Bush Administration

Mat Staver Claims that Obama’s “Radical” Support for Same-Sex Partner Benefits Led to “Tidal Wave Against Him”

Liberty University Law School Dean and Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver joined David Barton and Rick Green on WallBuilders Live to denounce Obama and the Justice Department for failing to win cases on Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), which a federal judge in Boston ruled unconstitutional in July. Staver believes that Obama’s record of supporting gay rights undermined government action to effectively defend DOMA, and Staver went on to attack Obama for extending a number of health benefits to same-sex partners of eligible federal employees. According to Staver, Obama’s support for such benefits displays his “radical, liberal policies” that he believes voters overwhelmingly oppose and rejected in the midterm election:

He’s writing these executive orders as though that is able to change law, it’s not able to change law. What Obama’s trying to do is use a sleight of hand, an under the table kind of approach, to in fact change the law through these executive orders. He’s acting as though the law’s on his side, that it would include benefits for homosexuality and transsexuals and others. So he is forcing that through the system even though the laws are to the contrary. This is exactly what ultimately resulted in this tidal wave against him on Tuesday during the midterm elections, his radicalism and his forced agenda on the American people despite the fact that the people of America reject those radical, liberal policies.

However, Staver would have difficulties reconciling his argument with polling: a September poll conducted by the Associated Press shows that 58% of Americans agree that “couples of the same sex [should] be entitled to the same government benefits as married couples of the opposite sex,” and 52% even support federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Staver may be using Barton’s tremendously flawed reading on how opposition to same-sex marriage impacted the midterm election, while in reality “only 1%” of voters said “same-sex marriage was the single most important issue.”

Barton’s co-host Rick Green goes on to laud Staver for his role in training Religious Right activists at the Law School of Liberty University, which was founded by the late Jerry Falwell, to use the “right Biblical worldview” to shape government, politics, and the courts:

What they’re doing in terms of raising up this next generation. Not only the lawyers graduating from Liberty Law School but think of how many more people with the right Biblical worldview coming through a school like that will want to go be the bureaucrats, and we always think of that word as a negative word but the Justice Department and all these places and all these folks that work there in the past mostly did not have that Biblical worldview because we discouraged young people from going into those arenas. But because of what Mat’s doing and other schools out there doing that kind of thing I think we’re gonna have a lot more people coming into government for good reasons.

Perhaps Green wants more appointees like Monica Goodling, the graduate of Rev. Pat Robertson’s Regent University Law School, who drew attention for her Religious Right activism in the Bush Administration’s Justice Department. Goodling was implicated in the Bush White House’s drive to politicize the Justice Department and replace US Attorneys with partisan appointees. The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General “concluded that the evidence showed that Goodling violated both federal law and Department policy, and therefore committed misconduct, when she considered political or ideological affiliations in hiring decisions for candidates for career positions within the Department.” For example, Goodling fired a US Attorney as a result of rumors that she was a lesbian and denied a promotion to a prosecutor because his wife was a Democratic activist. While Goodling was not a graduate of Liberty, Regent University has the same goals of training young right wing activists for government roles to advance the Religious Right’s agenda.

More Good News For Huckabee: James Robison Is Back In Business

For the last several months we've been noting the gradual re-emergence of James Robison, who was an influential leader back at the founding of the Religious Right but who eventually sort of fell off the radar. 

But in the last year or so, he has suddenly become more and more involved in Religious Right activism and I guess nothing better demonstrates that fact like this article, via AU, reporting that a few months back Robison convened a large gathering of leaders to plot how to defeat President Obama in 2012:

Conservative Christian leaders from across the nation met two months ago near the Dallas airport to strategize about replacing President Barack Obama with someone who matches their agenda – a move that paralleled an effort by Christian leaders in 1979 to defeat then President Jimmy Carter.

About 40 conservative Christian leaders gathered in Dallas on Sept. 8-9 to begin laying the groundwork for a religious-political movement similar to the one that helped Ronald Reagan oust the Baptist Sunday school teacher from the Oval Office. Convened by evangelist James Robison – a key figure in the religious effort 30 years ago to promote Reagan's candidacy – the list of attendees included many of the most prominent Christian evangelists and ministers, including several Southern Baptist leaders.

Southern Baptist leaders attending the meeting included: Richard Land (president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission); Richard Lee (pastor and the editor of The American Patriot's Bible); John Meador (pastor of First Baptist Church of Euless, Texas); and Paige Patterson (president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary).

Others at the meeting included: Tony Evans (a megachurch pastor in Texas); Father Joseph Fessio (founder and editor of Ignatius Press); Craig Groeschel (pastor of LifeChurch.tv); Miles McPherson (a megachurch pastor in California who spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention); Johnnie Moore (a vice president at Liberty University who defended the school's decisions to have Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich as recent speakers); Tom Mullins (a megachurch pastor in Florida); Doug Napier (legal counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund); Dino Rizzo (a megachurch pastor in Louisiana); Dave Roever (an evangelist who prayed at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally); Mark Rutland (president of Oral Roberts University); David Stone (a megachurch pastor in Kentucky); and Stu Weber (a megachurch pastor in Oregon).

Several conservative Christian leaders highly active in politics attended the meeting, including: Stephen Broden (a pastor and Republican politician in Texas); Keith Butler (a pastor and Republican politician in Michigan); Maggie Gallagher (a conservative columnist who received tens of thousands of dollars for her work from the George W. Bush administration); Jim Garlow (chairman of Newt Gingrich's organization, Renewing American Leadership); Harry Jackson (pastor of Hope Christian Church in Washington, D.C.); Gene Mills (executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum); and Tony Perkins (president of the Family Research Council).

Some attendees have been guests on Glenn Beck's program on Fox News (including Broden, Garlow, Lee, McPherson, Mullins, Robison, Roever and Stone), and several were involved with his "Restoring Honor" rally (including Jackson, Land, Lee, Gallagher, Garlow and Roever).

Three of the attendees at the meeting have been under investigation since 2007 by Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Baptist from Iowa, for perhaps violating IRS tax-exempt rules. Those at the meeting included televangelists Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and Joyce Meyer.

Other individuals helped plan the September meeting but were unable to attend. They included: Jerry Falwell Jr. (president of Liberty University); Jack Graham (a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention); O.S. Hawkins (head of the SBC's Guidestone Financial Resources); Jack Hayford (president of Foursquare International); and author Ravi Zacharias.

I should point out, also, that Robison's return can only be good news for Mike Huckabee, as Robison was his mentor back in the 1970s, leading Huckabee to drop out of seminary so he could go to work for Robison as his director of communications.

If Robison and crew are looking to replace Obama "with someone who matches their agenda," Huckabee seems like a perfect fit.

Meet Tim Griffin: Karl Rove’s Man in Congress

Following last Tuesday's election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Our fifth candidate profile is on Tim Griffin of Arkansas:

Running in an open Democratic district, Tim Griffin defeated progressive champion Joyce Elliott to win the election to represent Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional District.

Tim Griffin worked in the two Bush presidential campaigns and McCain’s 2008 campaign as the Republicans’ chief opposition researcher. In 2000, he said with regards to his opposition research department: “We think of ourselves as the creators of the ammunition in a war…. We make the bullets.” Conservative columnist Robert Novak called Griffin “a protégé of Karl Rove, who is a leading practitioner of opposition research — the digging up of derogatory information about political opponents.”

He received notoriety in 2004 for his work to advance the false smears propagated by the discredited group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Griffin next came to light when President Bush appointed him U.S. Attorney as part of his ongoing efforts to politicize the Department of Justice. “In December 2006, US Attorney Bud Cummings was fired from his district in Northeast Arkansas and replaced with Tim Griffin,” writes investigative journalist Shannyn Moore, as the Bush Administration used a little known provision of the USA Patriot Act to avoid confirmation hearings and votes by the US Senate. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNaulty later testified that “Cummings was fired to make a place for Griffin at the urging of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers,” the former White House Counsel. Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s Chief of Staff, wrote in an email that “getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.”

