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Posts for November, 2010

Not a good night for NOM

Timothy Kincaid

November 2nd, 2010

The Republicans picked up significant gains in the midterm election, gaining control of the House of Representatives, and bringing the Senate to within a few votes. This is not good news for the prospect of having issues of inequality addressed in the next two years.

However, this change in the direction of power was not a mandate for social conservatives. Indeed, it was those Republicans who made the most of their socially conservative credentials who fared least well. Christine O’Donnell lost miserably, as did Tom Tancredo, while Tea Party and Republican candidates that minimized or refused to discuss their positions on social issues attracted support.

But no indicator seems to have been more consistent this election than the extent to which a candidate was supported by the National Organization for Marriage. If you were a Senatorial or Gubernatorial candidate whom NOM supported, it seemed to be the kiss of death.

In New Hampshire, NOM has ran an anti-Lynch campaign for two years, and has ratcheted up the anti-Lynch television ads going into the election. Lynch just won his fourth consecutive election, a feat not accomplished for the past 200 years.

In California, NOM sponsored a bus tour for senate candidate Carly Fiorina, encouraging Latino voters to “vota tus valores“. Not only have the networks called this election for Barbara Boxer, Latinos found Fiorina’s valores not to be their valores by two-thirds.

NOM sued the state of New York in hopes of running anonymous ads in favor of Carl Paladino. Paladino’s homophobia sunk his campaign and he ended up pulling but 35% of the vote leaving Cuomo – a marriage support – one of the strongest winners of the night.

In Minnesota, NOM ran radio ads for Tom Emmer claiming that “Mark Dayton and Tom Horner want to impose gay marriage with no vote of the people.” Although Minnesota has not been called, Dayton is 7% ahead of Emmer with 85% of the vote counted.

This kiss of death is consistent with results of NOM’s electioneering in the District of Columbia during their primary. It would seem that using gay couples as a fear tactic seems to have peaked and dissipated.

This is not to say that NOM will not have any causes for celebration. The efforts to reject three supreme court justices in Iowa who were part of the unanimous decision to recognize gay Iowans as protected by the state Constitution, appears to have succeeded. Each appears to have only 46-47% support. Expect NOM to claim this as a clear mandate that the “people of Iowa have spoken” and that they don’t like their gay neighbors so much. NOM was not, however, successful in their effort to oust the Polk County judge who first found for marriage equality.

And NOM’s very own Andy Pugno – the attorney for the Prop 8 campaign – is running for state assembly in California’s 5th Assembly district. At present the vote is too close to call.

All in all, while NOM’s vindictive smearing of the Iowa justices may have proven effective (and may well prove to bring a chilling effect to future legal battles), we can say that they were big losers tonight.

UPDATE: 10:28 pm PST. LA Times:

With more than half the votes counted, Democrat Richard Pan holds a 51% to 45% lead over Republican Andy Pugno in a seat currently held by Republicans.

Not only may Pugno’s repugnant attack on gay couples have cost him the 5th Assembly seat, it may actually move the Democrats in CA closer to a supermajority. NOM must feel so proud.

NOM’s “Valores” tour draws protesters

Timothy Kincaid

September 30th, 2010

Yesterday, the National Organization for Marriage’s “Vota Tus Valores” bus tour to drum up Hispanic vote for Carly Fiorina finally drew a crowd. Of protesters.

We already discussed their first stop for some Jelly Belly goodness. So we’ll pick up from there (Courage Campaign)

Day 3, Stop 2: Napa

In Napa, 32 counter-protesters greeted the Vota Bus tour with chants of “more jobs, more jobs.”

The face of the tour, Alfonso, was uncertain what to do when faced with a sea (or at least a pond) of Barbara Boxer signs and nary a single Carly Fiorina supporter. But, just for his info, trying to lecture or out-shout protesters just isn’t a very effective use of time. And no one sounds good with such zingers as “If you’re sick of killing babies, you better vote for Carly.”

Day 3, Non-Stop 3: Concord
Day 3, Non-Stop 4: Alameda

Rather than make the two scheduled stops, the Valores tour stopped for lunch and tequila shots. Which is probably just as well as this is what was waiting for them at the scheduled Alameda stop.

Day 3, Stop 5: San Jose

In East San Jose the Carly bus did not go over well.

Napa may have been the first stop where an organized oppositional counter-protest came out to greet the Vota Bus, but East San Jose was clearly the most vocal. When we arrived there were approximately 34 counter-protesters, mostly Latino.

Day 3, Stop 6: San Mateo

While San Jose’s protest was predominantly a Latino objection to Carly Fiorina, in San Mateo the protest was led by those supporting gay equality.

