Heads We Win; Tails You Lose. Obama is Hoist On His Own Petard.

King Obam

"Sire, the peasants are REVOLTING!" "You said it, they stink!"

Really hard to see the Administration’s political end-game or the calculation behind the HHS mandate.

My first thought is, “Wow, that was dumb.”

They clearly did not believe crazy uncle Joe and the other prominent, experienced-in-Church-politics male Catholic in the room when they said this would be a bridge too far: Catholics would not stand for it. Not even the majority of the less-committed ones. (The Catholycs? well, there’s no accounting for them.)

Obama reportedly called Archbishop Dolan the morning the mandate and one-year “grace period,” so to speak, were declared to tell him about the decision. Obama apparently offered the one-year leeway “to come into compliance” as though it were a generous extension. The cardinal-elect reportedly responded with something like, “Mr. President, it isn’t about compliance. If this is it then we will be in civil disobedience.”

That’s the entirety of the conversation as it was reported to me, but oh to be a fly on the wall of Obama’s internal dialogue at that moment.

Since that time all but a handful of U.S. bishops and administrators in dioceses without an ordinary have issued letters condemning the decision. There hasn’t been unity like this among the U.S. bishops since they were all happy Benedict XVI came over a few years ago.

Many high-profile Catholics who have vociferously supported and defended Obama and Obamacare are turning on him. There likely are enough votes in the Congress to overturn this ruling in some way—which would have to include a large enough number of Democrats in the Senate.

Even non-Catholic Democrats and liberals who are able to recognize a violation of conscience rights when they see one are turning on him.

Yes, there will always be the Nancy Pelosis and Kathleen Sebeliuses—see the comment about Catholycs above.

Rick Santorum has surged, no doubt in part because of this mandate.

A healthy portion of independents would like to see Obamacare repealed, this didn’t hurt that portion.

To sum up, things are going very badly for the president. Very badly.

What’s he to do? Overturn his own decision? He’d suffer the full Komen treatment, rubber hoses and all. He’d lose the last bastion of support he’s got—women who seem to hate that they’ve got a womb.

If he presses on he loses the Catholic vote, more evangelicals, and a larger portion of the independent vote (recognizing that there is overlap in those groups), which means he loses Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, likely Michigan, Missouri… need I go on? That’s the election. It’s a landslide.

So what’s he to do?

He seems to want to split the atom with the power of his mind. There is an election-year-driven hint of a desire to “compromise” (note it’s a campaign mouthpiece saying this, not the Press Secretary at the White House). But then within 24 hours we have a doubling-down on the commitment to the mandate. CBS New York reports:

[The White House] wants to find some way to calm Catholic opposition, but will not back down on the policy, itself.

“I want to be clear today that the commitment to insuring the women have access to these important health care services remains very strong,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

See: trying to split an atom with the power of his mind. They want to calm the opposition that has erupted due to this policy (which amounts to them shouting “ouch, stop that!”), but they are steadfast in their support of the very policy that is repugnant to those erupting in opposition. Not a position that comforts one about your willingness to “compromise.”

It’s like saying, “I want to have a happy marriage, but I absolutely refuse to stop beating my wife.”

The only thing they can do is try to string along the possibility that they will grant another extension, perhaps a few waivers, and maybe they’ll think about a full repeal of the rule some time after the election, in the hopes that this will appease *enough* Catholics to vote for him. It’s a Faustian bargain, and I think it’s safe to say no one is buying that snake oil any longer (if I may mix metaphors). This is the least-reliable, most anti-life White House in the history of this nation, and this action has laid bare, for those who were not already convinced, of their willingness to trample the peoples’ rights. Any pandering or stringing along carrots of possible repeal is transparently duplicitous.

So Obama, because of his own conceit and terrible political instincts, has placed himself between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Either way he cannot win. He is hoist on his own petard. If he backs down he gets the full Komen and marginal electoral gain since his remaining support will be further disheartened and so many who heretofore support him will no longer trust his commitment to Constitutional rights. So he most likely loses the election by sticking to his guns.

If he doesn’t back down he loses the election badly, and likely loses a bunch more seats for his party in what was already shaping up to be a good year for the GOP in the House and Senate.

Either way, the mandate will be overturned before a single hospital or school closes its doors, and Obama will be working on his handicap, which is what he appears to be more comfortable doing anyhow.

Heads we win, tails you lose.

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33 thoughts on “Heads We Win; Tails You Lose. Obama is Hoist On His Own Petard.

