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February 11, 2012 8:30 AM Mmmm, Culture War…

By Jesse Singal

Public Policy Polling has a pretty convincing rundown of the political ramifications of the contraception controversy:

-Republican agitating on this issue could cause themselves trouble at the polls this year. 40% of voters say Mitt Romney’s stance makes them less likely to vote for him, while only 23% consider it a positive. With the Catholic oversample [of almost 400 Catholics] it’s 46% less likely and 28% more likely. And Congressional Republicans are imperiling themselves as well. 58% of voters oppose them trying to take the benefit away, while only 33% are supportive.
Republicans will win this fall if they can convince voters that the economy stinks and it’s Barack Obama’s fault and putting them in power will fix the problem. If they want to make it about social issues and making it easy and affordable for women to access birth control, Democrats win.

Run away, GOP! Run away!

Obviously, questions of whether and how and why the the Republican Party and the many independent actors that constitute it attempt to exhume certain “values” issues are complicated and multifaceted, especially during primary season.

But on some fundamental level, there have to be a lot of otherwise levelheaded people in the GOP who, when faced with the prospect of wading back into these waters, can’t help but react the same way Homer Simpson did to the Good Morning Burger. As long as you don’t take the time to actually understand public opinion and how it is changing, these issues just look so good, so tasty, so loaded with the rich creamery butter of cultural panic.

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.

Comments

  • c u n d gulag on February 11, 2012 9:24 AM:

    Poor Conservatives!

    All of that fear, loathing, and hate, going to waste.

    This is what happens when they don't have a war.

    All of the basement-dwelling commando's have nothing but time on their hands.
    Not that they were going to join the military to lend a hand. But all of that energy that would be spent waving the flag while chomping Cheeto's has to go somewhere.
    And, luckily for us, they've decided to make contraception their new al Qaeda.

    Now instead of IED's, they're focusing on IUD's.

    And most Americans don't f*ck for procreation. They f*ck 'cause they likes to f*ck.

    So, go ahead, my Conservative fiends (sic), by all means, have a field day with this issue.

    I propose a campaign ad for President Obama:
    You see a hospital rooms where a woman is giving birth, with her husband (or some other male) yelling, "Breathe! PUSH!!!"
    And in the background, you hear that horrible 70's song, "Having My Baby."
    With the slogan, "Republicans: Just Say NO - TO SEX!", across the screen as the final shot.

  • arkie on February 11, 2012 9:25 AM:

    And why did Chris Matthews, Mark Shield, E.J. Dionne and the rest of the East Coast Irish Catholic pundits insist on portraying this issue as a major problem for Obama despite the earlier polling that indicated that even a majority of Catholics supported his position?

    Did their early years of Catholic education make them incapable of opposing the bishops? My wife, a recovering Irish Catholic, thinks so.

  • theAmericanist on February 11, 2012 9:25 AM:

    Two points about the contraception crisis:

    1) Obama very nearly cost himself the election.

    2) He proved that he can reverse a bad decision.

  • c u n d gulag on February 11, 2012 9:30 AM:

    Hey, CRAPTCHA!

    Boy, I'm sure glad you make our commenting here such a royal f*cking pain in the ass - but at least we don't have to deal with marketing trolls, or trolly trolls.

    Ooops!
    One got by.

    Go back to taking your f*cking siesta, CRAPTCHA!

    Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh - Some f*cking watchdog YOU are!

  • c u n d gulag on February 11, 2012 9:32 AM:

    Thank you, oh wonderful site monitors!

    But now my second comment makes me sound like I'm bitching about ghosts, or something...

