Iowa

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Progressive Organizations Criticize King for Targeting Muslims.
     
  • Mark Potok @ Hatewatch: Why Are Peter King’s Hearings So Loathsome? Let Us Count the Ways.
     
  • Nick @ Bold Faith Type: King Witness Attacked Congressman Ellison as Complicit in Terrorist Conspiracy.
     
  • Tyler Kingkade @ Iowa Independent: Ralph Reed: Marriage rights will not be deciding factor in GOP caucus.
     
  • Towleroad: Newt Gingrich Discusses Participation in Ousting Pro-Equality Iowa Supreme Court Justices Over Marriage Equality.
     
  • Joe.My.God: KANSAS: Lawmakers Call For Continued Criminalization Of LGBT Residents.
     
  • Evan Hurst @ Truth Wins Out: Racist, Homophobic Screed Published on Tennessee City Councilman’s Blog.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The LA Times perfectly sums up last night's Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event: "The candidates essentially pledged the same thing, with a few variations in language and emphasis: defending marriage as a covenant between man and woman; curbing abortion; slashing the federal deficit; and shifting power away from Washington in favor of state and local governments."
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  • Supporters of Fred Grandy, aka Gopher, claim some nefarious Muslim conspiracy to silence him has cost him his radio show.
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  • Phyllis Schlafly sure does find the oddest things to get worked up about.
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  • Rep. Michele Bachmann says she'll decide about running for president by summer. Could we really be so lucky?
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  • Reminder: Peter LaBarbera doesn't like acceptance of gays.
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  • Finally, Sarah Palin will speak at an "Extraordinary Women Conference" at Liberty University in October.

Religious Right Group Says Anti-Bullying Programs Will "Homosexualize" Children

Rick Green of WallBuilders hosted Elizabeth Swanson of the Protect Kids Foundation, a virulently anti-gay group that opposes programs to protect children from bullying and harassment in schools. Like other groups such as Focus on the Family, the California Family Council, Mission America, and the Family Research Council, the so-called Protect Kids Foundation claims that gay-rights proponents “indoctrinating kids to accept and adopt LGBT lifestyles, starting in kindergarten.” David Barton, the head of WallBuilders, himself said that public school students “are getting homosexual indoctrination” and manufacturing the bullying problem.

According to the Protect Kids Foundation, gay-rights advocates are “obsessed with power” and “are determined to transform schools, kids, and culture into their hedonistic vision of a new utopian America…radically transforming society by using our children as pawns for social change.” The organization believes that the immense bullying faced by students who are gay or perceived as gay in schools is not a significant issue, accusing supporters of anti-bullying policies of “fabricating an issue and claiming victim status to gain power” and “indoctrinating impressionable school children.” In their words, the establishment of anti-bullying programs “stigmatizes the normal and normalizes what has for centuries been deemed deviant” and somehow takes away the rights of heterosexuals who don’t support attempts to “homosexualize their children”:

The civil rights issue actually runs in favor of the estimated 96% of the population who are not homosexual. Having LGBT activists homosexualize their children will trample upon their civil rights. For the first time in our history, America is faced with a powerful movement that defines its alleged “rights” in terms of the deprivation of the fundamental rights of others. As a result, the homosexual movement is depriving other Americans of civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Swanson told Green on WallBuilders Live that people should “reclaim” the word 'homophobic,' which she believes, has unfairly become a “pejorative” and a “racial epithet.”

Rick, you said a very key word, 'tolerance,' that we're going to teach tolerance. But the redefinitions of the words go even further. So when you look at the definitions that GLSEN has put forward, there’s a document called Tackling LGBT Issues in the Schools, and it’s a document prepared jointly by GLSEN and Planned Parenthood. And interestingly, the definition that they use of the word “homophobe,” “homophobia” or a “homophobic level of attitude,” which is a word I do not normally use because that word in itself was created by an activist who wanted to get back at people that were disagreeing with homosexuality as a moral good. So to me the term is a pejorative term, a racial epithet if you would, that should not be used because you’re basically name calling people right there if you say ‘Oh, they’re homophobic,’ so that’s a word that needs to be reclaimed and not used in our every day vernacular when talking about this issue.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 3/8/11

Michele Bachmann

Health Care: Decries secret funding of reform law which wasn't actually a secret (Minnesota Post, 3/7).

