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Ray Flynn, who along with four other former U.S. Ambassadors to the Vatican endorsed Mitt Romney way back in January, is now appearing in a television ad for Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA).  Flynn, a former mayor of Boston, who is described as a Democrat in the ad, has not endorsed a Democratic candidate for president since Bill Clinton, and endorsed Scott Brown for the late Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat over Democrat Martha Coakley.  

But there is much more to Ray Flynn's political involvements than his Republican endorsements. He would probably rather we forget, but he has also been a leader of the Religious Right.

In 1995, the then-mighty Christian Coalition headed by Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed, formed a Catholic front group called The Catholic Alliance. It was quickly rebuked by Catholic Bishops for appropriating the name of the church while pushing a rightwing economic agenda that was incompatible with Catholic teaching.  The group had nothing to do with the Catholic Church, they said.

The Catholic Alliance subsequently faded into obscurity until 1998 when it was folded into Fr. Frank Pavone's organization, Priests for Life, which has been one of the leading organizations of anti-abortion militancy in the United States. It has also been the subject of repeated complaints about electioneering in violations of its 501(c)(3) federal tax-exemption.

Ray Flynn became president of The Catholic Alliance in 1999.

In declaring its independence the previous year, The Catholic Alliance had emphasized that

Catholic Alliance no longer receives any financial support from the Christian Coalition. It is now a completely independent Catholic organization that is receiving financial support from private donations.
The Alliance also announced that it would seek to influence the 1998 and 2000 elections, and included an advisory board of Catholic Bishops and Religious Right leaders suchas Paul Weyrich. Here is part of the press release on the Priests for Life web site:
MARCH 9,1998 (202) 544-3603

Catholic Alliance announced today additional members of the Catholic Alliance Bishops' Advisory Council. "We are deeply honored to have the prayer, example and advice of these bishops. We desire above all else to be faithful to Catholic teaching as we build a non- partisan Catholic voters' movement promoting the common good. The Church has called for lay men and women to fully participate in the political process to build a more just society, which respects the dignity of all human life, the primacy of the family, authentic freedom and solidarity. Our movement is in response to that call," said Deacon Keith A. Fournier, President of Catholic Alliance.

"Our members are dedicated to effective political action and education in order to change America. As we approach the third millennium, the need for an active educated movement of Catholic voters has never been more urgent. We deeply appreciate the support of Bishops McHugh and Egan in their leadership of this advisory council as well as their demonstrated courage in their own pastoral leadership."

"Catholic Alliance seeks to consolidate a Catholic vote for Life, Family, freedom and Charity in the important 1998 and 2000 elections. Catholics are 23% of the vote in the United States. No political party or candidate can afford to ignore the Catholic vote.'

In 2001, Flynn spoke at the tenth anniversary celebration of Priests for Life and declared that Catholics need to be told how to vote.
"We Catholics don't know how to vote. We need someone to tell us how to vote.
He went on to offer a vague explanation of why he endorsed George W. Bush for president over Al Gore:
"I thought it was more important to be a good American and Catholic than be a good Democrat," said Flynn.
In 2001 Flynn as head of the Catholic Alliance joined with other religious right leaders in urging the Department of Health and Human Services to oppose embryonic stem cell research.

By the 2004 election he had become the head of another Religious Right agency, Your Catholic Voice, that like the Catholic Alliance, had been formed by longtime Pat Robertson ally Keith Fournier.  Unsurprisingly, among the leaders and advisors of this outfit were such Religious Right leaders as the late Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, Michael Schwartz of Concerned Women for America, and of course, Frank Pavone.

That year, conservative bishops had made an issue of denying communion to prochoice Catholic politicians, notably John Kerry. When 48 Catholic Democratic Members of Congress objected to this politicization of communion, here is what Ray Flynn had to say on behalf of Catholic Voice:

"They want to be Catholic on election day and get the Catholic vote, but when they get to Washington or the state house, they consistently vote with every well financed radical group that is working against the most fundamental of all human rights."

Yep. Flynn said that the reason that Catholic pols like Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry are prochoice is because they are in the pocket of unnamed, but malevolently rich, radicals.  

