Capital Briefs November 9, 2009

MARRIAGE PACKS A WALLOP: Traditional marriage flexed considerable muscle as a political issue last Tuesday. With voters in Maine overturning a bill passed by the state legislature legalizing same-sex marriage, 31 states have so far voted in favor of declaring marriage as a union between man and woman. In the special House race in New York’s 23rd District, State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava was abandoned by fellow GOPers in large part because of her pro-gay marriage position and suspended her campaign on the eve of the voting (Democratic winner Bill Owens opposed same-sex marriage). In New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine not only backed gay marriage but named the sponsor of the gay marriage bill in the state legislature as his running mate. Noting a Quinnipiac Poll that showed 62% of black voters in the state opposed to calling gay relationships marriage, the National Organization for Marriage pumped $225,999 into a radio blitz targeted to African-American voters highlighting the difference on marriage between Corzine and GOP nominee Chris Christie (who won).

With just a week’s notice, more than 20,000 angry protestors swarmed to Capitol Hill on November 5 in a last-minute effort to defeat Nancy Pelosi’s health care proposal, which she said she was going to bring up on the House floor the following Saturday. Coming from all 50 states, the protestors were responding to an Internet call from the Tea Party Express and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.) to stop “Pelosi-care.” Bachmann, Academy Award winner Jon Voight, and others denounced the bill (the cost of which is now estimated at $1 trillion), as the crowd chanted “Kill the bill!” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R.-Tex.) drew lusty cheers when he declared: “Joe Wilson was right!” — a reference to the South Carolina congressman’s now-famous heckling of President Obama when he claimed to Congress that the health care proposal would not cover illegal aliens. The protest rally came as the President appeared before the White House Press Corps to hail the bill’s endorsement by AARP and the American Medical Association (AMA).

21% OF HOUSE DEMS OPPOSE PRO-ISRAEL STAND: Yes, you read it correctly. Last week, 33 House Democrats voted “no” and another 20 voted “present” on a resolution in the House to condemn the Goldstone Report on Israel’s conduct in Gaza last winter. H.R. 867, which was introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R.-Fla.), had called on the Obama Administration to oppose efforts by the United Nations and like-minded organizations to use the Goldstone Report as propaganda with which to attack Israel. Noting that 21% of the House Democratic Caucus did not support the resolution, Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition told reporters: “Democrats continue to campaign in the Jewish community as unwavering friends of Israel, but when it comes to acting on those promises, leading Democrats fall short.”

PALIN TO THE RESCUE IN N.J., VA: Having brought in more than $100,000 in on-line donations with her endorsement of Conservative Party hopeful Doug Hoffman in New York’s 23rd District House race, Sarah Palin also went to bat for Republican gubernatorial winners in New Jersey and Virginia. On her Facebook page, the 2008 vice presidential nominee took aim at New Jersey third-party gubernatorial candidate, Chris Daggett. “Despite what candidate Chris Daggett is claiming, I have never contacted him or his campaign. I have never asked him to drop out of the N.J. governor’s race,” Palin wrote. “Now, if a politician is going to play loose with facts like this, the electorate needs to know it… I’ve never even suggested he should drop out of the race. But, come to think of it…” Daggett, whom polls showed hurting Republican nominee Chris Christie, ended up drawing less than 5% of the vote as Christie unseated Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. In Virginia, robocalls paid for by the Virginia Faith and Freedom Coalition featured the former Alaska governor urging voters “to go to the polls Tuesday and vote for Sarah’s principles.”

WILL HOUSE TRY PUBLIC OPTION? Although he and his colleagues are on a healthcare plan that could be called “a Cadillac model,” Rep. Joe Wilson (R.-S.C.) has a new idea: Automatically enroll all members of Congress in the public option plan. With the House poised to vote within days on the measure pushed by Nancy Pelosi, Wilson told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto: “If Speaker Pelosi insists on shoving this bill through, then I believe that members of Congress should go onto the government-run option. If it is good enough for the American people, then it is certainly good enough for Congress.” Joining Wilson in co-sponsoring the amendment are Republican Representatives Wally Herger (Calif.), Steve Scalise (La.), John Fleming (La.), and Phil Gingery (Ga.).

NO MORE MEDDLING, CORNYN PROMISES: Following the furor from conservatives because the National Republican Congressional Committee supported liberal GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava in the special House election in New York’s 23rd District, the head of the GOP’s Senate campaign arm promised last week that his committee will not spend money in contested primaries. “There’s no incentive for us to weigh in,” National Republican Senatorial Committee (NSRC) Chairman John Cornyn (Tex.) told ABC News last week. “We have to look at our resources.” Cornyn’s announcement clearly had the most impact on moderate Florida Gov. Charles Crist, whom the NSRC has already endorsed in the 2010 U.S. Senate primary against conservative stalwart Marco Rubio, a former Speaker of the state house


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