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Who's Ted Cruz? Getting to Know the Next Senator from the Tea Party

Cross-posted at AlterNet

The power center that Dick Armey and FreedomWorks have been aggressively building in the U.S. Senate around reigning extremist Jim DeMint will almost certainly welcome Ted Cruz in January. The Republican convention gave most Americans their first look at Cruz, who has become a Tea Party folk hero after crushing the establishment candidate, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in a bitterly contested primary.

Ted Cruz loves to portray his victory as an upwelling from the grassroots, as he did during his Tuesday night speech from the platform. “I have the honor of standing before you this evening for one reason, because thousands upon thousands of grassroots activists stood united, not for a candidate, but for the sake of restoring liberty.”

It is certainly true that his impressive come-from-behind primary victory captured the fervor of anti-government Tea Party activists as well as conservative evangelicals that Cruz has been courting for years at religious right gatherings. But it wasn’t an act of spontaneous combustion. Pouring gasoline on the prairie fire were national right-wing super PACs and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. Club for Growth Action dropped millions into the race on Cruz’s behalf; Jim DeMint’s Tea Party-backing Senate Conservatives Fund also kicked in with seven-figure spending. (DeMint has since cut his formal ties to the group so that it could create a super PAC.) A FreedomWorks spokesperson said after Cruz’s primary that wins by candidates like Cruz would “force Romney to the right.”

Cruz also benefitted from endorsements by an impressive roster of right-wing figures. During the primary he bragged that he was the only candidate this year supported by all four of his favorite senators: DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Pat Toomey. he Cruz campaign used video of a Palin campaign visit for its GOTV efforts. After his primary win an excited Breitbart blogger quoted Sarah Palin’s celebration on Facebook. She wrote that Cruz's victory was a win "both for Ted and for the grassroots Tea Party movement," and that the “message of this race couldn't be clearer for the political establishment: the Tea Party is alive and well and we will not settle for business as usual. Now, it's on to November!”

While the media accurately describes Cruz as a darling of the Tea Party and its corporate backers, he also had strong backing from religious-right figures. Cruz has campaigned for support at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit and the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference, where he said “we are engaged in spiritual warfare every day.” James Dobson and David Barton are among the religious-right leaders who backed Cruz; Rick Santorum endorsed Cruz on Glenn Beck’s television show.

Cruz embodies Ralph Reed’s desire to merge the Tea Party and religious right. In his convention speech, Cruz talked about the Tea Party movement as a “Great Awakening” – a not-so-subtle shout-out to religious-right leaders who are calling for a spiritual great awakening that they believe will turn the nation back to God and its Christian roots. At Rick Santorum’s event on Wednesday afternoon, Cruz mocked media conversations about divisions between different “chunks” of Republicans, declaring the party united. “We’re all here because we believe in values and principles bigger than ourselves,” he said.

Perry: 'King' Obama Leading a 'Clear Attack on People of Faith'

During the presidential campaign, Rick Perry was one of the first candidates to embrace the theme that Obama is waging a “war on religion,” a message that was quickly embraced by Mitt Romney. As Perry ponders another run for the presidency, he told Family Research Council head Tony Perkins on today’s Washington Watch Weekly that he believes President Obama thinks he was elected “King” and is leading a “clear attack on people of faith”. How? Perry cited the contraception mandate, the Department of Justice’s stance in the Hosanna Tabor case, where the administration argued that religious groups are not categorically exempt from the Americans with Disability Act, and his own gut instinct.

Yes, Perry said he instinctually feels that the Obama administration is putting together a campaign of “intimidation to churches using IRS as a tool to keep anyone from making any statements about a political election,” even though the rule on church electioneering came about in 1954 and there is no evidence that the administration is actively investigating churches for breaking the rule.

