I've watched other political pundits and prelates [all male, BTW] solemnly nod their snowy white heads in unison and predict that this would be Mr. Obama's "Waterloo."
Maybe it's because they're blinded by their chromosomes, or perhaps they've spent too much time listening to other snowy-headed conservative men speak on women's issues, and that made them blind to reality. And the reality is that women, particularly Catholic women, are on President Obama's side--by large margins--on this issue.
I think President Obama knew exactly what the thinking is out there in Reality Land, and I believe he handled this issue very, very well:
Catholic Voters Break With Church Over Contraception Coverage |
Catholic voters are breaking with the Church’s opposition to insurance coverage of contraception, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds. Sixty-five percent of voters — including a majority of Catholics — “said they supported the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control, and 59 percent, said the health insurance plans of religiously affiliated employers should cover the cost of birth control.” A Public Policy Polling survey conducted on Friday similarly found that 57 percent of Catholic voters — and 59 percent of Catholic women — support the requirement. Under the administration’s policy, “women who work for institutions like Catholic hospitals and universities can obtain birth control from their insurance company without a co-pay, but their employers don’t have to include contraception in their healthcare plans.”
From Andrew Sullivan's blog Daily Dish:
Obama’s greatest skill is in getting his opponents to overreach and self-destruct. And this issue could not be more tailor-made to benefit the candidate with real potential pull with far-right-wing Catholics and evangelicals: Santorum. If the GOP really makes this issue central in the next month or so, Santorum (whose campaign claims to have raised $2.2 million in the two days following his victories last week) is by far the likeliest candidate to benefit. It could finally unite the Christian fundamentalist right behind him—especially since Romneycare contained exactly the same provisions on contraception that Obamacare did before last week’s compromise was announced. That’s right: Romneycare can now accurately be portrayed as falling to the left of Obamacare on the contraception issue. This could very well be the issue that finally galvanizes the religious right, especially in the South. Imagine how Santorum could use that on Super Tuesday. In fact, it could be the issue that wins him the nomination. And do you really think that would hurt Obama in the fall?
Here's the critical passage from Santorum:
"One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”
It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." --Rick Santorum