Rand Paul Suggests Doing Away With The Postal Service

In a radio interview yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul said that if he were to become president, he would pare down the federal government so much that he might even do away with the U.S. Postal Service.

Paul joined Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson, who played a clip of last week’s Republican presidential debate in which the Kentucky Republican said that he wants “a government really, really small, so small you can barely see it.”

Paul told Mickelson that this microscopic government might not have room for a postal service. “I think the federal government ought to defend us from foreign attack and have a judiciary and, let’s see, I would say the post office, but they screw up the post office too, so we really don’t even need them for the post office,” he said. “So I want a government that’s really small.”

“I would have a country that defends us from foreign attack, a country that sort of keeps the peace and a country that has a judiciary, a legislative branch, but a country where the federal government didn’t do much,” he added.

Paul’s previous contribution to postal reform was trying to amend a bill to allow guns in post offices.

Tony Perkins' Scary Back-to-School Message

The fear-mongering in the Family Research Council’s latest mailing starts on the envelope:  “Beginning THIS MONTH…they don’t want any American child to escape. Read how we can STOP them.”

“They” turns out to be “government-run schools” and the “radical” teachers that infest them.

If a foreign enemy had plotted to infiltrate America, I’m not sure an army of undercover subversives could have done more damage than our government-run schools….

Leftists don’t want a single American child to escape their thought control.  And they are crowding out true education.

Of course, Perkins has a skewed idea about what a “true education” includes. He complains that America used to be the tops in science – after all we put a man on the moon. But not any more:

Today’s science classes often feature big-government political propaganda, taking time and focus away from true science. Not to mention attacks on the Bible and arrogant censoring of any theories like intelligent design that challenge their Darwinism.

Yes, nothing will boost American students’ science scores faster than a little the-universe-is-6000-years-old Creationism. Perkins doesn’t say exactly what big-government propaganda he’s talking about. Evolution? Astronomy? Climate change?

Even worse, says Perkins, “the federal government has endorsed and sponsored an ‘anti-bullying program’ created and run by Dan Savage, a radical homosexual activist…” Perkins thinks sex education is all about promoting promiscuity and homosexual behavior. “This obsession with liberal sex ‘education’ shows how the minds and souls of our young people are being deliberately sabotaged.”

Accompanying Perkins’ letter is a “Protect America’s Children Survey” which asks whether their local schools are experiencing a range of problems, including “Positive portrayals of homosexuality or negative portrayals of those who don’t affirm homosexuality,” “Not enough teaching of the Christian roots of America,” “Absence of presentation of intelligent design theory,” and “Not enough teaching on the virtues of limited government and free enterprise.”

There is hope, says Perkins, bragging that he was able to “assist” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in passing “one of the most family-friendly school choice laws in America.” Jindal’s privatization scheme has resulted in public money being diverted into often  unaccountable schools wasting taxpayer dollars and teaching Religious Right curricula – no wonder Perkins loves it. 

Gina Raimondo's Curious Speech at the Manhattan Institute (VIDEO)

Rhode Island Treasurer Gina Raimondo appeared at the Manhattan Institute on Thursday to receive that organization’s Urban Innovator Award. Raimondo was being recognized for her efforts to reform the state’s public pension plans. While Raimando is not the first Democrat to receive the award, her appearance at the right-wing think tank is likely to raise eyebrows back home because of what she said and where she said it.
For instance, in response to a question from Charles Brunie – a founder of Oppenheimer Capital and former chairman of the Manhattan Institute – Raimondo seemed to indicate that she’s open to privatizing, or selling outright, state assets. She also suggested that, due to her private sector background, she outworks lawmakers and other public servants and employees at the state house.
To be sure, the substance of Raimondo’s speech was the importance of core government services and the need to sustain them financially for future generations. She highlighted Rhode Island’s pension reforms as proof that government can work and closed by arguing that the debate over whether government is too big should be supplanted by a debate over whether government is effective. However, the venue for her speech raises questions.
The Manhattan Institute, perhaps best known as the “brain trust” of the Giuliani administration in New York, has a long history of working to privatize, undermine, and cut public schools, social services, and public transportation. These are the very services that Raimondo cited as essential in her life and to all citizens of Rhode Island.
More broadly, the Manhattan Institute pushes a right-wing agenda that is only partially obscured by the intellectual veneer it projects on its work. Whether it’s equal rights for gays and lesbians, immigration reform, equality between men and women, or affirmative action for minorities, the Manhattan Institute is working against it. In fact, the think tank’s best known “scholar” is Charles Murray, co-author of the discredited Bell Curve, which claimed a genetic link between race and IQ – e.g. blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites.
It is unclear what Raimondo hoped to accomplish by accepting the award. The motivations of the Manhattan Institute, however, are far less opaque. Their aim is to cut government spending on social programs – not to make it more effective – but rather to achieve their utopian free market vision of society. Partnering with a Democrat like Raimondo enables them to put forward a reasonable, bi-partisan face. The day after her speech, no less than the Wall Street Journal editorial page – no fan of Democrats or government – heaped praise on the treasurer for leading the Rhode Island “miracle.”
You can watch selected clips below and the full speech on the Manhattan Institute’s Public Sector Inc. website.
Intro video featuring Dick Cheney praising the Manhattan Institute’s “fresh thinking”:

Raimondo on getting locked in the state house:

Raimondo Q&A with Charles Brunie:

Raimondo on the importance of government:

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 5/17/11

Michele Bachmann

2012: More likely to run for president following Mike Huckabee's decision against running (CBS News, 5/16). 

Constitution: High school student challenges her to a debate on the Constitution as a result of her record of making incorrect statements (Minnesota Independent, 5/13). 

Herman Cain

Georgia: Wins praise for speech at Georgia GOP convention (Southern Political Report, 5/16). 

Florida: Tops field in Fort Lauderdale Tea Party straw poll (Sunshine State News, 5/16). 

Mitch Daniels

Reproductive Rights: Signs law defunding Planned Parenthood that costs thousands their health care, state millions of dollars (The Faster Times, 5/16).

2012: Members of Indiana Republican Party encourage Daniels to run during state convention (AP, 5/13).

Religious Right: Anti-choice activists upset Daniels weighed Condoleezza Rice as a running mate because she is pro-choice (Life News, 5/13). 

GOP: Reports say that Governors Haley Barbour, Chris Christie and Scott Walker would endorse Daniels (CBS News, 5/12). 

Newt Gingrich

Religious Right: Denies advisers' links to Dominionist theology (RWW, 5/16).

Medicare: Describes Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare as "right wing social engineering" but previously said he would've voted for it (Think Progress, 5/16). 

Health Care: Makes inconsistent remarks over his past support for health care insurance mandates (Politico, 5/16). 

Iowa: Will make swing through Iowa this week following official announcement (Dubuque Telegraph Herald, 5/15). 

Jon Huntsman

Religious Right: Set to address Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition (RWW, 5/16).

South Carolina: Huckabee's former state campaign chair announces his support for Huntsman (Politico, 5/16). 

Florida: Meets with key donors in Florida (St. Petersburg Times, 5/11). 

Roy Moore

Religious Right: Claims President Obama is "pushing his own immoral values without regard to what the people think or believe" (WND, 5/16). 

Campaign: Launches website for exploratory committee (

Sarah Palin

PAC: Embarks on new direct mail campaign with focus on 2012 election (WaPo, 5/16). 

2012: Supporters hope that Huckabee's announcement will create an opening for Palin (Commentary, 5/16). 

Tim Pawlenty

South Carolina: Hires political director for South Carolina primary (The Hill, 5/17). 

Environment: Continues to apologize for past support of ‘cap and trade’ system (Minnesota Post, 5/17).

Mitt Romney

Fundraising: Raises over $10 million on Monday call-day in Las Vegas (WaPo, 5/17). 

Health Care: Defends state health plan that is analogous to federal health care law (NYT, 5/13). 

Rick Santorum

Medicare: Criticizes Gingrich for attacking Paul Ryan’s Medicare privatization proposal (The Hill, 5/16). 

Health Care: Knocks Romney for defending his Massachusetts health care law (The State Column, 5/13).

Meet Congresswoman-Elect Sandy Adams: Conspiracy-Theorist, Religious Extremist

Following Tuesday's election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress."  Our first candidate is Florida's version of Sharron Angle, Sandra "Sandy" Adams:

After serving four terms in the Florida State House, Sandy Adams ran for US Congress and handily defeated freshman Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas. She built-up a far-right voting record as a state representative, and she campaigned as the most conservative candidate in the competitive Republican primary.

As a legislator and candidate Sandy Adams has embraced the agenda of the Religious Right. Adams voted to enact burdensome waiting periods and tougher parental notice laws for young women seeking abortions, and voted in favor of forcing women to have ultrasound tests before terminating their pregnancy, which the Governor ultimately vetoed for placing “an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.” During the GOP primary she was endorsed by militantly anti-choice groups such as the Republican National Coalition for Life and the American Conservative Union. Moreover, she is on-record opposing stem-cell research and boasts that she “fought against this type of research funding in the Florida House of Representatives.”

She is also an avowed opponent of teaching evolution, and voted in favor of a bill that calls on teachers to “teach theories that contradict the theory of evolution.” Adams herself does not believe evolution and says that Christians should reject evolution in favor of “the biblical terms of how we came about.” When asked “by a caller in a telephone town hall meeting whether she believed in evolution…Adams replied, ‘I’m Christian. What else do you want to know?’” Adams also supports Florida’s unsuccessful private school vouchers program and wants the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public schools.

Like Sharron Angle, Sandy Adams floats the baseless conspiracy theory that Islamic, or Sharia, law is thriving in Muslim communities in Michigan and in danger of spreading throughout Michigan and the United States:

The Muslim extremist project is to create pockets and to grow their Muslim extreme philosophies, and if you look at some of our towns within our own borders, like Michigan, Michigan has cities that have a lot of Muslim influence and even so much as I would say some extremist Muslim influence because they are trying to operate under Sharia law, not American law. And I believe that we need to continue to operate under our Constitutional laws and the laws of our country and our state and we should not be under any other form of the law.

