In the last few weeks and months we’ve already seen the Right employ some outrageous dirty tricks to suppress the vote.
The job of election officials should be to make sure every eligible voter who shows up to cast a ballot can do so and have that vote count. But we’ve seen numerous right-wing secretaries of state and county election supervisors instead take it upon themselves to act as partisan operatives, placing their thumb on the scale to benefit their party’s candidates. And right-wing political operatives and activists have been using various tools to confuse, misinform and intimidate voters.
This is just what we’ve seen so far. Who knows what we’ll see in the final days leading up to Election Day and on Election Day itself!
Here are the Top 11, in no particular order:
In addition to the voter suppression tactics on this list, instances keep popping up of voters receiving confusing or incorrect voting information from state voting authorities. We’re not listing it as a dirty trick because there’s no evidence of intent to disenfranchise, the states simply claim incompetence, and these are primarily the same states – run by Republicans – that have just had major changes to voting requirements. But the result for voters is the same, and we’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
And finally, we urge the Department of Justice to keep a close eye on this election, both to prevent voter suppression and to make sure votes are counted properly. There have been widespread problems with certain types of electronic voting machines and vote counting machines reported over several election cycles. In this election, there’s an appearance of severe impropriety in that many voting machines, including many used in the all-important swing state of Ohio, have been provided by a company that is essentially part owned by Tagg Romney as well as some of the largest donors to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
Democracy should be free of the suspicion created by the corporate entanglements of the business interests of candidates, their families or their closest supporters.
Read more about the Right’s campaign to keep millions of Americans from the ballot box here.
And help PFAW overcome the Right’s dirty tricks to STOP Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and extremist Tea Party candidates at every level with a donation today.
Pastor Joseph Mattera in a commentary for Charisma warns that the re-election of President Obama will compel God to punish America in the form of natural disasters and even terrorist attacks. He warns that Obama’s pro-choice policies that will keep abortion legal will lead to an “increase of natural disasters over the past 10 to 15 years like statewide droughts, wildfires, massive flooding, devastating tornadoes and hurricanes, in addition to terrorist attacks at home and abroad.” Mattera adds that re-electing a President who supports marriage equality for gays and lesbians “would be the ultimate act of snubbing our noses against God and His moral law” and consequently Americans “are setting ourselves up to get the divine judgment we deserve to satisfy the justice of God.” He goes on to accuse Obama of stoking potential race riots and working to impose hate speech laws.
I hate to think of what could start happening to the United States after the 40th anniversary of legalized abortion (in 2013) if we continue to perpetuate this systemic sin by pro-choice elected officials and elite liberals pushing this hideous act in the name of a woman’s right over her body (in spite of our new technology that proves the so-called fetus is a human life!).
I shudder to think of the extent of this judgment on the population if the prayers, actions and intervention of the body of Christ don’t go far enough to delay the fullness of the wrath of God for bloodletting! Perhaps the increase of natural disasters over the past 10 to 15 years like statewide droughts, wildfires, massive flooding, devastating tornadoes and hurricanes, in addition to terrorist attacks at home and abroad are merely a portent of more devastation to come if we don’t repent of the sin of abortion as a nation.
If Obama gets re-elected we can expect a perpetuation of this culture of death on our nation, especially since he will probably be able to pick the next two Supreme Court justices who would more than likely share his same liberal views. If Romney gets elected, he would need the guts to go against Democratic pressure to pick a so-called “moderate” and instead pick constitutionalist justices who will protect the values of life, liberty, justice, and the sanctity of life for all.
If the American people actually re-elect the most radical pro-choice president in our history, along with the fact that he is the first standing president to support same-sex marriage, then it would be the ultimate act of snubbing our noses against God and His moral law! It would show the enormous extent in which we as a nation have hardened our hearts against our Creator and, as a result, are setting ourselves up to get the divine judgment we deserve to satisfy the justice of God!
Furthermore, our current president not only supports same-sex marriage but he has also forbidden the U.S. Justice Department from defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which gives federal protection to states that don’t want to legalize or recognize same-sex marriage.
If Romney gets elected, one of the first things he should do is order the Justice Department to legally enforce DOMA, or else we will continue down this slippery slope of redefining marriage and family.
Many thought that electing the first black president was going to help ease ethnic tensions because it showed that the white majority in our nation has gotten over racism. But, in my opinion, his frequent pro-government, anti-business rhetoric has also brought to the public square the socialist language of class warfare that divides the rich from the middle class and the poor. His socialistic economic philosophy is based on a “zero sum game” in which, in his view, a person can never get rich without taking it unjustly from the poor, thus spawning a policy based on greed, envy and covetousness!
