Moderator: Mod Squad
October 8, 2011 4:42 PM
Values Voter straw poll organizers suggest a fix in Ron Paul's win
Rep. Ron Paul scored a decisive victory Saturday in a mock presidential election at the Values Voter Summit, trouncing fellow Texan, Gov. Rick Perry, but an organizer of the straw poll suggested ballot-stuffing may have skewed the results.
In a press conference following the announcement of the straw poll results at the annual Washington gathering of social conservatives, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins all but dismissed the results as irrelevant, citing 600 people who registered Saturday morning and, he said, "left after Ron Paul spoke."
A total of 1,983 ballots were cast. "You do the math," Perkins said.
A year ago in the same contest, Paul came in second-to-last. Speaking briefly with reporters before the straw poll results were announced, the Republican lawmaker said, "If I win, it wouldn't be as important to the media than if I lose."
Paul has a history of scoring unlooked-for straw poll wins by packing the electorate with diehard supporters. But Perkins said it's too early to take much away from Paul's win. "Let me just take you back four years to this event, when we had a straw poll. Mitt Romney won that straw poll," he said. "I think people are still in the process of deciding where they want to go."
Paul got 37 percent of the vote. The rest of the ballots showed how widely social conservatives support is splintered among the rest of the field.
Two other conservative favorites, businessman Herman Cain and former Sen. Rick Santorum, took second and third place, respectively, with 23 percent for Cain and 16 percent for Santorum.
Perry and Michele Bachmann won 8 percent apiece. Mitt Romney got 4 percent of the vote and Newt Gingrich, 3 percent.
For Perry, who is struggling to regain momentum after some disappointing showings in debates and the polls, the results represent a disappointment. The Texas governor is counting on voters who share his socially conservative views to help power his candidacy into the top tier of Republicans. He didn't get the ringing endorsement he might have wished out of the Values Voter Summit. Instead, the gathering put Perry in the midst of a controversy when the Dallas pastor who introduced him Friday later told reporters that Romney's Mormon faith is a "cult" and "not Christian."
Perkins said his organization did "everything to preserve the integrity of this straw poll," including denying campaigns from buying blocks of tickets, "which they attempted to do this year." But Santorum on Friday seemed dubious, and told National Journal that his success in the polls would depend "on how many people, how many campaigns, tried to buy a bunch of tickets and try to stack the poll, which unfortunately happens."
The victory for the longtime congressman and three-time presidential contender over his Republican rivals in the presidential contest was all the more surprising because Paul's principled libertarianism sometimes puts him at odds with the views of social conservatives on issues such as gay marriage and drug laws.
But in a speech hours before the straw poll results were announced, Paul argued that his staunch fiscal conservatism and dogmatic views on liberty were in tune with family values and the Bible.
http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/gop ... 2#comments
Comment posted at 10.8.11 at 16:35:
Attendees listed abortion as one of their top concerns, but they nevertheless selected a pro-choice candidate.
Paul claims to be pro-life and even says Right to Life is the foundation for all rights in the Constitution. Many conservatives agree with Paul when he says "life does begin at conception," and abortion “is an act of violence.” The problem is that he does not mean it. Rep. Paul is really pro-choice on the state level. That is the purpose of his Sanctity of Life Bill (H.R. 2597).
He does not believe in federal intervention regarding abortion. He also does not believe pre-born babies have a God-given right to their own lives, which no individual state may ever violate. He is essential looking the other way if a state approves legislation allowing the killing of a child. He believes states’ rights supersede human rights.
On one hand the Congressman says the purpose of government is to protect life, and on the other he says this should no longer be a federal responsibility. He views abortion as an act of violence but wants no involvement by the federal government.
Rep. Paul has never supported a federal right to life constitutional amendment. He has repeatedly said a federal law banning abortion across all 50 states would be invalid. He also says anti-abortion laws are pointless and will not stop abortions.
When it comes to votes restricting abortions, Paul has really earned his title of “Dr. No.” He voted against barring the transportation of minors to get an abortion, and against making it a federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. He says nothing in the Constitution authorizes the federal government to ban abortion.
President Obama and liberal Democrats are pro-choice. They give the life or death decision to the mother, while Paul gives it to the state. Conservatives believe the right to life is a human right, which should be guaranteed by the Constitution.
Houston Chronicle – March 25, 2007
Union protesters pay price in Houston
Union protesters pay price in city
Compared with other areas, SEIU has found little leniency here
L.M. SIXEL, Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
Published 05:30 a.m., Sunday, March 25, 2007
Photo -- SEIU protesters march down Post Oak during an October rally.
After blocking bridges and key roadways in other cities, union protesters walked away with $50 to $75 fines and a couple of hours at the jail for processing.
The Service Employees International Union may have hoped for similar treatment in Houston when the nation's second-largest union launched a series of civil disobedience protests last fall during its month long strike against five janitorial companies.
Big fines, long sentences
But in Houston, where prosecutors and judges took a harder line, SEIU protesters have been hit with fines as big as $2,000 and, in some cases, seven-day jail sentences, for blocking major intersections during sit-down strikes.
"I'm amazed at how the protest is being criminalized," said Gideon Oliver, co-vice president of the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.
He said he has handled hundreds of cases on behalf of protesters and never had one found guilty or fined more than $100.
The penalties, which the SEIU says it is appealing, have some wondering if the SEIU might change its tactics here, especially as it moves into new contract talks at City Hall. The SEIU, and another union, represent 13,000 city workers.
A notable local presence
In the past few months, the SEIU has established a strong presence in Houston, negotiating a contract for 5,300 janitors and winning, along with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the right to represent the City Hall workers.
It's also set its sights on organizing security guards and medical workers.
Despite the tough sentences, SEIU spokeswoman Lynda Tran said she didn't expect the union to stop employing civil disobedience as a tactic.
"It's obviously very effective in getting people engaged in what the issues are," Tran said. "The whole tradition of civil disobedience is ingrained in the Justice for Janitors movement."
Besides, she said, those who were arrested knew the risks.
"I can't imagine there will be a shortage of people who want to participate in the future," she said.
Last month, Harris County criminal court at law Judge Larry Standley gave six out-of-state protesters found guilty of blocking an intersection a choice: spend seven days in jail and pay a $2,000 fine or serve probation this summer in Houston.
The protesters opted for the fine and the jail time, which they had already served when they were initially arrested.
After that sentence, the next group, which blocked the intersection near the Galleria in November, opted for a plea deal, $250 each in court costs and credit for their two days in jail.
Other groups also accepted the plea deals, and the last group, which took over the conference room at Transwestern's Galleria-area offices, is scheduled to go before a judge next month.
"The state took a hard stance, a very unreasonable one," said Christian Capitaine, a criminal lawyer with Capitaine, Shellist and Warren who was hired by the SEIU to represent the protesters.
Capitaine, a former Harris County prosecutor himself, said the county wouldn't even offer the protesters deferred adjudication, which allows offenders who successfully complete their sentences to have the charges wiped from their records.
Ted Wilson, chief of the professional development bureau for the Harris County District Attorney's Office, said he and representatives of the Police Department made it clear in a meeting with two SEIU officials the day before the downtown protests that they'd be facing a class B misdemeanor if they blocked a road.
The union officials, who laid out their civil disobedience plans, were seeking less onerous class C misdemeanors and traffic-like tickets as the only penalty, said Wilson, who oversees the misdemeanor division and is the point man on protests.
Prosecutors rejected the request and suggested the union warn the protesters of the consequences.
"That's the price you pay," he said. "We did exactly what we said we'd do. Why should people get on a plane from Wisconsin or Illinois with the intent and purpose to violate our laws here and get a break?"
After the arrests, Wilson said, the district attorney's office offered to drop additional jail time or a fine in exchange for a guilty plea. But the offer was refused, he said, which led to a weeklong trial.
So will the likelihood of jail time and a stiff fine — even if the union foots the bill — put a chill on future sit-down protests?
"I can sure hope not, but I can see how it would," Oliver said. "I think people need to keep coming out. Civil disobedience does change the world."
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