[emphasis in black and in red by Abyssum]

The funny thing about the coming government shutdown fight over Planned Parenthood is that the normal cast of characters associated with shutdown politics – Heritage and Heritage Action and the Senate Conservatives Fund – could vanish from the plane of existence tomorrow, and we would still have a shutdown fight in three months. This is important, because already Republican leadership is saying “what’s your endgame?” to these places, and their response is along the lines of “we aren’t even the ones pushing for this!” And they don’t need to be – the pressure isn’t coming from them. It’s much bigger than that.

The tenor and tone from the pro-life groups for whom the Planned Parenthood defunding fight is their purpose seems to me to be very simple, steady, and straightforward: this is why they exist. Republicans in the Senate had every opportunity to choose to attach this to a Highway Bill and force the president to veto Planned Parenthood defunding. Then the pressure would’ve lessened as moderate pro-lifers say “well they tried in good faith” – but they didn’t.

McConnell chose the other path, and actually made it worse by setting up a defunding vote yesterday that precludes a similar show vote in the House. http://vlt.tc/21bx  (Had the House vote gone first, it would’ve gone to the Senate, someone would’ve filibustered, and McConnell could’ve said “hey, we tried” – now that fiction doesn’t even work.) So now the only clear way to force the issue is the kind of shutdown politics we’ve seen before. What does seem clear is that the groups are not going to be distracted this time around: they want defunding of Planned Parenthood, and they want Obama to shut the government down over the issue, and they want every Democrat who agrees with him to have to defend that decision – just as Hillary Clinton did here. http://vlt.tc/21c3

It’s telling that Donald Trump, SMOD himself, expressed agreement with this view to Hugh Hewitt the other day. http://vlt.tc/21bq   Hugh: “So should the Republicans shut own the government rather then fund Planed Parenthood? … The word is that the Democrats will filibuster and the president will veto — that’s the only way to get rid of Planned Parenthood money for selling off baby parts is to shut the government down in September. Would you support that?” Trump: “Well I can tell you this. I would and I was also in support if the Republicans stuck together you could have done it with Obamacare also, but the Republicans decided not to stick together and they left a few people out there like Ted Cruz. You know, they left a lot of the people who really went in and wanted to do the job and you know what? If they had stuck together they would have won that battle. I think you have to in this case also, yes.”

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell need to get ready for an atom bomb. You can duck dodge dive and duck on just about any issue when you’re dealing with the base, but this one’s different. And how they deal with this challenge could go a long way toward telling us whether the Republican Party as it is currently ordered will continue to exist.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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