Rhode Island: Where "General Public” Means "Republican Millionaires"

What is the difference between a “special interest” organization and a “general interest” organization?  According to  Steve Laffey, who is trying to take down Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee,  it seems to depend on who they are supporting,

No senator in Rhode Island history has faced a primary opponent as well-financed as Laffey. No Republican in the country is in greater danger of losing a Senate primary this year than Chafee.

The Club for Growth has been a key to Laffey's rise to the big leagues this election season, raising almost $705,000 for his campaign -- about 42 percent of his late-August total of nearly $1.7 million.

While one branch of the club spurred its members to write checks to Laffey, another has spent several hundred thousand dollars to criticize Chafee --and sometimes ridicule him -- in television ads. In the past week alone, the Club for Growth has reported expenditures of more than $300,000 on TV advertising and related costs. …

Chafee has much deeper pockets than Laffey, a fact that the challenger has tried to exploit by presenting himself as the foe of "special interests" intent on protecting Chafee and the status quo in Washington.

But his reliance on the Washington-based Club for Growth raises the question of whether Laffey is beholden to a "special interest."

On the contrary, Laffey replied last week, the club is a "general interest" group because it favors tax cuts that would provide a general benefit to the public.

His defines "special interests" in the language of Washington and the FEC, as groups that use "political action committees" or PACs. But Laffey does not count himself as indebted to the Club for Growth's PAC because it has made no direct contributions to his campaign. Rather, it has aired the anti-Chafee ads, outside his legal control, Laffey said.

All the same, Laffey said he does not turn away special interest money from PACs. "I just don't get very much of it," Laffey said. The large majority of his PAC contributions, more than $23,000 so far, have come from groups that support the state of Israel.

He has accepted contributions from conservative PACs -- $5,000, for example, from the Washington-based Citizens United Political Victory Fund.

Several well-known conservatives have contributed to Laffey, including William F. Buckley Jr., a founder of the National Review, who gave $1,000.

Laffey has also received contributions from some individuals listed in his FEC reports as employees of anti-abortion groups. He did not directly answer the question of whether those constitute "special interest" contributions.

The Club for Growth has spent more than a half-million dollars on Laffey’s behalf and helped raised nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for his campaign.  CFG says it “exists to encourage, and make possible, the enactment of pro-growth economic policies by the federal government. The primary tactic of the Club for Growth PAC has been to provide financial support from Club members to viable pro-growth candidates to Congress, particularly in Republican primaries” in order to elect candidates who share the Club’s goals

* Making the Bush tax cuts permanent
* Death tax repeal
* Legal reform to end abusive lawsuits
* Replacing the current tax code
* Regulatory reform and deregulation  

Laffey says these goals benefit the general public and so CFG is not a “special interest” group.  

If by “general public” Laffey means rich, Republican millionaires and business owners, then he is correct.   

Blackwell Suggests Left is Using Abortion to 'Eliminate' Blacks

In book with “Swift Vet” coauthor. More quotes from Ohio gov. candidate's book.

The Right Wing Agenda Dressed Up As Polling Analysis

Janice Shaw Crouse on Concerned Women for America takes to the pages of Human Events to give the GOP a little electoral advice:  pay attention to married mothers (or M&Ms, as she likes to call them.)

These “Bible Study Moms,” Crouse argues, represent an important voting bloc that should be courted by the GOP and she runs through a litany of convoluted statistics regarding the 2000 and 2004 elections to make her case before reaching this groundbreaking conclusion

Given the importance of the 2006 election, politicians would be remiss not to note the importance of evangelicals -- especially married mothers. They could determine the winners in key races, by voting or not, by their assessment of political stances on the social conservative issues (gay marriage, abortion, stem-cell research, and abstinence education).

In other words: there is a sub-set of the population that says they care about abortion, marriage, and stuff like that and they may or may not vote, so the GOP should pander to them to try and ensure that they do.    

That is not exactly pioneering analysis considering that that has pretty much been the Right’s basic message for the last two decades.

