I’ve been cautiously optimistic about the new Obama administration. While he wasn’t my first pick in the Democratic primary, I’m relieved to both have Dubya out of the White House and to have a Democratic president.
So this pains me to write: Obama dropped the ball in the stimulus package. For all of his promises of “bringing people together” and removing pork (no earmarks!), the bill has effectively turned into a Kitchen Sink bill. Every Democratic pet cause has been thrown into this puppy.
And the only thing that has been thrown out? Family planning funding.
While I tend to agree that money towards family planning is not going to provide short term stimulus to the economy, I don’t think funding to the National Endowment for the Arts or the Teacher Incentive Fund do either. Also, let me point out that a chunk of the funds are for so-called “shovel ready” projects, which will primarily benefit blue collar men.
I can be a political pragmatist. I understand the need for compromise to bridge divides and bring consensus. However, what did President Obama receive for yielding to the conservative pressure to remove family planning from the bill? Not one single Republican vote. Why do women have to be sacrificed for the illusion of post-partisanship?
(See also, Ellen Goodman's piece in the Boston Globe today: The endless game of family planning ping-pong).