In San Mateo, the Vota Bus was met by 14 equality counter-protesters from organizations like PFLAG and Marriage Equality USA. Tour organizers made marginal attempts to engage about 4 people who were sitting in the local park and two of the volunteer organizers attempted to have a civil discourse with two of the equality supporters.

You have to wonder what Fiorina’s camp was thinking. This is a three-fer, not only does this tour annoy the Boxer supporters, but it also challenges the established Latino political machine and the gay supporters. Any other combination and they might have raised no attention at all, but this message coupled with this partnership was almost guaranteed to result in negative press.

And portraying yourself as a social conservative extremist is not a good idea in California. When we elect Republicans, we want them to be of the moderate variety. There hasn’t been a socially conservative Republican elected to Governor or Senator since George Deukmejian was re-elected in 1986.

NOM’s “Valores” tour has a sweet start today

Timothy Kincaid

September 29th, 2010

Today the National Organization for Marriage’s tour to whip up Latino support for Carly Fiorina got off to a sweet start. At the Jelly Belly jellybean factory. Where they were told not to pass out materials or approach other customers.

Day 3, Stop 1: Fairfield

But they did get to go on a tour of the factory and get free samples, so that’s something.

This is it for now, but check this commentary later as Courage Campaign updates the third day in the “Vota Tus Valores” tour. Who knows, at some point they may actually find a Latino voter who supports Fiorina and you wouldn’t want to miss that.

Follow up on how NOM’s “Valores” tour went yesterday

Timothy Kincaid

September 29th, 2010

When I last reported on the National Organization for Marriage’s “Vota Tus Valores” tour, they had one stop with four supporters (and nine protesters), one stop where they didn’t get out of the bus, missed one stop, and were late for the next one.

Courage Campaign brings us up to date.

Day 2, Stop 4: Colusa

NOM’s bus did finally make it to a Burger King parking lot in Colusa where they were successful in finding some Latinos, six in fact. Unfortunately, they were fifth graders, not voters.

Day 2, Stop 5: Willows

In Willows, the Vota Tus Valores bus stopped just long enough to grab a beer and a bag of pork rinds (I’m not making this stuff up).

I don’t think the pork rinds are registered to vote and, if so, may well not be Carly Fiorina supporters.

Day 2, Stop 6: Davis

Around dusk, the bus finally made it to the UC-Davis campus.

I truly am having difficulty understanding what this is all about. As a traveling billboard, the message is not adequately presented; Carly Fiorina’s name is not prominent. As a rallying tour, it is an absolute failure. I cannot fathom the people who are riding on that bus day after day and never having any audience to talk to or any events to talk about. I hope they brought books.

If you thought NOM’s tour yesterday was bad…

Timothy Kincaid

September 28th, 2010

The National Organization for Marriage seems to be running into a little problem getting people to show up for their “Vota Tus Valores” tour. Yesterday was kinda discouraging with a total of 17 folks at five stops (15 were all from one stop) but today was the kind of day that makes California’s anti-gay Latino Republicans sad at heart.

Day 2, Stop 1: Sacramento

Our state’s capital didn’t exactly swarm out to greet NOM. (Courage Campaign)

Already progressive supporters are beginning to out-organize the tour. The count in Sacramento was 9 to 4.

Day 2, Stop 2: Placerville

The following picture includes all of the ralliers at this stop:

NOM didn’t even get off the bus.

Day 2, Stop 3: Yuba City

The tour website said they would be at the Gauche Aquatic Center at 1:15 pm. But they didn’t show up.

Courage Campaign asked the Aquatic Center and it turns out NOM never followed through with a request to use the parking lot. Fortunately CC was ran into NOM & crew where they had stopped for lunch and now are stuck following the bus.

Day 2, Stop 4: Colusa

The bus was to be there at 2:30, but as of 2:40 they hadn’t left Yuba City (CC will update tonight) so perhaps Colusa is another no-show. Why not? It’s not like anyone is there waiting for them.

NOM’s all new Tour of, well, nobody

Timothy Kincaid

September 28th, 2010

Carly Fiorina must be loco. Muy loco.

Why else would she agree to let the National Organization for Marriage organize a bus tour to support her campaign for US Senator from California. In Spanish.

Over the summer, NOM spent 19 days traveling about various states to promote their agenda of excluding gay people from civil marriage rights. And although they only made 21 stops, they were so abysmally disorganized that in some events the organizers outnumbered the attendees. They seemed to have the strange approach to bus tours of “if you park it, they will come.”

