senate

Sharron Angle Pondering Second Statewide Run

After being lifted from fringe figure in the Nevada State Assembly to become an all-star for Religious Right and Tea Party groups across the country, Sharron Angle is now plotting her next move after losing to Harry Reid in November. Even though voters in Nevada rejected Angle in three separate elections, including races for the State Senate, House, and US Senate, Angle is floating another bid for higher office.

According to Guy Benson, the political editor of the conservative Townhall.com, Angle may be a candidate for “statewide office” in 2012 despite her humbling loss to Reid:

Amidst the blame game, Angle is plotting her next move. A well-informed source says Angle is seriously considering another run for statewide office. “Running for office gets in your blood,” the source said. “Sharron’s developed a huge donor list, she has lots of national connections, so there are several options she’s weighing.” This confidant wouldn’t say whether Angle has her eyes on John Ensign’s seat in 2012, but said she would likely make a decision about her future by “late spring.” Others dispute that any such explicit timetable exists, referencing post-election interviews in which Angle more vaguely mentions contemplating “lots of options.”

In fact, Angle’s recent moves suggest that her political career is far from over. Angle bragged during her concession speech about her fundraising capabilities and help from donors outside of the state, and many of her Tea Party supporters and campaign workers didn’t even want her to concede to Reid at all and instead “charge voter fraud.” And just last week she announced the creation of the Patriot Caucus, which will help her preserve her fundraising capabilities and political standing. Already, the group is building ties to key players in the Nevada Tea Party, including Eric Odom of Liberty.com.

If Angle wants to run statewide, US Senate may be her only option since the races for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Controller and Treasurer were all decided this November. The incumbent Republican John Ensign has been dogged by ethics scandals and many Republicans expect him to be challenged in a primary. Angle has experience running against leading Republican figures, running unsuccessfully against State Senate Republican Leader Bill Raggio in 2006 and defeating the former Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden in the 2010 primary.

Following his vote in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Ensign made himself a top target of groups such as the Family Research Council which vowed to back and finance a primary challenger to anyone who voted to repeal DADT. Now, they may look to Angle to rally Religious Right activists and her Tea Party brethren to make another run for the Senate.

The Right Falls Noticeably Silent on DADT Vote

Ever since the Senate voted to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell on Saturday afternoon, I have been scouring Religious Right websites trying to collect official statements that groups have released in response and have noticed that outside of a handful of groups, the vast majority of the movement has been utterly silent.

When Judge Vaughan Walker struck down Proposition 8, Religious Right leaders were falling over one another to release statements decrying it ... but the repeal of DADT has largely yielded collective silence. 

So far, we have not heard a peep about the vote from the American Center for Law and Justice, Concerned Women for America, The Eagle Forum, Focus on the Family, the Traditional Values Coalition, The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission [Update: TVC and CADC statements added here,] Vision America, The Christian Coalition, Renewing America Leadership or anything from conservative leaders like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, James Dobson, Newt Gingrich, or Richard Land [Update: Land has responded as well].

Most amazingly, Pat Robertson didn't even bother to comment on the vote after the segment about it on today's 700 Club  ... though the story did include this quote from the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins saying the Senate would have blood on their hands:

Obviously, these other groups and leaders could still release statements - and if they do, we'll include them in our collection of responses - but the vote happened two days ago and so far it is safe to say that the response from the Religious Right to the vote to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been near-universal silence.

Right Wing Delegate Seeks to Ban Gays From Virginia National Guard

Do you remember Bob Marshall, the Virginia state lawmaker who earlier this year claimed that women who have abortions subsequently give birth to children with disabilities as punishment from God?

Marshall claimed that he never said any such thing, but then released a video proving that he said exactly that ... and for all of his trouble, he was rewarded with a slot on a Family Research Council anti-healthcare reform webcast alongside Rep. Tom Price, (R-GA), Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

Well, now that the Senate has voted to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, you can just leave it up to someone like Marshall to react by announcing his intention to introduce legislation barring gays and lesbians from serving in the Virginia National Guard:

Responding to the federal repeal of the military policy banning open gays from serving in the armed forces, a state lawmaker in Virginia plans to fight back with legislation that bars "active homosexuals" from serving in the Virginia National Guard.

Delegate Robert G. Marshall said the Constitution reserves states with the authority to do so and that he'll introduce a bill in the state General Assembly next year that ensures the "the effect of the 1994 federal law banning active homosexuals from America's military forces will apply to the Virginia National Guard."

"With the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell,' President Obama seeks to pay back his homosexual political supporters," the Prince William County Republican said, echoing a sentiment shared by many of the repeal's most ardent opponents. "This policy will weaken military recruitment and retention, and will increase pressure for a military draft."

"The Constitution never would have been ratified if states were not [guaranteed] unqualified control of the militia, now called the National Guard," he said.

Reaction to DADT Vote: "The Few, the Proud, the Sexually Twisted"

Today, the Senate voted 63-33 to invoke cloture and bring the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell to a final vote later today.  With repeal of DADT all but a foregone conclusion, the Religious Right has begun releasing statements which we are going to chronicle here as they come it.

And judging by the early statements from the likes of Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, this vote is literally going to mean the end of America:

We are now stuck with sexual deviants serving openly in the U.S. military because of turncoat Republican senators ... Had the cloture vote failed, we would still have sane moral and sexual standards governing military personnel policy. But sadly those days are gone, perhaps forever.

...

The armies of other nations have allowed gays to serve openly in the military. The reason they could afford to do this is simple: they could allow homosexuals to serve in their military because we didn’t allow them to serve in ours.

They knew they could count on the strength, might, power, and cohesion of the U.S. military to intervene whenever and wherever necessary to pull their fannies out of the fire and squash the forces of tyranny wherever they raised their ugly heads around the world.

Those days are now gone. We will no longer be able to bail out these other emasculated armies because ours will now be feminized and neutered beyond repair, and there is no one left to bail us out. We have been permanently weakened as a military and as a nation by these misguided and treasonous Republican senators, and the world is now a more dangerous place for us all.

It’s past time for a litmus test for Republican candidates. This debacle shows what happens when party leaders are careless about the allegiance of candidates to the fundamental conservative principles expressed in the party’s own platform.

Character-driven officers and chaplains will eventually be forced out of the military en masse, potential recruits will stay away in droves, and re-enlistments will eventually drop like a rock.

The draft will return with a vengeance and out of necessity. What young man wants to voluntarily join an outfit that will force him to shower naked with males who have a sexual interest in him and just might molest him while he sleeps in his bunk?

This isn’t a game, and the military should never be used, as is now being done, for massive social re-engineering. The new Marine motto: “The Few, the Proud, the Sexually Twisted.” Good luck selling that to strong young males who would otherwise love to defend their country. What virile young man wants to serve in a military like that?

If the president and the Democrats wanted to purposely weaken and eventually destroy the United States of America, they could not have picked a more efficient strategy to make it happen.

Rarely can you point to a moment in time when a nation consigned itself to the scrap heap of history. Today, when the Senate normalized sexual perversion in the military, was that moment for the United States. If historians want a fixed marker pointing to the instant the United States sealed its own demise, they just found it.