Making it worse, in my opinion, some of his surrogates in media often make it seem that the (real) reason white people don’t either agree with or vote for Obama is because he is black. Also, I recently read that some leaders have predicted and many disgruntled people have tweeted that if Romney gets elected, there will be riots in the streets.
If Obama gets re-elected, look for more challenges to our freedom of speech and the First Amendment that could possibly squelch what is preached on the airwaves and from the pulpit. For example, in Canada the pulpits and airwaves have already been restricted in the name of hate speech.
In closing, sometimes a nation has to unravel and its people experience disorientation before they are desperate enough to open up their hearts for a spiritual awakening. It may have to come to that in America, especially if this nation continues to choose leaders and elected officials who snub their noses at God. At the end of the day, whether America stands or falls, His kingdom and government will continue to increase and will outlast every man-made nation, kingdom and government!
Many seem to think that Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remarks placed him on the fringe of the Republican Party. In reality, he’s spent most of his career there.
It’s now widely known that Akin teamed up with Paul Ryan in 2011 to try to narrow the definition of rape – i.e. “forcible rape.” This is no anomaly. Early in his career as a state legislator, Akin even tried to narrow the definition of child abuse.
Back in May of 1991, the Missouri House debated a bill to “outlaw rape and sexual abuse in marriage.” “Rape is rape,” said Rep. Jo Ann Karll shortly before the bill was overwhelmingly passed. “Missouri is finally moving into the 20th century,” said Colleen Coble, executive director of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
But not everyone was celebrating. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on 5/1/91 that Akin voted for the bill but “questioned whether a marital rape law might be misused ‘in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband.’”
Just about any law can be abused, and lawmakers must always be cognizant of this. But Akin seems to be preoccupied with the potential for abuse of the law whenever it relates to the government preventing abuse in the household.
Akin and his supporters believe that the husband is head of the household, and they’re loathe to regulate what he can and cannot do to his wife and children. In fact, prominent Akin supporter Phyllis Schlafly denies the very possibility of marital rape: “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape.”
And so in March of 1992, Akin fought for a narrower definition of child abuse. The Missouri House was considering a bill to create a “statewide child abuse review board” and tighten the standard for proving child abuse from “reason to suspect” to “credible evidence.”
The bill’s sponsor said the definition change was necessary to ensure that “all cases of child abuse can be covered.” Akin, however, was suspicious. He argued that the bill “needed a more restrictive definition of abuse” because of the potential for abuse of the child abuse law. The Post-Dispatch reported on 3/5/92:
Akin said he was concerned that ‘the department could come into your home and if your kid had just fallen off his bike and skinned his knee…take your kid away.’ Akin also said that with a loose definition of abuse, neighbors might use child-abuse reports ‘as a tool to harass, a way to get even with’ someone they dislike.
This is how Akin’s mind works. You need to worry about vengeful soon-to-be ex-wives claiming rape to get back at their husbands. You need to make sure that non-forcibly raped women aren’t getting government-funded medical care. And you can’t let neighbors harass one another by falsely claiming child abuse to the overbearing nanny state enforcers who will take kids away for having a scraped knee.
Akin’s efforts earned him a rebuke from the Post-Dispatch editorial board, which singled him as an alarmist who supports an “excessively restrictive child-mistreatment law” and resorts to “extreme and unlikely examples to bolster his case.” It seems like they had him pegged way back then.
Here is the full 3/10/92 editorial, entitled “Abuse Law Fair to the Accused, Children”:
The Missouri House is moving ahead in setting up a state board that would arbitrate disputes between people accused of child abuse and the Division of Family Services. The House gave initial approval to this proposal on Wednesday. It shouldn't allow critics to prevent it from passing the bill, sponsored by Rep. Kaye Steinmetz of Florissant.Missouri's child-abuse law is basically a good one, but it needed to be revised. The bill would restrict the standard the state would use in proving child abuse. The old standard called for ‘reason to suspect.’ The new standard would require ‘credible evidence.’Clearly, the change is aimed at protecting people from being recklessly and falsely accused of abusing children. Some critics say the definition should be even more restrictive, but they should give this proposal the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, more restrictions will be added to the law if critics, like Republican Rep. Todd Akin of St. Charles, get their way. Mr. Akin resorts to extreme and unlikely examples to bolster his case.The bill, he argues, would permit child-abuse investigators to ‘come into your home and if your kid had just fallen off his bike and skinned his knee…take your kid away.’ In fact, the more restrictive the law, the more it ties the hands of child-abuse investigators and the more likely serious cases of child mistreatment might go undetected.Mr. Akin does raise a real concern, however, when he says a disgruntled person might try to use the child-abuse law to harass a neighbor. But the way to address that issue is through better trained child-abuse investigators. The bill would mandate improved training, which should make the workers more proficient in investigating cases while protecting people from being falsely accused.The statewide child abuse review board would be appointed by the governor and would require Senate confirmation. The Legislature should see the benefits in passing the bill in its existing form rather than weakening it to appease alarmists who favor an excessively restrictive child-mistreatment law.
