The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Culture Wars

Conservatives Boasting New Sense of Energy at Values Voters Summit

By Perry Bacon Jr.
When conservative activists met two years ago at their Values Voters Summit, they arrived frustrated, unable to unify around a presidential candidate who they both liked and believed could be elected president.

In Washington, conservatives now face much bigger challenges than they did in 2007: A Democrat now occupies the White House, Democrats hold much larger majorities in Congress, and many of the top legislative priorities for social conservatives, such as a federal ban on same-sex marriage, are not even on the table for discussion.

Nevertheless, as this year's summit kicked off Friday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, the crowd seemed energized. They slammed the president's health-care overhaul as "Obamacare," implored Republican members of Congress to oppose it as an unconstitutional use of federal power, and applauded loudly as speakers mentioned the large turnout at last weekend's march on Washington.

"We're winning the argument," declared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his speech to the conference.

Referring to health care, McConnell said, "our impact on the debate is undeniable. It's impossible to deny the crowds we saw in August or last week on the National Mall -- despite the best efforts of many in the mainstream media to dismiss the critics. Today, more Americans now oppose the Democrats' plan than support it."

(Some polls back McConnell's assertion, while others suggest a plurality of Americans back the Obama health care effort)

This year's event, like much of the GOP activity this year, will feature both organizing against Obama and conservatives jockeying among themselves to define the party's future.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a 2008 presidential candidate, spoke to the crowd early Friday, and three others considered potential 2012 candidates, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.), former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum will speak at the conference ahead of the release of an informal straw poll.

That result will test who is the most popular potential candidate among the hundreds of activists at the event, and it is anxiously watched by political mavens as a test of who among prospective 2012 presidential candidates has the early lead among the Republican base.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.), Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin will also be on the ballot, creating the possibility of candidates who actually showed up to address the group lagging those who did not appear.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), one of the most vocal conservatives in the House, urged the attendees to call their representatives in Congress and demand that the Obama administration not fund or work with the progressive group ACORN, while McConnell pledged to the group he would look to block any portion of the health-care legislation that would fund abortions.

Posted at 4:31 PM ET on Sep 18, 2009  | Category:  Culture Wars
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So, did Value Voters get founded when people finally figured out that The Moral Majority was neither?

Posted by: nodebris | September 20, 2009 1:47 AM

It would be so refreshing and helpful if the media would attempt to report the facts. Offensive comments made by the Republican speakers were ignored in this account. Perry Bacon has sugared coated this story.

Posted by: BooJa | September 19, 2009 8:33 PM

Well, the POTUS is the only one to blame for uniting the conservatives by getting them away from the TV & into the strees (9-12 DC demonstration). His decision to not be on FOX only dis-unites Americans...does he not understand that he represents all Americans, not just his followers?

You want to read a political thriller book about what is now happening now in America, then read, A Time To Stand by J.Oliver. It's great....& I bought 2 for my friends. It tells about what going to happen after health care & how you & I can "make our own history & leave our legacy for our grandchildren." I say, get into the streets for what you believe in.

Posted by: ctcb05 | September 19, 2009 1:19 PM

hahahahahahah......amusing reading the yapping from GOP supporters. Your party makes a lot of noise and chases insignificant issues and steadfast denies economic improvements under the Democrats (once again) . Keep on lying as it fires up the "not-so-bright" folks. Keep fooling yourself because the GOP is STILL DEAD and will go nowhere anytime soon.

Posted by: bcs2k | September 19, 2009 9:17 AM

2010 will be a bloodbath for Democrats. I have never in my life seen the Right so fired up. They have discovered Alinsky and intend to use his techniques mercilessly. Smashing ACORN was just the beginning.

Posted by: JohnSkookum | September 19, 2009 7:58 AM

I always have to laugh when the ambiguous phrase "some polls" is used to try and justify a contrarian argument.

Try that in a freshman debate class and they'll eat you alive.

Being against something without offering options, or better yet alternatives, while using this resistance as validation for a specious argument is amateurish.

I foresee a long winter of exile for the GOP. You can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, and you can't build a national consensus on smart-assed remarks and saying the rhetorical equivalent of "I know you are, but what am I".

Not after 8 years of Dubya. We ain't standing still for it.

