Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sheila Kennedy Heads Over To The Dark Side

Although she called herself a Republican most of her adult life, these days former ACLU director and IUPUI political science teacher Sheila Kennedy has moved as far to the left as one can possibly move without declaring herself a communist. A perfect case in point is a comment she recently posted on her Facebook site in response to the Senate debate over the abortion language in the Obama health care plan. Hoosier Access' Josh Gillespie picked up on her hate-field screed directed at two moderate senators, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D):
IUPUI professor and columnist for the Indianapolis Star Sheila Suess-Kennedy made a shockingly hate-filled statement on her Facebook account when commenting on the current health care debate in the Senate:

“I hope there really IS a hell, and that people like Joe Lieberman and that Nebraska Senator who would prefer that existing people die in order to prevent the aborting of potential people rot there forever.”

Potential person? The unborn human baby is not “potentially” a person, as if there is also the potential that he or she will be born a horse or an iguana. Left to the normal course of nature, a human fetus turns out to be (wait for it…) a human. The question is never whether or not the fetus is a person, but whether or not that person will be allowed to live or at least have a chance at living. The question is whether or not our society thinks it is moral to take life from innocents just because they have no voice at the moment.

The irony, of course, is that Sheila Suess-Kennedy evidently feels that it’s immoral and outrageous for people to want to protect innocent life, while at the same time having no scruples about condemning (even in theory) someone to everlasting punishment for having a view of life that conflicts with her own.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated action on Kennedy's part. I noted during last year's presidential campaign how completely unhinged she became when Sen. John McCain named then-Gov. Sarah Palin, a pro-life mother of a child with Down syndrome, as his running mate. Kennedy's hatred for Palin (and McCain for that matter) was downright disturbing. As I wrote then:

Has anyone noticed how Sheila Kennedy has become completely unhinged over Palin's selection? Her recent blog entries over at the American Values Alliance rely heavily on the Daily Kos for sourcing and are just about as reliable. On McCain's decision to pick Palin, she writes, "It's also profoundly insulting to women, although I doubt the wrinkly old white guy realizes that." Unconcerned about accuracy, Kennedy said of Palin, "No doubt, voters will note those comments come the fall, along with her abuse of power issues, 2000 Pat Buchanan support and her hard-right creationism." Here, Kennedy jumps from hitting Palin for minimizing Obama's "community organizing" experience to accusing her of spitting in the face of parents with special needs children (Palin is one): "Decades ago, before the ADA and a raft of other legislation, schools had essentially no requirements to provide decent education for special needs children. Then a movement of parents, engaging in -- gasp -- community organizing changed that. And they continue to fight day in and day out for educational equity for children like Sarah Palin's. Too bad Sarah Palin just spit in their faces." Wow, Sheila! Do you really hate Sarah that much? And you're calling John McCain "despicable"?

When I first met Kennedy a few years back, it would have been hard for me to imagine those words coming from her mouth. Kennedy contacted me to compliment me on my blog and asked to have lunch with me. We had a very pleasant lunch together and then sometime later, after I posted some things that didn't sit well with her increasingly far left views, she turned on me with a vengeance. The tension I feel from her when I run into her in the grocery store couldn't be greater. If looks could kill, I would have been dead by now. I've since had conversations with some of her students and one of her colleagues at IUPUI. They all shared the view that Kennedy exhibits extreme bias against persons with whom she politically disagrees. Students expressed fear that she would give you a lower grade if she didn't like your political views. So much for all her talk about civil rights, eh?

UPDATE: To her credit, Kennedy now acknowledges that her comments were "uncivil."


Jeff said...


Interesting article. And on the money on Kennedy. As the parent of a son with Down syndrome I would like to point out a couple of items to you and others in the media. First of all it is Down syndrome not Down's syndrome unless of course you live in the UK. This is the accepted spelling by the medical and Down syndrome community for a number of years but we can't seem to get the media to deal with it. Second I would point out children with disabilities are not special needs children they are children with special needs. While I am not a fan of that phrase in general it is important to put the child first not the diagnosis. As my son has Down syndrome but it is only one small part of what makes up his personality. He is not a Down syndrome Child or a Down's ect. Why do I point all this out....when the discussion of abortion comes up from the right or the left it becomes about politics not facts. Look at the Barbara Walters interview as an example. I can point out issues on both sides when it comes to this issue with a termination rate over 90% for positive prenatal testing for Down syndrome I can assure you the actual facts never seem to make it into the discussion.

Cato said...


Just when was the last time the GOP attempted to ban abortion?

For being "pro-life," how many Republicans are screaming to end the slaughter of Iraqis and Afghanis in these pointless "wars"?

