Thursday, February 02, 2012


The Daily Caller tells us that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is claiming a 100% increase in donations over the past two days, following Komen's decision to stop supporting Planned Parenthood. After reading that, and reading Jeffrey Goldberg's report on the steps that led to Komen's decision, I have to wonder: was this just a cave-in to right-wing pressure, or an expression of new VP Karen Handel's wingnuttery -- or was it an attempt to make right-wing pressure groups' lemons into lemonade by beginning the process of making Komen a pet cause of the right?

I know that Planned Parenthood has also seen an uptick in donations -- but I'm not sure our side can match the right in passion for fighting the culture war. Is it possible that the Komen people feel -- rationally or otherwise -- that tacking to the right will make religious rightists, teabaggers, and Fox News watchers give so much money to them, on an ongoing basis, that they'll come out ahead of where they've been, and never miss the support they're losing now? Remember that the right-wing media could try to turn this into a new front in the mythical "war on religion," particularly targeting corporations that try to sever ties with Komen. Planned Parenthood is getting a bump now from our side, but this could become a long-term project of the right. Maybe Handel got the leaders of Komen thinking that the free publicity would be worth its weight in gold. And given the relentlessness of the right, I'm not sure that's irrational.


UPDATE: Well, Komen has now reversed itself. I still wonder if Karen Handel walked into Komen last year with a bad case of epistemic closure and persuaded the rest of Komen's leadership that this was a good idea (or just pushed some people around, acting on her worldview). The fact that this proved to be a terrible strategy doesn't preclude the possibility that Handel thought it was a clever and brilliant strategy, and doesn't preclude the possibility that she brought other people around to that point of view.

Oh, and:

Komen says they will allow @PPact to apply for future grants. NOT that they'll continue grants.

Which appears to be true -- current grants will be funded, and then Planned Parenthood will be allowed to apply for future grants, but we'll see if PP continues to be funded. So the wingnuttery may well have been been postponed, not abandoned.


AND: Ezra Klein writes:

[Komen CEO Nancy] Brinker goes on to make clear that they will amend their guidelines so only “criminal and conclusive” investigations affect their funding decisions....

So they are, perhaps, backing down. Or perhaps not. Yesterday, the Komen Foundation said the investigation was not the cause of their reduced support for Planned Parenthood, and that the real issue was that Planned Parenthood did not directly provide mammograms. This statement doesn't address that concern at all. So it would appear to leave open the possibility that the foundation intends to reject Planned Parenthood's future grant applications -- albeit on less overtly political grounds.

Indeed. Or that they need congressional Republicans and the right-wing noise machine to crank up the investigations and find something "criminal and conclusive." Unleash James O'Keeffe? Unleash Fox? Redouble efforts to make Planned Parenthood the new ACORN?


Kevin Hayden said...

Good analysis, Steve. I'm certain they knew what would happen short term and made a choice that was their best bet on where the biggest goldmine was.

Whether they were correct remains to be seen.

joseph said...

The Komen organization says that their donations doubled, but there is no evidence to prove or disprove that claim. In the long term, the politicalization of that organization will ultimately kill it. The runs that they have made so popular will be no more.


c u n d gulag said...

They can claim anything.

They can say that they'll be self-funding because Karen Handel and her team discovered the secret to cold fusion.

We'll see when they have to divulge what their donations really are, if what they say is true.

In the meantime, color me skeptical over the donations - and, if true, that they may last.

I know that Bubba loves him some ta-tas.

But I just doubt that, like a leftie male, he'd be willing to give his Bud Light money to help his wife's breast cancer.
If you look at the divorce rate in the Red States, you'll see that many of them are like little Newt's - willing to move on if their ball-and-chain gets a chest cold, let alone breast cancer.

Komen claiming its funding didn't drop is typical of Conservatives, who'll lie at the drop of a hat, let alone a cancer wig.

Let's see what the truth is long-term.

Their future color may remain pink for them, but it may not be as rosy as they claim.

Betty Cracker said...

It might be the plan now that they've stepped in the cow flop, but I'd bet the farm that it wasn't their original intent. This is one of the worst PR debacles I've ever seen.

Never Ben Better said...

I daresay they may try to defund by denying any further applications, but I also daresay there'll be an almighty blowback and ruckus-raising when they do, as PP advocates have learned they can make the SGK harpies back down given enough public pressure.

And there are big bucks ready and willing to apply that pressure, as cited in the CNN story:

"CREDO, which describes itself as the largest corporate donor to Planned Parenthood, said Thursday that 250,000 of its members had signed a petition urging the Komen Foundation to reverse its decision.

"The move is clearly connected to attempts by Republicans in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood," the organization said in a statement. "In responding to questions about its decision, the foundation cited as its rationale a sham 'investigation' into Planned Parenthood launched by Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns." who the group called "one of the most militant anti-choice members of Congress."