American Values president Gary Bauer joined Sandy Rios of the American Family Association yesterday where Bauer criticized President Obama for weighing in on the Trayvon Martin case. Bauer said that Obama, who said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” and urged law enforcement “to get to the bottom of what happened,” was trying to “stir the pot” by using “disturbing” and “dangerous” rhetoric. Earlier, Rios bemoaned that Martin’s death “is threatening I think the very fiber of this truce that blacks and whites have come to over the last fifty years.”
Rios: The whole issue over Trayvon Martin is threatening I think the very fiber of this truce that blacks and whites have come to over the last fifty years. I think that tensions are getting worse, people are stoking them, and this too is an issue, a spiritual matter.
Bauer: The fact that Jesse Jackson and Sharpton would immediately attempt to exploit this and make it a racial issue, and that even the President in his public comments would stir that pot, I find that deeply disturbing and I think it’s dangerous.
American Values president Gary Bauer demanded Republicans oppose the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, writing in Human Events today that the bill is a “trap.” Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans all voted against re-authorization and Bauer insisted that they oppose the legislation because of “provisions allowing abused illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas and programs for same-sex couples.” As Legal Momentum’s Lynn Hecht Schafran notes, protections for immigrants and women in same-sex relationships have “always been true about the bill but required clarification.”
Bauer, who regularly rails against the “war on religion,” the “war on Christmas” and the “social, political and cultural war in our country,” also expressed his anger that progressives are using the phrase “war” as part of “painting conservatives as domestic policy war mongers,” and of course didn’t miss an opportunity to criticize Sandra Fluke:
Whether it’s the “war on science” or the “war on labor unions,” the left never tires of painting conservatives as domestic policy war mongers. Now liberals are revisiting another fictitious conservative war, against women.
At the Women in the World Summit in New York last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blasted tyrants across the globe. “They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies,” Clinton said.
Then she compared Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to Sandra Fluke. “Women and girls…throughout the world,” she said, “are assuming the risks that come with sticking your neck out, whether you are a democracy activist in Burma or a Georgetown law student in the United States.”
It was absurd for America’s top diplomat to compare a chief target of one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes to the law student/abortion activist.
Obama cited Fluke’s “bravery” when he spoke about her. But a more apt word is “shamelessness.”
Speaking of shameless, while Clinton has made advancing women’s rights a major rhetorical theme of her time at State, the Obama administration has ignored and even supported egregious violations against women.
Whining about the “war on women” in a Politico op-ed last week, former Democratic Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm wrote, “Republican obsession with Planned Parenthood alone has become a form of legislative sexual McCarthyism.”
In case there was any doubt about the centrality of the “war on women” theme to the Democratic campaign, Senate Democrats are pushing to extend the Violence Against Women Act, with a vote by the end of March.
Most Republicans support the law, but it’s a trap. The legislation includes not only laudable programs like grants to battered women’s shelters but also provisions allowing abused illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas and programs for same-sex couples.
Allusions to the Republican “war on women” will continue as a major Democratic campaign theme. But they’re just Democrats’ way of diverting voters’ attention from their own failures and injustices toward women.
Update: Concerned Women for America, a consistent opponent of the Violence Against Women Act, in an email to members today claimed that the law “destroys the family”:
VAWA, in its current form, is a boondoggle for feminist groups. It has morphed into a series of rigid and ineffective law enforcement programs that continue to spend approximately $455 million each year. Instead of helping women and children, this legislation creates a large bureaucracy and destroys the family by obscuring real violence in order to promote the feminist agenda.
Finally, this bill creates a new series of expensive and unnecessary programs that further complicate the process of giving aid to these women and push a feminist agenda (such as one $15 million program that attempts to "re-educate" school children into domestic violence ideology [Section 302]).
VAWA harms women by diluting assistance to real victims and by tearing the family apart. Please call your senators today at 202-224-3121, and urge them to oppose VAWA.
Former child star Kirk Cameron’s anti-gay tirade, calling homosexuality “unnatural” and “detrimental and ultimately destructive,” led to a backlash from some prominent actors, but Religious Right groups are more than happy to broadcast his claims. Tony Perkins of FRC Action defended Cameron from criticism by citing a poll by the anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund which tried to overstate the number of people who oppose marriage equality, as recentsurveysshow that more Americans favor marriage equality than oppose it and that support for legalizing same-sex marriage is on the rise.
