The Insiders 2.0
Now that Election 2012 is behind us and President Obama’s second term is well underway, Carter Eskew and Ed Rogers have taken their wares over to the PostPartisan blog. There, they’ll continue to provide insider insight on hot topics in the news. And The Insiders feature will live on, with Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen joining the debate.
The slippery slope inherent in the logic of the Catholic Church
To the surprise of no one, the Catholic bishops have rejected President Obama's compromise on the contraception provision in the new health-care law. The administration had extended its exemption from the mandate to offer free contraception in health-care plans from churches to other religious organizations, like Catholic hospitals and charities. The president's proposal would still make access to contraception available to the employees of these institutions through separate insurance plans. In addition to the bishops' objections, some private businesses are also fighting the birth control provision and expressed dismay that the President did not exempt them.
As others have noted, the president's compromise, while attempting to be Solomonic in its crafting, was flawed. The refusal of churches and businesses to comply with widely-accepted social mores, as well as the law, is an attempt to impose their religious or secular beliefs on their employees. This intolerance is selective, and dangerous in its implications. For example, the Catholic Church believes homosexual feelings are okay, but homosexual sex is a sin. Despite this, the Catholic Church is now the world's largest provider of care to patients with HIV. But what if other more reactionary forces in the church were to take charge and say that since AIDS is the result of sinful behavior, it will no longer treat its victims? A stretch? Well, contraception is integral to women's health and by attempting to deny it, the Church is endangering women.Continue reading this post »
Eric Cantor's speech is being panned
Rep. Eric Cantor's speech yesterday attempting to soften the GOP image is being panned, called everything from putting "lipstick on a pig" by a fellow Republican (ouch) to plagiarism by a liberal blog (double ouch). My Republican loyalist colleague Ed Rogers even says that things are going from bad to worse right now for Republicans, although he predicts a spring renaissance.
I have empathy for the efforts of Cantor (R-Va.) and others who are trying to be heard through the din of criticism, but they are falling into a very common trap that has snared both parties over the years when they have lost an election and talk of realignment is in the air. The press wants a pound of flesh; they want to know whether party leaders have gotten the voters' message that they are out of step and their plans to make adjustments. Leaders who say nothing on the subject are ignored; those who assert “the message isn't the problem, it’s the messengers” are ridiculed for failing to see that the ground has shifted beneath them. Faced with being irrelevant or dumb, some try a third path when trying to make sense of the political future, like Cantor.Continue reading this post »
For the GOP, bad has gotten worse
You would think that the narrow loss in November was a landslide. The mainstream media would have you believe the Republican party is near extinction.
Some Republican leaders earnestly want to step up during the party's time of need. They want to present a new face and a fresh approach, to give the media a nod with some "I get it" contrition and turn the page. These leaders are trying to do the right thing, but their personal ambition and inexperience are making them play into the media's hands. There is not yet a market in the mainstream media or within American punditry that will allow for any Republican resurgence. Note to GOP leaders: Be still, surefooted; things could get worse.Continue reading this post »
Sequester a wake-up call for progressive, pro-growth Democrats.
How did the sequester, once viewed as a blunt force political trauma instrument designed to compel alternative action, become the likeliest solution to the fiscal stand-off? First, some Republicans are willing to allow the defense cuts to go through because it serves their highest principle of budget cuts no matter where they come from. Some Democrats, including the president, may be satisfied that the sequester grabs the (false) idol of deficit reduction without touching entitlements. In effect, both political parties may be more comfortable with the whole of the disaster than the sum of the alternatives which would likely require entitlement reform and new revenues. Finally, there are those who believe that the specific structure of the resolution to fiscal uncertainty doesn’t matter; the mere fact of it will cause investment to flourish and markets to boom.Continue reading this post »