Quote of the Day: Inevitable Consequences

by matttbastard

The Wichita Eagle:

Warren Hern, a Colorado physician and close friend of Tiller’s — who described himself now as “the only doctor in the world” who performs very-late-term abortions — said Tiller’s death was predictable.

“I think it’s the inevitable consequence of more than 35 years of constant anti-abortion terrorism, harassment and violence,” he said.

When Obama was elected last fall, Hern predicted that anti-abortion violence would increase, he said. Because Obama supports legalized abortion, Hern said, its foes “have lost ground…. They want the doctors dead, and they invite people to assassinate us. No wonder that this happens.

“I am next on the list.”

Related: Must-read article from the always-excellent Ann Friedman, in which she puts the assassination of Dr. George Tiller into the broader context of the concerted criminal harassment (sometimes deadly) of US abortion clinic workers:

It’s apparent that we need someone at the federal level who is paying attention. After all, Tiller’s assassin was not acting in vacuum. Even if no national anti-choice group directly ordered him to fire that gun, he is a product of a culture that thrives on systematically threatening reproductive health care providers and women who seek abortions. Militant anti-choice groups like Operation Rescue — which has endorsed intimidation tactics in the past — released statements yesterday condemning Tiller’s assassination.

But after years of sending the message to its avid base that Tiller was a sub-human monster, a press release expressing dismay at the killing does little good. On the sidebar of the Operation Rescue blog, near where the press release appeared, was a small image featuring Dr. Tiller’s face, some very sinister-looking flames, and the words “America’s Doctor of Death,” linking to a detailed dossier about all of Tiller’s offenses. Other groups keep databases of reproductive health providers’ addresses and phone numbers, all but daring their members to conduct harassment campaigns.

Elsewhere: Contra the disingenuous spin (h/t Mandos) from the forced-birth set, Jill Filipovic and former Religious Right icon Frank Schaeffer both join Friedman in placing the blame for Dr. Tiller’s murder squarely on the collective shoulders of the ‘mainstream’ anti-abortion movement. As Schaeffer (who readily acknowledges his role, along with his late father Francis and former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, in establishing the anti-abortion movement) puts it:

The same hate machine I was part of is still attacking all abortionists as “murderers.” And today once again the “pro-life” leaders are busy ducking their personal responsibility for people acting on their words. The people who stir up the fringe never take responsibility. But I’d like to say on this day after a man was murdered in cold blood for preforming abortions that I — and the people I worked with in the religious right, the Republican Party, the pro-life movement and the Roman Catholic Church, all contributed to this killing by our foolish and incendiary words.

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More on Barack Obama, Post-Partisanship and Billy Graham 2.0

by matttbastard

Via Sully, Erica Barnett has compiled some of the many not-so-inclusive views held by Obama’s new spiritual BFF, required reading for those who still don’t get why including Rick Warren in the Inauguration ceremony has provoked such an outcry from the left side of the aisle. Yes, by now I fully realize that the President-elect doesn’t give a rat’s ass about progressive and LGBT objections to his upcoming public indulgence in post-partisan political symbolism. But that’s precisely the point: Obama apparently feels that cementing his political philosophy into the general consciousness at the expense of a marginalized group (ie, citizens who identify as LGBT) is of greater import than symbolically challenging entrenched bigotry.

Unless Obama truly believes that progressive “intolerance” of social conservative hobbyhorses trumps the institutional denial of agency to 10% of the US public–in which case we should all just fucking give up and hand Amy Sullivan the gold medal for finally winning the Oppression Olympics.

Once again we have been presented with evidence that establishment figures within the Democratic Party–including, and, especially, Barack Obama and his 1337 team of advisers–really do believe that Sister Souljahing must be a standard operating principle if a ‘liberal’ politician is to be seen as a consensus-builder. Judging by his latest message to progressives, social conservatives, and the Beltway, Obama seems bound and determined to establish himself as the ultimate High Broderist POTUS–which is fine, if the immediate desired outcome is to receive kudos from the Sunday bobblehead brigade. Such a too-clever-by-half strategy could, however, become a long-term political liability when the time comes for Obama to court his perpetually spurned base.

Perhaps I’m a political dinosaur, desperately clinging to the vestiges of a nakedly partisan era, unprepared to navigate the terrain of today’s pragmatic political landscape. Regardless, I really don’t appreciate always being used as a goddamn prop in a broad Kabuki performance established solely for the purview of the chattering classes. There must be a (*cough*) less-divisive way for Obama to broadcast his message of inclusiveness, one that doesn’t require making a blood sacrifice on the altar of centrist credibility–especially one where he, as a straight person, has no personal stake.