This post has been updated, 11/5/2012
Rabbi Noson Leiter of Torah Jews for Decency is blaming Hurricane Sandy on gays and lesbians, calling it “divine justice” for New York’s new marriage equality law. Torah Jews for Decency campaigned against marriage equality in New York and New Jersey, worked with Liberty Counsel and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms in an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn New York’s marriage law, and has joined with various other Religious Right groups on anti-gay campaigns.
Yesterday, Leiter appeared on Crosstalk, the flagship program of Vic Eliason’s Voice of Christian Youth America, alongside Neil DiCarlo, a candidate for New York State Senate, to discuss New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage.
Leiter asserted that the “the Great Flood in the time of Noah was triggered by the recognition of same-gender marriages,” adding that there are similar “messages in this particular storm for us.” “The Lord will not bring another flood to destroy the entire world but He could punish particular areas with a flood, and if we look at the same-gender marriage recognition movement that’s occurring, that certainly is a message for us to learn,” he said. “We have to learn that the Lord does watch what we do and if we don’t shape up He will deliver divine justice.” Leiter also suggested that God flooded Lower Manhattan because it is “one of the national centers of homosexuality.”
Later in the program, Leiter argued that the “LGBT radical homosexualist movement” threatens the survival of society and religious freedom and will even increase child abuse by giving molesters a “license to victimize” children and even “a certain degree of diplomatic immunity.”
Eliason: Rabbi Leiter, you have been passionately involved in the fight for biblical, moral values, why?
Leiter: I think that’s what the Lord wants us to do and if we do not we face an existential threat. There is an issue of the survival of morality being necessary for the survival of society, and that’s not just an issue that’s specific to marriage. In addition there’s an issue of religious liberty. The LGBT radical homosexualist movement is really the Avant-guard of Bible-haters of all different types, not just limited to the left. The advance towards homosexual rights and so-called marriage is not predicated on getting rights, and just thereby stepping on the rights of Bible believers. The purpose is to bash Bible-believers using their so-called rights as a pretext do so and that’s why it is so critical to oppose them because they’re not after something that they think is theirs, they’re after us.
Leiter: There are so many things that people could point out about the negatives aspects of the homosexual lifestyle that is being touted as being this wonderful idea that the media doesn’t talk about. We’re talking about victimization that goes on under the rubric of protecting people’s rights; they’re not interested in protecting people’s rights, they’re interested in giving people a license to victimize, particularly to victimize children, and we pick up the pieces on some of that. We know how hard this is hitting society. The crisis of child molestation is not independent of the intentional proliferation of unfettered homosexuality, they are definitely connected, it doesn’t meant that every molester is homosexual but many of them are, there is a disproportionate number that are homosexual males. They are in some cases being given a certain degree of diplomatic immunity because of their favored status centered around a common vice. That’s something that no state has a right to do.
UPDATE: Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemned the remarks in a statement today:
The comments made by Rabbi Noson Leiter that sought to link the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to our state's embrace of marriage equality are as offensive as they are ignorant. This catastrophic storm claimed the lives of more than forty New Yorkers. This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse, and is particularly distasteful in times of tragedy. Our state is proud to offer equal rights to all our citizens, and we will never tolerate the use of a tragedy like Hurricane Sandy to promote a divisive and bigoted agenda. I call on Rabbi Leiter to apologize immediately for his hurtful comments.
Former Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, also took Leiter to task for his comments, while DiCarlo stood by the Rabbi:
Pataki called on fellow Republican Neil DiCarlo — who is running on the Conservative Party line for a state Senate seat from the Hudson Valley — to denounce the remarks of Rabbi Noson Leiter. DiCarlo opposes gay marriage, and the orthodox rabbi made the statements in support of his third-party candidacy.
“It’s simply incomprehensible that anyone could attribute the devastation and loss of life caused by Hurricane Sandy to divine retribution against the New York State legislature,” Pataki railed.
“It’s like blaming America’s belief in freedom for the attacks of Sept. 11,” Pataki added.
Pataki argued that because Leiter’s remarks were made in support of DiCarlo, the candidate “has a responsibility to repudiate them.”
Reached by phone, DiCarlo refused to take that step when asked repeatedly. He instead questioned Pataki’s motives.
“Ask Mr. Pataki why he endorsed my opponent, and why he is bringing this up two days before the election — and then I’ll answer your question,” DiCarlo said before hanging up.
