Monday, October 20, 2008

(Right to) life of the party

I SEE THAT the father and daughter act of John and Sarah will appear at a hastily scheduled rally in Green Memorial Stadium Wednesday afternoon.  The place can seat about 6,000 but people who won't mind standing for a couple of hours will probably find a spot on the field.  McCain will doubtless skip serious talk on the economy and offer us instead further insights into the life and times of Joe the Plumber.  Sarah will settle for tweeting that Obama is a socialist who hates America.   In an instant, Green will become a pro-American town, as opposed to, say, nearby Akron, which has locked on to Democrats and unionists for many decades and, well, you know.   

The GOP has announced that everyone must have a ticket to enter the arena.  And just to make sure that the Republican base turns out,  Right to Life of Summit County, which qualifies as a pro-American group,  has set out to distribute 5,000 tickets.  The pro-lifers, the essence of the pro-American GOP base, have been quite active politically this year again, whipping up their supporters with the usual angry assaults on the anti-Amercan Pro-Choicers.   Who can forget the shouts from a line of surly loyalists waiting to get into a Palin rally in Johnstown, Pa. (Sadly, my birthplace!) as they faced a smaller group of Obama supporters across the street? You can look for this particular quote from a boiling  Palinite in Bartlett's someday: "Kill the babies, you bastards."

Which brings me to Mike Gonidakis, the executive director of Ohio Right to Life.  When I spoke to him recently, he dismissed thoughts that his group was driven by religious or political motives.  "Not so,"said Mike, a lawyer who once worked for former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro and did quite well for himself before moving along in stages  to assume his present job. 

Mike was quick to remind me that Ohio Right to Life had, among other initiatives,  endorsed a Democrat in Parma and that it had no connection to any religion in particular, "Catholics, Protestants, Muslims" and so on.  I couldn't get much beyond that point even though I fidgeted with the knowledge that the group's PAC was  planning  thousands  of anti-Obama   radio and TV ads in Ohio and mailing a half-million ballot cards across the state. 

Gonidakis will tell you in his own words how  Ohio Right of Life, while non-political,  is deeply into the campaign mix:  "The PAC is going to pull out every effort it can to see McCain wins Ohio, certainly he needs to be president."

Needs to be?  Frankly, In all of  my years of chasing down politicians, I've never heard burning political ambition described quite that way.  As for Wednesday's rally, I'll wait for the movie.  

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