economy

Farah Arguing Himself In Circles

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah continues to fight back against Jon Henke's efforts to get conservatives to boycott his right-wing rag and takes the battle to the pages of the Washington Times:

Joseph Farah, editor of World Net Daily, questioned Mr. Henke's motives and standing in an interview with The Washington Times.

"In the little bit of time I've had to figure out who Jon Henke is and what the Next Right is, I see it's pretty much a Republican establishment group who has worked for the RNC and the Republican Party and I can certainly understand why a group like that would have problems with World Net Daily," he said. "We are not in anybody's pocket and we don't have to take our cues from them. We never have and never will and that will probably bother some people."

He added about the Next Right: "Just looking at their biographies I see these are not journalists, they are political activists who have their own agendas."

So Henke is a Republican lapdog just doing the bidding of the RNC? That is interesting seeing that Henke is currently targeting the RNC for its dealings with WND and trying, unsuccessfully, to get them to explain:

After I argued that credible organizations on the Right should not support the conspiracy peddling of WorldNetDaily, it was pointed out that the RNC appears to have rented access to the WND email list. So I emailed the RNC to inquire about it and encourage them to stop.

My question was: "Is the RNC really renting the World Net Daily email list?" This was the response from the RNC Press Secretary:

Nice to meet you. Pls note that we have already weighed in on the birther issue -- weeks ago. Thanks.

The Press Secretary then appended a NYT story in which this was their response:

“Chairman Steele believes this is an unnecessary distraction and that the president is a U.S. citizen,” said Gail Gitcho, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee. “He wants to move on and continue talking about real and immediate issues that are facing our nation, like health care and the economy. Chairman Steele has other issues to take up with the president having to do with policy, not a birth certificate.”

So, the sum total of the RNC's response was (a) Obama is "a U.S. citizen", but (b) we want to ignore this Birther story, (c) we're not saying whether or not we're working with the Birthers, and (d) we're just going to completely ignore the actual question you asked.

Also, it takes an amazing amount of gall, or a complete lack of self-awareness, for someone like Farah to claim that his critics are "not journalists [but just] political activists who have their own agendas."

How Not To Spread Rumors On The Internet

In yesterday's "Newscall" post on the Family Research Council's "Cloakroom" blog, Krystle Weeks, FRC's web editor, included this item:

HotAir.com asks a good question: Does Obama plan to spy on social networking sites? After all, CNet, there is a bill proposed in the Senate that would give the President emergency control of the internet.

I have a question of my own:  did Weeks even bother to read the Hot Air article?  Because if she had, she would have known that Hot Air was not "asking" this question, but was rather debunking this claim, which is being circulated by the National Legal and Policy Center:

NLPC has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.

The information to be captured includes comments, tag lines, emails, audio, and video. The targeted sites include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and others – any space where the White House “maintains a presence.”

Ed Morrissey points out that NLPC's claims are entirely bogus:

I’m not sure that highlighting a public contract offer amounts to “uncovering” a conspiracy, especially since their analysis turns out to be faulty. Contrary to NLPC’s take, the contractor would be collecting data required to be kept by the White House — by law.

...

Which brings us to the common-sense check on the rumor. How much time and resources would it take to effectively monitor every entry on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and every blog in the blogosphere? And to do that secretly, while archiving all of it? The NSA would have to take that on full time, and even then … best of luck just keeping up with the archiving, let alone surveillance ... [T]his is nothing more than a big, pointless archiving project, one which may stimulate the economy of a handful of people, but otherwise inconsequential. There are a lot of good reasons to be worried about the Obama administration, but this doesn’t appear to be one of them.

Note to Weeks: if you are going to try to spread unfounded rumors about the Obama administration, be sure to link to the people creating those rumors, not the people debunking them. 

A Sign of Changing Times?

When I saw an article covering a forum hosted by the Alabama Christian Coalition with candidates running for governor, I have to admit that I did not expect this:

Five Republicans and one Democrat running for governor showed up tonight at Taylor Road Baptist Church in Montgomery for a forum sponsored by the Alabama Christian Coalition.

But this was not your typical Christian Coalition forum, at least not compared to what has typically been the focus of political get-togethers sponsored by the group before it underwent a split several years ago and then came back under new leadership, leadership that many Republicans in the state now believe is nowhere near as conservative as the group once was.

Evidence of that was everywhere Monday. For starters, the panel asking questions featured some moderate Democrats along with some Republicans.

The real indication that maybe the focus of the group is not what it once was came when the questions were asked of the candidates. In a two-hour event, not one question was asked about their views on same-sex marriage, abortion, school prayer or even their views on taxes.

Some candidates, such as Republican Bill Johnson, had to seemingly go out of their way to say they were for traditional marriage and against abortion.

Other candidates, such as Republican Bradley Byrne and Democrat Artur Davis, occasionally referred to the Bible when making points. Former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was the darling of the group as it existed in 2006 when he ran for the GOP nomination for governor, received at best polite applause but not the kind of thunderous ovations he saw three years ago.

Instead of plenty of questions about abortion, prayer and sin, Monday night's forum was filled with questions about health care, the economy, education and yes, some moral issues. But those took the form of what to do about crowded prisons, the candidates pledging not to play the race card -- Davis is black -- and whether gambling should be made legal and taxed.

The Christian Coalition of Alabama has undergone some confusing changes in recent years.  Back in 2006, then-president John Giles announced that they were breaking from the national Christian Coalition and reforming under the name Christian Action Alabama.  The Christian Coalition of Alabama subsequently tapped Randy Brinson as president and the two organizations then got into a legal battle over assets.

Brinson, who was a key backer of Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign, and his organization also made news last year when they attacked Freedom's Watch over ads it ran in the state because Sheldon Adelson, the man behind the organization, had made his fortune in the gambling industry and the even blasted the National Republican Congressional Committee for ads it ran attacking Democratic Congressional Candidate Parker Griffith, claiming the NRCC ad intentionally misrepresented some of Griffith's statements "to cast aspersions on his character, patriotism and even Christian commitment."

Interestingly, Giles left his new organization shortly after it broke with the Christian Coalition and now the organization appears defunct.  Meanwhile, the Christian Coalition of Alabama has been branching out and taking stances one would never have expected from this sort of group:

The Christian Coalition of Alabama teamed up with a Democratic lawmaker on Tuesday to call for better health care for the state's uninsured.

The event may defy con ventional wisdom about Christian Coalition priorities and partnerships, but it is only the latest example of what the group's leader says is an effort to expand its focus.

"Yes, we're ardently pro-life. Yes, we're ardently for marriage," said Dr. Randy Brinson, chairman of the state Christian Coalition. "But beyond just that, there's other moral failings that are having (an) impact. ... Not enough emphasis is put on that."

One such problem is the number of people who lack medical care because they are uninsured or underinsured, said Brinson, a Montgomery physician and lifelong Republican, during a news conference with state Sen. Linda Coleman, D-Birmingham.

Brinson and Coleman said the rising cost of gas and food exacerbate the plight of the uninsured, forcing them to choose between transportation, sustenance and basic medical care.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • It looks like, after just one event, Rep. Eric Cantor's National Council for a New America has already flamed out.
  • Operation Rescue has launched a petition aimed at stopping LeRoy Carhart from opening a new facility in Kansas.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund has announced that September 27 will be its second "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" in which churches and pastors are urged to challenge tax rules barring them from endorsing political candidates [PDF].
  • A principal overseeing a high school in which church-state violations were reportedly rampant now faces possible jail time for violating a court order to cease such practices.
  • Finally, Ralph Reed declares that "values voters" will resuscitate the GOP:

    The bottom line is that voters primarily motivated by their values will not go away. They are a persistent bunch. They have now gained a place at the table, have been seasoned by the experience of building (and now losing) a governing majority, and they are going to speak to a broad range of issues, from the economy to climate change to health care. They will likely be at the center of any GOP revival of fortunes. No amount of name-calling or intimidation will make them go away.