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Rick Warren: The Wrong Choice

by matttbastard

Is he serious? Rick “politicians have to believe in God” Warren? Rick “cone of silence” Warren? Rick “Prop 8 is great” Warren? Rick “take out the evildoers” Warren? Rick “Dobson-lite” Warren? That’s the kinder, gentler hatemonger who the President-elect The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (see update below edit: and second update) has selected to give the Inaugural Invocation?

I’m with Libby Spencer:

If there was ever a time to reach out to the side of the fence that didn’t oppose him tooth and nail all the way to the White House, this is it. I would suggest people might want to leave a suggestion at change.gov and ask him to rethink this choice. Frankly, I don’t know who to suggest as an alternative, but there has to be someone more neutral than Warren.

Thunderbird is go, kiddies — remember, keep it civil (edit: and make sure to read the update below before crafting a response).

Update: Mike Madden at The War Room reports that Obama wasn’t [edit: solely–see Update 2] responsible for Warren’s selection:

[T]he decision to get involved with Saddleback was actually not Obama’s. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, run by the House and Senate, put together the program for the swearing-in ceremony. Congress, not Obama, invited Warren… .

Still, I’m sure the Committee could be convinced to reconsider their decision, were Obama to sic Rahmbo on them. So keep those suggestions coming.

Update 2: Well, so much for the Committee dodge (h/t Greg Sargent):

The program participants were invited by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and chosen by the Chairman, the Presidential-elect and the Vice President-elect.

So whether or not Warren was directly selected by Obama, the President-elect obviously had a big say regarding Warren’s inclusion in the program.  Wonderful.  BarbinMD is exactly right:

What a spit in the eye to the GBLT community in particular, and to anyone who supports equality, dignity and justice under the law.

Todd Beeton @ MyDD has more info on who else to contact regarding the decision to include Warren in the inauguration ceremony:

If you’d like to register your displeasure with the pick, calling Dianne Feinstein’s office might be a good place to start. As the Chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Feinstein announced the line-up — including Warren — today, calling it “superb.”

LA: (310) 914-7300
SF: (415) 393-0707
DC: (202) 224-3841

Click here to contact Feinstein via email.  Again, keep it civil.  Rather difficult, I realize, when one sees the following brand of shiny happy hatred being rewarded by a nominal ally:

(h/t Todd for the Warren Prop 8 vid, by way of Teddy Partridge)

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Gee, Thanks.

by matttbastard

Bill Berkowitz reports:

In one of those better-late-than-never moments that came one week before Thanksgiving, Bob Jones University of Greenville, South Carolina, issued a belated, but seemingly heartfelt, online statement apologizing for “allow[ing] institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that [segregationist] ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures.” In 2000, Bob Jones III, then president of the university that was founded in 1927 as a private Christian institution, admitted that the university had been wrong for not admitting African American students until 1971. At the same time, “he announced the lifting of the University’s policy against interracial dating.”

Apparently someone in Greenville didn’t get the memo that white guilt is, like, so 2007.

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Max Blumenthal: Council for National Policy “Hidden Hand Behind McCain’s Palin Pick”

by matttbastard

For those who claim that the McCain campaign didn’t thoroughly vet their VP nominee before offering her a slot on the ticket, Max Blumenthal puts all concerns to rest:

Last week, while the media focused almost obsessively on the DNC’s spectacle in Denver, the country’s most influential conservatives met quietly at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis to get to know Sarah Palin. The assembled were members of the Council for National Policy, an ultra-secretive cabal that networks wealthy right-wing donors together with top conservative operatives to plan long-term movement strategy.

CNP members have included Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Grover Norquist, Tim LaHaye and Paul Weyrich. At a secret 2000 meeting of the CNP, George W. Bush promised to nominate only pro-life judges; in 2004, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told the group, “The destiny of the nation is on the shoulders of the conservative movement.” This year, thanks to Sarah Palin’s selection, the movement may have finally aligned itself behind the campaign of John McCain.

[…]

I learned of the get-together only through an online commentary by one of its attendees, top Dobson/Focus on the Family flack Tom Minnery. (Watch it here) Minnery described the mood as CNP members watched Palin accept her selection as John McCain’s Vice Presidential pick. “I was standing in the back of a ballroom filled with largely Republicans who were hoping against hope that something would put excitement back into this campaign,” Minnery said. “And I have to tell you, that speech by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin — people were on their seats applauding, cheering, yelling… That room in Minneapolis watching on the television screen was electrified. I have not seen anything like it in a long time.”

Minnery added that his boss, Dobson, has yearned for a conservative female leader like Margaret Thatcher to emerge on the American scene. And while Palin is no Thatcher, “she has not rejected the feminine side of who she is, so for that reason, she will be attractive to conservative voters.”