Perkins: You were out on the campaign trail quite a bit early on in the Republican primary, your message obviously on jobs, the economy, which Texas has been leading in the nation in the creation of jobs, but you also touched on the issue of religious liberty and religious freedom. Do you see a growing hostility in America in the wake of this administration towards religious—

Perry: Led by this administration, when you think about the clear messages that they send, whether it’s by fiat—and that’s one of my great concerns about this president, we didn’t elect a King Mr. Obama, we elected a president, we expect the rule of law to be maintained in this country, go to Congress, pass legislation—he’s pushing these programs through whether it’s a clear attack on the Catholic Church and their opposition to contraception, those are purely wars against religion. When you think about the ministerial exception that he went to the Supreme Court to try to overturn, you know thank God he lost 9-0, even his liberal judges wouldn’t go that far, so clear attack on people of faith. My instinct is, I don’t have clear evidence, but my instinct is through other agencies there is this intimidation factor to our places of worship that you best not be in job of anything that we decide is political. For instance, clear intimidation to churches using IRS as a tool to keep anyone from making any statements about a political election.

YEP Primary Winners

People for the American Way extends its congratulations to three Young Elected Progressives endorsees who emerged victorious in yesterday’s primary elections.

In Arizona, Ed Ableser, who currently represents the 17th District in Arizona’s state House, won the Democratic primary for state Senate in the 26th District; he ran unopposed. Meanwhile, Stefanie Mach won the Democratic primary to represent the 10th District in the Arizona House.

In Vermont, Kesha Ram, incumbent state representative from Chittendon’s 3-4 District, won her primary contest; she ran unopposed.

PFAW

Harvey: 'Christians Should Keep Their Kids Away' From Comics' 'Gay Agenda'

Mission America’s Linda Harvey today on her radio program warned Christians to “keep their kids away” from comic books because they have now succumbed to the “ever-present gay agenda.” After reading a blog post by Christian writer Danzil Monk, Harvey said that comics like the Green Lantern and X-Men are now part of the “homosexual agenda” and promoting “lies in our culture.”

I grew up reading comic books. I was a huge Archie and Veronica fan so when I learned that Archie was rolling out a gay character I felt like part of my childhood had been revised according to the ever-present gay agenda. The new character, Kevin, was injected into the story in 2010 and the writers made him a military hero, trying to advance that part of their political goals. Well now this year Kevin was shown entering a homosexual so-called marriage with another male. There had been plans for the glorified Kevin to have even his own comic book. The original Green Lantern character Alan Scott was reintroduced earlier this summer as himself in his long ago days of youth but with the new information that he had really been a homosexual all along as a young man. The Marvel Comics X-Men character Northstar was introduced as a homosexual way back in 1992 and just recently the storyline had him marry a longtime boyfriend. Batwoman, Kathy Kane, was introduced several years ago as a lesbian. In 2005 Marvel introduced a new series called ‘The Young Adventures’ including characters called Hulkling and someone called Wiccan who the publishers decided to make a homosexual couple. Some of these stories are complete with full-on males kissing males, and so on. And some people claim there’s no homosexual agenda?

My friend Danzil is correct that probably it’s only true believers in Jesus Christ who will ultimately stand up against such lies in our culture and try and reverse these trends. I know comic books are not all that important in the grand scheme of things but if we believe that then Christians should keep their kids away from them and we should also be willing to speak out against one more area of depravity.

Video Marks the First Anniversary of Citizens United Decision

Take a look at this video we put together following Citizen Jane as she runs for office in post-Citizens United America.

Public Officials Who Have Recognized the Need for Constitutional Remedies to Overturn Citizens United and Related Cases

See who already supports our movement, and find out how you can help get more officials on board.

July 24, 2012 PFAW Written Testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights

RE: Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs

Video from PFAW Panel: Constitutional Remedies to Overturning Citizens United

People For the American Way’s Marge Baker moderates a panel discussion on Capitol Hill about the necessity of a constitutional amendment to address out-of-control corporate spending on elections made possible by Citizens United.