Where is the tolerance? You won't find any on display with homosexual activists who are determined to attack and silence anyone who dares to disagree or challenge their political or social agenda. Their latest target is actor Kirk Cameron. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is attacking Cameron for remarks he made in an interview with Piers Morgan last Friday, in which he said that the definition of marriage should be, "One man, one woman for life till death do you part." Cameron, a born-again Christian who starred in the movie Left Behind and the pro-marriage film Fireproof, also said he considers homosexuality to be "unnatural," "detrimental," and "destructive." Perhaps it's GLAAD, not the 1980s teen star, who's out of step, since a 2011 poll showed that 62% of Americans agree with the statement, "I believe marriage should be defined ONLY as a union between one man and one woman." Another 2011 poll found a substantial majority of Americans (56%) believe that "sex between two adults of the same gender" is "morally wrong."
Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families also weighed in, saying that the “radical left” is trying to expunge “faith” and “traditional values” and that conservatives need to fight back and make sure that there “will be no ‘truce’ in the culture war”:
The left went nuts. Homosexual rights groups blasted Cameron's alleged bigotry and intolerance. Liberal Hollywood types rushed to Tweet their condemnation of Cameron's values and to reaffirm their fidelity to the gay marriage cause.
Not long ago, virtually no one would have argued with Cameron's comments. But the cultural left is determined to impose its values on the rest of society. It began by purging faith from the public square and forcing it into the closet. Then abortion was forced on every state in the country. Now marriage is being redefined. The secularists want an America where traditional values cannot be spoken.
As the Democrat Party embraced the radical left, more and more values voters found a home in the Republican Party. They expect the GOP to unapologetically defend their cherished values. Increasingly, however, it seems only one party is committed to fighting and winning the culture war.
Yet I am bothered when I hear conservatives buy into this line of reasoning. There will be no "truce" in the culture war. The left fully intends to win it. It's absurd that many Republicans and even some conservatives are preemptively surrendering by refusing to bring up these issues!
Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality attacked the “Hollywood liberals and LGBT militants” who have criticized Cameron:
As you can see, this is not the tone of an “extremist” but a thoughtful Christian man who is smart enough to know that Hollywood liberals and LGBT militants will pounce on any statement he makes critical of homosexual behavior [sic], which God through the Bible condemns. (By the way, I think Kirk would have been better off just saying “yes” to Morgan’s question about whether he believes homosexuality is a sin.)
GLAAD is awarded unprecedented access and sway in Hollywood (and the media) to advocate for, essentially, one side of a controversial moral issue. Here it stokes anti-Christian bigotry against Cameron, as it does against anyone who voices politically incorrect beliefs about homosexuality through the media. Ultimately, GLAAD (while curiously extolling “diversity”) hopes to keep interviews like Morgan’s with Cameron out of the media altogether. (Otherwise, why would they previously have lobbied so hard against CNN for including Christian former homosexual Richard Cohen in a debate segment?) GLAAD is afraid of a fair debate, hence their demonizing name-calling against Cameron. Please help encourage him.
Of course, American Family Association Bryan Fischer praised Cameron on Focal Point for standing up to “anti-Christian, anti-morality bigot” Piers Morgan:
Whenever we see the Religious Right collectively begin to cite some new tale of government overreach and/or Christian persecution at some public school, the name "Raymond Raines" comes to mind.
As we've explained before, back in the 1990's, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson and the entire conservative community were outraged about an incident in which a student named Raymond Raines had supposedly been sentenced to a week of detention for simply praying before eating his lunch in the cafeteria of an elementary school in St. Loius.
Of course, it was entirely untrue, as Raines had actually been disciplined for fighting.
So now, whenever we start seeing Religious Right groups cite a story like this one out of North Carolina about a four year-old preschool student who supposedly had her homemade lunch confiscated by a Department of Health and Human Services employee for not being healthy enough and was forced to eat school-approved chicken nuggets instead ... well, we get a little suspicious.
