How Not To Be An Issue Activist, By NARAL's Nancy Keenan

Via Lambert:

We deal in reality," said Nancy Keenan, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "You have to be pragmatic, realistic and, in the end, strategic."

Absurd. When the issue activist announces publically they are ready to sell out on the issue they are supposed to be agitating for, what can you expect from the pols they are agitating? Nothing, of course. Some activism.

Speaking for me only

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    This is why Democrats and liberals (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 10:29:09 AM EST
    never get anywhere. We farm our advocacy out to professional "activists."

    People make fun of Code Pink, but I can tell you from personal experience that in 2007 they were in the halls of Congress just about every day making themselves heard.

    Politicians compromise and prevaricate. Activists should not.

    Well, that certainly sends a signal (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 10:30:13 AM EST
    of capitulation.

    Yup - contrast her language and approach (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by Dr Molly on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 10:31:54 AM EST
    with those of the pro-life activists. And see why the other side is so much more effective than our side.

    i sometimes wonder (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by sancho on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:54:34 AM EST
    if such organizations (NARAL) have been infiltrated by anti-choice activists.

    That has been a strategy of the right. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by ThatOneVoter on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:09:12 PM EST
    They tried it with the Sierra Club several years ago. I think they succeeded with AARP, where Newt's buddies got in charge a few years ago.
    I know the AARP is not left wing, but they were a key element of support for Bush's Medicare D disaster.

    God that was sad too! (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:18:07 PM EST
    more effective? (none / 0) (#44)
    by diogenes on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 10:15:50 PM EST
    Last I heard, Roe vs. Wade is still the law of the land and is safe for at least four more years since Obama has been elected.  The antiabortion activists can't even get partial birth abortion bans passed in the whole country.

    The remedy is simple (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 10:32:36 AM EST
    Cut out the middleman (or woman). Figure out a way to fund the activists directly.

    NARALs just collecting a fee for something they claim to be doing, but aren't -- just like the insurance companies and the money managers, if it comes to that.

    Planned Parenthood. (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 10:34:04 AM EST
    Exactly! (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:08:22 AM EST
    and NARAL has seen its last dollar from me!

    Nancy Keenan is a practicing Catholic (5.00 / 6) (#7)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:09:57 AM EST

    By definition, she is not an activist for her cause.

    For me, NARAL is just a scam.  I'll never donate another dollar.

    Naral, Emily's list, NOW (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by fly on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:30:41 AM EST
    None of them will ever get another dime from me and I was a big $$$ supporter.
    I get calls from them almost daily looking for my checkbook, now it is my husband who answers ( in fact he jumps up for those calls now!!) and tells them..get their money from the incompetant boob they put in the White House..Obama! Only my husband says it in a much more strong and  colorful way! My husband is as pissed as I am, and he is not politically inclined, but he never questioned the big bucks I gave these groups. No more, now my husband is not only pissed , but he is vocal, which is totally out of his character.
    Basically we have now told these groups to go stuff it! They are hypocritical liars! They supported the stealing of our primary and our White House..and do not think people throughout the nation are not aware, they are. In a big way.
    These groups are begging for $$$$..and they are not getting it!
    My answer to that is ..tough!

    Emily's List and Now both supported Clinton (none / 0) (#14)
    by tigercourse on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:51:38 AM EST
    over Obama.

    Not quite. Not when the going (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:36:00 PM EST
    got tough.  And Obama split the organizations in many ways that will make them reel for a long time.

    I say to them:  Tough, too.  They're off my list.  It's a setback for the movement, but there have been many of those.  The organizations are not the movement, and new organizations will arise.


    I'm so with you on this (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:40:42 PM EST
    Really? I thought Naral was the only one (none / 0) (#29)
    by tigercourse on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:59:37 PM EST
    to back Obama.

    Officially, EList aka Malcolm (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 02:21:14 PM EST
    stayed with Clinton to the end.  But as I said, many who benefited most from EMILY's List did not -- and worse, they joined in the CDS and trashing.

    And then there were those like my Congresswoman, who benefited greatly from the EMILY's List boost to get elected, and in large part because of a lot of us backers who petitioned EMILY's List on her behalf.  She went to Obama from the start -- she is African American -- but she did not join in the Clinton trashing, at least publicly.  However, I have heard that she did so privately.  And she never stood up to say it ought to stop.  And sins of omission are as bad as sins of commission to me, raised Catholic as I was. :-)

    An organization is the people in it and is measured by the people it benefits . . . or not.  It turns out not to have much benefited me and mine, women and girls around me.  So I am watching the women we elected, you betcha.