The members of the Council for National Policy are the hidden hand behind McCain’s Palin pick. With her selection, the Republican nominee is suddenly — and unexpectedly — assured of the support of a movement that once opposed his candidacy with all its might.

Ask, and ye shall receive. Once again, Sarah Palin isn’t on the ticket to pick up Clinton voters; her unexpected nomination is nothing but a blatant pander to the religious right and an undeniable affirmation of its continued power within the contemporary GOP. And now that Dobson has his low-rent Thatcher mock-up (if the Iron Lady weren’t still among the living she’d be doing a 720 in her grave) as requested, he suddenly seems to be considering a change of heart with regards to McCain’s acceptability.

Imagine that.

Related: publius believes the disparate reactions under the GOP big tent to the Palin nomination are indicative of “a proxy war between more elite/DC neocon Republicans and the social conservative base.”

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McCain’s (Anti-Choice) Hail Mary

by matttbastard

Rounding up coverage of Biden reaction last week, I quoted former Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson, who thought that Obama going the old white political insider route “gives an opening to the McCain campaign to pick a woman or make an out-of-the-box selection.” Well, today the McCain campaign took that opening and charged through it:

(h/t Petulant for the vid)

Now, before you get all ZOMG glass ceiling shattered!!1 at the prospect of a female veep (which begs the question: why didn’t McCain vet Senator Clinton, hmm? No. Re. Spect.) keep in mind that Palin is, by and large, a Trojan hammer, as NARAL president Nancy Keenan outlines in the following press release:

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that Sen. John McCain’s selection today of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate is further evidence that a McCain presidency will be just another four years of the same old Bush-style anti-choice policies. Just like McCain, Palin opposes a woman’s right to choose. Palin has also stated her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

“John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate proves just how rigid and extreme his administration would be when it comes to a woman’s right to choose,” Keenan said. “For 25 years, McCain has opposed a woman’s right to choose, and we know that he will continue to push anti-choice policies in the White House. McCain’s pick of anti-choice Sarah Palin is further evidence that his White House will be just another four years of Bush-style policies. Any remaining doubts about McCain’s extreme anti-choice position should be put to rest when voters learn about the combined anti-choice records of Sarah Palin and John McCain.”

Palin, a member of the anti-choice group Feminists for Life, said during her campaign for governor that she is opposed to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. [Juneau Empire, “Abortion Draws Clear Divide in State Races,” accessed 8/29/08 and Anchorage Daily News, “Governor’s Race: Top contenders meet one last time to debate,” 11/03/06.]

“Americans are tired of the kind of divisive anti-choice policies that Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have pledged to continue to support. The contrast between pro-choice Sen. Obama and anti-choice Sen. McCain is clear. Voters are looking for a leader who respects women’s freedom and privacy. Barack Obama is that leader.”

Sen. McCain’s selection of Palin as his vice-presidential running mate is especially troublesome for the unique audience of women voters NARAL Pro-Choice America is targeting: Independent and Republican pro-choice women in suburban and exurban swing districts. These women play a pivotal role in the presidential election. Recent polling confirms how, once these voters know McCain’s extreme opposition to a woman’s right to choose and family planning, they will switch parties to support Sen. Barack Obama.

NARAL Pro-Choice America, which tracks all choice-related votes in Congress and ranks all 50 states on the status of women’s reproductive rights, classifies Sarah Palin as anti-choice.

Information about the polling can be found here. Learn more about NARAL Pro-Choice America’s actions to educate voters on McCain’s anti-choice record at www.MeetTheRealMcCain.com.

This 2005 Nerve article by Lynn Harris gives some background on Feminists for Life:

According to its tastefully designed website, FFL — describing itself as a “nonsectarian, nonpartisan, grassroots organization … shaped by the core feminist values of justice, nondiscrimination, and nonviolence” — “recognizes that abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women.” The goal of the group: “systematically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion — primarily lack of practical resources and support — through holistic, woman-centered solutions.”
Well, that’s refreshing. No railing against the ladies for making selfish choices, no little pictures of tiny feet. A commitment to non-violence, a focus on the “root causes” — they use the word ” holistic,” for God’s sake. It all sounds entirely reasonable, doesn’t it?
Try radical. The group believes abortion is an act of violence that is unacceptable under any circumstances. Unacceptable under any circumstances. Including rape, incest, major fetal defects, and danger to the mother’s life. This position — “holistic solutions” aside — puts [FFL] to the right of their sister organization, Attila the Hun for Life.

Not only that, but FFL is sketchy about birth control. “Preconception issues, including abstinence and contraception, are outside of our mission,” reads their website. “Some FFL members and supporters support the use of non-abortifacient contraception while
others oppose contraception for a variety of reasons.” So it’s not clear precisely how FFL would go about reducing unwanted pregnancies. Or, for that matter, rape and incest.

