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Perkins’ Plans Have Suddenly Changed

Back when the Republican primary was still hot-and-heavy, there was some speculation that the Religious Right was not-so-subtly lining up behind Mitt Romney because when a group of heavyweights teamed up with Focus on the Family Action to analyze the South Carolina primary, every candidate was criticized except Mitt Romney.  

Focus responded to the speculation by telling Marc Ambinder that they were not “endorsing any candidates, either ‘stealthily’ or otherwise” and then Tony Perkins weighed in as well, telling Michael Scherer that not only was he not endorsing anyone, but that he had no plans to do so in the future:

Last Saturday night, after the polls closed in South Carolina, I joined our friends at Focus on the Family Action in a live web cast discussion of the election returns. My comments about each of the presidential candidates were excerpted for home page clips on the Focus Action web site. The interpretation being given to those comments by some is just wrong. I have not endorsed any candidate for the White House and have no plans to do so. During the course of almost a year of speaking about this tense and competitive race, I have talked to thousands of reporters and offered reams of commentary. Despite the urgings of many close friends and allies in the social issue trenches, people who have been at my side for battle after battle, I have not chosen -- and have not plans -- to give an explicit or implied endorsement to any individual.

Well, it looks like that is about to change:

On Friday at 1 PM at the Values Voter Summit, Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins will announce the formation of a Political Action Committee and release candidate endorsements.

What: News Conference to announce formation of FRC Action Political Action Committee and Candidate Endorsements

Who: Tony Perkins, President of FRC Action
David Nammo, Executive Director of FRC Action

When: Friday, September 12, 2008
1 PM ET

Presumably, John McCain and Sarah Palin will be among those getting the new FRC PAC’s endorsement.

It’s amazing how, as the election gets closer, the Right seems to continually find ways to renege on their earlier pledges and support John McCain.

SBC Electoral Prayer Vigil Seeks to Protect Candidates from the "Attacks of Satan"

The Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board and Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission have announced a 40 Day Prayer Vigil for Spiritual Revival and National Renewal. Set to begin in late September, it is timed to conclude - wouldn't you know it - right on Election Day:
The 40/40 Prayer Vigil is set to begin Wednesday, Sept. 24, and conclude on the Sunday morning, Nov. 2, before Election Day. According to the website for the vigil, iLiveValues.com/prayer, the vigil begins with 37 days of daily prayer and concludes with a recommended 40 hours of around-the-clock intercession during the final three days of the initiative. ... It is not happenstance that the vigil ends just days before Election Day, the two Southern Baptist leaders confirmed. "As Election Day approaches, we as Christians know we need to be committed to praying for the outcome and for those who will be elected to lead us," Hammond said. "But milestone moments like this in our history should remind us of the importance of asking God for spiritual awakening in our land." "As Christians, we need God to give us wisdom as we select the next president of the United States," Land said. "People must realize that government at every level is a lagging social indicator," he added. "True and lasting change in our nation will come from spiritual renewal in the hearts of America's citizens, not from government programs."
As the AP reports:

Southern Baptists are organizing a nationwide prayer campaign to accompany their values-voter registration drive, seeking spiritual renewal for families and churches, and God's favor for public officials who are guided by the Bible.

The 40/40 Prayer Vigil for Spiritual Revival and National Renewal will run from Sept. 24 through Nov. 2, two days before the general election. The daily prayers include requests for God's guidance in voting, for the election of more "godly Christians," for God to "help churches find ways to help Christians get to the polls" and for public officials to be protected "from the attacks of Satan." The effort is a companion program to the iVoteValues registration campaign, which began in 2004 and is jointly led this year by Southern Baptists, the largest Protestant group in the country, and the Family Research Council, a conservative Washington-based advocacy group.

What To Do When God’s Candidate Loses?

Once upon a time, Janet Folger declared that the only hope Christians had of not being rounded up and sent off to prison was to support Mike Huckabee.  It was that sort of passion that landed her a position as co-chair of Mike Huckabee’s Faith and Values Coalition, whom she had anointed the “David among Jesse’s sons” after the Values Voter Debate she organized back in 2007.

In essence, God had chosen Huckabee and it was Folger’s job to make it clear that those with firm Christian principles must refuse to support anyone else:

There are sheep, and there are shepherds. Sheep follow the pundits, the polls, political expediency and promised perks. Shepherds follow principle. Gov. Mike Huckabee is such a man. So are those who stand on principle with him.

So wedded to Huckabee was Folger that she even started a front-group that ran ads against both Mitt Romney and John McCain:

Senator John McCain favors forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, which the National Right to Life Committee says: "requires killing human embryos."

McCain violated our Free Speech rights with the notorious McCain-Feingold Act, and personally sued Wisconsin Right to Life for communicating with their members prior to an election.

John McCain is one of only seven Republican senators who voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment supported by President Bush.

John McCain:  Against protecting life.  Against protecting free speech.  Against protecting marriage.

But that was then.  Once God’s candidate failed to secure the nomination, Folger changed her tune, declaring it imperative that those with firm Christian principles now support John McCain. 

Folger was blasted by Gordon Klingenschmitt for selling-out in the pages of WorldNetDaily, but that obviously didn’t silence her, as she has returned to the pages of WND - this time to blast WND founder Joseph Farah for his own staunch refusal to support McCain, beseeching him to put aside his own principles for the greater good:

Here's the bottom line: If McCain is elected, we WILL get the judges we need to bring this slaughter to an end. All of our efforts and all of our labors that have taken us this far will have been worth it. If Obama is elected, we will not only see the court stacked against us with life-long appointments, we will lose every single advance we have ever made in every state, city and county.

You want to protest? Get a sign and march. We're out of time. Besides that, I'm sick of marching – I want to win: I want to restore protection to children in my lifetime.

