Facing a presidential primary in which “not one of [the] front-runners is a bona fide social conservative” wholly committed to the right-wing agenda, Brownback’s entry is being welcomed as the Right’s best hope
“He will add a lot to the national, not just the presidential, debate,” said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, a group represented at those meetings. “He truly understands the conservative point of view. It is so frustrating for us when politicians try to pander to us. Brownback is consistent.”
It is easy to see why Brownback’s candidacy would be embraced by the Right. He was, after all, named Distinguished Christian Statesman by D. James Kennedy in 2000. And a quick look at the people he has chosen to serve on his presidential exploratory committee shows just how committed he is to the Right’s agenda.
Among those listed is Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center, which is part of a network of state-level affiliates that work closely with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, and Dr. Jack Willke, President of the Life Issues Institute. In addition to Willke and Hurley, Brownback has tapped the likes of Alveda King, a right-wing stalwart who, among other things, participated at the Family Research Council’s “Justice Sunday III” event.
But two names among those listed as members of Brownback committee stand out: Tom Monaghan and Frank Pavone.
Monaghan is the billionaire founder of Domino’s Pizza who has used his wealth to bankroll groups such as Operation Rescue and the Thomas More Center for Law and Justice, as well as the ultra right-wing Ave Maria University. Last year, it was reported that Monaghan was spending millions to create his own town in Florida that would be run according to strict Catholic principles
Abortions, pornography and contraceptives will be banned in the new Florida town of Ave Maria, which has begun to take shape on former vegetable farms 90 miles northwest of Miami.
Tom Monaghan, the founder of the Domino’s Pizza chain, has stirred protests from civil rights activists by declaring that Ave Maria’s pharmacies will not be allowed to sell condoms or birth control pills. The town’s cable television network will carry no X-rated channels.
The town will be centred around a 100ft tall oratory and the first Catholic university to be built in America for 40 years. The university’s president, Nicholas J Healy, has said future students should “help rebuild the city of God” in a country suffering from “catastrophic cultural collapse”.
Joining Monaghan on Brownback’s exploratory committee is Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests For Life. Following Terri Schiavo’s death in March of 2005, Pavone issued an open letter to her husband, Michael, calling him a murderer
Then, after Terri died, I called her death a killing, and I called you a murderer because you knew – as we all did – that ceasing to feed Terri would kill her. We watched, but you had the power to save her. Her life was in your hands, but you threw it away, with the willing cooperation of attorneys and judges who were as heartless as you were. Some have demanded that I apologize to you for calling you a murderer. Not only will I not apologize, I will repeat it again. Your decision to have Terri dehydrated to death was a decision to kill her. It doesn’t matter if Judge Greer said it was legal. No judge, no court, no power on earth can legitimize what you did. It makes no difference if what you did was legal in the eyes of men; it was murder in the eyes of God and of millions of your fellow Americans and countless more around the world. You are the one who owes all of us an apology.
Your actions offend us. Not only have you killed Terri and deeply wounded her family, but you have disgraced our nation, betrayed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and undermined the principles that hold us together as a civilized society.
Brownback appears to have bought into the bogus notion that the GOP suffered devastating losses in the last election because its candidates were not right-wing enough and looks to be positioning himself as the choice of the GOP’s most fervent right-wing activists, who are all but sure to champion the candidacy of the man dubbed “God’s Senator.”