    No, seriously - thank you!!! :-)

    [Apologies, Gulag. I will try to avoid bathroom breaks and refilling ye olde coffee cup while the spambots are about. :) By the way, my best to you and your family during this difficult time. --Mod]

  • JoanneinDenver on February 11, 2012 9:35 AM:

    @arkie
    Chris Matthews had a book signing at "Blessed Sacrament Church"..enough said for his position supporting the Bishops. God, literally, only knows why the catholic educated men, who all admitted to supporting/using contraceptives, supported the bishops.
    @Jesse Singal
    Welcome. The GOP will win the 2012 election if their state by state strategy succeeds. The presidential election is NOT a popular national vote; it is a state by state winner take all the electoral votes (except in Nebraska, I think) election.
    Republicans control legislatures and governors in key states. They have passed restrictive voter ID laws. They have attacked and weakened the traditional democratic power bases...unions and women's organizations. The democrats do not have strong state organizations, except for Wisconsin. Focusing on the clown show that is the Republican presidential race distracts from what is really happening. Evidently the Catholic hierarchy will be supporting republicans...on the issues of gay marriage and abortion and so-called "religious freedom" in the several states.

  • berttheclock on February 11, 2012 9:40 AM:

    @cundgulag, I wonder how many RepuG men hiding in their respective basements would, secretly, love to see IEUDs?

  • Jesse Singal on February 11, 2012 9:41 AM:

    A thousand apologies, c u n d gulag. I would like to officially announce to this thread, using the temporary power vested in me by the Washington Monthly, that c u n d gulag is not crazy and was in fact responding to a spam comment that I subsequently deleted.

  • c u n d gulag on February 11, 2012 9:44 AM:

    berttheclock,
    Would they even know where to look?

    The closest most of them came to one was their Mama's while they were being hatched - er, uhm, born. Sorry.

  • berttheclock on February 11, 2012 9:45 AM:

    @JoanneinDenver,

    Much of that RepuG control of state legislatures comes from the heavy financial backing of the Koch Brother for the American Learning Exchange Council. ALEC has coordinated the anti-abortion laws sweeping the state legislatures. State legislators across the nation are in the hip pockets of ALEC due to the wine and dining seminars promoted by ALEC. Yet, on liberal blogs such as this, why is so little written about the work of ALEC?

  • arkie on February 11, 2012 9:47 AM:

    Reinforcing the fact that this was a winning issue for Obama is this:

    President Obama had spent the last months below or close to 50% chance of reelection. Buyers now put him back to well over 60% -- all at the same time Mitt Romney is continuing to stumble in the GOP primary.

    http://media.talkingpointsmemo.com/slideshow/obama-up-on-intrade?ref=fpblg

  • DAY on February 11, 2012 9:52 AM:

    At my mother's knee, or some other low joint (one with a cross on the roof and a guy in a dress), I learned that although Jesus loves me, his Father is filled with wrath, and I better be a good God Fearing Christian.

    Then I found my father's stash of books on the categorical imperative and dialectical materialism, and grew up. I did, however, remember "when I became a man I put away childish things." I Cor. xiii. 11.

    You may think this is off topic, but it is not. The election will be between those who Think, and those who Believe.

  • meander on February 11, 2012 9:58 AM:

    How about it some enterprising journalists get to the point with the GOP candidates (at all levels, from presidential on down): "Hey candidate, isn't your real problem not with contraception but with sex? Is sex -- even between married couples -- only for making babies?"

  • Kathryn on February 11, 2012 10:00 AM:

    Well this last week sure did bring out mass hysteria on the right. Call me naive, but demonizing contraception does not seem like a winner to me, most of the GOP candidates (don't know what Romney said) got out on the ledge on this one. Telling women that this policy (contraceptive coverage) is why "Obamacare" must be repealed is not persuasive.

    Personally, I think the ability to prevent or delay pregnancy is one area that sets us apart from the animal kingdom.

  • theAmericanist on February 11, 2012 10:00 AM:

    Oh, fercyrsakes, Day: you'd have a bit more cred if you ever demonstrated that you DO think. God forbid Obama says anything that stooopid -- but Lord knows, it's possible. (Remember "bitterly clinging to guns and religion"?)

    Jesse (and arkie): If you want to have effective opinions about polling, you need to learn how it works. No, the polls did NOT show that the public supported the HHS rule. They showed it could cost him Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Florida.

    That's why the President reversed it so fast. Perhaps you should grasp events before you try to manipulate analysis?

    John Sides did a pretty fair job explaining the current state of public opinion research on the basic pro-choice/pro-life split. He points out that there is NO pro-choice majority -- most folks don't support the actual pro-choice position.

    So the smart thing to do in evaluating public opinion on the HHS contraception rule (or really any issue) is to look for at least TWO polls that use Rule of 4 techniques, framing the issue in two ways: one that favors the HHS framing, and the other (in this case) the Bishops.

    You guys keep citing the Planned Parenthood-funded poll, which doesn't follow any of that basic science. It used a clumsily phrased question framed to show support for its position, which it did -- but if they HAD Rule of 4 results (which I expect they did, btw), they weren't published.

    Don't be such suckers for polemicists.

    What good public opinion research has always shown (again, see Sides piece) is that there are two overlapping majorities on these issues. The only way to understand public opinion is to watch what moves people from one side to the other -- and intensity.

    In this case, when you frame it the way the HHS did (which was promptly reversed by the President personally, so you really oughta stop assuming HHS got it right), that is, as a matter of access to contraception with an extremely narrow religious exemption, you get a relatively small # of folks who strongly favor it, a substantial number who are sorta for it, a small # who are sort of against it, and a percentage who are strongly against it that is several multiples of the percentage that is strongly for it. That's a weak place to be, cuz it means that even when you slice it into pro and con you have a majority that weakly favors the HHS framing, smart folks recognize that this is the BEST you're gonna do (since it used HHS framing), and still your squishies are double their squishies, so they have a much better shot at persuading guys on your side than you have of persuading guys on theirs. Plus their intensity outdoes yours by several orders of magnitude.

    Then you frame it in terms of religious liberty (which has the peculiar advantage of being true), and -- as Sides shows when you examine polls that REALLY test the pro-choice position by framing it factually -- you wind up with a substantially lower # that is strongly for the HHS position, about half that is sorta for; you double the sort of against, and the percentage that is strongly against the HHS position increases at least as much as the strongly for #s decrease. So when you use religious liberty framing, you don't get a mirror image of the HHS framing -- because even though when you slice it into pro/con, you get a pro-religous liberty (higher than the opposite with HHS framing) majority, the pro-HHS intensity declines and the pro-religious liberty intensity increases, which indicates that their squishies are much less likely to move than your squishies.

    The HHS proposal put the White House, the Senate majority and the possibility of taking back the House at risk. Don't kid yourselves -- that Obama personally overturned HHS oughta tell ya that you've wildly mis-read public opinion, as well as the ACTUAL issue here.

    That's why I said -- days before they did it -- that the solution was simple, which

  • Ron Byers on February 11, 2012 10:15 AM:

    If you understand that the Republican party is driven by the very limited views of a handful of talk radio hacks and a cable "news" network all of whom cater to a very white, grumpy baby boomer and older audience, the problems Republicans are facing are pretty understandable. Their audience is composed of a sliver of the country. They are appealinig to a minority of a minority. That is a good sized audience for talk radio and Fox News, but America is a great nation with a large and diverse population. It doesn't really matter if Republicans turn the volume up to 11. They just aren't appealing to a broad enough demographic. Of course turning the volume up to 11 helps Limbaugh and Fox News, nobody else.

    Turning the volume up to 11 also helps people on the left who are working hard to demonize the right.

  • SYSPROG on February 11, 2012 10:18 AM:

    Sorry Americanist...I think you have it exactly WRONG. I think you got played by the President. There is NO WAY to find out how all this stuff goes down behind closed doors unless we have a NATIONAL FREAKOUT. The WH put out it's 'position', the players took their scripted positions (Bishops=beliefs, GOP=Obama bad and trying to take away your RIGHTS, men=SUCK IT UP WOMEN) and the 'debate' commenced. After letting it 'rage' for weeks the WH stepped in and said I'm not changing anything EXCEPT who pays for it. Period. I think the President got exactly what he wanted. Of course, we had to spend ONE MORE DAY saying 'he caved' 'he flip-flopped' etc. etc. And Day? 'The election will be between those who Think, and those who Believe.' I agree but it won't be between the religious. It will be between those that READ and those who KNOW (with no facts)...

