Ack! I Agree With Andrew Sullivan

By
February 14, 2012

Via Michael Gershon – to this Daily Beast link. While I don't see it as cut and dried and much depends on the framing of the debate into next Fall, I did find myself thinking about why Obama would make what appears to be such a colossal and obvious blunder with the contraception flap. 

Conservatives gleefully revived the culture wars. But they're not winning. How Obama set a trap for the right.

This administration is many things, politically dumb isn't one of them. Something in some poling somewhere must be telling them there's just enough of an angle for them to exploit, along with their wanting social issues, not financial news, driving as much of the political discussion as possible.

That doesn't mean I think it's a sure winner for them, but if there weren't an angle, they wouldn't have made the play.

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Comments:
  1. formwiz says:

    You must be joking.

  2. Ragspierre says:

    This is directed at Santorum, who IS a LOT creepy WRT individual liberty.
    It puts the whole “culture war” ambit in play…
    CLASSIC misdirection from the Collective.
    NOBODY is interested in denying access to contraception…except maybe Santorum and his ilk.
    But it puts lots of women in a rolling cat-fit, diverting the focus from the FACT that we will be paying HUGE sums just for debt service in the very near future.

  3. Gus says:

    Ragspierre. Maybe you’d like to give us an example of Santorum wanting to deny access to contraception. Otherwise, I’d suggest you shut you pie hole Junior.
    Clown.

  4. EBL says:

    Here is the argument it was a mistake:
    http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2012/01/31/opinion/mj5662747.txt
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-epic-blunder-on-birth-control-mandate/2012/02/13/gIQAZqlwBR_story.html?wprss=rss_opinions
    I think that both sides are right on this. Obama and Axelrod wanted to shift the argument to contraception. That much I agree. They figured that might be a pretty good wedge issue since the country is moving to be far more pro life on abortion. I do not think they anticipated that this might have the blow back it did with Catholics and many supporters of Obama. That is why he quickly started looking for some compromise to mitigate the damage. Given the timing, this is going to end up being a push in the long run.
    This election is going to turn on how the economy is doing in a few months. And who ever our nominee is, they should damn well not make the election about contraception. “It is the economy, stupid” and Obama is screwing it up.

  5. EBL says:

    Well everyone is right except Andrew Sullivan. He remains a mendacious douche nozzle.

  6. Ragspierre says:

    One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”
    It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.
    Again, I know most Presidents don’t talk about those things, and maybe people don’t want us to talk about those things, but I think it’s important that you are who you are. I’m not running for preacher. I’m not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues. These how profound impact on the health of our society.
    –Rick Santorum
    There you go, Gus.
    Idiot.

  7. jack says:

    Maybe Santorum has never said “I will deny access to contraception” using those exact words.
    He has said his presidency would be about talking to America about the dangers of contraception and how it’s been harmful for society
    He has said that sex within marriage should only be for procreation
    He has said he disagrees with the Griswold decision and that it should be overturned and has strongly suggeste dthat he’d appoint SC Justices who agree with him. FWIW, both Roberts and Alito said they agreed with the Griswold case.
    He has said while he may not personally want to take away someone’s contraception if a state votes to do so it’s fine with him and as President he wouldn’t take any action to stop it
    He’s said that women who get pregnant as a result of rape should be forced to have the baby or face criminal charges and that if they want an abortion he considers them killers.
    He’s also said that he considers getting pregnant due to rape to be a gift from god and that women who get raped and get pregnant should just make the best of a bad situation and embrace the gift.
    I could go on.
    The point is there’s more than enough there to be used against him effectively, very effectively by Obama and the dems.
    Pew already has Obama with a 21 pt lead among women over Santorum, and that’s with 99% of Americans having no clue about any of the above comments.

  8. A Stephens says:

    Rags,
    I respect your warrior mentality. We agree on a lot more than what we disagree on. I only ask that you consider, A) Santorum is being who he is, he’s not hiding it, he’s not compromising it. That is he’s an openly devout, practicing Catholic! As such, it is only natural for him to support those tenets. B) Nowhere does he say that his personal views should become law. Nowhere.
    Would his views affect policy? Not by decree or fiat, no. But insofar as he’s able to influence those who are already open to his beliefs, as well as those who may, by some measure of being open to options apart from their life experiences and results so far, then maybe so, but that needn’t be the full on culture war most on the Left are clamoring for and some on the Right are afraid of. This is one big straw man meme.
    Again, I get it, he’s not the perfect candidate, but in my view he’s the most trustworthy and capable of rising to the job required. Frankly that, plus his previous experience, including that which he’s being critiqued for (rightfully so, at that), has positioned him as the person most likely to beat Obama. In convincing fashion in my view.
    Character still matters to Americans. More so than agreeing on every single issue, in my view.