Energy: As gas prices rise over Mideast crisis, Bachmann blames Obama (CNN, 3/7).

Religious Right: Invites Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel to her Tea Party Caucus (RWW, 3/4).

Haley Barbour

Campaign: Adds staff to leadership PAC (The Fix, 3/7).

Iowa: Will join Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich and others at conference hosted by Steve King (Des Moines Register, 3/7).

Background: Made millions as a lobbyist for the energy industry, now repeating their arguments (HuffPo, 3/3).

Mitch Daniels

Indiana: Democrats in state legislature lead boycott to protest Daniels's anti-labor agenda (TPM, 3/4).

Religious Right: Richard Land attacks Daniels's truce proposal as "political suicide" (RWW, 3/4).

Newt Gingrich

Campaign: Discusses "confusion" of exploratory committee announcement (Des Moines Register, 3/7).

Obama: Tells Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition that "secular, socialist" Obama administration "cannot represent America" (The Hill, 3/7).

Religious Right: Plans to address Religious Right conferences in Iowa and Liberty University, and meet with controversial pastor John Hagee (RWW, 3/4).

Mike Huckabee

South Carolina: Tells South Carolina crowd on book tour that the state is a must-win primary (The State, 3/8).

Culture: Slams actress Natalie Portman for allegedly glorifying single motherhood (The Week, 3/4).

Obama: Agrees with Bryan Fischer that Obama is anti-American; falsely claims that President Obama grew up in Kenya and then lied in his mea culpa (RWW, 3/2; County Fair, 3/7).

Religious Right: Joins Bachmann, Barbour, Gingrich and pseudo-historian David Barton for a webcast on religion in politics (RWW, 3/2).

Jon Huntsman

Campaign: Top aides meet in New Orleans, set sights on New Hampshire voters (RCP, 3/7).

Obama: Praise from President may damage Huntsman's chances (Salt Lake Tribune, 3/6).

Donors: Supporters of Huntsman paid for video about his work as Ambassador (Politico, 3/3).

Sarah Palin

2012: Says she would run for President if voters are ready for someone who is against "obsessive partisanship" (BBC News, 3/7).

Culture: Picks fight with comedian Kathy Griffin (LA Times, 3/7).

Foreign Affairs: Prepares for trip to India (Politico, 3/6).

Tim Pawlenty

2012: May be GOP front runner due to the "process of elimination" (TNR, 3/8).

Religious Right: Calls on members of Ralph Reed's Iowa group to "take back our country" (CBS News, 3/7).

Minnesota: Keith Ellison says Pawlenty has "no connection" to his roots (Think Progress, 3/4).

Buddy Roemer

Tea Party: Tells Religious Right group, "Thank God for the tea party" (Des Moines Register, 3/7).

Campaign: The former Louisiana governor announces exploratory committee (CBS News, 3/4).

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Massachusetts AG uses Romney's health care policy to defend federal law (Politico, 3/7).

Social issues: After turning hard right on social issues, Romney now wants to downplay them (Salon, 3/7).

Campaign: Produces "restoring hope" video for leadership PAC (Politico, 3/7).

Rick Santorum

Reproductive Rights: Plays-up his career in the anti-choice movement to Ralph Reed's Iowa group (Des Moines Register, 3/7).

Religious Right: Argues in Iowa op-ed that LGBT equality will "eviscerate" freedom (RWW, 3/7).

Reed: It Is Unfair For Conservatives To Be "Judged On Their Past"

Tonight, the Iowa affiliate of Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition is hosting it's "Spring Kick-off Event" featuring Five potential presidential candidates - Herman Cain, Buddy Roemer, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich.

And Reed wants it known that social conservatives have no intention of riding in the "back of the bus":

The Iowa political season is set to kick off with Monday’s Faith and Freedom Coalition forum featuring a slew of potential 2012 hopefuls — an event that group’s national chairman says will show that social issues “shouldn’t ride in the back of the bus” in the Republican primaries.

“This is a reminder that in spite of what the polls say nationally about the most important issues, there are literally tens of millions of grassroots activists within the Republican Party who will play an exaggerated role in the nominating process,” coalition leader Ralph Reed Jr. told POLITICO.

He added that those activists “want to have a nominee who thinks that social [issues] shouldn’t ride in the back of the bus. They want to see... a leader in the party and in the country who can lead on more than one front at the same time.”

