Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz 'Honored' To Go Hunting With Steve King

Texas senator and likely 2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz has made a notable friend in Iowa: Rep. Steve King. The Des Moines Register reports that Cruz has accepted King’s invitation to go pheasant hunting on the opening day of the hunting season next month, and was “honored to have received the invite.”

“Yes, we are confirmed for a hunt with King,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said in an email Friday to the Des Moines Register. “The senator has enjoyed getting to know him and work with him on important issues before Congress. He’s honored to have received the invite.”

Prior to the 2012 Iowa Republican presidential caucuses, King hosted former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum twice for bird hunting at Iowa game preserves and Texas Gov. Rick Perry on one occasion. The Iowa congressman said in an interview on Thursday he hopes to shape the debate for the 2016 GOP presidential contest by serving as a “guardrail of constitutional conservatism.”

Cruz’s proud association with King is another sign that the Texan has no plans to moderate his positions in advance of a presidential run. King earned rebukes from his party leadership last month when he insisted that most young undocumented immigrants are drug runners with “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” He has also compared immigrants to dogs.

Cruz has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration proposal.
 

Birther Washington Times Defends Cruz By Attacking Imaginary 'Liberal Birthers'

The Washington Times editorial board baselessly claims this week that “many liberals who not so long ago derided anyone who questioned President Obama’s American birth as a ‘birther’ are asking similar questions now about Mr. Cruz’s eligibility.” The paper fails to name any prominent liberals who have actually made this argument.

In yesterday’s editorial, subtitled “Now a new version of ‘birtherism’ settles on the left,” the Times echoes Sean Hannity’s attack on imaginary liberal questioners of the Canadian-born Cruz’s eligibility.

Of course, the whole story is ironic since the birther movement centers around a conspiracy theory — backed by a majority of Republicans — that Obama was born abroad, probably in Kenya, and is therefore not eligible to be president even though his mother was an American citizen. Since Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and Cuban father, birthers are now quickly trying to backtrack.

The Washington Times editorial defending Cruz is especially ironic since one of the conservative newspaper’s top columnists, Jeffrey Kuhner, wrote a 2011 column arguing that Obama was not born in the US and is consequently an illegitimate president:

If Mr. Obama was not born in America, then it would serve as the final damning indictment of the establishment media’s complicity with the Democratic Party. Not only would it bring the Obama presidency down, but the entire liberal power structure as well.

Moreover, it would spark a constitutional crisis. The Constitution is absolutely clear that to be president one has to be a “natural born citizen.” Therefore, every major initiative implemented during the Obama administration - the health care overhaul, the massive stimulus package, the government takeovers of the auto companies, big banks and insurance firms, the sweeping anti-carbon regulations, allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the military, the nearly unprecedented expansion of state power, the new START Treaty - would be invalid and possibly illegal. It would drive a stake through the heart of Mr. Obama’s regime, triggering impeachment and his removal from office. This is why liberals ferociously insist that the birth issue must be buried at almost any cost.



The birth issue is slowly casting a shadow over Mr. Obama’s presidency; it threatens to undermine public confidence in his legal and moral authority to govern. Several states are pushing to pass laws compelling future presidential candidates - including Mr. Obama - to fully disclose all documents proving their natural born citizenship status. This desire for greater political transparency and accountability is healthy.

It is time Mr. Obama came clean. At a minimum, if he does not reveal his birth certificate, he cannot - and should not - be allowed to run for a second term.

Steve Stockman Not a Birther on Ted Cruz; Still Thinks Obama's Birth Certificate Is Fraudulent

Birther congressman Steve Stockman says he’s not a birther after all, now that Canadian-born Sen. Ted Cruz is considering a run for president. The Texas Republican, who is crafting a birther bill with Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), said his home state senator is indeed eligible for the presidency even though he was born outside of the US.

The debunked birther conspiracy theory centers on the idea that President Obama forged his Hawaiian birth certificate to hide his foreign birth to an American mother and Kenyan father, which would make him ineligible to be president. Cruz, who also has an American mother but unlike Obama was actually born abroad, would therefore also be deemed ineligible if birthers had any logical consistency, which apparently they don’t.

Stockman told the arch-birther website WorldNetDaily that he has no problem with Cruz’s likely presidential bid, noting that they are both friends and attend the same church.

However, he still thinks Obama might have a “fraudulent” birth certificate and thinks he was listed as a “foreign student,” a reference to another discredited conspiracy theory.

To hear Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, describe it, the difference between President Obama and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas – on the question of their eligibility for the highest office in the land – may be a case of comparing apples and oranges.

The congressman said with Cruz, it is a legal question of whether he is eligible to serve as president – whereas the issue with Obama is not really about where he was born, but whether his documentation is authentic.

Cruz released a copy of his birth certificate Sunday to the Dallas Morning News, as some have begun questioning the possible presidential contender’s eligibility, just as many have questioned Obama’s eligibility since 2008 when the argument was first raised by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The Cruz birth certificate shows he was born in Canada in 1970 to an American mother, which gave him American citizenship.

Obama, on the other hand, is the subject of Stockman’s proposed legislation calling for a congressional investigation of both the president’s constitutional eligibility and the authenticity of the birth certificate he released to show he was born in Hawaii.

