Thursday, April 14, 2011

Newsflash: What Comes Out of a Politician's Mouth is Not to Be Considered "Factual!"

In a speech last week on the Senate floor as the deadline to avoid a government shutdown neared, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) argued the case for ending federal funding of Planned Parenthood:

"Everybody goes to clinics, to hospitals, to doctors, and so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood. But you don’t have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol or your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."

The problem with Kyl's point is that it's entirely wrong. Abortions account for just 3% of Planned Parenthood's overall activities, most of which involve performing critical cancer screenings, HIV tests, family planning and general health care for millions of women. But what's 87 percentage points among friends, right?

When this fact was pointed out to Kyl, his office issued the most astonishing BS ever to hit DC: the Senator's 90% figure "was not intended to be a factual statement but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions in taxpayer dollars, does subsidize abortions."

I'm not sure what's more unbelievable: that they're attempting to wave off this humiliating misstep this way, or that they're disingenuously continuing to claim that federal funds are used to pay for abortions at Planned Parenthood, or anywhere else for that matter. The Hyde Amendment of 1976 clearly prohibits such funding, and Republicans, especially Kyl, know that.

In the days since Kyl's now-infamous gaffe he's been criticized and mocked within political circles and the media. In Thursday's NY Times, columnist Gail Collins writes that Kyl's colossal error and then lame attempt to explain it will be the most significant thing he's remembered for after he retires next year. She might be right, much like future Hall of Famer Bill Buckner, the Golden Glove former first baseman for the Boston Red Sox, will forever be remembered for allowing the Mets' Mookie Wilson's grounder to pass through his legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. History can be a cruel mutha sometimes.

But here's the thing: is anyone really surprised by Kyl's remarks? By his gargantuan inaccuracy? By his whitewashing of it all? Given how the political landscape has been so duplicitously manicured for the past forty years or so, is it really that shocking that a politician would blatantly lie and then feebly attempt to cover it up? Honestly, what's all the fuss about?

Perhaps I'm just different from most folks. Maybe I just expect all politicians to lie and deny. So when they do, rather than be upset I'm actually happy...for they've not let me down.

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