Terrorism and Abortion and Judges, Oh My!

On today’s edition of “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson lamented that the Republicans are facing very real difficulties in getting their right-wing base motivated for the upcoming elections, because unlike previous elections, the Right can’t just focus on “judges, judges, judges, judges” this time around and is therefore growing “dispirited” by things like the war in Iraq and growing deficits. [View the video highlight: Broadband or Dial-Up.] 

Given that “judges, judges, judges, judges” has been the primary mobilization strategy for the GOP and the Right for years, it is not surprising that judicial activists such as Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society are desperately trying to tie every issue to judges in any way they can, leading him to send out a memo to “Catholic leaders” ostensibly about national security but couched entirely in not-so-subtle “we need pro-life judges” rhetoric

Catholics, like other segments of the population, are not of one mind about the war in Iraq (I happen to be supportive, but know others in our Catholic communities who are not). But, there is one thing that all of us can agree upon respecting the broader war on terror: there is real value to efforts that identify and frustrate domestic threats and thereby prevent the loss of innocent life. No one can reasonably dispute, for example, that the resources our government expends to collect intelligence and data in order to break up a terror plot is premised on the individual dignity and worth of every human person. Counter-terrorism efforts protect all of us, regardless of our race, sex, or economic standing.

Today, when the Senate approved the confirmation of another Federal appeals judge, we were reminded of how important the judges battle is to a war on terror effort that successfully protects innocent human life.

We need to remind our friends and family, as they reflect upon the stakes in the upcoming Congressional elections, that we need a Senate that understands the way in which counter-terrorism can advance human dignity, and that understands the importance of confirming judges who won't frustrate those efforts at protecting innocent human life because of their own political views about the war on terror.

Terrorism, abortion, and judges – Leo managed to tie all three issues together in this one memo.  If he had tried a little harder, he probably could have crammed in some ominous warning about homosexuality and hit for the right-wing cycle.  

Falwell Claims Anti-Immigrant Position Essential for Evangelical Votes in 2008

In his “Falwell Confidential” newsletter, right-wing stalwart Jerry Falwell attempts to describe the kind of candidate he believes “could win the energetic support of the evangelical vote” in the 2008 presidential election. In addition to conforming to the Religious Right’s positions on abortion and gay marriage, it’s “a given” that a candidate must be a “fiscal conservative” in order to appeal to evangelical Christians, according to Falwell. Also, Falwell claims that evangelicals can only support a candidate who will “utilize our God-given resources” in the form of off-shore oil drilling, and who will crack down on immigrants and their “contagious diseases.” Immigrants are simultaneously a “flood” and a “bleeding,” writes Falwell:

We must get tough on illegal immigration and begin enforcing present laws throughout our nation. … The construction of a 2000-mile fence (which some estimate will cost $10 billion), across our southwest border, from San Diego to the Gulf of Mexico, guarded by enough of America's finest to stop the endless flow of scores of thousands of illegal aliens into this nation, must be the absolute commitment of our next champion. The bleeding must be stopped immediately. …

Returning to adherence to our long-standing immigration laws is not an unreasonable demand. I realize I will be criticized by many for making this statement, but I am convinced we must halt the daily torrent of illegal immigrants who almost effortlessly enter our nation.  I know that many of these people are simply seeking a better life, but countless numbers of criminals are entering our nation.  Plus, contagious diseases that were virtually wiped out in America are resurfacing, primarily because of the flood of illegal immigration.  It must stop.

Just How Angry Can They Be?

There has been a lot of talk in the media in recent months about that the idea that the Right is angry with President Bush and the Republicans and that this anger might hurt the party in November.  

For instance, there is this piece today from McClatchy Newspapers making just this sort of prediction regarding the FDA’s recent decision to make the “morning after pill” available over the counter  - something the Right is none-too-happy about

Now the Family Research Council and other allies among social conservatives and in Congress are weighing a lawsuit to challenge the FDA's decision. News of such a confrontation just before this fall's elections could aggravate the White House's hopes of energizing conservatives to vote.