Paul Charlton, who was also ousted in the Bush Administration’s Purge of US Attorneys, said that Griffin “spread the rumors around the White House that Bud Cummins was not a good U.S. attorney” in order to get him fired. Another U.S. Attorney who was pushed out during the purge, David Iglesias, maintains that Tim Griffin “never should have been U.S. Attorney, he was fundamentally unqualified.”

When defending Griffin’s nomination, the Bush Administration used “misleading talking points” which significantly exaggerated his experience as a prosecutor.

Griffin continued his deeply political work while serving as a U.S. Attorney, but was forced to resign in 2007 when he was caught in a “vote caging” operation to prevent minorities from voting. The BBC uncovered emails sent by Griffin during the 2004 campaign which included ‘caging lists’ to bar typically marginalized groups voting, and Griffin’s “caging lists were heavily weighted with minority voters including homeless individuals, students and soldiers sent overseas.”

According to Iglesias, his management of the vote caging maneuvers represents “reprehensible conduct and it may be illegal.” As a result of his disreputable background, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) rated him one of the “most corrupt” candidates for Congress.

When he was not working in the Bush Administration or for GOP campaigns, Griffin was a high-paid consultant and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars while working for “lobbying and consulting firms on shadowy causes,” including the corporate astro-turf campaign that was fighting Alaska’s Clean Water Initiative.

Throughout his congressional campaign, Griffin has closely followed the Karl Rove-playbook of appealing to both corporate interests and the Religious Right. Griffin wants to repeal health care reform and once supported the elimination of corporate taxes in favor of a national sales tax. At a candidate forum, he even went out of his way to laud the state’s relatively low wages for workers and anti-union laws.

An opponent of equal rights and a woman’s right to choose, Griffin supports a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, believes that employers should be allowed to fire their employees due to their sexual orientation, and has pledged to protect the discriminatory Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA). The fervently anti-choice group Americans United for Life Action ran ads boosting Griffin and criticizing his opponent, saying that she does not care about “the life of an innocent child.”

After a long career of dirty tricks, corporate astro-turfing, and Rovian politics, Griffin is a darling of the Republican leadership and set to become a star member of the GOP’s freshman class.

Watch this segment from the Bill Moyers Journal on Tim Griffin:

 

 

 

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 9/29

Your update on the right-wing candidates running for US Senate for 9/22-9/29.

Sharron Angle

Government: Angle and her husband are both covered by government health care plans (Alternet, 9/28).

Health Care: Criticized for mocking “Autism” coverage (The Plum Line, 9/27).

Fundraising: Comedian Dennis Miller to raise money for Angle (LVRJ, 9/28).

House: Angle’s unpopularity may hurt Nevada’s GOP House candidates (The Hill, 9/28).

Poll: One poll shows Reid leading Angle by 5%, other finds a tie (Las Vegas Sun 9/25, LVRJ 9/28).

Ken Buck

Poll: DSCC poll shows Buck trailing Bennet by 2% (Politico, 9/29).

GOP: Senators McConnell and Cornyn host fundraiser for Buck (AP, 9/28).

Right-wing: Tries to portray himself as more moderate after primary (RCP, 9/24).

Carly Fiorina

Corporate: Rightwing Koch brothers take interest in Fiorina’s campaign (LA Times, 9/25).

Outside groups: Chamber of Commerce and FreedomWorks to bolster Fiorina (LA Times, 9/28).

Poll: Trails Boxer by 8% in new poll of California voters (San Jose Mercury News, 9/25).

Ad: New ad labels Boxer as “arrogant” (The Atlantic, 9/23).

Joe Miller

Government: Expresses support for increased spending for public health and education in 2004 survey (KTUU, 9/24).

Controversy: Classified himself as “low-income” on hunting license application (Anchorage Daily News, 9/27).

Outside groups: Tea Party Express to help Miller against McAdams, Murkowski (Daily News-Miner, 9/28).

Christine O’Donnell

Finances: CREW looks into O’Donnell’s poor financial record (News Journal, 9/29).

Science: Declares evolution “a myth” on Politically Incorrect (Huffington Post, 9/25).

Controversy: Falsely claims she attended Claremont McKenna and Oxford for graduate school (Mediaite, 9/29).

GOP: Shames Republican leadership for not supporting complete repeal of Health Care Reform (ABC News, 9/28).

Rand Paul

Ad: Blasted for supporting $2,000 Medicare deductible (Herald Leader, 9/29).

Right-wing: Member of ultraconservative medical group (Courier Journal, 9/24).

Poll: Leads Conway by just 2% in latest poll of Kentucky voters (TPMDC, 9/27).

Economy: Speaks out against raising taxes on wealthy (Huffington Post, 9/27).

Dino Rossi

Controversy: BIAW fined for illegally supporting Rossi’s gubernatorial campaign (Seattle PI, 9/24).

Ad: CommonsenseTen hits Rossi on housing crisis (Politico, 9/24).

Marco Rubio

Controversy: Releases Spanish-language ad despite support for English-only policies (Florida Independent, 9/29).

Social Security: Reverses himself on Social Security privatization (St. Petersburg Times, 9/28).

Finances: New questions about Rubio’s expenses flare (Orlando Sentinel, 9/24).

Pat Toomey

Poll: Toomey holds slight lead, but one-third of Pennsylvania voters still undecided (WPVI, 9/29).

GOP: Distances himself from spending under Bush Administration (AP, 9/27).

Right-wing: Columnist examines Toomey’s far-right beliefs while leading Club for Growth (Inquirer, 9/26).

The Right Loses It As Kagan's Confirmation Nears

It seems that the closer Elena Kagan gets to being confirmed to the Supreme Court, the weaker the Right's case for opposing her becomes and, as such, the more desperate their campaign becomes.

While Phyllis Schlafly is warning that Kagan is part of President Obama's plan to "break free from our Constitution" and "fundamentally transform America," others, like Robert Knight, are going completely off the rails:

As we watch in disbelief, the United States Senate is about to take the Fifth on a Supreme Court nominee who has no business being near a courtroom except as a defendant.

The word from Capitol Hill is that the GOP won’t even bother with a filibuster despite evidence from Elena Kagan’s Judiciary Committee hearing that she falsified evidence used in a Supreme Court case and committed what might be perjury before that committee.

One wonders what it would take for the Senate to deny this nomination? A daytime bank robbery, guns drawn? No, that could be chalked up to youthful exuberance or perhaps research in pursuit of insight into the criminal mind. When the Gang of 14 Democrats and Republicans agreed to clear the path for some Bush Administration nominees, that arrogant group’s presumption was that a president is entitled to his pick unless there are “exceptional circumstances.”

If Elena Kagan’s malfeasance does not fit “exceptional circumstances,” the term has no meaning.

For the record, the phrase used by the Gang of 14 was "extraordinary circumstances," not "exceptional circumstances."

But Knight has nothing on the Family Research Council, which appears to be on the verge of losing its mind at the prospect of seeing Kagan on the Supreme Court:

In all of American history, only 111 justices have had the privilege of serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. By the end of this week, members of the Senate will have made their decision on the 112th. If it is Elena Kagan, the President's controversial Solicitor General, she will most likely join this elite club with the third fewest confirmation votes of any nominee in history. Outside the Beltway, she is unpopular even with everyday Americans, who are "more convinced than ever" that she is an ideological liberal one goal: to supplant the Constitution with a permanent Obama agenda. "It is all but certain," Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said, "that, if confirmed, Ms. Kagan will bring to the [Court] a progressive activist judicial philosophy which holds that unelected judges are empowered to set national policy from the bench." Her entire career--from the Clinton administration to Harvard Law School and the Solicitor General's office--is marred by a trail of unprincipled decisions.

