The team at the Susan B. Anthony List reminded me today of a canny little video they made a few years back, when the outgoing president and his appointees imposed the HHS mandate. The video hits a nerve anew, in this week of the rescission of an invitation to pro-lifers by organizers of a so-called “Women’s March.” This week, it’s not a president speaking – but the Bureau of Womanhood Conformity sounds like it’s still in business.
Observations, not an endorsement, from two recent encounters I’ve had with a presidential candidate:
I had a chance to ask Senator (and presidential candidate) Rand Paul of Kentucky about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision regarding Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate (see WMUR-TV’s Conversation with the Candidate for transcript). Was it a net win or loss for liberty? Paul didn’t hesitate for a moment: “Net win.”
More recently, I attended the Susan B. Anthony List’s annual summit meeting in Washington, D.C., where Senator Paul spoke for about ten minutes on the right to life. The full speech is available on YouTube. What struck me were his remarks on the life/liberty nexus. “Some have said to me, ‘well, you’re big on all this liberty stuff; why do you want to restrict a woman’s right to choose?’ And I say, you know what? Government has some role in our lives. One of the main roles a government has is to restrict you from harming another individual, which gets us back to the original debate: when life begins, there is a role for the state. It’s not that I’m against people choosing things. I’m one of the biggest believers in choice and liberty. But you can’t have liberty if you don’t protect where your liberty originates from, and that’s your right to life.”
As promised during We Hold These Truths on 1590 WSMN Nashua, 3/5/15, here’s contact information for the groups I featured on the broadcast. Thanks to Marilyn Musgrave of SBA List and Kathleen Lauer-Rago of Network for Educational Opportunity for their participation in the show.
In spite of practical considerations, I’m fond of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. It’s an expensive indulgence, but I managed a one-day trip this year. Even by my First-in-the-Nation standards, it’s an impressive gathering.
Never mind the headliners. The best of the presentations are usually to be found in the breakout sessions, and this year was no exception. Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List joined Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life and Darla St. Martin of National Right to Life spoke to a packed room about pro-life victories throughout the country in 2014. As New Hampshire turns ever bluer on the political map (I’m not giving away any secrets here), it’s easy to lose sight of the pro-life political gains elsewhere in other states. Ask North Carolina’s Joni Ernst about that.
A lower-profile presentation by Chris Crawford and Laurie Lee of Women Speak Out, an SBA List PAC, was a nuts-and-bolts description of the field effort that went into the winning campaigns last year. They called their session “The Margin of Victory.” No theoretical stuff here. How many canvassers, how many live phone calls, how many face-to-face interactions with pro-life voters did it take to yield victories for pro-life candidates? This was independent PAC with an astonishing ground game, independent of any party. They got results with good hard field work: one-on-one contact with voters.
One thing was clear after hearing from candidates and pro-life activists all day: don’t expect the presidential candidates to lead on the life issues. That’s going to be the voters’ job. Most pro-life or fence-sitter candidates will bring up the life issues only if asked – so be prepared to ask. (Pro-abortion candidates seem to have no trouble being upfront about their beliefs, if you can call it “upfront” when they use euphemisms like “pro-choice.”)
Carly Fiorina was at ease amid the crowd.
Sen. Marco Rubio on the CPAC main stage
Sen. Rand Paul, CPAC straw poll winner
Gov. Scott Walker was a huge draw at CPAC, and his volunteers seemed to be everywhere.
Pro-life candidate Kathleen Lauer-Rago came within a whisker of unseating incumbent district 7 State Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia). Today’s recount confirmed Hosmer’s victory, 9578-9423, according to this afternoon’s report by Concord Monitor reporter Susan Doucet. That’s a margin of eight-tenths of one percent.
Kathy took some questions from me during the campaign here.
Nationwide, a good year for pro-life candidates
The Susan B. Anthony List released this infographic today, summarizing the results of its work this year to elect pro-life candidates. The group used here for comparison is of course EMILY’s List, dedicated to electing “pro-choice” Democratic women. While EMILY’s List candidates Shaheen, Kuster and Hassan won in New Hampshire, our state was one of the few bright spots for abortion advocates on election night. Read more about pro-life electoral success stories at www.sba-list.org.