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Thursday, April 22, 2004  

Politics: Far Right targets Arlen Specter

The chubby Right Winger with attitude -- and twelve guns -- is at it again over at Tom's Nap Room. He is promoting the senatorial candidacy of an anti-abortion wacko in Pennsylvania. I hadn't been paying much attention to politics in the Keystone State, but when Tom Bux supports a cause there must be something awry. There is. Rep. Pat Toomey is seeking to unseat longterm incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter. He is the poster child of the far Right Christian fundamentalists and the 'disassemble the government' lobby. Among Toomey's supporters is the leader of Focus on the Family, an anti-abortion religious group that would like to limit the roles of women in society.

Pennsylvania's four-term senator, Arlen Specter, is facing a tough challenge in next week's Republican primary. Why? Some observers says it is because his opponent, U.S. Congressman Pat Toomey, has a strong pro-life, pro-family voting history that resonates with conservatives in The Keystone State. And Specter's chance for a fifth term in Congress may have taken another hit, now that a nationally-known pro-family spokesman has publicly endorsed Toomey.

Dr. James Dobson admits he seldom endorses political candidates. But the pro-family leader says it is "imperative" that Pat Toomey, a conservative Republican who has served three terms in the U.S. House, win the primary on April 27 against Specter. Speaking on behalf of his fellow conservatives, Dobson says in a letter dated March 22, 2004, that Specter opposes "nearly everything we hold dear."

For example, Dobson -- offering his endorsement solely as an individual and not as the representative of the organizations he leads -- describes the 74-year-old Specter as "a one-man roadblock" to the appointment of pro-family judges to the federal bench. And the four-term senator, he says, opposes a federal amendment that would protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Toomey, on the other hand, would be "a splendid pro-family, pro-life voice" in the Senate, he says.

"[Toomey] is a man of great courage to take on a sitting senator," Dobson states in the letter, "and the defeat of Arlen Specter would send a mighty signal that the days of waffling, devious, anti-family Republicans who are liberals in disguise is finally over."

The far Right has called out the troops on Toomey's behalf. Dobson is speaking at fundraisers for him. In additon, anti-abortion crusaders have targeted their activity to cities in Pennsylvania. Among them is The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR). One of its forms of interaction is to drive trucks with graphic photos of what it claims to be aborted fetuses through neighborhoods.

This time, CBR is showcasing billboard-size images of abortions on the sides of about six trucks traveling through downtown State College and on campus, a campaign that is continuing today.

. . .The images of aborted fetuses at different stages of development are displayed on the sides and back of the trucks and are accompanied by the word "Choice." The Web site www.abortionno.org is also included." [Link omitted.]

"People are going to see more and more of these. Our whole purpose is to bother the American people into doing something to stop the killing," said Mark Harrington, a director for CBR in California.

CBR targets areas with schools so that children and college students are exposed to its message.

Toomey's other major support comes from the ultraconservative Club for Economic Growth. The Club is said to be providing the money to finance his campaign while the religious Right provides manpower. People for the American Way has a site devoted to the Club.

About CFG:

  • Main agenda is promoting tax cuts and drastically reducing the size of the federal government.
  • CFG patterns itself after EMILY's List, a progressive group that raises campaign funds for pro-choice women. CFG encourages donors to mail in checks for favored candidates. By “bundling” these checks and sending them off to candidates, CFG can have a large impact on individual races while avoiding the rules that govern more traditional political action committees.
  • CFG has more than 9,000 members, dominated by Wall Street financiers and executives.
  • CFG’s president and founder Steve Moore has called for closing several government departments, including Education, Commerce, Labor and Agriculture. As always, CFG isn't afraid to take on Republicans who disagree with its policy goals.
  • CFG’s latest target is Sen. John McCain, an opponent of some of President Bush's latest tax cut proposals. According to Moore, CFG members “loathe” McCain and hope to find “a true, Reagan conservative” to face him in the 2004 primary.

  • Toomey is not just conservative; he is truly a reactionary. Even by far Right standards he stands out.

    If it were up to the American Conservative Union, the decision would be clear: the ACU gives Toomey a 96 percent lifetime rating, and Specter a 43 percent rating. Republican Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania's other U.S. senator, has an 87 percent lifetime rating from the ACU.

    Pollsters say Toomey is fast closing the gap in projected votes.

    Fighting incumbency, an overwhelming financial edge and President Bush's endorsed candidate, U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey is within range of upsetting U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, new polls show.

    Toomey's conservative challenge to the moderate four-term incumbent, and polls showing Specter's lead at only 6 percentage points, have turned Tuesday's primary into the nation's most-watched spring election.

    I've never been fond of Arlen Specter. He is the kind of slippery politician I instinctively distrust. Furthermore, I will never forgive his shameful conduct during the Clarence Thomas hearings. But, faced with a choice between Specter and Toomey -- a shill for people who want to dismantle much of what is good about our government -- I must side with Specter. I am no longer a Pennsylvania voter. I hope folks who are reach the same conclusion.

    7:25 PM