Monday, March 5, 2012

Why no women? Well...

Byron York at the Washington Examiner reports that Sandra Fluke's testimony for the Democratic Steering Committee and the necessity for having it was a bit...manufactured. House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa says that the Democrats originally waited for days before suggesting witnesses for the hearing before the Oversight and Reform Committee until the afternoon before the hearing, and then proposed Rev. Barry Lynn (head of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State) and Fluke. The Republicans invited Lynn; the Democrats said "No, wait!" but it was too late, so they disinvited Lynn, then complained that there were no women present at the hearing which occurred.

Dear Dems....why? Barry Lynn would have given great testimony; I'm sure. But was there such a paucity of female witnesses to invite that you couldn't have picked two of them? Assuming, that is, that having a woman testify is so important (and I agree that it is)? That would have prevented the indignity of having to call up someone you specifically selected to present testimony and say "Oh wait, never mind" because it would mean that you couldn't moan about the lack of women later after having been given the option to hand pick one and botched it.

None of which is Sandra Fluke's fault, of course. Nor is it her fault that this happened:
Issa explained that Democrats had requested Barry Lynn, that Lynn was invited, and that Democrats then retracted the Lynn request.  As for Fluke, Issa said Republicans had never heard of the Democrats' last-minute choice.  "I asked our staff what is her background, what has she done," Issa said at the hearing.  "They did the usual that we do when we're not provided the three days and the forms to go with it. They did a Google search. They looked and found that she was, in fact, and is a college student who appears to have become energized over this issue and participated in approximately a 45-minute press conference…I cannot and will not arbitrarily take a majority or minority witness if they do not have the appropriate credentials, both for a hearing at the full committee of the U.S. House of Representatives and if we cannot vet them in a timely fashion." (Fluke is in fact a 30 year-old law student with an extensive history of activism in leftist causes.)
Extensive history of activism or not, she was not as easy to verify as Barry Lynn with a quick Google search (which was only necessary because proper notice and forms had not been submitted), so Issa went with Lynn. If this is all true, I can't blame him for that. Maybe there's a good reason I don't know of why the Democrats were so slow in getting their proposed witnesses in. But as it stands, it doesn't seem like the Republicans are entirely to blame for that hearing being composed exclusively of men.

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