Posted by: markeclark | September 19, 2009 2:00 AM

An unholy alliance consisting of Big Business and the GOP believes it has formulated the perfect strategy to render Obama a lame duck before his first term is over:
1. Prevent cloture on all health care bills, forcing Obama to use reconciliation for any meaningful reform to be passed.
2. Accuse Obama of dictatorship, and with the assistance of their mike jockey allies, goad brainwashed "tea bag" fans into public displays of hysteria similar to the mania of 9/12/09.
3. When financial reform and energy reform come up for consideration, use the same tactics, forcing Obama into the impossible position of either continuing to invoke reconciliation or seeing all reforms go down the drain.
4. Because the consequence of steadfastly blocking cloture will be an ungovernable nation, make sure Obama is blamed.
The unholy alliance believes this strategy cannot fail. Can it?

Posted by: ronaldoroso | September 18, 2009 11:21 PM

The title this group arrogated to itself begs the ironic comments or jokes.

Personal hatred and invective does not add to public debate, or help this country meet its challenges.

Individual Republicans have confronted some of this: McCain telling a woman she should not fear Obama, he is an honorable man, a Representative telling a town hall meeting crazy that Obama was born in the United States.

But any Republican who criticizes Rush Limbuagh is immediatedly taken to the woodshed. And I've yet to see any Republican confront the master of nasty inventions. Glenn Beck.

Somehow, I don't think the "values" folks are willing to stand up for this value.

Posted by: thmas | September 18, 2009 11:15 PM

President Barack Obama is right on domestic and foreign policy..Right on health care reform, right on using clear intelligence and pragmatic approach to foreign affairs..the party of NO has no ideas or plans.
America made the right choice in voting for President Barack Obama in 2008.

Posted by: ruraledcomm | September 18, 2009 10:13 PM

still a little early to break out the confederate dollars....

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | September 18, 2009 9:38 PM

Does anyone actually believe that Jesus Christ would be against better health care for the poor or clean air? How the right has basterdized Christianity is tragic!

Posted by: tonyc4 | September 18, 2009 8:31 PM

I'm a values voter myself.

But few of my values coincide with those values of conservatives, i.e. militarism, regressive taxation, class war against the middle class, health care only for those who can pay, and financial deceit without oversight.

Posted by: marik7 | September 18, 2009 8:24 PM

I do applaud Mr. Tony Perkins for asking everyone to respect the office of the president, and the president himself. However, Mr. Tony Perkins dropped the ball on the ED SHOW today. This was his opportunity to take the lead among conservatives, and even republicans to set a tone of scholarly debate about the health care proposal.
Tony Perkins should know that health care is about families, and that there are families who are going broke because of one single catastrophic health care incident. We cannot allow families to continue to suffer under our current health care system. Something has to be done.
This was also an opportunity for Mr. Tony Perkins to speak about another value that we Christian conservatives hold dear: Honesty.
This was an opportunity for Mr. Tony Perkins to ask republicans, and conservative leaders to speak honestly about this health care proposal. This was an opportunity for him to ask his conservative colleagues to stop the name-calling, stop misinforming the public, and call on their supporters to quench the violent speech.
I always believed that part of the values of conservatives was honesty. I watched some of the
“Values voters summit and I did not see 100% honesty.
Why have conservatives abandoned the value of honesty?
What we need in America today is an honest debate about the new healthcare proposal. By honest, I mean talk about what is actually in this proposal, not what we want to use to scare the public, and misinform the nation. There are certain things that we have heard about as if they were new events in American health care.
(1) We have heard that the government should not get involved in healthcare, and that the government cannot run healthcare.
Fact is; Medicare, Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance Program, and the veterans health care programs are all government ran health care programs. So health care programs run by the government is not new.
(2) We have heard in a negative manner that we do not want bureaucrats making health care decisions for us.
Fact is: when we buy health insurance, we do not make our own health care decisions. Usually health insurance comes as a package deal, with limitation on which specialist we can see, what surgical procedures are covered and at what rate, we are old which physicians are in our network, and which are not. Our health care policies are already in the hands of people whom we do not know.

