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MOAA Debunks Its Own DADT Survey

The other day, the American Family Association's OneNewsNow ran an article claiming that a recent poll conducted by the Military Officers Association of America showed that members of the military overwhelming oppose efforts to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell:

One of the leading activists opposed to homosexuals serving in the U.S. military says she's pleased that a recent poll of military officers shows overwhelming support for the 1993 ban enacted during the Clinton administration.

The poll was conducted by the Military Officers Association of America, or MOAA, with the results recently published in The Washington Times. By a two-to-one margin, the MOAA survey respondents favored the current policy or an even stronger law regarding the ban of homosexuals from military service. The survey also found that 68 percent of respondents believe that repeal of the law would have a negative effect on troop morale and military readiness.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, says this survey has effectively torpedoed the high-powered PR campaign for homosexuals in the military.

"What they're saying here is, 'Mr. President and Congress, we support this law. We think it would be disruptive to repeal it. And we ask that you support the law or certainly not go along with any efforts to undermine or repeal that law,'" she notes.

The Washington Times article in question noted that while the "organization consists of about 370,000 members representing every branch of the armed forces," the web-based survey it conducted only "received 1,664 responses." But that was apparently enough for the paper to declare that the "majority of American service members oppose integrating gays openly in the military" and for OneNewsNow and Donnelly to declare that the "survey has effectively torpedoed the high-powered PR campaign for homosexuals in the military."

Not so fast, says Col Marv Harris, MOAA's Director of Public Relations, who sent a message to David Hart explaining that the survey was "statistically invalid [and] not a reliable indicator of how a population feels about an issue":

To seek some member input, MOAA developed a five-question survey for MOAA members and put it on the MOAA web site and highlighted it in the legislative update. Web surveys aren't a reliable tool, but it was our only option to let members respond because we did not have time to develop a mail-out survey to a statistically valid random sample of members before the November meeting.

As it turned out, only about 500 people took the survey over 11 days. Because of the low response and indications that some non-members were passing the survey around to their friends in an effort to skew the results, we concluded that the results could not be considered a valid representation of member views and removed the link to the survey from our web site. Only recently did we learn that the data was still accessible if someone had written down the original link to it. We've since removed it.

The Board, in determining its position, considered inputs from members of the Board (particularly those currently serving), the Currently Serving Advisory Committee, and the MOAA staff. They agreed that the survey results were too skimpy and unreliable to be of any validity.

...

We are declining to provide a copy of the survey or discuss the results. The survey was statistically invalid for the reasons stated above, and therefore not a reliable indicator of how a population feels about an issue.

To its credit, MOAA is refusing to stand by the "results" of this survery, but I highly doubt that will stop Donnelly from continuing to cite it as "proof" in her campaign to protect the military from the scourge of homosexuality.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Box Turtle Bulletin: The American Psychological Association, meeting at their annual conference in Toronto, adopted a resolution today calling on mental health professionals to stop telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments. And in a direct challenge to NARTH and Exodus International, the resolution further calls on patients, guardians, families and other clients to avoid conversion therapy programs which portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder.
  • Steve Benen says it's impossible to deal with the Right because, no matter what you say or how your phrase it, "it's hard to anticipate just how paranoid some people will choose to be" and how they will distort it.
  • Kevin Drum says "every movement has its loons" but while Democrats never validate the ones on the left, Republicans make their right-wing ones the centerpiece of their movement.
  • There is just something funny about the Right trying to stoke anger and shut down Democratic town hall events while the RNC is refusing to take calls from "a bunch of angry liberals" about it.
  • And there is something even funnier about Frank Luntz complaining that Democrats would use "poll driven language" to "mislead the American people" on health care reform.
  • Salon's handy-dandy guide to refuting the Birthers.

