Forced Abortions = Trouble for the GOP
Fri Jul 21, 2006 at 04:12:00 AM PDT
This week one of the many scandals festering in the Long Tail of the GOP Culture of Corruption spiked to the surface.
The sweatshops, forced prostitution and forced abortions that Jack Abramoff and his GOP pals protected led the voters in Georgia to stop Ralph Reed in his tracks.
Going into Tuesday the consensus was that Reed's famed ground game would deliver thousands of his Christian Coalition Zombies and add another stunning victory for the Abramoff/DeLay/Rove wing of the GOP. It didn't happen.
Ralph lost. And now, fear stalks the GOP.
I'll let the Washington Post explain:
While political corruption has failed so far to take root as a national issue, the defeat of scandal-stained Ralph Reed in Georgia on Tuesday showed that federal investigators could tip some key House and Senate races this fall, according to party strategists.
And since Tuesdays the woods are filled with comments about what Reed's defeat means for the GOP.
To the jump...
- dengre's diary :: ::
A consensus is building about the Reed defeat: Forced Abortions are bad for the GOP.
It has been 11 Years since Jack Abramoff began his work to protect a system of sweatshops, human trafficking, force prostitution and forced abortion on the Commonwealth of North Mariana Islands (CNMI).
I have been advocating for greater attention to CNMI and the GOP's exposure to this aspect of the Abramoff scandal for a long time.
Georgia has proven that this is a potent wedge issue for the fall elections.
It exposes the hypocrisy of the GOP. The Christians who they have bamboozled for the last twenty years are catching on to being played for suckers. They are staying home or voting against the folks who exploited their Faith.
This analysis from Jim Galloway of Cox News points to a larger loss to the GOP and the impact of forced abortions as a wedge issue between the Republicans and the Christians they've exploited for decades (emphasis added):
The Republican race for Georgia lieutenant governor between Ralph Reed and Casey Cagle made Christian voters so uncomfortable that many stayed home -- sending ripples up and down the GOP ticket on Tuesday -- Republican and religious activists said a day after the primary.
Nevertheless, Becker and others said they suspected that the lackluster results for several high-profile candidates supported by religious activists meant that evangelical voters may have stayed away from the polls Tuesday. [snip]
In the Republican race for secretary of state, Fulton County Commission Chairwoman Karen Handel outpolled state Sen. Bill Stephens by 44 to 33 percent. Stephens was backed by both Fields and GRTL. The two candidates are now in a runoff.
And in a small but closely watched House race in South Georgia, Kay Godwin -- a GOP activist with firm ties to Christian evangelicals -- lost to Jesup businessman Mark Williams, 61 to 39 percent. Godwin also was backed by Fields, while Williams was supported by House Speaker Glenn Richardson. [snip]
"Those three races are the best indication that the right flank of the Republican Party stayed home," said Rusty Paul, a Sandy Springs councilman and former chairman of the state GOP.
"The moderate wing of the Republican party showed up, but the pro-Ralph side of the party went to the beach," Paul said. "It had an impact all up and down the ticket."
And that analysis was supported in many other reports. Before all the votes were counted, the National Press was tying Ralph's loss to his work with Jack Abramoff on behalf of Native America gambling casinos and protecting the system of human trafficking on CNMI.
Of the two it was Reed's work to protect forced prostitution and forced abortions on the Marianas Islands that dampened the passions of the Born-Again foot soldiers of the Right. Salon caught the essence of Ralph's problem last Tuesday:
For months, Reed and his campaign had repeated their mantra that Reed was unaware that the $5 million funneled to his high-powered consulting firm, Century Strategies, to fight casino gambling was provided by casino-owning Indian tribes seeking to protect their interests. That he had no idea his pal Jack Abramoff had enlisted his help to defeat congressional legislation regulating Internet gambling on behalf of an Internet gambling company. That his opponent in the primary, Casey Cagle, was misrepresenting what Reed and Abramoff had tried to do in the Mariana Islands. They were working to protect free trade -- not, as a withering campaign ad charged, to protect child prostitution and forced abortion. [snip]
But the whistling-past-the-graveyard tenor was hard to miss. While the disdain for the press was still apparent, the refrain of "traditional conservative values," repeated by virtually everyone queried about their motivation in turning out for Reed, was accompanied by wan smiles.
And here is how the RW Christian World Magazine explained what happened to Ralph:
Though Reed expressed regret for some of his work for Abramoff, he also doggedly avoided questions about the details of his involvement, including a paper trail indicating he used pass-through groups to obscure the tribal source of funds.
Reed's support and funding eroded as the Abramoff debacle gathered steam. One week before the primary a Texas tribe filed a lawsuit against Reed and Abramoff, alleging fraud against the pair.
David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch, a watchdog group that spent $100,000 to campaign against Reed, called him "the first casualty of the Abramoff scandal." He added: "Politicians who place political money before morals ought to be very worried."
David would know. Campaign Money Watch was very active in Georgia. They recognized that the Abramoff/CNMI/GOP connection was a potent wedge issue for November. They decided to test this issue in Georgia.
Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, has become the first political casualty of the Jack Abramoff lobbying and money scandals with his loss yesterday in Georgia's lieutenant governor's race to a previously unknown state senator. [snip]
His loss also suggests that other politicians may be vulnerable to voter anger, unless politicians repent for their big money ways. [snip]
Campaign Money Watch (www.campaignmoney.org/), a project of Public Campaign Action Fund, delivered part of this attack with television and radio advertising connecting Reed's work for Abramoff, as well as a record phone message delivered to 200,000 GOP voters over the last critical days when the race swung dramatically in Cagle's direction. [snip]
Reed took money from Abramoff's American Indian casino clients through a variety of conduits and manipulated Christian groups to act as fronts to oppose gambling competition for the tribes. He helped Abramoff oppose legislation to extend protections to women and children employed by sweatshops in the Northern Mariana Islands, despite the fact that our government had reported that the employers forced employees to enter the sex-tourism trade. When these immigrant workers inevitably became pregnant, they were forced to have abortions.
Reed never once said that it was wrong to take the casino money and use Christian groups as fronts. And he refused to acknowledge that it was widely known what was happening in the Marianas -- ABC's 20/20 did an expose in the 1998 -- years before he took on the lobbying work.
Clearly, Georgia voters understood this better than Reed. But the message they sent was not just to Reed. They sent a powerful message to Democrats and Republicans alike around the country: Politicians who side with donors and big moneyed interests and not with voters can't depend on their base for turning out for them or staying faithful on Election Day.
This spells trouble for scandal-ridden members of Congress like Richard Pombo, R-Calif.; Charles Taylor, R-N.C.; Bob Ney, R-Ohio; and Alan Mollohan, D-W.V., as well as Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., who all find themselves in electoral hot water because of money and lobbying scandals.
And it also should put every vulnerable member of Congress on notice.
The work of Campaign Money Watch (CMW) deserves our support. They have shown how an aggressive posture on this issue can impact a close election.
And according to the polls the race between Reed and Casey Cagle was too close to call. In the end it was a blow-out. CMW was part of that story. So were the very effective attacks on Reed by the Cagle campaign.
These attacks are a road map of how Democrats can tie the abuse on CNMI to most Republicans this fall.
First the campaign laid out the ample evidence to prove that the abuse on CNMI was more than just sweatshops. They presented the facts that point to some of the many cases of forced prostitution and forced abortions that are part of the system Jack Abramoff and his GOP pals have protected for the last 11 years.
Then the Cagle campaign made the connections between Abramoff and Reed clear to voters.
Finally, they sealed the message with a clear statement: Reed's values were for sale and he sold them to Abramoff.
Here is an effective TV ad Cagle ran against Ralph.
With small changes it would work against Doolittle, Pombo, Ney, Burns, Hastert and a host of Jack's other slush fund buddies.
A 32 page PDF document titled, The Proof of Ralph Reed's Work Defending Human Rights Abuses on the Marianas Islands is missing from the site. I have the PDF and can send it to any campaign ready to attack the GOP on this issue.
And Democrats should be attacking the GOP on their complicity in the ongoing abuse on CNMI. The possibility that this issue might be picked up in a number of races this fall has the Republican Party very worried.
Sevah posted a good Diary Wednesday, analyzing the numbers from Georgia's primary:
There were 61,969 more Democrats who cast a ballot for a Democratic Governor, or 15% more Dem voters than GOP! [snip]
And the news as been chock full of stories about "cross-over" voters seeking to rid the world of the evil influence of Ralph Reed. How'd that race turn out?
Lt Gov: Dem - 442906 GOP - 402187
And GOP blog Peach Pundit had a very honest post about Tuesday GOP COTV effort:
Pretty pathetic turnout all around. Early numbers indicate that 477,771 people voted in the Democratic Primary and 416,749 voted in the Republican Primary. (Based on the number who voted in the top ticket race)
This shocks me, quite frankly, given that in the 2004 Primary, there were 651,282 Republican Primary voters and 625,154 Democratic Primary voters. I just assumed that the Democrats decline would continue.
While participation for both parties primaries was way down, more people voted in the Democratic Primary this year than people who voted in the Republican Primary. And that is with the hotly contested Reed-Cagle race on the Republican side.
GOP Primary participation declined 36% from 2004 while Democratic Primary participation declined 23%.
Do Republicans have anything to worry about in November based on these numbers?
Yep. They do have something to worry about. If we are willing to fight.
It is not an accident that for the last eleven years that the GOP has protected a system rooted in human trafficking, prostitution and money laundering. It was intentional. It was part of a plan to fund a One-Party-State in America.
The Republican Party has some explaining to do. They put the interests of their Hong Kong based Chinese patrons ahead of justice and America.
They used their offices and positions to protect abuse and promote injustice. They put the Government of the United States of America in the business of supporting sweatshops, human trafficking, force prostitution and forced abortion. And they did it for money and power.
We need to talk about this. This needs to be a National campaign issue. Georgia has proven that it has legs. The CNMI/Abramoff issue can divide the GOP from the "Values voters" they've bamboozled for decades.
You can help.
Please talk about this issue.
Encourage our Candidates to bring it up. Encourage them to support H.R. 5550, the Human Dignity Act and to use the CNMI issue as a wedge issue to go after their GOP opponent.
Show candidates in races with Abramoff tainted Republicans some love and financial support. And when you donate, add 11 cents for the 11 years of justice denied to the workers on CNMI because of the Republican party.
Here is a partial list of some candidates who can connect their opponents to Jack Abramoff and the a system of sweatshops, human trafficking, force prostitution and forced abortion on CNMI: