He might be. Really. [UPDATED: Unsurprisingly, he’s not. See below.]
By now, you — and millions of others — have heard about Jon Kyl’s admission that his claim that 90% of Planned Parenthood’s budget goes to abortions was a bald-faced lie. And you have heard this perhaps because Stephen Colbert has ripped Kyl not a new one, but several new ones.
So why might that make him a mensch?
Recall who said that Kyl’s speech “was not intended to be a factual statement.” It wasn’t Kyl: it was Kyl’s staffer on the phone. It’s not clear, but it may very well have been some 20-something who didn’t know much and said the first thing that came into his or her mind. I might be giving Kyl’s office too much credit, but I can’t believe that his office sat down, considered how to respond, and came up with that. That’s just too stupid, even for Congressional Republicans.
The normal reaction for a lot politicians would have been to fire the staffer, or at least to throw the staffer under the bus, e.g. “that is not the Senator’s position and the staffer erred. He instead was relying on the analysis of the Heritage Foundation” yadda yadda yadda. Or even: “we made a mistake, but of course everything we say on the floor is intended to be factual.” But so far, Kyl hasn’t done that. Now, perhaps he is now figuring that any attempt to explain would just make the matter worse. Perhaps, though, he’s just trying to protect the staffer.
I know, I know: too counterintuitive-by-half. It’s Thursday afternoon: I’m in a generous mood. Just sayin’.
UPDATE: See? I try to be generous, but they won’t let me. As a commenter notes, Kyl just threw his staffer under the bus. In GOP-land, that’s called “personal responsibility.”