In an exclusive interview with WND, Stockman said, in the case of Obama, it is more of a question about the validity of the documentation as well as his forthrightness, whereas with Cruz, it is more of a matter for legal and constitutional scholars to decide.

Stockman was happy to talk about his fellow Texan and tea-party favorite, saying, “He’s a good friend of mine and a great guy. In fact, I believe we go to the same church in Houston.”

The congressman said he doesn’t really know if Cruz is eligible for the presidency, but Cruz has been upfront and Obama was not.

Stockman noted that it took a long time for Obama to produce a document, and even now, questions linger.

“One of the things I always questioned was the documentation of the president, whether that was fraudulent,” he explained. “But I don’t question Cruz. Ted came right out and said, ‘Here’s the documentation.



Stockman mentioned another element that separates the case of Cruz and that of the president: the persistence of reports that Obama was listed as a foreign student in school and the fact he has yet to release records that would disprove that.

Lord Monckton, a WND commentator, even insisted that he was never a birther — despite having repeatedly claimed [PDF] that Obama’s supposed foreign birth made him ineligible to be president — and is fine with a Cruz presidency.

WND columnist and former adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Lord Monckton also has said the issue with Obama is not where he was born, but whether his documentation is authentic.

Monckton has claimed the birth certificate Obama finally produced after years of prodding is “plainly a forgery” and could be dismantled with software.

Monckton, of course, just last year wrote in WorldNetDaily that people who are not born on US soil could not be president:

This is what your Constitution says:

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”

No ifs. No buts. This is the ancient and sensible ius soli: you are a citizen of the nation on whose soil you were born. Not born here? Go and play president somewhere else.

Unless, that soil is Canada and your name is Ted Cruz, apparently.

Birthers for Ted Cruz

The possible 2016 presidential candidacy of Canadian-born Texas Sen. Ted Cruz presents something of a conundrum for the birthers who have spent the past several years declaring that President Obama was born in Kenya and therefore ineligible for the presidency. While the Congressional Research Service [PDF] and many others hold that Cruz is eligible since his mother is a US citizen, birthers contend that Obama is ineligible to be president since they believe—without any real evidence—that he was born abroad to an American mother.

This weekend, arch-birther Donald Trump tried to avoid a question about Cruz’s eligibility, saying that he wasn’t sure where Cruz was born.

But Lord Christopher Monckton, columnist for the birther “news” site WorldNetDaily, seems to have no qualms about Cruz’s eligibility, writing that he wants to erect a statue of Cruz and can already envision the Texas senator as a successful two-term president:

Ted Cruz is one to watch. And let us not wait until after he has served two spectacular terms as President of the United States before we engage some rising Michelangelo to carve a noble statue of him.

For the newly minted senator from Texas, who has already gotten off to a good start by speaking out against killing little children in their mother’s womb and has proposed to defund ObamachaosTM, now proposes to sweep away the hated, corrupt Infernal Revenue “Service” and replace today’s graduated income tax with a flat-rate tax that is the same for everyone.



Poverty endures solely because the left gain votes from it. Ted Cruz is one of the few politicians in either House of Congress who understand this. And he cares enough to do something about it. That is why he deserves his statue.

Of course, Monckton is a birther. In fact, he wrote an entire report [PDF] alleging that President Obama should and might be removed from office over the issue.

But at the same time, Monckton is perfectly happy with building a Michelangelo-inspired statue of Ted Cruz even before “he has served two spectacular terms as President of the United States.”

New GOP Same As the Old GOP: Iowa Summit to Feature Republican Leaders and Religious Right Stalwarts

Year after year we keep hearing about the supposed decline of the Religious Right and the GOP’s shift away from the fringes. Despite all of that talk and speculation, this weekend will see this year’s second Religious Right gathering for potential presidential candidates, almost three years before the Iowa caucus. For anyone who anticipates that Republican presidential candidates will move towards the center in 2016, this weekend’s festivities are a very loud wakeup call.

The upcoming Family Leadership Summit comes on the heels of last month’s Iowa Pastors and Pews meeting, which hosted Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

This weekend’s conference, hosted by the Religious Right group The Family Leader, will feature Cruz, former Sen. Rick Santorum and perennial presidential candidate-vacillator Donald Trump.

Bob Vander Plaats of The Family Leader, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate who spearheaded the 2010 campaign to boot pro-marriage equality justices off the Iowa Supreme Court, is hosting the event. The Family Leader continues its push to become a conservative power player: Last year, the organization hosted a debate attended by every Republican presidential candidate save Mitt Romney and tried to get candidates to pledge to fight legal pornography and to agree that African-American families were better off under slavery. In 2016, the group might take over the reins of the Iowa Straw Poll.

Along with Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad and Sen. Chuck Grassley, several far-right figures are slated to speak at the summit:

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who recently claimed that most young undocumented immigrants are drug mules with “calves the size of cantaloupes.”

Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller, the far-right 2010 GOP Senate nominee who has tiestomilitia groups.

Talk show host Steve Deace, who has fantasized about assaulting openly gay NBA player Jason Collins and suggested that the public school system was responsible for the Newtown massacre.

Talk show host Kevin McCullough, who believes that gay people are out to kill him and hate God (but also don’t exist).

