A Note on Manchester Mayoral Race

From my post at Granite Grok:

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the September 19 primary in the Queen City confirmed that Ted Gatsas and Joyce Craig will face off once again in Manchester’s mayoral race. Craig lost to Gatsas in 2015 by 64 votes.

Craig has the endorsement of EMILY’s List this year, as she did in 2015. The abortion advocacy group describes its rationale for involvement in state and local elections

Read the full post.

On trusting women: written 5 years ago, still too apt

Facebook’s On This Day feature served up a blast from the past today. I wrote a certain post five years ago, on International Women’s Day, a month before starting this blog,  This was before I went freelance, and at that time I was working for New Hampshire’s Cornerstone Action.

I had just spent a day at the State House monitoring some life-issue votes. There were a lot of “Trust Women” stickers being sported by women who didn’t trust me. The tone at the State House hasn’t changed appreciably since then, through changes in party majorities.

By the way, by the time that 2012 session was over, New Hampshire had a partial-birth abortion ban. It wasn’t easy, and it required an override of John Lynch’s veto. Nevertheless, it was done.

You can find the full post at Granite Grok.

On Women and Trust

The hallways in the state house were lined on Wednesday with people sporting stickers emblazoned with the slogans “Trust Women” and “Stop the War on Women.” Such exhortations give me pause, inasmuch as I’m a woman, and none of my sticker-clad fellow citizens seemed inclined to trust me.

Imagine, if you will, a band of citizens bearing stickers saying “Trust Men.” Passersby would immediately think “trust men to do what?” The men wearing such stickers would be laughed out of the state house. Women wearing such stickers would have my pity, along with my fervent hope that some serious consciousness-raising would take place before the next election.

So back to trusting women. Many of Wednesday’s citizens bearing the “Trust Women” message also held signs for NARAL Pro-Choice NH and Planned Parenthood. Aha. Now I get it: the stickers are telling elected officials to trust the women who support so-called pro-choice policies. Other women are not invited to the trustfest….

I was called a neanderthal this morning at the state house by someone who saw that I was not there to support the bogus “Trust Women” campaign. I was asked “how can you call yourself a woman?” I’ve spent 30 years in the thick of civic engagement, and it takes more than being outnumbered & verbally abused to make me go away. Still, it’s telling that a fellow citizen can look at me and see not a woman or a neighbor but a neanderthal. Civility, anyone?

Head to Granite Grok for the full post.

Weekend reading (and viewing) on life & conscience

A new report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute is just the thing for your weekend reading. “Unconscionable:  Threats to Religious
Freedom and Rights of  Conscience in the Abortion
Debate” is a new report by the Institute’s Timothy Bradley.   “While society continues to debate whether and when abortion should be permitted, a second question concerns whether to force pro-life individuals and institutions to participate in or facilitate abortions.” Indeed.

Bradley describes cases where the conscience rights of pro-life Americans are being challenged, and he includes recommendations for strengthening and enforcing those rights.

And now for something completely different…

Enjoy this video, just because it’s lovely: a two-minute drone’s- eye view of a beautiful church’s interior. h/t Aleteia via Granite Grok.


Supreme Court to hear Texas abortion arguments

photo from supremecourt.gov

A few thoughts on the eve of U.S. Supreme Court arguments about a Texas abortion law:

  • What’s at issue is a piece of the Texas abortion regulation that was passed only after a huge uproar in Austin. Wendy Davis and her pink-sneakered filibuster couldn’t prevent passage of the legislation almost three years ago. It took some fast action to get the case to the Supreme Court in less than three years. The Massachusetts buffer zone case took much longer than that.
  • I’m indebted to Steve McDonald of GraniteGrok for pointing me to a post from The Federalist that makes a point not yet stressed in most coverage of the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt: there are parts of the Texas law that aren’t even being challenged. “Almost three years ago the Texas legislature enacted HB2, the principle [sic]components of which are (1) restricting abortions after 20 weeks, when we know the unborn child can feel pain; (2) requiring abortionists to comply with the Food and Drug Administration’s approved protocol on chemical abortions; and (3) ensuring that abortionists would have to comply with basic health and safety standards….[the] prohibition on abortions after 20 weeks remains unchallenged.…The Court will not consider that part of the law because the abortion industry, despite its claims about harm to women and Wendy Davis’s rhetoric, has chosen not to challenge it.” [emphasis added]
  • The omnibus Texas law was a direct response to the Gosnell case in Pennsylvania – in effect, a Gosnell prevention act. It’ll be interesting to see if that comes up in tomorrow’s oral arguments.
  • With the recent death of Justice Scalia, observers with more time than I for Court-watching have suggested that a 4-4 split is likely in this abortion-law case, which would leave lower-court decisions intact. Any decision in the case is weeks or months away.

I’ll be looking to scotusblog.com for updates on this week’s arguments.


Notes from the NHGOP convention

After the dust settled at Saturday’s 2014 New Hampshire Republican convention, there was still one political party in New Hampshire with a platform that recognizes and respects the right to life of every human being. That outcome was worth waiting for.

My information comes from what I heard even after the proceedings were closed to me, and from what delegates (most of whom requested anonymity) told me after the convention.

The day’s big story wasn’t the story I expected. The interviews I conducted early in the day were rendered beside-the-point by the outcome of the platform votes.

Keeping the press out is pointless. I was with the press contingent, and we were welcomed for the pep-rally portion of the program. Once policy discussion began, we were barred, although “guests” were welcome to stay. Political parties are more-or-less private entities that can grant or deny access to any party function, and hooray for that. Even so, the venue’s walls were thin and the hallway worked pretty well for me as a monitoring station. Also, Twitter and smartphones are here to stay. Four hundred politically-active individuals were in that room, and they all know how to hit “send.”

