Election 2012

Mitt Romney, Judge Bork, and the Future of America’s Courts

People For the American Way launched a major new campaign today highlighting what a Mitt Romney presidency would mean for America’s courts. Romney has signaled that he’s ready to draw the Supreme Court and lower federal courts even farther to the right. And no signal has been clearer than his choice of former Judge Robert Bork to lead his campaign advisory committee on the courts and the Constitution.

In 1987, PFAW led the effort to keep Judge Bork off the Supreme Court. Ultimately, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate recognized his extremism and rejected his nomination.

Last night, PFAW’s Jamie Raskin went on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss PFAW’s campaign and what a Supreme Court picked by Mitt Romney and Robert Bork would look like:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Watch our full video, Don’t Let Romney Bork America:

To find out more about Judge Bork and what a Romney presidency would mean for America’s courts, visit www.RomneyCourt.com.
 

PFAW

Romney and Bork, a Dangerous Team: People For the American Way Campaign Exposes Romney’s Embrace of Judicial Extremism

Today, People For the American Way launched a major new campaign – including a website, a web ad and an exclusive report – exposing Mitt Romney’s dangerous agenda for America’s courts.

The campaign highlights Romney’s choice of Robert Bork to lead his constitutional and judicial advisory team. By allying with Bork, a jurist so extreme he was rejected by a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate 25 years ago, Romney has sent a clear signal that he means to drag America’s courts even farther to the right, endangering many of the civil rights, liberties and economic protections won by the American people over the past five decades.

The ad, Don’t Let Romney Bork America, and the report, Borking America: What Robert Bork Will Mean to the Supreme Court and American Justice, can be viewed at www.RomneyCourt.com.

“The debates over health care and immigration have reinforced the importance of the Supreme Court to all Americans,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “However, few are aware of the extreme agenda Mitt Romney has for the High Court – an agenda exemplified by his close alliance with Robert Bork.

“In 1987, People For the American Way led the fight to keep Judge Bork off the Supreme Court,” Keegan continued. “25 years later, we are as relieved as ever that we succeeded. When Bork was nominated, Americans across the political spectrum rejected the dangerous political agenda that he would have brought to the bench – his disdain for modern civil rights legislation, his acceptance of poll taxes and literacy tests, his defense of contraception bans and criminal sodomy laws, his continued privileging of corporations over individuals. Since then, he has dug his heels even deeper into a view of the law that puts corporations first and individuals far behind.

“It is frightening that a quarter century after Robert Bork’s jurisprudence was deemed too regressive for the Supreme Court, a leading presidential candidate has picked him to shape his legal policy.”

People For the American Way Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin, the author of the report, added: “The return of Robert Bork and his reactionary jurisprudence to national politics should be a three-alarm wake-up call for all Americans. In his work on the bench as a judge and off the bench as a polemicist, Bork has consistently placed corporations above the government and government above the rights of the people. The idea that Bork could be central to shaping the Supreme Court in the 21st century is shocking because he wants to turn the clock back decades in terms of the civil rights and civil liberties. His constitutional politics are even more extreme today than in 1987, when a bipartisan group of 58 senators rejected his nomination to the Supreme Court.”

The new report and ad review Bork’s record from his days as solicitor general to President Richard Nixon to his turn as co-chair of the Romney campaign’s committee on law, the Constitution and the judiciary. Highlights of Bork’s career include:

  • Consistently choosing corporate power over the rights of people. As a judge, Bork regularly took the side of business interests against government regulators trying to hold them accountable, but the side of the government when it was challenged by workers, environmentalists and consumers pressing for more corporate accountability.
  • Opposing civil rights, voting rights, reproductive rights, gay rights and individual free speech. Bork disparaged the Civil Rights Act of 1964; defended the use of undemocratic poll taxes and literacy tests in state elections ; disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling that overturned sodomy laws; and believes that the government should be able to jail people for advocating civil disobedience.
  • Advocating censorship and blaming American culture first. Bork promotes censorship to combat what he calls the “rot and decadence” of American society, saying “I don’t make any fine distinctions; I’m just advocating censorship.” He writes that “the liberal view of human nature” has thrown American culture into “free fall.”
  •  Rejecting the separation of church and state. Bork rejects the science of evolution, advocates legalizing school-sponsored prayer and has written that he wants to see the Constitution’s wall of separation between church and state “crumble.”
  • Turning back the clock on women's rights: Bork has argued against Supreme Court decisions upholding abortion rights and decisions upholding the right to contraception for single people and even married couples. He believes that the heightened protections of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause don’t apply to women. As a judge, he authored a decision reversing the Secretary of Labor and holding that federal law permits a company to deal with toxic workplace conditions by demanding that female employees be sterilized or lose their jobs.

Learn more at www.RomneyCourt.com.


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Mitt Romney to Liberty University

Delivering the commencement address at Liberty University has become a rite of passage for Republican and conservative leaders such as John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck and Chuck Norris, and today it has been announced that Mitt Romney will deliver the 2012 Commencement address at the school founded by the late Jerry Falwell and currently led by his son, his son, Jerry Falwell, Jr.:

Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. announced today that Gov. Mitt Romney will address Liberty University graduates at the 2012 Commencement ceremony to be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, at Arthur L. Williams Stadium.

“We are delighted that Governor Romney will join us to celebrate Commencement with Liberty’s 2012 graduates," said Liberty Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. "This will be a historic event for Liberty University reminiscent of the visits of Governor, and then presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan to Liberty’s campus in 1980 and of President George H.W. Bush who spoke at Liberty’s 1990 Commencement ceremony.”

This will be Governor Romney’s first appearance at Liberty University. Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. will also be making remarks during the ceremony.

Liberty University's 39th Commencement will celebrate the achievement of more than 14,000 graduates with more than 34,000 guests expected to attend. The ceremony will also be broadcast by streaming video to the families of Liberty’s 70,000+ online students around the world.

Liberty University prides itself as training the “replacements” of the current Religious Right leadership, but despite its name the university has banned people on campus from accessing a local newspaper that wrote about LU’s huge sums of aid from the federal government, refused to recognize a College Democrats club, inculcates students in ultraconservative, anti-gay and anti-evolution courses, and trumpets a professor who wants to outlaw pornography.

Maybe Romney, who is selling his $5.25 million ski lodge, can stop by the Liberty Mountain Snowflex.

Mitt Romney Won’t Disavow Supporter Ted Nugent’s Violent Rhetoric

Contrary to some media reports, Mitt Romney has failed to disavow the inflammatory and violent remarks made by Ted Nugent on Saturday at the NRA national convention. Nugent, a longtime NRA board member, made his remarks one day after Romney addressed the convention.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said yesterday that “divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from.” “Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil,” she continued. Remarkably, some in the media have characterized this weak and vague statement as Romney disavowing, even condemning, Nugent.

“Mitt Romney is apparently unable, or unwilling, to confront Nugent’s violent rhetoric directly,” said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way. “This isn’t just a case of incivility or divisiveness. We’re talking about a prominent supporter of Mitt Romney making threats to shoot and chop the heads off of his political opponents.”

Nugent endorsed Romney after the two had a long conversation about gun laws, and Nugent made Romney pledge to oppose any new restrictions. The Romney campaign touted the endorsement, and Romney himself said he had a good time getting to know Nugent.

“Presidential candidates can’t be expected to answer for everything their supporters say, but it’s different when a candidate seeks an endorsement, makes promises to win it and then touts it to the public,” said Keegan. “Romney’s vague, pox on both their houses, approach shows that his campaign is more concerned about courting extremists like Nugent than doing the right thing for America.”

# # #

People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch blog discovered Nugent’s remarks and posted them online:

 

Borking America

Many Presidents leave their most enduring legacy to the nation in the Justices that they name to the Supreme Court and the federal judges that they put on the bench. So what inspired former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to name former judge Robert Bork to co-chair his presidential campaign advisory committee on law, the Constitution and the judiciary?

Bishop Compares Obama to Hitler and Stalin

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Catholic diocese of Peoria, Illinois, likened President Obama to Adolf Hilter and Joseph Stalin, along with past French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, on Sunday while condemning Obama’s “radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda.” He said that Catholics in America are in a “war” as a result of the administration’s mandate for religiously-based institutions to cover contraceptives, and compared politicians who back the mandate to Judas Iscariot.

Listen:

For 2,000 years the enemies of Christ have certainly tried their best. But think about it. The Church survived and even flourished during centuries of terrible persecution, during the days of the Roman Empire.

The Church survived barbarian invasions. The Church survived wave after wave of Jihads. The Church survived the age of revolution. The Church survived Nazism and Communism. And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry.

The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate.

May God have mercy especially on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.

As Christians we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but as Christians we must also stand up for what we believe and be ready to fight to defend our faith. The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.

In our own families, in our parishes, where we live and where we work – like that very first apostolic generation – we must be bold witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must be a fearless army of Catholic men, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation.

Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like those first disciples before the Resurrection locked together in the Upper Room.

In the late 19th century, Bismark waged his “Kulturkamf,” a culture war against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany. Clemenceau, nicknamed “the priest eater,” tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century.

Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, President Obama – with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

Now things have come to such a pass in our beloved country that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgement seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.

The Religious Right's Message to Romney: Be More Like Santorum

When Rick Santorum ended his presidential campaign last week, his Religious Right supporters were heartbroken ... and now they seem to have moved on to a new strategy of pressuring Mitt Romney to adopt Santorum's campaign message is he wants to win their support:

Of course, if Santorum's message had been so energizing and effective, he probably would not have been forced to end his bid because his campaign "basically raised almost no money" toward the end.

Rick Santorum thanks the Family Research Council after Ending Presidential Bid

Yesterday Rick Santorum dropped by a clearly distraught Tony Perkins’ radio show, where the far-right Family Research Council president lavished praise on the former senator and presidential candidate. Perkins in an earlier interview with MSNBC declined an opportunity to endorse Romney, criticizing his record on social issues and stressing that the group will be more involved with congressional races after Santorum dropped out. While Perkins did not endorse Santorum, it was obvious that he supported his candidacy and even took him to his home church where pastor Dennis Terry railed against liberals, non-Christians and gays.

Today on Washington Watch Weekly, Santorum again spoke to Perkins and said that the FRC’s message “was one that was very much consonant with mine,” and Perkins said that he and Santorum “were just harmonizing” as his policy views were “better than any candidate that we have seen do.”

Santorum: Thank you Tony and just let me say for all your listeners, thank you for your principled stance and going out there and supporting as a chorus the things that I was saying across this country and the things you’ve been saying for a long time, you were a great echo to us and really made a big difference. While as you know because of FRC not being able to endorse you guys didn’t do a formal endorsement but certainly your voice out there was one that was very much consonant with mine and was much, much appreciated.

Perkins: Senator, we were just harmonizing.

Santorum: There you go!

Perkins: Rick, it is the message. As I’ve said many times, FRC does not and did not endorse candidates, but we do endorse ideas and principles and those were the things that you were articulating better than any candidate that we have seen do, and we’re grateful for that.

Todd Akin: 'We are Going to War, Not with Bullets but with Ballots'

Rick Scarborough of Vision America, the self-proclaimed ‘Christocrat,’ held a conference call today with US Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) and disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as part of his new 40 Days to Save America effort to rally Religious Right voters before the November election.

DeLay, who has appealed his convictions on money laundering and conspiracy charges that led to a three year prison sentence, prayed during the conference call and said that Americans “threw away” God’s blessing. “You gave us this nation and we’re at a crossroads, we can either succumb and do nothing or we can fight for Your worldview and for you Lord,” DeLay said, “You assigned civil government to us and that it is part of our responsibility to work hard for Your glory and Your will so Lord please give us a special favor”:

The conference call was mostly used to boost the candidacy of Akin, a Religious Right favorite who earlier claimed that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God,” and told listeners that class and racial differences in America only began recently as a result of the growth of government. He said that Americans must follow the Founders who went to war against a “foreign tyrant” just “not with bullets but with ballots.” “It’s no surprise that liberalism tries to remove references to God because God is the source of strength of those patriots,” Akin said.

For a nation based on the idea that there is a Creator who blessed us with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and he gave us those blessings because they were necessary for us to fulfill the special purpose that he called every single one of us to. That of course, implies, that there are no classes, there are no hyphenated Americans, we are all just God’s children and that’s good enough. That was the dream that every single one of us could live in the blessing of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is the thing that has held us together, it’s the glue that made America special and it’s the reason why Americans went to war because some foreign tyrant threatened our ability to be alive and to have liberty and to pursue the dreams that God gives us, that’s why we went to war. And right now, in a sense, we are going to war, not with bullets but with ballots because there is a threat in Washington, D.C. that will take every part of that dream away from us. It’s no surprise that liberalism tries to remove references to God because God is the source of strength of those patriots.

Anti-Choice Groups Get Behind Romney to Stop Obama's 'Radical Pro-Abortion Agenda'

Today, the National Right to Life Committee endorsed Mitt Romney, who last week met with NRLC executive director Darla St. Martin along with other conservative activists including Jay Sekulow, Ed Meese and David Keene. In a press release, NRLC said it is time “for time for pro-life Americans to unite behind Mitt Romney.”

Determined to secure a pro-life victory in the November election, which will decide the fate of unborn children for decades to come, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, today endorsed Mitt Romney for President of the United States.

“On pro-life issues, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama provide a stark contrast. As the country's most pro-abortion president, Barack Obama has pursued a radical pro-abortion agenda,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “It is now time for pro-life Americans to unite behind Mitt Romney. For the sake of unborn children, the disabled, and the elderly, we must win.”