Whether it was rewriting a medical group's opinion to promote infanticide or intentionally fixing a case to sink marriage, Kagan has proven that she will always ignore the law if it conflicts with her ultra-Left philosophy (or career goals). She may have zero experience as a judge, but the White House believes that she has plenty where it matters most: in years of pro-abortion, anti-American activism. Like the liberals in Congress, she is on the wrong side of the American people (and the Constitution) on every value we hold dear: the promise of new life, the stability of the family, the valor of our troops, the power of faith, and the significance of speech.

Note to Lafferty: It Was Conservatives Who Took Out Harriet Miers

I have to say that this op-ed from Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition alleging that there has been some sort of double-standard in the treatment of Elena Kagan and Harriet Miers might just be the dumbest thing that anyone has written during this entire confirmation process: 

The parallels between the nominations of Kagan and Miers — their similar legal background and connection to the presidents who nominated them — makes the various reactions from the right and the left stand in stark contrast. While Miers was harassed and criticized by both sides of the aisle until she withdrew her name from consideration, Kagan has faced relatively mild opposition, and this coming almost exclusively from the right.

Why the deferential treatment for the current nominee? It seems as though Kagan’s friends in the executive and legislative branches have no problem with her aforementioned disqualifications. Harriet Miers’s close connection to President Bush was unacceptable to many, but Elena Kagan’s connection to President Obama and her political ties to many left-wing causes is permissible, according to those who would like to give her activist tendencies new life with this increased power.

What on earth is Lafferty talking about? As she freely admits, it was the opposition of conservatives that caused Miers' nomination to be withdrawn by President Bush.  It was right-wing leaders who screamed and yelled that Miers was insufficiently conservative, which made her unqualified for a seat on the Supreme Court. 

Lafferty claims that Miers was forced to withdraw due to opposition from "both sides of the aisle," which is just laughably false, as it was the concerted efforts of conservative activists who organized opposition campaigns that took out Harriet Miers:

According to “WithdrawMiers.org,” a coalition formed by the Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly, Fidelis, and others for the sole purpose of opposing the nomination: “Miers’ … few published writings offer no real insight or assurance of a judicial philosophy that reflects a commitment to the Constitution.” And on issues where Miers had something of a record, WithdrawMiers.org was not impressed: “Ms. Miers fought to remove the pro-abortion plank in the American Bar Association platform, yet fought this Bush Administration in ending the ABA’s role in vetting judges which is known to be biased against judges whose judicial philosophies reflect a clear commitment to the Constitution. She donated money to a Texas pro-life group, yet helped establish an endowed lecture series at Southern Methodist University that brought pro-abortion icons Gloria Steinem and Susan Faludi to campus.”

Like WithdrawMiers.org, Americans for Better Justice sprang up simply to oppose the Miers nomination. Founded by ultra-conservatives like David Frum, Linda Chavez, and Roger Clegg, ABJ was unconvinced that Miers shared its founders’ right-wing views and began gathering signatures on a petition demanding Miers’ withdrawal: “The next justice of the Supreme Court should be a person of clear, consistent, and unashamed conservative judicial philosophy … The next justice should be someone who has demonstrated a deep engagement in the constitutional issues that regularly come before the Supreme Court — and an appreciation of the originalist perspective on those issues … For all Harriet Miers’ many fine qualities and genuine achievements, we the undersigned believe that she is not that person.”

The right-wing magazine National Review had, in many ways, led the charge against the Miers nomination from the very beginning. Its writers called Miers “a very, very bad pick,” declared her nomination “the most catastrophic political miscalculation of the Bush presidency” and complained that the Right had been forced to endure “an embarrassingly lame campaign from the White House, the Republican National Committee, and their surrogates.”

What caused this gnashing of teeth was the fact that, according to the National Review’s editorial board, “There is very little evidence that Harriet Miers is a judicial conservative, and there are some warnings that she is not … neither being pro-life or an evangelical is a reliable guide to what kind of jurisprudence she would produce, even on Roe, let alone on other issues.”

Others on the Right were just as dismayed by the nomination. American Values’ Gary Bauer explained: “[Harriet Miers] has not written one word, said one word, given a speech, written a letter to the editor on any of the key constitutional issues that conservatives care about and are worried about and want to make sure the court does not go down the road on."

The Wall Street Journal called the nomination a “political blunder of the first order,” lamenting that “After three weeks of spin and reporting, we still don't know much more about what Ms. Miers thinks of the Constitution.”

Stephen Crampton of the American Family Association said Miers is a “stealth candidate for a seat on the Supreme Court [and] is an unknown with no paper trail,” while the Christian Defense Coalition blasted the president, saying his supporters “did not stand out in the rain for 20 hours passing out literature or putting up signs for the President to have him turn around and nominate Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. A nominee in which there is no record of their judicial philosophy or view of the Constitution.”

Back when John Roberts was preparing for his confirmation hearing, Concerned Women for America was praising him as a “highly qualified nominee with extraordinary personal integrity who has proven himself worthy to sit on our nation's highest court.” CWA said “Senators should ignore the ridiculously inappropriate litmus tests and document demands of the radical left” and that Roberts “should receive overwhelming bi-partisan support and confirmation.”

This is in stark contrast to the stand CWA took on Miers: “We believe that far better qualified candidates were overlooked and that Miss Miers’ record fails to answer our questions about her qualifications and constitutional philosophy … We do not believe that our concerns will be satisfied during her hearing." In calling for her withdrawal, CWA revealed their real objection: “Miers is not even close to being in the mold of Scalia or Thomas, as the President promised the American people.” They demanded that the president give them a “nomination that we can whole-heartedly endorse.”

It was right-wing leaders who vehemently opposed Miers over concerns that she not conservative enough ... and now Lafferty is accusing the Left of being hypocritical for supporting Kagan? 

Nice try.

Obama Speaks on Immigration and ALIPAC Accuses Him of Treason, Seeking a North Amercian Union

Today, President Obama spoke at American University in Washington DC , delivering a speech on the need for comprehensive immigration reform ... so, of course, the early responses from anti-immigration groups like ALIPAC have been entirely reasonable

"We call on all candidates for Congress to clearly state their opposition to Comprehensive Immigration Reform Amnesty," said William Gheen of ALIPAC. "President Obama is committing a form of Treason against the American public by refusing to adequately enforce our existing immigration and border laws at the behest Global corporations and financial influences intent upon usurping the self-governance of the American public. Americans want immigration enforcement, instead of Obama's Amnesty and we expect voters to punish Amnesty supporters in the 2010 elections."

...

Obama's speech was made at American University, which is where Dr. Robert Pastor has advocated the formation of a North American Community, which has been called a North American Union by those opposed to the components of the plan that calls for a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. Obama also used the words 'Security and Prosperity' in his speech to convey his support for the Pastor plan, which was manifest during the Bush administration as the Security and Prosperity Partnership or SPP.

Preparing For the Inevitable Fight Over Immigration Reform

Yesterday, People For the American Way released our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus entitled "(P)reviewing the Right-Wing Playbook on Immigration Reform" which lays out the attacks the Right used to fight efforts at immigration reform in the past and will undoubtedly deploy again the issue is taken up by Congress in the near future: 

The public debate over comprehensive immigration reform in 2006 and 2007 was marked by appalling anti-immigrant rhetoric and was accompanied by a rise in anti-Latino hate crimes tracked by the FBI. In a report last year, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights called "the legitimization and mainstreaming of virulently anti-immigrant rhetoric" one of the "most disturbing developments of the past few years." Among the pundits promoting "fear and loathing" on cable television was Glenn Beck, who said "our country is on fire, and the fuel is illegal immigration." Since then, the swine flu scare and the deep economic recession in the United States have given right-wing opponents of comprehensive immigration reform new fuel for inflaming anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment. In September 2008, for instance, right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin even blamed "illegal immigrants" for the mortgage crisis.

The 2006-2007 push for comprehensive immigration reform was supported by the Bush administration, much of America's business and labor establishments, and congressional leaders from both parties. But in spite of that broad support, the passage of reform was derailed by right-wing pundits who inflamed anti-immigrant sentiment, some members of Congress who gleefully participated in the fearmongering, and others who were simply afraid to resist it.

In October 2008, the Anti-Defamation League criticized anti-immigrant groups for utilizing the strategies of hate groups and "resorting to hateful and dehumanizing stereotypes and outright bigotry to demonize immigrants." To the categories identified by the ADL we can now add demagoguery over the swine flu virus and exploitation of the nation's economic woes.

Here is a review of the rhetorical strategies used to inflame anti-immigrant sentiment and build political opposition to comprehensive immigration reform.

The report lays out nine specifc attacks the Right has used in the past to kill immigration reform legislation:

1: Appeal to Racial Fear and The 'Brown' Threat to 'White' America - "What is happening to us? An immigrant invasion of the United States from the Third World, as America's white majority is no longer even reproducing itself." - Pat Buchanan

2: Appeal to Racial Resentment by Portraying Immigrant Rights Advocates as Racists -- "[NCLR is] the Ku Klux Klan of the Hispanic people" - Michael Savage

3: Portray Immigrants and Their Supporters as Invaders, Conquerors, Enemies of the U.S. - "The homegrown multiculti-mau-mau-ers know exactly what they believe, and they know exactly what they are doing. They aim to mainstream the 'Stolen Land' mantra and pervert history. They aim to obliterate America's borders by sheer demographic and political force." - Michelle Malkin

4: Portray Immigrants as Criminals and Terrorists - "Illegal immigration" is a "slow-motion Holocaust," and a "slow-motion terrorist attack on the United States." - Congressman Steve King

5: Portray Immigrants as Carriers of Disease and Weapons of Bio-Terrorism - "The next time you eat in a restaurant or sleep in a hotel or motel....just remember to bring your own food, dishes, untensils [sic], glasses, towels, and maybe your own water. The person who cooked your meal or made your bed may very well be the one who picked your fruit and vegetables, yesterday....and we've heard the stories about what they do in the fields....haven't we?" - Mothers Against Illegal Aliens

6: Stop Reform by Shouting 'Amnesty' - "'Comprehensive' is the code word for amnesty." - Pat Buchanan

7: Denigrate Reform Efforts as Vote-Buying -- "The Democrats know it's to their advantage to bring in Third World hordes who will one day become Democratic voters." - Rick Scarborough

8: Portray Anti-Immigrant Stance as 'Pro-Worker' (While Voting Against Worker Interests) -- "If they were not in the country, we wouldn't have to worry about emergency room or health insurance costs at all. And Americans would have these jobs." - Congressman Virgil Goode

9: Push Divisive Black-Brown Wedge - "[Illegal immigration is] the greatest threat to black people since slavery." - Ted Hayes

For those who are committed to passing much-needed immigration reform, it is vital to know the various strategies used by anti-immigrant, right-wing activists in the past ... and that is exactly what our latest report seeks to chronicle and analyze.

Conservative Action Project: A New Name For the Same Old Right-Wing Agenda

Several months ago, I wrote a post noting the emergence of the new right-wing coalition calling itself that Conservative Action Project. At the time, all that I could figure out about it was that its membership included several Religious Right leaders and it seemed to operate out of the Council for National Policy.

Today, the Washington Post examines the role that new media is playing in shaping and disseminating conservative messaging throughout the right-wing echo chamber and reports that the Conservative Action Project is playing a a key role in that effort through the weekly meetings hosted by the Family Research Council:

Inside the Beltway, much of it is fueled by the Conservative Action Project (CAP), a new group of conservative leaders chaired by Reagan-era attorney general Edwin Meese III. CAP, whose influential memos "for the movement" circulate on Capitol Hill, is an offshoot of the Council for National Policy, a highly secretive organization of conservative leaders and donors.

...

At 7:30 a.m., members of the Conservative Action Project gather at the Family Research Council, a social conservative group.

CAP grew out of a series of meetings of conservatives, determined to engineer a political comeback, in the weeks after Obama's election. One took place during a Council for National Policy meeting at a D.C. hotel, conservatives said. The secretive council was formed in the early 1980s to coordinate what was then called the "New Right."

Key players in CAP, members said, include Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway; Greg Mueller, president of CRC Public Relations; and former congressman David M. McIntosh (R-Ind.). Its only paid staff member is Patrick Pizzella, an official in the George W. Bush administration, who works out of the Council for National Policy offices.

Among CAP's projects was supporting the Health Care Freedom Coalition, whose more than 50 economic and social conservative groups quietly built health-care opposition, CAP members said. The coalition is a spinoff of FreedomWorks, the D.C.-based group that works extensively with tea-party activists.

CAP also worked unsuccessfully to defeat David F. Hamilton, Obama's first appellate judicial nominee. A Nov. 9 CAP memo calling Hamilton "an ideologue first and a jurist second" helped trigger blog blasts from Erickson and an anti-Hamilton speech at the conservative Federalist Society by Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Judiciary Committee Republican.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Are you anxiously awaiting the return of Norm Coleman?
  • Georgia's Republican House speaker resigned today after a suicide attempt and allegations by his ex-wife of an affair with a lobbyist.
  • I, for one, am shocked: "The report represents a comprehensive review of the [Civil Rights] division’s litigation activity in the Bush administration. When compared with the Clinton administration, its findings show a significant drop in the enforcement of several major antidiscrimination and voting rights laws."
  • Peter LaBarbera: Meredith Baxter Became a Lesbian, Let’s Pray She Becomes a Christian.
  • CWA is concerned what marriage equality in Washington DC will mean to "those with moral beliefs, children, and the poor."
  • Finally, enough with the Reagan worship already:

Right Wing Paranoia Knows No Bounds

On September 9th, President Obama delivered his healthcare address to a joint session of Congress. Not surprisingly, security around the Capitol was pretty tight ... but to Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America, this sizable security presence wasn't there to protect the President or members of Congress; it was really an effort by "the Left" to intimidate conservatives:

Everything was on hand in preparation for an assault. But by whom?

Were they mobilizing for an attack by jihadists bent on acts of terrorism? No, the State Department has decreed that the bad old days of the Bush Administration’s preoccupation with the Axis of Evil and the War on Terror are over.

Then it came to me.

They are there to ensure that those evil right-wing terrorists who have been running amuck at TEA Parties and town halls all over the country don’t get the idea that they can weaken the grip of Pelosi and company by mounting a disruptive demonstration prior to, during, or after Obama’s health care reform address to Congress. Can’t allow those wicked conservatives to take a page out of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals! Can’t allow those wicked conservatives to behave like ACORN or the Black Panthers! It just wouldn’t do.

...

If the left — with its majorities in both the House and the Senate — has everything nailed down as solidly as “I’ve-got-the-votes” Pelosi claims, why all the frustration, anger, fear, and hysteria that we’re seeing? That much is not merely theatre. Those emotions are real and very hard to hide. You can see them in the eyes and body language and hear them in the tone of voice.

No. What we are seeing is something very real. And it certainly isn’t pretty.

Gary Bauer: Torture Apologist

Yesterday Gary Bauer dismissed the idea that the US was torturing people by saying that what was being done was really no different that what happens at a frat party.  Bauer's statement was notable not only for its apparent support for such methods, but also for the fact that Religious Right leaders have, for the last several years, remained mostly silent on the issue as a whole. 

But now the President Obama is in office, Bauer seems to have decided to speak out in defense of these practices and has penned two separate columns doing so today.

In the first, Bauer argues that torture is acceptable under the Just War Theory because it "creates a set of conditions that, if met, justify the use of force to save innocent lives facing imminent death" and offers this as an explanation of his point:

A Thought Experiment: You walk into your home to find an armed intruder threatening to shoot your spouse and children, trapped with nowhere to run. Fortunately, you have a gun.

You try to negotiate, but the intruder is in no mood to talk. His intention is murder.

You have seconds to decide. What do you do?

For many, the answer is clear. You fight to save your family. And most of us would call that self defense. Most Christians would agree that any action would be not only morally permissible, but also morally required.

Now imagine another scenario: You are a CIA interrogator facing an avowed terrorist who was caught in the act of preparing for murder. You know he has information about a plot to blow up an unidentified building in a large American city. Innocent lives hang in the balance.

For hours you have attempted to extract the life-saving information from him, but to no avail. The last option is one you believe will work: water-boarding, but you have only a few minutes to decide. What do you do?

Again, for most of us, the answer is clear. You do what you have to do to save those innocent lives, which in this case means water-boarding the terrorist. You are saving other people's families.

Of course, this sort of "ticking time bomb" is an extreme hypothetical situation and, from everything we know, the use of torture and water-boading wasn't done because CIA interrogators only had "hours" to stop to a massive attack.  Waterboarding people 266 times takes, well, time.

But in this other piece, Bauer takes it a step further and claims that "liberals" don't care about torture at all and really are just using this issue to attack the Bush administration.  As proof, Bauer cites the Eleno Oviedo who spent 26 years as a political prisoner in Cuba where he was regularly beaten and tortured:

The Left would have us believe its support for the investigation and prosecution of Bush era CIA officials is rooted in principle. It’s about the torture, liberals insist, not politics.

But it is about politics pure and simple. If liberals truly detest torture, why do so many of them sing the praises of Castro’s Cuba, which today incarcerates and tortures hundreds of its citizens for the “crime” of promoting basic human rights?

Have those obsessed with alleged mistreatment of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ever shed a tear for modern-day Eleno Oviedos, rotting in squalid prisons across that small island?

One could just as easily ask if Bauer had ever cared or written about Oviedos's torture before he decided to use him in his effort to attack liberals and defend the Bush administration.

He then goes on to warn that if the CIA stops using torture and the US is attacked again, it will be "the Left" that will be entirely to blame:

All of this may be prompting many Americans to wonder: Is the political left more dedicated to imprisoning political enemies than to our security? ... The Obama Administration’s decision puts innocent American lives at risk and makes another 9/11 more likely.

Is this really the game the political Left wants to play? If it is, then if (when?) America is attacked on their watch, conservatives need to be prepared to investigate all their sins of omission, all the things the Obama Administration failed to do to keep America safe, just as the Left is obsessed with the alleged malfeasance of the CIA under Bush.

Let's not forget, "Gary L. Bauer is one of America’s most effective spokesmen for pro-life, pro-family and pro-growth values."

Bob MacGuffie Defends His Mob Memo

Last night Alan Colmes brought Bob MacGuffie, the man responsible for the "Rocking The Town Hall" memo that urges right-wing activists to overwhelm and disrupt Congressional town hall meetings by shouting down the speakers and generally causing a commotion.

Needless to say, MacGuffie didn't see it that way, insisting that outbursts are "not terribly disruptive" and that those that have occurred have been the result of genuine and spontaneous anger at the Democrats' effort to transform America into a socialist nightmare.  

In essence, MacGuffie said, these sorts of tactics are necessary because Democrats "have gotten away with their phony town halls for too long" where they have been allowed to spew their "lies, deceit, and misrepresentation."

MacGuffie insisted that his goal is merely to get people to ask Representatives questions and hold them accountable, but when Colmes pointed out that urging people shout out and disrupt the event does not generally lead to a fruitful exchange of views, MacGuffie's response was that "well, hey, passions run deep."

The interview then took an interesting turn when MacGuffie insisted that these outbursts were aimed at fighting "government intrusion in our lives," at which point Colmes asked why he wasn't urging right-wing activists to descend on Republican town hall events when the Bush administration was greatly expanding the scope of government power with things the Patriot Act and warrantless searches. 

MacGuffie responded that he doesn't carry any water for Bush and as Colmes continued to press him as to why, if he is, as he claims, opposed to those who want to increase the power of the state, he wasn't urging protests of Bush or the Republicans when they were doing exactly that, MacGuffie's only retort was that "George Bush was awful."

And that was about the only thing MacGuffie said during the entire 15 minute interview that we can all agree on: 

Every Right Wing Activst In America Demands Porn Meeting With AG Holder

Alliance Defense Fund President has sent a letter [PDF] to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting a meeting to discuss how to Obama Administration plans "to fight illegal, obscene pornography on a national level":

Since the advent of the Internet, illegal pornography has flooded homes, businesses, public libraries, and even schools. The results have been devastating to America. Pornography addiction is now common among men, women, and even many children. Children are creating cell phone child pornography, in a new trend called, "sexting." Pornography use is now a significant factor in divorce. Hotels. motels, cable and satellite companies, and other businesses are making tremendous profits by offering illegal, obscene pornography. America is becoming a "pornified culture," as author and Time magazine writer Pamela Paul has stated.

We are compelled to write to you and ask for an expansion of the Administration's efforts against the scourge of pornography. To discuss this issue further, we respectfully request to meet with you at the earliest opportunity.

This isn't really that much of a surprise as fighting pornography has always been one of the Religious Right's pet issues and one on which they regularly faulted the Bush Administration for failing to adequately pursue.

In fact, the only reason I am even mentioning this particular letter is because it has been signed by seemingly every Religious Right activst in the country.  ADF reports that it secured the signatures of "nearly 400 other pro-family advocates [from] across the nation" and while the letter itself runs about a page, it is followed by thirteen pages of signatures and has been joined by dozens of well known figures like Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, Tom Minnery, Rod Parsley, Don Wildmon, Wendy Wright, Jan LaRue, Mat Staver, Kelly Shackelford, Matt Barber, and Peter LaBarbera, it has also been signed by hundreds of local leaders as well as dozens of attorneys and people who just seem to be concerned citizens.

I realize that they are trying to demonstrate that the Religious Right really cares about this issue, but doesn't this seem to be a bit of overkill?

A Remembrance of CFJ Ads Past

In honor of the Committee for Justice's most recent ad basically accusing Sonia Sotomayor of being a terrorist, I thought I'd dust off the ol' archives and take a look back at the ads CFJ put together during the Bush administration.

Like these newspaper ads they ran accusing Democrats of blocking Bill Pryor for religious reasons:

And the accompanying radio ad:

Why are some in the U.S. Senate playing politics with religion?

As Alabama Attorney General, Bill Pryor regularly upheld the law even when it was at odds with his personal beliefs. Raised a Catholic, those personal beliefs are shared by Rhode Islanders all across the Ocean State.

But some in the U.S. Senate are attacking Bill Pryor for having “deeply held” Catholic beliefs to prevent him from becoming a federal judge. Don’t they know the Constitution expressly prohibits religious tests for public office?

Bill Pryor is a loving father, a devout Catholic, and an elected Attorney General who understands the job of a judge is to uphold the law – not legislate from the bench. It’s time for his political opponents to put his religion aside and give him an up or down vote. It’s the right thing to do.