Citizens United v. FEC Constitutional Remedies: List of local and state resolution efforts

Here's a list of federal, state and local bills and resolutions which have been introduced or passed in support of amending the Constitution to undo the harm of Citizens United.

Another Romney Abortion Flip-Flop: No Exceptions for Health of the Mother

In an interview with CBS News on Monday, Mitt Romney said he disagreed with his own party’s support for criminalizing abortion without exceptions: “My position has been clear throughout this campaign; I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.”

Of course, Romney’s position on the legality of abortion has been anything but clear. Now his campaign denies that he supports allowing abortion when a woman’s health is in jeopardy, as he told reporter Scott Pelley. Instead, they say he only supports allowing abortion when a woman would die without one.

Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, a major anti-choice group, in an interview with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association insisted that the Romney campaign told her that Romney does not in fact believe in exceptions for the health of the mother, contradicting what he said in the Monday interview. If he did, Dannenfelser said, he would not have received the endorsement of her anti-choice organization.

Watch:

 

New Ad Highlights Romney's Right-Wing Agenda for the Supreme Court

Taking over the Supreme Court is an obsession on the far right, and Mitt Romney is on course to do their bidding. Romney selected none other than Robert Bork to serve as his chief judicial advisor. 

Just last week Romney deflected a question about abortion by saying it would be decided by the Supreme Court. He neglected to mention that he’s committed to overturning Roe v. Wade by appointing right-wing judges.
 
A new ad out today from People For the American Way takes Romney to task for his misleading remarks and highlights his extreme agenda for the Supreme Court.
 
 

AFA's Buster Wilson: God is using Hurricane Isaac to Punish New Orleans for LGBT Festival

American Family Association's Buster Wilson, who is the general manager of their radio network, is blaming Hurricane Isaac on the city of New Orleans for hosting Southern Decadence, the annual LGBT festival. Wilson joins other pastors in linking the festival to natural disasters which hit New Orleans in the past.

Watch:

John Derbyshire: Blacks are 'Radically Ill-Fitted for Life in Bourgeois Society'

After losing his job at the National Review, John Derbyshire has found a new home at the White Nationalist website VDARE where he can even more openly spew vitriol at minorities, as he did yesterday in his column comparing the situation of African Americans in the U.S. to the Roma, better known as gypsies, of Europe. “In both cases you have a big racial-ethnic bloc of people who are, for whatever reason—discuss among yourselves—radically ill-fitted for life in bourgeois society,” Derbyshire writes. “In both cases, actual bourgeois citizens opt for ethnic disaggregation: for the gypsies to be moved on, for separation by white flight from the underclass blacks. National authorities respond appropriately, with expulsion and incarceration.”

With views like these, it makes you wonder why National Review took so long to fire him.

The thing I find myself wondering is: are these truly, as I said back then, different kinds of problem—underclass blacks in America, gypsies in Europe?

In both cases you have a big racial-ethnic bloc of people who are, for whatever reason—discuss among yourselves—radically ill-fitted for life in bourgeois society.



In both cases, well-intentioned Left activists—under the banner of Civil Rights in the U.S.A., Human Rights in Europe—propose social-engineering solutions that would cost scads of public money, even as all our public money is vanishing into chasms of debt. Many of the proposed solutions have already been tried; all of them rest on implausible assumptions about human nature.

The best that either bloc has come up with on its own is the absurd-yet-sinister crackpot mock-militarism of the Nation of Islam.

In both cases, actual bourgeois citizens opt for ethnic disaggregation: for the gypsies to be moved on, for separation by white flight from the underclass blacks. National authorities respond appropriately, with expulsion and incarceration.

Jeffrey Kuhner: Democrats Seek to 'Break the Back of Christian America'

Every month or so Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner appears on The Janet Mefferd Show to deliver an incoherent, unhinged rant about the news of the day, and yesterday was no different as he told Mefferd that the “radical secular liberals” who purportedly control the Democratic Party are out to “entrench radical feminism” and “break the back of Christian America” through same-sex marriage and legal abortion.

