National Journal’s Alex Seitz-Wald reported yesterday on the high visibility at CPAC of those who want Ben Carson to run for president. The Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has a booth in the exhibit area and the shuttle bus I rode between the suburban Maryland conference center and downtown D.C. was plastered with a large banner urging Carson to run.
Carson, an African American pediatric neurosurgeon, has had a fervent right-wing following since he used his appearance with President Obama at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast to denounce political correctness and suggest that the Bible supports a flat tax. (He made the same case as CPAC last year.) Carson appeals to anti-government conservatives by calling to phase out government poverty assistance and let churches and other charities deal with the fallout. And he appeals to Religious Right activists by claiming there is a "war on God" in America and by denouncing homosexuality and opposing same-sex marriage. He has claimed that the IRS has targeted his family and associates and says the Obama administration is like the Gestapo and wants to shut down Fox News.
The National Journal quotes committee director Vernon Robinson saying that if Carson can draw just 17 percent of the black vote, “the Roosevelt Democratic coalition is destroyed” and it will be impossible for Democrats to win the White House.
Robinson makes the same case in a direct mail piece I received this week. The mailer itself unfolds into a Ben Carson poster, and includes letters from Robinson and from the group’s “national chairman” John Philip Sousa IV. “I am convinced that no 2016 Republican ticket can win without Ben Carson on it,” writes Robinson. “Only Ben Carson can get enough black votes to keep the Democrats from winning the White House.”
Sousa’s letter says Carson is the only candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton, heal America and unite Americans. “Don’t just sit back and let the Republican establishment pick the next GOP nominee!” Sousa urges, taking direct aim at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:
Besides, do you really want a candidate for President who is just another big spending Republican like Christie? And, can you really trust Christie who was pro-abortion before he was pro-life to nominate pro-life judges to the U.S. Supreme Court?
The simple truth is that moderates like McCain and Christie are sure to lose, while conservatives like Ronald Reagan and Ben Carson are sure to win.
Seitz-Wald reports that the committee to draft Carson raised $2.83 million in its first six months of operation.
Earlier this week, a group calling itself the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) sent a letter to members of the Senate’s Gang of Eight and to members of the Congressional Black Caucus urging them to abandon immigration reform, claiming that reform would lead to “higher unemployment, more poverty, and a lower standard of living for many in the black community.”
BALA didn’t provide much information about itself in its press release…in fact, the group doesn’t seem to have existed until very recently (one indication is that it joined Facebook on May 13). The Anti-Defamation League reports that this is because BALA is just the latest incarnation of a shifting series of front groups for the anti-immigrant nativist group FAIR, which has been trying for years to drive a wedge between African Americans and Latinos. Until its recent name change, BALA was known as the African American Leadership Council (AALC), which itself, according to our friends at the Center for a New Community, was “simply a redressing of FAIR’s old front group, Choose Black America.”
In fact, the Center for a New Community notes, BALA seems to be running entirely through another FAIR front group, one of many stemming from white nationalist John Tanton, misleadingly called “Progressives for Immigration Reform” (PFIR). In a fact sheet on PFIR [pdf], the Center notes, “PFIR emblazons its public image with symbols and rhetoric that profess support for environmental causes. But under this veneer, PFIR faults the ills of American society on ‘mass migration,’ and in fact, immigrants in general—sharing more with the bigotry of the far-right than any ‘progressive’ cause.”
A look at the twelve signers of BALA’s letter gives a clear picture of the new group. Of the twelve signers, two are longtime anti-immigrant activists entrenched in the Tanton network – including groups like PFIR, FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies– and four are vocal conservative extremists who have appeared on these pages before:
Frank Morris, who identifies himself as a former director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. But these days, Morris is tied up in a number of Tanton-connected anti-immigrant groups, including sitting on the boards of FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies and serving as the vice president of PFIR.
Leah V. Durant, who left her position as a staff attorney at FAIR’s Immigration Reform Law Institute [pdf], which writes anti-immigrant laws, to become the executive director of PFIR when it launched in 2008 [pdf].
Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, a columnist and talk show host who:
Complains society is being run by “women who look like men, act worse than men, and who have essentially sacrificed their womanhood at the alter [sic] of ‘achievement.’”
