John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Stay Focused

Posted on March 28, 2011
Independent voters swung for the Republicans in the last election and they swung hard.

They put Barack Obama into the White House two years ago and put the Tea Party in control of the House last November.

Independent voters are hard to characterize. Some are arch-conservatives who think the GOP has sold them out. Some are social liberals who hate to pay taxes. Some are good government types who are disgusted with both political parties.

All share one trait: they don't buy the party lines coming from either party. They want results. What they don't want is needless distractions. Most of them don't want the government to shut down for an extended period. Most of them don't want an extended fight over Planned Parenthood, an issue that has little to do with the fiscal crisis that is gripping the nation.

Conservatives obviously do want to end funding for the program, while liberals obviously don't.

According to a new poll released by The Hill, 46 percent of those surveyed don't want Planned Parenthood funding eliminated. Only 42 percent do want it cut. 50 percent of women want funding preserved while only 38 percent want it ended.

Taking on Planned Parenthood is a curious choice for the GOP. It doesn't save much money. It doesn't poll very well. It won't help balance the budget. It certainly wasn't the issue that brought the Tea Party power.

I understand why conservatives want to end Planned Parenthood funding, and I sympathize with their arguments. But I would hope that the GOP would keep its focus on the big issue, our impending national bankruptcy. This big fight will take more than one Congress to win, and we will need the independent voters to stick with us for longer than one election.