by Michael Keegan, President, People for the American Way
Mitt Romney, now with the presidential nomination locked up, is pivoting hard towards the political center and away from the “severely conservative” positions he so gleefully promoted during his primary fight. He’ll say anything to get elected, but under the surface, he’s still the embodiment of the Radical Right’s agenda to dismantle the institutions protecting Americans rights, safety and health, undo the social safety net, and lavish the 1% with endless tax giveaways at the expense of working families.
RomneyCourt.com: Don’t Let Mitt Romney Bork America — Last week, PFAW launched RomneyCourt.com, our campaign to educate voters about perhaps the #1 reason to oppose the election of Mitt Romney — what he would mean for the Supreme Court. The first phase of the campaign, complete with a video and a report by PFAW Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin, focuses on Romney’s selection of Robert Bork as his legal and judicial advisor — yes, that Robert Bork. Jamie appeared on MSNBC’s “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss the report. Romney’s selection of Bork has been central to his successful wooing of the Religious Right with promises of right-wing judges. Just yesterday, a major Religious Right radio broadcast addressed why far-right conservatives should support Romney: he’ll nominate like-minded judges, including Supreme Court justices.
Ditch ALEC — The work continues to dislodge corporate support from the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), with more major victories to report. Proctor & Gamble just announced that it will join companies like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Mars, Inc., McDonald’s, Wendy’s and others in cutting off its support to ALEC. Our petition to ALEC member companies now has nearly 100,000 signatures and PFAW activists have been calling companies like State Farm and Johnson & Johnson — Proctor & Gamble’s biggest competitor — to keep the pressure up. We know these companies are counting the calls and taking note, but they’re not the only ones. State legislators are also starting to withdraw from ALEC and the media is giving this effort a lot of well-deserved coverage. ALEC is on the defensive — they’ve made moves to back away from their support of voter suppression laws and “stand your ground” laws like the one in Florida implicated in the Trayvon Martin shooting. But their anti-consumer, anti-worker, anti-environment agenda is still something that no company with popular consumer brands should want to be associated with, and with your help, we’ll keep this momentum going.
Wisconsin Recall — PFAW has ramped up our efforts to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, his right-wing cronies in the State Senate AND his radical Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (think Wisconsin’s answer to Michele Bachmann). Scott Walker is rumored to be the subject of an investigation which could, possibly, lead to his eventual indictment. If he wins and survives the recall election on June 5 but then is forced to leave office either due to the weight of a scandal or a criminal conviction, the Lieutenant Governor would take over as Governor meaning THAT is a race we have to win as well. Running against Kleefisch on the Democratic side is the Wisconsin firefighter, Mahlon Mitchell, one of the leaders of the fight against Governor Walker’s union busting campaign. We’ll need to stay firing on all cylinders from now until June 5, as polling shows that months of TV ad blitzes, funded by the Koch brothers and other right-wing interests, have succeeded in boosting Walker’s approval levels.
Overturning Citizens United — Last Wednesday, PFAW joined members of Congress, state and local officials, advocacy organizations and concerned citizens for a Capitol Hill summit to amplify the call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that helped usher in unprecedented levels of corporate and Super PAC spending to influence our elections. The speakers recounted the toll that Citizens United has taken on our democracy, as their colleagues must contend with the outsized influence that wealthy special interests hold over the political system, and how it is absolutely imperative for Congress to have the authority to regulate campaign contributions and require disclosure. While there are many approaches under consideration, it was clear to all that amending the Constitution is a necessary step to restore our democracy. Read more and check out video from the event here.
Extremism Spotlight — Longtime NRA board member Ted Nugent, who endorsed Romney in early March, has been getting some heat for extreme remarks he made attacking President Obama and Supreme Court justices at the NRA’s recent convention. PFAW’s Right Wing Watch first broke the story and was successful in calling attention to Nugent’s endorsement of Mitt Romney — which was actively sought by Romney — both in online and offline media. Nugent denounced the “vile, evil, America-hating” Obama administration. He finished his remarks with a call to cut off the heads of Democrats this fall: “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
We don’t expect moderation from Ted Nugent, but we do expect a major presidential candidate like Mitt Romney to rebuke a prominent supporter for spewing hate-filled and violent rhetoric against the President of the United States. This is far from the first time that Nugent has advocated violence against his political adversaries. Mitt Romney should clearly and loudly reject Nugent’s endorsement and rebuke his inflammatory comments — something he has proven unwilling to do.
There’s plenty more going on in this crazy election year. Visit www.PFAW.org often for the latest on our work and our ongoing in-depth coverage of the Far Right. Thank you, as always, for your indispensable support.