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WHY BUSH & CONGRESS MUST REJECT THE INSTITUTE FOR AMERICAN VALUES

 

 

 

David R. Usher
January 25, 2006
NewsWithViews.com

My last article “Now, Republicans must deliver on core values” provides a strong analysis showing why Republicans failed to deliver on social policy reforms promised in the Contract for America.

Now, we will take a hard look at the organization responsible for fooling the Republican Congress and President Bush into pursuing liberal anti-family social policy for the past decade – the Institute for American Values (IAV), and its offshoots marriagemovement.org, americanvalues.org, and familyscholars.org.

In 1995, David Blankenhorn published “Fatherless America,” a book that took the nation by storm. The book was a riveting scholarly documentary about the “absent father,” the importance and shortage of “necessary fathers,” the plight of under-parented children, and structural poverty associated with “father-absence.” Curiously, book blamed all these problems on male irresponsibility without citing any basis in fact for arriving at such a conclusion, and offered no answers to any of the problems.

The Liberal Set-Up

David Blankenhorn had busily organized the answers behind the scenes for several years before his book was published. His organization, the IAV, had a long list of liberals and professional feminists that had been influencing a broad spectrum of policy and legislation since approximately 1990. The IAV orchestrated and provided core mentorship and political ideologies for Tommy Thompson’s welfare reforms, PROWA, and later, President Bush’s “Healthy Marriages” Initiative.

Wade Horn, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative and an IAV signatory for years, oddly became Assistant Undersecretary for the HHS Family Support division shortly after the election of George W. Bush. Horn was also a fellow of the Hudson Institute (which was also fooled by the Blankenhorn Lie).

Wade Horn wrote hundreds of fabulous pro-marriage articles published widely in leading conservative publications. But, after appointment, Wade Horn refused to live up to his writings. He refused to do anything to change administrative rules or recommend legislation to ensure that military reservists called into active duty are not over-assessed support or criminalized. His “Fathers Count” bill merely gave millions in federal money to NFI to coax poor fathers into paying child support on the promise that they “might” get to be fathers. “Fathers Count” does not allow NFI spend one nickel to make it possible for poor fathers to be fathers.

Further, Wade Horn failed to take corrective action to resolve a number of very serious anti-family problems at HHS, including systemic participation in paternity fraud, over-reporting of child support debt, and systemic criminalization of poor fathers who are regularly over-assessed child support.

IAV members also worked quietly with Robert Williams, President of PSI, on aggressive child support collection methods. PSI developed the “Williams Model,” which is used by most states to determine child support orders. PSI also holds more state child support enforcement contracts than any other company.

The Williams model is known to be corrupt: the data on which it is based never existed. Lenore Weitzman, whose calculations form the assumptions for the Williams Model, admitted that her research data was “invented” some years ago. The “Weitzman Fallacy was thoroughly debunked in Sanford Braver’s book Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths.

The “Blankenhorn Lie”

There are several books full of scandals involving the items outlined above. This article will focus on the pivotal scandal -- the “Blankenhorn Lie” -- and how this fooled Republicans into adopting anti-family feminist social policy agenda.

David Blankenhorn’s book Fatherless America, published in 1995, set forth an astonishing claim: ”Never before in this country have so many children been voluntarily abandoned by their fathers …. Today, the principal cause of fatherlessness is paternal choice…the rising rate of paternal abandonment.”

Many have challenged Dave Blankenhorn to back this claim up over the past decade. He has never responded despite hundreds of requests. This is because Dave Blankenhorn lied to America.

The Blankenhorn Lie was the talk of the nation for nearly a year. It sent conservatives rushing down a policy path parallel to the agenda of the National Organization of Women and the Great Society.

Today, the IAV still collectively blames father-absence on male irresponsibility, but the language has been changed to characterize it as a “steady defection of fathers.” They demand more “male accountability,” and fail to recognize the impact of professional feminism on law and social policy that is driving the problem.

After a decade of neo-conservative feminist control of social policy, poverty for single mothers, illegitimacy, and non-marriage are still hovering at near record levels. Other consequences, such as lack of health care, crime, school violence, and domestic violence remain hot voter issues.

From Communism to Marriage Movement

David Blankenhorn was a community organizer for causes inspired by Communist party member Saul Alinsky, who was a mentor for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Blankenhorn writes: Before founding the institute [IAV], I was a Saul Alinsky-inspired community organizer, and before that, a VISTA volunteer. I am a life-long Democrat. I have never, to the best of my memory, described myself as a "conservative," neo or otherwise, or as in favor of a political campaign called "family values," neo or other-wise.

This is an astonishing admission by Mr. Blankenhorn! He admits belief in Communism (of which radical feminism is a subset), and says he is not in favor of advocating real "family values." This explains why he is impossible to measure. Like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, David Blankenhorn has two or three positions on just about everything, if you can get him to take a position at all.

How Neo-Conservative feminists fooled Conservatives

Conservatives were fooled into blaming forest fires on Smokey the Bear, charged him for it and locked him up, and now wonder why half the country is in ashes despite record expenditures fighting forest fires.

How did this happen?

The IAV remains mutely indignant about its positions because it is a liberal organization containing many embedded professional feminists. The nice talk about marriage is simply to keep they eye busy while IAV members quietly pursue liberal agenda in the corridors of Congress and Courts.

IAV pretends to stand for something when talking to the public. In practice, IAV stands for nothing and everything in the name of “diversity,” as admitted by David Blankenhorn in USA Today:

"How do you speak about same-sex marriage in a way that respects the diversity of opinion in our ranks?" asks movement pioneer David Blankenhorn of the Institute for American Values, a think tank on family issues. "Some of us are for gay marriage, some are against it, and some are morally anguished fence-sitters." …. "As individuals, we are not neutral on this question," says the statement, which has been signed by more than 70 members. "But as a group, our purpose is to work to strengthen marriage through education and community mobilization, not to lobby politically for, or against, a federal marriage amendment or any other proposals related to same-sex marriage."

