Following a meeting of the York County GOP for a "candidates forum at a (I kid you not) "Country Club" in York last night, there still appears no movement on the issue of strongest interest to the "values voters" of Pennsylvania, the "Women's Right to Know" House Bill 1077, called by other media sources and liberals the "ultrasound" bill.
I've been reporting developments on this after 28 legislators followed State Rep. Scott Perry, a candidate for an open seat in this very red state part of the Commonwealth, in withdrawing their HB 1077 sponsorship.
The GOP legislator's retreat - leaving their other colleagues on the battlefield - came about after the Planned Parenthood advocates had launched a phony and false campaign claiming that the law would force women seeking abortions (euphemism: "women's healthcare") to be "raped" with a "vaginal probe."
The claim is utterly false.
But a major part of the problem may very well be found at the sparseness in the attendance at this past Friday morning's "internet activist" school at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference (PLC).
I note with sadness that, as usual, the crowd was MUCH larger to hear the big name speakers - Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Gov. Nikki Haley, and dinner speaker, Fox TV commentator and pollster Frank Luntz but much thinner to hear the "how to" part of the conference - how to IMPLEMENT the conservative ideas.
Yes, the size of the crowd wanting to learn how to better influence public policy in the "activist workshop" was so very small - 1/10th the size - at the high water mark of an impressive 800 attendees at this past weekend's PLC - the Commonwealth's version of the Washington, DC based Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the state capital area of Harrisburg.
If only more people were willing to learn how to use Facebook, twitter and other social media, including free blog options such as blogger, wordpress and of course, the ready-to-go without any fuss at all option of RED STATE, then conservatives wouldn't be so outnumbered when it comes to facing off in battles with the left.
The 9 AM conference kick off started with an "Activist Workshop" conducted by three ladies who focused on Twitter while mentioning the other "social media" - and they were full of noteworthy success stories.
Jennifer Stefano, is the state director of Americans for Prosperity and their related Foundation in PA. Katy Abrams is the same two groups' Director of Policy. And Mary Ellen Betty is Director of Citizen Outreach at the Franklin Center.
One of them reported that in Pennsylvania the liberal-left has our side massively outnumbered when it comes to the use of social media, and as a direct result they often make it appear to legislators they are trying to influence that they have far more citizens on their side than we conservatives do.
And as a result, battles are won and lost on twitter and facebook and with blogging, that could otherwise have been won if more conservatives used these tools instead of not even participating in the battles.
Nowhere is this one-sided disparity more evident than in the recent defeat for conservatives in Harrisburg when 28 legislators followed State Rep. Scott Perry in withdrawing their sponsorship of "The Women's Right to Know" legislation (House Bill 1077) in the face of an onslaught of emails and phone calls launched by advocates for Planned Parenthood.
The liberal-left's phony campaign for "women's rights" and "women's health" is in truth, a demand that legislators keep women in the dark and not allow them to see the ultra sound images which they admit are already done in 99% of all abortions they conduct.
Not wishing to slow things down or lose a few when some of the expectant mothers realize that the image they are looking at is their own flesh and blood child, a real baby, the abortion proponents who oppose passage of HB 1077 use the rather libertarian argument that they simply wish to stop the government from in effect, raping a woman who wants an abortion.
Yes, they claim it is a "rape" if you "force" the "health care provider" (their name for an abortion mill) to allow the woman to actually SEE the ultra sound image that shows their baby.
Such an image is ALREADY being done 99% of the time, as I reported in a previous article in this space, so there is no such truth to their claims.
They also claim that a "vaginal probe" is what the bill will require - which is also NOT what the Right to Life forces ever demanded and is NOT something that would happen.
But scaring the legislators to death with the "no vaginal probes" signs and rhetoric along with an onslaught of phone calls and emails for "women's health" and "women's rights" combined with their usually reliable media helpers' frantic articles - overwhelmed HB 1077 supporters as much as 10 to 1 in some cases, the liberal-left won last week.
And the simple truth is that more of their side uses Twitter, Facebook and blogs - all free resources available to anyone - than our side does.
