Elizabeth Warren Wins Endorsement of Massachusetts Democrats; Won’t Face Primary Opponent

Elizabeth Warren has won the endorsement of the Massachusetts Democratic Party at their Convention today in Springfield. She is now the official candidate of the Party and will not need to face a primary opponent.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren won her party’s overwhelming endorsement on Saturday, shutting out a potential primary election opponent and becoming the presumptive nominee to face Republican Sen. Scott Brown in what is expected to one of the nation’s most expensive and closely-watched Senate races.

Warren won the votes of 95.7 percent of the more than 3,500 delegates to the state Democratic convention, the largest margin of any candidate in a contested race in the party’s history.

Marisa DeFranco, an immigration attorney from Middleton, had waged a longshot campaign for Senate but finished far below the 15 percent she needed under party rules to get on the September primary ballot. Democratic party chair John Walsh had said as early as Saturday morning that he expected DeFranco to reach the threshold.

Warren is still dealing with the Breitbart-inspired attacks on her claim of Native American ancestry, and she referred to right wing smear campaign in a a “feisty” speech today, according to The New York Times.

“It’s a long way from Ted Kennedy to Scott Brown,” Ms. Warren said in a feisty speech here on Saturday to the roughly 3,500 delegates to the state convention, invoking the name of the lionized Democrat. Mr. Kennedy’s death in 2009 led to the special election in which Mr. Brown won the seat.

She also dismissed the controversy in which her campaign has been mired for more than a month — whether she unfairly claimed American Indian ancestry to advance her academic career.

“If that’s all you’ve got, Scott Brown, I’m ready,” she declared to cheers. “And let me be clear. I am not backing down. I didn’t get in this race to fold up the first time I got punched.”

Hang in there, Liz! You’ve got what it takes.

Are Mitt Romney’s Lies Supported by Mormon Church Leaders?

Mormon temple in Belmont, MA, completed in 2000

I realize that’s a provocative title, but please stay with me. I’ll get to the point after some background.

I’ve been reading the new biography of Mitt Romney, The Real Romney by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman. I bought the book after reading a lengthy excerpt published by Vanity Fair, which focused heavily on Romney’s treatment of women when he was a powerful leader in the Boston Mormon church. I wrote about this in a Morning news post at the time.

I was disappointed to discover that the book itself is somewhat of a fluff piece–Boston Globe reporters Kranish and Helman put as positive a spin as possible on Romney’s history and his activities as a church and business leader. However, by reading between the lines and googling names, places, and incidents from the book, I’m still getting some useful information about “the real Romney.”

One prominent Mormon woman quoted in the book is Judith Dushku, associate professor of government at Suffolk University in Boston, and incidentally the mother of actress Eliza Dushku, who played Faith in the TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and has appeared in a number of popular Hollywood movies.

Judith Dushku with daughter Eliza

Judith Dushku is a self-described feminist and a long-time contributor to the Mormon feminist magazine Exponent II. It was in this magazine that an anonymous author published the story of the Bishop Romney’s cruel treatment of her over a life-saving abortion. From the Vanity Fair article:

In the fall of 1990, Exponent II published in its journal an unsigned essay by a married woman who, having already borne five children, had found herself some years earlier [the late 1970s] facing an unplanned sixth pregnancy. She couldn’t bear the thought of another child and was contemplating abortion. But the Mormon Church makes few exceptions to permit women to end a pregnancy. Church leaders have said that abortion can be justified in cases of rape or incest, when the health of the mother is seriously threatened, or when the fetus will surely not survive beyond birth. And even those circumstances “do not automatically justify an abortion,” according to church policy.

Then the woman’s doctors discovered she had a serious blood clot in her pelvis. She thought initially that would be her way out—of course she would have to get an abortion. But the doctors, she said, ultimately told her that, with some risk to her life, she might be able to deliver a full-term baby, whose chance of survival they put at 50 percent. One day in the hospital, her bishop—later identified as Romney, though she did not name him in the piece—paid her a visit. He told her about his nephew who had Down syndrome and what a blessing it had turned out to be for their family. “As your bishop,” she said he told her, “my concern is with the child.” The woman wrote, “Here I—a baptized, endowed, dedicated worker, and tithe-payer in the church—lay helpless, hurt, and frightened, trying to maintain my psychological equilibrium, and his concern was for the eight-week possibility in my uterus—not for me!”

