Foreign policy

Anti-Abortion Right to GOP: Don't You Ignore Us!

There have been several articles recently on the tension between the traditional Religious Right social conservatives and the ascendent Tea Party activists, due primarily to the fact that the lattter has not made the former's anti-gay, anti-choice concerns a part of the agenda. 

And while the Religious Right groups have been working hard to shoe-horn their agenda into the Tea Party movement and claim the mantle, nothing better represents their growing nervousness that they are being left on the sidelines by the GOP than this Washington Post op-ed by the Susan B. Anthony List's Marjorie Dannenfelser in which she warns the Republicans not to get so infatuated with the Tea Party movement that it ignores its anti-abortion base:

Republicans too often treat the abortion issue like an eccentric aunt at Thanksgiving dinner -- if they ignore it, maybe it will go away. And lately, Republican heads have been turned by a new, flashy guest at the table -- the tea party movement, which has been attracting big crowds, high-profile speakers and money with its message of lower taxes and less government spending. Some party leaders sound as if they are counting on this new energy to deliver victory in November all by itself.

That's a risky bet. There is no doubt that the tea party movement has invigorated GOP leaders and given them hope of retaking Congress after the crushing defeat of 2008. However, the movement hasn't been tested nationally at the ballot box; its power to elect or defeat candidates is still largely theoretical. But year in and year out, pro-life voters consistently help carry Republican candidates into office.


Party leaders are focused instead on economic issues, cap-and-trade climate legislation, immigration and foreign policy. But while Republican leaders have remained relatively silent, the voters have not ... At the Susan B. Anthony List we've seen letters, e-mails, faxes and phone calls to Congress from activists with our group jump five-fold -- to 1.5 million in just one year.

This grass-roots response shows the real electoral risk of staying mute. Pro-life improves the GOP brand -- and is often the strongest part of the brand ... Pro-lifers provide the swing votes that are so crucial to winning elections. Republican candidates usually can count on the antiabortion vote ... But they won't be taken for granted. We know from past experience that lukewarm candidates who refuse to talk about abortion won't get voters to the polls.


Because of the movement's growth in numbers and power, antiabortion voters are likely to provide a much more sizable winning margin on Election Day than they have in previous years. But they can do this only if they know where candidates -- and party leaders -- stand.

Now is the time to tell them ... The next few months of candidate recruitment and messaging will decide whether 2010 is a 1994 moment. The Republican Party seems to have a political advantage today ... But it's not yet clear whether that advantage can translate into electoral success in November. The social-conservative, antiabortion engine combined with an electrified smaller-government, low-tax movement has the momentum. It's Republicans' chance to grab it.

They just need to remind people that theirs is still the pro-life party. If, in fact, it is.

Kincaid: Gay Conservatives Will Use The Military To Overthrow "Homophobic Regimes"

As I was reading through Cliff Kincaid's latest anti-gay column, I had to ask myself if he had always been obsessively anti-gay or if this was a relatively new development.  But then a quick search through out archives made me realize that Kincaid has a long history of militant hostility toward all things gay, which puts his recent obsession with defending Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill in perspective and explains why he's dedicated his latest column to attacking CPAC for allowing GOProud to participate and praising Ryan Sorba for attacking them from the stage, bizarrely claiming that gay conservatives want to use the military to overthrow anti-gay regimes: 

California Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chairman Ryan Sorba generated a media controversy when he was shown at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) denouncing the organizers for inviting a homosexual Republican group, GOProud, into the event as an official sponsor. In "controversial" remarks, Sorba said homosexuality was unnatural and that he welcomed more debate and discussion about the subject from his political adversaries.

But what many people don't realize is that Sorba's "outburst" was provoked by a speaker who preceded him, Alexander McCobin of Students For Liberty (SFL). McCobin went out of his way to use valuable time from the podium to thank the American Conservative Union, the main CPAC organizer, for making the controversial decision to approve GOProud's participation.

David Keene, a lobbyist, is the chairman of the ACU and personally approved GOProud's involvement in CPAC.

Sorba told AIM, "I think CPAC went overboard this year. I don't think he [Keene] should be sitting at the top of CPAC." He noted that CPAC over the last several years has also allowed groups such as the ACLU to have exhibits at the event.

"What's next?," Sorba asked. "Are they going to have Republicans for Obamacare? Republicans for free abortions?"


GOProud, the organization at the center of the storm, claims to be "conservative" but supports the Obama policy of putting active and open homosexuals in the military, supports homosexual marriage, and even advocates a foreign policy of promoting acceptance of sodomy abroad. The latter is referred to as "Standing strong against radical regimes who seek to criminalize gays and lesbians."

These "radical regimes," such as the Christian-dominated government in Uganda, are trying to prevent the spread of AIDS and protect traditional moral values by toughening laws against homosexuality.

Under these "gay conservatives," one can imagine gay soldiers being deployed to overthrow "homophobic" regimes.

Cheney: Obama's Incompetence Is Getting People Killed

It was without a hint of irony that Liz Cheney smugly spent her entire speech at CPAC blasting the Obama administration's national security policy as fundamentally dangerous, harping on the Christmas Day/Underwear Bomb attack as evidence that Obama's wisdom and judgment cannot be trusted and that the administration's incompetence is getting people killed.

Then, at the end, she brought out her father (who just so happened to be Vice President on the day of the worst terrorist attack in US history) as an example of someone with the proper foreign policy and national security expertise (I didn't include any of Dick Cheney's short remarks because, frankly, they weren't very interesting other than his assertion to Barack Obama would be a one-term president):

Does Richard Viguerie Support The Mount Vernon Statement?

I have to say I am a little confused to see Richard Viguerie's name on The Mount Vernon Statement:

After all, it was just the other day that he told The Washington Times that the document was a joke:

Not all prominent conservatives are on board.