Given that Religious Right activist expect to be front and center, you would expect that would be bad news for Gingrich who, with his checkered past, might have some trouble convincing these "family values" activists that he is worthy of their support ... but Reed insists that that is not the case at all:

“I just reject the argument that ... Newt's past would be a liability,” said Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition chief. “I think as long as he’s prepared to confront those challenges and he can do so in an authentic way, people’s (inclination) will be to be forgiving. Who wants to be judged on their past? Everybody has had issues.”

Gee, Reed doesn't think that Religious Right leaders ought to be "judged on their past"?  I wonder why that would be?

Santorum: Obama Will "Eviscerate" Freedom By Supporting Gay Rights

Rick Santorum is set to address Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition in Iowa tonight along with Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, and Buddy Roemer. On Saturday he wrote a guest column for the Des Moines Register where he repeated the same groundless right-wing arguments that marriage equality will lead to the end of religious freedom and that the Obama administration has stopped enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act. In Iowa, a state which has had equal marriage rights since 2009, religious liberty has yet to collapse, as many conservatives predicted. And while the Obama administration found DOMA to be an unconstitutional law that it would no longer defend in court, it will continue to enforce the law. Santorum claims that as a result of Obama’s “power grab,” the “free exercise of religion will be eviscerated,” and also argues that advocates of marriage equality use “hate-filled” rhetoric against their opponents:

In refusing to enforce DOMA, the president was saying a law that was overwhelmingly passed by both Democrats and Republicans, and signed by a Democratic president, was simply no longer valid, no longer constitutional. Usually such actions are the province of the Supreme Court. This was a power grab, and it was wrong at every level. It was also a surprise. President Obama defended the law in the courts for the first half of his term, and said to Rick Warren in 2008, "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman."

Let me first define what we are not talking about. I believe if two adults of the same sex want to have a relationship that is their business. But when they ask society to give that relationship special recognition and privileges, then we should be able to have a rational debate about whether that is good public policy.

We should also ensure the debate takes cognizance of its constitutional implications. And with the President's decision, the free exercise of religion will be eviscerated.


Iowa is on the front-line of this looming battle because its activist Supreme Court redefined marriage to include same sex couples. But for the first time in Iowa history all of the justices up for retention were soundly defeated in November.

Iowans are not alone in standing up for traditional marriage. From Maine to California, 31 times voters were given the opportunity to amend their state constitutions to affirm marriage as it has always been, one man and one woman, and 31 times it has passed.

What is the retort to those who stand for what has been the foundation of every society from the beginning of time? Do they make a reasoned case providing evidence about such things as the effects on children, traditional marriage, faith, school curriculum and public health?

No, sadly there is no reasoned, civil discourse. Civility is only trotted out as a tactic to put the opponent on the defensive, never to actually enlighten. Their game plan is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook. Claim high-minded concepts like "equality" and "tolerance" then launch vile and hate-filled personal attacks intended to strike fear and silence the opposition.

Some have argued this is not the time to wage this fight; that we have to focus solely on the vitally important job of limiting government, reducing the debt and creating jobs and growth. I agree these issues are at the top of our national list, but a big nation can focus on more than one thing at one time, just as men like Jefferson and Madison fought for religious liberties when arguably more consequential issues were occupying the public mind. In the end, it simply will not profit a country to gain wealth and lose its soul.

Gingrich Kicks Of Presidential Exploration By Meeting With John Hagee

Now that Newt Gingrich has launched a presidential exploratory committee, we're going to have to start taking note of the Religious Right leaders with whom he surrounds himself and with whom he meets ... like John Hagee:

Gingrich has at least two trips coming up in Iowa; at both, he will speak to conservative Christian audiences. After speaking at the "Rediscovering God in America" event in Des Moines in late March, Gingrich is expected to travel to San Antonio, where he will speak at the Cornerstone Church, which has a congregation of 19,000.

While there, he is expected to meet with Cornerstone's sometimes-controversial senior pastor, John Hagee. In 2008, Hagee apologized for comments that were considered to be anti-Catholic. Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism two years ago, has been reaching out actively to evangelical pastors for the last two years.

Because that worked out for John McCain so well the last time around.  Maybe after that he can head to Ohio and meet with Rod Parsley.