  1. Jason says:

    Let me get this straight: it’s immoral for Catholics to have health care with contraception coverage, so the mandate is wrong. But you endorse Rick Santorum for President, even though he was enrolled in the federal health care plan as a Senator WITH CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE. Why are you endorsing such an immoral person for President? http://reproductiverights.org/en/document/contraceptive-coverage-in-the-federal-employees-health-benefits-program

    1. Michele says:

      Do you really not see the difference, or are you just playing dumb? Unless you work for the Church or a Catholic institution, the health care plan provided by your employer probably covers contraception. That doesn’t mean you have to get it. If Santorum was enrolled in a program provided by his employer that happened to cover contraception, but he did not choose to use contraceptives then he has done nothing wrong. The mandate is forcing the Catholic Church to be one of those employers that cover contraception, something which is immoral.

    2. Ron says:

      such a leap of logic. Santorum’s health plan, which is not personally negotiated, includes something Santorum disagrees with, therefore he’s bad?? My healthcare coverage, part of a state-wide teacher package, allows for contraception coverage, but I have no choice but to be part of the system. The fact that an insurance plan covers something does not mean that individuals within the plan support the use of it.

      Obama’s mandate is about forcing a religious institution to pay for something that is a violation of their moral code. No one is stopping women from having abortions or getting contraception, but we are opposed to the government telling a religious group that is has to violate its own religious tenets and pay for it. It is a gross violation of 1st Amendment rights.

    3. Tom Crowe says:

      As the others have noted, Jason, no, you did not get it straight. No one is preventing people who work for Catholic organizations to obtain contraceptives, we merely object to the Church being forced to pay for them through the health insurance coverage they offer as part of the benefits package. Your “parallel case” is not at all parallel.

      1. Jason says:

        I guess you disagree with the USCCB. “Claim: No individual will be forced to buy or use contraception: This rule only applies to what insurance companies cover. Under this policy, women who want
        contraception will have access to it through their insurance without paying a co-pay or deductible. But no one will be forced to buy or use contraception.
        Response: The statement that no one will be forced to buy it is false. Women who want contraception will be able to obtain it without co-pay or deductible precisely because women who do not want contraception will be forced to help pay for it through their premiums. This mandate passes costs from those who want the service, to those who object to it.” The USCCB clearly states that participation in the system, regardless of use, is still financially supporting the system.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Jason— Link? I’d like to see that in its context with all referents.

        2. Tom Crowe says:

          Oh. Well yes, I do disagree with the USCCB, because their description of how this stuff works is inaccurate. (It’s okay: they’re not infallible on matters of describing health care coverage.) First, the premiums that an employee pays into the system do not cover the entirety of what they themselves get covered by the insurance plan, let alone other people’s services and products. The vast majority of the cost is borne by the employer, not the employees. So no, it is not accurate to simply declare that every employee is in part responsible for paying for everything else everyone does. Further, being hired at a place where the insurance plan provided covers contraceptive services is not therefore a positive choice to support contraception or to help pay for them on the part of any individual employee. Catholic employers being forced to cover these services and products, therefore being forced to pay for them in large measure, is a far, far different case. Do you see that?

          1. Jason says:

            If it’s wrong to give any money to Planned Parenthood, because Planned Parenthood provides “immoral services,” if I may label them as such, even if that money is going for something moral, say breast cancer screening, then shouldn’t it also be wrong to give money to companies that provide “immoral services” like contraception, even if the money is going for something moral like a doctor’s check-up?

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            Jason, your logic is soooo close, but you’re still not drawing accurate parallels. When you give money to Planned Parenthood that donation is voluntary and wholly devoted to whatever Planned Parenthood will do, in toto. When you give to Planned Parenthood there is no way to separate “this money goes to abortions, that money goes to other services.” It’s like saying “this water I put into the bucket is for Tim, but that water I put into the same bucket is for Jim.” The water cannot be separated. Likewise, money is fungible. I think you know that and you think you’ve caught me. Not so, because, as I said before, the money an employee pays into the health insurance plan provided by his employer is a small percentage of the money paid out for any services or goods he gets covered, the rest is paid for by his own co-pay (out of his pocket) and by the employer’s contributions. So it’s more like going to Planned Parenthood and getting a non-immoral good or service for yourself and only paying them a small portion of the market value of the good or service. Or, to continue the bucket analogy, if I’ve put one cup of water into a bucket but then take out one gallon, no matter what use the rest of the bucket it used for, I can in no way be responsible for that usage. — — — — But this is a tangent. The case at hand is not Catholic employees at places where the health insurance coverage offers contraceptives, but Catholic organizations being forced to cover contraceptives, sterilization, and abortofacients. Different case entirely. I’ll stop responding to this thread jack now.

