Even before I saw the election results Wednesday morning, I knew Republican Karen Handel had won the Georgia special election because the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had other stuff on its front page. “Hawks Trade Dwight Howard to Hornets” ran the headline under the cover picture. “Karen must have won!” I concluded, accurately.
Of course, there were election stories, but none blazoned the hoped-for triumphant photos of middle-aged leftist ladies weeping and hugging each other over their defeat of the terrible woman who would – according to the Ossoff camp – deny them breast cancer treatment. In the last week, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff pulled off his soft little trust fund independent filmmaker kidskin gloves and began running hate ads trumpeting the lie that Karen Handel wanted women to die of breast cancer because she advised the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to stop shifting a relatively small portion of its donations to Planned Parenthood around the time Planned Parenthood was caught lying about third-trimester abortions. (The Komen charity was profiled in the February 2012 issue of Organization Trends.)
One Ossoff campaign ad, “Unforgivable,” features “Mindy Fine, MD, OB-GYN, Cobb County, Ga.,” lecturing voters about Handel.
Dressed in blue surgical scrubs, Fine says:
Part of a normal exam is screening for breast and cervical cancer. When we catch it early we save lives. But Karen Handel cut off funding for Planned Parenthood cancer screenings when she was an executive at Susan G. Komen. I don’t usually get involved in politics but as a doctor and a breast cancer survivor myself what Karen Handel did is unforgivable.
This was, incidentally, the job Komen hired Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, to do.
Let me be very clear about what Ossoff did with those breast cancer ads: he accused Handel of murdering cancer patients. This sort of false accusation is what pumps up lunatics to shoot congressmen, and Ossoff should be severely called out for stooping to this dangerous sleaze. He probably learned the tactic from his mentor, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who conducted a similar hate-incitement campaign years ago when he compared his own constituents to murderous Klansmen if they dared to vote for a moderate white Republican over a black Democrat.
In 2007 Congressman Lewis notoriously defamed Lee Morris when it looked like the competent, soft-Republican, socially progressive candidate might defeat one single member of the black left-wing Tammany Hall running Fulton County into the ground at the time. Lewis intoned on black radio: “If you think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the ’60s was bad, imagine if we sit idly by and let the right-wing Republicans take control of the Fulton County Commission … Your very life may depend on it.”
In the recent campaign Ossoff deployed this same tactic to paint Handel as someone who wants to deny medical treatment to cancer patients. The lie that Republicans want to deny medical treatment to the sick was one of James Hodgkinson’s stated obsessions before he opened fire on congressmen just a few days ago – and this was BEFORE Ossoff ran those ads accusing Handel of the same.
Ossoff needs to take responsibility and apologize. I part ways with talk radio host Erick Erickson on many issues, but the two of us are on the same page when it comes to abortion politics in Georgia, and I think we agree that Handel was the hero of the Komen/Planned Parenthood controversy. I hope Erickson calls out Ossoff for his sick exploitation of this issue.
Anyone wanting to get to know Congresswoman-elect Handel would do well to read her fascinating book about the Komen incident, Planned Bullyhood:The Truth Behind the Headlines about the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, published by Simon & Schuster in November 2014.
Handel conducted herself in a politically skillful manner and demonstrated real guts and integrity as she steered Komen through a mess partly of its own making. Then she took responsibility for other people who were too unprofessional or ideologically compromised to do so.
Georgia District 6 constituents unfamiliar with the real story will be pleasantly surprised. They will also be surprised to learn more about Handel’s courageous stand on ethics reform for politicians, and the admirable way she pulled herself up from a hardscrabble childhood and worked low-level jobs while taking night classes to improve her education. Nothing was handed to this woman, and she has done much through sheer will and hard work.
The fact that the Democrats treated Karen Handel’s rough childhood and self-made biography as proof that she is not as accomplished or intelligent as “independent filmmaker” Jon Ossoff damningly reveals the elitism – and gawking class-based tone-deafness – behind the gossamer veil of their alleged egalitarianism.
Democrats ought to celebrate a woman who defied a hard childhood and made herself into a high-level nonprofit administrator through self-discipline and grit. Instead, they relentlessly mocked her for the fact she lacks a college degree. And as the campaign progressed, they also mocked her femininity and her whiteness (somehow, male, “cis-sexual,” white Jon Ossoff got a pass).