I've given my life to the pro-life movement, and I don't have another life to give it. Neither do the 50 million children whose lives were stolen from them. If we don't take what may be our last chance, I don't believe we're going to see another one. If we choose protest over influence, Obama will not only make sure that another 50 million children lose their lives, but he'll make sure we won't recognize what's left of our nation when he's through with it.

I urge you to choose life, that we and our children may live. That choice is John McCain. Any other choice will be lethal … literally.

In the course of six months, Folger has gone from a militantly principled Huckabee activist who was convinced that he was God’s chosen candidate to a vocal supporter of John McCain, whom she was recently proclaiming was against protecting life, free speech, and marriage and therefore utterly unacceptable.

Warren Vs. Dobson: The Difference is Tone

We’ve written a few posts recently arguing that the main difference between Rick Warren and the more traditional right-wing figures like James Dobson is primarily tone.  While Warren talks a great deal about expanding the evangelical agenda to cover issues such as the environment and poverty, that agenda is founded on the standard anti-gay, anti-abortion ideology.

As Warren himself regularly points out, “people think because I’m trying to expand the agenda that I’ve left the prior agenda. I have not.”  And that agenda, as he spelled out explicitly in his 2004 pre-election email, comes directly out of the right-wing playbook:

But for those of us who accept the Bible as God's Word and know that God has a unique, sovereign purpose for every life, I believe there are 5 issues that are non-negotiable. To me, they're not even debatable because God's Word is clear on these issues. In order to live a purpose-driven life - to affirm what God has clearly stated about his purpose for every person he creates - we must take a stand by finding out what the candidates believe about these five issues, and then vote accordingly.

Here are five questions to ask when considering who to vote for in this election:

1. What does each candidate believe about abortion and protecting the lives of unborn children?

2. What does each candidate believe about using unborn babies for stem-cell harvesting?

3. What does each candidate believe about homosexual marriage?

4. What does each candidate believe about human cloning?

5. What does each candidate believe about euthanasia - the killing of elderly and invalids?

Around that time, Warren was poised to become the nation’s new Jerry Falwell, but chose a more moderate seeming path in an effort to broaden his reach without, of course, moderating his agenda.  And so he continues to sell his right-wing views while hiding behind a veil of moderation and civility. 

At least that is what he was doing heading into his faith forum last weekend – now that it’s over, it looks like Warren has all but given up the even pretending:   

'Overhyped." That's how the Rev. Rick Warren describes the notion that the evangelical vote is "up for grabs" in this election. But what about the significance of the evangelical left, I asked the pastor of Saddleback Church after his forum with the presidential candidates last weekend. "This big," he says, holding his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart.

Sitting on a small stone patio outside the church's "green room," I question him further -- has he heard that the Democratic Party is changing its abortion platform? "Window dressing," he replies. "Too little, too late." But Rev. Jim Wallis, the self-described progressive evangelical, has been saying that the change is a big victory. "Jim Wallis is a spokesman for the Democratic Party," Mr. Warren responds dismissively. "His book reads like the party platform."

[T]here is a misunderstanding by the media, says Mr. Warren. "A lot of people hear [about a broader agenda] and they think, 'Oh, evangelicals are giving up on believing that life begins at conception,'" he explains. "They're not giving up on that at all. Not at all."

Democrats might want to keep this in mind next week as their convention tries to welcome this "new breed" of religious folks. And as for the notion that younger evangelicals are ready for rebellion against their parents' ideals, Mr. Warren cites polls showing that the younger evangelical generation is even more concerned about abortion than the older one. After the Sunday morning service at Saddleback last weekend, I interviewed 15 random attendees. Only two were Obama supporters, one of whom was a British guy on holiday. Almost all of the remaining congregants mentioned abortion as the most significant issue affecting their vote in November.

So why is most of the press under the impression that Rick Warren, a Southern Baptist, is so different from, say, Focus on the Family president James Dobson? "It's a matter of tone," says an amused Mr. Warren, who seems unable to name any particular theological issues on which he and Mr. Dobson disagree.

Keyes Calls Out Dobson

For today’s edition of WorldNetDaily, Alan Keyes penned an 11,000+ word essay dedicated to laying out the religious, moral, and philosophical grounds upon which James Dobson has succumbed to moral relativism in suggesting a few weeks ago that he might consider supporting John McCain after earlier saying that he would never do so “as a matter of conscience.”   

In typical Keyesian fashion, he spends the first 1500 words comparing his essay to Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" and explaining that its crushing length is necessary to wake the American public out of their intellectual stupor.  But when he finally gets down to business, he peppers his tome with the sorts of quasi-philosophic ramblings for which he is known, such as this explanation of the dangers of gay couples getting married and how “disregarding the natural basis of family leads to tyrannical government:  

By nature the child has the right to a kind of natural dominion over its progenitors, including the opportunity at least to try out the appeal that its helpless condition makes to their natural sensibility. Moreover, a child systematically deprived of any knowledge of at least one of its biological parents cannot fulfill the filial obligations that arise from the natural connection, or avoid the oedipal risks connected with such ignorance.

In this respect, just as abortion suppresses the child's right to life, homosexual marriage suppresses the child's natural belongings, the first rights of property in the primordial sense of the term. But once we abandon respect for the authority of nature as it establishes the rights of the child, we have in principle abandoned that respect when it comes to any human beings whose situation makes them as helpless or vulnerable as children with regard to their superiors in power. Thus the issue of homosexual marriage actually poses the question of our allegiance to the principle of natural human equality, the principle from which we derive the form of government meant to secure our liberty.

