A Groundhog Day Repeat for the GOP
Congress has returned to the campaign trail and like a scene from the movie "Groundhog Day," the consultant class is once again advising Republicans to support "moderate" policies. You can queue the liberal media's applause as if this is somehow sage advice. Whether on contraceptives, abortion, marriage, or minimum wage and marijuana, tacking towards the middle does not gain support for the GOP. As FRC Action PAC President Connie Mackey told the Washington Post, "Those in the Republican Party who have stepped away (from conservative positions) thinking that's an answer to beat the Democrats are going to put themselves in some unnecessary danger in losing some people going to the polls."
Many advisors have been telling Republicans not to talk about the Obamacare HHS mandate that requires family-owned businesses and charities to cover contraceptives, including pills and procedures that can destroy human embryos, because they have bought into their opponents' definition of this issue as a "war on women." Our own polling shows a majority of Republicans and even conservative independents opposed to the HHS mandate, which if not obeyed can lead to crushing fines that threatens the total healthcare of employees and even the loss of jobs.
Republicans who stood for religious freedom and rallied to the cause of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood were vindicated by the Supreme Court. Yet, now Ohio Senator Rob Portman, along with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), is encouraging Republicans to go "moderate." Instead of telling candidates to point out the federal government's already $2 billion in contraceptive funding each year, the liberals' attack on religious freedom, and the job-threatening HHS mandate, some conservatives such as Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie are now being told to call upon the FDA to make contraceptives "over the counter." FRC has never taken a position on non-abortion related contraceptives, but we question the public health policy of allowing young sexually-active girls and boys to obtain contraceptives without a doctor's supervision. NARAL, one of the most vocal supporters of the HHS mandate because it offers "free birth control," rejected Rep. Gardner's new position as an attempt to woo female voters.
Instead of talking about the winning issues of protecting jobs and defending religious freedom, or the need to offer greater protections for 5 month-old unborn babies, positions most Americans support, these Republicans are now talking about handing out contraceptives like candy? After Senator Portman broke with the majority of voters in his home state of Ohio by publicly endorsing the redefinition of marriage the NRSC began supporting candidates who disagree with the party platform's support of natural marriage. Purely a politically-expedient move, but is it wise? Polling on public support for Portman's switch in his home state of Ohio would say no! FRC's own polling in April showed 82 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning independents believe marriage "should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman." As we pointed out at the time, "the vast majority of the GOP base continues to believe that marriage is a non-negotiable plank of the national platform."
This so-called sage advice to move to the "middle" isn't just limited to social issues; it includes economic issues as well. There are growing calls from advisors to support raising the minimum wage, despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office estimated a hike would cost over 500,000 jobs. That's not compassion, it threatens families. Why suddenly support legalizing marijuana, despite the medical and social harms it bears on children and communities? Based on the past few elections, it would be nice not to wake up and have to do this over again.
Bringing the Good News Back to Gilbert
On Monday, FRC filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert.
This case involves a Gilbert, Arizona sign ordinance that discriminated against certain signs based on the content of the signs. In this case, local law had regulated signs by category -- political, ideological, and directional -- and had placed different restrictions on signs based on what category they are in. Directional signs were placed under more severe restrictions. A local church -- Good News Church -- and its pastor -- Clyde Reed -- needed to announce the times and locations of their services, but because their announcement signs (which directed individuals to a public school were services were being held) were deemed directional, the church was severely hampered in getting its message out. Represented by our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom, Pastor Reed and Good News Church sued to vindicate their constitutional rights. Yet the lower courts ruled against them, so they have now taken their case to the Supreme Court.
In FRC's brief, we argue that the town does regulate signs differently based on their content -- politics, ideology, and directions are all matters of differing content. Well-established Supreme Court jurisprudence bars content-based restrictions on speech unless the government can meet strict scrutiny. Because there are content-based restrictions on speech in this case, the Supreme Court should send this case back to the district court to determine if the town can meet strict scrutiny.
A win for Pastor Reed and Good News Church in this case will help advance a strong interpretation of First Amendment free speech rights, which is good not only for small congregations like Good News Church, but for all who wish to speak free from government interference. Ensuring an open marketplace of ideas in which all voices are protected and can speak freely is what the First Amendment is all about. That's what we are seeking here, and we hope the Supreme Court will agree.
The case will be argued in the upcoming October 2014 term of the U.S. Supreme Court. The oral argument date for this case has not been announced yet.
Duck Dynasty Star Brings Uncamouflaged Truth to Summit!
When Al Robertson, the oldest of the famed "Duck Dynasty" brothers joined FRC's Watchmen on the Wall Pastor's conference earlier this year, he brought a much-needed taste of the family's fearless brand of folk wisdom to the nation's capital. Today, we're "happy happy happy" to announce that Al Robertson has now confirmed to speak at FRC Action's Values Voter Summit this week!
There's still time to duck your other weekend plans to join with us and Robertson in Washington, D.C. September 26-28. Other speakers in this power-packed weekend include: Gov. Sarah Palin, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rick Santorum, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Generals James Conway (Ret.), Jerry Boykin (Ret.), and Bob Dees (Ret.), Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), John Fleming (R-La.), Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Brigitte Gabriel, Star Parker, Naghmeh Abedini (wife of imprisoned Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini), the Benham Brothers, Duggar Family, and many more! Don't miss this great line-up -- and the special Saturday evening gala dinner in honor of Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese mother who was sentenced to death because of her Christian faith. Register today - join the biggest pro-family weekend in D.C. beginning this Friday! Find out more about how you can participate at ValuesVoterSummit.org.
Watch Huckabee Explain America
When Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke to churches across the nation at last week's Star Spangled Sunday event, he reminded the audience that, "There is no other explanation for America other than God's hand of Providence." Watch what the former governor of Arkansas -- who will also be speaking at the Values Voter Summit this weekend -- had to say at our special simulcast program:
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.