Yesterday's House debate on stripping Planned Parenthood of federal funding (aka the Pence Amendment) included a few bright spots, notably this moving, impassioned and dead-on speech from California Representative Jackie Speier. She didn't plan to talk about this, but after listening to Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, who read aloud from a book passage describing how a second-trimester abortion appears on an ultrasound and argued that women cavalierly undergo this procedure.
BTW, between Republicans in Congress trying to defund Planned Parenthood and what's happening in Wisconsin, if you're beginning to detect a pattern, you're not alone. It seems pretty clear that Republicans are using the fiscal crises to roll back all kinds of social and economic improvements from the last century.
Unions? Sorry. Reproductive freedom for women? Can't do it anymore.
It was the GOP's fiscal policy that got this country into this mess in the first place. And now they're trying to take advantage of their own crisis to roll this country backwards.
UPDATE: I would remiss in noting that the GOP governor of Wisconsin came into office with a huge budget surplus. Now, after giving away huge tax breaks to corporations, he finds his state in dire straits.
Ezra Klein explained the situation nicely:
…The governor signed two business tax breaks and a conservative health-care policy experiment that lowers overall tax revenues. The new legislation was not offset, and it turned a surplus into a deficit. As Brian Beutler writes, "public workers are being asked to pick up the tab for this agenda."
But even that's not the full story here. Public employees aren't being asked to make a one-time payment into the state's coffers. Rather, Walker is proposing to sharply curtail their right to bargain collectively. A cyclical downturn that isn't their fault, plus an unexpected reversal in Wisconsin's budget picture that wasn't their doing, is being used to permanently end their ability to sit across the table from their employer and negotiate what their health insurance should look like.
That's how you keep a crisis from going to waste: You take a complicated problem that requires the apparent need for bold action and use it to achieve a longtime ideological objective. In this case, permanently weakening public-employee unions, a group much-loathed by Republicans in general and by the Republican legislators who have to battle them in elections in particular.