f the GOP can’t make a compelling argument for cutting off Planned Parenthood funding, what can it do?
It’s probably true that Republicans won’t be able to force Planned Parenthood to shut down its human organ harvesting business. Not this year. Maybe not any year. And it is probably true that Republicans won’t be able to stop the flow of over $500 million to the abortion conglomerate. At least not until the GOP builds a veto/filibuster-proof majority and wins the presidency. So, not soon. Maybe never. And it’s undoubtedly true that flailing, pointing at shiny objects, and creating unrealistic expectations is counterproductive in the long run.
But here are some other things that are also true.
No American—save a lobbyist, perhaps—is inspired to support a political party because its leaders did a bang-up job passing a bipartisan highway bill. Or put it this way: If the GOP is unwilling or unable to make a compelling argument for cutting off taxpayer funding to an organization that performs vivisections on human beings, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for them make the case that this iteration of the GOP needs to exist at all.
Mitch McConnell, who argues that Republicans must wait to win the presidency before taking on the abortion fight, assures his constituents that the GOP won’t be the ones to risk a shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding. By preemptively conceding this, he’s conceded that the GOP is culpable for any shutdowns and that those shutdowns are events that should be avoided at all costs.
Neither of those things is true.
Can Democrats stop anything by shouting “shutdown?” Can they unilaterally define what new spending limits look like? If not, why is a shutdown fight over spending more worthwhile than a shutdown fight over Planned Parenthood? Republicans, after all, don’t have the votes to pass any item on their agenda (whatever that agenda theoretically entails).
Here’s something McConnell might have said instead: I’m not sure what’s going to happen, yet. But if Democrats want to shut down government to preserve funding for doctors who think it’s hilarious to jumpstart a dead baby’s heart after it’s been extracted his mother, I’ll let them explain that to the American people.
For many conservatives, this fight is easier to grasp and more morally consequential than sequestration or the debt ceiling. It’s one that would be more difficult for Democrats, as well.