion against God,” held that gay and lesbian youth who commit suicide do it because they intuitively know homosexuality is “immoral” and called anti-bullying programs part of a “a homosexual activist political indoctrination agenda.” Such anti-gay rhetoric is extremely similar to that used of the FRC and Focus. The FRC’s Perkins claimed that homosexuality is “man shaking his fist in the face of God” and said that gay and lesbian children are likely to commit suicide because they “recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal.” Focus on the Family led the push against anti-bullying programs across the country, calling them efforts “to promote homosexuality to kids.”

Liberty Counsel and the FRC also defended Malawi’s law that criminalizes homosexuality and attacked American efforts to alter it.

Despite right-wing criticisms of the pressure campaign on companies tied to the CGBG, Liberty Counsel launched their own pressure campaign against schools that allowed students to participate in the ‘Day of Silence,’ which protested anti-gay bullying. Liberty Counsel also conducts an annual campaign against companies that they believe are supposedly undermining Christians, and Staver calls on customers to “shop elsewhere” if the store is not seen as sufficiently respectful of Christmas.

Liberty Counsel even joined forces with the militantly anti-gay Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Illinois Family Institute, and the American Family Association to launch a boycott and pressure campaign against McDonalds after it made a donation to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Barber lashed out at McDonalds for working with “militant homosexual activists” in front of their company headquarters.

Who else supported the boycott and pressure campaign against McDonalds?

Why, none other than the Family Research Council, which supported the boycott against McDonalds and lauded “McDonald’s agreement to stop financing the homosexual agenda.”

Now, will FRC and its allies please stop complaining that pressure campaigns against companies represent “discrimination” and the undue influence of ‘cultural battles’ into the corporate world? Probably not.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Florida school teacher Jerry Buell has been reinstated after posting anti-gay marriage remarks on his Facebook page. But that probably won't be the end of the Religious Right's crusade about it.
  • Tony Perkins says the Religious Right would be pretty happy with any of the GOP frontrunners. I highly doubt that is true regarding Mitt Romney.
  • Rick Perry has signed the Susan B. Anthony's anti-choice pledge.
  • Another day, another piece dismissing dominionism devoid of any research whatsoever.
  • The defamation claim against John Stemberger over statements he made while representing Rifqa Bary has been dropped.
  • Finally, Peter LaBarbera thinks that Fox News is pro-gay because it is "based in New York City, which is a gay Mecca."

Bachmann To Address FL Group Responsible For Gay-Marriage Amendment

John Stemberger is a leading Religious Right activist in Florida.  He was deeply involved in the Rifqa Bary saga and also serves as the President of the Florida Family Policy Council, which was the organization behind the successful 2008 Florida For Marriage effort to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing marriage equality in the state.

On Saturday night, Michele Bachmann will be the keynote speaker at FFPC's 6th Annual Policy Awards Dinner:

We hope you will be able to join us for our Florida Family Policy Council, 6th Annual Policy Awards Dinner on August 27, 2011 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando

In addition to celebrating the amazing and historic pro-life, pro-family victories achieved recently in Florida, and announcing exciting new developments here at your FFPC, you are sure to enjoy hearing from U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, our special Keynote Speaker!

Recently, I had the opportunity to personally experience hearing Congresswoman Bachmann speak in a live forum. I was so impressed, that I wanted you to have the opportunity to hear from her personally as well. (There is nothing like being there in person!)

This year’s theme is “Igniting A Cultural Transformation” and I can’t think of a time in our history when it was needed more!

If Bachmann doesn't want to talk about "fringe" issues like gay marriage on the campaign trail because she doesn't judge people, perhaps she shouldn't be keynoting events for Religious Right groups that dedicated to fighting "fringe" issues like gay marriage.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • When something appears as a WorldNetDaily exclusive, you know that it is important and that you can trust the reporting.
  • Hey, remember when Scott Lively was going to give up his anti-gay activism? So much for that.
  • It turns out that the recent Traditional Values Coalition attacks on wasteful spending were totally misleading. Who would have guessed?
  • Looks like the next Awakening conference will be in Florida instead of at Liberty U.
  • Bryan Fischer defends Rick Perry.
  • Finally, quote of the day from Gary Bauer: "Men and women of faith cannot sit on the sidelines while the culture war rages on. Homosexuality is out of the closet and the tyrants of tolerance are trying to force anyone who believes in traditional values into the closet."