Family Research Council:

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins issued the following statement following the vote:

"Today is a tragic day for our armed forces. The American military exists for only one purpose - to fight and win wars. Yet it has now been hijacked and turned into a tool for imposing on the country a radical social agenda. This may advance the cause of reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality, but it will only do harm to the military's ability to fulfill its mission.

"It is shameful that the Democratic leadership, aided by Republican Senators, has forced through such a radical change in a lame-duck session of Congress. The 1993 law which is to be repealed was adopted only after months of debate and at least a dozen Congressional hearings. The repeal has been forced through only eighteen days after the Pentagon released a massive report, which raised more questions than it answered on the impact the overturning of this policy will have on our nation's military.

"It is clear why this was done: not to enhance the military's ability to accomplish its mission or to enhance national security. Rather, it is a political payoff to a tiny, but loud and wealthy, part of the Democratic base. They knew that the Congress elected last month would never adopt such legislation - certainly not without a more thoughtful and deliberative process.

"We thank Senators John McCain, James Inhofe, Jeff Sessions and Jim DeMint, as well as all of those who voted to support our troops over advancing a liberal social agenda. These senators fought hard for our men and women in uniform, and their efforts will not be forgotten."

Peter LaBarbera:

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, which opposes the “gay” activist agenda, said today’s vote, potentially clearing the way for repealing the military ban, is the most important homosexuality-related congressional vote ever held: “If the lame-duck Congress succeeds in ‘gaying down’ our military this weekend, it will take a disastrous leap toward “mainstreaming” deviant, sinful homosexual conduct – not just in the military but in larger society — thus further propelling America’s moral downward spiral.

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Americans are tired of religious phoneys like [Sen. Joseph] Lieberman – politicians who use their religion as a PR prop while actively undermining its moral dictates. Claiming to be an “observant” Jew, Lieberman wears his religion on his sleeve (perhaps he will walk, not drive, on the Jewish Sabbath Day today to cast his pro-homosexuality vote!). Stealing the moral authority of “civil rights” is the only way Lieberman can rationalize his role as a crusader for the ‘Gay’ Lobby on Capitol Hill — when His religion, a form of Orthodox Judaism, condemns homosexual acts as an “abomination”

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Said Brian Camenker, founder of the pro-family group Mass Resistance, who attends an Orthodox synagogue in the Boston area:

“Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who has the incredible chutzpah to call himself an Orthodox Jew, will desecrate the holy Sabbath to go to work – the U.S. Senate – and vote to force the integration of homosexuality into the U.S. military. He is a shameful disgrace and an embarrassment to Orthodox Jews everywhere.”

Freedom Federation:

Mathew Staver, on behalf the Freedom Federation, made the following statement in response to the Senate’s vote to repeal Section 654, Title 10, U.S.C. (1993), which is usually mislabeled by the subsequent Executive policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT): "Our armed forces should take heart, because the American people will not turn its back on you. This vote happened because opportunistic Senators – only days before Christmas – put political interest groups above supporting our men and women in uniform."

Staver continued, "This action will be overturned in the next Congress because it breaks the bond of trust that must exist between the military and those who command in the Pentagon and Congress. Today’s vote will prove as costly to its proponents as ObamaCare was to its advocates. We promise a full mobilization of faith-based and policy organizations, veterans, and military families in the states of every Senator who voted for repeal of DADT against the advice of our service chiefs and during a time of war. Those Senators – and the Pentagon leaders responsible for this breach of trust – should understand that they will be the object of concerted political action against them."

MassResistance:

The U.S. military took its first step on the sexual slippery slope when it admitted women to the military academies in the mid-1970s. Later, women began serving on the frontlines (just one way Bill Clinton ensured the decline of our once proud military and kowtowed to the radical feminists). The denial of reality—that there was no new element of sexual tension acting as a distraction from discipline—began then.

The incorporation of women at least involved normal sexuality. And if a woman became pregnant, she would be discharged. Still, enormous damage has been done.

Now, with the repeal of the ban on homosexuals serving openly, we will see increased tensions, this time with an unnatural and perverted sexuality endangering discipline—and it will be more pervasive in the daily life of a soldier. Where men and women are at least segregated in their housing, bathrooms, etc., this will not be the case with homosexuals.

What a betrayal by our new Senator Brown to vote for the repeal of this important element of discipline. But then, he probably doesn’t have a problem showering no matter who is ogling him:

 Gordon Klingenschmitt:

"A chaplain friend of mine asked God this week, 'why do you allow evil to grow in America, and open homosexuality to be forced upon our military?' To which God answered him from Psalm 92:7: 'When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is so that they shall be destroyed forever.'

"Homosexual sin will always be a stench in the nostrils of Almighty God, an abomination which God condemns and shall punish with everlasting destruction. Even if the Senate had voted 100 to 0 to legalize sin, they could not remove God from His throne of Judgment, before which every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

"I hereby call upon the new Congress to never certify that the military is ready to implement repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and instead pass strong laws protecting the rights of Christian troops (especially chaplains) to openly speak their opinions about what the Bible calls sin, to refuse common showers, sleeping quarters and 'social re-education' without repercussion, guaranteeing religious freedom even outside of chapel services. If free speech and free religion rights of Christian chaplains and troops are not protected, then the military is not ready to certify or implement repeal, and will quickly begin to persecute good people of Christian conscience.

"I also hereby invite my own network of up to 125,000 patriot pastors across America, to whom I have, and shall again fax free voter guides before the November 2012 election, to mobilize Church voters to throw out these 25 pro-homosexual Senators up for re-election in 2 years: Snowe (R-ME), Scott Brown (R-MA), Ensign (R-NV), James Webb (D-VA), Nelson (D-NE), Nelson (D-FL), McCaskill (D-MO), Tester (D-MT), Conrad (D-ND), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Casey (D-PA), Feinstein (D-CA), Carper (D-DE), Akaka (D-HI), Cardin (D-MD), Stabenow (D-MI), Klobuchar (D-MI), Menendez (D-NJ), Bingaman (D-NM), Gillibrand (D-NY), Whitehouse (D-RI), Cantwell (D-WA), Kohl (D-WI), Lieberman (I-CT), Sanders (I-VT)."

Alliance Defense Fund:

The conservative legal group, Alliance Defense Fund, issued a statement after the vote saying "The Senate's cave-in to pressure from activists to impose homosexual behavior on our military will place our troops' religious liberties in unprecedented jeopardy. Indeed, the first official casualty of this hurried vote may well be the religious freedom of chaplains and Service members." ADF Litigation Counsel, Daniel Blomberg, went on to say " no Americans, and especially not our troops, should be forced to abandon their religious beliefs."

The ADF says it stands ready to defend Service members if they are ever unconstitutionally required to choose between "serving their country or obeying their God as a result of this damaging policy decision."

E.W. Jackson:

The unintended consequences on the military are staggering. Does this include transgender and transvestite individuals? What happens if homosexuals are married in one of the states which allow same sex marriage? Will the military recognize those marriages? There are too many unanswered questions.

"What of Christians who believe that homosexuality is sin? Are they to be silenced? Subjected to discipline or discharge? Will they live in close quarters with men or women attracted to the same sex? When homosexuality is given protected status, Christians are muzzled or persecuted for their beliefs, and their First Amendment Rights are trampled. This has happened in corporations all over America. The message is 'be silent or lose your job.' In the military, you cannot merely find another job. If keeping qualified people is the priority, what about the Christians who may be forced to leave the military because the environment is hostile to their faith? The message from Gates and Mullen is, 'Get out.' The repeal of the 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' law is a disaster of historic proportions and it must be reinstated. My organization and others will to fight to make sure that happens."

