In Erick Erickson vs Don Gaetz, count one for Gaetz

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Take an emotionally charged issue; add some gratuitous spin suggesting inner-party conflict; fail to do some homework and boom, you’ve got the recipe for shouting “RINO” — and though this may work with many leaders, not so with Senate President Don Gaetz, whose conservative credos will not be so easily impugned.

In his April 9 column, Erick Erickson of Red State goes after Gaetz for what he suggests is a failure to move forward “publicly supported bipartisan legislation” that would protect the rights and lives of infants born alive during attempted abortions.

Never mind the fact that this bill — SB 1636, sponsored by Sen. Anitere Flores — was heard on the very day Erickson penned his admonishment, having been placed on the agenda for the Health Policy Committee five days previous, on April 4.   In Erickson’s words, Gaetz “suddenly declared this bill will move forward”. If five days is “suddenly”, Session would last three years.

And never mind the fact that Gaetz is demonstrably pro-life, as his voting record makes clear; or that he is not one to shy away from tough decisions on issues he feels are right.

The more appropriate rebuke is not one against Senate leadership for being deliberative in managing priorities, but against the confounding of women’s health or even more controversial fetal rights with the protection of infants who are born, regardless of how they came into being.

Erickson quotes George Will in what I think is a more poignant expression of the same, regarding this issue:

“Planned Parenthood, which receives more than $500 million in government subsidies, is branching out, expanding its mission beyond the provision of abortions to the defense of consumers’ rights: If you pay for an abortion, you are owed a dead baby.”

But Erickson’s column wasn’t about that. It seemed instead to use this story as an excuse to take shots at Gaetz, one among many in a long list of electeds who can never be quite conservative enough for some, all facts aside.

Erickson points fingers at Gaetz’s teenage relationship with a Democratic mentor, and his business relationships with Democratic colleagues.  Last I checked, Ronald Reagan had once been president of the Screen Actors Guild and remained good friends with Tip O’Neill, albeit often “after 6 o’clock”.  

It sounds more like Erickson, not Gaetz, is “doing the Democrats’ bidding” by perpetuating tales of bogeymen within the Republican Party. 

There’s no need to disparage collegiality and unnecessarily polarize issues that can be best achieved among bipartisan friends…. such as this good bill. Which is, as noted, moving forward.