Rick Joyner has been pushing fears that Christianity and Islam may merge into a religion known as “Chrislam,” and is now trying to make it an election issue. According to Joyner, Obama is a leader of Liberation Theology; an “anti-America” movement that he believes promotes “racism” and acts as “a bridge between Christianity and Islam, which would lead Christians to Islam.” The pastor also warned that the political left is under the control of a “deep darkness” promoting “anti-God and anti-biblical positions,” and said evangelicals must prevent the “country’s slide into the abyss of moral and financial destruction.”
He also pushed the myth that Obama gave “Muslims an exemption from the healthcare law.” As FactCheck.org notes: “we can say with certainty that no Muslim group, and indeed no non-Christian group, has ever qualified for an exemption under the statute used to define exempt religious groups in the health care law.” He even claimed that Obama refused to wear an American flag lapel pin because “he said he didn’t want to appear to take sides,” actually Obama had said that the pin became “a substitute” for patriotism and will instead “tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testament to my patriotism."
If this kind of deception was greater on the right, but then shifted to the left and got even stronger, let us not think that it cannot swing back to the right if we become arrogant. Even so, I am increasingly concerned by the deep deception, or deep darkness, which is now growing on the left. It does seem to be proportionate to the degree of those who have embraced anti-God and anti-biblical positions. This does not mean that there cannot be those on the left who are not subject to this kind of deep deception, but they are getting harder to find in America. In other countries, it could be the opposite.
I have also studied the Liberation Theology of the church where President Obama came out of, which he embraces and is considered a leader. There are aspects of it that are far more alarming, and its fruit is feeding what I believe is one of the greatest human evils, racism—not just un-American, but anti-American.
Some believe that the purpose of the Liberation Theology movement was to be a bridge between Christianity and Islam, which would lead Christians to Islam. I could not personally confirm that, but our President claims to be a Christian, yet the fruit of his practice and his policy has done more to hurt Christianity than any previous administration, and he’s done more to help Islam. Any thinking person should ask why would the Obama Administration give Muslims an exemption from the healthcare law, but use it to fundamentally attack the religious liberty of the Catholic Church, as well as other Christians who object to some of its basic tenets? These actions reveal core values, and they are deeply alarming.
As an American, I was also very troubled when our President once responded to the question of why he did not wear an American pin on his lapel—he said he didn’t want to appear to take sides. If our President is not solidly resolved to be on our side, then we are in deep trouble. I am thankful to see the President now wearing an American flag lapel pin, but it does not mean as much when he wears it after such controversy. When I look at the actions and policies of the Obama Administration, it does seem to be a systematic weakening of American strength and the unraveling of our core values. It does seem that the Obama Administration is much more concerned about international interests than our American interests. We do need to be concerned about the interests of others, and we should want to be a blessing to all nations as much as we can, but we expect our President to keep American interests first.
I was a registered Democrat until the Carter Administration. I voted for Carter mostly because he claimed to be an evangelical Christian. I was naïve at best. However, I could not help but see that all of the anti-God and anti-biblical morality forces were finding their home and were increasingly influential in the Democratic Party. It was also apparent that as this happened Christians were increasingly marginalized in the Democratic Party. The God-fearing and those committed to biblical morality were increasingly welcomed into the Republican Party. This divide has become greater now, as we watched the grievous vote at the Democratic Convention in my hometown of Charlotte this past June.
It has been estimated that over fifteen million evangelicals refused to vote in the last election. Our country’s slide into the abyss of moral and financial destruction has accelerated since that election, and we may not think our vote could make a difference, but you can be sure that our vote, or failure to do so, is recorded in heaven.
Todd Akin’s campaign continues to sponsor The Janet Mefferd Show, as Mefferd has hosted Akin surrogates like Janet Huckabee and Linda Becker of “Women Standing with Todd Akin.” Finally, the embattled Senate candidate himself appeared on the far-right talk show, where he said that Missourians know that people who “believe in traditional marriage” and “believe in freedom” are able to “understand the threat that Claire McCaskill and Barack Obama pose to our country,” which is why he believes he will in in November.
One of the things that a lot of the establishment people have not understood about this race is there are polls that just talk about ‘how would you vote’ but there’s also another factor in there and that’s the enthusiasm, the fire and the drive and the energy that’s in a campaign. Our campaign has a tremendous energy behind it. The people that are involved in this race know what they believed. They believe that our Creator gave us life, liberty the pursuit of happiness; they believe in traditional marriage, they believe in freedom. These people understand the threat that Claire McCaskill and Barack Obama pose to our country.
“I believe in my heart of hearts that this is one we’re going to put in the Republican column by God’s grace,” Akin added, urging donations to his campaign since he trails McCaskill in fundraising.
