IL-14: I Quit the Laesch Campaign Today UPDATE II

by , posted on Friday, December 7th, 2007 at 10:13 am

Originally posted at Daily Kos.

So I could say this:  

Planned Parenthood betrayed me and all the women of IL-14 yesterday.

Some of you may remember this memorable DKos diary by Planned Parenthood back in September, when their new clinic in Aurora was under attack.  Some of you may even remember that there was one Kossack/candidate here who stepped up.  

John Laesch responded, not just with diaries here and here urging support for Planned Parenthood, but by stocking up on “support Planned Parenthood” signs and urging them on those who stopped at the campaign office to pick up their Laesch signs, making public statements in support of the clinic, and yes, even standing out there shoulder-to-shoulder at the clinic itself with the pro-choice activists who were standing toe-to-toe and nose-to-nose with wingnuts, trying to shield users and workers at the clinic from their vitriol.

Trust me on this: the decision to do so was not a universally popular move, from a strictly political standpoint, in the Laesch for Congress office.  There are just as many anti-choice signs on Aurora lawns as there are pro-Planned Parenthood signs and it’s not the easiest thing in the world to ask your supporters to risk the wrath of their neighbors when Republican candidates like Lauzen and Oberweis are out there with the wingnuts whipping up some frenzy, and, yes, it seemed likely John would lose some votes in this less than enthusiastically liberal area for coming out strongly in support of Planned Parenthood.  

So some staffers advised caution, and suggested we stay clear of the issue as too hot to handle, despite John’s pro-choice position.  Some other staffers were very forceful in their opinion that no Dem who counts himself a Dem could, ethically, stay out of it.  Here’s a peek into the internal communications/debate of senior staffers in a Congressional campaign, a little excerpt from an e-mail that was just one in a series of a long back and forth over this issue:

Did he (John Laesch) shy away from taking a stand on Iraq when it was still a relatively popular proposition?  No.  Is this any less serious an issue.  No.  I don’t think it is.  There are some issues worth losing over and this is one of them.

The debate among senior staffers raged for about half a day and several dozen e-mails, brought abruptly to an end when John finally got to a computer, stepped in, and endorsed the above viewpoint.  Heh, I wasn’t surprised, I’ve known John long enough to understand that he is a guy who seems to have internalized the thing my Dad told me would get me all the way through life with my self-respect intact: “Always dare to do what is right.”

This was already Laesch’s stated position on his website at the time:

As a future Congressman, I feel that it is not my place to intrude on a woman’s decisions regarding her reproductive and personal health. These are family and personal matters, and the state needs to respect that privacy according to the framework set out by Roe v Wade. I believe we can create a reality where abortion is rare while still being safe and legal. If we as a society want to show our value for life we should begin by helping mothers in difficult circumstances. I will work tirelessly to make sure that new life in this country is greeted with affordable healthcare, adequate shelter and nutrition and a good education to insure that the American Dream is within the reach of all.

Here’s Foster’s stated position on the choice issue on his website both then and today:



Consistently the same then and now, I suppose, but personally, I think it’s a bit unclear.

Here’s what John had to say publicly about the Planned Parenthood clinic at the time:

Aurora, Illinois has become the battleground for reproductive rights…

About a week ago, I attended an informal meeting at Planned Parenthood Aurora to learn more about the brewing controversy over a women’s health facility.  About 50 people attended the meeting and about 25 anti-choice activists paraded along the streets…

I had the opportunity to speak with Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area CEO, Steve Trombley.  Steve let me know how important the fight in Aurora is…

While this is a local issue over an occupancy permit, we should all recognize that what happens in Aurora happens to all of us.

Here’s what Foster had to say publicly about the Planned Parenthood clinic at the time:



Still not quite clear on Bill’s position there, think it could use a little work.

But apparently Planned Parenthood Chicago Area CEO, Steve Trombley is perfectly satisfied with this stance from a congressional candidate on the issue of women’s reproductive rights, because here’s what he had to say yesterday about Bill Foster:

“Planned Parenthood is proud to endorse Bill Foster for Congress in the 14th District.  Planned Parenthood stands with Bill Foster because he stands with the families of Illinois, making sure women have the health care they need and the freedom to make their own choices.”

I don’t know where you were standing to see him standing with the families of Illinois Steve, because out here where he lives we haven’t seen a damned sign of Foster, oh, giving a damn what happens to women or their rights or their bodies.  In fact, from where I stand in IL-14, what I see is a strong probability that what you got a really good look at was Foster’s really, really big checkbook.  

Hope it was an obscenely large check Steve, because I would be disappointed to learn you sold out me and my daughters and all the other women of my area by supporting a candidate who ran and hid, instead of standing up for us when the heat was really on, for anything less.

See?  That’s the kind of thing it’s just not appropriate to say when you are officially blogging for a candidate.  Feels good to get it out.

UPDATE: There have been enough concerns expressed in the comments that I clarify my position regarding the Laesch campaign that I want to do it here: I am not withdrawing my support for John Laesch – I have just gone independent of the campaign.  

I support John Laesch, will vote for John Laesch (and am gleefully looking forward to doing so twice, legally, on February 5).  It was an honor to work for John, and it will be an honor to turn out my own precinct to vote for him, but I want to act from a place where the opinions I express are entirely my own.

UPDATE II: I’m so sorry, but I have to step away and go to work.  I honestly didn’t expect this to hit the rec list or stay there this long if it did.  I thank you all for reading and commenting and will check back when I get back.  If someone gets an answer from PP and can leave it in the comments, I would surely appreciate it!


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