The C Is for Crank

McMorris Rodgers on Babies and Bootstraps

Cathy McMorris Rodgers' response to Obama's State of the Union was myopic, anecdotal, and shockingly self-centered.

By Erica C. Barnett January 29, 2014

The C Is for Crank

In her response to President Obama's State of the Union speech yesterday, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) attempted to make the case for a Republican vision of individual success without government assistance or interference. 

In her (oddly stiff and robotic) statement, McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), put on the national stage to demonstrate to the American people that obviously the Republicans don't dislike women because here they are letting a woman speak, denounced Obama's health-care plan, which provides birth control and maternity care, because "health care choices should be yours, not the government's."

(She also talked about bootstrapping herself to Congress via a job at McDonald's—implying that those who work crappy jobs and don't rise to the middle class are lazy or unmotivated—and meeting a man who married her—phew!—after she was elected, but those are two completely different posts.)

To prove this, McMorris Rodgers gave two anecdotes—that of a constituent whose health-care costs supposedly went up $700 a month (Republicans have argued that insurance companies should have the right to rip people off by selling them cheap "catastrophic" plans that don't cover basic health care needs), and her own experience giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome.  

Daily Kos does a good job of taking down the first claim, suggesting the possibility that the woman, "Bette," McMorris Rodgers cites may not even exist (and that even if she does, a $700 premium increase would be virtually impossible). 

As for the second point, here's what McMorris Rodgers had to say: 

Three days after we gave birth to our son, Cole, we got news no parent expects.

Cole was diagnosed with Down syndrome.

The doctors told us he could have endless complications, heart defects, even early Alzheimer’s.

They told us all the problems.

But when we looked at our son, we saw only possibilities.

We saw a gift from God.

Today we see a 6-year old boy who dances to Bruce Springsteen; who reads above grade level; and who is the best big brother in the world.

We see all the things he can do, not those he can’t.

Cole, and his sisters, Grace and Brynn, have only made me more determined to see the potential in every human life – that whether we are born with an extra twenty-first chromosome or without a dollar to our name – we are not defined by our limits, but by our potential.

What a wonderful privilege to know that you don't have to bother doing the basic due diligence of checking on your fetus' health challenges before it's born, because your federally funded health care will pay for any medical issues. (By extension, of course, there's also no need for a woman to have the right to abort a fetus she can't afford to raise as a disabled child).

And how comforting to know, after a diagnosis like Down Syndrome, that your government-funded health care will pay for the costs of "endless complications, heart defects, even Alzheimer's" without asking you whether your child "deserves" those treatments.

Too bad Republicans like McMorris Rodgers want to deny most Americans the same right.

(McMorris Rodgers finished, naturally, with a called for Americans to pray—as opposed to her counterpart, President Obama, who called on Congress to give Amercians a raise.) 

From last night's Cola twitter feed:


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