But first, good omens from the bishops, who seem to understand, at least for the moment, that no compromise on the contraceptives-plus mandate is possible, and that the entire provision has got to go:
That was no consolation to Catholic leaders. The White House is "all talk, no action" on moving toward compromise, said Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "There has been a lot of talk in the last couple days about compromise, but it sounds to us like a way to turn down the heat, to placate people without doing anything in particular," Picarello said. "We're not going to do anything until this is fixed."And the people he hired to sling the burritos would be forced to pay the premiums, regardless of their religious or moral beliefs.
That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether, he said, not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers. He cited the problem that would create for "good Catholic business people who can't in good conscience cooperate with this."
"If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I'd be covered by the mandate," Picarello said.
How did this bone-headed decision, which could backfire in several very interesting ways, get made? By girl power! After much consulting, Obama ultimately sided with the most strident voices in his administration: the wimmin. Via Rod Dreher and Bloomberg:
Now, here’s a telling piece from Bloomberg, on how the president arrived at his decision to stick it to the Catholic Church:I wonder (not really) what Valerie Jarrett had to say on the mandate. Not that Obama needs anyone to push him the wrong way on life issues. He always takes the worst, most radically anti-life position he can.
President Barack Obama ended months of internal White House debate by siding with a group of mostly female advisers who urged him not to limit a health-care law mandate to provide contraceptives, even at the risk of alienating Catholic voters in November, people familiar with the discussions said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic and a two-term governor of Kansas, was joined by several female Obama advisers in urging against a broad exemption for religious organizations. To do so would leave too many women without coverage and sap the enthusiasm for Obama among women’s rights advocates, they said, according to the people, who spoke about the deliberations on condition of anonymity.
Vice President Joe Biden and then-White House chief of staff Bill Daley, also Catholics, warned that the mandate would be seen as a government intrusion on religious institutions. Even moderate Catholic voters in battleground states might be alienated, they warned, according to the people familiar with the discussions.
Fascinating. So Biden and Daley warned him of the potential backlash, but he chose to listen to the feminists in his inner circle. This tells you the man’s priorities. Even a principle as important as religious liberty did not trump feminist priorities in his mind. And now he finds himself being waylaid by prominent liberal Catholics, and having handed the eventual Republican nominee a powerful, energizing culture war issue to use against him this fall. Pennsylvania Democratic US Sen. Bob Casey, a liberal Catholic, has publicly called on Obama to stand down on this issue. Pennsylvania is a battleground state this fall, by the way.
My guess is that the president, like this unnamed Democrat, didn't think anyone would really care:
“Who are we going to really lose over this? Ron Paul voters?” asked a senior aide to a Senate Democrat, who thinks the administration should have handled the situation more quietly by punting a decision until after Election Day. “Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. … Catholics who don’t believe in condoms aren’t going to vote for Barack Obama anyway. Let’s get real.”Yes, let's. Turns out there's a lot more going on here than whether or not one "believes in condoms." Stay tuned.
And in case you missed it: "Come on, guys," a play in one act.
Many thanks to Michelle Malkin for the Buzzworthy link.
Updated to link to today's must read. Michelle Malkin: "To Stop the Multiplication of the Unfit". A bit:
If you aren’t creeped out by the No Birth Control Left Behind rhetoric of the White House and Planned Parenthood, you aren’t listening closely enough. The anesthetic of progressive benevolence always dulls the senses. Wake up.Read the rest and pass it on.
When a bunch of wealthy white women and elite Washington bureaucrats defend the trampling of religious liberties in the name of “increased access” to “reproductive services” for “poor” women, the ghost of Margaret Sanger is cackling.
Linked by Larwyn -- thanks!
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