          3. Jason says:

            I disagree on a couple of points. First, participation in employer-sponsored insurance is voluntary. No one is forcing you; you can go out and buy insurance on the private market without any contraception coverage, just like Santorum could have. Second, why is it that Planned Parenthood is incapable of keeping separate “buckets” of money for abortion and non-abortion related activities, but the insurance companies are completely capable of this? Do you have any actual proof that insurance companies shield their dollars from going to abortion or contraception-related activity? If money is fungible, money is fungible! Third, the USCCB doesn’t stipulate how much money is contributed to a contraception plan…they just stipulate that ANY money is wrong.

          4. Tom Crowe says:

            Jason— your first point is dependent upon your second point, which is false, so I’ll address that one and the first will crumble. I did not say private insurance is capable of keeping separate buckets but PP is not. I said neither keeps separate buckets, but 100% of the money you donate to PP will go to whatever they put it toward. However, the money you pay toward an insurance plan does not cover the value you get out of it—the vast majority of the money comes from your employer. So when anyone takes advantage of the insurance coverage they are not taking money from others, but first from their own premiums, second from the premiums paid by the employer, and only third, if it is catastrophic, from others’ premiums. I’m willing to bet no one will need catastrophic contraception. So while the money all goes into one pool, you “use up” the money you put in on your own, as does the person who dips into the pool for contraceptives. In this way, while the money is fungible, you are not paying for their contraceptives because the money you put in is “used up” by you and the money they put in is “used up” by them, and the rest of the money put in was put in there by someone else—the employer. ———— I hope this helps you see how your first point makes no sense. Yes, it is voluntary; no, participation in it does not mean you are paying for contraceptives. ———— Your third point mixes up the time line. The document from the USCCB is about the *future* state of affairs when people will be able to get contraceptives without a copay or deductible, i.e., for free. That is not the case right now. That situation will strain my above description a little more since it will mean the money used to buy contraceptives will less-directly dilute the amount put in by the person buying the contraceptives. But that is a situation for the future and has no bearing on the discussion about present circumstances. So if anything, it should strengthen your resolve to stand against this unjust mandate. ———— And did you notice the consistent point there? The employers pay the majority of it all? So back to the main point of this post, regardless of your antipathy to Rick Santorum and imaginations of hypocrisy, the point here is that the federal government is trying to order Catholics who employ people to do that which they believe is horribly immoral: directly and fully funding contraceptives and abortofacients.

          5. Karen says:

            Employer-sponsored insurance is completely voluntary. By your analogy, it WOULD be like giving money to PP.

          6. Tom Crowe says:

            Karen, re-read my explanation of the difference between the fungible money given to PP and the fungible money “poured into the bucket” of the insurance plan. Then respond to that.

          7. Tom Crowe says:

            Also, Karen, when you donate money to PP, an organization that specializes in abortion and abortion referrals (and aiding child prostitution rings, but who’s keeping track?), there is no question what the donation is supporting. When you pay the premium to your insurance plan it is an advance payment for services you will seek, which means you can choose which things to do with that money and the rest of the money (from your employer) that pays for the service you seek.

          8. Rob says:

            I don’t know, Tom. Thomas Peters is running a list of all the bishops who have spoken out against the mandate, but now you’re telling us that we can ignore certain parts of the USCCB official statement? I’m not saying that you are wrong, but I’m having a tough time accepting that line of reasoning.

          9. Tom Crowe says:

            Rob, it ain’t a line of reasoning, it’s a more-accurate description of the reality of employer-based health care than was offered by a staffer (not a bishop) at the USCCB. Staffers at the USCCB have frequently been a little off in the details of their descriptions of things.

          10. Rob says:

            Tom, where is your proof this was written by a staffer? That seems like an awfully huge and unfounded assumption.

          11. Tom Crowe says:

            Rob— Is it signed by a bishop? Then it was written by a staffer. Perhaps a priest, but a staffer nonetheless. USCCB letterhead is not a Nihil Obstat or Imprimatur.

          12. Karen says:

            So we should just ignore releases by the USCCB because they are written by staffers? This seems to be a convenient “out”

          13. Tom Crowe says:

            Karen— The document says something that is not entirely true. Should we accept it just because it is from the USCCB?

  2. Julie T. says:

    I would like to share with everyone a report I watched this morning on CBS This Morning. Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan was a guest today and discussed the Church’s position with Charlie Rose and Erica Hill. Prior to his appearance, however, White House correspondent Bill Plante gave a report in which he said this: “The White House sees this as a GENERATIONAL ISSUE and is counting on young women [of child-bearing age] to support the HHS mandate.” The takeaway, I believe, is while it is important for ALL Catholics to let their representatives, senators, and the White House hear that they stand with the Church, it is critical for Catholic women between the ages of 18 and 40 to make their voices heard now. It is very easy to find your elected officials contact information at http://www.usa.gov and make your views known. House and senate Democrats are trying to frame this as “Republican meddling in a women’s healthcare issue” and “Church hierarchy unsupported by Catholic women.” Please don’t allow them to get away with this obfuscation of the real issues involved here. Too many of my generation “drank the Kool-Aid” and we have paid a terribly high price ever since.

