Primary politics being what they are, Olympia Snowe cannot get a break. She’s being blasted by her opponent back home for hesitating on how she would vote yesterday on Republican spending cuts (which only three Republican senators — the Tea Party Caucus — voted against, believing it did not go far enough). But credit is due. It should not be lost to chaotic news cycles and primary politics that Olympia Snowe voted to defund Planned Parenthood yesterday. She deserves credit for appreciating that we cannot spend money we do not have on an organization that does not need taxpayer money. And given what we keep learning about it, Planned Parenthood would not deserve taxpayer funding in the best of days, and these days are far from the best.
Defunding Planned Parenthood is a tea-party issue. And even more broadly and fundamentally, it’s a relatively simple matter of good fiscal stewardship. Olympia Snowe was being a good fiscal steward with her vote. And while I totally appreciate Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul wanting more — because I do, too — I also think it is not a bad start to have a bill Olympia Snowe will vote for that includes something like Planned Parenthood defunding — something she was lobbied hard to oppose.