It’s never fun to watch an ally go bad, seemingly betray their principles for a few bucks and renounce everything they once supported. But that is exactly what appears to have happened at Texas Alliance for Life (TAL) and with its executive director, Joe Pojman.
I was once a donor to TAL. Like so many others, I believed “Dr. Joe” when he claimed to have an unwavering commitment to the life issue. I feel I was wrong. (As an aside, Joe’s not a medical doctor; he holds a Ph.D. in a non-medical field.)
Yet over the past year, Pojman has shifted from conscientious conservative to shill for the establishment; using his reputation to put a pro-life veneer on incumbents with questionable voting records.
He unsuccessfully defended State Sens. Bob Deuell and John Carona — among the most liberal in the State Senate – in their primary campaigns. In a great many races — statewide to state house — Pojman was often in the distinct minority in supporting moderates and establishment candidates against those supported by the rest of the conservative and pro-life movement.
For example, he supported State Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas) — a close ally of House Speaker Joe Straus — over conservative and pro-life champion Ken Paxton. Paxton decisively won the primary, run-off, and general election.
Bizarrely, Pojman has refused to support, for the second straight session, the author of the historic sonogram law, which requires that a sonogram be performed before an abortion takes place so the mother can make an informed decision.
While Pojman touts the law, he refused to help State Rep. Sid Miller (R-Stephenville) in his 2012 re-election. Unfortunately, Miller was defeated by a liberal Republican supported by House Speaker Joe Straus. In 2014, Pojman again refused to support Miller’s successful bid for Agriculture Commissioner.
But nothing is more striking that Pojman’s about-face on the House Leadership. Most recently, he has been a vocal supporter of Joe Straus, while attacking conservatives who want a more right-leaning member to lead the lower chamber.
In a recent posting to his website, Pojman wrote that “Straus never received a donation from Planned Parenthood.”
Yet it was Joe Pojman who first spoke out about the support Straus had received from pro-abortion groups. On Dec. 29, 2010, Pojman said:
“Speaker Straus cannot be called pro-life. He has failed to pledge to oppose public funding for Planned Parenthood, received a $1,000 campaign contribution from a Planned Parenthood PAC, and has been given high praise by Planned Parenthood for his ‘tireless efforts’ during the last legislative session.”
It was Pojman himself in late 2010, who said, “Texas Alliance for Life voiced concern that under Speaker Straus, pro-life legislation would not pass the House. Unfortunately, our fears were realized.”
Pojman now claims “Joe Straus is pro-life.” He and his organization have showered praise on Straus, even while legitimate life-focused organizations like Texas Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, and the Texas Home School Coalition continue to stand against Straus’ re-election.
Such an about-face might have something to do with the massive influx of cash Pojman’s organization received from Straus. State records indicate his effort has received at least $50,000 from Straus’ political arm.
Breitbart Texas reported last year on one of Pojman’s allies, Kyleen Wright, taking political contributions from liberal candidates and praising them.
Pro-life Texans are being led astray by Joe Pojman. He built up credibility in the life community, only to seemingly monetize it. Joe Pojman got himself a seat at Joe Straus’ power table. To do so, he was only conservative when it was convenient.
Follow Michael Quinn Sullivan on Twitter @MQSullivan.