Congress

Who Hasn’t Used the N-Word?

In between dreaming up outrageous ads for her clients, slandering their opponents, and heading a small organization called the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, Kay Daly occasionally finds time to write posts for her blog “The Daly Report.”

On Wednesday, she saw fit to weigh in on the recent allegations that Sen. George Allen used racial slurs to refer to African Americans during his college years

Virginia Sen. George Allen on Monday denied allegations by a college football teammate and another former acquaintance that the senator used a racial epithet to refer to blacks during and after his time at the University of Virginia in the early 1970s.

The accusations by R. Kendall Shelton, 53, a radiologist in North Carolina, and Christopher C. Taylor, 59, an anthropologist at the University of Alabama, reignited questions about Allen and race as he campaigns for reelection against Democrat James Webb.

Shelton said Allen frequently used the "N-word" to describe blacks and nicknamed him "Wizard" because of the similarity of his name to that of Robert Shelton, a former imperial wizard of the Alabama Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He also recounted an event from 1973 or 1974 in which he, Allen and a third friend were hunting deer. After the deer was killed, Shelton said, Allen cut off the doe's head, asked for directions to the home of the nearest black person and shoved the head into that person's mailbox.

Taylor said that during a visit to Allen's Charlottesville house in 1982, Allen pointed to turtles in a pond on his property and said only "the [epithets] eat them."

Allen denied the allegations, but Daly came rushing to his defense, offering a unique “who hasn’t said ‘n-word’?” defense

This strategy deployed against George Allen could be called the "Southern strategy with a Mark Fuhrman twist." If one is truly truthful, there is probably not a person alive on planet Earth who has not uttered the so-called "n-word."

They might have been singing along with lyrics to a hip-hop tune. Or they might have said it in a sociology course. They might have been in a play. Or a lawyer in a courtroom for OJ Simpson. They might have been reading aloud from a newspaper or a book and quoted the dreaded n-bomb. They might have been using the word as an example of what not to say. Who knows?

There is an obvious difference between reading a book or studying the word in sociology class and using it as an epithet , but apparently Daly is incapable of understanding that  … which is not particularly surprising considering that she works for a candidate who produces ads such as this [view the ad here]

Right Milks 'Values Voter' Stereotype, But Ignores Reality

Daniel Allott, a policy analyst for Gary Bauer’s group American Values, claims that liberals were “conspicuously absent” from last weekend’s Values Voter Summit, a gathering of the Religious Right and prominent Republican politicians where speakers from Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) to James Dobson encouraged right-wing activists to work to preserve the Republican majority in Congress in November. Leaving aside the fine point that those who disagree strongly with the far Right – such as this blog – were in fact in attendance, Allott goes on to assert that liberals and Democrats are alienated from “religious voters.” “Despite the left’s recent values offensive, the ‘God gap’ is actually growing!” he writes.

But as a recent poll from PFAW Foundation’s Center for American Values in Public Life shows – despite years of efforts by the far Right to portray liberals as openly hostile to Christians – the difference is scant, with 16 percent believing Democrats unfriendly to religion and 13 percent believing Republicans unfriendly to religion.

Nevertheless, Allott goes on to claim that the reason for this purported “God gap” is that liberals “have yet to support the policies people of faith care most about” – citing abortion as an example, and claiming that interest groups who support choice, such as PFAW, are “actively seek[ing] to undermine religious freedom and family values.” Therefore, the argument goes, “values voters” shun Democrats at the polls.

But as the Center for American Values poll shows, when Americans are “voting their values,” they’re not talking about abortion (3%) or gay marriage, another bugbear cited constantly by speakers at the “Values Voter Summit” (9%). They’re talking about honest, integrity, and responsibility (39%); poverty and health care (23%); and protecting individual freedoms (21%). And more than eight in ten people think leaders use religion to talk about abortion and gay marriage too much, and don’t talk enough about values like loving your neighbor and caring for the poor.

Judicial Watch Wants LA Police to Crack Down on Immigrant Workers

Judicial Watch, the litigation group most famous for its “blizzard” of lawsuits against the Clinton administration, is suing the Los Angeles Police Department over its policy of not asking witnesses or suspects about federal immigration status. The policy, which dates from 1979, is designed to let immigrants use city services – enrolling their children in school or reporting a crime to the police, for example – without fear of deportation. But rather than citing some kind of concern over immigrants with criminal backgrounds,  Judicial Watch’s target is immigrants looking for work. Criticizing the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups that have intervened in the case, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton writes:

The ACLU contends that illegal immigrants ought to be able to congregate on street corners seeking illegal jobs without fear of police intervention. (Can you believe they actually intend to advance this argument in a court of law?!) Judicial Watch, of course, believes federal immigration laws must be enforced. We want the court to grant an injunction preventing the LAPD from spending any additional taxpayer funds in carrying out or enforcing Special Order 40.