The Acceptable Insanity of Right Wing Rhetoric

I'll be the first to admit that after nearly a decade of wallowing in the swamp of right-wing political insanity, my sense of what constitutes "acceptable" rhetoric is entirely skewed, so much so that when I see things like these sorts of absurd assertions from the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission that health care reform would lead to a Nazi-like elimination of the elderly, I barely even bat an eye any more:

This is nothing less than state sponsored euthanasia. Hitler began his reign of terror by his application of the brutal, Darwinian ethic, “survival of the fittest.” He started killing the disabled and infirmed because they were considered to be a burden on the state.

Hitler rationalized the killing of innocent people in an effort to advance his fascist, national socialist agenda. In the name of doing what’s best for the good of society, Hitler trivialized human life. Ultimately millions ended up paying with their lives.

In the name of the public good, Obama and the Congress are on the same anti-Christian, pro-death path.

And the reason I don't even blink stems largely from the fact that this type of rhetoric is, in fact, perfectly acceptable to the Right - here's Rush Limbaugh yesterday:

They accuse of us being Nazis, and Obama's got a health care logo that's right out of Adolf Hitler's playbook. Now, what are the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany? Well, the Nazis were against big business -- they hated big business. And of course we all know that they were opposed to Jewish capitalism. They were insanely, irrationally against pollution. They were for two years mandatory voluntary service to Germany. They had a whole bunch of make-work projects to keep people working, one of which was the Autobahn. They were against cruelty and vivisection of animals, but in the radical sense of devaluing human life, they banned smoking. They were totally against that. They were for abortion and euthanasia of the undesirables, as we all know, and they were for cradle-to-grave nationalized healthcare.

This is why I have always bristled when I hear people claim conservativism gets close to Nazism. It is liberalism that's the closest you can get to Nazism and socialism. It's all bundled up under the socialist banner. There are far more similarities between Nancy Pelosi and Adolf Hitler than between these people showing up at town halls to protest a Hitler-like policy that's being heralded like a Hitler-like logo.

As Glenn Greewald reminds us, just a few years ago when someone submitted an ad to MoveOn.org that compared President Bush to Hitler, MoveOn immediately removed the ad, everyone went completely insane.  But now you have Limbaugh, the most influential voice of the Right in the entire country, literally comparing the Democrats to the Nazis and nobody says anything because this type of rhetoric is some utterly common that it is not even considered newsworthy. 

And, on a similar note, just what exactly does Glenn Beck have to do to get himself yanked off the air?  Apparently, joking about poisoning Nancy Pelosi is likewise perfectly acceptable:

I wonder what it would be like, seriously. I mean, if I could go, you know, to the speaker's shindig, wouldn't that be great? What would it -- oh, look, here she -- oh, she is -- wow -- you're so much prettier and flatter and shinier in the face than I expected. It's almost like you're two people at once.

So, Speaker Pelosi, I just wanted to -- you gonna drink your wine? Are you blind? Do those eyes not work? There you -- I want you to drink it now. Drink it. Drink it. Drink it.

I really just wanted to thank you for having me over here to wine country. You know, to be invited, I thought I had to be a major Democratic donor or a longtime friend of yours, which I'm not.

By the way, I put poison in your -- no, I -- I look forward to all the policy discussions that we're supposed to have -- you know, on health care, energy reform, and the economy.

Hey, is that Sean Penn over there? I know it cost me more than $30,000 to get in here, but hey. Hey, I think I see Ed Markey, the author of cap and trade, right over there.

Like I said, my own sense of what sort of rhetoric is "acceptable" from the Right is admittedly skewed , so much so that, quite frequently, I don't even bother posting certifiably crazy things precisely because they are so common as to not even warrant the coverage.

But even by my warped standard, this type of stuff from Limbaugh and Beck is completely insane.

And yet, at the same time, it is also perfectly acceptable. 

And that is what is really insane.

More Unsolicited Sotomayor Advice from Ralph Reed

Ralph Reed has now penned a second memo to addressed to "Republican Leaders and Conservatives" urging wholesale Republican opposition to the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, warning that the vote "is a political Rorschach test" and any failure by the GOP to generate a substantial vote tally against her will embloden the Obama administration and harm the party in future elections:

[I]f the remaining undecided Republican Senators decide to vote for Sotomayer [sic], they could do real and lasting damage to the Republican Party writ large … [H]er views are out of the mainstream and her judicial record and previous statements and writings are those of a judicial activist. Not only does the GOP base and Independents oppose her because of those views, but Hispanic support for her nomination is underwhelming at best. A vote against her confirmation is not a vote against her personally. It is a vote against the imposition of quotas by judicial fiat, the reliance on foreign law by U.S. courts, more liberal protections for unlimited, taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, and the erosion of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Republicans and red-state Democratic Senators who oppose her will strengthen their position. Republicans who support Sotomayor may come to regret having done so, either because a conservative candidate could challenge them in a primary or they generate only lax support from the base in a general election.

For Republicans, the Sotomayor nomination is a political Rorschach test. If they fail it, the consequences in 2010 and beyond could be enormous. If they pass it, combined with Obama’s falling poll numbers, growing queasiness among Blue Dog Democrats, and a weak economy, their fortunes could turn around far quicker than they think.

Personally, I don't think I'd be taking advice about that is "good for the party" from someone who couldn't even win his own primary campaign due to his dirty dealings with Jack Abramoff ... but that's just me.

Ralph Reed's Key To Success: Be More Strident

Just yesterday I wrote a post explaining that, thanks to the recent announcement that he was heading a new Religious Right organization known as the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Ralph Reed appeared to be "succeeding in resurrecting his reputation and re-establishing himself as a bona fide leader of the Religious Right."

And, despite the fact that this new effort currently consists entirely of Reed, one adviser, one actual employee, and a bare-bones website, I think it is safe to say that the "Ralph Reed Redemption Tour" is officially underway now that he is getting long profiles written up by the Associated Press:

Ralph Reed was once a powerful force in Republican politics, able to marshal millions of religious conservatives to the polls while leading the Christian Coalition.

Then his political career took a tumble in 2006 when he was clobbered by a lesser-known opponent in the Republican primary for Georgia lieutenant governor, leading some to conclude Reed's days as an influential GOP figure were over.

But Reed is searching for a dose of redemption. He's launched a new venture that supporters hope will bolster a Republican Party struggling to find its footing after the 2008 election and a recent string of embarrassing scandals.

"I don't view it as a comeback," Reed said in a recent interview. "I view it as something I've always done — trying to be part of the solution and trying to build at the grass roots (level)."

The startup, known as the Faith and Freedom Coalition, is little more than a Web site, but Reed hopes to turn it into a strident new force that uses social media to capture a broader, younger and more diverse audience.

Perhaps most telling, the man who helped cement religious conservatives into a solid GOP voting bloc said he won't focus his group on social issues, but rather the economic crisis.

"This is not the Christian Coalition redux," Reed said. "It's a much broader attempt. Our primary focus is jobs, the economy, taxes, creating economic opportunity. That's the number one issue in the country right now."

Other than a lukewarm statement from Roberta Combs, current president of the Christian Coalition, saying "there is always room for more people who want to start organizations," the article doesn't really contain any particularly new or revealing information, with the exception of this key quote:

Reed said his organization is looking to be more inclusive by reaching out to Jews, Hispanics, blacks and any other group receptive to a fiscal conservative message.

