Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Profiles in Cowardice: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Planned Parenthood Funding

Profiles in Cowardice--Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Planned Parenthood Funding

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  gave a revealing interview to a Kentucky television station regarding his "leadership" style and priorities.

McConnell bragged how under his helm in the 114th Congress, the Republican leadership has brought order to disorder and been more productive.  There are 10 times the number of roll call votes than under the last term with ex Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Senate is on the road to passing a budget on time, which Democrat Senate had been unable to do five of six years under the Obama Administration. Furthermore, Senator McConnell bragged about allowing for bipartisan votes, and he specifically cited the Iran Nuke Vote.

Consequently, Leader McConnell will not fight to stop Planned Parenthood funding. The so called Leader lamented that the votes simply were not there to override a veto. Too bad, so sad.

Apparently, Mr. McConnell does not appreciate the overwhelming anger of the Republican base about a do-nothing Congress which stands for nothing.

Senator McConnell conveniently forgot about Senator Rand Paul's effort to attach a Planned Parenthood defunding amendment to the highway bill, which was virtually a must pass piece of legislation. The Republican Majority Leader followed his predecessor's practice of filling the amendment tree so that no amendments (other than what the Majority Leader preferred) could be attached.  

Instead, Senator McConnell promised a "stand alone" defund Planned Parenthood vote, which inevitably fell short of attaining cloture, meaning that the bill would never be finally voted upon, but phony conservatives could still say that they voted against Planned Parenthood to their gullible constituents while on the hustings or in town hall meetings.

For budget reconciliation votes, there is a special mechanism (the Byrd rule) which does not require a cloture vote to cut off debate.  So theoretically, a budget with a Planned Parenthood defunding rider could pass and land on  President Obama's desk, where it is likely that America's most pro-abortion Chief Executive would veto the budget.  Which would mean that Mr. Obama would be responsible for closing down the government to support Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts.

But the Republican establishment is scared of its own shadow much less the prospect of having a government shutdown blamed on them. So seemingly, the GOP Congresssional "leadership" (particularly in the Senate) will acquiesce to anything to avoid that outcome.

Senator McConnell's profile in cowardice in prematurely waving the white flag on the budget shows that he cares more about a hollow set of accomplishments instead of standing for life, law,  or principles.  Aside from more roll call votes, how can Senate leadership in the 114th Congress be distinguished from the Democrats.  President Obama gets everything he wants.  If there is legislation which rubs him the wrong way, the Republican establishment in the Senate caves when Mr. Obama "threatens" to take out his veto pen.  

At this point, Mr. Obama is a lame duck who should have waning influence even within his own party. Admittedly, Planned Parenthood funding might be a major fight, but it would be worth it to a principled party.  This is not a new law outlawing abortion, it is enforcing existing law on fetal pain partial birth abortion and outlawed abortion practices, which the Center for Medical Progress have show that Planned Parenthood is flagrantly flouting the rule of law. 

During the WYMT-TV  Issues and Answers interview,  Mr. McConnell seemed proud to endorse upcoming Iran Nuke Vote.  There are strong prospects for passage but it may not garner the 2/3rds vote for a veto proof majority.  Using McConnell's same logic, Republicans should fold up tent and give up because it will not be signed into law.  

Of course, the Corker/Cardin procedure ignores proper procedure that a binding international agreement (treaty) must have 2/3rds yea votes (instead of disapproval by 2/3rds). But even if the Iran Nuke vote fails to block enactment, a strong show of disapproval would give the next President indication of the unpopularity of the Executive Agreement.  Similarly, passing a budget with a Planned Parenthood defunding amendment might not stand in the short term, but it would lay down a marker for the future.  But that involves standing for principle and not feathering one's nest for the next time to try and hoodwink Republican primary voters.

As elites in the District of Calamity (sic) seem increasingly out of touch, it is worthy to point out some guide posts.  Senator Ted Cruz's July floor speech exposing the perfidy of Mitch McConnell regarding the Ex-Imp bank showed the duplicity of establishment Republicans to the base.  The current front-runners in the Republican Presidential race are all outsiders (Trump, Cardin, Fiorina and Cruz) running on a Washington Is Broken meme.  Avoiding hard votes, like Defunding Planned Parenthood may make big time contributors happy but it bodes poorly with the well-informed base who vote in primaries.  And in the end, when it comes to choosing between a progressive and a progressive lite, why not choose the real thing, because you know what you are getting and it won't be a lie.

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