While it is unclear how forcing the LAPD to enforce federal immigration laws will save money, using local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration status – a tactic seen in the wave of Hazleton-like anti-immigrant ordinances passed in a number small towns this summer – is part of the “new strategy” outlined by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) in lieu of Congress embracing a national crackdown.

Values Voter Summit: Media Coverage Hones in on November

While The New York Times took note of Connie Marshner’s workshop on turning out churchgoers to the polls using deceptive tactics and The Los Angeles Times revealed that Jerry Falwell joked to a pastors’ breakfast that the Religious Right base would be more riled up about Hillary Clinton’s nomination for president in 2008 than Satan’s, the theme that reporters covering the Values Voter Summit latched on to was whether a disillusioned Right Wing would come through for Republicans facing daunting mid-term elections.

  • Christian Conservatives Look to Re-energize Base, New York Times. “Openly anxious about grass-roots disaffection from the Republican Party, conservative Christian organizers are reaching for ways to turn out voters this November, including arguing that recognizing same-sex marriage could also limit religious freedom.”
  • Conservatives Confident Base Will Vote, Associated Press. “Critical to the Republican base, conservatives expressed confidence Friday that their rank-and-file will vote Nov. 7 even though the GOP-controlled Congress hasn't delivered this year on their core issues.”
  • Tactic Uses Pulpits to Power the GOP, Los Angeles Times. “[T]op evangelical leaders pleaded with their followers Friday to put aside frustrations and turn out for GOP candidates.” As a side note, Televangelist Jerry Falwell – who confided that God will save the Republican majority this November –
  • Dobson: Rallying family values voters, Rocky Mountain News. Despite disappointment, Dobson is committed to helping the GOP this year – holding rallies in battleground states Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Tennessee.

And while the Religious Right activists on the podium, at least, were sure of their commitment to the Republicans this election cycle, they still want to push through a few more items on their “values agenda.” At the conference, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that House Republican action on some of the items in their wish list this summer “brought some trust and confidence back”; now, FRC is asking its supporters to pray for a few more.

The conference was also an opportunity for Republicans looking to solidify their credentials with the far Right. The right-wing Washington Times called speeches by Newt Gingrich, Sens. George Allen (R-Virginia), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), and Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) as well as Govs. Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts) and Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas) “auditions” for potential Republican presidential candidates – and noted that the Family Research Council says it invited Sens. Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), John McCain (R-Arizona), Hillary Clinton (D-New York), and John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) as well. Maggie Gallagher, a speaker on the marriage panel, concluded, “I believe Mitt Romney may be the only hope social conservatives have in 2008.”

Values Voter Summit: Starting Day 2 Right

Nothing like starting your Saturday with Sean Hannity. The Fox TV personality got a hero’s welcome. While he promised a serious talk, he couldn’t stop from entertaining himself by repeatedly breaking into innuendo-rich impersonations of Bill Clinton. The bullying partisan lamented the “troubling” nature of our public debate, saying it shouldn’t be left and right, Democratic and Republican – we should all be united in the battle of right v. wrong, good v. evil. Then he went on to deride liberals and Democratic leaders for suffering from “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” Clearly, the kind of unity Hannity has in mind is everyone agreeing with him. He analogized those he deems insufficiently supportive of President Bush’s tactics in the war on terrorism with appeasers of the Nazis. He got applause ticking off the expected litany of conservative Republican talking points – support the President, we’re overtaxed, public schools undermine our values, etc., etc. But he may have gotten his loudest ovation when he declared “Hillary Clinton must never be the President of the United States.” He ended by assuring the audience that God had sent us George W. Bush just when we needed him. Virtue-meister Bill Bennett seemed to surprise the crowd a bit by insisting that the Bush administration is being too tentative – that’s right, too tentative – in conducting the war on terror. After four U.S. contractors were killed in Fallujah, the town should have been leveled. Venezuelan President Huge Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should never have been allowed into the U.S. to address the U.N. Reporters who print classified information they’ve been leaked should be prosecuted. Bennett ended on a more hopeful note, saying that while elites have corrupted our culture, we should take heart by remembering our victory in World War II and the heroism demonstrated after 9-11. Embattled Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania did not show as expected, but appeared in a relatively low-key video. He said he has paid a price for standing up for “definitional” causes such as defining life as beginning at the moment of conception. Santorum invoked the war abroad and the battle at home (to define family and culture), though he acknowledged that the battle against radical secular humanism is “less virulent” than the battle against radical Islam. Right-wing movement pioneer Paul Weyrich followed Santorum and declared, “Rick Santorum is the most important United States Senator that we have in this country at this time.” Weyrich’s remarks were mostly a pep talk, reminding people how far the “pro-family” movement has come since its early days and telling people not to be discouraged. “We are a national movement, we are a strong movement, we are a visible movement, we are on the march. Don’t ever get discouraged, because we’re doing so much better than we ever did before.” He gave “Dr. Dobson” credit for bringing down Sen. Tom Daschle, and predicted victory in every state with an anti-gay amendment on the ballot this year. Perhaps foreshadowing a new direct-mail and turnout theme, Weyrich claimed that if Democrats get control of Congress, they intend to shut down right-wing talk radio by reinstating the Fairness Doctrine.

