At some point you have to grow up, and being a grown-up means accepting responsibility. Such is the main point of the movie "Arthur," the remake of which opens this week.
Hollywood’s compulsion to capture past box office glory leaves many of us wishing they’d just leave well enough alone. The chemistry between Dudley Moore and Sir John Gielgud — who won an Oscar for his role in the original — can’t be duplicated, but the lesson they so cleverly delivered in "Arthur" is relevant to today’s hot budget debate and the delusion of liberals like New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
Miss Dowd and her fellow liberals are stuck in their own personal edition of "The Twilight Zone," where social issues such as abortion and homosexual “rights” have no place in the public square and certainly no relation to fiscal issues.
In a recent column "Mad Men and Mad Women" she writes, "Republicans hate social engineering unless they're doing it." What planet is she from? Even in the days of $1.6 trillion deficits and a $14 trillion national debt, pet liberal initiatives such as funneling taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood have attained third-rail entitlement status.
By attempting to reframe a tired liberal tack as conservative “social engineering,” Dowd encapsulates the refusal by liberals to grow up and enter the real world.
One can almost hear the tough-love admonition from Gielgud in his legendary British schoolmaster tone: given the fiscal realities, it is patently irresponsible for Congress to fund an enterprise in Planned Parenthood which a) turned a $63 million profit according to its last report, b) pathologically lies to Congress by continuing to suggest fungible hundreds of millions don’t finance abortions — which is against federal law, and c) has been caught red-handed willing to aid and abet sex traffickers who exploit young women and girls.
Writing earlier this week for The Hill’s Congress Blog, former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson confronted Congress with the ugly, undeniable truth of how social and fiscal issues are linked:
“Planned Parenthood gets one-third of its entire budget from taxpayer funding and performed more than 650,000 abortions between 2008 and 2009. An abortion is expensive. Its cost includes pay for the doctor, supporting medical staff, their health benefits packages, and malpractice insurance. As clinic director, I saw how money affiliate clinics receive from several sources is combined into one pot, not set aside for specific services.”
Johnson’s modesty — or embarrassment — kept her from mentioning she was Planned Parenthood’s “employee of the year” in Texas for 2008. If she had been blowing the whistle on Enron, Halliburton, or Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon, Dowd likely would’ve devoted an entire column to her.
What is even worse is that Dowd, a champion of radical feminism, in the same column only adds to the fallacy that women cannot handle matters of higher math and finance when she attempts to equate long overdue budget cuts to government meddling in our personal lives.
In truth, defunding Planned Parenthood, the National Endowment for the Arts, Public Broadcasting, and NPR actually removes government interference from our lives. Forcing taxpayers to fund these pet liberal entitlements, when alternatives abound and the government is mired in debt, is fiscal insanity.
Likewise, Dowd’s focus on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) is just another smokescreen to mask the coming agenda. In off-the-record conversations, officers say they are convinced this is just an attempt to put the U.S. military’s stamp of approval on same-sex “marriage,” complete with financial benefits guaranteed by American taxpayers. With DADT’s repeal, an enlisted man can now knock on the ship captain’s door, announce he is “gay” and has a spouse in Massachusetts with whom he’d like to a) live in military-provided housing once he gets back to port and b) have covered under his health benefits package. There’s that link between social and fiscal issues again.
All this, despite the fact that those same American taxpayers who would pay for these benefits have already voted in 31 out of 31 state elections to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman, states that include the liberal bastions of Maine, Oregon, Hawaii, and California (twice).
In the movie, Arthur eventually abandoned adolescent denial for adult responsibility; it would be helpful if the Maureen Dowds of the world would do the same.
Penny Young Nance is CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.
Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).