If Republicans break through the spending gridlock that has seized Capitol Hill, the rest of their agenda is starting to come into focus: defunding, investigating and otherwise beating up on liberal causes.At every turn, the GOP is attacking sacred cows of the left. The party has already voted to kill all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a longtime conservative nemesis. NPR may lose its federal support. Republicans have targeted the Environmental Protection Agency for investigation and are moving to kill a federal program that benefits environmental activist groups like Defenders of Wildlife.
Even AARP — once untouchable because of its political and demographic power — is being targeted.This week, House Ways and Means Committee Republicans unveiled a 34-page report on AARP’s alleged abuse of its tax status in health care reform. The GOP has also gone after teachers unions, which were a target in the House-passed bill to encourage school vouchers in the District of Columbia.
Republican attacks on some of these well-known names in the liberal brand are only beginning, aides and lawmakers say. And nevermind that few of these initiatives stand a chance at becoming law, conservatives are getting in their whacks and sending a message.“Each of these initiatives is designed to save taxpayers’ money or create jobs or help needy children. The goal is better public policy for the American people,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “When conservative policy goals are opposed by liberal special interests, our goal is to break their rice bowls.”
I cannot remember a time when conservatives were in a position to do more than simply aspire to cut NPR funding. I can remember a time not that long ago when it was generally folks on the sidelines — I think Lagrangeville, N.Y., insisting people pay attention to the Planned Parenthood menace (though our Jonah made an important contribution to the effort in his Liberal Fascism). And AARP? Ask the guy from 60-Plus who looks like Ted Turner what a sacred cow that is.