Anti-Gay Marriage Zealot Bushwhacks NJ's

Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 05:49 PM

Everyone claims to want less dirt, less big money, and less exaggeration in political campaigns, but how do you accomplish that when so much of a political campaign these days consists of the efforts of third party interest groups? I don't know, and apparently neither does New Jersey.

New Jersey has adopted an experimental "clean elections" campaign law that allocates government money to candidates who meet minimum standards of small contributions from "ordinary" (i.e., not absurdly rich) people, and who agree to certain limits on both fundraising and spending. But the program isn't working too well in NJ's 14th District, where yet another anti-gay marriage zealot and his organization are pouring money into ads attacking the Democratic candidate.

As the Newark Star-Ledger tells it:

The man who has thrown a monkey wrench into a New Jersey experiment in "clean elections" is an anti-gay-marriage crusader with ties to a political commentator caught up in a scandal over the Bush administration's use of paid propagandists.

Brian Brown, who calls himself "voluntary chairman" of Common Sense America, is running a media and telephone campaign against Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Middlesex) in the 14th District, where the candidates have agreed to fundraising and spending limits in return for public financing.

Brown is also the paid executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, which he runs from a Princeton office. It has as one of its goals to "stop same-sex marriage in New Jersey," according to its Web site.

That group's president, Maggie Gallagher, is one of three syndicated columnists whose work for the federal government sparked a congressional investigation in 2005. Gallagher acknowledged she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services while writing favorable articles about its efforts to promote marriage.


The GAO concluded an Education Department contract with columnist Armstrong Williams violated federal law, but it found the payments to Gallagher for consulting work were legal.

Gallagher, of Westchester County, N.Y., referred questions to Brown, who said Gallagher has no connection to Common Sense America. Brown and Gallagher also recently founded Marriage PAC New Jersey, which plans to raise money for electioneering to "protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

Brown would not say how much Common Sense America plans to spend on its campaign against Greenstein. Its radio ads accuse Greenstein of raising taxes. But in an interview, Brown said he is also upset because she is blocking a proposed constitutional amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriage.


Hopes of expanding the "clean elections" program in future elections could die if Common Sense America succeeds in defeating Greenstein, said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University. "A successful campaign of this kind could convince people that they (the candidates) have unilaterally disarmed and they need the money to rebut these charges or to expose these people," Baker said.

I'm guessing that this is the same Brian Brown who had this to say back in March of this year:
Same-sex marriage severs the tie between marriage and parenthood. It gives the state stamp of approval on an institution that creates permanent motherlessness and fatherlessness, [and] it is an untested social experiment on our state’s children.
An "untested social experiment." That prompts two questions: (1) How exactly could it be "tested" without allowing gay marriage and/or civil unions; and (2) Why aren't any of these folks equally upset over the absolutely "untested" economic theory that globalization will be a boon to all, rather than a disaster for many?

I also can't help noticing how many "different" organizations Mr. Brown has started/runs/belongs to. And the ones listed in the article aren't all of them by any means. Brown apparently travels the country fighting what he considers the good Catholic fight, creating these organizations as he goes. Kind of like a 21st century Johnny Organizationseed.

So how do we deal with this? How do we ever clean up elections when the zealots won't stay out of them, and how do we ever get a zealot to stay out of them when the zeal derives from a feeling that the issue is one on which God Himself wants you to be zealous?

This country is in so much trouble right now.


Brown and Gallagher also recently founded Marriage PAC New Jersey, which plans to raise money for electioneering to "protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

Spud really enjoys watching the right corrupt the language into some kind of Orwellian double-speak on this issue. How does attacking the civil rights of one group of Americans equate to "protecting" marriage? Spud was aware of the sins of "Stretch" Armstrong Williams but hadn't heard the names of Maggie Gallagher or Brian Brown until reading this article. Thanks for the heads-up.

So how do we deal with this?

Great question and no ready solution is apparent here. It seems the loudest voices heard in modern politics belong to the extremist fringe elements who's over-zealousness tends to drown out any calls for moderate solutions. As it exists today the modern political process has pols jumping through hoops on a continual paper chase for funds that at the end of the day leaves them little time or capability to over-ride the exprtessed wishes of the powers that be.

Obviously this social experiment in New Jersey has failed to produce the "clean election" results that it was tasked for.

Spud would also like to take exception to Mr Browns description of gay marriage as "an institution that creates permanent motherlessness and fatherlessness" This is simply untrue. Many gay couples have children from previous marriages, in vitro fertilisations by donor or adoption and there are also many heterosexual couples who are childless through biology or choice.

As Spud sees it the purpose of marriage within any given society is to increase stability. In that respect gay marriage is as potentially successful as straight marriage and should be valued as such. That it isn't because a small group of religious zealouts continue to deliberately misinterprate the essential message of Christianity is a shame and a sin. These divisive, mis-guided souls have a lot of growing up to do and time is running out.

Be Well.

Values voters -- like Brian Brown and Idaho Senator Larry Craig -- favor cruelty, torture, war crimes, authoritarianism, ignorance, provincialism, hypocrisy, murder, oppression, treason, and the Republican party. Some values.

...the Republican party. Some values.

Republicans know "the price of everything but the value of nothing"

Be Well.

I always love those experiments that tend to go BLAMYOW the instant the AC is then applied. Case in point. N/T.

Until ALL elections are truly publicly-funded, this is going to take place. Or a revolt. Either works.

The religious right is falling apart, just like Brian Brown and the Republicans.

The Evangelical Crackup