Actions speak louder than words, right?
At a time when an astonishing 47% of Republicans think President Obama was born outside the United States (according to an April 2011 New York Times/CBS poll), Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana was supposed be a reasonable exception — a politician who took Americans’ top concerns (namely, the state of the economy and job creation) seriously.
In an interview with The Weekly Standard in June 2010, Daniels indicated that the next U.S. president "would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues," claiming that "we’re just going to have to get along for a little while" while the country tackles its considerable economic challenges.
The media immediately jumped on Daniels’ "truce" statement, using it to differentiate the governor from other potential presidential candidates who had been more publicly vocal on issues like abortion rights and LGBT rights. In retrospect, a lot of this commentary represented the news punditry machine making hay. Daniels never specified how he would secure such a social issues truce, and he never issued a promise that he would respect, for instance, the position of the pro-choice American majority when it came to actual policymaking.
And anyway, we now have proof that Daniels was never really serious about honoring his truce. From a Talking Points Memo article last Friday:
Republican Governor Mitch Daniels released a statement Friday afternoon saying he will sign legislation stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood in Indiana, the first state to make such a move.
This move is extreme and senseless, and it will damage the lives of so many families, particularly low-income families. The response from Betty Cockrum, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Indiana, makes this much clear.
The decision to sign HB 1210 into law is unconscionable and unspeakable. We will now suffer the consequences of lawmakers who have no regard for fact-based decision making and sound public health policy.
As many as 22,000 low-income Hoosiers will lose their medical home. Countless patients will find themselves without access to lifesaving tests to avoid the tragic outcomes of cervical and breast cancer and epidemic sexually transmitted disease here in Indiana.
What are the consequences of taking away federal funding that passes through the state to PPIN?
The Federal Centers for Disease Control tells us that the legalization of birth control was one of the ten most meaningful advances in public health policy in the last century. And yet our legislative leadership has unplugged those most in need from that essential service. They are creating a lose-lose for Hoosiers. Decreased birth control means more unintended pregnancy. More unintended pregnancy means increased Medicaid spending. Indiana already has one of the highest rates of Medicaid-covered births. The cost is already 450 million dollars. Logic would suggest that those births will lead to Medicaid-covered dependents for perhaps eighteen years. The lawmakers have outdone themselves in contributing further to the cycle of poverty here in Indiana, where 22 percent of our children live below the poverty line.
We will be filing an injunction immediately to try to halt this alarming erosion of public health policy in our state.
It’s incredibly sad, really. These politicians are celebrated in the news media for broadcasting false, fluff signals that they actually care about this country and their constituents, but then they aren’t held to account when they stab this country and us in the back. That said, there is still time — there will always be time — to hold someone like Mitch Daniels accountable for absolute moral spinelessness. That’s our job.