In case it’s not clear, he’s really not a fan of the women’s movement: “There is a war against beautiful women, and it’s being waged by the Women’s Movement, ironically….Let’s face it, the women who rise through the ranks in Leftist politics look like dudes. In fact, if you put high-ranking female political Plutopians against their “male” counterparts, it would be the CHICKS WITH…well…CUPS, and I’m not talking bras. ….Women on the Left secretly wish to build a society of powerful ugly women…to match how they feel (and are) inside. A beautiful Liberal woman (not that I’ve ever seen one) might as well be fitted for knee pads and given Bill Clinton’s ‘How to Pleasure a President While On Your Knees Under a Desk” manual and a box of Cuban cigars.’
Perennial North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Vernon Robinson is asking for money for his campaign to readers of the far-right website WorldNetDaily. Robinson is best known for his Twilight Zone ad, which he ran during his unsuccessful campaign against Democratic Rep. Brad Miller.
While he failed in his bid for Congress, Robinson endeared himself to Republicans across the country. Now, Robinson is running in the 8th congressional district against Rep. Larry Kissell and in a fundraising email blasts President Barack Obama for “hanging out with terrorists” and “smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine”:
While Obama was smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine, I was earning badges to become an Eagle Scout. While Obama was being mentored by Communist Party Member Frank Davis, I was taught to love God and country by my parents. While Obama was consorting with Marxist professors, Black Panthers, trial lawyers, union bosses, hippie peaceniks, anti-Christian atheists, militant homosexual agitators, radical pro-abortion feminists, gun grabbers, amnesty zealots, Chi-Com sympathizers, globalists who worship at the altar of the UN, and environmentalist wackos, I was earning my bachelor's degree alongside my fellow cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
While Obama was hanging out with terrorists such as Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers (who bombed the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon), I was serving my country as a Missile Combat Crew Commander and Intelligence Officer. While Obama was attending "Socialist conferences" at Cooper Union, I was reading Milton Friedman, watching William F. Buckley, Jr., and attending the 1980 Republican National Convention that nominated Ronald Reagan. While Obama was learning his redistribution-based economics theory from law professors at Harvard, I was earning my MBA and learning the virtues of free market principles and pro-growth policies. While Obama was following in the footsteps of Saul Alinsky to become a Chicago-based community organizer, I was working as a business professor and serving in the first Bush Administration.
While Obama was saying Amen to the loony, vile, anti-America, anti-Whitey, anti-Semitic, pro-reparations, black liberation theology spewed by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, I was worshipping at a church that preaches the Gospel and erecting a Ten Commandments monument on municipal property (to the dismay of the government bureaucrats and high priests of political correctness who insist that God must be ejected from the public square). While Obama was supporting the NAACP, the ACLU, the NEA, and ACORN, I was filing the successful lawsuit against the University of North Carolina that put an end to its practice of electing trustees according to strict racial and gender quotas and providing blacks-only scholarships at taxpayer expense.
I don't head for the high grass when the Left turns up the heat. That's just not my style. I put my trust in God, not my finger to the wind, and my record proves it. I want to put a burr in Barrack Obama's saddle. I want to put a bee in Nancy Pelosi's bonnet. I want to give Barney Frank a Maalox Moment. And I want to embolden Republican Congressmen to buck up instead of buckling.
Conservative groups worked into the night Thursday after news broke of Justice David Souter’s retirement to arrange a conference call early Friday morning to talk strategy with representatives of more than 60 groups.
Leaders on the call, such as Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network, told colleagues that one of their first challenges is convincing activists there is a fight to be had.
"One thing to keep in mind is that the left and media will say this doesn't really matter — Obama will just replace a liberal with a liberal,” Long said. “It's a conservative court. We need to push back against that immediately.”
Curt Levy, also of the Judicial Confirmation Network, argued to the nearly 200 activists on the conference call that this can "be a winning issue" for conservatives if they focus on what he called the "right issues" such as same sex marriage, death penalty and the Second Amendment — issues that can split Democrats.
"If [President Obama] was to nominate somebody who was anti-death penalty, pro-gay marriage, you know - took a very extreme view on the separation of church and state, etc, or against any restriction on partial birth abortion… I think this could really be a 70-30 type issue for the Republican Party." said Levy, meaning it would have 70 percent support from Republicans.