"It's going to look different from the vehicles we have now. It's going to be younger, it's going to be more strident," he said. "It's going to be principled but less ideologically reflexive. And it's going to have a broader issues agenda."

How exciting. A “broader” and "more strident" version of the Christian Coalition? I can't wait to see how that turns out.

The Religious Right's Last Hope: Hipness

Despite the fact that it has only been a few weeks since Ralph Reed announced the formation of his new Faith and Freedom Coalition and that the effort appears to consist entirely of a bare-bones website, he is getting lots of attention and is seemingly succeeding in resurrecting his reputation and re-establishing himself as a bona fide leader of the Religious Right.

Today, Reed was interviewed by Newsmax where he gave his thoughts on Sonia Sotomayor, the Obama administration, and the 2012 GOP presidential primary, as well as explaining just what role his new Faith and Freedom Coalition will play in it all:

"It is a coalition of grassroots citizens, conservatives — both fiscal and social conservatives — people of faith, and others who are concerned about the direction of our country," Reed said.

"Look at what's happening in Washington today, with the overreach on healthcare, rationing healthcare, dramatically raising taxes, crushing small business, the cap-and-tax energy plan, the failed stimulus package, liberal judicial nominees, a weakening of our defense, sending signals in my view of timidity in prosecuting the war on terrorism.

"The Faith and Freedom Coalition is designed not only to oppose the Obama agenda in Washington, but to offer conservative constructive alternatives.

"We need to get this economy moving again. We need to create jobs. We believe the way to do that is lower taxes, limited government, fiscal discipline, stronger families, and the growth of small business."

Reed said one priority of the Faith and Freedom Coalition is to bring younger people into the conservative ranks. The organization intends to have a strong presence on college campuses, and to employ Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites that young people use to communicate.

"We need to be hipper, more technology savvy," he said. "This is where the culture is going and we need to be there if we're going to compete."

He also said the coalition plans to have chapters in every key county in the country, in all 50 states, and virtual chapters on line.

Newsmax also has the nine minute audio of the interview posted as well, which I am not embedding here because it annoyingly starts automatically playing as soon as it loads.

Though Reed continues to insist that "this isn't your daddy's Christian Coalition," I have to say that the more I hear about it, the more it sounds exactly like the Christian Coalition, only with the addition of social networking.

So I am going to make a bold prediction: spreading the age-old Religious Right agenda on Twitter and Facebook is not going to make it any "hipper."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • I, for one, am growing increasingly weary of Randall Terry's need for attention.
  • Gov. Mark Sanford's spokesperson has apparently had enough of trying to defend his boss.
  • Gov. Rick Perry is now "asking the federal government for a loan to cover the very expenses the rejected stimulus money would have paid for."
  • Gary Bauer explains why Democrats don't like Sarah Palin: they hate Trig.
  • Ralph Reed offers his brilliant insights on how "Republicans can reap significant political benefits by voting against [Sonia Sotomayor's] confirmation and making her an issue in key races next year."
  • The Liberty Counsel comments on the hate crimes legislation, warning that Democrats "will not be able to continue their efforts to undermine moral values, socialize the economy, and trash American pride and heritage. The people will not remain silent forever."
  • Finally, a newspaper in Indiana is coming under fire from the Religious Right for posting an engagement of a gay couple planning to wed in Iowa and offers a very clear response:
  • Same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa, where the couple lives and plans to marry. Since one of the young men is originally from Elkhart and his family still lives here, we did the same thing we’d do for any other local family with a child getting married — we published the couple’s engagement announcement.

TEA Partiers To Descend on DC And Dwarf Inauguration Numbers

Last week I mentioned that the National Taxpayer Protest is scheduled for September 12.  Hosted by a variety of right-wing and anti-tax groups like the National Taxpayers Union, Americans For Tax Reform, Young America’s Foundation, The Club for Growth and many others, the effort seeks to bring millions of Americans to Washington D.C. for an organized and centralized TEA party-like protest:

It’s time to take the tea party movement directly to Washington, D.C. Please join thousands of local organizers and grassroots Americans from across the country as we gather in our nation’s capital to deliver a message to the politicians: Enough!

We’ve had enough of the out of control spending, the bailouts, the growth of big government and the soaring deficits. And we reject the future tax increases to pay for all of this spending and debt down the road. We are gathering on 9-12-2009 to deliver our message in person that we’ve had enough!

And they have some pretty big plans:

"Our mission is to present a unified voice of concern over the current administration's policies regarding taxation, our economy, foreign and domestic policy, as well as our individual constitutional rights as American citizens," said Grassfire national coordinator Darla Dawald in an open invitation to the public to join the Sept. 12 taxpayer march in Washington, D.C. "America is in trouble, the problems and issues are broad and complex and it will take a monumental effort to stop, change and reverse the destructive course that this administration and Congress has put us on. Together, We the People can effect that change!"

On Sept. 10 and 11, the groups will host grassroots training seminars and Sept. 11 "We'll Never Forget" memorial. The taxpayer march is scheduled to begin at the Lincoln Memorial at 10 a.m. Sept. 12 and culminate with a rally at 1 p.m. in front of the Capitol.

The National Taxpayer Protest website offers detailed information on travel and hotel accommodations, including directions to the event. Tea party attendees may RSVP there as well.

More than 9,000 people have already registered through the protest website, and the number is growing rapidly.

"Obama managed to have 4 million show up at the Capitol grounds," Dawald told WND. "We need to do the same if not more. The financial situation is dire, but as one gentleman said, 'If I have to sell my belongings and crawl there, I will – because it's that important!'"

I assume that when Dawald says Obama had 4 million show up at the Capitol, she's referring to the crowd that attended his inauguration, although the estimated size for that event was actually only 1.8 million.

But heck, if they want to set 4 million attendees as their goal, who am I to complain?

And frankly, with a thrilling proposedl line-up like this, I can't see how they could possibly fail to reach that lofty goal:

Invited Speakers and Guests (for the 3 day event) Include:

Dick Armey - FreedomWorks (CONFIRMED)
C. Boyden Gray - FreedomWorks (CONFIRMED)
Steve Forbes - FreedomWorks Foundation
Yaron Brook - Ayn Rand Center for Individual Liberty
Chris Chocola - Club for Growth
Grover Norquist - Americans for Tax Reform
John Tate - Campaign for Liberty
Mike Tanner - Cato Institute
Dan Mitchell - Cato Institute

John Stossel
George Will
Tucker Carlson
Michael Barone
M. Stanton Evans
Thomas Sowell
Andrew Napolitano
Thomas Woods
Peter Schiff
Michelle Malkin
Glenn Reynolds
P.J. O’Rourke
Drew Carey
Andrew Breitbart
Jonah Goldberg
Penn & Teller
John Allison
John Mackey
Dennis Miller
Rick Scott

Sen. Jim DeMint
Rep. Ron Paul
Rep. Jeb Hensarling
Rep. Jeff Flake
Rep. Doug Lamborn
Rep. Virginia Foxx
Rep. Marsha Blackburn
Rep. Tom Price
Rep. Scott Garrett
Rep. Mike Pence
Rep. Michele Bachmann
Rep. Paul Broun
Rep. Todd Tiahrt
Rep. Tom McClintock

Glenn Beck - Fox News
Neil Cavuto - Fox News
Laura Ingraham
Mark Levin

Unity Through Redundancy

Is it just me or does it seem like every other week there is a new Religious Right organization launched in order to save America from its descent into godlessly immoral socialism?

In March we saw that birth of The Faith and Freedom Institute, founded to "lead America back to the knowledge of God in order to save the nation from the judgment of God."

That was followed by Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership effort, which has ties to David Barton and Don Wildmon, and is designed to bring together economic conservatives and social conservatives for the common good.

