And they said this president was stupid.
Time and again, George W. Bush gets what he wants by forcing his opponents to argue against themselves. He did it with the United Nations in seeking support against Iraq: Hey, they're (bold) your (end bold) resolutions. Either they mean something or they don't.
Now he's done it again with a new federal regulation that identifies fetuses as "unborn children," all in the name of extending prenatal health benefits to the preborn poor. By identifying fetuses as "unborn children," Bush effectively has managed to establish personhood for fetuses while appearing to care deeply for the huddled masses.
Arguing against themselves with Pavlovian predictability, pro-abortion feminists find themselves in the untenable position of rejecting a "gift" offered to their own constituents. Nice pool, Blofeld, but I'm allergic to piranha.
The new regulation, which goes into effect in November, allows states to use the State Children's Health Insurance Program to provide benefits to pregnant mothers, including illegal immigrants. The health of the unborn is vital to the well-being of the eventually born, as Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson pointed out.
Inarguably, he's right. Prenatal care, often neglected among the poor, is critical to healthy mothers and healthy babies. Given that babies born in this country are U.S. citizens even if their mothers are not, prenatal care makes sense for illegal pregnant immigrants, right?
Except, wait, but. Since when do Republicans care about poor pregnant women, legal or otherwise? Thompson to the microphone:
"This is a common-sense, compassionate measure to make sure that all children born in this country come into the world as healthy as possible," said Thompson. "It's another way to secure a safety net of care for our children and their mothers." Keywords: Common sense. Compassionate. Children. Mothers. Who could argue against those?
And they said this president was stupid.
For the women and children who will benefit from extra health benefits, the new regulation is clearly compassionate. For those who suspect ulterior motives that undercut reproductive freedoms, it's something more than common sense.
"This is even more cynical and more sinister than originally proposed," said Laurie Rubiner of the National Partnership for Women and Families. "This is an administration that has never been willing to extend coverage to immigrant women or children, but to advance its anti-choice agenda, it will provide fake benefits to a fetus."
Thompson, dripping honey and loaded for anything on two legs, replies: "They (fetuses/unborn children) are going to be citizens in nine months or less. Do we want them to come into the country healthy or not?"
Touching, isn't it? Those precious little offspring of non-taxpaying illegals, who pour through our borders to take advantage of our guilty beneficence. Gosh, we love them so. Bring us your tired, your poor, your pregnant, the wretched refuse of your teeming ghettos. Is America great or what?
Whether you favor a woman's right to end a pregnancy -or think that menstrual periods should be abolished for their life-denying interruptions -you have to hand it to Bush. Agree with him or not, he is true to his word. Anyone surprised by his actions, which are nothing but strategically brilliant, hasn't been paying attention.
This is especially true for abortion. By amending a regulation, which permits policy changes without congressional approval, he has managed to appease the anti-abortion crowd who helped elect him while following through on the promise of compassionate conservatism. The quid pro quo for Irony is that Republicans now have to love illegal immigrants at a time when they'd rather not.
Bush is also acting consistently by moving ahead against Saddam Hussein. Contrary to what those crying loudest about the politicization of the probable war against Iraq say, this is not a new, election-timed policy, but one clearly stated eight months ago during Bush's State of the Union address.
"The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons," Bush said.
The man does not equivocate. Which is to say, we probably should pay very close attention to what he says. We might also doubt the credibility of anyone who says this president is stupid. Wrong, possibly. But stupid, not.