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.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus is now available: "To Hell with Health Care Reform: Religious Right Leaders Attack Obama, Spout GOP Dogma about 'Socialism' While Fanning Flames on Abortion."
  • D.C. lobbying firm Bonner and Associates has been busted sending forged letters opposing climate change legislation to members of Congress and blames it on a "temp" who has been fired, though they seem to have a history of pulling these sorts of astroturf stunts.
  • Dick Armey explains why he doesn't believe in global warming: "[T]he lord God almighty made the heavens and the Earth, and he made them to his satisfaction and it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that, that we are going to destroy God’s creation."
  • Matthew Yglesias: Just When You Thought the “Beer Summit” Story Couldn’t Get Any More Ridiculous…
  • Jim Burroway takes an in-depth look at NARTH's new "peer reviewed" study proving that sexual orientation can be changed.
  • Finally, Steve Benen takes a look at the fascinating new Daily Kos poll showing who does and who does not believe that President Obama was born in the United States.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Nobody, it seems, wants to see Sarah Palin become President: About a third of Americans think the best job for Palin is homemaker (32 percent), while nearly one in five see her as a television talk show host (17 percent). Vice president of the United States comes in third (14 percent), followed closely by college professor (10 percent), with president coming last (6 percent).
  • No surprise here: Mitt Romney has been confirmed for the Values Voter Summit.
  • If you are interested, you can read the opening prayer that Jerry Falwell Jr. delivered in the House of Representatives yesterday here.
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann has received a “Defender of Economic Freedom Award” from the Club for Growth.
  • Finally, Concerned Roman Catholics of America is condemning the Knights of Columbus "for their continuing failure to expel pro-abortion and pro-homosexual politicians."

LEADING GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO ATTEND BIRTHER CONFERENCE!

The Washington Post released a poll today that it says shows that "as Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin prepares for the next stage of her political career, a majority of Americans hold an unfavorable view of her, and there is broad public doubt about her leadership skills and understanding of complex issues."

Alex Koppelman disputes that assessment but what I find most interesting is the poll result that shows that Mike Huckabee leading the way among potential 2012 GOP nominees:

27. (ASKED OF REPUBLICANS AND GOP-LEANING INDEPENDENTS) If the 2012 Republican presidential primary or caucus in your state were being held today, and the candidates were (READ LIST) for whom would you vote?

Mike Huckabee 26%
Mitt Romney 21%
Sarah Palin 19%
Newt Gingrich 10%
Tim Pawlenty 4%
Jeb Bush 3%
Haley Barbour 1%
Bobby Jindal (vol.) 2%
Charlie Crist (vol.) *
Other/None of these/Would not vote/No opinion 14%

Obviously, polls conducted more than three years before the next presidential election are not particularly reliable or meaningful, but that hasn't stopped Huck's Army from proclaiming that it "shows strong support for Gov. Huckabee if he decides to build on his second place finish in the 2008 Republican Primary."

But taking this poll for what it is worth, allow me to semi-misleadingly exploit it in order to declare "LEADING GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO ATTEND BIRTHER CONFERENCE!" to just try and hammer home the fact that Huckabee is headlining the How To Take Back America Conference which is being hosted by at least three bona fide Birthers: Janet Porter, Joseph Farah, and Rick Scarborough.

As I have said before:

Just about every insane right-wing conspiracy theory currently in circulation has been embraced by one or more of the organizers of this event, all of whom have actively worked to spread the fear that Obama and the Democrats are out to destroy Christianity and turn America into a socialist hellhole.

And Mike Huckabee, instead of trying to distance himself from the lunacy of his former supporters, openly and willingly continues to associate with them.

And now this man is currently leading the field of future GOP presidential nominees.

If that doesn't terrify you, I don't know what will.

Perkins Rallies The Right: "Never Give In"

With the Religious Right's influence its lowest levels in several years, Tony Perkins has penned a rallying cry for the movement called "Never give in - Values Voters at the Summit" that, not surprisingly, proclaims his organization's upcoming Values Voter Summit the key to turning it all around:

We believe that in a representative democracy, citizens have not just the ability, but the duty to participate in the political process. For too long decisions about the fate of millions have been made "at the summit" by a handful of leaders and those decisions have too often disregarded deeply held beliefs about the sanctity of human life, the importance of marriage, and the bedrock principles of religious liberty – beliefs held dearly by the very people those leaders are supposed to represent.

That's why we instituted the Values Voters Summits several years ago. These are Washington gatherings at which we invite important national figures to address us, to encourage us, and to share essential information about decisions made in Washington that have a direct bearing on all our lives.

