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Posts tagged ‘Republican Party’

As Roe v. Wade Turns 40, Foes Focus on State Capitols.


President Obama’s re-election bid emphasized abortion rights more than any other presidential campaign in history, warning women that their reproductive freedom was at stake on Nov. 6.

But while Obama picked Supreme Court justices believed to support abortion rights and backed federal funding for Planned Parenthood, state legislatures quietly passed a record-setting number of restrictions over the past two years, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

As the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision turns 40 years old on Tuesday, the debate over abortion rages on in state capitols from Richmond to Phoenix.

“The front lines of defending those rights are really in the state capitols while there’s a bit of a stalemate on reproductive issues at the federal level,” said Anna Scholl, director of ProgressVA, which opposed Virginia’s widely publicized new law requiring women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasound exams. “The states are where the decisions that affect women, the soccer moms in the suburbs, are really happening.”

The burst of anti-abortion legislation followed the 2010 election, when Republicans picked up roughly 675 legislative seats, the biggest gain by either party in decades. The GOP controlled 26 state legislatures, and in most of those states, the governor’s mansions, too. “They really upped their numbers and hit the ground running,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake.

The Republican Party held onto its majority in most states in the 2012 election, offering abortion opponents no reason to slow down. But the success of President Obama and his allies in portraying Republican challenger Mitt Romney as an extremist who would “turn back the clock” for women serves as a cautionary tale to the 36 governors who will face re-election in 2014.

“Voters in these states are concerned about schools and jobs, and a lot of governors will be walking a tightrope trying to moderate their image,” Lake said. “They may decide to back off and not take the risk.”

That seems to be the posture of the Republican leadership in the Virginia Assembly, which faced a huge outcry over the ultrasound bill and new rules regulating abortion clinics last year. While a subcommittee last week declined to take up repeals of those laws, Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb said “there will be nothing else.”

“We certainly would have liked to see the legislature move forward in advancing the cause of life, but there’s no interest,” Cobb said. “The sentiment is that we need to focus on other issues like education and transportation.”

Even if the Republican leadership sidesteps women’s health issues, there’s little doubt abortion will shape the governor’s race in 2013, which will feature Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the national party, against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a leading abortion foe. Democrats are also expected to bring up the issue in Pennsylvania, where Republican Gov. Tom Corbett defended his support of an ultrasound bill saying, “You just have to close your eyes.”

While the anti-abortion bills passed in Virginia grabbed the biggest headlines last year, 18 states restricted access to abortion services last year, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Arizona led the charge with seven anti-abortion bills, while Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin each enacted at least three measures.

In a sign that NARAL Pro-Choice America may be taking a more aggressive stance, the national abortion rights group recently announced that its new president will be Ilyse Hogue, a former leader of MoveOn.org, a liberal advocacy group known for in-your-face tactics. “This is a critical moment to engage a new general of young people in the conversation about what choice means in a modern age,” Hogue said in a written statement.

Among adults younger than 30, only 44 percent know that Roe v. Wade legalized most abortions, a new Pew Research Center poll found. Mariah Humphrey, a 20-year-old student at George Mason University, said she didn’t know the name of the court decision “but I know women had to fight for that right.”

She and two other friends were walking through campus Friday morning on their way to a party celebrating President Obama’s inauguration. “I don’t have a personal connection to the issue of abortion but I knew Mitt Romney was threatening that right and that was discomfiting that it might be taken away,” she said. “It was a little scary.”

In the Pew poll, 63 percent said they do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, a level of support unchanged from surveys conducted ten and 20 years ago. But the percent of people who said abortion “is not that important compared to other issues” is on the rise.

“It’s a challenge and an opportunity for women’s health advocates because a lot of women aren’t aware of how those rights can be chipped away until they are non-existent,” Scholl said. “We are looking to get back on offense because we’ve been really pushed back on our heels.”

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Beth Reinhard | National Journal

Ryan loses VP but wins re-election in Wis.


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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Paul Ryan came up short in his vice presidential bid, but he’s sure to remain a key leader of the Republican Party when he returns to Washington and thecongressional seat he easily retained Tuesday night.

Ryan won re-election to the U.S. House seat representing southeastern Wisconsin that he has held since 1998, cruising to victory as he has in past elections by a comfortable margin. It was sure to be a hollow victory for Ryan, as he and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost their bid for the White House.

Even before he was tapped as Romney’s No. 2, Ryan was seen as a star within the Republican Party. As chairman of the powerfulHouse Budget Committee, he gained prominence when he drew up an austere budget blueprint that would reshape Medicare and kept in place tax breaks soon set to expire.