So far, the story has been promoted by the Eagle Forum and the Family Research Council, which sees it as proof that "the Left's goal is not just to control you. The goal is to control your children. And the more authority it can siphon away from parents, the better its chances are."
Gary Bauer also featured it in his daily email, declaring "welcome to Obama's brave new world. If the government can force us to buy specific products, force religious institutions to violate their values and send lunchbox inspectors to sort through our kids' food, Chinese-style 'commissars' are in our future."
School and state officials say a misunderstanding resulted in a West Hoke Elementary School preschooler's homemade lunch being replaced with chicken nuggets.
An agent from the Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Child Development and Early Education was at the school Jan. 30 assessing the pre-kindergarten program, said Bob Barnes, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Hoke County schools.
The agent examined the lunches for the six students in the class and believed one did not meet nutritional requirements spelled out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Barnes said.
According to the USDA, schools are required to provide lunches that include one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
The 4-year-old, whose name was not released, brought a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips and apple juice.
The Department of Health and Human Services declined to say which requirement was not provided in the child's lunch.
The girl thought she had to go through the lunch line for a new meal, Barnes said.
The Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that it is investigating. In the statement, the department denies that its employee inspected the lunch and denies instructing "any child to replace or remove any meal items."
Typically, if a teacher sees a student with a lunch that does not meet the nutritional requirements, he or she will offer the child the missing components free of charge, Barnes said.
In this instance, Barnes said, the girl misunderstood her instructor and believed she had to get a new lunch rather than receive an additional element.
Rule of thumb: The amount of outrage being generated among the Religious Right to any given story is generally inversely proportional to the truth of said story.
Gary Bauer today is piggybacking on otherhystericalreactions from Religious Right commentators with a Human Eventscolumn today decrying President Obama’s new move on insurance coverage for contraceptives to accommodate religiously-based institutions. According to Bauer, ensuring that women have access to contraceptives makes the United States akin to Cuba and China and Obama similar to a “third world dictator”:
The Obama administration’s “contraceptive mandate” was an assault on the Catholic Church and on religious freedom. But more basically, it was an assault on the freedom of private institutions to exist free of state control.
Obama’s disdain for the Constitution has become too obvious to deny. Obama once said that the Constitution “reflects some deep flaws in American culture.” More recently he complained that “our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.”
Obama views the Constitution mainly as an impediment to controlling institutions such as churches and families that stand between the state and individuals.
Liberals usually invoke the imaginary “separation of church and state” in their attempts to banish public displays of faith. But the most radical leftists use the opposite means to achieve a similar end.
Instead of erecting a wall to divide religious and public life, they favor using the brute force of the state to control all that the church does. This is common in places like China and Cuba, where churches exist but are virtually powerless and where secularism is the real state religion.
Obama’s totalitarian impulse rivals that of any third world dictator. With the Obama administration’s contraceptive and abortion “accommodation,” those who respect the Constitution may think they’ve won. But Obama’s next assault on the Constitution and on our most basic rights is just around the corner.
When Mitt Romney stepped on his Florida primary victory message by declaring that he wasn’t concerned about the very poor – and that he’d patch any holes that just might be in their safety net – most observers thought his mistake was declaring disinterest in the poor. But to right-wing activists, Romney’s bigger problem was his support for any kind of social safety net.
The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack called Romney’s comments “unconservative,” saying that “The standard conservative argument is that a conservative economic agenda will help everyone.”
“The safety net contributes to poverty,” declared Rush Limbaugh. “It does not solve it.” Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint told a reporter, “Those are the programs that are hurting, not just the poor, but our country.”
Religious Right leaders added another touch: the safety net is un-Biblical. Yesterday, Liberty Counsel pushed out a statement promoting the Christian Reconstructionist notion that the Bible gives the government no role in addressing poverty:
Romney wrongly assumes that it is the role of government to provide more entitlements to help the poor. In fact, that is not the role of government. The historical biblical view of helping the poor is that they are best helped by individuals and the faith community. Government programs tend to enslave the poor in an endless cycle of poverty. The biblical model is that both, the giver and the recipient, are blessed. When government steps in between the giver and the recipient, the giver loses the blessing of giving and the recipient is often left in a worse, rather than better, position. Romney's statement that he would rely on government programs to help the poor indicates his intent to continue the same failed big government programs and policies….it is the duty of the church, the faith community, to look after the poor, the orphans, and the widows.