He has since moved on to other things.  But he still makes news by posing as a Democrat who endorses Republicans.

Originally posted to Pro Choice on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 12:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Abortion, Massachusetts Kosmopolitans, and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fuck him. EOM (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Taxes Are For The Little People, My Friend!

    by kitebro on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 12:43:57 PM PDT

    •  A story about Hizzoner (5+ / 0-)

      When Ray Flynn was Mayor, he had a reputation for "knocking a few back" with his pals down in Southie. Sometimes, more than a few.

      I was at a meeting his office had convened to discuss homelessness; the meeting was held at 9AM in a room in a building next door to the legislature that is reserved for such functions; my understanding was that it was actually available to the City of Boston before it was offered to anyone else.

      Flynn was supposed to keynote the meeting. A no-show. After waiting for a while, the embarrassed organizers simply started the meeting and presentations.

      Suddenly we hear some noise out on the fire escape attached to the building. We turn, and look at the window, to find an extraordinarily disheveled looking, just getting home from the party Ray Flynn, stumbling as he tried to climb backwards through that window, from the fire escape, into the room, completely oblivious that an entire room full of people was watching him. When he turned and saw us, he froze, and then just walked to the door as if nothing had happened.  Thankfully for Mayor Flynn, this was in the in days before cell phones and instagrams.

      Yeah. Don't sweat it. Flynn won't be swinging any votes to Brown, at least none that weren't going his way already. And I'm betting there were 70 people in that room who would vote for Mussolini if his opponent had earned the Ray Flynn seal of approval.

      "When you're skating on thin ice, you might as well dance." Jesse Winchester

      by The Poet Deploreate on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 01:11:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're being polite... (4+ / 0-)

        ...the bottom line is the former Mayor is an out-and-out lush. Period.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 01:17:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Flynn's claim (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kitebro, CuriousBoston

        is that Brown is a bipartisan guy, and not full of the hyperpartisanship that prevents things from getting done. Brown has a similar ad running from a former mayor of Worcester.  There are lots of voters who don't really know either one of them, and so they may be more effective than you think.

        •  Frankly, I'm pretty sure there are so many... (2+ / 0-)

          ..."deals on top of deals" behind all of this, that the bottom line will never be known. It's Boston politics. ("It ain't beanbag.") It makes Chicago look like Romper Room.

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 01:24:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Um, Fred... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          do you live here in MA?  do you think that being endorsed by three politicians who were retired involuntarily by their own constituents will carry some weight?  For that matter, the idea that the world revolves around what happens in Boston does not play well outside the city limits- and Ray Flynn does not play well outside the city limits. He may have done some playing outside the city limits, I'll grant you that.

          anyone who voted for these three hacks was voting for Brown anyway, in mine 'umble opinion.

          "When you're skating on thin ice, you might as well dance." Jesse Winchester

          by The Poet Deploreate on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 01:29:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I do live in MA (4+ / 0-)

            and I think the ads airing in places where most people have little to no idea about Flynn's record may be effective. I also live in Western, MA and know that most people are well aware of how Bostocentricism screws our part of the state.  But Flynn is just one guy and its a long campaign season. The ad -- which runs on NESN during Red Sox games, is effective, which is why I noticed.

            •  I don't think (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              that the Brown ad's touting his bi-partisanship will stand up next to Warren ad's that show his actual record.  On virtually all economic issues affecting human beings, Brown voted with his party. His deviations from the expected, with one exception, had no impact on the ultimate passage of the laws- and the one exception resulted in his extorting bank-protecting, watered-down safeguards that have had a direct impact on reforming the banks and predatory financial industry practices.  That will be revealed for what it is- not bi-partisanship, but extortion.

              I really think Brown has hit his ceiling. And it won't be high enough.  

              I think the debates will clarify things immensely.

              But I'll concede that Brown may be slightly ahead in the "uninformed voter outside of Boston watching Red Sox Games" demographic.  My experience with uninformed voters in general (as a five time elected city official), is that they tend not to vote democratic...

              they are not, I think, up for grabs. But if the dems turn out, and I think they will, Warren should win. Comfortably.

              "When you're skating on thin ice, you might as well dance." Jesse Winchester

              by The Poet Deploreate on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 02:11:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't play crystal ball (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                And you shouldn't either.  

