Values Voter Summit: Annual Gathering Of Tools And Fools
My how time flies! it seems like just yesterday that Values Voter Summit 2013 was underway. For the uninitiated, the Values Voter Summit is a festival of political oratory aimed at Values Voters—aka Social Conservatives—who distinguish themselves from the majority of voters who have no values. Or the wrong values. Or something . . .
VVS is an annual shindig, hosted by the Family Research Council, that started in 2006 around about the time that social conservatives decided that America was “going to hell in a handbasket.” It takes place over a weekend in September-October, in Washington, DC, and is a decidedly hyper-partisan affair featuring far-right pundits and Republican politicians competitively blazing new trails to the rightmost extremities of the political spectrum.
VVS also happens to be Blogger’s Gold for, sane people targeting other sane people, for sheer entertainment value, it never, ever disappoints. I’ve always intended to go and see it for myself but something always comes up. This year, it was cleaning out the garage, so, once again, I’m relying on embedded reporters who, so far, indicate that a blessed time was had by all.
Some highlights . . . below the fold
Ted Cruz (R-TX) won his second VVS Straw Poll, in a row, which has proven to be the political “kiss of death” for presidential hopefuls, 100% of the time. Past winners of this dubious honor are:
2007: Mitt Romney
2008: No straw poll was held since the Republican nominee for the 2008 presidential election, John McCain, was already decided. Instead, speakers and attendees expressed support for McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin.
2009: Mike Huckabee
2010: Mike Pence
2011: Ron Paul
2012: Again, no straw poll was held as Mitt Romney had already been nominated as the Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election.
2013: Ted Cruz won the straw poll with 42% of the vote, the largest percentage of any candidate to date.
2014: Ted Cruz becomes the first candidate to win more than one straw poll with 25% of the vote
Quite a drop-off there in Cruz Control. Evidently Dr Ben Carson is growing on the social conservatives. Last year, Sen. Cruz (R-TX) beat Carson, a neurosurgeon and Fox News contributor, by 29%. This year, Cruz beat Carson by a very narrow 5%.
Happily, if VVS trends hold true, that should put the Oval Office well out of reach for both.
And it just wouldn’t be a Value Voters Summit without an unhealthy preoccupation with gay marriage and the disturbing trend in public opinion to support it. Fortunately, Frank Schubert who has served as a National Organization for Marriage political director, was on hand to raise spirits and unskew those awful polls, like Gallup, that are misleading the country into a dangerous gay tolerance zone.
You hear in the media that everybody’s moving to support same-sex marriage. [That] it’s just a tidal wave. This is not the case.
He then followed up with a load of statistical jargon including terms like “leading questions,” “favorable response bias” and “response “priming” to prove that polls that say things we don’t believe are pure poppycock, and:
. . . [t]hat’s all part of a strategy of the other side to mislead the public to think there’s broad support for legalizing same-sex marriage.
The tell, Schubert continued, is that advocates of gay marriage lean more on judges ruling that gay marriage bans are unconstitutional and less on individual states’ votes on same-sex marriage.
“If in fact the other side believed their rhetoric —that the game is changed, that people are now on their side, history is now at their door, don’t you think that they would press votes to happen now?”
Well, actually no, Mr Schubert. For a very important reason that you seem to have overlooked: state referendums are being overturned, left and right, because we are not a country that recognizes majority rule on rights. We don’t vote on who has rights and who doesn’t because our constitution says that “all men are created equal.” Remember that?
Interestingly, Michele Bachmann, the Right’s Gorgon of Gay, seems to have lost interest in her favorite subject, declaring it “not an issue” and, even worse, “boring.”
Pity the poor Oregon Christian-cake-lady, who must feel terribly abandoned by One-L Bachmann and was moved to tears describing to a VVS panel how the gays have destroyed her business and stolen her religious freedom and First Amendment rights.
Evidently, part of Mrs Klein’s wedding cake baking process was profiling the bride-to-be:
For me personally when I would sit down with them I just would want to know everything her wedding. I’d want to know about the flowers, her dress, the centerpieces, her colors, the way her hair is going to be. I would even want to talk about ‘where are you going on your honeymoon?’
“I would just feel so honored to be part of such an amazing, special day,” Klein said, fighting back tears, of how she felt baking the cakes.
Clearly, Mrs Klein did not care to be “honored to be part of such an amazing special day” if said day involved two brides for the price of one.
Our evil government, represented locally by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries reminded the Kleins that Oregon law bans discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in jobs and in places that serve the public, such as restaurants and bakeries.
The Kleins maintain au contraire to the discrimination charge. They were merely practicing their Constitutional right to religious freedom because baking a cake for a same-sex wedding would be a sin of some sort?
VVS did, of course, touch on a few other topics near and dear to the hearts of social conservatives.
Sarah Palin, former Vice-Presidential candidate and ultimate street fighter, flew in from her perch in Wasilla to warn of terrible lies about the American people that are being generated from 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, in DC. No one is quite sure who these anti-American liars are that are holed up at the Willard Hotel but, I’m sure we’ll be receiving periodic updates as the case unfolds.
Meanwhile, here’s what to watch for:
The lies that they tell about you. Calling you the intolerant ones, the haters, the bigots. Oh, and that disgusting charge of being racist. I’m speaking to the most slandered group in America today. Join me in telling the lamestream media then that we wear your scorn with pride. The lies that you tell about us, well you can’t defeat our arguments, so all you can do is change the subject, so we win.
Another VVS emeritus alumni Rick Santorum struck a minor chord, enjoining his fellow Republicans to “[q]uit being scared and start being an activist.” My fellow Pennsylvanian is sounding a little down, these days, warning that Republicans had better pick up some Senate seats in 2014 because, in 2016, when more Republicans will be up for re-election, the GOP’s chances “are pretty much zero.”
Defeatist as he appeared, though, Santorum was still able to get a few licks in on the timely subject of high school curricula and textbooks, reminding his fellow values-holders that “the most popular history text book today is written by a Marxist, anti-American ... Howard Zinn.”
Not to be outdone on the “enemy within” topic, Lt Gov David Dewhurst (R-TX) took to the podium with a local report on Sharia-On-The-Border, repeating a Breitbart scoop that “[p]rayer rugs have recently been found on the Texas side of the border in the brush.”
Turns out the “prayer rug” in question was an Adidas soccer jersey but hey! why lose an instructive moment because, according to Dewhurst, states have the right to “act independently of the government” when it comes to Muslims praying in the border country.
Top all of that off with a little “reefer madnes” and we’ve got one more well-rounded VVS in the can. Rep John Fleming (R-LA) warned us first that marijuana is much worse than tobacco from a health perspective PLUS! get this people—instead of bringing in lots of extra revenue for Colorado, recreational pot sales have inspired a mass migration of homeless people to Colorado. Think about it, legal weed plus everyone knows what a pleasant climate Colorado provides for year-round street-sleeping.
Colorado, for its part, says: no worries.