"This is not an issue that grabs people around the dinner table. It doesn't grab people like the war or taxes, or even marriage or the abortion decision in South Dakota," [Family Research Council’s Tom] McClusky said.

"But people are going to wonder why all these pro-life, pro-family groups are suing this administration."

Sitting at their kitchen tables in districts with close House races or states with close Senate races, some social conservatives could react with anger and not vote at all. Or they might remain sufficiently afraid of the Democrats to vote but too apathetic to help get anyone else to vote.

Just how much danger does this supposed right-wing rage really pose to the GOP?  Well, judge for yourself

Focus on the Family Action today announced a Stand for the Family rally to be held this fall in Nashville, Tenn. The event is designed to motivate and inform voters about the importance of voting their values in November.

"It's clear that people of faith must continue to go to the polls and vote their values," said James C. Dobson, Ph.D., chairman of Focus Action. "Our calling to be good citizens did not end in 2004 -– it requires us to be informed, diligent voters in each election.

"The issues at stake in this election demand our careful attention and involvement. The men and women elected to office will be entrusted with decisions that most affect America's families – protecting traditional marriage and the sanctity of life, as well as rolling back the judicial tyranny that plagues our nation. Voters in eight states, including Tennessee, will also have the opportunity to directly protect marriage by voting for state marriage-protection amendments."

Dobson will be joined by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council Action; Gary Bauer, former presidential candidate and chairman of American Values and the Campaign for Working Families; Dr. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church, near Seattle, Wash; and Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

As we have noted before, if the Right is indeed angry, they sure have a funny way of showing it.

Priscilla Said It Was Okay

When the White House announced the nomination of Harriet Miers for a seat on the Supreme Court, the nomination was met with overwhelming opposition from the Right.

The Bush Administration responded by trotting out one of Miers’ close friends, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, to assure the Right that Miers opposed abortion.  

Ultimately, it was all for naught as Miers withdrew her nomination citing bogus concerns over access to internal White House documents, though the reality was that her nomination was killed by Bush’s own base.

But while Miers’ publicly humiliating travails are over from her nomination period, Hecht’s are not.

In May, the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished Hecht for violating the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct concluding that "Justice Hecht's actions on behalf of Harriet Miers constituted persistent and willful violations of Canons 2B and 5(2) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct."

Hecht has appealed and is arguing, at least in part, that Priscilla Owen said it was okay:

Hecht testified that the rules — ones that the Texas Supreme Court itself issues — were never intended to include a judge’s comments about a U.S. Supreme Court nominee but were adopted to keep judges out of local political races. But Hecht testified that he sought advice from former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips and Appeals Court Judge Priscilla Owen and was told that he was free to comment.

Considering that Owen has a long history of rewriting and disregarding the law in order to achieve her desired results, perhaps Hecht should have sought out a more reliable source of advice on this issue. 

The Commission stated that Hecht violated

1. Canon 2B of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct states, in pertinent part: "A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others."

2. Canon 5(2) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct states, in pertinent part: "A judge or judicial candidate shall not authorize the public use of his or her name endorsing another candidate for any public office, except that either may indicate support for a political party."

According to the Commission, Hecht

[A]llowed his name and title to be used by the press and the White House in support of his close friend, Harriet Miers, a nominee for the office of United States Supreme Court Justice. Such public support by a judicial official elected to the highest court in Texas, in the eyes of the public and the rest of the judiciary, would be construed as an endorsement of Miers' candidacy, as those terms are commonly used and understood. Because the Commission views Miers' desire for a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court to be a private interest, the efforts of Justice Hecht in promoting his friend's candidacy by responding to media inquiries and assisting the White House in its efforts to convince powerful special interest groups to support her candidacy, constituted an improper use of his office and position to promote Miers' private interest.

Telling Off the Christian Coalition


The Christian Coalition of Alabama wants to know where candidates for the state Legislature stand on a wide variety of issues, ranging from prayer in school to abortion to whether people who are homosexual should be allowed to serve in the Alabama National Guard.