Writing in communist rag The Nation, emotionally unhinged, anti-white people white person and former Salon editor Joan Walsh combed the Ossoff campaign for other people who could browbeat whites:
After Essence Johnson attended the local Women’s March, she began to worry that the new wave of feminist activism that Trump had inspired remained too white and too privileged. “John Lewis spoke and that was great, but I drove home through black neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods and saw so many people in poverty, I knew so many women were in shelters. I said, ‘Louise we’ve got to do something!’ I mean we had white women in Range Rovers driving up to do voter outreach at bodegas. It wasn’t going to work.”
And in the Nation comment threads, others echoed Walsh’s racist mau-mauing of the people working for Ossoff. This is Democratic politics today:
Ask yourself–why do we even HAVE white women driving up to bodegas in Range Rovers? If I were a poor black woman I sure as hell would not want to see them. I am a poor white gay man, and I don’t want to see them coming round my stoop.
After the heady hangover of Tuesday’s election results, Ossoff supporters of all colors should pause to take a hard look at the underbelly of anti-white identity politics and hate-filled, violence-provoking lies their candidate endorsed. No matter how much Ossoff tried to present an image of conciliatory moderation, he was the representative of this politics of economic resentment, false and dangerous accusations about healthcare policy, and toxic identity politics racism. Note that Joan Walsh’s daughter was his deputy field director.
And for conservatives, meet your new standard bearer. Long before the young journalists at Live Action and the Center for Medical Progress exposed Planned Parenthood’s failures to protect underage rape victims and their accounting tricks to conceal the profits they were making from the sale of baby parts, Karen Handel stood alone against the organization and paid a heavy price for refusing to submit to the pressure Planned Parenthood was putting on the breast cancer charity for which she worked at the time.
In reality, Komen was simply trying to depoliticize its mission of fighting breast cancer by pulling a tiny grant from Planned Parenthood at a time when Planned Parenthood was under fire for multiple misrepresentations of the prevalence and causes of late-term abortions and also its own gross misrepresentation of the number of mammograms they actually provided to women (answer: hardly any).
How tiny was the revenue stream?
Planned Parenthood said the grants from Komen weighed in at about $680,000 in 2011 and $580,000 the year before and that they went to at least 19 of its affiliates. Incidentally, Planned Parenthood’s political activism arm spent almost $735,000 to defeat Handel during the recent campaign.
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, had gross receipts of $208.7 million and a budget of $104.8 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016. The related Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation – Group, also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, had gross receipts of $115.7 million and a budget of $113.3 million in the same period.
When Karen Handel said in her book that “Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms. Planned Parenthood refers women to mammography providers, serving as the middlewoman, if you will,” PolitiFact Georgia assigned a rare “TRUE” grade to the claim.
Komen wasn’t denying poor women mammograms: the organization simply planned to move that money directly to the service providers who actually performed the mammograms. Not one single woman would have gone without a cancer screening because the Komen Foundation tried to cut out Planned Parenthood as the middleman.
Furthermore, Planned Parenthood is rolling in both public and private money. They pay armies of lawyers and lobbyists (redundant lawyers and lobbyists in my personal experience with PP in Georgia). Even as Planned Parenthood was excoriating and threatening Komen, it was buying up pricey real estate for its offices in some of the most expensive markets in the world.
What Planned Parenthood really wanted from their grantor/grantee relationship with Komen was to bind Komen to their pro-abortion politics in order to whitewash those politics. They wanted to piggyback on Komen’s credibility to burnish their reputation in the wake of revelations about their own fiscal and ethical misbehavior.
In other words, they were the ones exploiting the tragedy of breast cancer for political gain. And Jon Ossoff did the same when he stooped to accuse Karen Handel of depriving women of access to breast cancer screenings and treatment.
It’s a horrific lie, and voices in the women’s community and the Democratic Party – along with his army of soccer mom cheerleaders and race baiters – should examine their own consciences and apologize to Handel for stooping so low.
You can read the whole story in Karen Handel’s book, Planned Bullyhood. I sincerely recommend that both Handel’s and Ossoff’s supporters do so. That is the way forward to some real political discussions that ought to take place in Georgia District 6 now.