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This afternoon, I received an e-blast from Kos promoting the candidacy of Mark Pera. I had read much about his campaign and wished him well. But I decided it was time to join this important and historic fray via my own blog, Talk to Action. I hope many others will join us in this, the final week when money and mobilization matter so much.

Meanwhile, here is my argument why working against Dan Lipinski and for Mark Pera is one way of fighting the religious right.

One of the dirty open secrets of American politics is that there are Democratic Members of Congress -- and other elected officials -- who often have more in common with the Religious Right than they do mainstream Democrats or even many Republicans.   One of these is Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), whose grim record includes being:

anti-choice (has a 0% rating from Planned Parenthood and a 100% rating from the National Life to Right Committee)

     *     anti-stem cell research

     *     supported government intervention in the Terri Schaivo case

Fortunately, we have a progressive primary challenger in Mark Pera who has an excellent chance of unseating Lipinski next week. This is the kind participation in Constitutional Democracy that will turn back the gains of the religious right. The simple truth is that either we will replace elected officials supported by the Relgious Right and who support their agenda, or we won't.

Although the progressive reform movement is still young, it is certainly time to send a Super Tuesday message to that part of the Inside the Beltway crowd that believes that pandering to the Religious Right is more important than standing up for Democratic Party principles, and basic human rights.

Mark Pera, and he has received enormous support from the progressive netroots, as well as endorsements from Democracy for America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, among many others.

See this, one of many on the front page of Daily Kos comparing the candidates' views on stem cell research; and this oneby Markos himself.

And see this comparison of Mark Pera's Lipinski's views on reproductive rights:

Lipinski opposes a woman's right to choose

Lipinski said before entering Congress, "I believe that life begins at conception." He believes abortion should be allowed only when a pregnancy threatens a mother's life -- no rape or incest exception.

In Congress Lipinski voted against a motion that barred fathers who have committed rape or incest against a minor, from being able to sue the doctor who performed the abortion.

Lipinski also voted against allowing overseas military facilities to provide privately-funded abortions for women in the military.

[Chicago Sun Times, 8/22/04; HR 748, House Vote 143, 4/27/05; HR 1815, House Vote 216, 5/25/05]

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Update [2008-1-30 19:44:9 by Frederick Clarkson]: I was asked if Lipiniski is also anti-gay. A quick google search turns up that indeed, he voted against ENDA, which would extend anti-discrimiation in employment protections to gays and lesbians -- in addition to his opposition to marriage equality, as I discuss in this comment and what follows.

Originally posted to Frederick Clarkson on Wed Jan 30, 2008 at 03:14 PM PST.

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