Obama hardly caved

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.


About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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One Response to Obama hardly caved

  1. JP says:

    Agreed he didn’t cave, and if the end of my post didn’t make that clear, then bad on me.
    Actually, in their churches Catholics can require employees to be Catholic (I think, though I taught in a Catholic school and they legally couldn’t ask me if I was Catholic when interviewing me). The issue here was largely non-Catholic employees at Catholic hospitals, of which there are many many. About one in six Americans gets their health care in Catholic hospitals, and probably a majority of their employees are not Catholic, and they probably don’t know for sure, since it is illegal to require hospital employees to be Catholic, so they can’t ask them if they are when they hire them. I think if it is for a strictly religious position, they can ask–obviously we wouldn’t require them to hire non-Catholics to be their priests. And if an institution is hiring for a position that is for a service provided in society–education, health care–then they have to follow the law of the land and cannot have a religious requirement for employment. So the issue was whether a lot of non-Catholic women who work for Catholic hospitals would be subject to the narrow Catholic beliefs about birth control because their only choice for purchasing health care insurance was through their Catholic employer. Obama did figure it out. And Rick Santorum will still believe he is the only righteous one.

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