Date: Wed, 14 Aug 1996 09:10:06 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 14, 1996 (GOP C

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Date: Wed, 14 Aug 1996 09:10:06 -0700 from: Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 14, 1996 (GOP Convention Report) Reply-To:, nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #129 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 8/14/96 (GOP Convention Report) In This Issue... * GOP "In The Body Bag" for Ralph Reed, CC * You Pay For GOP Broadcast on Pat Robertson Channel * How You Can Help AANEWS * AACHAT * About This List... COALITION SAYS ''MISSION ACCOMPLISHED'' AT GOP CONVENTION It should be a heady day for Ralph Reed. As this dispatch from AANEWS is being sent, the Christian Coalition is just minutes away from kicking off its Faith at Freedom Celebration in San Diego's Balboa Park; and Reed, telegenic director of the religious right group, is expected to congratulate members and delegates for their role in dominating the nearby Republican convention, assuring an anti-choice slate of candidates and thoroughly squelching even a "tolerance" plank in the party platform. Mr. Reed, who once compared his group's "stealth tactics" by describing putting opponents in body bags, has reason to gloat. Meanwhile, there is plenty of news to report from the floor of the convention: * Since Sunday, televangelist and Coalition founder Pat Robertson has been working his crowd at the GOP fest. One salient quote provides insight into the peculiar notion Robertson seems to have about government and individual rights. He told one gathering: "I still want to see a day in America when government is a servant of the people, not the master. A day when little children are safe in their mothers' wombs." * Think again when you hear reports that VP hopeful Jack Kemp is really less adamant on certain social issues than Robertson & Vo. In 1988, Ralph Reed was tapped as a Kempt delegate, and Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum was an "internal advisor" within the Kemp campaign organization. Some observers suggest that is typical of the splits, factions and personality differences which exist behind the scenes of what is often mistakenly presented as a monolithic, religious-right political machine. Recall, too, that Robertson and Kemp weren't on the best of terms in 1988, when both men were chasing the GOP presidential nod. Even so, Ralph Reed has told supporters: "Jack Kemp will be an asset to the ticket in that he is strongly pro-life and pro-family. He has never walked away from his defense of the innocent unborn." * Operation Rescue, the militant anti-abortion group which has vowed to "shut-down" clinics in San Diego for the duration of the GOP convention, has achieved a new low point of tastelessness and distortion. Guests filing into a GOP shindigs at Planet Hollywood and other venues are being greeted by Operation Rescue members holding 6- by 4-foot signs depicting aborted fetuses. Said one anti-choice militant, "A picture's worth 1,000 words." * Why the careful scripting at the podium by GOP spinmeisters? Even conservative pundit William Krisol of the The Weekly Standard says the stage performance aura of the convention reflects "a fear of 1992, a fear of Houston." He's referring, of course, to the "culture war" battle cry speech of Pat Buchanan, perhaps a defining moment in the last presidential contest which surely contributed to Clinton's victory that year. And speaking of Pat... * Buchanan may have a conciliatory hand out to Bob Dole, but reportedly his eye is on the year 2000. Some Buchanan strategists are already writing off the Dole-Kemp ticket, and are looking down the road well beyond "the truce of San Diego" to the millennium and another White House race Bill Clinton won't be able to win. Despite orders from Bay Buchanan, Pat's sister who orchestrates his campaign organization that delegates not walk out or boo during the keynote address by "one toke over the line" Rep. Susan Molinari, some camp followers did leave the convention hall. Others participated in "The Revolt of the White Hats," wearing conspicuous white, good-guy cowboy hats plastered with "Life of the Party" stickers. The most cranky delegates seem to have been Buchanan's Louisiana supporters; in that state's contest, Pat's brigade was accused of distributing anonymous and scurrilous flyers against candidate Phil Gramm, who "divorced a white woman and then married an Asian!" Why the bad blood about Dole and Kemp? Some Buchananites see Dole as a no-show at the White House in January; "Bob Dole can't beat Bill Clinton" was a favorite Buchanan campaign theme during the long months of primary battles. As for Kemp, "he's a big tenter, favoring tolerance of abortion-rights supporters," said one of Pat's Brigade. Kemp is also too much of a free market-NAFTA booster for the populists in Buchanan's ranks, and he opposes the anti-immigrant Prop 187. So, Buchanan & Co. are looking past November; by most accounts, they intend to stay within the GOP ranks although some may drift over to groups like Howard Phillip's US Taxpayers Party. * "Join Christian Coalition? Not!", says CNN, noting a lack of coordination between delegate camps loyal to Buchanan, and the stable of well-heeled operatives from the Christian Coalition. CNN says that "Some Buchananites are angry that Christian Coalition leaders, including Ralph Reed, in effect supported Dole in key primary states, such as South Carolina, and took votes away from Buchanan." In truth, many CC state organizations seemed to have thrown their support behind Phil Gramm, although there was considerable doubt in the Coalition hierarchy that the Texas Senator had legitimate Christian-conservative credentials. * Pat Robertson is looking past November as well. This is Robertson's convention as much as it is Dole's; Robertson's Family Channel network is being paid big bucks to carry the feed from the floor live each night. And behind the scenes, Robertson is just gushing over the exclusion of tolerance language from the party platform; he's also putting out feelers about George W. Bush, the Governor of Texas and the son of former President George H.W. Bush. "He would make a super president, he really would," extolled