Talk show host Jan Mickelson, who has said that AIDS is divine punishment for homosexuality and hailed former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s opposition to gay rights.

Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who has likened his campaign against marriage equality to fights against slavery and Jim Crow.

David Bossie of Citizens United, the Clinton-era witch hunter who predicted that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would cripple the military and bring back the draft.

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, who argued that the Violence Against Women Act represented a “war on women” and accused Planned Parenthood of supporting domestic abuse.

Actor/Reality Show contestant Stephen Baldwin, who called President Obama a “cultural terrorist.”

Dr. Del Tackett of Truth In Action Ministries, who blamed homosexuality on lazy parenting.

Doug Napier of Alliance Defending Freedom, who pledged to represent county officials in Iowa who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Dr. David Noebel of Summit Ministries, who has warned that “Obama and his radical homosexual mafia plan to sodomize the world and make such perversion seem as wholesome as apple pie and vanilla ice cream.”

Right Wing Leftovers - 8/5/13

  • Glenn Beck's The Blaze network has opened a Washington, DC bureau and added a correspondent with White House credentials.
  • RNC chairman Reince Priebus is threatening to pull Republican primary debates from CNN and NBC "unless those companies pull their current Hillary Clinton-related film projects."
  • Sen. Ted Cruz doesn't seem to understand how BuzzFeed operates.
  • Bryan Fischer says that, even today, God is raising people from the dead.
  • Apparently, environmentalists are responsible for the deaths of the nineteen firefighters who died fighting a forest fire in Arizona earlier this summer.
  • Finally, John Boehner’s office says that nobody on staff remembers Boehner ever "agreeing" with Rep. Ted Yoho's claim that Obamacare is racist.

Cruz: A Government Shut Down Is No Big Deal Because It Happens Every Weekend

Tea Party members of Congress like Sen. Ted Cruz are threatening to shut down the federal government in an effort to defund health care reform while, simultaneously, attempting to place the blame for any such shut down on President Obama.

Obviously, pulling that off successfully will require the creation of some pretty ingenious arguments, one of which Cruz tried out last week when he was interviewed on Newsmax TV where he asserted that the term "shut down is a misnomer; what it in fact is is a partial, temporary shut down" where "nonessential government functions are temporarily suspended.

"Now that's inconvenient," Cruz admitted, before adding "but we actually see that every single week on the weekends":

At Iowa Summit, Religious Right Activists Hope to 'Change the Direction of the Wind' Against the 'Gay Agenda'

We have been posting videos and reports from the recent Religious Right gathering in Iowa as they become available – so far we’ve seen Rand Paul warning of the country’s collapse and Ted Cruz repeatedly attacking gay rights.

Today, the 700 Club finally featured a segment with additional footage from the summit. CBN’s David Brody interviewed chief organizer David Lane, who has predicted divine punishment on America in the form of car bombings, along with billionaire brothers Dan and Farris Wilks, the latter of whom told Brody that he is upset about the rise of the “gay agenda.”

Brody also showed footage of right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton praying over Cruz and conservative pastor Laurence White telling activists that they can sway politicians if they “change the direction of the wind.”

Watch highlights here:

Ted Cruz: Pray To Stop The 'Assault on Marriage'

The Christian Broadcasting Network has released more footage from the recent Religious Right summit in Iowa organized by David Lane and featuring speakers like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Cruz, who told CBN in an interview that gay rights advocates intend to dispose of the First Amendment and pass hate speech laws, won plaudits from the audience of conservative activists for his attacks on gay rights advocates and “judicial activism.”

“On marriage there is no issue in which we need to be more on our knees because the momentum is with the opponents of traditional marriage,” Cruz said. “We’re facing an assault on marriage.”

He scolded “unelected judges” who think “we know better” on marriage, and urged pastors to “to speak to your congregations and to mobilize the people, and mobilize them more than anything to pray.”

Watch:

On marriage there is no issue in which we need to be more on our knees because the momentum is with the opponents of traditional marriage. We saw a decision from the US Supreme Court, a decision that some have herald, even some conservatives have herald, I think that decision was an abject demonstration of judicial activism. Five unelected judges saying we are going to set aside the policy preference of the state of California, the citizens not of some crazy right-wing state—California. The citizens of California went to vote and they voted and said in the state of California we want marriage to be the traditional union of one man and one woman, and the US Supreme Court, as a result of its decision said you have no right to define marriage in your state, we know better. We’re facing an assault on marriage. As pastors, each of you has a special responsibility and a special ability to speak to your congregations and to mobilize the people, and mobilize them more than anything to pray.

Ted Cruz Distorts and Ignores Nina Pillard's Actual Record

The far right is distorting what DC Circuit nominee Nina Pillard has written and said.
PFAW

Ted Cruz Warns Gay Marriage Will Lead to Hate Speech Laws, America on Brink of Collapse

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody on Friday, Ted Cruz rehashed the false right-wing claims that gay rights advocates intend to pass hate speech laws and force pastors to perform same-sex nuptials. Leading Religious Right activists made the same arguments during their campaign against the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act and in debates over state marriage equality bills. Of course, such laws would be unconstitutional and have never been used to silence religious leaders or limit the freedom of speech.

