Two issues that hit the press this week have something in common, from my point of view:
(1) Obama’s “accomodation” on contraceptive health care was the right thing to do, a good compromise. To work for a religious organization is a choice people make. And a religious organization has a right to have crazy ideas. A religious organization has SOME obligation to behave like a reasonable group, but not completely. They are obliged to keep people from obvious harm, to provide a reasonably safe workplace, for example. Catholics have every right to hire only people who buy into their beliefs. Even if most everyone practices birth control, which is a choice (though it’s one that is way safer than the alternative), and their place of employment is a choice as well. He shifted the pay responsibility to the public companies, the insurance companies. Good move!
(2) Rick Santorum’s win is not a sign that his stands on issues are coming to the fore. The real, uncovered story about Santorum’s victories was how few people actually voted or went to the caucuses. The only ones who went were the passionateminority. No wonder Santorum, the right winger won.
These two issues reveal something important about the slightly-to-the-right voters: they aren’t voting yet. The Nixon, Rockefeller, Dole and Dick Lugar Republicans were not and are not simply out to defeat Obama no matter what. They actually look at issues and choices, and are not competing to be the most reactionary person on the block.
Are most of the Republicans apathetic? Is there a silent majority who is sick of the extremes? It would seem the polling numbers are good for Obama these days, given the better economic numbers of late. And I think these people will win the day come the general election.
It is lots of fun to watch the few, the proud, the Tea party types as they all race to their noisy corner and misrepresent any sort of normal rationalism. And even the supposedly more moderate Romney must kowtow to the True Conservatives as he did today for C PAC. So if he gains the support of the active base, he trades away the middle.
The candidate of the month game continues (Santorum’s moment in the sun!). The quiet but wise and substantial moderate conservative block doesn’t vote at this stage, but it will. All to Obama’s complete advantage.