Those were followed by the creation of the American Principles Project, led by Robert P. George, the Princeton professor who is also Chairman of the Board of the National Organization for Marriage, which proclaimed itself the vehicle through which "millions of American voices raised in unison in defense of political liberty and economic freedom, the sanctity of human life and the integrity of marriage and the family, and the sovereignty and security of our nation" would be turned into political action.

These efforts continued in June, with Lou Engle's Call to Action, which aims to "redefine voting" for the next generation as a "prophetic act" and train them that they don't vote Democrat or Republican but vote "moral absolute truths," creating a mass army of young, motivated Christian voters who will pledge never to vote for a candidate who is not anti-choice, thereby creating a "spiritual revolution [and] training a generation to seize technology and turn the tide."

That was then followed by The Faith and Freedom Coalition, through which Ralph Reed aims to reclaim the Religious Right's former glory by starting launching an organization "committed to educating, equipping, and mobilizing people of faith and like-minded individuals to be effective citizens. Together we will influence public policy and enact legislation that strengthens families, promotes time-honored values, protects the dignity of life and marriage, lowers the tax burden on small business and families, and requires government to tighten its belt and live within its means."

Just a week after Reed's effort was made public, a coalition of Religious Right groups announced the formation of The Freedom Federation, an effort to re-brand the movement and over its "image problem"  while remaining "committed to defending and extending core values expressed in the Declaration of American Values, the organization's founding document. These include the right to life, the institution of marriage, parental rights, religious liberty, an environment free of pornography and indecency, the right to property, freedom from excessive taxation, and national sovereignty."

With six news Religious Right groups formed in the last several months, all with very similar missions, you'd think there wouldn't really be much room left for any more new groups to form ... but you'd be wrong:

Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr., former spokesperson and a top leader for the Christian Coalition, has launched a new organization -- S.T.A.N.D. [Staying True to America's National Destiny] -- to unify Christians and other conservatives around social and economic issues. However, Bishop Jackson is taking a different approach. "We are mainly interested in impacting the culture," says the Bishop. "Political victories can be reversed, but cultural change is lasting."

Their first major initiative is to make January "AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH". Says Bishop Jackson, "One of the reasons we lack unity in America is that the Judeo-Christian heritage and values which our Founding Fathers bequeathed us are under attack. Our heritage is lied about, suppressed and ignored in the push toward secularism and relativism. It is being done in Universities, public schools and even by President Obama."

STAND's American History Month will celebrate the nobility of American history and our Founders and rebut the lie that America is born of racism, exploitation and capitalistic greed. American History Month will highlight the heroic sacrifice, bold initiative, pioneering spirit, selfless cooperation and faith in God that made America possible. STAND believes that this President is denigrating America's contribution to the world, denying the role of Christianity in our country, and falsely claiming that Islam is a major contributor to America's success. "What history books is the President reading?" asks Jackson.

STAND considers Obama to be symptomatic of the ideological and anti-Christian bias in the teaching of American history. Bishop Jackson asks, "How many people know that one of our war cries during the Revolutionary War was 'No King but Jesus'? Precious few, and apparently not the President."

STAND is also opposing Obama's healthcare reform, which it calls "a veiled government takeover of healthcare." Bishop Jackson argues, "If the government takes over healthcare, everything will be rationed except abortion. The conscience objection will be eliminated, and abortion will increase like a plague upon the land." STAND wants to end abortion in America. It is also against Cap & Trade as "an insane burden" on an already crippled economy. Its members are contacting their Senators to make their sentiments known on these issues.

Interestingly, the need to unite the Right has been the one constant theme of every new group that has emerged and, for several of them, it is their central mission and reason for existing.

But the fact that different people keep launching entirely separate groups - all with the same purpose - suggests that their individual efforts to bring unity to the movement do not seem to be working particularly well.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Dan Gilgoff notes that, according to the recent Vanity Fair article on Sarah Palin, her upcoming memoir will be published by HarperCollins ... as well as in "special edition by Zondervan, the Bible-publishing house, that may include supplemental material on faith."
  • Jim Burroway points out that anti-gay activists are hard at work trying to use Frank Lombard to paint all gays as pedophiles.
  • BlueTexan says Michael Steele has come unplugged and completely unglued.
  • Greg Sargent reports that the GOP is working to pin the economic meltdown on President Obama ... and former President Bush by blaming "The Great Bush-Obama Economic Intervention."
  • Charles Lemos alerts us to the fact that there is an effort afoot by conservatives to "go Galt" by "calling in conservative" on July 30th.
  • As Steve Benen notes, the victory of Al Franken seems to be causing right-wing figures to lose their minds.

Who Is Vouching For Military Chaplains?

I have to admit that, outside of tales involving Gordon Klingenschmitt, I am pretty much ignorant of what goes on in the military's chaplaincy service.

Fortunately, there is the Military Religious Freedom Foundation which focuses on these sorts of topics and via whom we found out about this recent Kathryn Joyce piece in Newsweek exposing the efforts of Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches and its founder Jim Ammerman:

According to the group's president, Mikey Weinstein, a cadre of 40 U.S. chaplains took part in a 2003 project to distribute 2.4 million Arabic-language Bibles in Iraq. This would be a serious violation of U.S. military Central Command's General Order Number One forbidding active-duty troops from trying to convert people to any religion. A Defense Department spokeswoman, in an e-mail to NEWSWEEK, denies any knowledge of this project.

The Bible initiative was handled by former Army chaplain Jim Ammerman, the 83-year-old founder of the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches (CFGC), an organization in charge of endorsing 270 chaplains and chaplain candidates for the armed services. Ammerman worked with an evangelical group based in Arkansas, the International Missions Network Center, to distribute the Bibles through the efforts of his 40 active-duty chaplains in Iraq. A 2003 newsletter for the group said of the effort, "The goal is to establish a wedge for the kingdom of God in the Middle East, directly affecting the Islamic world."

...

Among the "endorsing agencies" is CFGC, which represents a conglomeration of independent Pentecostal churches outside established denominations. The group was accepted as a chaplain-endorsing agency by the Department of Defense in 1984, two years after it first applied. Since 1984, MRFF charges, Ammerman's agency has violated numerous codes that govern chaplaincies, including a constant denigration of other religions, particularly Islam, Judaism, mainline Protestantism and Catholicism, but also non-Pentecostal evangelical churches. In a 2008 sermon, Ammerman described a CFGC chaplain at Fort Riley, Kans., who demanded the 42 chaplains below him "speak up for Jesus" or leave his outfit. In a video for an organization called the Prophesy Club, CFGC chaplain Maj. James Linzey called mainstream Protestant churches "demonic, dastardly creatures from the pit of hell," that should be "[stomped] out." But the primary target of CFGC's ire is Islam. A 2001 CFGC newsletter asserted that the real enemy of the U.S. wasn't Osama bin Laden, but Allah, whom the newsletter called "Lucifer." A 2006 issue argued that all Muslim-Americans should be treated with suspicion, as they "obviously can't be good Americans." In a 2008 sermon, Ammerman called Islam "a killer religion" and Muslims "the devil."

...

Ammerman and chaplain Linzey have espoused conspiracy theories about "Satanic forces" at work in the U.S. government facilitating a military takeover by foreign troops; Ammerman even appears in a video favored by militia groups titled The Imminent Military Takeover of the USA. In 2008, Ammerman implied that four presidential candidates should be "arrested, quickly tried and hanged" for not voting to designate English America's official language, and speculated that Barack Obama would be assassinated as a secret Muslim.