“We are extremely gratified that every candidate who has run for the Republican nomination for president took a pro-life position and kept the life issues at the forefront of the race,” Tobias added. “We look forward to Mitt Romney's election as our next pro-life president on November 6th.”

Concerned Women for America CEO and past Santorum supporter Penny Young Nance appeared on a Romney campaign conference call today, and Marjorie Dannenfelser’s Susan B. Anthony List also decided to back Romney, who refused to sign the group’s candidate pledge.

Dannenfelser was a major Santorum booster, and in February told Janet Mefferd that Romney’s erratic anti-choice record is “devastating.” Referring to a Slate article chronicling Romney’s multiple inconsistencies, Dannenfelser said that she remains unconvinced that Romney is a genuine opponent of abortion rights, “I really don’t know”:

But now says that she is “proud to endorse Governor Romney”:

“Now is the time to unite behind Governor Romney in order to defeat the most ideologically pro-abortion president in our nation’s history,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “The SBA List is proud to endorse Governor Romney and plans to spend $10 to $12 million in senate and presidential battleground states mobilizing pro-life voters to ensure victory.”

“Women deserve a president who truly respects our views on an issue so central to womanhood,” continued Dannenfelser. “A President Romney will be that man. If there was murkiness during the last election over Barack Obama's extreme abortion position, absolute clarity exists now – and his abortion position is rejected by women young and old.”

"The difference between Governor Romney and President Obama couldn’t be clearer, which is why our Board of Directors voted unanimously to get behind him," said Jane Abraham, Chairman of the SBA List Board of Directors. “It is the responsibility of all pro-life voters to now unite behind Governor Romney. Together we can put a pro-life leader in the White House.”

Allen West, the Manchurian Candidate?

Rep. Allen West did his best to channel Joseph McCarthy in a Palm City, Florida town hall. In response to a question about “card-carrying Marxists” in Congress, West said there are between 78 and 81 Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party.

Fischer: Electing a 'Spiritually-Compromised Candidate' Like Romney Will Weaken America

As Brian noted in his last post, Religious Right leaders are starting to grudgingly coalesce behind Mitt Romney not that it appears all but certain that he is going to be the Republican presidential nominee.

But Bryan Fischer is not necessarily among them. 

Fischer has made no secret of his anti-Mormon views, saying that the First Amendment does not apply to Mormons and warning that electing a Mormon president is a threat to the "spiritual health" of the nation.

Romney, for his part, actually called out Fischer for his bigotry during last year's Values Voter Summit, which only solidified Fischer's distrust and dislike of him.

So when Rick Santorum announced yesterday that he was finally dropping out of the race, Fischer dedicated much of his program to discussing developments and declaring that many Religious Right voters will not be able to support a "spiritually compromised candidate" like Romney ... and that this "is perfectly understandable" because worshiping false gods will weaken the nation:

The reality is that there are just a number of Evangelicals that just will not vote for Romney because they do not want to put somebody who believes in a different god in the White House, which is perfectly understandable. He's a spiritually compromised candidate; that's the only way to put it. If he goes into the Oval Office, he will be the first polytheist that we've ever had as a president. Mitt Romney would be the first non-Christian president that we've ever had; the first president that we've ever had that did not emerge from a stream of historic Christian orthodoxy.

So this would be unprecedented, and it would be unprecedented spiritually. You remember the prophets, this is one of the things that they were toughest on the kings about is departing the worship of the true and living God for alternative gods. This was something that weakened a nation and so we're looking at that, if Mitt Romney becomes the president, we have a spiritually-compromised president who will be the first polytheist to ever hold the Oval Office, the first president who has ever believed in a multiplicity of gods, the first president who has ever believe that man can become a god, and that God didn't used to be God, he used to be a man who progressed to godhood. So this would be completely uncharted waters for America.

Religious Right Leaders Slowly Gets Behind Mitt Romney

Conservative leaders like Gary Bauer and Penny Nance immediately announced their support for Mitt Romney only after their preferred candidate, Rick Santorum, bowed out of the race, while noting that they are more excited about defeating President Obama than electing Romney. Others like Tony Perkins and Michael Farris continued to criticize Romney for his inconsistent stances on social issues and have not yet come out in favor of his candidacy. But the National Organization for Marriage was all too happy to endorse Romney, who signed NOM’s anti-gay pledge, with Brian Brown hailing the former governor as a “true champion” of their cause:

“Now is the time for all people who recognize the importance of marriage to come together to support a true champion, Mitt Romney, against an incumbent who has done virtually everything in his power to undermine the institution of marriage,” Brown said.