Sarah Palin endorsed Sandy Adams, and Adams claims that she “can’t wait to join the Tea Party Caucus” and said that “I believe what Michele Bachmann is doing is the right thing to do and I will be part of that Caucus, I can assure you of that.”

She has embraced anti-government extremism, and wants to radically alter the Constitution by repealing the 16th and 17th Amendments, which would eliminate the progressive income tax and the right of voters to elect their US Senators, respectively. Adams believes that instead of voters, state legislators like herself should pick the state’s Senators. Adams also wants to abolish the Department of Education, said that the Departments of Energy and Interior Departments should be “completely dismantled” because they are “not allowed by our Constitution,” and strongly opposes Wall Street Reform. She wouldn’t “vouch for the constitutionality of the federal Clean Water and Clean Air acts without reading them,” writes the Orlando Sentinel, “yet she’s all for big government when it comes to NASA.,” which is based in her district.

Furthermore, she backs Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America,” which calls for the privatization of Social Security and Medicare. According to Florida Today, Adams “wants to cut government spending, but couldn’t cite one area to cut; wants to repeal health care reform, but offered no alternative; and is willing to look at privatizing Medicare, something that should alarm seniors.” Adams was also the chief sponsor of a state constitutional amendment that would stop Florida from cooperating with the recently passed health care reform law by barring mandatory insurance coverage.

Adams is also ardently opposed to immigrant rights and touts the endorsement of Americans for Legal Immigration, which has been classified as a “nativist extremist organization” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group is “allied with various Minuteman factions” and according to the SPLC, the group says that its “‘rallying cry is: Illegals Go Home!’” While serving in the State House, Adams was one of just fourteen members to vote against allowing undocumented children to receive healthcare through Florida KidCare.

On the environment, Adams supports offshore oil drilling off Florida’s coast and tried to censure the Governor for attempting to pass a constitutional amendment to prohibit such drilling.

A steadfast and longtime advocate of the Religious Right and anti-government extremism, Sandy Adams plans to be a bridge between Christian conservatives and Tea Party reactionaries in addition to a stalwart ally of Michele Bachmann in the House.





2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 10/13

Sharron Angle

Fundraising: Raised $14 million in three months (WaPo, 10/12).

GOP: Leading Nevada Republicans endorse Reid over Angle (Politico, 10/12).

Religious Right: ADL criticizes Angle for refusing to condemn her pastor’s anti-Mormon comments (KVVU, 10/8).

Extremism: Cites Dearborn, Michigan and a non-existent town in Texas as outposts of Sharia law (CNN, 10/9).

Ken Buck

Controversy: Referred to a rape victim’s situation as “buyers remorse;” suspect even admitted that it was rape (PFAW, 10/12; Colorado Independent, 10/12).

Ad: DSCC launches new ad blasting Buck’s record as a prosecutor (Daily Kos, 10/12).

Religious Right: American Right to Life rescinds endorsement of Buck (CBS, 10/12).

Debate: Blasts Stimulus Plan and Afghan strategy in debate with Bennet (Chieftain, 10/8).

Carly Fiorina

Ad: Boxer hits Fiorina for backing Arizona’s SB 1070 in Spanish-language ad (LA Times, 10/12).

Religious Right: Anti-choice, anti-lgbt equality groups spend money to back Fiorina (SF Gate, 10/12).

Palin: Calls Palin “qualified” to be President but chooses to campaign with McCain over her (Politico, 10/12).

Film: BraveNewFilms tackles Fiorina’s time running HP (NYT, 10/10).

Joe Miller

Poll: In statistical dead heat with Murkowski in Public Policy Polling (Politico, 10/12).

Controversy: Said he won’t answer questions about “personal issues” (Anchorage Daily News, 10/11).

Taxes: Supported higher taxes during pipeline lawsuit (Anchorage Daily News, 10/12).

Ad: New pro-Murkowski PAC airs ads blasting Miller’s “radical ideas” (AP, 10/12).

Christine O’Donnell

Debate: Faces off with Coons in CNN debate tonight at 7:30 (Baltimore Sun, 10/12).

Poll: Coons leads O’Donnell by 16% in Fox News poll (TPM, 10/12).

Ad: Refers to Coons as “The Taxman” in latest ad (NYT, 10/12).

Rand Paul

Ad: PolitiFact confirms Conway’s charge that Paul supports a $2,000 Medicare deductable (St. Petersburg Times, 9/13).

Taxes: Calls for elimination of federal income taxes, backs national sales tax (AP, 9/12).

Clinton: Says the former President, who backs Conway, is a “less than honorable” person (PoliticsDaily, 10/12).

College: Paul’s student group often mocked Christians at Baylor (Politico, 10/12).

Dino Rossi

Outside groups: Crossroads GPS and other pro-GOP groups pummel Murray to help Rossi (Seattle Times, 10/11).

Poll: Elway poll shows Rossi trailing Murray by 13% (PoliticalWire, 10/12).

Ad: Murray campaign blasts Rossi’s extreme views on choice and contraception (CQ, 10/12).

Marco Rubio

Health Care: Dubs reform law a “disaster” (Herald Tribune, 10/8).

Debate: Meek and Crist call Rubio an extreme candidate in debate (WaPo, 10/7).