                You may be right that Warren's ads and overall message will be more effective (let's hope so!); and if as you say, the Dems turn out, if the Dems turn out if the Dems turn out... that's a lot of ifs.  And that goes to the heart of the matter of the effectiveness of the Brown ads featuring the former big city Democratic mayors.  

                How much will these and related campaign themes and activities work? Who knows?  They are but one factor among many.  But Brown ran effective ads last time too. Coakley and the Dems lost that race, but Brown also won it, and he is not to be underestimated. It would be best if that mistake is not repeated.

                When I saw Flynn in the ads over the past week or so, I wrote this post out of my own area of competence, which is the Religious Right, surfacing stuff I think few people know much, if anything about  People can make of it what they will.  

                •  You are certainly correct (2+ / 0-)

                  That warren needs to win big in Boston and Worcester and other urban dem strongholds.

                  That these "populist'  former Mayors are al out for Scottie  doesnt help.

                  The big question is if Menino is going to Really endorse her or not.

                  Really as in to tell his people to get out that damm vote.

                  •  I spoke to the Mayor about this when he was (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Frederick Clarkson, Osiris

                    visiting the housing where I live. I urged him to watch the Moyers and Warren shows. He said that his public relations dept. could get them. Not would, could. I do not think he will support Warren in any way.

                    He's up for re-election next year. Many surgeries and health problems. I've run into his wife a few times. She's very concerned about his health, tries to keep him on schedule. She has the power to prevent him from running.

                    I didn't vote for him last time, he's too ill, holds grudges, rolls over anything not to his liking-having his staff give the wrong times to a City Councilor, so the Councilor was last to a photo-op meet the elderly event.

                    My personal computer is limited, can't post without tagging on. Community computer better. Pardon tagging to comments, spelling, please.

                    by CuriousBoston on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 04:26:07 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)

              This state isn't chock full of geniuses. Brown was negative a few months back. Now he's that cuddly nice guy everyone loves. Slimy shitbag!

              Taxes Are For The Little People, My Friend!

              by kitebro on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 02:36:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, eastern MA is blue, western MA tends to be (0+ / 0-)

              red. Western MA voters may not be aware of all the Boston
              doings. The knowledge base, for lack of a better term, is very different. Average voters will take Flynn for a MA type Democrat.

              I heard him talking in Roche Brothers, a popular supermarket in Boston. While keeping his grandchildren semi-occupied, he was explaining why he would not vote for Obama, and would not recommend the person he was talking to should not either. He used all the code words.

              Good old South Boston boy.

              My personal computer is limited, can't post without tagging on. Community computer better. Pardon tagging to comments, spelling, please.

              by CuriousBoston on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 04:18:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  why go with a moderate republican... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobswern, CuriousBoston

          when we can send a democrat with a spine, who understands how consumers are being screwed every day.

          it shocks me that the race is this close, I don't expect it to end that way.

          please remember this. Brown did not win his seat, though he spent enough passed through money trying to buy it. The Democratic party lost the seat through complacency and an ongoing strategy of nominating nice people who are lousy campaigners. And some not so nice people.

          The best three candidates in the state put forth by dems came from outside the hardening of the arteries dem apparatus- Robert Reich, Bob Massie, and Deval.

          "When you're skating on thin ice, you might as well dance." Jesse Winchester

          by The Poet Deploreate on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 01:33:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  sure (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Poet Deploreate

            And I supported the three outsiders.  One of the main ways Republicans win in MA is by winning over so called "moderate" or conservative Dems.  This ad campaign is certainly consistent with that traditional, potentially winning formula.

            •  we agree (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              the party has become it's own worst enemy in MA.  We'll have to see. It may be a working formula, but I am still really convinced that Brown caught lightening in a bottle, and capitalized on the complacency of the party apparatus- during one of the last appearances by Coakley before the election here in Newburyport, probably 200 people lines the Route 1 bridge banging on garbage can lids to drown out her speech. I'd never seen that happen in MA before, and it swept thru the city with a wave of revulsion that didn't do Brown any good- and he grew up here.

              and not for nothing, but I went over to the lot where these hooligans parked- my best guess is that 70% of the cars came from New Hampshire. that tidbit made the rounds, and really pissed people off as well.

              brown didn't win- the dems lost.

              so, how do you think warren responds to these kinds of ad's in a way that counter's them?

