A couple of notes on the ongoing culture wars:
During the Bush administration, President Bush displayed his concern for both mother and unborn child by putting an administrative rule in place allowing states to cover unborn children in the SCHIP program. On Thursday, the Senate rejected an amendment to make that administrative rule national law.
This is foolish even by Democrats' standards. These are babies that their mother's want to be born (pro-choice!), yet the Democrats don't want to respect that choice. Also, from a strictly fiscal standpoint, mothers without adequate pre-natal care are more likely to cost SCHIP more after the baby is born than it would have if pre-natal care had been covered. The administrative rule remains, but is subject to President Barack Obama's whims.
While I worked at the White House -- from 2001 to 2006 -- I saw Dybul combine the ability to build bipartisan consensus for PEPFAR on Capitol Hill with exceptional compassion for the victims of a cruel and wasting sickness. It mattered little to the Bush administration that Dybul was openly gay or that he had contributed to Democratic candidates in the past. He was recognized as a great humanitarian physician -- a man of faith and conscience -- almost universally respected among legislators, AIDS activists, foreign leaders and health experts. Almost.
A few radical "reproductive rights" groups -- the fringe of a fringe -- accused Dybul of advocating "abstinence only" programs in AIDS prevention. It was always a lie. Dybul consistently supported comprehensive prevention efforts that include abstinence, faithfulness and condom use -- the approach that African governments themselves developed. In fact, Dybul was sometimes attacked from the right for defending a broad definition of AIDS prevention, including programs to address prostitution and transgenerational sex. Over the years, PEPFAR distributed 2.2 billion condoms -- hardly an "abstinence only" approach.
By encouraging Dybul to stay until his successor was in place, the Obama administration displayed a generous spirit, as well as a practical concern for continuity in a vital program.
Then, the day after the inauguration, Dybul received a call asking him to submit his resignation and to leave by the end of the day. There was no chance to reassure demoralized staffers, or PEPFAR teams abroad, or the confused health ministers of other nations. The only people who seemed pleased were a few blogging extremists, one declaring, "Dybul Out: Thank you, Hillary!!!"
So much for the new politics.