Republican Gridlock, Ultrasounds, Defunding Planned Parenthood, and the Day the Music Died

SIGNS AND WONDERS

How Ya Like Me Now? For a decade, Republican leaders have complained that the reason they can’t get anything done was because Democrats controlled either the White House or one of the houses of Congress. However, now we have a Republican President, a Republican House of Representatives, and a Republican Senate. So are we seeing fast and furious legislative action? Not so much. In the first month of the legislative session, Congress has delivered just three pieces of legislation for the president’s signature: a waiver allowing retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to serve as defense secretary, a joint resolution repealing the Obama administration’s stream protection rule, and another resolution reversing a Securities and Exchange Commission rule pertaining to energy companies. So far we’ve seen a lot of talk but no action regarding repealing Obamacare or defunding Planned Parenthood. It’s hard to know where to assign blame. There’s no doubt that Democrats have adopted a strategy of obstructionism, but it’s also obvious that President Trump so far has few friends in Congress—even on the Republican side.

A New Enemy. Pro-aborts have a new enemy: the ultrasound machine. Or so says The Atlantic in a recent article: “How ultrasound became political.” The article says the ultrasound machine has caused many women to change their minds about having an abortion. That much is true. Some statistics say that as many as 80 percent of “abortion-minded” women will choose life when they see an ultrasound image of their babies. But The Atlantic article goes further and claims that ultrasounds are part of a massive deception to trick mothers into believing that a fetus is actually a baby. First published on Jan. 24, the article ignited a firestorm of reaction from pro-lifers, who pointed out multiple factual errors in the piece. In fact, if you click on the link above and go to the article itself, you’ll note this sentence at the beginning: “Editor’s note: This article has been significantly revised since original publication. Please see correction note below.” Then, if you go to the “correction note below” you’ll read a dense paragraph of major corrections to the piece. It sounds to me like the real enemy is not the ultrasound machine, but agenda-driven reporters. That’s why it is important to read with discernment, and to speak up when you see factual errors in articles.

The Right Thing to Do. While we’re on the subject of abortion, and since I mentioned the defunding of Planned Parenthood, I direct your attention to an article by my friend Frank Cannon, president of The American Principles Project. He wrote in The Hill that Republicans should defund Planned Parenthood not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes political sense as well. “In 2016, Planned Parenthood spent $30 million trying to elect Hillary Clinton. For years, Planned Parenthood has aggressively allied itself with the Democratic Party, spending millions of dollars in campaign advertising to elect politicians who will, in return, give them hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding. Defunding the Left should be common sense for Republicans. GOP leaders need to understand that this represents a tremendous opportunity to build bigger majorities in the 2018 election cycle. Democrats running in Trump-friendly territory are the great bulk of senators up for re-election. Positioning [Democrats] on the side of preserving abortion funding, at the expense of providing funding for real women’s health care, is a net political loss for them, but that only matters if Republicans grow a backbone and fight through the inevitable media backlash.” Cannon said polling shows the American people oppose federal funding of Planned Parenthood. That’s especially true in states where there will be Senate races: North Dakota (70 percent oppose federal funding of Planned Parenthood), Montana (61 percent), Ohio (57 percent), Missouri (54 percent), Wisconsin (51 percent), and Florida (48 percent).

Bye-Bye, Miss American Pie. Last Friday, Feb. 3, is often called “The Day the Music Died.” It was the day, in 1959, that Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, The Big Bopper, and others died in a plane crash. Don McLean’s “American Pie” memorialized the event. I was 13 years old when the song came out in late 1971. It was the number one song in the country on this date in 1972, 45 years ago. It’s hard to overstate the impact that song had on radio and on a whole generation of people who loved music and thought it was important. At eight minutes and 33 seconds, it was twice as long as any other song on the radio. When it came on, you stopped what you were doing and actually listened—even if you didn’t always understand the cryptic words. Don McLean recently reflected on the song and its meaning, and you can find those reflections here.

Image courtesy of sunlayk at Thinkstock by Getty Images.

Warren Cole Smith is an investigative journalist and author as well as the Colson Center vice president for mission advancement.


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