Voting

The Right Wing Agenda Dressed Up As Polling Analysis

Janice Shaw Crouse on Concerned Women for America takes to the pages of Human Events to give the GOP a little electoral advice:  pay attention to married mothers (or M&Ms, as she likes to call them.)

These “Bible Study Moms,” Crouse argues, represent an important voting bloc that should be courted by the GOP and she runs through a litany of convoluted statistics regarding the 2000 and 2004 elections to make her case before reaching this groundbreaking conclusion

Given the importance of the 2006 election, politicians would be remiss not to note the importance of evangelicals -- especially married mothers. They could determine the winners in key races, by voting or not, by their assessment of political stances on the social conservative issues (gay marriage, abortion, stem-cell research, and abstinence education).

In other words: there is a sub-set of the population that says they care about abortion, marriage, and stuff like that and they may or may not vote, so the GOP should pander to them to try and ensure that they do.    

That is not exactly pioneering analysis considering that that has pretty much been the Right’s basic message for the last two decades.

Just How Angry Can They Be?

There has been a lot of talk in the media in recent months about that the idea that the Right is angry with President Bush and the Republicans and that this anger might hurt the party in November.  

For instance, there is this piece today from McClatchy Newspapers making just this sort of prediction regarding the FDA’s recent decision to make the “morning after pill” available over the counter  - something the Right is none-too-happy about

Now the Family Research Council and other allies among social conservatives and in Congress are weighing a lawsuit to challenge the FDA's decision. News of such a confrontation just before this fall's elections could aggravate the White House's hopes of energizing conservatives to vote.

"This is not an issue that grabs people around the dinner table. It doesn't grab people like the war or taxes, or even marriage or the abortion decision in South Dakota," [Family Research Council’s Tom] McClusky said.

"But people are going to wonder why all these pro-life, pro-family groups are suing this administration."

Sitting at their kitchen tables in districts with close House races or states with close Senate races, some social conservatives could react with anger and not vote at all. Or they might remain sufficiently afraid of the Democrats to vote but too apathetic to help get anyone else to vote.

Just how much danger does this supposed right-wing rage really pose to the GOP?  Well, judge for yourself

Focus on the Family Action today announced a Stand for the Family rally to be held this fall in Nashville, Tenn. The event is designed to motivate and inform voters about the importance of voting their values in November.

"It's clear that people of faith must continue to go to the polls and vote their values," said James C. Dobson, Ph.D., chairman of Focus Action. "Our calling to be good citizens did not end in 2004 -– it requires us to be informed, diligent voters in each election.

"The issues at stake in this election demand our careful attention and involvement. The men and women elected to office will be entrusted with decisions that most affect America's families – protecting traditional marriage and the sanctity of life, as well as rolling back the judicial tyranny that plagues our nation. Voters in eight states, including Tennessee, will also have the opportunity to directly protect marriage by voting for state marriage-protection amendments."

Dobson will be joined by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council Action; Gary Bauer, former presidential candidate and chairman of American Values and the Campaign for Working Families; Dr. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church, near Seattle, Wash; and Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

As we have noted before, if the Right is indeed angry, they sure have a funny way of showing it.

Sensenbrenner Too Busy With Immigration to Talk About Immigration

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article on the growing dissatisfaction among the business community, normally staunch Republican supporters, with the GOP’s hard-line anti-immigration stance. As the WSJ reported “Hard-line lawmakers are betting that a focus on enforcement -- stopping illegal immigration at the border and stepping up deportation -- will energize conservative voters.” Some in the GOP seem to be taking it a step further, telling traditional business supporters that if they don’t like it … well … too bad
That may explain why the debate doesn't seem to be moving in the business community's direction. "If the business community were voting on this, they'd be winning. But they're not convincing anybody they're voting on this," says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who backs House Republicans' focus on enforcement, says: "If the business community believes they would be better off with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, they should go help them." … Christmas-tree grower Arlene Frelk, of Merrillan, Wis., says she was unsuccessful recently when trying to meet in Washington with Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) to discuss immigration. Ms. Frelk, a Republican, did meet with a Sensenbrenner aide; she came to Washington as part of a "fly-in" organized by the American Agri-Women and wanted to tell the lawmaker that the House-passed immigration bill he sponsored would harm her business. On the way home, she says she and her daughter saw the Judiciary Committee chairman at the airport baggage claim. When they approached him, Ms. Frelk says, Mr. Sensenbrenner told her that "this is his free time and he didn't want to be bothered" and walked away.
Sensenbrenner was probably returning from one of the various anti-immigration hearings he’s been chairing around the country over the last month – hearings he says are important because they allow lawmakers "to hear testimony from local people, as well as to talk with them informally." If Sensenbrenner really was interested in hearing from local people and talking informally about the need for comprehensive immigration reform, he’ll probably never get a better opportunity than when he’s picking up his luggage at the airport  - unfortunately, he apparently doesn’t like to be bothered in his free time by constituents who are directly impacted by his legislation.  

