The leaders of New York's Republican and Conservative parties have a new favorite challenger to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand this year -- Wendy Long.
Long is a Manhattan lawyer unknown outside her family and the far-right legal circles she's worked in most of her life.
Interviewed by Reid Pillifant of Capital New York before her Thursday campaign-kick-off speech to Manhattan Republicans, Long said that Roe v. Wade is:
a horrible decision ... abortion should be left to the people to decide. ...I think she's wrong about that. State laws that push the Roe/Casey envelope have been noticed quite a lot, locally and nationally.
If Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, nobody would even notice, because the states are legislating their own laws about abortion, completely independent.
And, of course, under Roe v. Wade abortion is now "left to the people to decide" at the most personal level.
As a "conservative judicial crusader," Long opposes that.
More about this far-right anti-choice activist, below.
Long is a New Hampshire native, a Catholic convert, a graduate of Dartmouth (like Gillibrand) and Northwestern Law School, married to a rich lawyer, and a veteran conservative lawyer and operative.
According to the wiki, she worked as press secretary to two former conservative U.S. Senators, Bill Armstrong of Colorado and Gordon Humphreys of New Hampshire, and clerked for Ralph Winter, a Reagan appointee to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and Clarence Thomas.
Long was chief counsel and spokeswoman for the Judicial Confirmation Network from 2005-10. The JCN was founded by Bush-linked conservatives primarily to organize to get Bush's judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate. After Obama's election, it changed its name to the Judicial Crisis Network, and worked against Obama's judicial nominees.
The JCN does not hint at its funding sources, nor disclose them on IRS forms, but its founder, who used to work with Ralph Reed, was encouraged to set JCN up by right-wing judicial activist Jay Sekulow, who like Reed got his wingnut welfare start with Religious Right profiteer Pat Robertson. Presumably JCN is funded by the usual suspects -- Bradley, Kochs, Scaife, Olin, Coors, DeVos, Bush's Texas network, rich fundamentalists, etc.
Long was the star of a 2008 JCN campaign ad that smeared Obama with Rezko, Ayers and Wright to argue that he should not be elected and therefore able to nominate up to four Supreme Court justices. JCN evidently spent more than $500,000 to air the ad on Fox "News" and on local stations in Michigan and Ohio:
Here's a taste of that, from June 2006 under the absurd title "The Liberal, Activist, Lawless Kennedy Court":
The important end-of-term decisions handed down by the Supreme Court, including Hamdan and the Texas redistricting case, point to one regrettable conclusion: this Court is still a liberal, activist Court that issues decisions based on politics, personal preference, ideology, perceived international or humanitarian ideals – in short, on anything and everything except what should be its sole consideration: the law.Long is also a favorite at the Moonie Times, as an op-ed writer and source.
At the epicenter of this problem is Justice Anthony Kennedy, who manages to make the entire Court look like a totally political body. His concurring opinions of breathtaking lawlessness and irrationality, siding with the liberal activist wing of the Court, somehow taint the whole institution.
Long may look like an impressive candidate through the rose-colored glasses of Republican and Conservative leaders -- articulate, conservative, and able to raise millions from her JCN connections and her family. (Republican/Conservative leaders have relentlessly ignored the other announced candidate -- Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who claims he'll put $5 million of his own money into the race and evidently intends to contest the nomination.)
But in the real world, New York is a very blue state in presidential years; Gillibrand won her first statewide election with 63 percent in the tea party year of 2010; Gillibrand has done an excellent job representing all of the state and, rare for a freshman, has been successful in getting legislation passed (Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal and the 9/11 health care law); New York has not elected a non-incumbent Republican/Conservative to statewide office since the Republican wave year of 1994; and New York has not elected someone as conservative as Long statewide in at least 42 years.
An unknown wingnut with money like Long might have a chance in a Confederate or Mormon state.
But in New York, in a presidential year, and against the excellent Senator Gillibrand, she'll be lucky to crack 40 percent.