FRC III: Abortions for Some, Miniature American Flags for Others


8:42: "Our media friends are not just watching the candidates," says FRC regional director Gil Mertz. "They are also watching you! So please refrain from shaking, book-burning, chanting, speaking in tongues, and snake-handling."

8:51: Speaking of snakes, here comes Bill Bennett's snake-oil version of the war on terror. "We knew who attacked us on 9/11," so we invaded Afghanistan and ousted "the terrorist-sponsoring Saddam Hussein to begin a reformation of the Middle East by reforming those states."

8:53: "We were at war with, let us say it, Islamic fascism." He's brave enough to say things the president says!

8:54: Bennett gives praise to our modern hero: "Not Leonidas of the 300 Spartans, but Petraeus of the 300 million Americans. Let us praise Him. Point him out to your children and say 'There goes a noble man.' Perhaps even a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. One advantage of giving David Petraeus the Nobel Peace Prize is that he has actually brought peace. And we honor peacemakers."

8:57: Finally, Bennett equates liberals with fictional hellspwan. "Battlefield surrender comes from cultural surrender," he says. "Cultural surrender comes from befuddlement, from being befuddled." The term comes from Screwtape's advice to his nephew, to "fuddle" Christians. "And so, we are being fuddled."

9:00: This is amazing: Bennett's entire speech is crediting Screwtape with the perfidy of liberals and libertarians. Screwtape "might advise" us to do the litany of crimes assigned to Alan Colmes: Abiding by the Geneva conventions, inviting Ahmedenijad to Columbia, so on down the line.

9:03: "He might advise that we allow journalists to make public classified information, and then we stand aside as they give themselves awards," Bennett says. He informs the audience of the shield law just passed in Congress that protects journalists from having to testify to prosecutor if they expose classified information. "When they do this they do not deserve awards, they do not deserve Pulitzer Prizes. They deserve investigation and sometimes they deserve jail."

9:04: "Preemptive cultural surrender will be the defining issue of this upcoming election."

9:05: "The Democrat candidates for president cannot bring themselves to denounce an ad calling our general in Iraq a traitor, a betrayer."

9:06: It's the pointless culture war skirmish greatest hits! Bennett's on to Obama and his flag pin. "The flag pin is not a substitute for anything. It's just a pin. But it's a pin of our flag. And its placement tells you where our bearer's heart is."

on to Giuliani…

9:10: In the list of reasons to love Giuliani, Mertz says "former First Lady Nancy Reagan gave him the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award."

9:11: "I try to spend as little time in Washington as possible," Giuliani says. "There's something in the air here." From Congress or from the irritating interest groups that keep biting his ankles?

9:12: Rudy's history of Christianity: "Non-believers saw the love of Christians and said 'I wanna be part of that."

9:13: He compares modern FRCers to the dudes tossed into the arena to scrap with lions. "They were truly defined by what they were for, not what they were against."

9:16: "I'll be always be honest with you." The theme is bubbling up: I offend you by telling the truth, Romney offends you by lying. "I come to you with an open heart and an open mind." He gets his first applause saying he's never been a liberal activist: "Just read any New York Times editorial from when I was mayor of New York City."

9:17: "Isn't it better that I tell you what I really believe than pretend to change my positions to fit your preconcieved notions?" Big applause. Take that, Mitt. "What you're entitled to from me is the sum total of my beliefs." It would be dishonest "for me to twist myself all up"–he twists his hands as if knitting with molten lead–"and tell you what you want to hear."

9:19: It's not excruciating, but it's close. Giuliani clearly has a few applause lines embedded in this thing, and when he hits one he looks up very fleeting for some audience member who's finally come around. He's met with some scowling granny or a guy with his arms crossed over a Target-bought suit and tie.

9:23: Giuliani finds a groove talking about cleaning porn shops out of NYC. "I understand where you come from when you feel your values are under assault by a culture that's moving in the wrong direction."

9:24: "There is no outrage from the politically correct crowd when Christian icons are desecrated." If he wins over religious right voters, he's not going to do it by opening avenues of mutual respect. He's going to get them through symbolism and pandering.

9:26: "The government should never be required to give out taxpayer money to art that desecrates religion." Woooo! "It's just plain wrong." Woooo!

9:28: The law enforcement plank: President Giuliani will protect your kids from drugs, crime, gangs, "or some of the newer threats, by mandating tougher penalties for riminals who prey on children using the internet.

9:29: And he'll fend off "lawsuits that attempt to remove Under God from the Pledge of Allegiance."

9:30: "Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion!"

9:31: Some welfare reform talk, which goes over well.

9:32: The awkward part is over, and Giuliani's on to school choice, an easy applause-getter in this crowd.

9:33: Rudy still wants to convince the crowd he's talked with Jesus once or twice, so he counts down, on his hand, the parochial schools he went to. "The first time I went to a class that didn't start with a prayer was my first day at NYU Law," he says. "I was so confused that I began making the sign of the cross and people started looking at me."

9:34: The dog whistle nearly blows apart as Rudy quotes Rick Santorum. "Really, the ideal? It takes a family, not a village, to raise a child."

9:37: "You and I and all Americans share the same goal: A country without abortion," achieved by changing hearts and minds.

9:38: Abortion promises: Veto any change in impact of the Hyde Amendment. Support "any reasonable suggestion" that promises to reduce the number of abortions. "I continue [ed-really?] to support the ban on partial birth abortions."

9:40: Almost on its own the word "judges" starts a wave of applause. The part of this bloc that wouldn't leave the party if Rudy was nominated (the majority of the bloc, actually) is willing to swallow him for that reason.

9:41: Ted Olsen's name is enough to get applause here.

9:42: "If you need a yardstick," he says–take this and stop bothering me–he'd appoint judges like the four conservative members of the SCOTUS.

9:43: "Our goal in Iraq should be clear: Victory."

9:44: "Our goal for the broader war on terror is the same goal Ronald Reagan had for the Cold War." Ah, we know where this is going. "They lose, we win." Hooray, cant!

9:46: The Israel section goes over like gangbusters; Rudy has never, ever been shy about demogoguing this.

9:46: Under no circumstances will we allow Iran to become a nuclear power."

9:47: It's another section with lots of G-bombs, but I think the crowd has warmed. "We serve God best by serving others," he says, and there's spontaneous applause.

9:48: "We lose trust not when they're imperfect. After all, they're only human. We lose trust when they're not being honest."

9:50: "I'll continue to extend my hand to you and I hope you'll take it." Notice who has the power in this formulation.