Virginia

Right Wing Round-Up

"I Have to Say 'Merry Christmas,' I'm Being Patriotic"

Just when you think you have pretty much heard every possible explanation as to why people ought to say "Merry Christman" instead of things like "Happy Holidays," some Religious Right activist comes up with a new reason you could not possibly have anticipated ... like the fact that you have to say "Merry Christmas" if you want to be patriotic:

In 1870 Christmas was DESIGNATED a Federal Holiday by Congress and signed into law by President Grant. Christmas is described as, not just a Federal Holiday, but a "Christian" Federal Holiday! (Google "U.S. Federal Holidays" and see for yourself-- know your history!) Therefore, we are being patriotic when we say, "Merry Christmas," or when we display and express the symbols of Christmas--nativity scenes, Christmas carols that mention Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection, etc. This observance, by law, is to be done on public property, such as, court houses and public schools!

Sharon Overstreet, wife of the pastor at Believers Baptist Church in Leesburg, Virginia is the woman responsible for this new campaign and she was recently featured on Concerned Women for America's radio program where she explained the origins of the idea:

It was very frustrating, as we've all experienced for years, to just watch our precious Christian heritage be stomped on at Christmas time.

That is what prompted us finally to do something about it and a year ago we had come up with this idea about it being patriotic because I did some research and found that Christmas is a congressional mandated holiday. It is a designated Christian - and it says "Christian" - holiday by Congress in 1870.

And if anyone were to look up on-line, just Google "US holidays, national holidays," it will come up and it was say "Christian holiday."

So we decided that, wow, we're being patriotic if we say "Merry Christmas." We could take a stand for Christmas and be patriotic and not have to hide our faces at all and just tell people "well, I have to say Merry Christmas. I'm being patriotic."

And by this logic, I suppose that means those who don't say "Merry Christmas" are unpatriotic.

Reed: George Allen Was "Smeared" For His "Macaca" Slur

My two favorite Religious Right political prognosticators - Richard Land and Ralph Reed - teamed up recently to discuss the recent election results and the exchange was pretty much what one would expect, with Reed declaring that George Allen was "smeared" by the Washington Post for his infamous "Macaca" incident and Land proclaiming that the 2006 and 2008 elections where Republicans lost were some sort of anomaly:

Reed: Jim Webb in Virginia, who narrowly defeated George Allen after he was, in my view, smeared by the Washington Post and other liberal media outlets for the alleged, you know, slur of macaca ...

Land: 2006 and 2008 were aberrations. This is a return to the basic voting pattern of 2004 where white evangelicals made up 27% of all the people who voted and they voted 78% for Bush.

Reed: And we saw, as you accurately indicate, we saw a dip in the turn out of those voters and a little bit of a dip in the margin of those voters for Republican candidates.

My view is that's because we just weren't running the kind of candidates that they could get excited about. But if you offer a Marco Rubio, or you offer a Dan Webster, or you offer those kind of candidates, they are going to turn those voters out.

That sort of assessment must come as a real surprise to all of those right-wing candidates who lost in 2006 and 2008 like Rick Santorum who must have been one of those candidates that Religious Right voters just couldn't get excited about. 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Pamela Geller is being represented by the Thomas More Law Center in the $10 million lawsuit filed against her by the attorney for Rifqa Bary's parents.
  • Tea Partiers seem to love Dick Armey based on the mistaken belief that he is some sort of DC outsider.
  • I find it amazing that Religious Right leaders will so openly denigrate Islam and that the Washington Post continues to provide them a venue in which do so.
  • Al Mohler says that exorcisms are hokum because "there is absolutely no New Testament evidence that a believer in Christ can be possessed by demons."
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Robert Knight responding to efforts to elimiate DADT: "Not all of the snipers targeting U.S. military personnel are in caves or perched on cliffs in Afghanistan. Some are right here in America, planting stories instead of explosives. Their mission: to destroy the military's moral backbone."

VA Gov. McDonnell Will Display Catholic League Nativity Scene

Earlier this week, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League announced that they had sent out a "Holy Family Nativity Scene" to all of the nation's 50 governors asking them to display it in the Capitol Rotunda as part of an effort to counter the "atheists [who] are out in force this year trying to neuter Christmas."