Akin went on to suggest that Obama is raising taxes on people who simply turn on their lights or purchase a wheelchair.
You remember how Barack Obama specifically promised nobody making less than $250,000 is going to be taxed, well that’s absolutely ridiculous, he’s taxed them with dozens of taxes on people that make less than $250,000. His energy policy, anybody who flips a light switch is going to get taxed. He’s got taxes—these people tax some of the weirdest things. Would you ever even in a wild moment would you ever consider taxing a wheelchair? I mean these people are bizarre.
With all the fact checkers focused on campaign speeches and debates, Mitt Romney’s campaign is turning to a new outlet for their lies: poll watcher trainings. In Wisconsin the Romney campaign has been training poll watchers with false information about voter’s rights, according to a ThinkProgress article today. In truth, Wisconsin law makes it easy for eligible voters to cast a ballot, and it's critically important that we don't let the Romney campaign scare any voters away from the polls.
In one egregious example, the training materials indicate that voter IDs must have photos, which is not the case in Wisconsin. ThinkProgress points out other disturbing claims the training materials make, including:
CLAIM: On page 16, entitled “The ONLY Acceptable Forms of ‘Proof of Residency”, the third bullet point says “Any other identification card issued by an employer in the normal course of business and bearing a photo of the cardholder, but not including a business card.” The sixth bullet point also said any college ID card “must include a photo.”
FACT: Wisconsin’s new voter ID law, which would have required these photos in order to vote, was struck down by Wisconsin state judges. It is not in effect for the November 2012 election.
CLAIM: Any “person [who] has been convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery” isn’t eligible to vote. (Page 10)
FACT: [In Wisconsin] Once a person who has been convicted of a felony completes his or her sentence, including probation and fines, that person is eligible to vote.
CLAIM: “If a handicapped voter is unable to come into the polls to vote, an assistant can deliver the ballot to the voter if the CEI verifies the elector’s proof of residency.” (Page 19)
FACT: Under Wisconsin law, the CEI (Chief Election Inspector) does not have to verify proof of residency so long as the voter is registered.
This is not a case of a single training gone awry. These trainings have been held across the state for the past two weeks. This is an instance of Mitt Romney’s campaign repeatedly spreading lies to poll watchers.
In recent months our affiliate People For the American Way Foundation has written about many attempts from the Right at voter suppression – from limiting early voting opportunities to proposing or passing voter ID legislation, purportedly to combat the virtually nonexistent issue of voter fraud.
Romney's efforts to disenfranchise those least likely to support him in Wisconsin is no surprise. Instead, it is just another component of a systemic nationwide effort to deny Americans the right to vote. The Romney campaign knows exactly what it is doing by spreading blatant falsehoods in its training materials – lies likely to cause serious damage to voting rights on Election Day.
Despite the lies of the Romney campaign, voting is easy and accessible. Let's make sure we turn out the vote and make our voices heard in this critical election.
What do you do to win over abortion rights supporters if you've spent your whole presidential campaign telling right-wing activists you're anti-choice? For Mitt Romney, the answer is simple: lie!
First there was the TV ad assuring women that under a Romney administration, they would have nothing to worry about. Then Romney told the Des Moines Register that no anti-choice legislation "would become part of my agenda." Then the right-wing Concerned Women for America -- one of the staunchest opponents of abortion rights out there -- backed him up with an ad saying that Romney could do nothing to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The main problem being, of course, that Romney's official position, which is on his website and which he has stated on video, is that he intends to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade, in effect criminalizing abortion in as much as half the country. The next president will likely get the opportunity to nominate at least one Supreme Court justice. If that president is Romney, the movement to overturn Roe will likely gain a majority on the Court.
But apparently the Romney camp thinks that just lying about Roe v. Wade is still the right way to go. Former Sen. Norm Coleman, who is campaigning for Romney in Ohio, told a group of voters yesterday that Romney would have no power to eliminate abortion rights through the Supreme Court:
“President Bush was president eight years, Roe v. Wade wasn’t reversed. He had two Supreme Court picks, Roe v. Wade wasn’t reversed,” former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) told a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Beechwood, Ohio. “It’s not going to be reversed.”
If Coleman were to do some simple counting, he would realize that Bush did not have the opportunity to put an anti-Roe majority on the Court. His appointments of Samuel Alito and John Roberts only got the Right very, very close to that long-held goal. Mitt Romney would unquestionably and deliberately put them over the edge.
But of course, Coleman knows that. And so does Romney. They're just hoping that they can tell anti-choice activists one thing and abortion rights supporters another, and somehow get away with it.