“President Obama has declared our nation’s marriage laws to be unconstitutional and not only has refused to defend them, his administration is actively working to repeal them in the courts. He’s come out against state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And he has appointed leaders of the same-sex ‘marriage’ movement as national co-chairs of his reelection campaign. Incredibly, Obama still apparently claims to personally support traditional marriage. With friends like President Obama, the institution of marriage doesn’t need enemies.”

NOM’s marriage pledge commits Governor Romney to a variety of actions upon his election as president. These include:

- Supporting an amendment to the United States Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman;
- Appointing Supreme Court Justices and an Attorney General who will apply the original meaning of the Constitution;
- Vigorously defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act in court;
- Establishing a presidential commission on religious liberty; and
- Advancing legislation to return to the people of the District of Columbia their right to vote on marriage.

Meanwhile, televangelist Pat Robertson on the 700 Club today also said that Romney's Mormon faith should not prevent evangelicals from supporting him. Leaders of Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice such as Jay Sekulow and David French were early Romney supporters, and Robertson stressed that Romney is not running for “Chief Rabbi” or “Chief American Pastor,” adding that he doubts Romney will “interject the Mormon religion into the way he governs.”

Religious Right Reacts to Rick Santorum Exiting the Race

With Rick Santorum suspending his presidential campaign, far-right activists lauded Santorum for pushing his fellow Republicans to the right, particularly on social issues.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who did not officially endorse Santorum but clearly favored his candidacy, applauded Santorum’s “message of faith, family and freedom”:

"Rick Santorum's historic run for president achieved remarkable success because his campaign was based not on money spent but on the message of faith, family and freedom that he carried. I commend his courage, boldness and tenacity in fighting for the values that made America great, and are fundamental to returning America to greatness.

"Millions of voters flocked to Rick not because he was a Republican, but because he passionately articulated the connection between America 's financial greatness and its moral and cultural wholeness. He realizes that real problem-solving starts with an understanding that the economy and the family are indivisible.

"This values message generated enthusiasm and drew many new voters into the process. If the Republican establishment hopes to generate this same voter intensity in the fall elections, Santorum voters must see it demonstrate a genuine and solid commitment to the core values issues," concluded Perkins.

Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, who organized a bus tour on Santorum’s behalf, said:

“With great vision and passion, Rick Santorum reached the hearts of pro-life voters and allowed them to show the strength of their voting bloc,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “The Susan B. Anthony List is proud to have mobilized those key voters.”

“Pro-life voters are a consistent and growing constituency, who proved invaluable to Senator Santorum in state after state throughout the primary elections. We will continue to reach out and mobilize those voters and millions more like them across the country. The political muscle of the pro-life movement will be critical to defeating President Obama in November.” Others were more plain in their disappointment.

Right-wing radio host Steve Deace tweeted that it is “time for a slate of new blood after Obamney loses in November,” and anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera lamented that the Republican Party is “stuck” with the “pro-homosexual” Mitt Romney.

Conservative luminary Richard Viguerie, who yesterday made clear that he will never consider Romney a bona fide conservative, today urged Romney to pick a conservative running mate, but is disappointed in the current crop of potential candidates:

The demand that there must be some conservative vs. moderate balance on the Republican ticket is already starting to lead the media to engage in some comical contortions as various establishment commentators try to bend their favorite Republican elected official’s record and views to be conservative enough to place a Romney led ticket in the conservative camp if their favored candidate is picked.

The problem with this exercise is that by-and-large the names offered are either not movement conservatives or they are not yet power players in national politics with a strong movement conservative constituency of their own.

Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Bob McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez and the rest of the names floated by the inside-the-Beltway pundits all have their good qualities – but none has established their conservative bona fides by being tested on the national scene and none brings a strong base in the conservative movement to add real grassroots conservative credibility to a Romney led ticket.

Viguerie also warned that Romney’s attacks on Santorum may hurt him with the conservative base:

To date Mitt Romney has spent some $100 million to drive the conservative candidates from the field, in some case through vicious personal attacks. However, he has spent little effort making the case for his own candidacy to grassroots movement conservatives.

The first great challenge facing Republicans is whether or not Mitt Romney can heal the wounds created by his negative campaigning.

The grassroots movement conservative voters who powered the Santorum campaign can not be taken for granted. During the 2006 congressional elections some 4 million conservative voters stayed home, producing one of the biggest defeats for the Republican Party in the modern era.

The next step is up to Mitt Romney. Romney is seriously behind with committed conservative voters, to catch up he must make the case that he merits the support of movement conservatives and that a Romney administration, if elected, can and will produce conservative government.

