is a great irony that the same party that had watch over creating the
deep recession in which we find ourselves – largely through excessive
spending, particularly on the grand flight of neo-conservative fancy to
export and re-plant democracy – now seems set to reclaim their
discredited reputation and once again try to dupe the American public
by saying they are fiscal conservatives. What rubbish.
the showdown in the Senate over the remaining Fiscal Year 2009
appropriations has certain members of the Republican party clamoring to
cut spending. Senator McCain (R-AZ), for example, sought to have the
entire appropriations bill set aside and allow programs to continue at
Fiscal Year 2008 levels. That is the same backward thinking that lost
him the election. And the ever reliable Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK),
always seeking to pass judgment on what he sees as "acceptable" public
expenditures, is seeking support for a series of amendments to cut
absent from Coburn or McCain’s list of suggested cuts is the failed
abstinence-only-until-marriage funding that remains in the bill. True,
this bill cuts the current funding by just over $14 million dollars –
the first cut to these programs in American history – but a whopping
$95 million remains. Expectations are high that President Obama’s
budget will provide the leadership that zeroes out these funds for
Fiscal Year 2010, but we have to get through 2009 first.
Coburn and the rest of the crew are serious about cutting wasteful
spending, why not start with the abstinence-only-until-marriage
earmarks in the bill sponsored by Senator Specter, a fellow Republican
from Pennsylvania. Yes, the same party that is crying about wasteful
spending is not only not going after the failed
abstinence-only-until-marriage money that is regularly in the bill, but
even the earmarks for these programs in the bill seem to be escaping
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Specter has more than a half-million dollars of
abstinence-only-until-marriage earmarks in the bill for projects in his
home state. It is no wonder that these dollars escape scrutiny.
Abstinence-only-until-marriage money remains a vestige for funneling
money to the extreme right wing and in this case, including those who
strangely enough oppose Senator Specter’s moderate record on
reproductive health issues.
example, two of the intended recipients of these earmarks are for
extreme right-wing crisis pregnancy centers: Tender Care Pregnancy
Center in Hanover, Pennsylvania and Women’s Care Center of Erie
County. A quick review of the latter’s website (www.wccerie.org)
reveals the same sensationalist and deceptive anti-choice rhetoric and
scare tactics that have become a hallmark of the agenda of these
the big question beyond the failed folly of what these dollars fund is
why Senator Coburn and his colleagues seem so fit to pass judgment on
certain spending projects but not on their own pet programs. Why
should we turn a blind eye to the inconsistency of their posturing when
they throw an additional $528,000 into the bill, in pork-laden earmarks
nonetheless, for failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs? We
would be laughable if not so tragic because in this case – it is about
young people and their health and lives. But moreover, it is an
indication that Senator Coburn and his ilk still did not get the memo
on the change the American people are seeking and that these
disingenuous attempts to regain the banner of fiscal conservativism
should not be allowed to stick. Fiscal conservatism is a principled
stand, but where it is put into service to wield ideologically
motivated mischief, as it is in this case, the real bearers of the
principle should come forward and send the charlatans to the back bench.