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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. ...

If Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, nobody would even notice, because the states are legislating their own laws about abortion, completely independent.

I think she's wrong about that. State laws that push the Roe/Casey envelope have been noticed quite a lot, locally and nationally.

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:

Long also did a kind of liveblog of the Roberts, Alito and Sotomayor confirmation hearings, plus posts about other judicial matters, at National Review Online.

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.

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 is also a favorite at the Moonie Times, as an op-ed writer and source.

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.

Originally posted to devtob on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 07:41 AM PST.

Also republished by New York State.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Smaller government! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, jethrock, Cedwyn, bronte17


    Seriously, there must be a farm someplace where they grow these people from magic acorns or something.

    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

    by MBNYC on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 07:58:05 AM PST

    •  Too late to tip, sorry, dear. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I did find myself wondering where she came from. And why she chooses to live in Manhattan, it must be very uncomfortable for her, what with all the liberal activists running around loose.

      This one race I'm looking forward to with no trepidation. It will be a real pleasure to watch what Gillibrand will do with her.

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

      by sidnora on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 09:20:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  if Brown v BOE were overturned no one would (10+ / 0-)

    notice, except for the kids suddenly in separate but equal schools.  If abolition were overturned, no one would notice except for African Americans suddenly converted from citizen to chattel.

    What she means is she does not need an abortion at this moment nor does any client or family member.  Even if they did, they could do what they used to do in the Good Old Days and take the errant female on a "European tour "
    Jonah Goldberg must be her campaign advisor

  •  Sometimes I have wondered (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, 4mygirls, myboo

    While I reject wholeheartedly Long's attitudes about abortion rights (and probably everything else), there have been times when I've wondered if most people would take appropriate notice if Roe were overturned. You and I know it would be a disaster; but most people? There's a reason why the right has been able to chip away at abortion rights to the extent it has even though polls have consistently shown the public is on our side.

    Now, I DO believe had Roe ever been overturned, most people would have eventually caught on about how much trouble it would cause - but only until after the worst had actually happened. So in that respect, I fear until recently, Long might well have been right in a certain sense. The good news - relatively speaking - is that it looks like the right's overzealousness on this issue is finally catching up with them again. I think the transvaginal ultrasound bill(s) and the very negative reaction from the public have marked a watershed: a lot of people who had their heads in the sand are now seeing the anti-choicers for the misogynistic blowhards they really are.

    That gives us an opportunity to take the offensive on the abortion issue, arguably for the first time since 1996 and the "partial-birth abortion" bill (an awful lot of so-called pro-choicers got all squishy on that issue, and it did tremendous damage to the cause - which is exactly what the anti-choicers wanted!). And it's great that that is finally happening. But that things had to get this bad first is just disgusting.

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:06:42 AM PST

    •  About half the states (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, RamblinDave, sidnora

      would recriminalize abortion, if given the chance.

      Most likely to do so are (my revision of a 2004 list): Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

      There would be some political blowback, but not enough in most of these states.

      A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

      by devtob on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:32:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In practical terms, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, RamblinDave

      the country as a whole isn't that far from where it was before Roe was decided.

      Not only are there numerous restrictive state laws across the country, but there are also large (if not heavily populated) areas of the country where the law is moot. In those states, they have made it so difficult or dangerous to provide a full range of women's health services that there is no abortion provider available for hundreds of miles around.

      Back before Roe, women who could afford it could travel to one of several states where abortion was legal, but those who couldn't travel were out of luck. That's pretty much where they are now, again.

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

      by sidnora on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 09:30:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  very interesting (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, bronte17, Aquarius40, IreGyre, myboo

    She only has two kids so she must be using birth control and having sex that isn't for procreation. She can probably win the nomination, someone has to be the GOP sacrifice to lose to Gillibrand.

  •  More formidable challenge (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, Aquarius40, sidnora

    I don't know much about Long. Your research here tells me vastly more about her then I had previously known.

    I predict however that someone like Wendy Long will present a more formidable challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand then any of the other string of hopeless hacks the NYS republicants have put up in recent years.

    Something tells me she is going to have far more money and backing then other recent challengers have had too.

    That said... she has a HUGE hill to climb in terms of the simple electoral demographics on New York and an even HUGER hill in the person of US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

    And Kirsten has already proven she is a formidable fund raiser herself and that she can defeat challengers that spend more money.

    Good Luck Wendy. You're going to need it. Lots of it.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:24:44 AM PST

  •  GOP does not want to overturn Roe v Wade. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, plankbob, SherwoodB, myboo

    It will take away a rallying talking point that gets the GOP base off the couch every election. They had the chance - GOP had the white house, congress and supreme court. Why didn't they try to overturn it then?

  •  Seems to me then, if nobody would notice, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, LaraJones

    why even bother with it? Move along, Republicons, and work on jobs legislation.

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

    by plankbob on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:24:52 AM PST

  •  as a New Yorker... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...who is Wendy Long? Never mind...there's no interest by me in learning any more about her... any case...this comment seems like another of those political doozies by all of those crazy foot-in-mouth nutjobs that Republicans have been increasingly turning to in recent years...

    This appears to me to be a double-edged sword type of comment sure to piss of pretty much...everyone...including anti-abortion zealots, because...while she's saying what they might want to hear about Roe-v-Wadge, saying something like..."abortion should be left to the people to decide" is...not exactly in accordance with the platform of the Republican Party, and most certainly not in accordance with radical anti-abortionist extremists. Any Republican to win any statewide office in New York State needs to be sure to get all of the anti-abortionists on board...otherwise, they often run their own candidates, which is lethal to Republican statewide candidacies here.

    In other doesn't appear that Wendy Hall is...very bright, to say the least...

    •  What Long means by (0+ / 0-)

      "abortion should be left to the people to decide" is "abortion should be left to the states to decide."

      Which is what existed pre-Roe, and would result in many Southern and flyover states outlawing abortion.

      Re: NY politics -- the Republicans and the Conservatives almost always agree on statewide candidates, and the Conservatives are not too picky about abortion purity. There is a Right-to-Life Party that runs some unknown downstate Catholic who gets a percent or so, and has never affected the outcome.

      A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

      by devtob on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 04:44:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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