Saturday, July 07, 2007

GOP Chairman Mistakes Individual Liberty For Special Interest Power

State GOP Chairman Murray Clark is offended by recent criticism his Democratic counterpart leveled against the Christian right's favorite go-to attorney and Terre Haute native, Jim Bopp. So offended he is by Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker's suggestion that Bopp is a "partisan attack", he took the time to write a letter to the editor defending his fellow Republican. In defending Bopp, however, Clark manages to offend more than Parker. Describing Bopp as a defender of free speech and the First Amendment, Clark writes:

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Park never misses a chance to say something negative about Republicans--only this time his target is not Gov. Mitch Daniels, but rather attorney Jim Bopp.

Instead of insulting Bopp, Parker ought to be thanking him for standing up for the civil rights of all Americans. The one thing The Star's story ("80 percent success rate at Supreme Court," July 2) made clear is that Bopp is a distinguished attorney who has the respect of the legal profession.

"Partisan hacks" don't usually have an 80-percent success rate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. It tells us a lot about where today's Democratic Party is when defense of free speech and the First Amendment is considered a wedge issue.

First of all, let's be clear on one very important point. Jim Bopp's victory in the recent term of the U.S. Supreme Court should in no way be characterized as a victory for free speech and the First Amendment. Indeed, Bopp's win is a victory for groups like his own special interest group client, Right to Life, to spend bucket loads of unrestricted money to influence the outcome of elections. By allowing the free flow of millions of dollars from these special interest groups during the heat of an election, we are diminishing the influence of individual voters and allowing wedge issue groups who care only about abortion and banning gay marriage to have an overbearing and over-represented influence on our electoral process.

Further, Clark's suggestion we should all be "thanking [Bopp] for standing up for the civil rights of all Americans" is insulting beyond belief. Jim Bopp has in fact been the leading advocate of a constitutional amendment to enshrine discrimination into Indiana's Bill of Rights against same-sex and unmarried couples. Jim Bopp doesn't support civil rights for all Americans, only those who support a narrow, fundamentalist ideology which would deny individual rights to "non-believers." The next time Clark gets a notion to extol the virtues of a fellow Republican, he should choose someone who actually believes in the party's founding principles as demonstrated by our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln.

10 comments:

Jen said...

I agree with you whole-heartedly, Gary, but we all know Murray Clark -- and the Guv -- are stuck between a rock and a hard place right now.

The fringe element of the GOP is starting to get antsy, and when that happens...

Well, actually, nothing happens, as we saw in the 2004 primary and the 2006 Congressional elections.

But for some reason, mainstream Republicans feel like they have to appease the disciples of Eric Miller and Micah Clark by lifting the likes of Jim Bopp up on their shoulders and parading him around like a hero.

I'll never say Bopp isn't a good lawyer, but he's not exactly a lawyer with all of our interests at heart. He wins because he exploits the law, not because he's trying to make it stronger.

Advance Indiana said...

If those wedge whacks knew Murray Clark represented the gay owners of Talbott Street in obtaining their liquor license to operate a gay nightclub, they would have been the first to criticize him in terms much worse than Parker used to describe Bopp.

Anonymous said...

Gary, your comments about Jim Bopp are right on the money. Anyone who has encountered Bopp in a courtroom knows that he is a partian, homophobic bully who is intent on using the First Amendment as a bludgeon to dismantle campaign finance reform, as well as rules which seek to insure the independence of the judiciary. His success at the Supreme Court is more a reflection of the extreme rightward drift of that Court than a tribute to his skills as a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Murray is a decent fellow. We agree on nothing political, but his integrity is beyond question as far as I'm concerned.

When he became chairman, he said one of the less-likable traits of a state party chair, was the need to rush in where fools dare to tread on issues like this.

Jen is 100% correct. He feels the need to foist Micah-Eric-Jim on his shoulders, lest the far right be chagrined and sit on their hands next election. In this state, I think you'd be hard-pressed to get the GOP over 40% if the far-right weren't with them.
I'd bet the whack jobs make up a third or more of their party. Hell look what they've accomplished in the legislature. I have two words for you: Eric Turner. And his friends. Yikes.

