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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 08:53 AM ET, 02/09/2012

The Morning Plum

* Could contraception fight spark female backlash against GOP? The battle over the Obama administration’s new contraception rule shows no signs of abating, and it will likely drive the day today. So how bad are the politics of this for the White House?

It’s been widely assumed that this fight is terrible for Obama, because it risks alienating white Catholic swing voters. But Glenn Thrush notes an upside that’s been mostly lost in the discusion: It could cause a big backlash against the GOP among women, who are also kind of an important swing constituency, even if you wouldn’t know it from the media coverage.

This aside, it wouldn’t be surprising if the White House decided that the politics of the fight have gotten away from them and that it’s time to find a way out. (Link fixed.)

* Dems breaking with White House over contraception: Here’s a useful guide to the Democrats who have already split with the White House on the issue and those who may soon do so in the days ahead. If this snowballs, the pressure to find an exit strategy will increase.

Women’s groups who still feel burned by the Plan B fiasco will be particularly vigilant as to whether any compromise represents a cave to pro-life forces.

* White House vows not to buckle: In fairness to the adminstration, White House spokesman Jay Carney laid down a pretty hard line principle that he says Obama will not deviate from. Carney’s quote to reporters:

“The commitment to make sure that all American women, no matter where they work. have access to the same health care coverage and same preventive care services, including contraception, is absolutely firm. “

* The bishops’ idea of compromise: Atrios and Alec MacGillis point to the latest developments, which suggest that the only compromise the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops is interested in is getting rid of the contraception rule altogether.

It’s hard to see how that fits the conventional definition of “compromise,” isn’t it?

* The subtext of the contraception debate: Jonathan Cohn on the ways the debate over contraception get at deeper questions about who really owns health insurance — employer or employee — and whether health care should be a right in this in country, rather than a privilege.

* Eric Schneiderman blesses mortgage settlement: The other big news of the morning: The Obama administration is very close to reaching a settlement with big banks over their fraudulent foreclosure practices, and it looks like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will support the compromise. Liberal groups frustrated with the failure to hold banks accountable had been watching for Schneiderman’s reaction.

Key oustanding questions: How many homeowners are really helped and whether there will still be a meaningful way to pursure bank accountability.

It looks like the deal will help a relatively small portion of homeowners facing foreclosure, though Schneiderman’s separate foreclosure probe will go forward despite the effort by the banks to nix it as part of the deal.

* Banks mostly escape liability: David Dayen runs down the ways the settlement seems to allow the big banks to skate without accountability, and reaches this pithy conclusion:

One thing is clear — the banks relieved themselves of a significant portion of liability at a price they believe they can easily handle.

It looks like Schneiderman’s remaining investigation may be the only vehicle for accountability left — more on this later.

* Romney’s triple loss unmasked his weakness: Dan Balz gets to the heart of it — Romney is still the favorite, but his potential weaknesses as a general election candidate who won’t inspire the GOP base have been unmasked. As Balz notes, Romney has only been able to win with a negative message:

Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton were strengthened by their long Democratic primary contest four years ago. So far, Romney has been weakened by the competition he has faced. Can he find a positive vision that will energize his base and strike a chord in a general election?

And keep in mind that Hillary was a far more formidable opponent than any of the not-Romney’s in this year’s race.

* Holding the moral high ground on Super PACs: Jason Linkins offers the President a way to bless the pro-Obama Super PAC and to hold the moral high ground on campaign finance: He should call for total transparency on the PAC’s donors, and take responsibility for the content of the PAC’s ads.

Interesting stuff, though it would do nothing to quiet the bogus cries of “hypocrisy.”

* Romney, outsider? The DNC is taking a new tack in response to Romney’s insistence that we need an outsider and non-politician as President, releasing a new Web video attempting to document the range of Wall Street and energy special interests have pumped money into his campaign and into the pro-Romney Super PAC.

Dems regognize that it could be dangerous if Romney successfully defines himself as someone who would bring an outsider’s fresh eye to government and the economy.

* Everybody loves drones, ctd: Kevin Drum suggests the public’s embrace of drone strikes on suspected terrorists who are also American citizens may be rooted in public ignorance about the legal issues involved:

How many people approve of these attacks on American citizens if they understand that there’s no court judgment involved, no finding of guilt, no warrant, no nothing? Just the executive branch unilaterally deciding they need to be killed. It would be tricky to phrase this in a neutral way, but without it I don’t think we really have a clear picture here.

* And GOP refuses to celebrate rebound of auto industry: E.J. Dionne asks a very good question: Why can’t Karl Rove and the GOP presidential candidates bring themselves to celebrate the auto industry rebound as a victory for America?

Well, for one thing, because it would mean admitting that on the core question of whether government should intervene in the private market for the good of American companies and workers, Dems were right, and Republicans were wrong.

What else?

By  |  08:53 AM ET, 02/09/2012

 
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