Welcome to PRA’s live-blog of the 2014 right-wing Values Voters Summit in Washington, DC. Refresh for updates. Follow us on twitter @PRAeyesright for even faster updates.
Looking for our live coverage of Day 2? It’s here.
9:06 pm: That’s it for us today! Thanks for following along, we’ll be back first thing in the morning with live coverage of Day 2 of #VVS14.
8:40 pm – Dunham Brothers
Up now are the Dunham brothers, who were fired from HDTV after they used their positions are representatives of the company to promote religious beliefs.
It’s fascinating how when LGBTQ people boycott a business, the Right labels it as tyranny. But when a private company follows market trends and fires employees who are losing them money, who happen to be Christian, that’s also tyranny?
8:20pm Duck Dynasty’s Alan Robertson
Alan Robertson’s speech is just odd. He started off by comparing his family’s beards to Osama Bin Laden. He then compared each member to different dogs, including his Uncle who is “just like a meth lab.”
He’s also pitching Phil Robertson’s new book, and talking about his now infamous anti-LGBTQ statements. Oddly enough, he has yet to mention Phil’s statements supporting underage marriage.
By the end of his speech. Robertson had fully pitched (including slides) 1 TV show, and 4 separate books written by various members of the family.
It’s worth mentioning that the Duck Dynasty Robertson family are all multi-millionaires, who pretend to be poor on tv in order to sell more product.
8:00pm Mike Huckabee
Huckabee starts with a Benghazi reference, saying that the “red phone” at the White House “went to voicemail that night” when the call for help came in.
Huackabee is just the latest today to equate ISIS with all Muslims everywhere, failing to recognize that there is a huge difference.
Huckabee calls for repealing the 16th amendment and completely abolish the IRS.
Huckabee is rewriting the constitution on stage. Says the judges who have ruled same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional do not have the authority to do that unless the legislative and executive branches concur with them.
Huckabee seems to be in charge of the GOTV effort at VVS. Story after story about how only those who show up and vote make a difference.
7:40 The Duggars
The Duggar family came on stage with almost all of their 19 children. The group sang O’ Precious Blood, and now the parents are talking about how the most important thing in their life was when they were “saved.”
7:30: FRC promo video
FRC is paying tribute to the Washington Times, which provided much of the funding for the Values Voters Summit this year. (pic)
Dinner Break until 7:30 pm tonight.
5:00 pm: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Jindal says “It’s not ‘the economy, stupid.’ It’s ‘the culture, stupid.'”
Jindal also said that Liberals fail to “recognize the dignity” of “all God’s creation.”
Jindal co-opting Liberal talking points, talking about how the American Dream means that the circumstances of your birth shouldn’t determine the outcome of your life. Yet Jindal is in favor of the rising income inequality between entry level workers and CEOs. And he’s in favor of dismantling labor unions and low-wage worker organizing.
Jindal says that the “assault” on religious freedom is unprecedented.
4:38 pm: David Limbaugh
David Limbaugh makes the case for why Jesus was really the savior. Not sure who he’s preaching to. Audience extremely restless, talking to each other.
4:15 pm: Sarah Palin
It took less than 5 seconds for Palin to throw out her first “lamestream media” quote.
“It’s time to fight back against this imperialist gun-hating president.”
“It’s time to end the politics of division” and we need to kick out these “orwellian out-of-control elitists”
Palin on the workout photo: “I rarely wear a ring in Alaska. We’re too busy choppin’ wood or slaughterin’ a moose, or something..”
Palin says all charges of “racism” are just an attempt by Liberals to change the subject. “We here in this room are the most slandered group in America.”
“If ISIS isn’t Islamic, why do you think it has such an appeal to the Muslim world?”
3:41 pm: Anti-Marriage Equality Panel, hosted by FRC’s Peter Sprigg
On the panel:
- Eric Teetsel, exec dir of the Manhattan Declaration
- Rep Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
- Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa
- Dr. Jerry Johnson, CEO of National Religious Broadcasters
Hartzler bemoans Catholic charities CHOOSING to stop receiving federal funding, rather than provide services to LGBTQ parents.
The audience gives an applause to the lone judge in Louisiana who ruled against marriage equality. All other judges post-Windsor have ruled for Marriage Equality.
Melissa Klein breaks down in tears.. very upset that she had to get paid to bake a cake for a happy couple getting married who happened to be LGBTQ.
