If you use your imagination, you can almost hear the political gears grinding in the Oval Office over this decision. Valerie Jarrett and Kathleen Sibelius are arguing passionately for the preservation of women’s rights. You owe it to them, Mr. President⎯not just politically, but on principle. It’s everything you stand for in a nutshell.
At the other end of the sofa, Bill Daley and Joe Biden⎯two veteran Catholic pols who should know⎯imploring him to let this battle slide and live to fight another day. “The blue collar types won’t go for this,” they counsel, “even though their wives all use birth control. The Republicans’ll turn this into a ‘war on religion.’ They’ll make the slippery slope argument!”
Evangelical feelings weren’t even considered. After all, their hatred is visceral, and how many times can you vote against the same candidate?
Daley and Biden, of course, were right from a political standpoint. The White House, in its self-centered myopia, thought it could tough it out until some Democratic senators who are facing tough reelection battles, like Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Bill Nelson of Florida, started screaming that standing tough would cut the knees out from under them.
So the White House didn’t exactly cave, but it bent. It’s hoping the nicety about insurance carriers rather than employers offering the birth control will quiet the waters.
It won’t. This was way too great a gift to the other side. That doesn’t mean the righteous opposition isn’t overreacting, mind you. Most women feel they’re entitled to birth control coverage as part of their health care.
And why shouldn’t they? You don’t hear any faith-based institutions screaming about covering Viagra. It’s only fair to give the ladies a fighting chance.