Sunday, September 26, 2010

Alan Grayson's Negative Campaign on the Mark?

Updated September 27th and September 28th, 2010.

I recently saw the following advertisement on the television and thought it to be very interesting - at the time I did not realize that it was an Alan Grayson ad.

Mark Schleub wrote the following for The Orlando Sentinel:

Sprinkled throughout the TV spot is video of Webster delivering a speech in which he says women should "submit" to their husbands. "Wives, submit yourself to your own husband….She should submit to me. That's in the Bible."

A spokesman for the Grayson campaign said the video was made while Webster was speaking at a conference of the Institute for Basic Life Principles. That's a Christian nonprofit organization that seeks to solve youth and family problems through religious principles established by its founder, Bill Gothard. Among those principles is that a wife must serve and fulfill the needs of her husband.

The Grayson campaign would not supply the full video of Webster's speech.

The ad also includes several positions from Webster's 28 years in the state Legislature:

•One says "Dan Webster wants to MAKE DIVORCE ILLEGAL," a reference to a bill Webster sponsored in 1990 that would have given couples the option of entering a covenant marriage, which would have allowed divorce only in cases of adultery. The legislation failed.

•Another says "Dan Webster voted to deny abused women health care," referring to a vote against legislation that would have prevented insurance companies from listing domestic violence as a pre-existing condition.

•And a third says "Daniel Webster wants to force raped women to bear their attackers' child," citing a 1990s newspaper story in which the then-state representative said he opposed abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
With Daniel Webster having a political career that spans almost three decades, there is plenty of material for the Grayson campaign to use, but what I found very interesting about this "negative" ad is that it cites (for the most part) actual legislation Webster sponsored or voted for.  I also thought the name "Taliban Dan" to be quite fitting because many people (particularly those on the right) like to attack Muslim extremism while ignoring Christian extremism at home.

Candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell want to legislate morality, banning things like premarital sex, masturbation, or even divorce, believing their religious world view is the correct view.

I typically do not like negative but I don't necessarily classify this advertisement as being that negative - it is simply applying the same standards right-wing Christians use in their criticisms towards other faiths, like Islam, against Christianity.

Update - I had recently read this article by Ryan Grim on The Huffington Postthat discussed Grayson's ad - Grim talks about the primary selection of candidates much more conservative then the electorate and accompanying the article is a video (below) showing "Taliban Dan" refusing to answer a quesetion on his abortion stance.

Update 2 - had done some fact checking on Grayson's "Taliban Dan" advertisement and found that Grayson had taken the excerpt out of context.  Here is the full text of what Webster was saying:
So, write a journal. Second, find a verse. I have a verse for my wife, I have verses for my wife. Don’t pick the ones that say, ‘She should submit to me.’ That’s in the Bible, but pick the ones that you’re supposed to do. So instead, ‘love your wife, even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it’ as opposed to ‘wives submit to your own husbands.’ She can pray that, if she wants to, but don’t you pray it.
The Grayson camp defended the ad by stating Webster spoke at a group that has pushed conservative social issues in the past.

In my opinion, I still do not like negative advertisements and campaigns, but you can't simply sit back and let the other guy beat on you while you do nothing.  Republicans and their affiliated organizations have spent the past two years attacking Democrats with outright lies and have used the newly relaxed campaign finance laws to their advantage.

I don't agree with Grayson's editing of the video clip, similarly to the way Breitbart edited the Shirley Sherrod video, but I also see that the left has been attacked relentlessly from the right and the difference between their messages - the religious right is constantly pushing for increased government regulation in regards to issues they feel are holy in nature, particularly social issues, but the NAACP's mission is to "ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race."   Conservatives may claim NAACP racism, but any incidents are not indicative of the entire organization - can the same be said for religious conservatives?

Grayson is just playing by the conservative play book...


  1. Kevin, I copied the following from a comment by sambaso777 @10:36pm on the Huffington Post article. I hope this person follows through and contacts the Grayson campaign and/or newspaper:

    "For 6 years of my life my family was a part of th Institute in Basic Life Principles, the organization mentioned in the article that Webster is affiliated with. Huff Post or some other news organization should look into that connection, that organization is about as chauvinistic, oppressive of women and religiously extreme as possible. They believe insurance is wrong because it is avoiding gods judgment, that birth control is the same as killing a child, that modern medicine is evil, women should never oppose their husbands or other male authority figures, etc. Webster has spoken at several of their conferences and is one of their stars. Ads by his opponent could consist of simply IBLP quotes."

  2. Thank you for the comment - I will be sure to contact Grayson regarding this information, after all, he is my representative!

    Tomorrow I will do some searching and see if I can come up with some IBLP quotes!

  3. The point of Grayson’s ad remains the same. The laws that Taliban Dan Webster wants to impose upon all women requires that women submit to men, who themselves can never become pregnant, nor the post-menopausal women who parrot their anti-choice agenda.
    It is unfortunate that it was not disclosed or better explained that was the reason for the use of the clips, because the message is still the same. Submission.
    Lucky you to have Grayson as your Rep.! Send him waves from this Virginia fan!

  4. I was a bit despleased in an earlier report when it stated Grayson's campaign refused to release the full video, but I was satisfied with the response they gave. I do not like this new wave of social conservatives that are trying to take office, and with the rise of the tea parties, they have only amplified their message that was once muted in the general elections...

  5. Kevin, perhaps you felt their message was previously muted because you are not a woman and did not "hear" the threats coming down the pike. I recognized the sound of drums in the distance in the late 1980's. I have always felt that no man wearing a pointy hat (Pope or Grand Wizard, same difference) should dictate anything about a woman's body.

  6. Perhaps you are right - I may not have heard such threats as clearly because of the period I grew up uin and because of my sex.

    From what I can see regarding recent politics, I had seen that message grow. What bothers me is that there seems to be this revisionism that is gaining popularity, casting America as some sort of Christian nation, with these conservative politicians advocating limited government yet pushing for increased regulation on social issues.

    I see it more as an unholy alliance with the religious base, which is why conservatives avoid answering questions that address such correlations - just look at Ann Coulter's avoidance of the question regarding gay marriage at Homocon.

    Maybe I am incredibly naive...


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