NOM is right. Very, very right.
August 26, 2011, by Jeremy Hooper
The National Organization For Marriage loves to give off a nonpartisan/bipartisan vibe. Particularly when it comes to something like the Defense of Marriage Act, the organization is quite fond of highlighting any sort of Democratic support, past or present, as they work to build up a psychology that overlooks the obviously partisan efforts keeping this nation’s civil marriage policies on the political football field. Or when NOM joins up with someone like Democratic New York state senator Ruben Diaz on a local level, the organization makes every effort of parlay this one limited source of support into a reality that belies all credible polling on the subject. They want to build a coalition, and they want independent and Democratic voters to think of NOM as a mainstream voice from an unbiased center.
But over the past year or so, NOM has completely destroyed this illusion. And in recent months, the three people who are most responsible for the organization — Chairman Emeritus Robert George, Board Chair Maggie Gallagher, and President Brian Brown — have taken the nonpartisan/bipartisan fantasy to an irrefutably and irrevocably partisan place. Let’s examine.
(1) Robert George, founder of the American Principles Project: The American Principles Project is a non-profit group created by NOM co-founder Robert George. The group purports to be about “preserving and propagating the fundamental principles on which our country was founded,” which, for APP, always translates to supporting the GOP, particularly its conservative wing. APP puts it like this:
“Are we conservatives? You bet we are, if by a “conservative” one means a believer in the rule of law, democracy, limited government and respect for civil liberties, private property and the free market, equality of opportunity, the sanctity of human life, the protection of marriage and the family, and the defense of our nation’s sovereignty and security. For us, these convictions are not platitudes. We are convinced that the renewal of our nation and the flourishing of our people vitally depend on making these historic ideals and commitments once again operative in the laws and policies by which we govern ourselves.”
Foundations of the American Principles Project [APP]
On its board and/or staff, APP includes a number of NOM personalities (Luis Tellez, Maggie Gallagher, Thomas Peters, etc), and the group routinely pushes NOM’s “protect marriage” work. APP’s biggest, most headline-grabbing event to date will come this Labor Day, when the organization hosts a Republican Presidential Forum in South Carolina. Theirs is a Republican forum, because again: NOM’s founder has founded (another) decidedly Republican group.
(2) Maggie Gallagher, MaggieReport.com: This month, the aforementioned American Principles Project launched a new website and online talk show called Maggie Report, turning NOM’s key face and voice into a mini online magnate. APP launched this effort alongside Tea Party Review magazine. Tea Party, as in highly conservative, highly partisan, very much GOP.
On her weekly video conversations and commentaries, Maggie is very much the out and proud conservative Republican, taking on every issue (marriage included) from a distinctly Reagan-cum-Palin place. Plus the Maggie Report website itself is like an even more conservative Drudge Report, something I mean quite literally:
The Maggie Report site essentially *is* Drudge in terms of style and tone, just with even more of a right wing bent in terms of content. All of it now inextricably linked to Maggie’s cherished (and chaired) NOM.
(3) Brian Brown, founder of ActRight.com: But while Maggie’s newest foray into right wing politics might be the latest example of NOM’s highly partisan bent, it is not the most overt. That would come in the form of Brian Brown’s ActRight.com, a site built for the lone purpose of financing conservative candidates and causes. Just look at some of these quips from the site’s “About Us” page, the wording of which is attributed to Brian himself:
“ActRight revolutionizes online conservative political action.”
“We want to make it simple for you to make this country a place that Ronald Reagan would be proud of.”
“Yes, yes, we know this country is a Republic and not a pure Democracy, but we’ve had far too much rule by liberal elites and establishment RINOs for our taste. ActRight is a community of dedicated conservatives; as such we all deserve a voice. We’ve figured out some pretty amazing ways for you to decide the future of the conservative movement by your actions on ActRight.”
“Brian Brown (that’s me) is Chairman and Founder of ActRight.com. In growing two conservative organizations, it became clear to me that the left was doing a much better job in taking advantage of online giving and actions than we were. ActBlue alone has raised over $150,000,000 for far left candidates. That’s a lot of moolah. Then you’ve got MoveOn.org and a panoply of other Soros-funded groups organizing online.”
“You decide the future of the conservative movement.”
“If you don’t have time for some light reading of Burke’s Reflections, Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, and Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind, the best recent statement of what it means to be a conservative is the Mt. Vernon Statement. Read it. Here are our first principles in clear and concise form. If you read it with fists clenched and your jugular vein bulging, ActRight.com is probably not for you . . . or you might be a troll from DailyKos.”
“All federal Republican candidates appear on ActRight. But from there you actually decide! Anyone who has become a member of ActRight by donating at least $5.00 to any federal candidate can vote RINO’s off of the site by hitting the RINO button. Once fifty percent of the members have voted a candidate a RINO he or she is removed. I told you that this was about Democracy!”
“No liberal causes allowed!”
“About Us” [ActRight]
This site is right in every sense of the term’s partisan usage, from a man who is aggressive in his belief that discrimination is the right course for marriage.
And remember: ActRight is the very site that recently claimed a nearly five million dollar fundraising haul for the National Organization For Marriage’s “Let The People Vote” campaign. The site also lists NOM causes among its top earners and NOM supporters, from obvious to obscure, as its top donors. So it’s not like Brian’s ActRight effort (the very first “like” that NOM added to its organizational Facebook page, by the way) is disconnected from his “protect marriage” work: It’s the fundraising arm for it!
So there you have it: Three overtly partisan efforts from the only three faces that adorn NOM’s “About NOM” page. Next time you hear the debate framed in a way that denies the obvious, please remind folks: NOM might be non-partisan in the sense that they’ll take whatever non-Republican vote or dollar that may come their way, but it’s nearly impossible to get in bed with this group without also making room for one gigantic elephant! Everyone should know that, from the common voter to the pundit (or host) tasked with challenging NOM’s claims.