In light of the fact that we are “in the midst of the feverish crisis that marks either the recovery of the Republic, or its dissolution,” Keyes declares that both John McCain and Barack Obama are unqualified to fight the “insidious war [that] is being waged against the moral pillars of our freedom”

In light of such grim possibilities, can the issues involved in the assault on the natural family be treated as matters of political convenience or emotional whim, as John McCain and others like him do? McCain's statements on the issue of homosexual marriage, civil unions and the need to protect traditional marriage by constitutional means show no regard for the profound destruction of moral principle that will result from overthrowing the claims of the natural family. Like Barack Obama, he takes positions exclusively calculated to win votes from the constituencies he needs for political victory, no matter if they risk the soul and moral foundations of the republic. At the very least, he wants to harvest votes from people deeply concerned about the besieged moral foundations of our liberty even though he obviously lacks the understanding needed to defend them. He cannot see, or perhaps even conceive of, the connections between our moral ideas and practices and the survival of our institutions of self-government. Such a leader might be barely adequate in the "weak, piping time of peace." But when, on every front insidious war is being waged against the moral pillars of our freedom, his inadequacy is not just lamentable, it will be deadly.

Which brings Keyes to his key point – which is that James Dobson is a hypocrite and a failure as a Christian:

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Once upon a time, Tom DeLay was one of the most powerful men in Washington ... that is, until he was indicted and resigned his seat in Congress in 2006.

Since then, DeLay has kept something of a low profile while he has been busy trying to turn his Coalition for a Conservative Majority into a right-wing version of MoveOn.org, but that doesn't mean that his right-wing friends have forgotten him. In fact, over the weekend, DeLay joined Rick Scarborough, one of his "closest friends," for Sunday services at Scarborough's Texas church:

Former Congressman Tom Delay not only told East Texans but also showed them that he believes there is no separation between church and state. "I believe faith is the foundation of political activity because your world view is who you are," Delay explained.

A belief the Senior Pastor at Harvest Point Church, Rick Scarborough, shares with the former congressman and that's why he asked him to share the pulpit this morning. Scarborough said, "Every time I walk into a polling booth I'm mixing church and state because I am the church and I am the state. Whenever I drive down the highway I'm mixing church and driving. This morning earlier, you can thank God for this, I mixed church and showering but I can't separate that part of me."

At today's service Delay told East Texans how he plans to use that belief along with others to fill voids he says are in the conservative movement. Creating more grassroots efforts along with building better communication blocks are just 2 of his goals. "We've got some great think tanks in Washington D.C. but we have no action tanks," Delay said. But he plans to put the party into action and get people to the polls this November.

It is nice to know that Scarborough's friendship with DeLay survived the former Majority Leader's fall from power - after all, it would have been pretty embarrassing if Scarborough had abandoned DeLay after once comparing him to Christ:

"I believe the most damaging thing that Tom DeLay has done in his life is take his faith seriously into public office, which made him a target for all those who despise the cause of Christ," Scarborough said, introducing DeLay yesterday. When DeLay finished, the host reminded the politician: "God always does his best work right after a crucifixion."

Of course, the last time DeLay and Scarborough got together, it was for Scarborough's “Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" Conference in 2005 and it generated a lot more coverage and controversy because DeLay delivered a taped message railing against judiciary which was followed by a panelist whose suggested solution to dealing with judges the Right doesn't like was to approvingly paraphrase Joesph Stalin's slogan: "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem."

At End of Supreme Court Term, Right Wing Points to November

According to Politico, the Right is warming to John McCain’s far-right stance on judicial appointments, and with the 5-4 decisions that closed out the Supreme Court’s term, we can see the outline of McCain’s and the Right’s campaign to get the base to turn out in November on the issue of judges.

Last month’s Supreme Court decision on habeas corpus was likened by the Right a “white flag of surrender” that would cause “more Americans to be killed”; Fred Thompson, a judicial advisor to John McCain, wrote that the “remedy” was for “concerned citizens to turn out on Election Day to elect a new president.”

The more recent decision overturning D.C.’s gun ban inspired Ted Nugent to write in Human Events that “the 5-4 ruling is another painful example” of “a divisive culture war raging on, and four supreme justices frighteningly disconnected from the heart and soul of America.” Michael Reagan warned that the majority “will vanish if the liberals manage to elect Barack Obama and give his party sufficient control of Congress to guarantee that future Court vacancies will be filled with activist liberal justices who will turn the Constitution upside down.”

The Family Research Council called the Second Amendment case “a reminder for voters of just how important the elections are this fall.”

The next President is likely to name 2-3 Supreme Court justices, who will be examining the constitutionality of a variety of laws for the next few decades. Life, marriage, and religious freedom are all issues that are likely to land in front of the Supreme Court. … For fiscal, social, and national defense conservatives, judges are one issue that brings all conservatives together.

According to the Weekly Standard, a case restricting capital punishment to murderers and not rapists of children demonstrated “that the fight to turn the Court from a capricious and imperious vanguard of liberalism into an impassive umpire is far from over.” The Standard’s Matthew Continetti advised McCain to “take this opportunity to explain how his judicial philosophy differs from Obama's, and why it matters.” A National Review editorial similarly responded, “Too many of our justices are evolving away from democracy. Let’s not elect a president who will encourage them — and appoint more of them.”

Traditional Values Coalition’s Lou Sheldon wrote that the death penalty case and the habeas corpus decision “are perfect examples showing why it’s important that Americans choose the right person to assume the Presidency in January 2009.”

The person who becomes President and Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces will likely have to replace Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, and Souter – all liberals who use their power to impose their leftist ideology upon all Americans. …

If we fail to put a man into the Oval Office who understands judicial restraint and the rule of law, our legal system will be set back 30 years. This is especially true if a liberal President appoints young liberals to the Court and fills up the federal judiciary with more radical leftist judges.

Finally, there’s the 5-4 decision overturning the “Millionaire’s Amendment,” a part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that lifted contribution limits for politicians facing self-funded opponents. Despite McCain’s role in originally passing the law, McCain supporter Hans von Spakovsky wrote that the narrow ruling “graphically illustrates just how important the next president's appointments to the Supreme Court will be to preserving our First Amendment rights in the political arena.”

