Tag Archives: Ben Lopez

See Ya, Ben Lopez: Netroots Cooperation In Action

(cross-posted at The Courage Campaign)

Last Thursday, dday wrote a great post over at GovernorPhil titled Arnold And The Traditional Values Coalition. It quoted an LA Times article that told of an unholy alliance that had formed in Sacramento.

Meanwhile, to drum up support for Schwarzenegger among evangelicals, the state party has hired Ben Lopez, a lobbyist for the Rev. Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition, a group that seeks to outlaw abortion and roll back gay rights.

Lopez and Anna Bryson, statewide coalitions director for Victory '06, the party's November election operation, plan to meet next week in the Sacramento area with roughly 200 conservative ministers — the first of several such gatherings to promote the governor, Bryson said.

The Traditional Values Coalition is no ordinary conservative group, you see.

More over the flip…

As dday went on to document, with the help of PFAW's great Right Wing Watch:

TVC founder the Rev. Lou Sheldon once said this:

“Americans should understand that their attitudes about homosexuality have been deliberately and deceitfully changed by a masterful propaganda/marketing campaign that rivals that of Adolph Hitler. In fact, many of the strategies used by homosexuals to bring about cultural change in America are taken from Hitler’s writings and propaganda welfare manuals.”

We at The Courage Campaign took this nugget of pure gold and ran with it, composing an e-mail that went out the following Monday calling on supporters to sign our petition demanding that Arnold Schwarzenegger fire Ben Lopez:

Ben Lopez's Traditional Values Coalition has…said this about gay rights activists: “Many of the strategies used by homosexuals to bring about cultural change in America are taken from Hitler’s writings and propaganda welfare manuals.”1

This one is simple: Governor, show us who you are. Do you side with the hate mongers who masquerade as religious leaders?

And then…

Call on the head of California's Republican Party, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, to fire Ben Lopez.

Gov. Schwarzenegger can’t keep playing the moderate with extremists like Ben Lopez at his side.

How gratifying it was to wake up this morning to the headline: State GOP suddenly dumps newly hired evangelical lobbyist. The spin from the CRP was that Lopez was only meant to work

"…through the convention, and that work is now completed."

Yet according to the Chronicle:

on Sunday, Dorinson had given no indication that Lopez's job with the party would end.

Not to mention:

Lopez, reached Sunday by The Chronicle, didn't appear to know that his work was to end at the close of the convention.

As Courage Campaign Chair Rick Jacobs writes in the Huffington Post, our success at getting this "bad actor out of state politics" is a victory for good ole (or, rather, good new) fashioned people powered online organizing. Indeed it's a victory for all of us in the grassroots and netroots that worked together to bring attention to the governor's divided loyalties, get a big chunk o' hate out of Sacramento and force the governor to cut an important tie to the right wing base, an action that just might keep some of them home in November.

CA-Gov: GOP caught with its pandering down

(As I said the other day: First Left, Then Right, Then back to left, you do the flippy-floppy and you turn yourself about. What the hell is this all about? – promoted by SFBrianCL)

Let’s drop in at last week’s California state Republican Convention to see what part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s base he’s pandering to now:

Outside the convention hall, several Minuteman members hung banners, handed out leaflets and encouraged luncheon attendees to visit a book-signing with Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist. Inside, Schwarzenegger supporters waved signs and wore green and orange buttons backing his campaign.

John Moriarity, a 72-year-old Republican from Los Angeles who heard Schwarzenegger’s speech, said he believes the governor ultimately will win support even from those who think he is too moderate.

“The reason he would have the support of the conservatives of our state is because the alternative is so disastrous,” Moriarity said. “I think there’s a lot of people who would like to see our lieutenant governor candidate (Tom McClintock) as governor, and hopefully some day he will. But you know California’s a blue state. So you’ve got to have somebody who will appeal to the socialists.” [emphasis added]

(Also available at DailyKos and My Left Wing)

Guess Mr. Moriarity will be disappointed to learn that Schwarzenegger just fired Ben Lopez, the former lobbyist for the Traditional Values Coalition (and a director of the California Republican Assembly), after having hired him just days before in an effort to throw some red meat to the homophobic, xenophobic, fundamentalist wing of the party. Mr. Lopez, you may recall, was the author of several delightful resolutions presented at the convention, including this one, which sought to outlaw citizenship for those born in the United States (you just can’t make this stuff up):

Submitted by Ben Lopez

Whereas, current United States regulations make all those born on U.S. territory automatically citizens of our nation, and

Whereas, this has created what are called “Anchor Babies”, babies born of illegal aliens in U.S. facilities, and

Whereas, under U.S. law when these Anchor Babies reach the age of 21, they are able to petition the government to allow their parents to become U.S. citizens, and

Whereas, the United States is the only nation in the world that gives citizenship based on place of birth, and

Whereas, this has caused pregnant illegal aliens to sneak into our country just to have their children born here so the babies will be U.S. citizens, and

Whereas, these “citizens” are then eligible for food stamps, and other government services, and

Whereas, Congress has the right to set the criteria for citizenship,

Therefore, Be It Resolved by the California Republican Party at convention in Los Angeles on August 20, 2006 that we request the California Republican delegation to Congress work to submit and pass legislation to end the practice of giving citizenship based on place of birth.

Civil rights advocates were dismayed at Lopez’s hiring, especially in light of the avowed “tolerance” espoused by Schwarzenegger and the California Republican Party:

[Equality California Executive Director Geoff] Kors noted that less than two months ago California Republican Party Chair, Duf Sundheim, appeared at a Los Angeles Log Cabin Republican event and spoke about the party’s inclusion and Schwarzenegger delivered a message espousing “the values of tolerance, understanding, respect, equality, and inclusion.”

Well, yeah, but that was two months ago!

And, no sooner had the California Republican Party hired Lopez – at first denying that it had – than it unceremoniously fired him.

Ben Lopez, the chief lobbyist and spokesman for the Traditional Values Coalition — the Anaheim-based evangelical advocacy group led by the controversial Rev. Lou Sheldon — has been fired from his new job as an outreach worker with the California Republican Party, sources said Tuesday.
Lopez’s hiring had been hailed by conservatives, who have been concerned about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s moves to the political center, when it was made public late last week as the state Republican Party opened its convention. [emphasis added]

So, once again California Republicans are caught red-handed, whoring themselves to every loathsome group under the sun, pandering to the lowest human denominators. At the same time, Schwarzenegger’s machine is trying to dance around the Republican slate of xenophobes, homophobes, and Big Business apologists. Case in point: the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor, State Senator Tom McClintock.

(In California, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected independently of one another; they do not run on one ballot.)

McClintock, a rabid xenophobe who has expressed contempt for the state Supreme Court’s striking down of Proposition 187, California’s virulent anti-immigrant initiative passed in 1994, recently discontinued the use of a fundraising letter from Mel Gibson after Gibson spewed anti-Semitic and pro-sexist remarks during a drunk-driving arrest in Malibu.

Frank Russo of the California Progress Report writes:

In February, Schwarzenegger Campaign Manager Steve Schmidt said the Governor and Senator McClintock are “going to work together during the campaign. No two running mates ever agree on every issue, but Gov. Schwarzenegger is pleased to have Tom McClintock beside him.” [Contra Costa Times, February 20, 2006]

Yet Sen. McClintock hasn’t stood publicly beside Gov. Schwarzenegger once since the June 6 Primary. In fact, McClintock has voted against every one of the bond initiatives that Schwarzenegger supported. He also voted against the budget Schwarzenegger signed in June. Responding to Schwarzenegger’s flip-flop on immigration, Sen. McClintock said, “It bothered me a lot….The Governor said something he didn’t mean and I’d like to see him come forward and say so.” Sen. McClintock is still waiting for Gov. Schwarzenegger to say so.

McClintock shouldn’t take it personally, though. Arnie’s no dummy – he shunned the entire Republican slate at the state convention:

All of them crave the media attention he draws because none is well known, yet Schwarzenegger appeared alone on stage and did not mention their names. (Democrats have tried to spotlight the Republican ticket’s lack of diversity, which could dampen Schwarzenegger’s appeal. It is composed of seven white men.)

Seven white men? Snow White of the Seven Dwarfs? Wow. No wonder Arnie felt like he had to be down with the brothas on either side of the convention – sort of an Oreo cookie of campaign appearances, if you will – by speaking at the Black Chamber of Commerce just before the Gathering Of The Seven White Men, and then heading down from Pacific Palisades to the ‘Hood, commuting all the way to 323-land and South Central, destined for the Mecca of African-American campaign pandering, First AME Church in South Central Los Angeles. Not everyone was fooled, however:

The parishioners greeted Schwarzenegger warmly, and several stopped to shake his hand. But Ralph Walker of Covina walked out of the church just after the governor arrived, telling reporters outside that Schwarzenegger had torn down the state during the 2005 special election and was trying to repair his reputation.

“Everything in there is damage control and ‘Let me fix up my image,’ ” said Walker, 57, an independent. “Did he get lost? Why is he here?”

Why? Can you say, ”pandering”?