(CPAC 2012 photo from TPM)
Here is quite an interesting post from Blue Girl on the recent contretemps about birth control in health insurance plans. An excerpt:
I admit to watching, dumbfounded, as contraception became, in the immortal words of the Vice President, "a big fucking deal" over the last week or so. (My exact thought was...Birth control? Seriously???)
I mean, the provision was there all along. The Bishops had a chance to raise holy hell about it during the fight over healthcare. You know, like they did the non-existent free-abortions-for-all clause that they not only conjured up, but defeated, two years ago, but they didn't mention it then. Either they were "putting it in their purse and saving it for later," or, more likely, they were just desperate for a whipping boy now.
And of course, as I watched this fight unfold, I heard the usual voices to my left mewling and whining about "imminent cave-ins" and being "sold out by Obama...again" but honestly, I just ignored them. (Yes, yes, at my peril, I know, but god-damn, they're more annoying than chiggers.)
Ditto the Bishops and their Roman Chorus. I really don't give one hair on a rat's furry ass what 271 old, mostly white men who aren't supposed to be having sex anyway have to say about birth control, and neither do any of my Catholic friends. We all know that the old joke is funny cuz it's true: "If men got knocked up, abortions would be a sacrament performed on the altars of the Holy Mother Church." My husband and I did talk briefly about it, but I had a busy week, and just left it up to Obama, telling him "Hey, personally, I don't feel like he's failed me yet, so I'm curious to see what he's up to here."
What he's was up to, it looks to me like, was positioning his pieces to call "checkmate" in one of those games of eleventh dimensional chess that I am starting to believe might actually exist.
He must have been laughing his ass off when the Bishops and their GOP allies picked this fight...but they sort-of had to. The Bishops needed to pre-emptively deflect attention from the fact that the official church doctrine falls more in line with the leftist populism of the Occupy movement than the right wing politicians they reflexively support, based on just one issue that trumps all others, even combined.
The GOP that curries the favor of the religious right, meantime, was eager to deflect attention from the fact that the economy is getting better in spite of their fiercest attempts at obstruction, proving nothing so much as that they are as inept at sabotage as they are at governing.
So they went there. As foolish and as reflexive as it was, they went there. Some pro-choice republicans were aghast, and pleaded with the leadership not to, but they charged ahead, like a two-ton bull, right through the doors of the china shop. And Barack Obama smiled and stood aside, holding them open.
Coming on the heels of the Planned Parenthood/Komen fiasco, the dual backlash directed at those who have, for two solid years, been declaring war on women, was palpable, and I think Obama handled it just about right. When I saw the Politico headline this morning proclaiming him "boxed in" I scoffed. "Bullshit," I thought. "They're out on a limb and he's behind them with a saw."
That's an interesting perspective, don't you think? I must admit that I was one of those "more annoying than chiggers" types who figured that Barack Obama was going to cave as soon as I heard the word "compromise." (After all, you know that it's not going to be the right-wing doing the compromising.)
But as it turned out, I misjudged him. That "compromise," where insurance companies just have to offer free contraceptive care directly to their policyholders, without making it part of the cost for their employers, seems to give us everything we wanted.
And insurance companies were eager to go along with it, because contraception actually saves them money. (It's a lot cheaper than abortions, and a lot cheaper than pregnancy, birth, and child care.) Even many Catholic groups (though not the Bishops, I guess) thought this was a great deal. It answered their religious objections, while still standing up for women's rights.
Of course, I don't know what Catholics will be hearing about this from the pulpit. But I was wondering why this would be such a big deal to them, anyway. The vast majority of American Catholics do use birth control for family planning. Even among Catholics, we rarely see the huge families of generations ago.
Catholics disagree with their church about this, so they just do what they think is best. Of course, the church - and its Republican political allies - tries to make this about abortion. So I suppose it just depends on whether or not they're able to make that allegation stick.
This does seem like a win for Barack Obama, though, as well as a win for women. I am less happy with Obama's overall job performance than this woman, although there's just no comparison between him and his Republican challengers. And I have to admit that he's done some good things. He seems to be getting better at this President thing. :)
PS. Sorry about that photo, but I thought I'd give my female readers some eye-candy. :) Those are the guys (the photo was taken at the ongoing Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC) who want to control women's bodies for them.
Just for your own good, of course. We can't expect you to be able to manage your own life, can we?