Longtime Religoius Right activist Gary Bauer made the same point in a USA Today column in January, arguing that “nowhere in the Bible are we told that government should take one man's money by force of law and give it to another man. Jesus' admonition was a personal command to share, not a command for Caesar to "spread the wealth around."
There are, of course, alternative views about what the Bible has to say. President Obama, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast this week, cited the Biblical principal that much will be expected of the person who has been given much. (Laughably, Obama has been criticized by Ralph Reedfor discussing how his faith influenced his approach to policy-making.) Writing recently for Sojourner’s, an economically liberal evangelical group, Tim King called Bauer’s claims about scripture “false,” saying that biblical injunctions related to forgiveness of debts and the release of slaves are “forms of government mandated redistribution of wealth” and “laws concerned with justice not encouragements to charity.”
Focus on the Family founder and Family Talk host James Dobson endorsed Rick Santorum today, which comes as no surprise as Dobson advocated for Santorum behind closed doors at a meeting with fellow Religious Right leaders in Texas. According to reports, Dobson feared the repercussions of electing Newt Gingrich and having “a woman who was a man’s mistress for eight years” as First Lady.
Dr. Dobson, well-known radio broadcaster, psychologist and author of 35 best selling books, and consultant to three U.S. Presidents, said today, "The institution of the family is the key issue facing this great nation. It is the foundation, the bedrock, upon which every dimension of Western Civilization rests. If it is undermined or weakened by cultural and governmental forces, the entire superstructure will collapse in short order. And indeed, today it is in serious jeopardy. The very definition of marriage is threatened, which has implications for the next generation and the stability of society itself.
"Of all the Republican candidates who are vying for the presidency, former Sen. Santorum is the one who has spoken passionately in every debate about this concern. He has pleaded with the nation and its leaders to come to the aid of marriages, parents, and their children. What a refreshing message. The Congress voted in 1969 to impose a marriage penalty tax on husbands and wives who were struggling to raise their children. That unfair tax continued for 32 years, until George W. Bush rolled it back. Now, if Democrats and some Republicans have their way, the marriage penalty tax will be re-imposed in 2013. We desperately need a president who will intercede on behalf of those who are caring for the next generation and working to build this nation.
"While there are other GOP candidates who are worthy of our support, Sen. Santorum is the man of the hour. His knowledge of international politics, especially Israel and the turmoil in the Middle East, is highly relevant to the dangerous world in which we live. This is why I am endorsing former Senator Rick Santorum for president of the United States, and urge my countrymen to join us in this campaign."
UPDATE: Rick Santorum thanked Dobson in a statement and hoped his endorsement would help “build upon our momentum generated from our Iowa Caucus win”:
I am truly honored to receive Dr. Dobson's endorsement today. Dr. Dobson has been a light for conservative movement, an unwavering leader in the face of forces both within and outside our Party to call a truce on the foundational principles that make our nation the greatest in the history of the world, but he knows that calling a truce is nothing more than surrendering. I commit to never surrender our principles, our foundational values, and the moral enterprise that is America. I am excited to work with Dr. Dobson in the weeks to come as we build upon our momentum generated from our Iowa Caucus win.
Meanwhile, the Red White and Blue Fund, a pro-Santorum Super PAC, is airing a new ad in South Carolina narrated by Bauer, who helped found the Family Research Council with Dobson, calling Santorum an opponent of “liberal elites and those who seek to undermine the nation’s freedoms and moral fabric”:
Did social conservative leaders come together and jointly endorse Rick Santorum at the Texas retreat over the weekend? That is the way Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and many in the media interpreted the meeting of leading Religious Right luminaries, where on the second ballot Santorum led Gingrich 70 to 49, and on the third ballot 85 to 29. Perkins claimed there was a “strong consensus” behind Santorum, who has won the backing of Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Young Nance, former National Organization for Marriage president Maggie Gallagher, American Values president Gary Bauer and the expected endorsement of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.
But have Religious Right leaders really coalesced around Santorum?
