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The scoop on NARAL

I confess that I don’t visit Firedoglake like I used to so I have no idea how much in the tank they are for Obama. Probably quite a bit, right?

The NARAL endorsement of Obama made me think of Firedoglake but I’ll get to that in a second. Here’s the endorsement money quote from Nancy Keenan:

Sen. Obama has said, “A woman’s ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women.”

Further, I believe Sen. Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee. He leads in pledged delegates, superdelegates, the popular vote, and cash-on-hand. As a former elected official, I know that having the three “m’s” of a campaign – money, message and manpower (or womanpower!) – are how we win elections. Sen. Obama will be our next president.

And this part is laughable:

Sen. Obama is the leader who can unify Americans on both sides of our issue. He has reached new generations and energized young voters, independent voters, and Republican voters. He’s the candidate of the future, and today we are proud to put the power of NARAL Pro-Choice America’s one million strong members, activists and supporters behind Sen. Barack Obama.

Gee, Nancy, I don’t know how he’s going to do that seeing as he’s the one who helped create the rift in the first place. Ok, this is part of the Roe haka that they are going to try to roll out to use against us. I’m not buying it for two reasons: a.) NARAL could have endorsed the woman in the race if they weren’t so venal about money. and b.) Nancy Keenan has a history of making reprehensible endorsements. In 2006, she backed “Rape Gurney” Joe Lieberman in CT even while the local NARAL group backed Lamont and despite the fact that Joe Lieberman didn’t think it was necessary for all hospitals in CT to carry emergency contraception for rape victims if they objected to it because it was only a short ride to another hospital.

Jane Hamsher was livid. It’s one of the reasons she tried so hard to take Lieberman out. Then there was Keenan’s passivity in the Alito nomination. Time after time, Keenan has let women down and backed conservative candidates with less than stellar records on choice. So, you’ll forgive me if the endorsement leaves me non-plussed.

To get a full flavor of what Nancy Keenan’s NARAL is all about (hint: it’s money), check out these fine posts from Jane in the past:

Nice Going, NARAL
NARAL Lying for Lieberman
Please Try to Pretend You Care
Don’t Reward Failure by Giving Money to NARAL
Donating to NARAL is not Going to Protect a Woman’s Right to Choice
Third Way= Screw the Ladies
What’s Wrong With Nancy Keenan?
Can Someone Explain this to Me?

Now, the question is, will NARAL’s endorsement of Obama have Jane seeing red or has she now become one of those people who believe that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”? Strange year. Strange year, indeed.

35 Responses

  1. I hope Clinton releases something to counter-NARAL, like, the truth about this organization that claims to be pro-choice. And if they’re certain Obama is going to be the nominee why not wait? Oh, right: because they’re trying to influence voters and want to help the media to sell its anti-Clinton spin–the day after her huge WV win. Classy!

  2. Obama’s vagueness about choice is one of the things I worry about with him. But whatever. How seriously can you take someone who endorsed Joe Liebertoad, the guy who said that hospitals shouldn’t be required to provide emergency contraceptives to women who had been raped because they could always go to another hospital, thus earning the sobriquet “Rape Gurney Joe.”

  3. NARAL number to call….202-973-3000 Nancy Keenen

    I called and told them NO MORE DONATIONS!

  4. Sisters need to stick together and “do it for themselves”
    WTF with the Obama endorsement?

    Call people, call

  5. I called up both the national and state NARAL and told them I was angry and never another dime. The state people were nice.

  6. The Hillary 1000’s take on this?

    “Because pro-lifers are people too, oh, and it looks like he’s gonna win”

    What a tough stand on behalf of women everywhere!!


  7. Thank God for EMILY’s List endorsing Clinton from the beginning.

  8. From time to time I volunteer at PP-Metro Washington — usually it’s fundraising stuff. I’ve met several ppl from Hillary’s campaign in the last year putting in a few hrs; never someone from team BO.

    It’s time that BO’s ppl step up and take over these activities, as far as I’m concerned.

    As far as NARAL’s nonsense about healing the rift b/t Black activists and women — newsflash, it’s Black women that are more likely to need abortion care. These alleged Black activists need to step it up. That Black voters tend to be more pro-life is a particular challenge for NARAL, and I do wish them the best, but I’ve got other things to do.

