Eric Cantor

Bachmann, Blunt and Cantor Listed as Special Guests at Religious Right Inauguration Event

The organizers of the so-called Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast, which is not an official inauguration event, are touting the participation of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). Others slated to make an appearance alongside these Republican leaders include televangelist Pat Robertson, musician and conservative activist Pat Boone and birther leader Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily.

The keynote speaker will be Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, who believes that the Bible prophesied the September 11, 2001 attacks, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and America’s imminent destruction due to “tolerance for immorality,” teaching “sexual immorality in public schools,” abortion rights and Obama. Cahn believes that America is experiencing divine punishment and has shared his message with right-wing broadcasters like Robertson, Glenn Beck, Sid Roth, Jan Markell and Jim Bakker. Farah even made a movie about Cahn’s book.

Cahn told Robertson towards the end of his 700 Club interview that America has between ten to twenty years before God destroys the country:

Sex, Lies, and Bloodlust: What the Values Voter Summit Tells us About the Religious Right and the Republican Party

During this past weekend’s Values Voter Summit, the annual family reunion of the far right, RWW posted many memorable video highlights. What does it all tell us about the Religious Right and today’s Republican Party? First are foremost, Republican leaders are unwilling to distance themselves from the far-right fringes of their base, especially in an election year in which conservative evangelical voters are not tremendously excited about Mitt Romney. Romney took a pass this year, and it’s not hard to understand why. Last year, organizers maliciously put him on stage right before the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who had ridiculed Romney’s Mormonism. A supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry denounced Mormonism as a cult, and the flap over Romney’s faith was the dominant story coming out of the gathering. It was much safer to let Paul Ryan represent the ticket this year, and to have other speakers like Rick Santorum and Rick Scarborough ensure evangelicals that voting for Romney was in fact a good thing. Romney did send a tepidly-received video, which seemed almost an afterthought. What is motivating these activists is not enthusiasm for Romney but their hostility toward the Obama administration.

Jews Must Be Converted: FRC Vice President

Bad news for Eric Cantor. He’s speaking tomorrow at the Values Voter Summit, but he’s apparently still going to hell. Let me explain.

Jerry Boykin is the Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council and Tony Perkins’ right-hand man. FRC is hosting the far right conference that the House Majority Leader, who is Jewish, plans to address tomorrow.

Boykin, much like Bryan Fischer, has a penchant for saying exactly what’s on his mind – things which others know not to say, even when they’re thinking the same thing. While you may know Boykin from his prolific Muslim-bashing, he also has some interesting things to say about Jews.

In a 2009 speech on “Why We Must Stand with Israel,” Boykin spoke out against pastors who say that “the Jews don’t have to come to know Jesus,” complaining that those pastors were “destroying the efforts” to lead Jews to Christ:

Last year, Boykin said that “one of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme Right” because he was “an extraordinarily off the scale leftist.” He then lamented that “many Jews in America, for example, can't identify with the Republican Party because they're called the party of the Right, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth."

Boykin also said that President Obama is creating a Hitler-sytle Brownshirt army to force Marxism on America. And in 2003, then-Lt. Gen. Boykin said that the U.S. was fighting a war “in the name of Jesus,” prompting a rebuke from the ADL and President Bush.

To be sure, the Religious Right hasn’t always had the best relations with American Jews. Jerry Falwell sparked a controversy in 1980 when he said that God “does not hear the prayers of unredeemed Gentiles or Jews.” He was speaking at a press conference in defense of the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who had proclaimed that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.”

More recently, however, Religious Right leaders have been careful to stress Judeo-Christian values and avoid explicit attacks. Boykin, however, doesn’t have any use for such niceties.

Yet Boykin was able to meet recently with Mitt Romney, and he has three speaking slots during the conference. He’s even leading a panel on Israel with his good friend Kamal Saleem. Saleem, who is considered to be a fraud, describes himself as a former terrorist who “completed his first bloody terror mission into Israel for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) at the age of seven.”

All of this makes me wonder if Cantor’s folks did their homework before agreeing to speak tomorrow. Perhaps something will come up, and he’ll have to decline FRC’s invitation, much like Ann Romney and Cardinal Dolan have done. We’ll find out tomorrow.

 

All of a Sudden, House GOP Doesn’t Like “Issues that Divide Us”

 The National Journal today reports on the rocky progress of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which for the first time this year has become an object of partisan dispute. Why? The Democratic-backed reauthorization includes new protections for LGBT people, Native Americans and undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence. That bill passed in the Senate despite 31 no votes – all from Republican men.

In response, the House GOP put together an alternate bill that not only axes the new protections recommended by Democrats but eliminates some protections that are already in the bill. Yesterday, the White House threatened to veto the House bill.

Now, the House GOP is playing the victim, accusing Democrats of trying to make them look bad by including things like help for gays and lesbians and undocumented immigrants in the bill:

The Senate version would expand current protections to gay, bisexual, or transgender victims of domestic abuse, subject non-Native American suspects of domestic abuse occurring on reservations to the jurisdiction of tribal courts, and increase temporary visas for victims who are undocumented immigrants. The House bill was amended on Tuesday to allow illegal immigrant “U visa” recipients to receive permanent residence if the perpetrators of the crimes against them are aliens, are convicted of the crimes, and are deported to the visa holders’ home countries.

But Republican leaders have accused Democrats of adding those hot-button issues to intentionally create a fight for political advantage—and lash out at House Republicans for waging a “war against women.” House GOP leaders—including Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia—say they want to stay away from “issues that divide us.”

That’s right. House Republican leaders – who threatened to shut down the government to stop Planned Parenthood funding, who won’t even consider cutting tax loopholes for giant corporations, who continually go out of their way to express their opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians – are now worried about “issues that divide us.” Like, apparently, protecting gay people, Native Americans and immigrants from domestic abuse.

One “issue that divides us” apparently didn’t turn off some House Republicans. Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia offered an amendment to the bill that, according to the National Journal, would provide “help for convicted domestic abusers who want their gun-ownership rights back.” That one, at least, didn’t make it past the Rules Committee.

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ALEC Gives Cash to Congressmen?

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) strategy of corporations enact favorable legislation at the state level across the country by wining and dining state legislators at fancy conferences and then presenting them with model bills to shepherd into law is well documented. Apparently, ALEC also sees value in currying favor at the federal level as well.

Common Cause’s Nick Surgey reports that ALEC gave a cash award of $1,350 to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) in 2009 as part of their Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award, according to an investigation of ALEC’s tax filings. This presents a potential breach of ethics because House members are prohibited by law from receiving any cash gift.

While ALEC’s main focus is on pro-corporate state legislation, common cause notes that ALEC’s influence extends far into the realm of the federal government:

Although ALEC’s primary focus is in promoting corporate-friendly state legislation, the group also has a clear federal agenda. A 2005 ALEC document obtained by Common Cause outlines 42 distinct ALEC model bills that attempt to influence federal policy. Those bills include resolutions calling for lower corporate taxes and supporting construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. In effect, corporations working through ALEC are using state legislators to lobby Congress on their behalf. ALEC boasts of the 91 “ALEC alumni” currently serving in the US House, including both Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

As Rep. Cantor graciously accepts his award in this 2009 video, it’s not difficult to imagine how flattery and cash gifts can go a long way in winning the favor of powerful people.

 

Rep. Cantor’s office subsequently released a statement denying that he took the cash and that the engraved bust he received was legal. This still doesn’t explain, as Common Cause notes, why ALEC considered the bust to be a cash gift on their tax filings, unless the value of the bust was high enough that disclosure was required.

Regardless, it smells fishy.

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