UPDATE: Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families and a prominent Santorum supporter said his candidacy “will contribute to the end of the Obama Administration this November,” and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention claimed Santorum successfully “resurrected himself once again as a major political figure in our nation” through his role “in the most important election in our nation since 1860.”

Another Santorum booster, Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance, urged Romney to “reach out to conservative women since they are the ones who get on the phones and do tons of volunteer work,” and on a similar note Liberty Counsel chairman Mathew Staver, who backed Newt Gingrich, said Romney has “to make some intentional steps to reach out to evangelicals and religious conservatives,” adding that “it would be a mistake to assume he has every vote from evangelicals and religious conservatives locked up.”

However, Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College, who signed a letter of far-right leaders who described a Romney nomination as a “disastrous mistake,” told CNN that he may not back Romney in the general election:

Evangelical activist Michael Farris was not exactly surprised that Rick Santorum suspended his campaign on Tuesday. But that doesn’t mean that Farris, a longtime political organizer, knows what he’s supposed to do now.

“Right now my choice is to sit on my hands and do nothing or to actively try to find some alternative” to Mitt Romney, Farris said in an interview shortly after Santorum's announcement.

“Some of us just have a hard time supporting a person who said he was going to be more liberal on gay rights than Ted Kennedy,” said Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, referring to remarks Romney made in a 1994 letter.

Farris’ reaction is a stark emblem of the disappointment among religious conservatives over Santorum's announcement, and a reminder that Romney’s enthusiasm deficit among the conservative evangelicals who form the GOP’s base hasn’t gone away.

Remembering Rick Santorum for President

With former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum suspending his campaign for president today, we decided to look back at some of our fondest memories of the Santorum campaign and the great material he provided us at Right Wing Watch over the years.

Like candidates before him from Gary Bauer to Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum was a candidate that not only directed his campaign to appeal to the Religious Right but was himself from the movement. But despite strong support from such voters in a divided field it was not enough for him to win.

One of Santorum’s greatest outbursts actually came well-before he entered the presidential race, while addressing students at Florida’s ultraconservative Ave Maria University he claimed that Satan is systematically attacking the U.S. by corrupting the culture, universities and mainline Protestants:

Santorum caused an international stir when he falsely maintained during a campaign event with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson that Dutch senior citizens live in fear of the country’s hospital system and that one in ten people in the Netherlands die as a result of euthanasia. He also spoke winsomely of a time when abortions were performed illegally “in the shadows.”

His opposition to abortion rights was a central part of his campaign, and he found it “almost remarkable for a black man” like President Obama to be pro-choice:

Towards the end of the campaign, Santorum decided to whip up excitement of his Religious Right base by appearing at a Louisiana megachurch, where the pastor, Dennis Terry, welcomed him with a sweltering speech telling non-Christians and liberals to “get out” of America, which Santorum applauded:

While we are sad to see Santorum go, at least Newt Gingrich is still staying in the race.

Rep. Jim Jordan Equates Beating Obama with Ending Slavery, Defeating the Nazis

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) talked to Family Research Council president Tony Perkins at a recent FRC summit where Perkins asked the congressman how he viewed the increase in turnout of evangelical voters in the Republican presidential primaries. The congressman, who also chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, said that the energy among conservative Republican voters this election year is a generational moment that he compared to the Biblical account of Esther delivering the Jews of Persia from genocide, the Founders defeating King George III, the Union Army in the Civil War ending slavery, and the Greatest Generation overcoming the Great Depression and battling the Nazis.

Jordan: There is an anxiousness that American feel about their country, they think there is just something not right and they feel this anxiousness, they know there are real concerns, a real change in direction, a real change from what we view and value of what America has always been so you are seeing people of faith step forward and participate in a big way, which is exactly what we want to see happen. I love the example of the teenage girl, and everyone in this audience knows this story but it’s so important to think about this, the teenage girl who saved her people and the best line in that narrative is when her relative said to her ‘Esther, maybe the only reason you’re at where you’re at is for such a time as this,’ and I think Americans get that, I think Christians get that, they understand, this is a critical time.

John Fund, I heard him give a speech and it’s interesting, and it kind of parallels what Senator Blunt said, he said it’s every third generation that has to do something big in this country. He started with the Founders who put it on the line, lost their lives and many of them lost their business, we remember Franklin, Jefferson and Adams but most of them lost everything, and then it was three generations later when we had this evil of slavery that Americans said ‘we will get rid of this and we will keep the union together,’ three generations later those people in America at that time said we can deal with the Great Depression and we can deal with the evils of Nazism in the Second [World] War and we can with that. And they did it. Now here we are three generations later and it is our turn. It is our turn to do what Esther did way back when, it is our turn to do what they did at the founding, and at the Civil War and at the Second War, it is our turn.