    They had no business stepping in this and pitting “Black activists” vs “women activists,” particularly since the primary isn’t finished.

  9. @Sarah: “NARAL number to call….202-973-3000 Nancy Keenen”

    Everyone, please…plaster this info on every blog you can think of. (ok, ok english majors…excuse the prep at the end of the sentence. It just sounded dumb the other way.)

  10. Apparently some still see women as that quiet little lady who dutifully stands next to her husband as he apologizes to the cameras for having had sex with somebody else, male or female. I hate that image!

  11. Nice, They nominate a man who doesn’t even have a “women’s issue’s” page over a woman with the most indepth policy on women and women’s health that we’ve ever seen.

    (sigh) I agree, riverdaughter — it’s the money. It’s become painfully clear that it’s all about the money.

    Luckily for Hillary, winning The Money Primary doesn’t always win you the race. In fact sometimes it’s the ultimate distraction.

    Bring it on, Barack!

  12. @hrl: I’ve noticed that it’s always the women that have to heal the divide, regardless of whether they caused it or not.

  13. I made my quarterly visit to FDL yesterday and CHS commented that she had voted for BO. I had thought she was more discriminating but quit going there regularly because of the anti-Hillary venom. I suspect the groupies there will not demonize NARAL but stick it to Senator Clinton in some way for NARAL’s stupidity. That seems to be the way they work.

  14. Women will not heal the divide this time….we are the dividing line

    Naral’s endorsement

    Obama’s candidacy

    say not to both

    we cannot allow ourselves to be demeaned and then taken for granted every stinking time

  15. I haven’t found Firedoglake to be particularly pro-Obama – they seem to be focused on other stuff besides the election.

  16. I emailed them and told them they can stop trying to get my to renew my membership. Feh.

  17. From a commenter on Taylor Marsh’s site.

    EMILY’s List president Ellen R. Malcolm says in a press release:

    “I think it is tremendously disrespectful to Sen. Clinton – who held up the nomination of a FDA commissioner in order to force approval of Plan B and who spoke so eloquently during the Supreme Court nomination about the importance of protecting Roe vs. Wade – to not give her the courtesy to finish the final three weeks of the primary process. It certainly must be disconcerting for elected leaders who stand up for reproductive rights and expect the choice community will stand with them.”

  18. Sadly – this makes perfect sense. Obama has said that a decision to have an abortion is a “moral” choice. Seems to me he should be saying “personal” choice. Factor in “moral” if it you need to but don’t demand (this is typical self-righteous moral high grounder relgion and sin assumption) that I make a “MORAL” choice.

    He has also said that one should consult with their pastor. Where does that leave non-belivers. Guess by his definition only Christians with a pastor can even consider an abortion.

    Because of his comments I have no reason at all to believe he will use choice as test for S.C. selections. No daylight between McCain and Obama. What a sick sad joke.

  19. NARAL is a bad joke, and so is Nancy Keenan. Yes, I remember Hamsher being all over her when they endorsed Lieberman, calling her “just another ego mesmerized by the cocktail weenie circuit.” Should be interesting to see if they suddenly think she’s wonderful over there now and deserving of only the best cocktail weenies that money can buy.

    I don’t go to FDL anymore, now that my entire online experience is limited to about 5 blogs (used to be 20). I think they are pretty much for Obama, but I doubt they’re as nuts as DKos and the man who kidnapped you-know-who.

    I blasted Blue Texan over there once early on when he started posting the most unflattering photos of Hillary that he could find–he’s an Obama Pod Person, don’t know about the rest of them. They always seemed like nice folks. Sigh.

    I have always liked Jane Hamsher and found her to be an excellent writer.

  20. That Emily’s List PR is already gone off their website. BOO.

  21. I just want to offer a somewhat different perspective. I am a liberal and a feminist–and I consider myself to be pro-life, yet I vote exclusively for pro-choice candidates because their values are more in tune with my own AND because I don’t think legislation is the way to reduce the number of abortions. I’m with Hillary in that I think comprehensive sex education in schools, readily available contraception (including emergency contraception), universal health care, access to affordable child care, and better educational and career opportunities in general are what would really help in reducing unwanted pregnancies. I also realize that striking down Roe v. Wade would send it back to the states, with the result being that women who are poor and/or in bad home situations and who live in states that would outlaw abortion might resort to illegal abortions and end up dead. It’s a complex issue for me, but I feel that voting for a pro-choice candidate is a more ethical decision by far than voting for someone like Bush, who has the nerve to call himself pro-life when he’s been responsible for so much death.