He was challenged this year in the state’s 1st District by Democratic businessman Rob Zerban, whose grassroots campaign focused on his credentials as an entrepreneur, and Libertarian Keith Deschler. It was an uphill climb for both challengers.

Ryan crisscrossed the U.S. after Romney picked him as his running mate, stopping in Wisconsin for high-dollar campaign fundraisers and a handful of rallies across the state. Meanwhile, Zerban focused on introducing himself to voters in the district. The former Kenosha Board supervisor said he would fight for middle-class families where Ryan had failed them.

Zerban tried for weeks to get Ryan to agree to a debate, without success. And he raised less than half the money that Ryan brought in: The congressman raised $4.9 million compared to Zerban’s $2.1 million.

Zerban had hoped his campaign would benefit from the heightened scrutiny Ryan was under as a national candidate, but that never happened.

“We knew this was a tough race getting in,” Zerban said, adding that it was too early to say whether he’d challenge Ryan again in two years.

The 1st District stretches from the shores of Lake Michigan through industrial zones, bedroom communities and farm fields until it reaches Ryan’s hometown of Janesville to the west. The seat, which also includes some south Milwaukee suburbs, has been in Republican hands since 1995.

State law allowed Ryan, a 42-year-old married father of three, to run for Congress and vice president at the same time.

If he had won both races, Ryan would have had to resign from Congress. A special election would have been held to fill the House seat.

___

Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde(at)ap.org.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By DINESH RAMDE | Associated Press

Opinion: When It Comes to Voting, 2012 Is a National Disgrace.


No matter who wins the presidential race, no matter which party controls Congress, can we at least agree as reasonable adults that when it comes to voting itself, the election of 2012 is a national disgrace? We ask our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives, to give their lives abroad for noble concepts like “freedom” and “democracy.” And yet we are content as a nation, and as a people, to tolerate another cycle of election rules that require our fellow citizens to sacrifice a measure of basic human dignity simply to exercise their right to vote.

For example, what is happening this weekend in Florida is simply unacceptable. According to a local election official interviewed by CBS News’ Phil Hirschkorn, the last “early voter” in line for Saturday’s truncated early voting in Palm Beach County finally got to cast a ballot at 2:30 Sunday morning, which means that voter waited in line for more than seven hours. In Miami, another traditional Democratic stronghold, the wait wassaid to be nearly as long. On Sunday, voters all over the state were begging judges and county officials for more time to vote.

This is happening not because of a natural disaster or a breakdown in machinery. It is happening by partisan design. Alarmed by the strong Democratic turnout in early voting in 2008, Republican lawmakers, including Gov. Rick Scott, reduced the number of early-voting days from 14 to eight. When the restrictions were challenged in federal court under the Voting Rights Act, a three-judge panel said they would have a discriminatory impact upon minority voters. But only five of the state’s 67 counties are covered by the federal civil-rights law.

When the remaining restrictions were challenged in federal court, a George W. Bush appointee said there was no proof that the reduced hours would “impermissibly burden” minority voters. How many hours in line must a Florida voter wait before the burden upon him or her becomes an “impermissible” one? If Florida’s election officials, and its Republican lawmakers, and its state and federal judges, all were required to stand in line for seven hours to vote, those long lines would go away forever. You know it, I know it, and so do those officials.

How about Ohio, another “battleground” state governed by partisan fiat? Its election rules are administered by a secretary of state, Jon Husted, who just a few years ago was the GOP speaker of the state House. Like their counterparts in Florida, Ohio’s Republican lawmakers sought to restrict wildly popular early-voting hours around the state. And again the federal courts blunted the impact of their new rules. So what has Husted done? He’s focused his energy this weekend ginning up ways to justify discarding provisional ballots cast by his fellow citizens.

These are just two recent examples. There are more. But they all have a few core things in common. In each instance, elected officials are making it harder for American citizens to vote and to have their votes counted. And in each instance, the partisan restrictions are designed to impact the elderly, and the poor, and students. The Constitution gives power to the states to handle elections. But what we are seeing is one party’s systemic abuse of that power to disenfranchise likely voters of another party. Don’t believe me? Let’s go to the videotape.

In Pennsylvania, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai was caught on tape this summer boasting about his colleagues’ success: “First pro-life legislation–abortion facility regulations–in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.” In Ohio, the Republican Party chairman of Franklin County, which includes Columbus, was even more blunt. Doug Preisse said, “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban–read African-American–voter turnout machine.”

