Archive for Thursday, December 7, 2006

Change of heart?

Some say senator has changed his tune on abortion

December 7, 2006


— If U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is known for anything in his long-shot bid for the presidency, it is that he is anti-abortion.

During a Thursday teleconference, Brownback said that always had been his position.

Not true, say some in Kansas who have a different recollection of Brownback's rise through the state Republican Party ranks.

Kansas Republican Party Chairman Tim Shallenburger said he remembered having a conversation with Brownback in 1994 when Brownback was running in the GOP primary for the U.S. House.

After the conversation, Shallenburger said he left with the impression that Brownback "was not pro-life."

David Gittrich, development director for the state's largest anti-abortion organization, Kansans for Life, said when Brownback first ran for Congress in 1994 "he was ill-informed."

Gittrich added, "He didn't know whether he was pro-life or pro-choice."

In that 1994 primary, Brownback defeated Bob Bennie, who had been endorsed by anti-abortion groups and was seen as the anti-abortion candidate, Gittrich and Shallenburger said.

But Brownback disputes that description of his past political beliefs.

"It's not true," he said.

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He said in that 1994 race he probably failed to get his views across because instead of stating that he was "pro-life," he would tell audiences where he stood on various abortion-related bills before Congress.

Asked why he did that, Brownback said he thought it was more appropriate to address specific legislation. He conceded it probably was a "poor choice of words at the time. I've learned that lesson."

But Gittrich said he had heard from others that Brownback simply didn't understand the issues at the time.

When anti-abortion advocates met with Brownback after he won the primary and after he studied the issue, it became apparent that Brownback was anti-abortion, Gittrich said.

"He had a strong Christian perspective, and when he put it all together he knew he was pro-life. He just didn't know whether he would say he is pro-life," he said.

Shallenburger said when Brownback first ran for Congress he was more out of the moderate mold of the Kansas Republican Party, which supports abortion rights and current restrictions.

It wasn't until 1996 when Brownback ran for the U.S. Senate that he became identified with the GOP's conservative wing, Shallenburger said.

That was the year Bob Dole resigned his Senate seat to run for president, creating an opening that then-Gov. Bill Graves filled with the appointment of his lieutenant governor, Sheila Frahm. Brownback took on Frahm, a moderate, and defeated her in the GOP primary, which for years has been dominated by conservative voters.


pelliott 11 years, 5 months ago

i think he should run for usher of his church. This policy for the few, the christians isn't the america i want, plus it hasn't worked out to well. Too much death. The politicians use the articles of faith as coins in a slot machine to win their seat.

SpeedRacer 11 years, 5 months ago

The poll doesn't give enough iotions. How about No because he is a religious extremist?

feefifofum 11 years, 5 months ago

The gist of this article seems to be that he changed his views just to get elected. Nice try LJW. You know there really are some religous extremists out there that people need to worry about and they are not Christians. The current popular mantra against the Christian right is comical when compared to the Islamic wack jobs that are not going to stop until they control everything. Those who would like to live in peace in the Mid-East are afraid to speak out or fight against these clowns. Can you blame them - they knew all along that it is possible the US and allies would pull out and more than likely that the religous militias will blow them up or behead them if they cooperate with the move to a democracy.

belle 11 years, 5 months ago

I don't understand why this even needs to be an article. Not that I particularly like Sam Brownback, but come on, he's allowed to change his mind on the issue; people do it all the time. We can't criticize politicians for changing their viewpoint; it's part of the freedom that we pretend to preserve. If they choose to change for a seat, then they lose out because they've become puppets.

cowboy 11 years, 5 months ago

Sam has figured out that he wont have a snowballs chance at the presidency , time to change huh ?

imastinker 11 years, 5 months ago

speedracer - he's no more a religious extremist than you are a left wing extremist!

You don't have to agree with somebody - but at least be fair. The only religious extremists are the ones strapping bombs on their backs and killing people in the name of God. The rest of us just believe in an opinion - one just as valid as yours.

jayheel 11 years, 5 months ago

No difference with Religious extremists like Brownback and Bush to radical muslim extemists like Saddam and Bin Laden!

WHAT??? Even you would admit, if you really thought about it, that this statement is totally ludicrous. Is Brownback a right-wing conservative politician who would let religious law dictate civil law? Yes. Is he a genocidal mass murderer condemning all who oppose his narrow religious views? No.

Besides, Saddam wasn't a muslim extremist. His Iraq had more religious tolerance than any in the Middle East. His foriegn sectretary was a Christian for Jesussakes. The problem Saddam had was his megalomania. But hey, at least he had a grip on his people.

