Values Voters Summit Roundup
David Streeter — September 21, 2010 9:01 am
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This past weekend, conservative activists from around the country descended on Washington for the annual Values Voter Summit (VVS). Conference highlights include (and some are visible here):
- Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) won the VVS Presidential straw poll. Pence has developed a reputation as a champion of right-wing social issues and is staunchly anti-choice. In the past, Pence has irresponsibly called President Barack Obama “the most anti-Israel president in modern history,” despite Obama’s proven track record of supporting Israel and re-starting peace negotiations. Pence was also present at the infamous Tea Party rally in which certain activists compared Obama to Hitler and displayed a banner that proclaimed “Obama takes his orders from the Rothchilds.”
- Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Lt. Colonel Robert Maginnis dubbed militaries that allow gay and lesbian soldiers the “ones that participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the nation and the world free.” NJDC joins Media Matters and People for the American Way (PFAW) in wondering if their characterization applies to Israel, which allows gays and lesbians to serve proudly in its armed forces.
- Right-wing radio host and American Family Association leader Bryan Fischer was a featured speaker. According to PFAW, Fischer has a history of “anti-gay” and “anti-Muslim” rhetoric. PFAW said that due to the large list of potential Republican candidates for the 2012 Presidential election who attended the conference, Fischer’s rhetoric received tacit support from GOP leaders. Republican leaders who appeared included Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Pence and Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA), and former Governors Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Mike Huckabee (R-AR). Video of Fischer’s remarks is available here.
- Gingrich continued to fear monger over Islam by calling for a federal ban on Shariah. He also compared Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to “Soviet tyranny.”
- Romney declared that “Washington is assaulting America’s values.”
- Bachmann used the Declaration of Independence to justify her anti-choice views.
- Huckabee told the crowd that he opposes extending health insurance coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
- Former Senator and rumored 2012 Presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA) implied that there are no families in poor neighborhoods.
- Conservative columnist Phyllis Schafley was a participant. Media Matters reported that in 2007, Schafley said that married women cannot be raped by their husbands because they have “consented to sex.”
- A handful of audience members shouted “traitor” when former Republican Presidential candidate Gary Bauer attacked Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-NY) for supporting religious freedom. According to PFAW, Bauer also claimed that “‘almost none’ of America’s elites believe the 9-11 attacks were caused by radical Islam.”
- The conference coincided with Yom Kippur, which prompted The Huffington Post to point out that this is the second year that the VVS conference has conflicted with the High Holidays. While this may be a coincidence, it is reflective of the conservative movement’s trouble appealing to Jewish voters.
- On Erev Yom Kippur, Delaware Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell (R-DE) declared that conservatives are like “the chosen people of Israel and the Hebrew scriptures” and that they are in a season of “Constitutional repentance.” This marks the second year that a prominent conservative has tried to co-opt Yom Kippur for their political purposes.
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