Dole Joins the Un-American, Communist, Baby-Killers, Murderers, Terrorist, Racist Far-Right Tactics with “Godless” Charge

Scott Swenson

With just six days to go, I think far-right social conservatives are running out of names to call their opponents, but don't underestimate the power of nasty.

With just six days to go, I think far-right social conservatives are running out of names to call their opponents, but don’t underestimate the power of nasty.

Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), in her first attempt to be re-elected, is running an ad calling her opponent "Godless" because she accepted money from an organization of American voters who organized legally to express themselves politically and are atheist.  Kay Hagan is not atheist, but she is running for office to represent all Americans, including atheists. Apparently Liddy Dole is not.

Disagree as I might politically with Dole, I never thought she would stoop so low, she didn’t seem like that kind of politician. Then again, her husband knows a thing or two about dirty tricks. In his first bid for re-election in Kansas, in 1974, he was in a very close race with popular Congressman Dr. Bill Roy, an ob/gyn, and in the last days before the election Bob Dole delivered photos of aborted fetuses in the form of door hangers into heavily Catholic precincts. Bob Dole won because tactics like that, then, were shocking.

After 35 years of far-right tactics that demean the intelligence of voters, one can hope the voters of North Carolina won’t fall for such a desperate ploy, and judge the candidates on their records. Dole has now used this "Godless" attack in mailers, online video and on television.

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Here’s what fact-checking journalists in North Carolina have to say:

Some readers may be left with the impression that Hagan supports the
PAC’s position on the Pledge of Allegiance, Christmas and the Boy
Scouts — or that Hagan is an atheist.

Hagan’s campaign said Hagan does not support removing "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

Hagan is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro.

Hagan
does not support eliminating the Christmas holiday. Her family often
spends part of Christmas morning at a home for severely handicapped
people, where they cook breakfast, wash dishes and play Santa Claus to
relieve the home’s staff.

Hagan’s son is an Eagle Scout. Her
campaign said that while Hagan opposes discrimination, she believes
questions about who can be troop leaders is a decision for the Boy
Scouts, not Washington, to make.

Is the mailer accurate?
Yes and no. Hagan did attend the fundraiser in question. But the mailer
incorrectly suggests that Hagan shares the view of the Godless
Americans PAC on the Pledge of Allegiance, Christmas and the Boy
Scouts.

 

A larger question for all Americans is, regardless of your beliefs, do atheists have rights as citizens? Isn’t America about debating different ideas, in civil discourse, to determine the direction of the country? Faith that is threatened by the opinion of another isn’t really faith at all, it is fear.

Unfortunately Dole has revealed herself to be part of a pattern this election cycle. Rep. Michelle Bachmann called for an investigation into un-American activities by liberals in Congress. Sen. Barack Obama has been accused of consorting with terrorists, infanticide, and being Muslim, as if being Muslim is something of which to be ashamed. Gov. Sarah Palin called Obama a Communist and Sen Joe Biden was asked by a local TV anchorwoman (married to a GOP consultant) why Obama isn’t Marxist because of his proposed tax cuts to 95 percent of Americans. Angry mobs yell epithets and threats at McCain-Palin rallies and the campaign does little to stop them.

As Americans we should stand up for the rights of all Americans to be heard. As a person of faith, I will stand up for the rights of atheists to be heard as well, and am not the least bit threatened by ensuring they have rights. Those who will demean or take rights away from any group, will eventually try to take them away from you.

This is the far-right social conservative notion of civil discourse and how they define thier faith and love of country. This is what they propose we all live in when they talk about a "Christian Nation."

Fascinating, isn’t it?

See also: Culture of Lies: Strategies and Tactics.

 

A New Pro-Choice Congress In 2009

Amie Newman

Updated 3:02pm PST - Americans have voted: our new U.S. Congress will be pro-reproductive health access, pro-prevention and pro-education. Here's a run-down of the winners and losers of key Senate and House races.