Well Then, No Apology Necessary

Francis Rice, chairman of the National Black Republican Association, took to the pages of Human Events in an attempt to

[B]reak the Democrats' stranglehold on the black vote and free black Americans from the Democrat Party's economic plantation, [by shedding] the light of truth on the Democrats. We must demonstrate that the Democrat Party policies of socialism and dependency on government handouts offer the pathway to poverty, while Republican Party principles of hard work, personal responsibility, getting a good education and ownership of homes and small businesses offer the pathway to prosperity

Rice attempts to accomplish this by telling African Americans that the Democratic Party was responsible for everything from slavery and the civil war to Jim Crowe and the Ku Klux Klan.  And, according to Rice, they are still bad for African Americans today

After wrongly convincing black Americans that a minimum wage increase was a good thing, the Democrats on August 3 kept their promise and killed the minimum wage bill passed by House Republicans on July 29. The blockage of the minimum wage bill was the second time in as many years that Democrats stuck a legislative finger in the eye of black Americans.  

Huh?  Democrats “wrongly” convinced African Americans that increasing the minimum wage was a good thing and then decided to kill it? That doesn’t even make any sense. 

Anyway, it was Republicans who killed the minimum wage increase by insisting it be tied to a tax cuts for millionaires.

Aside from Rice’s illogical arguments and disingenuous history, she at least has the courage to address the rise of the Republican Party’s “Southern Strategy” – its Nixon-era electoral gambit to gain the support of those voters angered by the Democratic Party’s embrace of the civil rights movement.  Of course, she lies about that too

The 30-year odyssey of the South switching to the Republican Party began in the 1970s with President Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy," which was an effort on the part of Nixon to get Christians in the South to stop voting for Democrats who did not share their values and were still discriminating against their fellow Christians who happened to be black.

Oh really?  Well, someone ought to tell that to RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman because he apologized for it just last year

"By the '70s and into the '80s and '90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out," Mehlman says in his prepared text. "Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong." 

And then they might want to pass the word along to President Bush 

I consider it a tragedy that the party of Abraham Lincoln let go of its historic ties with the African American community. For too long my party wrote off the African American vote, and many African Americans wrote off the Republican Party.

Bush Administration and the Right: One and the Same

For years, we have been warning that the Bush Administration was filling traditionally nonpartisan governmental positions with committed right-wing advocates in order to transform the Right’s political agenda into government policy. 

And that is exactly what is happening, according to the Boston Globe 

The Bush administration is quietly remaking the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, filling the permanent ranks with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights, according to job application materials obtained by the Globe.

The documents show that only 42 percent of the lawyers hired since 2003, after the administration changed the rules to give political appointees more influence in the hiring process, have civil rights experience. In the two years before the change, 77 percent of those who were hired had civil rights backgrounds.

In an acknowledgment of the department's special need to be politically neutral, hiring for career jobs in the Civil Rights Division under all recent administrations, Democratic and Republican, had been handled by civil servants -- not political appointees.

But in the fall of 2002, then-attorney general John Ashcroft changed the procedures. The Civil Rights Division disbanded the hiring committees made up of veteran career lawyers.

For decades, such committees had screened thousands of resumes, interviewed candidates, and made recommendations that were only rarely rejected.

Now, hiring is closely overseen by Bush administration political appointees to Justice, effectively turning hundreds of career jobs into politically appointed positions.

A Right-Wing Double Standard

Some on the Right are hailing a court decision in Kansas that will allow candidates running for court seats to talk about their views and responds to questionnaires.  

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said the decision in Kansas is another in a series of victories for free speech in state judicial elections from around the country.

"Judicial candidates who have desired to talk to the voters have been intimidated into silence by the fear of being branded 'unethical,' " he said. "And judicial activists don't want to talk to voters."

Hausknecht said it is only activist judges who fear accountability to voters who will not rejoice at this decision.

"Judicial activists hate being 'smoked out' by questionnaires and voting guides on their judicial philosophies," he added, "and they've hidden behind bar associations and ethics committees and used ethics canons as smokescreens to keep voters from finding out who they really are."

The suit was filed by Kansas Judicial Watch after some candidates refused to answer the organization’s questionnaire [PDF] – among the things Judicial Watch wants to know is whether candidates believe

The unborn child is biologically human and alive and that the right to life of human beings should be respected at every stage of their biological development.

When it comes to local judges who hold limited terms, it seems that the Right wants to know all it can about a candidate.  But when it comes to judges being considered for lifetime appointments, the Right seems to be a lot less concerned.    

During the hearings on John Roberts’ nomination, the Right was unified in its belief that he couldn’t and shouldn’t say anything at all

It seems as if Republican senators are more than willing to let Roberts decide for himself when, and if, he’ll answer any of the questions posed to him. Sen. Jon Kyl insisted that “not every question that a senator might think of is legitimate" and went on to declare that “it is not appropriate for a senator to demand a nominee's view on issues that are likely to come before the court.” Sen. Orrin Hatch sounded a similar theme, saying “Nominees may not be able to answer questions that seek hints, forecasts or previews about how they would rule on particular issues.”

Considering that just about any issue could potentially “come before the court,” it is difficult to imagine just what sort of questions Roberts could answer without violating the Republican members’ vague standard.

The Right added its own voice to the calls for silence, with Concerned Women for America demanding that "senators' unjustified demands” not be “allowed to subvert the confirmation process … Senators should restrain themselves from demanding comments from Judge Roberts on political issues or potential upcoming cases."

During his hearings, John Roberts refused to answer more than a hundred questions regarding his views on crucial issues. Perhaps he did so out of fear that his right-wing views would have been, in Hausknecht’s words, “smoked out.”   

Ohio "Patriot Pastors" Bite Back on Politicking Criticism

Columbus, Ohio area megachurch pastors Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson have been at the center of the race for governor, having organized a network of so-called “Patriot Pastors” through rallies and events starring the Republican candidate, Ken Blackwell. At one point, the web site of Johnson’s Ohio Restoration Project featured detailed plans for a statewide rallies and voting registration drives featuring Blackwell and timed to influence the primary and general elections, and even a 30-second radio spot also featuring Blackwell.

In January, a group of more than 30 religious leaders from the Columbus area signed a letter accusing Parsley and Johnson of “flagrant political campaign activities” and asking the IRS to investigate whether they are using their churches’ tax-exempt status unfairly in the governor’s race. Parsley, Johnson, and even Blackwell immediately fired back, accusing the other ministers of launching a “secular jihad against expressions of faith,” as Johnson put it. “You tell those 31 bullies that you aren’t about to be whupped,” Blackwell said at a “Patriot Pastors” meeting organized by Johnson.

Parsley, Johnson, and Blackwell appeared Monday in a CBN news segment on “ACLJ This Week,” the television show of Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice, to reiterate their claims of innocence and persecution. “We have never in any way endorsed a candidate for any public office,” said Parsley, apparently referring to an act of explicitly saying something like “I endorse Ken Blackwell.” Similarly, Johnson said, “We do not endorse candidates. We do not give money to candidates. This is not a political PAC. But nothing in the Constitution says that Christians have to check their citizenship at the door.” Johnson added that “These people, candidly, are trying to intimidate people of faith” – even though “these people” are also ministers and rabbis, presumably “people of faith” themselves.

Blackwell, the beneficiary of Parsley’s and Johnson’s attentions, cites the First Amendment – not the part about freedom of expression, but rather the clause on freedom of religion, suggesting that Blackwell sees rallies and events railing against gays and abortion and honoring Blackwell with awards as somehow a form of worship.

Watch the video: Broadband or Dial-Up.

Too Little, Too Late

The Washington Post reports
After six years in office, President Bush has agreed to address the NAACP at its annual national convention in Washington, the White House announced yesterday. ... With the appearance, Bush will avoid becoming the first president since Warren G. Harding to snub the predominantly black organization throughout his term.
One has to wonder if President Bush made the decision to address the NAACP after reading this article in the New York Times

Norquist’s Coalition May Suffer from Abramoff and Ideological Split

Speaking at an American Prospect breakfast, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and the dean of D.C.’s right-wing coalition, offers his interpretation of the Republican Party’s problem appealing to gay and lesbian voters:

Ellen Ratner (Talk Radio News Service): The Republicans in Ohio are saying the gay marriage vote is essentially what won them the last election. The President has pushed this gay marriage amendment, the Senate has. Yet you say people have individual rights. They seem to have a very different view of gays.