And apparently Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is eager to play his part, though he will be displaying it in the Governor's Mansion instead of the Capitol: 

The Catholic League's manger will find shelter in the Executive Mansion ... Gov. Bob McDonnell, a practicing Catholic, has received the league's tabletop crèche and intends to incorporate it in his holiday display in the Executive Mansion. He said this week that a Nativity scene is traditionally part of his family's holiday décor.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue asked the nation's governors to display the scene in their capitols alongside any secular symbols, such as a Christmas tree, this coming holiday season.

In an interview yesterday, Donohue said he is happy that McDonnell embraced the gift and plans to display it in the mansion. He still would like to see it added to any other holiday display in the Capitol.

"We would prefer the most public spot possible, but the fact that it would be displayed anyplace would be suitable enough for us," he said.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 11/02/10

With the midterm elections taking place today, tomorrow is the unofficial beginning of the race for the 2012 GOP nomination.

Haley Barbour

Tea Party: Claims that Tea Party candidates will find a home in the GOP (AP, 11/2)

GOP: Says that Party will have to earn trust since voters are “not saying ‘Hey, we love you Republicans,’” (CBS, 11/1).

Newt Gingrich

2012: Tells WaPo that a 2012 bid is becoming “increasingly” practical (WaPo, 10/29).

Florida: Holds “Jobs Here Jobs Now” rally in Florida (Florida Times-Union, 10/29).

Mike Huckabee

Alaska: Making robo-calls on behalf of Joe Miller (AP, 11/1).

Iowa: Making robo-calls against the retention of three Iowa judges (Daily Caller, 10/29).

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Defends MA health care program, says national reform law is “unconstitutional” (GOP 12, 11/2).

Maine: Stumps for congressional candidate Dean Scontras, who is challenging Rep. Chellie Pingree (News 13, 11/1).

Iowa: Campaigns with GOP gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad (Des Moines Register, 10/27).

Sarah Palin

2010: Find out how Palin-endorsed candidates perform on election day (WaPo, 11/2).

GOP: Says that the “good old boys club” is working against her (Politico, 11/2).

Colorado: Making robo-calls on behalf of Tom Tancredo (ABC, 11/1).

Media:  Floats Breitbart-linked conspiracy theory (Media Matters, 11/1).

West Virginia: Stumps with John Raese and praises “Mountain mamas” (LAT, 10/30).

Tim Pawlenty

Minnesota: Low favorability numbers may hurt GOP chances of retaining the governorship (City Pages, 11/1).

Palin: Defends Palin over Twitter over claims that she is unelectable (TPM, 11/1).

Mike Pence

GOP: Calls on his Party to focus on deficit reduction if in power (National Journal, 11/2).

2012: May leave GOP leadership to seek presidency or governorship (Indy Star, 10/31).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please, vote faith, vote freedom, vote Angle.

It's Us versus Them.

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

The Right truly has become a parody of itself.

Jackson: Christians Deserve Tax Cuts And Applause

Earlier this week, the Family Research Council hosted a webcast entitled "Taxman Cometh: Stopping the Obama Tax Hikes" that featured various members of Congress and right-wing activists (as was supposed to co-sponsored by Virginia Thomas and Liberty Central, until she dropped out).

During the broadcast, Harry Jackson made the case that raising taxes is really a moral issue and an attempt to limit the work that Christians can do through their charitable donations, for which they deserve to be applauded:

Perkins: Let's talk about the moral aspects of taxes. Why should Christians be concerned about the tax policy that America adopts?

Jackson: Well, I think that we're called to be stewards of our finances and we want to make sure that we do the right thing and I can ensure my stewardship of my resources if they're in my control.

Christians are more generous by every measure, if you study it out, than those who are not Christians. In other words, others look for the government to do good in our stead. We as Christians want to take control of our money and then honor Christ first hopefully with our tithes, offerings and then with targeted acts of kindness that we do all the time to help those at home and abroad.