“[G]iven the number of Supreme Court appointments a Democratic president will be able to make, an Obama victory will move America more radically leftward than ever in its history,” Dennis Prager summarized.

All these cases will continue to be cited by the Right in pushing its unmotivated constituency to the polls, as “are reminders that elections are not just about putting candidates in office for a few years,” as Thomas Sowell put it to those “who are thinking of venting their frustrations by voting for some third-party candidate that they know has no chance of being elected. There will be a president chosen this November, and he will appoint Supreme Court justices during his term, regardless of whether you stay home or go to the polls.”

Suddenly The Right Says The White House Doesn’t Matter

With the GOP’s Congressional electoral prospects looking increasingly dim and John McCain trailing by double-digits in current polls, it looks like right-wing activists see the writing on the wall and have started to deemphasize the importance of having ideological allies control the levers of political power: 

Jim Daly, Focus on the Family's president and chief executive officer, downplays the Bush administration's significance to the Christian right.

"Our advocacy for pro-family policies, at the federal and state level, has never been dependent upon who holds what office," Daly said. "We advocated for the sanctity of human life, the value of traditional marriage and other issues that affect the family before President Bush was in the White House, and we'll continue to do so after he leaves it."

Of course, this line of argument might be more convincing if Focus on the Family and its head, James Dobson, hadn’t played a key role in getting President Bush elected in 2000 and 2004 and gone all out to help the GOP retain control of Congress in 2006.  It would be even more convincing if Daly had not said this just days after Dobson and FOF spent an entire week attacking Barack Obama and John McCain was not currently clamoring for a chance to meet with Dobson and try to win his support.

Religious Right Decides Who's Catholic Enough

Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States is long over, but the Washington Times continues to doggedly report on one particular angle: the many thousands receiving communion at the pope’s masses included a handful of Democratic politicians, who, like the majority of American Catholics, are pro-choice.

While this seems like the season for picking over politicians’ personal religious lives, the Right has been trumpeting this point of contention for a number of years to use as a wedge between liberal candidates and faith. In particular, John Kerry’s communion became a public issue in 2004.

In 2008, none of the major presidential candidates are Catholic. But that just means the Right has to get more creative.

Last week, Catholic League President Bill Donohue tried to jump on the Rev. Wright bandwagon with his own brand of religious policing, attacking not Barack Obama’s faith, but that of his Catholic advisory council: “If these are the best ‘committed Catholic leaders, scholars and advocates’ Obama can find, then it is evident that he has a ‘Wright’ problem when it comes to picking Catholic advisors.” Donahue’s beef? Many of Obama’s Catholic backers disagree with him on abortion, stem-cell research, and school vouchers.

The advisors complained, bringing up the existence of other moral issues besides the ones that fit the Republican platform: war, poverty, etc. Donohue responded, calling it “shocking” that one could set political priorities on par with abortion.

And then, seeing a chance to attack Obama instead of his advisors, Donohue promptly compared the senator to Hitler (for opposing a graphic bill designed by abortion opponents to establish personhood for the fetus):

“It is so nice to know that Obama thinks abortion ‘presents a profound moral challenge.’ Is infanticide another ‘profound moral challenge’? To wit: When he was in the Illinois state senate he led the fight to deny health care to babies born alive who survived an abortion. That, my friends, is not a moral challenge—it’s a Hitlerian decision.”

Paul Weyrich’s Penance

Back in the Fall of 2007, Gov. Mitt Romney was riding high, having barely won the Values Voter Summit’s straw poll and positioning himself as the candidate favored by both Religious Right Beltway-insiders like Jay Sekulow and outsiders like Lou Sheldon and Bob Jones.   In fact, Romney was being pitched as the only alternative to unacceptable Rudy Giuliani, the unelectable Mike Huckabee, the unexciting Fred Thompson, and the unforgiven John McCain.

Romney’s efforts to position himself as the Right’s candidate of choice received a significant boost when, in November, he secured the endorsement of right-wing icon Paul Weyrich:

Today, Paul Weyrich, Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, announced his support for Governor Mitt Romney and his campaign to be our country's next President. Paul Weyrich is one of the premier leaders in the conservative movement, having founded the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

"As he travels across the country, Governor Romney has outlined a blueprint to build a stronger America rooted in our common conservative principles. With a clear conservative vision to move America forward, he will strengthen our economy, our military and our families. More importantly, he already has an exceptional record of putting conservative values to work. Because of his experience, vision and values, I am proud to support Governor Romney," said Paul Weyrich.

But over the coming months, Romney’s campaign failed to catch fire and he eventually dropped out of the race and Weyrich threw his support to Huckabee, whose campaign likewise failed to generate significant support and folded.

Since then, Weyrich appears to have done some soul-searching and has come to regret his support of Romney at the expense of Huckabee:

In a quiet, brief, but passionate speech, Weyrich essentially confessed that he and the other leaders should have backed Huckabee, a candidate who shared their values more fully than any other candidate in a generation. He agreed with Farris that many conservative leaders had blown it. By chasing other candidates with greater visibility, they failed to see what many of their supporters in the trenches saw clearly: Huckabee was their guy.

The extent of Weyrich’s remorse appears to be even deeper than anyone could have imagined, as he has now joined a group of former-Huckabee backers and other right-wing activists in warning McCain that picking Romney as a running mate would be “utterly unacceptable”

Huckabee Gets No Love From the Right

When he was running for president, Mike Huckabee made no secret of his displeasure with the current leadership of the Religious Right, regularly chiding them for refusing to support his candidacy.  It was, at least in part, because of their glaring lack of support that Huckabee’s campaign eventually folded, forcing him to drop-out of the race and it looks as if Huckabee is not particularly prepared to let bygones be bygones:

Mike Huckabee can't definitively explain why he couldn't win the Republican presidential nomination, but he thinks the desire of Christian leaders to be "kingmakers," media coverage and Mother Nature all had something to do with it.

