August 13, 2004


Bush's Band of Brothers: High-profile rock-stars and a large band of Hollywood entertainers are pledging their time and money to help defeat President George W. Bush in November. Karl Rove, the president's chief political advisor, is looking to the GOP's traditional base - fundamentalist evangelical Christians - to put Bush over the top this year. Will a revivified and politically-focused men's movement from the 1990s bail Bush Out? (Bill Berkowitz, 8/09/04, AlterNet)

In mid-May, when conservative organizations were heavily courting African American religious leaders - to discredit the argument that same-sex marriage was a civil rights issue - Thomas Fortson, the African American appointed to lead Promise Keepers last October, eagerly joined the chorus. "It would be a historical error to equate the civil rights struggle for racial equality with the movement for civil accommodations based solely upon sexual behavior," Fortson said in a letter of support sent to the "Not On My Watch" committee, which was organizing a May 22 rally of African American pastors on the steps of the Arlington, Texas, City Hall.

With the presidential election less than three months away, the Promise Keepers, the men's movement that took the nation by storm in the 1990s, appears to be shedding its carefully crafted apolitical veneer and jumping into the political fray. While you won't find it endorsing a particular candidate and jeopardizing its non-profit status, it has already weighed in on an issue that the Republican Party hopes will help galvanize its base, the Federal Marriage Amendment - a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

"Fortson has been trying to preserve the organization's tax exempt status while at the same time leading the organization into a massive get-out-the-vote drive by inspiring their anti-abortion and homophobic base to enter the political fray, and when they do, on those issues, they will vote Republican," Al Ross, the executive director of the Institute for Democracy Studies ( ), told me in a recent e-mail interview.

"We predict that their entry into the social movement will be a wonderful addition to what all of us are trying to do," Tom Minnery, vice president of government and public policy at Focus on the Family, said. "If Promise Keepers tells men that the protection [of the family] must now extend into the public marketplace, into the government sphere, I believe many men will pay more attention to these issues than they ever have before."

Get 50 college kids to turn out for a Meet-Up in Madison, WI in 2003 and there's a revolution going on--get millions of evangelicals fired up to vote and you'll barely be noticed.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 13, 2004 7:45 AM

You want conservative base, I'll give you conservative base: let's see what happens on September 13 with the AWB and the NRA. As Clinton said, in substance, if not in these exact words, about the '94 midterm turnover, "It's the guns, stupid."

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 13, 2004 2:36 PM

AWB? The first thing that comes to mind with those initials is the Afrikaans for "Afrikaaner Resistance Movement", aka the South African Nazi Party.

Posted by: Ken at August 13, 2004 3:42 PM

I was thinking Average White Band.

Posted by: ratbert at August 13, 2004 11:02 PM