"This is embarrassing," activist and longtime direct-mail advertiser Richard Viguerie told The Washington Times. "If the people in the leadership of the conservative movement are going to put out pablum like this, the tea party people are going to make them seem irrelevant. And the tea party people are going to march to the forefront."

In a dig at current and former Republican congressional leaders whom many blame for betraying conservative principles of limited government and reduced spending, Mr. Viguerie added, "This is almost as if the movements leaders were taken over by Tom DeLay and John Boehner."

But now he's signed on and is proclaiming it the key to unifying the conservative movement:

Among those in attendance will be Richard Viguerie, the chairman of Conservative, who believes the conservative movement "got seriously off track during the big government days of George Bush, Karl Rove and Tom DeLay." This document, Viguerie says, is designed to unite conservatives.

"This is an attempt to draft a document that conservatives -- whether they're Tea Party conservatives or social or economic or foreign policy conservatives -- can get behind and begin the process of reclaiming the Republican Party for small-government conservatives," Viguerie explains.

So which is it: the Mount Vernon Statement is embarrassing pablum that shows the conservative movement has been taken over by people like Tom DeLay, or it is a bold statement of principle that will unite the conservative movement by signaling its break from people like Tom DeLay?

The First Annual Freedom Federation Summit

I have to say that I have not been overly impressed with the efforts of the right-wing supergroup known as The Freedom Federation.  After making a big splash when it announced the formation of the coalition last summer, the group hasn't done very much outside of releasing a few statements opposing healthcare reform.

But that doesn't mean the group doesn't have big plans, but apparently they do, which is why it is hosting a two-day summit in April at Liberty University

The Freedom Federation announces its first annual Freedom Federation Summit to be held on April 15-16, 2010. The Freedom Federation is a federation of some of the nation’s largest multiracial, multiethnic, and multigenerational faith-based and policy organizations. The Summit will bring together national leaders and activists to address social, economic, domestic, and national defense concerns.

The Summit will be held on the beautiful campus of Liberty University, which is nestled in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Liberty University is the world’s largest Christian university, with 12,000 students on the Virginia campus and more than 50,000 worldwide.

The Freedom Federation Summit will include plenary speakers and briefings on social, economic, national defense, and foreign policy issues facing our nation. Participants will be able to choose from several different tracks, including, but not limited to, training to run for public office, managing a campaign, and building a grassroots organization. Other tracks will focus on social, economic, and national defense topics.

Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, remarked: “There is a groundswell of concerned citizens rising up in America who are tired of government policies that disrespect human life, expand government, tax and spend, and undermine national security at home and abroad. The Freedom Federation is a unique federation of organizations and leaders, representing people of all races, ethnic origins, and generations. We are united by core values and are determined to work together to build a better America.”

Jackson Named "The Paul Weyrich Faith Community Leader of the Year"

Speaking of Bishop Harry Jackson, is seems as if he was recently honored at the first-ever Paul Weyrich Awards Dinner, along with a gaggle of other right-wing activists: 

Well over 230 conservative leaders and guests gathered Thursday evening to celebrate the life and legacy of Paul Weyrich, a colossus in the conservative movement, who perhaps now in death even more than in life reminds conservatives that while they hold a diversity of views, a real bond exists uniting them into one conservative coalition.

Fiscal conservatives, pro-life and pro-family leaders, foreign policy and national security conservatives of many different groups found themselves together in the same room for dinner at Georgetown's Four Seasons Hotel for the first-ever Paul Weyrich Awards Dinner. There they paid tribute the man they knew as "Paul" and recognized those contemporary leaders who share his broad vision of conservatism.


Coalitions for America awarded Bishop Harry Jackson, the senior Black pastor of Hope Christian Church and leader of the fight against same-sex "marriage" in Washington D.C., the "Faith Community Leader of the Year" award. The bishop later spoke to LSN and said that unity is "something we have struggled with these last few years." However, he was encouraged by the strides being made, especially with the recent Manhattan Declaration ..."I come at these things as a person of faith," Bishop Jackson told LSN. "None of the stuff that I do I consider political really at all," emphasizing that he views his fight primarily as a "moral engagement based on faith."

"But [Paul] was such a strategist in terms of saying, 'take your principles, and then they have an impact,' as opposed to just sitting on the outside saying 'what to do, what to do.'"

The night honored many conservative finalists and all leaders outstanding in their fields and in their contributions to their movement:

The Paul Weyrich award winners were Media Person of the Year: Glenn Beck; New Media Person of the Year: Andrew Breitbart and Erick Erickson; Courageous Citizen of the Year: ACORN investigators Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe; National Legislator of the Year: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.); Local Elected Official of the Year: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio; Business Person of the Year: Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and Solantic Chairman Rick Scott; Faith Community Leader of the Year: pro-family leader Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church; Conservative Hall of Fame - Lifetime Contribution: Phyllis Schlafly; Youth Leader of the Year: Students for Life executive director Kristan Hawkins; and Benefactor of the Year: mutual fund executive Foster Friess.

Welcome To Focus On The Family's Brave New World

It's not everyday that I post links to Foreign Policy ... especially links to articles that explore Hezbollah's support of something called "mutaa":

Mutaa is a form of "temporary marriage" only acceptable within Shiite communities, one that allows couples to have religiously sanctioned sex for a limited period of time, without any commitments, and without the obligatory involvement of religious figures. In conservative Muslim societies known for their strict sense of propriety, mutaa offers an escape clause. The contract is very simple. The woman says: "I marry myself to you for [a specific period of time] and for [a specified dowry]" and the man says: "I accept." The period can range between one hour and a year, and is subject to renewal. A Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim man, but a Muslim man can temporarily marry a Muslim, Christian, or Jewish woman, as long as she is a divorcée or a widow. However, those interviewed for this article confirmed that Hezbollah-the "Party of God"-has allowed the practice to spread to virgins or girls who have never married before, as long as the permission of her guardian (father or paternal grandfather) is obtained. Temporary marriage has long been practiced by Shiites around the world. However, it has recently become more commonplace in Lebanon, notably within Hezbollah strongholds in Beirut's southern suburbs and in southern Lebanon after the 2006 war with Israel.

