Newsmax is already running rehabilitation efforts for Bernard Kerik. Now it's picked up another disgraced conservative to rehabilitate: Ralph Reed.
Reed, the longtime evangelical leader and former executive director of the Christian Coalition, was tarnished by his association with scandal-ridden lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who hired Reed to lobby on behalf of an Indian tribe in Mississippi to stop tribes inneighboring states from opening casinos that would compete with those of the Mississippi tribe. The Washington Post reported that Reed had received at least $4.2 million from Abramoff to mobilize Christian voters against the casinos.
Those revelations played a role in Reed getting crushed in a 2006 Republican primary for Georgia lieutenant governor.
But as with Kerik, Reed's political humilation and links to a corrupt lobbyist are all water under the bridge as far as Newsmax is concerned.
Newsmax's Reed rehabilitation appears to have begun with a June 24 article touting Reed's new advocacy group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is "aimed at using the Web to mobilize a new generation of values voters." This was followed up with a July 20 article (and accompanying interview with Newsmax's video operation) touting Reed's claim that "Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings can actually help Republicans in upcoming elections."
By August, Reed was writing columns for Newsmax and awarded a slot on Newsmax's "blog" page, complete with bio. Needless to say, neither of those previous articles nor Reed's Newsmax bio mention his ties to Abramoff nor his ignominious 2006 defeat in Georgia.
Reed, however, seems eager to use his Newsmax slot to discredit himself. In his Sept. 13 column, Reed claims that President Obama's speech on health care reform contained "falsehood after fib after misrepresentation after distortion about both his plan and his opponents' opposition to it," citing as one instance Obama's claimthat "his plan did not provide care for illegal immigrants," which Reed branded "false," asserting: "By rejecting a Republican amendment requiring proof of legal residence prior to receiving care under the government-run plan, the Democrats have opened the door for non-citizens and non-legal residents to receive care for which they have not paid into the system."
But as we've noted, FactCheck and PolitiFact have refuted the claim that a lack of enforcement enforcement provisions in the bill itself doesn't mean that no enforcement of a ban on illegal immigrants making use of government health care will take place.
Reed also writes:
Obama said — falsely — that [Sarah] Palin and others have claimed that “we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens.” This is totally false, and Obama knows it. What critics have pointed out is that seniors will be required to submit regularly to “end of life” counseling sessions (detailed on page 425 of H.B. 3200) that, combined with cost controls and rationing of care, could lead to them being denied life-saving treatment.
Reed is also lying when he says Palin never claimed that Obama "plan[s] to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens." Palin said exactly that when she wrote that the elderly and disabled "will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."
All in all, not an auspicious debut as a rehabilitation subject. Reed better hopes he quickly gets the full whitewash treatment Newsmax just gave Kerik.