- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 2, 2004

The Bush administration is controlled by a “right-wing conspiracy,” and the prospect of President Bush’s re-election is “almost too dire to bear,” NAACP Chairman Julian Bond told a gathering of liberal activists yesterday.

Mr. Bond’s remarks came in his opening address to the three-day “Take Back America” conference at Washington’s Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, which will also feature presentations by billionaire left-wing financier George Soros, failed Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

“There is a right-wing conspiracy, it controls the administration, both houses of Congress, much of the judiciary, and a major portion of the news media,” said Mr. Bond, a former Democratic state legislator from Georgia who has been NAACP chairman since 1998.

Mr. Bond, who has made a habit of delivering scathing anti-Republican diatribes to begin the annual conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, also scolded Democrats for being “absent without leave.” But he also said that the idea of a Democratic loss in this fall’s presidential election is “almost too dire to bear.”

During his speech, Mr. Bond restated his view that conservatives represent the “dark underside” of American culture and that many Republican supporters come from the “Taliban wing” of American politics.

Mr. Bush’s recent appearance with black children in support of the faith-based initiative were merely “ostentatious piety,” said Mr. Bond, who praised former President Lyndon Johnson.

“He pursued civil rights as no president had before him and no president since,” Mr. Bond said.

This week’s conference is conceived as a launching pad for a “progressive movement” that will defeat Mr. Bush in the fall and entrench itself as a force in future political contests, said Toby Chaudhuri, a spokesman for the Campaign for America’s Future.

“We are going to offer Americans an alternative to the failed policies of the right,” he said.

More than 2,000 people from all over the country are expected to attend the conference, Mr. Chaudhuri said.

The event featured hefty doses of right-wing bashing. Wes Boyd, president of MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group and Web site, took the stage in front of a sign declaring “Right wing extremism has reached a dead end.”

He was preceded by Joan Blades, co-founder of MoveOn.org, who said Mr. Bush’s “blind ideology has led this country to dead ends in our relationship with the world.”

Earlier in the day, Roger Hickey, co-director for the Campaign for America’s Future, said that MoveOn.org now has 2 million members, “more than the Christian Coalition had at its peak.” He characterized the coalition’s aim as guiding Christians to “repent and vote Republican.”

A spokeswoman for the Christian Coalition yesterday said her group’s membership of 3 million is still rising, “especially with this being an election year.”

“I have no idea what they are referring to,” said Michele Ammons. “We’re peaking now.”

An awards dinner last night honoring New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Elaine Jones, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, also served as a $125-a-plate fund-raiser for the Campaign for America’s Future.

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