    But what’s really remarkable to me is that my mother, who was once a strong feminist and is now (unfortunately) an extremely conservative Republican, told me recently that she “might vote for Clinton” in the GE if it weren’t for the abortion issue. I immediately went to work explaining Clinton’s stance and her commitment to providing education and health care for all women (and men and children). And I know that, deep in her heart, my mom is dying to elect a woman for president! I really do think that I will have a good chance of convincing her to vote for Clinton in November as long as the idiots in charge don’t screw it up by handing the nomination to Obama.

    As for the NARAL endorsement coming out now, could it be any more obvious that Obama is feeling the heat and realizing that he needs all those women he’s alienated throughout his campaign? He can pander all he wants, it won’t help.

  22. I just received Ms Keenan’s “Big News” e-mail.

    And I just exercised the convenient “Unsubscribe” option.

    These figures get counted and reported by people who run email campaigns, and this one is going to stand out on the summary report like a sore thumb.

    A commenter at TalkLeft suggests allocating your customary NARAL contributions between Planned Parenthood and NOW.

  23. Another commenter suggests cutting your contribution to 9 cents.

    As in “you’re not getting another dime out of me”.

    I like it.

  24. ronkseattle:

    Your post about the convenient unsubscribe button made me laugh.

    Although this is no laughing matter. I have been fortunate in that I have only been pregnant when I wanted to be. More than 20 years ago, someone very close to me, who was suffering from severe depression at the time, became pregnant and came to me to help her. She was afraid to go to her parents. I took her to PP and she had an abortion. I firmly believe she wouldn’t be alive today — with a husband, son and medical degree — if she had not been able to exercise that choice.

    So to me, choice isn’t just a policy issue or “moral” choice. It is an issue of fundamental liberty and autonomy. Obama needs to step up on this issue, and stop worrying about capturing those mythical independents who might be offended by taking a clear stand on choice. They’re probably not going to vote Democratic anyway, and I will not have my daughters’ freedom be bargained away for the sake of bipartisanship.

  25. A haka ?
    Would it be possible for you Americans to
    have your racial tiffs without getting my
    culture involved.
    Now I realise a lot of you know no better,
    but do try.

  26. This big splash over the NARAL endorsement is just another gift to the Republicans when they take Obama down. I stopped all my contributions to NARAL when they endorsed Lieberman and told them so at the time. They are a joke at this point, IMO.

  27. As a woman who is married to a politically inside Republican I can tell you it gives me some joy to support Ms. Clinton. Frankly the DEMS, even Obama, will win this year becuase the GOP will change course.

    The power base of the party wants out of Iraq because we can’t actually control the oil and are bankrupting the nation with the ill conceived plan to try. It’s in the bag folks. Who better to blame than the idiot Bush and McCain who stifled their larger efforts for years.

    I’ll share with you the biggest secret of the GOP power structure. They do not actually want to overturn Roe. What they want is the constant promise to the bae that it could if it had the power to appoint the right judges.

    The GOP knows it is already too close to getting rid of the perpetual semi-straw man issue. This is not to say that reprodutive rights are not important and that they do not need to be protected. McCain is probably dumb enough to actually give them what they don’t truly want. W sure was but he drank the nitwit kool aid which is why we are even in Iraq.

    The last thing my guy wants me or my daughter to do is have to go across border if the need was there. It’s actually too late for me anyway. But the GOP strategists who are truly loyal to big business and nothing more know that the isue is the goose that laid the golden egg with he conservative base. Its a means to an end.

    Secretly they wish Bush had done what Bush senior had done in appointing a Roe trojan horse like Souter, It was no accident. Bush senior was simply smarter and less influenced by the ideological nitwit wing of the party. He was of course, like Romney, prochoice before he became anti-abortion. Bush Jr. has almost ruined the sham already.

    Actually Romney was supposed to get it but the GOP has bred mormon hating nitwits and they did not really realize how deep it ran until it was too late for the pro-business puppet. There was a reason McCain was flying coach in the summer and carrying his own bags.