Bruce Wilson has a related piece up on Huffington Post featuring various video clips of Ammerman, Linzey, and the Prophecy Club, including this one from 1997 where Ammerman claims that the US economy is controlled by Jews and says that Bill Clinton and Jane Fonda should have been executed:

Jim Ammerman from Bruce Wilson on Vimeo.

 UPDATE: Newsweek has issued the following correcting regarding the excerpted article above:

In an earlier version of this story, NEWSWEEK should have identified Pastor James Linzey as retired from active duty when he spoke to the Prophesy Club. We also should not have characterized him as having said that mainstream Protestant churches are "demonic, dastardly creatures from the pit of hell," that should be "[stomped] out." The pastor was referring to demonic forces he says are within the mainstream Protestant Church, and not the Church itself. NEWSWEEK regrets the errors.

Pro-Life Educators and Students (PLEAS) Announces Protest of the National Education Association, Blames Recession on Abortion

The Pro-Life Educators and Students (PLEAS) have announced the first major anti-abortion demonstration since the killing of Dr. George Tiller. While the demonstration is nothing out of the ordinary, PLEAS isn't focusing its effort on a traditional target of anti-choice groups. Instead, they'll be protesting... the National Education Association. In a press release, Bob Pawson, a coordinator for PLEAS, announced that the group is organizing a July 2nd "prayer & picket" that will involve many different pro-life groups.

The NEA is hardly an outspoken reproductive rights group, rather an organization dedicated to advancing and improving the public school system. They devoted a mere three sentences of their 462-page handbook to "Family Planning":

The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association urges the government to give high priority to making available all methods of family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities. The Association also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel.

Even stranger than PLEAS' choice to target the NEA are remarks made by Pawson in the press release. Pawson unveils the catalyst behind the economic recession: federal abortion policy. Oh, it's also why we don't have a cure for AIDS:

Abortion is the primary factor causing America's economic recession, said Pawson. America is suffering the consequences for killing fifty-million people who are supposed to be among us today as teachers, producers, consumers, taxpayers, leaders, inventors, and problem-solvers. It's no surprise that a nation which slaughters nearly twenty percent of its future customers, investors, and entrepreneurs also kills its own economy. Wrong moral choices have negative consequences. Evil acts generate their own punishment.
Abortion has led to the destruction of fifty-million students and simultaneously eliminated hundreds of thousands of teaching careers and education-related jobs. Surely, some of those dead students were the ones God sent to cure AIDS, end world-hunger, and create clean-energy technologies, said Pawson

Putting aside his "economic argument", Pawson should strongly consider protesting a group that devotes more than three sentences of their 462-page charter to reproductive rights.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Family Research Council crows that the noise it is making over the Uniting American Families Act "is having a considerable impact," claiming that "finding support for it will be even tougher now that FRC has shined the light on its real objective: undermining marriage."
  • Liberty Counsel announces that "every time [Americans United] files a complaint, we're going to come right back at them."
  • You know that the Right is really losing it when the American Family Association is sending out crazy Pravda columns decrying America's descent into socialism.
  • Al Mohler is predictably outraged about the White House proclamation recognizing June as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month."
  • Gary Bauer says that President Obama "must decide which role is more important to him, Apologist-in-Chief for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims or Commander-in-Chief of the United States and advocate for American values abroad."
  • I didn't know that Tony Perkins, Wendy Wright, and Ken Blackwell were experts on the auto industry and the US economy, but apparently they are and feel compelled to weigh in on GM.

"Homosexual Relationships Do Not Benefit American Society"

I will admit that I am somewhat surprised by the rather muted response from the Religious Right to the hearing held yesterday on the "Uniting American Families Act":

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Democrat from Vermont who is the powerful chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is adding another controversial ingredient to the volatile mix of an immigration debate that President Obama has said he hopes to spur in Congress before the end of the year.

Mr. Leahy has offered a bill that would allow American citizens and legal immigrants to seek residency in the United States for their same-sex partners, just as spouses now petition for foreign-born husbands and wives ... Senator Leahy said the bill would eliminate discrimination in immigration law against gay and lesbian couples.

Under family unification provisions in immigration law, American citizens and legal residents can petition for residency for their spouses. There is no numerical limit on permanent residence visas, known as green cards, for spouses of American citizens, and this is one of the main channels for legal immigration to the United States. Same-sex couples, though, cannot petition for partners, and many face the prospect of an immigrant partner’s deportation.

Senator Leahy’s bill would add the term “permanent partner” to sections of current immigration law that refer to married couples, and would provide a legal definition of those terms.

“I just think it’s a matter of fairness,” he said Tuesday in an interview, noting that a number of American allies, including Canada, France and Germany, recognize same-sex couples in immigration law.

Last year, when Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council was asked about this legislation, he made it clear why they opposed it:

We oppose this bill because it is, although it may be at the margins, part of an assault on the definition of family ... I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.

Sprigg eventually apologized for his remarks ... and maybe that has something to do with the Right's rather muted opposition this time around. 

But when I say "muted,"  I mean only by typical right-wing standards.  I fully expected this issue to become a full-blown right-wing "controversy" with each group trying to out-outrage one another and warn in increasingly charged language how its passage would lead to the downfall of the United States.

That has not happened ... yet. But that doesn't mean that right-wing groups aren't trotting out all the same old tired and offensive claims in opposing this legislation.

From a letter [PDF] sent to the US Senate by Focus on the Family:

This bill will create opportunities for abuse and fraud of United States immigration laws but more importantly, S. 424 is a fatal step toward the purposeful undermining of marriage, this country’s most pro-child institution.

...

Supporters of S. 424 seek to use Congress to gain legal recognition for a lifestyle in the name of “equality.” But the institution of marriage is not a legal vehicle for equality; it is a social institution with children at its heart. If passed, S. 424 will be much more than a minor tweak to federal law, it will be a large step toward the redefinition of vital family policy with inestimable consequences for our children.

We urge you to uphold the institution of marriage and reject the redefinition of “family” to grant special immigrant visas for same-sex couples.

From a letter [PDF] sent to the Judiciary Committee by the Family Research Council, whose opposition seems to be rooted in the belief that "homosexual relationships do not benefit American society," suggestions that gay partners would bring STDs into the country, and the absurd claim that this legislation would somehow discriminate against married couples:

Regardless of whatever personal benefits homosexual partners may believe that they derive from their relationship, they simply do not provide benefits to society that are at all comparable to the benefits provided by marriage between one man and one woman, and there is therefore no reason why society should privilege such relationships over ones which are merely close friendships without a sexual component.

Apart from family relationships, which do not exist in this circumstance, preference in American immigration law has historically been given to persons who have skills of particular value to the American economy or society. Again, engaging in homosexual relationships does not provide such value. On the contrary, homosexual conduct is associated with numerous problems which would burden society, most notable among them the high rates of sexually transmitted diseases among homosexual men.

...

While S. 424 says that its purpose is “to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws,” it actually introduces whole new areas of discrimination into those laws. Because, as noted above, entering and exiting a “permanent partnership” is much easier than entering and exiting a legal marriage, the bill actually introduces discrimination against those who are legally married, because they face higher hurdles for entry into a relationship that can derive benefit from the law than “permanent partners” do.

In fact, the bill can also be said to introduce discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as well—discrimination in favor of homosexuals, that is, because only homosexual couples (those “unable to contract with that other individual a marriage cognizable under this Act”) are able to reap its benefits, thus placing both married heterosexuals and heterosexuals in their own “permanent partnership” at a disadvantage.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • David Weigel provides a concise history of the various efforts to remake the Republican Party.
  • Steve Benen offers some related advice to the party: stop being crazy. Unfortunately, as Greg Sargent reports, they seem to have no such plans.
  • Kevin Drum notes that "the GOP does seem to check most of the boxes in the International Cultic Studies Association's 'Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups'" - with one notable exception.
  • I don't know if I completely agree with Nate Silver's assessment of Mike Huckabee's appeal, but he does make a good point about the overlap of the economic and social conservatives.
  • Andrew Sullivan points out a rather telling quote from Dick Cheney regarding his oath of office.
  • Finally, Good as You rightly continues to hound CornerStone Policy Research over it absurd claim that it polled literally every household in New Hampshire over a two day period for its poll showing state residents don't support marriage equality.