Right Wing Round-Up

Will Republican Presidential Prospects Address The Iowa Renewal Project?

A little-reported Iowa event may bring together Religious Right leaders and potential Republican presidential candidates for a summit with pastors. Iowa Renewal Project is hosting a “Pastors’ Policy Briefing,” according to The Iowa Independent, that plans to include Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Haley Barbour. The Iowa Renewal Project is one of many state-level “restoration projects” that attempt to organize pastors to support conservative causes and Republican candidates. Most recently, Gingrich and David Barton participated in an event by the Nevada Renewal Project and the American Family Association to mobilize pastors to help Sharron Angle’s unsuccessful Senate bid.

Today, The Iowa Independent uncovered details of a group in Iowa that hopes to connect Republican presidential candidates with not only Iowa pastors but also extreme Religious Right figures such as Don Wildmon, John Stemberger, George Barna, Ken Graves, Jack Hibbs, and Laurence White. Despite the prominence of the attendees, the Iowa Renewal Project like other restoration projects offers little openness or transparency to the public (which might explain why we found out about this event from a letter to pastors, not a press release to the media):

But several rumored Republican candidates will gather in Des Moines later this month for conversations with clergy and congregants, and unlike most events featuring presidential hopefuls, very little is known about exactly who is behind the two-day, all-expenses-paid “Pastors’ Policy Briefing.”

An invitation, stamped with the return address of a West Des Moines UPS Store mailbox, went out this week to Iowa’s faithful. Those who received the call will have an opportunity to hear from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann during a two-day conference at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel on March 24 and 25.

“Meals and lodging are complimentary,” states the invitation, “and will be provided by the Iowa Renewal Project.”

An insert “from the desk of Mike Huckabee,” who addressed the group in 2007, reads:

America and our Judeo Christian heritage is under attack by a force that is more destructive than any threat America has faced in decades. Over the past year, we have been declared to be “not a Christian nation”; a response is necessary from those who believe that while government itself should not establish a faith, our principles are rooted in the notion that we are the result of providence and a dynamic Creator. Defeating the radicals who wish to ignore or revise our history will require renewed resolve and spiritual rearmament by the evangelical pastors in America.

Rediscovering God in America’s goal is to ignite people of faith to again engage the culture and bring America back to our standing around the world as a Beacon of Hope and a Shining City on a Hill.

Because God has entrusted you to care for His flock, you are a critical component to reclaiming the centrality of God in American life and confronting the evil that faces us now. At a time when Congress is busy trying to legislate defeat, we are inviting you to a Pastors’ Policy Briefing that will help you engage the battle, to walk point. Today, with our troops facing danger abroad and our nation looking for guidance here at home, America’s need is to rearm spiritually through the leadership of her Pastors. The silence of the church and her pastors have helped to create this mess: Russell Kirk offers insight into the political climate of America if bible believing pastors pick up the mantle, “politicians are actors performing a script that is written by the audience”. Rediscovering God in America-Des Moines is to remind and encourage us that the proper position for America when facing evil and confronting enemies is not to find excuses for defeat but to find the resources, the courage and the strength from God necessary to win.

As Waddington notes, Huckabee’s letter is extremely similar to one Texas Governor Rick Perry sent to the Texas Renewal Project in 2008:

Both our nation and our Judeo Christian heritage are under attack by a force that is more dangerous than any threat our world has faced in recent memory. I am convinced that our ability to defeat the radical jihadists who threaten our nation will be significantly impacted by the prayers and leadership of America’s evangelical pastors.

"Rediscovering God in America” was created to inspire people of faith to engage the culture and bring America back to our worldwide standing as a beacon of hope, a city shining on a hill.

Because God entrusted you to care for and lead His flock, you can play a key role in restoring God to the center of American life, thus strengthening our nation to confront this looming threat.

While Congress occupies its time trying to legislate defeat in Iraq, we hope you will attend a Pastors’ Policy Briefing that will equip you to walk point in the war of values and ideas.