There is no hidden agenda here. The strategy and tactics are as far out in the open as those voters standing in line for hours waiting for their turn to vote. This transparency–of motive and of evidence–is also what distinguishes the complaints that Democrats have about Republican tricks on voting from Republican complaints about Democratic tricks on voting. Widespread “in-person” voter fraud or voting by illegal immigrants exists mostly in the minds of conspiracy theorists. Yet proof of voter suppression is visible to all of us with the naked eye. All we have to do is look. There is no political equivalence here–only more lamentable false equivalence.

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Indeed, we are all complicit in a regime that forces our fellow citizens to endure those long lines. We are all to blame for allowing men like Jon Husted to determine which Ohioans will have their ballots counted and which will not. We who have the luxury of voting early by mail or who can pop into a polling station on Election Day, who are accustomed to not standing long for anything–we do nothing about these voter lines even though they are the most visible proof today that America is still terribly divided by race and by class.

In America in 2012, poor people and elderly people and students should not have to wait seven hours to vote. They should not be restricted in this fashion by elected officials who justify the hardships they impart upon black voters by calling those voters “lazy.” By allowing this ugliness to endure, year after year, election after election, we don’t just subvert our own democracy. We preclude ourselves from turning to the world and proclaiming that we respect the value of a single vote and the dignity of a single voter. We don’t practice what we preach.

And we ought to be talking about things now, before Tuesday, because when it’s all over no one will care until the next election cycle, at which point it will likely be too late. Don’t want to switch Election Day to a Saturday? Fine. Don’t want to make it a national holiday? Fine. But doing nothing after the election of 2012 is not an honorable option. What’s happening in these states is conclusive proof that America failed to solve the fundamental problems we all saw play out in Florida during the recount of 2000. That’s just not good enough.

I asked election-law specialist Rick Hasen, who wrote the book about all of this, for his view on the eve of another dubious election. He told me: “We need national nonpartisan election administration–one that would pick rules that would allow all eligible voters, but only eligible voters, a fair chance to cast a ballot which will be accurately counted. It is national urgency, but I don’t see it happening any time soon. If Florida 2000 was not enough of a wake-up call, it is hard to imagine how much worse things would have to get before they get better.”

But let us begin. Congress ought to pass a “Voters’ Rights Act,” which guarantees a mail-in option and ensures significant early-voting hours for 10 days before a federal election. That would give working people–you know, the real “middle class”–four full days over two weekends to cast their ballot. Congress also ought to expand the scope of the Voting Rights Act, the venerable civil-rights statute, to force local election officials everywhere in America (and not just in Southern jurisdictions) to justify restrictions on voting rights.

And the next president, whoever he is, ought to quickly empanel another Commission on Federal Election Reform to investigate these partisan state schemes and recommend ways to achieve meaningful reform. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor should head that commission. And former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald should head up its investigative functions.

But I won’t hold my breath. If I’m around in 2016, I bet I’ll be complaining about the same injustices. In my lifetime, little has changed in America but the forms of indignity we all seem to tolerate when it comes to another person’s right to vote.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Andrew Cohen, The Atlantic | National Journal

Leadership Ratings Help Obama; 50 Percent Approval, Not So Much.


Barack Obama has maintained a sizable advantage over Mitt Romney in trust to handle a major crisis and regained his lead in being seen as the stronger leader, wielding the benefits of incumbency to stay competitive, economic discontent aside, in the razor-close 2012 election.

Obama also has managed essentially an even split with Romney in views of which candidate has better ideas on the size and role of government – another case, as with the economy, on which Romney has been unable to capitalize fully on a vulnerability of the president’s.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

Romney’s held his ground nonetheless, notably with record levels of support within the Republican Party and broad backing in some of its key constituencies, and in the final weekend of the race the contest remains deadlocked, with 49 percent support for Obama among likely voters, 48 percent for Romney in the latest ABC News/Washington Post daily tracking poll.

There’s no clear evidence that Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy has directly helped him; while he holds a 10-point lead over Romney in trust to handle a major crisis, 52-42 percent, that’s the same as it was earlier this fall, long before the storm struck.

Tune in to ABCNews.com on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for livestreaming coverage of Election 2012. Our Election Day show kicks off at noon, and the Election Night event begins at 7 p.m.

