In the weeks leading up to the announcement of the HHS mandate I remember speaking to a few folks who said they thought Obama would just bury the issue until after the election.
They said that everything has to do with the election and there’s no way Obama’s going to pick this fight with the Church in an election year. But, of course, Obama didn’t bury the issue. Obama has picked a fight with Catholics over the contraceptive mandate. Make no mistake, Obama has picked this fight. Why? Because he thinks he can win it.
The Daily Caller report from today shows that after a few weeks of seeming a bit flatfooted in response to the bishops and the Catholic college lawsuit from Belmont Abbey, the Democrat talking heads have promulgated their talking points and the spin has begun.
President Barack Obama’s deputies and his progressive allies are trying to convert the damaging controversy over federal regulation of religious groups into an advantageous fight against Catholic bishops over access to contraception.
The portrayal, if successful, could boost support among younger women, while reducing unexpected losses among religious voters in critical swing-states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“The idea that an employer — a Catholic bishop — can say you’re not going to get access to insurance coverage … that’s downright creepy,” said Jon O’Brien, president of an abortion-choice advocacy group, Catholics for Choice. “American women get really mad when people start messing with their contraception,” he told The Daily Caller.
“Let’s remember who this controversy is really about — the women of America,” said a Feb. 8 op-ed by three Democratic senators. “Too many women struggle to pay for birth control… Improving access to birth control is good health policy and good economic policy,” said the op-ed, by Sens. Barbara Boxer, Jeanne Shaheen and Patty Murray. “The millions of American women who choose to use contraception should not be forced to follow religious doctrine, whether Catholic or non-Catholic.”
Look, the last thing that Obama wants this election to be about is the economy. Now, a fight about contraception might just be a different story.
Obama and his thuggerati will continue to push the meme that this is just about providing preventative care to women while the mean ol’ bishops (who are all male and secretly hate women), are denying women medicine.
Obama wants this to be pro-contraception Obama vs. the anti-contraception bishops. He thinks that’s a fight he can win. It’s the fight he picked. Now, it’s just up to Catholics to decide how hard we fight back.
It’s a race to frame the issue in the hearts and minds of Americans. In the end, to Americans will this issue be about contraception or is it about religious liberty? I think the answer to that question may decide this election.
February 10, 2012 at 12:53 am
1. Cardinal-designate Dolan is too media savvy to go on the defensive about this issue. He will make sure the focus stays on this Administration's trampling over the Bill of Rights. He was elected President of the USCCB for this moment in time.
2. I predict that once the heat on this issue goes nuclear; once it looks really like Santorum will win the nomination and face the president in November and NOT Romney like he hopes-Obama will backpedal and blame Sebelius; she will fall on the sword for him, resigning as HHS chief. All this just in time for people to forget about his foray into tampering with religious liberty. I give it a month at most. The president is a coward and will not be able to stand the heat in an election year. He'll bide his time, hoping for re-election so he can start it again in his second term.
February 10, 2012 at 1:33 am
Blackrep: The 98% figure is a lie. 98% of Catholic women are not of childbearing age, and certainly not all Catholic women of childbearing age are using artificial birth control. Don't feed the propaganda machine by repeating their lies.
I don't see the bishops dialoguing or backing down; they are standing strong and gaining steam. Remarkably, the ones consistently making this about religious liberty rather than contraception are the "progressive" Catholics – Sister Carol Keehan, Chris Matthews (of all people), Doug Kmiec, Joe Biden. They are joined by non-Catholic Christians like Rick Warren. Obama seriously overestimated his position and SERIOUSLY underestimated Catholics with this stunningly stupid move. What an outstanding exhibition of poor decision making in an election year. I hope this is in the headlines for months to come.
February 10, 2012 at 1:36 am
To Anon @ 1:14 PM
Here's the thing, prior to marrying, I used contraceptives (condoms) with my future husband. As a Catholic, I was a sinner at that time, and I knew it then as I do now. I have not used contraceptives once since getting married and am staunchly against its use. Yes, I was sinning by taking part in pre-marital sex at that time, and you have no idea how remorseful I am for that now. However, just because I have used it at one point in my life does not mean I am now for it and would vote for it ever.
To those saying that things are black and white, you are wrong. Maybe the numbers say 90% have used contraceptives, but that does not mean all 90% have never changed their minds or are not remorseful of their actions.
February 10, 2012 at 2:43 am
I was put on contraceptives before I was married to attempt to shrink an ovarian cyst – it was 5 weeks of misery before I quit. Still, I'd be counted as part of that 98% even though I wasn't sexually active at the time. At any rate, it doesn't matter. This is about the constitution.
February 10, 2012 at 4:03 am
Coverage is for EMPLOYEES of Catholic run enterprises. In light of the fact that benefit recipients are employed, ie receiving paycheques, how can they be too poor to pay for their own vices.
February 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm
I strongly agree with your statement: Stop taking your cues from "Being Pastoral 101" . . . .
Having survived those Pastoral Theology and Clinical Pastoral Education classes in the seminary with my faith intact, let me give you the short version of what "being pastoral" means:
It means (1) figuring out what the people want to hear; (2) telling them what they want to hear; and (3) convincing yourself that you didn't really sell out in Steps 1 & 2.
February 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm
Wow Father Frank – can I quote you on that?
February 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm
@Anon 1:22pm – Hypocrisy is not the failure to practice what you preach but the failure to believe it.
@Fr. Frank, Please ask them to stop selling out. It's not working.