If you look at other nations that have gone down the road towards gay marriage, that’s the next step of where it gets enforced. It gets enforced against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages, who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage, that has been defined elsewhere as hate speech, as inconsistent with the enlightened view of government. I think there is no doubt that the advocates who are driving this effort in the United States want to see us end up in that same place.

Brody also lobbed another hardball at Cruz, asking him if he believes “spiritual revival is needed in this country.”

“Everywhere I go people are afraid for the future of our country; I think we’re at the edge of a precipice,” Cruz said. “If we keep going down this path, we’re risking losing our nation; we’re risking losing the incredible oasis of liberty.”

Watch:

Right Wing Leftovers - 7/22/13

  • Bryan Fischer, who once wrote that African Americans on welfare "rut like rabbits," says that President Obama has "set race relations back another decade."
  • Matt Barber helpfully drafts the remarks that President Obama should have delivered on the Trayvon Martin verdict.
  • Sadly, the Southern Avenger has resigned.
  • "Coach" Dave says he is not a homophobe ... and neither is God.
  • Ex-gay activist  Dr. Douglas McIntyre is launching a ten day tour to protest "homo-facism."
  • Finally, here is Sen. Ted Cruz having hands laid upon him and being prayed over by David Barton, among others:

Ted Cruz's Father Tells Him 'God Has Destined You For Greatness'

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stumped in Iowa over the weekend, and his father Rafael Cruz was promoting his son’s possibly presidential candidacy to pastors and local Republican leaders during his trip. In fact, he said in an interview with Chrsitian Broadcasting Networks’ David Brody that he told his son: “You know Ted, you have been gifted above any man that I know and God has destined you for greatness.’ And I started making declarations about the Word of God to him every day.”

He goes on to suggest that his son is destined to save freedom in America, and even Brody called Cruz’s political career “a thing of God.”

As we’ve noted, Rafael Cruz is a Religious Right activist himself , and he also revealed to Brody that he was active in the Religious Roundtable.

The Religious Roundtable was founded by Ed McAteer and included leaders like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly and Paul Weyrich. The group also helped launch Ronald Reagan’s bid for president in 1980 and hosted the conference where he quipped, “I know you can’t endorse me, but I endorse you.”

Brody: Talk me about your son and his rise. This must be a thing of God. It's meteoric.

Cruz: Yes, but you know something, it is not something that started a couple of years ago. Let me just go back to when he was maybe four. When he was four I used to read Bible stories to him all the time. And I would declare and proclaim the word of God over him. And I would just say, ‘You know Ted, you have been gifted above any man that I know and God has destined you for greatness’. And I started making declarations about the Word of God to him every day. When he was eight years old I was very active in an organization called the Religious Roundtable.

...

This was a coalition of Christians and Jews who was very instrumental in helping Reagan get elected. I was on the state board of the Religious Roundtable, so when my son Ted was eight years old, all we talked about around the dinner table was politics because I was so involved with the Reagan campaign. So during that time is when I asked him so many times, ‘You know Ted, when I lost my freedom in Cuba I had a place to come to. If we lose our freedoms here where are we going to go? There is no place to go.’

...

Ted enters high school, the Free Enterprise Institute organizes a group of five kids, called them the Constitutional Corroborators, now Ted is reading the The Federalist Papers, The Anti-Federalist Papers, and each of the five kids memorized the entire US Constitution.

...

So before my son left high school he was passionate about the constitution. He was passionate about freedom and free markets and limited governments. Before he left high school he knew without a shadow of a doubt what his purpose in life was and it was to defend and protect freedom and the Constitution, to fight for free markets and limited government, and it became a passion in his life. So this is not a trajectory of three years, this is a trajectory of 30 years.

Ted Cruz, Rand Paul Rally Right-Wing Pastors in Iowa

As we noted earlier this week, Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were the main draws at “Rediscovering God in America,” an event for conservative pastors in Iowa that was organized by Christian-nation advocate David Lane under the auspices of the Iowa Renewal Project.  According to a report in the Des Moines Register, Cruz knew his audience:

In a fiery, Bible-quoting first speech during his first time in Iowa, Republican Ted Cruz called on evangelical conservatives to demand their GOP elected officials actually stand for the conservative principles they pretend to believe in.

“Belief, saying I believe in something, is not sitting there quietly doing the golf clap,” Cruz told hundreds of Iowa Christian conservative ministers this morning at a private conclave in Des Moines….

Cruz lectured for 30 minutes, his voice at times rising to a shout. He answered questions for another 20 minutes, then stood at the center of a circle as pastors laid their hands on him and the whole audience – a predominantly white group with about 20 black pastors – bowed heads to pray for him.

As we have reported, event organizer David Lane has declared war on Republicans who are insufficiently conservative or aggressive. That’s something he has in common with Cruz, who complained during his presentation that Republicans in Congress would not have the guts to defund Obamacare in upcoming appropriations battles. And he portrayed himself as courageous warrior for right-wing causes: "The biggest applause and loudest whistles came when Cruz talked about abolishing the IRS. He said that’s “viewed as scary radical talk” in Washington, and that career politicians don’t want it to happen."

Cruz also touched on another of David Lane’s favorite themes: the responsibility of pastors to move America by being more aggressively political.