If you were sitting in a state legislator's office two weeks ago with what can only be described as a massive artillery barrage from a hostile enemy coming down on your head, it would have surely looked to you like we are massively outnumbered and need to order an immediate retreat or be destroyed.
That is why State Rep. Scott Perry and 28 legislators withdrew their sponsorship, delighting the liberal-left forces employing their false "libertarian" argument simultaneously with their traditional "we want ours" arguments "in behalf of all women" combined with the "terror tactic" of claiming we were going to "vaginally probe" all the women who walk into a Planned Parenthood office.
Our sources report that Rep. Perry is prepared to meet with a group of HB 1077 supporters within the week to listen to their presentation and to explain what he is prepared to do to support their cause - but also to honestly ask them, WHAT are you prepared to do to help us win the next round with all that we are facing?
It is a pointed challenge which I wish to join him in asking.
Perry has emerged as a key figure in this battle because he seeks the GOP nomination to run for Congress in the 4th Congressional District of south central PA, an open seat with the pending retirement of the affable and popular six term U.S. Rep. Todd Platts, who generally has a less conservative voting record than his district supports.
One of Perry's sympathizers told us we should note that with his military background, and with the overwhelming liberal-left-galvanized onslaught that legislators faced last week, he may have done what any battle commander of troops under sudden fire would have done.
Facing overwhelming and unexpected attack, rather than stand firm, and rather than charge forward, and seeing no help coming up behind him, no supporting artillery fire or air support, he backed away with his forces so as to minimize casualties and deny the enemy the chance to destroy his troops and take his position.
That argument is plausible when one reviews the record of Scott Perry on a host of other issues of major importance to conservatives where he has truly distinguished himself, such as his leading role in passage of the "Castle Doctrine," the recently passed Voter ID law and on a host of anti-illegal immigration issues.
It would be ludicrous after all of that for anyone to think Scott Perry can be labeled "liberal" by any fair minded person.
But it doesn't wash with those interested in the social issues and who feel they are always being ordered to "the back of the bus" and we'll deal with your issues some other time as has happened to them time and again over recent years.
"They have no excuse for failure if they cannot pass such a simple and basic "Women's Right to Know" bill and defeat Planned Parenthood and the liberal left minority when Republicans have control of the State House of Representatives, the State Senate and the Governor's mansion here in Pennsylvania" we were told by one of the conservatives pushing for HB 1077 passage.
Another of my readers in south Central Pennsylvania, posted a message in reaction to my last report on this battle. On her Facebook "wall" Ann Bunn wrote, referring to her GOP primary vote in next 30 days to select the GOP nominee to run for Congress,
"I'm not voting for Perry for sure." Ted Waga is firm on the life issue, I see." (ie. from this past Saturday's report).
"I've made up my mind-as a Catholic- the life issue is NON NEGOTIABLE. We are REQUIRED to be one issue voters if need be, or answer for it in the afterlife. Keep that in mind."
What is important about such a comment is that Ann is not only a very active and knowledgeable Catholic and major user of the "social media" being taught at the "activist training workshop" this past Friday morning, but was also one of the organizers of the recent "candidate's forum" of Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation" (ACTION of PA) for the candidates for this congressional seat.
Besides being a member of the 12 person behind the scenes "working group" that put on the highly attended ACTION OF PA event, she and her husband hosted its first two meetings at their home, which helped build an attendance for the independent Christian-conservative activist group that was double the size with 150, of the "York County Republican Party Candidate Forum" held tonight at the Heritage Hills Country Club in York, with about 80 in attendance, held last night.
The huge disparity between the two groups' similar events goes well beyond their size.
The GOP meeting was held at a country club much closer to the center of York County - no joke.
The York County ACTION group actually went OUTSIDE of their own county to a diner to make it more convenient to Adams County neighbors they hoped to attract to their Congressional district forum - and they still had double the Republican numbers.
The GOP group featured candidates for U.S. Senate, Statewide Office and candidates for various offices in the state. The conservative Christian group had candidates for only two offices, an open House seat and an open State Representative seat.
And the most important distinction in comparing the two groups is not even the raw numbers.
Our source at the GOP meeting reports that every person in the room introduced themselves, table by table - and it turns out that most of the people present are actually candidates for office, or officeholders of the government or of the Republican Party.
At the GOP meeting it was mostly Chiefs but few Indians - mostly Generals and few troops.
In contrast, at the gathering of self described Christian conservatives there were mostly activists and donors and very few "generals" in attendance.
In other words, people like John and Ann Bunn who do not seek office, do not seek recognition, and who quietly make use of social media like Facebook to influence policy and build their small circle of like minded friends.
The "country club Republicans" had less than 20% of the volunteers that the conservative Christian group had.
The motivation of one group appears to be to hold onto their various offices they hold, while the other group is to influence policy in a conservative-Christian direction.
John and Ann were two of the many who volunteer their time for church, civic and conservative oriented issues regularly. At that candidates' forum it was but one more for them, where Ann was also the volunteer "vote counter" leading a group of 5 pairs of volunteers who tabulated the straw poll results for the GOP nomination for Congress and state representative.
That "straw vote" showed Rep. Scott Perry earning a major win versus second place retired US Army (Rangers) Major and attorney Sean Summers, 85.8% favorable rating versus 71.2%.
A very narrow third place favorable rating went to Ted Waga with 70.3% - barely 1 percentage point with four other candidates finishing behind those three with scores from the low of 55% to the 67.8 to York County Commissioner Chris Reilly.
So Ann may be considered representative or above average for a group which looks at "values voters issues" such as the right to life and the sanctity of marriage as their most critical concerns - even though Ann and her husband are both avid gun owners and concerned about many other conservative issues.
Ann came to my attention not only because of her work but because she went to the extra step - as an "internet activist" who spends at least a few minutes a day using these tools to influence public policy.
But she posted the link to one of my columns on this right to life issue at the facebook page of the rival to State Rep. Scott Perry's bid for Congress - Ted Waga.
Waga told one of our sources this past week that he telephoned several state legislators to ask them to support HB 1077. "And it is also important to thank those who are standing firm so I also called to thank Rep. Stan Saylor" he reported.
Waga was saddened to learn in that phone call that Rep. Saylor was one of the legislators who joined Rep. Scott Perry in withdrawing as a sponsor of HB 1077. You can communicate with Rep. Saylor at [email protected]
In attendance at the GOP "country club" meeting last night, Ted Waga - along with our source - thanked Rep. Seth Grove for his continued support as a sponsor of HB 1077.
Seth also spoke at the "candidates forum" of the ACTION OF PA group last month where he received a very enthusiastic response to his remarks.
We were advised that, like all the other legislators who we have heard from, Rep. Grove last night reported that his mail and phone calls are running very much against HB 1077.
Rep. Grove said by a 5 to 3 margin the other side has the edge, but he is aware of other legislators who are facing FAR more unfriendly mail on this topic.
And therein lies the challenge for social conservatives, who I fear, may well be the most "backward" of the three branches of the conservative cause (defense, economic and social issue conservatives), often not even checking their email but once a week, and having no facebook page, and not even being aware of what "tweeting" means and rarely being involved or reading websites like RED STATE.
Either we learn and make better use, in better numbers, of these social media and internet tools as Ann Bunn does. Or we will lose 28 legislators as we just did who are not ready to "die on that hillside" defending our views in Harrisburg and Washington against a foe who appears to outnumber us by such a large margin on an issue such as HB 1077.
It does little good after the battle is lost, to elect a new legislator to the state senate or house of representatives or to the Congress, who will still be heavily outnumbered because the other side keeps beating us in the numbers of phone calls and emails generated to influence policy.
We either need thousands more of the John and Ann Bunn's, or we need to get used to losing.
It isn't just a matter of whether or not they vote conservative, as this battle for HB 1077 clearly illustrates.
I reported recently on seven legislators who wrote a "letter to the editor" explaining why they support HB 1077, for example.
That won't affect their vote rating but conservatives should understand who is a leader and who is a follower. It takes a little extra effort.
Erick Erickson wrote of this very matter several times recently, pointing to a great conservative leader in Illinois who went down to defeat in a primary - and who has constantly been a reliable fighter for our causes.
Another candidate for the open Congressional seat which State Rep. Scott Perry and Ted Waga are seeking is the candidate who finished in 2nd place, Sean Summers in that ACTION of PA straw poll last month.
Asked his position on HB 1077 at the GOP "candidates forum" country club meeting in York last night he said he is not going to get involved in that one.
"What about the fact that you are a voter and a citizen in this area, and can have an influence that way" we were told he was asked. But he declined to further comment.
Sean Summers has much to recommend him as a candidate - as witnessed by his edging out Ted Waga by one percentage point at last month's ACTION of PA gathering mentioned above.
But would Summers have finished second with this group if they knew back then, that on HB 1077 which their members support so strongly, he would have no comment and not be willing to get involved?
Our source who provided this information had ranked him a "4" (as did his wife) in the straw poll after hearing him but would have given him a zero if he knew this answer back then.
If three others in the room (and you can be sure Ann Bunn and her husband would have been two of them) then Summers would have finished 3rd behind Ted Waga instead of ahead of him by one percentage point.
You can do the math for yourself at the website that the raw vote totals were posted.
Summers had 427 points (each person can vote a score of 1 to 5 as their evaluation, 5 being the highest). Waga had 422.
If two people who gave them both a "4" ranking after hearing them, changed to 5 for Waga and "1" for Summers that is a differential of 3 points for each.
Five people doing that would have removed 15 points from Summers, giving them to Waga who would have easily jumped into a commanding 2nd place finish.
To catch up to Scott Perry a change by (to make up the 93 points difference) just 16 people in the room would have altered the outcome and produced a victory for the unknown Sergeant who works as a Baltimore County Police Officer against the well known State Representative with so many endorsements from party officials.
But the fact remains, one side in this battle is "swamping the boat" of state Representatives with mail and our side ain't it.
If HB 1077 is not to be lost - instead of just delayed - it may very well happen ONLY if a large number of people who read this column, take action as we recommend.
One of the presenters at that sparsely attended internet workshop this past Friday at the PA Leadership Conference said that, despite popular perception, our goal should NOT be to simply elect more good people to office so we win battles like this one.
Remember: we ALREADY HAVE a majority we helped elect in Harrisuburg, PA.
Our goal should be, attendees at the "Internet Activist" school were told, to make the bad ones afraid to vote against us when there is a showdown in the legislature.
Not just win elections and then go home til next time.
All too often I see conservatives just complain when the vote doesn't go the way we want. So many of the loudest complainers don't participate in Republican Party primaries - often because (they loudly say) they cannot see any difference between the two Parties.
Talk about a self fulfilling prophesy: if those complainers had their way MORE conservatives would not participate, and then MORE often, we'd see more liberal Republicans winning the primaries and then we would be faced with EXACTLY what they were complaining about - no choice between the Republican liberal and the Democrat liberal in the general election.
We need to engage here, and we need to use the social media tools to stay more informed, a little bit every day.
You can help by learning more about Facebook, twitter and other forms of social media - such as RED STATE but most important, by reaching out to others to bring them in with you as well.
You can build your Facebook and twitter following (I am inspired by this just as I hope you are - and challenged to learn more) a little bit every day, every week.
And you can influence state legislators - especially on issues like HB 1077, the Women's Right to Know bill, by using the options available here at RED STATE to bring this information to the attention of other people - to build website platforms like RED STATE, ever larger.
If there were more RED STATE readers, if there were more people in PA and across America who did as I asked - write an email or make a phone call to the key players in this right to life battle being fought out in Harrisburg and in Washington we'd do much better in getting our legislation passed and our opponents stopped.
Perhaps you consider them to be hard, callous, non-caring people - the GOP leaders who measure each sides' numbers before they decide how they will vote in Harrisburg and in Washington, DC.
Perhaps you are angry at State and Washington GOP leaders who count heads and count incoming emails and phone calls.
Perhaps if Robert E. Lee had done that better and in advance - counted heads and studied the terrain and his enemy order of battle - at Gettysburg the North would not have won that pivotal battle of the Civil War.
But he charged into battle without reports from his cavalry "eyes and ears" - the missing Gen. JEB Stuart. The "glorious cause" as they called it, failed because of no recon.
Lee attacked an enemy who had the hilltops, had better interior lines vs his forces spread out and less able to communicate, and had larger and better positioned artillary. He simply didn't have that information.
There's a lesson to be learned here.
I don't get angry at those who can count.
I want to learn how to count too, and change the order of battle so we have better chances of winning.
I want to study what our enemy is doing so we can marshal our best arguments to defeat them AND TO THEN SHARE that information with my friends and allies - better "interior lines of communication" with my own troops as Robert E. Lee did not have at Gettysburg but his union opponent, DID.
Another source reminds me that in the Vietnam war, American platoons were sometimes sent into battle to seize a hill, suffered enormous casualties and then departed, leaving the Communists to re-take the hill at no cost.
Battles such as that caused many Americans to simply give up on the Vietnam war and demand politicians end it. The enemy won in part, because our side messed up and they wore us down.
"There are Republicans in Harrisburg determined not to fight any "Hamburger Hill" battles that make them lose their majority in the State House, Senate and even lose the Governor's mansion" I was told by this source.
So we will either need to do better in communicating to our representatives WHILE INCREASING our ranks - readers of RED STATE, twitter followers, facebook friends.
Or take solace in joining Ann Bunn in voting for candidates for office who were not afraid despite the odds, after we lose yet another battle.
For me, I'd rather have it all. Fight the right battles in the right place and then ALSO help the best candidates best able and willing to lead for us, to win primaries and go on to win elections.
You can help in this one battle - no Hamburger Hill is this - to help pass "The Women's Right to Know" bill by sending an email or making a phone call (or both) to some of the pivotal figures in the battle:
State Representative Kathy Rapp is the main sponsor - write to thank her - of the "Women's Right to Know" bill, HB 1077. [email protected]
State Representative Scott Perry wants to be a US Congressman from a very "red" part of Pennsylvania district with an open seat, but has withdrawn as a sponsor of HB 1077. Write him - noting he has been a past strong champion of many conservative battles and served this country in uniform - at [email protected]
If you live in Pennsylvania these two resources should get your immediate attention - they have information on how you can help and especially, how to send an email to your own state Representative and State Senator.
PA Family Institute "Action webpage for HB 1077"
State Rep. Kathy Rapp's "Action" page for HB 1077.
You can help by sending those emails, making those phone calls, and if you live in PA visit those two sites and take further action. And you can share the link to this article with others as Ann Bunn did.
You can open a Facebook page if you haven't already, expand your circle of friends, and relentlessly promote over there, the articles you like best over here - it is but a simple "click" at the top of this page.
If you are not yet registered at RED STATE then do it - you can from within our ranks, from within this site, have much better ability to use the tools that are here, only if you register. I hope you will.
The fight for passage of the "Women's Right to Know," HB 1077, is no Hamburger Hill, no senseless battle to seize a hilltop that has no real value.
This is a battle to curb unfettered power by the far left supporters of Planned Parenthood, who ruthlessly lie about "vaginal probes" to whip their followers into a mad frenzy and persuade frightened state legislators that they will lose their majorities if they do not yield the hill and retreat from the fight.
We conservatives must stand our ground and demand action. But we must increase our influence by being better armed for these battles - and RED STATE and social media in combination, along with better numbers, is essential in my view.
If a Republican Party with majority control in Pennsylvania cannot deliver on this HB 1077, then when can we ever win for the so often maligned and ignored values voters of the Republican Party? And if not right now, here, then when, and where?