Political genius or just luck? Does it matter?

In a comment thread below, I suggested to TitForTat that Obama intentionally picked a fight over the birth control co-pay, hoping that once the 1st Amendment stuff was settled, the GOP would take up the cry against birth control itself.

And dear Elvis, they seem to be doing it. Can a party be this stupid?

Not satisfied with President Obama’s new religious accommodation, Republicans will move forward with legislation by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that permits any employer to deny birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Sunday.

“If we end up having to try to overcome the President’s opposition by legislation, of course I’d be happy to support it, and intend to support it,” McConnell said. “We’ll be voting on that in the Senate and you can anticipate that that would happen as soon as possible.”

I’m really speechless.


23 responses to “Political genius or just luck? Does it matter?

  1. Well … and I winced when I heard George Will say (on This Week) that he anticipates both the House and Senate will pass these bills.


  2. Promote birth control…ban Viagra.


  3. Can a party be this stupid? My husband and I are constantly asking each other the same rhetorical question every time the GOP pulls yet another stupid maneuver. It seems to be a daily ritual now. So now I really feel at home on your blog.


    • He tossed bait and they were so anxious to grab it, they didn’t think of the consequeces. Which is excellent far as I’m concerned.

      Glad you feel welcome. Once our house troll, Alan Scott, goes after you, you’ll feel a member of the family for sure!


  4. *Facepalm*

    OK, I normally agree with the GOP but not this time. Compounding wrongs is not the way to make something right and this particular idea isn’t even aimed at making anything right.

    Yes, Obama’s plan to force religious institutions – they’re more than just churches these days – to cover contraceptives was wrong in that violated the 1st Amendment. Yes, Obama’s “compromise” of forcing the insurance companies was wrong because it violated the 10th Amendment.

    All that being said, further federal legislation to regulate or change how private companies that do not sell across state lines is equally as wrong.


    • jonolan, I heard McConnell when he made that comment on the teevee, and I was astonished that they would even consider getting on the wrong side of birth control. That is something that will wake up the most politically complacent of women.

      I agree that the 1st version requiring religious ‘institutions’ to cover the cost was a bumble and probably unconstitutioal. (Oddly, I think I can make a case on either side of the argument, but that’s probably spllitting hairs) That said, I support the goal of making birth control uniiversally avaialbe even to those women who can’t afford it. And if it takes the feds to make it happen, fine. It’s in the interest of the whole country- unwanted or undersupported children cost us money, big money.


      • Oddly, I too could make similar arguments about the constitutionality of Obama’s original idea because it comes down to what is a religious entity when it moves beyond merely being a church. In these matter, however, I almost always lean towards limiting government intervention.

        As for making contraceptives universally available – I’m all for it actually. If it takes government intervention though, I’m against it. I’m especially against the federal government trying to regulate intrastate trade or telling corporations that they have to give something away.

        The immediate material benefits to the community do not outweigh the long-term loss of basic liberties that such anti-federalism will likely lead to or the immediate further eroding of state governments.

        Remember, if all law ends up being federal, you can’t pick up and move to more hospitable climes.


        • [Remember, if all law ends up being federal, you can’t pick up and move to more hospitable climes.]

          But of course you can jonolan! 🙂 The sun is always shining down here and take my word there’s plenty of housing available. For almost any price!


          • Two things:

            One – If all law becomes essentially federal in nature, moving to Florida won’t change the laws insofar as my life is concerned.

            Two – Working in Florida is a Tropical Depression. I left there for a reason and am unlikely and very unwilling to return. 😉


          • It’s not going to happen in our lifetimes jonolan, but I would expect that power will increasingly be with the federal government and devolve from the States. We are after all, one nation, but now we’re far more homogenous than we ever were. Our interests converge into a more shared experience with more interdependancies than we ever had. From trade to law enforcement to medicine to tv and the net, to all sorts of mass communications. Our entertainment, our music, our fashion . . .. Our food isn’t very regional any more – franchises and fast food and big box chains abound so we all eat and buy the same stuff. Most people self identify as Americans, not as ‘Virginians’ or whatever, as they once did. Except of course for Texas!

            If I were younger I probably wouldn’t stay in FL, but old bones like the heat and hey, where else can I have my own pool right outside my bedroom door?


