Ralph Reed Named Southeast Coordinator for Bush Campaign
Former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed has been named Southeast Regional Coordinator for President George W. Bush's reelection team.
Reed, an Atlanta-based political consultant, most recently served as chairman of the Republican Party in Georgia. His appointment to the Bush team was announced July 10 by Marc Racicot, chairman of the Bush reelection campaign, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Reed will oversee the Bush effort in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and, perhaps most significantly, Florida--the state that was the battleground during the 2000 election.
Bush's campaign calls large fundraisers "Rangers." To hit this status, Bush backers must have raised at least $200,000. The next level down, backers who have raised $100,000, are called "Pioneers." The Washington Post reported that Reed hit Pioneer status in July.
One task for Reed will be rebuilding enthusiasm for Bush among Religious Right leaders. Although the president has advanced much of their agenda, he has stopped short of giving them everything they want.
Paul Weyrich told Religion News Service recently, "The president is a religious conservative. The Senate majority leader is a religious conservative. The speaker of the House and the House majority leader and the majority whip are all religious conservatives. Yet we make only marginal, incremental progress. We really have to rethink our strategy."
In other news about the Religious Right:
The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition is under fire for working as a front for pharmaceutical lobbyists to oppose a bill that would permit the importation of prescription drugs from foreign countries.
The lobbyists, who crafted Sheldon's argument, hired him to argue that allowing importation of these drugs could lead to the legalization of RU-486, the so-called "abortion pill." The stunt backfired because the bill is popular among many lawmakers, including several conservative Republicans.
The Washington Post reported that a TVC mailing targeting conservatives angered the recipients, who saw through the ruse and realized that Sheldon was fronting for drug companies. Some lawmakers were so angry that they have barred Sheldon from attending meetings of the Values Action Team, a congressional group that works with the Religious Right.
"I do not understand ... how a religious organization can be manipulated by the pharmaceutical industry to do this sort of thing," Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) told The Post. "They are supposed to be moral people. And yet I am confident, in fact I am dead sure, that the Traditional Values Coalition did not have the money to mail this kind of trash out to congressional districts all across the country. …