It’s like a Meat Loaf song — Joe Biden would do anything for abortion, but he won’t do that. Or much of anything else either, which has fellow Democrats fuming, according to Politico, to which we’ll return in a moment. Biden’s allies on Capitol Hill have spent the last few days spitballing about how the federal government can force states to allow abortions, and this suggestion from Sen. Elizabeth Warren is certainly … outside the box.
Outside the building and outside of reality too, but I digress:
I just spoke with @ewarren, who suggested the Biden administration establish Planned Parenthood outposts on the edges of national parks.
"They could put up tents, have trained personnel — and be there to help people who need it."
"It's time to declare a medical emergency."
— Caroline Kitchener (@CAKitchener) June 27, 2022
Narrator: It was not a “national emergency.” One would think that after a pandemic, politicians might get a little more careful about the application of that term. Nor did Warren explain how women’s health would be enhanced by conducting a surgical procedure in tents inside national parks. I guess women’s health concerns don’t include sanitation, reliable power, fresh water, or anything else.
The White House threw cold water not just on tents but on the whole idea of setting up abortion clinics on federal land. Karine Jean-Pierre called these demands “well intentioned,” but not well thought out, apparently:
The Biden administration has come under pressure from progressives to take tougher actions in response to Roe v. Wade’s overturning, including considering the use of federal land in states opposed to abortion to provide the service.
But Jean-Pierre said it doing so could put those providing and getting the service at legal and physical risk.
“With this proposal — we understand the proposal is well intentioned, but here’s the thing: It could actually put women and providers at risk. And importantly, in states where abortion is now illegal, women and providers who are not federal employees, as you look at the federal land, could potentially be prosecuted,” she told reporters on Air Force One.
“As we understand why they would put forward this proposal, there’s actually dangerous ramifications to doing this,” she added.
No kidding, but that’s not all that’s wrong with this proposal. It also would violate the Hyde Amendment prohibition on using federal dollars to pay for abortions. Again, you’d think that legislators would recall what went into the federal budget they created and implemented, in this case just four months ago. Joe Biden couldn’t use HHS or any other federal funds to offer abortions even if he wanted to do so, not in tents or anywhere else.
Allahpundit wrote earlier about a spike in Democratic voter enthusiasm in the midterms after Dobbs. The problem, however, is that it won’t last long while Biden and his team spin their wheels about offering any work-arounds. The fact that there aren’t any real work-arounds won’t stop Democrats like Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from demanding that Biden implement unworkable proposals, and Politico reports that Democrats are frustrated that Biden and his team don’t have any proposals ready:
Frustration is building among liberals over what some see as a slow executive response from the president, despite weeks to prepare following POLITICO’s publication of a draft majority opinion forecasting the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. White House officials contend that things are more complicated than they seem, but that’s doing little to turn down the temperature in the party.
“He made a strong statement the day of. I would have liked to see some more specific actions rolled out,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “We all knew this was coming.”
Jayapal spent part of Monday in meetings with Biden officials and encouraged them on the sidelines to do more, urging a look at further agency-level moves to protect abortion access — the sort of action that White House aides say is coming soon, albeit without specifics so far.
It’s not a full Democratic pile-on yet, even as the party’s base rages after the conservative-leaning high court stripped a nationwide right to abortion. That’s in part because Democrats recognize both that Biden’s hands are somewhat tied and that the dynamics in Congress don’t allow a robust response. Nonetheless, lawmakers like Jayapal and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are pressing the president for a more urgent counterattack.
Progressives will once again pressure Biden into overpromising and underdelivering, a hallmark of his presidency thus far. More to Jayapal’s point, though, it really looks like the Biden administration is not just underdelivering but under-preparing, too. Biden and Kamala Harris had almost two months to lay out a strategy for responding to a Supreme Court decision that vacated Roe, and yet Harris made it sound last night as though she and Biden just started their own spitballing process:
.@DanaBashCNN: "Can the administration expand abortion access or abortion services on federal lands?"
— The Hill (@thehill) June 28, 2022
This gets to a point I discussed on Saturday about the politics of Dobbs. Yes, we’ll see a big spike in interest in the first few days, and that will impact polling for a few weeks. But if Democrats don’t have a rational response to the change, and if they just continue to offer hyperbole and nonsense solutions — abortions in tents in national parks? Come on, man — that spike in enthusiasm from their base will quickly evaporate, and they will look even worse among those already losing confidence in their ability to deliver on promises. Or even on rational policies on the economy, which will shortly drive polling again anyway.