          • When it comes to laws, I’d as soon head off that unconstitutional trend as swiftly and harshly as possible, Moe. Centralized authority is unworkable for large nations and leads to poor outcomes more often than not, which is a large part of why the Founders set things up to prevent it from happening.

            I do know what you mean about age and the climate though. I’m not young either and I’ve broken the body I’m using too badly and often not to appreciate warmer climes.

            I don’t miss the pool though or, rather, I don’t miss the maintenance of it. I get by well enough without one at home because I built a conservatory with a hot tub on the roof of my brownstone.


          • I do agree with you that governing becomes very difficult when a country is as large as ours. Russia and China do it with force and as for India, who knows how that will end up. They’re commercially dynamic but have
            enormous social challenges.

            But efficient government is possible. Very imperfect for sure, but better than what we’ve got now: we seem unable to govern any more. The question for us is can we find a way to ‘fix what’s broke’. Special interests and their money, the eternal election season, the power of incumbency AND the shocking ignorance of the Ameican people about their government and their history – indeed of all history. Not to meniton tossing out the entire tax code and starting over.

            We have problems, we’ll always have problems. The worst of these is that we fail to face those problems – and when we do, we use bandaids because our ‘leaders’ are afraid of their funders and their electors.

            Civics are absent and that just gets worse. Until we address this stuff, our ability to govern will just get worse. I’m not hopeful. You?


  5. I’m always unpleasantly surprised when I see the number of women who happily vote for those who cast them as second class citizens.


    • Kind of like those who enthusiatically vote against their own economic interests – like Reagan Democrats, who then saw their wages stand still for 30 years..


  6. Hey Moe, you sure you suggested that to me. 😉


  7. Yikes TFT – you’re correct. I didn’t say it to you.

    Wrong thread, wrong commenter. In fact it was in the MOnty Python thread and it was in response to The PIssed Off Tree Rat . . . but it’s really all one conversation isn’t it.


  8. I saw that comment on the news and was flabbergasted!

    The barefoot and pregnant mentality rears its ugly head again. What I can’t understand is why so many women don’t see the dangers here. I am so sick of “getting rid of Obama” being the deepest thought they have. Good grief!


    • Hi marylee: We can hope it changes because unlike aboriton and gay marriage and all that stuff they recoil from, women – even religious women – depend on contraception. It’s crystal clear in our birth rates that contraception use is nearly universal. So maybe this is the one that wakes those women up. The rest hasn’t threatened them. This would.


  9. I don’t know if anybody touched on this here…
    The Bishops seem to be taking the fight on…
    NOT the faithfull who use contraception…..
    The Bishops and the GOP should be carefull on this they seem to be going out on a limb here…
    Obama IS in the right place…
    The policy ONLY applies to NEWLY insured….
    A large amount of states have their OWN policies…
    (They can ask for a wiver)
    The basic concept is supported by the Civil Rights act of 1964…
    The manadate for coverage has been in place for 10 years….


    • And yet james, the press and everyone else ignores how widespread that insurance policy already is. Plus, there’s a limit to what American Catholics will take from the bishops. They are very unpopular, alre very conservativve and are extememly patrirarchal. Theky really shouldn’t push it.


  10. Can’t company’s already refuse to include birth control in coverage, or just have no coverage period??? Or is this an amendment to “Obamacare”.

    If the latter, aren’t seeing concession to the existence of the law, rather than just advocating its repeal?


    • Insurance companies cannot refuse to include birth control on moral grounds, which is the Church’s argument — I imagine any insurance company can limit what it covers. Most insurers however usually cover birth control. But I doubt it’s ever been mandatory before. I think it’s good to make access universal and as cheap as possible for public health reasons and to save money. Unwanted children often end up costing the state a lot. And without contraception, abortions would soar. Lots of good reasons to make this happen.


    • Currently, in most states, companies can choose not to have their insurance coverage cover contraceptives. ObamaCare would change that.

      Even more than the Churches, I wonder what the ramifications will be to the approx. 50% of employers – those who en total insure 50% of the US workers – who self-insure as opposed to using insurance companies as more than administration facilities.

      But hopefully the SCOTUS will scuttle ObamaCare in a few months and this fiasco will be over.


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