But that excerpt is necessary in order to try and make sense of this Focus on the Family blog post linking the practice of mutaa to Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, and the nefarious effort to sexualize America's children in order to control them: 

This kind of political machination has been going on for decades in the United States. There is a concerted, consistent effort to sexualize children through compulsory so-called comprehensive sex-education encouraging sex with anyone at any time (now trying to get into kindergartens) and through highly sexualized media aimed directly at children. In fact, 9 of 10 school aged kids have seen pornography online and those in positions of power in our federal government do nothing to stop it, including the simple enforcement of existing laws against obscenity online.

If Huxley and Hezbollah are right, one could speculate that at least some of our leaders want this to happen. If they can foment distorted sexual desire at a young age and then promise to fulfill the sexual fantasies they intentionally create, they will have an army of supporters who will fight against “moral” efforts to end this tyranny which is often hidden behind patriotic calls to preserve “free speech.” Welcome to the Brave New States of America.

Pay attention to those promoting unrestrained sexual license. They intend to be your masters.

Sadly, while the Foreign Policy puts the Focus post in context, it doesn't help it actually make sense.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Pam's House Blend: Peter LaBarbera's anti-gay 'rally' at Maine statehouse draws feeble numbers.
  • Alan Colmes: eBay Refuses Fundraiser For Accused Tiller Killer.
  • Sarah Posner is now writing for Religion Dispatches' "The Devil's Advocate" blog. Adjust your bookmarks and RSS feeds accordingly.
  • Truth Wins Out: Liberty Counsel Defends Qaddafist’s Support for Global Imprisonment of Gays.
  • Oliver North is now a Republican foreign policy advisor? Amazing.
  • Finally, Political Research Associates Calls on Rick Warren to Denounce Proposed Antigay Law in Uganda.

Religious Right Demands Sanctions on Iran

Every once in a while, Religious Right leaders take a break from railing against abortion and gays and czars and death panels and whatever to weigh in on foreign policy issues, like back in 2007 when a group of them released a statement demanding that the US remain in Iraq, or last year when another group demanded a meeting with Barack Obama to discuss their ideas on how to defeat terrorism.

Now a similar group is back with a new letter demanding sanctions on Iran:

In a remarkable ecumenical and bipartisan display of unity, Christian leaders representing over 28 million evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and other Christians have sent a letter to Congress today and other key world leaders calling for urgent action to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The letter urges a total arms embargo and a cut off of exports of refined petroleum products, including gasoline, as a firm yet peaceful measure against the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.


The leaders include Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting Network, Southern Baptist Convention chairman and pastor Johnny Hunt of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Charles Colson of the Prison Fellowship Ministries, Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, , Dr. Michael Youssef of Leading the Way, Dr. James Merritt of Cross Pointe Church, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Gary Bauer of American Values, and Dr. John Hagee of the Conerstone Church in San Antonio.

I'm not sure what is so "bipartisan" about this, since just about every person who signed their name to this appears to be a right-wing activist.  

But there was one interesting revelation among the signatories: 

Manuel Miranda, President, The Iraq Society

Presumably, that is this Manuel Miranda.

So Miranda is not only an expert on judges and immigration, but also on Iraq now?  Who knew?

"Criminalizing Homosexuality -- The First Line of Defense"

The Washington Post reports that some students at Pat Robertson's Regent University are displeased with all the recent coverage of Bob McDonnell's thesis and concerned that it might lead to people pigeonholing them all as right-wing reactionaries. For the piece, the Post's Ian Shapira took a look through some of Regent's theses archive and found some rather remarkable titles from years past which probably will not help to dispel that notion:

Student theses archived at Regent's library reveal a generational difference between the school's early years in the 1980s, when it was known as Christian Broadcasting Network University, and its recent history. Early theses have titles such as "The Role of the Press in Disseminating Communist Propaganda as a Foreign Policy Strategy of Totalitarian Governments," and "Homosexuals' American Dream . . . or Nightmare," a study that advocated "Criminalizing Homosexuality -- The First Line of Defense."

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Think Progress: Former President Jimmy Carter, who in 2000 officially severed ties with the Southern Baptist Convention after the SBC declared its opposition to female pastors and reiterated its calls “for wives to be submissive to their husbands,” condemned the mistreatment of women by religious leaders, writing that “the words of God do not justify cruelty to women.”
  • RH Reality Check's Lindsay Beyerstein asks if George Tiller's assassin should be charged as a domestic terrorist.
  • Good As You takes a look at the latest from the Maine Family Policy Council and reminds us: "This group is not some separate entity from the larger marriage fight. They are connected with Focus on the Family/Family Research Council. In fact, it was just this past February that FRC head Tony Perkins spoke at the groups' banquet. So it's not like this is a fringe story that's detached form Maine's "people's veto." THIS is the fight. THESE are the people. THIS is how they think of us: As innately immoral beings who are linked by unsavoriness."
  • Joe My God points to The Lost Ogle catching the Baptist Messenger photoshopping Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry’s signature on to Rep. Sally Kern's “Proclamation for Morality" and placing the text of proclamation onto Executive Department letterhead while forging the signature of Secretary of State M. Susan Savage next to the state seal of Oklahoma in order to make it appear legitimate.
  • Finally, Steve Benen asks just what House Minority Whip Eric Cantor's proposed "Judeo-Christian" foreign policy would look like.

