100% Anti-Abortion and 100% Pro-Choice
Perhaps the clearest example of this kind of pandering occurred in a local race in our city in 2004. On September 1, 2004 the Everett Herald ran a story entitled: "On abortion, lawmaker is on both sides: Everett lawmaker receives perfect ratings from pro and anti factions."
In the article, reporter David Olson revealed the controversy generated by Rep. David Simpson's efforts to gain the endorsements of Human Life of Washington, an anti-abortion group, and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. In completing their questionnaires he indicated support for both organizations.
In fact, Human Life of Washington, was so impressed with his answers that "it endorsed him in the 38th Legislative District primary Sept. 14 against union leader Mike Sells." He told them that he was "so strongly against abortion that he supports making it illegal in almost all circumstances."
Then both groups
learned of the answers given the other.
To their surprise each group had given him their highest score. Olson reported that Simpson "became perhaps
the first political candidate in state history to get a 100 percent score from
When this was discovered
Human Life CEO Dan Kennedy said he felt "burned" and that the group would "withdraw its endorsement." In addition he stated, "I have never
heard of anything like this. It's
disingenuous in the least, and extremely troubling."
When Simpson learned that his answers had been made public he stated that his response to Human Life's questionnaire were incorrect.
Olson reported that
Karen Cooper of NARAL was "miffed that Simpson apparently was trying to play
both sides of the fence on the politically volatile abortion issue." He quoted her as saying:
"To be 100 percent pro-choice and 100 percent anti-choice is a total contradiction in terms. I think this is about trying to please the listener and saying what the listener wants."
Olson's article was published just before the 2004 primary election.