Friday, February 10, 2012

President Obama's Catholic Conundrum

The President’s Catholic Conundrum over mandatory contraception illustrates the anti-religion animus of the Obama Administration.

Don’t worry about the current polls. Even if the economy continues on its recovery, President Obama will find a way to self destruct because of his mind set. Maybe gas will shoot up to $5/gallon, Egypt become the next Iran, he’ll pull another Keystone Pipeline, Son of Solyndra will emerge, or he’ll misspeak on a critical issue even with the Bully Pulpit.

His current battle, not just with the Catholic Church, but with all religions over the mandated contraception requirement, is an example of an unwise and unnecessary battle he did not have to fight. His advisers and strategists may have thought posing it as a basic woman’s right is a winning political stratagem. They know that many Catholics ignore the Church’s teachings on contraception.

That’s the political thinking, but it’s tone deaf.

The Church may be irate with the mandatory contraception mandate, but co-religionists are concerned about the government dictating to all religions once it gets the camel’s nose under the tent. Contraception today, abortion tomorrow.

His new proposal to exempt the religious institutions, but to mandate the insurers to offer free contraception, is no solution or alternative. It displays economic ignorance: “Don’t worry; I have insurance.”

Insurance companies are not in business to give it away for free. Someone has to pay for the coverage, which ensures it will be built into the cost of the insurance. Both the employers and employees will share in the costs since the insurers will pass the costs on, which means the Catholic organizations will have to pay for contraception.

We know that there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” Why would there then be free insurance?

If contraception is so critical that it should be free, then why not health insurance itself? Shouldn’t restaurants or supermarkets then have to distribute free food to the homeless by the same reasoning? Could we require doctors to donate 20% of their practice to serving the poor? Why not force pharmaceutical companies to produce children's vaccines for free?

The Administration is as tone deaf on the contraception issue as Vice President Al Gore was on gun control. Polls show that Americans favor the President’s proposal for mandatory, free contraception. Of course, Americans would also favor free mortgages, rent free, tuition free, etc. if asked.

More significantly, most Americans, especially in urban areas, favor gun control. Al Gore was strongly supportive of gun control in 2000. Opponents of gun control, not just NRA members, are single issue voters. Al Gore lost the Presidency not because of Florida, but because he did not carry either Tennessee or West Virginia. Had he won either state, the Florida results would have been irrelevant. Gun control was the deciding issue in Tennessee, which was the Vice President’s home state. Gun control and his positions against coal cost him West Virginia. The Democratic Party has backed off from gun control since then. It recognized that the minority could out vote the majority.

So too with the President’s proposal! Catholics, as well as other opponents of contraception, will often be one issue voters. They may not be a majority of American voters, but they are a solid bloc that will vote when aroused.

The President’s conundrum is how to get out of a fight he did not need to pick.

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