Compare and Contrast

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Behind Door Number One we have Mark Shea firing up his catchphrase and strawman machine as he hyperventilates about the “Evil Stupid, Stupid Evil,  Evil is Stupid, Am I Evil?  Yes I Am, Stupid is as Stupid Does” Party.  Behind Door Number Two we have Bill McGurn’s account of what happened on Friday night as President Obama dug in his heels and refused to budge on the issue of Planned Parenthood.  Tough call, but let’s go with door number two, Monty.

In the end, President Barack Obama was the one who refused to blink on Planned Parenthood. Another way of saying it is this: The president was willing to shut down the entire federal government rather than see Planned Parenthood’s federal funding cut.

According to press accounts leaked by Democratic aides, House Speaker John Boehner argued for the funding cut late into the evening. The president answered, “Nope, zero.” He then said, “John, this is it.” Mr. Boehner accepted the budget deal without that cut.

A Republican aide confirmed more or less the same account to me. He said it was “chilling” to see how inflexible Mr. Obama was. You might call it ideological.

Certainly there’s a political logic here. To begin with, many of the women’s groups that supported him are still smarting over the executive order (banning federal dollars for abortions) he issued to secure passage of his health-care bill. That’s still a sore spot, even though—as his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, recently told the Chicago Tribune editorial board—that language is not in the law. The presumption ­being, of course, that eventually the order will be overridden.

The hard line on Planned Parenthood funding also makes sense if the president was calculating that Mr. Boehner would get the blame for a shutdown no matter what. That’s a reasonable assumption, judging from the way the press has swallowed the White House line on who the extremists here are. Never mind that this is the same president who, as an Illinois state senator, famously opposed limiting even partial-birth abortion.

For his part, Mr. Boehner now finds himself criticized for accepting too little in spending cuts and giving up the ship on defunding Planned Parenthood to get a budget deal. Leaving aside his victory in restoring the previous status quo prohibiting taxpayer funding for abortions in the District of Columbia, Mr. Boehner came away with two strong accomplishments.

First, in just three months as speaker, he has managed to change the national debate from “stimulus” and “investment” to “how much spending do we need to cut”—which is why Mr. Obama will be pressing the reset button in a planned speech on spending tomorrow. Second, on Planned Parenthood funding, he has secured something that those concerned about restoring these contentious issues to the people should appreciate: an agreement that the Senate will vote on a separate measure to defund Planned Parenthood.

Surely it tells you something about who the real extremists are that an up or down vote is deemed a concession. In an appearance at a rally before the deal, Mr. Schumer vowed that any bill taking taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood would “never, never, never” pass the Senate. In the normal way of doing things, it wouldn’t even have come up for a vote.

McGurn’s whole column is behind a pay wall, and I can violate fair use only so much (K-Lo did it first).  There is one other line in the column I do have to take issue with.  McGurn notes that Planned Parenthood performed 332,278 abortions in 2009, and adds, “Planned Parenthood counters that no federal dollars go to abortion, but Americans are not stupid.  They know money is fungible.”  Sadly, based on some of the Facebook and blog posts I read last week, I’d have to disagree with McGurn’s assessment about the public’s stupidity.

I can partially understand the sentiment of those who think Boehner should have drawn a line in the sand as well.  The problem is we have an ideological extremist in the White House – and one would think by now people would finally get this – who is beholden to the abortion lobby.  Oh, he might change his mind when it comes to things like military commissions and waging war in the Middle East, but when it comes to abortion there ain’t no stopping him now.  There can be negotiating with the likes of Obama when it comes to abortion – only removal from office.

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  1. The problems confronting Boehner were a practical one and a political one:

    1. The practical one is that the GOP simply lack the votes in the Senate to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, with the Democrats still having a slender majority.

    2. The political one is that shutting down the Federal government solely over Planned Parenthood funding would have given the Democrats a gift which would keep on giving for 2012. Such a stand simply could not be sold to the American people, especially as distorted by the mainstream media. (Planned Parenthood does not use federal funds for abortion! Those crazy Republicans are taking the nation over the cliff in order to mollify pro-life zealots!)

    Under the circumstances Boehner came out well: a ban on funding abortions by the DC government; and an up or down vote on funding Planned Parenthood on Thursday in the Senate, something that Reid wanted to prevent, as Democrats running in Red States for re-election to the Senate in 2012 hate being put on the spot to support Planned Parenthood. Oh, they’ll do it, because abortion is the Holy of Holies in the Democrat Party and Planned Parenthood is the chief minister to that Sacred Mystery of the Party of the Jackass, but they hate doing it since it reminds voters in Red States just how alien they are to the sense of morality of most voters in those States.

    Boehner also got more spending cuts than the Democrats were initially willing to agree to.

    Not bad for a new Speaker facing a Democrat Senate and a Democrat President.

  2. Have you been following the Pence Amendment though? The House has already approved the Pence Amendment to remove all Title X funds from PP. It’s a brilliant move on Boehner’s part because now there’s no budget argument for the Dems to hide behind and it’s only a vote to defund PP. Those who vote to continue funding PP will have to answer for it at election time. PP could still be defunded. It’s time to call Senators! My husband’s been letting Scott Brown have it!

  3. I guess that’s one of the excuse people used to vote for Obama in 2008 and will again employ in 2012.

    At least the (D) is for despicables have the cowardice of their convictions, i.e., they are truly fearful of voting against their baby-murdering base.

    I wince at the moral contortions through which good people put themselves to justify voting for the 100% abortion candidate. The pro-life party couldn’t do anything! NOW GET THIS: pro-life couldn’t prevail because the pro-death candidates keep being elected by good people.

    Did I make it sufficiently clear? No. If you are pro-life, do not vote for abortion candidates, i.e., any democrat. I am an accountant, not an MA in moral theology, etc.

  4. My prediction: 47 senators will vote to defund. 45 Republicans (47 minus Olympia Snow and Susan Collins) plus Ben Nelson and Joe Manchin.

  5. Close RR. My tally is 45 voting to defund. Scott Brown, who the best I can say for him right now is that he is not Ted Kennedy, has come out against defunding Worse Than Murder, inc, and Princess Lisa from Alaska, ever the pro-abort, wants to continue to fill the coffers of PP. Having said that, I can imagine a surprise vote or two more on the Democrat side that might make it razor thin, especially if Reid decides to release some Dems who are in tough races next year. (Not though Bob Casey, Jr, the disgraceful offspring of a great man. He has announced that PP can depend on him. Can we dispense with the pretense now that Casey the Lesser is in any sense pro-life?) Ironic if our first Catholic Vice-President would have to break a tie vote in favor of Planned Parenthood, although I expect the Dems will probably have at least a 4 vote margin of victory.

  6. The bottom line is Boehner does not have a backbone but that only means he is average among his colleagues. The Republicans should have called their bluff and allowed the federal government to shut down. It is not as if the federal government is doing their job anyway just look at our boarders. The fed sucks the life blood out of taxpayers and wastes it on abortions, foreign aid (which only really makes the elite richer), give aways to non-citizens at citizens expenses, financial aid to foreign business, etc.

    I say let the fed shut down and then the states can start doing more without the huge pile of red tape to attend with.

  7. Forgot about Brown and Mukowski. You’re right, Don. 45. Even if the GOP won all the competitive Senate races last year, they wouldn’t have a pro-life majority.

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