Meet Robert J. Dold. He's a freshman in the House of Representatives from Illinois' 10th District. He's a Republican. He's a small business owner. And apparently, he has a political death wish:
Dold plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would ensure Planned Parenthood’s access to federal funding. [...]
“In response to the growing number of efforts to discriminate against and exclude organizations like Planned Parenthood from participating in health care programs, Dold’s legislation would protect the inclusion of any hospital or health care entity that seeks to participate in the Title X family planning program,” his office said in a release.
Those "efforts to discriminate" are, of course, coming from Dold's own party. In fact, when Dold came to Congress after the 2010 election, his fellow Republicans made defunding Planned Parenthood their top priority
, with some of his nuttier colleagues insisting
that the entire government be shut down until that happens.
Dold, as it turns out, was one of only seven House Republicans who voted against the bill to defund Planned Parenthood. And not only that, but he actually gave a speech on the floor of the House (above) in opposition to his colleagues' bill and in defense of ensuring women's access to health care. And not only that, but he's actually so proud of the speech that more than a year later, he's still boasting about it on Twitter.
Go ahead, take a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor.
Given the current climate of the Republican Party—batshit insane (and yes, that's a technical term)—it seems rather odd that one of its members would go out of his way to protect women's health care, while the rest of his fellow Republicans are going out of their way to eliminate it entirely. And the party is not very forgiving these days of anyone who isn't wingnutty enough—like Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was teabagged in her 2010 primary, but survived anyway; like Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, who is retiring in part because of the extreme polarization (read: there's no room for pro-choice women in the party anymore); like Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar, who last night was primaried out of his party for being too (giggle) moderate.
Dold's colleagues are already scoffing at him. Rep. Cliff Stearns—one of the leaders of the movement to defund Planned Parenthood, who opened the bogus "investigation" that Susan G. Komen for the Cure cited as its reason for pulling its funding from Planned Parenthood—is pretty much openly mocking Dold:
I wonder how many Republican co-sponsors he’ll get [...] I don’t understand why a bill is needed—there’s no discrimination against Planned Parenthood. We’re getting financial records, the cases that we’ve seen where they’ve committed Medicaid fraud, we need to know why this is occurring and why they are getting government money.
Of course, Stearns answered his own question right there. The reason Planned Parenthood needs to be protected is because of assholes like Stearns who are willing to expend whatever resources are necessary to witch-hunt the women's health care provider out of existence.
So will Dold's efforts go anywhere? Hmmm, probably not. And it's safe to bet that if he keeps up his support for women's health care, in direct violation of the stated goals of his party, he'll find himself out of a job before too long, like all the other members of his party who don't adhere strictly enough to extremism that is now the prerequisite for being a Republican.
Good luck, Rep. Dold. You're gonna need it.