The Republicans keep stringing us along on hopes of what they're going to do, but they never get around to advancing a Conservative agenda. The reality of what they actually do is hypocritical and savage.

Everyone will soon end up a Democrat, if only to avoid the stain of being a Republican.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks, Jeff. Duly noted.

M Theory said...

Cato? It's not Republican vs. Democrat. They aren't the only game.

I'm a Libertarian because I am pro individual and property rights and I can't stand the hypocrisy of the other two parties.

Anonymous said...


I'm not going as far as Cato went, but he has a point. Republicans had a solid majority in both houses and the presidency - so why didn't we see more change in abortion laws than we did? Why did Bush initially nominate a complete unknown for the Supreme Court?

The answer is that the issue of abortion is far more useful to Republicans than any other issue. It gets people to the polls, gets donations, and motivates people like no other issue. Actually banning abortions would kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Since the fall of communism, the Republican party has looked for boogie men to replace the Red Threat. Abortion tested well in focus groups - gay marriage was a distant second. Nothing motivates people like sex. Pay attention when the issue of gay marriage comes up -- most of the time it's not gay people who are making it an issue... it's social conservatives that are trying to fund raise or drive people to the polls.

Look, Sarah Palin has long outworn her 15 minutes of fame. Someone needs to tell her to get off the stage. I understand completely why anyone with a brain would say nasty things about her, but the truth is that Sarah Palin deserves nothing more than our complete inattention.

I am a fiscally conservative Democrat and I believe Sarah Palin represents the absolute worst of the Republican party. She appeals to uneducated common people but has no substance. God help this country if she is ever in a leadership position.

So, Gary, what was your point with this post? Sheila Kennedy is who she is. Her views are well known. Was this just a personal attack? Are you trying to purge the Republican party of moderates? Good luck with that. It will only insure that Republicans lose more elections. I understand the desire for ideological purity but Republicans didn't get thrown out of office because they weren't conservative enough.

Paul K. Ogden said...

It just kills me these people who blame the Republicans for not taking more action on abortion. Hello?????? Ever hear of Roe v. Wade and the cases that followed it?

Abortion law is almost completely a judicially created set of law that legislative bodies can't on their own change. Outside of a constitutional amendment, there is little that legislative bodies can do.

As far as being pro-liberty and being against abortion, there are plenty of Libertarians against abortion. The idea of libertarianism is that you can do what you want until it interferes with the life and well-being of another human being. There are a lot of libertarian-minded people, myself included, who see another human being involved in an abortion, not just one person making a decision about her own body.

Paul K. Ogden said...


What gets me is that Sheila Suess Kennedy would be the first person to yap about the need for "tolerance" yet from this exchange she is one of the most intolerant people around.

That's not unusual. I have found christian, right-wingers to often be a more tolerant group than the liberals who oppose them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Greg, don't put words in my mouth or in Sheila's mouth. I have great respect for women, particularly those who are intelligent, regardless of their political orientation. It's just that I have no interest in fools - and Sarah Palin falls in that category.

As I said, Sheila's views are well known. There are students who line up to take her classes. Give the students at that level just a little more credit.

I don't agree with her sometimes, but I would completely disagree that Sarah Palin has accomplished more than Sheila Kennedy. It's unfortunate in a society obsessed with celebrity what passes for accomplishment.

Gary R. Welsh said...

My name is not, Greg, Greg.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Greg, Again, there is that absolute contempt and disdain for Sarah Palin. I don't know what it is about people on the left who think that any woman who is a conservative and Republican is a dumb bimbo who should be attacked and discredited at every turn. Whether Sheila Kennedy likes her or not, she has accomplished a hell of a lot more than she will ever accomplish.

My focus on Kennedy is meant to bring into focus the dramatic change we've witnessed in the academic world during my lifetime. When I attended EIU back in the 1980s, most of my political science professors were liberal Democrats, but I had a very good relationship with most of the them. You could debate and spar over issues all the time, but you were still friends out of mutual respect for each other's interest in all things political. It's not that way today. The academic left is downright hateful towards anyone who disagrees with their point of view. I would venture to guess that someone of my political views, despite my qualifications, would never be extended a teaching opportunity at IUPUI. Kennedy fits right in there, particularly since she is a former Republican who would have you believe that she is now a Democrat because her party left her. I submit to you that Kennedy could have never been sincere in her Republican beliefs and embrace the extremist left views she has taken on in recent years. Our taxpayer dollars fund the salaries of university faculty like Kennedy. I don't think it is out of line to expect civil discourse from them on the issues.

dcrutch said...

