The following is a post from someone else from another forum where I read/post. He makes some chilling discoveries that I was previously completely unaware of. Many of you will simply scan past this and lob attack at it without reading because it is very long, but it is well worth the read and I hope all of you pay close attention.
As the administration of George W. Bush took shape, one question puzzled me greatly. The circumstances of Bush’s ascent to power—circumstances that posed problems of legitimacy—seemed to necessitate governing from the center. Yet it was very apparent, very quickly, that in both military/foreign policy areas and in cultural/religious/social areas, the agenda of the administration was radically to the right of center. How was it possible with such uncanny dispatch to put together an administration that would pursue this agenda in such a thorough-going way.
As regards agendas for military adventures and foreign policy escapades, the answer dawned on me and many others sometime in 2003, as the war in Iraq was prosecuted. The socalled neo-conservatives were at the heart of the matter, and the key institution was the Project for a New American Century. The first President Bush and members of his administration had not really expected that they would be ousted from office by the Arkansas Upstart. They retreated to various think tanks, especially the PNAC. Here they attempted to influence the Clinton administration to adopt some of their preferred policies, meanwhile planning the policies they would themselves put into effect if a Republican president should be elected in 2000. The power of the PNAC is fairly manifest in a mere recital of the names of some of its prominent members—Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, for starters. (And, oh yes, Jeb Bush.)
But I continued to be puzzled by the origins of the domestic or cultural side of the Bush agenda. There didn’t seem to be anything like the PNAC. Until very recently (three days ago) my puzzlement continued. But then, as British philosophers used to say in describing moments of sudden insight, “the penny dropped.” I discovered an organization called The Council for National Policy. (Talk about an innocuous name!)
The discovery was serendipitous, due entirely to the unexpected crisis in the supply of flu vaccine that emerged last week. Tommy Thompson, Bush’s secretary of health and human services, announced on September 23 that (a) everyone should be vaccinated against flu this year and (b) his department had worked diligently with manufacturers, with the result that there would be plenty of vaccine. Thompson’s subsequent statements have been sterling examples of political bum-covering and finding excuses for his incompetence and that of the Bush regime.
I wrote a letter to the NY Times, and it was published October 11. But at that point I hadn’t run across the CNP. Interested in Thompson’s credentials, I went to Google, where a couple of sources identified him as a member or former member of the CNP. What was this organization, anyway? It turned out to be the equivalent, in domestic matters, or the PNAC.
Maybe everyone in the world knows this, and when I write about it, I’m just proving how clueless I am, but I’ll go on, anyway. What the CNP is up to may be evident in this list of just a few of its over 500 members, past and present: John Ashcroft, Tom DeLay, Pat Robertson, Trent Lott, Tim LaHaye, Scott McClellan, Paul Weyrich, Oliver North, Phyllis Schaffly, Dick Armey, Jesse Helms, Allen Keyes, Bob Jones III, Bill Frist.
If the PNAC can be called Neocons for short, then the CNP deserves the title of Theocons, for its agenda, from its founding right up until today, can be described as promoting the cause of Christian theocracy in the USA, while at the same time pursuing the geopolitical goals of the PNAC.
There was a NYT column by Paul Krugman in December, 2002, that moves from a consideration of Tom DeLay’s explanation of the Columbine shootings (Darwin was responsible) to a mention of the CNP Here’s an excerpt, followed by a link to the entire article.
“This blandly named organization was founded by Tim LaHaye, co-author of the apocalyptic “Left Behind” novels, and is in effect a fundamentalist pressure group. As of 1998 the organization’s membership contained many leading Congressional figures in the Republican Party, though none of the party’s neoconservative intellectuals.
“George W. Bush gave a closed-door speech to the council in 1999, after which the religious right in effect endorsed his candidacy. Accounts vary about what he promised, and the organization has refused to release the tape. But it’s notable that he appointed John Ashcroft as attorney general; Mr. Ashcroft gives every appearance of placing his biblical worldview above secular concerns about due process.”
More recently (August 28, 2004) the NY Times published David Kirkpatrick’s “THE CONSERVATIVES; Club of the Most Powerful Gathers in Strictest Privacy,” an account of the CNP’s annual meeting in Manhattan, right around the time of the GOP convention. I’ll tack this article on at the end of this post.
Another good resource comes from the next link, an account of the CNP’s activities during the Clinton years. Here’s an excerpt, but I recommend looking at the whole thing.
“On January 4, 1996, three weeks after much of the federal government remained closed, the Christian Coalition’s Washington office faxed an Action Alert urging its members to pressure President Clinton to give in to the Republican’s proposed budget, and to keep the pressure on the House and Senate Republican leadership and conservative Democrats.
“Christian Coalition president Pat Robertson is a former CNP President. He and Christian Coalition executive director Ralph
Reed are active CNP members.
“The action alert included a list of the crucial
congressional leaders to contact. It also suggested holding press conferences, calling talk shows, and writing letters to editors.
“The Action Alert emphasized that the issue at stake is more than balancing the budget, and included a point-by-point list of the hard right agenda. Some of the numerous items listed included:
- a permanent Hyde Amendment;
- abstinence education funding;
- education vouchers;
- a prohibition on unmarried couples adopting children;
- no funding in any way for abortion;
- a 40% reduction in the National Endowment for the Arts;
- elimination of the Office of Surgeon General.
“After the longest government shutdown in history, time will tell how the Council for National Policy, and its Christian Coalition members, affected the innumerable details of thecomplex federal budget.”