    McCaskill, whom after being completely bank rolled (5.00 / 5) (#35)
    by masslib on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 02:23:58 PM EST
    by Emily's List, announced, "I did it on my own."

    Exactly. Good reminder (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 04:10:15 PM EST
    of why EMILY's List needs to grow some, um, teeth.

    I cut off NOW and NARAL a long time ago (none / 0) (#18)
    by Radiowalla on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 12:38:51 PM EST
    in recognition of their longstanding ineptitude.  

    EMILY's List is another matter.  Although they have made some hellishly dumb endorsements and only vet candidates for their position on abortion rights, I think they are still the best place for my money.

    During the primaries, a few of their former candidates came out strongly for Obama (Klobuchar and McCaskill) and I seriously considered pulling the plug on EMILY's List.  But I saw how dedicated Ellen Malcolm was to Hillary Clinton and I decided to remain a supporter, albeit on a much more skeptical basis.


    I'm too skeptical now (none / 0) (#26)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:38:43 PM EST
    to continue to support EMILY's List, based on their not holding women they -- and I -- supported to the cause from which they so benefited.  It's got to get some teeth in it.  Until then, I will continue to support the individual women pols who, even if they supported Obama, did so in good conscience -- and did not use the occasion to trash Clinton and other women.  

    But those who overdosed on kool-aid can get their sugar high from someone else when their next campaigns come.


    I agree with you completely (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Radiowalla on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 03:29:29 PM EST
    but I'm just not ready to pull the plug on them.  

    Half agreed, half disagreed (none / 0) (#40)
    by Brownell on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 04:50:03 PM EST
    It's true that NARAL and NOW at the national level are most politely described as corrupt and retrograde - along with the American Red Cross and most national environmental and civil rights organizations.  They do not support and strengthen their local chapters, except in exceptional circumstances. These "progressive" organizations at the national level drain their local chapters. It pays to take some time and trouble to assess these organizations in your area, and give your money at the local level only.

    EMILY's list, in my opinion, is a little different. First, most of EMILY's fundraising appeals solicit for specific candidates, and contributions typically go to the candidates.  Funds raised specifically for EMILY's List typically go to their programs of candidate recruitment, development and advisement - which from everything I have heard are highly regarded.  And you can look at the results of the 20 years that EMILY's list has searched out and supported democratic women in running for public office.  It's true that EMILY's List has backed some disappointments (Herseth Sandlin and McKaskill come to mind), but even those candidates generally came from conservative Republican states.  And, if those are our choices, we have not come far enough to deny that a blue dog is better than a Republican.  Most of the candidates EMILY's List has developed and supported are more in the mold of Jeanne Shaheen, Mary Jo Kilroy and Christine Gregoire - and my money went to women of that stripe.  Plus I still have hope for the Feminist Majority Foundation, not mentioned in these comments.


    Thoughtful; thanks. Yes, Ellie Smeal (none / 0) (#41)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 05:43:11 PM EST
    is a wonder, as I can attest having seen her work on the ground in the GOTV effort.  She's tireless, she has stayed true to her convictions and the movement, and she will and the FMF continue to get my support.  

    Thank you also for your insights into the test of a national organization -- i.e., does it support or drain its locals, and then not listen to them in formulating its national stances.  I have heard that some locals have done some good work in the training sessions to grow more women for office.  But I have not seen that here, and I know why -- or at least, so some women involved say.  It was that the national did not come through with promised support, in part because it believed the myths about my state rather than listening to the women on the ground.

    National leaders of NARAL and the like need to get out more.  Smeal does, and not in limos and fancy hotel rooms but right into our classrooms and living rooms.


    Although I ought to add (none / 0) (#42)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 05:49:34 PM EST
    (it's never simple, is it?) that I looked askance at her cover for Ms. Magazine that featured Obama as "what a feminist looks like."  Uhhhhhh. . . .

    But then I read her explanation, and I see what she is up to -- with the cover so over the top on purpose.  So I will watch and see whether it works, meaning she keeps working on him.  

    I think it may not work and only feed his (like all pols) ego, but she has proven pretty smart in past on such things.  It's all wait and see . . . just as it has been for the movement for so many years.