Right Wing Reaction to Sotomayor

So, anything happen while I was on vacation? 

Oh yeah, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court.  And guess what?  The Right already doesn't like her:

Family Research Council:

"President Obama has chosen a nominee with a compelling personal story over judicial pick with a solid constitutional judicial philosophy. A compelling personal story is no substitute for allegiance to the Constitution and its sound application to public life.

"Judge Sotomayor's failure to premise her decisions on the text of the Constitution has resulted in an extremely high rate of reversal before the high court to which she has been nominated.

"With that fact in mind Judge Sotomayor appears to subscribe to a very liberal judicial philosophy that considers it appropriate for judges to impose their personal views from the bench. President Obama promised us a jurist committed to the 'rule of law,' but, instead, he appears to have nominated a legislator to the Supreme Court.

Focus on the Family:

"From what we know about her, Judge Sotomayor considers policy-making to be among a judge’s roles, no matter what the law says," said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst at Focus on the Family Action. "She disregards the notion of judicial impartiality."


Hausknecht said: "The president's professed desire for judges with 'empathy' rather than impartiality might deny the country what the Founding Fathers intended and wrote into the Constitution — judges who dispense justice without regard for the status of any party that comes before them."

Traditional Values Coalition:

To no one’s surprise, President Obama has nominated an individual who supports his position of deciding cases based on who you are, rather than on the facts and the law. Although Sotomayor spoke strongly of the importance of the rule of law and principles of the Founding Fathers, her previous decisions contradict this, as do the previous statements and promises of President Obama.


Judge Sotomayor fits the “empathy” qualification. During a law conference, she has openly bragged that she views her role as a judge as a policymaker and activist who will impose her leftist political views on the rest of us. She may have empathy for the poor, gays and minorities – but she is likely to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. She is clearly the ideal nominee for President Obama but will be a disaster for our legal system.

Concerned Women for America:

CWA President Wendy Wright said, "A necessary quality for a Supreme Court justice is to be committed to equal treatment of the law, regardless of ethnicity or sex. Sonia Sotomayor has an extensive record and several troubling opinions where she seems willing to expand certain 'rights' beyond what the Constitution establishes and the appropriate Supreme Court precedent. Revealing her immodest bias, she stated that a 'Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.' Congress needs to thoroughly vet Judge Sotomayor and Americans deserve enough time to evaluate her record and her announced bias for certain people. Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senate's duty to do so."

Mario Diaz, Esq., CWA's Policy Director for Legal Issues, said, "Much has been made in the media about a Hispanic woman being nominated, but the truth is that none of that should matter as the Senate fulfills its 'advise and consent' role. What matters are the judge's judicial temperament and her view of the Constitution. We must determine if Judge Sotomayor will respect the Constitution as written or legislate from the bench. She has made some disconcerting statements that should require everyone to examine her record with an open mind and reach some conclusions. For example, she said once that 'policy was made at the appellate level,' a very dangerous way of looking at the role of a judge for those of us who value our freedoms as guaranteed in the Constitution."

Judicial Confirmation Network:

"Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one's sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.

"She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America's firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.

"She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court."

Committee for Justice:

Having told colleagues that I thought President Obama was too smart to pick someone with as much baggage as Sonia Sotomayor, I was surprised to learn of her nomination. Many other people were surprised as well, given both the widespread expectation that Obama would choose an intellectual heavyweight and Obama’s own recent statement that he would not make gender or race the major factors in his selection. Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley summed it up well on MSNBC yesterday, expressing bewilderment that Obama chose Sotomayor when heavyweights like “[Seventh Circuit Judge] Diane Wood would have met all his criteria.”

The only plausible explanation for Sotomayor’s selection is that the President was boxed in by demands from Hispanic and women’s groups that he pick one of their own. What else could explain his choice of a nominee who presents such a big target for conservatives and so clearly forces red state Democratic senators to choose between the values of their constituents and those of the nominee?

Priests for Life:

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, says he has just one question about Judge Sonia Sotomayor as she is nominated by President Obama for the Supreme Court: "Does justice include the right to tear the arms and legs off of babies, crush their skulls, and treat them as medical waste?"

"We all draw the line somewhere. An avowed racist or anti-Semite is not acceptable on the Supreme Court. Why should we give a pass to the violence of abortion?"

Operation Rescue:

"Just as Obama has attempted to abuse the process of law in reshaping America to the far left, so too Sonia Sotomayor believes in the abuse of judicial authority having stated that courts can create social policy," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "This philosophy dangerously overreaches the duties of the judicial branch and flies in the face of the separation of powers doctrine."

"Sonia Sotomayor is a far left ideologue that blurs the lines between the legislature and judiciary and will surely be a rubber stamp for Obama's radical abortion agenda, which is opposed by the majority of Americans."

Organized for Life:

Peter Shinn, National Director of Organized for Life, commented that, "Sonia Sotomayor is out of step with the American people. Quoted in 2005 as believing that policy comes from the bench, she stands counter to the American people's desire to end the tragedy of abortion."

Ruben Obregon, President of Organized for Life, added, "In nominating Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama chose to further his own pro-abortion agenda rather than seek common ground on the abortion issue. Instead of faithfully representing America's views, President Obama has added another reliably liberal member to the Court who will continue to impose the Court's will on the people. Pro-life activists, the Davids in this epic battle for life, can only stop the Goliath of the White House by banding together and signing the petition at"

Vision America:

Scarborough warned: "At age 54, Sotomayor could be a member of the United States Supreme Court for the next 20 years -- or longer. As a dedicated liberal, we know her views on abortion, gay marriage and reverse-discrimination -- whether or not she's ruled directly on these issues."

"That much power simply can't be bestowed by a compliant Senate," Scarborough observed. "This nomination must be stopped dead in its tracks. Sonia Sotomayor isn't a 'centrist,' she's a disaster at every level."

Susan B. Anthony List:

"Women are best protected by the rule of law -- and blind justice. Their rights are most endangered when personal preference, ideology or painful personal history inform judgment. Susan B. Anthony and her early feminist compatriots fought for a human rights standard sustained only through blind justice. When evidence of personal preference appears in any Supreme Court nominee's judgment, it should give all women pause. Given what we know about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's own judicial philosophy -- including her support of policymaking from the bench -- Americans should be concerned about the role of personal preference in her overall judicial philosophy.

When it comes to protecting all human life, one group is never served by undermining the rights of another. Women will never be served by ignoring the rights of unborn children. Judge Sonia Sotomayor's record of support for judicial activism offers little comfort that she will be a friend to the unborn on the Supreme Court. As the Senate fulfills its Constitutional role to 'advise and consent,' Senators should ask the hard questions to thoroughly assess Sotomayor's judicial temperament, and reaffirm the authentic feminist standard of blind justice for all."

Randall Terry:

"The filibuster trail was blazed by President Obama, VP Biden, Majority Leader Reed, Sec State Clinton, and other Democrat leaders in 2005 with Justice Alito. Do GOP leaders have the courage and integrity to filibuster an activist, pro-Roe judge?

"The Democrats have two weak links in their chain; Senators Nelson (NE) and Casey (PA) who both declare they are 'pro-life.' The question of conscience and courage is on the table: will they choose babies' lives or party loyalty?"

Ken Blackwell:

The White House is telling us all about Judge Sotomayor’s compelling personal story — and it is an amazing story of what is possible “only in America.” But compelling personal stories are not the question. Miguel Estrada, whom President George W. Bush nominated to the D.C. Circuit appeals court and was planning on nominating to the Supreme Court, had a compelling story as a Hispanic immigrant who legally came to this country not even speaking English. Democrats filibustered Mr. Estrada.

Supporters point out that Judge Sotomayor was first appointed by George H.W. Bush for the federal trial court — before Bill Clinton elevated her to the Second Circuit appeals court. That’s true, but George H.W. Bush also gave us Justice David Souter, so clearly he wasn’t too careful about putting liberals on the federal bench. We can’t allow the left to hide behind the Bushes.

But when it comes to gun rights, we don’t need to guess. Judge Sotomayor has put in writing what she thinks. President Obama has nominated a radically anti-Second Amendment judge to be our newest Supreme Court justice.

There are a number of pro-Second Amendment Democratic senators from deeply red states, including Mark Begich from Alaska, Jon Tester and Max Baucus from Montana, Ben Nelson from Nebraska, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad from North Dakota, and Tim Johnson from South Dakota.

These senators will jeopardize their seats if they vote to support an anti-gun radical for the Supreme Court. Second Amendment supporters will now be up in arms over this radical anti-Second Amendment nominee, and you should never underestimate the political power of American gun owners.

Mike Huckabee (after first mistakenly calling her "Maria Sotomayor"):

The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court is the clearest indication yet that President Obama's campaign promises to be a centrist and think in a bi-partisan way were mere rhetoric. Sotomayor comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the "Extreme Court" that could mark a major shift. The notion that appellate court decisions are to be interpreted by the "feelings" of the judge is a direct affront of the basic premise of our judicial system that is supposed to apply the law without personal emotion. If she is confirmed, then we need to take the blindfold off Lady Justice.

Richard Viguerie actually issued three different releases, including this one:

"The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor unites all wings of the conservative movement--economic, foreign policy, social, traditional, neocon, and libertarian--in a way we haven't seen since the early Clinton years.

"Judge Sotomayor frightens all conservatives. As the debate over her nomination heats up, conservatives will provide the primary opposition to Sotomayor and will quickly launch a massive educational campaign using direct mail, the Internet, talk radio, cable TV, You Tube, and other forms of new and alternative media.

"It was sad to read that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele's comment on the Sotomayor nomination reflected the typical reaction Americans have come to expect from Republican politicians when he said that Republicans will reserve judgment on Sotomayor.

"No wonder conservatives now look to talk show hosts and other unelected conservatives for leadership, rather then wet-finger Republican politicians who always seeming to be waiting to see the direction of the political winds.

"It remains to be seen how active and effective Republican politicians will be on this historic fight, but conservatives are on the field, engaged, and ready to battle President Obama and all U.S. Senators who support Sotomayor."

This collection is actually just a fraction of the statements made in opposition to Sotomayor by right-wing groups, but it's more than enough to drive home the point that they appear intent on doing everything they can to oppose her nomination.

Pat Robertson: The GOP's Voice of Reason

Pat Robertson recently told Dan Gilgoff that, while he doesn’t approve of many of President Obama’s cabinet appointments and his handling of the stimulus legislation, he hopes that Obama succeeds because if “he succeeds, the country succeeds”:   

It's not over, but I still want to give him the benefit of every doubt, and I definitely hope he succeeds. It wouldn't be good for Americans for him not to. We don't want a president who fails at domestic and foreign policy.

So you don't subscribe to Rush Limbaugh's "I hope he fails" school of thought?

That was a terrible thing to say. I mean, he's the president of all the country. If he succeeds, the country succeeds. And if he doesn't, it hurts us all. Anybody who would pull against our president is not exactly thinking rationally.

You know that the Republican Party and its agenda are in disarray when Pat Robertson is the only person within its ranks who is capable of sounding reasonable.

AIM's Self-Defeating Boycott

Back in October, Accuracy In Media announced the formation of its "Boycott The New York Times" Campaign, a project that was to be run by B-list right-wing pundit Don Feder.

Though initially launched to combat what it saw as the paper's "persistent leftist bias" during the election, it appears as if the campaign and its accompanying website are still in operation and yesterday Feder penned an attack on the "paper’s moral relativism applied to the war on terrorism" and proclaimed that the Times has a lot in common with terrorists around the world:

[W]hile The Times may be appalled by terrorists’ acts, it frequently agrees with their goals.

Like Al-Qaeda, it believes there should be no U.S. presence in the Middle East. Like Hamas, it believes Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian land. Like jihadists around the world, it believes we brought 9/11 on ourselves by our arrogance and cultural insensitivity, and an imperialist foreign policy.

Some acts of terrorism are committed with bombs and bullets, others with newsprint and ink.

Ignoring the inanity of that claim for a minute, what struck me was a much more basic question:  why is Don Feder reading the New York Times?  As the head of the "Boycott The New York Times" project, Feder doesn't seem to be doing a very good job of actually boycotting the paper.

After all, the purpose of any boycott is to, you know, actually boycott the product/organization in question and is, in fact, AIM's stated goal for its project:

[O]ur goal is to expose The Times and to rally the public against it through a boycott. In so doing, we seek to progressively limit its influence ... those who sign our petition are putting The New York Times and its advertisers on notice that they won’t subscribe to The Times, buy the paper or visit its website.

Presumably, Feder has signed his own petition which leads one to wonder just how he manages to find articles to complain about on a regular basis, considering that he's pledged not to read or buy the paper or visit its website. 

It just seems a little odd that Feder is dedicated to running a website committed to getting people not to read the New York Times - a website that just happens to consist entirely of content derived from that paper and which regularly provides links to its articles. 

Highlighting NYT articles and driving traffic to its website just doesn't seem like a particularly effective boycott strategy if your goal is to get people to stop reading the NYT and visiting its website.

When Did Religious Right Leaders Become Experts on Terrorism?

I seem to remember a time, not all that long ago, when any effort by Democrats or liberals to try to forge unified a approach with Republican neocons and right-wing leaders on how to deal with the issue of terrorism would have been shot down amid screams from the Right that they had no intention of working with a bunch of America-hating, terrorist-appeasing traitors. 

But times have changed and now it looks like Gary Bauer, who has recently been fancying himself something of a national security expert, has taken it upon himself to round up a bunch of other Religious Right leaders and magnanimously offer to meet with President-Elect Barack Obama so they can share their suggestions:

Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values, and 12 other conservative leaders are seeking to work with President-elect Barack Obama on a unified agenda designed to produce an enduring national consensus in support of policies designed to defeat Islamist terrorism.

In a letter sent today to President-elect Obama, the conservative leaders write: "In a heartfelt spirit of cooperation, we are eager to work with you and your administration to identify, advocate, and implement an innovative and robust agenda designed to achieve a lasting victory over the violent Islamists committed to killing Americans on a mass scale."

In addition to Mr. Bauer, signatories include: Donald E. Wildmon, Chairman, American Family Association; Chuck Donovan, Executive Vice President, Family Research Council; Paul Weyrich, Chairman, Free Congress Foundation; Jonathan Falwell, Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church; Janet Parshall, Nationally-Syndicated Talk Show Host; Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President of Government and Public Policy, Focus on the Family; Rod D. Martin, Chairman, TheVanguard.Org; Chris Brown, Executive Vice President, National Federation of Republican Assemblies; Bishop Harry Jackson, Chairman, High Impact Leadership Coalition; John Hagee, National Chairman, Christians United for Israel; Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring; and Phil Burress, Chairman, Citizens for Community Values Action.

The letter concludes: "It is imperative that Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, join together, first, to recognize the threat and, second, to forge a national policy embraced by a broad coalition. We stand ready to work with you to advance a policy agenda designed to challenge radical Islam wherever it jeopardizes the interests of America and her allies."

Commenting on the letter, Mr. Bauer remarked, "In the spirit of President Truman's efforts to unite the nation against Soviet communism, it is time to forge the enduring national consensus that will be needed to sustain an unshakable, long-term commitment to prevailing over Islamist terrorism. Many conservatives are eager to work with President-elect Obama in advancing the objective of defeating Islamist aggression. I hope he will embrace this effort to build a unified policy premised on the recognition of radical Islam as a distinct, immediate, and fundamental threat to our nation."

While Obama is all for working with those who disagree with him and forging consensus, I fail to see what he could possibly learn from meeting with a gaggle of socially conservative, militantly anti-Islamic right-wing leaders such as Bauer, Hagee, Falwell, Weyrich, and Wildmon other than that he should hurry up and bomb Iran.

But more importantly, just when did the Religious Right decide that they were now experts on national security and foreign policy? 

Do you suppose that President Bush would have agreed to meet with People For, Americans United, NARAL, the NAACP, the Alliance for Justice, the ACLU, and others if we'd wanted to share our views about an issue like this ... or any other issue, for that matter?  I kind of doubt it.

Gary Bauer Strikes Back

Earlier this week, Gary Bauer issued a press release disputing Mike Huckabee's allegations that getting a straight answer out of him about why he refused to support Huck's campaign was "like playing Whac-a-Mole at the arcade."  In his new book, Huckabee also called Bauer a sell-out for saying that national security issues were more important that social issues, likening it to the NRA saying "we still care about guns, but what we really want to focus on is global warming."