The Family Research Council is organizing another Religious Right bus tour to bolster Todd Akin’s campaign for Missouri against Sen. Claire McCaskill. The “Repeal and Replace McCaskill Tour” will feature prominent conservative figures like Mike Huckabee, Tony Perkins and Phyllis Schlafly and lesser-known activists like Stephen Broden.
The Faith, Family, Freedom Fund, a super PAC associated with Family Research Council Action, is bringing a statewide bus tour through Missouri, October 28th - November 2nd, with one clear message: Senator Claire McCaskill’s policies are harmful to Missouri families .
Come help us cheer on the Repeal & Replace McCaskill tour as the bus stops near you! We must fight to bring the truth to the people of Missouri!
The Fund is joined in this effort by other prominent leaders and groups such as Phyllis Schlafly, Governor Mike Huckabee, Ken Blackwell, Tony Perkins, Pastor Stephen Broden, The Honorable Marilyn Musgrave, Susan B. Anthony List, Eagle Forum PAC and several more.
Broden is a failed Republican candidate for Congress who garnered national attention when he floated violent insurrection against the Obama administration.
While Akin seeks to distance himself from his past support for militia groups and radical anti-abortion rights groups and their leaders, the inclusion of Broden on the bus tour only highlights Akin’s close relationship with the most extreme elements of the far-right.
Losing the Latino vote "spells doom for us." - Mitt Romney, April 15, 2012
"Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community." - President Obama, October 26, 201 2
At last, bipartisan agreement! You don't need a degree in political science to know this: demonizing and alienating the fastest-growing group in the country is no way to build long-term political success. Pair that with the fact that demonizing any group of Americans is un-American and just plain wrong. But in recent years, Republicans, and especially party standard-bearer Mitt Romney, just haven't been able to help themselves. In an effort to win over a shrinking and increasingly extreme base, Romney and team have sold their souls to get the Republican presidential nomination. And they went so far to do it that even their famous etch-a-sketch won't be able to erase their positions.
As Mitt Romney knows, the slipping support of the GOP among Latinos is no mystery. We've seen this movie before, in 1994, when Republican California Gov. Pete Wilson pushed anti-immigrant smears to promote California's anti-immigrant Prop 187 which in turn buoyed his own tough re-election campaign. It worked in the short term - both the ballot measure and Gov. Wilson won handily - but what a long term price to pay as California became solidly blue for the foreseeable future.
We're now seeing what happened in California at a national scale. Harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric helped Romney win the Republican primary. But in the general election, it may well be his downfall.
In case you tuned out Romney's appeals to the anti-immigrant Right during the primaries, here's a quick recap. He ran ads specifically criticizing Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court justice. He says he'd veto the DREAM Act , a rare immigration provision with overwhelming bipartisan support. He took on anti-immigrant leader Kris Kobach, architect of the draconian anti-immigrant measures in Arizona and Alabama as an adviser , then said his immigration plan was to force undocumented immigrants to"self-deport." He even endorsed Iowa Rep. Steve King, who suggested building an electric fence at the Mexican border, comparing immigrants to "livestock" and "dogs." Romney's new attempts to appeal to Latino voters are clearly empty - he's already promised the Right that he will use their anti-immigrant rhetoric whenever it's convenient and shut down any reasonable attempts at immigration reform.
If President Obama wins reelection, however, we have a real chance for real immigration reform. He told the Des Moines Register last week that if reelected he will work to achieve immigration reform next year. Beyond incremental steps like his institution of part of the DREAM Act by executive order, real comprehensive immigration reform would finally ease the uncertainty of millions of immigrants and the businesses that hire them. It's something that George W. Bush and John McCain wanted before it was thwarted by extremists in their own party. It's something that Mitt Romney clearly won't even try.
If President Obama wins, and especially when he wins with the help of Latino voters turned off by the GOP's anti-immigrant politics, he will have a strong mandate to create clear and lasting immigration reform. And Republicans will have to think twice before hitching their futures on the politics of demonization and exclusion. Whereas George W. Bush won 44 percent of the Latino vote in 2004 and John McCain 31 percent in 2008, Mitt Romney is polling at just 21 percent among Latinos. That's no coincidence.
My group, People For the American Way, has been working to make sure that the GOP's anti-Latino policies and rhetoric are front and center during the presidential election. We're running a comprehensive campaign aimed at the large Latino populations in Nevada and Colorado and the rapidly growing Latino populations in Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, and North Carolina. In each of those states, we're strategically targeting Latino voters with TV and radio ads, direct mail, internet ads and phone banking to make sure they hear the GOP's message about their community. In Colorado, we're going up against Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS , which knows just as well as Romney that the loss of Latino voters "spells doom" for Republicans. In all of these states, higher turnout among Latinos motivated by Mitt Romney's attacks could swing critical electoral votes.