Tim Pawlenty's Short-Lived Post-Straw Poll Bravado

On Sunday, after a disappointing defeat in Iowa's Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty withdrew from the presidential race, saying that "the audience, so to speak, wanted something different." What Iowa Republicans want, at least according to the straw poll results, is Michele Bachmann, who many pundits agreed had bested Pawlenty in a harsh exchange at last week's GOP debate. Just hours before he dropped out of the race, Pawlenty's campaign emailed supporters with a claim that he was eager to continue the fight, a fundraising pitch, a new video title "The American Comeback Begins," and a bravado that seems to have lasted about 12 hours:

Hello Friends -

I want to congratulate Congresswoman Bachmann on her victory in today's straw poll. I'm also very proud of the work my campaign has done, and I appreciate their hard work. As I've said all along, we needed to show progress to do well, and we did just that. This is a long process to restore America -- we are just beginning, and I'm eager for the campaign.

I'm encouraged by our progress, and I'm so thankful for the thousands of Iowans who showed their support for my candidacy by voting for me in Ames. Don't miss my remarks at the straw poll earlier today including our latest video
 
We are now moving onto the next phase of our campaign. Over the coming weeks we will be visiting New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida while continuing to grow our already strong ground game in Iowa.
 
Mary and I will never forget your continued support, words of encouragement, and friendship. But we need YOUR help to take the message that resonated in Iowa to the rest of the country. Can I count on you for a special “Victory Contribution” of $25, $50, $100 or even $250, to commemorate our strong showing in Ames?
 
We’ve completed an important first step on the road to the Republican nomination and, ultimately, the White House.  We can’t do it alone, and I need your support to continue the journey.

 
Sincerely,


Tim Pawlenty

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • GOProud has reportedly been dumped by CPAC, though the group insists that it has not officially been informed.
  • WorldNetDaily continues to promote "The Pink Swastika."
  • Harry Jackson and Tony Perkins complain that when the government helps those in need, it robs Christians of an opportunity to evangelize.
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott will not attend "The Response" but will send a video message.
  • Bryan Fischer is disappointed in Herman Cain for apologizing for his anti-Muslim statements.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Florida Independent: Florida Family Policy Council To Host Bachmann At Annual Policy Awards Dinner.
  • Good-As-You: Maggie Not Even Faking It Anymore: NOM Is Essentially A Religious Group.
  • Note: We will be attending an all staff retreat tomorrow afternoon (7/28) but will be back on Friday.

Author of ‘Anti-Christian’ DHS Report on Right-Wing Extremism is a Conservative, Anti-Choice Gun Owner

The Religious Right loves manufacturing controversies that “prove” the victimization of Christians in the United States. When NBC left the words “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance in the broadcast of a golf tournament, Religious Right groups jumped to proclaim that the network was in the pocket of God-hating liberalism. When an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery included an image of Christ’s suffering made by a gay artist, the Religious Right called it “hate speech” and got the work of art pulled.

Recently, we’ve been reminded of one of these made-up controversies that may have more sinister consequences. In 2009, a Department of Homeland Security report on the threat of violent right-wing extremists was leaked. The report dealt exclusively with violent racist and anti-government groups – your Timothy McVeighs and Hutaree militias – but the Religious Right saw an opportunity to play the victim and do some fundraising. Groups including the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and the American Center for Law and Justice labeled the report an attack on American Christians, ginned themselves up some allies in Congress, and ultimately got the report pulled. (But not before Liberty Counsel had a chance to print up some “I’m Proud to be a Right Wing Extremist” membership cards).

Now, the main author of the DHS report, who left his job after the fallout from the controversy made it “difficult to get any work accomplished,” is speaking out. Daryl Johnson tells California State University’s Brian Levin that he is a gun-owning, anti-choice Republican Mormon who started work on the report under the Bush Administration. And he’s worried that the manufactured controversy over the report continues to hinder DHS’s ability to combat violent right-wing extremism:

Do you have any political antagonism towards conservatives, military veterans or religious people?
Absolutely not. I am a conservative. I'm married, have children and am a lifetime third generation registered Republican. I have military veterans in my extended family. I'm also a Mormon. I respect people of all faiths. I feel so strongly about our religious freedoms, that I served two years as a missionary for my church.

