David Barton: "Palin is an easy sell, particularly because of the recent birth"
Chris Rodda printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:49:43 PM EST
That's right. Who cares if the person a heartbeat away from the presidency has no qualifications whatsoever to lead the country? The important thing is she's an "easy sell" to the evangelicals!

There's not much I can add to what's already been written by others about Sarah Palin. She's a pro-life, pro-gun, proponent of teaching creationism in public schools -- the perfect evangelically correct selling point for the McCain ticket. And having a baby that some might have chosen to abort, and doing so while serving as the governor of a state to boot, well you'd be hard pressed to find someone who would thrill the pro-life crowd more, a crowd that would certainly include pro-life activist David Barton. Named one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America by Time Magazine in 2005, Barton, the Christian nationalist history revisionist, former Texas Republican Party co-chair, and GOP operative, initially endorsed Brownback, switching to Huckabee when Brownback dropped out of the race. Now, with his organization's new "Voter Guide," he's promoting John McCain.

As those who follow the issue of churches promoting candidates in violation of I.R.S. regulations may recall, the first "Voter Guide" put out by Barton's organization, WallBuilders, and distributed WallBuilders, the American Family Association, and other conservative Christian organizations, was criticized by Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) for its clear bias in favor of Mike Huckabee. Barton's very Christ-like response to AU's letter calling for an I.R.S. investigation was to say, on the February 26 episode of his WallBuildersLive! radio show, "You know, they're coming at you waving all these butcher knives and all these bowie knives, and great, I'll just pull out my machine gun and shoot y'all..."

In addition to its misleading footnotes, Barton's first Voter Guide, put out during the primaries and comparing all of the Republican and Democratic candidates, had each issue worded in such a way that Huckabee was the only candidate whose column said "YES" for every issue, drawing the reader to that column and the candidate with all the "right" answers. With an assurance that the guide was "Approved for 501(c)3 distribution by Liberty Counsel and Liberty Legal Institute," Wallbuilders encouraged churches to distribute it and print it in their church bulletins, potentially putting the tax exempt status of these churches at risk.

Because his first Voter Guide was designed to promote Huckabee, Barton had to get a few "NO" answers in the columns of the other Republican candidates -- including John McCain. The new Obama vs. McCain Voter Guide, put out by Wallbuilders a few weeks ago, dispenses with the all "YES" answers tactic that was only necessary to make the Huckabee column stand out among the columns for the many other republican primary candidates. With only two candidates, the answers just need to oppose each other. McCain's "wrong" answers from the pro-Huckabee Voter Guide, however, obviously needed to be, and are, "corrected" in the new Voter Guide. How was this done? Well, by lowering the bar on the two issues that earned McCain a "NO" in the first Voter Guide.

In Barton's first Voter Guide, McCain had a "NO" in his column for "Supports a national Human Life Amendment." So, to give the now preferred candidate a "YES" on this issue, Barton just changed the criteria from "Supports a national Human Life Amendment" to "Supports Protecting the Lives of Children Who Are Born Alive and Survive a Botched Abortion." Obama's confidence in doctors to make the ethical decision to do whatever they can to save a living baby, with or without a law requiring them to do so, of course, gets him a "NO" for this one.

McCain also had a "NO" in the first Voter Guide for "Supports a Federal Marriage Amendment." Back in 2006, McCain voted against the motion to invoke cloture and vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. So, to give him a "YES" on supporting "traditional marriage" in the new Voter Guide, Barton again lowers the bar, changing the criteria from the original "Supports a Federal Marriage Amendment" to "Supports Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)."

"Business Freedom," an issue added in the new Voter Guide, is defined as "Opposes Laws Forcing Business to Favor Homosexuality." McCain gets a "YES" on this one, and Obama gets a "NO." Barton's footnote for giving Obama this "NO" is a chart from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) comparing Hillary Clinton's and Obama's positions on issues of interest to the GLBT community. Nothing on this chart would force any business to "favor homosexuality." In fact, only two of the items would even have any effect on private businesses -- the passage of a federal bill prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation, and expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover domestic partners and their children. The rest of the HRC's issues regarding employees and employee benefits apply only to employees of the federal government. And, of course, even the two items that would apply to private businesses wouldn't "favor homosexuality." They would just extend the employment protections guaranteed by federal law equally to all workers.

Then there's the issue of human cloning. For the evidence that Obama "Supports Human Cloning," Barton's Voter Guide provides a link to a PDF listing a vote in the Illinois Senate -- a vote showing Obama to have been the lone dissenter among the fifty-eight senators who voted 57-1 in favor of Senate Bill No. 649, a 2000 bill prohibiting human cloning. Barton uses this vote in spite of the fact that it was a mistake. In electronically casting thousands of votes over the course of eight years in the Illinois Assembly, Obama accidentally hit the wrong button on six occasions. The human cloning bill was one of these, as was recorded in the Senate journal at the time, where immediately after the vote appears the following: "Senator Obama asked and obtained unanimous consent for the Journal to reflect that he inadvertently voted 'No' instead of 'Yes' on the passage of Senate Bill No. 649." According to the rules of the Illinois Senate, however, even when a senator corrects a vote, and the correction is recorded in the journal, the miscast vote still stands. So, David Barton gets to link to a PDF that says Obama voted against prohibiting human cloning, and countless thousands of evangelical voters in the churches distributing this Voter Guide will believe that's what he did.

Barton's new Voter Guide, like the earlier primary version, contains the "Approved for 501(c)3 distribution by Liberty Counsel and Liberty Legal Institute" statement, and the WallBuilders website still encourages people to "download a copy to print for church bulletins."

I don't know if Sarah Palin would condone Barton's tactic of picking up votes for McCain by enlisting churches to disseminate lies and distortions, but it certainly doesn't appear that she would oppose a bit of 501(c)3 regulation violating to get the job done. Here's what she had to say on the subject of church politicking during an October 25, 2006 gubernatorial debate:

"A pastor, a priest, a rabbi, certainly they have the freedom to say whatever they want to say. And you know, thank the lord that we do have that freedom of speech.

"Faith is very important to so many of us here in America, and I would never support any government effort to stifle our freedom of religion or freedom of expression or freedom of speech.

"You know, I would just caution maybe a pastor to be very careful if they're in front of a congregation and they decide to endorse one candidate over another. You know, there may be some frustration with that candidacy endorsement being made manifest by a few, fewer dollars in the offering plate, so I would just offer that bit of caution." (laughing)

...doesn't even cause a blip on the radar, and Barton knows that all to well. The crazy in the US has just been upped by an order of magnitude. I've thrown away the tinfoil hat, and purchased a teflon beret!

by trog69 on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:32:24 PM EST

We've already bought some land in Canada. But, perhaps a poster on another forum was right, and Palin will be another Meiers. Here today, gone tomorrow. The baby issue, whether she "bearded" for her daughter (hypocrisy), or whether she birthed the baby after dangerously travelling by air in labor (very bad judgement), will probably come back to bite her in the butt. We can hope, anyway...

by phatkhat on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 03:20:07 PM EST

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