Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Per Miriam Wasser in Tuesday’s New Times:
The Republican Party of Maricopa County is calling on four Democratic Arizona politicians to “return every penny” of the cumulative $45,000 in campaign contributions they received from Planned Parenthood in the last few years, and to “publicly rebuke fellow Democrats” for asking the Department of Justice to investigate the Center for Medical Progress — the fake company created by the anti-abortion activists behind two recent undercover videos purportedly detailing how Planned Parenthood “sells” fetal tissue.
“The voters of Arizona demand a higher ethical standard from their elected officials,” states a press release from the county GOP. “Democrats have once again shown that they care more about maintaining the steady flow of political donations from Planned Parenthood than they do about truth and justice.”
According to the press release, Planned Parenthood donated $22,500 to Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, $14,999 to Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, $5,000 to Congressman Ruben Gallego, and $3,000 to Congressman Raul Grijalva during the last few election cycles.
Hear me, Democratic politicians of Arizona, return any of those contributions or rebuke any calls for investigation* and I will demand any donations I have ever given you back and you will be the subject of scathingly negative blog coverage from me forever and in perpetuity. And I mean that. I am so not kidding about this that should I meet my untimely demise I shall somehow plague you from beyond, dropping tracks on your ass like Tupac.
Not that I’m worried about Arizona Dems, as Rep. Ruben Gallego’s office has already told them to pound sand pretty forcefully:
“Planned Parenthood provides healthcare services to many women in the Congressman’s district that otherwise would not have access to care. Arizona Republicans have jumped at any opportunity to restrict access to not only abortion, but also a wide variety of women’s health services — all while pushing junk science on Arizona’s women. Congressman Gallego is proud to support Planned Parenthood and the important work they do.”
This is a great opportunity for these Arizona Dems to make a forceful stand for women but people should pay attention to what the AZ GOP did here. This may be more than just a faux outrage publicity stunt but rather part of a concerted effort to make taking money from Planned Parenthood “toxic” (recall that’s how Brahm Resnik’s Channel 12 Sunday Square Off panel, including the “pro-choice” person on it, characterized the organization). And it appears to be a national strategy aimed at the national Planned Parenthood PAC’s startlingly successful targeting of political races in 2012.
As Robin Marty explains at Dame Magazine:
Defunding Planned Parenthood as a health care organization would do a great deal to energize the values voters grassroots that the GOP needs desperately to turn up at the polls during the next election. Depressing Planned Parenthood’s PAC donations, and keeping them from being able to play a significant role in the 2016 cycle? That’s even more valuable, and with a major and continuing scandal being packaged and fed to media outlets, that’s entirely possible.
According to Sunlight Foundation, Planned Parenthood’s political advocacy arms had “near perfect ‘return on investment’” for the 2012 elections, using their fundraising gains for calls, get out the vote efforts, candidate awareness campaign and other resources, and most of that went to the presidential race. The 2016 White House race will be the most expensive ever, especially when it comes to outside interest groups, and conservatives want every advantage they can grab, especially when they can’t be sure that their own candidate will have any mainstream voter appeal.
Manufacture a scandal, limit Planned Parenthood’s ability to participate in the 2016 presidential race. It’s that simple.
The two major Planned Parenthood PACs spent a total of $15 million in 2012, which is hardly Koch-level money, but since they were so good at targeting it (along with an army of engaged volunteers that the Kochs could only dream of) you can understand why the GOP wants them out of the way in 2016. Even in the small amounts they’ve spent on Arizona races, Planned Parenthood has tended to pick the right horses to bet on.
So the next time you may be tempted to think that reproductive rights are a low priority issue (and, if so, you should stop that for reasons I’ve made abundantly clear approximately nine million times) and Democrats should focus on other things, just remember who it is providing tangible and effective resources and support to elections. Planned Parenthood is one such group doing that.
*As to anti-choicers being butthurt about a possible DoJ investigation, the “Center for Medical Progress” grifters may also have to contend with some serious charges of fraud and invasion of privacy in California.