Monday, July 10, 2006

FRI: Going For the Amish Vote?

Check out the new logo the supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment to ban legal recognition for all unmarried couples have cooked up to show their "forward thinking" on the issue. The happy couple in the logo look straight (I'm assuming) out of 1910. Interestingly, that's about the same time modern Christian fundamentalism took hold in these United States.
If I didn't know better, just looking at the bride's duds in particular, I'd think the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin is going after the Amish vote. They'd better use direct mail of that's the case. The Brethren don't have electricity, so no Internet, TV or other picture devices.
This is just another of the ongoing missteps being made by amendment supporters. In a June 30 news story, published the same day Fair Wisconsin announced they had put $1.2 million in their campaign kitty - almost all of it from within state, the FRI's Julaine Appling essentially let the world know she was off to Kinko's to pick up some more campaign lit. At least that's what you can read between the lines in story filed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Stacey Foster (and since pulled off the Journal-Sentinel's "All Politics Watch" web log but still referenced in the current online issue of Quest):
"However, FRI Executive Director Julaine Appling has indicated the organization will be stepping up its efforts to energize support for the amendment. According to a June 30 report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Appling picked up "hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature" the same day the bishops issued their letter.
"It's about getting literature in the hands of people at this stage of the game, and talking to every person we can find about the importance of voting to protect the institution of marriage now and in the future," Appling told reporter Stacy Foster."
A day earlier Appling basically told the four ex-governors (representing a decade of elected political leadership and wisdom) "they didn't understand the issue." Cory Liebmann blogging over at did such a number on Julaine's response, I don't have to.
Julaine kept up her "all people who don't agree with me are stupid" reasoning in her reaction to the recently announced poll showing only a seven-tenths of a percent difference between the "yes" and "no" sides on the civil union and marriage ban.
"If this shows us anything, it reminds that we have to keep educating the people."
Julaine also claimed her "internal polling" showed different results. Well, Missy, you had no problem touting the Tarrance Group poll numbers two years ago when no one had been "educated" on the amendment issue. Show us your polling! Does it look like the suppressed 43-41% internal polling the state's GOP got last February just before they voted to put the amendment on the ballot?
The simple fact is voters have been educated for the last two years by the coalition of groups that make up Fair Wisconsin and their hard work is just beginning to show. And to add another chill up your spine, my dear, the group's new commercials began airing today in the very areas that I suspect you are relying on as your "home turf": rural and small town Wisconsin.
Not that I doubt Julaine and the FRI will put up a good fight in the long run - there's still four months to go and the pro-amendment side is coming off a 19-0 win streak. If anything, I suspect Wisconsin's far right probably has been a little complacent, because of both the number and the lopsided margins of victory in other states, even those that voted for Kerry in 2004.
We can expect to see an Olympic class batch of conclusion jumping and long distance mouth running, similar to FRI's ingenue spokesmodel Lorri Pickens attempt last week to turn a criminal court ruling into proof that "activist judges" are trying to undermine marriage in Wisconsin. The appeals judge essentially said the original judge should have looked at the convicted man's circumstances - unmarried head of household raising two kids - not for a wedding ring when determining whether the guy should get work-release privileges to help sustain his kids.
Well, not according to Ms. Pickens slim, "slippery slope" reasoning:
"They are beginning to go down the path of doing exactly what happened in Massachusetts," said Lorri Pickens, campaign manager for Vote Yes for Marriage, referring to the court ruling that legalized gay marriage in that state. "They are beginning to go down that road of redefining marriage."
Hey girl, Chicken Little had better evidence "the sky is falling."
However, Ms. Pickens' comments reveal just how "anti-family" the supposed pro-marriage supporters are: the economic well-being of minor children is only valid with a trip down the aisle. For everyone else - straight or gay - well, your unmarried relationships don't matter and neither do the kids that are a part of them.
That's why the second sentence on the amendment doesn't bother the FRI gang. And why Fair Wisconsin's efforts to make that second sentence "the issue" will be so critical to defeating the ban this November.

Lousy logo design - the price to pay for being anti-gay! No card carrying queer would take credit for that creation!
Where's the pitchfork?
Unlike Appling's crew, the Amish do not seek to impose their lifestyle on others.

they were quite welcoming when we held Weedstock in Wilton township, and refused to allow Police to use their adjacent farms as observation posts. Quite few accepted my invitation to visit and view our exhibits on agricultural uses of hemp, which they'd used extensively prior to its prohibition in the 1930s.
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