Sue Le Monde

In the ever-evolving world of political tactics, I think we have a new contender.  A defeated  representative, Steve Driehaus, is suing a political action group because he lost his bid for re-election.

One of 14 Democrats up for re-election who lost their bids, Driehaus voted for Obama’s health care legislation, despite the fact that the legislation offers no binding means of preventing taxpayer dollars from funding abortions, and despite Driehaus claiming a pro-life stance.  Voters appear to have equated his vote for health care reform to be in conflict with his pro-life stance (the one Democrat up for re-election who won his seat again voted against the health care measure).
There could be a lot of reasons why Driehaus and his colleagues were not re-elected.  But the fact that he has decided to sue the pro-live advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List seems to make it clear that at least in Driehaus’ mind, the issue was abortion.  This organization has made it practice to publish voting records of candidates or incumbents who claim a pro-life stance, but their voting record does not back it up.  While this issue has frighteningly little press coverage, the few voices out there seem to be unanimous in their disdain for Driehaus’ tactic.  
Driehaus is suing for “loss of livelihood”, and the courts are allowing his suit to proceed.  As noted in the US News article, this seems rather curious on many levels, not the least of which is the fact that the judge that allowed the suit to progress and will be presiding over it is a former President of a Planned Parenthood Association chapter.  Seems to be a rather glaring instance where the personal views of the judge interfere with the reasonable expectation of impartiality.  
What will happen if this suit is successful?  What already are the effects simply by allowing such a ludicrous tactic to play out in court?  The issue is not libel or slander (neither of which the organization is guilty of, by all accounts), but rather the fact that Driehaus lost his job and therefore his livelihood.  Isn’t the very nature of elected political office that you are constantly at risk for a loss of livelihood in the next election cycle?  Is there to be an expectation that once elected to office, a public official is entitled to keep that job as the source of their livelihood?  
Frankly, Driehaus’ suit is misdirected.  If he wants to sue for loss of livelihood, the appropriate defendant would be his electorate.  All the Susan B. Anthony List did was to make his voting record crystal clear.  It is his (former) constituents that decided that his vote for health care reform equated to a pro-abortion vote.  They are the ones who voted against him and selected a new representative that they thought might more adequately represent them.  If he wants somebody to sue, he should go after them.
The only problem being (other than bad PR), that given the state of the economy today, he isn’t likely to wind up recouping much monetarily.  

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