Updated as of 3:02pm PST, November 5, 2008

Last night brought a move towards a more pro-prevention, pro-education, pro-woman United States Congress. As of the update, we now have 26 new, pro-choice Congress members. I will update this list as results come in but below you’ll find results of some key races. After eight years of women’s health and lives being used as political footballs, where ideology has trumped sound science at the expense of people’s lives, and after a presidential campaign in which one of the candidates declared prioritizing women’s health an "extremist" position, Americans are declaring they want change. 

“Women and families are the real winners in this election,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood said. “The number of new pro-choice and pro-women’s health members of Congress represents a major step toward getting our country back on track and ensuring that our lawmakers have the right priorities, like support for women’s health care.”

Rewire has been tracking key congressional races where sexual and reproductive health and rights has been an issue over the last several months. Our hope is that, with pro-choice President-elect Obama, when the newly pro-choice 111th Congress convenes for the legislative session, we will see passage of those policies that have been waiting for their time to shine: ensure expanded access to publicly funded contraception, increase global family planning funding, repeal the multitude of barriers to safe abortion in the United States, and examine racial disparities in reproductive healthcare and a commitment to remedying those disparities.  But, also, a pro-choice, pro-prevention, pro-education majority in Congress has the opportunity to enact pro-active legislation that directly addresses the dismal maternal mortality rates in this country, the skyrocketing numbers of unintended pregnancies among teens, greater access to emergency contraception for younger women under 16 years old, coverage of contraception under all health insurance plans, increased research on the federal level of women’s health issues, and more.

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Here are the outcomes for those races we can celebrate and those winners we’ll need to tolerate for a few more years (in alphabetical order). I’ve indicated those races in which we do not have results yet:

Senate Races

Alaska
Ted Stevens (R) vs. Mark Begich (D)
Senator Stevens, having been convicted of corruption during his campaign, is challenged by pro-choice Senator Mark Begich.*The results of this race are not in yet. Absentee ballots are being counted.

Colorado
Congressman Mark Udall (D) is pro-choice. He has won the seat of Republican Wayne Allard beating out conservative Republican Bob Schaffer. Schaffer supported Colorado’s "Personhood Amendment", an anti-choice ballot initiative which was also defeated this evening. 

Louisiana
Republican John Kennedy is anti-choice and has been defeated by Democrat Mary Landrieu who has held this seat for two terms and was elected previously with the support of Emily’s List but whose record on reproductive health issues is mixed.

Maine
Representative Tom Allen (D) has an extensive pro-choice record. He lost the Senatorial seat to Republican Senator Susan Collins who has a mixed record on choice issues.

Minnesota
In a highly publicized race, pro-choice Democrat Al Franken is neck and neck with Republican challenger Senator Norm Coleman. As of 11:10pm PST, with 72% of the votes counted, each contender holds 42% of the vote. 12:45pm PST on Wednesday, November 5th, a recount is in process. 

New Hampshire
Republican Senator John Sununu is anti-choice and holds this seat currently but has been defeated by former Governor Jeanne Shaheen. Shaheen is solidly pro-choice.

New Mexico
Senator Pete Dominici, Republican, is retiring and the seat goes to Representative Tom Udall. Udall is a Democrat who is pro-choice. His challenger was anti-choice Republican Rep. Steve Pearce.

North Carolina
In a highly contentious race, framed mostly by Senator Elizabeth Dole’s attacks on Kay Hagan as a "Godless American", Senator Kay Hagan has won. Despite the unwarranted and unsubstantiated attacks, incumbent Senator Dole lost to Senator Hagan who is solidly pro-choice.

Virginia
Democrat Mark Warner has won this race and is the new Senator. Republican Senator John Warner’s seat was up for grabs this election cycle. Competing for the office was Republican Jim Gilmore and Democrat Mark Warner – both former governors of the state. Mark Warner is pro-choice; Gilmore is anti-choice.

House Races

Arizona
Congressional District 1
Sydney Hay (R) – anti-choice
Ann Kirkpatrick (D) – pro-choice. Kirkpatrick is the winner of this race. 