Traditional Values Coalition:

The attack against our military through the repeal of the 1993 law is an organized campaign against religion, biblical morality, and military culture.

A vote to repeal is an assault against the moral foundations of our society, which is based on Judeo-Christian values. This is only part of the total war that LGBT activists are waging against our culture.

LGBT activists are doing a victory dance over conquering our U.S. military – but this is only a skirmish in a long battle to homosexualize our entire culture. I expect to see an effort down the road to include "transgenders" in the military. That should be an interesting debate.

In addition, LGBT activists are now turning their guns on passage of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), which will be a disaster for businesses, charitable groups and Christian organizations. Schools will be forced to hire transgender teachers. They'll also be pushing for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

One of the new big guns in the LGBT artillery is called Equality Matters, which is a spin-off of the disreputable group known as Media Matters, run by gay activist David Brock. Guess who will be running Equality Matters? Why none other than Richard Socarides, a Fox News contributor and former gay senior advisor on domestic policy for President Clinton.

Equality Matters just launched its web page today and will be a major force in attacking traditional values in the years ahead.

Media Matters is a George Soros front organization designed to smear conservative journalists and to funnel misinformation into the so-called mainstream media. This Soros front currently has a $13 million yearly budget to assault Fox News and other credible news outlets.

All is not lost, however. With Republicans controlling the House in January, it is likely that conservatives will be successful in holding back at least some of the LGBT objectives until we can change Presidents in 2012. If we can elect a strong conservative, we might be able to reverse many of the current victories achieved by Obama and his LGBT friends.

Christian Anti-Defamation Commission:

After a long and difficult fight, the struggle for maintaining the military policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was lost for now. There are some hard truths for those who uphold traditional biblical morality to face. Being able to admit we have a problem is the first step towards making the changes we need to reverse this and other gains made by sexual anarchists and secularists.

The last thing we need to do is surrender biblical moral standards to sexual libertines, as if God’s holy nature has somehow changed with public opinion polls.

Homosexual behavior is intrinsically sinful and we cannot renegotiate God’s moral law. No apologies are necessary for agreeing with Jesus, the Apostles, the Law and the Prophets. History, science, scripture and eternity concur.

Homosexual sin, like every other kind of sin, always results in some kind of death. But sexual sin in general, and homosexual sin in particular, is singled out in the Old and New Testament as particularly deadly. Because of this, the unrepentant person trapped in homosexuality, just like all other sinners, is to be pitied and the object of our compassion.

Spiritually, they are dead to God’s mercy and transforming grace in Christ. Sadly, it was unrepentant homosexual Ellen DeGeneres who emceed the Christmas in Washington TV Show this year with President Obama and family smiling as they blindly celebrated the birth of the Savior. They never saw the incongruence of it all.

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Ultimately, we must resolve that Providence has ordained the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” for now. It could not have happened if God had willed otherwise. But why?

In times like these when our nation defies the moral law of the living God, we must ask, “Is God hardening our heart like he did the defiant Pharaoh?” God did it to show His mighty power in the outpouring of ten plagues on the gods of Egypt and by destroying Pharaoh and his army.

Is God letting America ripen in her rebellion before He wields the mighty sickle of His wrath? It’s worth considering as our nation’s military now serves under a shameful, pink flag.

In the meantime Christian, humbly pray, boldly preach and persevere by the power of the Holy Spirit knowing that God is not mocked and one day His righteousness will prevail.

Richard Land:

"This is a very, very sad day for America," Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told Baptist Press. "It is an honor and a privilege, not a right, to serve in our nation's military. There are multitudes of reasons why the military is the most respected national institution in American life. I have heard from privates and seamen all the way through generals and admirals that this will cause significant numbers of people to resign from the military -- in the middle of two wars."

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"The reality is that in America today, an all-volunteer military is significantly disproportionately from red-state America," Land said. "And the resignations from the military will be disproportionately from red-state America. So, quite rapidly the military will go from an organization in which homosexuals are underrepresented in ratio to a percentage of the population to an institution where they are overrepresented, which will only accelerate the rate of resignation. Legislators who voted for this disproportionately never served in the military. The opposition was led by legislators who have served."

Concerned Women for America:

"Instead of answering questions about the rights of homosexuals in this country, rescinding DADT only serves to further muddy the waters. Will Christian chaplains be forced out of the military if they don't accept the repeal? Will homosexual partners receive preference over heterosexual families for military family housing? These are just the first of many questions surrounding implementation of this impending law, not to mention how it could severely affect our military personnel. We hoped our Congress would focus on the needs of the military and the protection of the country rather than force through this social engineering experiment during the lame duck Congress on the weekend before Christmas.

"For the social conservatives of this country, a good majority of whom voted in this new Congress, the fight over homosexual rights does not end at DADT. In no way does this repeal usher in an acceptance of same-sex marriage. Voters in 31 out of 31 states have voted to protect marriage as between one man and one woman, including supposedly liberal states such as Maine, Michigan, Oregon and California (twice). In Iowa this past election, three Supreme Court justices were voted out of office for legalizing same-sex marriage over the heads of the voters. When voters are fully informed, they reject the extreme homosexual rights agenda."

FRC To "Endorse and Fund" Primary Challenges to Any Senator That Supports DADT Repeal

The other day we noted that members of the Freedom Federation had sent another letter to members of the Senate urging them to delay any vote on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell until next year (when Republicans would have enough votes to kill any such effort).

Today, The Daily Caller printed a memo written by Freedom Federation founder Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel that was distributed to his Religious Right allies laying out the ten senators they intended to target: 

Senators need to know that they will be held accountable for how they vote on this issue.

Within the next 48 hours be sure to communicate with your constituencies that the following ten Senators in the following states must be contacted, urging them to vote against overturning DADT:

Ben Nelson – Nebraska

Jon Tester – Montana

Kent Conrad – North Dakota

Joe Manchin – West Virginia

Jim Webb – Virginia

Claire McCaskill – Missouri

Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe – Maine

Scott Brown – Massachusetts

Lisa Murkowski – Alaska

These ten Senators need to get the clear message that each of them will have to choose which set of supporters they want in 2012 when they run for reelection. We need to make the choice very clear.

Today, the Family Research Council took it a step further and officially announced that they will "endorse and fund conservative primary challengers to any U.S. Senator who votes to overturn 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' during the lame-duck session":

FRC Action PAC President Connie Mackey made the following comments:

“We are pledging today to endorse, and help fund, conservative primary challengers to any U.S. Senator who votes during the lame-duck session to overturn ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ FRC Action PAC will work to remove any U.S. Senator who would place liberal special interests ahead of the priorities of the American people.

“The U.S. Senate has twice rejected the overturn of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Despite this, Majority Leader Harry Reid continues with his obsession while failing to address the essential responsibilities of the federal government. As three of the four service chiefs have made clear, the men and women of the Armed Forces who are engaged in fighting two wars should not be distracted by Congress using them to advance a liberal social agenda. Using the Senate’s time in the lame-duck session to pay back his liberal political base is simply absurd and demonstrates once again Senator Reid’s misplaced priorities. Members of the Senate should refuse to become accomplices in helping Harry Reid advance his agenda over the American people’s agenda,” concluded Mackey.

