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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  December 27, 2007
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Topic category:  Other/General

"Nifonging" Mitt Romney is Wrong Too

Nifonging must be stopped in politics as well as criminal justice. Mitt Romney too deserves fair consideration and the Mormon bashers who would deprive him of it have no business calling themselves Christians or Americans.

"Nifonging": "disgraceful conduct...and a sense of cheapness akin to spraying graffiti on a windshield." Stefan Kanfer,

In 1968, when former Massachusetts Governor and current Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's father, George Romney, then Michigan Governor, was running for the Republican presidential nomination, none of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination snidely and/or sillily suggested that Governor Romney's religious preference (Mormon) should be considered an impediment.

When liberal Mormon Congresmsnan Mo Udall ran for president in 1976, however, the Carter campaign had Coleman Young, then the mayor of Detroit, accuse him of racism for belonging to the Mormon church, which at the time, did not allow blacks to serve in the church's priesthood (changed in 1978), even though he had been a longtime critic of that church policy, and had ceased being an active member because of it. Unfortunately, the gutter tactic was effective: Carter swept the black vote in the Michigan primary and that vote was key to his crucial and narrow victory in Michigan.

Sadly, this year it is some Republicans who have been doing some mean-spirited Mormon bashing. Former Arkansas Governor and Baptist minister Mike Huckabee apologized (albeit privately) to Mitt Romney for his own words and a number of his supporters have been shamelessly trying to cope with Mitt Romney's better record on immigration, taxes and crime by not only playing the evangelical card on Mr. Huckabee's behalf, but also warning against an imaginary Mormon menace to America.

Worse, perhaps, on November 9, 2007, Senator John McCain resuscitated his flagging presidential campaign by bringing his elderly mother with him on MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews. Mrs. McCain obviously was not too old to appear (and the septuagenarian Senator McCain definitely needs voters to think he's not too old to be President). But, conveniently, Mrs. McCain apparently was too old for Chris Matthews to challenge her flagrant Mormon-bashing. interestingly, Mrs. McCain pointed out during the same interview that she would not "judge" Rudy Giuliani and never mentioned his religion. But Mrs. McCain targeted Mr. Romney like a heat-seeking missile and had plenty to say about his religion."

MATTHEWS: You don‘t think Romney has done much heavy lifting for America, then?

R. MCCAIN: No, I don‘t.

I think being senator—a congressman, a senator, whatever it was—a governor for four years, and as far as the Salt Lake City thing, he‘s a Mormon. And the...Mormons of Salt Lake City had caused that scandal. And to clean that up, I—it‘s not even—again, it‘s not a subject.

Senator McCain immediately commented: "The views of my mother are not necessarily the views of mine."

But Mr. Matthews noted that Mrs. McCain had "raised the religious issue" and she did not even wait for a question to reaffirm her anti-Mormonism.

MATTHEWS: Now that you have raised the religious issue...

R. MCCAIN: Well, that‘s my view. And you asked me.

This is an example of what I call "Nifong politics."

"Nifong politics" is despicable and desperate. It ignores facts and appeals to prejudice.

It is the political equivalent of "Nifong justice," the oxymoronic phrase well used by the Judicial Confirmation Network's Wendy E. Long in an October 15, 2007 article titled "Nifong Justice for Judge Southwick?"

In order to win a three-way Democrat district attorney primary against a white woman and a black man that he was expected to lose to the white woman, disgraced Democrat former Durham County, North Carolina Michael B. Nifong pandered outrageously to the black bloc vote by treating a bogus gang rape claim by a (black) ex-convict stripper as true and persecuting innocent (white) members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team.

Nicholas D. Kristof (New York Times, June 11, 2006): "Mr. Nifong may have had a motive for prosecuting a case that wouldn't otherwise merit it: using it as a campaign tool. Heavily outspent in a tough three-way election race, he was the lone white man on the ballot, and he needed both media attention and black votes to win. In the end, he got twice as many black votes as his closest opponent, and that put him over the top.

Cleverly, but misleadingly, named People for the American Way, in an October 15, 2007 article titled "Playing the Racist Card, Again," whined about the principal spokespersons for Judicial Confirmation Network, Executive Director Gary Marx and General Counsel Wendy Long, for pointing out that the opposition to the confirmation of now Judge Leslie Southwick was relying on bogus claims of racism.

Mr. Marx had wisely warned:

"The Liberal Left led by Senator Ted Kennedy, Minority Leader Harry Reid, and People for the American Way will stop at nothing in order to keep common sense constitutionalist judges like Leslie Southwick off the bench. Ultimately, their unprecedented judicial filibusters are a backdoor political sabotage to manipulate the Senate rules. Their goal is to create a radical new precedent where for the first time in history a future Supreme Court nominee like Justice Roberts or Alito will be forced to receive 60 votes for confirmation rather than a simple and fair majority vote."

