It is rare, but there have been instances when a sitting president is challenged from within the party for a presidential nomination. Randal A. Terry’s decision to throw down the gauntlet to President Obama may be a surprise to many, but not to those that know the man.
His story started sometime back in 1986, when Terry, from his Great Buy Used Cars lot at 1020 Front St. Vestal in Binghamton, planned ‘Operation Rescue’ with Daniel J. Little, his pastor from the Church at Pierce Creek. ‘Operation Rescue’ was infamous for its sieges of abortion clinics, aggressive protesting techniques and the ‘go limp’ blockade maneuver. It elevated the previously unknown Terry into the most well-known pro-life activist in the country, and earning himself the image of a political militant in the process.
A quarter of a century and over forty arrests since, Terry is still going strong, albeit, without the radicalism prevalent during the early years of his activism. Perhaps the conviction of former Operation Rescue alumni, James Charles Kopp, for the murder of pro-choice physician Dr. Barnett Slepian in 1998, together with the heightening legal assault by his pro-choice opponents and the over 20,000 arrest of the movement supporters, forced a strategy review.
The three pronged approach that he envisioned in the fall of 1983 (blockade of clinics, counseling of mothers and shelter for the unwed mothers) was clearly not yielding the results he was hoping for. Changing times calls for innovation, and Terry did exactly that. He was reborn as a touring speaker, author and media personality, an approach that has once again pushed him to the forefront of the debate.
He took the giant leap of submitting his papers to the Federal Election Commission on January 18 this year and four days later said, “This campaign is about human rights, ladies and gentlemen. It will be first and foremost about the human rights of babies that are being brutally slaughtered and thrown in dumpsters and landfills. But it is also about the human rights of the slave labor force on Obama's plantation.”
By all accounts, Terry does not even hold a shadow of a chance, but there are worries that the former Republican could force Obama to alienate a significant chunk of the Democrats by publicly engaging Terry.