Romney would later contend that he couldn’t recall the incident, saying, “I don’t have any memory of what she is referring to, although I certainly can’t say it could not have been me.” Romney acknowledged having counseled Mormon women not to have abortions except in exceptional cases, in accordance with church rules. The woman told Romney, she wrote, that her stake president, a doctor, had already told her, “Of course, you should have this abortion and then recover from the blood clot and take care of the healthy children you already have.” Romney, she said, fired back, “I don’t believe you. He wouldn’t say that. I’m going to call him.” And then he left. The woman said that she went on to have the abortion and never regretted it. “What I do feel bad about,” she wrote, “is that at a time when I would have appreciated nurturing and support from spiritual leaders and friends, I got judgment, criticism, prejudicial advice, and rejection.”

Judith Dushku had a number of run-ins with Mitt Romney during his years as Stake President and Bishop in the Boston Mormon community. In fact, Dushku confronted Romney over the incident described above, after which he “broke off their friendship.”

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Elizabeth Warren: The Woman Who Would Throw Rocks

What is it about Elizabeth Warren that makes Republicans foam at the mouth and turn apoplectic?  Surely her tenure as a presidential adviser and creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau brought her into direct fire and criticism for anyone singing the corporate/banker tune.  Though the Bureau was presumably a joint venture with Treasury, it soon became apparent that Timothy Geithner was a less than enthusiastic partner in Warren’s brainchild, an agency to protect consumer interests from confusing, often unfair financial contracts.

To many in the public, Elizabeth Warren was and has been a vocal advocate of the 99% before the 99ers were a twinkle in anyone’s eye.  She had famously said she would fight for the Bureau’s legitimacy and was willing to leave “blood and teeth on the floor” to make that happen.  That attitude and her frank support for middle-class, every-day concerns made her wildly popular in the public arena.

Well, that was then and this is now.  Warren would not receive a permanent position to head the Bureau she created and breathed into life.  That would have entailed a fight from this Administration, something for which President Obama has shown little talent or willingness.

Instead, as we all know Elizabeth Warren is running for the US Senate in Massachusetts, the seat held by Ted Kennedy for nearly 47 years, now occupied by Scott Brown, who was swept into office primarily over Obama’s botched healthcare plan.

I suspect that the GOP’s real problem with Ms.  Warren is she did not go quietly into that good night, otherwise known as:  back off and shut up.  Not only is she running for the Senate but she’s giving talking tours, explaining the current financial crisis and serving up some very inconvenient truths about what Bush’s eight-year stint of failed economic policy actually did to the country.  Remember?  Cut taxes; run two, hideously expensive, unfunded wars; and create a Medicare drug program out of thin air and magic money.

Ms. Warren’s unforgiveable sin is simply this:. Tell the truth.  Not only that, but then suggest the rich have an obligation to pay their fair share, to give back to the society that made their success possible. Known as pay it forward.  And if you’re going to go to Hell, why not go out in true glory?   Warren went on to suggest that no one who has become rich did it all on their own.  Her statements went viral.

Republican and Libertarian heads exploded in short order. Blasphemy must be punished, they screamed. Bring the woman to heel.

The new Republican assault is as predictable as it is laughable.  Elizabeth Warren is now charged with a ‘collectivist agenda.’  She is an enemy of free enterprise, a threat to capitalism [which needs redefining because as I recall Banana Republic economies are hardly free, nor dedicated to capitalism].  And so we come to the rather pathetic campaign ad that declares Ms. Warren is calling for violence, the overthrow of the State itself.

She is the Woman Who Would Throw Rocks.

Personally?  I hope her aim is deadly.