A couple of weeks ago, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand gave a big boost to Marie Newman, a businesswoman and anti-bullying advocate running for Congress in Illinois, when Gillibrand’s Off the Sidelines PAC endorsed Newman’s bid. Gillibrand has a long history of supporting women candidates across the country, a mission that couldn’t be more important at this precise moment, so her decision to get involved on Newman’s behalf only makes sense.
What’s more, the man Newman is challenging in the Democratic primary, Rep. Dan Lipinski, is a virulent opponent of reproductive rights: He’s co-chair of the House “Pro-Life” Caucus and was one of only three Democrats in Congress who voted just last month to ban abortion after 20 weeks. Newman (who also has the backing of Daily Kos) is staunchly pro-choice and has made Lipinski’s out-of-step views a centerpiece of her campaign.
But one member of the House—and it’s a man, of course—has a problem with Gillibrand’s move: Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader just called the endorsement “bullshit,” on the record.
So what the hell is Schrader’s beef? Years ago, during her brief tenure in the House, Gillibrand represented a Republican-leaning district in upstate New York and joined the conservative Blue Dog Coalition, of which both Schrader and Lipinski are also members. But after just a single term, Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate to replace Hillary Clinton, making her answerable to a much more progressive constituency—and one she’s represented very capably ever since. (In her last re-election campaign, she set a record that still stands for the highest vote share ever in a statewide race in New York.)
Schrader, though, is stuck in the past and seems to think Gillibrand owes his little band of conservaDems eternal loyalty: “She used to be a Blue Dog, and then miraculously turns around?” Schrader told McClatchy’s Alex Roarty. “C’mon, man.” No, you “c’mon, man.” Gillibrand has always supported women’s reproductive rights, even when she was running for and representing a very difficult district in the House.
Lipinski, by contrast, represents a solidly blue seat in the Chicago suburbs but has never supported reproductive rights. In fact, he’s only ever been extremely hostile to the concept, sneering at his own constituents earlier this year, “I support women’s health, but I don’t believe abortion is women’s health.”
That’s what’s bullshit.
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