"Rank-and-file evangelicals supported me strongly, but a lot of the leadership did not," the former Arkansas governor says. "Let's face it, if you're not going to be king, the next best thing is to be the kingmaker. And if the person gets there without you, you become less relevant."

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson backed Rudolph W. Giuliani; American Value President and former presidential hopeful Gary Bauer endorsed Sen. John McCain; and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins remained neutral, even as Mr. Huckabee was wowing their supporters and winning the values voter straw polls they organized.

Huckabee seems particularly galled by Religious Right’s allegations that he was weak on foreign policy issues and didn’t fully comprehend to threat posed to this country by “Islamo-fascism,” which he says was nonsense since he was the only one who really understood the true nature of the threat:

 

"I was the one person who talked about this being a theological war, not just a geopolitical war [because] it was unlike a traditional war over borders and boundaries," he says.

 

While Huckabee remains bitter over his inability to win over the Right’s current leadership, it appears as if various other right-wing outsiders are equally bitter over the prospect of having to support John McCain and are considering defecting to the Constitution Party:

[I]is 2008 the year when a third-party candidate would find some traction among those disaffected by the abortion, marriage and national security stances found in the records of the three front-runners left in the race?

Charles Lewis, national outreach director for Christian Exodus, is one of those behind the launch of the new Save America Summit website, and believes it's not only time, it's overdue.

Among those participating in this third-party-seeking Save America Summit are Flip Benham, Wiley Drake, Bill Federer, Gordon Klingenschmitt, Howard Phillips, Chris Simcox, as well as representatives of organizations such as Gun Owners of America, the Council for National Policy, and Stop the ACLU and others who are convinced that McCain, Obama, and Clinton all plan "an EU-style unification of America with socialist Canada and Mexico during the next administration."

Sadly for Huckabee, he can't seem to get any love from these right-wing activists either, since they seem to have already narrowed down their choices for president to four people: Alan Keyes, Roy Moore, Jerome Corsi, and former Sen. Bob Smith.

Janet Folger: Sheep

For the last several months, Janet Folger dedicated her life to helping Mike Huckabee try to secure the Republican presidential nomination, hosting the Values Voter Debate where she anointed Huckabee the "David among Jesse’s sons," serving as co-chair of his Faith and Values Coalition, praying for bad weather to keep voter turnout down, and even launching a front-group to attack Mitt Romney and John McCain. All along she warned that Huckabee was the only acceptable candidate in the race and the only one who could keep the Right out of prison while declaring that McCain was unacceptable because he:
Pushed "campaign finance reform" that would put a gag rule on citizen groups like Wisconsin Right to Life, who McCain sued when they suggested people actually contact their senators to let them know how they felt about the filibuster on judicial nominees. He was also one of the gang of 14 who kept the filibuster alive. He also voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment.
Folger made clear that only "sheep" would support McCain, while the principled "shepherds" were intent on backing Huckabee:
We heard the mantra, "A vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain!" Interestingly, the same people who said that are now saying, "Don't vote for Huckabee. Vote for McCain!" Really? Support the guy who wants to force us to fund medical experimentation on human beings like Joshua and Rachel Hubbard – who were themselves once frozen embryos. Real human beings. Just older than they were when they were shoved in a freezer and vulnerable to policies like those of Sen. John McCain. Just because someone shoves children in the freezer doesn't mean they're no longer human beings in need of adoption. "Thou shalt not kill" doesn't say "unless they're really small and discarded by people who don't want them." If you found a kid locked in a closet, would you justify performing medical experiments on him before taking his life because he "was going to die if nobody let him out of that closet anyway?" They are rallying to the very guy who wanted a two-month gag rule prior to an election on all of us who want to inform people about what Congress may be doing – like forming a gang (of 14, for example) to block good judicial nominees. Ann Gimenez, whose husband Bishop John Gimenez, a true Christian leader who just went on to his reward, said, "This is not the time to lose our moral compass. Take a stand for righteousness, and don't deviate from it." Good advice. There are sheep, and there are shepherds. Sheep follow the pundits, the polls, political expediency and promised perks. Shepherds follow principle. Gov. Mike Huckabee is such a man. So are those who stand on principle with him.
Well, now that McCain has secured the nomination and Huckabee has dropped out, Folger has suddenly abandoned all her talk of sheep and shepherds and declared that the prudent, principled thing to do is to vote for John McCain:

Do The Dobsons Agree?

Last month, James Dobson made clear that he would never, ever, under any circumstances vote for John McCain and even seemed to be seeking to enlist a million others to join him in his boycott. He then cravenly endorsed Mike Huckabee, but by then it was too late and Huckabee eventually dropped out and Dobson hasn't been heard from since. Now comes news that Dobson's wife Shirley, chairman of the National Day of Prayer, is launching an "election prayer campaign":
For 16 years, Mrs. Shirley Dobson has served as chairman of the National Day of Prayer (NDP). This year, she has added another campaign — a call to seek God’s guidance for the elections. “As long as God is on His throne, there is always hope,” says Mrs. Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder and Chairman Dr. James Dobson. She spoke with CitizenLink about the two critical prayer campaigns. 1. What is so important about this election? I believe our country is at a crossroads. Whoever is elected president will play a pivotal role in determining the future of our country. It’s imperative people go to the polls and elect a candidate whose leadership will reflect a moral and principled perspective.
Mrs. Dobson is aware that her husband explicitly rejected McCain because he does not "reflect a moral and principled perspective" and blasted both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for their "virulently anti-family policy positions," isn't she? If so, how exactly are voters supposed to "follow God’s instructions" and elect the right candidate when her husband is busy telling the country that none of the current candidates are acceptable?

