Friday, April 08, 2011

Expecting too much from our elected officials

"Everybody goes to clinics, to doctors, to hospitals, so on. Some
people go to Planned Parenthood. But 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."
- Senator Kyl 4/8/11

I had just left college, with a fire in my belly, when the government shutdown in 1995. I understood the arguments on both sides, both then and now, but am baffled by the lack of honesty. If you really think that a policy rider is important, then stand up for it. I was listening to some of the debate today during lunch. It's kinda stressful as a school teacher, right before standardized testing begins so I thought, maybe I had misheard the statement, not paying full attention between bites. Then I heard the quote again on the ride home. After hearing it this second time, I decided to find out where Sen. Kyl got his stats from.

As I crawled, in my metal turtle, through afternoon rush hours traffic, I called a random Capitol Hill office number and the person was nice enough to give me Senator Kyl's office number. My purpose was simply to find the source of the statistic the Senator had used on the floor.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein highlights this chart showing exactly what Planned Parenthood does:

I was lucky enough to work on the House side of Capitol Hill 17 years ago. I knew even then that everything the Congressman said on the floor (Speeches, and or recorded debate) was all researched before hand. Very, very rarely did the Congressman go in front of C SPAN cameras having to give a speech unprepared. I do not believe the Louisiana delegation was that far ahead of the curve. That means, that most, if not all federal legislators probably follow the same formula.

When I called the office, (I presume) an intern answered the phone. This young man could not answer my question. He first told me that he was not certain that the Senator had said this. I assured him that it had, and asked him where the statistics could be found. He told me he did not know. I asked to be placed on hold, and to be put through to a staffer who could help me. He refused saying the office was too busy at the moment. This interchange makes me think there was no basis for this information. I feel like a broken record here; if you are going to make a statement that could possibly be recorded, then stand by it, and explain it.

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