Thursday, April 14, 2011

Classiest Politicians in America - Installment #5 - Sen. Jon Kyl, R-AZ

Gail Collins

Gail Collins, easily the drollest columnist in America today, addresses Senator Jon Kyl, R- Arizona, in today's column in the New York Times .

Money quotes:
Part of the price of keeping the government operating this week is another debate over the financing of Planned Parenthood. Whoopee.
At least it’ll give us a chance to reminisce about Senator Jon Kyl, who gave that speech against federal support for Planned Parenthood last week that was noted for: A) its wild inaccuracy; and B) his staff’s explanation that the remarks were “not intended to be a factual statement.”
This is the most memorable statement to come out of politics since Newt Gingrich told the world that he was driven to commit serial adultery by excessive patriotism.
The speech in question was Kyl’s rejoinder to the argument that Planned Parenthood provides a critically important national network of women’s health services.
“You don’t have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol or your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does,” Kyl declared.
Planned Parenthood says that abortions, which are not paid for with federal money, constitute 3 percent of the services that the organization provides. That’s quite a gap. But only if you’re planning on going factual.
Anyhow, that was definitely a high point. Next year, Kyl is retiring from the Senate and returning to the private sector, where he will have leisure to contemplate that this was the single moment of his public career for which he became nationally famous.
. . . .
What we have here is a wide-ranging attack on women’s right to control their reproductive lives that the women themselves would strongly object to if it was stated clearly. So the attempt to end federal financing for Planned Parenthood, which uses the money for contraceptive services but not abortion, is portrayed as an anti-abortion crusade. It makes sense, as long as you lay off the factual statements.

Here is Steven Colbert's analysis of the attack on Planned Parenthood by Kyl and Fox and Friends:

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