Nowhere in America was the contrast between country club Republicans and grassroots conservative activists more evident than at the GOP "candidates forum" at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, PA this past Monday evening.
State Senator Pat Vance is a lovely 74 year old, 7 year incumbent State Senator and the only person in the legislature with a nursing background.
She sounded like a caring, concerned, affable and constituent oriented legislator and her remarks to the group also made clear she is one who looks out for her constituents and for more effective governance.
Incumbent Senator Pat Vance delivers for her constituents.
Sorry if you don't like it, and never mind any principles or ideologies or philosophy because, the incumbent lady proudly says, her constituents come first, and she made it very clear in her remarks, she won't ever change that.
For example she said, her constituents would not gain a single dollar if the "School Choice" bill favored by conservatives were to be passed so of course, she opposes it.
And she helped her side block passage of this bill so strongly supported by conservatives but especially by the "values voters" who are always told to sit at the back of the bus and wait.
In her Monday evening remarks to the "country club Republican" gathering in York County, PA she did not say anything about being considered a reliable supporter of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry in Pennsylvania.
Incumbent Senator Pat Vance didn't refer to her opposition to House Bill 1077, the "Women's Right to Know" which has been stalled in the State House of Representatives and faces even more difficulty in the State Senate where she is ready to help send it down to defeat.
No, the affable and nice, grandmotherly State Senator says nothing about that part of her record in speaking to the Republican audience of 80 people, mostly party committeemen, officeholders and office seekers.
The very generous York Daily Record reporter called it double that - but my source is very capable of counting to 80, and as I reported yesterday, when the people in the room introduced themselves a large majority of that 80 were officials or wannabes of the GOP establishment or government incumbents.
I learned about the real Senator Pat Vance not from the initial report of the Monday night meeting and her speech there, but by my own independent research, including a visit to her opponent's website and other information sources later as I was preparing this dispatch.
In fact, I had mentally "filed away" information I had from some of my friends at Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation (ACTION of PA - a state political action committee) including state chairman Jay McKiernan, about this particular State Senator and her role in blocking legislation his group considers important.
What I learned AFTER the report of two six minute speeches at the country club on Monday night, caused me to drop my plans for a more detailed report on the entire meeting, to focus instead here on one thing: the Senator Pat Vance versus Andy Show contest in the middle of Pennsylvania, not far from the Gettysburg battlefield.
I took very special notice of Senator Pat Vance's role in helping stall and bottle up the "Women's Right to Know" bill this session where Republicans control the State Senate and House in Pennsylvania.
And as readers of this space in RED STATE online know full well, I have focused attention on that bill for the past few weeks and to the 28 state House of Representatives members who withdrew their sponsorship of HB 1077 two weeks ago, throwing that issue into doubt and of course, delighting the liberal left which has outmailed and out phoned our side in putting pressure on legislators.
I will tell you directly, it has been a serious upset to me to see how much it is true what Jennifer Stefano, Katy Abrams and Mary Ellen Betty said in their sparsely attended "Activist Training" seminar last Friday at the PA Leadership Institute - the liberal left is far ahead of us in the use of social media including email, blogging, tweet and Facebook.
I saw exactly that during the past few weeks as so many of our side don't even check email but a few times a week (if that). Many don't know what Twitter and Tweeting is all about. So many either have no Facebook account or if they do, they have miniscule friends lists and don't even check their own page but once every week or two.
In contrast to the left which has already sent one specific message after another after another and yet another and followed it up with phone calls while our side is still just getting around to checking our weekly email.
No wonder state legislators have reported to me - repeatedly and through many different sources including most recently from State Rep. Seth Grove - that many Republican legislators got 5 or 10 times more mail from the liberal left on this issue than from our side.
If artillery barrages like this help win battles - as it did for the North at the nearby site of the Battle of Gettysburg of the civil war - then our side has a distinct disadvantage in every battle in Harrisburg, PA where the liberal-left time and again outmails and outphones us in communicating their demands to state legislators.
But as a 7 year incumbent State Senator, Pat Vance, also chairman of a Senate Committee, and as she likes to remind, as the only former nurse, the commanding heights are in the hands of our enemy, before the battle even begins.