              "When you're skating on thin ice, you might as well dance." Jesse Winchester

              by The Poet Deploreate on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 02:25:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am not an ads and message guy (0+ / 0-)

                I am but a humble scribe.  

                Old time Dem politics and politicians and nostalgia for a better time can cut in a more progressive direction, particularly, but not exclusively, the Kennedy legacy.

                Part of what Brown wants to do is project a personable regular guy image. It worked for him last time.  Associating himself with comfortable sounding veteran Democratic pols, works for the ongoing project this time.  Brown is clearly casting himself as a contrast to Warren (D-Harvard U.)  

                I am sure there are ways for Warren to access similar homey feelings in her ads and those who make appearances on her behalf.

  •  Bill Clinton appointed Flynn to Vatican Post... (2+ / 0-)

    ...clearing the way for Tommy Menino, then President of the Boston City Council, to step into the mayor's office; and, then, as the incumbent, to run for Mayor as the "incumbent."

    Menino, to a great extent, owes (or, past tense, "owed," not sure) the Big Dawg for this, bigtime.

    I haven't been following the Warren campaign that closely; but, I'd be curious to know what, if anything, former President Clinton has done to support Warren's candidacy?

    It would appear to me that some serious pressure should be applied to our former President to become more involved in support of the Warren campaign vis-a-vis having higher-ups in the Democratic Party "navigating" the former President to more aggressively support Warren via his lobbying for some form of substantial support, other than lip service, over at the Mayor Menino's office...something that appears to be serious lacking (although I could be wrong; since I haven't been following her campaign closely enough), to date.

    (Funny, I was just thinking about this a couple of hours ago, in fact; and, then I saw this post! Go figure?)

    Of course, I'm sure the former President will need to get an "okay" from his client, Bank of America; at least before he stars in the Democratic Convention in a few weeks, down in Charlotte, at the....drumroll...Bank of America Center!!!!

    (Is this f*cked-up, or what?!?!?)

    Adding insult to injury, Ms. Warren could well be "the 50th Senator," or "the 51st Senator," come 2013...or not!!!!

    (I was thinking about writing a post on this; at least now, if I do, I can refer to this comment. Heh...)

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 01:11:55 PM PDT

  •  Ray bo has been off the rails for quite a while (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    LOOK RAY >  television camera!  and off he goes.

    He used to be involved in some populist issues...  he certainly wasnt the canidate of downtown  at the time that was ...   cant recall the name.....  Dave.. something from west Roxbury.

    Anyway,  Ray got confused pretty quickly over the job, instead of being the   US ambassadr to the Vatican  he thought he was  the Vatican's ambassador to the US.

  •  Another data point on Flynn (based on my personal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, Osiris

    knowledge, so no links):   In 1994, during the runup to the Beijing Population Conference, Flynn used his position as Ambassador to the Vatican to work to undermine efforts to implement US policy through the Beijing process.  This went beyond his trademark opposition to reproductive choice (US policy was that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare"), to actively working to subvert US policy on condom distribution and use.  Remember, this was in the early '90s, when the AIDS epidemic was near its peak.  

    Flynn had to be muzzled and ordered to stand down.  Rumor had it at the time that the White House order for him to stand down originated in the First Lady's office.

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 01:24:23 PM PDT

    •  IMHO, Ray Flynn personifies everything that... (3+ / 0-) wrong with Boston politics. Of course, if I said that in certain parts of Boston, my life expectancy could be measured in minutes.

      Come to think of it, just posting comments here isn't doing me too much good...LOL! (Disclosure: Back as a young adult, I was--emphasis on past tense--very, very actively involved in Boston City and metro area politics...again, back in the day.)

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 01:48:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  After reading all these comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I wonder why in the world Scott Brown would even want to be associated with the ex-Mayor.  Romney, on the other hand, doesn't have the morals to care who is on his side.

  •  You forgot "has-been." n/t (0+ / 0-)

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