Gingrich has locked in the support of prominent social conservative leaders: Concerned Women for America founder and chairman Beverly LaHaye; Council for National Policy founder and author Tim LaHaye; American Family Association founder and chairman Don Wildmon; Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver; California pastor and Proposition 8 organizer Jim Garlow; evangelical pollster George Barna; Restoration Project organizer David Lane and pastor and former congressman J.C. Watts.
Gingrich supporters have even claimed that the third ballot, which showed Santorum winning handling, occurred after many leaders left the meeting and that some Santorum boosters were involved with “ballot-box stuffing.” Bob Vander Plaats, an early Santorum endorser, told Bryan Fischer on Focal Point that the Texas gathering only showed “divided support” between Santorum and Gingrich, and Red State’s Erick Erickson, who attended the meeting, said that “it was divided with many thinking Gingrich is the only one who can win.”
While it remains to be seen if social conservatives will really “coalesce” behind Santorum, it is clear that the Religious Right leadership that begged Perry to enter the race has now utterly abandoned him.
I have been saying for months now that this election is going to be brutal. Obama can't run on "hope and change" again. It's going to be fear and smear in 2012. This week we got another indication of where the Obama campaign is headed.
In California this week, Obama's chief political strategist David Axelrod defended Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. According to the report, Axelrod dismissed the 2008 Wright controversy by saying it was nothing more than "ninety seconds of vitriol plucked from thirty years of sermons by some enterprising opposition researcher."
Really? Why then did Barack Obama feel it was necessary to throw Wright under the bus and repudiate his outrageous statements and blatant racism? David Axelrod is not a dumb man, so why on earth is he opening up this can of worms now?
I truly hope I am wrong, but I fear this is a signal by the Obama campaign to their media allies that they are prepared to make a candidate's faith an issue in this year's campaign. They know going down this road will invite questions about Wright. That is why Axelrod may have pre-emptively signaled it was really "much ado about nothing" and that the Obama campaign is prepared to refight that battle.
Why? Because no matter the faith of the GOP nominee, radical secularists will portray our candidate as an extremist, and left-wing activists are prepared to exploit religious bigotry in an attempt to get Obama reelected. In fact, the polling data already indicates that for all the hype about religious intolerance on the right, there is more bigotry on the left!
Pre-emptively lashing out at the Obama campaign for fomenting “religious bigotry” about “the faith of the GOP nominee,” with zero evidence to substantiate his claim, may sound more credible if Bauer himself in 2010 hadn’t stoked fears about President Obama’s beliefs in a column Understanding Obama’s Islamophilia by claiming that he is part of a secularist-Islamist movement motivated by “their common disdain for Christianity” that seeks to herald in the “destruction of the Judeo-Christian philosophy that is the foundation of Western civilization”:
Obama’s left-wing progressivism varies with Islamism on many issues. But their adherents find common cause in a common enemy: the Judeo-Christian worldview at the heart of Western democracy.
Progressives and Islamists are indeed on the same side. Their common disdain for Christianity explains why left-wing judges in America find any inkling of Christianity in the public square unconstitutional, while Islamist judges in the Middle East deem it executable.
Their common view that life is expendable explains the left’s embrace abortion-on-demand and why the Islamists don’t hesitate to deploy their own children for homicide bombings.
Their common totalitarian impulse explains why each group has as its governing objective to render its subjects entirely dependent on the state for everything in their lives, from education to healthcare.
This alliance explains why the Obama State Department is spending taxpayer money to send Rauf to the Middle East on a goodwill tour. And it is why it will spend nearly $6 million of your tax money to restore, among other things, mosques and minaret around the world.
There’s a reason Obama won the Muslim American vote by more than nine to one, and why it is suspected that he received millions of dollars in contributions to his presidential campaign from Muslims abroad. It’s not because Muslims thought Obama would fight for gays in the military. It’s because they knew he’d treat Israel as more of an annoyance than an ally, and because he’d be sure to diminish America’s stature in the world. And they were right.
More fundamentally, left-wing progressivism and Islamism both hold that religious belief and reason are at odds. Of course, Islamists embrace faith and reject reason, while progressives value reason to the exclusion of faith. Eventually these groups may have to address their basic differences.
But there will be time for that later. For now, there’s a greater goal to achieve: the annihilation of moral accountability and individual liberty and the destruction of the Judeo-Christian philosophy that is the foundation of Western civilization.