Robertson. "We'd just be thrilled to see somebody like that hit the ticket one of these days." * By the way, who's paying for all that air time on the Robertson network? You are... read on. *** TAXPAYERS PICK UP BROADCAST TAB ON ROBERTSON NET The incestuous relationship between the Republican Party and televangelist Pat Robertson is now being funded not by the "private sector" so lauded in the GOP platform, but by the good 'ol American taxpayer. In part, though, the Democrats are also to blame for this co-mingling of public monies and religious interests. Here's how the scheme works... Originally, GOP officials planned to use a $1.3 million donation from the Amway corporation to pay for airtime on Robertson's Family Channel. Amway has funded other Republican events, and for the television coverage the private company was intending to funnel money through the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, which in turn was supposed to turn the funds over to Robertson in payment for the broadcast. The Los Angeles Times notes that "The scheme was believed to be the first time either party had tried to funnel corporate money to assist a convention through a local visitors bureau, which is a permanent entity separate from the host committee." Enter the Democratic Party, which then filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission which challenged the legality of the Amway donation, and charged that the Republicans were devising a new, improper scheme to circumvent election regulations. While objecting to the Amway funds, though, the Democrats saw nothing wrong with the GOP using PUBLIC monies to buy air time, even if it was from the likes of Pat Robertson. That's because Republicans and Democrats are receiving $12 million each in public funds to support their respective conventions. (That law was instituted to supposedly wean parties from big corporate donors and influence; but expect cries from both sides of the congressional aisle for that figure to be raised, since this year private donations are expected to outstrip even those huge public money allotments.) When public funding of political campaigns was first proposed, no one considered even the possibility of a First Amendment state-church separation problem. That was 1974, though; since then, televangelists like Robertson have thrived, and his Christian Broadcasting Network reaches tens-of-millions of homes through cable networks. The Family Channel is just one of the assets in Robertson's media portfolio; it relationship with the GOP convention is a "synergistic" one (to coin a Disney-Time-Warner phrase), but with the taxpayer picking up the bill. * Yesterday's afternoon AANEWS dispatch informed readers about Phyllis Schlafly's "Whale of a Party" schmoozefest, considered THE social soiree for the right-to-life crowd. We though you'd like to know -- tickets to the event sold out at $85 a head, but we have no reports yet of scalper activity. * HOTWIRED's Brock Meeks is on the floor of the GOP convention, and today is comparing the scripted performances of speakers to an affair being run by Disney. The micromanagement is so intense, says Meeks, that it transcends volatile issues like a tolerance statement of the handling of dissent in the ranks, and goes all the way down to a carefully designed dress code for delegates. A dress code? "Delegates have been told not to wear white shirts, because they could look yellow on TV; don't wear stripes because it makes you look fat; and, of course, no inappropriate scratching of private parts because those damn CNN cameras are everywhere." Meeks adds that the Kansas delegation was given special attention, since they have the best "and therefore most photogenic" seats in the convention hall. You can check out the rant at http://www.hotwired/com under the "Netizen" column. We don't know if he's serious, but if this is true, we can only wonder what happened to Colin Powell's Big Tent. * Even some delegates can't help but notice the superb organizational over-kill by Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition. Indeed, in some parts of the convention hall like the area occupied by the Washington state delegation, the Coalition membership has effectively replaced the state party ranks. David Welch, the Washington head of the CC, is also chair of the delegation. Notes the Seattle Times: "Welch and the Christian Coalition organized the delegation, not GOP Chairman Ken Eikenberry, who was rejected as a delegate to the convention." Reporter David Postman adds that in San Diego, " it stands now, the Christian Coalition is in charge." *** HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT AND HELP AANEWS In "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein created the acronym TANSTAAFL -- "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch!" That's certain true on the moon, and just about anywhere on the face of the earth. Somebody has to pay. With nearly 1,000 subscribers -- and growing -- AANEWS has received a steady stream of inquires asking how people can help out. * Consider joining American Atheists. Just send mail to, and include your name and postal address. You'll receive a complete information/membership packet. * Write for a catalogue of American Atheist Press books and other materials. Write to, with your name and postal address. * Make a contribution to American Atheists. *** INTERESTED IN MEETING OTHER ATHEISTS/ One way to interact with other non-believers is to join American Atheists, and then participate in our moderated discussion group called AACHAT. If you are a member, just contact Margie Wait through * About This List... AANEWS is a free service from American Atheists, a nationwide movement founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair for the advancement of Atheism, and the total, absolute separation of government and religion. You may forward, post or quote from this dispatch, provided that appropriate credit is given to AANEWS and American Atheists. For subscribe/unsubscribe information, write to and put "info aanews" (minus the quotation marks, please!) in the message body. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER. Internet Representative is Margie Wait (


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