  9. Ragspierre says:

    A., I get what you said.
    Santorum is hardly unique. LOTS of believing people…Catholic and otherwise…hold the same beliefs. I have no trouble with them.
    What I DO have trouble with is Santorum’s DEMONSTRATED capacity to pass into law compulsory impositions on MY freedom. I do not consider him benign.
    I can put Santorum quotes with Santorum quotes…and VOTES…and come up with very REAL concerns for ME. The man has said he distrusts “radical individualism”…which is kind of where I live.
    I know the Collective WILL successfully do just that, and to very bad effect. My problem is that I have to agree, based on what the man has said and DONE.

  10. Ivon Fergus says:

    Ack – a perfect summary of Dan Riehl! You are still running a lewd ad I. And others complained about bdys ago. So, you lack moral standing to say ack about A Sullivan. IIhave emailed several other who advertise on your website and contacted bloggers about the fact that honest banks and wholesome home security services should not place their ads on your website. I plan to continue to warn such businesses of the ironies involved.

  11. A Stephens says:

    No problem, but keep in mind congressional votes are often symbolic, compromised, and ultimately worthless. He has already said NCLB was a mistake, one he wouldn’t repeat, plus remember that was a big olive branch by Bush to the Dems who promptly set the branch, his arm, the man, and ultimately the entire Republican party on fire with the help of the gasoline toting media.
    As to “radical individualism”, yeah I heard that, I’d like to see him address it.
    I don’t think a President Santorum believes legislating morality can be useful or successful. The best he can do is exemplify it and hope that those who find it appealing move toward it. And he is certainly smart enough not to want to be the guy who replaces a would be king by proposing to rule as his own version of one.

  12. NorseMD says:

    Santorum saying as a matter of religious belief, morality, and civilizational survival that birth control (not to mention abortion) is dangerous, is a far cry from legislating its denial to Americans. That’s a big leap, a fallacious leap. Regarding the female vote, I think making the case to them that NO ONE, NO STATE, NO CONGRESS would ever touch birth control is sufficient for that point. Anyone who would believe otherwise is a fool and their vote is unpredictable under any circumstances. Meanwhile we can just keep pointing out how Obama and his policies are diminishing their kiddos freedom and chance for a prosperous future.

  13. You kidding me says:

    It’s silly to make the worrying error that Santorum auto-loses a general over social issues, none of which he’s stressing comparative to the economy which is seen by voters nationwide as key. The few forays into them mostly favors our side in general and Santorum especially, such as the contraceptive mandate flap and the prop 8 fiasco. The public is one our side, there’s no way in heck the average voter listens to this meme about Santorum opining states COULD choose to ban contraceptives OVER the types of actualized intrusion Obama has demonstrated.
    The GOP really is the party of stupid if they do not coalesce around Santorum now. Romney not an option, Newt needs to withdraw he’s just taking votes from Rick…

  14. Dan Riehl says:

    “You are still running a lewd ad I. And others complained about”
    Huh? Take it up with blogads, or chip in $50 via Paypal to pay the freight around here, or just STFU. I don’t really care.

  15. el polacko says:

    to those who say that santorum is only explaining how he lives his life and doesn’t wish to enforce his views on others, note in the quote cited above that he said “these are important PUBLIC POLICY issues” not that they are personal considerations.
    he has further stated that he does not believe that there is any right to privacy and that he thinks that the government has an interest in what goes on in everybody’s bedroom. anybody who thinks that this will be a winning position in the general election is out of his mind. if the candidate is santorum, barack wins in a landslide.

  16. Godzilla says:

    Regarding santorum’s thoughts on contraception: http://swampland.time.com/2012/02/14/rick-santorum-wants-to-fight-the-dangers-of-contraception/
    the pertinent part comes round 17:55 into the interview
    excerpt:
    “One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”
    It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.
    Again, I know most Presidents don’t talk about those things, and maybe people don’t want us to talk about those things, but I think it’s important that you are who you are. I’m not running for preacher. I’m not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues. These how profound impact on the health of our society.”

  17. Godzilla says:

    BTW, that interview I just linked to was given by Santorum way way way back in…last October. Rags, I know you don’t like Santorum, and we share that at least, but I’m prepared to go to a place that I never thought I’d see. If Santorum somehow became the nominee, not only would I not vote for him, but I’ll vote for Obama because I don’t only want to see Santorum lose, I want to see him get pulverized (metaphorically of course). I’d vote straight GOP in the down ticket.
    Given the choice between a born-again-hard social conservative who actually wants to legislate his beliefs, and a liberal, I’ll go with the liberal every time.

  18. sickofrinos says:

    People like you godzilla, will enjoy hell.
    People that like obama-hate christians.