Thank Senators Chafee and Reed for making sure that the Senate stops playing politics with religion.

Paid for by the Committee for Justice and the Ave Maria List

And who can forget this great ad in support of Miguel Estrada:

America is a monument to the willing, where we can dream and build, despite race creed or color. But there's still intolerance.

President Bush nominated Miguel Estrada to be the first Hispanic ever to serve on the Federal Appeals Court in Washington. But the radical left says he's not liberal enough. For the first time in history they're blocking his nomination with a filibuster.

Call your senators. Tell them it's time for intolerance to end. Anything less is offensive, unfair and not the American way.

Or this one in support of Janice Rogers Brown:

When Janice Rogers Brown, the daughter of a sharecropper, said she'd become an honor student and finish high school, some people said no way.

When Janice went to college and said she'd work her way through law school as a single mother, again they said no way.

Today President Bush wants this highly qualified Judge on the DC Federal Court of Appeals, the second highest court in America, and now John Edwards says no way.

Shame on you, Sen. Edwards.

Support the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown.

So, in summary, the Committee for Justice's positions seems to be:

Bill Pryor - loving father, devout Catholic, terrific judicial nominee.

Miguel Estrada - conservative, Hispanic, epitome of the American dream, terrific judicial nominee.

Janice Rogers Brown - daughter of a sharecropper, honor student, single mother, terrific judicial nominee.

Sonia Sotomayor - terrorist. 

What Year Is This?

On April 15, 1995, Timothy McVeigh destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

A little over a week later, President Bill Clinton delivered a speech in which he defended the First Amendment while raising concerns about the impact of violent and hateful rhetoric:

[W]e hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable. You ought to see—I'm sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today.

Well, people like that who want to share our freedoms must know that their bitter words can have consequences and that freedom has endured in this country for more than two centuries because it was coupled with an enormous sense of responsibility on the part of the American people.

If we are to have freedom to speak, freedom to assemble, and, yes, the freedom to bear arms, we must have responsibility as well. And to those of us who do not agree with the purveyors of hatred and division, with the promoters of paranoia, I remind you that we have freedom of speech, too. And we have responsibilities, too. And some of us have not discharged our responsibilities. It is time we all stood up and spoke against that kind of reckless speech and behavior.

If they insist on being irresponsible with our common liberties, then we must be all the more responsible with our liberties. When they talk of hatred, we must stand against them. When they talk of violence, we must stand against them. When they say things that are irresponsible, that may have egregious consequences, we must call them on it. The exercise of their freedom of speech makes our silence all the more unforgivable. So exercise yours, my fellow Americans. Our country, our future, our way of life is at stake.

For this, Clinton was pilloried by the Right, which prompted People For the American Way to release a memo [PDF] on "free speech, irresponsible speech, and the climate of intolerance" which, remarkably, we could probably release today after making only a few small changes:

Language that attributes heinous motives and goals to individuals and organizations -- such as accusations that liberals are out to destroy Christianity or that advocates for civil rights for gays and lesbians want to molest young children -- destroys any recognition of common interest and any hope of finding common ground among political opponents. That is a terribly dangerous situation in a democratic society.

It is tempting to reassure ourselves by saying that hate speech is the denizen of only the furthest fringes of American political life. Unfortunately, that assertion is clearly not true. Elected officials and highly visible political leaders are among those who spread messages of fear and suspicion, over and over, day in and day out. The repetition of such messages cannot contribute to the well-being of our communities or the health of our society at large. Regardless of whether such messages "cause" violent behavior, they clearly serve to legitimize those who do violate the law.

Pat Robertson is a former Presidential candidate, the patriarch of a political movement, a television broadcaster, and an author. His television show and his books reach millions of Americans. Unfortunately, the message he preaches is often this: Christians are under attack in America by liberals and by a government that wants desperately to destroy their faith and their families. "I do believe this year that there's going to be persecutions against Christians. I think the government is going to step up its attacks against Christians," he told television viewers last year. "The government frankly is our enemy and we're going to see more and more of the people who have been places in office last year ... getting control of the levers of power and they will begin to know how to use them to hurt those who are perceived as their enemies."

...

Last year, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proposed regulations -- originating with the Bush administration -- to protect American workers against religious bigotry and harassment on the job, Religious Right political groups portrayed the effort in apocalyptic terms, telling members that the Clinton Administration was so hostile to the Christian faith that the government was planning to make it illegal to wear cross-shaped jewelry, carry a Bible to work, or talk about religion with a co-worker. "Why is the Clinton Administration doing this?" asked Jerry Falwell. "Because they do not want God in American society." It was all patently untrue, and the EEOC offered to clarify that the regulations were designed to protect, not inhibit, workers' religious liberty. Nevertheless, the regulations were killed.

The war against the EEOC regulations was an ideal operation for political organizations willing to trade short-term gain for long-term damage to American society. By claiming (falsely) that the end of religious liberty was near, groups could motivate supporters to call and write elected officials. By refusing to acknowledge government officials' willingness to cooperate toward reaching a solution, and demanding instead withdrawal of the regulations, the organizations' leaders could flex their political muscle for members of Congress and brag to their own members that they had prevented the arrival of tyranny. Meanwhile, millions of Americans were convinced that the government was out to destroy their faith and freedom.

Some of the most incendiary invective is directed against gay and lesbian Americans and their allies in the effort to win legal protection from discrimination. Gays and lesbians are routinely portrayed - by individuals at or near the center of conservative politics in America - as evil individuals who prey on children and want to destroy the institutions of church and family. House Speaker Newt Gingrich has parroted the assertion of the Traditional Values Coalition's Lou Sheldon that teaching about homosexuality in public schools amounts to an effort to "recruit" teenagers into homosexuality. Gingrich has promised Sheldon that the House will hold hearings on the gay "influences" in the schools. Last year Sheldon told his supporters that "President Bill Clinton has quietly put into place homosexual special rights regulations that will devastate our freedom of religion, speech and association, not to mention destroy our society's cultural and moral fiber. AND ALL THIS IS BEING DONE BEHIND OUR BACK."

...

Randall Terry, one of the founders of Operation Rescue, has told followers, "I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good. ... We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this county. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism."

...

When President Clinton, unequivocally declaring his support for unbridled freedom of speech, called for Americans to respond to hateful rhetoric, his political opponents were quick to twist his words. Pat Robertson told viewers that the President and "those on the left" wanted to use the tragic Oklahoma City bombing "to still the voices of legitimate protest." Oliver North, Rush Limbaugh and others leapt at the chance to glean short-term political gain. When the President in fact called for more speech and more American voices, he was accused of trying to silence voices of dissent. That is precisely the kind of untruth that feeds the current dangerous levels of cynicism and distrust toward the government. And it is ironic to see politically powerful individuals, with powerful voices, claiming the role of victim in order to breed fear and resentment among their supporters.

Dobson and Goeglein Recount Their Love For George W. Bush

So, who wants to listen to an hour and a half of James Dobson and former special assistant to President George W. Bush and current Focus on the Family Vice President Tim Goeglein count the ways in which they love President Bush and detail what a great president he was?

Nobody?

Well, I don't blame you, which is why I've edited it down to this nine minute audio clip in which Goeglein declares that "George W. Bush was the instrument in God's hand" that kept America safe; that Bush was just like George Washington; that Bush was the "most pro-life and pro-family president in the history of the United States" as demonstrated by his judicial nominations, including John Roberts and Samuel Alito; that his heart is breaking that all of Bush's work in this regard is being unraveled by President Obama; that it is not possible to be President of the United States and be pro-choice; that "there can be no compromise on the question of the defense of the innocent pre-born" and that their anti-choice efforts will be "vindicated ... by divine providence" when Roe v. Wade is finally overturned; that Bush is a "great thinker" who is "powered by integrity" which is rooted in his faith in Christ and that, in the years ahead, historians will look back and recognize Bush as the great president that he really was:

One section I didn't include was the ten minute explanation Goeglein gave about the circumstances under which he resigned from his position in the White House which, not surprisingly, he used to further demonstrate just what a loving, forgiving, and all-around remarkable human being George W. Bush truly is. 

