the suzi parker files

Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Posts Tagged ‘ground zero mosque

Sarah Palin on Facebook: Don’t Burn the Koran

leave a comment »

Sarah Palin was once accused of trying to ban books in her hometown library. But as for burning the Koran, she’s opposed.

On Wednesday, Palin wrote a Facebook post entitled “Koran Burning Is Insensitive, Unnecessary; Pastor Jones, Please Stand Down.” Book burning, she wrote, is “antithetical to American ideals.”

The post was in response to Gainesville, Fla., pastor Terry Jones and his church’s plan to burn more than 200 copies of the Koran on Sept. 11. Jones is the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, “a New Testament, Charismatic, Non-Denominational Church,” according to its Web site. Jones and his church members believe “Islam is of the Devil.”

In her post, Palin said that people have the constitutional right to burn a Koran but that it is “insensitive and an unnecessary provocation – much like building a mosque at Ground Zero.”

Palin is a fierce opponent of the proposed mosque near ground zero. She has written Facebook posts and tweeted about it.

Palin’s Wednesday post sounded more tempered than some of her past ones targeting President Obama and her critics. She warned Jones and his supporters to heed caution against their plan.

“It will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance,” the post said. “Don’t feed that fire. If your ultimate point is to prove that the Christian teachings of mercy, justice, freedom, and equality provide the foundation on which our country stands, then your tactic to prove this point is totally counter-productive.”

On Tuesday, Palin announced her own Sept. 11 event with Glenn Beck in Alaska. She wrote, “We can count on Glenn to make the night interesting and inspiring, and I can think of no better way to commemorate 9/11 than to gather with patriots who will ‘never forget.'”

Palin’s Koran post generated more than 1,500 comments in less than 45 minutes. Many of her followers did not support her post.

One wrote, “Dear Sarah, Maybe you are unaware of this man’s motives, I don’t think he is doing it out of hatred or to promote violence toward all muslims, I think he is just trying to show that the Koran and the teachings of Islam are evil in their nature and that they are against Christ. We as christians should stand with him and not go against him, going against him would mean going against God.”

Another wrote, “The RIGHT to FREE speach includes the right to offend!”

But many sided with Palin’s opinion on the Koran and the mosque in New York City.

One commenter said, “If they do this, they will be no better than the Islamic extremists. It is not our place to judge, that’s God’s job.”

Palin, who has often questioned Obama’s faith, also wrote in the post that freedom of religion is “integral to our charters of liberty.” She also encouraged readers to remember the Golden Rule — treat others as you would like to be treated.

Her closing question: “Isn’t that [The Golden Rule] what the Ground Zero mosque debate has been about?


Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Mike Huckabee and 2012: Under the Radar, Over the Airwaves

leave a comment »

Mike Huckabee is a very busy man.

The former Arkansas governor hosts his weekly television show, Huckabee, on FOX News. He campaigns for candidates that he endorses through his Huck PAC. Last month, it was announced that Huckabee would lead fundraising efforts as chancellor of the new Victory University Foundation in Memphis. He’s reportedly recording an album in Nashville and writing a children’s Christmas book. He is already a successful author.

In July he launched “The Huckabee Show.” Airing as a pilot in a handful of cities, it is closer to “Dr. Phil” than “Meet the Press.” The show’s website calls Huckabee “a preacher who accepts all, a politician that never plays politics and a host unlike any other.”

Huckabee also leads tour groups on trips to Israel. He made one earlier this year with crooner Pat Boone during which he interviewed former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was in the Middle East as part of his work as an envoy to the region. He will take another group to the Holy Land in January.

To Huckabee watchers, it appears that he is flying under the radar to build up his national following for a future campaign for the White House. But considering his many roles, is he too busy for a presidential run in 2012? Not according to longtime confidants, who think Huckabee will make another try despite his failed bid two years ago.