Norquist: There’s a very interesting question on … I speak to the Log Cabin Republicans and work with them on a whole host of issues … the Human Rights Campaign on certain things … so I get trashed from time to time by some of my friends. I think it’s a mistake to write off any group. I was in Romania, they’re having elections in four weeks, and I was organizing the non-communists. And I had them write on a blackboard Who’s Voting for Us, Who’s Voting for Them. And they had to list … understand why everybody was. They had the gypsies voting for the communists, and I said, “OK, I get why the Communists are voting for the Communists, and the Army and the police and the guys with government jobs, but why the gypsies?” If I were a gypsy I’d want to live outside touchy-feely U.S. law, much less harsher communist law. And they said, “Well, the communists buy them liquor and then they vote for them.” And I said, “We can do this; George Washington did this, it’s OK.” And they said, “No, the gypsies are scum and we won’t talk to them.” And I said, “OK, I guess you’re not getting the gypsy vote then.” In politics you want to have as few gypsies as possible, as few groups and people who are not voting for you because you’re not talking to them.

He adds later that he has “never have seen numbers which suggest that speaking harshly about gays is a vote winner.”

While Norquist helps to hold together the economic and social wings of the Right, The Washington Post reports on fractures developing in Norquist’s group over his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal. While he continues leading his Wednesday meetings, “where officials of conservative organizations, activists and lobbyists gather with Republican politicians to swap notes, make plans and coordinate messages,”

Some social conservatives who have jousted with him over his more libertarian views on the regulation of television and its depictions of violence and depravity are exploiting his weakness to press their positions on Capitol Hill. Security-minded defense hawks who for years have questioned his ties to Muslim activists are resurrecting charges that Norquist has turned a blind eye to terrorist sympathizers.

Despite his troubles, The Post reports, “apparatus he has created for conservatives -- with fundraisers, social dinners and weekly meetings not just in Washington but in 43 states and even Europe -- has become too important to destroy.”

 

Voting Is Patriotic – Isn't It?

With the 4th of July came a new Gallup poll, showing that Americans from all cross-sections of society remain overwhelmingly patriotic—95 percent of respondents said they were proud of their country. That includes liberals, conservatives, the rich and poor – but to some on the Right, “patriotism” is just another word for the right-wing agenda.

For example, RightMarch.com, whose motto is “Patriotism In Action,” sent out an alert Monday celebrating the temporary defeat of reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

Thanks to the efforts of thousands of patriotic Americans, the scheduled vote on H.R. 9, reauthorizing the VRA, was POSTPONED over this issue -- enraging liberal activist organizations like People for the American Way, NOW and NARAL.

The provision RightMarch.com is attacking is the requirement that bilingual ballots be created in areas with substantial language minorities. Not surprisingly, RightMarch.com connects the anti-VRA campaign to the anti-immigration effort:

In light of the Senate recently passing a bill granting AMNESTY to 12 million illegal aliens and importing up to 66 million NEW legal immigrants, America needs linguistic unity more than ever. Offering foreign language ballots while at the same time emphasizing the importance of learning English sends mixed signals to those seeking to assimilate into American society.

A vote on the VRA has thankfully been postponed, but this is only a temporary reprieve -- your Congressman needs to hear from you! [emphasis added]

Interestingly, even Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the co-sponsor of the severe House immigration bill, which would make an immigration status violation a felony, is pushing strongly for reauthorization of the VRA this year, including the bilingual-ballots provision.

"I have always said that English is the language of commerce and people who came from countries where English is not the first language, if they want to achieve the American dream, had better learn how to speak and function in English," the Wisconsin lawmaker said Wednesday.

"But this deals with the right to vote, and these people are United States citizens," Sensenbrenner said. "They aren't illegal immigrants, but they've gone through the process and they have been naturalized and it seems to me these people should not be confused because they don't have the proper instructions on how to vote (for) the candidates of their choice."