He told the pastors they have a special charge to urge their flocks to become more active in politics.

“It is so easy to hide from the public square. It is so easy to say the challenges of the country are someone else’s problem. But the pastors, and your husbands and wives who are here, ya’ll are not content to do that and I’m so grateful for that.”

The Register says that Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, who is making the Religious Right circuit on his own these days, was also in attendance.

The Register also reports on Rand Paul's speech:

Republican Rand Paul thinks the country needs to find its way back to Christian values and the traditions of the founders, he said in Iowa today.

“What America needs is not just another politician or more promises,” he said. “What America needs is a revival.”

According to the Register, Paul couched his less-interventionist foreign policy in terms of denying U.S. support for "haters of Christianity."

To an audience of about 650, Paul said some Republicans have the mistaken belief that the way for the nation to project strength is through war.

“Jesus reminds us what our goal should be when he proclaims: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,’” Paul said. “This does not mean we never go to war. But it means we should do so reluctantly, and seek an end expeditiously.”

Paul said the U.S. Senate is now attempting to arm Islamic rebels in Syria, many of whom are Al Quaeda.

“There is an irony that is impossible to escape: Our taxpayer dollars will fund Islamic rebels who may well be killing Christians,” he said. “In country after country, mobs burn the American flag and chant ‘death to America.’ Congress responds by sending more of your money to these haters of Christianity.”

And, in the line that drew a standing ovation and the most passionate applause of his speech, he said: “I say not one penny more to any nation that is burning our flag.”

 

Rafael Cruz: The Declaration And Constitution Were 'Divine Revelation From God'

We were aware that Sen. Ted Cruz's father, Rafael, has become something of a right-wing speaker in the wake of his son's election to the Senate, but we did not realize that the elder Cruz is a full-blown Religious Right activist until we watched the speech he delivered at a recent “America in Distress” rally where he spoke alongside the likes of Louie Gohmert, Rick Scarborough, and other Religious Right/Tea Party activists.

Cruz delivered a nearly twenty minute speech that was chock-full of standard Religious Right attacks on everything from abortion to the IRS all while he quoted Bible verses and called upon Christians to vote "for Christian principles, for biblical principles" in order "take every position and office from dog catcher all the way to the highest position in the land."

Cruz closed by declaring that "outside of the Bible," the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were the most important documents that had ever been written.

"And the reason is," Cruz explained, "they were written on the knees of the Framers.  The Framers were seeking divine revelation from God, that's why the Declaration and the Constitution have lasted over 230 years because they were divine revelation from God":

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Black American Leadership Alliance Anti-Immigrant Rally Keeps on Adding Fringe Activists…and Senators

On Monday, a brand new group called the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) will be holding a march on the National Mall in opposition to a new immigration policy. Michelle Cottle at the Daily Beast today explains that BALA, far from being the grassroots group it claims to be, consists of “a dozen or so…seasoned activists who have long been conducting this same anti-immigration crusade by means of an evolving series of similar groups.” Last month, when BALA first emerged, we profiled some of its leaders and their deep connections to the anti-immigrant network stemming from white nationalist John Tanton.

As Cottle puts it: “As a result of the many links between BALA’s leaders and the Tanton network, hate-group watchdogs have expressed concern that the organization is merely the latest in a series of minority front groups providing anti-immigration extremists cover from charges of racism.” We wrote about the anti-immigrant movement’s persistent but largely unsuccessful attempts to drive a wedge between black and Latino communities in this 2011 report.

Unsurpisingly, anti-immigrant congressional leaders are jumping to associate themselves with BALA and take part in its rally. The speakers list so far includes Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Iowa Rep. Steve King, former Rep. Allen West, and, somewhat ironically, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Also speaking at the event are some lesser-known African-American conservative activists, including Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, who has said he thanks God for slavery, accused the NAACP of being “no different than the KKK” and frequently claims that President Obama is “racist” against white people. Joining him on the podium will be  radio host Kevin Jackson, who claims that feminists are waging “a war against beautiful women” and that President Obama “has taken America back into the 1960’s except now whites are enslaved to blacks.”

And we just noticed the addition of another fringe speaker to the list: Florida pastor O’Neal Dozier. Dozier made national headlines last year when, while serving as state chairman of Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign, he announced that Mitt Romney’s Mormonism would “taint the Republican Party.” A profile of Dozier by Mother Jones’ Adam Weinstein highlights some of the pastor’s worst anti-gay, anti-Islam rhetoric, dominionist rhetoric, which ultimately caused him to lose favor with the state's Republican establishment:

As Republicans courted him, Dozier continued to express some of his most extreme views. At a Reclaiming America convention in 2003, Dozier declared that "We should take control of every facet of society." He added that God was "100 percent for capital punishment. Oh, yeah, God knew some were going to slip through, a few innocent ones. He knew that. But you cannot have a society without capital punishment."

He reserved his greatest fervor for that "paramount of sins," homosexuality—which he declared was "something so nasty and disgusting that it makes God want to vomit."