Would you consider yourself prolife?
Yes. I believe in the sanctity of life including the preborn.

Do you support a broad right to individual gun ownership by competent non-felons?
Yes, I am a gun owner myself and enjoy target shooting and experienced game hunting in my youth.

Why interview now?
Obviously, I couldn't discuss this with the media while employed at DHS. It took me a year after leaving to finally decide that this was truly the right thing to do. I also wanted to give DHS adequate time to determine whether or not it wanted to reconstitute the domestic non-Islamic terrorism effort. It never did.
Since Obama took office, there have been nearly twenty extremist rightwing attacks and plots, including the killing of almost a dozen police officers in six separate attacks. There have also been militia plots in places like Alaska and Michigan that targeted government officials such as a judge and police. Package bombs were mailed in the DC area. In recent months we had three sovereign citizen related shootings in Florida, Arizona and Texas.

How many people worked on your team?
Six worked directly for me with two others in support roles.

How many analysts at DHS worked Muslim extremism issues?
A: In 2008, there were close to 40. A year later that number had decreased to around 25. There were additional analysts working other topics such as critical infrastructure, border security and weapons of mass destruction.

How does the threat from radical Muslim extremists in the U.S. compare with that of right wing domestic extremists?
During the past 10 years there have been five successful attacks in the U.S. by Muslim extremists, but in the last three years there have been 20 attacks attributed to domestic right wing extremists and the number of fatalities is about equal between the two. There were more firearms possessed by the Hutaree [an alleged extremist] militia than by all 200 of the Muslim extremists arrested in the U.S. since 9/11.

What happened at DHS as a result of the criticism?
My team was dissolved. All training courses and briefings presentations were stopped. DHS leaders made it increasingly difficult to release another report on this topic.
Why would DHS leaders dissolve your team and stop these analytic activities?
The subject had become too politically charged. As a result, DHS leaders adopted a risk adverse approach toward this issue. Perhaps they thought it was a matter of organizational preservation.

Do you think the dissolution of your unit that you discuss has negatively affected State and local law enforcement?
Certainly. There is one less agency to assist state and local law enforcement with this growing and dangerous problem at a time of heightened activity.

Why did you leave DHS?
I could no longer effectively do my job. New processes made it increasingly difficult to get any work accomplished.

Have the conditions which affected your conclusions changed since the report was issued?
No. The factors have remained the same - the economy remains sluggish and uncertain; unemployment hovers around 10 percent nationally; Obama is still President; and the 2010 Census results show a changing demographic in America shifting away from a predominantly Caucasian nation.

Has the leak had a chilling effect on the analyst community?
Within the intelligence community at-large, I don't think so. Inside the Department of Homeland Security, I believe it did. Other DHS analysts saw what happened to us - saw leadership backing away from supporting the report and those responsible for writing it. Many left the agency as a result.

 

Tea Party Nation: President Obama Is Just Like Casey Anthony

Tea Party Nation’s Alan Caruba believes that President Obama and Casey Anthony, the Florida mom who was acquitted last week of murdering her infant daughter, have a lot more common than most people think. While discussing the fact that Anthony was a single mother and Obama was raised by a single mother, Caruba alleges that “common to both Ms. Anthony and the President is the persistent and blatant telling of lies.” Caruba, a strident opponent of gay rights and marriage equality, also linked the Anthony murder trial to the legalization of same-sex marriage, growing secularization, and having a “society that allows sexual deviants to parade in our streets and preach their lifestyle in our schoolrooms.” He writes:

Casey Anthony, the mother of a toddler whose body was stuffed into a bag and tossed into a swamp, will walk free in a day or so. A jury was unable to conclude that the abandoned body, its face covered in duck tape, was murdered. There wasn’t, they insisted, enough “proof” even though the child’s mother did not report her to be either dead or missing, and then lied to family, friends, and law enforcement authorities until the body was recovered.



We have gone from a preponderance of traditional two-parent families to a scandal of single-parent “families” and Casey Anthony was just one of many such single mothers. No one knows who the father is.

