With the Party of Dobson
Max Blumenthal printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 01:45:13 PM EST
At the Unofficial Mid-Term Republican National Convention, so-called "value voters" heard jeremiads against liberals, "faggots," and Fallujans before receiving possibly illegal marching orders for November. I covered this event, "Washington Briefing: Value Voters Summit 2006," for the Nation. My story, which I have cross-posted, follows below.
The day before Rosh Hashanah, Sen. George Allen of Virginia addressed the "Washington Briefing: Value Voters Summit 2006," a gathering of 1,700 Christian right devotees designed to rally the Republican base ahead of November's midterm congressional elections and preview potential Republican presidential candidates for 2008. Earlier in the week, Allen had called a report of his Jewish lineage were "aspersions" before acknowledging it was true. Immediately after his speech, as he stomped down a hallway of Washington's Omni Shoreham hotel, I approached Allen and asked him how he was planning to do celebrate the upcoming Jewish holiday. Allen scowled, his face turning beet red. Pausing for a moment to regain his composure, he blurted, "I'll be with my family!" He rushed away at a quickened pace.

Further down the hallway, Allen was surrounded by a media gaggle and bombarded with further questions about his Jewish lineage. He responded by mentioning an award he once received from the Greater Washington Jewish Council and said, "As far as the Jewish faith, I suspect I have a lot to learn." Finally, Allen was plucked out of harm's way and escorted into a waiting car by his self-described "A-Teamâ" of grim thirty-something aides. (This "A-Team" did not appear to be wearing the distinctive "lighting-bolt lapel pins" the Washington Post reports its members proudly displayed when Allen was governor, a universal symbol of white supremacy mimicking the insignia of the Nazi SS.)

Battling for his political life against his Democratic challenger, former Reagan-era Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb, Allen did his best to endear himself to Dobson's followers, entertaining them with the football metaphors that have become staples of his stump speeches. (Allen's father, George Allen, Sr., of course, was the coach of the Washington Redskins.) "Count on me to be an ally, a teammate," Allen pledged. Then he praised Dobson, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, American United to Preserve Marriage president Gary Bauer and the American Family Association's Don Wildmon, as "The Four Horsemen," a reference to Notre Dame's legendary 1924 backfield.

But as Allen sought to dampen the public controversy over his mishandling of his Jewish heritage, his association with his "Four Horsemen" simply called attention to Dobson's and Perkins' problematic utterances. Dobson's Focus on the Family, for example, published an article in its Citizen Magazine last March attacking the parents of federal judge Stephen Reinhardt (his step-grandfather was a Holocaust survivor) for telling him "tales of" the Holocaust's "horrific violence that lacked the redemptive power of Christ's atonement." The Anti-Defamation League has repeatedly condemned Wildmon for his conspiratorial diatribes against "secular Jews." And Perkins, for his part, paid $82,500 to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke for his phone banking list, and then spoke at a 2001 fundraiser for the Council of Conservative Citizens, America's largest white supremacist organization. (When I asked Perkins about his links to Duke and the CCC, he replied tersely, "There are no links.")

After his speech, Allen huddled in a corner with Perkins and one of the Summit's few African-American participants, right-wing pastor and former NFL linebacker Ken "Hutch" Hutcherson. Without prompting, Hutchinson offered Allen a briefing on abortion, race and civil rights. "Too many black babies in the last few years have been aborted," Hutchinson told Allen. "So you wonder why we have a slow population growth."

"So what you're saying is it's [the black abortion rate] twice as high as other races?" Allen asked with a look of astonishment.

Hutchinson nodded, then went on: "Jesse Jackson and others were against these things early on but because of where they get their money from, they're for it now." Allen, who would later be confronted with a story by Salon.com's Michael Scherer citing his former high school football teammates claiming he used to use the word "nigger," politely smiled.

Another speaker at Dobson's convention, William Bennett, has been equally outspoken on abortion and race, declaring last year on his radio show that "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in America, and your crime rate will go down." But Bennett stuck to the script at the Summit, casting aside eugenics in favor of the more politically salient shock-and-awe themes of "national security" and "terrorism." Discussing the gruesome murder of American private mercenaries in Fallujah in 2004, Bennett stated matter-of-factly, "When four Americans are hanged... you take out Fallujah. You flatten the city! You have to teach them that American life is not cheap."

George Allen was only one of many Republican presidential hopefuls to present himself as a warrior in the kulturkampf before the "values voters" summit. Others included Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), Newt Gingrich and Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) (Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), despised despite his recent prostration before Jerry Falwell, and Rudy Giuliani, the pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, cross-dressing former mayor of New York City, were pointedly uninvited). Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, was alone in challenging the audience' backlash sensibility, calling for "an evangelical version of shock and awe that will show Americans that we are not just angry people." His call for moderation drew no response.

The speakers contested with each other in throwing red meat to the crowd. Sam Brownback hailed the Summit's sponsor, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, as "a gift to this country." Mitt Romney delivered a speech peppered with derisive references to his home state of Massachusetts, as a predicate for his announcement of the "number one threat facing America:" gay marriage. Romney's warning of the pink menace within was also echoed by a close Dobson ally, Rev. Wellington Boone, who exclaimed to hosannas from the assembled, "Back in the days when I was a kid, and we see guys that don't stand strong on principle, we call them "faggots."

