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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Kabuki theater

With the economy showing signs of life, Republicans did what they know best yesterday: stage diversionary theater to gin up their base fretting over the prospects of Myth Romney.

So-called moderates like Scott Brown and Susan Collins marched in lockstep to support the Blunt Amendment designed less to create a "conscience exemption" for contraception coverage and more to offer a national stage for the GOP's war on women and ObamaCare. Of course that's not how they framed in in the midst of a campaign where one GOP hopeful is running more for ayatollah than leader of the Free World:
“The president is trampling on religious freedom,” said Senator Mike Johanns, Republican of Nebraska.
Democrats obviously saw things differently during a Senate debate that included a relatively silent Scott Brown, worn out no doubt from his  efforts to have Ted Kennedy spin in his grave. It's doubtful the late senator would have said it better than this:
“The Senate will not allow women’s health care choices to be taken away from them,” said Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington.
Perhaps the most distressing sign of the Republican game plan of party uber alles was the sight of Maine's Collins jumping into the fray:
“I do this with - with a lot of conflict because I think the amendment does have its flaws,’’ she said, adding that she hopes “the Senate will begin to address the many important pressing issues facing our nation and stop engaging in what is clearly an election-year ploy.’’
To her credit, Maine's senior senator, Olympia Snowe, stayed away from the vote that seems to typify why she walked away from a likely fourth term. She also saw a clear election year ploy and her party's demand for unconditional loyalty.

In contrast, three Democrats were allowed to stray from the reservation for "conscience" reasons.

It's also obvious that the GOP has no interest in letting go of this hobby horse anytime soon. With the Senate's rejection, the measure is effectively dead, but that's not about to stop House Speaker John Boehner and the House's Wild Bunch.
“It’s important for us to win this issue,” Mr. Boehner said.
Finally some straight talk from Culture War Party.

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