Perkins decries the "'inside-the-Beltway' mindset" whereby those in positions of political authority oppose certain grassroots efforts out of fear that they will undermine their agenda, but declares that such "leaders" have it exactly backwards, as it is the grassroots efforts that will lead to the movement's resurrection. And then, somewhat oddly, Perkins points to their recent string of failures as proof that it is working: 

For example, when pro-life citizens in South Dakota and Colorado sought to put measures on their state ballots to protect unborn children, the smart money here said: "Don't do it. You might fail. And that would be bad for the cause."

Those grassroots pro-lifers could not be restrained. They did put those measures on the ballot. They did fail. But look what we see in the latest Gallup Poll: For the first time in the history of Gallup, more Americans regard themselves as pro-life than those favoring legalized abortion.

More than that, the Gallup organization confirms that all the grassroots agitation over the heinous partial-birth abortion bans moved public opinion in the pro-life direction. Not only did the people strongly reject this cruel and unjust procedure, they began to focus more on all unborn children menaced by every abortion.

How can that be, you might ask -- didn't President Bill Clinton twice veto those bans? And weren't his vetoes sustained in Congress? Yes, he did and they were. But all the talk about partial-birth abortion reached deeper into Americans' hearts than we knew.

Perkins then proceeds to dust off a point that we haven't seen him make in months, namely that the economic problems we face as a nation are really rooted in abortion and the "breakdown in the family":

We know that no nation, especially one with the rich spiritual heritage ours enjoys, can truly prosper if it destroys its own future through abortion-on-demand ... In other words, this recession is in reality a reflection of the government-aided breakdown in the family. When government encourages out-of-wedlock sexual activity through billions of dollars in subsidies to Planned Parenthood and their ilk, that government guarantees economic harm as well as distress to families.

He closes by declaring that it is incumbent upon Christians to come together to save this nation and to "never give in," no matter what:

In order to meet your responsibilities, we must unite for concerted action. We have the right, and in our representative form of government, we have the duty to combine for the sake of the family. No one else can do it for us. That's what we seek to do at the Values Voters Summits ... We have been defeated many times, but we have not given in. When pundits and pols count us down and out, we keep coming back. I pray that we will never forget that the battle is the Lord's; our task is but to remain wise and faithful. And never give in.

Protect Marriage Washington Nears the Deadline for Petition Signatures, Still With a lot of Work to Do

With only five days until the deadline for Protect Marriage Washington to turn in the 120,577 signatures needed to get Referendum 71 on the November ballot, it looks like they have a long way to go. If the organization obtains enough signatures, however, Referendum 71 would give voters the option of repealing Washington's "everything but marriage" law, which gives domestic partners full marriage benefits without the title of "marriage."

In a blog post last week, however, Gary Randall, the lead organizer of Protect Marriage Washington, noted that they would need roughly 150,000 signatures by the deadline, due to the fact that with any petition drive a substantial amount of signatures will be ineligible:

Organizers have until July 25 to turn 120,577 valid signatures in to the Secretary of State's office. Lead organizer Gary Randall reports that more than 75,000 signatures have been received so far. "We think this is good news. However, it points out exactly how much work is left to do in just two weeks," Randall announced on his "Faith & Freedom PAC" blog last week. "We need at least 150,000 signatures to ensure that we have the 120,577 necessary. There are always some signatures that are disqualified for various reasons."

With so many signatures left to obtain, it is surprising that Randall didn't pay closer attention to two polls that he commissioned. They actually show that voter support for gay marriage is on the rise in Washington:

The survey asks, “In your opinion, should homosexuals be allowed to legally marry?” Here is how the 405 Washington voters answered:

Yes — 43%
No — 50%
Didn’t know or no answer — 7%

Conducted by Elway Research, the poll shows an unmistakable trend of growing support for marriage equality. Another poll paid for by Faith and Freedom and conducted by Elway Research in 2005 found that only 35 percent of voters supported allowing gays and lesbians to marry (.pdf).

More important, however, is the fact that Protect Marriage Washington isn't even fighting a marriage equality law―the law simply extended marriage benefits to those in domestic partnerships. That hasn't stopped the group from falsely claiming that the law will give Washington same-sex couples the right to marry. Here's an ad, now posted on their website, that ran in opposition to the law last year:

The Right Readies for Sotomayor

With Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing getting underway, the Right readies its attacks.

