Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fimian Raises Money From Same Old Rightwing Sources

Well, the good news for Republicans is that their candidate for 2010 congressional race in the 11th district, Keith Fimian, has raised $2,333,832. In fact, as VA Social Conservative, reports, Fimian has outraised incumbent Gerry Connolly. The bad new, though, for Fimian is that most of the money comes from out of his district and a fair amount from out of state. And once again, it comes from the same Legatus and Ave Maria supporters who funded him last time, including Legatus and Ave Maria founder Thomas Monaghan and his wife Majorie, both of whom maxed out with $4800 each.

Folks, call me crazy but the Monaghans and all those people from Michigan and Ponte Vedra, Florida (both headquarters for Ave Maria) are not donating to Keith Fimian because they have an overwhelming interest in the welfare of the 11th CD. Do they really care that much about our traffic problems, our roadways, our local businesses? I think not. But I think they care passionately about advancing their theocratic social agenda in Virginia.


Anonymous said...

I see the Catholic bashing is back. Inventing stuff to cover up Gerry Connolly's atrocious record from deficit spending to fiscal mis-management.

Go ahead, ignore the fact that Fimian is focused on the economy. Apparently you would prefer how woman are treated in China, because that is who is going to run the country as they control our deficit by lending money to pay for Connolly's wasteful spending.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Ah, so much ignorance, so little time to respond. Let's start with the accusation of Catholic bashing.

First, you obviously have not looked at my sidebar or you would have seen that I link to the Catholic Labor Network, whose director is an anti abortion Roman Cathlic priest, Father Sinclair Oubre.

Next, Gerry Connolly also is a Catholic, as is Tom Perriello and Steve Shannon. They are among many progressive Catholics whom I support.

As for the tax and spend manta, Gerry hasn't even been in Congress long enough for that to be true. It's just the party line slogan you picked up at the last GOP/teabagger meeting

Keith said...

I was surprised to discover on a WaPo site that Gerry Connolly is ranked 170th in the Democrat caucus in supporting the Democrat position on motions in this House session. Of course, even as 170th he supported the Democrat majority position 97.0% of the time. And, an analysis of his opposition votes shows little of substance. I think it is fair to say that Gerry does have record of supporting his party and certainly the Democrats in this Congress can be considered tax and spend.

As for Keith Fimian and his contributors, would you question the motive of the SEIU in contributing $200,000 to Creigh Deeds as they did on 7/30/09? People and organizations contribute to a candidate for many reasons and to ascribe a specific (and to you onerous) reason is unfair to the contributor. I am sure both you and I contribute to candidates because we believe they are worthy of our financial support and, if elected with our help, will represent us effectively.

Anonymous said...

I think that there is a typo in the amount that you report as raised... I think that Fimian raised a little over $233,000 NOT $2,333,000 as you cite.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Oh my, Anon you are right. That is quite a typo. It is $233,000 not $2M. Thank you for catching that.

Dan said...

As both a Roman Catholic and a serious student of bullshit I love it when they so predictably roll out the canard that you are Catholic bashing when you question either the possible motivations or the actions of someone who simply happens to be Catholic. In a case such as this where both candidates are Catholic it is especially laughable.

Personally, I couldn't care less how much is given to Fimian or by whom. I only care that it is properly disclosed so that I may weigh that in making my voting decision.

It would be a stretch to assume that the Monaghans and their organization are representative of the majority of American Catholics. And opposing their social objectives certainly does not make one anti-Catholic.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thank you, Dan. You are quite right, the Monaghans, Keith Fimian, and the whole Ave Maria crowd are not in the mainstream of Roman Catholicism.

They are a small, insular, highly authoritatian, almost cult-like group of ultra traditionalists.

The truth is that they have every right to practice their faith and live their lives exactly as they see fit. I don't spend a whole lot of time criticizing them or following their activities during most of the year.

But Thomas Monaghan has made no secret of his political ambitions, which include funding candidates in order to put that ultra traditionalist and theocratic stamp on the rest of the country.

That's very different from a group simply exercising their right to live their faith privately. Mr. Monaghan and his followers want to impose their religious beliefs on those who do not share them. And that is a very different story.

Brian W. Schoeneman said...

AIAW, you know full well that even if Fimian harbored those kinds of beliefs, which he doesn't, his ability to move them forward on his own from a seat in Congress is virtually zero. If you listen to Keith speak, he doesn't talk about social issues at all. He's consistently focused on the economy and creating jobs. Instead of worrying about where his campaign contributions are coming from - and why wouldn't you leverage personal connections you have made through church, work or other hobbies? - why not focus on what he's saying and what Connolly isn't doing?

I know it's a knee-jerk response to claim Fimian is too conservative for the district, but I'd rather he be judged by what he's saying and campaigning on than by some kind of assumption based analysis teased from his campaign contributions.

Dan said...

Brian, as I said above, I personally don't care where he gets his money as long as it is disclosed so that it can be weighed by voters in making their choice on election day. It is absolutely a valid factor to be considered by the voters.

You are being just a wee bit disingenuous to pretend that his social views (as evidenced by the source of these contributions) is irrelevant. Of course he has made the tactical decision to make less controversial economic issues the theme of his campaign. His social views are out of step with the 11th CD.

If we wake up one November morning and find there are 218 Republicans in the House then that one vote whose significance you so blithely dismiss becomes rather important.

Now if those 218 Republicans are small government fiscal conservatives who truly believe in government leaving its citizens the hell alone then I am fine with that. If they are the oddball, big government social "conservative"(?) types who want to use government power to force the rest of us to live according to their very narrow and questionable reading of scripture then it is a huge problem for any citizen concerned with their maintaining their freedom.