Will The Right, Unwilling to be Turned Aside, Turn to Huckabee?

Last week Steve Benen wrote a post about the National Council for a New America and its agenda for re-branding the Republican Party.  As he noted, the agenda covered issues like tax cuts, healthcare, energy, and national security while social issues were noticeably missing:

[W]hat may be the most interesting thing about this new group's "policy framework" is what it doesn't say. There's no mention of gays, abortion, state-sponsored religion, guns, or immigration. It's almost as if Republicans don't feel like fighting a culture war anymore.

Hey, activists in the GOP base, is sounds like the Republican Party is trying to throw you under the bus. Are you going to take this lying down?

As it turns out, the Religious Right isn’t about that take this lying down, judging by this Washington Update from the Family Research Council:

In another step away from its conservative roots, Republican members of the House unveiled The National Council for a New America in hopes of recasting the Party's ailing identity. The effort only underscores the Republicans' present identity crisis, as the GOP leadership kicked off the campaign devoid of the values that once caused voters to identify with the party.

The group's priorities, which were unveiled at a pizza parlor press conference, include the economy, health care, education, energy, and national security. Notice anything conspicuously absent? Former Gov. Jeb Bush explained the values void by saying it was time for the GOP to give up its "nostalgia" for Reagan-era ideas and look forward to new "relevant" ideas. (Yes, because that worked so well for Republicans in 2006 and 2008!) Bush ignored the fact that abandoning the array of principles that Reagan espoused is exactly what got the GOP into this mess. No one is suggesting that we try living in the past, but President Reagan's principles are the ones that guided our nation from its very inception. Turning away from those fundamental truths would be a death knell for the GOP as little would be left to distinguish the Republicans from the Democrats.

Too many Republicans leaders are running scared on the claims of the Left and the media that social conservatism is a dead-end for the GOP. If that were the case, why are pro-family leaders like Mike Huckabee creating such excitement in the conservative base? The Republican establishment doesn't draw a crowd. Governor Sarah Palin does. Also, take a look at the recent Pew Research poll, which showed overall support for abortion in America has dropped eight percentage points in the last year and support for it among moderate and liberal Republicans has dropped a whopping 24%. Based on that, how can the GOP suggest that life is a losing issue? If there were a road sign for the GOP on this new journey, it would read: Welcome to the wilderness. You're going to be there for awhile.

The interesting side-note here is that FRC is, for the first time that I can recall, approvingly citing Mike Huckabee. During the GOP primary campaign, they and pretty much every other “mainstream” Religious Right group were decidedly unexcited about him and conspicuously unsupportive of his candidacy – something which Huckabee repeatedly complained about during the campaign and continues to complain about even today.

Since then, Huckabee has been working to position himself as the champion of the social conservatives within the party and now it is looking as if his efforts might be starting to pay off.  The Religious Right, growing concerned that the GOP could start shoving them aside in an effort to start winning elections, might soon find that the man for whom they had no love the last time around to be the one to whom they’ll have to turn to try and save their place in the party.

Right Wing Reaction to Souter's Retirement

Here's a quick collection of early right-wing reactions to the news that Justice David Souter will be retiring from the Supreme Court at the end of this term - it will continue to be updated as new statements are released:

Wendy Long (Judicial Confirmation Network):

1. The current Supreme Court is a liberal, judicial activist court. Obama could make it even more of a far-left judicial activist court, for a long time to come, if he appoints radicals like Diane Wood, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. A new Justice in this mold would just entrench a bad majority for a long time.

2. If Obama holds to his campaign promise to appoint a Justice who rules based on her own "deepest values" and what's in her own "heart" — instead of what is in the Constitution and laws — he will be the first American President who has made lawlessness an explicit standard for Supreme Court Justices.

3. The President and Senators need to be careful about, respectively, nominating and appointing a hard-left judicial activist. Americans who elected Obama may have done so out of fear for the economy or other reasons, but they did not elect him because they share his views on judges. By a margin of more and 3 to 1, Americans want Supreme Court Justices who will practice judicial restraint and follow the law, not jurists who will indulge their own personal views and experiences in deciding cases.

4. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has pointed out, a judge who decides cases based on her personal and political views, instead of what the law says, will have a hard time fulfilling her oath to dispense justice impartially. Senators have a constitutional duty to rigorously scrutinize the nominee on this score, and vote "no" if the nominee cannot establish that she will follow the law, rather than her own values and beliefs, as the President has suggested.

Ed Whelan:

Souter has been a terrible justice, but you can expect Obama’s nominee to be even worse. The Left is clamoring for “liberal lions” who will redefine the Constitution as a left-wing goodies bag. Consider some of their leading contenders, like Harold Koh (champion of judicial transnationalism and transgenderism), Massaschusetts governor Deval Patrick (a racialist extremist and judicial supremacist), and Cass Sunstein (advocate of judicial invention of a “second Bill of Rights” on welfare, employment, and other Nanny State mandates). Or Second Circuit judge Sonia Sotomayor, whose shenanigans in trying to bury the firefighters’ claims in Ricci v. DeStefano triggered an extraordinary dissent by fellow Clinton appointee José Cabranes (and the Supreme Court’s pending review of the ruling). Or Elena Kagan, who led the law schools’ opposition to military recruitment on their campuses, who used remarkably extreme rhetoric—“a profound wrong” and “a moral injustice of the first order”—to condemn the federal law on gays in the military that was approved in 1993 by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, and who received 31 votes against her confirmation as Solicitor General. Or Seventh Circuit judge Diane Wood, a fervent activist whose extreme opinions in an abortion case managed to elicit successive 8-1 and 9-0 slapdowns by the Supreme Court.

...

American citizens have various policy positions on all these issues, but everyone ought to agree that they are to be addressed and decided through the processes of representative government, not by judicial usurpation. And President Obama, who often talks a moderate game, should be made to pay a high price for appointing a liberal judicial activist who will do his dirty work for him.

The American Center for Law and Justice:

“The reported retirement of Justice Souter marks the beginning of President Obama’s legal legacy – a legacy that will move this country dramatically to the left,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “With reports that Justice Souter will step down at the end of the term, President Obama now has a green light to begin reshaping the federal judiciary. Based on the appointments at the Department of Justice, it’s clear that President Obama will name a Supreme Court nominee who will embrace an extremely liberal judicial philosophy. There’s no illusion here – President Obama is poised to reshape the nation’s highest court. Once a nominee is named and the confirmation process begins, it’s important that the nominee faces full and detailed hearings – with specific focus on the nominee’s judicial philosophy including how the nominee views the constitution and the rule of law. The American people deserve nothing less.”

Operation Rescue:

"Operation Rescue will actively oppose any nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court that will disregard the lives of the pre-born and uphold the wrongly-decided case of Roe v. Wade.

"Obama received greater than expected opposition to his nomination of extremist pro-abort Kathleen Sebelius to HHS. He can only expect that opposition will continue to grow if he has the poor sense to appoint a justice that will promote abortion from the bench.

