Week in Review

The Week in Review: “What’s the Hype?”

Carly Anders ’13

This week Catalina Camia predicted wins for Rick Santorum in Tuesday’s GOP primaries in her USA Today article regarding Mitt Romney’s perceived weakness as a Republican candidate due to his moderate views. The Los Angeles Times discussed the resignation of Susan G. Komen official, Karen Handel, following a dispute regarding funding to the divisive women’s health organization, Planned Parenthood. The Daily News reported on the ongoing battle in Albany, New York, regarding whether or not churches should be allowed to use public schools as meeting places.

Prior to Tuesday’s primaries, Catalina Camia described in USA Today, that, according to recent polls, candidate Rick Santorum was poised for a “big day” in GOP contests. She was right. Camia reported that polls by Democratic-leaning public policy polling indicated that Santorum was likely headed for a victory in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, where last nights results indicate he won by large margins in all three states. Although Colorado and Minnesota are nonbinding caucuses, Camia believes that, even with wins in only two of the states, the outcomes will “raise questions about Romney’s inevitability” as the eventual 2012 Republican presidential candidate, as well as “the purpose of Newt Gingrich’s continued presence in the race.” Camia writes that if Santorum can establish himself as the conservative alternative to Romney, who many view as  indecisively moderate, then he will have a legitimate chance of ultimately receiving the Republican nomination. This belief is, of course, not without contest. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a firm supporter of Mitt Romney, states that Santorum is not necessarily the ideal conservative his supporters claim, adding that “his rhetoric and his record don’t match up.” The effect these results will yield on the Republican primaries will undoubtedly reveal if Santorum has the potential to prevail as the Republican nominee.

Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times discussed the resignation of high-ranking official, Karen Handel, from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a nationally renowned charity committed to raising funds for the treatment and eradication of breast cancer. Following a dispute regarding the organization’s continued funding of Planned Parenthood, Karen Handel, the charity’s former Vice President of Public Policy, quit, stating that she endorsed the exclusion of Planned Parenthood from Komen funding in accordance with a decision reached last week. Handel, an unsuccessful Republican candidate in the 2010 Georgia gubernatorial elections, has repeatedly stated her opposition to abortion, and although only a small percent of Planned Parenthood budgeting goes towards abortions, Handel, in conjunction with many other Komen officials, upheld the organization’s decision to exclude Planned Parenthood from future funding for breast cancer screenings due to an ongoing governmental investigation. This decision was reversed following three days of vehement criticism from members of Congress as well as Komen affiliates, accusing the organization of attempting to appease anti-abortion groups at the expense of women’s health. This article is relevant, as funding for organizations such as Planned Parenthood that provide imperative women’s health services, such as breast-exams, pregnancy tests and pap smears, along with more controversial measures, such as birth control, and in certain cases abortion, has been under fire by opponents of some of the healthcare initiatives espoused by President Obama.

A New York Daily News post on their Daily Politics blog, written by Glenn Blain, reports that, following Assembly Speak Sheldon Silver’s revocation of a Senate bill which would allow multiple groups, religious and not, to use public schools for services and meeting places, some sixty churches may face eviction. Silver states that the bill as it stood was “seriously flawed,” as its language would have permitted extremist groups such as the KKK to use public school facilities with little to no regulations.  This revocation has resulted in a significant degree of scrutiny by those who feel that religious groups should be able to access public schools on weekends, or whenever it is not disruptive to the educational process. Reverend Duane Motely of the New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms argued that Silver’s actions were infringing upon city churches’ rights to free speech. Although Silver is currently working on revisions to the bill, it is unclear how he plans to address the issue of church use of public schools. It certainly appears unlikely that any such bill would be complete by this Sunday, at which point these churches will be confronted with the challenge of finding a new meeting place. This article reveals the extent to which the struggle to find a balance regarding the appropriate degree of separation of church and state remains a relevant political issue.