Still, Obama has improved in a related gauge: This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that he now leads Romney by 6 percentage points among likely voters, 50-44 percent, in being seen as the stronger leader. That re-establishes an edge for Obama that Romney had reeled in to a nonsignificant 2 points after the first presidential debate.

A third result further underscores the difficulties Romney’s experienced in achieving a clear breakthrough. Earlier ABC/Post polling found a broad sense that Obama favors a larger government, while Romney is seen as favoring a smaller one; the latter is a view most likely voters profess to share. Yet asked in this poll who has better ideas about the right size and role of government, it’s a 48-45 percent split, Romney-Obama – not a significant difference, despite Romney’s built-in opportunity.

The economy is another such issue, indeed the key one. Romney opened a 9-point lead in trust to handle the economy the week before last, but his momentum didn’t hold; it’s a nonsignificant 3 points, 49-46 percent, now. And in economic empathy – better understanding the economic problems of average Americans – Obama holds a 6-point lead, again having recovered from a tighter division 10 days ago.

Certainly Obama faces difficulties of his own. His overall job approval rating is steady at 50 percent – passable enough to run competitively, but a good indication of why the contest is so close. There’s a strong correlation to vote preferences: Among likely voters who approve of Obama’s job performance, 93 percent back him for re-election; among disapprovers, 93 percent favor Romney. As a referendum on the incumbent, it’s a squeaker.

That brings it down to turnout (in an election in which 27 percent of likely voters say in fact they’ve already voted) and there Obama has a potential advantage. He holds a 7-point lead over Romney in the share of his supporters who say they’re very enthusiastic about their choice – 69 percent of Obama’s backers, 62 percent of Romney’s. That’s Obama’s biggest lead in strong support, numerically, since just after the conventions.

GROUPS – Romney, as noted, is remarkably strong in his base, with 97 percent support among Republicans; if it holds that would be an in-party high for any candidate in exit polls back to 1976. Obama has 91 percent of Democrats, losing more of them to Romney (7 percent) than Romney’s losses among Republicans (3 percent to Obama). Independents split essentially evenly, but Obama’s support among independents, 46 percent, matches his high.

Romney has 82 percent support among evangelical white Protestants, surpassing John McCain’s total in this group four years ago; their turnout this year is one potentially important element of the race. Among whites overall, it’s Romney by 57-39 percent; that compares to 55-43 percent for McCain vs. Obama four years ago.

The reason Obama won in 2008, while losing whites by 12 points, was his 80-18 percent support among nonwhites, a record 26 percent of the electorate four years ago. He has a similar margin now, 76-21 percent, including 96 percent support among blacks and 66 percent among Hispanics.

Among the many groups worth watching in a race this close, another is white women with college degrees. They back Obama by a 9-point margin in the latest data, while all other whites – less-educated white women, and white men regardless of their education – favor Romney by 60-35 percent. That difference contributes to the gender gap overall – Obama +7 among women, Romney +6 among men, a division, among the many, that keeps the popular vote estimate where it’s been: for all intents and purposes, a tie.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2012, among a random national sample of 2,069 likely voters, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 2.5 points, including design effect. (Question 12j and 13f-g were asked Nov. 1-Nov. 3 among 1,748 likely voters; those results have a 3-point error margin.) The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

Partisan divisions, Democrats-Republicans-independents, are 33-29-34 percent among likely voters; they were 39-32-29 percent in the 2008 exit poll.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Gary Langer | ABC OTUS News

Obama Silent As His Supporters Promise ‘Riots In The Streets’ If Romney Wins


Obama supporters vow to riot in the streets if he loses to Romney

““Voting is the best revenge.” – Barack Obama 11.03.12

RELATED STORY: Obama’ Supporters Renew Vow To Murder Mitt Romney

A few weeks ago, Twitchy reported on Twitter users threatening to riot if President Obama loses to GOP rival Mitt Romney. With four days to go until Election Day, we decided this is a topic worth revisiting.  The results of our Twitter searches are not pretty, here are a sampling:

Those are just a few of the riot threats posted today (Friday November 2nd). It is reasonable to assume that hundreds more were posted prior to today — all of them ignored by a complacent, biased mainstream media.Interestingly, the threats made today were posted exclusively by supporters of President Obama.
We weren’t able to find even one Republican threatening to riot if Mitt Romney loses.
Granted, most of these riot threats were probably made in jest, but a few may be serious. People who do not respect property rights and have little regard for the rules governing civil society have been known to riot over matters of less importance than a presidential election.

Our advice: Be prepared. source – Twitchy.

by NTEB News Desk

Obama, Romney in search of independent voters.