Susan B. Anthony List:

"Elections have consequences, and the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation battle is likely to further entrench President Obama's dedication to the abortion agenda. The President has said he would like 'common ground' on abortion policy. This is an especially relevant objective when you consider yesterday's release of public opinion data by the Pew Research Center showing a sharp decline in support for legal abortion. Choosing a judicial nominee who wants to enshrine the right to an unrestricted abortion in the United States Constitution would certainly be a step in the wrong direction. Appointing an abortion extremist to replace Justice Souter on our nation's highest court will continue the trend of activist court decisions do little reduce abortion in our nation."

Americans United for Life:

Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, promised her group would help lead the charge against any pro-abortion activist Obama may name to the high court.

“We will work to oppose any nominee for the Supreme Court who will read the Freedom of Choice Act into the Constitution in order to elevate abortion to a fundamental right on the same plane as the freedom of speech," she told LifeNews.com.

Yoest said the jurist Obama names to the Supreme Court will tell the American public whether he is serious about reducing abortions or keeping it an unlimited "right" that has yielded over 50 million abortions since 1973.

“This nomination represents a test for a President who has expressed a public commitment to reducing abortions while pursuing an aggressive pro-abortion agenda," she said. "Appointing an abortion radical to the Court -- someone who believes social activism trumps the Constitution -- further undermines efforts to reduce abortion."

Priests for Life:

Upon hearing news reports of Justice David Souter's retirement from the US Supreme Court this June, Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented, "This will unleash a Supreme battle. Judicial activism in our nation has given us a policy of child slaughter by abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Now the left will scream about 'no litmus tests' on abortion, but the fact is that all of us observe litmus tests at all times. If a racist or terrorist is unfit for the highest court in the land, why would a supporter of child-killing be any more fit? This is the question we will pose again and again during the process of replacing Justice Souter."

Richard Land:

Land told Baptist Press, "This retirement will, of course, not impact the court's balance. President Obama will undoubtedly nominate someone who is as liberal as, if not more liberal than, liberal David Souter, and thus you will just have an old liberal replaced by a young one. President Obama's ability to sell himself to the American people as a centrist will be hampered severely by his nomination of what will inevitably be a radically liberal justice."

Committee For Justice:

Given the economic crisis, your ambitious legislative agenda, and your promises to rise above partisanship, one would think you would eschew a bitter, distracting confirmation fight and a sparking of the culture wars by naming a consensus nominee that moderate Republicans and Democrats can embrace. While we remain open to evidence to the contrary, it is our belief that potential nominees such as Sonia Sotomayor, Kathleen Sullivan, Harold Koh, and Deval Patrick are so clearly committed to judicial activism that they make a bruising battle unavoidable.

We realize that, in the past, you have said that you want judges who rule with their hearts and you have even expressed regret that the Warren Court “didn’t break free” from legal constraints in order to bring about “redistribution of wealth.” But now would be a good time for you to clarify if you feel that you may have gone too far by endorsing judicial activism. For example, you could make it clear that you agree with Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent statement that “judges should make their decisions based only on the facts presented and the applicable law” (response to written question from Sen. Arlen Specter).

We also hope that you resist the pressure you will inevitably face from the various identity groups that dominate the Democratic base. It would be a shame if you chose a nominee based on their race, gender, or sexual identity, rather than focusing exclusively on qualifications and judicial philosophy.

We remind you of your opposition to gay marriage, your commitment to individual Second Amendment rights, your support of the death penalty, and the great value you place on the role of religion in society. We hope you will not contradict those positions by choosing a Supreme Court nominee who has questioned the constitutionality of the death penalty, expressed an extreme view of the separation of church and state, or wavered on the questions of whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and an individual right to own guns. Also, given your promise to move the nation “beyond race,” it would be hard for you to explain the
nomination of someone who has expressed support for racial preferences, which polls indicate are now even more unpopular as a result of your election.

While many Americans – including some conservatives – are willing to give your experiment in using honey to coax cooperation from other nations a chance, the public is also looking for reassurance that our nation’s interests and sovereignty will always come first. Thus, now would be an awful time to choose a Supreme Court nominee who believes that American courts should put greater reliance on foreign law.

Finally, we remind you that, in the first year of his Administration, George W. Bush successfully nominated two former Clinton nominees – Roger Gregory and Barrington Parker – to the appeals courts in an effort to set a bipartisan tone. Now would be the perfect time for you to match the previous President’s gesture by renominating three unconfirmed Bush appeals court nominees who have bipartisan support – Peter Keisler, Judge Glen Conrad, and Judge Paul Diamond. Such a gesture would engender good feelings among Senate Republicans and would set a positive tone heading into what might otherwise be a bitter confirmation fight.

Concerned Women for America:

"The anticipated retirement of David Souter from the U.S. Supreme Court launches a national debate over the proper role of judges," stated Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America. "President Obama stated during the campaign that judges should rule according to 'empathy' for preferred classes of people, such as homosexuals and some ethnic groups, but not others. America, however, is a nation founded on the belief that we are all created equal and that the rule of law provides justice for all by following a written Constitution, not the whims and feelings of judges. Senators must live up to their constitutional duty to fully examine any nominee to determine if they respect the Constitution above their own opinions."

Mario Diaz, Esq., CWA's Policy Director for Legal Issues, said, "If President Obama's nominee is in the mold of his recent choices, Senators and citizens must be engaged now more than ever in the confirmation process. Several of President Obama's nominees put forth as 'moderates' by the White House have turned out to be outside the mainstream upon careful review. This is why Senators must be diligent and take the time to closely examine whether each candidate will abide by the Constitution or make the Court their personal fiefdom."

Family Research Council:

In the speech that catapulted Barack Obama to fame in 2004, the young Democrat said, "There is not a liberal America or a conservative America. There is a United States of America." Five years later, the same man will face his biggest test to prove it: the nomination of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Since the election, Washington has been prepared for a vacancy on the high court, most likely from the aging, Left-leaning justices. Yesterday, reports confirmed that Justice David Souter, 69, will be the first to exit, giving the new President his first crack at reshaping the Supreme Court. Will he plow ahead with a pro-abortion, anti-faith radical (as he did with 7th Circuit Court nominee David Hamilton) this early in his presidency--or will he bide his time on a full-blown congressional war and nominate a judge that both sides can agree on?

As a candidate, Barack Obama prided himself on his ability to work with conservatives. His first 100 days, however, have been a case study in unilateralism. When asked why he moved away from bipartisanship, the President dodged the question and said, "Whether we're Democrats or Republicans, surely there's got to be some capacity for us to work together, not agree on everything, but at least set aside small differences to get things done."

On Wednesday, President Obama decided his best way to "get things done" was to use congressional rules to block any meaningful participation by Republicans on controversial policies like health care reform and education. While those decisions can be overturned, lifetime appointments cannot. As both sides are painfully aware, nothing in this administration's legacy will withstand the test of time like President Obama's judicial nominees.

To that point, the White House would be wise to take into account the growing public consensus on the sanctity of human life. While some people are pointing at social conservatives as the cause of the Republicans' woes, a new poll suggests that the GOP's platform on life may be its biggest appeal. According to the most recent Pew Research Center poll, American support for abortion is experiencing its steepest decline in at least a decade. Since last August, the proportion of people who believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases has dropped from a small majority--54%--to 46%. The drop is particularly noticeable in the youngest generation (18-29) whose support for abortion dropped by five points (from 52% to 47%) in just nine months. The conservative trend is even affecting women. Fifty-four percent said abortion should be legal in most or all cases last summer, while less than half (49%) feel that way today.