Too Bad, You Are Stuck With Him

The Associated Press profiles Vernon Robinson, a candidate for North Carolina's 13th District House seat, who has a penchant for saying outrageously offensive things about his opponents, such as his recent radio ad which claims that if his opponent "had his way, America would be nothing but one big fiesta for illegal aliens and homosexuals." While Robinson reportedly sees himself as the sort of candidate people want to support because he "stands for something," local Republican officials are at a loss as to how to deal with him, with Bill Peaslee, the North Carolina Republican Party's chief of staff capable of mustering little more than a meager "Vernon has a unique way of getting his point across." Others active in the state GOP, such as political consultant Ballard Everett, are less circumspect
"I know Jesse Helms, and Vernon Robinson is no Jesse Helms ... Jesse, at least, had some class ... He's the one Republican I want to see leave the party -- and the state."
What does it say about Robinson that he is accused of having less class than Jesse Helms? [And while we are on the subject of Vernon Robinson, let us take a minute to address two specific charges Robinson recently made
PFAW's website to discussing my voting record, quoting my speeches, publishing the text of my television and radio ads, and calling me "bigoted" because of my "Bill Cosby-like statements on race issues" and my outspoken opposition to homosexual marriage and illegal immigration ... So PFAW has declared me "Enemy #1" for the purpose of issuing marching orders to its legion of loony-left-wing groups to take me out by sending money to Brad Miller to defame me.
Generally, when people put things in quotes, it is because they are quoting something. Not so with Robinson, who apparently prefers to simply attribute non-existent quotes to PFAW such as his assertion that we blasted his "Bill Cosby-like statements on race issues" or have declared him "Enemy #1," neither of which is true.]
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Voting Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 06/10/2010, 10:30am
Back in January, the Iowa Family Policy Center, a state affiliate of Focus on the Family, hosted a rally ostensibly designed to oppose gay marriage in the state that turned into a campaign event for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats. At the event, the IFPC's chairman explicitly ruled out the possibility of supporting Vander Plaats' opponent should Vander Plaats lose the primary election, says "[Terry Branstad] has failed to boldly address the values that we embrace. And even if he were to win the nomination, the Iowa Family PAC would not support him." On Tuesday... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 06/08/2010, 4:33pm
A father and son have been arrested with threatening to kill Rep. Bart Stupack for voting for health care reform, saying they would "paint the Mackinaw [sic] Bridge with the blood of you and your family members." The Duggars will receive the first ever "Pro-Family Entertainment Award" at the Family Research Council's fifth annual Values Voter Summit. Speaking of FRC, they are launching a new website that "tracks state legislation related to issues of importance to families, including religious liberty, abortion, homosexuality, domestic violence, the... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 05/24/2010, 9:36am
Ken Blackwell has come running to Rand Paul's defense, desperately trying to explain away Paul's post-primary claims that he didn't support the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the idea of the government combating discrimination in private enterprises in general. Or at least that seems to be Blackwell's goal, though it is hard to say as his "defense" is utterly incoherent: [Rand Paul] a grilling from one end of the chattering class to the other about his supposed opposition to the great Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is a fact that he stumbled in some of his answers to questions... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 05/05/2010, 9:07am
Despite having spent months registering students and alumni to vote and urging them to participate in the election for three open city council seats in an effort to gain majority control, even going so far as to hold a special convocation and cancel classes yesterday, it looks like Liberty University's efforts to use its voting power to take over the Lynchburg City Council failed badly:  Liberty University junior Caroline Biggs posted herself in front of a fleet of poll-bound buses on campus, waving a homemade sign that read “Vote Republican: Cary, Hannon, Good.” Behind her... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 05/03/2010, 2:40pm
The Family Research Council has sent out an action alert announcing an anti-marriage equality rally tomorrow ahead of oral arguments at the D.C. Court of Appeals: The battle for marriage in D.C. and America rages, and God's people have a voice in the outcome. As participating members of the Stand4MarriageDC executive committee I would like to ask you to join the citizens of the District of Columbia and our nation's capital to rally and show your support for marriage between one man and one woman. Here are the details: WHAT: "Let the People Vote" Marriage Hearing/Rally and Press... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 05/03/2010, 12:28pm
I've been noting recently how Liberty University seems to be transforming itself into something of a political organization as it is taking credit for delivering local elections, using its voting power to target the local city council, and even actively working to turn its student body into the "future leaders" of the Religious Right movement. Along the same lines, Glenn Beck has been tapped to deliver the commencement address at LU's graduation in a few weeks and some right-wing activists are upset that a Mormon like Beck would be asked to speak at a Christian university ... and LU... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 04/21/2010, 2:26pm
Bishop E.W. Jackson is, even by right-wing standards, something of a fringe figure. He seems to have some ties to Rick Scarborough and appeared on Janet Porter's radio program not too long ago. He is also Founder of Exodus Faith Ministries and last year founded something called Staying True to America's National Destiny [S.T.A.N.D] and was among the participants at the right-wing anti-hate crimes rally last year, where he railed against the legislation as the result of a "virulent strain of anti-Christian bigotry and hatred." But today, Jackson announced his most grandiose plan yet... MORE