Tea Party: Crist says only he can “stop the Tea Party mess that Mr. Rubio would bring to Washington” (Miami New Times, 10/12).

Pat Toomey

Climate Change: Disputes notion that human activity contributes to climate change (Think Progress, 10/12).

Tea Party: FreedomWorks to kickstart GOTV efforts for Toomey (FreedomWorks, 10/11).

Ad: Democrats blast Toomey for backing Social Security privatization (HuffPo, 10/12).

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 9/29

Your update on the right-wing candidates running for US Senate for 9/22-9/29.

Sharron Angle

Government: Angle and her husband are both covered by government health care plans (Alternet, 9/28).

Health Care: Criticized for mocking “Autism” coverage (The Plum Line, 9/27).

Fundraising: Comedian Dennis Miller to raise money for Angle (LVRJ, 9/28).

House: Angle’s unpopularity may hurt Nevada’s GOP House candidates (The Hill, 9/28).

Poll: One poll shows Reid leading Angle by 5%, other finds a tie (Las Vegas Sun 9/25, LVRJ 9/28).

Ken Buck

Poll: DSCC poll shows Buck trailing Bennet by 2% (Politico, 9/29).

GOP: Senators McConnell and Cornyn host fundraiser for Buck (AP, 9/28).

Right-wing: Tries to portray himself as more moderate after primary (RCP, 9/24).

Carly Fiorina

Corporate: Rightwing Koch brothers take interest in Fiorina’s campaign (LA Times, 9/25).

Outside groups: Chamber of Commerce and FreedomWorks to bolster Fiorina (LA Times, 9/28).

Poll: Trails Boxer by 8% in new poll of California voters (San Jose Mercury News, 9/25).

Ad: New ad labels Boxer as “arrogant” (The Atlantic, 9/23).

Joe Miller

Government: Expresses support for increased spending for public health and education in 2004 survey (KTUU, 9/24).

Controversy: Classified himself as “low-income” on hunting license application (Anchorage Daily News, 9/27).

Outside groups: Tea Party Express to help Miller against McAdams, Murkowski (Daily News-Miner, 9/28).

Christine O’Donnell

Finances: CREW looks into O’Donnell’s poor financial record (News Journal, 9/29).

Science: Declares evolution “a myth” on Politically Incorrect (Huffington Post, 9/25).

Controversy: Falsely claims she attended Claremont McKenna and Oxford for graduate school (Mediaite, 9/29).

GOP: Shames Republican leadership for not supporting complete repeal of Health Care Reform (ABC News, 9/28).

Rand Paul

Ad: Blasted for supporting $2,000 Medicare deductible (Herald Leader, 9/29).

Right-wing: Member of ultraconservative medical group (Courier Journal, 9/24).

Poll: Leads Conway by just 2% in latest poll of Kentucky voters (TPMDC, 9/27).

Economy: Speaks out against raising taxes on wealthy (Huffington Post, 9/27).

Dino Rossi

Controversy: BIAW fined for illegally supporting Rossi’s gubernatorial campaign (Seattle PI, 9/24).

Ad: CommonsenseTen hits Rossi on housing crisis (Politico, 9/24).

Marco Rubio

Controversy: Releases Spanish-language ad despite support for English-only policies (Florida Independent, 9/29).

Social Security: Reverses himself on Social Security privatization (St. Petersburg Times, 9/28).

Finances: New questions about Rubio’s expenses flare (Orlando Sentinel, 9/24).

Pat Toomey

Poll: Toomey holds slight lead, but one-third of Pennsylvania voters still undecided (WPVI, 9/29).

GOP: Distances himself from spending under Bush Administration (AP, 9/27).

Right-wing: Columnist examines Toomey’s far-right beliefs while leading Club for Growth (Inquirer, 9/26).

Right Wing Leftovers

  • FRC rejoices over the defeat of the effort to repeal Don't ask Don't Tell.
  • Over the weekend, Sharron Angle spoke at Utah’s Freedom Conference, an event co-sponsored by the John Birch Society.
  • Tim Scott tells CBN's David Brody that there is no racism in the Tea Party movement.
  • Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will all speak at Virginia's first annual Tea Party Convention next month.
  • You can now add Rep. Paul Ryan to the list of conservatives saying there might be a need to call a "truce" in the culture wars.
  • Jerry Falwell, Jr. supports efforts by VA Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to privatize the state's liquor monopoly.
  • Finally, I find it hilarious that FRC is outraged that Republicans would speak to the Log Cabin Republicans just days after FRC gave a prime speaking slot to notorious bigot Bryan Fischer.

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update

With the Tea Party on the march, RightWingWatch will now feature weekly updates every Wednesday detailing the activities and controversies of the right-wing candidates running for US Senate this year.

Sharron Angle

Polls: Mason Dixon shows Reid leading 46-45%, and Ipsos has Reid up 46-44% (Politics Daily, 9/12; Reuters, 9/14).

Ad: Reid calls out Angle for controversial vote on domestic violence (CNN, 9/13).

Debate: Asserts that she withdrew from debate because she wants “an informed electorate” (Las Vegas Sun, 9/14).

Lawsuit: Las Vegas Review-Journal sues Angle for printing stories without the newspaper’s permission (AP, 9/14).

