Wrong, Maddow - It Was Dems, Not GOP, Willing to Shut Down Govt. Over Planned Parenthood

When it comes to dispensing the casual lie, few leftists in media rival Rachel Maddow.

Most recent example -- Maddow claiming on her MSNBC show Aug. 22 that Republicans wanted to shut down the federal government in April 2011 to stop taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading abortion chain. (video after page break) --

MADDOW: It's not just a talking point that the Republicans wanted to shut down the federal government rather than keep funding Planned Parenthood. That is an actual thing that happened.

While Maddow said this, a headline was shown from The Huffington Post -- that indisputable beacon of neutrality in news -- the headline reading, "Government Shutdown Threatened by Republicans Over Planned Parenthood."

Not surprisingly, Maddow gets it backward, as is self-evident to all but the most oblivious or habitually dishonest. Had Republicans wanted to shut down government over Planned Parenthood during the budget impasse in the spring of 2011, the government would have been shut down. But they weren't -- and it didn't. Turns out none of this is difficult to comprehend, even for the ardent abortion enthusiasts at MSNBC.

There were, however, those quite willing to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood, though we'll sooner see snowdrifts in the Florida Keys than Maddow ever acknowledge who they were. Those willing to do so were none other than -- ta da! -- President Obama and Vice President Biden.

Here's how it was reported by Politico on April 9, 2011 --

The low point may have come Thursday night.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had spent more than an hour meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, inching toward a deal to avert a shutdown, but he kept insisting that it include a prohibition against federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

That was a nonstarter for Obama. As the meeting was breaking up, Vice President Joe Biden told the speaker, in no uncertain terms, that his demand was unacceptable. If that became the deal breaker, Biden said, he would "take it to the American people," who would presumably punish the GOP for shutting down the government over an ideological issue.

"They were faced with a choice -- they would either have to give in or shut down the government," said a senior administration official, describing how the negotiations went from there.

In the end, Boehner agreed to a package of $38.5 billion in cuts, a significant victory for a man who said his goal was to extract as much as possible from the federal budget. He also won limited victories on a handful of policy riders attached to the bill. But Boehner was forced to abandon some major demands, including Planned Parenthood, restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency and efforts to restrict Obama's health reform bill.

Put another way, Boeher initially insisted on an end to federal funding to Planned Parenthood before relenting on this and other provisions -- to avoid a government shutdown.

The Politico account dovetails with an April 11, 2011 story from Bloomberg titled "Tense Meetings, Stalled Talks Led to a 'Painful' Agreement on U.S. Budget." Bloomberg reporter Lisa Lerer wrote --

President Barack Obama had finally reached his breaking point.

For more than an hour in an Oval Office meeting on April 7, House Speaker John Boehner had insisted that any compromise on the government's budget include a prohibition on federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Obama already had reluctantly agreed to a provision banning the District of Columbia from spending funds on abortion services -- and that was as far as he would go.

"Nope, zero," he told Boehner, according to a senior Democratic aide. "John, this is it." The room went silent.
...

Democrats were adamant that it not be in the bill, knowing the provision would inflame their base and could alienate the independent voters whose support Obama will need to win a second term.

Toward the end of the meeting, after repeated efforts to insert the family planning rider, an exasperated Biden said the administration was prepared to "take it to the American people" and allow a shutdown over an issue unrelated to government funding.

Once again, as also reported by Politico, it was Obama and Biden willing to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood -- not Boehner and Republicans. "Boehner told members he had gotten the best deal he could," Lerer reported, "given that Republicans control only the House, and that they changed the debate to focus on cutting spending rather than approving new programs."

Looking back to the episode, Maddow depicts Republicans as rigid and dogmatic when it was Democrats who would have shuttered government over Planned Parenthood and Republicans compromising to avoid this. In return, more than a year later, the GOP gets nothing but scorn and deceit from one of the most prominent voices on the left.

Next on "The Rachel Maddow Show" -- why are Republicans so unwilling to find common ground with Democrats?

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts