Is Anyone in the White House Thinking These Days?
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
The decision-making apparatus in the Obama White House is somethimes reminiscent of some of the characters in Jimmy Breslin’s 1969 novel, The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. Leaving aside most of the White House staff’s opinion on abortion, why would President Obama meet with the Catholic Bishops Conference and apparently promise them that he would not require Catholic institutions to provide medical plans for their employees which covered services which compromised the edicts of the Catholic Church; and then turn around and mandate less than 10 months before Election Day that these institutions are required to cover all contraceptive needs of their employees.
While the Administration certainly feels strongly about this matter, if they could wait until now to announce this, why not wait until after he is re-elected. As the campaign will heat up and, if, as they are hoping, the economy continues to improve, it certainly will be the conservative social agenda which will re-emerge as the focus of dominant concern for Catholics and fundamentalist Christians. While Obama may well not stand to get a significant percentage of either of these constituencies, nevertheless he may pick up some votes if he does not inflame the abortion issue unnecessarily. In addition, he would not have lost any pro-choice votes if he had waited until after November to issue this order.
It certainly seems like some folks in the Obama campaign are asleep at the wheel.