Posted by: fitalis | September 18, 2009 8:17 PM

Only the morons who occupy the far right would have the nerve to call one of their conferences the "Values Voters Summit". What are their values? As shown by numerous occurrences over the last 10 years and longer, those values are support for child molestation, adultery, thievery, lying, and otherwise rejecting every value taught by their purported spiritual leader, Jesus Christ. The hypocrisy of these fools knows no bounds. Their denial of reality borders on psychosis. However, as shown by their mini march in Washington last weekend, they make up a very small percentage of the American people. 70,000 marchers from a nation of 300,000,000 people is nothing to brag about. The marchers amount to approximately .00023% of the American population.

Posted by: Caliguy55 | September 18, 2009 7:48 PM

Just saw that awesome documentary film about the New Republican Party. It's called "Deliverance".

Posted by: wilder5121 | September 18, 2009 7:30 PM

Main stream media has played down the fact that Obama's popularity is slipping fast with the stimulus bailout, personal problems within his cabinet, ACORN which he grew up with and is now in deep trouble, and the doomed socialist healthcare package. Many Americans who wanted to see change in government now realize they voted for the wrong person to bring about real change. America is and will always be a capitalist society not a socialist society which is being ascribed by the present administration. More
Americans will be switching in the future in their attempt to elect to the presidency someone who will bring about the real change needed in our country.

Posted by: bstone1931 | September 18, 2009 6:46 PM

Ah, but the Independents DID vote for Obama and he won.

What's up with the collective right-wing memory lapse forgetting that the huge deficit was run up by the "fiscally conservative" Republicans during 8 years under Bush who inherited a surplus from Clinton?

And why exactly are these neocons so eager to hand over their health care and government to big businesses?

Posted by: minimlst | September 18, 2009 6:36 PM

Conservatives Boasting New Sense of Energy at "Values" Voters Summit

--Why don't we look at those "values" for a moment?

1) Mexicans are animals.
2) Torture is wonderful.
3) Indigenous Americans must not be allowed to succeed at anything.
4) All Arabs are terrorists.
5) Black people are criminals.
6) Homosexuality is an abomination, unless conservatives are begging to give a total stranger a BJ in the toilet at an airport
7) All life is sacred, unless there's oil under it.
8) Praise the Lord, and shoot the foreigner!

Posted by: jewishmother | September 18, 2009 6:12 PM
I will be the first to admit that there a small number of extremists on both parts of the political divide, but, this doesn't fit the description of any of my Conservative friends. Are you a racist?

Posted by: DL13 | September 18, 2009 6:29 PM

--Why don't we look at those "values" for a moment?
1) Mexicans are animals.
2) Torture is wonderful.
3) Indigenous Americans must not be allowed to succeed at anything.
4) All Arabs are terrorists.
5) Black people are criminals.
6) Homosexuality is an abomination, unless conservatives are begging to give a total stranger a BJ in the toilet at an airport
7) All life is sacred, unless there's oil under it.
8) Praise the Lord, and shoot the foreigner!
Posted by: jewishmother | September 18, 2009 6:12 PM
Jewishmother, I believe you are drinking too much of the obama/pelosi/reid kool aid.
You should also praise the messiah for what he's doing to Israel.

Posted by: whitehousewatcher | September 18, 2009 6:25 PM

Wouldn't it be nice if these right wing fanatics loonies actually looked around the room and realized they were outnumbered 5 to 1?
Lead by entertainers masquerading as news people, whipped into frenzy by lies and liars, they honestly believe they are a majority. The elections, the polls.... all ignored. Everything that has happened in the last 30 years....never happened.

If this country is ever hit by terrorists again, you'll know what group they came from. These folks are whacko!!!!

Posted by: msmith97 | September 18, 2009 6:24 PM

The energy you feel in the room is oozing as pure hot air from natural gasbags by the podium. Don't get too excited MSM.

Posted by: Eugene6 | September 18, 2009 6:19 PM

Michelle Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Joe the Plumber, Joe the Liar, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-Appalachian Trail), Sen. David Vitter (R-DiaperLand), Sen. John Ensign (R-MommyDaddyHushMoney)...the list of "new" Republican leaders goes on and on and on.

It's easy to see why the wingnuts are all excited.