  3. Cindy says:

    The one-year grace period and desire to quell the uproar make me wonder if he has any idea at all of who we are. Does he think we are some nouveau-religion that can just pivot on a dime and write new rules at will? If that’s what he thinks, he is sorely mistaken. His 3-year presidency is coming up against the 2000-year-old Church, founded by Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. We are not backing down.

  4. Matthew Milhon says:

    If, and this is a big if, he overturns his own decision of course the left will call him out on it but they will still vote for him. He won’t lose his base and many of independent mind may even see his compromise as a reason to support him this year. The only candidate who would take those votes from Obama would be Ron Paul and as much as I like the guy he will probably not be nominated. They left will certainly not vote for Santorum or Gingrich; not even Romney, the king of weasley weasles.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      Matt— You’re somewhat correct. Yes, liberals will still mostly stick with him, but a few points. 1) Those who are ashamed of their wombs would be far less enthusiastic about turning out to vote. They would still favor him in the election over the GOP nominee, but turnout would be depressed. And turnout will be very important in this election. 2) He has already done this to the hard line anti-war types who believed he would close Gitmo, get us out of Afghanistan already, and stop extraordinary renditions and drone strikes. Ron Paul, should he run third-party, would draw significant support away from him on this issue. 3) The blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline is no small thing and we haven’t heard the last of it. It killed thousands of UNION jobs and stifled our energy independence. So when union folks are realizing that Obama sacrificed their jobs (after all they’ve done for him!) at the altar of Hollywood dollars, and all Americans are reeling from > $4.00 gasoline this summer, and the GOP nominee is repeating over and over again that the Keystone XL pipeline would have been a HUGE asset to alleviate all of these problems, that will all depress turnout, if not push people into voting for the GOP nominee. ———— So all in all I am not convinced that his base, at least what remains of it after all this, will turnout in sufficient numbers to bring him victory.

      1. Janet P says:

        “So all in all I am not convinced that his base, at least what remains of it after all this, will turnout in sufficient numbers to bring him victory.”
        Tom, I agree w/ your logic, however voter fraud will be an issue. It is interesting to note that the only one’s protesting mandatory voter ID are Democrats…and of course the DOJ !

  5. Francis Wippel says:

    Realize what this mandate is all about. This is an attempt by the Obama administration to force Catholic hospitals to disassociate themselves from the Church. If this mandate stands, these hospitals will have no other choice outside of shutting down.

    Once these Catholic hospitals are no longer Catholic, other faith-based healthcare facilities are next. Any faith-based health care facility which has objections to the implementation of Obama-care will be forced into the same box.

    Can we conclude that this is anything other than a thinly veiled attempt to rid our nation of faith-based health care? It seems Obama wants religion out of health care, and forcing Catholic hospitals to drop their affiliation with the Catholic Church would be a major step towards that goal.

    Perhaps Obama’s re-election motto should be:

    Get religion out of the business of health-care. Vote Obama!

    OR

    Rid our nation of faith-based health care services! Vote Obama!

    1. Julie T. says:

      Francis, I agree with your points, but would also point out that this is not only Catholic hospitals at risk, but ALL Catholic ministries: Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic schools, Catholic colleges and universities, as well as all other non-Catholic, faith-based organizations. There is too much at stake–our First Amendment rights, for instance–to back down in the face of the president’s (and his fellow liberal Democrats) power grab. Everyone, religious or non-religious, who wants to retain our constitutional rights must hold the line.

  6. Nancy Brown says:

    I like your…”the full Komen treatment” because you are right. He probably can’t back down now. The “women who hate their wombs’” voice is stronger, apparently, and has more money than the Catholic crowd, especially in Washington.

    The Press Secretary’s talking point should be forcefully opposed, though, by Catholics. We HAVE access to everything. There is no problem with access. They’re talking about mandating PAYING for it, not HAVING it. This Jay Carney keeps reiterating ACCESS. That’s not the point! Any Catholic can go to any doctor in the country and get a Rx for birth control pills. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, I’m just saying, they can. And they aren’t that expensive. The point is forcing Catholic institutions to pay for it. 100%.

    We should be fighting back with these kinds of points, besides the main one of course, which is religious liberty.

    1. Joe M says:

      This has turned into a telling exercise, hasn’t it? Had the exception been allowed, I don’t believe Obama would have taken much heat at all from his liberal base. They would have accepted it as part of the grand Obamacare deal. — But, now that he misjudged Catholic resolve on the issue and created a public issue, liberals will screech like its the end of the world if he backs down. They’re already referring to it as a “right”. The constitutional right to have Catholics buy your contraception!

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