Rediscovering God in America-Austin is intended to remind us that excuses are not the proper strategy when facing evil and confronting enemies. Instead, we must rally godly people and seek God’s provision for the resources, the courage, and the strength necessary to win and, ultimately, glorify Him.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • FRC is urging activists to contact the Members of Congress and get them to "intervene in the ongoing litigation challenging DOMA."
  • Bryan Fischer says the DOMA decision is "inexcusable and even impeachable" and proof that Obama is "no patriot and is a clear and present danger to his own country."
  • But apparently, the fact that the Obama administration will not defend DOMA is good news for the Religious Right because "DOMA will now get a much better defense."
  • Roy Moore has been traveling to Iowa a lot lately, but unfortunately he's not running for president.
  • Jesse Lee Peterson flips out over news that churches are allowing Muslims to use their buildings.
  • Finally, Janet Porter's "Heartbeat Bill" has now been officially introduced in Ohio.

Iowa Personhood Bill Could Legalize the Murder of Abortion Providers

After the failed attempt in South Dakota to push a bill that would legalize the killing of abortion providers, Iowa is now set to take up legislation with a similar effect. The Iowa State House is weighing both a Personhood bill, which gives legal rights to zygotes by classifying them as separate “persons,” and a bill that expands the right to use deadly force to protect a third party. The Personhood legislation attempts to criminalize abortion and common forms of birth control and has already been approved by a State House subcommittee; Personhood Amendments are also under consideration in Mississippi, North Dakota, and Georgia. Essentially, by declaring that a zygote and a fetus have all of the same legal rights as a “person” while also broadening the legal protections regarding the reasonable use of deadly force, abortion providers could be legally targeted with the rationale of protecting a third party.

Lynda Waddington of The Iowa Independent reports:

Currently, abortion is also settled law in Iowa. But House File 153, sponsored by 28 Republicans, challenges it. Under that bill, the state would be mandated to recognize and protect “life” from the moment of conception until “natural death” with the full force of the law and state and federal constitutions. Essentially, the bill declares that from the moment a male sperm and a female ovum join to create a fertilized egg that a person exists.

House File 7, which has been sponsored by 29 GOP House members, seeks to expand state law regarding use of reasonable force, including deadly force. Current state laws provide that citizens are not required to retreat from their dwelling or place of business if they or a third party are threatened. The proposal would significantly expand this to state that citizens are not required to retreat from “any place at which the person has a right to be present,” and that in such instances, the citizen has the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect himself or a third party from serious injury or death or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.



Todd Miler, a criminal defense attorney in Des Moines, agrees that these two bills, when combined, create a situation that could lead to someone claiming the killing of an abortion provider or a family planning worker was reasonable use of deadly force.

“My first thought when I looked at House File 153 was that it was a first step — something that had been put out there as a first step toward a larger political goal. But, when you place it next to House File 7 the potential ramifications are startling,” Miler said.

“[House File 7] explicitly provides that people have a right to defend themselves or others at any place they are legally allowed to be. That would definitely include sidewalks or streets outside of clinics. They could attempt to kill a physician or a clinic worker, and if they did so while believing they were protecting another person, which would be defined under House File 153 as a fetus, then, under this law, they would have the right to do that.”

Iowa Personhood Bill Could Legalize the Murder of Abortion Providers

After the failed attempt in South Dakota to push a bill that would legalize the killing of abortion providers, Iowa is now set to take up legislation with a similar effect. The Iowa State House is weighing both a Personhood bill, which gives legal rights to zygotes by classifying them as separate “persons,” and a bill that expands the right to use deadly force to protect a third party. The Personhood legislation attempts to criminalize abortion and common forms of birth control and has already been approved by a State House subcommittee; Personhood Amendments are also under consideration in Mississippi, North Dakota, and Georgia. Essentially, by declaring that a zygote and a fetus have all of the same legal rights as a “person” while also broadening the legal protections regarding the reasonable use of deadly force, abortion providers could be legally targeted with the rationale of protecting a third party.

Lynda Waddington of The Iowa Independent reports:

Currently, abortion is also settled law in Iowa. But House File 153, sponsored by 28 Republicans, challenges it. Under that bill, the state would be mandated to recognize and protect “life” from the moment of conception until “natural death” with the full force of the law and state and federal constitutions. Essentially, the bill declares that from the moment a male sperm and a female ovum join to create a fertilized egg that a person exists.

