From the podium at the Christian Right’s Values Voter Summit in mid-September, National Review Institute’s Kate O’Beirne, 59, pronounced that the “selection of Sarah Palin [as the GOP vice presidential nominee] sounded the death knell of modern American feminism.”
“She’s a prick to the liberal establishment, to the feminists, and to the men who fear them,” she jeered to the audience of Christian Right activists.
And when Phyllis Schlafly, 84, threw anti-feminist red meat to the cheering crowd, a 60-plus woman in the audience turned to me and said proudly she had been with Ms. Schlafly since the campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment in the late 1970s.
But as Palin Power surged through the Washington Hilton’s halls that day and through the Republican party base in later weeks, her vice presidential candidacy revealed a generational cleavage that these elders may not have expected. Because for some young people in the hall, Sarah Palin was bringing women’s rights and feminism to them and their mothers and that’s a good thing. These young people were not running to buy O’Beirne’s recent book, Women Who Make the World Worse: and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports.1 It may have seemed to them like yesterday’s news. Even Phyllis Schlafly, when asked directly how she felt that Sarah Palin identified herself as a beneficiary of feminism, back pedaled and said,well, there are all sorts of feminists.
Right-wing Ballot Initiatives Target Unions, Women, Immigrants, and Gays
In 2008, ballot initiatives could impact races up and down the ballot, including the Presidential campaign, by elevating an issue and shaping the debate. Dissatisfied voters in particular may see ballot initiatives as a means to fill the leadership vacuum by allowing citizens to take issues into their own hands.
The North American Union
Right-wing Populist Conspiracism Rebounds
By Chip Berlet
The Public Eye, Spring 2008
The same right-wing populist fears of a collectivist one-world government and new world order that fueled Cold War anticommunism, mobilized opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, and spawned the armed citizens militia movement in the 1990s, have resurfaced as an elaborate conspiracy theory about the alleged impending creation of a North American Union that would merge the United States, Canada, and Mexico.1
The Conspiracy's Kernel of Truth
The North American Union conspiracy theory grew out of a kernel of truth, called the "Security and Prosperity Partnership" (SPP). But cultivated by xenophobic fears and political opportunism, the NAU outstripped its reality-based progenitor so fast that it has become hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. A little history helps.
After the North American Free Trade Agreement went into force in 1994, the three governments began to talk about expanding the scope of the agreement. Mexico, in particular, hoped to negotiate a solution to the border/immigration problem. However, the process was brought to a grinding halt by the attacks of Sept. 11th. In a 2005 summit of then-Presidents George W. Bush, Vicente Fox, and Prime Minister Paul Martin in Waco, Texas plans for "deep integration" etween the three countries finally progressed with the official launch of the SPP. In the post-September 11th political context, immigration was definitively off the table and U.S. security interests, along with corporate interests in obtaining even more favorable terms for regional trade and investment, dominated the agenda.
Who Would Jesus Tax?
In a radio collaboration with the syndicated weekly show "Making Contact," Public Eye Editor Abby Scher investigates how the traditional conservatives in the Heritage Foundation wooed the Christian Right to support tax cuts for the wealthy.
Tax Revolt as a Family Value
"Death Should Not Be a Taxable Event." In August of 2005, this headline appeared on the website of the conservative evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family. The accompanying article asked Focus members to persuade their Senators to repeal a federal tax on inherited estates.
Saving Monsignor Ryan
Refuting the Myths of Neoconservative Roman Catholic Economics
In October 1936, a Roman Catholic priest and professor of moral theology at the Catholic University of America took to the airwaves to defend the New Deal from scurrilous attacks made by another Catholic priest, the demagogic radio personality of the day, Father Charles Coughlin. Monsignor John A. Ryan’s speech was titled "Roosevelt Safeguards America." In many ways, the radio volley between the two priests still reflects debates raging in the church and in American society today. Ryan’s explanation of the sources of support for Communist anti-clericalism in Spain that he outlined in his radio address remains important in light of the claims of a small group of contemporary neoconservative Roman Catholic intellectual leaders whose views have had a profound influence on the American Catholic Church, as well as broader American public discourse.
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