The coalition has mailed a nine-page, 76-question survey to candidates and plans to use the answers in its voter guide, which will be distributed in churches across the state before the Nov. 7 general election.

The survey did not sit well with some Democratic legislators, who said they believe the purpose is to use their answers against them.

"They do it purposely to campaign for the candidates they want and to hurt the candidates they don't want," said Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, an outspoken critic of state Christian Coalition President John Giles.

After receiving the survey, Holmes sent a letter to Giles saying he would answer all the questions if Giles would answer questions revealing the source of the Christian Coalition's money. Holmes has supported a bill opposed by Giles that would force the Christian Coalition and other nonprofit groups to disclose the source of money used to run ads to influence a legislative issue or a referendum.

"Until you answer those three questions, GO STRAIGHT TO HELL," Holmes said in the letter to Giles.

Former FRC Head Discounts GOP "Lip Service" on Religious Right Issues

While James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family and founder of the Family Research Council, has apparently abandoned his threat to hold back on support for Republicans this year, his former lieutenant Ken Connor is still warning that the base may “stay at home.” Connor, the former president of FRC who now heads his own Center for a Just Society, writes that “Christian conservatives” were “in no small part” to thank for the election of George W. Bush, but now—despite a recent politically-timed effort to vote on socially-charged bills—  they ask, “‘What have you done for me lately?’”

A review of the recent record leaves them chagrined.  Notwithstanding the party's lip service, and aside from the confirmation of two promising (yet untested) Supreme Court justices, little real progress has been made in the last two years toward advancing the values agenda.  Planned Parenthood has not been prevented from receiving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.  The federal courts' jurisdiction has not been trimmed to limit its ability to hear cases involving abortion or same-sex marriage. And the Republican-controlled Congress is outspending its liberal Democratic predecessors.

No doubt, the Republicans would point to the vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment as a testament to their commitment to values voters' priorities.  It was, however, little more than a cynical ploy.  Republican leaders knew the measure had no chance of passage and did precious little to make it pass. That they couldn't even muster majority support in the Republican-controlled Senate is evidence of just how anemic their efforts really were.  Eyewash is not a substitute for the real thing.

In truth, the Republican Party in the last two years has done what it regarded as the absolute minimum necessary to pacify its values voter base.  Sadly, that pacification has come cheap.  Meanwhile, the party has worked hard to advance the agenda of the moneyed and business interests that finance its campaigns.  The unmistakable message has been that the party values money over votes.

Teachers of Evolution Seek to Destroy "Childhood Joy and Ambition," Says Schlafly

Creationism advocates are furious about the recent loss of an anti-evolution majority on the Kansas school board. Watergate figure and high-profile Religious Right operative Chuck Colson bemoaned the “censorship” of not mandating the instruction of “Intelligent Design” creationism in public schools. Wichita pastor Terry Fox (who quit his church shortly after the election to be a full-time activist against same-sex marriage, abortion, and evolution) called evolution a “cult” and “the mother of all liberalism” and cited the “homosexual agenda” and “taking Christ out of Christmas” as related reasons to elect right-wing school board members. Board member Connie Morris, who called evolution a “fairytale” and lost her bid for re-election to a moderate, blamed the “lying liberal media” for her defeat, and Kansas “Intelligent Design” advocate John Calvert complained of a “propaganda” campaign of “systematic misinformation” that Kansas might have trouble competing for science-related business if it maintained a standard of science education opposed by almost all scientific societies.

Now right-wing stalwart Phyllis Schlafly weighs in, claiming that those who take their cues on public-school science curricula from scientists are out to stifle children’s laughter and quash their dreams:

Liberals see the political value to teaching evolution in school, as it makes teachers and children think they are no more special than animals. Childhood joy and ambition can turn into depression as children learn to reject that they were created in the image of God.