 Traditional Values Coalition:

The U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of taking a huge lurch to the far left with the exit of Justice Souter from the Court. Souter is certainly no loss for Constitutionalists, but he will most likely be replaced with someone far worse. During the election, President Obama stated that he wanted to appoint judges who had “empathy” and who understood what it was to be poor, black or gay. He clearly stated that he wanted judges who would not confine themselves to the Constitution or to the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

From Obama’s public statements, it is clear that he will appoint a Justice who views the U.S. Constitution like a Wikipedia entry that can be edited, revised and distorted for the political agenda of the Justice. Obama wants a Supreme Court nominee who will ignore the Constitution; use his “feelings” to determine legal decisions; use foreign law to impose a liberal political agenda; and use the power of the Court to redistribute the wealth. The President has stated that he believes the Courts should be used to promote “economic justice,” – code for judge-ordered income distribution.

President Obama once mentioned former Chief Justice Earl Warren as the ideal person to serve on his Supreme Court. Warren was one of the most notorious left-wing judicial activists in our nation’s history. The President is likely to appoint a Justice who believes in the use of foreign law in interpreting cases that come before the Court. The use of foreign law in issuing rulings in American court cases will undermine self-government and destroy our Constitutional government. Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have an important role in advising and consenting to such nominations. They must seriously challenge the political views of anyone chosen by Obama for this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. No nominee who believes in using foreign law in making court decisions has any place on the Court. Our self-government depends upon it.

Signs G.O.P. Is Rethinking Its Stance on Gay Marriage?

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney has a piece in today's paper claiming that the "the issue of gay marriage may be turning into more of a hindrance than a help" for the Republican Party. 

Citing a recent poll showing that 57 percent of those under the age 40 said they support marriage equality, Nagourney says it suggests to "many Republicans that the potency of the gay-marriage question is on the decline." He then quotes three Republicans, the first being Steve Schmidt, John McCain's senior strategist during his presidential campaign.

Schmidt recently came out in favor of marriage equality, so it is no surprise that he thinks the GOP should re-examine its stance on the issue. But, as Timothy Potter of the Family Research Council put it, Steve Schmidt isn’t exactly speaking for the majority of the party these days:

Steve Schmidt isn’t the head of the GOP. But I don’t doubt that there are others in the GOP establishment who think like him, and I don’t care. The GOP should do what it thinks is best for itself. I don’t think abandoning a third of your base is necessarily a good idea.

The article also contains a quote from Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty:

Asked if he thought, given recent events, that Republicans were making a political mistake in emphasizing gay issues, Mr. Pawlenty, who is 48, responded: “I think it’s an important issue for our conservative voters.” But he notably did not dwell on the subject.

Apparently, because he didn't "dwell" on the topic, that somehow suggests that the party as a whole is undergoing some sort of shift.

Finally, Nagourney quotes Rudy Giuliani of all people, saying that voters are more concerned with issues like the economy and national security and don't really care about social issues right now:

“Right now, people are not concerned about issues like gay marriage because they are concerned about the economy,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former Republican mayor of New York, told reporters in Albany after meeting with Republican members of the state Senate, who are opposing legislation to legalize gay marriage.

Mr. Giuliani explained that he opposed gay marriage — while supporting civil unions — but that he did not think it made much sense for Republicans to be harping on the issue if the party had any serious interest in returning to power.

“The Republican party does best organizing itself around economic issues and issues of national security,” said Mr. Giuliani, 64, who ran for president last year and is now thinking about running for governor of New York.

It should be pointed out that Giuliani might not be a particularly good representation of just what the Republican Party thinks about anything, considering that he spent $60 million seeking the GOP nomination last year and dropped out after securing a whopping one delegate. His campaign tanked thanks, in part, to right-wing threats to abandon the GOP should he become the nominee because of his views on the issue of marriage and reproductive choice.

While polls may show that the GOP's anti-gay views are becoming less popular with voters, especially younger voters, there is still a long way to go before the party itself abandons its traditional stance on the issue ... and considering that the Religious Right would rather see the party destroyed than allow that to happen, it's unlikely that any such a massive shift will be happening any time soon.

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economy Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 04/13/2011, 10:07am
Washington DC Mayor Vince Gray along with a number of City Councilmen were arrested on Monday for protesting the budget deal which eliminates the city’s right to use local tax dollars to help low-income women access reproductive healthcare. The Family Research Council responded by saying that Gray and other pro-choice officials were actually responsible for the falling black population in the city. The Washington Post reports that recent census data shows that African Americans will soon make up less than 50% of the city’s population, “with the city’s black population... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 04/05/2011, 10:02am
Michele Bachmann Iowa: Hires Mike Huckabee’s former state director for campaign (MN Public Radio, 4/4). Religious Right: Slated to speak at Family Leader events (Des Moines Register, 4/4). Fundraising: Tops Mitt Romney in fundraising (Time, 4/1). Obama: Says President Obama is deliberately damaging the economy (RWW, 3/31). Haley Barbour 2012: Wife concerned about presidential race, says bid “horrifies” her (Reuters, 4/2). Mississippi: Economic conservatives criticize Barbour’s record as governor (Politico, 4/2). Poll: Trails Huckabee in poll of home state’s... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/30/2011, 1:15pm
“Is your child’s classroom becoming a recruiting ground for Islam?” asks ACT! for America, the burgeoning anti-Muslim group led by activist Brigitte Gabriel. In a recent program of their new television show, ACT! for America discussed the organization’s new “textbook project” and how the head of their Sarasota, Florida chapter interrogated schools about their textbooks. The group’s Sarasota chapter is led by Rich Swier, a Tea Party activist who yesterday warned that as a result of same-sex marriage and lower birthrates, “the White Anglo-Saxon... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/29/2011, 10:43am
Tea Party Nation is a major (for-profit) Tea Party organization that gained prominence after its convention last year hosted Republican leaders like Sarah Palin and Tom Tancredo, along with Religious Right figures Roy Moore and Rick Scarborough. TPN’s President Judson Phillips previously denounced the “Marxist” Methodist Church and suggested that President Obama’s campaign was funded by Hamas and China. This morning, Tea Party Nation sent out an email to its members with the headline “Destroy the Family, You Destroy the Country!” from an article by Dr. Rich... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/22/2011, 9:26am
Michele Bachmann History: New Hampshire politicians take jabs at Bachmann's history blunder (Politico, 3/17). 2012: Deep roots in conservative movement bolster her campaign prospects (TNR, 3/17). Haley Barbour Campaign: Expanding campaign and presence in early state (NYT, 3/22). Mississippi: State taxpayers paid for $300,000 of his out-of-state traveling costs (Clarion Ledger, 3/21). Foreign Affairs: Calls for reducing troop level in Afghanistan (CBS News, 3/16). Mitch Daniels Book: Signs book deal with conservative publisher (AP, 3/21). 2012: Wife raises doubts about potential run (... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/16/2011, 11:01am
Like her close colleague Chuck Pierce, who yesterday declared that the earthquake and tsunami in Japan was an attempt by God to topple "a stronghold of spiritism," Cindy Jacobs weighs in on the tragedy to declare that Japan has always been a "hard group for the gospel" because it was rooted in idolatry - even the island itself "looks like the head of a dragon" - and so God is trying to shake the nation because "the Holy Spirit wants to breathe the wind of revival across Japan and bring a mighty spiritual awakening to the land of the rising sun with healing... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/04/2011, 6:42pm
Michael B. Keegan @ Huffington Post: Buy a TV Ad, Get a Tax Cut! The New Economy of Political Spending. Justin Elliott @ Salon: Palin tries to walk back First Amendment tweet. Good As You: Homosexuality = incest = mainstream media credence?! Warren Throckmorton: Bryan Fischer sees silver lining in Phelps ruling. Ryan J. Reilly @ TPM: Gaffney, Jones Fight For Soul Of Anti-Sharia Movement At Rally By White House. Jeff Spross @ Think Progress: Meet Peter King — Islamophobe. James Downie @ TNR: The Decline of Glenn Beck. MORE