Palin: Hopes that Sarah Palin will rally the NV GOP base (Las Vegas Sun, 9/14)

Latinos: Angle’s problems finding Latino supporters (AP, 9/10).

GOP: Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval distances himself from Angle in interview (Las Vegas Sun, 9/10).

Ken Buck

Website: After primary, Buck’s website changes language on issue-pages regarding abortion, stem-cell research and immigration (Denver Post, 9/8).

Debate: Holds aggressive debate with Bennet in Grand Junction (ABC, 9/12), a second debate is scheduled for Friday.

Carly Fiorina

Economy: Refuses to support Small Business Lending bill, but says it has “many good aspects (AP, 9/14).

Poll: Trails Boxer by 2 percentage points, 46-44%, in latest Fox News poll (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/14).

Joe Miller

GOP: Mitch McConnell sends Miller a $5000 contribution, asks Sen. Murkowski to “move on,” NRSC pledges to spend $170,000 (Anchorage Daily News, 9/14; Fairbanks Daily News-Miner; 9/10).

Government: Miller criticized for views on federal government’s land ownership (The Mudflats, 9/13).

Christine O’Donnell

Victory: Upsets Congressman Mike Castle, 53-47% (Politico, 9/15).

Abstinence: Video from MTV shows O’Donnell, then head of Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth, speaking against masturbation (TPM, 9/14).

Rove: Trades barbs with Karl Rove (Washington Post, 9/15).

GOP: Castle unlike to endorse, campaign suggests that NRSC stays out of race (The Hill, 9/14).

Rand Paul

GOP: Calls out Republicans in Congress for failing to cut spending (AP, 9/12).

Ad: Claims that Health Care Reform “puts Washington bureaucrats in charge” in new ad, NRSC also on the air criticizing HCR (CBS News, 9/8; HuffPo, 9/14).

Palin: Fundraiser with Sarah Palin set for 9/16 (Courier-Journal, 9/13).

Dino Rossi

Poll: Murray leads Rossi 50-41% in new Elway poll (Seattle Times, 9/13)

Trial: Building Industry Association of Washington, a big Rossi backer, on trial for skimming finances for campaign purposes (Bellingham Herald, 9/14).

Economy: Says that Obama’s $50 billion infrastructure plan “makes no sense whatsoever” (King 5, 9/6).

Marco Rubio

Religious Right: David Barton of WallBuilders to headline event with Rubio (Orlando Politics Press, 9/14).

Poll: Rubio leads by double-digits in new Fox News poll (Political Wire, 9/14).

GOP: State Party’s internal audit clears Rubio on abusing Party-issued credit card, Crist campaign cries foul (St. Petersburg Times, 9/13).

Social Security: Says he opposes privatization but supports Bush-proposed “personal retirement accounts” (ReidReport, 9/14).

Economy: Supports extending all of the Bush tax-cuts (Orlando Sentinel, 9/14).

Religious Right Debate Organizer Declares Huckabee The Anointed One

The top-polling GOP presidential candidates may have snubbed last night’s “Values Voter Debate” hosted by the American Family Association and a collection of B-list to D-list Religious Right leaders, but debate organizer Janet Folger (author of “The Criminalization of Christianity”) was ecstatic because her prayers had been answered.  She had been praying for God to reveal “the David among Jesse’s sons.”  And David turns out to be Mike – former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Folger declared Huckabee the “clear winner” of the straw poll taken by attendees at the event, apparently hand-picked by the organizers and right-wing leaders and activists who lined up to ask questions in the 3-hour marathon.  Religious Right leaders have been frustrated by the fact that the somewhat pro-choice and pro-gay rights Giuliani is leading in GOP polls, and that no consensus candidate has emerged that excites the movement’s leaders. Folger is out to change that, and to make her event the moment at which God’s anointing of Huckabee as the candidate to rally around was revealed.  It’s not yet clear whether the movement’s major political players like James Dobson and Tony Perkins will join the bandwagon.  Folger’s co-panelist Phyllis Schlafly, for one, wasn’t letting herself be bullied into saying who she would vote for, even after Folger’s revelation.

“We won huge,” Huckabee himself boasted. “I’m pleased, and proud, and honored to have this historic endorsement from America’s leading social conservatives who believe, as I do, in the core values which define American culture and life. This overwhelming vote affirms that conservatives are coalescing around one candidate and that candidate is me.”

It’s no surprise that the folksy Huckabee was popular among the far-right faithful at the event – he answered every question to their liking, while touting his populist, blue-collar credentials.  On marriage, he would lead an effort to pass a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as “one man, one woman, for life.”  On abortion, he needled the missing candidates and said “on this issue our culture rises or falls.”  He backed the Iraq war, calling it a “theological war” against people “whose religious fanaticism will not be satisfied until every last one of us is dead, until our culture, our society, is completely obliterated from the face of the earth.”

