Republican senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain's passing concession yesterday to Meet the Press host David Gregory that there is in fact a "war on women among Republicans" was the perfect springboard for MSNBC's Richard Lui to conduct a softball interview with former Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt. Lui, substitute hosting the March 19 edition of Chris Jansing Reports, introduced the segment with the relevant clip of McCain, noting that the feminist author had gone "toe-to-toe" with McCain on social issues and that "this was a change."
Feldt enthused that she was happy to see the old John McCain back, recalling fondly that the first time she met the senator, his rhetoric was more socially liberal. "His instincts were to say women should have the right to make their own child-bearing decisions." That said, Feldt made sure to denounce McCain for having "a 100 percent anti-choice, anti-family planning voting record."
"What this contraceptive coverage issue has smoked out is just how anti-women their voting records have been over the years," Feldt added.
A skeptical journalist, or at least one game for playing devil's advocate, might have turned the tables on Feldt by pressing if the liberal Democratic staunchness on the contraceptive mandate illustrated the left-wing's war on religious conscience. After all, why force a religious institution to violate its religious beliefs by offering something they believe is fundamentally sinful or immoral.
But alas, Lui opted instead to lob softballs at Feldt on this matter and pretty much everything else in the interview. Here are the rest of the questions Lui asked Feldt:
- So when you see Sen. McCain here in no, in very simple terms, just saying no, we need to change the narrative here, does this mean that you think that there will be other Republicans also following that line, regardless of what their reputation is and what their record is?
- Well, it appears, Gloria, that that message is getting through, at least when it comes to fundraising. EMILY's List, their president saying that fundraising in the first quarter was one of the best ever, according to what that president said from EMILY's List. Do you think this is going to translate to votes, since you were alluding to that just now?
- Seventy-seven percent is the number that we have from the Bloomberg poll that say this [birth control] should not be a topic [in political debate]
- I want to get to Rush [Limbaugh] in a second, but you're saying you're agreeing with that poll saying that 77 percent say it should not be a political topic. But hasn't it aided that movement, has it brought attention to a major point that is being discussed with social conservatives and the rest of the electorate?
- Are you glad this debate is here right now, front and center?
- It [controversy] makes you talk about it?
- So we've got the money coming out, you're glad that this issue is now front-and-center, you've also written about it, there's a piece today that's coming out in The Nation today, right, and you've talked about Rush [Limbaugh] in that. Tell me what it's about?
- Nobody's come out to defend him on his comments, but you are putting in question here the freedom of speech. And I know in your writings you said that was one of the issues, you thought back to the day when you had to think of women's issues and freedom of speech.
- So why is it okay here then?
- Do you think that the movement, the energy that's behind this right now is great enough to actually remove Rush?
- Outside of that [if market pressure/boycotts don't push LImbaugh off the air first] though?
- If he corrects this sort of action in the future, if he doesn't make such statements in the future, okay to stay then?