In 2006, he declared war on a local Islamic group trying to build a mosque in the neighborhood. "One day," he intoned, "our grandchildren will live under the grips of sharia law. It's coming our way. Islam has a plan, a 20-year plan, to take over America from within. And they're doing it." The feds charged a charity that Dozier and local Republican activists had supported with swindling $3 million from Haitian immigrants. And Dozier started asking Florida judicial nominees if they were "God-fearing" and in favor of anti-sodomy laws. The GOP establishment began to sour on Dozier. By the summer of 2006, Crist and Jeb Bush had both dumped him.

Deconstructing Ted Cruz’s DC Circuit Grandstanding

The Senate Judiciary Committee today held a hearing for the first of President Obama’s three recent nominees to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, attorney Patricia Ann Millett. Republican committee members, having no actual objections to Millett’s qualifications, used the opportunity to grandstand about what they see as the enormous injustice of a Democratic president nominating people to open seats on the federal judiciary.

Chief among the grandstanders, of course, was Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who spent most of his time telling Millett that Republican opposition to her nomination has nothing to do with her and has everything to do with President Obama’s supposed effort to “pack” the DC Circuit.

Very little of what he said had any basis in reality. He started out by claiming that the DC Circuit is currently “evenly divided” between Democratic and Republican nominees  and that President Obama and Democrats are now trying to “pack the court” with Obama’s nominees:

Right now, the DC Circuit is evenly divided among active judges, with four Republicans and four Democrats. And you find yourself one of three nominees from the president. The president and senior Democrats on this committee have made clear that they want to pick a fight on the DC Circuit. They want to pick a fight on the DC Circuit, and unfortunately I believe part of this pressure, part of the effort of stopping qualified Republican nominees and then deciding to pick a fight now, is a desire to pack the court.

While it’s true that there are currently four Democratic nominees and four Republican nominees in active service on the court, Cruz obscures the fact that the court has an active backbench of six senior judges – five of whom are Republican nominees:

This imbalance exists because Republican presidents have nominated the bulk of DC Circuit judges in the past three decades -- 15 of the last 19 confirmed to the DC Circuit were nominated by Republicans. Far from “packing” the court, President Obama has had fewer judges confirmed to the DC Circuit than any of his four most recent predecessors.

Cruz continued, insisting that President Obama is trying to “pack” the court because it is “holding this administration accountable, and in particular, holding rule-making accountable that has been contrary to federal law”:

The DC Circuit has been a court that has been holding this administration accountable, and in particular, holding rule-making accountable that has been contrary to federal law. And I believe that there is an activist base that is pressuring the president, that has been pressuring senior Senate Democrats to get judicial nominees on the DC Circuit to protect the regulations coming from this administration. And I think any effort to pack the court because the administration doesn’t like the outcomes of judges applying the law fairly should be decried.

What Cruz is referring to is the fact that the D.C. Circuit is currently dominated by right-wing Republican nominees, who have delved into far-right legal theory to strike down common-sense protections for workers, consumers and voters – you can read about some of their most appalling decisions here. President Obama is not trying to “pack” the court to get the decisions that he wants, as Cruz alleges. Instead, he is using his mandate from American voters to pick judges who will restore some ideological balance to one of the farthest-right courts in the country.

Finally, Cruz declares that his objections to Millett have nothing to do with her “very fine professional qualifications” and instead have to do with too much “partisan politics” in judicial confirmations – partisan politics which he seems to have very little interest in putting aside.

Because I think  partisan politics has driven this committee’s approach to the DC Circuit for over a decade. And I think that’s unfortunate, I would rather see a situation where able judges are confirmed irrespective of that. But it is not consistent with our responsibility to let one party prevent qualified judges from going to the court, and at the same time to enable packing the court to reach preferred outcomes. So I thank you for being here, and I think it’s regrettable, the overall context of this dispute, which as I said is irrespective of your very fine professional qualifications.

So, Cruz is refusing to support Millett, who he thinks is unquestionably qualified for the job, for purely political reasons… because he thinks the judicial nominations process has become too politicized.
 

PFAW

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/8/13

Rand Paul Wants to 'Become an Illegal Immigrant,' Glenn Beck Worries He'll Be a 'Second-Class Citizen'

The far Right’s hatred of Obamacare is so great and so senseless they can use it to make two opposing arguments at the same time.

That is what has been happening as the House and Senate try to determine at what point new immigrants will be included in the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this month, ABC News reported that Republicans were willing to hold up the whole bill in order to prevent new immigrants from having access to federal health care subsidies while they work toward citizenship. The current Senate bill plan bars formerly undocumented immigrants from accessing Affordable Care Act subsidies as they work toward permanent residency; GOP Sens. Marco Rubio and Orrin Hatch have proposed an amendment to the bill that would bar those immigrants from Obamacare until five years after they get a green card.

So now, of course, the anti-immigrant Right is using that provision – put into the bill in a futile attempt to satisfy the anti-immigrant Right – to argue against the new immigration policy as a whole.

Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz  claimed that the provision amounts to “affirmative action” for “those who are here illegally.”

Sen. Rand Paul piled on today, joking with Glenn Beck, “I’m thinking about lobbying to become an illegal immigrant so I don’t have to participate in Obamacare.” Beck asserted that under the Senate’s plan, everyone who is not an undocumented immigrant will be a “second-class citizen.”