Gingrich Games Surveillance Survey

The imaginary Newt Gingrich presidential campaign is an idea that just won’t die. Now that John McCain has earned enough delegates to secure the GOP nomination for 2008, Robert Novak is taking Gingrich 2012 seriously:

Newt Gingrich's efforts to restore his standing among Republican conservatives for a possible future presidential bid have suffered a self-inflicted setback because of the former House speaker's support for liberal Rep. Wayne Gilchrest's unsuccessful attempt to save his seat in Congress representing Maryland's Eastern Shore. …

But even if the prospect of Gingrich running for president is illusory, his bid to be the GOP’s futuristic guru—with a steady stream of book deals and media appearances—seems to be progressing just fine. Gingrich’s “527” advocacy group recently announced it will be opening an office in Menlo Park, California to focus on “[o]nline political technology.”

If Gingrich is hoping to make inroads in Silicon Valley, he would be well advised to cool his over-the-top rhetoric on domestic spying and telecom immunity. Gingrich has focused on the issue in his online commentaries over the last few weeks, accusing Democrats of tendering a “declaration of unilateral disarmament in the War on Terror” and of perpetrating “the most amazing anti-national security action by Congress in decades.”

McCain Brings Parsley on Stage—Get Ready for 'Patriot Pastors' Campaign

Rod Parsley

“A spiritual invasion is taking place!” shouted Rod Parsley at the “War on Christians” conference in 2006. “… Man your battle stations! Ready your weapons! Lock and load!” Parsley, an Ohio megachurch pastor and televangelist, promised to build an army of “Patriot Pastors” to march to the polls, an even bolder political machine than the one he led in 2004 that helped pass an anti-gay amendment in the state and nudge George W. Bush to reelection. Parsley’s 2006 candidate, Ken Blackwell, ultimately lost the governor’s race, but the televangelist remains an outsized political force, and his “Patriot Pastors” machine is still a model for church-based electoral organizing—as demonstrated by Mike Huckabee’s surprise win in Iowa.

Thus far, Parsley has kept his distance from the presidential race, while continuing to use his TV show to oppose abortion and hate-crimes protections. But now he’s jumped in to help John McCain lock up the Republican nomination. From the Columbus Dispatch:

Parsley and McCainMcCain campaigned yesterday in Cincinnati, where he appeared with the Rev. Rod Parsley of World Harvest Church of Columbus. McCain called Parsley a "spiritual guide," while Parsley later labeled McCain a "strong, true, consistent conservative." …

Parsley shared the stage with McCain during a rally at Hamilton County Memorial Hall in Cincinnati but didn't speak.

In a later interview, Parsley said he supports McCain because the senator will be tough on national security and "protect the unborn."

The megachurch pastor, criticized in the past for mixing religion and politics, acknowledged that McCain isn't the ideal candidate for evangelical Christians, who overwhelmingly backed President Bush in 2004.

"Yet at the same time, when you put John McCain up against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, the ideological and philosophical differences are overwhelming," Parsley said.

While the results of next Tuesday’s GOP primary vote in Ohio are all but certain, Parsley’s intervention suggests that he may deploy his “Patriot Pastor” machine on behalf of McCain ahead of November, when the state is likely to be a closely-fought “battleground” yet again.

Recent polling suggests that no matter how much time McCain has spent recently pandering to far-right activists, he still retains the positive image of a political “maverick.” That air of bipartisanship is difficult to reconcile with McCain’s decision to campaign side-by-side with Parsley, a figure who has taken partisanship to apocalyptic levels, translating the Republican-Democrat divide into spiritual warfare.

(AP photo of McCain and Parsley.)

Huckabee’s Future

Over the weekend, Mike Huckabee jaunted off to the Cayman Islands to deliver a speech at the Young Caymanian Leadership Foundation’s awards banquet because … well, he needed the money:

“No taxpayers pay for me to have health insurance, to pay my mortgage, to pay my bills,” Mr. Huckabee said. “And so to me, it’s not just absurd, it’s beyond absurd — it’s insulting — to think that there’s something nefarious about my being here when nobody has raised the question about sitting U.S. senators taking their full paycheck and enjoying all the magnificent perks they get from the U.S. taxpayers.”

Obviously, Huckabee needs to earn money when and where he can, since his only job at the moment is running his long-shot presidential campaign, especially since he thinks that this very campaign just “may be killing my political career.” 

Of course, rather than “killing” his career, this quixotic endeavor has actually made his career.  After all, had he not run and managed to outlast much bigger names like Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Giuliani, nobody would be speculating as to whether he might be tapped to serve as John McCain’s vice-presidential nominee or to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services.  

On top of that, he has built up a large base of right-wing supporters that could easily propel him into a position as one of the nation’s leading, most high-profile Religious Right leaders once the race is over, much as Pat Robertson did following his own run for president.  

Far from hurting his political future, Huckabee’s campaign is still out there stumping with figures like Steven Hotze and continuing to rack up support from various right-wing leaders: 

"This is Texas," declared Rick Green, a Mike Huckabee supporter. "In Texas, we don't cut and run. In Texas, we don't give up and go home before the fight is over."

Although the Huckabee camp has worked to define its candidate more broadly as a tax-cutting economic populist, Monday's supporters made it clear why they were there.

"Protecting life and protecting the family," said the Rev. Steve Washburn, pastor of First Baptist Church of Pflugerville. "We are to vote for the candidate who will best champion this cause of the Lord, this moral cause."

Brent Bullock, who works for a Christian nonprofit group, warned of corrosive "secular humanism and socialist ideologies."