What was that I was just saying yesterday about FRC completely losing it over the prospect of seeing DADT repealed?

Herman Cain: The Right Wing Sleeper Candidate in 2012?

Politico’s Ben Smith discussed today the unforeseen possibility that right wing activist Herman Cain could be a surprise Republican candidate for president, after he bested all other Republicans in an online straw poll conducted by the conservative blog RedState. Cain, an African American businessman and radio talk show host, even topped Sarah Palin, who came in second, to be the favorite of the right wing blogosphere. Erick Erickson of RedState writes, “I like Herman Cain and, though truth be told I never thought he’d make it past Mike Pence, I am delightfully surprised by the results.”

There is already a Draft Cain movement and he operates his own political action committee, called The Hermanator PAC (seriously). He has received praise from conservative darlings from Bishop Harry Jackson and Bryan Fischer to Joe the Plumber, and Cain himself is talking-up his chances at a presidential bid, telling The Daily Caller: “I will run proudly as a non-establishment candidate. I think the public has an appetite for a non-establishment candidate.” More recently, Cain told Fischer on the American Family Association’s radio program that after Republican gains in November, he is “one step closer” to running for President. When pondering a run, he explained: “No I don’t want to…but I feel like I must run.”

Of course, a 2012 presidential run wouldn’t be Cain’s first foray into politics. Cain is closely involved with Tea Party organizations and co-signed a letter with prominent right wing leaders asking the GOP leadership make “restoring traditional moral values” a key part of their agenda. He also ran for US Senate in 2004 in his home state of Georgia but garnered just 26% of the vote and lost to Senator Johnny Isakson in the GOP primary.

During the 2006 election, Cain was the public face of America’s PAC, a group that used stereotypical language and imagery when calling on Black voters to support Republicans. Cain, who voiced many of the group’s ads, maintained, “The main thing that America’s Pac is up to is it basically is challenging the thesis or the belief on the part of the Republican Party that they cannot attract the black vote.” America’s PAC suggested that Democrats were “decimating our population” by supporting abortion rights:

“Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies,” a female announcer in one of the ads says, as rain, thunder, and a crying infant are heard in the background.

“The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual's right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote. Why don't they want our lives?”

Or as put in another ad:

Michael: And if you make a little mistake with one of your ho’s, you’ll want to dispose of that problem toot sweet, no questions asked, right?

Dennis: Naw, that’s too cold. I don’t snuff my own seed

Michael: Huh. Really? (pause) Well, maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican!

America’s PAC was heavily backed by Republican financiers and led by a conservative activist who said that teaching evolution is “tantamount to teaching atheism.” Another one of their ads suggested that Democrats who opposed the Iraq War were treacherously allied with racist and right wing leader David Duke, who also opposed the war:

Now, I can understand why a Ku Klux Klan cracker like David Duke makes nice with the terrorists. They fight voting rights in Iraq, just like he does back home. But what I want to know is why so many of the Democrat politicians I helped elect are on the same side of the Iraq war as David Duke.

According to a report by the New York Sun, “Many of the ads with conservative social themes are sandwiched between hip-hop songs that convey blunt sexual messages. A spokesman for America’s Pac, John Altevogt, said no stations have refused the ads, but a few asked for minor edits, such as the removal of the word ‘cracker’ from the David Duke spot.”

However, the ads failed to produce significant gains for the GOP among Black voters, as nine in ten African Americans backed Democratic candidates in 2006.

Certainly, the Tea Party, the Religious Right, and the GOP will seek Cain’s help to attract Black voters in case his presidential run fails to get off the ground. Judging by his track record at America’s PAC in 2006, they may want to look elsewhere.

 

FRC Losing It Over DADT

In yesterday's Washington Update from the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins writes that Senators will have "the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands" if they vote to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and allow gays to serve openly in the military:

How many brave men and women are liberals willing to sacrifice so that homosexuals can flaunt their lifestyle? The only reason for changing the present policy is if it would help the military accomplish its mission. So far, no one has produced a single reason how it would. Until then, the Senate has to ask itself: Do they want the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands just to appease the political base of Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)? If they can live with that, then they're unlike any human beings I've ever met.

And FRC also sent out a desperate alert to its prayer warriors asking for them to pray that the "evil plans ... to foist ungodly laws upon our nation" will be thwarted:

Our nation is threatened today, within and without, by those who oppose Biblical truth, Biblical moral standards and freedom of speech among Bible believers. We who pray must invoke the supernatural intervention of God so that those who seek to foist ungodly laws upon our nation will be confused, divided, and prevented from achieving their evil plans.

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These people are obsessed because they are spiritually blind. They are driven (Eph 6:12). Obviously they either do not know, do not believe or do not care what God has said about the consequences that will come upon a people who approve what He calls an "abomination." There should be an uprising from among our churches, but alas, there has not been to date. As for the advocates of open homosexual practice, they know that breaking down the barrier to homosexuality in the military is to capture the last remaining institution in America that maintains conservative moral standards, such as prohibiting the practice of adultery, homosexuality and other aberrant sexual behaviors that are harmful to good order and discipline in the ranks.

  • May God's people awaken, cry out to God, and by the power they have been given to impact their nation through believing prayer - stop this effort to bring open homosexuality into our military forces. May the Senators mentioned above and other who have intended to support this measure have a change of mind. May God OPEN THEIR EYES. May God send CONFUSION to those laboring to push this measure! May He protect our troops and require our elected men and women to do their duty to do right! May our champions in the Senate filibuster; may cloture fail, and may the effort to overturn DADT be stopped once and for all! Have mercy upon our nation, O God!

For the record, Ephesians 6:12 reads: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

So, in essence, FRC is saying that DADT repeal is a plot by the Devil.

Right Wing Round-Up

Religious Right Keeps Fighting Losing Battle Against DADT

A few weeks ago, dozens of Religious Right leaders signed on to a letter calling for any effort to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell to be put off until next year (when Republican gains in Congress would allow them to kill any such effort).

The most recent effort to repeal DADT failed in the Senate failed, so now Congress is making one last push to overturn the policy, leading this same group of Religious Right leaders to re-issue the same letter:

Ninety-four organizations have joined together to sign a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate opposing the repeal of the law that prohibits open homosexuality in the military ... The ninety-four organizations represent more than 40 million people across the nation. The letter, which is being hand delivered to every member of the U.S. House and Senate, states that an attempt to repeal the law that prohibits open homosexuality in the military during the lame duck session is illegitimate and untimely. Three of the four top commanding officers testified before Congress that such a repeal should not be undertaken when the country is at war.

The letter states: “We are engaged in a war on many fronts. Our troops are in harm’s way in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. This is no time to experiment with social engineering of the military.” The letter goes on to state that “the consequences of repealing DADT will no doubt result in service members leaving the military or refusing to join. We cannot afford attrition or demoralization of our military in light of the wars we are facing in the Middle East, not to mention the looming threat of North Korea.”