The difference with we Democrats, is that we fuss loud and long, with our un-moderates. And when it's all said and done, we all grouse and vote for the D.

Unless Ralph Nader or someone of that ilk runs, and then, well, a few thousand peel off...

Murray is a gentleman, a good businessman and a good zoning and real estate lawyer. He knows his fringe is critical, because Mitch has pissed off so many folks statewide. He cannot afford to lose anyone under his tent, particularly a group that is so easily moved by simplistic notions. And he's nervous, I'd bet, about his national candidates...it's not exactly a brainfest over there among the GOP presidential leaders.

The lunatic right has your party by the short ones, friend, and it won't let go.

It's cycical. Be thankful Murray is the state chair, and not that screaming fudgeball Mike McDaniel.
He has no scruples.

ROACH said...

http://www.nndb.com/people/915/000031822/khomeini2-sized.jpg
birds of a feather- islamic republicans.
ahh. the hazy crazy days of the 15th century- burning heretics at the stake; witch hunts, inquisitions, religious fanaticism, zealotry; holy wars. torture. persecuting sodomites..

Is your Irony detector beeping yet??
giggle! Only this truly isnt funny.

Anonymous said...

"Bopp's win is a victory for groups....to spend bucket loads of unrestricted money to influence the outcome of elections."

And what world are you living in, Gary? This happens all the time. And yes, last time I checked, that is free speech. If you don't think so, then please explain why it isn't.

As for your gay marriage rant, all I can do is laugh. You have pointed out many, many times that an amendment is not needed because we already have a law forbidding gay marriage. Yet, in making that argument, you never portray the law as you portray the issue here. Nonetheless, you try to console the amendment supporters by saying the law will never be overturned.

Make up your mind, Gary. Or be honest. One or the other. Either the law is good and an amendment is not needed; or the law "enshrines discrimination" and represents a "narrow, fundamentalist ideology." Whichever your choice - and I'm pretty sure I know which answer you believe - I also challenge you to demonstrate that consistency and to make those arguments public the next time this issue gets debagted.

You won't because you can't - and you know it. As soon as you share your honest opinion about this whole issue, you lose.;

Scott said...

Oh honestly, Gary. Jim Bopp is such an enemy of "free speech and the First Amendment" that the American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief agreeing with Bopp's client in this case.

Advance Indiana said...

anonymous nobody 1:26 said, "Make up your mind, Gary. Or be honest. One or the other. Either the law is good and an amendment is not needed; or the law "enshrines discrimination" and represents a "narrow, fundamentalist ideology." Whichever your choice - and I'm pretty sure I know which answer you believe - I also challenge you to demonstrate that consistency and to make those arguments public the next time this issue gets debagted."

There is no inconsistency on my part. There is a statute, and that law has been upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals based upon long-established precedent. Hence, there is no threat the law will be declared unconstitutional by our state Supreme Court. Our state legislature has passed many discriminatory laws over the years which have been upheld by our state courts. That doesn't make it right. Two wrongs don't make a right. The only reason to add the discrimination into the Bill of Rights is to relegate a group of citizens to second class status as part of a strategy to constitutionalize a narrow, religious view of what is right and wrong--like the one your folks once wrote into our constitution making marriages between blacks and whites unlawful. Traditionally, people seeking relief from discriminatory laws have had to turn to the federal courts for relief under U.S. Constitutional principles.

Anonymous said...

"The only reason to add the discrimination into the Bill of Rights is to relegate a group of citizens to second class status as part of a strategy to constitutionalize a narrow, religious view of what is right and wrong..."

By that reasoning, why in the world should we have laws forbidding poligamy?

"...like the one your folks once wrote into our constitution making marriages between blacks and whites unlawful."

Who exactly are "my folks?" Are you talkingThbalike the one your folks once wrote into our constitution making marriages between blacks and whites unlawful. Thanks, AI! In this war of ideas, I will gladly take that group on my side.

Anonymous said...

Who exactly are "my folks?" Are you talking about Madison, Jefferson, Adams and that bunch? Thanks, AI! In this war of ideas, I will gladly take that group on my side.