Values Voter Summit: Friday Night Battle of the Bullies

The closing session of Day 1 at the Values Voters conference had the feel of an emotional roller coaster. The evening kicked off with stand-up comedy by Steve Bridges, whose impersonation of President Bush is uncanny - every shrug, eyebrow raise, hand gesture, whisper, squint, smirk, and laugh were instantly recognizable. The performance had people rolling in the aisles, even though there was a lot of good-natured humor playing on the very-popular-in-this-crowd president's difficulties with the English language and his reputation for not being, as he said, "the brightest bulb in the knife drawer." The tone shifted dramatically darker with the next two speakers, Religious Right strategist and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer and notorious pundit Ann Coulter. Bauer focused on "two wars"- the war against "Islamo-fascists" and the battle over values. Coulter's theme was "two evils" to be fought - Islamic terrorists and the Supreme Court. Both mocked concerns about mistreatment of detainees at Guantanamo. Bauer particularly seemed to take offense at the very notion that detainees would be treated humanely, which he said sends a signal of weakness to our enemies. He derided Republican Sens. McCain, Warner and Graham for trying to ensure that the U.S. retained its commitment to the Geneva Convention's requirement for humane treatment of prisoners of war. And he slammed the "left wing of American politics," which he said "appears to hate you and me and George Bush more than they hate the Taliban and Osama bin Laden." Bauer described the values battle - over abortion and marriage - in equally pugnacious terms, insisting that Roe will soon be overturned and declaring that "we are putting the radical gay rights movement on notice. You will not defeat us. We will defend marriage." Bauer closed by invoking the memories of people in the twin towers who called loved ones in their final moments, and of the passengers on flight 93 who sacrificed their lives to prevent another terror attack. He called on the image of those passengers charging up the aisle to shame anyone who stays out of the culture war or doesn't find time to vote. Bauer, of course, gave no sign of recognizing that among those callers and passengers were gay Americans with their own loved ones and families. Coulter, while extremely popular with the crowd, seemed a bit off, rushing through her speech in order to get to the book signing table, but not so quickly that she didn't throw out some tradmark outrageousness designed to delight right-wing audiences: liberals don't want to go to war with Islamic fascism, and the killing of doctors who provided abortions was basically the fault of the Supreme Court's decision in Casey. She derided Supreme Court decisions that "read like newsletters from NAMBLA" and asked when the other branches of government would finally start ignoring "absurd" Supreme Court decisions. (She suggested that Bush and Congress should have ignored decisions on the rights of detainees.) Without a trace of irony Coulter declared the war in Iraq a "magnificent success," made light of the massive looting that took place there ("broken pottery") and dismissed concerns about the conditions in Iraq raised by the "treason lobby." Now let's sell some books.

Values Voter Summit: The Gay-Bashing Bishop

Bishop Wellington Boone, a frequent speaker at Promise Keepers events, reveled in what he thought would be shocking the polite crowd with his unapologetic attacks on gays and anyone who supports them. He touted a flyer he'd written called "The Rape of the Civil Rights Movement," which he said explained how "sodomites" were hijacking the civil rights to "promote perversion." After recounting the history of violence and oppression against African Americans, from deaths on the middle passage through slavery and Jim Crow, he hollered, "You tell me a gay has a right to get in on some of that? Get out of here!" Boone recalled that as a young person, he and his friends used the words "faggot" and "sissy" to refer to people who didn't stand on principle. "God has not called us to be sissies!" Boone seemed disappointed that his gay-bashing hasn't gotten more notice. "I want the gays mad at me. I am not on enough of their hit lists." Boone also seemed to long for an unapologetically Christian nation, when anyone he derides as "unbiblical" wouldn't be serving in office. He read from what he described as an 18th century constitution for Delaware, which required al office holders to pledge fealty to a Christian creed. And he mocked the notion that someone running for Congress would not be "biblically based." "How can someone that doesn't feel the need for God lead me?"

Tancredo on Mass Deportation: 'Why Not?'

On Thursday, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation to announce what he called a “new strategy for controlling illegal immigration.” This “new strategy” is in fact a political tactic for achieving his old policy goals of enforcement-only reform, deportation by “attrition,” and protection of “Anglo-Protestant values.” The “new strategy” is to embrace the localities adopting Hazleton-like anti-immigrant ordinances.

If Congress does not enact key enforcement provisions to achieve border security and immigration law enforcement, proponents of the enforcement strategy will carry to all 50 states and into thousands of local communities. Illegal aliens will begin to self-deport as more and more states adopt measures to discourage residence and employment by illegal aliens.

If the Senate rejects the enforcement-first approach by refusing to enact serious enforcement legislation this year, advocates of border security and immigration law enforcement should move to a new strategy – a strategy aimed at local initiatives in lieu of federal action. If we can’t get the federal government to do what it’s supposed to do, we have to turn to states and local communities to help us.

This new strategy will be called simply “Enforcement Works.”

Listen to the audio clip. Heritage has the full audio and streaming video of the speech.

“It’s been the White House that’s been out of step with the mainstream of the Republican Party, not Tom Tancredo,” said Tancredo, who just last week was singing “Dixie” with neo-Confederates in South Carolina. The congressman offered praise to the Minuteman Project, which he said “demonstrated to the world the flow of aliens across the border can be controlled by physical presence at the border,” and he said that immigrants from Mexico live in “cultural enclaves,” preventing their assimilation, and warned of a coming “civil war” and economic collapse in Mexico due to political strife following that country’s recent elections – and of a “larger exodus” of Mexicans to the U.S. Because of this threat, he said, “the notion of discussing any amnesty or new guest workers becomes more absurd every minute.”

But while Tancredo explicitly avowed that policymakers must completely separate the issue of border enforcement from the issue of resolving the status of immigrants in the country, he was just as clear that his intent was to deport all “illegal aliens” – first through “attrition,” by denying them housing, jobs, and any social services, and then through enforcement.

When people say to me, and they do all the time, I hear this constantly---people go up, and tell me, they go, “Hey listen, what are you going to do with all the people who are presently in the country illegally? There’s 15 to 20 million – you can’t deport them.” And then they go on. Right. And I say “Hold it! Why not?” [laughter] I mean, why not? Now, you may not want to. You may have political reasons why it’s difficult. You will see every single night on television somebody’s family being torn apart somebody, you know … all that’s true. But don’t just go – don’t make that leap and go, “Well, you can’t deport them.” Because you can. Heh-heh. It is the truth, you can. We could do that. Now we may certainly choose not to, and there are other options that are probably even easier.

Listen to the audio clip.

President Romney Would Build 'O'Reilly Special' Border Fence

Yesterday, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor” and bonded with host Bill O’Reilly about building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

O'REILLY: Are you going to do it? If you're the next president we’re gonna …

ROMNEY: This Congress is going to do it, too. We're going to build a wall. But that's not enough.

O'REILLY: The Mitt Romney memorial wall.

ROMNEY: It may be a fence. I will call it the Bill O'Reilly special.

O'REILLY: Then nobody will come.

ROMNEY: That's right.

O'REILLY: Nobody will come. They'll go, O'Reilly Wall, ain't coming.

Romney and O'Reilly's finger

Watch the video: Broadband or Dial-Up.

“We like your immigration stance. We think you are very good on that. Governor, you are welcome any time. Thanks for coming in,” added O’Reilly. Romney, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, had declared September 19 “Fox News Channel Day.”

“Being a Christian is no Excuse for Being Stupid”

In recent days, two high-profile former Republican members of Congress have publicly stated that their party has become completely beholden to its right-wing base and are pointing to the Terri Schiavo debacle as the moment when they finally realized that “something has gone very wrong.” 

From an interview with former Senator John Danforth, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Q: Religion and politics are two subjects themselves that are hard to reconcile. Have you been thinking about this your whole career?

A: For decades, I've been thinking about these two subjects, but not with the urgency of the past year and a half. This was triggered by the Terri Schiavo case; that was the specific tipping point in my own thinking. That was when I thought, "Something has gone very wrong here."

Q: But these signs have been around for at least a decade or so, haven't they?

A: Maybe I was obtuse. People like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have been involved in Republican politics for a long time. Of course, abortion has been a political issue since 1973. But in my own mind, it didn't have the urgency until the Schiavo case. In the past year or so, what was maybe a general interest of Robertson and others in politics and one particular issue, namely abortion, has been transformed into something much more detailed and much more a full-fledged political agenda.

You have Terri Schiavo, the stem-cell issue, the gay marriage issue, the Ten Commandments in courthouses - all occurring about the same time.

But, I thought, particularly with Schiavo, something different had happened: Namely, basic Republican principles had been tossed overboard at the bidding of Christian conservatives.

Echoing the same note is former Congressman Dick Armey in an excerpt of an interview conducted by Ryan Sager for his new book, “The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party.”

What’s wrong with today’s Republican Congress?

"Where in the hell did this Terri Schiavo thing come from? There's not a conservative, Constitution-loving, separation-of-powers guy alive in the world that could have wanted that bill on the floor. That was pure, blatant pandering to [Focus on the Family President] James Dobson. That's all that was. It was silly, stupid, and irresponsible. Nobody serious about the Constitution would do that. But the question was will this energize our Christian conservative base for the next election.

Why does it seem Christian conservatives are more powerful now than in the 1990s?

"Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies. I pray devoutly every day, but being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid. There's a high demagoguery coefficient to issues like prayer in schools. Demagoguery doesn't work unless it's dumb, shallow as water on a plate. These issues are easy for the intellectually lazy and can appeal to a large demographic. These issues become bigger than life, largely because they're easy. There ain't no thinking."

Armey’s remarks are particularly surprising considering that he was named 1999’s Distinguished Christian Statesman by D. James Kennedy and, when he retired from Congress, the Family Research Council lamented his departure saying "We are going to lose a very good friend … He has met with us every single week. His staff is available to us when we go there, so it has been a close relationship. Over the years he has been the defender of the family."   

Presumably, Armey kept his feeling that people like Dobson are a bunch of intellectually lazy demagogues to himself when he was accepting his Distinguished Christian Statesman award or meeting with FRC on a weekly basis.  

Look Away, Tancredo

“I wish I was in the land of cotton,” sang Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado), chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, before a Confederate flag-waving audience. “Old times there are not forgotten, look away, look away, look away, Dixie land.”

Tancredo was in South Carolina to give his “standard immigration stump speech” at an event supposedly put together by the congressman’s own Americans Have Had Enough Coalition, reports the Rocky Mountain News. An invitation printed on the South Carolina League of the South web site reads:

Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) will be our guest at the Visa Room of the SC State Museum at 11:00 AM, Saturday September 9th.    Barbecue will be furnished by Maurice Bessinger's Piggy Park.  The cost per plate will be approximately $20.00 with proceeds going to Congressman Tancredo's 501 (c) (4) organisation, "America has had enough".

As you are aware, Congressman Tancredo has led the fight against illegal immigration in Congress.  Join us at the State museum for two hours of vital information, fellowship, and good food.  The cost of the ticket will cover admission into the museum.

The League of the South (LOS), a self-described “Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic,” is listed as a racial hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The euphemism used by LOS in describing its first goal in its “Grand Strategy” as being to “revitalise our largely Anglo-Celtic culture” bears a resemblance to Tancredo’s warning that a Mexican “invasion” threatens America’s “civilization,” by which he was referring to (he said) Samuel Huntington’s ideal of “Anglo-Protestant values”  under attack from a “Hispanic challenge.”

Nevertheless, spokespeople for Tancredo and his Americans Have Had Enough Coalition denied that the South Carolina League of the South sponsored the event. As the News reports, Tancredo’s spokesman Carlos Espinosa instead “said Tancredo was aware that the audience included members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Civil War re-enactors in Southern garb. When they began singing Dixie, Tancredo joined in, Espinosa said.” (The Sons of Confederate Veterans is also connected to the hate movement, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

Espinosa added that “Tom thought it would be rude not to take part.”

As the Southern Poverty Law Center notes, Tancredo's appearance is part of a five-day tour through South Carolina -- a key state for the 2008 Republican presidential primary.

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.   

The Extreme Takes Center Stage

Kerry Howley of the libertarian magazine Reason argues that the politics of 9/11 “dumbed down” the immigration debate, allowing virulent opponents of immigration like Rep. Tom Tancredo to take control of the terms of debate:

At the beginning of September 2001, immigration was much in the news. President Bush wanted to legalize more Mexicans who were working in America without documentation, and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) was loudly opposed. Business leaders said immigrants would bring economic growth; Phyllis Schlafly said they would bring tuberculosis.. Amnesty was a dirty word. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) told The New York Times, "Fences are going to go down between these two countries." Republican conservatives opposed legalization, and President Bush started to hedge.