If, down the line, you start hearing people claim that President Bush was never really committed to the  Religious Right agenda or that the Religious Right never really loved him, you can just play them this clip of Dobson and Goeglein's love note to George W. Bush, the greatest human being who ever lived.

UPDATE: The following transcript of the broadcast was prepared by The Colorado Independent:

James Dobson: There are undoubtedly some people listening to us today who are going to sneer at what you just said because George W. Bush was certainly one of the most hated presidents that we’ve had — certainly in recent memory.

He was maligned at every turn but I know you admire him greatly, don’t you?

Tim Goeglein: I do, indeed. In fact, I see George W. Bush as a great president. And I believe that George Walker Bush was right about the most important things that came across his presidency in those eight years, Dr. Dobson.

First, without peer, is that he saw the greatest external threat to our national security. And he saw it immediately. And he prosecuted the war in such a way that from 9/11 and the terror and terribleness of the day — and I was in the White House that day — until the last minute of the last hour of his presidency, George W. Bush kept us safe.

Providence kept us safe.

But George W. Bush was the instrument in God’s hand as the leader of the free world.

And every problem imaginable that comes across your desk when you’re the President of the United States. But history will be kind to George Bush because they will see that through a series of very important decisions his leadership, his personal character and integrity added up to the forbearance of another direct attack on the United States of America.

The primary role of the Commander in Chief is our national security. And, yes, I believe that part of the greatness of George W. Bush was not to see this as an intelligence problem primarily. To not see it as a police action.

Dobson: Yeah, yeah.

Goeglein: But to actually see it for what it was. Of course, this was the great blessing of our first president George Washington — the original George W. — who, you know, the thing that made him in Thomas Flexner’s landmark biography “The Indispensable Man,” the greatest trait of Washington was to see things as they were and not as he wanted to see them.

That was George W. Bush’s gift.

When he came to this war, he immediately — upon being told of the attacks — knew that this was war and that we were being attacked existentially by radical Islam.

But the one thing that we did not talk about, I think is the greatest achievement of the former president, beyond the security question, is the fact that George W. Bush is the most pro-life and pro-family president in the history of the United States.

Dobson: Now, I’ve said that on many, many occasions here at Focus on the Family and I want you to address it. George Bush is the most pro-life and pro-family president in history. Validate that statement for us.

Goeglein: I was getting ready to come to the broadcast and I literally jotted these down. These are quick snapshots of the Bush Administration on life.

• Signed and reinstituted the Mexico City Agreement
• Signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act
• Signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act
• Vetoed the partial birth abortion bill

And, very importantly, fought it in several appellate courts.

He had the most pro-life, anti-cloning provision, ever. He instituted the most important pro-life provision in his presidency which was a pro-human dignity, pro-life stem cell research policy.

He created the conscience clause laws provisions.

I may say, as well, that George W. Bush funded pro-marriage programs. Was the greatest funder of abstinence education in the history of the United States.

He gave Henry Hyde the Medal of Freedom, the most pro-life member of the United States Senate or House, ever.

And I think very importantly, Dr. Dobson, and this is something that I think that is at the pinnacle of pro-life, pro-family achievement in this administration, the Bush administration, he elevated John Roberts to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the United State of America. He appointed Samuel Alito to be an Associate Justice …

Dobson: A great justice too.

Goeglein: … two great justices. And, this is something people do not know, that George W. Bush nominated and confirmed over 35 percent of sitting federal judges.

Dobson: So his impact on the judiciary is going to continue for a long time.

Goeglein: It is huge. It is huge and it’s lasting.

Dobson: Does it break your heart what is about to happen to the judiciary?

Goeglein: It more than breaks my heart. To watch it unravel in a few short months by a new president is a heartbreaking, disappointing and difficult thing to watch. It is systematic and it is categorical. And we have gone in America from the most pro-life president in the history of our country to, unfortunately, the most pro-abortion president that we’ve ever had.

It is not possible to president of the United States of America, in the early part of the 21st century, and to know what we know morally and technologically and to find any reason other than a full-throated advocate for the pro-life position.

Dobson: Yeah, when President Obama spoke recently at Notre Dame about abortion he talked about our need to come together, to find areas of agreement. He said that we needed to work together. We needed to accommodate each other.

But you can’t compromise with evil. I mean, in what way are you going to compromise with the killing of babies?

Goeglein: There is no compromise. There can be no compromise on the question of the defense of the innocent pre-born.

All of the millions of people who have worked in both in the leadership and the vanguard of the pro-life movement, they will be vindicated. If by divine providence Roe v. Wade were to be overturned. And we were to start again in the United State on the question of life.

It is simply unacceptable that from 1973 until 15 seconds ago, that something like 45 million innocent pre-born lives have been snuffed out in defense of words like “choice.”

George W. Bush’s greatness as a human being, apart from the presidency, is that he has an inner moral compass that is self-confident. That is loyal. That is powered by integrity.

But Dr. Dobson it wells up from his faith in Christ. This is who the man is.

He is a great thinker. He is a person who prays and works to make the right decision. He has an inner confidence and peace in his soul that that was the right thing.

Dobson: And nothing is going to shake his confidence.

Goeglein: I think that is absolutely right. And that’s why I’m actually very confident and hopeful that in the years ahead — with the benefit of time and space — that historians will look back at those remarkable, incredibly eventful eight years, and say, you know, he made the right decisions about the biggest things during those eight years.

And, yes, maybe he will not be remembered, you know, of Churchillian, you know, eloquence. Maybe he will not be remembered for X, Y and Z. But when it comes to the questions of national security and war, when it comes to the questions of the right to life and when it comes to the questions of our constitutional Republic, national sovereignty and constitutional formulation of the Supreme Court — above all when it comes to the innocent pre-born people will say he got those big ones right.

Was The Right Thwarted By Cheney's "Backhanded Pro-Gay Approach"?

It seems as if the Religious Right really is going to go after Dick Cheney for his support of marriage equality, with activists not only accusing him of not representing the GOP's base, but now suggesting that Cheney was personally responsible for the failure to pass a federal marriage amendment:

A conservative black pastor and political activist says former Vice President Dick Cheney's public support for same-sex "marriage" is an "outrage" and a "betrayal" of conservatives who once teamed up with the Bush administration to protect traditional marriage.

In 2004, President Bush promised evangelical Christian pastors like Bishop Harry Jackson that he would back an effort to pass a federal marriage amendment; however, that effort failed two years later.

Jackson, a Washington-area pastor and chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, says ironically, at the same time President Bush "lost steam" on the marriage issue in 2006, Dick Cheney's daughter Mary was talking openly with the media regarding her lesbian lifestyle.

"I believe that Cheney's own ambivalence that has now manifested itself into what seems like a backhanded pro-gay approach was one of the things that kept the President [Bush] from going forward," he contends. "So, I'm outraged that we've been promised things by the GOP -- specifically by the president -- that haven't really come into fruition."

So despite the fact that this effort could never secure anywhere near the support of two-thirds of both chambers of Congress that is required to pass a constitutional amendment, it was really Cheney's "backhanded pro-gay approach" that caused it to fail?

Ted Olson Takes a Stand for Equality

Ted Olson was the man who argued Bush v. Gore at the Supreme Court and won, making George W. Bush the 43rd President of the United States.  And he was also the man Bush then quickly tapped to serve as the Solicitor General.  On top of that, he served as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel under President Reagan and even sits on the board of the Federalist Society.