House File 7, which has been sponsored by 29 GOP House members, seeks to expand state law regarding use of reasonable force, including deadly force. Current state laws provide that citizens are not required to retreat from their dwelling or place of business if they or a third party are threatened. The proposal would significantly expand this to state that citizens are not required to retreat from “any place at which the person has a right to be present,” and that in such instances, the citizen has the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect himself or a third party from serious injury or death or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.



Todd Miler, a criminal defense attorney in Des Moines, agrees that these two bills, when combined, create a situation that could lead to someone claiming the killing of an abortion provider or a family planning worker was reasonable use of deadly force.

“My first thought when I looked at House File 153 was that it was a first step — something that had been put out there as a first step toward a larger political goal. But, when you place it next to House File 7 the potential ramifications are startling,” Miler said.

“[House File 7] explicitly provides that people have a right to defend themselves or others at any place they are legally allowed to be. That would definitely include sidewalks or streets outside of clinics. They could attempt to kill a physician or a clinic worker, and if they did so while believing they were protecting another person, which would be defined under House File 153 as a fetus, then, under this law, they would have the right to do that.”

NOM Teams up with Steve King and Republican Presidential Candidates for Iowa Conference

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who previously argued that marriage equality will lead to the downfall of civilization, is bringing together right-wing groups and leading Republicans for his Conservative Principles Conference on March 26th in the premier caucus state. Potential presidential candidates, including Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and John Bolton, will be joining the virulently anti-gay National Organization for Marriage for the conference. King says that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who believes schools should ban gay teachers, will keynote the event. Other participants include the National Rifle Association's Kayne Robinson, anti-labor National Right to Work Committee, anti-immigrant Numbers USA, Arizona SB-1070 architect Russell Pearce, Tea Party Patriots, and Betsy McCaughey, who concocted the “death panels” smear against the health care reform law.

Jason Hancock of The Iowa Independent reports:

The Conservative Principles Conference will be held March 26 at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott. The main topic with be “American exceptionalism.”

“Iowans will be granted access to some of the best, most respected conservative leaders in our nation at my conference,” King said in a statement.

Attendees include:

• Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum
• U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann
• Herman Cain
• Ambassador John R. Bolton
• Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds
• Matt Strawn, Republican Party of Iowa chairman
• State Sen. Russell Pearce of Arizona
• Betsy McCaughey (Defend Your Healthcare)
• Kayne Robinson (National Rifle Association)
• Jan Mickelson (WHO-AM)
• Dana Loesch (CNN contributor)
• Tea Party Patriots
• FairTax.org
• NumbersUSA
• National Organization for Marriage
• Strong America Now
• National Right to Work

Additional participants are expected and will be announced in the days to come.

NOM Teams up with Steve King and Republican Presidential Candidates for Iowa Conference

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who previously argued that marriage equality will lead to the downfall of civilization, is bringing together right-wing groups and leading Republicans for his Conservative Principles Conference on March 26th in the premier caucus state. Potential presidential candidates, including Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and John Bolton, will be joining the virulently anti-gay National Organization for Marriage for the conference. King says that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who believes schools should ban gay teachers, will keynote the event. Other participants include the National Rifle Association's Kayne Robinson, anti-labor National Right to Work Committee, anti-immigrant Numbers USA, Arizona SB-1070 architect Russell Pearce, Tea Party Patriots, and Betsy McCaughey, who concocted the “death panels” smear against the health care reform law.

Jason Hancock of The Iowa Independent reports:

The Conservative Principles Conference will be held March 26 at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott. The main topic with be “American exceptionalism.”

“Iowans will be granted access to some of the best, most respected conservative leaders in our nation at my conference,” King said in a statement.

Attendees include:

• Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum
• U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann
• Herman Cain
• Ambassador John R. Bolton
• Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds
• Matt Strawn, Republican Party of Iowa chairman
• State Sen. Russell Pearce of Arizona
• Betsy McCaughey (Defend Your Healthcare)
• Kayne Robinson (National Rifle Association)
• Jan Mickelson (WHO-AM)
• Dana Loesch (CNN contributor)
• Tea Party Patriots
• FairTax.org
• NumbersUSA
• National Organization for Marriage
• Strong America Now
• National Right to Work

Additional participants are expected and will be announced in the days to come.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 2/22/11

Michele Bachmann

South Carolina: Slams Obama's foreign policy and says striking workers should be fired in address to GOP activists (Spartanburg Herald Journal, 2/20).

