Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bushes' Backward March on Birth Control

Politics not only makes strange bedfellows but can lead them to do kinky things when they get there.

In 1947, George W. Bush’s grandfather was the first national campaign treasurer for Planned Parenthood, and three years later Prescott Bush’s advocacy of birth control led to his close defeat for a U.S. Senate seat in heavily Catholic Connecticut.

This month, his grandson named an opponent of birth control to be in charge of all the government’s contraception programs. Susan Orr, head of population affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services, will be overseeing activities that she has been denouncing for years.

In 2001, she pushed a proposal to stop requiring health insurance plans for federal employees to cover birth control on the grounds that ”fertility is not a disease.”

It would be easy to write off her appointment as another sop to the Pat Robertson-James Dobson wing of the Republican base, where Ms. Orr previously labored. But there is a more interesting question in all this:

As a lame-duck, Bush has no political self-interest in placating them. As a human being, he has a wife, mother and daughter who are on the public record in favor of freedom of choice for women, to say nothing of his grandfather’s advocacy.

What drives him to this automaton-like appointment that goes against overwhelming public sentiment as well? If we knew the answer to that, we might begin to understand how George W. Bush in two decades went from the failed son of a wealthy but public-spirited family to a destroyer of so many basic values in American life.


John Rose said...

I blame religion. It has just completely brain-washed Bush into a Jesus-loving zombie.

Altaglow said...

I'd also like an easy answer for Bush but I don't think religion is it. How can he be a Christian and do the things he's done and continues to do? Of course, if the love of corporations and green backs qualify as "religion" he should be home free.

Mike said...

Altaglow, Bush picks and chooses what parts of his faith are important to him. Like many Christian fundies, he chooses to ignore the Sermon on the Mount and adhere to the most conservative interpretations of Scripture on "values" issues like gay rights and birth control.