After likening anti-Obama Republicans to such esteemed people, he also told Perkins that the Left is leading an “attack” on the family in order to topple society at large:

Perkins: I think that as I see it the threat is so great because whether the issue is life, whether it’s marriage, whether it’s family, it all hinges on our freedom of religion and our ability to transfer the values that we gained from that faith to our children and to future generations and that seems to be exactly what they are zeroing in on.

Jordan: It’s that and I would also add it’s an attack on the key institution of our culture, the institution that ultimately in my judgment determines the strength of the entire society and it’s the name that you have, Family Research [Council], so it’s an attack on that institution, the family. When you think about it, the first institution that the good Lord put together wasn’t the church, wasn’t the state, it was the family. So if you believe in big government as the answer, sometimes not in a direct way but in an indirect way, sometimes it’s direct even, there is an attack on that fundamental institution, that building block institution to a healthy culture so that’s why you see the Left so adamant about going after family, the bill to school your kids at home, the bill to have school choice, and a host of other things where it’s manifest, but it’s an attack on that key institution.

Bilge from the In-box

Here’s a Friday treat: highlights from recent right-wing direct mail. In the past week or so, in addition to an invitation to this September’s Values Voter Summit:

Jerome Corsi, a rabidly Obama-hating birther and crazy-theory-promoter extraordinaire sent a VERY CONFIDENTIAL emergency request for money for his Freedom’s Defense Fund. Although Corsi told me that it’s “imperative that the media not know what Freedom’s Defense Fund has planned,” I’m going to let you in on the secret. Corsi says he’s going to “saturate the television with attacks aimed directly at Obama.” Corsi’s letter accuses Obama of “race-baiting” and “class warfare,” which isn’t surprising given that the president is, in Corsi’s words, “nothing more than a Socialist agitator in the mold of Sol Alinsky.” According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets website, Freedom’s Defense Fund raised and spent nearly $3 million in the 2010 election cycle. 

From the prolific folks at the American Family Association, a “declaration of spiritual emergency.” According to the AFA’s Tim Wildmon, the nation’s problems, including “the Obama administration’s blatant attempt to destroy religious freedom in this country” are evidence of what’s wrong with our nation: “As a people, we have divorced ourselves from God.”  Wildmon warns that “the ‘internal invader’ that threatens to destroy our nation is, in a word, secularism!” Wildmon’s letter is evidence of the increasingly close political alliance between the Religious Right and the Catholic Right in their joint effort to portray Obama as an enemy of religious liberty: it includes a quote from the pope himself complaining about new “cultural currents” in America “which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council contributes yet another screed warning that President Obama’s “war on religion” could “irreversibly transform America.” Perkins says of Obama: “His vision is to plant a dense forest of secularism (a non-Christian America) and socialism (a government-run America) that can never, ever be cut down or uprooted.”

Romney and Santorum Rally with Corrupt Lobbyist Ralph Reed in Wisconsin

Tomorrow morning in Waukesha, WI, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, among others (Gov. Scott Walker is listed as an invited speaker), will rally with corrupt former lobbyist Ralph Reed and the state chapter of his Faith & Freedom Coalition, which Reed created to rehabilitate his image in the wake of his deep involvement in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Here are the event details:
It is our distinct pleasure to invite you to the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Presidential Kick-Off, sponsored by the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Coalition, to be held at the Country Springs Hotel on Saturday, March 31st in Waukesha, WI.  Come hear from CONFIRMED speakers Governor Mitt Romney, Senator Rick Santorum, and Speaker Newt Gingrich.
 
When Romney and Santorum – the standard–bearers of the GOP – appear on stage tomorrow with Reed, they’ll be embracing a corrupt hustler who has survived scandal after scandal by delivering cash and foot soldiers to Republican leaders (and not for the first time).
 
It wasn’t long ago that Ralph Reed was damaged goods in Republican circles, and for good reason. Reed came to national prominence as the first executive director of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, beginning in 1989. However, by 1997 the groups finances were collapsing, the FEC had found that the group violated federal campaign finance laws in 1990, 1992, and 1994, and federal prosecutors were investigating allegations of financial misconduct made by the organization’s CFO. So Reed resigned and moved to Georgia to become a lobbyist.
 