Huckabee writes that if Bauer really is more interested in security issues than social issues, he should start considering himself the head of a "national security group" rather than a "pro-family group" because "when an organization can't even focus on its focus, it's hopelessly lost."  It was Bauer's hypocrisy, writes Huckabee, that make him realize he'd rather be "politically homeless" than "politically clueless." 

Today, Bauer fires back, saying that if anybody is clueless, it's Huckabee:

Huckabee is wrong on a couple of counts. First, my passion and work on behalf of values issues have in no way diminished. Second, I have believed since 9-11 that the West’s battle against Islamofascism is a crucial component in the fight for our civilization. Thus it is a values issue. That Huckabee fails to understand all this gets to the heart of why I did not support him.

Huckabee said that during a private meeting we had, “it was like playing whack-a-mole at the arcade -- whatever issue I addressed, another one surfaced as the ‘problem’ that made my candidacy unacceptable.”

In fact, talking with Huckabee was like playing whack-a-mole, because he had a number of issues that posed problems. It wasn’t just that he didn’t get it on foreign policy. His record on taxes and spending, illegal immigration, his apparent backing of Al Gore's carbon cap and trade scheme, support for voting rights for Washington, D.C., and cozying up to unions like the NEA all worried me. Huckabee can call it whack-a-mole. But for me there were just too many items where he wasn’t sufficiently conservative coupled with a lack of attention and experience on foreign affairs.

Bauer concludes by calling out Huckabee for being so petty, saying that once he has "finished attacking all those who he thinks denied him the GOP nomination, I look forward to working with him to reform the GOP and revitalize the conservative movement."

I suspect that, given the obviously bad blood between the two, they probably won't be working together any time soon.

Huckabee, Santorum, Corsi Show Up in New Anti-Obama DVD

The Associated Press reports that Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Ken Blackwell, Jerome Corsi, and others all make an appearance in a new anti-Obama DVD produced by Citizens United that is set to be included with newspapers in swing states just before the election:

Readers of Ohio's three largest newspapers, along with papers in Florida and Nevada, are finding an anti-Barack Obama DVD in editions this week.

Citizens United, a conservative advocacy group based in Washington, plans to release a 95-minute film in the five swing-state publications to highlight Obama's record on abortion rights, foreign policy and his past associations, including his relationship with former pastor Rev. Jermiah Wright. The group said it planned to spend more than $1 million to distribute about 1.25 million copies of "Hype: The Obama Effect."

"We think it's a truthful attack. People can take it anyway they want," said David Bossie, Citizens United's president.

Readers of The Columbus Dispatch received their copy Tuesday. The Cincinnati Enquirer, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post and the Las Vegas Review-Journal are scheduled to receive them in coming days.

The film raises questions about Obama's political base in Chicago and questions the media's reporting on Obama.

Among those interviewed are conservative columnist Robert Novak, former Clinton strategist-turned-pundit Dick Morris and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and discredited Obama critic Jerome Corsi also give interviews.

Right Beseeches Schieffer to Help McCain

For the last week or so, as the economy continues to dominate the news cycle and presidential election, the Right has been lamenting that their anti-abortion, anti-gay agenda has been relegated to the back burner and wishing that they could choose right-wing moderators to run the debates.  

But since they can’t do that, they’ve decided to do the next best thing and petition Bob Schieffer, the moderator of the final debate, to make sure their issues play prominent in tonight’s debate.  Earlier this week, Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, wrote an "open letter" to Schieffer decrying Tom Brokaw's failure to work their agenda into the last debate:

Mr. Brokaw’s choice of topics for the second debate robbed the American people of what was intended to be a look into the more personal and controversial aspects of the candidates. In that debate focusing on domestic policy, there was not a single question about the Supreme Court, gun control, abortion, gay marriage or immigration. It strains credulity to assert that of the more than 1,000 questions offered to Mr. Brokaw, he could not find any that spoke to these issues.

And now the FRC has followed suit. Declaring that “no issue our nation faces is more important than the protection of innocent unborn life,” the FRC has launched a petition to try and pressure Schieffer into asking questions designed to rally so-called “values voters” behind John McCain:

The American people face many crucial issues in this year's elections, including the state of the economy, immigration, health care, the environment, and foreign policy.  The first two presidential debates this year, however, have failed to include the most pressing social issues on the minds of values voters.  We the undersigned urge you to ask questions along the lines of those listed below, which discuss the future of marriage and the sanctity of human life.  These are questions that matter to all Americans, and you have the last remaining opportunity for the American people to compare the candidates' answers as they appear together for the final presidential debate of 2008.

* Do you believe that the U.S. Constitution contains a right for homosexuals to marry?
* Would you change the traditional definition of marriage contained in the federal Defense of Marriage Act?
* Do you support the Defense of Marriage Act's provision allowing states not to recognize same-sex marriages from other states?
* Have you ever opposed any ballot initiative seeking to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman?
* Do you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court's decision allowing the government to ban abortions that kill a partially born baby?
* Have you ever supported or opposed any law designed to protect the lives of babies that have survived an attempted abortion?

Moderating a debate is a great responsibility that rests on your shoulders.  We ask that you exercise that responsibility with great care to ensure that the American people have the chance to know where the candidates stand on every pressing issue. 

And just in case this effort doesn’t work out, FRC Action is doing its own part to support McCain by running anti-Obama ads in several battleground states:

Today, FRC Action PAC announced an initial $100,000 TV and radio ad campaign in key battleground states aimed at educating voters on Senator Barack Obama's promise to make the radical "Freedom of Choice Act" his top priority as President. The "Freedom of Choice Act" will overturn virtually all federal and state limitations on abortion. The ad campaign is a response to the Matthew 25 initiative, which sought to mislead voters and downplay Obama's extreme pro-abortion views. The initial TV and radio ad buy will run this week in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Michigan, with additional television commercials airing in the Washington, D.C. market. The radio ads will target Christian radio stations that earlier this year carried the Matthew 25 campaign.