Republicans cannot expect answers with character from an organization that has none. There is no issue more important to restoring a vibrant heterosexual marriage culture than same-sex marriage. Same sex marriage is a feminist devise intended to put women in a position to take over marriage, and have at least four sources of income to boot. The IAV takes no public position on same-sex marriage, but a number of its major players actually advocate it behind the backs of Republicans.

The IAV website makes many wonderful statements about marriage. But, when one looks at pivotal policy recommendations, IAV takes the same stance that any professional feminist would. For example, David Blankenhorn believes that when mothers move away an hour or more drive from the natural father, it does not “significantly harm” the child. Yet, it is obvious that when a parent has to drive four hours or more (two trips -- one to pick up the child, another to return the child), father-absence will be the result. Most fathers simply cannot do this three times a week (totaling twelve hours or more of driving per week).

When IAV members do discuss policy, revenue and family support is usually at the top of the list. Wade Horn is the most obvious example. IAV representatives sit on various state commissions operating under the auspices of Family Support. These activities have nothing to do with actively improving marriage or improving child-father socialization.

I recently entered a “debate” in one of the familyscholars.org discussion sections. My look “under the hood” of day-to-day operations demonstrated that IAV is uninterested in solid policy reforms of keystone anti-marriage legal constructs such as no-fault divorce, same-sex marriage, and “violence against women.” I laid out various pro-marriage proposals that have been either enacted or are presently underway in Missouri.

The “management” at familyscholars.org was quite insulting. They consistently attempted to drag me into a convenient feminist gender-war to avoid discussion of the policy ideas. The IAV blog is a long read, but worth the investment. You will see, in microcosm, how the IAV structure allows professional feminists to set the agenda that IAV pursues behind the scenes. If you peruse this site carefully, you will see that IAV stands for nothing and everything, all at the same time.

Recently, there has been much criticism of professional feminism by leading conservatives, such as Phyllis Schlafly [2], Kate O’Bierne, Jonah Goldberg, Mona Charen, Wendy McElroy, Dr. Stephen Baskerville, and Carey Roberts. This is a keystone conservative revolution: they know that professional feminism is the cause of father-absence, and realize Republicans were snookered by liberal imitators.

Dr Stephen Baskerville sums up how the IAV derailed the conservative marriage movement this way: “This is precisely how extremist movements move from the margins to the mainstream and eventually seize power: not by defeating their opposition head-on but by making an end run around it, by disguising themselves in the values of the mainstream, by claiming to champion traditional values that in reality they are hijacking and perverting. This is precisely what feminism is now doing.”

The IAV refuses to recognize that feminism is the cause of father-absence, because it would require IAV to stand for something sensible and realistic. For example, IAV scholar Maggie Gallagher (who has been paid under the table to write favorably about the Bush Administration), crudely characterizes Kate O’Bierne’s new book “Women Who Make The World Worse” as nothing more than an “unsubtle assault on the ideas of Kate Michelman and her fellow aging, orthodox feminists.”

In all fairness, I must point out that Maggie Gallagher is strongly opposed to same-sex marriage, and has worked with the Alliance Defense Fund in litigation. However, her inconsistent refusal to recognize that second-wave feminism caused the divorce revolution prevents Republicans from looking beyond the immediate issue of same-sex marriage to address the very serious problems associated with entitled no-fault divorce and illegitimacy.

Recovering the Republican Revolution before 2008

It is quite clear that Republicans failed because they bought the Blankenhorn Lie, and looked to the Institute for American Values for answers. It might be painful for conservatives to recognize this fact, but it will be far better than the alternative.

Failure of the conservative social revolution could hurt Republicans badly in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Certainly, Homeland Security and the economy are of general interest to voters. Nothing drives votes like things that cause voters to suffer personally. There are a very large number of voters of all races and both sexes, young and old alike, whose lives have been terribly affected by the Great Society.

Republicans will be held responsible by both liberal and conservative grassroots organizations alike. The feminist divorce revolution caused intractable poverty for millions of women and children, a lack of health care, unsafe streets, parenting deficits calling for free child-care that will never happen, intergenerational illegitimacy, and many other human disasters. Democrats are certain to seize every advantage to turn these core home and hearth issues into campaign victories.

Not everyone at the IAV is liberal. There are some brilliant conservatives who know the ropes. IAV places them on the back-burner, and uses their names to create the illusion that IAV is a credible conservative organization. Since it is unlikely that IAV can be rebuilt with Dave Blankenhorn firmly at the helm, Republicans have little choice but to reject the entire organization.

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President Bush would be very wise to reject the Institute for American Values, and secure the advice of the legitimate marriage movement on family and marriage issues. New Republican Congressional leaders should immediately look to the legitimate marriage movement for wise policy answers that have political traction.

A New “Contract For America” containing reforms that stop destroying families and the futures of women and children will unite and solidify the frail relationship between Republican social and economic conservatives, and insulate conservatives from horrendous liberal attacks on “living room issues” slated for 2008.

© 2006 David Usher - All Rights Reserved

E-Mails are used strictly for NWVs alerts, not for sale


David R. Usher is Legislative Analyst for the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, Missouri Coalition And is a co-founder and past Secretary of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children

E-Mail: drusher@swbell.net


 

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Conservatives were fooled into blaming forest fires on Smokey the Bear, charged him for it and locked him up, and now wonder why half the country is in ashes despite record expenditures fighting forest fires.