Ferment on the Far Right: Alan Keyes Bolts the GOP
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 01:29:28 PM EST
Yes indeed, the religious right, and other precincts of the right are in an uneasy mix of transition and disarray. But far from being dead, declining, or irrelevant, the far right of the conservative movement may very well determine the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.  

Taken as a whole, the movement is in a period of transition after the myriad disasters of the Bush administration, and the passing of the founding generation of leaders of the religious right (notably the deaths of Jerry Falwell and D. James Kennedy.)  The movement is certainly down, but far from out (wishful thinking of some, not withstanding) This year, that may work to the advantage of Democrats, particularly in the presidential race.  

There are two main reasons for this. One is that the movement is in a state of profound reorganization and regrouping, and it is not yet clear how all that will shake out. Some of the farther precincts of the religious right are bolting or showing signs of bolting the GOP for the Constitution Party; or alternatively, sitting out the 2008 race altogether.

World magazine (a weekly religious right oriented publication) has a fascinating behind the scenes history of the 2008 GOP presidential candidates and the secretive conservative leadership network the Council for National Policy. Founded by Tim LaHaye, Richard Viguerie, Paul Weyrich and a bevy of leaders of the John Birch Society in the early 1980s, CNP remains an important networking and strategy group.

As Religious Right leaders caucused at a recent CNP meeting in New Orleans and tried to figure out what went wrong (that the widely loathed John McCain ended up as the GOP nominee), there was wistfulness for what might have been:  Mike Huckabee.

Last month at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New Orleans, several dozen leaders of the "Christian right" met to strategize next steps--but the meeting inevitably included discussion of missteps in the GOP presidential campaign. Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, an early supporter of Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, chided the group for cold-shouldering his candidate until it was too late. Others, including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, disagreed. The meeting quickly threatened to dissolve into accusations, rebuttals, and recriminations.

Then, venerable Paul Weyrich--a founder of the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the Council for National Policy (CNP)--raised his hand to speak. Weyrich is a man whose mortality is plain to see. A freak accident several years ago left him with a spinal injury, which ultimately led to both his legs being amputated in 2005. He now gets around in a motorized wheelchair. He is visibly paler and grayer than he was just a few years ago, a fact not lost on many of his friends in the room, some of whom had fought in the political trenches with him since the 1960s.

The room--which had been taken over by argument and side-conversations--became suddenly quiet. Weyrich, a Romney supporter and one of those Farris had chastised for not supporting Huckabee, steered his wheelchair to the front of the room and slowly turned to face his compatriots. In a voice barely above a whisper, he said, "Friends, before all of you and before almighty God, I want to say I was wrong."

In a quiet, brief, but passionate speech, Weyrich essentially confessed that he and the other leaders should have backed Huckabee, a candidate who shared their values more fully than any other candidate in a generation. He agreed with Farris that many conservative leaders had blown it. By chasing other candidates with greater visibility, they failed to see what many of their supporters in the trenches saw clearly: Huckabee was their guy.

No doubt, there will be a show of unity for candidate McCain on the part of most of the leaders of the Religious Right. This will not much mitigate the obvious lack of enthusiasm they have for McCain, although the prospect of no more federal court judges and Supreme Court justices like Scalia, Alito and Roberts (McCain faves) may be sufficiently alarming for them to mobilize for McCain. How widely this attitude will be shared is hard to measure at this point.

James Dobson has famously declared that he will never vote for John McCain, and he seems unlikely to change his mind.  Richard Viguerie is encouraging conservatives to regroup and sit this one out. (And he claims for example, that the failure of the GOP to keep former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's house seat is proof that conservatives are prepared to stay home.)  Rightwing talk show host Bill Cunningham and pundit Ann Coulter have famously said they prefer Hillary Clinton over McCain.

Meanwhile, as he promised earlier, perennial GOP primary candidate Alan Keyes (who made a brief splash but quickly faded this year) is bolting the GOP and will seek the presidential nomination of the Constitution Party.  He will formally announce in Pennsylvania on April 15th.  

Other far right figures, mostly members of the Constitution Party, have established an organization called Save America Summit, which seeks to get all of the far right parties behind a single candidate -- most likely the nominee of the Constitution Party.  In addition to Keyes, the Summit is encouraging the possible candidacies of World Net Daily columnist Jerome Corsi; former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore; and former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH).

The Constitution Party 2008 Presidential Nominating Convention will be held April 23-26 in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Constitution Party has been a tiny but determined band of activists since the early 1990s.  They have never had a candidates with sufficient national notoriety to make much of a difference. Whether this year will be any different, it is too soon to say.  But we may know in a few weeks.




Display:
A Republican convert to The Constitution Party is behind a state "human life amendment" being circulated for the November ballot in Montana, one so extreme that the state's Catholic Conference rejects it.  See this story: November Ballots Split Anti-Abortion Strategists.

What you don't let people in ib, Fred, is the platform of The Constitution Party.  I thought I knew it as ultraconservative, but was astonished to read its ultrareligious embrace.  The Premamble:


The Constitution Party gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Providence as we work to restore and preserve these United States.

This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.

The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.

The Constitution of the United States provides that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." The Constitution Party supports the original intent of this language. Therefore, the Constitution Party calls on all those who love liberty and value their inherent rights to join with us in the pursuit of these goals and in the restoration of these founding principles.

The U.S. Constitution established a Republic rooted in Biblical law, administered by representatives who are constitutionally elected by the citizens. In such a Republic all Life, Liberty and Property are protected because law rules.

We affirm the principles of inherent individual rights upon which these United States of America were founded:

·    That each individual is endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness;
·    That the freedom to own, use, exchange, control, protect, and freely dispose of property is a natural, necessary and inseparable extension of the individual's unalienable rights;
·    That the legitimate function of government is to secure these rights through the preservation of domestic tranquility, the maintenance of a strong national defense, and the promotion of equal justice for all;
·    That history makes clear that left unchecked, it is the nature of government to usurp the liberty of its citizens and eventually become a major violator of the people's rights; and
·    That, therefore, it is essential to bind government with the chains of the Constitution and carefully divide and jealously limit government powers to those assigned by the consent of the governed.



by cyncooper on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 12:35:05 AM EST
yes indeed, in most of my previous writing about CP, I describe CP as theocratic. Infact, many of its founders and leaders are or have been Christian Reconstructionists or in the general Reconstructionist orbit. (I write about this in some detail in Eternal Hostility.)

 

by Frederick Clarkson on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 10:08:38 AM EST
Parent


Hard to find fault with the platform, though.

by justintime on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:55:11 PM EST
Parent


Can they draw much of the vote away from McCain? They come across like hostile sociopaths, political dead enders.

by justintime on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:48:35 PM EST
their relative success against McCain, will depend largely on whether they can nominated a candidate with more national standing and notoriety than their past candidates. While Alan Keyes is more famous, and is an experienced and energetic candidate, I really don't know if this will be enough to pull a Nader on McCain.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:16:52 AM 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 (374 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 (195 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 (109 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 (101 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 (113 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 (144 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 (126 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 (117 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 (250 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 (63 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 (160 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 (176 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 (59 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 (65 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 (218 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 (253 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 (107 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 (211 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 (163 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 (163 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 (168 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 (156 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 (129 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 (315 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 (148 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 (90 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 (212 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.