Before Barack Obama can defeat his opponents, he must first be rescued from his friends.
Some of them are now suggesting that his contraceptive mandate on religious institutions was a skilled political stratagem. “I’ve found by observing this president closely for years,” argues Daily Beast contributor Andrew Sullivan, “that what often seem like short-term tactical blunders turn out in the long run to be strategically shrewd. And if this was a trap, the religious right walked right into it.” Religious conservatives are now identified, he says, with “opposition to contraception.” Republicans have achieved “fusion with the Vatican.” Obama is evidently playing the very deep game.
Consider the implications of this praise. It means that Obama assaulted the core beliefs of some of his fellow citizens in order to lure them into politically self-destructive behavior. The president is willing to trifle with the constitutional rights of religious people to get a rise out of them. In this scenario, Obama is a Machiavellian monster, undeserving of high office.
But I don’t think Sullivan’s indictment is accurate. These events have all the hallmarks of an epic White House screw-up. The policy resulted from an internal debate in which the vice president and the chief of staff took the other side. Liberal true-believers won out. The announcement was fumbled. The White House was shocked by the breadth and intensity of opposition...
If Obama is playing a political chess game, he has just sacrificed his queen, a rook and all his bishops. It would have to be a deep game indeed.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Good summary of Obama's contraception mandate fiasco.
Michael Gerson has written a good summary of Obama's foolish contraceptive mandate and how it was a major blunder.