I think that the Democrats, somebody like Obama, you just have a ‘D’ after their name, they will get 43, 44, 45 percent of the vote automatically. Why? Since the 1960s, this country has been engulfed in a major culture war and what you’re seeing now is the growing rift between liberal America and conservative America, red state America and blue state America, secular America and Christian America. What is now clear is there is an ideological and cultural war for the heart and soul of this country and the Democratic Party, especially since 1972, has been essentially hijacked, it has become hostage, to the radical secular liberals of the 1960s and they are bent on a social revolution. That is why you will not see any pro-life Democrats speak at the DNC; it is why they’ve been purging the party systematically of people who are opposed to abortion or people who support traditional family values; that is why the Democrats have now embraced gay marriage; it’s why Obamacare has federal funding for abortion; it’s why now they are making free birth control, government-subsidized contraception, now almost a civil right, a human right for women. This is an attempt to entrench radical feminism, this is an attempt to break the back of Christian America.

Kuhner also questioned whether Vice President Joe Biden is “literally mentally insane” for making his poorly-phrased “chains” comment, which was referring to Republican plans that would punish consumers in order to help Wall Street, and claimed that the real “extremists” are those who support reproductive rights and marriage equality. He even slammed Obama for using an “assassination list” to kill people “they deem to be terrorists.”

Now, you have to ask yourself this question, either Joe Biden is literally mentally insane, he’s living in the century, he literally is so crazy, so detached from reality that he honestly believes that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are going to re-impose slavery, or he is a complete liar, a complete smear merchant who is willing to lie, say and do anything, even inflame racial tensions, even fan the flames of racial hatred and division to get re-elected. Either way the man is a complete extremist, he’s a complete race-baiter, a complete fear-monger, and then you add the list of all the other crazy comments that he said going back 20 years and you have to ask yourself: how is it a man who supports abortion on demand, who believes in the fundamental transformation of the most basic institution of society—marriage, an institution that has been defined as between a man and a woman going back thousands of years in every culture, in every age, in every major civilization—and I have to ask this question: the Republicans are extremists? Conservatives are extremists? Christians are extremists? This is the same man Joe Biden, who along with Barack Obama, have an assassination list where they look over people that they deem to be terrorists and say ‘let’s kill ‘em.’

Liberty Counsel's Celebrity Headliner: Victoria Jackson

Liberty Counsel, the Florida Family Policy Council and Women Impacting the Nation next month will host a women’s conference at Orlando’s First Baptist Church featuring special guest Victoria Jackson, the former SNL cast member, which wouldn’t be newsworthy if it wasn’t for the fact that Jackson’s career has devolved into making bizarre and unintentionally hilarious rants about the dangers of homosexuality. Come to think of it, she will fit right in with the folks at Liberty Counsel!

New TV Ad! "Mitt Romney's Supreme Court: Too Extreme For America"

Mitt Romney says that a woman's right to choose an abortion even in cases of rape and incest is a "decision that will be made by the Supreme Court." But Romney has promised Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v Wade...
PFAW

New TV Ad - "Mitt Romney's Supreme Court: Too Extreme For America"

Mitt Romney says that a woman's right to choose an abortion even in cases of rape and incest is a "decision that will be made by the Supreme Court." But Romney has promised Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v Wade...

New Ad Holds Romney Accountable for His Anti-Woman Supreme Court Agenda

 Television Ad Running Tomorrow During RNC; Telebriefing to feature Actress Kathleen Turner, Constitutional Expert Jamie Raskin

A new ad released today by People For the American Way holds Governor Mitt Romney accountable for his extreme agenda for the Supreme Court, including his decision to name right-wing ideologue Robert Bork as his chief judicial advisor.

In an interview this week, Romney insisted that the right of a woman to have an abortion in cases of rape and incest would be decided by the Supreme Court. But Romney failed to mention his promise to appoint Judges who would drastically limit women’s rights.

