Washington (CNSNews.com) - The Rev. Jesse Jackson says the conservative movement is "sustained by big money" but can be defeated by liberals. He also declared that the "right wing is not that popular."
Jackson made his remarks Friday at the closing luncheon of the "Take Back America" conference in Washington, which is billed as a gathering of progressive activists.
"The right wing is not that popular. It is sustained by big money. We can have a poor campaign, a rich message, we can outwork [conservatives] because we have a higher sense of purpose, mission and need," Jackson told the crowd.
Jackson also said that American journalism is responsible for muting dissent about the war in Iraq.
"One reason why America has been so slow to react [in opposition] to this war is because of misinformation and disinformation. Europeans have reacted with much greater reaction [opposing the war] because they have more options in the media. Our media gets in the bed with the military in wartime," Jackson told CNSNews.com after his speech.
"The whole media got suckered into the [Bush administration's] disinformation campaign and therefore was disseminating misinformation," Jackson said.
Jackson also decried the influence of conservatives in talk radio, cable news programs and on the Internet.
"Their journalism is unabashedly political. The more people who see it for what it is worth, the more they look for a more fair, accurate, balanced reporting. There are facts and there is context and there is truth," Jackson said.
Jackson also took aim at President Bush during his speech.
"George Bush campaigned as a compassionate conservative, implying that he was less dismissive of civil rights and labor than [former president Ronald] Reagan was and more open than his father (former president George H. Bush). But [Bush] has been a closed-door conservative," Jackson said.
While Jackson called the 2001 war in Afghanistan a war of "necessity," he sharply criticized the war in Iraq.
Jackson called the Iraq war "a war of choice, a vain journey rooted in deception and greed" that is causing us to lose "our national honor."
"Today our nation is in a state of disgrace and isolation," he added.
Jackson said that while many U.S. soldiers are fighting to help bring about a better Iraq, the U.S. government is actively failing them at home.
"The girls and boys of Appalachia are dying for a democracy in Iraq that they did not have in Appalachia," he said.
Jackson was also skeptical about the scheduled June 30th transfer of power in Iraq.
"We seek to conquer and put a veneer -- a CIA steering committee -- over the country and call it a democracy," Jackson explained.
"We can do better than George Bush as president," he added to loud applause.
Jackson also addressed some of the liberal activists' disappointment about Sen. John F. Kerry's stance on the Iraq War.
"For us, the issue is not should be we be on Kerry's ticket -- put Kerry on our ticket, we need him as president," he said to applause. A petition circulating among the liberal activists at the event asked for signatures to pressure Kerry to "present a plan to withdraw from Iraq." Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, has been accused by some fellow Democrats of straddling the Iraq war issue.
'Nobody likes us'
Gerald McEntee, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME ), also addressed the liberal activists at the closing luncheon and he slammed Bush for what he considered the tarnishing of America's image in the world.
"It is sad to say -- nobody likes us anymore, nobody likes Bush, nobody likes [Vice President Dick] Cheney, nobody likes the United States," McEntee said.
"Even the Pope doesn't like us -- he has charity -- love in his heart, but he doesn't like us," he added.
McEntee also said that according to polls in Iraq, Saddam Hussein "is higher in the polls than George Bush."
Saying Bush's economic policies were based on an "immoral tax cut," McEntee did not pull any punches: "I will say this, sisters and brothers, [Bush] calls himself a compassionate conservative -- calls himself a uniter -- he has done more to divide this country than any other single American."
McEntee also tried to downplay the recent slew of positive economic news, including last week's national employment numbers.
"They are now dancing at the White House," McEntee said. But the White House should have no reason for joy, according to McEntee.
"They didn't create those jobs! They didn't create those jobs! The productivity of the American worker in this country -- those are the ones that created those jobs -- not the White House, not their economic policy plan," he said.
"Today we have more poor people than ever before," he added.
McEntee also accused Bush of denying funds to educational programs like the federally mandated No Child Left Behind program.
"What good is it if you can go to any school in America, but you don't have teachers and the rooms are packed and crowded, where even teachers have to bring the pencils and pens because George Bush shorted the legislation for the leaving no child behind," he said.
Kim Gandy, the president of The National Organization for Women (NOW), also addressed the conference luncheon, calling for "a regime change" in November to defeat Bush.
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