Manuel Miranda says "the Sotomayor hearings are a spotlight on the president who nominated her, and if the Republicans don't use it that way they are fools."

Yesterday, the Christian Defense Coalition held a prayer vigil outside the Supreme Court  while Randall Terry is planning more protests:

On Monday, a Sotomayor look alike will parade around with a "Sickle of Death," showing Sotomayor's support of the slaughter of unborn children. There will also be child coffins holding "dead babies."

Randall Terry States:

"We are tired of Senators using unborn babies to seduce pro-lifers before elections - taking pro-lifers' volunteer labor, money, and votes - only to cast us and the babies aside like an embarrassing mistress after an election. It is disgusting.

"Any pro-life Senator who votes for Sotomayor is turning their back on unborn children and continuing this holocaust. They can't say, 'I want to overturn Roe,' and then confirm a Supreme Court Judge who will uphold Roe. To do so is hypocrisy, cowardice, and treachery of the first order.

Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network lists some questions she want to see asked:

Does Judge Sotomayor believe the abortion industry should be excused from having to prove its case in court when it sues to strike down a duly-enacted abortion regulation?

Does she believe medical records are relevant and admissible as a general matter but not if they involve abortion?

Does Sotomayor have such great faith in abortion providers that she is willing to accept their verbal claims as fact and impose them as a matter of law?

The American Center for Law and Justice likewise wants to see "tough questions" asked:

“The Senate must fulfill its constitutional role in providing advice and consent and that means asking the tough, in-depth questions about Judge Sotomayor’s view of the Constitution and her judicial philosophy,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “What does Judge Sotomayor believe is the proper role of judges? How does she view her role as a judge? These are important questions that deserve straight-forward answers. A Supreme Court appointment is the lasting legacy of a President. And, as President Obama moves to reshape the federal judiciary, it’s critical that the American people understand the judicial philosophy and temperament of Judge Sotomayor. Let’s not forget the scope and intensity of questions posed to President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees – John Roberts and Samuel Alito. The questioning of Judge Sotomayor must be direct, focused and in-depth. The nominee must answer the questions clearly and without reservation. The American people deserve nothing less.”

Concerned Women for America is sending a letter to Senators asking them to oppose her nomination:

CWALAC President Wendy Wright said, "Sonia Sotomayor has lived the American dream. Rising from a poor childhood to being nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor is a testimony to the opportunities and blessings of America. But as we investigate her record, we are struck by her unwillingness to allow others to have the same opportunities as she has had. Her record reveals she lacks the primary characteristic required of a judge: impartiality. She has used her position as a judge to deny equal opportunity to people based on their ethnicity. She worked with organizations that aggressively fought against basic human rights for preborn children and ethical rights to ensure women and girls are not coerced into abortion. After giving her the benefit of the doubt, her record of giving preferences to certain classes of people and denying equal justice to others obliges Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee to oppose her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. We urge senators to vote against her nomination.

The Traditional Values Coalition has released a "scorecard" containing "16 questions Americans must demand U.S. Senators ask Judge Sonia Sotomayor before approving her lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land."  The questions include [PDF]:

How can we expect her to rule impartially on the law and the Constitution when she considers herself a world citizen – and openly supports Obama’s political agenda? She has violated the code of conduct for judges and should be disqualified.

Does Judge Sotomayor still believe in the superiority of female Hispanic justices over justices of other races and sex?

Why did race disqualify Miguel Estrada from receiving Senate approval, but not Sonia Sotomayor?

Will Judge Sotomayor refrain from abusing her new power on the Supreme Court to bring about radical change in American society?