Teavangelicals Told to Be ‘Happy Warriors’ Against Liberals, Big Govt, GOP Nay-sayers

Here’s a question for Ralph Reed and the ‘Teavangelical’ wing of the conservative movement: how can you portray yourselves as serious about governing when the keynote speakers at last week’s “Road to Majority” conference were Donald Trump and Sarah Palin?

Palin’s conference-closing remarks on Saturday featured a breathtakingly offensive joke about the Syrian civil war, which has taken an estimated 100,000 lives. She said we should just “let Allah sort it out.” Palin also had choice words for the bipartisan immigration reform bill moving through the Senate, which she dismissed as “a pandering, rewarding-the-rule-breakers, still-no-border-security, special-interest-written amnesty bill.” She was one of many conference speakers rhetorically crapping on Marco Rubio and the bipartisan “Gang of 8” reform bill and burning the bridges that conservative Latinos are trying to build.

At Friday night’s “gala” Reed bestowed a lifetime achievement award on Pat Robertson, who is increasingly difficult to take seriously, and who devoted his remarks to trashing President Obama.  Trump, who also addressed the gala, spoke mostly about his own Trumpian greatness and how Mitt Romney might have been president if he had the guts to run Trump’s anti-Obama “you’re fired” ad.  Trump shared plenty of pablum and piercing political insights, such as the Republicans needing to be “really smart” in choosing a “great candidate” in 2016. Trump also criticized the immigration reform bill as a “death wish” for the Republican Party, saying “every one of those people, and the tens of millions of people they will bring in with them, will be absolutely voting Democratic.”

There’s no question Ralph Reed still has pull. His conference opened with a luncheon featuring four Tea Party senators and he got a handful of Republican House members to speak along with former and future presidential hopefuls like Mike Huckabee, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Ted Cruz.  Rick Perry, who was introduced as a “Renaissance man,” bragged about the law he recently signed to protect the ostensibly threatened right of public school students to wish each other “Merry Christmas” Perry said, ““I hope my state is a glowing example of men and women who believe that those traditional values are how you make a stronger society.” Stronger society? Not so much.

In addition to the divide on immigration, relentless attacks on President Obama (Dick Morris said of the president, “he doesn’t care about national security”), and the unsurprising rhetoric on abortion, marriage, and supposed threats to religious liberty, there were some other major themes:

Government Bad

The conference was infused with the Tea Party’s anti-federal-government themes. Jonah Goldberg of the National Review reminded people of a video shown at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which he recalled saying the government is the one thing we all belong to.  “Now, as sort of a Tea Party-ish kind of guy, that makes me want to flip the safety on my rifle.”

Speakers urged activists to take advantage of the recent scandals surrounding the IRS, the Justice Department, and the National Security Agency. Santorum urged activists to “think big” and “seize the moment” provided by the IRS scandal. Sen. Ron Johnson said he would like Americans to apply their disgust about the scandals to the federal government in general. Rather than trying to restore faith in government, Johnson said, activists should be fostering distrust of the government.

Grover Norquist is known for his quip that he wants to shrink the government until it is small enough to drown in the bathtub.  At Road to Majority he spelled out his plan to complete the strategy he embarked on with the Bush tax cuts and the no-tax-increase pledge he demands Republican candidates sign. He noted that “thanks to the marvels of modern redistricting,” Republicans are likely to have a Republican House until 2022, which means they have several chances to get a Senate majority and a Republican in the White House before then. Whenever that happens, he says, Republicans can put the Ryan budget into law and dramatically curtail government spending. He calls it “completely doable.”

Meanwhile, he said, in the 25 states where Republicans control the legislative and executive branches, activists should push for the passage of more anti-union legislation, and for laws that encourage people to obtain concealed carry permits, home school their children, and participate in stock ownership, three things that he said make people more Republican. He called this changing the demographics by changing the rules.

Obamacare: Will it Destroy America or Obama?

House Republicans have made repealing the Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare” – an obsession. Rick Santorum said opposition to the law should have been the centerpiece of the 2012 campaign. And many speakers repeated the demand that the health care reform law be repealed in its entirety.  Stephen Moore, founder of the Club for Growth and a Wall Street Journal editorial board member, said repealing Obamacare is the single most important thing that has to happen in Washington over the next two years. But a number of speakers had a slightly different take, suggesting that the implementation of the complex law would be its undoing, and that public outrage at rising insurance rates would bring down the Obama administration. Dick Morris predicted Obama would be “destroyed” by the law’s implementation.

GOP: Friend or Foe?

One running theme of the conference was conservative activists’ distrust for national Republican leaders, particularly around opposition to abortion and LGBT equality. Several speakers made reference to the notorious RNC “autopsy” on the 2012 election and the perception that some party leaders want social conservatives to tone it down. Reed himself complained that while self-identified evangelicals represented 45 percent of the Republican ticket’s vote, some party leaders were saying they are the problem and should “ride in the back of the bus.” He vowed that on issue of abortion and man-woman marriage, social conservatives would not be silent, “not now, not ever.”

It’s not just Ted Cruz who mocks his fellow Republicans. Gary Bauer complained that the last two Republican nominees had a hard time talking about sanctity of life issues, and he said party officials in Washington spend too much time taking the advice of “cowardly pollsters and political consultants.”  Mike Huckabee complained that “Republicans have been, if not equal, sometimes more guilty than Democrats in thinking the brilliant thing to do would be to centralize more power in the hands of the central government.” He said he’s “sick of hearing” that people think the GOP needs to move away from a conservative message.