Jamesaust 11 years, 5 months ago

"...instead of stating that he was "pro-life," he would tell audiences where he stood on various abortion-related bills..."

In other words, Sam, like most Americans, had nuanced views that varied with the exact circumstances. Once in politics, however, Sam learned that for the radical left and the radical right (at least on this issue) there is no middle and that the partisans didn't want a homily explaining how gray his views were. And so, he adjusted his position to the closest extreme.

opinion 11 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Brownback believes abortion is wrong and that marriage is between a man and a woman. If that is the definition of religous extremism, there are a lot of (majority) religious extremist in the US.

My point is, that if you call everyone that does not agree with your position an extremist, it loses its meaning. The other thing is, most talk about how bad it is that you can hardly tell the diff between the Dems and Repubs anymore and that we essentially have a one party country. Then the same people complain when there is someone that steps more to one side of the spectrum saying they are extreme. When you finally get someone that is willing to stand firm in their positions (left or right) and not gravitate to the middle for "electability" purposes, I believe the voter finally gets a real choice.

Gnusman 11 years, 5 months ago

Gomers like Brownback just won't or can't get it. Voters all over the country sent these narrow-minded hypocrites packing and yet he stands up to seek the highest office in the land apparently totally unaware that his time has come and gone. Someone please tell yahoos like Brownback that the party is over. He has about as much chance of getting the nomination as a snowball in a microwave. And getting elected? Forget about it!

ksmoderate 11 years, 5 months ago

Changed from a few years ago or not, Brownback stands on his convictions. I really do hope that he runs on his uber-christian "values," so the voters in this country can sack him once and for all. Then we can finally say that the majority of voting Americans DON'T WANT TO 'RECLAIM AMERICA FOR CHRIST.'

But then, of course, the christians will scream "persecution" like always...

Scott Tichenor 11 years, 5 months ago

Why is this even news? It's like something plucked out of thin air. Anyone can get a quote from Shallenburger, the siren of south Kansas. Topeka and Wichita papers aren't covering it. Surely LJW wouldn't use our community newspaper to advance the visibility a candidate that squarely matches the political views of the paper's owners would they?

KsTwister 11 years, 5 months ago

Its because of his recognition that he won't make it. Can someone tell the Lawrence Journal World that their polls are republican biased.

beatrice 11 years, 5 months ago

ima: "The only religious extremists are the ones strapping bombs on their backs and killing people in the name of God. The rest of us just believe in an opinion - one just as valid as yours."

It is so nice to learn that Fred Phelps and the KKK aren't extremists, just good Christian folks like the rest of y'all.

belle: "We can't criticize politicians for changing their viewpoint." Don't you mean, we shouldn't. If I recall, however, there was a little something about John Kerry being a "flip-flopper," and the Reps had a field day with this, using that phrase in political ads. Now that the shoe is on the other political foot, we are not suppose to point it out? Sorry. I'll ignore the allegation that Brownback is a religious extremist, but he is a flip-flopper.

If we follow Karl Rove's rules of politics, we must point out this tendency to be a flip-flopper to show that Brownback doesn't have the strength of character to stick to his values. Plus, wasn't he friends with that evangelist who got caught doing meth with the male prostitute? Hum? I'm not saying that Brownback is a closeted homosexual meth-head ... I'm just not going to rule it out until he can prove otherwise. (again, I'm just trying to play by the rules of our Christian President's right hand thug.)

BunE 11 years, 5 months ago

All I know is that ex Sen. Santorum and Brownback are buddies. That is reason enough for me to never vote for him. All of the rest of this is just noise.

Exception: I do like his stance on Darfur though...

packrat 11 years, 5 months ago

I'm a conservative. I do not like it that the religious right has claimed that title for themselves.

A true conservative wants less government interference in our personal lives not more.

rhd99 11 years, 5 months ago

He is or he isn't? Folks, if Sam Brownback is against abortions, so be it. The issue WE have to consider is that in his dictatorial mind frame, Brownback does NOT want women to have a choice EVEN if their pregnancies do damage to their health. He supported a South Dakota measure (don't know if it passed) that gave absolutely NO exceptions to the health of pregnant women if their lives were in danger.

Jamesaust 11 years, 5 months ago

"My point is, that if you call everyone that does not agree with your position an extremist, it loses its meaning."

Point well taken. Nonetheless, Sam IS an extremist and the two issues noted are perfect examples.

Abortion: the public believes that abortion is immoral by the end of term but is unpersuaded as to what point this begins. The public is also quite skeptical of government's involvement in this process, particularly early in pregnancy.