In 1999, Abramoff hired Reed and ultimately paid him $1.3 million to generate opposition to legalizing video poker and a state-sponsored lottery in Alabama. The money came from the Choctaw Tribe, which runs a casino in nearby Mississippi. Reed used his extensive Religious Right contacts and engaged James Dobson and the Alabama Christian Coalition, which had a policy against being the “recipient of any funds direct or in-direct or any in-kind direct or indirect from gambling interests.” He funneled $850,000 to the group, but made sure to launder it through his longtime friend Grover Norquist’s organization, Americans for Tax Reform.
 
Before the wheels came off Jack Abramoff’s criminal lobbying enterprise, he described Reed to his business partner as “a bad version of us.” Abramoff, explaining the comment after being released from prison, said that Reed was “a tap dancer and constantly just asking for money.” And Abramoff knows more than a thing or two about Reed. He gave Reed his first job after college and, along with Norquist, formed what some called the “triumvirate” at the College Republican National Committee.
 
After the Abramoff scandal broke, Reed claimed that he had “no direct knowledge of [Abramoff’s lobbying firm’s] clients or their interests,” but the Senate Indian Affairs Committee determined that Abramoff told Reed as early as 1999 that he was taking casino money. In an interview last year with Alan Colmes, Abramoff called Reed’s denial ridiculous:
Abramoff: It's ridiculous. I mean, even the tribes that had other business, 99% of their revenue came from gaming. But a lot of those tribes had nothing but gaming.
Colmes: So, in other words, Ralph Reed was saying "hey, I'll work with you but I don't want to be paid with gambling money, I'm too clean for that." But are you saying that conversation never happened?
Abramoff: No. Never happened. Ralph didn't want it out that he was getting gambling money and, frankly, that was his choice and I think it was a big mistake.
Reed went on to become the chair of the Georgia Republican Party in 2001 and ran for lieutenant governor in 2006. However, the Abramoff scandal had broken by then, and Reed “suffered an embarrassing defeat” in the primary. The New York Times described Reed as a “close associate of Jack Abramoff” whose “candidacy was viewed as a test of the effects of the Washington lobbying scandal on core Republican voters.”
 
In 2009, Reed founded the Faith & Freedom Coalition to help resurrect his image and stature in the movement. Faith & Freedom, which Reed described as a “21st Century version of the Christian Coalition on steroids,” is really just a Tea Party-stained version of the original, and much smaller despite the steroids.
 
However, Reed is an operator in the truest sense, and knows how to “tap dance” and “constantly ask for money” with the best of them. He has apparently earned, and I do mean earned, his way back into the good graces of Republican leaders. It’s unclear, however, how long Reed can go without another scandal.

Randall Terry Runs Illegal Robocalls Urging Republicans to Register for WY Democratic Caucus

A few weeks ago, Randall Terry was riding high after his "victory" over President Obama in the Oklahoma Democratic Primary and wanted everyone to know it, though his "victory" was short-lived, as it was determined that he would not actually be awarded any delegates because his campaign failed to fill out the proper paperwork.

Nevertheless, Terry proclaims that his showing in Oklahoma proves that anti-abortion Democrats and swing state voters have turned against President Obama and so he vows to continue his Potemkin presidential campaign and has now turned his attention toward Wyoming, where his campaign is making robocalls urging Republicans to register as Democrats and vote for him in next month's caucuses:

Terry said he’s focusing solely on Wyoming, as its caucus system and small population of Democrats make it the easiest state to win.

On Thursday, Terry’s campaign launched a series of robocalls directed at Wyoming Republicans asking them to register as Democrats and vote for him in next month’s Democratic county caucuses.

“I only need about 500 votes to win the entire state, and you can be heard by the entire nation,” Terry said in the call.

There is only one problem: these sorts of robocalls are illegal in the state:

However, under Wyoming law, making automated phone calls for “promoting or any other use related to a political campaign” is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison and a $750 fine ... Terry told the Casper Star-Tribune that he didn’t know that robocalls are banned in Wyoming and said he would order them to be immediately stopped. He said he wasn’t sure how many calls had been placed in Wyoming.

Jerry Boykin Explains why he Endorsed Rick Santorum

Back in January,  Rick Santorum received the endorsement from, and shared the stage with, Jerry Boykin, a vicious anti-Islam activist who believes that Muslims do not deserve First Amendment protections and should not be allowed to build mosques in America.  Boykin also a conspiracy theorist who believes that George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations intentionally collapsed the US economy in order to help elect President Obama, who is using health care reform legislation to create an army of Brownshirt soldiers loyal only to him.

Speaking earlier this year at The Oak Initiative Summit, Boykin explained that our leaders need to know alot about the Bible and the Constitution and who are willing to defend the idea that "the Bible was the foundation for the writing of the Constitution" ... and that is why he endorsed Santorum: 

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