There should be and will be a compromise between the
Obama administration and the Catholic Church about health
regulations and contraceptives. But I disagree with my colleague A.B.
Stoddard, most pundits and almost the entire commentariat class about
how horrible this is for the Obama campaign.
One of the major political realities of 2012 is the overwhelming support of women for Obama and Democrats and the overwhelming opposition of women to Republicans. I had to laugh at a recent diatribe against Obama by my colleague Dick Morris that mentioned that Gingrich has a problem with the gender gap. Republicans who cheered Dick for that column will not give such an ovation to the part of his column that Dick left out. All Republicans suffer from a gender gap! In fact it is a gender canyon, a gender chasm and a gender solar system in favor of Obama and Democrats and against Republicans and conservatives.
There are even conservative Republican women arguing against pay equity support for women! Wow! Make my day. Let’s debate that one.
The latest contretemps is not about abortion. It is about contraception. Let’s be clear about the politics of this:
More than 95 percent of Catholic women have used contraception. The overwhelming majority of Catholics agree with Obama and disagree with the church about this. And the overwhelming majority of women. And the overwhelming majority of voters male and female, Catholic and non-Catholic.
If I were king I would have handled the policy, the politics and the announcement differently.
There should be a compromise, and there will be a compromise. It should and probably will involve some formula that will allow the women to have access to coverage that will include contraceptives, which will not have to be included in what is offered by the church.
This can be resolved in a way that protects the church from being forced to include coverage that it does not believe in as a matter of faith, which should be, and can be, respected.
On the pure politics of this, whatever one believes about theology, on the matter of contraceptives this is an issue where Obama is on the side supported by a huge majority of voters. The Catholic Church is on the side opposed by a huge majority of voters.
I know certain Republican politicians want to foment race wars, religious wars and class wars. Nice try, but this one will not work.
There should be compromise as a matter of policy to protect the position of the church. But on the politics of the matter, most of the commentariat class is wrong. On the issue of contraceptives, Obama is on the side of a majority of men, and an overwhelming majority of women.
All Republicans accomplish by trying to start a religious war about contraceptives is to excite and mobilize a historic gender gap that will be devastating for them in November.