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Arguing to restrict the public funding of abortions within the District of Columbia, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kans.) suggested on Thursday afternoon that if such "financial incentives" were available some 47 years ago, President Barack Obama himself may never have been born.
"If you think of it in human terms, there is a financial incentive that will be put in place, paid for by tax dollars, that will encourage women who are -- single parents, living below the poverty level, to have the opportunity for a free abortion," said Tiahrt. "If you take that scenario and apply it to many of the great minds we have today, who would we have been deprived of? Our president grew up in a similar circumstance."
"If that financial incentive was in place, is it possible that his mother may have taken advantage of it?" Tiahrt asked. "Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice, if those circumstances were in place, is it possible that we would be denied his great mind? The opportunity to have tax-funded abortions, a financial incentive, is something that I think most of us want to oppose in America and it's certainly deserves a clean up or down vote."
The comments, pointed out by an eagle-eyes CSPAN viewer, are a classic charge of abortion opponents, though, in this case, rife with political sensitivities. Usually it is Beethoven, not Obama, who plays the role of the fortunately non-terminated fetus.
But for Tiahrt to group the president together with another minority figure -- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas -- is to invite another round of questions over how the GOP is actually relating to minority communities. Just this week, Michael Steele was asked how to woo black voters to the Republican tent by a questioner who offered up collard greens. I'll bring the "fried chicken and potato salad" the RNC Chairman, himself an African-American, responded. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., meanwhile, told Sonia Sotomayor, a Hispanic, that she had "some 'splaining to do."