President Obama: In Search of Disaster

Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton. Say what you will about Bill Clinton’s morals, you cannot deny the man had a keen political eye. Barack Obama is either such a rigid ideologue that he doesn’t care whether his moves offend a majority of the electorate or he’s just politically inept; you choose.

As Nancy Pelosi said, “We need to pass the health care law to know what’s in it,” and that’s what we keep on learning. Ms. Pelosi’s words may be an understatement of cosmic proportions as startling revelations trickle from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS.)


This past month we were treated to the latest disclosure: a requirement for faith-based or faith-backed employers to include coverage for contraception including the controversial “day after” pill and sterilization. Catholic clergy across the country last Sunday roared in opposition to what they deemed a direct attack on First Amendment protections of religious freedom; meanwhile the Obama Administration sent its minions out to defend its decision.

On January 20th DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”

The announcement met with nearly universal disdain, including from some prominent liberals. Catholic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania pleaded with the administration “to correct this decision which will erode the conscience rights” that have been protected for decades

Virginia Ex-governor and Senate candidate Tim Kaine and Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, have been outspoken in assailing the recently announced administration mandate.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va said, “This is not only unacceptable, it is un-American.”

Reportedly both Vice President Joe Biden and departing White House Chief-of-Staff Bill Daley voiced strong opposition to Mr. Obama, but Obama chose to follow the political misdirection of Valerie Jarrett. Frankly Ms. Jarrett is doing her long-time friend no favors.

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said, “Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.”

Perhaps the coups de grace was voiced by Washington Post ultra-liberal columnist E.J. Dionne who said, “One of Barack Obama’s great attractions as a presidential candidate was his sensitivity to the feelings and intellectual concerns of religious believers. That is why it is so remarkable that he utterly botched the admittedly difficult question of how contraceptive services should be treated under the new health care law.”

Obama Out On A Limb

Mr. Obama was enjoying a post-State of the Union Address and Republican self-destruction bump in the polls just the week before the announcement by Ms. Sebelius; now the outrage not only from Catholics, but virtually every other Christian sect and Jews as well, has offered up what may be the greatest call-to-action for Conservatives in our lifetimes. Stupid? It would seem so.

This Friday the president had to go before the press with Ms. Sebelius at his side and walk back the coverage rule, however most find his compromise nothing more than smoke-and-mirrors. The administration’s compromise is to allow faith-based employers to deny contraception coverage and instead require insurance companies provide that coverage for employers which find funding these activities in opposition to their beliefs. However Obama’s compromise does nothing to change the basic problem and may in fact spread the controversy even further.

Under the administration’s compromise if a Catholic employer (for example) wished to reject contraception related services coverage their insurance company would offer the coverage directly to an employee, free-of-charge. How amazingly naïve. We all know that insurance companies don’t provide any coverage for free, they simply raise premiums to cover added costs. They may well spread that cost across many companies that they provide coverage, so it’s quite possible that Catholic employer A’s contraception coverage could be paid out of premium funds collected from Catholic employer B.

Many faith-based organizations “self-insure.” If you’re paying for healthcare services out of a company fund, requiring the insurance company to provide coverage changes nothing.

There are very few instances where a battle is lost before it’s begun, but at the top of the list would be threatening someone’s religious freedoms. A vast majority of voters, including Catholics use contraceptives, but when asked if their church should be required to pay for them nearly 3-to-1 they will say no.  Was Mr. Obama looking to commit political suicide?

Mr. Obama has opened Pandora’s Box and it’s about to swallow him up. His compromise while being labeled by many on the right as a move in the right direction is getting very negative views from the religious community. Surely Obama will be making further compromises, but in the process he looks totally inept.

If the weather was a bit better he could go hide on the golf course.