Both times this letter has been organized by Liberty Counsel, which sent out its own separate email alert today asking activists to fax members of Congress and urge them to oppose the repeal effort:

I am incensed that these lame duck demagogues refuse to accept the fact that Americans do not want open homosexuality in our armed forces! We must not accept the overt politicization of this crucially important national defense issue ... We MUST counter the Left's last-gasp agenda until the moment they (finally!) get out of Washington! We simply cannot quit now and allow Harry Reid and his cronies a last-minute victory for pro-homosexual interests.

As it turns out, a newly released poll shows that it is Liberty Counsel that just cannot accept the fact Americans overwhelmingly support repealing DADT: 

Nearly eight in 10 Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The results signal continued widespread public support for ending the military's 17-year ban on gays in the military and come as Congress prepares to vote again on legislation ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" law.

Overall, 77 percent of Americans say gays and lesbians who publicly disclose their sexual orientation should be able to serve in the military. That's little changed from polls over the two years, but represents the highest level of support in a Post-ABC poll. The support also cuts across partisan and ideological lines, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans, independents, liberals, conservatives and white evangelical Protestants in favor of homosexuals' serving openly.

In fact, the poll shows that more than 2/3rds of Liberty Counsel's own demographic - Conservative Republicans and White Evangelicals - support allowing openly gay men and women to serve:

Federalist Society Inspires NJ Justice To Refuse to Cast Votes

For 63 years, not one sitting New Jersey Supreme Court Justice who had sought to be re-appointed by the Governor had been refused ... until Gov. Chris Christie took office and decided to replace Justice John Wallace with a Republican nominee of his own.

That move did not sit well with the Democrats in the state Senate who announced that they would refuse to even consider confirming Christie's nominee, leading Chief Justice Stuart Rabner to appoint a senior judge of the appellate division to serve as a temporary justice in order to fill the vacant seventh seat.

And everything seemed fine until Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto, whose term expires in 2011, discovered an article from The Federalist Society [PDF] claiming that allowing the Chief Justice to fill this vacant seat is unconstitutional.

And now, inspired by this article, Rivera-Soto announced that he will refuse to participate in any more decisions because the current make-up of the court is unconstitutional:

In an unexpected action that rocked New Jersey's legal community Friday, New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Roberto A. Rivera-Soto declared he will abstain from the high court's decisions because he maintains Chief Justice Stuart Rabner did not have the constitutional power to appoint Judge Edwin Stern to temporarily fill a vacant seat on the seven-member panel.

...

In two routine decision made public Friday, Rivera-Soto stated it was not necessary to appoint a temporary justice, and that he is abstaining from decisions because the court's current makeup is unconstitutional. He argued that only the governor has the power to appoint a justice.

"The assignment of a Superior Court judge to serve on this court to fill a vacancy resulting from a political impasse between the executive and the legislative branches thrusts the judiciary into that political thicket, all the while improperly advancing one side's views in preference over the other's," Rivera-Soto wrote. "The Constitution, sober and reflective court practice, and everyday common sense each counsels against the foolhardy steps the court today takes."

Democrats in the state Senate are now demanding that Rivera-Soto resign from the court, accusing him of waging this stunt in an attempt to curry favor with Gov. Christie in hopes of being re-appointed when his term expires:

"Today's dissent from Justice Rivera-Soto shows contempt for the law, disregard for his fellow jurists and utter disdain for the right of New Jerseyans to have their cases heard by a full Court," [Senate President Stephen M.] Sweeney said. "It officially cements his place as the worst and most ethically challenged justice in the history of the modern judiciary.

"If he is so disinterested in fulfilling his constitutional duties, then he should step down and let the governor nominate and the Senate confirm a new justice who will actually participate in court matters," Sweeney said. "It's very telling that not one of his colleagues — nor any other jurist since 1947 — would agree with his cynical, transparent and politically motivated temper tantrum, which is either a hail-Mary attempt to curry favor among conservatives to save his own reappointment or an effort to undercut the state Supreme Court's authority on the eve of legislative redistricting.

"This isn't the first mistake Rivera-Soto's made since joining the Court, but it should be his last," Sweeney added.

...

Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Union) chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also called on Rivera-Soto to resign.

"Justice Rivera-Soto's outright refusal to perform his judicial duties demonstrates a complete disregard for the position he holds and for the residents of this state," Scutari said. "The timing of his move is suspect. With his reappointment around the corner, this smacks of a desperate attempt to distract from his ethical lapses and grab the attention of right wing pundits who share a disdain for the court. This is an act of true arrogance. He is making an absolute mockery of the judiciary, and is clearly no longer fit to serve on the court. He should immediately step down."

Santorum: “Democracy and freedom will disappear” under Obama

Rick Santorum continues to test the waters for a presidential run in the Republican primary, now with a fresh profile in today’s Washington Post. While candidacies from Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Mike Pence may leave little room for Santorum to campaign as the Religious Right’s favored contender, he seems to be doing everything right to play to his social conservative base: denouncing John F. Kennedy’s famous speech on the separation of church and state, campaigning against Iowa Supreme Court justices, donating to Republicans in early primary states through his leadership PAC, and declaring himself the only Tea Party presidential aspirant. And of course, nothing riles the right wing base more than ominous rhetoric about President Obama:

Santorum still breathes fire. In his evolving stump speech, he frames the prospect of Obama's reelection in near-apocalyptic terms: "Democracy and freedom will disappear." His agenda consists of stopping pretty much everything that has been set in motion in the past two years, starting with the overhaul of the nation's health-care system.

After losing his 2006 reelection bid for Senate by a lopsided 59% to 41% margin, Santorum hopes that Republican voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are much kinder:

"I'm feeling like doors are opening," the Republican former senator from Pennsylvania mused over his decaf. "Things are happening that maybe give me the impression that maybe I need to look at this seriously."

So seriously that Santorum was on his seventh trip to New Hampshire since April. Not to mention seven to Iowa over the past 14 months and seven to South Carolina in that time.

It had been a busy day: morning meetings with influential New Hampshire Republicans and grass-roots leaders, a luncheon with the Manchester Rotary Club, a dash to the seacoast for a private audience with former governor John Sununu, a dinner with GOP activist Claira Monier, then a question-and-answer session with the Goffstown-Weare Republican Committee.

Santorum had yet another meeting that evening back at his hotel. Before heading home the next day, he would get in an early-morning speech to a second Rotary chapter, a round of media interviews, more face time with GOP activists. Oh, and he'd make it to Mass at a nearby church.

This is what the embryonic days of a long-shot presidential campaign look like.

"If someone gets in the race that I feel really comfortable could do the things that need to be done - both winning and governing - then maybe this is a chance to say, 'Let this cup pass,' " Santorum said. "At this point, given what I see out there, I'm not feeling that."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • FRC hails the failure of the DADT vote.
  • Speaking of FRC, they remain very upset about being classified as a hate group by the SPLC.
  • But I do want to highlight this good post by Tom McClusky pointing out the ridiculousness of Grover Norquist's self-serving rationalization.
  • What a surprise: Westboro Baptist Church is going to protest Elizabeth Edwards' funeral.
  • Finally, CNSNews has started asking members of Congress whether they believe Jesus had a right to life at the moment of conception.  I have no idea why.

