Following the 2008 election, and the Right’s drubbing at the polls, many people suggested that the Right was dead. Some even said that People For the American Way could declare victory and go home. But we knew better. Despite our optimism at the inauguration of Barack Obama, People For knew that the Right remained a grave threat, with its infrastructure intact, its funders unbowed, and its extremists undaunted.
From the “teabagger” demonstrations on the Mall to posters of President Obama as Hitler, it quickly became painfully clear that the Radical Right was as extreme as ever.
Throughout 2009 we stood up to the Far Right as your voice against intolerance. By leveraging our nationally recognized expertise on the Far Right and our deep networks of progressive activists we lead the fight against the Right Wing and vigorously defended our nation’s constitutional values.
Monitoriing, Exposing and Countering the Right
We crippled the Right’s smear machine against Sonia Sotomayor.
- People For shot down the first attacks against Sotomayor so quickly and effectively that the Right’s credibility on the nomination never recovered.
- When the Right attacked her “wise Latina” comment, we quickly posted videos – picked up by major blogs and TV networks – of Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito during their confirmation procedures discussing how their background affects how they judge cases.
- When the Right falsely claimed that Judge Sotomayor had a high reversal rate by the Supreme Court, we immediately exposed the deception behind their misleading statistics.
We shattered the Right’s lies about LGBT equality.
- PFAW’s African American Ministers in Action (AAMIA) rallied faith leaders and their communities in support of federal hate crimes legislation. They provided nervous House members a vital counter to the Far Right propaganda that a vote for the hate crimes bill was a vote against religious liberty and the interests of African Americans. Congressional leaders specifically credited AAMIA for its role in the bill’s passage.
- We exposed the extremism and deceptions of Far Right shill Bishop Harry Jackson, the self-anointed leader of religious African American opposition to marriage equality in Washington, DC. We also sparked an investigative report that further damaged Jackson’s credibility and led to an inquiry into whether he had engaged in voter registration fraud.
We exposed the inner workings of the Right and held them accountable.
- Together with our affiliated Foundation, we launched a new, highly-acclaimed Right Wing Watch In Focus series showing the larger patterns we are seeing in our top-notch day-to-day research. In Focus has now become an invaluable resource for reporters, bloggers, and progressive activists.
- We exposed the Big Lie cited by the Far Right to justify a dangerous attempt to strip important church-state protections from the federal jobs and economic recovery bill. With the lie exposed, the attempt fizzled.
- We infiltrated a right wing conference and recorded Arizona Rep. Trent Franks declaring President Obama an “enemy of humanity.” We fed the video to the media and created a firestorm – even the conservative Arizona Republic editorialized against Franks.
- We raised the alarm on the re-emergence of Joe McCarthystyle tactics used by the Right Wing to unjustly smear Obama administration officials like Valerie Jarrett, Kevin Jennings, and Van Jones. For calling out their McCarthyist tactics, we earned attacks from the likes of the extremist Americans For Limited Government, which accuses the administration of seeking toimpose a socialist regime upon the American people.
Capitalizing on Nationwide Networks
PFAW Foundation fostered progressive change on the state, local, and campus level.
- Our Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network, now reaching all 50 states, provided a vital infrastructure of policy information and leadership training for more than 500 young progressive elected officials. Through national and regional meetings, teleconferences, a mentorship program, and partnerships with allied progressive organizations, the YEO Network empowered these elected officials to effect progressive state and local policies on the courts and the Constitution, election reform, the 2010 Census and redistricting, health care reform, and immigration reform.
- Our Foundation’s Young People For program identified and trained 150 student leaders and activists from 86 college campuses in 29 states. Young People For empowered these campus leaders to bring immediate progressive change to their communities, pushing a positive agenda on LGBT equality, women’s rights, campus diversity, progressive media, and campus think-tanks.
We mobilized progressive African American faith leaders.
- Our African American Ministers In Action rallied their communities in their churches and in the media to mobilize in support of progressive legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act and health care reform.
- Continuing to grow in numbers, our Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council played a critical role in the marriage equality debate by reaching out to their fellow clergy and seminarians to onfront homophobia in the Black Church.
We empowered hundreds of thousands of patriotic Americans.
- When the White House and Congress were waiting for each other to make the first move on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, our Dump DOMA petition spurred Congress into finally introducing a repeal bill.
- When the House passed health care reform that severely restricted access to abortion, we partnered with NARAL to give the Senate a petitionsigned by 100,000 people demanding a healthcare bill thatrespects every woman’s right to choose.
- When the Far Right was intimidating undecided senators onthe Sonia Sotomayor nomination, we mobilized our members in key states and gave them hard proof of her strong support among their constituents.
Ready for 2010
While People For won many battles against the Right in 2009, the war against intolerance is far from over. In 2010 the Far Right will continue to use every trick in the book to derail the progressive change voters demanded in 2008. With your support, People For will take no prisoners and stop at nothing to expose their deceptions and empower Americans to protect our nation’s constitutional rights and values.