In an ad released today and running in the Tampa area during the RNC, People For the American Way corrected the record.

Voice Over: Mitt Romney says that a woman’s right to choose an abortion even in cases of rape and incest isn’t up to him.

Romney: This is the decision that will be made by the Supreme Court.

Voice Over: But Romney has promised to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v Wade. As his chief judicial advisor he chose Robert Bork, a man with a long record of hostility to women’s rights.

[On Screen: Bork Record: ruled that a corporation could force female employees to be sterilized or lose their jobs / says politicians can outlaw birth control / claims the promise of Equal Protection doesn’t apply to women]

Mitt Romney: Too extreme for women. Too extreme for America.

Voice Over: People For the American Way is responsible for the content of this advertising.

People For the American Way released a report on Romney’s selection of Bork earlier this year.

This morning, in conjunction with the release of the ad, PFAW will host a short telebriefing to review Romney’s agenda for the Court.


What:               Telebriefing on Romney’s Agenda for the Supreme Court and its Impact on Women
When:              Thursday, August 30, 2012
                          10:00 a.m.
Who:                 Michael Keegan, People For the American Way President
                          Jamie Raskin, PFAW Senior Fellow, MD State Senator and Professor at American University                           Washington College of Law
                          Kathleen Turner, Actress and PFAW Foundation Board Member
                          Marge Baker, Executive Vice President for Policy and Program, People For the American                                 Way

For call-in information, contact Miranda Blue at (202) 467-2335

Huckabee Blocked Abortion Funding for 15-Year-Old Girl Raped by Stepfather

Mike Huckabee and Paul Ryan have both supported “personhood” amendments, which would ban abortion in the case of rape or incest, among other things. But unlike Ryan, Huckabee has already had the opportunity to force others to live in accordance with his extreme beliefs. Ryan, who speaks shortly after Huckabee tonight at the RNC, is still waiting for his chance.
 
Huckabee makes no secret of his views on reproductive rights. He has denounced the “holocaust of liberalized abortion,” angering the Anti-Defamation League in the process, and he argued at a personhood fundraiser that pro-choice activists are really motivated by “profit from the sale of death.” He was raising cash, by the way, for an amendment that would have criminalized not only abortion but also in vitro fertilization, stem cell research, the treatment of ectopic pregnancies and some types of birth control.
 
Here’s what Huckabee did when he was in power. In August of 1996, not even a month into his governorship, he went to the mat to deny funding – $430 to be precise – for an abortion provided to a “15-year-old mentally retarded girl impregnated by her stepfather”:
 
In defiance of an order from a federal judge, Gov. Mike Huckabee on Friday refused to allow Medicaid to pay for the abortion of a 15-year-old girl whose stepfather has been charged with incest.
 
While federal law requires Medicaid to fund abortions for poor women in cases of rape or incest, Huckabee said through a spokesman his first obligation is to the Arkansas Constitution, which forbids public funds to be used for abortion except when the mother's life is in danger.
 
While Huckabee claimed his first obligation was to the Arkansas Constitution, he was either willfully ignoring, or unfamiliar with, the basics of federalism. Either way, his first obligation clearly was not to the U.S. Constitution or the 15-year-old girl, who thankfully underwent the procedure in advance of the standoff. Nor was it to the people of his state. As the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, the standoff “appeared to put the entire state Medicaid program in jeopardy.”
 
Huckabee stuck to his guns as long as he could. As the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported, “U.S. Dist. Judge William Wilson entered into the record Thursday a ruling that Arkansas must pay for Medicaid abortions in cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother, making the ruling official” and clearing the way for contempt charges for Huckabee. That never happened, as Huckabee agreed under pressure to the creation of a private trust to pay for such abortions.
 
The debate over reproductive choice can seem at times to be more theoretical than practical, but Huckabee's actions give us an idea of how a Religious Right America would look. So a 15-year-old mentally retarded girl was raped by her stepfather and got pregnant? Aw shucks, no abortion for her!
 
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