Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How Does Sarah Palin Hurt Keith Fimians Campaign?

You know that Keith Fimian has got to be sweating about Sarah Palin as the vice presidential candidate. The last thing Fimian needs is to run down ticket to a campaign that is raising questions about social issues and religious ties.

Fimian has been running a stealth campaign, attempting to mute concern over his own ties to cult-like religious groups such as Tom Moneghan's Ave Maria, which has poured funds into Fimian's campaign. The last thing he needs is for social conservatives and their policies to be front and center during his campaign season.

Fimian was counting on John McCain’s maverick image from 2000, when McCain brought in lots of moderates and independents, to carry his campaign. And Fimian probably was hoping that McCain would pick an uncontroversial running mate like Mitt Romney for the ticket. Somebody who would satisfy the socially conservative base by being pro life but for whom it wouldn’t be a major issue that would grab the spotlight. But the choice of Sarah Palin has raised questions once again about the role of religion in the public square. And it's focusing women on their concern over the accessibility of contraception and safe abortions.

That just isn’t going to play well in the always moderate 11th Congressional District which is trending ever more blue. Tom Davis might have been able to finesse this ticket, but I don’t think Fimian will.

What the ticket does is put issues like the right to an abortion and contraception front and center at a time when Fimian’s whole campaign strategy is to hope that voters in his district don't focus on those issues. Given the Bush administrations recent executive order which would allow health care providers to deny women birth control and abortion options if it violates health care worker’s individual conscience, and this choice of a VP candidate, it’s obvious that in a presidential election year, the GOP thinks it must pander to its evangelical base. It’s them, not Gerry Connolly, who are driving these issues, front and center and complicating Keith Fimian’s stealth campaign for Congress.


Anonymous said...

I think I finally figured you out

I think you are strongly pro-abortion (nothing wrong with that by the way) and that recent events have really touched a nerve.

I think you are a strong proponent of emily's list. Emily's list crosses the line in the way they attack people and it is beginning to show on how you are writing IMHO

Now a couple of points

1. Leslie Byrne got crushed in the primary.

2. The only people pushing the whole thrust of your post are liberal bloggers.

3. Connolly doesn't want anything to do with you or this line of attack with good reason it would be electoral suicide.

4. Do you really think the whole pro-life/pro-choice issue is that important in the 11th district? I think most people are focused on other issues.

5. Hiding!?!? pot keettle black on that one. Connolly is the one that is hiding. Fimian has been on tv for a while now. He has had many more events thatn Connolly has. See tooconservative for much more.


AnonymousIsAWoman said...

It's a good guess NMM but not quite accurate, though not totally off base either. Since you asked.

I am pro choice because I remember the time when abortions were illegal for all reasons except to protect the life of the mother. There really were botched back street abortions which killed women or left them unable to bear children. And contrary to the attempts of some rightwingers to portray pro-choice women as baby haters and baby killers, many young women who seek abortions do want children in the future, just not at that particular time. Anyway, women were butchered by illegal abortions. That's why it's such an emotional issue for me.

But I would certainly respect and support a woman's decision to carry a baby to term and give it up for adoption or to raise it herself as a single mom. The point of being pro choice is that I respect a woman's right to make any of those choices.

Personally, I don't like abortion at all. I wouldn't have had one if I had ever been in that situation, except possibly if my life was at stake. No, not even if I had been raped. But that's my personal decision.

I am, however, much more concerned with the right wing's assault on a woman's right to the most effective contraception. Whatever your view of when life begins, it never begins before conception and implantation of a fertilized egg in a womb. The right's non-scientific attempt to redefine abortifacient to include IUDs and birth control pills is not about respecting life, it's about denying women adequate contraception - that includes married women.

Most Protestant denominations and all denominations of Judaism, except for the Orthodox, accept birth control as permissible, so this is also an attempt by some to make others live by their denominational religious precepts. There is no universally agreed upon religious position when it comes to birth control so no one denomination or sect should have the final say over other believers' moral decisions.

I am not a member of Emily's List, I don't contribute to them, and I don't really have an opinion about them.

As for Connolly, I'm not a member of his campaign team so I don't know what he's doing or why he's not been seen. I've seen him at events. I suspect that he just doesn't have the money that Fimian does for TV ads just yet. But then Connolly must work hard to raise money, most of which comes from his district unlike Fimian, who has self-funded his campaign, supplemented by donations from Tom Moneghan and his followers at Ave Maria and Legatus. And that's precisely what alarms me about Fimian, who his funders are and why they are doing it. It's not because they care about Fairfax roads.

And yes women in the 11th CD care about choice and their access to birth control. They care about it just as passionately as pro-lifers in the 11 CD care about this issue.

Anonymous said...

I guess why I have a hard time on this issue is that while you are saying its just giving a woman options. In my view its giving a woman an option of commiting murder.

There are so many shades of gray. I went to JMU and there was a whole big debate back in the early 2000s about the morning after pill being offered at health ceneters.

At the same time I think we are closer than the extremists on either side would paint this issue

For the record I don't know much about birth control. Personally I have no problem with someone being on the pill. However, the fact that someone can go take a pill after the fact in order to get rid of something is where I have the issue. It seems so cold somehow like flushing something away that you don't want.

Most of Connollys funders are developers

I still say the whole pro choice pro life issue won't have much of an impact in the 11th. I think most people are genereally moderate and are interested in pocketbook issues over social issues in general.


AnonymousIsAWoman said...

If you define life as beginning at conception, then to you abortion will be murder. I respect that position but I don't agree completely with it. I'm conflicted on that one too. But having witnessed botched abortions, I'm hesitant to make abortion illegal once again. There also are complicating factors in drawing up a law to outlaw it. For example, do you criminalize the mother as some countries in Latin America do, do you charge the doctor with murder, etc?

But making sure women have the option of obtaining contraception is not giving them the option of murder.

The morning after pill, which would be taken the day after sex (or after a rape, in an emergency room) prevents conception just as a birth control pill does.

The pill that does induce abortion is called RU486. Although it is a pill and not a mechanical abortion performed by the doctor, it induces a miscarriage which kills a fetus. Anybody opposed to abortion would have logical reason to oppose that too. It's different from the morning after pill though.

Again, I can't stress enough that while some religions prohibit all birth control except for the rhythm method, others do not. So, part of my objection is I don't believe it's the place of one religion to dictate to others. We have separation of church and state in this country and the Constituion expressly forbids favoring one religion over others.

As for what the people in the 11th CD are interested in, normally I would agree with you, which is part of what explains Ken Cuccinelli's success. He's a genuinely nice person, he's honest about what he stands for and most of his constituents do respect his beliefs, including me. But we also realize that he can't change abortion law in the State Senate. So, that's not a factor.

If people perceive their access to abortion - or to birth control - is seriously threatened they will become interested. And at the federal level, it's more of a threat that it could happen. That would especially be true if social conservatives gain power at the national level.

If Fimian were running in an off year, a Democrat was in the White House, and the Supreme Court didn't hang in the balance, I suspect you'd be right. But Sarah Palin's political beliefs about abortion are front and center, as are the social conservatives, at the GOP convention.

If voters here think that Keith Fimian is one of those people - and I sincerely believe he is - they will have doubts about voting for him in the 11th CD.

Also, Gerry Connolly, warts and all, is a known factor. Progressives dislike him because he's pro-business. But unions can work with him and most moderates in the 11th CD are not anti-business and they're not as anti-developer as the RK crowd is. And Fairfax County continues to rank as one of the best rated counties for business in the country - by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. So, it's hard to counter that and say Gerry is unfit.