    This Roe issue is like Al sharpton actully wishing there were no more police brutality of white cops on blacks suspects or racial strife to manipulate in the media. What he heck would he then do for a living and as a political rallying cry? Sound economic policy, global warming and the middle class and poor? Right!

    If Roe lives on GOP women can continue to vote for “security” and “taxes” and like so many good wives vote their husbands business interests. We already have heallth care. They will support choice quietly and more than make up for the donations you withhold.. Lord knows they have just as many if not more abortions as democrats.

    The GOP does not want to cede all the female vote to the DEMS in pursuit of getting Roe back. The DEMS would have the court to run on instead of the GOP! No that’s taking things too far and turning and advantage into a liability. They already get to run on the court by the damage done by W.

    While the GOP can and would restrict abortion in ways that are limited and partially supported by many Americans, it does so to keep the fire burning that they are truly interested in Roe.

    Ending legal abortion is the longest running scam on the American people ever pulled off by the GOP. And they laugh out loud about it in secret away from the media and even the religous right true believers. The biggest belly laughs are on their golf outings where they plot dividing up the global wealth.

    So if you will not suppport Obama don’t now do so because of Roe. McCAin will play along in the end once its truly explained to him how to get the power base of the “anti-abortion camp” behind him. With each fundraiser he is learning well.

    truth is indeed stranger than fiction. While this may be the greatest of issues it’s probably the least of yur actual concerns. You just don’t know it.

  28. From Boston Globe:

    For many public officials, personal conviction that abortion is wrong does not extend to public responsibility. “As a Catholic, I accept the teaching of my church on abortion. That is my personal religious belief . . . As a public official, there is no question in my mind that depriving women of the right to follow their conscience is the same as imposing religious beliefs,” Montana’s school superintendent, Nancy Keenan, said in a Dec. 5 letter when questioned by her bishop.

  29. […] families? This is just too bizarre. Oh my gosh, I think I’ve temporarily run out of words. Riverdaughter gives some perspective about NARAL’s leadership over the last few […]

  30. I wonder how Hamsher will respond to this?

  31. Okay, so there is something we need to research if we want to put a dent in this endorsement. The excuse provided for Obama voting “present” on abortion care issues is that it was a strategy born of the need to give good Democratic legislators from conservatives districts cover to vote “present” rather than yea or nay. Now, this doesn’t make any sense. You have a Democratic legislator in a conservative district voting “present” so you have Democrats from liberal districts voting “present” so that the other votes don’t stand out. Why do legislators who don’t take a stand on a controversial issue need cover? You can’t run against a “present” very easily. What we need to find out is what other Democrats from liberal districts in Illinois that could safely vote pro-choice instead voted present as Obama did. I think the strategy was to allow Democrats in conservative districts to vote present so that they wouldn’t lose their seat and could be present for the women’s groups on other issues. I bet there wasn’t any strategy to get senators from blue districts to vote “present” so that others could have cover.

    I’m not sure how to reseach this because I’m in Cali, but if we debunk that, we can have an impact.

  32. bully pulpit: you must be new here but not unwelcome. Yes, we know all about the abortion scam. We know the SC judges were appointed for other reasons. We know that Roe is the least of our worries. But the rest of the public doesn’t necessarily know this. That’s what makes the Naral endorsement potentially a problem.
    Or not. It’s bound to make at least some non-politicos go “huh?” after all, Hillary’s closer to this subject. It feels like paternalism.

  33. I am glad I never send NARAL money. Are they kidding? They think Obama gives a sh*t about women?

  34. I gave up on NARAL years ago…cut off donations and all contact.

  35. NARAL – what a slap in the face! What a disappointment! We are not happy and by “we” I mean every man and woman who does not believe that there are 2 viable Dem. candidates. Sorry to be so blunt, but the democratic ticket needs us…more than they need the Obamabots. The Obama zealots will vote for Hillary over McCain…African Americans surely will…the students probably won’t even show up if they’re little demi-God is not on the ticket….But “we”….We will vote for McCain over that smarmy snake oil salesman. He doesn’t have a chance. If we don’t get Hillary…McCain is a shoe in. Say what you will…rant and rave but that the reality…And NARAL never another cent from us.

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