Congressional District 4
Gabrielle Giffords (D) – Incumbent/pro-choice. Giffords is the winner of this race. Tim Bee (R) – anti-choice

Colorado
Congressional District 4
Winner is pro-choice Democrat Betsy Markey. Incumbent Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave has lost to Markey, who is pro-choice. Musgrave is strongly anti-choice.

Florida
Congressional District 13
Vern Buchanan (R) – anti-choice, Incumbent. Buchanan is the winner of this race.
Christine Jennings (D) – pro-choice challenger

Congressional District 16
Tim Mahoney (D) – Incumbent, pro-choice
Tom Rooney (R) – anti-choice. Rooney is the winner of this race. 

Congressional District 24
Tom Feeny (R) – anti-choice
Suzanne Kosmas (D) – current state representative, pro-choice. Kosmas has won this race.

Idaho
Congressional District1

Newly-elected representative Walt Minnick, Democrat, is pro-choice. 

Illinois
Congressional District 11
Representative John Weller is retiring. Democrat Debbie Halvorson, who is pro-choice, has won the race, beating out anti-choice Republican, Marty Ozinga.

Congressional District 14
Republican James Oberweis, with a mixed record on reproductive health issues, has lost to Democrat Bill Foster, who is pro-choice. Foster is the winner of this race. 

Kansas
Congressional District 2
Democrat Nancy Boyda has lost her seat to Republican Lynn Jenkins. This race is noteworthy for the fact that both candidates are pro-choice. Jenkins was endorsed by WISH List, a pro-choice Republican group. Boyda has received a 100% ranking from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Missouri
Congressional District 6
Democrat Kay Barnes was defeated by incumbent Republican Sam Graves. Barnes is pro-choice; Graves is anti-choice.

New York
Congressional District 20
Incumbent Democrat Kristin Gillibrand is pro-choice and easily maintained her seat against challenger Sandy Treadwell, who is republican and also pro-choice.

New Mexico

Congressional Districts 1, 2, 3

This just in from Planned Parenthood. New Mexico’s congressional delegation is now completely pro-choice. With wins by newly-elected Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Harry Teague (NM-02), and Ben Lujan (NM-03), New Mexico is solidly pro-choice.

Nevada
Congressional District 03

Dina Titus, a newly-elected pro-choice Democrat, challenged incumbent Republican Joe Porter for this seat and won. 

Ohio
Congressional District 15
In what has been considered a "toss-up" race, pro-choice Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy is bidding for retiring Rep. Deborah Pryce’s seat, against Republican state Senator Steve Stivers. Kilroy is pro-choice. As of 10:50pm PST on Tuesday evening, the race was too close to call. We’ll keep you updated. At 12:45pm PST on Wednesday, November 5, there are stil absentee and provisional ballots to be counted. It is predicted the results will not be known for at least ten days

Washington
Congressional District 8
Rep. Dave Reichert, incumbent, is fighting for another term against Democrat Darcy Burner who is strongly pro-choice. As of 10:50pm PST on Tuesday evening, with only 12% of the precincts reporting, Burner is ahead 53% – 47%. We’ll keep you udpated. At 12:45pm PST on Wednesday, November 5, the results will likely not be known until later this week. Reichert holds a slim lead over Burner.

At Zero Hour, Competitive Congressional Races See Fights Over Reproductive Health

Amanda Marcotte

Three of the most highly competitive House and Senate races feature spirited debate on reproductive health and other so-called "social" issues.

Dubbed the "silly season"
by political bloggers, campaign season is noteworthy each time around
for the race to the bottom by people willing to exploit any angle they
have to get a single vote.  In the last few days of this historic
election, I keep finding myself humming "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
by Joy Division, specifically the lines, "All my failings
exposed/Get a taste in my mouth/As desperation takes hold." 
Many of us are clutched up in anxiety waiting for Election Day, and
short of a massage, the best relaxation is sitting back and laughing
at the shenanigans.   