During an interminable “yes or no” segment, Huckabee pledged himself to a long  far-right wish-list: support for Roy Moore’s court-stripping bill to keep federal courts from meddling with public officials who use their office to promote religion, vetoes of hate crimes, ENDA, and the fairness doctrine; stripping schools of federal funding for exposing children to “homosexual propaganda,” repealing IRS restrictions on churches endorsing candidates, bringing back Bush’s social security privatization plan, imposing a ban on federal funding for any U.S. group that performs or advocates for abortion, boosting federal abstinence spending to match contraceptive funding, and more.

Huckabee closed by telling Janet Folger, Roy Moore, Rick Scarborough, Phyllis Schlafly, and the rest, that “many [other candidates] come to you. I come from you.” 

Blackwell Ignoring Ohio Voters’ 37 Percent Solution

Former Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell may have decided to get back into public life, but he does not seem to have learned much from his devastating loss in last year’s election. Blackwell ran for governor of Ohio last year with an education policy platform based solely on his support for school defunding, the “65% Deception,” and vouchers. Blackwell’s opponent – now Governor Ted Strickland - expressed his principled opposition to vouchers throughout the campaign.

Blackwell’s full-throated advocacy of publicly funded private school vouchers earned him praise from some of the nation’s most ardent advocates of school privatization.

For instance, voucher warrior and affirmative action foe Clint Bolick said the voucher movement “has no greater friend than Ken Blackwell.” And voucher pusher Patrick Byrne, also the impresario of the “65% Deception,” praised Blackwell’s “passion” for vouchers. Voucher backers made sure that the money kept rolling in.  Blackwell’s campaign received at least $100, 000 from voucher groups such as Bolick’s Advocates for School Choice

But on Election Day, Blackwell received just under 37% of the vote.

In spite of that dramatic evidence that vouchers and other privatization schemes do not enjoy wide-spread public support in Ohio, and research showing the same nationally, Blackwell soldiers on.  In his first published column since joining the staff of the Family Research Council, Blackwell attacks Governor Strickland’s groundbreaking plan to eliminate the EdChoice voucher program and redirect the money back to Ohio’s public schools:

Calling school vouchers "undemocratic" and charter schools a "dismal failure," Gov. Strickland, in his first major public policy address, slammed the door of educational opportunity on thousands of poor children and crushed the hopes of their parents.

By denying these children the equal access to a quality education that choice programs offer, he also denied that the bloated public education bureaucracy and its entrenched unions have failed our children.

Despite Blackwell’s assertion that voucher programs offer students “equal access,” private schools can choose who to accept – many deny admission to all students with special needs – and students who currently receive vouchers do not have the ‘choice’ to attend any school they wish.  Last year, Ohio voters had a choice, and elected a governor openly committed to funding and strengthening Ohio’s public schools – and focusing on proven reforms – as the best way to ensure that all children have access to a quality education.

Anatomy of a Voucher Push

Last week the Utah House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill that could become the nation’s first universal voucher program. If this voucher scheme is passed into law, Utah taxpayers will be forced to finance religious education in private Christian and other religious schools– and Utah public schools will be robbed of much needed resources. Even in one of the most conservative states, the voucher movement has faltered in previous attempts to privatize public education. This year, however, sketchy campaign contributions and dirty tricks may help the extreme right-wing pull one over on the people of Utah.

The voucher movement has bought and paid for undue influence in Utah’s legislature. Last year, a political action committee called “Parents for Choices in Education” spent over a half a million dollars with the exclusive goal of electing proponents of school privatization. The organization’s money came from the usual suspects of the voucher movement. Patrick Byrne, chief advocate of the recently defeated 65% Deception plan to defund public schools, gave at least $70,000 to the pro-voucher political action committee. All Children Matter, the political funding arm of the voucher movement founded by Dick and Betsy DeVos, gave the group $240, 000.

One of the politicians the pro-voucher group helped elect is Steve Urquhart, the sponsor of the universal voucher bill. Not only did Urquhart sponsor the legislation, it seems that he may have used his position as chairman of the power House Rules Committee to extort votes for it. Rep. Sheryl Allen, a supporter of public education, has recently claimed that Urquhart will not allow bills she sponsors to get past the Rules Committee. Fortunately, Allen has found a way to work around Urquhart’s obstruction. Unfortunately, however, Urguhart’s underhanded tactics may have forced two other lawmakers to vote his way. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

When the controversial private school vouchers bill passed the House of Representatives by one vote last Friday, one of the surprise "yes" votes that put it over the hump was Rep. Brad Last, R-St. George, who had voted against the bill in the House Education Committee just a few days earlier…

Here's a possible reason why: Last, who manages assisted living centers in southern Utah, is sponsoring HB338, which would have made it more difficult to sue emergency room doctors for medical malpractice. The bill had been stuck in the House Rules Committee for two weeks and then, lo and behold, it was passed out of the committee three days after Last voted for the voucher bill.    

And who is the chairman of the Rules Committee? Rep. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George.    

And who is the sponsor of the voucher bill? Urquhart…

Another unknown vote prior to the final tally on the vouchers bill last Friday was Rep. Richard Wheeler, R-Ephraim, a vice president at Snow College.

When crunch time came, he voted yes.

And on Wednesday, when the Capital Facilities Appropriations Subcommittee submitted its priority list for capital facilities projects, a proposed library at Snow College made the cut.