This week, Huckabee topped the pack of potential candidates in a 2012 caucus poll commissioned by website. Huckabee garnered 22 percent to Mitt Romney’s 19 percent. Newt Gingrich received 14 percent, Sarah Palin 11 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul 5 percent, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and South Dakota Sen. John Thune 1 percent each.

“It feels a lot better than it did this time four years ago, when I was an asterisk there,” Huckabee told Politics Daily.

Huckabee’s showing doesn’t surprise political watchers in Iowa, the state that kicks off the 2012 political season. Huckabee won Iowa in 2008 with 34 percent of the vote to Romney’s 25 percent. But Huckabee failed to repeat his success in the string of primary states that followed.

“He had the grassroots organization,” said Tim Hagel, associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa. “He came in, did not have a national name, did not have the funds, but he did the exact correct thing you have to do in Iowa with the grassroots. He got volunteers talking to other volunteers. He had coffees. That’s what gets people out on a caucus night.”

In his first run for president, Huckabee made inroads in Iowa soon after the 2004 election. As Arkansas governor, he traveled there several times, a move Pawlenty is now mirroring. Of late, Huckabee hasn’t visited the state, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t planning a 2012 run.

In the age of social media, Huckabee and other potential presidential candidates don’t have to practically live in a state to keep their names out front. But the Huckabee brand doesn’t rely solely on Facebook and Twitter. “I spend about five nights a week, sometimes six in hotels and I’m often on planes four and five days a week,” he said. In addition to his television endeavors, he also hosts a radio segment, “The Huckabee Report,” on the Citadel Broadcast Network, which is beamed to almost 600 stations across the country.

“Shows are going great,” he said in an e-mail. “Doing a six-week preview for possible syndication in broadcast next year as well as the weekend show. Dream guests would include Keith Richards, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, and Dustin Hoffman. I’ve had many of my dream guests including Robert Duvall.” He recently hosted movie star Raquel Welch and rocker Meat Loaf on his weekend show.

With so many irons in the fire, would Huckabee give up his growing media empire for politics? Hagel thinks he could have it both ways, short of a presidential bid.

“He has a pretty good gig,” Hagel says. “In some sense, he could have his television show and be kind of a player in politics, doing appearances and the endorsement route.”

This week, Huckabee announced 11 endorsements in Iowa.

He began his career as a Southern Baptist preacher, but also mixed in media. When he led congregations at churches in two Arkansas cities, he hosted a program called “Positive Alternatives.”

Huckabee has always used media wisely to get out his message. On his Huck PAC website this week, he weighed in against the proposed mosque near Ground Zero: “The President and other supporters of this incredibly insensitive idea should do no less than listen to the families and loved ones of the three thousand murdered victims — and at least consider whether there isn’t a compromise that can be reached,” he wrote.

Huckabee doesn’t always align with the GOP, especially on immigration issues. He has not joined the conservative bandwagon to change the 14th Amendment to prohibit automatic citizenship for children of illegal immigrants.

As Arkansas’ governor from 1996 to 2007, Huckabee was an ardent supporter of the state’s Hispanic community. The state hosted the national League of United Latin American Citizens convention while Huckabee was in office. He supported legislation that would have allowed college aid for high school graduates who entered the United States illegally. The legislation didn’t pass. Huckabee also helped the state gain a Mexican consulate while he was governor.

Huckabee told Politics Daily that the three most important issues currently facing the United States are the economy and jobs, the change to big government socialism, and the threat of radical Islam.

If Huckabee does dip back into political waters, his opponents would surely attack him on his decisions as governor to grant clemencies and pardons.

He commuted and accepted recommendations for pardon for twice as many prisoners — more than 1,000 — than his three predecessors. He commuted the sentence of Maurice Clemmons, who had committed burglary with a weapon, in order for Clemmons to receive parole. He was released in 2000 but continued on a crime spree. In November 2009, Clemmons was sought in connection with the murder of four police officers in Lakewood, Wash. He was killed during a manhunt.