The House race between
Illinois 6th District incumbent Peter Roskam and challenger Jill Morgenthaler has become the one to
watch, if you look to politics to entertain you.  Roskam holds
the seat previously held by the abortion obsessive Henry Hyde, who wrote
the infamous Hyde amendment that requires women who receive federal
health care to carry pregnancies to term against their will if they
can’t scrape together the money to pay for abortions.  Roskam, if anything, is even more interested
in using his political power to control women’s private health care
decisions, and this aspect of his political philosophy has become a major factor in
Morgenthaler’s argument against him

Morgenthaler has highlighted Roskam’s attempts to pass a law that
would require women to carry all embryos created for in-vitro fertilization
to term, though the bill did not seem to stipulate that women would
be required to carry 12 to 15 fetuses at once, which perhaps was its
only nod to reality.   

Until this week, Roskam has not had
the money to run ads against Morgenthaler,

and he’s in a state of stress that tends to make political watchers
grab the popcorn, because we know it’s just a matter of time before
something indiscreet comes out of his mouth.  Roskam did not disappoint, as the Pioneer Press
reported.
 

    Citing the late Congressman
    Henry Hyde, who represented the 6th District for 16 terms until 2006,
    Roskam said people cannot be categorized by the way in which they were
    conceived and asked in the Pioneer Press interview why women can have
    abortions if rapists cannot be executed. 

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It’s a baffling statement,
because the only people who truly want to classify people by their conception
are those who espouse "traditional values" and want to classify
people into groups known as "legitimate" and "illegitimate"
precisely on the circumstances of their conception and their parents’
relationship to one another.  As far as I know, no one suggests
giving people conceived by rape fewer rights.  The question I want
to ask Roskam is, if we don’t execute rapists, why do we think it’s
okay to punish their innocent victims with forced childbirth? 

But it’s not a real political
circus until someone sues someone else for libel, and challenger Kay
Hagan of North Carolina obliged, suing Senate incumbent Elizabeth Dole
for defamation and libel.

At issue are a series of ads that imply not just that Hagan consorts
with atheists, but she herself is "godless."  The ad confuses
the words of a local atheist activist, seeming to put them directly
in Hagan’s mouth, even though Hagan is a Presbyterian who teaches
Sunday school.  The lawsuit hurt my feelings a bit, because I’m
an atheist and don’t see that we’re so bad that it’s defaming
to consort with us, but in a nation that’s overrun with culture warriors
who want to imply that one can’t have religious faith and be pro-choice
or pro-gay, I can see the political importance of the lawsuit.  

Dole, who sits in the seat
once occupied by Jesse Helms, has tried to defeat Hagan by pulling out
all culture warrior stops, blanketing North Carolina with mailers decrying Hagan’s
unwillingness to write bigotry into the state constitution,
and comically showing two male dolls
wearing tuxedos, one kneeling in front of the other. I’m taking the
kneeling image as a good sign.  It used to be that just showing
people same sex dolls standing next to each other would send a community
into a tizzy.  Now that’s apparently not enough, and they have
to use images that unsubtly hint at pornographic ones in order to get
people in the right paranoid mindset.  Will the homo-panic fliers
during the next campaign season show naked dolls in bed together? 
I suspect they’ll have to go there. 

The fears of atheism and dude
doin’ it hasn’t managed to help Dole’s campaign, though. 
In fact, Hagan
pulled out even further ahead of Dole in the polls,
capturing a 6 point lead going into
the weekend before election day, and this in a state with early voting. 
Dole no doubt thought the atheist ad would be an October surprise, but
unless she has a November surprise, her chances aren’t looking so
hot.  

Across the country, the culture
warrior campaign tactics seem to be losing their luster, after 40 years
of being the go-to way for candidates to turn an election away from
policy and towards begrudging your neighbor and resisting the future. 
Even in the Minnesota race, where anti-choice ads are helping keep Al
Franken close to incumbent Norm Coleman in the polls, the ads  seem lackluster
and uninspired, running through "child-killing" accusations
that have lost much of their power from toothless repetition.
Are Americans finally tired of being
terrorized with hyperbolic images of out-of-control godless liberalism? 
Or is it just a temporary blip, a result of an economic crisis that
makes policing your neighbor’s bedroom seem less important than it
used to?  No one can really say, and it will be years before we
know for sure what’s going on.

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