June 07, 2019 - Friday
Biden: Dr. Jekyll and No More Hyde
If you're keeping track of Joe Biden's policy positions, you'd better have plenty of erasers. The former vice president has done so much waffling he ought to buy a maple syrup company. On taxpayer-funded abortion alone, he's had three positions in three weeks. The Democratic front-runner has changed his mind so much that most people probably don't even know which statement he's reversing at this point.
The short version goes something like this: he does, he doesn't, he does again. When an ACLU "volunteer" ambushed Biden at an event May, Barack Obama's second-in-command said twice: the Hyde amendment has to go. Two weeks, later, he told reporters he didn't understand the woman's question -- not the first time he answered it, and apparently, not the second. "He has not at this point changed his [support for] the Hyde amendment," his campaign clarified on ABC News. He "misheard the woman," Biden's staffers explained, "and thought she was referring to the Mexico City policy."
Until 2016, a lot of Democrats felt like Biden did -- that regardless of how people feel about abortion, Americans shouldn't be forced to fund it. Then came the new party platform, which torpedoed Hyde and sent moderates packing. Sticking to his stance would have set Biden apart as the reasonable voice on abortion that his party is not. Instead, after a little tug at the strings from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, he snapped to attention and saluted the new Democratic Party abortion orthodoxy turning his back on 40 years of common sense. Barely a day later, he'd been reeled back to the pack -- like a breakaway rider caught by the peloton.
In a speech Thursday, he might as well have said, "About those four decades I spent defending taxpayers: just kidding!" What he actually told the audience is that he'd been struggling with the "problems" of the Hyde amendment and decided (again) he could "no could "no longer support [it]." "If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's zip code." Huh? It's bad enough that his on-again, off-again relationship with abortion funding is harder to track than a celebrity couple -- but what do zip codes have to do with it?
Planned Parenthood tried to explain in its 'atta-boy tweet, insisting that blocking taxpayer-funded abortion somehow hurts minority women. False. What actually hurts minorities is abortion, which disproportionately targets them -- and has, since Margaret Sanger founded the organization. Even now her eugenics legacy lives on, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued, in a scathing opinion this month on race-based abortion.
Eight decades after Margaret Sanger set up her birth-control clinic in Harlem, Justice Thomas writes, "there are areas of New York City in which black children are more likely to be aborted than they are to be born alive -- and are up to eight times more likely to be aborted than white children in the same area." Leana Wen's clinics alone kill 247 black babies a day. So if you want to talk about zip codes, try Planned Parenthood's. An overwhelming majority are located in black or Hispanic neighborhoods. That's not a coincidence. It's a business model.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden isn't the only one burning through flip-flops. The same radical candidates who welcomed him back to Left field aren't exactly the picture of consistency on Hyde. "Nearly every member of Congress running for president has voted multiple times for spending bills that include Hyde language," the Washington Post reports. "Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) all voted for a bill passed in September that funded HHS along with the departments of Labor, Defense and Education. So did Democratic Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) and Seth Moulton (Mass.), as well as former congressman Beto O'Rourke (Texas.)."
Funny, the Post went on, "but those realities didn't stop many of the contenders from piling on Biden, after his campaign said Wednesday that he still backed Hyde. One of those cultural chameleons, Amy Klobuchar, insisted that backing a wall between taxpayers and abortion would have been "a big problem" for Biden. But says who? Certainly not Americans -- or even Democrats -- who support Hyde 2-1. What she probably meant to say is that it would have been a big problem for the extremist fringe calling the shots. Biden, like the other 22 candidates, is just showing himself for what he is: a puppet on the strings of radical abortion, LGBT activists.
It's pathetic, NRO's Rich Lowry agrees. "This isn't a move of a confident front-runner. It shows that whatever is Biden's relative moderation compared to the rest of the field will be eroded during this process. Disorderly retreats like this, if they become a pattern, also have potential to harm his image as a strong general-election candidate. If he's the nominee, his new support for taxpayer-funded abortion will certainly be a liability in the Rust Belt, where Trump currently needs to make up ground."
If there's one thing the president has going for him, it's this: No one has to guess where he stands. Not on abortion -- not ever.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.