IFAS | Freedom Writer | August 1996 | bauer.html

Gary Bauer: The radical right's man in Washington

Gary L. Bauer, 50, is the Radical Religious Right's most influential figure in Washington. A former official in the Reagan administration, Bauer's counsel is vigorously sought by conservative officeholders and candidates. An ultraconservative Christian hard-liner, Bauer is, according to The New York Times, "a rare bilingual breed: a man who can speak both the language of the Christian right and the language of Washington insiders."

Bauer is probably most influential as Dr. James Dobson's political consultant. The effect of this position cannot be understated. President of the deceptively named lobbying group known as Family Research Council (FRC) a sister organization of Dobson's Focus on the Family Bauer faxes a daily confidential memo called "Washington Update" to Dobson's headquarters in Colorado Springs. The memos are faxed simultaneously to "friends of FRC" and Focus on the Family's 37 state affiliates, each of which has weekly or monthly newsletters that include Bauer's latest Washington tidbits.

Additionally, through the Focus on the Family nationally syndicated radio program on almost 2,000 stations, Dobson can reach a million listeners a day. When sensing urgency over a particular issue, he instructs his listeners to call Congress or the White House.

Focus on the Family also has two weekly faxed newsletters. "The Pastor's Weekly Briefing" is received by thousands of evangelical Christian ministers every Thursday evening just in time for their Sunday sermons. The other, "Family Issues Alert," goes to subscribing individuals and families. Overtly political, both newsletters include either "The Word from Washington," based upon Bauer's "Washington Update," or other bulletins from Bauer. Focus on the Family also publishes a monthly political magazine called Citizen. Bauer pens a back cover column in Citizen called "Vantage Point."

By leaking pivotal information at the right time through "Washington Update," Bauer is credited with turning the Christian Right against Colin Powell, both as a presidential candidate and as a Bob Dole running-mate. Recent issues of the confidential "Washington Update" obtained by Freedom Writer focused on Whitewater, Ross Perot, the FBI files, Dole's choice for vice-president, and Dole's floundering campaign. Recently, Bauer and Dole exchanged words over Dole's vacillation on abortion and the Republican platform. However, because Bauer likes Clinton even less than he likes Dole, he's spreading as much gossip about the President as he can dig up.

Former Watergate felon Chuck Colson regularly shares his own particular insights with Bauer. In a recent "Washington Update" Bauer wrote that his good friend Chuck Colson was sent to prison for having improper access to one FBI file. "The current scandal involves 480 files!" he wrote.

"One more Colson aside," Bauer continued. "He says that during Watergate there was a sense of panic everything seemed to be crumbling around the Nixon White House. But until the very end, the PR people would march out to the microphone in the press room and with great bravado claim it was all 'just politics.' Colson believes there must be a real sense of panic in the White House now even though publicly the official line resembles the Nixon defense that eventually crumbled."

With more than two million donors on Focus on the Family's combined mailing lists, Focus on the Family is larger than the Christian Coalition; and through the Focus on the Family network, Gary Bauer influences more people than Ralph Reed.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.