Today’s Courier Herald Column:
Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel’s book, Planned Bullyhood, hits store shelves on Tuesday. It is her account of the time spent as the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy, and the organization’s attempt to distance itself from Planned Parenthood.
Handel’s critics will paint the book as a tell-all designed to settle scores. Nothing could be further from the truth. Handel is critical of many inside and outside the Komen organization, but she is toughest on herself. She was the one who was hired to help navigate a peaceful separation between Koman and Planned Parenthood over the less than $700,000 given to them as pass through grants.
The results were anything but peaceful. Quite the contrary. Handel says several times in the book that she should have been more aware of the mounting signals that Planned Parenthood was planning an ambush. They were not only aware of the strategy but were working with Komen on helping script the timing and public message of the change in direction. Ultimately instead of cooperating, Planned Parenthood used the Komen Foundation as part of this years contrived “War on Women” political meme, in coordination with those who have direct ties to the Whitehouse.
That is the story of Planned Bullyhood.
At the center of this controversy is Democratic National Committee communications and media consultant Hillary Rosen. During the time Rosen was advising Komen on how to “create appropriate messaging” that would appease those on the left, in effect acting as the “Planned Parenthood point person”. During this time Rosen’s firm was also working with Planned Parenthood, representing Sandra Fluke as her publicist and Rosen was a regular visitor to the White House.
Rosen’s team for Komen included Emily Lenzner, a former Executive Communications director for ABC News who handled the publicity for George Stephanopoulos, among others. It was Stephanopoulous, we are reminded, who had the lengthy yet awkward and out of place exchange with Mitt Romney during an ABC Republican debate over whether contraception should be illegal. This was months after Planned Parenthood director Cecile Richards had been informed of Komen’s decision, and months before the well coordinated firestorm was unleashed on Komen by Planned Parenthood.
The book details firsthand accounts and the amazing amount of “coincidences” between the time Komen informed Planned Parenthood of its decision to eliminate a small number of grants that were later transferred to third party health care providers. The amount of coordinated effort from Planned Parenthood across media and political allies on the day of the AP “leak” is impressive. And in the end, the Democrats clearly have the message that they and their well paid media consultants were crafting.
The Democratic National Convention featured both Sandra Fluke and Cecile Richards prominently. This display was enough even to make ABC’s Cokie Roberts observe that she thought the Democrats went “over the top” with respect to abortion. Regardless, the President is appreciative of the efforts of Planned Parenthood to move the election narrative from the economy to an issue that was contrived at the expense of the Susan G. Komen foundation. According to a tweet from Richards, the President called her to thank Planned Parenthood “for all we’re doing”.
Planned Bullyhood is required reading to understand all Planned Parenthood is doing. In addition to offering up the premier women’s charity for sacrifice, they are also using tax dollars to lobby for increased tax dollars. Handel details how the organization – which takes in roughly a half billion per year in government money – makes millions in “donations” to related 501(c)4 political action funds to secure the friendships of those who continue to provide ever increasing taxpayer involvement to the organization. Not only are taxpayers funding Planned Parenthood, but taxpayers are funding Planned Parenthood’s lobbying activities.
Handel’s book essentially is an admission that she was a bit naive that she and those on the left could put partisan and ideological issues aside in order to advance the charitable cause of eliminating breast cancer. It should also be viewed as a textbook to understanding the deeply entrenched infrastructure designed to protect Planned Parenthood, and ensure that tax dollars continue to fund its operations and defend its prominence.