Green works for Wallbuilders along with renowned pseudo-historian David Barton, while Bullock happens to run the America Bless God Campaign of Texas which seeks to “reestablish the Word of God as the moral standard in America”:

America's predominate population of Christians has been influenced by Secular Humanism and contemporary American culture, which has damaged the testimony of the church and the foundations of civil government.  We live in an age where each man does what is right in his own eyes, and there is a great struggle over the standards by which we should live.  Many lives are being damaged by man's immoral standards.  We believe that God's moral standard, as revealed in the Bible, should be the standard we live by; not my standard or yours.  Biblical standards, understood in the full contextual interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, provide for a blessed society.

Once his campaign is officially over, Huckabee will find himself well-positioned to join the ranks of high-profile Religious Right leaders such as James Dobson and Tony Perkins, should he so choose.  In fact he would probably be quite capable of not only joining them, but outright challenging them considering that the “values voters” they claim to represent have been flocking to his campaign while the leaders have been glaringly slow to embrace him. 

As Janet Folger, one of Huckabee’s biggest supporters, put it:  

There is something this political race is doing that nobody would have expected. Among conservative and pro-family leadership the sheep are being separated from the shepherds.

There are those in "leadership" in the pro-family movement who follow the pundits, the polls or the politicians instead of leading on principle. I could list them, but, well, you already know who they are. The ones sitting on their hands or convening to the candidate of compromise.

There are sheep, and there are shepherds. Sheep follow the pundits, the polls, political expediency and promised perks. Shepherds follow principle. Gov. Mike Huckabee is such a man. So are those who stand on principle with him.

Easy Targets

The infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision—declaring enslaved blacks to be property and presaging the Civil War—is often invoked by opponents of abortion rights, who make the analogy that Roe v. Wade is to fetuses as Dred Scott is to African Americans. Rod Parsley does them one better, arguing that Roe v. Wade is to African Americans just as Dred Scott is to African Americans.

Last week, the Ohio televangelist used his TV show to claim that reproductive health-care providers were trying to “exterminate” African Americans. On Sunday he aired a sermon version of the same argument—and paired it with a get-out-the-vote message for his viewers in Super Tuesday states. Warning that a candidate victorious in today’s primaries will likely become president, and will appoint Supreme Court justices and sign or veto abortion legislation, Parsley’s show told viewers, “Our democracy is too important for Christians to be silent any more.”

Parsley appears to have largely abstained from campaigning around the presidential election so far, but it’s hard to imagine him being apolitical in the coming year. In 2004 and 2006, Parsley and Russell Johnson, another Columbus-area megachurch pastor, teamed up to run a church-based political machine driving the successful anti-gay marriage initiative and the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of Ken Blackwell. Calling themselves “Patriot Pastors,” they vowed to wage war against their political opponents—“secular jihadists,” the “forces of darkness,” and the “hordes of hell.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer caught up with Parsley’s comrade Johnson, who headed the Ohio Restoration Project alongside Parsley’s Reformation Ohio. The groups promised to save souls while moving hundreds of thousands of voters to the polls, all while hosting candidate Blackwell at events around the state. Johnson promises more “Patriot Pastor”-style organizing—but without being so blatant about it:

Johnson said he expects that Ohio's Christian leadership will become more active once primary season is over, with varying emphasis on social issues, economics and national security from a conservative point of view. …

Johnson said political activity among preachers might look a little different than it did in the past, when he and the Rev. Parsley and their Patriot Pastors movement drew accusations of violating their churches' tax-exempt status by campaigning for Blackwell. (The pastors denied that they officially backed any particular candidate.)

In any case, leaders don't want to become "an easy target," Johnson says, so they are unlikely to give themselves a moniker. But they will be spreading information through e-mail networks, creating discussion groups and voter guides, and urging people to "get registered, get informed, go vote and take somebody with you."

Huckabee’s Latest Strategy: Whining

Aside from presenting himself as the one true “Christian leader” best prepared to be the nation’s first “Pastor in Chief,” Mike Huckabee’s primary campaign strategy seems to be whining about how unfairly he is being treated.  

So far, while his supporters have been demanding recounts of straw polls and proclaiming that he is the victim of anti-evangelical bias, he has been busy complaining about other Christian leaders refusing to back him, saying that his faith is receiving undue scrutiny, and suggesting that there is some sort of anti-Huckabee conspiracy at work. Lately, he has begun whining that Mitt Romney is engaging in “voter suppression” and saying that Romney ought to drop out of the race because he is stealing his votes.  

And now he has taken to blasting “establishment Republicans” who want him to drop out, saying that social conservatives are sick of being told to sit at the “back of the bus,” complaining that they’ve paid their dues and deserve to sit at the head of the table for once:

One day before Super Tuesday, when he hopes to regain some much-needed momentum in the South, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told Baptist Press that the GOP must not relegate social conservatives to the "back of the bus," as he says some "establishment Republicans" have done.

"What we're beginning to find out now," he told BP, "is that some of the establishment Republicans were more than happy to have social conservatives, as long as we would make sure we helped provide the vote margin to get Republicans elected and we were willing to hammer in yard signs and attend rallies and scream. But when we actually wanted to not just have a seat at the table but sit at the head of the table, make decisions on issues that are very, very important to us and always have been, suddenly we're not welcome anymore. We've been asked to go to the back of the bus.

"It's been very revealing. Either this is a party that social conservatives have a home in or we don't.... We've paid our dues."

Who knows, maybe whining is a winning electoral strategy.  But since Huckabee plans on staying in the race even if he gets trounced on Super Tuesday, maybe he’ll have time to try out a campaign strategy that doesn’t involve playing the victim and that expands beyond his right-wing Christian base.

FOF Says Dobson Was Right

Focus on the Family's CitizenLink gloats over Rudy Giuliani's departure, saying "Dr. Dobson was right ... Dr. Dobson has never been someone who takes stands or issues statements based on polls. He just doesn't put a lot of stock in them — particularly when they are trying to predict who is going to win a presidential election that at the time was more than a year away. Some people scoffed at him when he said, 'Hold on, there's a lot of campaigning still to do.' But time has proven him right."