  • j on February 11, 2012 10:19 AM:

    On Chris Hayes this morning, one guest said that she thought it was a brilliant strategy by Obama to bring this thing to a head and let the country see how radical the repubs are, and then like the only grown -up in the room he calmly suggested a compromise - no fuss, no bother.

    One other thought - does anyone else think that there is an air of desperation about Romney these days?

  • berttheclock on February 11, 2012 10:33 AM:

    @j, a friend of mine sent me the Times cartoon showing Romney buying Santorum sweater vests in every possible color.

  • jpeckjr on February 11, 2012 10:40 AM:

    @DAY: I'm a believer, a follower of Jesus, who thinks. They are not mutually exclusive. I think the theology of the Roman Catholic church on contraception is ridiculous on both theological and scientific grounds.

    While strongly pro-choice on abortion -- I do not think or believe life begins at conception -- I understand how someone might think that or hold that belief.

    But there is no scientific or religious justification for a theology that says life begins before conception. That is the Roman Catholic church's basic theological assertion regarding conception. It fails on both scientific and religious grounds.

  • theAmericanist on February 11, 2012 10:40 AM:

    Sysprog: Riiiiiiight.

    Here is the actual chronology (without speculation):

    Obama makes the ACA a priority. He can't get it through Congress, partly because of opposition from religious groups over the possibility of a mandate to cover contraception, notably from the Bishops. He recruits support from prominent Catholics like Congressman Bart Stupak and Sister Keehan. They vouch that the ACA will NOT mandate that religious institutions violate doctrine. ACA passes.

    HHS starts to work out details, including the mandate. They consult with folks like Keehan, so she knows that HHS is considering a double cross. Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of the Diocese of NY, gets a meeting with the President, the Vice President, and the Chief of Staff. (Rule of thumb -- when those four get together to talk about it right before the administration announces a controversial decision, they are presumptively Making a Deal. It's not a photo op.) Dolan says the President gave him his word that religious institutions won't be double crossed.

    HHS announces that the religious exemption will be limited to congregations doing services, basically: no hospitals, charities, or schools. ALL the Administration's framing is based on access to contraception, and serious players, e.g., Rosa DeLauro, Barbara Boxer, etc., go out to defend the idea that a Catholic hospital isn't really "Catholic", because it's a hospital.

    Meanwhile, the Bishops respond within hours with a video that truthfully frames the HHS rule as an attack on religion in civic life. It's not simply that the Bishops and their supports are revealed (this is a surprise?) as opponents of contraception. It's also that a substantial percentage of pro-choice folks are revealed to be enthusiastically hostile to religion -- look at any related thread on any lefty blog, and you'll find attacks on the religious exemption from taxes, etc.

    Polling ensues. Planned Parenthood releases a poll phrased to show that the HHS position is popular. Polemicists rejoice.

    I note that there is other polling going on, which uses the Rule of 4 to find out if the HHS proposal is as popular as pro-choice polemicists insist it must be. I note that religious liberty is popular (also, not incidentally, a Founding principle, which a government mandate that employers must pay for contraception is not, despite the Democratic fundraising that went out as this became front page news). I further note that the HHS rule puts Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Florida at risk, and I note further that most Latino voters are Catholics.

    It becomes clear that the House will vote to overturn the HHS rule (with even the Democratic leadership divided, e.g., Larson vs. DeLauro), while no less than SEVEN Democratic Senators oppose the HHS rule.

    The President defends this to Democratic Senators at a retreat on February 7th. (Which happens to be the day I predicted that the solution here was to exempt religious institutions, and require that insurers pay.) Three days later, he announces that ... religious institutions would be exempt, while insurers must pay.

    So the administration double-crossed its religious allies whose support for the ACA was decisive in getting it passed, they sent key allies out to defend the HHS proposal at some political risk to themselves, and the President personally defended it to Democratic Senators who had publicly announced their opposition -- all the while you guys were insisting that it was, so! enormously popular, and I was noting that actually, the data showed it could cost him the election.

    Then he changed his mind.

    You were saying, Sysprog?

  • Brenda on February 11, 2012 10:46 AM:

    @j

    Oh yeah, if desperation were cologne, Romney would be swimming in it. You can smell him coming a mile away like a car salesman who's not going to make his mortgage this month. He will say or do whatever it takes and is absolutely not too proud to beg. Unfortunately for him, nothing repels people better than desperation. He is flailing.

  • arkie on February 11, 2012 10:47 AM:

    Joan Walsh has answered my question about Irish Catholic pundits:

    Watching liberals defend a church they disagree with showed us that even Catholic insiders can feel like outsiders

    http://www.salon.com/2012/02/11/catholic_tribalism_and_the_contraceptive_flap/?source=newsletter

  • c u n d gulag on February 11, 2012 10:50 AM:

    Mods,
    Thanks for the kind and warm thoughts.

    Also two, if you drink less coffee, you'd take less bathroom breaks! Funny how that works... ;-)

    Love ya!

  • Ted Frier on February 11, 2012 11:54 AM:

    Why would we expect right wing conservatives to understand public opinion? They made "empathy" a dirty word after all and actually tried to transform it into a disqualifying characteristic in a judge. God help us if we actually start putting ourselves in other people's shoes!

    Everything about conservatism is about group loyalty and conformance to group norms. That is why conservative media does better than liberal media because while liberals are an "audience" for their media conservatives are "citizens" of theirs -- and why the Fairness Doctrine that would guarantee a fuller and freer debate of issues is considered an attack on conservative "freedoms."

    It is also why conservatives think they are doing the Will of the American People when they vote for things opposed by 70% of Americans -- ah, ha, but not 70% of Conservative Americans.

    I am convinced that President Obama let this birth control issue marinate for awhile before offering what seems to be a fair-minded compromise because he knew he was tossing red meat to a movement that feasts on tribal issues just like this and so wouldn't be able to resist going way over the top in exposing the fanatic within with their apocalyptic talk of government "wars" on religion on an issue that 98% of Americans is a residue of those Dark Ages when monks still copied the Bible by hand.

  • Ted Frier on February 11, 2012 12:03 PM:

    It would be one thing if the Catholic bishops confined their teachings against birth control to those who voluntarily associate themselves with the Catholic Church. But the Church hierarchy forfeited the right to make this a fundamentally religious issue instead of a political one a long time ago when they so strongly aligned themselves with political efforts to keep laws on the books that prohibited the sale of birth control not only to Catholics but to all Americans.

    Rick Santorum's candidacy shows this is not ancient history. As his statements against birth control and for state restrictions show, Santorum is not running as a presidential candidate who happens also to be a Catholic. He is running as THE Catholic candidate for president in order to advance the ideas of Catholic social paternalism.

    Catholics say they have every right to participate in the political process and to bring their values to bear -- and they do. What they do not have the right to do is what the Catholic bishops are doing now, which is to shroud their political agenda in the majesty of the First Amendment so as to immunize from criticism political attempts to use the law to restrict sex to procreation not recreation by portraying critics of the Church's stance on birth control as opponents of "religious" freedom.

  • JoanneinDenver on February 11, 2012 12:06 PM:

    @berttheclock
    I have no idea why liberal blogs ignore the Koch brothers and the republican
    strategy. Maybe it is just too scary.

    The birth control wars have to continue for many reasons. Basically, it works for the church and the conservatives and the church needs the power that will come from helping the republicans win in 2012.
    1) The President began his statement yesterday by citing the medical consensus that contraception and the ability it confers for women to space their children is a good thing. Catholic bishops reject that statement. That medical consensus is, in itself, contrary to catholic doctrine. The bishops also believe that "error has no rights." They do not accept any other church's teachings as being equal to that of the catholic church. The bishops would like to see birth control outlawed, again. Failing that, the bishops would like to see it increasingly difficult for any woman to get birth control. The bishops would like to see the power of the state used to enface catholic doctrine. For most of the history of the church, it was an arm of the state.

