Tuesday, February 27, 2007


The Taliban tried to blow up Dick Cheney today during a visit to a U.S. Military base in Afghanistan. Depending on whom you ask, either 3 or 24 people were killed by the suicide bomber. The war on Islamic terrorism continues. Cheney is in the region to meet with he president of Pakistan...and tell him to crack down a bit harder on terrorists.

Cheney is on the warpath lately...and it's quite refreshing. He's been taking on the media and the Democrats and not holding back. He rightly called out Nancy Pelosi for her policies, which support Al-Qaeda's agenda. When a controversy ensued...he didn't hold back. He's been taking on the media, appearing on TV shows...complete unapologetic for the war in Iraq. The question remains: where has the administration been for the last two years?

Instead of letting the Left and the mainstream media define Iraq as a failure, which its not, they should have been out there swinging the bat...calling out Democrats for their pro-appeasement policies. But, as the saying goes, better late than never. Besides, it's not like Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid are ever going to come up with a better plan for Iraq anyway.


So the media got to work. Opinion polls were conducted, focus groups convened and religious experts consulted -- all in an effort to answer that seemingly elusive question. Documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, however, took a rather novel approach. Pelosi, daughter of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, decided to venture into the "red states" in order to, as she put it in a recent interview, "figure out who they [evangelicals] are and what it means to America's future."

So, like a National Geographic reporter traveling to some third-world hinterland to observe a newly discovered species in its native habitat, Pelosi criss-crossed the heartland to some of evangelical America's largest mega churches to learn what it is that animates evangelicals.

The product of her labor is the breezy new documentary "Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi," which airs through early March on HBO. For an HBO documentary about conservative Christians by a self-described liberal Democrat, "Friends" is surprisingly even-handed. Engaging and good-natured, Pelosi keeps her politics mostly to herself and is respectful toward the film's subjects, which include Christian pastors, comedians, wrestlers, musicians, skateboarders and more.

Where the film falls short, however, is in accomplishing its stated objective of figuring out who evangelicals really are. Instead, "Friends" provides viewers with an assortment of random snapshots, many of which reinforce some of the less flattering stereotypes of evangelicals. We witness a drive thru church service, a pick-up truck evangelist who informs Pelosi that, "If you don't believe in Jesus, you're a big time loser," the Christian Wrestling Federation wrestlers body slamming for Jesus, and a steady stream of roadside billboards announcing, for instance, that "Evolution is from the Devil."

While "Friends of God" fails to offer more than a cursory examination of the lives of evangelicals, a recent interview with Pelosi helps illuminate perhaps the most formidable hurdle facing the Left in its quest to understand evangelicals. In an interview with ABC News, Pelosi was asked whether, after spending more than a year traveling to evangelical churches across America, she thinks liberals can make up ground with evangelical voters. Pelosi response was revealing. She said, "If we [evangelicals and liberals] are able to look past the two most polarized and political issues -- abortion and gay rights -- then, of course, yeah."

Pelosi's answer exemplifies a belief gaining popularity in the mainstream media: that if evangelicals would only look beyond "wedge issues" like abortion and same-sex marriage, some common ground might be found.

This view suggests that these are merely a few among a laundry list of important public policy questions. But, for the vast majority of evangelicals, the right to life and the definition of marriage are fundamentally and inescapably moral theological issues. Take the right to life, whose importance is rooted in the Christian belief that all human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. The centrality of the human person to the Christian worldview helps evangelicals think about and prioritize every political issue that arises, with those policies and laws that pose the gravest threat to human life placed at the top of the agenda. It also helps explain why evangelicals will never be able to "move past" abortion, as Pelosi and many others on the Left hope. The same can be said for issues relating to marriage, family and, of course, the role of religion in public life.

In the end, Ms. Pelosi's film represents a missed opportunity to delve more deeply into what this burgeoning force in American life really believes and what it means for the country's future. Instead, the film offers two distinct messages to two very different audiences. For coastal liberals, the film is a reaffirmation of their most deeply entrenched biases against conservative people of faith as bizarre and out of touch with mainstream America. For evangelicals, it serves as yet another reminder that the liberal media establishment still doesn't understand them.

Mr. Bauer, a 2000 candidate for president, is chairman of Campaign for Working Families and president of American Values.


It has been discovered that Al Gore's Nashville-area mansion has 20 rooms, eight bathrooms and uses more electricity in one month than the average house uses in a year. A group called the Tennessee Center For Policy Research has gotten its hands on some of Al's gas and electric bills for 2006, and it's not pretty. I guess that's what you call "an inconvenient truth." I suppose this falls underneath the category of do as I say, but not as I do. Is there an Oscar for that? Maybe Al Gore will win that one next year.