Divided Religious Right Leaders may ask Presidential Candidates to Withdraw With Religious Right leaders set to meet in Texas about the GOP presidential primary, divisions within the movement may hinder efforts to put on a united front. Just as in 2008, when many social conservatives were divided and John McCain was able to win the Republican nomination, it looks like discord and delay will doom any chance that this meeting will be a game-changer.
Elizabeth Dias of TIMEreports that Don Wildmon, the founder of the American Family Association who was an early supporter of Rick Perry but has since endorsed Newt Gingrich, told invited guests that they must be prepared to switch which candidate they support so as not to “not divide our strength.” Dias also reports that there “is a rumor among several invitees that the leaders may ask a candidate to withdraw” from the race:
Some 125 evangelical leaders and their spouses will gather this weekend at a Texas ranch to discuss the latest iteration of Operation What To Do About Mitt Romney. While organizers say it is not a meeting to stop the GOP front runner, the invitation is urgent: “This coming election could prove to be the most critical of our lifetime,” it reads. The real kicker: Event sponsor and former American Family Association chairman Don Wildmon has asked invitees if they would be “be willing to compromise and change your choice to one that the body as a whole supports in order to not divide our strength,” according to someone who has received the invitation. The implication? Time’s running out to anoint a consensus candidate for social conservatives.
Getting all the members of this group, let alone the voters of South Carolina, behind this proposition in the middle of January will likely require an act of God. Evangelical votes and donations are already splintered between Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. (Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, despite their second and third place finishes in New Hampshire, will not be under consideration at the ranch outside Houston this weekend.) There is a rumor among several invitees that the leaders may ask a candidate to withdraw, but entrenched loyalties will make it difficult to settle on one or possibly two contenders to take to the fall. Wildmon financed Perry’s “Response” prayer rally this summer, and event organizer Gary Bauer, a former Family Research Council president and a U.S.-presidential hopeful in 2000, endorsed Santorum at a South Carolina campaign event this past Sunday.
Jim Rutenberg of the New York Timesfound that Religious Right leaders are trying to make sure that they don’t come across as hostile to Mitt Romney as he inches closer to winning the nomination, noting that Romney’s evangelical supporters will be present:
Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values and one of the organizers, said Tuesday in an interview, “We’re not forming some alliance to stop somebody else that’s competing for the nomination,” adding, “the only person in that room the people want to stop is Barack Obama from having a second term.”
Mr. Bauer, it happens, will be supporting Mr. Santorum, whom he endorsed and campaigned with last week. But Mr. Bauer said the meeting would include advocates “for all of the candidates, including Romney.” Mr. Romney’s advocates are expected to be working the room aggressively.
For some insider knowledge, AFA spokesman and Perry-cheerleader Bryan Fischer urged his allies to all rally around the Texas governor despite his extraordinarily low place in the polls and beyond-terrible debate performances:
The only alternative to this scenario is if social conservatives are able to rally around Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich is fatally flawed and bleeding from too many self-inflicted wounds, including morphing into Michael Moore in his attacks on free enterprise. Rick Santorum, despite his unapologetic and vigorous social conservatism, does not have the infrastructure, the organization, or the money to run a nationwide campaign. He will not even be on the ballot in four or five states.
Only Rick Perry combines effective executive experience, a proven record of economic vitality, a consistently conservative set of social values, and the structure and fund-raising capacity to defeat Romney in the primary and Obama in the general. He or Santorum could blunt some of the Ron Paul mania and keep many conservatives from defecting to Paul. But Perry finished fifth in Iowa, was barely a blip in New Hampshire, and is polling at five percent in South Carolina.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told the Washington Times that he doubted Religious Right leaders can unite behind a Republican candidate, despite pleas from activists like Bob Vander Plaats for leaders to “cancel” their Texas retreat and “rearrange their plans to get to South Carolina, Florida, wherever they can help Santorum.” In 2008, many Religious Right figures were divided over whom to support and only coalesced behind Mike Huckabee’s candidacy when John McCain’s nomination became inevitable.
The goal is to see if what occurred in 2008 can be avoided in 2012. Keep conservatives from being fractured and allowing a non-conservative to capture the nomination only to lose the general election,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian think-tank.
