Carly Fiorina, one of the gaggle of GOP primary candidates, was widely acknowledged to have won Wednesday’s debate. She managed this feat by lying just a little more effectively than the others. That she frequently lied is not debatable according to fact-checkers. As Ezra Klein observed, “stylistically, the night was a win for Fiorina who, over and over again, seemed to actually know what she was talking about. … The problem, substantively, was that Fiorina didn’t actually know what she was talking about.” On no topic was this clearer than her discredited claims about Planned Parenthood, overt lies that she continues to defend even in the face of evidence that the events she described aren’t in the video she claimed to have watched.
But this is not news and Fiorina’s behavior is in no way beyond the Republican pale. Nobody really takes the heavily edited propaganda videos seriously. They simply offer Fiorina an way to establish her anti-abortion bona fides and Republican pols in general an framing device that can be used to drum up anti-abortion outrage as a lead-in to election year. To date, none of the state or federal legislative “investigations” into Planned Parenthood have uncovered anything illegal or that confirms the accusations of the video’s makers. But hey, who in the Republican party cares about the truth anyway?
In Missouri, legislative hearings have also been convened – even though Missouri Planned Parenthood does not participate in the fetal research program misrepresented in the videos. Of course that’s not all that Planned Parenthood does not participate in – just as in the federal hearings on the topic, the organization hasn’t been invited to testify at any of the Missouri legislative hearings to date.
That “oversight” may change though. The Chair of the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life, (I kid you not; the bias is that open), Senator Kurt Schaefer , promised after the most recent hearing, however, that based on the testimony he had heard so far, it is likely that “the law is not being followed” and he will finally “subpoena” a representative from Planned Parenthood for some subsequent meeting. Bear in mind, that the Chair, Rep. Curt Schaeffer, actually permitted two abortion protestors to testify while limiting testimony from defenders of Planned Parenthood.
If you want the nitty-gritty about the tenor of these hearings, by all means read Democratic Rep. Stacy Newman’s account of the first seven hour hearing. I warn you it isn’t pretty; Newman herself observes that the hearing was “horrendous” and made her “want to stand up and scream.”
Put up job or no, the hearings are having an effect. This week the University of Missouri