Personhood has hit the big time. The NHGOP platform already had pro-life language under the “Family” section. It’s now stronger than ever, and the haters-at-large are already attacking the plank – but that’s a topic for another day. The delegates adopted this: “Support the pre-born child’s fundamental right to life and personhood under the Fourteenth Amendment, and implement all Constitutional and legal protections.” More: “Support a Life at Conception Act guaranteeing the protections of Life and Personhood to the pre-born under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.” Wow. Abortion advocates like Mmes. Hassan and Shaheen are already in overdrive about the “anti-woman” platform – by the way, has anyone asked them about their support for sex-selection abortion, as long as we’re getting into “anti-woman” stuff? – and Scott Brown has reaffirmed that he’s pro-choice, whatever that means.

The timing of the convention is interesting. To an independent voter like me (or as I sometimes call myself, a recovering Republican), one Saturday is as good as another. I have to wonder how the candidates in the convention hall felt about that. Two hundred or so delegates were in the hall when the convention was gavelled to order on September 20, and a couple of hundred more were credentialed by the time the platform discussion begana few hours later. That makes over 400 people who weren’t out knocking on doors on a good-weather Saturday six weeks before the election.

Teach your kids parliamentary procedure. A couple of decades ago, I attended state GOP conventions as a delegate – three times, if memory serves. One thing hasn’t changed since my delegate days: contention over rules and parliamentary procedure. A lot of good people were angry at how the convention was conducted (and a number of them vented on Facebook afterward). Anger over the rules nearly triggered a mass walkout, until cooler heads prevailed (to outstanding effect).

Delegates heard from four candidates and one sitting U.S. Senator, none of whom addressed the right to life or the “war on women” lie. It was left to keynote speaker Carly Fiorina to bring up “war on women.” She could give lessons to some of the GOP candidates. The overriding message: jobsandtheeconomyjobsandtheeconomyjobsandtheeconomy. Ah, yes, that’ll keep the fearmongers at bay. Worked so well in 2012 … but I’m repeating myself. By the way, I was in an alcove in the back of the room as each speaker was introduced, and I can tell you who got a wholehearted all-the-way-to-the-back-row standing ovation: Marilinda Garcia, running against Ann Kuster in CD2. I can tell you who didn’t: everyone else.

The platform still affirms one-man-one-woman marriage. I would have bet heavily on adoption of an amendment redefining marriage. Didn’t happen. There was a vote on that, and it wasn’t close.

The people who were angriest about the rules-and-parliamentary brouhaha did not walk out. This may have played into the outcome of the vote on the pro-life plank. I’m confident it played heavily into the marriage vote. A walkout would have left a room full of legacy Republicans – fine people, good neighbors, jobsandtheeconomy. Before the platform vote, one pro-life delegate who’s a veteran of NHGOP conventions sought me out while he was working to persuade disaffected delegates to stay. “No way am I going to walk out. I worked too hard to get here,” he told me. An hour later, the wisdom of his decision was evident. He later emailed me: “Many people helped make these votes possible. I think there were also some miracles from God!” Another email, this one from a first-time delegate: “It is amazing how social conservatives were mobilized to sign up to run as delegates for the convention. I was contacted by two different people asking me to run.”

Q & A with some of the delegates and guests before the convention: Jane Cormier, outgoing state rep and recent state senate candidate: What’s the most important thing you think can be accomplished today? “I would like to be able to see that we haven’t ended up with a totally different thrust to the platform. Time will tell.” State senate candidate Kathy Rago was thinking along the same lines. “I hope we can keep the platform from being watered down today.”

I had a longer chat with Skip Murphy of Granite Grok. What’s going on with the GOP in New Hampshire? “I’m not sure anymore, to be perfectly honest with you. I don’t know what it stands for. I know what the platform stands for. I know what they campaigned on. But then when you look at the talk versus the walk, some of the legislation – especially some of the votes last session [in Concord] – I don’t know what the Republican party stands for.” Any suggestions for GOP voter outreach? “They’d better be real careful, because I think when they reach over they’re going to topple over as well. I look at it this way: in 2010-2012, the Democrats demonized the Tea Party, those newly-active folks who found out that politics matters. They came out in overwhelming numbers, first-time newbies, and they were scorned for being newbies, but they had strength of character and exuberance to get involved. Democrats demonized them, seeing them as the existential terror they really were to the Democrat agenda. Unfortunately during this campaign season, we’ve seen Republicans turn on them as well, so a lot of them are going to stay home.”

After the convention,  I got a Facebook communication from a longtime pro-life education activist in Manchester who was a first-time delegate. After a morning of pep-rally speeches and an afternoon of getting down the the nitty-gritty of platform adoption, this was how one newbie reviewed the festivities.

“My first trip to the NH Republican State Convention is over. What a day! Met so many interesting people from across the state. I was amazed that folks were willing to drive over 2 hours to attend. The speeches by the candidates were uninspiring. Money, money, more about money. Republicans want it to go one place, Democrats want it to go somewhere else. But when we got down to business, I realized that Money doesn’t win elections or votes. What gets people excited and what animates them and gets them involved are the Social Issues. Wasn’t a single battle about money when it came to the Platform. We fought to defend the rights of the preborn – and won. We fought to support traditional Marriage between one Man and one Woman – and won. So Scott Brown, Walt Havenstein, and the Party Establishment should take note – NH Republicans will turn out the vote for the babies and traditional family values. Exactly why should we turn out in November for the wishy-washy prattle of Brown or Havenstein? Those boys should pledge to put aside their ‘personal beliefs’ and support the Platform and vote accordingly. Maybe then they will be worth voting for in November. If not, I see a huge loss for both. It was invigorating to be around so many like minded people. Today’s Platform win was a win for the Family, which is always a win for the Children, our Future.”