Schlafly claims that “The issue in the Kansas controversy was not intelligent design and certainly not creationism,” preferring to refer to “the movement to allow criticism of evolution.” She notes that the Kansas standards point to a non-binding statement that came out of the congressional conference committee negotiating the No Child Left Behind Act that singles out evolution as a “controversy” and calls on schools to teach the “full range of scientific views that exist.”

But as the National Center for Science Education details, the so-called Santorum Amendment – partially designed by “Intelligent Design” advocates as part of a long-term strategy to undermine scientific instruction – was never passed into law.

Empty Threats

Remember a few months ago when some on the Right, especially James Dobson, were threatening Republicans that there would be negative electoral repercussions unless the GOP worked harder to promote the right-wing agenda?

Some of President Bush's most influential conservative Christian allies are becoming openly critical of the White House and Republicans in Congress, warning that they will withhold their support in the midterm elections unless Congress does more to oppose same-sex marriage, obscenity and abortion. 


In the last several weeks, Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and one of the most influential Christian conservatives, has publicly accused Republican leaders of betraying the social conservatives who helped elect them in 2004. He has also warned in private meetings with about a dozen of the top Republicans in Washington that he may turn critic this fall unless the party delivers on conservative goals. 

Dr. Dobson, whose daily radio broadcast has millions of listeners, has already signaled his willingness to criticize Republican leaders. In a recent interview with Fox News on the eve of a visit to the White House, he accused Republicans of "just ignoring those that put them in office."

Dr. Dobson cited the House's actions on two measures that passed over the objections of social conservatives: a hate-crime bill that extended protections to gay people, and increased support for embryonic stem cell research.

"There's just very, very little to show for what has happened," Dr. Dobson said, "and I think there's going to be some trouble down the road if they don't get on the ball."

Since then, the Republicans haven’t accomplished much in terms of opposing same-sex marriage, obscenity or abortion – but Dobson seems to have realized the symbiotic nature of his relationship with the GOP and has quietly abandoned his petulant threats

Right Calls on Teachers to Leave NEA

Televangelist Warns of Harmful Effects of Evolution

D. James Kennedy is a prominent megachurch pastor and televangelist whose influence extends to the political realm--his Center for Reclaiming America for Christ claims to have 500,000 members willing to sign petitions against abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research, and his Center for Christian Statesmanship has honored political leaders of the Right including Alabama's ex-Chief Justice and Ten Commandments-wielder Roy Moore, then-Sen. John Ashcroft, Sen. Sam Brownback, and then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

On his "Coral Ridge Hour" show Sunday, which is widely syndicated on the ABC Family network, Kennedy lashed out at evolution and asked viewers to donate to produce a costly anti-evolution video.

The consequences of Darwinism have been devastating. But the good news is, many in the scientific community are realizing that the emperor has no clothes. Evolution is indeed a charade. But those who dare to voice those views are suffering persecution. ...

This is an outrage and that's why I intend to do something about it. I am determined to produce a hard-hitting, brand new special exposing the controversy over intelligent design and evolution, including examining the devastating effects of Darwin's theory. Rarely do you see anything on the consequences of evolution.

Watch the video clip: Broadband or Dial-Up.

Donors will receive an anti-evolution book published by his church, and Kennedy says, "You will be shocked at the harmful effects that evolution is still having on our nation, our children, and our world."

Despite his considerable resources, it is still doubtful that Kennedy can reverse the effects of evolution. But efforts like his are critical in the Right Wing campaign to redefine science education in our public schools--as in Kansas, Ohio, and elsewhere.

Schiavo Role Dogs Randall Terry's Political Campaign

Randall Terry, the far-right founder of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, was a key figure in the debate about Terri Schiavo in late 2004 and early 2005, orchestrating a full-scale media campaign, appearing regularly on national television, and meeting with Gov. Jeb Bush to urge him to intervene in various ways in the family dispute over end-of-life care. Terry, who once ran for Congress in New York State, decided next to run for Florida Senate against Jim King, a Republican who was recently president of the state Senate. As the Orlando Sentinel notes,

The two have crossed swords before. In 2005, when Terry lobbied state lawmakers to pass a bill to reinsert Schiavo's feeding tube, King was one of nine Republican senators who helped block the bill. Terry singled out King, called him "Judas" and vowed that if Schiavo died, there would be "hell to pay."