His social views and where he gets his money are very relevant. No matter how much you would like us to believe they are not.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Dan is right. Nobody is saying he shouldn't take funds from any group he pleases. But there is a reason for disclosure laws. That's so voters can see whom a candidate has taken money from.

And in this case, Tom Monaghan makes no secret of his desire to influence politicians and to get as many as possible into office who share his narrow social views.

Furthermore, I have no assurance that Fimian does not share those views. Last time out, he pretty much refused to answer some valid questions about this.

The reason he sticks to "pragmatic" issues like the economy is because he is a smart enough person to realize that running a campaign based on opposition to birth control, abortion, and gay rights is probably a non starter in the 11th district. Nobody ever accused Fimian of being stupid. Only out of touch for that district.

Brian W. Schoeneman said...

Why is it that these kinds of issues matter more than what is actually being discussed in the campaign? Liberals have been deathly concerned that as soon as a Republican majority takes control, we're going to see the country devolve into a theocracy. Yet even when we control everything, that doesn't happen. Abortion is still legal, birth control is still handed out for free in schools and when gay marriage is banned, it's done so on a bipartisan basis.

These kinds of attacks on Fimian are exactly the kind of attacks that Democrats decried when Republicans used them on the President during the campaign.

I don't have a problem with disclosure, but you are going beyond disclosure - you're painting these contributions with the brush of your assumptions. You're assuming that Fimian is getting them because he's somehow promised these groups something. You know that's not how it works. It's cheap and easy to attack on these grounds, but it's certainly not fair.

What happened to judging a man based on the content of his character? Why can't you look at Fimian, listen to what he's saying and not assume he's got a hidden agenda? I've talked and chatted with him dozens of times and he's never given me the same vibe I've gotten from some of the social conservatives who are running this time around. He, unlike them, is normal.

I just think it would be in everyone's best interest to listen to what the man says, not what you think those around him or are contributing to his campaign say or think.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Brian - first on a personal note, Bette Doranz says hello!

Now, on to some answers to your questions. First of all, I don't only focus on abortion and I will certainly raise other issues and talk about other differences in policy that I have with Keith Fimian as the 2010 races approach.

But when one of Fimian's supporters brags about Fimian out raising Gerry Connolly, it is certainly fair game to examine where the money came from. I'm sure those who oppose Connolly will happily report how much of Connolly's money comes from unions, the better to union bash, btw.

But for now let's deal with some of the substance of what you said.

First, while it is true that abortion is still legal even when social conservatives are in control, it is also true that once you leave major urban areas, it becomes much harder for a woman who needs an abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, or a mother's health, to obtain one. In rural states with no major city centers, access to abortion is often very limited.

You can have Roe v. Wade on the books forever and still find ways to make it almost impossible for a woman to get a safe, legal abortion without having to drive miles to get it.

Additionally, in small towns with only one major pharmacy, even birth control pills could become inaccessible if a store clerk refuses to fill a medical prescription. Again, you never have to change a law to render it moot. Just add other laws that knock the teeth out of it.

Second, I care less about Keith Fimian's stand on abortion than I do about where he stands on separation of church and state in general. In his case there is that larger issue here.

Before defending him, please do one thing. Google Ave Maria Watch, Ave Maria, and Tom Monaghan. In fact, please follow this link to what I wrote about Monaghan, Ave Maria, and Keith Fimian from 2008:

These are troubling things that go beyond merely abortion.

There are two things I'd like you to consider:

Here's the first thing. Fimian, a wealthy and successful businessman, can certainly raise funds from sources other than Monaghan if he disagreed with Monaghan's political and social agenda.

The second thing is that Fimian could, himself, put an end to this speculation by clearly and unambiguously stating that he is personally pro-life but does not share Monaghan's agenda; will not propose laws that block a woman's access to contraceptives, despite his personal views; and supports separation of church and state.

Last time, he declined to do that. It was his silence that caused this to be an issue.

Brian W. Schoeneman said...

Say hi to Bette for me! I haven't talked to her in too long.

As for our discussion, I would point out that the Constitutional right to an abortion has not been seriously challenged in decades - and even then it was only in the Supreme Court. How would it the election of one man to the House of Representatives make an ounce of difference? As for availability issue, the constitution doesn't require that abortions be convenient - just legal. If the states nibble too closely at the edges, those laws get smacked down, as was seen with some of the partial birth abortion bans and parental consent laws. You and I both know that no anti-birth control legislation would ever see the light of day in Congress, even if Republicans were in control.

And you and I both know that elected officials rarely return campaign contributions and certainly won't turn the money down unless it comes from someone completely radioactive. Monoghan and those guys haven't reached that level yet.

Again, why do you assume that because Fimian took the man's money he's got some kind of hidden agenda? The more logical, and simpler, solution is simply that they know each other and Monoghan has money to burn.

Regardless, you still haven't answered my question - do you honestly think that one Congressman is going to be able to single-handedly reverse two hundred years of first amendment jurisprudence? The fact that Keith won't engage on it directly doesn't mean he's hiding anything - it means he's smart enough to not get

This line of attack on Fimian sounds dangerously like the kinds of things that were being said about Obama and Reverend Wright, and the kinds of things that were said about Keith Ellison as well.

If you want to give him a hard time because of the things he's campaigning on, that's fine. But he's not the one talking about this kind of social conservative nonsense that you know I dislike. He's talking about jobs and fiscal issues - things that actually matter and they he'll have to work on if he gets elected.

Anonymous said...

My concern with Fimian is that he seems to get nearly all his actual support from outside Virginia and outside the district. I do not like Connolly for various reasons, including his shabby treatment of regular citizens when he was Chairman of the Board, but I think Fimian is weak and, frankly, not the brightest candidate around. I keep hoping for a third option to roll on in, so I don't have to choose between those two.