Scott Brown: I oppose defunding Planned Parenthood

We all understand that primarying him would be a kamikaze mission since at this point he may well be the only Republican in Massachusetts capable of getting elected to the Senate. That knowledge has bought him a wide, wide berth among the base. But I keep thinking — at some point, he’s going to cross a line and they’re going to go full RINO-stomp on him. Not even because they want to. Because they have to.

Is this that line?

US Senator Scott Brown opposes a House Republican plan to cut all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the womens’ health service provider, and today urged budget negotiators to reach a compromise.

“I support family planning and health services for women,” Brown, a Bay State Republican, said in a statement. “Given our severe budget problems, I don’t believe any area of the budget is completely immune from cuts. However, the proposal to eliminate all funding for family planning goes too far. As we continue with our budget negotiations, I hope we can find a compromise that is reasonable and appropriate.”…

Earlier this month, Brown voted in favor the House GOP proposal that would have made the cuts, though he said at the time that he “would have had different priorities” in cutting spending.

There’s a lot of deliberate ambiguity here, obviously. He’s open to cutting PP’s budget … just not the whole thing. And he’s open to voting for the House GOP’s budget resolutions even when they completely defund PPP … although he’s not happy about it. In fact, the ambiguity goes back to the aftermath of last year’s special election, when he told Barbara Walters that yes, he’s pro-choice, but “I’m against federal funding of abortions.” If federal money went towards PP’s abortion practice, he’d have to vote no, but since it’s earmarked for contraception and unrelated services (which of course frees up other money at PP to apply towards abortions), well, that’s A-OK. Behold the dilemma of a Massachusetts Republican, forever inching his way along a political tightrope.

He’s the third Senate Republican, along with Collins and Murkowski, to come out against defunding PP. Which leaves Boehner … where? If he attaches the PP rider to the next House budget bill and any of these three end up voting against it for that reason, the Democrats will crow about “bipartisan opposition” to the “renegade” House Republicans or whatever. Boehner’s going to have to yank it, right? Or at least split it off into a separate bill and let the Senate shoot it down, which will preserve the viability of the overarching budget bill while giving the base a new reason to be angry at Harry Reid.