Posted by: wilder5121 | September 18, 2009 6:16 PM

Looks like Barry O is in trouble

Looks like Michelle O cant get her point accross

Looks like Acorn is done for

All you libs can do is damage control

You still have mortgage forclosures, high unemployment and a joke of a stimulis bill

It's over and its only September

Posted by: AlanG2 | September 18, 2009 6:14 PM

Conservatives Boasting New Sense of Energy at "Values" Voters Summit

--Why don't we look at those "values" for a moment?

1) Mexicans are animals.
2) Torture is wonderful.
3) Indigenous Americans must not be allowed to succeed at anything.
4) All Arabs are terrorists.
5) Black people are criminals.
6) Homosexuality is an abomination, unless conservatives are begging to give a total stranger a BJ in the toilet at an airport
7) All life is sacred, unless there's oil under it.
8) Praise the Lord, and shoot the foreigner!

Posted by: jewishmother | September 18, 2009 6:12 PM

Omni Shoreham, huh?

These bamas need to be PROTESTED and BULLHORNED and HOUNDED out of town!

You lost the election and are SORE LOSERS, MAN!!!!!

Oh, one other thing ... how many black people are in this room?

Posted by: bs2004 | September 18, 2009 6:12 PM

That "sense of energy" is more a sense of PANIC.

They're a dinosaur facing extinction.

I'm also getting tired of having them accuse the moderates and left of everything THEY have done. THEY spent all the money. THEY bloated the government. THEY trashed education. THEY started us down the socialist path.
There's only three things a Republican does well, Lie, Cause fear, Take your money! Oh, four if you count public bathroom gay sex.

Posted by: msmith97 | September 18, 2009 6:12 PM

So what's news in this article?

The G.O.P. is still the party of no, they are still bereft of ideas (and logic), and their central leadership is still made up of buffoons and demagogues.

So, what's to discuss?

Posted by: markeclark | September 18, 2009 6:09 PM

What happens when all this excitement wears off? Will they still pretend they have a clue?

Posted by: gwcox2 | September 18, 2009 6:09 PM

Why are most right wing Republicans from the South ? Why are they so lost in what they think America should be, don't they realize this is the philosophy that kept them out of the White House last November. The majority of Americans think the right wing of the Republican party is full of hate & disregard for anyone but themselves. They don't have a leader, they take their orders from the Grand Cyclops of Talk Radio or Mr Racist at fox news. What happened to their rallying cry that they were the "Party of Family Values" .... To many walks on the Appalachian trail I think. Do as I say not as I do is their new motto. These red necked hillbillies are killing the moderates in the Republican party .... sad. All you moderate Republicans can blame the 7 more years of Democratic rule on this band of idiots.

Posted by: wasaUFO | September 18, 2009 6:06 PM

"Values" Voters? Please.

Posted by: nodebris | September 18, 2009 6:04 PM

2010 cannot come soon enough to defeat many of the Spendocrats that rubber stamped without even bother to read the massive bail-outs, porkulus and other entitlement spending driving this Country into the deepest pit of debt anyone could imagine.

They tried to do it again with Obamacare insisting it had to be passed before the recess. Thank goodness calmer heads prevailed.

There will be a 30 to 70 seat shift in 2010 depending on how the next 90 days go.
What landslide election is that you are mentioning? Surely not Obama and McCain. If the Independents had voted for McCain Obama would not be in office. It was not by any means a "landslide".

p.s. the huge deficit is already here.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | September 18, 2009 6:02 PM

I'm not so sure the damaging ACORN video wasn't faked, yes, faked, by some right-wing nut jobs just to take down ACORN. Sadly, after 8 years of autocratic rule under Bush and his fellow travellers, I'm only left with the impression of what artful and accomplished liars and manipulators the right has become. Nuff said.

Posted by: turbovega | September 18, 2009 6:01 PM

The confederacy of dunces is at it again, wrong for 8 years for America & the world, lost in landslide election, and now playing obstructionist with lowering health care costs. If they win and Medicare is eliminated or the huge deficit it will create comes home to roost they'll have what they want, a country of ignorant and diseased poor people ruled by the corpoations & wealthy. French Revolution all over again!

Posted by: crossroadsnow | September 18, 2009 5:32 PM

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