Now consider, if you will, the same organizers (along with the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, American Principles in Action and the Susan B. Anthony List). Except this time the tour will have several stops per day, will target Latinos to support of a Republican Senate candidate, and will be in Spanish.

Yesterday, the “Vota Tus Valores” campaign (“Vote your Values”) rolled is off to a start. And it is laughably predictable. (Courage Campaign)

Stop 1: Bakersfield

Only one “values-voter” stopped by, but she was not Latina.

“I was shopping at Target when I saw the bus across the street and wanted to see what it was all about,” she told me.

We initially counted 8 in attendance, but 7 were organizers that got back on the bus at the end of the stop.

Stop 2: Visalia

The Vota Tus Valores bus tour kept up its attendance average in Visalia — 1 person showed up.

“I vote according to God’s will,” said one Latina woman who happened to be in the park when the bus pulled up but refused to go on-camera.

Stop 3: Hanford

No one at all. Zilch. Nada.

Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that on the hottest day of the year (Los Angeles set a new record: the hottest day ever recorded in the city) you aren’t going to find too many people hanging out in a nice bright sunny park. But surely you could have tried to organize someone.

Stop 4: Madera

Success. At last an audience. Not of likely voters, exactly, but at least living breathing bodies.

In Madera, the advance team was able to wrangle up a few additional attendees: fifteen men from a local Christian men’s shelter were present to “show support,” including one man wearing an Obama shirt and a reformed neo-Nazi who was heavily tatotted with swastikas.

Stop 5: Roseville

Here the bus pulled up for dinner. At a chain “mexican” restaurant. Even the waiter wasn’t Latino.

And that, my friends, is what you get when NOM organizes your bus tour. Thank God.

California politicians weigh in on Prop 8 ruling

Timothy Kincaid

August 5th, 2010

Unsurprisingly, the Democratic and Republican responses to Judge Walker’s rulings were different.

In the Senatorial race, Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer released the following statement:

This historic decision is a step forward in the march toward equal rights and reflects a growing legal consensus that marriage equality is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Carly Fiorina, the Republican nominee, is quoted by AP as disapproving of the decision.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina says she disagrees with a federal judge’s decision overturning California’s gay-marriage ban.

Fiorina says California voters spoke clearly against same-sex unions when a majority approved Proposition 8 in 2008.

In the gubernatorial race, Jerry Brown – who at Attorney General refused to defend the proposition – released the following statement:

In striking down Proposition 8, Judge Walker came to the same conclusion I did when I declined to defend it: Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient governmental interest.

Republican Meg Whitman’s campaing, on the other hand, released the following statement:

Meg supported Proposition 8 and believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Meg also strongly supports California’s civil union laws. Today’s ruling is the first step in a process that will continue.

Hunh? A process that will continue?

So everyone has now made their statements. But with California voters so evenly split over marriage and not one breathing fire over the decision, I think it extremely unlikely that Whitman – or even Fiorona – will make gay marriage an issue in their campaigns.

NOM supports Fiorina campaign to Latinos

Timothy Kincaid

July 28th, 2010

American Principles in Action, a obscure far-right organization that seems obsessed with opposing civil equality for gay people, has created a project they’ve called Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles. They can be best described as hard-core conservative on all issues except immigration – sort of the Latino GOProud, if you will.

Their goal is to convince Latino Californians to vote Republican, focusing solely on (non-immigration related) social issues and, in particular, to drum up votes for Carly Fiorina. (From their press release)

The Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, a national organization of conservative Hispanics, today launched a $1 million campaign in support of California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina at a press conference in downtown Los Angeles. Fiorina is running against Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer.

why?

“Carly Fiorina, like the majority of Latinos, believes in the right-to-life, traditional marriage and in hard work and entrepreneurship,” stated Aguilar.

And who is a part?

The Latino Partnership for Conservative principles “Tus Valores” campaign is supported by the Susan B. Anthony List, a network of 280,000 Americans in all fifty states dedicated to mobilizing, advancing and representing pro-life women in politics, and by the National Organization for Marriage, a non-profit organization with a mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.

I assume “supported by” includes financial support, but that isn’t clear.

UPDATE:

GoodAsYou is reporting that this group is even more closely tied to NOM:

This Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles coalition is an outreach of the American Principles Project, and this Fiorina effort is the work of APP’s action arm, American Principles in Action. Robert George is the founder of APP/APIA. The same Robert George who — wait for it, wait for it — CO-FOUNDED NOM! So essentially we have NOM signing on as one of two sponsors (the Susan B. Anthony List being the other) of a pro-Fiorina effort that was setup by their own founding chairman and current prominent spokesperson!