Finally, the Committee for Justice claims that Sotomayor is as unpopular as was Harriet Miers and unveils two ads calling for her defeat, with one contrasting her to Martin Luther King and another claiming she wants to "take away your guns":

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Jim DeMint continues his crusade to establish himself as the most ridiculous member of the Senate by proclaiming that the coup that removed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya’s from office was no different "than was Gerald Ford’s ascendence to the Oval Office or our newest colleague Al Franken’s election to the Senate" and that the United States is currently "about where Germany was before World War II where they became a social democracy."
  • The details of Sen. John Ensign's affair and attempted cover-up are looking worse by the day.
  • Good As You catches the Family Research Council trying to spin a new poll so that it seemed that same-sex marriage was destroying New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch's approval rating.
  • Kathleen Reeves of RH Reality Check explains that while Jill Stanek wants to end abortion, she's not at all interested in finding ways to reduce unplanned pregnancies so as to eliminate the need for abortion.
  • Crooks and Liars reports that Fox and Friends got itself all worked up over something it read off the Christian Newswire and then predictably set out to turn it into a "controversy" by reporting only the religious right's spin of the event.
  • Finally, a group of 25 leading Latino organizations sent a letter to Sen. Jeff Sessions slamming his questionable attacks on LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Sonia Sotomayor while Ian Millhiser explains how several anti-gay groups are attacking Judge Sotomayor for her decision in a case brought by an anti-gay pastor — even though Sotomayor ruled in the pastor’s favor.

Should He Stay or Should He Go? The Palmetto Family Council Can’t Decide

While a majority of Americans believe that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford ought to resign following his decision to go AWOL and the subsequent disclosure of his infidelity, one group is not so sure.

And that group is the Focus on the Family affiliate and pre-eminent Religious Right organization in the state, the Palmetto Family Council:

Palmetto Family Council president Oran Smith says his group has not yet called on Sanford to resign, but is monitoring whether the governor is earnestly trying to reconcile with his wife.

"We really haven't reached a conclusion," Smith admits. "I'll have to say there is a lot of strong support on our board of directors for asking the governor to resign -- just simply because of some of the things that happened that were not related necessarily to the affair, but that involved him telling some untruths and trying to be evasive in a way that was not good to establish trust in the office of governor."

Just out of curiosity, what do you think the PFC's position would be were Sanford a Democrat?

But frankly, it's not surprising that the Palmetto Family Council would be reluctant to take a stand against Sanford (just like all the other Religious Right groups) considering that his endorsement of the organization is featured prominently on its website:

And, for those who are so inclined, here is an address Sanford delivered in which he gushingly praises the organization, though most of the speech is an introduction of former Rep. Steve Largent, whom Sanford credits for introducing him to C Street.

But just because the organization is unsure of what to do about the state's hypocritical governor doesn't mean they can't try to rally support for his wife, which it has done by setting up a webpage asking activists to send her messages of thanks and support:

The people of South Carolina, particularly the wives and mothers of the Palmetto State, feel the hurt of this scandal most deeply, and refuse to let this moment pass without taking time to thank and encourage the one person who has been a rock in this crisis: First Lady Jennifer Sullivan Sanford.

Friends of Palmetto Family Council are saying loud and clear that Jenny Sanford deserves our thanks and our support ... By doing so, you can encourage her and thank her for her strength, her courage, her commitment to her family, and her example. Please help us collect as many signatures as possible to show how deeply the people of South Carolina (particularly wives and mothers) appreciate her and what she represents.

Janet Porter's Terminal Optimism

One thing I will say about Janet Porter is that she is always moving forward with her efforts to shape America to suit her fevered right-wing dreams and is constantly positive that the next thing is the one that is going to turn it all around.

In her most recent column, Porter declares that the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference is going to be a key event in the Right's resurgence as it wrests control away from President Obama and saves America from its descent into socialist paganism:

But this isn't funny any more.

If you're not laughing, sign up today for the How to Take Back America Conference in St. Louis Sept. 25 and 26. I'm co-chairing the event along with Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and a host committee that includes: Rick Scarborough of Vision America, Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, Mat Staver, of Liberty Counsel and Don Feder, from the World Congress of Families. Speakers include Gov. Mike Huckabee, Delta Force Leader Gen. Jerry Boykin and California Rep. Tom McClintock.

For those of you who want to take our country back while there's still something left of it, every speech, workshops and panel will all have something in common: They will all answer the most often asked question about taking America back: "How?"

See you in St. Louis.

Frankly, I'd be a little more frightened by this if it wasn't pretty much the same thing Porter was declaring back in 2007 ahead of the Values Voter Debate she also organized:

You know that I'm one for taking action, so I'll cut straight to the chase. There's a big event coming up and you need to be a part of how it's going to re-shape America.