Right Wing Groups Play Games with the Courts, Try to Block Judicial Nominees

As GOP delay-tactics in the US Senate continue to cause and aggravate judicial emergencies in the nation’s courtrooms, right wing activists demand that Senate Republicans persist in preventing members from voting to confirm Obama’s judicial nominees, even those who won significant bipartisan support. Even former Republican judges have condemned Republican games in the Senate as the number of judicial vacancies and emergencies rapidly grow.

But right wing activists are calling on the Senate GOP to stand firm and further weaken the judicial system. In the effort to paint President Obama as the second coming of who else but Jimmy Carter, Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly blasted Obama’s purportedly “radical” nominees:

One of the greatest risks of the current lame-duck Congress is the possibility of Senate confirmation of President Obama's radical appointments to federal courts, boards and agencies.

Nominees hoping for confirmation include the radical redistributionist Goodwin Liu, who is seeking a spot on the Ninth Circuit; Louis Butler Jr., who was removed from the Wisconsin Supreme Court by the voters in 2008, and Chai Feldblum, an advocate of same-sex marriage and polygamy who is now enjoying a recess appointment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Appointees to federal circuit and district courts can be almost as important as Supreme Court justices because the Supreme Court takes only about 1% of the cases that seek to reach the high court. Lower federal court judges have been making final rulings on dozens of controversial issues that should be legislative decisions, including marriage, parents' rights in public schools and immigration.

Some have lamented that Jimmy Carter, who served only one term as president, didn't get a chance to make any Supreme Court appointments. But don't cry for Carter — he had plenty of influence on the judiciary.



The historic election of 2010 delivered a clear "shellacking" to President Obama's policies, one of which was his choice of federal judges, including the extremely left-wing Elena Kagan, now on the Supreme Court. The Senate should refuse to confirm any of Obama's judicial or agency nominees in the lame-duck session.

Of course, Goodwin Liu is seen as one of the country’s top legal and constitutional scholars; Louis Butler did lose his 2008 race, but only after a vicious smear-campaign by corporate interest groups, and Chai Feldblum is a prominent law professor and disability-rights activist.

Rick Manning of the pro-corporate Astroturf group Americans for Limited Government is also calling on the Senate to reject Liu, by propagating the false charge that Liu believes health care is a constitutional right.

His views that health and welfare issues are constitutional rights are outside-the-mainstream, pitting those who believe in limited government power against those who would give unfettered power to the federal government.

Liu’s extremism is particularly disturbing because the court system is likely to be confronted by a variety of cases related to health care. Liu’s belief that health care is a right would put him firmly in the position of supporting an even broader expansion of the ObamaCare legislation to eliminate the private provision of health care services.

But as the Alliance for Justice points out, Liu in his legal writings made almost the opposite case about welfare rights such as health care:

[Liu] has argued for a model of judicial restraint, concluding that courts should not interpret the Constitution to create affirmative welfare rights, whether to education, health care, or minimal levels of subsistence. Liu has explained that “such rights cannot be reasoned into existence by courts on their own” and has explained that his understanding of the judicial role “does not license courts to declare rights to entirely new benefits or programs not yet in existence.”

Richard Painter, a former lawyer for the Bush White House, made clear in the Los Angeles times what activists like Phyllis Schlafly and Rick Manning are really up to. He argued that right wing groups are playing political games with the judiciary in their opposition to a renowned scholar like Liu:

A noisy argument has persisted for weeks in the Senate, on blog sites and in newspaper columns over President Obama's nomination of Liu to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This political spat over a single appellate judge makes no sense if one looks at Liu's academic writings and speeches, which reflect a moderate outlook. Indeed, much of this may have nothing to do with Liu but rather with politicians and interest groups jostling for position in the impending battle over the president's next nominee to the Supreme Court.

Liberty Counsel: DADT Keeps "Moral Perverts" Out Of The Armed Services

Last week, Brian noted how Religious Right leaders have seized upon reports that Wikileaks-leaker Bradly Manning is gay in order to argue for the continuing need to enforce Don't Ask, Don't Tell. 

The topic came up in the Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom Radio" program today as Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the issue and cited a report from the 1950s claiming that gays were "moral perverts" and therefore a national security risk:

Staver: According to news reports, Manning decided to turn traitor after a fight with his boyfriend, which somehow motivated him to send hundreds of thousands of confidential documents to WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange, who's alleged also by some to be gay.

But at any rate, if you go back and look at this, go back to the reports of the 1950s when a series of Senate committee reports concluded that "moral perverts are bad national security risks because of the susceptibility to blackmail" and that homosexuals are "vulnerable to interrogation by a skilled questioner" due to emotional instability or moral weakness.

And that comes from The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, October 1, 2001. So this is not some ancient document, but it looks back at what happened in the 1950s with regards to why homosexuality was automatic excluder for someone in a national security position.

Barber: This shows specifically why, this highlights why we have the policy in place that seeks to keep sexual deviancy out of the ranks of the armed services.

I guess it is worth pointing out that Staver is completely misrepresenting the 2001 "The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory" by suggesting that it supported the findings of the reports from the 1950s when it did the exact opposite:

Barriers to security clearances for gay men and lesbians: fear of blackmail or fear of homosexuals?
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory - October 1, 2001
Gregory B. Lewis

Historically, the federal government has been a far-from-model employer of lesbians and gay men. It officially prohibited their employment in the 1950s, did not remove homosexuality as grounds for dismissal until the mid-1970s, did not pledge equal treatment in the granting of security clearances until the mid-1990s, and continues to deny equal pay for equal work by denying the same benefits to domestic partners of gay employees that it grants to spouses of heterosexual employees. (1) This article focuses on federal policies that denied security clearances to homosexuals until the 1980s and subjected gay applicants for clearances to intrusive questioning about their sex lives until the 1990s. Because approximately two hundred thousand federal employees and federal contractors require clearances to do their jobs (GAO 1995), and because clearances are essential for advancement toward the top of several federal agencies, these policies created a so-called lavender ceiling for gay employees in some agencies and firms. A concern that closeted homosexuals could be blackmailed into revealing the nation's secrets justified the policy, but both administrative documents and survey data indicate that distaste for homosexuals undergirded it.

I begin this article with a brief history of federal policy, showing that although explicit bans on both security clearances and federal employment emerged at the same time from the same roots, court actions led the policies along different trajectories. I will then look at the weak evidence that gay people were at increased risk of betraying the nation's secrets and the reasons that evidence was sufficient to uphold the policy. Although the courts rejected immorality as grounds for dismissing gay employees, their deference to administrative expertise and administrators' reliance on a common sense standard meant that distaste for homosexuals bolstered national security concerns. In the third section I will use survey data from the 1990s to show that those who disapprove of homosexuality and gay rights are more likely than others to support intense questioning about sexual orientation before granting security clearances.

DeMint Will Give GOP Incumbents a Pass in 2012, Viguerie Will Not

It has been no secret that many of Sen. Jim DeMint's Republican colleagues have been unhappy with his willingness to back radical candidates to challenge, and in some cases defeat, establishment-backed candidates and to openly attack them for failing to embrace his ultra-right-wing agenda.

Of course, DeMint's ideological zealotry has made him a hero to the Religious Right and the Tea Party Movement. But now comes word that DeMint is privately assuring his Republican colleagues that he will not support any candidates who might decide to offer a primary challenge to a sitting senator:

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint is privately reassuring his Republican colleagues up for reelection that he won’t recruit or endorse any primary opponent against them, vowing to raise more than $10 million aimed mainly at taking down Democratic incumbents.