Now Terry is apparently seeking to present himself to primary voters as more moderate. He has posted several homemade videos to his campaign web site, in which he tells the camera that he has “mellowed out” in recent years. “What Jim King wishes is that this election was about Terri Schiavo, and it's not,” Terry recently claimed.

Unfortunately, not all of Terry’s allies on the Right have gotten the message. Paul Schenck, executive director of the National Pro-Life Action Center, issued a press release condemning Gov. Jeb Bush for opposing Terry, saying, “Shame, shame on Jeb Bush for betraying the memory of Terri Schindler Schiavo by endorsing Jim King. As Senate president, King had the power to protect Terri, but for cynical political purposes he did not. Now Jeb Bush wants us to forget that King was largely responsible for Terri's death.”

Who’s Trying to Kill Immigration Reform?

If you are trying to get a sense of whether any sort of comprehensive immigration reform bill will pass this year, just read this article in the Washington Times

The Republican base is being rejuvenated, some conservative activists say, by a flurry of congressional action on "values" issues such as marriage safeguards, flag protection and abortion restrictions, as well as President Bush's veto last week of stem-cell legislation.

Jim Backlin, vice president of legislative affairs at the Christian Coalition, said the spate of "values" votes "really, really helps rejuvenate our base -- especially Bush vetoing the stem-cell bill."

In the past few months, Mr. Bush signed legislation against broadcast indecency, both chambers of Congress voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and woman, and the House voted to retain the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

But all that grandstanding on gay marriage, the Pledge of Allegiance, and stem-cell research could be for naught if the GOP helps pass any sort of immigration bill that doesn’t turn the millions of illegal immigrants in this country into felons.  

They warn against counteracting that progress with a comprehensive immigration bill that conservatives consider amnesty.

Still, Mr. Backlin warned that Republicans will "lose all that goodwill" from values voters if the Senate version of immigration reform is signed into law.

Mr. McClusky agreed that such a move would devastate the party and said "there is more work to be done" on values issues.

So don't be surprised it that spells the end of comprehensive immigration reform – at least for this year.  

Florida Right Looks to Politicize Judicial Elections Through Voter Guides in Churches

Voter guides describing candidates for elected office and distributed through churches have long been a hallmark of the Religious Right groups like the Christian Coalition -- which at one point lost its tax-exempt status for its involvement in political campaigning. Now, Florida Family Policy Council -- the state affiliate of James Dobson's Focus on the Family, involved in the Terri Schiavo debate and in efforts to ban same-sex marriage -- is preparing voter guides for state judicial candidates, who for the most part are elected or face an election after being appointed. According to an FFPC press release:
The primary goal of the [Florida Judicial Accountability Project] is to publish and distribute the 2006 Judicial Voter Guide, which will report information taken from questionnaire responses of every judge candidate on the ballot in Florida. The Judicial Voter Guide is strictly an educational service and will not rate or score judicial candidates in any way. The scope and nature of this project is unprecedented in Florida’s history. The FFPC anticipates at least one million copies of the 2006 Judicial Voter Guides will be produced and distributed this year in print, online and by electronic mail.

Ohio "Patriot Pastors" Bite Back on Politicking Criticism

Columbus, Ohio area megachurch pastors Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson have been at the center of the race for governor, having organized a network of so-called “Patriot Pastors” through rallies and events starring the Republican candidate, Ken Blackwell. At one point, the web site of Johnson’s Ohio Restoration Project featured detailed plans for a statewide rallies and voting registration drives featuring Blackwell and timed to influence the primary and general elections, and even a 30-second radio spot also featuring Blackwell.

