Tuesday, March 5, 1996

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  • Bob Dole Favored Entering Junior Tuesday Caucasus and Primaries

    Primary in South Carolina was victory for Bob Dole over Pat Buchanan because Christian Coalition forces are strong there. Newt Gingrich, in Georgia, which has 42 delegates at stake, has  
    feebly endorsed Dole, but the far right may not follow him. In Colorado, another state Dole needs to do well in, CC forces organized well and have not unanimously endorsed Dole as in the other states. Steve Forbes hasn’t bought as many ads as usual in the previous primaries but may do well in Colorado. Lamar Alexander has raised a lot of money in Florida and is running as a moderate; however, many Florida Republicans are Cuban Americans who are very  
    conservative on all issues—expect escalations of anti-Castro rhetoric.
    Massachusetts is a key state. Along with Georgia and Colorado its primary would be more interesting if this were the real one. The Kerry Senate seat and seats in the other states will be challenged; however the primaries for those seats are not being held today. Progressives are militating for changing electoral politics in the direction of proportional representation, already used to select Republican delegates in Colorado, Maine, and Washington state, and to a lesser degree in Georgia and Maryland. Arguments will be heard for extending this to general elections.

  • Tracking Republican extremists through the primary campaigns

    People for the American Way is a promoter of diversity, religious and political freedom, wise use of tax dollars, and equal opportunity to succeed. PFAW tracks the right wing ("Expose the Right") to reveal the reality of the Republican stampede to the right by asking questions at rallies in Iowa and New Hampshire. One interviewer asked Lamar Alexander if he would consider Pat Robertson for VP and he said he would. Popular wisdom considers Pat Buchanan the "extremist," but he only says publicly what they all quietly espouse. Alexander, the "moderate" alternative to Bob Dole wants to repeal the Brady Bill and abolish the social safety net. God and Country rallies are used by Christian Coalition to show their supporters what they can do. They really do bring people to the polls. The key to their success is for the rest of us to be asleep. Dole shows up at these rallies and proclaims he is in perfect harmony with them, and there is every reason to believe he will follow suit once in office. [break]

  • Mississippi Mother Challenges Prayer in School

    Lisa Herdahl, a mother of six living Mississippi, has brought a lawsuit against her children’s school district to challenge its practice of holding prayers in school. The schools within the district commonly recite prayers over the intercom, teach Bible classes, and allow teachers to lead students in regularly scheduled "prayer times". Herdahl, who herself is a Christian, states that she does feel that one prayer can cover the beliefs of all students, and therefore no prayer should be put forth as the standard in their schools. However, her efforts to keep prayer out of the schools have not been met favorably by the community, and Herdahl says that her children now know what it is like to suffer from the intolerance that accompanies being a minority.
    People for the American Way is an organization providing legal support for Lisa Herdahl and others like her. Tom Andrews, the group’s leader, calls Lisa Herdahl a "true American hero." He says that the principle of religious freedom that was so basic to America’s founding is under siege in these modern times, and that as a society we still have a long way to go.

  • Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies, and  
    the Public Relations Industry

    John Stauber, author of Toxic Sludge, says democracy is in steep decline because of corporate dominance of the political spectrum through the public relations industry. Especially interesting over the past ten years is the complete takeover of even grassroots politics by corporations and their  
    consultants. We’ve always known that big business runs Washington, but we find that the same big business interests now dominate grass roots organizing through direct marketing and "astroturf" campaigns, for example the quashing of debate on health care reform during the Clinton administration. The pharmaceutical industry poured tens of millions into the appearance of grass roots support for maintaining the status quo. including the Harry and Louise commercials and ads the insurance industry placed on the Rush Limbaugh show. First Limbaugh would deliver a fevered rant about how health care reform was next to Stalinism, then an industry-sponsored ad would come in: "If you’re upset about health care reform call 800 000 0000. From there, callers would be patched through free to their congressperson’s office. Thus the industry dumped thousands of angry calls into Washington offices. The worst thing about this type of political organizing is that it neutralizes genuine grassroots advocacy.