Senate Campaigns Appeal To Powerful Group In Primary
July 28, 2006
By MARK PAZNIOKAS, Courant Staff Writer
This article in the Hartford Courant today examines the importance of Women's Rights in the Senate contest:
"If you are a Democrat in a blue state, you better be on the right side of that issue," said Scott McLean, a political science professor at Quinnipiac University.
Women not only are the majority of voters in general elections, they tend to vote Democratic, potentially giving them an outsized voice in the Aug. 8 primary.
"It's not surprising that women's issues are particularly important in a Democratic primary fight," said Ken Dautrich, a professor of public policy at the University of Connecticut. "The one that captures the bulk of women stands the best chance of winning."
Today, Lieberman returns from Washington to launch a 10-day bus tour of Connecticut intended to keep him before the voting public. In a press conference on the steps of the state Supreme Court, Lamont will accept the endorsement of Michael Schiavo, whose late wife, Terry Schiavo, was the focus of a right-to-die controversy in Florida.
Lamont is using reproductive rights and the Schiavo case as a variation on a broader theme: His campaign argues that Lieberman - on the war, on abortion, on education - is too cozy with President Bush and congressional Republicans.
And let's not forget for a moment that Joseph Lieberman has stated with great conviction that Terri Schiavo absolutely was going to be force-fed against her husband's and her own wishes. Apparently the right to die with even a shred of dignity isn't a right that women possess or deserve.
Lieberman is endorsed by two leading advocates for reproductive rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood PAC, a fact touted in a new mailing headlined, "U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a lifelong advocate for women and the right to choose."It still bothers me that these organizations use a flawed "scorecard" system to rate the effectiveness of a lawmaker. Lieberman's vote against confirmation of Justice Alito is a prime example. It's considered a good vote by the women's groups, because Joe voted against Alito.
But the REAL vote, the vote that MATTERED, the vote that Joe could have and SHOULD HAVE used his "leadership" to encourage, the ONLY VOTE that could have prevented known-anti-Choice candidate Alito from being seated on the Supreme Court from now until the day God decides to call him home (and he's a young and seemingly healthy man) was the vote on "Cloture of Debate" about Alito.
If the 45 Senate Democrats stood together (only 40 of them were needed to continue debate), they could have filibustered the Senate and forced the anti-Choice Republicans to withdraw him and find a more moderate candidate. But Joe, as usual was cowtowing to the Bush/Cheney crowd, and he meekly refused to support the filibuster and voted to close debate, thereby ensuring beyond any reasonable doubt Alito's place on the Court.
But some women's groups like PP and Naral, well, they consider Joe an active proponent of Women's Rights.
In a Lamont mailing, Rosemary Dempsey, president of the Connecticut NOW, said Lieberman's refusal to back a filibuster was "a slap in the face to every woman of this state, no matter her political beliefs, economic status or race."Not only is that a perfectly awful thing to say, but it indicates that Lieberman places religious views above the rights of women. This is EXACTLY the problem with Joe. He harbors a fanatic's zeal for religious legislation, regardless of the impact on women.
The chance remark that has brought Lieberman grief came in response to a reporter's question about a state controversy: Should Catholic hospitals be forced to prescribe Plan B, an emergency contraceptive often given to rape victims?
Lieberman questioned the need for state intervention, saying, "In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital."
It's one thing to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, but to allow them to deny Plan B contraception (which doesn't abort a fertilized embryo like RU-486, but simply helps a woman AVOID conceiving) to a woman who's just been raped (even by, say, her father) is absolutely horrendous and goes against everything that women's reproductive rights groups should be about.
This is what Joe (and apparently Senator Boxer) supports.
"I do believe that Lieberman's enabling of Bush to pack the court and his statements on emergency room contraception created a much greater opening for us to galvanize the reproductive rights community than we had previously," Swan said.Indeed.