In January, a group of more than 30 religious leaders from the Columbus area signed a letter accusing Parsley and Johnson of “flagrant political campaign activities” and asking the IRS to investigate whether they are using their churches’ tax-exempt status unfairly in the governor’s race. Parsley, Johnson, and even Blackwell immediately fired back, accusing the other ministers of launching a “secular jihad against expressions of faith,” as Johnson put it. “You tell those 31 bullies that you aren’t about to be whupped,” Blackwell said at a “Patriot Pastors” meeting organized by Johnson.

Parsley, Johnson, and Blackwell appeared Monday in a CBN news segment on “ACLJ This Week,” the television show of Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice, to reiterate their claims of innocence and persecution. “We have never in any way endorsed a candidate for any public office,” said Parsley, apparently referring to an act of explicitly saying something like “I endorse Ken Blackwell.” Similarly, Johnson said, “We do not endorse candidates. We do not give money to candidates. This is not a political PAC. But nothing in the Constitution says that Christians have to check their citizenship at the door.” Johnson added that “These people, candidly, are trying to intimidate people of faith” – even though “these people” are also ministers and rabbis, presumably “people of faith” themselves.

Blackwell, the beneficiary of Parsley’s and Johnson’s attentions, cites the First Amendment – not the part about freedom of expression, but rather the clause on freedom of religion, suggesting that Blackwell sees rallies and events railing against gays and abortion and honoring Blackwell with awards as somehow a form of worship.

Watch the video: Broadband or Dial-Up.

The Right Has Its 2008 Candidate All Picked Out

USA Today has an interesting article on the Right's search for a 2008 presidential candidate that it can wholeheartedly support. The Right has concerns about possible front-runners like Sen. John McCain and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. As Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says
"I think it would be very difficult for someone to win the Republican nomination who is not supportive of the effort to defend marriage, including supporting a federal marriage amendment. That, I think, is a threshold issue, just as the life issue is a threshold issue."
That pretty much leaves Sen. Sam Brownback, a man who is more or less their ideal candidate

Stem-Cell Research Vote Approaches in Senate

As stem-cell research comes to a vote in the Senate, and President Bush threatens his first veto, Washington Post’s Dana Milbank offers his sketch of the members of Congress making their arguments. Supporters of research like Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), otherwise a staunch ally of Bush and of the Religious Right, cited the medical promise of embryonic stem cells, while others pointed out that they, like many Americans, have family members who suffer from or died of currently untreatable diseases like Parkinson’s. “Had the research and stem cells been available, I wouldn't have had Hodgkin's,” added Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania).

Bush's congressional allies, meanwhile, were mailing it in yesterday. GOP Reps. Joseph Pitts (Pa.), Mike Pence (Ind.) and Dave Weldon (Fla.) called a "background briefing" on stem cells for 11 a.m. in the Cannon House Office Building -- but none of the three showed up. …

In the Senate, Bush's defense was taken up almost exclusively by the chamber's two most ardent religious conservatives, Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). And they were having a tough time of it. …

Brownback brought a group of parents of children grown from "adopted" embryos to make his point. "My daughter was flown out FedEx from the East Coast to the West Coast, where I live," reported Maria Lancaster. "She had been in the freezer four years."

Marlene Strege, with her 7-year-old daughter, who was adopted as an embryo, displayed a drawing by the girl of an embryo asking, "Are you going to kill me?"

Operation Save America Targets Mississippi's Only Clinic

The Associated Press reports on dueling rallies in Jackson, Mississippi as the National Organization of Women and others sought to counter the efforts of Rev. Flip Benham’s Operation Save America, which “is holding rallies across Jackson in an effort to force the closure of Mississippi's only abortion clinic.”

Flip Benham, Operation Save America director, said his group will remain in Mississippi until the Jackson Women's Health Organization abortion clinic shuts its doors for good.

"I'm here to tell the truth," Benham said to an abortion rights advocate who questioned why he was at the rally. "We were out at the clinic earlier today and we are out here to bring the gospel. Of course, when you do that — bring the real gospel — all hell is going to break loose and all of heaven is going to come down."

He said there were eight abortion clinics in Mississippi in 1993, the last time his group came to the state, "and now you have only one abortion mill and what you are seeing is that all eyes are turned to Mississippi."