In a letter obtained by POLITICO, the tea party favorite appears to be taking steps to soothe post-election tensions with his GOP colleagues, including some who say his political tactics have been counterproductive.

At the same time, however, the South Carolina conservative’s latest move could disappoint some of his most fervent grassroots supporters who are preparing to line up tea-party-backed candidates in states like Indiana, Utah and Maine where Republican senators have become targets of the right wing.

...

“First, despite rumors to the contrary, I want to assure you that I will not recruit or support primary challengers to incumbent Republicans, and you can also be assured I will support all of our Republican nominees for the Senate,” he wrote in the letter he sent Wednesday.

Given that there are several Senators up for re-election in 2012 who are regularly derided as RINOs, this move by DeMint seem likely to anger Tea Party activists ... and, in fact, Richard Viguerie is already declaring that "other conservatives cannot, and will not, give these out-of-touch Republicans a pass":

"Senator DeMint has repeatedly taken heat from establishment Republicans for his strong conservative stances and support for the tea party movement, and no doubt feels tremendous pressure from his colleagues to fall in line with the GOP leadership.

"All small-government, constitutional conservatives are deeply in Senator DeMint's debt for his sacrifices, work, and leadership in behalf of our cause.

"However, four or five of the ten Republican Senators up for re-election in 2012 need to be voted out, and if Sen. DeMint feels that he cannot involve himself in those primary races, then it is up to grassroots conservatives and tea partiers to provide the leadership to replace RINO Republicans or ineffective Republicans with effective and principled conservatives."

DADT: Religious Right Wants Investigation Into Climate of Intimidation at Pentagon

Dozens of Religious Right leaders have come together to sign on to a letter [PDF] released under the Freedom Federation banner calling on the Senate to put off any vote on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell until the next session of Congress so that there can be investigations into whether the findings of the recent report showing DADT could be repealed with little to no risk was, in fact, the result of a "climate of not-so-subtle intimidation in the Pentagon" that lead to the

It is a serious risk to national security to repeal DADT without first investigating thoroughly – in public hearings – the effect of the proposed repeal. We are engaged in a war on many fronts. Our troops are in harm’s way in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. This is no time to experiment with social engineering of the military.

We are also gravely concerned about the effect that repealing DADT will have on religious freedom. One senior army general, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, said that those who oppose repeal are guilty of unacceptable attitudes that he reportedly described as “bigotry.” Additionally, expert analysts have warned that a “non-discrimination” policy for sexual minorities will have broad-reaching effects on religious freedom. It is conceivable that chaplains will be forbidden to preach or speak about their denomination’s position on homosexuality.

The Defense Department report on the likely effects of repealing DADT was not released until November 30, 2010. There is simply not enough time between then and adjournment to investigate and deliberate about this very important issue. For that reason, any consideration of repeal should be put off until next year.

Moreover, we are deeply concerned about the methodology of the DOD report and survey. In view of General Bostick’s disturbing comments and Admiral Mullen’s and Secretary of Defense Gates’ unseemly cheerleading on this issue, we believe it behooves the next Congress to investigate whether proponents of repeal tried to create a climate of not-so-subtle intimidation in the Pentagon.

The rush to repeal DADT by January of 2011 is a slap in the face of the American people who are tired of bully politics. Moreover, the consequences of repealing DADT will no doubt result in service members leaving the military or refusing to join. We cannot afford attrition or demoralization of our military in light of the wars we are facing in the Middle East, not to mention the looming threat of North Korea.

Among the names listed on this are:

Sarah Palin
Mat and Anita Staver
Ken Blackwell
Tony Perkins
Penny Nance
Lou Sheldon
Elaine Donnelly
Andrea Lafferty
Samuel Rodriguez
Robert Knight
Harry Jackson
Janet Porter
Cindy Jacobs
Tim Wildmon
Cliff Kincaid
Jim Garlow
Tom Minnery
Gary Bauer
Richard Viguerie
Gary Kreep
Linda Harvey
Joseph Farah
Gary Cass
Rick Joyner
Paul Blair
Don Feder
Kelly Shackelford
James Klingenschmitt
E.W. Jackson
Star Parker
Matt Barber
Dave Welch

UPDATE: Apparently the Sarah Palin signature on this letter was a mistake, as that signature now reads:

Rita Grace
Organizer
Constitutional TEA Party
President
Sarah Palin Republican Women

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe Boycotts Hometown “Holiday” Parade

The “War on Christmas” has come to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and US Senator Jim Inhofe isn’t happy. Inhofe, the former mayor of Tulsa, participated in the city’s parade every year but is so outraged that the city dropped the word “Christmas” from its name that he has decided to boycott the ceremonies:

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Tuesday that he won't participate in Tulsa's Holiday Parade of Lights until organizers put "Christ" back in the event's title.

"Last year, the forces of political correctness removed the word 'Christmas' and replaced it with 'Holiday' instead," the Oklahoma Republican said. "I am deeply saddened and disappointed by this change."

Inhofe, who was Tulsa's mayor from 1978 to 1984, said he had participated in the parade annually, riding a horse as his children and grandchildren watched.

"I did not do so last year because I'm not going to ride in a Christmas parade that doesn't recognize Christmas," he said. "I am hopeful that the good people of Tulsa and the city's leadership will demand a correction to this shameful attempt to take Christ, the true reason for our celebration, out of the parade's title. Until the parade is again named the Christmas Parade of Lights, I will not participate."

Inhofe’s involvement in the annual “War on Christmas” demagoguery should not be a surprise, as he is one of the Senate’s most prominent culture warriors and even said that he tries to use his status as a Senator to convert people to Christianity.

Believers in American Exceptionalism More Likely to Support Torture

We have written about the ways that Tea Party candidates, Religious Right leaders like David Barton, and pundits like Glenn Beck have been promoting the idea of a divinely-inspired American Exceptionalism, and attacking President Obama for being an enemy of exceptionalism who is out to destroy it. 

A new survey released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute makes it clear that there’s fertile ground for politically exploiting this concept, especially among Republican voters. When voters were asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement that “God has granted America a special role in human history,” 58 percent of Americans agree. Not surprisingly, white evangelicals agreed overwhelmingly – 83 percent – along with 76 percent of those who identify with the Tea Party movement and 75 percent of Republicans. Among Democrats, about half – 49 percent – agree. More than two thirds of Americans with no religious affiliation reject the idea that God has given the US a special role in history.
 
Perhaps more interesting is the survey’s findings that white Americans who affirm this notion of divinely inspired American exceptionalism are much more likely to favor military strength over diplomacy as the best way to preserve peace than those who reject exceptionalism, and significantly more likely to believe that torture can be justified. Americans are about evenly split on the question of whether torture can ever be justified against suspected terrorists, but only about a third of Republicans and those identifying with the Tea Party agree that torture can never be justified. Fifty-five percent of those who believe in a divine role for the US believe torture can sometimes be justified; only 42 percent of those who reject that role are willing to accept torture under some circumstances.
 