Does Mitt Romney Know About This?

Mike Huckabee’s campaign rolls on, though he seems either unwilling or unable to branch out beyond his Religious Right base of support:

Huckabee surprised by winning the Iowa caucus, but has little money and finished a distant fourth in Florida.

The former Arkansas governor and Baptist preacher was in Newport Beach for a fundraiser at a supporter's home before traveling to Los Angeles for an Americans of Faith event and to Simi Valley for the GOP presidential debate.

Americans of Faith, which seems to be going by the name Operation Vote nowadays, was founded back in 2004 to register and mobilize 5 million Christian voters by Jay Sekulow, who just so happens to be Chair of Romney’s Faith and Values Steering Committee, as well as a member of Romney’s Advisory Committee On The Constitution And The Courts.

The Passion of the Religious Conservatives
1 May 2004
National Journal

Several prominent evangelical-movement leaders, as well as businessmen, social conservatives, and other like-minded believers, have put together ambitious voter-registration efforts that aim to get the Christian faithful to the polls on Election Day. Though nominally nonpartisan, these "ground- war" efforts are expected to benefit Republicans far more than Democrats because of such hot-button issues for conservatives as gay marriage and abortion.

One effort is being run by Americans of Faith, a Virginia-based tax-exempt group that is co-chaired by Bush fundraising "Pioneer" Edward Atsinger, who is president of Salem Communications, the nation's largest Christian radio broadcaster; and Jay Alan Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, a nonprofit launched by Pat Robertson that champions religious causes.

"I've been talking about this for the last 10 years," Sekulow said. "Evangelicals haven't been good participants in elections. We're talking about Christian civic participation." Americans of Faith hopes to raise about $800,000 and will use the Internet, Christian radio, and music festivals, as well as churches and other venues, to try to reach its goal of registering 2 million new voters from the conservative Christian community in time for the November election.

Giving extra firepower to evangelicals, the group's board includes such well-known leaders as Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council in Washington, and Frank Wright, the head of the National Religious Broadcasters.

According to a 2004 Talon News article, Americans of Faith’s Board of Directors includes, in addition to Sekulow and Perkins, the likes of Richard Land, Mike Farris, and David Barton. 

While Farris has endorsed Huckabee and Barton has been sharing the stage with him in recent weeks, Land and Perkins have been conspicuously cold toward his campaign - and considering that the organization’s founder is a key backer of Huckabee’s main rival, it is odd that Huckabee would be invited to address an Americans of Faith event, especially since the longer he stays in the race, the more damage he does to Romney.  

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polls Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Monday 10/25/2010, 8:29am
CBN's David Brody has posted his interview with Christine O'Donnell in which she explains that "God called me" to run for office and that prayer leads to improvements in her polling numbers: David Brody: How do you see God’s role in all of this because you’ve had some ups and you’ve had some downs. Where is God in all of this? How do you see all of that? Christine O’Donnell: God is the reason that I’m running. If I didn’t believe that there were a cause greater than myself worth fighting for, if I didn’t believe that it takes a complete... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 10/21/2010, 11:39am
Watching his once formidable lead in the polls crumble, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey asserted, “It’s very clear. The person who is the extreme candidate that is so far out of touch with Pennsylvania is Joe Sestak.” A huge part of Pat Toomey’s campaign strategy seemed to be based on remaking his image to come across as a moderate Republican. In an election year with the likes of Ken Buck, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and Joe Miller, even solidly conservative Republicans could come-off as “moderate” due to the elevated extremism on... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 10/08/2010, 3:31pm
Although a number of media narratives describe 2010 election as revealing the rise of conservative woman, the "Awakening of the Conservative Woman," or the "Year of the Mama Grizzly," and what Sarah Palin calls “the emerging conservative, feminist identity,” it’s easy to forget that women have always played a prominent role in the conservative movement: Phyllis Schlafly, Clare Boothe Luce, and Beverly LaHaye, just to name a few. But are women really running to embrace the rightwing agenda in 2010? Most polls show that the growing support for Republican... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 10/06/2010, 10:21am
You have to admire Vision America's Rick Scarborough for finally giving up the pretense of being "nonpartisan" and openly admitting that he votes Republican 90% of the time. Scarborough claims to be a "Christocrat," but since he freely admits that he votes Republican as a "matter of principle," it's pretty obvious that when he tells people to vote a followers of Jesus Christ, he is really saying "vote Republican." As such, it comes as no surprise that he is sending out emails seeking to get other pastors likewise commited to voting Republican... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 10/01/2010, 4:45pm
Pam Spaulding @ CNN: Why did Tyler Clementi die? Greg Sargent: Sharron Angle's M.O.: I never said what I plainly said! Igor Volsky @ Wonk Room: In Bizarre Interview, Crist Pretends He Never Supported Florida’s Gay Adoption Ban. Steve Benen: Ahead in the polls, Miller starts measuring the drapes. Andy Birkey @ Minnesota Independent: Religious right group faxing ‘voter guides’ to area churches. Jim Burroway @ Box Turtle Bulletin: Michigan Assistant AG Takes Leave Of Absence Amid Cyber-Stalking Controversy. Towleroad: '... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/30/2010, 4:05pm
As we noted back in 2008, every election season sees a return of the so-called "Restoration Projects," supposedly nonpartisan events that are, in reality, aimed a mobilizing pastors to get their flocks to the polls on Election Day. Well, as Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News reports, the Restoration Project is back once again and is heading to Nevada where David Barton, Newt Gingrich, and the American Family Association are hoping to help Sharron Angle defeat Harry Reid: Four years ago, Rick Perry cultivated a network of conservative pastors - the Texas Restoration Project -... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/29/2010, 9:38am
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