By contrast, Sam knows exactly when abortion becomes immoral - at conception. He also throws off his own skepticism of government interference and believes the government should validate his own conclusions of immorality and criminalize all who decide differently right on down to controlling individual's lives and their reproductive choices. This is the very definition extremism.

Marriage: the public believes both that marriage is between a man and a woman AND that gay couples, first, exist, and that as couples they have legitimate claims upon their own government in support of their lives, primarily through their states, even if not via marriage (polling shows they do support same-sex marriage in CA, NJ, NY, MA, and in DC). Most polls show that the majority of the public support same-sex marriage AND/OR civil unions. Only a minority wish to ban both marriage AND civil unions (at least if you believe the polls).

By contrast, Sam believes that, first, gay couples don't exist because gays don't exist - only confused or sinful heterosexuals. Sam may or may not believe they have legitimate claims as citizens because he refuses to acknowledge their existence. Sam further so believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman (and says nix to civil unions in contrast to "W" who supports them) that he wishes to throw away his own limited, federal system of government and turn our constitutional order upside down by having Washington DC dictate to the states what their individual policy and every other state's policy on this should be both now and FOREVER by amending the U.S. Constitution. That is the very definition of extremism.

Quod erat demonstrum.

badger 11 years, 5 months ago

OK, not really a fan of the man (I'm sure you're all shocked!).

However, it actually saddens me to read that when asked his opinions on abortion, because Sam Brownback would clearly explain his position and why he felt that way, demonstrating an understanding and consideration of the relevant issues I'd like to see more politicians display whether I agree with them or not, he was considered 'ill-informed' or 'not pro-life enough' because he didn't apply the right sound-bite label to himself, to color code himself appropriately for people to know what 'side' he is on.

I'd rather see a lot more politicians saying, "Well, I believe that this law and that law should exist for this and that reason, and I support this element of the process because of this other thing, and I think the ideal outcome is to have these rights and freedoms available, and these checks on human behaviour because that seems a reasonable balance to me," than saying "Well, I'm a Pro-Issue candidate, and you can count on me to make the Pro-Issue agenda my own."

imastinker 11 years, 5 months ago

Logicsound -

Conservatives are all for small government and less legislation, but this is not about the woman to Pro Lifers. It's about the inalienable rights of that baby. You can say it's about the woman all you want, but only to the Pro Choicers.

Beatrice -

Phelps I don't really consider an extremist - but that's pushing the definition. He's pretty wacky. KKK aren't religious wackos. Just wackos.

You missed my point though. You are calling a significant portion of our country (25-40%????) extremists. This is absurd! I think people on both sides of the issue can at least understand why other people feel the way do, if not agree on it.

beatrice 11 years, 5 months ago

"KKK aren't religious wackos?!!?" So the burning cross just happens to be a coincidence? Hardly. They wrap their hate in Christianity, whether you want to admit it or not. They are also extremists, and they do identify themselves as Christians. They just don't strap bombs to their bodies. As far as saying I am calling most Christians extremists, I'd like you to point out where I did so, because I didn't. Same is true of most Muslims, which is the point that so many Americans seem to miss.

beatrice 11 years, 5 months ago

Oh, and if you think protesting homosexuality by picketing funerals of soldiers isn't extreme, then you need serious help.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 5 months ago

He is a nice man! I hope that he gets a chance at being elected, he would do a good job. Thank You, Lynn

toefungus 11 years, 5 months ago

Sam Brownback is simply ambitious. Ambition only knows what it needs to know and does what it needs to do. Send him a large enough donation, and he would be for just about anything.

imastinker 11 years, 5 months ago

OK - I don't know much about the KKK. Maybe you are right. I also decided you are right. Phelps is an extremist. I decided a fair litmus test to call someone an extremist is whether an average person could at least understand why they feel like they do, if not agree with them. Phelps is inconsistent in that he believes in a loving God, but says that God hates.

KSMeadowlark 11 years, 5 months ago

ABORTION NOT A BIG ISSUE DURING THIS ELECTION Lawrence Journal-World November 2, 1994 Author: Andrew E. Nachison, Journal-World Writer

"In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Sam Brownback has earned the endorsement of abortion opponents for his strong anti-abortion stance, while Democrat John Carlin supports the right of women to have abortions."

imastinker 11 years, 5 months ago

Logicsound -

That's just a baited question I've already made the mistake of answering before to you. There's no middle ground on abortion. If you are against abortion, it's because you feel that;s a baby, not a fetus. Therefore there should be no exception for the health of the mother. You wouldn't allow a law that allowed people to abort five year olds for the health of the mother.

If abortion is right, it's right all the time, and if it's wrong it's wrong all the time - none of these exceptions. It clouds what is a very simple issue.

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