Thursday, February 2, 2012

Don't kid yourself for a moment

(Updated twice below.)

Jeffrey Goldberg's piece at The Atlantic's website, with more background on the machinations by anti-choice top brass at Susan G. Komen for the Cure to cut off the organization's support for Planned Parenthood's breast exam services, has already been picked up around the web.

It includes the following quote from a former senior communications adviser for SGK. Goldberg presents it without comment, and I haven't seen any of the online commenters who've recirculated the story pay it any notice.

But I find it very surprising.
The Komen board of directors are very politically savvy folks, and I think over time they thought if they gave in to the very aggressive propaganda machine of the anti-abortion groups, that the issue would go away.
If the first half of this statement is true, the second can't be.

It doesn't speak terribly well for the members of the SGK board, if this has to be pointed out to them, but “politically savvy groups” (on either side of the issue) know perfectly well that “the very aggressive propaganda machine of the anti-abortion groups” is simply not in the business of “going away.”

That is not, as they say, how they roll. They do not grasp the concept of "Even-Steven."

The former communications adviser added, in a stunning bit of understatement, "It seemed very short-sighted to me."

Indeed, available evidence now points to the cut-off of support Planned Parenthood breast cancer screening as something that has been in the works for months by anti-abortion forces both within and without SGK, as something that was going to be accomplished by hook or by crook. In fact, in all likelihood, they're ramping up the same kind of attack on stem-cell research funding.*

That's why the anti-abortion groups have succeeded to the extent that they have. The latest concession by their enemies is never enough. It only sets the groundwork for the next attack.

And whatever short-term price they may pay for their tactics -- I'm thinking of the almost-inevitable plunge in SGK's donor support and reputation -- you can rest assured it won't be enough to make them suddenly slap their foreheads and ask, "Wait -- could we have gone too far this time?"

Trust me. They're not going away. These people are the very opposite of "short-sighted."

*Update #1: About 90 minutes after this post went up, here's the headline at DailyKos: "New Komen Foundation policy also refuses funding for embryonic stem cell research". Well. That didn't take long, did it?

Update #2: I'm not sure from whose point of view Jeffrey Goldberg writes, in the first sentence of his article, when he describes this controversy as "entirely avoidable, and deeply regrettable." From the point of view of anti-abortion activists within and without SGK, it's not anything they wanted to avoid (indeed, they'd been looking for the right opportunity to spring the trap for months). Nor is it something they now view with anything much resembling regret (except in the narrow sense that it will mean a heavy cost in money and credibility to an organization they evidently viewed with the deepest cynicism already).

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