This has always been the problem when it comes to the holier-than-thou leftist environmentalists. Al Gore will stand up there and tell you America is destroying the planet, thanks to greenhouse gases. We're supposed to feel guilty for driving our cars, using too much electricity and the like. And after he's done lecturing us all, Al gets onto his private jet, burns up the jet fuel back to Nashville where he goes back to his mansion. But back to Al's energy bill.

It's also come out that on average in 2006, Al Gore paid $1,359 a month in electricity...twice in one month what that average household uses in a year. And natural gas? Gore used plenty of that, too...$1,080 a month, on average. Remember ... for most of those months Al wasn't even there! So what's the problem with all this? Well, nothing really.

Al Gore is rich...he's entitled to buy his house and use as much electricity and natural gas as he can afford. But so is everybody else. So maybe the next time Gore gets up onto his soapbox and starts lecturing the public, somebody will call him out. Maybe.


A1 of the Washington Post today reveals the Clintons' oopsie-doopsie on Hillary's Senate disclosure forms:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former president Bill Clinton have operated a family charity since 2001, but she failed to list it on annual Senate financial disclosure reports on five occasions.

The Ethics in Government Act requires members of Congress to disclose positions they hold with any outside entity, including nonprofit foundations. Hillary Clinton has served her family foundation as treasurer and secretary since it was established in December 2001, but none of her ethics reports since then have disclosed that fact.

The foundation has enabled the Clintons to write off more than $5 million from their taxable personal income since 2001, while dispensing $1.25 million in charitable contributions over that period.

Clinton's spokesman said her failure to report the existence of the family foundation and the senator's position as an officer was an oversight. Her office immediately amended her Senate ethics reports to add that information late yesterday after receiving inquiries from The Washington Post...

...The charity is separate from the New York-based William J. Clinton Foundation, which has directed $10 billion in corporate money and resources toward slowing the global spread of AIDS, addressing climate change, and reducing hunger and poverty in developing countries.

The smaller family foundation lists as its address a post office box in Chappaqua, N.Y., where the Clintons live. Hillary Clinton is listed as secretary and treasurer, Bill Clinton as president and the couple's daughter, Chelsea, as a director. None takes any compensation.

The charity has been funded with money from lucrative book deals for both Clintons and from speechmaking by Bill Clinton since they left the White House in 2001. The foundation's tax filings are available on an Internet repository for IRS documents. The only time the Clintons mentioned the foundation on her ethics report was in 2002, in a footnote about their $800,000 donation that year, but it did not disclose as required her position or other information about the foundation. In subsequent years, they made no mention of it.

Between 2001 and 2005, the Clintons seeded the charity with $5.16 million of their money. The foundation's 2006 tax form is not due until later this year.

Tax records show the Clinton Family Foundation was created during Hillary Clinton's first year in the Senate, when the couple gave $800,000 to launch the organization in early December 2001. The charity distributed no funds that year. The next year, the Clintons made $170,000 in donations while adding $100,000 of their own funds.

The Clintons donated much larger amounts in recent years as legal bills from Bill Clinton's impeachment were paid off and their personal fortunes soared. At the end of 2005, the Clinton family foundation had nearly $4 million in cash assets.

WaPo gives the last word to a former FEC official:

Kent Cooper, who retired after two decades overseeing the FEC's public disclosure office, said congressional ethics committees have not enforced the ethics disclosure requirements forcefully. As a result, he said, candidates "know there is no great consequences, and so the habit has developed that people dismiss an omission as a clerical error, when in fact it is a crucial piece of the puzzle about a member's finances that is being hidden."

Judicial Watch reminds us:

The last time Hillary Clinton campaigned for the Senate in New York, she violated campaign finance laws by failing to report almost $2 million in contributions from former JW client Peter Paul leading to the federal indictment of her National Finance Chairman, David Rosen. To this day, she refuses to correct the record. Judicial Watch not only continues to seek justice in this matter, through its official complaint against Hillary Clinton with the Senate Ethics Committee and its public pressure campaign on the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission, but JW also recently launched a brand new campaign called, “Hillary Watch 2006.”

The purpose of the program is to closely monitor all of the Clinton Senate campaign’s disclosure forms and financial reports looking for irregularities and violations. Judicial Watch will take immediate action should any problems be discovered.

Peter Paul is keeping tabs here.

Like Bill Clinton himself is fond of saying: "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."