It is not a stretch to point out that President Obama was the son of a divorced, teen-aged mother, who remarried, divorced again, and abandoned her child to the care of her parents. The President experienced trauma and dislocation throughout all of his formative years. Why should we not conclude that it seriously affected him? To this day, his mother-in-law lives in the White House to provide a measure of care for his two daughters.

Common to both Ms. Anthony and the President is the persistent and blatant telling of lies.



It does not take much prescience or insight to conclude that Casey Anthony will come to a bad end. It’s just a matter of time.

America is heading in a bad direction, too. Do we have time to turn around a wounded society that allows sexual deviants to parade in our streets and preach their lifestyle in our schoolrooms?

Do we have time to end the practice of same-sex marriages?

Do we have time to put an end to all the calls that any symbol of the Christian and Jewish faiths be removed from public display, any mention of God or any prayer in public meetings be silenced?

Tea Party Nation's Anti-Gay Campaign Continues, Group Likens Gays To Drug Addicts

On Friday we reported on the anti-gay diatribe by Tea Party Nation’s Alan Caruba, who asserted that “the queering of America” is “one more factor in the destruction of America.” The tea party group is now pushing another attack on gays and lesbians, this time from Rich Swier, an activist with TPN and the anti-Muslim group ACT! For America, who previously warned that the U.S. is facing white “extinction.” In a post sent to TPN members, Swier rails against a Florida group that introduced an anti-bullying initiative, arguing that being gay is just like being a drug addict and that the bullying of LGBT youth is a “sham,” because “this is not bullying. It is peer pressure and is healthy”:

Gulf Coast Gives is working to raise funds to bring homosexual activist Hudson Taylor to Sarasota, FL. According to their website:

"77% of all bullying victims are picked on due to sexual orientation, gender identity, or the perception of either. LGBT youth are up to five times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts. ALSO Out Youth is the only LGBT youth organization serving both Sarasota and Manatee Counties, providing advocacy, leadership, support, and outreach since 1992. Please support ALSO in bringing Hudson Taylor to Sarasota. Hudson, an outstanding athlete, is a committed LGBT advocate and founder of Athlete Ally."

The problem is the entire bullying campaign is a sham created by radical gay activist Kevin Jennings. Jennings is the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). As MassResistance.org reports, "The homosexual movement in the public schools has always been based on lies and deception. But until the mid-1990s, they were still having difficulty getting into the schools. Then they found the key to their huge success -- what they call 're-framing the issue'".



This is not bullying. It is peer pressure and is healthy. There are many bad behaviors such as smoking, under age drinking and drug abuse that are behaviors that cannot be condoned. Homosexuality falls into this category. Homosexuality is simply bad behavior that youth see as such and rightly pressure their peers to stop it. In Sarasota County over 70% of all HIV/AIDS cases are due to male sex with males.

I agree with Gulf Coast Gives that "LGBT youth are up to five times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts". Homosexuality, like drugs, harms young people if they experement [sic] with it. That is the greatest tragedy.

Right Wing Round-Up

Religious Right Intensifies The Fight Against Gay-Straight Alliances

After Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent a letter declaring that Gay-Straight Alliances and similar groups are protected under the 1984 Equal Access Law, which was passed with the help of Religious Right activists, the Religious Right was unsurprisingly enraged. Many anti-gay organizations forcefully oppose the creation of such clubs, and the Family Research Council even urged schools to encourage clubs that support ex-gay therapy. Now, American Principles In Action (APIA) is denouncing Duncan’s letter as a threat to “the innocence” of children.

APIA is the political arm of the American Principles Project, an anti-gay group that is best known for launching the boycott of the Conservative Political Action Conference over the participation of GOProud and the alleged sidelining of the social conservatives. Even though APIA took on leading conservative groups with its CPAC boycott, recently presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum signed up for their Iowa “Tea Party Bus Tour.”

In a statement, the APIA charged Secretary Duncan with bullying for supporting students who want to form clubs that actively fight school bullying and harassment. The group instead claimed that it was part of the Obama Administration’s “sexual agenda” and need to “pander to the gay lobby,” requesting the Supreme Court overrule the decision:

Today, American Principles in Action (APIA) criticized Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan for another attempt to bully local schools into accepting the Administration’s sexual agenda. On June 14, he sent a “Dear Colleague” letter notifying schools across the country that they are prohibited from denying the formation of “Queer-Straight” and “Gay-Straight” Alliance groups.

“This is a situation where local school boards have been making their own decisions about how to protect the students entrusted to their care,” said Andy Blom, Executive Director of APIA. “It is simply unacceptable for Sec. Duncan to push local school districts around and force them to accept their sexual agenda, especially when case law is so conflicted on the issue.”

In his letter, Secretary Duncan backed up his decision by citing a July 2008 decision made in Gonzalez vs. School Board of Okeechobee County where a Florida federal judge prohibited the local school board from preventing a Gay-Straight Alliance Group from forming under the Equal Protection Act.



“What we really need is for the Supreme Court to weigh in to protect the ability of local school districts to manage the innocence of their children without interference from federal courts,” said Blom. “Instead, Sec. Duncan has used yet another opportunity to pander to the gay lobby. It is time for the Supreme Court and Congress to step forward and reign in this overaggressive Department of Education.”

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott is meeting with the Council for National Policy.
  • Sarah Palin says she has the "fire in the belly" needed to run for president, which I translate as means "people please pay attention to me."
  • It seems that God just didn't want Mike Huckabee to run for president.
  • Finally, John Stemberger reports that the Florida Bar has dismissed the complaint that was brought against him over his representation of Rifqa Bary.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 5/17/11

Michele Bachmann

2012: More likely to run for president following Mike Huckabee's decision against running (CBS News, 5/16). 

Constitution: High school student challenges her to a debate on the Constitution as a result of her record of making incorrect statements (Minnesota Independent, 5/13). 

Herman Cain

Georgia: Wins praise for speech at Georgia GOP convention (Southern Political Report, 5/16). 

Florida: Tops field in Fort Lauderdale Tea Party straw poll (Sunshine State News, 5/16). 

Mitch Daniels

Reproductive Rights: Signs law defunding Planned Parenthood that costs thousands their health care, state millions of dollars (The Faster Times, 5/16).

2012: Members of Indiana Republican Party encourage Daniels to run during state convention (AP, 5/13).

Religious Right: Anti-choice activists upset Daniels weighed Condoleezza Rice as a running mate because she is pro-choice (Life News, 5/13). 

GOP: Reports say that Governors Haley Barbour, Chris Christie and Scott Walker would endorse Daniels (CBS News, 5/12). 

Newt Gingrich

Religious Right: Denies advisers' links to Dominionist theology (RWW, 5/16).

Medicare: Describes Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare as "right wing social engineering" but previously said he would've voted for it (Think Progress, 5/16). 

Health Care: Makes inconsistent remarks over his past support for health care insurance mandates (Politico, 5/16). 

Iowa: Will make swing through Iowa this week following official announcement (Dubuque Telegraph Herald, 5/15). 

Jon Huntsman

Religious Right: Set to address Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition (RWW, 5/16).

South Carolina: Huckabee's former state campaign chair announces his support for Huntsman (Politico, 5/16). 

Florida: Meets with key donors in Florida (St. Petersburg Times, 5/11). 

Roy Moore

Religious Right: Claims President Obama is "pushing his own immoral values without regard to what the people think or believe" (WND, 5/16). 

Campaign: Launches website for exploratory committee (RoyMoore2012.com).

Sarah Palin

PAC: Embarks on new direct mail campaign with focus on 2012 election (WaPo, 5/16). 

2012: Supporters hope that Huckabee's announcement will create an opening for Palin (Commentary, 5/16). 

Tim Pawlenty

South Carolina: Hires political director for South Carolina primary (The Hill, 5/17). 

Environment: Continues to apologize for past support of ‘cap and trade’ system (Minnesota Post, 5/17).

Mitt Romney

Fundraising: Raises over $10 million on Monday call-day in Las Vegas (WaPo, 5/17). 

Health Care: Defends state health plan that is analogous to federal health care law (NYT, 5/13). 

Rick Santorum

Medicare: Criticizes Gingrich for attacking Paul Ryan’s Medicare privatization proposal (The Hill, 5/16). 

Health Care: Knocks Romney for defending his Massachusetts health care law (The State Column, 5/13).

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.
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