Conservative activists also made it clear that they're concerned about whether Republican senators have the stomach for this fight, since they know going in that Democrats have a nearly filibuster proof majority.
"We've really got to make it clear that we have certain expectations for Republican senators," Levy said, "Including the fact that they study the nominee and not run to the podium to endorse the nominee whoever it is.”
Another member of the Judicial Confirmation Network, Gary Marx, said he has the same concerns.
"We need to really be focused on putting wind in the sails of these Republican senators at this stage of the battle," said Marx.
The Hill has a similar article that quotes Kay Daly of the Coalition for a Fair Judicairy, of all people, and treats her organization as if it is actually legitimate:
Groups like the American Center for Law & Justice, the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary and the Committee for Justice will all prepare background research on potential nominees, setting up the eventual, inevitable attacks on the nominee as a left-wing extremist.
Though the new nominee is still unnamed, several top Republican operatives are already sending background documents to reporters, questioning oft-mentioned candidates' fitness for the highest court in the nation.
"Part of our strategy was already done," said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice. "We have all our research memos done on all the top people."
Early front-runners for the bogeyman nod have cropped up: Darling mentioned Yale University Law School Dean Harold Koh, whom he called "very extreme." Sekulow specifically called out 2nd Circuit Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, an early favorite for the nod, as "to the left of David Souter."
"This is not my ideal situation," said Kay Daly, president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary. "Obama could conceivably put a justice onto the bench that literally would make Souter look like [Associate Justice Antonin] Scalia."
Daly’s tagline says that she is “president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary,” which, while true, is something of a truism considering that CFJ’s staff has always consisted solely of Daly.
And, of course, her exhortations and claims to represent grassroots activists might carry more weight if she hadn’t been completely AWOL for the last several years.
A quick look at her website reveals that the organization has not issued a press release since November 2006, nor has any of its data on judicial confirmations been updated since the 109th Congress, while it’s “Judicial Appointments Status Report” is current as of 10/18/2006. In fact, everything on its website is at least two years out of date. Even Daly’s blog goes dormant for months at a time, with her last post having gone up back in October until she returned today to let everyone know that she had a new piece in Human Events.
As I said then, "like cicadas, these right-wing groups emerge, make a loud racket for a short period of time and then all but disappear, only to re-emerge down the road and start the whole process over again."
I, for one, genuinely hope that the Right puts Daly and her "organization" in charge preparing background on potential Obama nominees because, given her track record, she'll probably get around to releasing it some time in 2011.
For those unfamiliar with Daly, she also just so happens to be the one responsible for producing the infamous ads from Vernon Robinson back in 2006:
The Associated Press profiles Vernon Robinson, a candidate for North Carolina's 13th District House seat, who has a penchant for saying outrageously offensive things about his opponents, such as his recent radio ad which claims that if his opponent "had his way, America would be nothing but one big fiesta for illegal aliens and homosexuals."
While Robinson reportedly sees himself as the sort of candidate people want to support because he "stands for something," local Republican officials are at a loss as to how to deal with him, with Bill Peaslee, the North Carolina Republican Party's chief of staff capable of mustering little more than a meager "Vernon has a unique way of getting his point across."
Others active in the state GOP, such as political consultant Ballard Everett, are less circumspect
"I know Jesse Helms, and Vernon Robinson is no Jesse Helms ... Jesse, at least, had some class ... He's the one Republican I want to see leave the party -- and the state."
PFAW's website to discussing my voting record, quoting my speeches, publishing the text of my television and radio ads, and calling me "bigoted" because of my "Bill Cosby-like statements on race issues" and my outspoken opposition to homosexual marriage and illegal immigration ... So PFAW has declared me "Enemy #1" for the purpose of issuing marching orders to its legion of loony-left-wing groups to take me out by sending money to Brad Miller to defame me.
Generally, when people put things in quotes, it is because they are quoting something. Not so with Robinson, who apparently prefers to simply attribute non-existent quotes to PFAW such as his assertion that we blasted his "Bill Cosby-like statements on race issues" or have declared him "Enemy #1," neither of which is true.]