We're devoid of "boogie-men" from the Democratic Party? How about immigration or the average school or hospital referendum? You have to be a racist, xenophobe, hater, or simply uncaring to vote against that line-up.
When I buy a candy bar at the vending machine, it doesn't care if the hand that feeds the slot is that of a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Flat Earth Society member. It just needs money. Real money. Not an IOU, bond, note, or promised cut in spending from somewhere else. Real money.
Why do we lose that logic and resort to name-calling when the economic scale changes?

Paul K. Ogden said...


YOu do realize don't you that Sarah Palin was mayor of a city and governor of a state don't you? To say Palin hasn't accomplished more than Sheila Suess Kennedy is, well, laughable. I agree with Gary...I don't understand your contempt of Palin. It sure seems like there is more than a little sexism motivating your comments.

Jon E. Easter said...

Palin was Mayor of a TOWN and Governor of a state with a popluation less than the City of Indianapolis. She's no more qualified to be President than Greg Ballard.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

Palin? The one who quits her jobs when they get tough? Where's her responsibility to the voters who elected her? They didn't elect her governor of Alaska so she could get a book deal and quit!

To say that she has "accomplishments" is laughable. She's a celebrity, and a shallow one at that. May her 15 minutes soon be over!

Concerned Taxpayer said...

"...I am a fiscally conservative Democrat and I believe Sarah Palin represents the absolute worst of the Republican party. ***She appeals to uneducated common people but has no substance***..."
If this wasn't such an ignorant statement, it would be funny. How do you think democrats get their votes every election?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, about the name mix up - I had it right in previous posts and knew it was wrong as soon as I hit "submit".

Paul, sexism?!?... I don't see that at all. Paul, you do realize that Wasilla is about the size of Fortville, Indiana, right? I also know that she quit her job as governor of the state of Alaska.

Let me point out that Sanford was (is?) the governor of SC and he isn't the brightest bulb either. I have some respect for anyone who wins elected office... but not that much respect. There is such a thing as the right place at the right time -- I think most of us would recognize Ballard as being in that situation.

I honestly believe that Sarah Palin is unprincipled, lacks depth and is more a celebrity than an accomplished individual.

artfuggins said...

Sarah Palin was the mayor of a city that she left in shambles and bankrupt. She then became governor and her state became embroiled in republican infighting and corruption. She resigned. Where are the achievements?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anyone with any objectivity would have to conclude that Sarah Palin possessed more experience and qualification to be president than Barack Obama. Obama had zero executive experience. As a state legislator, he took pay offs for work he did for constituents, including a $115,000 payment from a Chicago business in consideration for a state grant worth more than a half million to the business. He allowed the most corrupt political fixer in the state to finance the purchase of his Southside mansion. He traded campaign contributions for winning appointments for his contributors to state boards and commissions. He arranged for one grossly unqualified financial adviser/campaign contributor to get a share of the state pension investments, who in turn did such a lousy job handling the investments, even the Blagojevich administration decided the firm should be canned. The man absolutly cannot write. He relies entirely on staff persons to write his speeches. Without a teleprompter, the man is completely lost. He repeatedly missed deadlines for his book, Dreams From My Father. He finally turned it over to his pal terrorist Bill Ayers to write for him, who gladly ghostwrote the book for him. Whenever the man speaks off the cuff, his sentences are incoherent and he stumbles like you would expect a man of his age whose brain has been severely damaged from excessive drug use in his younger years. His college records are a complete mystery. While other presidents allow their college records to be opened up to the public to view, he has hired attorneys to block access to his records. Why? We learned more about Sarah Palin during the first 30 days after McCain named her than we have to this day about Obama. There is a reason so much of his record has been sealed from public view. The American people are now only beginning to discover the fraud that has been perpetrated upon them by this man.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Sounds like your describing Obama's Chicago and his state of Illinois, Art.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Like it or not, but Sarah Palin was every bit as experienced as Obama. Don't see you crying about his qualifications.

I do believe though your point was that Sheila Suess Kennedy was more accomplished than Sarah Palin. I don't remember Suess Kennedy ever serving as Governor of anything. Being an attorney and a university professor aren't that big of accomplishments - I should know as I am both.

I still wonder if you would be making the same wisecracks about Sarah Palin if she were a man. I don't hear you making cracks about Obama who had the same level of experience as Palin.

Anonymous said...


FYI: I came from a family of strong women. I had 5 older sisters including one who taught me how to ride a motorcycle - they have beaten most of the sexism right out of me.

As Artfungus said, where are the accomplishments? That same issue was made by Newsweek columnist Julia Baird in her column "The 'Pailinization' of Palin.