    2)The bishops are in a fiscal bind. The outlay to compensate the victims of clerical abuse has bankrupted many dioceses. The fear remains that somehow the statute of limitations would be removed for sex abuse crimes and that could financially destroy the catholic church in America. They would see the republicans more favorable to protecting the catholic church. Also, the less money they have to fork over for insurance, the better. I think the bishops will push to be totally exempt from Obamacare; so they won't have to worry about finds or mandates.

    3)In key battleground states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, there is a high percentage of elder practicing Catholics, for whom fertility is no longer an issue. But many of them were faithful to the Catholic teachings in their youth and had more children that perhaps they wished..(.children who are grown up and
    "They don't call, they don't write...." ) and now deeply resent the fact that "cafeteria catholics" flaunt the church's teaching with impunity. Voting against Obama is a way to retaliate.

    As for "guns and religion," the was taken out of context. Some of Obama's supporters were suggesting that he would be facing racial prejudice in parts of Pennsylvania. Obama was trying to defuse the issue, by explaining how he saw those voters in very depressed economic areas.

    I do not see this issue going away. I do not see the Democrats at all responsive to the forces allied against them. I am discouraged.

  • TCinLA on February 11, 2012 12:22 PM:

    Isn't "otherwise-levelheaded Republican" an oxymoron?

    The people who used to form that bloc within the Southern White People's Confederate Nostalgic Idiocy Party are long gone.

  • TCinLA on February 11, 2012 12:31 PM:

    The election will be between those who Think, and those who Believe.

    Exactly.

    As to the "liberal" Irish Catholic pundits' inability to deal with the situation, recall the famous Jesuit saying about Jesuit education: "give me the child and I shall own the man."

    As far as Tweety Bird Matthews is concerned, the man is an embarrassment that we are supposed to claim this drooling moron as one of ours.

  • TCinLA on February 11, 2012 12:36 PM:

    As far as the Catholic Bishops are concerned, who cares what a bunch of altar-boy-boinking perverts have to say about anything?

  • theAmericanist on February 11, 2012 1:18 PM:

    Like I keep pointing out, it would really help if you guys grasped events before you try to manipulate analysis:

    The Boston Globe has a solidly sourced description of the sequence:
    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2012/02/11/obama_didnt_see_backlash_on_birth_control_coming/

    ""Lord knows we tried" to warn the administration, said Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby.

    Campbell said the administration seemed focused on the health issues involved in putting Obama's health care law in place. "Even though a bunch of us weighed in and said there was this other layer of concern, it's like above where they ordinarily focus, so it just didn't compute," Campbell said....Former Indiana congressman and ambassador Tim Roemer and other moderate Democrats spoke out. Among the organizations that mobilized was Democrats for Life of America.

    "It became apparent that this was not going to be something that was just going to lose steam," said Kristen Day, the group's executive director. "The ranks were actually increasing rather than decreasing"...

    ...Former Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said he and Roemer offered the perspective of two lawmakers who had represented conservative Democratic districts.

    Stupak said he wondered, "Why would you pick this fight in an election year? In any year, to tell you the truth."

    "At first they were sort of cool: `We know what we're doing, we'll get it resolved,'" Stupak said of the White House. "Toward the end, in the last week, it was more like, `We're working on it, we've heard you. We'll get this thing behind us.'"

    Several Democrats broke publicly with the president. Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, a recent chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said the White House "made a bad decision"....

    ...Even as pressure mounted, Democrats supporting access to contraceptives pushed to make sure the White House didn't retreat.

    For New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and other Democratic women in the Senate, their last opportunity to make their case came Wednesday, when the president took his motorcade to Nationals Stadium in Washington to meet with Senate Democrats.

    Obama offered no hint an announcement was two days away, but under questioning he offered an assurance.

    "He said to all of us that he was committed to the principle that women should have access to that contraceptive coverage," Shaheen said.

    That same day, administration officials including senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and the first lady's chief of staff, Tina Tchen, convened a meeting with women's groups at the White House to urge more women to speak out in support of the president's decision, a Democratic official said.

    Participants discussed reframing the debate as less about the Catholic Church and more about a war on women, the official said, insisting on anonymity to discuss the private meeting.

    By then it was already becoming clear that Obama would have to change course. Some 48 hours later, he stepped before the microphones in the White House briefing room to announce that he was."

    This wasn't some genius move by the President to trap his political adversaries. It was a boneheaded betrayal of key allies which he had the good sense to reverse.

  • Pal2008 on February 11, 2012 2:55 PM:

    A lot of otherwise levelheaded people in the GOP who, when faced with the prospect of wading back into these waters, canít help but ask themselves why they continue to identify with the republican party.

  • Doug on February 11, 2012 6:56 PM:

    Sorry, tA but you're not convincing anyone.
    Poll after poll shows agreement with the administrations ORIGINAL policy of requiring religious charities and universities to provide contracpetive coverage in the HCI plans they offer. Such requirements, by the way, are ALREADY in force in 26 (or 28) states. The SC has already ruled that there is no legal standing for the Catholic Bishops' position.
    As for there ever being a chance of Mr. Obama "losing" the election over this - in your dreams. Do you think the President didn't have a fall-back position ready if necessary? Did it occur to you that, by classing contraceptives a "preventive" measure, it immediately made them that much more accessible to those who might really need them but can't afford them? Or, for example, those who previously COULDN'T get coverage because they were employed by Catholic K-12 school? Those schools aren't entirely staffed by priests and nuns, yanno.
    Then there's the obvious fact that, with the SC ruling/s and the legal mandates of those 26 or 28 states behind them, why SHOULD the administration have even considered the original ruling to be a "betrayal"? As far as I can discover NONE of the Catholic charities and universities in those jurisdictions have shut down or relocated. As that's true, then why should a NATIONAL requirement not also be accepted?
    I don't know about the "rule of 4" you keep nattering on about (I'm certain it's buried SOMEWHERE in your bloviations and it can stay there), but I CAN recognize someone who isn't nearly as intelligent and all-knowing as they think they are. This has been nothing but an attempt by the Bishops to distract attention from the ongoing PR disaster they created for themselves by protecting, for decades, accused and admitted child molesters in their ranks. This is just their version of "Look over there, a missing white girl".
    And SOME people fell for it...

  • theAmericanist on February 11, 2012 8:11 PM:

    LOL -- Doug, if you were smarter, you'd be embarrassed.

    I keep pointing out that the polls don't do what you're sure they do. That's not a matter of opinion, yanno. I've shown why, and how. You don't agree, but that's cuz you're willfully ignorant, e.g., "I don't know about the 'Rule of 4'..."

    It's not like a secret. Ask people who do polling. The Rule of 4 is sorta like the ABCs of public opinion research in politics. You're like a guy who goes to baseball games, sits in the mezzanine hollering at the field, and when somebody points out that there aren't actually any free throws, you diss 'em. The damn thing is going on right in front of you, but you dunno the game.

    I've also pointed out that the constantly repeated talking point that dozens of states already have a version of the HHS rule is just silly: in those states, religious institutions self-insure. I guess you missed that -- it's what's known as a "fact", and is sorta significant in matters of this kind. Because they self-insure, religious institutions in these states simply get around the state's law. (Read that again, since it's evidently escaped your notice for three weeks.) The HHS rule would have banned the practice. So the HHS rule is what people who follow such matters know by a word: "different".

    Going too fast for you, Doug? Ya see, that's why a "NATIONAL requirement" created a situation requiring a different response. Which it got.

    Man, you really are dumb.

    This is just about the clearest example of an Executive Branch turning on a dime to reverse a policy that was clearly a political disaster of the first order -- but Doug just doesn't see it.

    LOL -- like I said, if you were smarter, you'd be embarrassed. Must be cuz of how closely you follow those second basemen shooting foul shots.