Dr. Johnson blames the entire Marriage Equality movement on Obama’s inauguration speech, where he mentioned “gay and straight” people. Johnson says that speech signaled to the media that they should support and promote Marriage Equality.
Johnson also encouraged the audience and the media to stop using “LGBT” and to just go back to “gay.” He also says that for conservatives, “history is on our side” on marriage equality–because for “hundreds of years” it has been one-man-one-woman.
3:25 pm: Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
Fleming says that legalization of marijuana is one of the key factors behind the “decline” of the American family.
Fleming claims that Marijuana is “highly-addictive” and is enslaving youth and teens. Not sure where Fleming gets his statistics, but he claims that rehab centers report that teen marijuana addiction is the most frequent diagnosis. He also claims that there are more pot dispenceries in California and Colorado than there are McDonalds and Starbucks combined.
Fleming also claims that the high-rates of incarceration for simple marijuana use “is an absolute myth.”
According to Fleming, 1 in 11 adult marijuana users become addicted, and 1 in 6 among teens.
“Have I convinced you, yet?” Fleming asks the audience. “Oh yes” they reply.
3:00 pm: American Values president Gary Bauer
Bauer is yet another speaker going the Islamophobia route. He conjured the specter of 9/11, talking about how he saw Muslims cheering afterwards.
He then talked about the Oklahoma employer who was well within his right to tell his Muslim employee to stop trying to convert his fellow employees at work. (But if Christians are told to stop trying to convert at work, that’s a violation of Religious Freedom.)
Bauer went on to categorize all Muslims from several nations, including Iran, as “bloody” and murderous.
Bauer says “We have a president more interested in defending the reputation of Muslims than in defending the lives of Christians.” *standing ovation*
2:35 pm: Rick Santorum
Santorum was introduced by National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown. Brown said that the reason Republicans have been losing elections is because they are trying to stifle social conservatives. He then introduced Santorum, who lost decisively by running as a social conservative.
Santorum is spending his speech talking about Islam. Says if you “truly understand Shia Islam, it’s easy to understand that the path they’re on” is to arm and use nuclear weapons against the U.S. He calls any leader (especially President Obama) who doesn’t recognize the need for action in the middle east is “at Disneyland.”
Santorum truly sounds like he’s calling for all-out war with the entire Islamic world. Says “the reason they’re winning is because they’re the ones willing to sacrifice.”
Santorum also took heavy swings at the so-called “establishment” Republican Party, encouraging attendees to never vote for a candidate who isn’t outspoken on social conservative issues.
2 pm: Kelly Shackleford, president of Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute has been one of the primary drivers behind the Right’s redefinition of religious freedom, transforming the Founder’s shield for individuals into a sword for institutions to impose religious mandates.
Shackleford says that religious employers and employees should be able to discriminate against employees and customers who don’t conform to their religious beliefs.
Shackleford is spending time talking about cases they’re fighting against the ACLU, over veteran war memorials that use Christian imagery and symbols. Liberty Institute calls it a defilement for non-Christian veterans to not want those symbols at the memorials.
“I’ve heard of a soldier who was commanded by his lesbian officer to agree with gay marriage, or be discharged.”
Lunch Break until 2pm
12:30 pm Lt Colonel Oliver North (ret)
North’s speech centered around the idea that American soldiers are star-spangled awesome, and far too good for the likes of Pres. Obama to be leading.
He also threw down on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, saying “U.S. soldiers are being treated like lab rats in a radical social engineering experiment.”
Like a few speakers before him, North also reiterated that “America has nothing to apologize for.” As PRA fellow T.F. Charlton quipped on Twitter: “Except for slavery, Jim Crow, genocide, land theft, rampant inequality, prisons…”
11:50 am: Michele Bachmann
Interesting way to start a speech: “I’m a normal, real person.”
Bachmann is the latest to repeat the popular conservative line about how rights are given by god, and how “no man can take them away.” If that’s the case, we have to wonder why conservatives are claiming that the Left is “taking away” religious liberty rights.
Bachmann is also leaning heavily on Hillary Clinton. Says she fostered a “smaller, weaker America” and that “we want our 1984 foreign policy back!” (not sure whether or not she’s referencing Iran-Contra.)
Bachmann adding her name to the list of people blurring the line between Muslims and ISIS. Says “Mr. President, [ISIS] IS all about Islam. … We need to kill this evil!”
11:30am: Sen Rand Paul (R-KY)
Rand Paul is now the 4th speaker today to bring up the McCarthey-esque “our enemies are not without but within” theme. Paul also called the war against ISIS in Syria illegal, saying that “if I’d been president, I would have called a joint-session of Congress.
