Burning Question

Can Republican Scott Brown save Planned Parenthood?

The Massachusetts senator joins two GOP colleagues in opposing a House bid to strip federal funding from the family-planning group

House Republicans' hopes of stripping all federal funding from Planned Parenthood hit a big obstacle Tuesday, and his name is Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass). The junior senator from Massachusetts (and one-time Tea Party favorite) said the measure simply "goes too far." Two other GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), had already voiced their opposition to the House plan. But does having a male Republican vocally support "family planning and health services for women" effectively save Planned Parenthood's $330 million from the chopping block?

Brown doomed the defunding bid: There is some "deliberate ambiguity" in Brown's support for Planned Parenthood, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. But if he's serious about not voting to defund the family-planning group, House Republicans are in a bind. If they attach the measure to the budget, and three Senate Republicans vote against it, Democrats will "crow about 'bipartisan opposition'" to defunding. So they'll have to "let the Senate shoot it down" by itself, and let Brown bear the blame."Scott Brown: I oppose defunding Planned Parenthood"

Brown is all talk: The Republican's words of support of Planned Parenthood would carry more weight if he hadn't just voted to defund it two weeks ago, says Matthew Yglesias at ThinkProgress. He's not some House back-bencher, he's a pivotal senator, with real power. He could have opposed this the first time around. Because "if he's voting to defund Planned Parenthood, then all the statements in the world don’t mean a thing.""Supporters of funding Planned Parenthood shouldn't vote for bills that defund [it]"

It's actually Planned Parenthood that may save Brown: His stand for Planned Parenthood means the Republican "intends to vote in a way that more reflects his state's electorate," says Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice, "and less the way Tea Party movement Republicans demand him to vote." The probably means a Tea Party challenger next year, and frequent attacks by Rush Limbaugh. It's not easy being a Republican in the blue Bay State — just ask Mitt Romney — but taking a moderate stand could actually help Brown in his reelection bid next year. "Scott Brown against cutting all Planned Parenthood funding"

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