The spectacle of the Republican presidential prospects competing for Dobson's affection underscored the surprising remarks that the former Republican House Majority Dick Armey made to journalist Ryan Sager a year ago in the wake of the Terri Schiavo affair. Asked for his assessment of the 109th Republican Congress, Armey singled out the special bill it had introduced to preserve the brain-dead Schiavo. "That was pure, blatant pandering to James Dobson," Armey said. "Nobody serious about the Constitution would do that. But the question was, "Will this energize our Christian conservative base for the next election?" Armey added, "Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies."

Now Dobson was perched on the Washington stage, Republican hopefuls parading before him, and his political protégé, Tony Perkins, the former Baton Rouge policeman suspended from service for joining a violent abortion protest while on duty, sitting at his right hand. Dobson recounted before his rapt audience a canned hunt in which he and his son Ryan, a "youth speaker" and author of a book entitled, "Be Intolerant: Because Some Things Are Just Stupid," recently participated, during which Dobson killed a herded bear at close range. "It was a liberal bear," Perkins interjected. "It's a dead one now," said Dobson. The crowd hooted with approval.

Dobson's tone shifted swiftly from self-satisfaction to agitation when he reminded himself that his self-declared nemesis, Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, was in attendance, and he spent the last ten minutes of his speech blasting Lynn for his plan to send over 100,000 letters to pastors warning that using church resources for electioneering is illegal.

I encountered Lynn in the hallway outside the ballroom where Dobson spoke. He was somewhat astonished at the amount of free promotion Dobson had afforded him. "Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed used to have a rule never to mention me," he told me. "I can't believe Dobson would say my name so many times."

"This conference has all the feel of a Republican convention," he continued. "It's so bewildering to hear someone say, "I'm non-partisan, but if the GOP doesn't hold the House or Senate there will be a disaster."

A day before appearing at the Summit in Washington, Dobson held a stadium-sized get-out-the-vote jamboree in Pittsburgh on behalf of one of his staunchest backers, Sen. Rick Santorum, who trails his Democratic opponent, State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. disguised as a supposedly non-partisan "Stand for the Family Rally." There, Dobson took to the podium to warn wavering "value voters," "Whether or not the Republicans deserve the power they were given, the alternatives are downright frightening."

Without any immediately scheduled congressional debates on social issue legislation to energize its base, the Christian right has adopted President Bush's messianic "struggle for civilization" as a central feature of its culture war rhetoric going into the midterm elections. Perkins framed the issue by linking liberal evildoers with Islamic extremists, warning that "we are facing threats from within and from without." Bauer described how the passengers of Flight 93 heroically ran toward the cockpit on 9/11, reminding the audience, "All you have to do is run to the voting booth."

Having been instructed on their motivation, Summit attendees headed to a series of breakout sessions for their marching orders. At one session, "Getting Church Voters To The Polls," veteran Christian right operative Connie Marshner distributed an 18-page pamphlet to participants she said was originally prepared for Santorum's 2000 senatorial campaign. The pamphlet advises church members to use their church directory to organize calls to fellow parishioners from a phony company called "ABC Polls" in order to create a data bank of "pro-family" voters. Only those voters should be reminded to vote on Election Day, Marshner said. She added, "Even if you have a pastor like that who doesn't want to do politics, you can use this plan."

Marshner's plan is an essential element of the Republican ground game for November. It might be deceptive, sleazy and possibly illegal. But that doesn't matter to the "value voters." As White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, who officially blessing the gathering, said in his speech, "What matters most are the victories we forge together."




Display:
i think marshner's illegal get out the vote strategy has been given too little attention outside of this site and americans united. her strategy is really going to be the gop's ground game and it's up to us to expose it.

by Max Blumenthal on Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 08:07:33 PM EST

On the issue of the  conflation of the alleged ( or just incompetent ) "War on Terror" with the antigay crusade, I found myself thinking, at the conference :

"Hey ! You got your 'stop gay marriage' in my 'war on terror' ! "

"No ! YOU got your 'war on terror' in my 'stop gay marriage' ! "

[ pause. sounds of gustatory delight ]

"Hey, these taste pretty good together ! We'll call it 'crusade for the defense of Western Civilization'......"



by Bruce Wilson on Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 03:33:06 PM EST

so we don't have to.  

The church directory strategy reminds me of an experience my mother had in a recent election.  Somehow or other she had gotten on the FOF mailing list.  She is a registered Democrat and a member of a mainline congregation in Florida; but her pastor is Evangelical and his wife was outspokenly supporting Bush.  I don't know whether she had gotten on the FOF list through the church directory route or by attending what were advertised as ecumenical women's gatherings, but turned out to be quite conservative.  She had paid little attention to the mailings until she got a letter attacking the Democratic Senate candidate, Betty Curry.  As a retired teacher, my mother adores Betty Curry; but she hadn't saved the letter to show to me because it made her so furious that she tore it into little pieces.

I enjoyed hearing your interview on Fresh Air last week.

by Rusty Pipes on Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 07:56:05 PM EST


As of this morning, I shall be sporting a new bumper sticker which I made on my car. Since there are a lot of Dobson fans in my part of the country, this one is sure to cause instant road rage, especially during the snail crawl called 'rush hour'.

"Marry Them All - Let God Sort It Out"
"Never put a period where God has put a comma" - Gracie Allen
by SmorgasOfBorg on Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 10:04:58 AM EST

What a great bumper sticker.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 12:46:57 PM EST
Parent



WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (328 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (172 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (97 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (92 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (103 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (123 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (107 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (75 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (223 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (54 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (150 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (173 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (50 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (52 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (209 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (233 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (84 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (169 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (142 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (140 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (133 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (142 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (122 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (185 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (139 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (79 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (188 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (76 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (106 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (104 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.