To dismiss the legitimate disdain for Palin as merely sexism is as silly as out-of-hand dismissing the criticism of Obama as racist. Sure, there are some people out there – but that’s also the lazy person’s way of shutting down a conversation.

If there is any gender based criticism on my part it is that she is manipulative: She shamelessly uses her family- and particularly the mother-child relationship- politically in a way that goes way beyond a basic appearance on stage... and then claims they are off limits and out of bounds (which they should always be). Beyond the “here are my spouse and children appearance” no parent should thrust their children into the limelight the way that she did. It was disgusting and makes me question her judgment as a parent – not to mention her political judgment.

Same thing with her appearance. She uses being sexy when it forwards her agenda... and then claims that the media is being sexist. If she really thought that the Newsweek cover photo was sexist, for example, she shouldn't have posed for the photo. That wasn’t a candid photo like the one of Obama on the beach – it was entirely posed with the outfit chosen to show off her body. She either was manipulative and knew what she was doing (pose for a photo like that to get your body out there and then criticize it when it's used so your motives look pure ) or naive to think that it wouldn’t be used. Either way it’s a bunch of crap.

As much as you might try, there's no real comparison between Obama and Palin's qualifications. I do believe that Obama is light on experience, but it was no small feat to be the first black president -- particularly in a country that is center-right. He also beat out a smart and popular woman in the primary.

And, just in case the point isn't obvious already, the majority of the voting public seems to agree with me on who is more qualified.

M Theory said...

As a professional dominatrix that Democratic Mayor Peterson the came after in 2005,I can personally attest that I was treated most horribly and viciously by the well educated supposed open minded and tolerant liberals with very few exceptions.

I was least judged by the people who identify with the Christian Right (with the exception of Eric Miller.)

In fact the Christian right mostly was kind and compassionate toward me about the trampling of my rights by our democratic mayor.

And Paul is right, you didn't see the Republican administrations trying to outlaw abortion.

I don't pay so much attention to what people say they are. I pay attention to what they DO.

And the liberal left does not own its rhetoric about tolerance. This Kennedy woman makes that clear.

Because of Kennedy's obvious intolerance of diverse discourse and opinion, I'm likely not going to renew my ACLU membership next year.

And yes, I'm an ACLU member. She can look it up.

M Theory said...

Tom Degan...Palin posed for a fitness magazine who sold it to Newsweek.

Palin did not pose in fitness attire for Newsweek.

Pay attention. She doesn't flaunt it like you claim.

You don't see her in mini skirts, low cut blouses, or skin tight clothes. Palin's dress is perfectly acceptable for the Sunday School crowd in anything you see her wear in public.

And Palin's sexiness? Well she's just naturally got it.

Class is sexy.

She's a life long outdoors and fitness enthusiast and has made that a part of her routine since childhood.

She eats a very healthy diet full of lean organic protein and isn't a couch potato.

Healthy is sexy.

Anonymous said...

So... Palin gave Running World the elusive rights to the photo for use in their magazine and then she sued them for selling the photo?...No?... I didn't think so.

If she poses for a photo like that (the oiled legs were a nice touch), and she can't demonstrate a little more competence then she can’t complain when people trivialize her. She can't have it both ways. She is just smart enough to keep extending her 15 minutes of fame.

"Classy" is a sexist term... it's not at all what comes to mind with Palin. However if a professional dominatrix thinks Palin is classy, I guess that’s all that needs to be said.

As for the "inclusive and intolerance" comments: There is a distinction between being inclusive and having healthy boundaries. I feel pretty comfortable drawing that distinction on this side of embracing a "professional dominatrix". There is the matter of "who you are" (black, Hispanic, gay) vs. "what you do". (The color of your skin vs. the content of your character). It's a distinction that the "family values" group should study. For some reason they keep siding with beauty queens with boob jobs (and now we learn, a professional dominatrix) as long as they espouse some twisted version of "family values".

M Theory said...

I didn't use the term "classy".

I used the word "class" and there is a difference.

Regarding Palin's photo, it is my understanding she did the shoot with the understanding the photos were exclusive to the fitness publication and that the magazine violated their agreement.

The outfit she wore on the cover is nothing different than you would see on the Monon Trail used every day by some of our city's movers and shakers.

Promoting fitness is a positive, especially when that person lives in a country full of obese and unhappy people.

Palin has inspired me to get fit this year and I recently enrolled in our company's vast fitness opportunties with our corporate trainer. THAT will save my company in health care costs.

Taking responsibility for oneself is the heart of Palin's message, I think.

I would not be surprised if you believe Mary Magdalene was a whore too.

I understand all too well that little intolerant closed-minded people often attempt to demean strong, bold women in sexist language.