Perkins: So you're not speaking from a standpoint of stinginess when conservatives are talking about we don't want to see additional tax increases because they give disproportionately of their income to do the work that the government attempts to do.

Jackson: Absolutely not. What you are really doing by increasing this tax burden is hindering the possibility of generosity of the most generous segment of our culture. And I think because we've got a clash of worldviews, this is why people demonize those of us who are Bible-believers and are faithful stewards of God's resources instead of applauding.

Together Again: Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson Reminisce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reed: You know a little about that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robertson: Michele Bachmann is one of ours too.

Reed: Is Michele Bachmann?

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

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

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

Right Wing Round-Up

  • CBN's David Brody defends Christine O'Donnell because she is just like Antonin Scalia.
  • And, of course, Bryan Fischer is defending her as well.
  • This OneNewsNow article featuring Peter LaBarbera actually contains a link that carries this message: "Caution: The previous link goes to a pro-homosexual website."
  • Watch the Right freak out now that George Soros has donated a million dollars to Media Matters.
  • Tony Perkins is very upset that people didn't like his piece in the Washington Post.
  • Speaking of FRC, Virginia Thomas is supposed to join them tonight fora webcast called "The Taxman Cometh: Stopping the Obama Tax Hikes."
  • Finally, Mike Hucakbee has turned his hypocritical outrage over Jack Conway's ad into a robocall and radio ad for Rand Paul:

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Frank Pavone of Priests for Life says the Religious Right will never accept any sort of truce on the issue of abortion.
  • Pam Tebow has endorsed Colorado's "personhood" amendment.
  • This is an exceptionally inane column, even for Linda Harvey.
  • Religious Right leaders are resoundingly unexcited about prospect of Speaker of the House John Boehner.
  • Quote of the day from Dave Welch, responding to Judge Virginia Phillips' DADT ruling: "The raw arrogance represented by this Virginia Phillips should result in impeachment. She has proven herself not only unfit for judgeship but is in fact a 'domestic enemy' of the very kind our military members take an oath to defend against."
  • The Catholic Church claims that Homer Simpson is a Catholic.  Please, everyone knows that the Simpsons are Presbylutherans.
  • Finally, nothing spices up a boring CSPAN panel like some conservative using it to vent about a failed past relationship with a co-panelist:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Christine O'Donnell did not have a very good showing in last night's debate and then lashed out at the GOP for abandoning her.
  • But Rob Schenck wants her to win because the Senate needs more regular guys and gals.
  • Justice Sam Alito says he won't be attending the next State of the Union address.
  • Richard Viguerie and Morton Blackwell will host an "election night victory party for 350 conservative and Tea Party activists on Tuesday, November 2, at the Leadership Institute in Arlington, Virginia."
  • Speaking of Viguerie, he and Brent Bozell came out in opposition to the death penalty.
  • Bill Keller says he is getting death threats.
  • Gary Bauer's Campaign for Working Families PAC says it will spend more than $1 million on ads targeting 10 Democrats.
  • Finally, Robert Knight will be joining Cliff Kincaid for America's Survival's "Unmasking the Progressives' National Conference."

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 10/12/10

Newt Gingrich

Extremism: Detractors condemn Gingrich’s increasingly heated rhetoric (Politico, 10/11).

Government: Calls Democrats “the party of food stamps” (AP, 10/7).

Health Care: Pushes repeal of reform law to business conference (The Bakersfield Californian, 10/9).

Mike Huckabee

2010: Solicits contributions for Alan Grayson’s opponent Dan Webster (Sunshine State News, 10/11).

Media: Coulter says Huckabee is the “only one true Christian liberal in the country” (Mediaite, 10/10).

Sarah Palin

Poll: Just 22% of Americans view Palin positively (CBS News, 10/6).

2010: Says midterm election represents a “Great Awakening” among voters (Politico, 10/11).

Media: Blasts the “lamestream media” and Tea Party critics at “Patriotic Gala” fundraiser (MSNBC, 10/11).

Foreign Affairs: Tells NewsMax that a nuclear Iran could “lead to an Armageddon” (News Max, 10/11).

Tim Pawlenty

Religious Right: Fundraises for Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition (Iowa Politics, 10/10).

