You would think the president of the United States would have better manners.
Having previously agreed to deliver the keynote address at Planned Parenthood's annual Washington, D.C. fundraising gala, he pulls out – and with just about 36 hours to go before the event. This really doesn't leave PPFA much time to find a replacement equal in stature.
Oh sure, he can send a videotaped message or something, but it's just not the same. It's just not fair – and not a very nice way to treat the group that is practically responsible for his re-election.
Consider all that Planned Parenthood, which benefits each year to the point of over-flowing from the federal government's generosity and largess, did for him in the last election. Putting Sandra Fluke out there to talk, essentially, about how unfair it is to force women enrolled at some of America's most elite colleges and universities to have to choose between buying textbooks and paying for birth control was a stroke of strategic brilliance. And baiting Rush Limbaugh – the most powerful voice on radio - into a public fight with this poor, defenseless student was a masterstroke worthy of Saul Alinksy himself.
In fact the whole "war on women" was simply spectacular. It completely eviscerated the GOP's Mitt Romney and energized a whole generation of young people who thought, as the DNC's – I mean ABC's George Stephanopoulos suggested in one of the New Hampshire primary debates – that the Republican candidates for president were actually going to make it illegal to buy birth control if they won the election.
It is astounding then that Obama isn't showing up at their dinner to say "thank you" for all they did. He does have a busy schedule this week – jetting down to Dallas to raise money for the Democratic National Committee, attending the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library, and going to Waco, Texas to meet with the families of the victims of last week's fertilizer plant explosion. In fact it is because he wants to spend more time with them, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday, that he will not be able to make it back to Washington in time to attend the dinner.
How rude. It was a tragedy, but it's not like the explosion at the fertilizer factory was an act of terrorism – not that his record indicates the president could tell the difference one way or the other. Is that really sufficient reason to give the "high hat" to your campaign's most loyal supporters?
There's probably still a chance to send Vice President Joe Biden in his place but really, what kind of a trade is that? That would be like trying to load Windows Vista on top of Windows 8. He's still speaking Friday morning, Carney said, but it's just not the same thing. Of course, as is usually the case, there may be another reason the president has so abruptly reconfigured his schedule.
Up in Pennsylvania, abortionist Kermit Gosnell is on trial, accused of having killed a handful of babies who survived his procedures. And Planned Parenthood is in the thick of it all.
On April 10, WPVI-TV ABC News in Philadelphia, PA reported two nurses at Planned Parenthood of Delaware's clinic had quit, giving as reasons the hazardous working conditions and "a meat-market style of assembly-line abortions." On April 18, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Planned Parenthood knew about the conditions in Gosnell's operation but did not contact police.
"Planned Parenthood last week admitted to knowing about the horrors going on inside Kermit Gosnell's squalid Philadelphia clinic, but chose not to exercise its position as the leader in the abortion industry to put an end to the butchering of women and children," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said in a release, suggesting the trial and the public scrutiny now being given to what Gosnell had been doing made it "a good time to distance oneself from Planned Parenthood."
It is also, she said, "a good time for President Obama to reconsider his position of forcing taxpayers to fork over more than $542 million each year to this abortion-centered, profit-driven business" which, she added, "in a single year ended the lives of more than 333,000 children."
At least one representative of Planned Parenthood is already on record defending the denial of medical treatment to babies surviving attempts to abort them. It's highly unlikely the president wants to be dragged into that discussion, which is what his appearance as the gala's keynoter would have done. The folks at Planned Parenthood are just going to have to settle for the policy victories and funding increases he hands them over the next several years instead of a "thank you" from the heart, delivered in person on its most important night of the year.