What: The GOP Values Voters Presidential Debate

When: Sept. 17, 2007

...

We must know just how close we are to winning everything we've been working for in the last three decades: one more seat on the Supreme Court can restore the right to protect children again to the people of each state. We have a chance to protect the institution of marriage from the courts that are attacking it. We have the right to protect our freedom of speech, freedom of religion and right to own property.

If you are sick of reacting and tired of retreat, this is your time. This is our time. Our moment in history to change the future. Please pray for the event and become involved in it: submit your questions for the candidates to f2ainfo@f2a.org. We need to hear the questions that are burning in your heart. Quit shaking your fist at the television and write the questions that you want answered!

Following the debate, Porter predicted that "the Values Voter Straw Poll will unify the pro-family movement and determine the nominee" and that that nominee would be Mike Huckabee, whose presidency would be the culmination of all of the Right's political efforts:

My eye is on the prize – the Supreme Court – and Huckabee is the only guy in the race that we know will give it to us. Everything is on the line, whether we win it all or lose it all. Yet, during this time of moral crisis, many of our leaders are silent. Others just throw rocks. Dante put it this way:

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of moral crisis, remain neutral."

I'm going to keep sending donations until I reach the $2,300 maximum so I will have a clear conscience when my children and grandchildren ask me the question I know will come. That question? "Where were you when they were killing babies?" I want to answer: "I did everything I could to stop it."

If you will vote now with your pocketbook to help elect the only guy we know for certain will give us the judges we need on the bench, we can have a much better answer. When our children and grandchildren ask us: "Where were you when they were killing babies?" we can reply: WE WERE THE ONES WHO STOPPED IT.

One more election, one more judge. Everything we've worked for is within our reach. Don't let our last chance pass us by. Multiply next December's pro-life donations by more than a hundredfold: Go to www.mikehuckabee.com now and vote for life.

Remind me how that worked out again?

So here we are two years later and Porter is organizing another right-wing confab featuring Mike Huckabee and a gaggle of fringe leaders who will take back America and I find myself decidedly unimpressed because ... well, it all sounds just so familiar

I said it before, I'll say it again: Values Voters are going to determine the outcome of this election. Don't believe me? Wait and see. One more prediction: With this election, we're going to take back the Supreme Court of the United States, stop the killing of unborn children, protect the institution of marriage and regain our freedoms of speech and religion. We're going to take back America. You heard it here first.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Crooks and Liars reports that former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline sent out a fund-raiser that invokes physician George Tiller and Planned Parenthood in seeking contributions for a campaign against abortion rights.
  • Brian Beutler points out that the National Review's cover caricature of Sonia Sotomayor make her appear "inexplicably Asian."
  • Alex Koppelman says gay marriage foes running out of arguments.
  • Good As You, which has been doggedly following Cornerstone Policy Research's claims that it sampled every household in New Hampshire for its poll showing that 64% of residents oppose gay marriage, points out that its sample size was about 400,000 households less than it claimed.
  • Steve Benen calls Sen. James Inhofe a "walking, talking disgrace."
  • Finally, the Minnesota Independent catches Norm Coleman saying the key for Republican success is to be able to compete “in the ethernet."

If Familiarity Breeds Acceptance, We Must Avoid Familiarity

Last week, Gallup released a poll showing that, not surprisingly, people who know someone how is gay are more inclined to support marriage equality:

While 57% of Americans oppose legalizing gay marriage, Americans who personally know someone who is gay or lesbian are almost evenly divided on the matter, with 49% in favor and 47% opposed. Among those who do not personally know anyone who is gay, 72% oppose legalized gay marriage while just 27% favor it.

Andrew Sullivan saw the poll as evidence that gays "need to accelerate the process of coming out," but  Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission sees it differently ... primarily as evidence that Christians need to disassociate themselves from gays and everyone else who doesn't share their right-wing values:

The polling discovered that one of the most important factors that control a person’s opinion about homosexual marriage was that of association, it even trumps a person’s political ideology ... In fact, former Vice President, Dick Cheney, is a perfect example. Cheney is reliably conservative on virtually every issue except homosexual marriage. This is likely as a result of the fact that he is the father of an open, practicing lesbian.

...

The natural human tendency is to be deceived in situations when we associate with openly sinful people. Human sentimentality kicks in and biblical thinking is set aside. We rationalize and justify behaviors in people we know more than in people we don’t.

This applies to more than homosexuality; it touches other sins as well. Of course, because there is a powerful deceptive dynamic you will be tempted to say, “Having close relationships with the ungodly will not affect me.” Don’t be deceived!

...

You are who you associate with ... We must find our significant associations with our Lord and His wise people. Associate daily with Christ by spending time in His Word and in prayer. Listen to His voice and cultivate a conscience that is informed by God’s Word.

Find like-minded servants of Christ with which to fellowship and to whom you can be accountable on a regular basis. Sit under the sound biblical teaching of a biblically qualified pastor. These are the ways that God will keep you from the corrupting associations of this world.

Be very careful out there in the world. Remember, “Don’t be deceived; Bad company corrupts good morals.”

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Steve Benen is not overly impressed with Newt Gingrich's "apology" for calling Sonia Sotomayor "racist."
  • On a related note, Greg Sargent reports that Rush Limbaugh says he's not retracting any of the things that he has said about her.
  • Media Matters says the media is ignoring Sen. Jeff Sessions' double standard on timing of Sotomayor's confirmation hearing.
  • I'm late in linking to this post by Autumn Sandeen over at Pam's House Blend regarding Mission America's founder Linda Harvey's over-the-top response to news that Kevin Jennings has been tapped as the Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools' deputy secretary.
  • As Good As You notes, I doubt this was the result that OneNewsNow had in mind when it put up its latest on-line poll.

Understanding Sotomayor’s Reversal Rate

The Washington Times seems to have serious problems doing simple math.  Just last month, they published a editorial claiming that President Obama was the “second-least-popular president in 40 years” when, in fact, the very poll it cited showed that Obama’s standing was “well above the historical norm for all approval ratings.”

And now we get this equally inane claim from the Times today:

With Judge Sonia Sotomayor already facing questions over her 60 percent reversal rate, the Supreme Court could dump another problem into her lap next month if, as many legal analysts predict, the court overturns one of her rulings upholding a race-based employment decision.

Three of the five majority opinions written by Judge Sotomayor for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and reviewed by the Supreme Court were reversed, providing a potent line of attack raised by opponents Tuesday after President Obama announced he will nominate the 54-year-old Hispanic woman to the high court.

"Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senates duty to do so," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

So the Supreme Court granted review in a total of five cases where she authored the majority opinion and reversed the decision in three of them, giving her a 60 percent reversal rate … which is actually quite good considering that, in recent years, the Supreme Court has reversed more than 70% of all the cases it has heard.

But more importantly, as the article points out, Sotomayor wrote 380 majority decisions in her 11 years on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, the vast majority of which didn’t get reversed by the Supreme Court. In fact, only five even ended up there and thus her three reversals out of 380 decisions gives her a reversal rate of exactly 0.00789473684.

The only “problem” for Sotomayor here is the Times’ pathetic lack of math skills.  

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Steve Benen congratulates one of the few conservatives who have the courage to at least suggest that perhaps Rush Limbaugh is not the face the Republican Party needs if it ever hopes to regain its relevance.
  • Sarah Posner smartly points out that "only 33 percent of white evangelicals thought it was proper for Obama to speak at [Notre Dame] -- that's about half of those who think torture can be justified."
  • Good As You got Focus on the Family to admit that the claims in the Cornerstone poll are "not accurate."
  • Finally, several things from Media Matters: Glen Beck suggesting that ACORN may kill him for his coverage of them; a good collection of conservative media figures saying that marriage equality will lead to "triads," interspecies marriage, and pedophilia; and Pat Robertson saying he'll support marriage equality "when two men get together and make a baby"

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.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Media Matters has put together a lengthy list of the myths and falsehoods advanced by the media about the Supreme Court.
  • Eric Boehlert reports that the Washington Times has now fully retracted the bogus editorial they wrote last week about President Obama's poll number.
  • Sarah Poser points to evidence of aggressive proselytizing within the US military.
  • AU catches CWA's Wendy Wright saying that Obama's failure to host an official National Day of Prayer event justifies their suspicions about his faith and claiming that "he should put his own lack of faith aside and live up to the office."
  • Steve Benen notes that when Rush Limbaugh says "jump," GOP leaders say "how high?"
  • Jeremy responds to the new Cornerstone Policy Research anti-marriage ad with a good ad of his own.
  • Finally, based on our own experience, I expect that Anonymous Liberal will soon be getting lots of emails from the Ethics and Public Policy Center demanding changes and retractions for daring to write about Ed Whelan.