Health: Criticizes Michele Obama for encouraging breast feeding (WaPo, 2/19).

Veterans: Faces resistance to her plan to dramatically cut funding to veterans (The Daily Beast, 2/18).

Haley Barbour

Iowa: Tells state's governor that he will campaign in Iowa if he decides to run (Des Moines Register, 2/21).

Huckabee: Wins praise on race-issues and political strategy from Mike Huckabee (CNN, 2/21).

Race: Silent on proposed car tag honoring founder of Ku Klux Klan (Clarion Ledger, 2/18).

Religious Right: Attending screening of Creationist movie "The Genesis Code" in New Hampshire (Roll Call, 2/17).

Mike Huckabee

2012: Knocks Tea Party's purity tests; claims it will be difficult for GOP nominee to beat Obama (WaPo, 2/21).

Book: Says he will weight "reaction to the message" of his book tour when deciding presidential bid (The Hill, 2/21).

Religious Right: Blasts Islam and a church that hosts Muslim worshipers on Fox News (Mediaite, 2/19).

Reproductive Rights: Tells anti-choice groups that if he runs, he will emphasize his opposition to abortion rights (RWW, 2/15).

Sarah Palin

Book: Leaked manuscript of ex-aide's book shows Palin as vindictive, mistrustful (Anchorage Daily News, 2/19).

Reality TV: Show received $1.2 million in government subsidies (Fairbanks Daily-News Miner, 2/19).

Labor: Chastises labor unions for protesting in Wisconsin (Facebook, 2/18).

Tim Pawlenty

Economy: Describes national debt as a “pile of poo” (Star Tribune, 2/21).

Tea Party: Addresses Tea Party Patriots policy summit in Arizona (WSJ, 2/18).

Mitt Romney

Huckabee: Former rival denies rumor that he will run just to stop Romney (Politico, 2/21).

Economy: Conservative New York Post bashes Romney's record on Wall Street (NYPost, 2/19).

Rick Santorum

New Hampshire: New Hampshire Journal calls Santorum "Mitt Romney with a soul" (PoliticsPA, 2/21).

Religious Right: Speaks to ultraconservative Ave Maria University, calls Tea Party “a blessing to the country” (Naples News, 2/18).

Internet: Discusses notorious “google problem” (Roll Call, 2/16).

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 2/22/11

Michele Bachmann

South Carolina: Slams Obama's foreign policy and says striking workers should be fired in address to GOP activists (Spartanburg Herald Journal, 2/20).

Health: Criticizes Michele Obama for encouraging breast feeding (WaPo, 2/19).

Veterans: Faces resistance to her plan to dramatically cut funding to veterans (The Daily Beast, 2/18).

Haley Barbour

Iowa: Tells state's governor that he will campaign in Iowa if he decides to run (Des Moines Register, 2/21).

Huckabee: Wins praise on race-issues and political strategy from Mike Huckabee (CNN, 2/21).

Race: Silent on proposed car tag honoring founder of Ku Klux Klan (Clarion Ledger, 2/18).

Religious Right: Attending screening of Creationist movie "The Genesis Code" in New Hampshire (Roll Call, 2/17).

Mike Huckabee

2012: Knocks Tea Party's purity tests; claims it will be difficult for GOP nominee to beat Obama (WaPo, 2/21).

Book: Says he will weight "reaction to the message" of his book tour when deciding presidential bid (The Hill, 2/21).

Religious Right: Blasts Islam and a church that hosts Muslim worshipers on Fox News (Mediaite, 2/19).

Reproductive Rights: Tells anti-choice groups that if he runs, he will emphasize his opposition to abortion rights (RWW, 2/15).

Sarah Palin

Book: Leaked manuscript of ex-aide's book shows Palin as vindictive, mistrustful (Anchorage Daily News, 2/19).

Reality TV: Show received $1.2 million in government subsidies (Fairbanks Daily-News Miner, 2/19).

Labor: Chastises labor unions for protesting in Wisconsin (Facebook, 2/18).

Tim Pawlenty

Economy: Describes national debt as a “pile of poo” (Star Tribune, 2/21).

Tea Party: Addresses Tea Party Patriots policy summit in Arizona (WSJ, 2/18).

Mitt Romney

Huckabee: Former rival denies rumor that he will run just to stop Romney (Politico, 2/21).

