The bad news: Anti-abortion violent wingnut Randall Terry has all but announced he is running for state senate in my district in Florida.
The good news: Randall Terry might be running for state senate.
First, the news itself, then I’ll explain.
On Thursday, Terry was flanked by his wife, new baby and a dozen supporters at a Plaza de la Constitucion press conference in St. Augustine. He first scheduled a morning announcement in Jacksonville, drove to St. Augustine for a second press conference, then left for Daytona Beach for a third.
At each stop, Terry gave away copies of his 1995 book, “The Sword: The Blessing of Righteous Government and the Overthrow of Tyrants,” now in its fourth printing.
Yes, it sounds suspiciously like he’s running. Why not? He is enjoying newfound respectability, in light of his exploitation of the Terri Schiavo fiasco.
Terry said he became involved in the Schiavo case in 2003 through a mutual friend of Schiavo’s parents. He frequently appeared on TV this year as the parents’ spokesman in their effort to keep her alive.
“Certainly my ability to be in everyone’s living room night after night was a help to me in this race, if I decide to do it,” Terry said.
Yeah, right, “If.” Terry is targeting Jim King, former Florida Senate president, who caved to Jeb during the first Schiavo wars a couple of years ago and got “Terri’s Law” passed. That very specific bill (it only applied to her) kept the woman on life support so her parents and Randall Terry could fight another day. King later called it the worst decision of his life, in view of his own ordeal to help his parents pass peacefully in hospice care, and did not support government intervention in the recent Schiavo battle.
Terry hammered at King’s record, saying the senator is pro-choice, not pro-life, “repeatedly offered special rights to homosexuals,” is “more interested in teacher’s unions than in kids,” and had named Democrats to committee chairs.
If Jim King ends up with no Democratic opposition, I’m signing up for his campaign. He sounds like my kind of guy, plus I have come to respect him in the dealings I’ve had with state politics.
Terry, on the other hand…Well, what can I say?
Terry, 46, of Ponte Vedra Beach, gained national notoriety in the 1980s and 1990s by organizing anti-abortion rallies, closing abortion clinics and aggressively harassing women seeking abortions.
Aggressively harassing pregnant women? What a values-burdened soul.
In 1986, he founded Operation Rescue. He now operates The Society for Truth and Justice.
… Terry said his inflammatory language and actions got him in trouble in the past. Google his name and 1.5 million sites will discuss his personal, financial and political history.
Terry said much of what he is quoted as saying is false or taken out of context. Some was humor that didn’t translate to a page.
“And a lot of us have said (and done) stuff in our 20s that we regret,” he said Wednesday. “That’s not who I am now.”
There you are, just going along having fun, bellowing death threats at pregnant women and the doctors who treat them, blowing up buildings without regard to who might be inside, getting arrested more than 40 times, and people go and try to make that sound…not good. I hate it when that happens.
In any event it sounds like the concept, “personal responsibility” doesn’t keep Terry up at night.
The Palm Beach Post has more:
Terry moved in 2003 to a house in Ponte Vedra Beach that was purchased with donations from anti-abortion activists after he said he was wiped out financially by court judgments stemming from his anti-abortion activities…
Ponte Vedra, in case you don’t know, is the whitest, richest, most Republican enclave you’ll find in Florida north of Palm Beach. It’s the home of The Players Championship PGA tournament, and passes its days behind the security gates that line A1A. Ever wonder where all that money went when the stock market crashed under Bush I? Come to Ponte Vedra, and you’ll find all the Barbarians at the Gate you’ve been missing. It’s a common bankruptcy strategy to sink $5 or $6 million into a home in Ponte Vedra and then file. In Florida, no one can touch your personal residence.
And these folks like to make their dreams come true. According to OpenSecrets.org, the zip code that represents most of Ponte Vedra gave over $1.3 million in the 2004 election, while the average zip gave about $45,000.
So why am I not entirely appalled that Terry is running for the Florida Senate?
First, I think his candidacy will ensure that Republicans feed on their own during the primary. This will be an all-out war between the most extreme right wing of the party and those who have been skating by because people like Jim King let them say they’re Republicans without taking on the social agendas the GOP has become known for in Bushistan.
King himself acknowledged all this and is counting on reason to prevail in his party. From the Post:
King said Thursday that since the Schiavo vote, he has been expecting a challenge from the “far Republican right.”
King described himself as moderate on social issues. He supports abortion rights but favors parental-notification laws and a ban on late-term abortions.
King called abortion repulsive but said, “I just don’t think it’s the place for the government to be. It’s the same thing in the Schiavo situation.”
Second, if King is defeated, it could clear the path for almost any Democrat who isn’t Hillary Clinton to win. Terry is so far out, and so in la-la land, that he failed to grasp that most Americans did not want the government to force Michael Schiavo to keep his wife on life support. He was quoted at his St. Augustine press conference:
“According to a Zogby poll, the American people were overwhelmingly in favor of intervention, for keeping Terri alive,” he said. “Our Republican base believes in life, not euthanasia.”
Maybe his Republican base, but not Jim King’s.
Third, and finally, if Terry wins it will mean the wingnuts have gone as far as they can go. Florida already had a Republican governor and Republican House and Republican Senate this past session, and found out even one-party rule did not ensure smooth passage of stupid bills. If more guys and gals like Randall Terry go to Tallahassee, and someday to Washington, they will become the status quo and it will mean the pendulum is at its highest arc. You know what happens after that.