The $14.5 million library was seventh on the list. If the top seven projects are selected, the total cost will be about $144 million. The Legislature has discussed spending $150 million on capital facilities projects this year.

Urguhart’s voucher bill passed by one vote.

A Voucher Warrior Steps off the Battlefield?

bolick.bmp The voucher movement has been dealt some serious set-backs in recent months. In July, a study by the Department of Education found that public school students outperform their private school peers – undercutting the right-wing’s basic argument that private schools are better. In August, a similar study found that public school students also learn more than students in charter schools. Last month, a survey released by Gallup and the non-partisan education organization Phi Delta Kappa found that public support for vouchers is in a free-fall. A poll of Indiana residents by the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy came up with similar results. And recently major fractures have occurred between different factions of the Right over the proposed national voucher program and the Bush administration’s implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. All this may have proven to be too much for one of the privatization movement’s biggest stars. An Arizona paper announced yesterday that Clint Bolick, president and general counsel for the pro-voucher Alliance for School Choice has taken a position with a Scottsdale law firm. In recent years, Bolick has committed himself to fighting against public education, he first rose to prominence a crusader against affirmative action as a disciple of Clarence Thomas. He was co-founder of the right-wing legal group called the Institute for Justice and a prominent player in the conservative libertarian community. This news may not indicate Bolick’s outright surrender in the Voucher Wars, but could it be the beginning of a strategic retreat and reorganization at the highest levels of the right-wing coalition against public education?

Cato's Andrew Coulson is Entitled to His Own Opinion, but Not His Own Facts.

When a recent survey by Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy found declining support for vouchers among Indiana residents, Cato’s Andrew Coulson went on the attack. He said that the CEEP could not be trusted because they were funded by the vast public school conspiracy and accused the Center of deliberately manipulating the wording of the survey question to produce anti-voucher results. Coulson’s indictment of CEEP was damning, though not at all based on truth. As Jonathan Plucker, CEEP’s director points out:
Coulson's My View made two major errors. Although CEEP is part of the Indiana University School of Education, the center is not biased against vouchers because, as Coulson asserts, they would put the school -- and therefore CEEP -- out of business. To the contrary, the center is financially independent of the School of Education: We pay all of our costs, including our lease, salaries and materials. IU and the School of Education provide CEEP with a world-class support network, but IU administrators are strong supporters of the center's intellectual independence and would never attempt to influence our analyses or suggest positions for the center to advocate. Indeed, CEEP has a national reputation as a nonpartisan research center, and we (and the university) guard this reputation closely. In addition, Coulson states that CEEP's selection of questions for our annual poll of public attitudes toward education is somehow biased against vouchers. As he has since acknowledged, this could not be further from the truth. Late each summer, CEEP staff circulate draft lists of questions to a range of education stakeholders, including state policymakers in both parties, both advocates for and critics of public schools, and policy researchers from around the state. The staff who work on the poll hold a broad range of political views and attitudes toward education. CEEP works with the highly regarded marketing and polling firm, Stone Research Services, to ensure that the poll results are reliable and accurate. The poll is financed completely by CEEP, with no outside support (and, therefore, no potential for outside influence). The result is a set of questions and corresponding results that are widely respected. Policymakers of both parties, who hold diverse attitudes about public education, have used various poll results as evidence of public attitudes toward education. Indeed, the 2005 voucher questions Coulson criticizes were used by policymakers to support the need for vouchers during the 2006 legislative session.
It has been a rough several months for voucher pushers like Mr. Coulson: Two recent studies conducted by the federal Department of Education found that public school students outperform their peers in private and charter schools, a report by the pro-voucher Friedman Foundation and Coulson’s own Cato Institute found that the DC voucher program has produced no positive results for DC public schools, and another survey by the education honor society Phi Delta Kappa found that public support for vouchers continues to fall. Faced with more and more evidence against privatization, voucher pushers have been forced to find creative rebuttals. And, like Mr. Coulson, they often prefer not to let facts get in the way of their ideology.

If It Loses the House, GOP May Look Even Further Right

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana), chairman of the right-wing House Republican Study Committee (RSC), may face a dilemma this November. On the one hand, he calls on readers of Human Events to elect more far-right ideologues, touting the RSC’s efforts over the past two years in pushing tax cuts, advocating Social Security privatization, and – in the name of Hurricane Katrina – pushing for opportunistic cuts in safety-net programs and other longstanding right-wing bugbears, all while blocking stem-cell research and making a spectacle out of Terri Schiavo. Until his recent proposal for a guest-worker program, the Right regarded him as a hero, and there was even a campaign to elect the young congressman majority leader of the House after Tom DeLay’s resignation.

On the other hand, if Pence does not get his wish and the Right loses control of the House, he may find himself leader of the minority party, according to U.S. News and World Report’s “Inside Washington”:

The talk this week among conservative House staffers and GOP strategists is that a Democratic victory in the fall elections could lead to a wholesale junking of the House Republican leadership.

While that would likely lead to a nasty leadership bid for minority leader, the conservatives say that it could lead to the election of Rep. Mike Pence, the Indiana lawmaker who heads the budget-conscious Republican Study Committee.