So just like at Gettysburg where a larger number of cannon are perched on top of a commanding hill, before a shot is even fired the advantages are all lined up for one side.
This is about how we might take that hill and remove one of those advantages that our opponents have in Harrisburg - State Senator Pat Vance.
So, no doubt there will be a sigh of relief from State Rep. Scott Perry and the other 28 state legislators who may have preferred that we who are reporting on how they have disappointed "values voters" give them a break and focus on the reality that we are in far bigger trouble in the far more liberal Republican State Senate in Pennsylvania.
And they would say (with my agreement I must remind you) that we also have to work on evening the battle odds with our mail and phone calls to legislators.
Yes, I will focus this morning on the commanding hilltop that is surrendered in advance to our liberal-left adversary, thanks to a State Senator like Republican Pat Vance.
State Senator Pat Vance is one of the finest representatives of the "establishment Republicans" who are willing to sound so very conservative when facing primary elections but who tack to the left when they are safely reelected.
In fact, Senator Pat Vance gets along especially well with those who values voter oriented conservatives don't hold in the highest regard.
The incumbent's rather nice and comfortable remarks were in rather marked contrast with those of Andy Shaw who followed her, and who offered a serious challenge.
Andy Shaw. No Pale Pastels.
Oh yes. Primary Challenger Andy Shaw raised up a "banner of no pale pastels" in this state senate contest - to use Ronald Reagan's words - at the GOP country club this past Monday night.
This young, energetic and unabashedly conservative attorney Andy Shaw, in six electrifying minutes, made a very clear, persuasive, and even irrefutable case that he is a conservative running against an establishment liberal and offering a very real alternative.
In six minutes Andy Shaw offered Reaganesque "bold and vibrant colors."
I want to tell you why conservatives who learn about him, get very excited and think of Andy Shaw's bid for State Senate as one of the most important election races in Pennsylvania if not in America.
And just as Ronald Reagan was considered a troublemaker when he ran against GOP establishment candidates for Governor of California and then for President, his remarks contrasted to all of the other speeches of the evening which mainly told you how the wonderful personal accomplishments of the candidates meant they are more efficient and can save taxpayer money, work nicely with the other Republicans, be good members of the team, rah rah rah, ain't Republicans great.
Andrew Shaw's presentation was different - in fact electrifying, because he immediately showed the contrast in philosophy between him as a conservative challenger and an incumbent State Senator who is most likely Planned Parenthood's favorite Republican.
Andy Shaw offered a stark contrast to what the incumbent said and stands for and to the few movement oriented conservatives in the room of "regular" Republicans was totally persuasive.
Andy may have cause a few heart murmurs with some of the "regulars" in the room, based on the report I have. I am delighted if he woke a few up in that country club setting with their very fancy coffee and service, their very nice chocolate icing cake, free for all and lets all rush forward to pay our Republican dues for that.
It was the difference between a nice, country club Republican, more liberal lady who will be efficient and careful with your money as she spends it, versus a lightning bolt that commands you to sit up, stand up, and to cheer loudly as he articulates our conservative vision which will immediately summon a legion of troops to race to the sound of the guns.
Hearing about, researching and learning about this Andy Shaw for the first time this week, I heard the sound of the guns and I was very certain - prayerfully so - that others who hear what I do, will also realize the importance of enough of us racing forward to that sound, immediately, without hesitation. Here's why.
Andy Shaw favors school choice which is stalled in the PA State Senate because of the opposition of Pat Vance Republicans.
Andy Shaw favors immediate passage of House Bill 1077, the Women's Right to Know act which requires Planned Parenthood to stop hiding from pregnant mothers the ultra sound image that they have already admitted that they ALREADY do in 99% of all abortions.
It is beyond my ability to imagine how a women with a nursing background like Senator Pat Vance, would defend Planned Parenthood's demand that they continue to hide this image from an expectant mother, fearing that the sight of her own flesh and blood baby in an ultra sound image ALREADY taken, might cost her abortion industry friends some of their blood profits when a few of the mothers say I CHANGED MY MIND and depart without an abortion.
Perhaps it is because Senator Pat Vance, at age 74, no longer remembers what it was like back when she was a nurse, and what the babies look like to you, to her, to me and most important, to the mother who has never seen her own child and never will if Senator Pat Vance continues to be successful in blocking passage of HB 1077.
What does that little baby look like?
The mother will see for herself if HB 1077 takes away Planned Parenthood's power to hold this information back from the mother - who will then see the ultra sound image of a real human being, her own flesh and blood baby, "with a heart within 18-25 days, fingers and toes by the sixth week, eyelids by the seventh week and begins sucking its thumb by the 13th to 16th week" (from the letter to the editor sent by seven State Representatives see my previous column).
Andy Shaw articulates splendidly that all law is based on right and wrong and that he will make his stand based on his moral convictions shaped by an informed conscience.
In contrast, the incumbent establishment Republican State Senator, says she delivers the bacon for her constituents, and that (in effect) "might makes right" - what my people want I deliver seems to be her basic message as it also was at Tammany Hall in New York City many years ago.
I have just described what to a liberal Republican is a horror - the very idea of a mother seeing for herself and being able to make an informed decision without pressure and now in the light instead of being kept in the dark by Senator Pat Vance and her Planned Parenthood allies who she seeks to protect.
Of course, nowadays no Republican establishment candidate in all America openly calls themselves a "liberal" or even a "progressive." And even the word "moderate" is hardly EVER heard.
No, everybody claims they are a conservative and the incumbent Senator is no different than anybody else seeking reelection. She will do what it takes.
It is a marked contrast between the right (and by that I mean: what is right) versus the establishment on this and on many other issues.
Andy Shaw can tell you quickly, persuasively, why it is right to stop Planned Parenthood from hiding this information from mothers, why he believes that some of those mothers, if we do this, will see their own baby and will choose life, not death. And it will be their informed conscience making the decision.
HB 1077 protects the right to know of the mother but it also will save babies' lives. And that enrages Planned Parenthood and their supporters because less dead babies means less fees for them, plain and simple.
Ironically, the same liberal-left voices always bellowing with "Occupy Wall Street" that "people come before profits" are strangely silent about this very topic when it comes to passing HB 1077.
And shouldn't expectant mothers have the ability to make their own choice based on their own informed conscience and not be bamboozled by Planned Parenthood in its anxiety to collect some more money from another fast abortion?
Andy Shaw openly makes a strong defense of traditional marriage, opposing efforts by judges and political leaders of BOTH political parties to redefine marriage and boldly endorsing and supporting the Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment which offers permanent, legal protection for marriage as “the union of man and woman.”
An active hunter who unashamedly refers to his National Rifle Association membership, he offers a marked contrast with more liberal (ie. they call it "moderate") Republicans when he says he will be "uncompromising" in rejecting the ongoing campaign to restrict second amendment rights.
On issue after issue Andy Shaw offers a bold conservative vision which he wants to speak out for most strongly, versus the usual "moderate" views of the County Club Republicans in whose lair he offered his alternative this past Monday night.
If Andy Shaw wins this primary against Planned Parenthood's favorite Republican State Senator it would send a clear message to other, wavering Republicans in both chambers of the state legislature and I believe, be one of the single greatest victories of the year for those who are interested in winning more often instead of listening to more excuses.
Andy Shaw will clearly be a leader, not someone who will just focus on quietly building a good voting record and using it to get reelected.
A voting record is not the same thing as leadership, it is not the same thing as producing results, it is not the same thing as winning for our cause.
We need more than just a good voting record to help us win victories for the conservative cause.
Without a doubt, if Andy Shaw wins the primary in Pennsylvania offering such a stark contrast to the "nice nurse" who is the 74 year old, motherly but powerful incumbent "Poster Child of Planned Parenthood and the favorite GOP State Senator of the establishment Republicans and the liberal left it will send them all a "shock wave" message.
The shock will be clearly felt by every state legislator in both House and Senate who has stood on the sidelines while Pennsylvania House Bill 1077 has languished, short of the votes and short of the leadership needed for passage in the Republican controlled State Senate and State House of Representatives.
This primary is in a little over three weeks, on April 24.
Those who want to help Andy overcome the advantages that the incumbent has need to act quickly. This is a call to arms, a clarion call for those looking for one place where they can really make a big difference with a little effort.
While other candidates running in the GOP primary in Pennsylvania have "earned" the endorsement and open support of the "establishment" regular Republicans, Andy Shaw is a challenger who most crisply and capably articulates a persuasive conservative alternative and great promise for outstanding leadership.
He did it in six minutes flat this past Monday night, and the mere report of this which reached my desk just few hours ago immediately earned a serious look at his website by your correspondent. I was not disappointed.
Nor will you be. I strongly urge you to take a close look at Andy Shaw because as any combat experienced General will tell you, a few capable, highly motivated and trained "special operations forces" like Andy is worth a few dozen "straight legs" soldiers in battle any time.
On one issue after another the contrast between the youthful, vibrant and articulate conservative Andy Shaw and the 7 year incumbent "regular GOP" legislator Pat Vance, who knows how to "take care" of her constituents and who is so cozy with Planned Parenthood and the "powers that be" who she deals with in Harrisburg, is stark, clear.
For those who want to make sure that Planned Parenthood gets every possible dollar they can from their abortions the presence of an Andy Shaw in the Pennsylvania State Senate would be a nightmare.
For those who want to tell us why school choice - the requirement that the government HAS your child and doesn't EVER want parents choosing where their child is educated - the presence of an articulate defender of the conservative alternative would be a nightmare.
For those who keep telling values voters to be patient, go to the back of the bus, we cannot deal with your issues this year, wait til next time, for those who are tired of waiting and the excuses:
Andy Shaw is a serious alternative.
Andy Shaw is not going to wait, but will offer a clear voice for those who need champions in government - an advocate for parents, for the unborn, for conservatives who do not want to keep hearing how government will be more efficient if only we can wait, if only we can give them more time.
Making union membership and dues voluntary and getting the government out of the business of coercing and forcing people to pay those dues - and even collecting it for the labor unions - will be a priority for Andy Shaw.
Yes, Andy will take on the labor union bosses. Another nightmare for the "regulars" who would really prefer to just lay off this topic and not "provoke" the way that Governor Scott Walker did in Wisconsin - and who is now facing a nationally funded "recall" election as a result of his efforts to strip away monopoly power to coerce workers into joining labor unions.
In this day and age when so many candidates for office - including within the ranks of the Republican Party - say that your faith and your belief in God should be carefully hidden and you should be totally silent on this topic, Andy Shaw offers an articulate alternative. (see my previous column on then Sen. John F. Kennedy's "separation of church and state" speech in 1960 HERE).
Andy Shaw flat out says on his webpage and in his remarks that his "commitment to God, Andrea (his wife) and his children are his highest calling and priority."
You will never hear words like that pass the lips of many other of the "regular" Republicans, including the one endorsed by Governor Corbett and the State GOP Committee to be our nominee for U.S. Senator.
No, it isn't a matter of standing firm however much it costs you in the election.
The values voters and the old time Reaganites never believed in "better to be right than to win."
They never believed in "I may lose but I'm right."
That is a liberal myth and they trot it out every time an articulate conservative comes along to challenge their monopoly power and their comfortable incumbents.
We want conservative nominees in the GOP because most of the time when we unite behind such articulate champions for our cause - like Andy Shaw - we not only win but we help sweep others of our philosophy into office along with us.
Each one we help win like Andy Shaw helps many dozens of other campaigns and races, helps us win where we would have lost many other battles in the state legislature.
In the last few dozen years there's always been but a handful of very inspiring, effective, consistent, articulate leaders for the conservative cause on the national scene. The leaders who exert a massive and positive influence for our cause.
They include Ronald Reagan, the late Senator Jesse Helms. Judge and former Senator Jim Buckley and of course, his brother William. More recently, Congressman Tim Ryan, Senators Jim DeMint, James Inhofe, Jeff Sessions, Marco Rubio.
Simply from the reports I have reviewed tonight and am sharing with you about his performance this past Monday evening in front of a GOP "country club" group and my study of his website this evening, I predict that if Andy Shaw wins his race he may very well serve the conservative cause with such distinction in the Pennsylvania state capital as a State Senator.
I predict that if you will help him win this State Senate primary race then thanks to you, Andy Shaw will some day take his place in the ranks of other nationally known, highly effective, inspiring, influential conservatives like Reagan, the Buckley brothers, Helms, Ryan, DeMint, Inhofe, Sessions, Rubio.
But he faces an uphill battle to defeat a 7 years entrenched incumbent who made the "country club" Republicans this past Monday night very happy, who as a Senate Committee Chairman will do very well in raising money and in having the party regulars work overtime to turn back the conservative challenger and keep this State Senate seat safe "in a very "red state" section of battleground Pennsylvania.
In the last election having a dull McCain at the top of the ticket, even with the electrifying Sarah Palin (who boosted him temporarily ahead of Obama for several weeks) depressed the vote turnout here in south Central PA, nearly ten percentage points LOWER than the past, which helped Barack Obama carry Pennsylvania with his boosted vote turnout (thanks ACORN!!) in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
If we put an Andy Shaw forward as the GOP nominee for State Senate it will massively boost voter turnout because the troops who hear him and see him leading from the front will rally to this flag as much as they ever have for any candidate we have ever had for our conservative cause.
Putting Andy Shaw forward as our nominee could help the United States Senate challenger against incumbent Democrat Bob Casey, whose staunch support of President Obama can be an albatross around his neck this year.
Putting Andy Shaw forward as the GOP nominee for State Senate instead of more liberal Pat Vance, can boost turnout and help put battleground Pennsylvania into the GOP column for President and decide whether Barack Obama is reelected.
You don't need to be a resident of the district to help Andy Shaw win this battle.
I would echo Erick Erickson of RED STATE who reminded us in a recent column, that the vote index of a candidate is not the only measure of how effective someone is as a conservative leader.
In all of the ways that Erick articulated I predict that Andy Shaw will be in the front rank of conservative leaders and will have an enormous influence well beyond the borders of his district for our cause.
Erick Erickson said clearly: we must be alert for opportunities like this, and he asked his readers to be on the lookout.
This column in large measure is my response to Erick Erickson's call to RED STATERS, my report on what I found in Pennsylvania.
As Erick asked: do we want to considered a paper tiger or be taken seriously?
As I will put it: are we toothless or is our bite going to be much more effective than our bark?
Andy Shaw's website is open and ready to receive your visit and if you see in him what I do - what Phyllis Schlafly long ago called "a choice, not an echo" and a very serious champion for us conservatives who has a lot of miles left on his odometor at age 37.
There are many ways you can help him regardless of where you live.
You can pass this article around using RED STATE (register if you haven't!!!), refer it, "like" it, talk about it via email, via Facebook, using COMMENT at Red State and at Facebook and anywhere else you can, share the link, donate and if you live within driving range of his south central Pennsylvania district you can volunteer to work in his campaign in the next three weeks, you can pitch in a few dollars and a few hours to make phone calls, make a difference, make a stand.
You can write Andy Shaw at his website simply to tell him you read this here, and you are praying for him to win and that you are thankful that he is making this stand for us.
You know that with his faith and with a cancer survivor wife (Andrea) that Andy is a strong believer in the power of prayer and if there's nothing else you can do, you can pray for him and tell him you are praying for him.
I will tell you flat out: there's not many running in America who offer us conservatives such a clear cut and exciting choice, and who if he wins, will be giving us a lot of years into the future as an effective and articulate champion for our values and for our beliefs.
And if Andy Shaw wins we get the bonus of retiring Planned Parenthood's favorite Republican from the Senate, on top of that! I suggest you check it out. I have.
To arms, conservatives and especially values voters. Ride to the sound of the guns. Join Andy.
HanoverHenry is Pat Henry on Facebook, and I'm on the lookout for new friends there. You can also communicate via private mail at Facebook, and I welcome new sources for my articles focusing on the conservative-Christian viewpoint in Pennsylvania. And I thank those whose information have helped me with some of my reports, including those who do not wish to be quoted by name.
Links to articles I wrote at RED STATE at my Facebook Notes section.