There’s also this source, which is interesting (especially in the stuff about John Denver at the beginning), but I can’t vouch for the reliability of its author, Barbara Aho, one way or the other.
Here’s the Kirkpatrick NYT article.
Discovering the Theocons
Club of the Most Powerful Gathers in Strictest Privacy
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Three times a year for 23 years, a little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country have met behind closed doors at undisclosed locations for a confidential conference, the Council for National Policy, to strategize about how to turn the country to the right.
Details are closely guarded.
“The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before of after a meeting,” a list of rules obtained by The New York Times advises the attendees.
The membership list is “strictly confidential.” Guests may attend “only with the unanimous approval of the executive committee.” In e-mail messages to one another, members are instructed not to refer to the organization by name, to protect against leaks.
This week, before the Republican convention, the members quietly convened in New York, holding their latest meeting almost in plain sight, at the Plaza Hotel, for what a participant called “a pep rally” to re-elect President Bush.
Mr. Bush addressed the group in fall 1999 to solicit support for his campaign, stirring a dispute when news of his speech leaked and Democrats demanded he release a tape recording. He did not.
Not long after the Iraq invasion, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld attended a council meeting.
This week, as the Bush campaign seeks to rally Christian conservative leaders to send Republican voters to the polls, several Bush administration and campaign officials were on hand, according to an agenda obtained by The New York Times.
“The destiny of our nation is on the shoulders of the conservative movement,” the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, told the gathering as he accepted its Thomas Jefferson award on Thursday, according to an attendee’s notes.
The secrecy that surrounds the meeting and attendees like the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly and the head of the National Rifle Association, among others, makes it a subject of suspicion, at least in the minds of the few liberals aware of it.
“The real crux of this is that these are the genuine leaders of the Republican Party, but they certainly aren’t going to be visible on television next week,” Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said.
Mr. Lynn was referring to the list of moderate speakers like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York who are scheduled to speak at the convention.
“The C.N.P. members are not going to be visible next week,” he said. “But they are very much on the minds of George W. Bush and Karl Rove every week of the year, because these are the real powers in the party.”
A spokesman for the White House, Trent Duffy, said: “The American people are quite clear and know what the president’s agenda is. He talks about it every day in public forums, not to any secret group of conservatives or liberals. And he will be talking about his agenda on national television in less than a week.”
The administration and re-election effort were major focuses of the group’s meeting on Thursday and yesterday. Under Secretary of State John Bolton spoke about plans for Iran, a spokesman for the State Department said.
Likewise, a spokesman for Assistant Attorney General R. Alexander Acosta confirmed that Mr. Acosta had addressed efforts to stop “human trafficking,” a major issue among Christian conservatives.
Dr. Frist spoke about supporting Mr. Bush and limiting embryonic stem cell research, two attendees said. Dan Senor, who recently returned from Iraq after working as a spokesman for L. Paul Bremer III, the top American civilian administrator, was scheduled to provide an update on the situation there.
Among presentations on the elections, an adviser to Mr. Bush’s campaign, Ralph Reed, spoke on “The 2004 Elections: Who Will Win in November?,” attendees said.
The council was founded in 1981, just as the modern conservative movement began its ascendance. The Rev. Tim LaHaye, an early Christian conservative organizer and the best-selling author of the “Left Behind” novels about an apocalyptic Second Coming, was a founder. His partners included Paul Weyrich, another Christian conservative political organizer who also helped found the Heritage Foundation.
They said at the time that they were seeking to create a Christian conservative alternative to what they believed was the liberalism of the Council on Foreign Relations.
A statement of its mission distributed this week said the council’s purposes included “to acquaint our membership with those in positions of leadership in our nation in order that mutual respect be fostered” and “to encourage the exchange of information concerning the methodology of working within the system to promote the values and ends sought by individual members.”
Membership costs several thousand dollars a year, a participant said. Its executive director, Steve Baldwin, did not return a phone call.
Over the years, the council has become a staging ground for conservative efforts to make the Republican Party more socially conservative. Ms. Schlafly, who helped build a grass-roots network to fight for socially conservative positions in the party, is a longstanding member.
At times, the council has also seen the party as part of the problem. In 1998, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family spoke at the council to argue that Republicans were taking conservatives for granted. He said he voted for a third-party candidate in 1996.
Opposition to same-sex marriage was a major conference theme. Although conservatives and Bush campaign officials have denied seeking to use state ballot initiatives that oppose same-sex marriage as a tool to bring out conservative voters, the agenda includes a speech on “Using Conservative Issues in Swing States,” said Phil Burress, leader of an initiative drive in Ohio, a battleground state.
The membership list this year was a who’s who of evangelical Protestant conservatives and their allies, including Dr. Dobson, Mr. Weyrich, Holland H. Coors of the beer dynasty; Wayne LaPierre of the National Riffle Association, Richard A. Viguerie of American Target Advertising, Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Committee and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.
Not everyone present was a Bush supporter, however. This year, the council included speeches by Michael Badnarik of the Libertarian Party and Michael A. Peroutka of the ultraconservative Constitution Party. About a quarter of the members attended their speeches, an attendee said.
Nor was the gathering all business. On Wednesday, members had a dinner in the Rainbow Room, where William F. Buckley Jr. of the National Review was a special guest. At 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, members had “prayer sessions” in the Rose Room at the hotel.
Dr. Dobson said in an interview that he planned to refrain from endorsing candidates at the event, which was officially nonpartisan. But he added that he recently awoke from a nightmare that Mr. Kerry had been elected president and then appointed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as chief justice of the Supreme Court.
“That alarms me greatly,” Dr. Dobson said.