    Human Rights Campaign (none / 0) (#43)
    by caseyOR on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 06:08:54 PM EST
    Yep, the Human Rights Campaign sold out the LGBT community with its rush to support Obama over Clinton. They turned their backs on a politician who has stood with us for years. They endorsed the candidate who always looks uncomfortable and a little nervous around LGBT people.

    And before people start yipping about how Hillary doesn't support same-sex marriage either, let me just point out that she never said she opposed same-sex marriage; she talked about equal rights and all the rights straight couples have that should be available to all. She side-stepped the question.

    Obama, on the other hand, just cannot proclaim often enough his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. His religion makes him do it.

    Hillary never hides behind her religion.  

    And, so the Human Rights Campaign joins NOW and NARAL on the list of groups to whom I will never give another cent.


    Down the tubes (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Lora on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:22:01 PM EST
    Women's reproductive rights are going down the tubes.  Hence, women's rights are going down the tubes.

    Everything I've heard and seen about Planned Parenthood makes me want to support them over these other yahoos.

    Who out there deserves (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:10:57 AM EST
    our activist dollar? Who needs to take NARAL's place at this juncture?  Who is small yet capable, who means it, who would actually do something worthwhile with our prochoice money?

    oculus, I think, is suggesting Planned Parenthood (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by DFLer on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:13:59 AM EST

    They are certainly very active on their issue and advocacy...


    I like Planned Parenthood (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:20:18 AM EST
    When we have had a Planned Parenthood nearby we have actually used their reproductive services, even as "aged" possible conceivers :)  We no longer have one anywhere near our neighborhood now.  I'm wondering if we can begin to compile a list of alternatives to NARAL out there to begin to look toward and empower.  This is B.S.  The time when we disempower NARAL and can all begin to shrug off anything that NARAL is contributing to these debates due to lack of "juice" can't happen soon enough.

    On the form at the travel medicine clinic (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 02:10:46 PM EST
    recently I was asked about possibly being pregnant.  First option:  impossible!

    I drove by our downtown Planned Parenthood on a Saturday a couple months ago.  Many protestors and many security guards, although I haven't seen any publicity about problems here.


    The article said nothing (none / 0) (#10)
    by samtaylor2 on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:15:39 AM EST
    It has  18 days since Obama has taken office.  What information is provided that points to something happening or not happening?   I completely respect and support keeping the pressure on (especially about this issue), but this seems a little much.    

    Excuse me (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:24:52 AM EST
    I wrote about Keenan's quote, not Obama at all.

    I have no idea what the story is about.

    I wrote about, wait for it, the quote I point to.


    My mom and brother said that restaurant (none / 0) (#19)
    by samtaylor2 on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:09:09 PM EST
    Was amazing.  Thanks

    The name "in place" now is Pikayo (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:39:58 PM EST
    Compostela is an old style Spanish restaurant.

    Ramiro's is also like that.

    Not as well known but one I like a lot is Jose Jose.

    A little more modest but quite good is Miro.

    Good food and people watching at Dragonfly, in Old San Juan.


    Which one serves the best black (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 02:01:52 PM EST
    bean soup?

    El Tropical (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 02:06:18 PM EST

    But nothing special.

    You have to go to my mom's house in Florida for great black bean soup.


    I got the recipe from the restaurant in (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 02:07:50 PM EST
    old San Juan where I first tasted black bean soup.  Takes a really long time to make, but is delicious, especially after adding minced onion and rice soaked in olive oil.  Yumm.  But I bet your Mom's is much better.

    Okay, that's it. I gotta go (none / 0) (#36)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 02:25:06 PM EST
    to San Juan.  Salivating all the way.

    First, thanks to reading this thread, I gotta go get lunch.  Maybe some tortilla soup, mmmmmmmm.


    Thanks brother (none / 0) (#39)
    by samtaylor2 on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 04:11:07 PM EST
    Any more restaurant recommendations? (none / 0) (#23)
    by samtaylor2 on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:25:01 PM EST

    What my mom wrote, "Chayote's had to be in the top 3 restaurants I've ever been to!  Please blog your lawyer friend and see is he has another recommendation for dinner tonight.  I'll go wherever he recommends."

    So you got any other recommendations


    Gee (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:33:11 PM EST
    I am worried about lowering my percentage now.

    That seems like the exact ... (none / 0) (#16)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 12:15:04 PM EST
    opposite of what an "issue advocate" does.

    I agree robot, (none / 0) (#17)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 12:17:34 PM EST
    I thought issues advocates were supposed to use post-conventional morality... the grander issue of just versus unjust.