AP--Protesters clash in Jackson, MS
(AP Photo)

Operation Save America, formerly known as Operation Rescue, had a reputation for militancy under the leadership of Randall Terry, as when OR protestors stormed a police barricade in front of a clinic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1992, as Max Blumenthal reported. In Mississippi, the tactic appears to be increasing regulation targeted at the last clinic in the state. Curiously, however, the AP reported of Saturday’s protests in Jackson,

A bomb threat halted the rally, leading to angry exchanges between the groups. The Jackson Police Department cleared the park and blew up a package found by a bomb squad. Officers would not say what the package contained.

Syndicate content

Abortion Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 06/30/2010, 3:10pm
Every once in a while it is important to remind ourselves that the Religious Right doesn't want our nation's laws to reflect Biblical principles only on issues like abortion or gay marriage, but on all laws. And though we tend to forget that from time to time, fortunately they are willing to remind us, which is what David Barton and Rick Green of Wallbuilders did today, laying out the case for complete economic deregulation on the grounds that that is what the Bible says that Christians should be free to do as they please, while laws and regulations should only be targeted at "the bad... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 06/30/2010, 11:13am
It seems that the Right is all agog over this article in the "National Review" by Shannen Coffin, claiming that Elena Kagan "manipulated the statement of a medical organization to protect partial-birth abortion" while working in the Clinton White House. Here is the gist of Coffin's "bombshell": There is no better example of this distortion of science than the language the United States Supreme Court cited in striking down Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion in 2000. This language purported to come from a “select panel” of the American... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 06/29/2010, 5:56pm
Think Progress: Rand Paul refuses to say how old the earth is: ‘I think I’m just gonna have to pass on that one.’ TPM: Randall Terry Asks: Where Have All The Protests Gone? Dave Weigel: Rick Barber talks about Nazis. Iowa Independent: Huckabee not ready to endorse Branstad. Steve Benen: What Did Thurgood Marshall Ever Do To The GOP? Political Correction: Angle Rejects Abortion For Rape Victims: "Sometimes God Has A Plan". MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 06/29/2010, 5:19pm
Outside of the incessant Twittering of the Judicial Crisis Network's Carrie Severino, I haven't seen much commentary from the Right on Elena Kagan's hearing today ... and the few things I have seen have tended to be along the line of this ridiculous press release from the American Life League: "Elena Kagan has revealed herself as the pro-abortion activist she is. The 'health of the mother' exception has long been code for abortion on demand for any reason under the sun - including financial 'health.' "Kagan's position is clearly opposed by the majority of Americans who... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 06/29/2010, 3:00pm
It was just last week that we reported that following the departure of Mike Heath from the Maine Family Policy Council, the organization had announced a new interim president and executive director who had as his mission undoing all of the embarrassment Heath had caused the organization with his ridiculous statements. Well, that is going to be kind of hard if, as Jeremy notes, the organization keep writing things like this about how "Immorality is Worse than BP Oil Spill": Those who viewed the environmental damage — Christians and non-believers alike — called the damage... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 06/29/2010, 9:58am
As the questioning in Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing finally gets underway, right-wing groups are busy releasing statements and reports claiming she is everything from a "clear and present danger to the Constitution" to a sign of the end times. The Judicial Crisis Network's first day write-up is particularly confusing, as they seem convinced that Kagan is trying to "disguise herself as the next John Roberts"  The Senate Judiciary Committee just concluded the first day of Elena Kagan's hearings to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court. Our summary of... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 06/28/2010, 10:26am
Last year, we wrote a series of posts about the How To Take Back America Conference which was hosted by Janet Porter and Phyllis Schlafly and several other Religious Right groups and featured as speakers everyone from Mike Huckabee to Michele Bachmann to Trent Franks. This year, the event has been taken over by Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily and seems to have lost most of its ties to the Religious Right, which is why we had not really mentioned it until now.  The speaker's list contained just the sort of fringe right-wing activists you'd expect from a WND-organized conference: ... MORE