Earlier this year, Huckabee shocked his home state when he relocated his official residence from Arkansas to Florida, a key state on the path to the presidency. At the time Huckabee told me, “We are keeping our house in Arkansas, but splitting our time between Arkansas, New York and Florida. Some of my business endeavors make the Florida residency more convenient for now.”

In June, the Republican Party of Arkansas hosted its annual dinner. The night honored the only three Republican governors in Arkansas since Reconstruction. Two are deceased. Huckabee was a no-show. While no Republican wanted to go on the record to whine about Huckabee’s absence, several said his nonappearance likely meant he wasn’t considering another White House run.

Others are not so quick to dismiss a Huckabee candidacy. But don’t expect a replay of his 2008 bid.

Rex Nelson, who was Huckabee’s communications director while in the governor’s office, said that Huckabee will likely run only if he has more commitments from key Republican fundraisers.

“He ran his last campaign on a shoestring and was still near the top,” said Nelson, now a Little Rock-based public relations consultant who writes a blog called “Southern Fried.” “I just don’t think he would run on a shoestring again in 2012. He would make a tremendous nominee. And polls show he is highly popular among Republican primary voters. But some of the so-called whales from the GOP fundraising establishment are going to have to get on board this time. If their strongest potential Republican nominee sits on the sideline, they will have only themselves to blame.”

Written by suziparker1313

March 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Michael Reagan to Arkansas GOP: What Would Ronald Reagan Do?

leave a comment »

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Michael Reagan knows what fires up the Republican base — his father.

On Friday night, Reagan visited Arkansas — a battleground state in the midterm elections — to urge 300 GOP faithful at the state’s annual convention to focus on the big picture, not the small details. That is, if they want to recapture Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill.”

“We shouldn’t worry about who gets the credit,” said Reagan, a former conservative radio host and the adopted son of Ronald Reagan and the actress Jane Wyman. “We should worry about winning the elections in November.”

In Arkansas, Republican Rep. John Boozman, who won the May Senate primary against seven contenders, faces Democratic incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln in November. Lincoln squeaked out a win in the June Democratic run-off against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.

Michael Reagan speaksA recent poll showed Lincoln trailing Boozman by 19 points — 54 percent to 35 percent.

Arkansas’ Second District seat could also flip from Democratic to Republican. It is currently held by Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder, who announced in January that he would not seek re-election after 13 years in the House of Representatives. Former Bush White House aide Tim Griffin is vying for the House seat against Democratic State Senator Joyce Elliot, who would be Arkansas’ first black member of Congress.

Reagan said the GOP should remember his father’s 11th commandment — “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” The 24 -hour news cycle, he said, has made politics “too personal.”

“You have to keep it at a political level,” Michael Reagan added. “It hurts the cause when it gets too personal.” For Republicans to win, he told a dinner audience, “We have to look at the big picture like Ronald Reagan did. How do we change the world?”

He spent part of the night reflecting on his father’s legacy, especially the fall of the Berlin Wall. Reagan visited Berlin last November — the 20th anniversary of the wall’s collapse — and said he felt ashamed that President Barack Obama was not present.

“The president of the United States would go to Copenhagen, instead, to try and bring the Olympics to Chicago,” he said.

He pointed out that Obama sent a video, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton introduced in Berlin, explaining to her audience that Obama had to overcome his own walls. Reagan said he was irate that Hillary Clinton chose to “play the race card on that kind of day.”

The Arkansans cheered.

But Reagan didn’t throw blame just at Obama. He said that if the Republican Party had done its job when it held the presidency and Congress, “Barack Obama would not have been handed the keys to the White House.”

In a media availability before the dinner, Reagan lashed out at the proposed Ground Zero mosque in New York. Earlier this week, he wrote a column agreeing with Sarah Palin who regards the mosque is an unnecessary “provocation.”

“People in the Middle East don’t look at things like we do,” Reagan said. “Mohammad Atta wins, that is how it will be viewed. I don’t need a kumbaya at Ground Zero to know America cares. That’s hallowed ground”

Written by suziparker1313

March 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm