Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Real Mark Obenshain: What his daughter Won’t Tell You

The Mark Obenshain we know is the one we see in his TV ads. He is the nice guy, with the nice family and a nice suburban home. He has an attractive wife and a cute daughter who is always defending him from the evil opponent who issues lies about him in his campaign. She accuses the opponent of not protecting women and flashes a bill reference number to prove it (although it disappears from the screen so fast I still don’t know what the bill is). And the media-produced Mark Obenshain is the one that appears to be in a dead heat with his opponent Mark Herring as the last hours of the campaign tick away.

But there is another Mark Obenshain. That is the Obenshain his daughter won’t talk about. That is the Obenshain who has consistently voted for right wing conservative legislation. That is the Obenshain who has earned the endorsement of many right wing conservative groups and low scores from progressive groups. That is the Mark Obenshain you need to meet.

Mark’s Supporters:

Let’s take a look at the groups that support Mark Obenshain:

Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia: The Caucus has endorsed Obenshain’s candidacy. As it describes itself, “the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia exists to promote individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise within the Republican Party.” The national Caucus represents the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party, favoring reduced government intrusion, lower taxes, elimination of federal agencies, less regulation, a strong national defense with fewer military bases abroad, and no foreign aid. The Republican Liberty Caucus is working to make the Republican Party even more conservative than it already is.

National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund: The NRA-PVA has endorsed Obenshain’s candidacy based on the votes and positions he has taken while in the General Assembly. The NRA-PVA has also endorsed Obenshain’s running mates Ken Cuccinelli and Earl Jackson.

Family Foundation of Virginia: Based on his voting record, Obenshain has received a 100% rating from the Foundation. For those who are not familiar with the Foundation, I quote from one of my earlier posts:

As for the Virginia Family Foundation, its website indicates that its “vision is to establish a Commonwealth of strong families who are guided by faith and protected by a principled government.” The Family Foundation’s five-year plan seeks to 1- Establish Virginia as the most pro-life state in the nation. 2-Protect the institution of traditional marriage. 3-Reinforce the rights of parents to make life-altering decisions in their children’s lives. 4-Limit the undue burden placed on families by state government. 5- Reestablish Virginia as the national model for religious liberty. In the area of education, the Virginia Family Foundation favors tax credits for families “that choose non-public schools.” 1
To receive the 100% rating from the Foundation, Obenshain had to vote the right way on all 20 pieces of legislation that it supported. So Mark voted (for brevity I have omitted some of the votes):

a- in favor of HB321 in 2012, which gave a tax credit to corporations and individuals who contributed to scholarship programs that financed poor children attending private schools;

b- in favor of HB462 in 2012, which requires a woman to undergo ultrasound imaging before undergoing an abortion.

c- in favor of SB349 in 2012, which allows a private adoption agency to refuse to participate in an adoption that violates its written religious or moral convictions.

d- against SR27 in 2013, and thus against the confirmation of Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland.

e- against HB2313 in 2013, which created a new funding mechanism for transportation projects in Virginia. (The Foundation opposed because it resulted in a net increase of taxes).

f- in favor of SB1074 in 2013, which allows student organizations at state colleges or universities to discriminate on the basis of religious, political or philosophical beliefs.

g- in favor of an amendment to HB1900 in 2013, which prohibited insurance companies participating in exchanges under the Affordable Health Act from providing abortion coverage.

h- against SB701 in 2013, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.

i- in favor of HB1112 in 2012, which would repeal the requirement of vaccination against human papillomavirus for female children.

j- against HB62 and SB826 in 2012, which would have repealed the provision of law that allows state Medicaid funds to pay for an abortion when a doctor certifies “that the fetus would be born with a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency.”

k-against SJ130 in 2012, which would have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution.

l- in favor of SJ287 in 2013, which would amend the Virginia Constitution to authorize “prayer in private or public settings, on government premises, on public property, and in all public schools” The amendment would also require the display of the Ten Commandment in all public schools.

American Conservative Union: Obenshain received a 100% rating from the Union which describes itself in these words:

“For more than forty years, ACU has served as an umbrella organization harnessing the collective strength of conservative organizations fighting for Americans who are concerned with liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values, and strong national defense…As America’s premier conservative voice, ACU is the leading entity in providing conservative positions on issues to Congress, the Executive Branch, State Legislatures, the media, political candidates, and the public.”

The Union is the host of the annual CPAC conference.

Marks Opponents:

These are some of the groups that oppose Mark Obenshain:

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia: Obenshain received a 0% rating from this organization.

Our mission is to develop and sustain a constituency that uses the state-level political process in Virginia to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices …”

Virginia Education Association: Obenshain received a 0% rating from the VEA.

"The mission of the Virginia Education Association is to unite our members and local communities across the Commonwealth in fulfilling the promise of a high quality public education that successfully prepares every single student to realize his or her full potential. We believe this can be accomplished by advocating for students, education professionals, and support professionals.”

Some of Mark’s Recent Votes:

2013:  Obenshain voted against HB1907, which increased the fine for driving while texting.

            Obenshain voted for SB1335, which prohibited the disclosure of information about persons authorized to carry concealed weapons.

            Obenshain voted for SB1256, which provides that a photo-ID is the only form of identification that will permit a person to vote in Virginia.

            Obenshain voted for SB721, which required drug testing for certain welfare recipients.

            Obenshain voted against SB975, which prohibited smoking in a car containing minors.

            Obenshain voted against SB736, which requires drivers or passengers in cars to wait for a “reasonable opportunity” to open doors on the side adjacent to moving traffic.

            Obenshain voted for SB1335, which prohibited the disclosure of information about persons authorized to carry concealed weapons.

2012:  Obenshain voted for HB48, which allows a resident to use deadly force against an intruder, if the intruder commits an “overt act” and the resident believes he is in imminent danger of physical injury.

            Obenshain voted for HB940, which repealed the limit on purchasing one hand-gun in a 30 day period.

 And, so we have a portrait of the other Mark Obenshain; the one his daughter will not talk about. This is the Obenshain whose voting record has made him the darling of all the ultra-conservative groups in Virginia. This is the Obenshain who has not earned the votes of either Democrats or Independents in next Tuesday’s election. He has also not earned the votes of mainstream Republicans who want to save their party from the extremists on the right who have been controlling it for the past several years. The only intelligent choice next Tuesday is to vote for the other Mark—Mark Herring for Attorney General.


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