Iowa: Visits three cities and hosts fundraiser with GOP gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad (Radio Iowa, 10/11).

Health Care: Dubs reform law “one of the worst pieces of legislation in modern history” (Sioux City Journal, 10/9).

Ron Paul

Iowa: Speaking at University of Iowa and a GOP fundraiser later this month (Iowa Independent, 10/11).

Tea Party: Praises “Nullification” movement at Tea Party convention (Slate, 10/9).

Mike Pence

Religious Right: Tells Virginia Family Foundation that “the problems we have as a nation are not just political, but moral” (Richmond Times Dispatch, 10/10).

GOP: Headlines Reagan Day Dinner in Florida (Saint Peters Blog, 10/11).

Mitt Romney

Religious Right: Avoids comment on Mormon leader’s anti-gay speech (Salt Lake City Tribune, 10/7).

Health Care: MA Republicans don’t want Romney to denounce reform law he signed as governor (Boston Globe, 10/8).

Foreign Affairs: Knocks Obama for “apologizing for America” (The Bakersfield Californian, 10/9).

Rick Santorum

Iowa: Launches Iowa Keystone PAC to help state Republicans (Politico, 10/7).

Religious Right: Criticizes ACLU over reproductive rights (NewsMax, 10/9).

Right Wing Round-Up

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 9/28/10

Haley Barbour

2012: Political work profiled by TIME Magazine (TIME, 9/23).

New Hampshire: Stumps with GOP gubernatorial candidate (Nashua Telegraph, 9/28).

Mitch Daniels

2012: Fundraising circuit points to presidential bid (Indianapolis Star, 9/28).

Poll: About 75% of Americans haven’t heard of the Indiana Governor (Journal Gazette, 9/28).

Newt Gingrich

Democrats: Calls Democrats “the food stamp party” (Chicago Sun Times, 9/25).

GOP: How Gingrich transformed the Republican Party (Salon, 9/24).

2010: Approves new “Pledge to America” (Politico, 9/23).

Mike Huckabee

2010: Campaigned with Rand Paul over the weekend (BluegrassPolitics, 9/22).

Health Care: Walks back on previous position on coverage for pre-existing condition (The American Prospect, 9/23).

Business: Huckabee-endorsed Goldline company sued by SEC (ABC, 9/23).

Sarah Palin

2012: New poll shows her growing unpopularity among voters (ThePlumLine, 9/27).

2010: Launches “Take Back the 20” campaign against Democrats who supported Health Care Reform (The Hill, 9/27).

Media:  Claims media "piles on" her endorsed candidates (GOP 12, 9/27).

Religious Right: Article looks into Palin’s relationship with Dominionism (Religion Dispatches, 9/26).

Tim Pawlenty

Foreign Affairs: Calls Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “nutty” (City Pages, 9/24).

New Hampshire: Plans to fundraiser for GOP gubernatorial candidate John Stephen (Concord Monitor, 9/26).

Minnesota: Visits flooded areas of state (WCCO, 9/25).

Mitt Romney

2010: Endorses West Virginia Republicans (The Hill, 9/27).

Obama: Calls Presidency an “abject failure” to New Hampshire GOP (Salt Lake Tribune, 9/26).

Rick Santorum

Media: Santorum, Palin, Gingrich and Huckabee all on Fox payroll (Politico, 9/27).

John Thune

2012: Weekly Standard profiles South Dakota Senator John Thune (Weekly Standard, 10/4).

Right Wing Leftovers

  • FRC rejoices over the defeat of the effort to repeal Don't ask Don't Tell.
  • Over the weekend, Sharron Angle spoke at Utah’s Freedom Conference, an event co-sponsored by the John Birch Society.
  • Tim Scott tells CBN's David Brody that there is no racism in the Tea Party movement.
  • Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will all speak at Virginia's first annual Tea Party Convention next month.
  • You can now add Rep. Paul Ryan to the list of conservatives saying there might be a need to call a "truce" in the culture wars.
  • Jerry Falwell, Jr. supports efforts by VA Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to privatize the state's liquor monopoly.
  • Finally, I find it hilarious that FRC is outraged that Republicans would speak to the Log Cabin Republicans just days after FRC gave a prime speaking slot to notorious bigot Bryan Fischer.

