Wednesday, February 08, 2012


The New York Times:

WASHINGTON -- Facing vocal opposition from religious leaders and an escalating political fight, the White House sought on Tuesday to ease mounting objections to a new administration rule that would require health insurance plans -- including those offered by Catholic universities and charities -- to offer birth control to women free of charge....

Please note that this is an "escalating political fight" even though polls show that clear majorities of Americans -- and Catholics -- support birth control coverage. The leadership of the Catholic Church is peeved, but rank-and-file Catholics aren't. So why is this a firestorm?

It's a firestorm, I think, because the American political elite teems with high-profile right-wing Catholics -- among them converts such as Newt Gingrich, Robert Bork, Sam Brownback, Laura Ingraham, Lawrence Kudlow, and Ramesh Ponnuru. There's been a concerted effort in recent years to win influential wingers over to the Catholic Church (Father John McCloskey, a prime mover in this effort, was described in a 2002 Slate article as "The Catholic Church's K Street lobbyist"); the effort seems to be the political equivalent of Scientology's focus on converting famous entertainers.

When you combine all these wingnut Catholic converts with birth Catholics who are prominent right-wingers (William Bennett, Scalia/Thomas/Roberts), you get a Catholic-winger noise machine that can convey the sense within the Beltway that Catholics believe a certain thing when, in fact, only prominent right-wing Catholic pols and pundits believe it in great numbers.

This is a great mechanism for fooling easily spooked non-right-wing Catholics such as Cokie Roberts and E.J. Dionne -- both of whom have engaged in fretful hand-wringing about the terrible political misjudgment President Obama has allegedly made. Well, it really does looks like a terrible decision -- if the only Catholics you encounter regularly are your Georgetown cocktail party pals.

(X-posted at Booman Tribune.)


Tom Hilton said...

I saw a story yesterday that talked about how outraged "Catholic leaders" are about this. The "Catholic leader" they quoted was....

...yeah, you see it coming, right?

Bill Motherfucking Donohue.

Tom Hilton said...

Which is another aspect of the problem: that Bill "one guy with a fax machine" Donohue has bamboozled the news media into thinking he's a "Catholic leader" instead of a right-wing partisan thug.

Steve M. said...

Absolutely right.

JBJ said...

Good post. Both Dionne and Amy Sullivan complain what a betrayal this is by Obama against Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association (who stuck her neck out for HCR). I don't doubt that it's uncomfortable for her, but it seems like Dionne and Sullivan are pals with this person. Nothing like worrying about the predicament of one friend over the interests of millions of women.

c u n d gulag said...

Bill Donohue has all of the rage, ignorance, and stupidity (and weight) of Rush, without the popular radio talk show.

And you have to love how this rabid version of Archie Bunker has bamboozled the TV news shows into making him the go-to voice of modern male Catholicism.
Which he pretty much is - minus the child-schtupping (that we know of, anyway...).

Why can't they put on some of the Nun's who give their church the finger every time it does something stupid?
Oh yeah, sorry - that won't fit the meme.

Ten Bears said...

Might I remind: Archie Bunker was a fictional character.