But I have a feeling that none of that will matter to the Religious Right when they find out about this:

Former Bush administration solicitor general Theodore Olson is part of a team that has filed suit in federal court in California seeking to overturn Proposition 8 and re-establish the right of same-sex couples to marry.

The suit argues that the state's marriage ban, upheld Tuesday by the California Supreme Court, violates the federal constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. The complaint was filed Friday, and Olson and co-counsel David Boies -- who argued against Olson in the Bush v. Gore case -- will hold a news conference in Los Angeles Wednesday to explain the case.  The conference will feature the two same-sex couples on whose behalf Olson filed suit.

The suit also asks the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to issue an injunction that would stop enforcement of Proposition 8 and allow same-sex couples to marry while the case is being decided.

"I personally think it is time that we as a nation get past distinguishing people on the basis of sexual orientation, and that a grave injustice is being done to people by making these distinctions," Olson told me Tuesday night.  "I thought their cause was just."

I asked Olson about the objections of conservatives who will argue that he is asking a court to overturn the legitimately-expressed will of the people of California.  "It is our position in this case that Proposition 8, as upheld by the California Supreme Court, denies federal constitutional rights under the equal protection and due process clauses of the constitution," Olson said. "The constitution protects individuals' basic rights that cannot be taken away by a vote.  If the people of California had voted to ban interracial marriage, it would have been the responsibility of the courts to say that they cannot do that under the constitution.  We believe that denying individuals in this category the right to lasting, loving relationships through marriage is a denial to them, on an impermissible basis, of the rights that the rest of us enjoy…I also personally believe that it is wrong for us to continue to deny rights to individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation."

Technically, the suit Olson has filed is against the governor, attorney general, and other officials of the state of California.  Ultimately, Olson said, it's a question that will be decided in Washington, by the Supreme Court. "This is an issue that will get to the Supreme Court, and I think it could well be this case," he said.

I imagine that Olson’s conservative bona fides won’t be enough to shelter him from an onslaught of vicious criticism from the Right for this heresy.

A Lesson In Senate Procedure for FRC

We have known for some time now that the Right was targeting Dawn Johnsen, President Obama's nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel, for defeat.  But what we weren't aware of, until reading this post from the Family Research Council's Tom McClusky, was that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn't have the votes to get her confirmed:

Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is now telling reporters he does not have the votes to confirm Dawn Johnsen for Assistant Attorney General at the Justice Department. Ms. Johnsen has been a long time advocate for abortion rights groups, comparing pregnancy to slavery. She has also been outspoken on counterterrorism measures.

Of course, if you read the article he links to, you find out that Reid didn't say he doesn't have the votes to confirm Johnsen - what he actually said was that he doesn't have the votes to prevent a Republican-led filibuster of her nomination:

As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moves to ease a backlog of executive branch nominations, he suggested on Tuesday that he does not have the votes to bring up President Barack Obama’s pick to run the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.

“Right now we’re finding out when to do that,” Reid said, responding to a question about the status of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen’s nomination to the Justice post. “We need a couple Republican votes until we can get to 60.”

As Reid explained elsewhere:

“We need a couple Republican votes until we can get to 60," Reid added. And it's just a small number, maybe two or three. But at this stage, I don't have all the Democrats. I have virtually all, but not all. And remember, we have 59 Democrats, and that's not enough to do it."

Reid has more than enough votes to confirm Johnsen if she can get an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, which is exactly what Republicans are trying to prevent with a filibuster. 

According to his bio, McClusky has a long history of working in politics, including a stint as a political analyst for the Republican National Committee, so presumably he knows about Senate procedure and the difference between a confirmation vote and a cloture vote.

In fact, I 'm pretty sure that he does, because just a few years ago, he signed onto a letter calling on Senators to ensure that Bush administration nominees received an up-or-down vote on the floor:

If you cannot support a particular nominee, vote him or her out of committee without a positive recommendation, or vote against confirmation. But please do not deny the nominee a fair up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. In other words, we ask only that you do your job by putting statesmanship above politics and special interests.

Is it too much to ask that the Vice President for Government Affairs at the Family Research Council not hypocritically and purposely mischaracterize what is going on regarding Johnsen's nomination and the GOP's obstruction efforts?

Apparently it is.

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Bush Administration Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Wednesday 07/27/2011, 10:38am
The Religious Right loves manufacturing controversies that “prove” the victimization of Christians in the United States. When NBC left the words “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance in the broadcast of a golf tournament, Religious Right groups jumped to proclaim that the network was in the pocket of God-hating liberalism. When an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery included an image of Christ’s suffering made by a gay artist, the Religious Right called it “hate speech” and got the work of art pulled. Recently, we’ve been reminded of... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/14/2011, 1:50pm
David Barton never lets the facts get in the way of his promoting of right-wing view of history and political causes, no matter the issue. Today on his radio show WallBuilders Live with co-host Rick Green, the pseudo-historian claimed that under President Obama the Department of Justice stopped prosecuting cases of child pornography because the department has reduced its attention to obscenity. The de-emphasis on obscenity cases started well before the Obama Administration, as Religious Right groups even complained that the Bush Administration wasn’t prosecuting enough obscenity cases... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 05/25/2011, 2:11pm
You really have to marvel at the Religious Right'a willingness to openly lie in order to attack President Obama. Today on "Wallbuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green brought on Tim Goeglein, the former assistant to George W. Bush, to discuss the totally bogus "Obama failed to issue an Easter proclamation" controversy.  During the program, Goeglein repeatedly insisted that President Bush, unlike President Obama, routinely issued Easter proclamations: Most Americans have a sense that it's a good thing that the White House and the President recognize the most... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/18/2011, 12:45pm
Even after Republicans in the Senate and their conservative allies railed against filibusters of judicial nominees during the Bush administration and pushed to give even the most far-right nominees up-or-down votes, it appears that they have made an exception for President Obama’s nominees. The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on UC Berkley Law Professor Goodwin Liu, who is nominated to serve on the 9th Circuit Court. While many conservative legal scholars support Liu, many in the GOP “appear to be opposing his nomination because he is too qualified.” Republicans have... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/03/2011, 1:41pm
During AFA Report on the American Family Association’s American Family Radio, the hosts discussed how the handling of the mission to kill bin Laden shows America’s continued weakness under President Barack Obama. Fred Jackson, the AFA News Director, and co-hosts Buster Wilson and Teddy James, a writer for AFA Journal agreed that the mission and the burial showed that the US was “intimidated” by terrorists. Jackson and James said that since the military had upset a number of Islamic scholars who were angry at the burial of bin Laden’s body at sea within 24... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/29/2011, 9:00am
Michele Bachmann Fundraising: Embellishes fundraising skills (WaPo, 3/28). Religious Right: Slams proposed “social issues truce” at conservative forum (Des Moines Register, 3/26). Iowa: Names State Senator and prominent Birther the director of her Iowa campaign (MoJo, 3/25). Haley Barbour Mississippi: State lawmakers criticize Barbour’s out of state traveling that caused him to miss budget deadline (The State Column, 3/28). Obama: Claims President sees Americans as “too stupid to take care of ourselves” (ABC News, 3/26). Equality: Calls to reinstate Don... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/23/2011, 9:45am
Ron Miller is the president of the Tea Party group Regular Folks United, and a former Republican candidate for Congress and the Maryland state senate. Miller, who is a black former staffer with the Bush Administration, adamantly defends Tea Party activists from charges of racism, blaming Obama for his “open display of condescension toward ordinary Americans.” But while Miller deplores charges of racism against members of the Tea Party, he claims that African Americans only support Obama because he is black. He told the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow that anyone who... MORE