This is a battle where the right thing to do and the politically smart thing to do are one and the same. Republicans have embraced racially-charged attacks against Latinos, pushing English-only laws,attempting to legalize racial profiling by immigration enforcement, dehumanizing immigrants, and even attacking the first Latina Supreme Court justice for talking about her heritage. They deserve to lose the votes of Latinos and others for it. This presidential election is a choice between right-wing scare tactics-- the last resort of those fighting to return to an imaginary America of the past-- and policies that embrace and celebrate our growing Latino population as an integral part of what is the real America.
A new report today reveals that approximately one of every ten dollars spent by Iowa congressman Steve King’s re-election campaign goes to him and his family members, who have together collected close to half a million dollars out of his $5.5 million campaign war chest. The review of his campaign expenditures, conducted by CREDO Action, found that King, along with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, have been paid handsomely by his campaign. This lucrative nepotism is nothing new: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington points out that King's family members have received tens of thousands of dollars during the last two campaign cycles. And when King isn’t using campaign money to boost himself and family members, he is using taxpayer dollars to help his own business.
Such nepotism isn’t exactly surprising coming from King, who often appears to be more concerned with making headlines with shocking statements than actually proposing meaningful legislation.
Just this year, King has accused President Obama of breaking his oath of office and destroying the Constitution while claiming that a Romney election would be a victory for God; lamented that states cannot ban contraceptives and doubted that rape can lead to pregnancy; defended dogfighting, compared same-sex marriage to desecrating the Eucharist; and sat on a panel with White Nationalists Peter Brimelow and John Derbyshire, who was subsequently fired by the National Review for his racist writings.
As noted in People For the American Way’s report Meet The Leadership , King has made stunning assertions about immigrants, progressives and gays and lesbians.
King claims that his first priority in the 112th Congress will be to abolish birthright citizenship, a right plainly established in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. He said that his legislation will attempt to end what he calls the “anchor baby industry” and that if his bill is ruled unconstitutional he will move to amend the Constitution to repeal birthright citizenship.
King, who has appeared with violent vigilante groups, defended his proposal to have electrified wire on border fences by saying on the House floor, “We do this with livestock all the time.” He erroneously claimed that illegal immigrants kill 25 Americans each day , and referred to all immigrants as criminals and disease-carriers. King compared illegal immigration to a “slow motion Holocaust” and a “slow-motion terrorist attack on the United States.” Opposed to a pathway for citizenship for illegal immigrants working and residing in the country, hesaid that he would only support comprehensive reform if “every time we give amnesty for an illegal alien, we deport a liberal.” He defended profiling by asserting that police officers should be able to distinguish illegal immigrants from citizens “from what kind of clothes people wear – my suit in my case – what kind of shoes people wear, what kind of accident [sic] they have, um, the, the type of grooming they might have.”
After the deadly earthquake in Haiti, King resisted plans to give Haitian refugees temporary protection status, instead suggesting that deporting refugees already in the U.S. would help Haiti since the country is in “great need of relief workers.” King also fought legislation that would give protective status to translators from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and provide legal status to service members who don’t have citizenship and their families.
In 2005, King successfully marshaled opposition to naming an Oakland post office after former Oakland city councilwoman and activist Maudelle Shirek because he believed that Shirek was “un-American.” After Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee accused him of McCarthyism, he said, “If Barbara Lee would read the history of Joe McCarthy she would realize that he was a hero for America.”
On the House floor, King blasted the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus as “separatist groups,” and suggested that a “very, very urban senator, Barack Obama” provided “slavery reparations” through the USDA Pigford II settlement with black farmers.
During the presidential election, King maintained if Obama won that Al-Qaeda “would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror.”
King said that it was “bizarre” for Obama to say his middle name “Hussein” during the inauguration, and asserted that the President “has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race - on the side that favors the black person.” He also dubbed the President a “Marxist” who “doesn’t have an American experience” and is in “violation of his oath of office.” When asked at a rally in support of Arizona’s draconian SB 1070 immigration law if Obama was “bringing small quantities of Muslims into this country,” King replied that he “wouldn’t be surprised that that is the real factual basis.”
Just days before Obama’s victory at the polls, he warned Americans, “When you take a lurch to the left you end up in a totalitarian dictatorship. There is no freedom to the left. It’s always to our side of the aisle.” Earlier this year, he said that Democrats were similar to “Pontius Pilate” and would have supported the Pharaohs of Egypt over the enslaved Israelites in the Bible. On Glenn Beck’s show, King declared that Democrats were trying to “take away the liberty that we have right from God” by having members vote on the health care reform bill on a Sunday.