Paul also takes swipes at Obama’s use of executive orders, calling them tyrannical and illegal.
“Obamacare tries to separate our faith from our businesses. Thanks goodness for the [Hobby Lobby] Supreme court ruling.”
Paul also claimed the the “rise of radical Islam” is the result of the secular persecution of Christians around the world.
Paul says he wants to withhold “every dollar” of foreign aid to every country where any Christian is persecuted. He, of course, did not mention anything about the torture, rape, and murder of LGBTQ people and women all over the world—including here in the U.S.
11:00 am: Texas Lt. Gov David Dewhurst
Dewhurst touts the Texas legislature passing the infamous anti-abortion bill last year, despite protests by Wendy Davis and sexual and reproductive health and rights supporters. He claims all SRHR supporters in Texas were just bused in.
Dewhurst moves on to illegal immigration. Says “If we don’t stop these bad guys at the border, they’re going to be in your neighborhoods tomorrow.” He also calls for a much faster deportation process for the refuge immigrant children who are fleeing gang and drug violence in Central/South America.
He also says that finding prayer rugs near the border is “proof” that terrorists have infiltrated the U.S.
10:30: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
(Last year, Cruz’s speech touting the GOP Government Shutdown was interrupted by several protesters calling for immigration reform)
Cruz started by claiming he’d “elevated the debate” over Obamacare when he shut down the government last year. And he joked about how the Secret Service should arrest that “intruder” Obama from getting into the White House.
Cruz went on to make some sweeping accusations, claiming that all Christians in Muslim nations are being persecuted.
But the nuts and bolts came with Hobby Lobby, which Cruz called a “phenomenal ruling.” The Senator lamented that the ruling was only 5-4, and repeated the incredibly medically inaccurate conservative claim that emergency contraception are “abortion-inducing pills.”
Cruz also made a big defense of Citizens United, calling efforts to overturn it “tyranny” and “evil extremism” design to repress free speech.
10:12 am: Rep Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind)
Stutzman is only hitting the greatest hits: “Families are great,” “Big Government Liberals are bad.” Although he did call for the abolishment of the NSA, EPA, and IRS.
9:30 am: Next up is a panel on terrorism. On the panel is:
- Lt. General William Boykin – Executive Vice President, FRC; Former Commander, Delta Forces*
- Gen. James Conway – Former Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps*
- Major Gen. (Ret.) Robert Dees, Associate Vice President for Military Outreach, Liberty University*
- Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)*
Maj. Gen. (ret) Robert Dees gives frightening speech about American Exceptionalism. Warns that “We have been infiltrated! There are enemies within!” Claims there are “Muslim safehavens” all over the U.S. where terror cells form and are safe. He was given a standing ovation. Dees also says that U.S. soldiers have “lost all faith” in the Commander-in-Chief. Making a veiled reference to the repeal of DADT, he says “soldiers don’t have time to be P.C.”
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) says that Al Qaeda has terrorist cells in Columbia and other parts of South America, and that America’s “open southern borders” are “letting in terrorists to live among us.” Meadows went on to say we should not be relying on Iraq or Syrian soldiers. Makes the case for U.S. troops to permanently occupy middle east territory.
Boykin finishes. Says it’s terrible that we sent 3k troops to Africa to help deal with Ebola, says we should have sent them to fight ISIS instead.
9:17am: Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH)
Jordan laments that Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision was only 5-4. Says Obama Administration is purposefully targeting Religious Freedom and 2nd Amendment. Jordan then focuses heavily on the supposed IRS scandal, saying that the Left was purposefully targeting conservative PACS. He says Dems are using scary terms like “dark money” and “shadow groups.” “They’re coming after us!” he says.
9:10am: Tony Perkins
Perkins offered up a strong defense of Citizens United, claiming that the Left is “tarring and feathering” wealthy conservatives. During his 5 minute speech, he also hinted at the Left’s supposed “attack” on Religious Liberty. Expecting to hear from almost every speaker this weekend.
9:00am: House cleaning opening speech includes lots of coffee cup/salute jokes, and a near-standing ovation for the resignation of Eric Holder.
8:50am: @JoeMyGod will be thrilled, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family & Property are here. (pic below)
8:47 am: Waiting for the sessions to kick off for this year’s VVS. There’s a new group in the exhibit hall this year, the “ex-gay” PFOX.