“Will they coalesce around one candidate?” Mr. Perkins said. “It is possible, but not probable.”
“That coalescence is not going to happen before South Carolina, and since these early primaries are not winner-take-all, as in the past, we have time,” Mr. Perkins said.
He said he gleaned from the conference call a sense that clarity on the issue may not come until after the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary or even the Jan. 31 Florida primary.
Some expressed doubts that Mr. Santorum’s post-Iowa caucuses boost has any shelf life of more than a few weeks. And they do not want to go on the record endorsing a falling star.
Gary Bauer, who led the FRC from 1988-1999 before leaving his post to run for President, however, endorsed Santorum in South Carolina. Now as leader of American Values and the Campaign for Working Families, Bauer says only Santorum can end “the nightmare of the Obama era”:
"He's the guy that most reflects the Reagan personification of republicanism, that is lower taxes, smaller government, strong national defense, pro-life, pro-family. but more importantly those values are also whats best for America and ending the nightmare of the Obama era."
Bauer was also courted by the Romney campaign but has had a long relationship with Santorum. Bauer told me that he decided to endorse because there's a real sense of frustration at the grassroots level that evangelical leaders aren't stepping up and speaking up for candidates. Bauer decided to change that.
He endorsed John McCain in 2008 during the South Carolina Primary and there is some statistical analysis that showed his endorsement helped McCain by about five percent in the polls. McCain won South Carolina by three percentage points over Mike Huckabee.
Bauer emailed CWF members today explaining his endorsement:
My intention had been to avoid an endorsement this cycle. But in recent days it has become obvious that conservative voters are deeply divided about who should carry the banner for our values into the 2012 election. I have been receiving an increasing number of questions from our grassroots supporters around the country seeking guidance on which candidate they should support. I feel it is imperative that I take the lead now.
As you know, I believe virtually all of these candidates are men who would be fantastic presidents. My endorsement of Rick Santorum is in no way meant to be critical of the others. But I believe Santorum can best articulate the Reagan conservatism that has defined my political life and holds the best hope for the future our children and grandchildren will inherit. Rick Santorum is unambiguously pro-life and pro-family.
The election of our next president in 2012 will be the most important election of my generation. Campaign for Working Families will continue to build a war chest to ensure our values prevail in November. I believe the candidate best able to do that is Rick Santorum. But let me assure you that we will deploy our resources for whoever is selected as the nominee.
But following last night's vote in Iowa in which Perry finished a distant fifth, causing him to return to Texas to "assess" the future of his campaign, activists will be meeting again next weekend to plot how to stop Mitt Romney:
A group of movement conservatives has called an emergency meeting in Texas next weekend to find a "consensus" Republican presidential hopeful, POLITICO has learned.
"You and your spouse are cordially invited to a private meeting with national conservative leaders of faith at the ranch of Paul and Nancy Pressler near Brenham, Texas, with the purpose of attempting to unite and to come to a consensus on which Republican Presidential candidate or candidates to support, or which not to support," read an invitation that is making its way into in-boxes this morning.
The meeting is being hosted by such right-leaning figures as James Dobson, Don Wildmon and Gary Bauer. Many of the individuals on the host list attended a previous closed-door session with Rick Perry this summer.
Movement conservatives are concerned that a vote split between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum among base voters could enable Mitt Romney.
A source who shared the invitation said the meeting was about how to avoid such a possibility.
Given that Michele Bachmann will reportedly be dropping out and Newt Gingrich's campaign is floundering after his dramatic failing in Iowa, it looks like it will only be a matter of time before the Religious Right finally begins to unify behind Rick Santorum.
The second day of right-wing attacks on Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor continued many of the themes of the first day’s attacks, mostly distortions of her judicial record and public remarks and distortions of President Obama’s desire for judges who exhibit empathy. National Review published a wave of anti-Sotomayor commentary on its website.
Right-wing political and legal groups and pundits responded to President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court by cranking up their well-funded attack machine, following their pre-fab attack script (they have been attacking her for months as a potential nominee), launching ads against her confirmation, and threatening to use the nomination as a political bludgeon against Democrats from more conservative states.