A fierce opponent of LGBT equality, King strongly opposes the Uniting American Families Act, which allows U.S. citizens and legal residents to petition for their permanent partners (including same-sex partners) to obtain U.S. residency or citizenship. He told the Family Research Council that gay Americans should stay in the closet if they wanted to avoid discrimination, and equated gay rights with rights for “unicorns and leprechauns.” After the Iowa Supreme Court said that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, he claimed that Iowa could soon become a “gay marriage Mecca due to the Supreme Court’s latest experiment in social engineering.” King has compared homosexuality to incest and described marriage equality as “a purely socialist concept.” While addressing a rally of supporters of the successful effort to remove three Iowa Supreme Court judges from the bench, King said that gay marriage will lead to the breakdown of the family, religion, and the Constitution:
I think that if we can’t defend marriage, that it becomes very hard to defend life. So, if we lose marriage — for instance, if our children are raised in warehouses, so to speak. There have been civilizations that have tried to do that. The Spartans did that. They took the children away and taught them to be warriors. It’s a good way to defend a country, but not much of a way to run a civilization.
So, I’m afraid if that happened — if we lose the marriage, we lose the home, we lose the nuclear family then we can’t teach our values. We won’t be able to teach our faith. We won’t be able to teach life. We won’t be able to teach our Constitutional values either. That’s why I’m afraid it’s going to be very, very difficult to defend life.
King was also the only member of the House to vote against a plaque commemorating the slaves who helped build the Capitol, which he said was part of a plot “by liberals in Congress to scrub references to America’s Christian heritage from our nation’s Capitol.”
Washington, DC -- With a week to go before Election Day, People For the American Way has announced that it is expanding its national Latino voter campaign to run Spanish-language TV ads in Colorado, where the presidential race remains tight and the votes of Latinos will be critical. PFAW's message will counter that of Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, which recently began running Spanish-language TV ads in Colorado.
"Karl Rove is telling lies to Latinos in Colorado, trying to hide Mitt Romney's extreme anti-immigrant record," said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. "We're making sure Latino voters in Colorado know the truth about Mitt Romney. He said he would veto the DREAM Act, if given the chance. His immigration plan is to copy the extreme anti-immigrant policies of Arizona and Alabama, attempting to force undocumented immigrants to 'self-deport.' He has embraced his party's anti-immigrant extremists, taking on Kris Kobach as an adviser. Romney's plans aren't real solutions -- they are dangerous gifts to the anti-immigrant Right."
Charisma Magazine has posted Rick Joyner’s weekly update where he claims that anti-Christian persecution in America has greatly accelerated under the Obama administration. Of course Joyner doesn’t have any real evidence to make such a specious claim besides arguing that the Shepard-Byrd hate crimes law “specifically targets Christians,” still insisting that the government is just itching to use the 2009 law to arrest pastors, ban the Bible and censor speech. He also warned that “serious persecution against Christians in America “will come from the U.S. officials who are committing acts of “treason” by trying to “subject Americans to international laws and the U.N. resolutions”; naturally, Joyner did not name specific international codes that will soon be imposed on America.
There are many ways that our federal government has overreached and has brazenly done what the Constitution forbids. In most of these, you can see an obvious agenda of suppressing Christianity. The same Constitution that forbids Congress from establishing religion also prohibits it from hindering its free exercise. I’m often asked if I think Christians in America will suffer persecution, and my response is that it has been happening for a long time. If our present trajectory is not changed, we can expect it to soon become official state policy. Right now it is unofficial state policy.
Under the present administration, there have been a number of ways that the ground is being laid for a far more serious persecution against Christians in America. Some of this is coming through legislation such as the “hate crimes” legislation that specifically targets Christians. Some is coming through attempts to subject Americans to international laws and the U.N. resolutions, another very blatant violation of the Constitution. Article 6 declares that the Constitution will be “the supreme law of the land.” To subject Americans to any law other than our Constitution would therefore be a basic attack on the Constitution.
Because every elected or appointed official of our government has to take a vow to defend the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic, those who are promoting these agendas are leading us to a very serious constitutional crisis and could even be considered treason.
His fellow Oak Initiative board member Janet Porter also released a new video warning of anti-Christian persecution due to President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality and, Porter suggests, support for Sharia law. “Sure it’s possible you can have freedom in a second Obama administration, but seeing as how they’re already arresting Americans for unpopular YouTube videos, I wouldn’t count on it,” Porter says, “If he’s allowed to do much more, we won’t have a country left.” If Obama is re-elected, “you can expect the internet to be regulated, the dollar to be worthless, the Constitution to be shredded and for the civilian military to show up on your door for speech violations.”
In 2008, Porter warned that Obama would appoint Bill Ayers to head the Department of Homeland Security, play the Muslim call to prayer from the Capitol and hold friendly meetings with Osama bin Laden.