"If we lose, I can see everybody being thrown out and Pence's fiscal conservative team in," says an adviser to House conservatives. It's an unlikely scenario because insiders say that House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader John Boehner are secure and that, at worst, Boehner would get the minority leader's post. But the staffers said a loss of power could lead to a major party revolt against the leadership, opening the door to Pence, who has led the effort to cut spending and pork.

Dialing for Vouchers

A group headed by voucher pusher and civil rights foe Clint Bolick has created a telephone hotline to help Arizona parents get information on the state’s new pro-privatization laws. Right now callers to the hotline are simply asked to leave a message, but Arizona Republic columnist Richard Ruelas offers Bolick’s group some helpful suggestions to make the hotline a better source of honest information:

"Hello and thank you for calling the School Choice hotline. For English, please stay on the line. Para Español, press '2' to be disconnected since no Arizona private schools offer programs for English learners.

"If you are poor, please press '3.'

"If you are not sure if you are 'poor,' know that Arizona's new corporate tax-credit law defines 'poor' as being nearly 3.5 times the poverty level, or $68,450 for a family of four. Press '4' for more instructions, or have your servants figure it out.

"If you wish to make a campaign donation to Representative Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, the man who pushed for this bill and will benefit from it since he heads up one of Arizona's largest tuition tax-credit organizations, press '5.'

"If you wish to just laugh hysterically over the fact that Arizona passed a law that defines a $68,000 household as 'poor,' press '6.' One of us school-choice types will be on the line to gladly laugh along with you."

No doubt the ‘school choice types’ Ruelas refers to are having a good laugh. As People For the American Way Foundation research has shown, the so-called ‘tuition tax credits’ in Arizona, which overwhelmingly benefit wealthy parents and private, religious schools, are nothing more than vouchers in disguise. Though voucher pushers like Bolick claim to support public education, corporate tax credit schemes divert millions of dollars of public money to unaccountable private schools - millions of dollars that could be spent on public school reforms that work.

Voucher Money Pours Into Ohio Governor's Race

The Cleveland Plain Dealer looks at the large out-of-state donations to Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell's campaign for governor and finds that--along with major right-wing funders like Richard Scaife and Howard Ahmanson--Blackwell's benefactors are advocates of school vouchers.
National charter-school advocates are digging deep to help underwrite Ken Blackwell's gubernatorial campaign. No single issue has delivered more out-of-state $10,000 donations than school choice. Blackwell has received more than $100,000 from donors outside Ohio who favor voucher programs and taxpayer-funded private schools, according to a Plain Dealer analysis of $10,000 contributors.

Religious Right Insists—Abortion, Gay Marriage Is Enough for Churches to Talk About

At a summit of black ministers held in Dallas this week, some participants decried the “bedroom morality” preached by some churches at the expense of social justice concerns. In The Washington Times, a Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, fired back, asserting that “Their agenda hurts the black community; the fact that these ministers are saying that gay marriage and abortion are not Christian issues makes it clear that they are not men of God.” The Times also quotes one Bishop Harry Jackson, who said, "There is a new black church that Al [Sharpton] and Jesse [Jackson] don't speak to, and they are threatened by the new black megachurches and their pastors; and they tend to talk about us as if we are just uppity Negroes, asking 'why can't they just fall in line'?"

It may be helpful to know where Peterson and Jackson are coming from. Jackson has been a near-constant presence by the sides of Religious Right activists in pushing for right-wing judges and fighting against gay marriage. He spoke at both Justice Sunday and Justice Sunday II, televised church rallies organized by the leaders of the Religious Right to push for Bush’s judicial nominees, telling the audience, “You and I can bring the rule and reign of the Cross to America and we can change America on our watch, together.”

Gays are a particular target of his. In an article in Charisma magazine, Jackson wrote that the “wisdom behind” the “gay agenda” is “clearly satanic,” and he called for an aggressive “counterattack.”

Jackson’s six-point “Black Contract with America on Moral Values” is headed off with opposition to same-sex marriage, followed by school vouchers and Social Security privatization.

Peterson, a frequent spokesman on the Right who has an unhealthy obsession with Jesse Jackson, made headlines last September when he wrote that Hurricane Katrina’s victims were “immoral, welfare-pampered blacks that stayed behind and waited for the government to bail them out.” He continued,

About five years ago, in a debate before the National Association of Black Journalists, I stated that if whites were to just leave the United States and let blacks run the country, they would turn America into a ghetto within 10 years. The audience, shall we say, disagreed with me strongly. Now I have to disagree with me. I gave blacks too much credit. It took a mere three days for blacks to turn the Superdome and the convention center into ghettos, rampant with theft, rape and murder.

A few weeks later, he co-sponsored an event at the far-right Heritage Foundation to discuss the state of Black America, where he expanded on his opinion of Katrina evacuees: “I find that many of those people have lots of things. They have nice clothes to wear, they’re fat as a pig, they’re driving nice cars, big old color TVs. I think the reason many stayed there is because they lack moral character.” He criticized New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, saying that if you lived in the city, you were “out of your mind to wait on a Black Mayor to come help you.” And Rev. Peterson added that no Democrats were Christians: “You’re not born of God if you’re a Democrat… A real Christian can’t vote for a Democrat, the Democratic Party.”