There was enough grumbling that when it was RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’s turn to speak on Saturday, the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom official who introduced him felt a need to vouch for Priebus’s faith and commitment to conservative causes. He said angrily that it is “an absolute lie” that Priebus is not a social conservative and insisted that there is no division in the party.

Priebus started his remarks by establishing his religious credentials: “I’m a Christian. I’m a believer. God lives in my heart, and I’m for changing minds, not changing values.” He added, “I’m so grateful that we’ve got a party that prays, that we’ve got a party that puts God first, and I’m proud to be part of that.” He said he “gets it” that conservative Christians are a “blessing” to the party. He said the GOP needs to have a permanent ground game in place all across the country. 

Priebus defended his plan to shorten the presidential primary season and move the party convention from August to June from critics who call it an insider move against grassroots conservatives. It isn’t an establishment takeover, he insisted, but a way to prevent a replay of the 2012, when Romney went into the summer months broke after a long primary season but not yet able to tap general election funding.

Still, not all the conservative are convinced that national Republicans are with them.  Palin portrayed Republicans in Washington as being overly fond of government spending: “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Republican or a Democrat sitting atop a bloated boot on your neck, out of control government, everyone gets infected, no party is immune. That’s why, I tell ya, I’m listening to those independents, to those libertarians who are saying, you know, it is both sides of the aisle, the leadership, the good old boys….”

Phyllis Schlafly talked about having waged internal battles to make the GOP a solidly anti-abortion Party and encouraged activists not to be seduced by talk of a conservative third party but to work within the Republican Party to make sure the right people on the ballot. Norquist insisted that activists had helped brand the GOP as the party that will not raise your taxes, and he said Republican elected officials who vote for tax increases damage the brand for everyone else. They are, he said, “rat heads in coca-cola.”

Message Envy

It might surprise many progressives, who have spent years bemoaning the effectiveness of Republicans’ emotion-laden rhetoric, that speaker after speaker complained that Democrats are so much better than Republicans at messaging.  Of course complaining about messaging is easier than admitting that there may be something about your policies that voters don’t like.

At a panel on messaging strategies, author Diane Medved said that when defending traditional marriage, she would love to say “what is it about ‘abomination’ that you don’t understand?” But she knows that won’t reach people who don’t already agree with her. She argued that conservatives should marshal the “science” that supports their positions.  She also tried out a new messaging strategy, saying that opposition to marriage equality is a feminist issue because it is empowering to women to affirm that they are different than men. “Women deserve to have credit for being who they are as a separate gender and they are not interchangeable with men.”

Ryan Anderson, co-author of a book on marriage with Robert George, the intellectual godfather of the anti-marriage-equality movement, took issue with the name of the panel, which was “Don’t Preach to the Choir.” Anderson said the choir needs to be preached to, because too many Christians are giving up on marriage. There is no such thing as parenting, he insisted, there is mothering and fathering. Anderson said that anti-marriage equality forces have only been fighting for five years, while proponents have been fighting for 20 to 30 years. “It’s not that our argument for marriage has been heard and been rejected,” he said. “It’s that it hasn’t been heard at all.”  Anderson promoted the widely discredited Regnerus study on family structures as evidence that science is on his side.

Eric Teetsel, executive director of the Manhattan Declaration, encouraged activists to be careful with their rhetoric. “I don’t believe that there are very many, if any, people in this movement, certainly not in public life, who have any ill will toward the same-sex community, at all. But sometimes we say things that make it sound like we do.” If Teetsel really believes that, he needs to spend some more time actually listening to conservative religious leaders, pundits and politicians who regularly charge that gay-rights advocates are Satan-inspired sexual predators who are out to destroy faith and freedom if not western civilization itself.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy or Arguing as a Lover with Stupid Liberals

Anyone who pays attention to religious right groups has been seeing the word “winsome” a lot. Conservative evangelical leaders are well aware of polling data that shows young Christians are turned off by the anti-gay bigotry they see in the church.  So there’s a push on for everyone to make conservative arguments in a “winsome” way, to be “happy warriors” like Ronald Reagan, to be cheerful when arguing with liberals. Being cheerful was a big theme at Road to Majority. Said Rick Perry, “when we fight for our county, we need to do it with joy.” 

The Manhattan Declaration's Teetsel took this theme to new heights in the messaging panel in which he called for “arguing as a lover” when “trying to woo people over to our side”: be respectful, self-effacing, funny, give people an opportunity to save face.  But he doesn’t seem to think much of his audience, saying America is no longer a society of ideas, and that in our celebrity-crazed culture it doesn’t make sense to appeal to 18th Century sources of authority like the Federalist Papers, which “are not considered authorities in my generation. People do not care what these men in wigs thought 300 years ago.”

“We serve a God who condescended to become a man in order to share his gospel. And I think that’s an example that we can learn from. Romans 12:16 advises us, do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. So we have to bite the bullet.  We have to recognize some of these facts and condescend to watching Glee from time to time so that we can talk to people about it.”

 

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