During the last GOP presidential debate Carly Fiorina had her ‘finest’ moment when she pontificated in a shrill, staccato voice about a video she had allegedly seen that proved beyond any doubt that Planned Parenthood is in the business of selling body parts of unborn babies that have been aborted on its watch. According to Fiorina the video showed ‘a fully formed fetus, heart beating, legs kicking,’ with Planned Parenthood people talking about the need to keep it alive to harvest its brain. Almost immediately after the debate the video turned out to be a fabrication by anti-abortion activists, but Carly Fiorina doubled down on her statements. Today more details have become available. The body in the video belonged to a stillborn baby of which the heart beat only very briefly. According to the mother there was no abortion, of which she is an opponent, and Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with it. There is little chance, however, that Fiorina will recant her outrageous lies. Yesterday she denounced politics as a ‘fact free zone,’ oblivious to the irony that she is the presidential candidate who mostly makes it that way.
But Carly Fiorina has a lot of competition. Today we could witness the disgusting spectacle of a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing about Planned Parenthood funding, with one GOP Representative after another launching attacks based on false information at Camile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood. The purpose of the hearing was clearly not listening but grandstanding, and as the Huffington Post observed Republican members of the committee, following the lead of chairman Jason Chaffetz, would not let Ms. Richards answer any questions, but continuously interrupted her with the next bizarre proclamation. One of them went as far as cutting her off when she tried to answer his question by telling her to stop interrupting him because she was taking away his time. The only GOP House member who didn’t ask any questions was a ‘pro-lifer’ who once pressured both his wife and his mistress to have abortions. Chris Hayes justifiably called the whole thing a ‘public shaming,’ and if it wasn’t for Camile Richards’s amazing class and self-control, it could have been even uglier.
An absolute lowlight of the event came when lawmakers who have not accomplished anything in the last four years, and whose salaries are therefore a complete waste of public money, started questioning Ms. Richards about her salary level. And if that was not yet sufficiently clear, the hearing showed once again that the Republican anti-abortion mob will stop at nothing to take necessary services away from women, and that lies, innuendo and thuggish behavior are its tools.
On a larger scale, respect for the truth is not to be found in the Republican campaign. Pursuing insane and destructive policies like trickle down economics and military adventures is one thing, and with some effort it’s imaginable that some politicians really believe they are worth pursuing, but telling blatant lies about climate change and the effect of tax plans is something different.
I believe that the late great Yogi Berra, who was buried today, once said about Yankees owner Steinbrenner “when he breathes he lies.” Yogi and the Boss eventually made up, but hopefully the liars and hoodlums who populate the GOP House caucus won’t be met with such generosity.