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.

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Brian Tashman, Monday 02/07/2011, 5:49pm
Today on his radio show Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, who has already criticized CPAC over their inclusion of the gay conservatives group GOProud, is now upset with Sarah Palin. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Palin seemed to dismiss the complaints of boycotters, like Fischer, that GOProud should be excluded from the conference. Palin recently turned down the opportunity to give the keynote address at CPAC, which despite the outcry among the Religious Right will feature speakers like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Phyllis Schlafly. Fischer... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 02/07/2011, 5:49pm
Today on his radio show Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, who has already criticized CPAC over their inclusion of the gay conservatives group GOProud, is now upset with Sarah Palin. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Palin seemed to dismiss the complaints of boycotters, like Fischer, that GOProud should be excluded from the conference. Palin recently turned down the opportunity to give the keynote address at CPAC, which despite the outcry among the Religious Right will feature speakers like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Phyllis Schlafly. Fischer... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/04/2011, 5:43pm
Don Feder is not happy with the state of things as CPAC and he knows just who is to blame: Grover Norquist: The trouble with CPAC (the annual Conservative Political Action Conference) can be summed up in six words – gays, Grover, knee-jerk libertarianism and Islamist connections. That is actually eight words and gives you a sense of the overall "accuracy" of Feder's rant in which he also claims that GOProud is participating "for the third year in a row," which is impressive considering the group didn't even exist until April 2009, and that Mike Hucakbee... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/04/2011, 5:43pm
Don Feder is not happy with the state of things as CPAC and he knows just who is to blame: Grover Norquist: The trouble with CPAC (the annual Conservative Political Action Conference) can be summed up in six words – gays, Grover, knee-jerk libertarianism and Islamist connections. That is actually eight words and gives you a sense of the overall "accuracy" of Feder's rant in which he also claims that GOProud is participating "for the third year in a row," which is impressive considering the group didn't even exist until April 2009, and that Mike Hucakbee... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/25/2011, 10:59am
Michele Bachmann SOTU: Plans to give her own State of the Union Response to a Tea Party Express rally, even though Wisconsin Rep. Jim Ryan is the official Republican speaker (Star Tribune, 1/24). History: Maintains that skin color didn’t matter in early America at an Iowans for Tax Reform event (TPM, 1/24). Religious Right: Addressed the “March for Life” Rose Dinner (Politico, 1/24). Iowa: “Encouraged” by reception at Iowa events (Des Moines Register, 1/22). Religious Right: Set to attend a meeting of Iowa’s The Family Leader, led by Bob Vander Plaats... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/25/2011, 10:59am
Michele Bachmann SOTU: Plans to give her own State of the Union Response to a Tea Party Express rally, even though Wisconsin Rep. Jim Ryan is the official Republican speaker (Star Tribune, 1/24). History: Maintains that skin color didn’t matter in early America at an Iowans for Tax Reform event (TPM, 1/24). Religious Right: Addressed the “March for Life” Rose Dinner (Politico, 1/24). Iowa: “Encouraged” by reception at Iowa events (Des Moines Register, 1/22). Religious Right: Set to attend a meeting of Iowa’s The Family Leader, led by Bob Vander Plaats... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/20/2011, 2:46pm
After Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) said he would decide on his election plans by the end of January, the movement to recruit him into the presidential race has moved into high gear. The recently-formed American President Committee launched a “Draft Pence” campaign and a group of Republican legislators from the critical primary state of South Carolina have organized a similar effort to lure the Indiana Congressman into a presidential run. Pence, who won the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit straw poll, has recently been spearheading anti-choice legislation and... MORE