Planned Parenthood Kabuki, Act I

To nobody’s surprise, a straight-forward amendment to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood failed to overcome a Senate Democratic filibuster yesterday. One Republican, Mark Kirk, voted against the amendment (Lindsey Graham was in New Hampshire for the Voters First Forum, and was showed up by Cruz, Rand and Rubio who stayed in Washington to cast solemn voters against the babykilling baby body parts traffickers).

More interestingly for those who have been following abortion politics for a while and remember how many “pro-life Democrats” there used to be, only two Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin of WV and Joe Donnelly of IN, voted with the GOP. The most conspicuously anti-abortion Democrat, Bob Casey of PA, voted against the amendment on the sensible grounds that federal funds only support Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services, an argument most antichoicers oppose because of Satan’s fungible finances.

In any event, this is just the first act in what is likely to be a long Kabuki Theater performance on this subject that will get really lively after the August recess when we’ll probably need a continuing appropriations resolution to keep the federal government running beyond the September 30 end of the current fiscal year. That’s when Erick Erickson’s demands that the GOP shut down the government to force Barack Obama to sacrifice Planned Parenthood will come into play.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.