Ralph Reed’s Group Goes after “Union Thugs” in Wisconsin

In an email alert sent out yesterday, Faith and Freedom Coalition executive director Gary Marx notified supporters that a team of Wisconsin volunteers will be canvassing the state, in preparation for “a full-scale get-out-the-vote phone bank operation to make sure every last pro-freedom and pro-family voter goes to vote on behalf of our values.”

So far, the right’s anti-union battleground in Wisconsin hasn’t been explicitly framed as a “pro-family” issue, but here’s Marx:

Please join Tony Nasvik and join the fight with 100 plus FFC activists who will be going door-to-door encouraging the Badger State to vote for candidates who share our values of lower taxes, less government, faith, and who will stand up to union thugs who support Obama’s tax and spend solutions.  We need your financial support to make our Wisconsin get-out-the-vote program work.

Lower taxes, less government, faith. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers-backed group that backed the election of Scott Walker and his anti-union agenda, co-founded the political consulting firm Century Strategies with Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed.

Reed, who profits both from his evangelical cred (which apparently hasn’t faded, in spite of his questionable past) and his ability to put a faithy veneer on AFP’s anti-union, anti-worker, anti-government crusade, has long advocated for the religious right to broaden its agenda to economic issues, a strategy that serves his own business interests.

A recent profile in the Christian Post noted how the Faith and Freedom Coalition is housed right next door to Reed’s (and Phillips’) Century Strategies, and it has “the look and feel of a campaign headquarters.”

“That’s what this is,” Marx told the Post. “Pure and simple.”

It’s 2012′s version of the Christian Coalition: melding evangelicals with the tea party issues they’re already comfortable with, but maintaining their distinct identity as a voting bloc that pre-dates the tea party, and is courted as a separate group by Republican candidates.

Who does this “pro-family” opponent of “union thugs” think has the best shot at the GOP primary? Reed told the Christian Post, “I think Michele Bachman is the total package.” And Rick Perry? “I don’t see him being a factor.”

Sarah Posner, author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, covers politics and religion. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The American ProspectThe NationSalon, and other publications. Follow her on TwitterRSS feed Email