Mrs. Long, according to People for the American Way, had "trot[ted] out the Right’s standard claim that those who raise concerns about Southwick’s judicial record and philosophy are really just calling Southwick a racist."

Mrs. Long actually (and accurately) wrote:

"Just when you thought 'white male in the South' didn't equal 'presumptive racist,' a disgusting spectacle with that familiar theme is unfolding in the United States Senate.

"Call it 'Nifong Justice' -- after the Durham, North Carolina district attorney who contrived to charge three white Duke lacrosse players with rape of a black woman, charging them with a 'deep racial motivation.' Nifong lost his prosecutor's job, was disbarred, and even went to jail for his racist character assassination of the lacrosse players."

EXACTLY! Mr. Nifong was being racist when he shamelessly played the race card against the Duke lacrose players.

"The circumstances of the rape indicated a deep racial motivation for some of the things that were done, It makes a crime that is, by nature, one of the most offensive and invasive even more so." Nifong quoted on WRALTV on March 29, 2006

"The reason that I took the case is because this case says something about Durham that I'm not going to let be said. I'm not going to allow Durham's view in the minds of the world to be a bunch of lacrosse players at Duke raping a black girl from Durham.'" Nifong quoted on WRALTV on April 12, 2006.

Cash Michaels, the North Carolina journalist and television commentator who covered the Duke case for America's Black press, on August 14, 2006: "[T]he certainty Nifong and the police were speaking with was not being undergirded by the 'strong evidence' they had hoped for. And Nifong's racial pronouncements...seemed more like pandering to the passions of potential Black voters for a tight three-way May primary race, critics charge, than a sincere view of the case."

Mrs. Long explained the problem of political correctness trumping fairness in the context of the criminal justice system: "...earlier this week on 'The View,' Whoopi Goldberg called upon Al Sharpton to apologize to the lacrosse team. Sharpton jumped on the bandwagon with Nifong and publicly accused the white young men, judging them not on their merits or on due process of law, but on the basis of some politically correct agenda having nothing to do with them. In Whoopi's words, that process put the players 'through hell.'"

Likewise, religious bigotry does not belong in the political system.

Mrs. Long:

"Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and a cadre of hard-core liberals are waging a war of character assassination against Judge Southwick, charging that in his tenure as a Mississippi state appellate court judge, Southwick did not 'side with' the politically correct litigants, such as civil rights plaintiffs, frequently enough.

"Durbin is playing the race card against Judge Southwick over a case where a state employee made a racial slur, using the 'N' word, against a black fellow employee. A state administrative board found that the employee who uttered the slur should not be fired because it was a single instance of misconduct, not a repeat offense or a pattern.

"Judge Southwick and the Mississippi state appellate court on which he sat at the time ruled, as the law required them to, that because there was sufficient evidence for the administrative board's decision, the court as a matter of law could not overturn it.

"In other words, Judge Southwick followed the law, as his job required him to do. But Durbin is attacking him, saying Southwick can't be fair in civil rights cases.

"Durbin is doing essentially what Nifong and Sharpton did: attacking someone else as a racist in order to advance his own political agenda. Never mind the facts, never mind the law, just play the race card against a white man in the south and you know you have a good chance to bring him down.

"The Judiciary Committee voted 10 to 9, in favor of Judge Southwick. That was in August. Since then, Harry Reid has been blocking a full Senate vote on Judge Southwick at the behest of outside liberal groups, and Senators like Dick Durbin continue to do their bidding in launching unfounded and race-based attacks. But the single Democrat on the Judiciary Committee who voted for Judge Southwick, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.), rejected Durbin's race-baiting. Feinstein said of Judge Southwick: 'I don't believe he's a racist. I don't believe I'm a racist.'

"Good for her. The likely first vote on Southwick next week will be on 'cloture' whether to bring the nomination to a yes-or-no vote by the full Senate. The Nifong-Sharpton Senators, like Durbin, are so determined to bring down Judge Southwick that they are pressing for a Democratic filibuster: to prevent his man who has served his nation in war from even having a fair vote on the Senate floor.

"Reid is caught between them, and the Democrats who won't make the Nifong-Sharpton play, like Senator Feinstein. We'll see which Senators will evaluate an honorable judge and war veteran on his merits, and which ones will play the race card to drag him, as Whoopi said, 'through hell' and make him a pawn in some other political battle."

Judge Southwick finally was confirmed, but his confirmation was not an easy thing, because the opposition behaved contemptibly instead of fairly.

Nifonging must be stopped in politics as well as criminal justice. Mitt Romney too deserves fair consideration and the Mormon bashers who would deprive him of it have no business calling themselves Christians or Americans.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to,,, and and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is

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