In a rare moment of sanity for Texas, a grand jury there has refused to indict anyone associated with Planned Parenthood in the wake of a series of undercover videos that purported to show agents of the organization dealing in the organs of harvested fetuses. In a pretty surprising move, though, who that grand jury did indict are the two anti-abortion activists who shot and produced the videos. David Daleiden and his partner Sandra Merritt make up the crux of a group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress -- and they're now charged with tampering with governmental records, a felony, and the purchase of human organs. If convicted they could get 20 years in prison.
Given that Daleiden and Merritt's videos were widely debunked and not a single GOP-led investigation in their wake has turned up a damn thing on Planned Parenthood, you'd think that this latest grand jury smackdown might be enough to finally make anti-abortion Republicans pick up their ball and go home. You'd of course be wrong, however, because when it comes to today's Republicans there's one thing you can always be sure of: they will not admit defeat. No matter how often they're told "no," no matter what authority rules against them, no matter how powerfully reality intrudes on their little fantasy world, they simply won't back down. When Republicans are convinced they're right -- even if everyone else says they're wrong -- they'll bend heaven and earth to enforce their will, one way or another.
So maybe then it's not much of a surprise that the Republican response to yesterday's indictments -- and lack thereof -- has basically involved them sticking their fingers in their ears and going, "LA-LA-LA-LA-LA, noooooot listening!" really loudly. When there's pandering to an angry, dimwitted constituency to be done and bullshit biblical moralizing to be dispensed, no authority in the land can stand in the way of a stubborn Republican leader or lawmaker these days.
Case in point: Carly Fiorina, who maybe more than anyone has grandstanded on the shoulders of David Daleiden and his ginned-up videos and who now refuses -- flat out refuses -- to accept that it's over and she lost. She calls the ongoing, seemingly perpetual war against Planned Parenthood a "fight for the character of our nation" and her reaction to yesterday's developments is to basically -- wait for it -- pretend it never happened and just stick to her talking points. This isn't the least bit surprising given that Fiorina's a pathological cretin who's been shamelessly lying about the nature and content of the Planned Parenthood videos for months now. "Here’s what I know: Planned Parenthood has been trafficking in body parts," Fiorina said on Monday. "So guess what? I’m not going to sit down and be quiet... I know the value of life. We know what’s going on." Right, she knows Planned Parenthood is trafficking in baby body parts -- even though it absolutely isn't. She knows it, though. And the paleoconservatives listening to her -- the people driven mad by the existence of legal abortion -- don't care what the facts are, only what clowns like Fiorina say they are.
Meanwhile, you have a hick Pied Piper like Mike Huckabee lamenting this great injustice via his overworked Twitter feed. "Its a sick day in America when our govnt punishes those who expose evil w/ a cellphone—yet accommodates those who perform it with a scalpel," he wrote yesterday. And Marco Rubio and Ben Carson also expressed outrage that the evildoers at Planned Parenthood were literally getting away with murder while upstanding patriots like David Daleiden were facing a court date. The Carson campaign warned, "As President, (Ben Carson) will use the full weight of his office to not only cut off all federal funding for this organization, but also prosecute them for crimes against the unborn." Because, again, they do not take no for an answer. They will fight and fight and fight to get what they want no matter how often their nonsense is rebuffed and which governing body does the rebuffing. They're right. They know it. So there's no reason to ever stop, even if every other person on the planet can see reality when they can't or won't.
Their reaction to this and to so many events and rulings that move progress forward needs to be recognized and confronted at every turn, because the Republicans have shown time and time again that they won't give up and will instead try to simply wear down their opponents or find clever workarounds for situations they don't like. That's the beautiful irony in all of this: the GOP is supposed to be the party of law and order and yet it's proven over and over that it's willing to overlook and even encourage violations of laws it doesn't agree with. Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for 43 years and for every day of those years the GOP has worked to subvert that law one way or another. (Hell, Carly Fiorina's irresponsible, superheated bullshit rhetoric about baby body parts actually helped drive some lunatic to kill three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last November.)
Gay marriage was ruled lawful nationwide by the Supreme Court and suddenly you had Republicans in office -- whose jobs involve being a living embodiment of the rule of law -- questioning the validity of the high court as an entity that can make sweeping rulings. That's exactly what the Supreme Court does. There's nothing at all controversial about that fact. But because it suddenly issued a ruling conservatives don't like, it's gone off the res and needs to be stopped. As for that ruling, as far as Republicans are concerned it can be disregarded at will, which is why so many in the GOP rallied around Kim Davis, a Kentucky court clerk who looks like a Dress Barn collapsed on top of her and who literally broke the law by refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay people. It seems that if you can wrap yourself tightly enough in the American flag and a few pages of the Bible, you can break whatever laws you want and be regarded as a folk hero to the right. Roy Moore is the Republican chief justice of the Alabama supreme court, and right now at this very moment he's refusing to lift Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage, even though he has no authority in the matter given the Supreme Court's ruling. He's breaking the law, because he doesn't believe the law applies to him.
Then you have Cliven Bundy and his idiot sons. Bundy stood up to the big, bad government by being a scofflaw and not paying 20 years worth of grazing fees for his cattle -- then he and his militia buddies got into a standoff with government agents where sniper rifles were trained on the feds -- and for a good long while he had the support of a surprising number of Republican leaders. Now his boys have also violated the law by engaging in an armed takeover of an empty wildlife refuge in Oregon. They're demanding that federal land be handed over to them and they're putting together a kangaroo court to "try" government officials who don't agree. They're lawbreakers -- nothing more. Spoiled children who can't have their way and so they throw a temper tantrum. And there will always be new skirmishes in their endless culture war for them and others like them to fight, in spite of what the law and the rest of humanity have to say about it.
Texas Governor Greg "Jade Helm 15" Abbot has already said that Monday's grand jury ruling will have no impact on his state's ongoing campaign to get to the bottom of Planned Parenthood's nefarious plans for baby body parts. He just knows they're breaking the law, even if 12 state investigations and now one of his own grand juries doesn't think so. The blind crusade against Planned Parenthood, the most recent iteration of which is based on a couple of thoroughly debunked videos, joins the long line of conservative causes the GOP will quite simply never surrender on. As long as there are Republicans in Congress we'll have Planned Parenthood investigations, and votes to repeal Obamacare, and Benghazi hearings. It will never end because Republicans don't care about what's legal or ethical -- they only know that something is true because they believe it is.