The Family Research Council, a Southern Poverty Law Center-certified anti-gay hate group, has teamed up with the Heritage Foundation, a major funder of anti-gay causes across the country, to launch a so-called “Values Bus” tour. The tour, which is already underway and includes stops in battleground states from Minnesota to Virginia, aims to whip up hard-right, neoconservative furor in the run-up to the November elections. (Perhaps they’ve forgotten the National Organization for Marriage Discrimination‘s infamous 2010 “Summer for Marriage” bus tour, which failed spectacularly at every stop. . .)

The “Values Bus” tour plans to spend a lot of time in Wisconsin over the next two weeks, which just happens to be the state where LGBT hero Tammy Baldwin is running for the Senate seat being vacated by outgoing Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl. (Coincidence? I think not.) Her Republican challenger will be determined by an August 14 primary; one of the Republicans vying for the nod is former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson. Thompson was one of the most popular governors in Wisconsin’s history, governing the state from 1987 until he left in 2001 to serve as President Bush’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Unfortunately for him, though, his reputation is that of a moderate, and since moderates are persona non grata in the post-Tea Party GOP, Thompson needs to shore up his credibility with the party’s new core constituency: wingnuts. This likely explains why Thompson has agreed to appear with the hate-fueled “Values Bus” tour, which is making a series of six stops in parks and rural parking lots across the state, according to the Wisconsin Gazette. It’s a great deal for Thompson, because he won’t have to say a thing about Tammy Baldwin being a lesbian. All he’ll have to do is appear with the anti-LGBT bigots of the FRC and they’ll do the rest, fanning the flames of homophobia across Wisconsin.

It is unclear whether this is the same FRC “Values Bus” that drove all around North Carolina last spring, drumming up support for that state’s marriage discrimination amendment by plying kids with free gifts and candy.