A defining moment in American political history occurred when President Obama and John Boehner went mano-a-mano in a private meeting over funding for Planned Parenthood. The speaker wanted to defund this baby-killing franchise, and the president wanted to keep the taxpayer spigot wide-open.
Last Friday was the moment of truth. The president remained unalterably loyal to his pro-death principles by refusing to budge. When the subject of Planned Parenthood funding came up, Boehner asked Obama how much he would cut from Planned Parenthood. “Nope, zero,” said the man of principle. Boehner asked him again, to which the president replied, “Nope. Zero. John, this is it.”
After an awkward silence, Boehner blinked. He ran up the white flag, the skirmish was over, and the unborn were the primary victims.
Bottom line: the president was far more committed to destroying babies than the speaker was to saving them. Mr. Obama was willing to go the mat for his values regarding unborn babies, and the speaker was not. The president acted as a man of conviction, and, alas, the speaker did not.
In fact, the president was perfectly willing to shut down the government over the issue of abortion; the speaker was not.
The president was so committed to his pro-death platform that he was willing to see our soldiers go without pay. Think about that for a moment. It was more important to Mr. Obama to pay people to dismember babies in the womb than to pay the men in uniform who protect our liberties. Paying abortionists was more important to the president than paying soldiers.
Why did the speaker crumple while the president stood strong? The likeliest explanation is simple: the fear of man. The speaker has always seemed deathly afraid of a government shutdown, surrendering up his hole card before anyone had even anted up.
He seemed paralyzed at the thought that he would be blamed for a government slowdown, and everybody in the room knew it. He apparently was more of afraid of answering to the Washington Post than he was of answering to God. The Proverbs says, “The fear of man lays a snare” (Prov. 29:25),” and the speaker fell into a trap of his own making.
The speaker is afraid of the wrong people. Instead of fearing the New York Times, he should be living in mortal fear of the Tea Party. The Tea Party cannot help but feel they have been sold out, their pro-life convictions abandoned in exchange for a mess of pottage, a $352 million reduction in actual government outlays. That’s about what we will now continue to pay Planned Parenthood to run their chambers of horror.
I have no doubt that the speaker is a good man. He’s decent, upright and wanted to do the right thing. But the Scriptures also say, “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked” (Prv. 25:26). When a good and upright man surrenders his principles under pressure from the wicked, the stream is polluted just as much as if he gone to the water’s edge and dumped the toxins in himself. Weakness is as deadly as malice. Allowing the wicked to pollute the stream when it is in your power to stop it is little different than doing the deed yourself.
Now surely we will hear from the speaker and others that a separate vote was held yesterday in both the House and the Senate on defending Planned Parenthood. This is true, but meaningless. Everyone knew that bill was DOA in the Senate, and therefore the whole affair was just hollow political theater.
The real moment of truth came when the speaker caved last Friday in front of the president and all but 59 House Republicans caved yesterday in front of the American people, by casting the only vote that counted, the vote to keep Planned Parenthood in the federal budget.
All is certainly not lost. The speaker will have another opportunity to show some spine when the debt ceiling vote comes along, as will the flaccid Republicans who voted with Obama on the budget bill yesterday.
Here’s hoping they begin listening to the voice of conscience and principle rather than the voice of the yammering nabobs in the Old Media. With votes on the debt ceiling and the Ryan budget on the horizon, we can’t afford another collapse under pressure.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)
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The Moral Liberal contributing editor, Bryan Fischer, is Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, and is the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. ‘Focal Point’ airs live from 1-3 pm Central Time, and is also simulcast on the AFA Channel, which can be seen on the Sky Angel network.