After the attacks, according to Howley, discussion of comprehensive immigration reform was dropped. Now that the “conversation has returned to immigration from Mexico,” she writes, the “debate is almost the same” except that “the Tom Tancredos of the world now counter with the lexicon of terror.”

Just as Iraqis and Saudis somehow became indistinguishable in the rhetorical aftermath of 9/11, Middle Eastern terrorists who come by air are conflated with Mexicans who come on foot. The skies are calm, but the desert teems with invaders. Immigrants are no longer poor people looking for jobs, or even unapologetic lawbreakers, but living symbols of the holes they slipped through.

We didn't have a plan for immigration reform then, and we don't have one now. The shift is conceptual, captured in language if not in law. When Joe Lieberman told The New York Times that "fences are going to go down between these two countries," he was expressing a mainstream political position. The most illuminating part of this sentiment is not the hope Lieberman expressed but the cliché he chose to express it. Back in 2001, after all, the word fence was just a metaphor.

This last year’s succession of events – from the emergence of the vigilante Minutemen, to the draconian House bill that made status violations into felonies, to the House Republicans’ traveling hearings this summer, to the anti-immigrant ordinances in a handful of small towns – make the summer 2001 debate about Mexican trucks seem quaint. Today, Tancredo and Pat Buchanan continue their talk of the need to preserve white culture against Mexican immigrants, and it’s apparently acceptable for a congressman to bring to the House floor a model of the electrified fence he would use to shock would-be border crossers, and say “we do this with livestock all the time.”

Don't Marry Phyllis Schlafly

The Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly has reportedly blasted Steve Forbes for apologizing for publishing a widely criticized piece by Michael Noer in his magazine entitled “Don't Marry Career Women.”  

According to Agape Press

Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly feels Forbes has no reason to apologize since the facts and statistics Noer cited were sound. In fact, she suggests, an article like this should have been written 20 years ago, and this one still hits the right note today because, contrary to the feminist myth, a woman really cannot "have it all" -- at least, not all at the same time.

It is more than a little ironic that a woman as successful as Schlafly - who put herself on the map with 1964’s “A Choice Not An Echo,”  almost single-handedly killed the Equal Rights Amendment, possesses a Masters degree and  a law degree, runs one of the most influential right-wing organizations in Washington, DC, has testified before more than 50 congressional and state legislative committees, has been a delegate to the Republican National Convention nearly ten times, has thrice been elected President of the Illinois Federation of Republican Women, and was twice a candidate for Congress from Illinois – would come out in defense of a piece arguing that men should not marry “career women.” 

Katherine Harris: The Right’s Best Hope?

Agape Press reports that some on the Right are concerned that the GOP is turning its back on its right-wing base and that doing so could have dire consequences in November.  

The Right’s recommendation? The GOP needs to work harder to support good Christian candidates – like Katherine Harris 

With the mid-term elections less than nine weeks away, Republican Party leaders are worried they could lose control of Congress -- and political observers feel that fear is justified.

Capitol Hill conservative icon Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation says there could be huge changes ahead for the United States after the November elections. The GOP, he says, is in "deep, deep trouble." And according to Weyrich, an "anti-incumbency" attitude is sweeping the nation.

Rev. Rob Schenck, director of the National Clergy Council in Washington, DC, agrees with Weyrich's assessment, saying the Republican leaders have turned their backs on the grassroots of the Party, which is their strength. He contends Party leaders have forgotten that Christians "were really driving the revival of the Republican Party."

One case in point perhaps could be two-term U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Harris, a Florida Republican -- and professed Christian -- who on Tuesday overcame being abandoned by leaders in the GOP to claim the Party's nomination for the U.S. Senate. Fellow Republicans had criticized Harris for calling separation of church and state a lie, and for saying that not electing Christian candidates amounted to "legislating sin." Harris -- who observers say faces an uphill battle in November against the Democratic incumbent, Bill Nelson -- drew 49 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.

Instead of looking to conservatives like Harris, Schenck suggests that Republican leaders are leaning a different direction in their search for new leadership in the Party -- and they do not like depending on the "religious" voters for their wins, he adds.

Harris is currently tied to a bribery scandal, is constantly losing her staff,  barely won her primary and trails in the polls by nearly 40 points to her Democratic opponent, and has, according to some, basically lost her mind.

If the Right honestly believes that the GOP needs to support staggeringly incompetent candidates like Harris if it hopes to maintain control of Congress, then it is in “deep, deep trouble” indeed.  

Uh Oh – Fractures developing in the Right-Wing Coalition against Public Education

In today’s Wall Street Journal, voucher warrior Clint Bolick takes aim at Bush Administration Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. It seems Bolick doesn’t think the No Child Left Behind Act is destroying public schools fast enough and Spellings is to blame. Bolick is upset that not enough parents have yanked their children out of LA public schools.

The question is whether Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings--whose administration has made NCLB the centerpiece of its education agenda--will do anything about it. She has the power to withhold federal funds from districts that fail to comply with NCLB, and has threatened to do just that. Rhetoric, so far, has exceeded action.

Incredulous that parents would actually prefer to keep their children in public schools, Bolick laments that “as of yet private school choice is not an option under NCLB.” Bolick reminds us that right-wingers in Congress have proposed a national voucher bill, but until then, he says, the battle against public schools must be led by Secretary Spellings.

In response, Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander and John Ensign and Reps. Buck McKeon and Sam Johnson have proposed adding private options under NCLB for children in chronically failing schools. But for now, the only hope for these kids is for Secretary Spellings to hold the districts' feet to the fire.

For her part Spellings, thinks NCLB is a nearly perfect law, but Bolick is not appeased. Pleading with her to withhold funding from LA public schools, Bolick issues a final warning to Spellings.

Will she or won't she? Margaret Spellings's actions in the coming days will determine far more than the Bush administration's education legacy.

Ouch.

Congress Opens Pandora's Box of Nativist Fringe

With anti-immigrant rhetoric: Wall Street Journal report.

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.

Protesting 9/11

The American Family Association is trying to keep CBS from airing a documentary about the attacks of September 11th … because it contains profanity. In the AFA’s twisted view, CBS is airing the documentary not because it is the fifth anniversary of the tragedy, but because CBS wants to push the limits of indecency. AFA is threatening to file complaints if the program airs uncensored.
CBS To Air Profanity-Laden Program It is time to tell CBS and the other networks that enough is enough! Not content with all the profanity already on TV, CBS has decided to air the profanity-laden unedited version of "9/11" on Sept. 10. The decision by CBS is a slap in the face to the FCC and Congress, which recently raised indecency fines to $325,000 per incident. "9/11," which will be shown in prime-time, contains a tremendous amount of hardcore profanity. CBS has stated they have not, and will not, make any cuts in the amount and degree of profanity. CBS will ignore the law. The network is suing the FCC over the indecency law, saying they should be able to show whatever they desire whenever they desire. CBS wants no limits. This is a test case for CBS to see how far they can go. If there is no out-pouring of complaints from the public, they will go further the next time. The profanity is so bad that CBS has warned their affiliates that they could be subject to huge fines. The FCC says it will fine not only the networks, but also affiliates if the law is violated. Under the new Broadcast Decency Act the $325,000 per incident could run into millions of dollars not only for the network but also for local affiliates. CBS could very easily bleep out the profanity, but they refuse. The goal of CBS is to be able to show whatever they want at anytime. The network wants no restraints on their programming. If they are allowed to get away with this, they will simply air even more profanity in the future. Take Action It is time to tell CBS and the other networks that enough is enough!. Send an email, asking the FCC to enforce the law. Your email will go not only to the FCC, but also to CBS. Contact your local CBS affiliate and ask them not to air "9/11." Click Here to find their contact information or use your local phone directory. Please forward this to your friends and family. Share this information with members of your Sunday School class and church, and urge them to get involved. If no changes are made and your CBS affiliate carries the program, AFA will provide you with information for filing a formal complaint with the FCC. Send Your Letter Now!

"War on Christmas" Early This Year

Last year, leading right-wing groups and Fox News Channel hosts created an impressive campaign to warn the American public of a “secret plan” on the part of liberals to “ban” Christmas and destroy Christianity itself. They called it the “War on Christmas” – a battle they compared to the Nazi war in Europe – and it was even taken up by Congress and incorporated into the effort to confirm Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

Although it is currently 90 degrees in Washington on this day in August, we now present the first salvo in the 2006 “War on Christmas.” The American Family Association, which last year attempted to organize boycotts of Target and other retailers that were heard muttering “Happy Holidays” to their customers (rather than “Merry Christmas”), has been monitoring the “Holiday” situation in a Sam’s Club catalog for almost two months:

Even though it is August, the Christmas advertising season has already begun and Sam's Club has come down on the side of "Holidays" instead of "Christmas."

