I am probably the biggest Donald Trump doubter on this website. Among other problems I have with Trump, I have always questioned his alleged conversion to the pro-life cause, announced at CPAC 2012 with little or no explanation or conviction. But for the first time since he announced, I am glad Donald Trump is in this race.
Why? Because he has called the bluff of [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ], [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ], [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ], and Mitch McConell on Planned Parenthood funding. According to Politico, Donald agrees with RedState that the fight over funding Planned Parenthood is worth shutting down the government:
Presidential candidates [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] and Donald Trump are teaming up to promote a confrontational tactic intended to strip Planned Parenthood of government funding, a move that plays to the GOP’s conservative base but also risks a shutdown.
On Monday evening, GOP front-runner Trump officially blessed a strategy that would include a rider that defunds Planned Parenthood in a government funding bill. But Democrats have said they would oppose any bill that includes such a defunding rider, which would imperil funding legislation that Congress must pass by Sept. 30.
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Asked directly by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt if it’s worth shutting down the federal government to strip Planned Parenthood’s $528 million in government funding, Trump replied: “I would.” And Trump blamed Cruz’s colleagues for abandoning him during the fight to defund Obamacare two years ago.
“If the Republicans stuck together you could have done it with Obamacare also, but the Republicans decided not to stick together and they left a few people out there like [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ],” Trump said. “If they had stuck together they wold have won that battle. I think you have to in this case [on Planned Parenthood] also, yes.”
Now I will say this – it’s one thing for The Donald to cheerlead these moves after the fact, whereas I believe [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] deserves more credit for putting himself on the line and actually swinging them into motion. That having been said, this is the best possible thing that could have happened in this fight.
Like it or not, everyone in the GOP is reacting to what Trump does right now. He is absolutely and without a doubt driving the debate on all its terms. And make no mistake – as I explained at length yesterday, [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001056′ ] were hoping to fool you into believing that they did all they could with their sham standalone vote yesterday. They were hoping that when [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] attempted to force the issue on a continuing resolution (as I’m certain he will), they could once again disallow him and Lee to offer amendments by bullying the rest of the craven GOP caucus into silence – just like they did on the highway bill.
Donald Trump just ensured that this time, Cruz and Lee will at least have the vocal support of Rubio, Graham, and Paul, who cannot afford to be seen letting Donald Trump outflank them to the right. By elevating the profile of this fight, Cruz will definitely get at least a roll call vote on the amendment, and Senators will be terrified to go on record opposing it.
I don’t know that we will win this fight (in fact, I am pessimistic as hell about it), but I think Donald Trump just ensured that the fight will happen this time instead of being swept under the rug by [mc_name name=’Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001056′ ] like it was that time. And for that, Trump deserves our thanks.