We live in interesting times — times where those who used to rail against the culture embrace it and times when those who thought they were the culture realize they are on the outside.
We live in times when politicians hide behind lies to avoid action.
We lives in times where the accumulation of the lies suddenly unravels them.
The current fight over Planned Parenthood has given Republican and pro-life activists a cause that unites a vast part of the Republican coalition. The pro-life cause, after all, is about the only seam left holding the Republicans together. While there are more pro-abortion Republicans than pro-life Democrats, the GOP is fundamentally still the pro-life party.
If the Republican Party is to continue to exist, it must have this fight. And it will have this fight.
Ben Domenech makes an interesting observation today on this point.
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 pro-life movement exists for this.
During the government shutdown of 2013, the debt ceiling fight, the budget fight, and all the other fights, from Paul Ryan to John Boehner to Mitch McConnell the Republican leaders held together with a unitary talking point. The funding in question was “mandatory” spending that happens automatically. Congress’s budgetary processes involve discretionary spending. So there was nothing that could be done.
Already they’re picking up that talking point again. But it is not good enough this time. In those fights, there were enough conservatives willing to let them pass on it that they could pass on it.
Now they cannot. The pro-life movement was not fully invested in those fights like they are now. But they fundamentally understand something basic. Congress controls the purse strings. Mandatory spending can be killed just as discretionary spending can be killed. All it takes is for Congress to say “stop” and put the demand in a piece of legislation that must pass or bear consequence.
They Republicans have hidden behind the mandatory vs. discretionary spending distinction for a long time. It was the lie they built to avoid having to make tough choices. That lie now boxes them in.
If they do not act, they will face the wrath of a united Republican base — fiscal conservatives and social conservatives together as one. If they do act, then suddenly it exposes their lie as a lie and exposes them as having no will to fight.
Their alternative is to find another method to accomplish the same — a budget reconciliation vote or some other means. But even then that educates their activists and makes them aware that there are new means and new avenues down which other marches and fights can proceed.
Republicans leaders have no choice but to fight now to defund Planned Parenthood. Discretionary spending cuts will not be enough. The pro-life movement will not compromise with evil and more videos are coming to show just how evil Planned Parenthood is.
The party leadership’s lies have boxed them in. They have nowhere else to go but into battle. They they will have no retreat but destruction at the polls or victory. Democrats think they want this fight, but what they do not understand is that they have options. Republican leaders have no options but victory for the survival of their party. And that desperation is something Democrats do not fully appreciate as they smile and wait for battle.