In the August/September issue of their in-house magazine Source, Sam's Club has one page dedicated to Christmas. But Sam's Club doesn't refer to Christmas as being Christmas. Sam's Club promotes it as "Holidays."

On page 69 of Source, the promotional plug says: "Coming soon. Plan ahead for the holidays." On the page decorated in Christmas fashion are three products. Sam's Club wants you to buy "Holiday Cards," "Holiday Ribbon," and "Holiday Gift Bags."

On the "Christmas" page, the word Christmas isn't used! View the page ad.

On June 26, AFA wrote Wal-Mart (which owns Sam's Club) asking that they not ban "Christmas" in advertising and promotions. Included in that letter was a CD with the names of 201,595 individuals who signed the petition asking for no ban. Wal-Mart, ignoring the letter, did not even bother to respond.

[Wal-Mart offends Christianity with 'holiday' greeting]

Wal-Mart’s alleged attack on Christianity, from the August/September issue of Source, the exclusive periodical for Sam’s Club members.

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Congress Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/09/2010, 10:56am
Two separate reports have revealed the flood of corporate dollars buttressing the Republican Party’s push to retake the House and Senate this November. Big business, whether rewarding Republican endeavors to block progressive legislation such as Wall Street reform or simply expecting a GOP wave, has ramped up efforts to support Republican politicians and expenditure committees. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “in both the first and second quarters of this year, the broad finance, insurance and real estate sector has favored Republican candidates and committees in... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 09/08/2010, 4:48pm
I think that I am just going to start regularly posting the Family Research Council's suggested prayers that it sends out regularly to its "Prayer Team" because it provides a good insight into just what the FRC considers its key priorities at any given moment. The most recent update contains prayers aimed at the Values Voter Summit: Pray that God will mightily bless; that next weekend's VVS will have a life-changing impact on attendees and a nation-changing impact on America. As well as the stem-cell research lawsuit: Praise God for strict constructionist judges... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 09/07/2010, 4:14pm
After criticizing Congress for passing a $26 billion aid package to state governments, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has sent a formal request to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for $236 million for Medicaid from the very same funding bill he blasted as a “reckless spending spree.” After pronouncing that “the federal government should not deficit spend to bail out states,” the governor and likely presidential candidate even offered clues that he won’t accept any new money from the federal government (unless that money was for abstinence-... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 09/07/2010, 10:49am
Earlier this year, House Republicans launched a website called "America Speaking Out," which allowed Americans to "share their priorities and ideas for a national policy agenda" that they wanted Congress to focus on. In a few weeks, House GOP leaders are expected to roll out set of guiding principles and agenda that is based on the suggestions they have received and reportedly distributed a 22-page draft packet to members earlier this month.  And the draft focuses largely on issues related to jobs, spending, health care, and the economy while almost entirely... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/02/2010, 2:44pm
David Barton and Newt Gingrich have been working together for years now, but today was the first time Gingrich had ever appeared on Barton's "Wallbuilders Live" radio program. Gingrich came on to discuss his recent column opposing the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" and did so did so with typical Gingrichian belligerence, but eventually the topic turned toward how to actually prevent it from being built and Gingrich's preferred solution is for Congress to declare Ground Zero to be a national battlefield memorial: Well, there are a lot of places. I think the Congress has... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/26/2010, 6:09pm
Good As You: How not to write a coming out card. Sarah Posner: Religious Leaders Pressure Congress To Support Religious Discrimination. Patrick Caldwell @ Iowa Independent: Mitch Daniels insists he won’t run for president in 2012. Brian Beutler @ TPM: LA GOPer: November A Choice Between An Atheist Society And A Christian Nation. Dahlia Lithwick: Why do Ken Cuccinelli's legal opinions always match his personal ambitions? Andy Birkey @ Minnesota Independent: Bachmann to speak at controversial Glenn Beck rally. Christina Bellantoni @ TPM: Meet... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/24/2010, 5:41pm
PFAW President Michael B. Keegan @ Huffington Post: Losing Their Appeal: The Real Reason the Right Is Terrified by the Prop 8 Case. Greg Sargent: Sharron Angle agrees with radio host who says we have "domestic enemies" within Congress. Alex Seitz-Wald @ Think Progress: Gingrich Won’t Explain Why He’s Backing Out Of Participating In 9/11 Anti-Mosque Rally. Alvin McEwen: Black males aren't graduating like they should? Blame the gays. Rob Boston @ AU: Bombastic TV Host Glenn Beck And Religious Right ‘Professor’ David Barton... MORE