Its too soon to know if Democrats and so called progressives learned a much needed lesson from the Susan G.Komen fiasco but they should have.
For too long, at least since 2000, Democrats, progressives and liberals, provably right on almost every aspect of policy and philosophy, from economics, war, and terrorism to social issues seemed to know how to do only one thing politically -- roll over and play dead in the face of Republican and conservative opposition. That propensity reached new lows the last 3 years when Democrats and progressives rolled over and played dead against the single biggest enemy and roadblock to their agenda, Barrack Obama, who himself set new lows for capitulation, lack of conviction and principle,and standing for nothing.
But with the announcement by the Susan G. Komen Foundation that they would stop their funding of Planned Parenthood breast cancer screenings, people became infuriated and galvanized.
The decision to stop the funding of Planned Parenthood was, as most people know by now, the political decision of Karen Handel, a dishonest right wing ideologue who had at one time run for governor of Georgia and lost. She had recently been named VP of public policy for Komen.
Handel, as others of her ilk think, felt that her personal anti-abortion beliefs should be forced down the throats of those who see things differently and decided to use her position at Komen to further her ideological point of view, even at the expense of breast cancer screenings and womens' health. And she decided to do it by defunding grants to Planned Parenthood for the work they do on behalf of breast cancer because of their other work related to contraception and abortion.. Handel had made it clear in the past that she would like to see Planned Parenthood go out of business and this was going to be her small contribution.
The uproar over her decision to defund Planned Parenthoods breast cancer grants was immediate. The Komen Foundation had overnight, become a pariah over the very thing it was in existence to combat -- breast cancer.
Karen Handel's decision on the face of it was clearly political and an attempt on her part to further her own personal agenda, and like many from her political spectrum, had to resort to lying and subterfuge to do it but her actions had the opposite effect. Planned Parenthood received record donations, donors to Komen were withdrawing, and soon, on the issue of breast cancer, the Susan G. Komen Foundation found itself ostracized and on the outside looking in.
Within a few days the foundation was forced to reverse its decision and a few days after that, in the face of a public relations nightmare that was not going to go away, Karen Handel was forced to resign.
Emails later revealed that Handel's decision to defund Planned Parenthood was indeed implemented by an underhanded plot. It would be the result of a new "policy" concocted by Handel, to withhold funding to any group "under investigation". Handel knew there was a contrived and meaningless investigation of Planned Parenthood underway involving trivial issues which would amount to nothing, but her plan was to use the "policy"and the investigation to deflect any criticism that her decision against Planned Parenthood was ideological. The "policy" was a smoke screen designed to hide Handel's true agenda to try and accomplish dishonestly and with subterfuge what couldnt be done honestly.
It not only didnt work, it backfired in the ways these things often do and Handel was forced to resign.
So now in the wake of this fiasco, did liberals, Democrats and progressive learn a lesson? They should have. They should have learned that " I'm Mad as Hell and I'm Not Going to Take it Anymore" works. And they should have learned this:
Had the same anger and outrage been applied when Obama was selling out the public option to healthcare industry lobbyists we probably would have real healthcare reform now and a public option today. Had it been applied to Pelosi and Reid when they decided to go along with the sellout in spite of their better judgement and had they been forced to pass the public option in spite of Obama's sellout, the Democrats would still be in control of the House. Had it been applied to financial reform and eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the upper 1% and every other aspect of the Democratic agenda that was sold out by Obama or watered down by him to suit Republicans, the country would be in much better shape now. The deficit would be on the way to being cut by an additional $960 billion, and there would probably be signs of an improving economy since business would have more confidence in a sound and aggressive government policy which is exactly what happened during the Clinton Administration when Clinton and the Democrats raised taxes to eliminate the deficit.
And had real anger over Obama's capitulations been directed at the DNC instead of backing off legitimate criticism of Obama for the worst reason in the world, race, there might be better choices now for both the Democratic nominee for president and who the next president will be.
There is one other lesson to be learned: underhanded Republican and conservative strategies never work on a national scale unless those who oppose them roll over and let them happen.
What happened with Susan G. Komen is what happens in a democracy when people unify and get mad, stand together, know that right is on their side, and let their anger be channelled in the right direction. It works. It's what the Boston Tea Party was really all about, not taxes. The question is have Democrats, progressives and liberals learned their lesson about how to put it to use? And will they?