Toronto The rhetorical devices that former CNN and NBC news-person, Campbell Brown, is using in what now seems like a tryout for an op-ed column in the New York Times, are very smart and almost personal in a clever, conservative “cover-your-bases” way. Yesterday’s piece was essentially an attack on Planned Parenthood in the guise of giving them advice about not being ideological, which is to say partisan. A month ago she wrote a similarly strange piece in the guise of giving the President advice and attacking President Obama for being patronizing to women in his commencement speech at Barnard, which by other commentators had mostly gotten good reviews.
One wonders when Campbell Brown became an advocate of women’s interests, but let’s just concede that all voices are welcome in that arena, whether they come early or come lately.
In each piece she masks her attacks by claiming support. On Obama, she “admires” him and agrees with “some of his positions” citing abortion as one. On Planned Parenthood, she shares the fact that only 3% of their work has to do with providing abortions while the rest largely provides services to poor women. Once again she supports abortion, but very, very shrewdly, not as a matter of women’s choice, but in the same way she did on Obama:
As a person who believes abortions should be safe, legal and rare, I support many of Planned Parenthood’s goals.
One has to wonder how “rare” jumped into that sentence except as a cover for any conservative push back? Does anyone in the world believe that abortions should be frequent?
On Planned Parenthood she makes her entire case on Senator Susan Collins and the fact that Planned Parenthood did not support her in 2008. She quotes a spokesperson from Planned Parenthood who wisely says that they have had some disagreements with the Senator but look forward to a continuingly good working relationship. The other case is a Republican Congressman from Illinois where Planned Parenthood has stayed out of the race, and she thinks that they should get involved.
On Obama she makes the case bizarrely based on the economic issues of a cousin in Louisiana whose business went under and she went back to live with her parents and a young woman friend who went to good schools and hasn’t found a job that suits her yet. Her argument is that we don’t need government, we need family. Someone needs to let Campbell Brown know that the world is not one fine middle class village where a family can be the lifeline. Reading her piece, unemployment benefits, job programs, student loan assistance and childcare assistance have no place.
On the Obama piece, while pretending to give Obama advice she takes some shots at Rick Santorum as a crazy person, concedes that her husband is an advisor to Mitt Romney (who she infers is a whole different breed on women’s issues without offering any evidence of that!?!), and swears that she is nothing but a nonpartisan journalist. Poppycock!
So in the world according to Campbell Brown she is exactly the best person to be giving advice to Obama and counseling Planned Parenthood to change their strategy so they are not in her view an arm of the Democratic Party. Somehow as she sits on the op-ed page of the New York Times wagging her finger at all of us, I have to wonder what gives her the right and, furthermore, I’m confident that I can live without her highly partisan advice and her new self-appointed role of speaking for some very few women she knows in her rarefied world.