Today is the day when Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards sits down before Congress to testify about government funding for her organization and the horrific videos which have come to light this year. (As a stunt, the group will be offering free STD testing while she’s being grilled.) For the sake of the organization’s supporters, let’s hope she fares better than Nomiki Konst of The Accountability Project did last night on The Kelly File. The Fox News host paired her up with GOP pollster and strategist Lisa Boothe to discuss Carly Fiorina’s Planned Parenthood stump speeches, as well as the more general subject of PP funding. The ensuing bloodbath seemed to demonstrate precisely how badly conservatives have PP on the ropes right now. (Video from Right Sightings)
It’s not a long segment, so let’s get to the video right off the bat.
(UPDATE: Video fixed so it doesn’t start at the end. Sorry)
As you’ll see in the video, Konst is put on the defensive by Boothe almost immediately, being challenged to explain why taxpayers should fund a completely self-sufficient organization which doesn’t provide the same level or quality of services that other local health clinics offer at thousands of other locations. On that score she has absolutely no answer. Konst then makes the mistake of listing all of the wonderful services that PP provides and – of course – she starts out with mammograms. Both Lisa and Kelly jump all over that one, pointing out that precisely zero Planned Parenthood clinics have the equipment to perform a mammogram and they only offer referrals to other medical facilities such as the aforementioned local health clinics.
The subject of the videos comes up, naturally, and PP’s designated defender attempts to repeatedly describe them as “fraudulent” until it’s firmly pointed out to her that many of them are interviews with current or former PP officials and the others are with third party company representatives who directly did business with the organization. Watching Konst become more and more flustered as she begins trying to shout Boothe down is truly something to behold.
The only complaint I had with the exchange was that neither Kelly nor Boothe pushed back on Konst when she brought up the tired old line about no federal funds going to pay for abortions. As we’ve discussed here repeatedly this is total red herring since money is fungible. When you give them taxpayer dollars to do other work, it frees up more of their considerable private funding to go to abortions so there’s really no difference once the cash is poured into the PP bucket.
But with that one minor complaint, this segment was a fine example of the type of fight which is required if conservatives are serious about winning the war of public opinion on federal funding for Planned Parenthood. We’ll need to see a lot more of this, though, before the public opinion polls begin to swing the other way. As of this month there’s still a solid majority who do not find this funding a sufficient reason to shut down the government. That’s the sort of number that can take a winning position and turn it into a loser quickly.