It’s worth noting that half of white evangelicals believe that torture can never be justified, making this one among several issues in which Tea Party supporters are to the right of other Christian conservatives even though there is major overlap between the two groups. E.J. Dionne and William Galston of the Brookings Institution, in a paper commenting on the survey findings, note that “While white Christian conservatives and Tea Party supporters are in broad agreement on many issues, there is a harder edge to Tea Party views on immigration, multiculturalism, and Islam.”
 
Those differences could contribute to the ongoing public struggles to define what the 2010 election meant and what kinds of issues should be considered part of the Tea Party agenda. The crucial role played by Latino voters in Democratic Senate victories in Nevada, California, and Colorado also point to ways in which the Tea Party movement’s hard-edge positions on immigration and Islam, and its lack of concern about racial discrimination, could interfere with efforts by some GOP and Religious Right leaders to broaden the demographic base of the Republican Party. 

If Ensign Votes To Repeal DADT, Expect the Right To Suddenly Care About His Infidelity

As we know, there is one sin that any Republican member of Congress can commit for which they will never be forgiven by the Religious Right, and that is not supporting their anti-gay agenda. 

Whereas a Republican like Sen. David Vitter could admit to involvement with prostitutes and still receive the support of Religious Right groups when he sought re-election, other Republicans like Rep. Joseph Cao found out the hard way that if you don't toe the anti-gay line, you will find yourself on the receiving end of Religious Right attack ads.

Which brings us to Sen. John Ensign, the Republican Senator from Nevada who has been embroiled in a controversy for over a year now stemming from an extra-marital affair he with a staffer and a subsequent effort to keep it quiet.

Since the story broke, the Religious Right has had next to nothing to say about Ensign's infidelity, with the small exception of FRC's Tony Perkins saying it was "disappointing." But I suspect that that is about to change if this report from Greg Sargent turns out to be true:

Another step forward on Don't Ask Don't Tell, ladies and gents.

In a letter to constituents who have inquired about his position on DADT, GOP Senator John Ensign strongly suggests he is leaning towards supporting repeal of the policy, another sign that there may be enough tacit GOP support in the Senate for repeal to get it past a GOP filibuster.

"It is my firm belief that Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be able to fight and risk their lives in defense of this great nation," Ensign writes in the letter, which I've obtained. "As a nation currently engaged in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, the focus of all decisions affecting military readiness, recruiting and retention, and unit cohesion should be to maximize the success of ongoing operations."

In the letter, Ensign adds the caveat that he's still awaiting a Pentagon report, due out on December 1st, that will gauge the impact of repealing the policy. Asked for comment, Ensign spokesperson Jennifer Cooper reiterated this point: "Senator Ensign is waiting on the report from the Pentagon and the testimony of the military chiefs to see if any changes to this policy can or should be done in a way so as not to harm the readiness or war fighting capabilities of our troops."

Ensign has already stated that he intends to run for re-election in 2012, so don't be surprised if you suddenly start hearing the Religious Right attack him for his immorality and infidelity - and not because he had an affair and tried to cover it up (which, to date, they haven't cared about at all) but because he committed the even bigger sin of supporting equality.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Associated Press has called the Alaska Senate race for Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
  • This New York Times profile reveals Sarah Palin to be remarkably petty, petulant, and uninformed. Not that any of that is a surprise.
  • The Christian Family Coalition is demanding that Republican Gov.-elect Rick Scott divest from QuePasa Corp., on the grounds that the company sells "pornography to Latinos."
  • Shockingly, none of the conservative Tea Party leaders in Congress want to take a seat on the Appropriation Committee because they might be required to actually take responsibility for their rhetoric.
  • Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire won't display the nativity scene that was sent out by the Catholic League.
  • Finally, isn't it amazing how the Religious Right sees no need for accommodating religious beliefs when those beliefs are held by non-Christians?
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senate Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 05/26/2011, 5:44pm
PFAW: Goodwin Liu Withdraws Nomination; PFAW Blasts Senate GOP's Smear Campaign. Matt Finkelstein @ Political Correction: GOP Freshman Rep. Walsh Attacks American Jews For Not Being "As Pro-Israel As They Should Be." Towleroad: TN Governor Claims He's Not in Favor of Discrimination After Signing Bill Voiding LGBT Anti-Discrimination Law. Rachel Tabachnick @ Talk To Action: Vouchers/Tax Credits Funding Creationism, Revisionist History, Hostility Toward Other Religions. Igor Volsky @ Wonk Room: Pro-Bullying Lobby: Perkins Says School Teaching Gender Acceptance... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 05/19/2011, 5:48pm
PFAW: Senate Republicans Block Vote on Nomination of Goodwin Liu, Double Down on Partisan Obstruction. Lee Fang @ Think Progress: Sponsor Of South Carolina Anti-Sharia Law Claims 99% Of Terrorist Acts Committed By Muslims. John @ Bold Faith Type: Rick Santorum, Torture and "Intrinsic Evil." Benjy Sarlin @ TPM: Sarah Palin Blames ‘Lamestream Media’ And ‘Racist’ David Gregory For Newt’s Political Crisis. Rachel Tabachnick @ Talk To Action: Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/18/2011, 1:45pm
Even after Republicans in the Senate and their conservative allies railed against filibusters of judicial nominees during the Bush administration and pushed to give even the most far-right nominees up-or-down votes, it appears that they have made an exception for President Obama’s nominees. The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on UC Berkley Law Professor Goodwin Liu, who is nominated to serve on the 9th Circuit Court. While many conservative legal scholars support Liu, many in the GOP “appear to be opposing his nomination because he is too qualified.” Republicans have... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/17/2011, 10:31am
In 2009, California declared Harvey Milk Day a state holiday on the slain civil rights leader’s birthday, May 22nd, despite vitriolic protests from the Religious Right. Now, Jerry Cox of the Arkansas Family Council and the Family Council Action Committee is warning that by honoring Milk, children will be forced to cross-dress and have mock gay weddings, telling the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow that schools should instead spend more time honoring the Founding Fathers who “exemplified all the good in mankind in their life”: Jerry Cox, president of the Family... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 05/16/2011, 10:16am
The first announced Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Minnesota doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state. According to the Associated Press, former state representative Dan Severson will announce later today that he is challenging Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar in the state Capitol after running unsuccessfully for Secretary of State in 2010. During his race for Secretary of State, Severson told religious broadcaster Brad Brandon of Word of Truth Radio that the separation of church and state “just does not exist.” Andy Birkey of The Minnesota Independent... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 05/13/2011, 11:40am
The Tea Party movement is frequently criticized for hyperventilating about the threat of encroaching Communism while advocating for Corporate America. Then people like Tea Party Nation president Judson Phillips come around and confirm those exact charges. In a letter to his fellow Tea Partyers, Phillips accuses Senate Democrats of admiring Joseph Stalin and leading a “Democratic Senate show trial” straight “from the Stalin handbook.” Who are the victims of this outrage? Oil companies like Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, who were asked to testify about... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 05/13/2011, 11:09am
In an email to supporters, Concerned Women For America CEO Penny Nance said that they have one final opportunity to prevent the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Nance tells supporters that while the House GOP is likely to approve amendments to three Defense bill that would block the repeal and restrict gay-rights in the military, the Senate would be a graver challenge because Majority Leader Harry Reid “is beholden to the homosexual lobby.” She asks activists to show the Republicans support “in light of the likely response from the radical homosexual activists.... MORE