Katha Pollitt disputes FFL’s appropriation of the ‘feminist’ moniker:

It is indeed feminist to say no woman should have to abort a wanted child to stay in school or have a career–FFL’s line is thus an advance on the more typical antichoice position, which is that women have abortions to go to Europe or fit into their prom dress. You can see why their upbeat, rebellious slogans–“refuse to choose,” “question abortion,” “women deserve better”–appeal to students. (But what do those students think when they find that the postabortion resources links are all to Christian groups and that FFL’s sunny pregnancy-assistance advice includes going on food stamps or welfare?) Exposing the constraints on women’s choices, however, is only one side of feminism. The other is acknowledging women as moral agents, trusting women to decide what is best for themselves. For FFL there’s only one right decision: Have that baby. And since women’s moral judgment cannot be trusted, abortion must be outlawed, whatever the consequences for women’s lives and health–for rape victims and 12-year-olds and 50-year-olds, women carrying Tay-Sachs fetuses and women at risk of heart attack or stroke, women who have all the children they can handle and women who don’t want children at all. FFL argues that abortion harms women–that’s why it clings to the outdated cancer claims. But it would oppose abortion just as strongly if it prevented breast cancer, filled every woman’s heart with joy, lowered the national deficit and found Jimmy Hoffa. That’s because they aren’t really feminists–a feminist could not force another woman to bear a child, any more than she could turn a pregnant teenager out into a snowstorm. They are fetalists.

All of which makes me wonder if, by picking Palin as his running mate, McCain is actually making a play for pro-life Evangelicals and Catholics, rather than disaffected Clinton voters. By tapping a socially conservative abortion foe, the McCain campaign may be attempting to once again make the Christian Right vote a factor in November, after many believed religious conservatives didn’t trust McCain enough to wholeheartedly support him. David Waters of WapO’s On Faith points to a recent CBSNews.com interview with Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:

CBSNews.com: Who’s on the list of people mentioned for VP that you think would most excite Southern Baptists and other members of the conservative faith community?

Richard Land: Probably Governor Palin of Alaska, because she’s a person of strong faith. She just had her fifth child, a Downs Syndrome child. And there’s a wonderful quote that she gave about her baby, and the fact that she would never, ever consider having an abortion just because her child had Downs Syndrome. She’s strongly pro-life.

She’s a virtual lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. She would ring so many bells. And I just think it would help with independents because she’s a woman. She’s a reform Governor. I think that, from what I hear, that would be the choice that would probably ring the most bells… .

And, true to Land’s prediction, (church) bells are ringing in exultation, as noted by Waters:

Evangelical leaders were elated Friday.

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council:

“Sarah Palin clearly addresses the issues so many conservatives are concerned about. It balances out the ticket,” said Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council. “She’s also really a checkmate for the Democratic Party because folks who were looking to make history for Barack Obama can make history by voting for John McCain in seeing the first woman elected to the vice-presidency. It was a very strategic move by John McCain.”

Pro-life advocates and website were buzzing Friday about McCain’s choice.

“Sarah Palin is the whole package. There couldn’t be a better vice presidential pick,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an influential pro-life PAC. “By choosing the boldly pro-life Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has taken his stand as the one true, authentic pro-life ticket.”

“[T]he one true, authentic pro-life ticket.” I have a feeling McCain’s [deliberately ambiguous] latter day pro-life branding effort has completely answered any lingering doubts conservative Christian voters may have held regarding his commitment to key socon issues. Instead of an ‘out of the box’ decision, choosing Palin as his VP nominee amounts to more of the same from John McCain: “a classic, Rovian appease-the-base choice.”

Update: Ramesh Ponnuru believes the cons outweigh the pros with regards to Palin as VP. Interesting analysis, as Ponnuru is, theoretically, representative of the market being targeted.

Update 2: More on the conservative reaction to Palin @ The Great Orange Satan (h/t Chet).

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Right Wing Watch: Phony ‘National Day of Prayer’ Pushes Right-Wing Judges

by matttbastard

Well, isn’t this special:

The “National Day of Prayer Task Force” is a Religious Right group pretending to be the “official” agency responsible for the national non-sectarian day of prayer and reflection. Here Janice Rogers Brown, Bush’s most extreme judicial nominee, and Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade, pray for a right-wing judiciary.

National Day of Prayer Task Force — “GOD TV,” 5/1/2008

And their dogwhistle to the Republican leadership prayers will be answered if John Sidney McSame inherits the keys to the Oval Office. Maverickly delicious? Yeah, and Dubya was compassionately conservative.

Four. More. Years.

Check out Right Wing Watch for more on the ‘National Day of Prayer Task Force’ and yesterday’s horizontal cry to Jeebus.

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