Economy: Conservative New York Post bashes Romney's record on Wall Street (NYPost, 2/19).

Rick Santorum

New Hampshire: New Hampshire Journal calls Santorum "Mitt Romney with a soul" (PoliticsPA, 2/21).

Religious Right: Speaks to ultraconservative Ave Maria University, calls Tea Party “a blessing to the country” (Naples News, 2/18).

Internet: Discusses notorious “google problem” (Roll Call, 2/16).

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Tony Perkins Embraces the Extreme Personhood Movement

The anti-choice campaign to pass “Personhood Amendments,” the radical plan once shunned by major Religious Right organizations, continues to gain prominent supporters within the conservative movement. Following in the footsteps of other right-wing leaders like Bryan Fischer, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has come out in favor of the Personhood Amendment, which would give legal rights to zygotes and criminalize abortion, stem-cell research, common forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization.

As voters consistently voted down Personhood Amendments by lopsided margins in Colorado, leading groups like National Right to Life and Americans United for Life refused to back the Amendment and the Colorado Eagle Forum warned allies in 2009 that the Personhood movement intends to “spread their disaster to key swing states like Florida, Missouri, Nevada and Montana.”

And now the Personhood movement is doing exactly that, but this time with the support of major Religious Right figures, and even Republican politicians.

Fischer, the American Family Association, and the Liberty Counsel have come out strongly in favor of the Personhood Amendment that will be on Mississippi’s November ballot, as have top Republicans like Senator Roger Wicker and Congressman Alan Nunnelee.

In Georgia, Perkins praised the Personhood Amendment introduced by state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, saying, “The Georgia Personhood Amendment is a reflection of a growing pro-life sentiment across the country.”

But in 2007, James Bopp, the General Counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, criticized the Personhood measure in Georgia, known as the Human Life Amendment (HLA), in a legal memo. Warning of “the inevitable striking down” of the amendment and that “significant damage would be done,” Bopp said that “the proposed HLA has serious flaws and is not a wise use of pro-life resources at this time.”

Georgia and Mississippi aren’t the only states where the Personhood movement is moving into high gear.

The State House in North Dakota just passed a personhood bill that one supporter said “should shut down” the state’s last clinic that provides abortion services, and a subcommittee in the Iowa State House also approved a personhood bill. Personhood USA, the leading advocacy organization, has pledged to mount fights in states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Montana as well.

Tony Perkins Embraces the Extreme Personhood Movement

The anti-choice campaign to pass “Personhood Amendments,” the radical plan once shunned by major Religious Right organizations, continues to gain prominent supporters within the conservative movement. Following in the footsteps of other right-wing leaders like Bryan Fischer, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has come out in favor of the Personhood Amendment, which would give legal rights to zygotes and criminalize abortion, stem-cell research, common forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization.

As voters consistently voted down Personhood Amendments by lopsided margins in Colorado, leading groups like National Right to Life and Americans United for Life refused to back the Amendment and the Colorado Eagle Forum warned allies in 2009 that the Personhood movement intends to “spread their disaster to key swing states like Florida, Missouri, Nevada and Montana.”

And now the Personhood movement is doing exactly that, but this time with the support of major Religious Right figures, and even Republican politicians.

Fischer, the American Family Association, and the Liberty Counsel have come out strongly in favor of the Personhood Amendment that will be on Mississippi’s November ballot, as have top Republicans like Senator Roger Wicker and Congressman Alan Nunnelee.

In Georgia, Perkins praised the Personhood Amendment introduced by state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, saying, “The Georgia Personhood Amendment is a reflection of a growing pro-life sentiment across the country.”

But in 2007, James Bopp, the General Counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, criticized the Personhood measure in Georgia, known as the Human Life Amendment (HLA), in a legal memo. Warning of “the inevitable striking down” of the amendment and that “significant damage would be done,” Bopp said that “the proposed HLA has serious flaws and is not a wise use of pro-life resources at this time.”

Georgia and Mississippi aren’t the only states where the Personhood movement is moving into high gear.

The State House in North Dakota just passed a personhood bill that one supporter said “should shut down” the state’s last clinic that provides abortion services, and a subcommittee in the Iowa State House also approved a personhood bill. Personhood USA, the leading advocacy organization, has pledged to mount fights in states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Montana as well.

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