Monday, April 26, 2004

Emails to Mom.

Often my Mom forwards emails to me from various people. Often they're rumors, often they're right wing propoganda. And sometimes I take the time to respond.

The one below is in response to an email (also below) which seems to be designed to stampede conservative christians into voting for Toomey in tomorrows PA republican primary (versus Arlen Specter, a moderate republican).

My response is more about evaluating 'scorecards' from special interest groups, than the issues at hand, hence I humbly post it here for all of my readers to see (oh, that should be singular, shouldn't it? "reader", not "readers")


Kind of lopsided, eh?

There is an implication here that since Spector does not support mucking with the constitution via the Federal Marriage Act, that he must support homosexual marriage. Another implication is that because doesn't voter for every piece of "pro-life" legislation that comes down the pike, he supports "abortion on demand for any reason at anytime throughout the 9 months of pregnancy."

Geneally I distrust anyone who scores higher than 75% on any special interest groups score card. Most score cards look only at 'hot button' votes & questionaires. Often the votes are 'damned if you do, and damned if you don't' choices, where good legistlation is bundled with bad legislation, or the bill will cause more problems then it solves (and history is full of examples of bills passed with good intentions and disasterous results). And it is all too easy to create leading questionaires that force a choice between one extreme or the other, with no recognition of valid positions in between.

For instance, the late Senator Paul Wellstone was attacked vicously for voting several thousand $ to help control invasive algae in Hawaii. What was unmentioned was that 92 other Senators voted for it as well, since it was part of a large, general spending bill. (Besides which, anyone who has dealt with invasive, non-native weeds like kudzu should support such spending as a very wise investment).

For instance, in the old "Christian Coalition" voting guides, one candidate went from an extremely high score to an extremely low score virtually overnight, all because the score keepers decided to support a different candidate in the next election. I.e., the same man, the same record, vastly different scores. The right way to make score cards is to pick votes on bills which are not encumbered by irrelevant issues, or complicated by bigger problems such as 'consitutionality', or being poorly written.

So, I'd say that Spector is preferable to Toomey based on his 42% & 52% ratings on "Conservative" score cards (vs. Toomey's 100%). It probably indicates that he gives carefull thought to his votes, rather than voting according to ideological correctness.

And if Specter's isn't around to become the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who will? Certainly not Toomey.

Regardless of which candidate one favors, I'd say thumbs down on the email. It's goal seems to be to stampede christians into voting without thinking.

I'd recommend the League of Conservation Voters ( as an example of a well designed scorecard: they take particular care in picking clean votes, they're bipartisan (both democrats & republicans are members, although perhaps to the chagrin of the current republican leadership), and they're technically competent (no wacky "loony left wing" stuff, just common sense & sound science). Also, they're transparent: for each vote considered in the score card, you can pull up a summary of the bill & why it was considered pro- or anti- environmental). (Example:
) I know the right wingers have branded the LCV as a "liberal" group, but that's based on ideology, not reality. One needs only browse through the site to see for oneself .

Grace & peace,

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2004 11:32 PM
Subject: FW: Toomey/Specter Fact or Fiction

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2004 9:52 PM
Subject: Fw: Toomey/Specter Fact or Fiction

----- Original Message -----

Sent: 4/25/2004 2:59:09 PM
Subject: Fw: Toomey/Specter Fact or Fiction

I continue to run into people who should be supporting Pat saying they are going to vote for Specter. Here are a couple things you need to remember when you go to vote:

Specter is endorsed by the Philadelphia Gay News

Specter is opposed to the Federal Marriage Act, Toomey supports. This is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect the definition of marriage between a man and a woman not 2 men, 2 women, a man and 2 women or anything else.

Specter endorsed by the National Abortion Rights Action League. Toomey endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee and Pa. Pro-life Federation.

Yes, Pat Toomey did vote for RU-486 his first year in Congress. He admits that was a mistake and has had a 100% pro-life voting record every year since. The two groups mentioned above would not have endorsed Pat if this was not the case. Arlen Specter voted pro-abortion his first year in congress and every year since. He recently worked with Ted Kennedy to try to pass an amendment that would have rendered the ban against partial birth abortion ineffective. Fortunately that amendment failed.

Arlen Specter has saved missionary's in foreign countries and I thank him for that. I just wish he would stop sending 1.5 million babies to their premature death with his support of abortion.

Toomey supported by Dr. James Dobson who has been working to help and protect the family for over 25 years.

Toomey supported by Michael Geer, president of Pa. Family Institute and PAGE - Pennsylvanians Against Gambling Expansion.

Toomey rated by the National Taxpayers Union as the 7th most conservative spender out of all 435 Representatives in the House of Representatives.

Specter rated by the National Taxpayers Union as the 4th most liberal spender of all the Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

Citizens Against Government Waste - Specter 52%, Toomey 94%

American Conservative Union - Specter 42%, Toomey 97%


Arlen Specter will become the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee if re-elected. It is a fairly common understanding that President Bush will get to nominate 2 Supreme Court Justices in the nest 4 years. We can not afford to have a chairman of this committee, where all the nominations have to go through, that supports homosexual marriages and abortion on demand for any reason at anytime throughout the 9 months of pregnancy.



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