You Can Say That Again

Frankly, I don't have anything to add to this quote from Tony Perkins which I assume is supposed to be some sort of defense of Sarah Palin: 

Some leading opinion makers traditionally on the right - from George Will and Peggy Noonan to Kathleen Parker and David Frum - have questioned whether Mrs. Palin has the right stuff or any stuff at all to command the armed forces, direct foreign policy and guide domestic economic policy if Mr. McCain, at 72 and with a history of cancer, wins and then suffers some medical incapacity.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that whether swing voters and blue-collar white ethnic voters like the way she answers moderator Gwen Ifill's questions Thursday night will depend in part on whether her handlers let "Sarah be herself."

Mr. Perkins said his biggest concern is that she not be "overscripted," adding that Mr. Will and Miss Noonan make important contributions but are applying an overly demanding standard for articulateness to Mrs. Palin.

"Not everybody's an intellectual," he said.

What It Takes to Be President

There has been a lot of speculation about whether or not Sarah Palin has the necessary qualifications to be Vice President or, if necessary, President.  As such, McCain supporters have been desperately trying to come up evidence that she does, claiming that she has foreign policy experience because Alaska is near Russia, that she has national security credentials because she is "commander in chief" of the Alaska National Guard, and that “she knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America.”

Those efforts to prop up Palin came crashing down yesterday when top McCain’s surrogate Carly Fiorina admitted that Palin was unqualified to run a company such as Hewlett Packard - a comment for which Fiorina has now been “disappeared.”  

But as it turns out, concerns about experience and qualifications aren’t really all that important anyway, as Sen. Elizabeth Dole learned yesterday while hanging out with the good folks from the local Christian Coalition affiliate.  All that really matters is the fact that McCain is a “Christian and a hero”: 

Among those on bus were U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole; Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party chairman; Buddy Roemer, former Louisiana governor who is campaigning for John McCain; state Sen. Robert Pittenger, candidate for lieutenant governor; and Jack Sawyer, candidate for N.C. secretary of state.

More than 550 people came out for the 15th annual God and Country Banquet sponsored by the Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition. The group recognized candidates attending from parties, but the dinner was highlighted by speeches from Roemer, Dole and Pittenger.

"I want to live in a godly nation," said Walter Leake, coalition chairman and emcee of the event. Speakers included testimonies about their faith with their appeals for votes.

[Roemer] was clearly stumping for his longtime friend and told the story of McCain's faith during his prisoner-of-war experience.

"Being a hero doesn't make you a good president," he said. "But being a Christian and a hero is a good start where I come from."

Like McCain, Palin is a Christian and is certainly being treated like a hero, so I guess that’s all we really need to know.

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Foreign policy Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/10/2011, 9:47am
Michele Bachmann Background: NPR looks into her transition from Jimmy Carter volunteer to right-wing culture warrior (NPR, 5/9). GOP: Breaks with Speaker John Boehner over debt ceiling (The Hill, 5/9). Herman Cain Nevada: Addresses conservative group in the early caucus state (Las Vegas Sun, 5/9). Debate: Claims his candidacy gained momentum, new supporters after Fox News debate (CBS News, 5/6). Mitch Daniels Religious Right: Decision to defund Planned Parenthood will bolster social conservative credentials despite 'truce' talk (TPM, 5/9). 2012: Report claims that Daniels' wife is final... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/04/2011, 10:57am
Along with Andrew Breitbart’s websites, perhaps no organization has been floating more conspiracy theories about Osama bin Laden’s death than Tea Party Nation. Judson Phillips, the president of Tea Party Nation, claimed President Obama “managed to totally FUBAR the situation.” He accused Obama of only going after bin Laden to help his reelection bid, attacked him for announcing bin Laden's death during Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice, and slammed the administration for not having bin Laden’s body “wrapped in pig fat before burial.” Now,... 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, Friday 03/25/2011, 9:55am
While appearing on Bryan Fischer’s radio show, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed that Americans should worry that the terrorist groups Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda may be behind the rebellion against Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Bachmann said: I have been very reluctant to see the United States to go into Libya. For one thing, we haven’t identified yet who the opposition even is to Qaddafi. We don’t know if this is led by Hamas, Hezbollah, or possibly al Qaeda of North Africa. Are we really better off, are United States, our interests better off, if let’s say... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 03/24/2011, 9:53am
Aaron Klein, the right-wing’s go-to conspiracy theorist on foreign policy issues, knows the real reason that the US is intervening in Libya: George Soros. Writing for WorldNetDaily in an article picked-up by Fox News, Klein asserts that Soros is behind the allied bombing against the Qaddafi regime because he has ties to proponents of the Responsibility to Protect, a foreign policy doctrine which claims that humanitarian intervention is permissible because governments forfeit their sovereignty when they wage violence against their own people. Other right-wing commentators including... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/08/2011, 5:17pm
I am continuing my "Random Book Blogging" posts this week with another excerpt from John Fea's "Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction," with this section focusing on the Religious Right's false claim that Declaration of Independence was a Christian document rooted in Christian principles because it contains four references to God, including the famous proclamation that all men "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." Fea explains that those who cite the mentions of God the Declaration as evidence that America... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/04/2011, 10:40am
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Richard Land took a preemptive strike against Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who raised eyebrows after calling for a “truce” on social issues and is considering a run for president. Land writes just one day after a WSJ poll found that the majority of GOP primary voters would be sympathetic to the “truce” offered by Daniels, who believes that the nation should be focusing on economic issues instead of fighting the “culture war.” Land, like many other Religious Right leaders, has come out swinging against Daniels’s... MORE