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

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

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

PFAW’s Letter to NPR

Yesterday, Kyle pointed out Bryan Fischer’s appearance on Morning Edition, where he was billed simply as a representative of the American Family Association. If a respected media outlet like NPR is going to give a platform to someone like Fischer, it needs to make clear the long record of hate speech he brings with him. PFAW President Michael B. Keegan reached out to Alicia Shepard, the NPR Ombudsman with this note:

Dear Ms. Shepard:

I was surprised yesterday to hear the voice of Bryan Fischer, Director of Issue Analysis at the American Family Association, on Morning Edition. I wonder if the show's producers knew of Mr. Fischer's record of extremism and hate speech against Muslim Americans and gays and lesbians.

People For the American Way's RightWingWatch.org blog tracks Fischer in his roll as a blogger and radio host for the AFA, where he makes no attempt to disguise his extremism. Just in the past year, Fischer has:

Yesterday, in response to People For's call that GOP leaders distance themselves from Mr. Fischer, he repeated his comparison of gay men to domestic terrorists. On Tuesday, Mr. Fischer defended his call for deporting Muslim Americans, saying "we are doing them a favor by repatriating them to their homeland where an entire nation shares their values."

Of course, Mr. Fischer has the right to air his opinions, no matter how hurtful. However, he should not be given air time by a nonpartisan news organization without some disclosure of his record of hate speech.

I also hope that Mr. Fischer is not, as Morning Edition implied, representative of the Tea Party movement as a whole.

This weekend, he will be appearing this weekend alongside leaders of the Republican Party, including Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, and 2012 presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Pence. We have alerted these public figures to Mr. Fischer's record and urged them to denounce Fischer's remarks lest they lend credibility to his extremism.

Similarly, I urge NPR to resist lending credibility to an extremist like Fischer by providing him with a national platform without alerting audiences to his record of vocal bigotry.

Thank you for your time,

Michael B. Keegan

President, People For the American Way

 We’ll keep you posted on the response.

PFAW Sends Letters to GOP Leaders Urging them to Denounce Fischer, Skip Values Voter Summit

People For's President, Michael Keegan, sent the following letter today to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, all of whom are scheduled to appear this weekend at the Values Voter Summit, alongside the virulantly anti-Muslim and anti-gay Bryan Fischer.

Dear ________:

I am writing to express my concern about your appearance this weekend at the upcoming Values Voter Summit. Among the participants this weekend will be Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. We urge you to publically denounce Fischer’s record of hate speech and extremism, and reconsider appearing beside him this weekend.

People For’s RightWingWatch.org blog has tracked Fischer’s career over the past several years. His long and prolific record of hate speech and extremism includes the following recent statements. Just in the past year, Fischer has:

I am attaching the names of over 6,500 concerned citizens who have signed the following letter regarding your participation in the summit:

Values Voter Summit Participants:

Reasonable people can, and do, have reasonable differences of opinion. Bryan Fischer, of the American Family Association, is not a reasonable person.

By sharing a stage with Fischer at this year's Values Voter Summit, public figures acknowledge the credibility of his shameless anti-Muslim and anti-gay propaganda. Any candidate thinking seriously of running for president in 2012 should think twice about standing alongside a man who has called for the deportation of all Muslims in America; insulted Muslim servicemembers; claimed that brave Americans died in vain because Iraq was not converted to Christianity; and called gay people deviants, felons, pedophiles and terrorists. Bryan Fischer is no mainstream conservative. And neither is any person who shares a platform with him while refusing to denounce his hate-filled propaganda.

We urge you to denounce Fischer's extremism and separate yourself from his comments.

For more background on Fischer’s extreme rhetoric, please click here.

Fischer’s appearance with conservative leaders such as yourself lends his extreme hate speech credibility. We urge you to publicly denounce Fischer’s record and to think twice about sharing the stage with him.

Sincerely,

Michael B. Keegan
President, People For the American Way

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