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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — President Barack Obama won a majority of independent voters in 2008 with visions of a post-partisan administration poised to break the logjam in Washington. Four years later, the gridlock remains and the hunt forindependents is on.

With a week before Election Day, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are locked in a razor-thin race nationally and competing for a rapidly diminishing number of unaligned, independent voters, who could comprise 30 percent or more of the electorate in a series of battleground states.

Romney has pursued independents with a message of economic growth and fiscal restraint, warning that Obama’s policies have driven up the federal debt. Obama says the nation needs balance in reducing budget deficits while maintaining spending priorities.

Both sides say independents could be crucial.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By KEN THOMAS | Associated Press

Will America’s Real ‘Third Party’ Please Wake Up?.


Bible

According to the latest polls, only 1 percent of voters will cast their ballot for a third party candidate, which means that all the talk of a protest vote against the two main parties will amount to little or nothing. Yet there is already a viable third party in America. It simply needs to awaken to its calling.

Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of this “third party” as well—although not in those terms—saying that it “must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”

King was speaking of a group of multiplied millions of Americans whose ultimate “citizenship is in heaven” (to use the expression of Paul in the New Testament), a people who are called to go against the grain and challenge the status quo, to be champions of justice and compassion, to lead the way in societal change.

He was (and I am) speaking about followers of Jesus who take their faith seriously and live it out holistically, those who make up the Church from a biblical standpoint (as opposed to Christians in name only). It is this entity that King believed “must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.”

For the most part, though, we have fallen short of this lofty calling (and I say “we” because I count myself among this company of Jesus People, for better or worse), becoming pawns of the political system more than pioneers of political reform, puppets more than prophets.

Rather than us changing the society (note: I did not say taking over the society), society has changed us. The things that would have outraged our grandparents now entertain us, and for a supposedly “heavenly-minded” people, we are as bogged down in materialistic hedonism as almost anybody else. Even among evangelical Christians, recent surveys indicate that 80 percent of our young people are having sex out of wedlock while our divorce rates mirror those of the secular world.

How can we be “the conscience of the state” when we have lost our own conscience? How can we call ourselves pro-family and pro-life with so much immorality (including addiction to pornography), no-fault divorce, and even abortion in our ranks?

What’s interesting is that many skeptics, scoffers, atheists, and agnostics—those who are rolling their eyes as they read this article—actually affirm what I am writing, albeit in a backhanded way.

What I mean is that it is often those who mock our faith who are the first to call us hypocrites, recognizing that if we really believed what we preached, we would be living differently. In fact, society as a whole actually expects us to live differently, and the average American still expects Christians to help the poor, live wholesome lives, and transcend partisan politics.

Of course, there are some Christians who, as the old saying goes, are “too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good,” but that is actually a violation of the teachings of Jesus. (Judaism is less prone to fall into that trap, and we do well to remember that Jesus was Jewish teacher not a member of the Christian clergy.)

A more balanced perspective is this: Because we understand that what happens in this world has eternal implications for good or for bad, we recognize the importance of life in this world and are on the front lines of bringing about positive change while at the same time resisting societal decay. This is part of what Jesus meant when He told His followers that they (we!) are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Would anyone deny that Jesus, who talked much about heaven and hell and the world to come, constantly emphasized the importance of caring for the needy in this world along with reaching out to the marginalized?

Practically speaking, because our first allegiance is to God we will serve our nation as the best possible citizens, and because our greatest affiliation is to proven, biblical values, we will identify with those values first and with a political party second.

Yet all too often, white evangelicals have given themselves to the Republican Party and black evangelicals to the Democratic Party, even when those parties have failed us. It’s time we step higher.

Yes, I will vote on Nov. 6th, primarily backing Republican candidates, and I see voting as both a responsibility and a privilege. But, as I have written several times before, I am not putting my trust in the White House or Congress or the Supreme Court to change America. I am looking to the committed followers of Jesus to be the primary agents of change, the ultimate counter-culture, counter-establishment party.

Simply stated, if tens of millions of American Christians truly followed the teachings and example of Jesus, there would be a groundswell of compassionate and constructive care for the poor, there would be wholesale educational reform, the multiplication of strong families, a new esteem for the importance of every life, beginning in the womb, the reduction of our prison population and even the revamping of our prison system, along with economic growth and a massive increase in philanthropy, among other things.

So, yes, I’m voting on Nov. 6th, but more than that, I’m looking for the third party to arise.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

By MICHAEL BROWN

Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience.

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