  19. KLSmith says:

    For everyone arguing that Santorum’s views won’t hurt him : if we had a semblance of a responsible media in this country or an electorate in which half didn’t get their news from Jon Stewart, I’d agree with you. But we don’t. When they get through with Rick, what they did to Palin will look minor league. She was, supposedly, just stupid and unqualified. Rick will be made to look like a dangerous morally constipated reject from the 1950’s.

  20. KLSmith says:

    Dan : Some of Obama’s recent actions have me harboring the faint hope that his ego is showing. Meaning, I wonder if he might desire to be elected for who/what he really is this time. He knows he fooled a lot of people last time. Is the narcissism kicking in? Does he want a mandate for all the goodies he has planned for us next term? Proof that we really, really like him and want what he plans to give us?
    Yeah, he’s probably to shrewd for that. But, the guy does have an ego. And it would be nice if it was true.

  21. Ragspierre says:

    I will support Gingrich (of the people in the arena currently). I will oppose Santorum in the primaries.
    Beyond that, I will vote for NOT Barackah in the general. The man aspires to be a dictator, and he’s ALREADY done a LOT in that direction.
    I said “vote for”. I didn’t say “support”. We’ll see…
    I WILLLLL support excellent candidates down ballot…with enthusiasm.

  22. ljm says:

    Good. This politically clueless and candid interview is finally starting to get the attention of conservative bloggers.
    http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/15/rick-santorum-and-contraception-conservatism/
    The most telling and damning bit:
    “Again, I know most Presidents don’t talk about those things, and maybe people don’t want us to talk about those things, but I think it’s important that you are who you are. I’m not running for preacher. I’m not running for pastor, but these are important PUBLIC POLICY issues. These how profound impact on the health of our society.”

  23. Ragspierre says:

    Last year we caught Obama’s Organizing for America red-handed as they orchestrated and organized the protest mobs that stormed the State Capitol. Remember they chased after Republican State Senators and made death threats against them?
    Then they announced RECALL campaigns against six Republican State Senators. They needed to win four of the RECALLs, but with your help we stopped them in all but two of the RECALL campaigns.
    So now they are back, with Barack Obama campaigning in Wisconsin at taxpayer expense, and the leftist mobs are trying to RECALL Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Republican Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four more Republican State Senators.
    –GatewayPundit
    THAT is why I will vote for anybody BUT Obama. The man is a positive danger to America.
    Please join me in sending money to the besieged sane people in Wisconsin.

  24. Riski says:

    Posted on Sarah, I’ve never actually read any of that Excalibur, but I’m ttepry sure as far as author-inserts hooking up with characters goes, Pete Wisdom was handled a lot better than that creepy guy who married Donna Troy.Matt, I’m with you on that long list of geek things I’ve never seen. My own list, while different from yours, is equally long and causes me mixed distress and defensiveness.Chris, you actually make me a little sad I missed the 80s/90s comic collecting boom! That Video Jack thing sounds legitimately awesome.Jeff that’s a great point, about seeing a Jedi in action. I think watching Obi-Wan’s arc is the best part of the prequels, and I would hate for that not to exist. The movies definitely have merit.

  25. John says:

    Posted on Anika, you bring up a point that I meant to include there and kind of grofot to: Padme is the best contribution to Star Wars that the prequels made. She is a fabulous character that doesn’t get enough to do.Jennifer, if you like prequel-era Obi-wan, you should read Matt Stover’s Episode III novelization. In fact, all three of the prequel novelizations are probably worthwhile, and contribute a bit to my general like of the films. Terry Brooks’ Episode I goes much darker and less campier than its counterpart, and Stover’s Revenge of the Sith is an excellent sci-fi/fantasy novel, not just an excellent film adaptation (R. A. Salvatore’s paint-by-numbers Episode II novel isn’t anything special, but it makes the romance a bit more palatable, in my opinion).Dan: UR BR8KNG MAI <3

  26. Ramses says:

    Just wanted to ask you about what oshuld be in this synopsis.Do I tell the whole story with spoilers and everything, or do I just touch on what the story consists of without spoiling anything. Or does both count?Thanks

  27. Diego says:

    Your comparison with Parliamentary qsuotien period is inaccurate. The Head of State, the Queen is not present as was the President last night. Furthermore even during qsuotien period, when the gloves appear to come off, calling another member a liar, is unparlimentary language – the Speaker would interrupt, ask the offender to apologize, and if they didn’t they would be thrown out of the House by the Sargent-at-Arms. They could only return after they stood before the speaker and apologized to the Speaker, the House, and the target of the offending language.

  28. Olga says:

    I’ve been reading a few posts and allery and enjoy your writing. I’m just setting up my own blog and only hope that I can write as well and provide the reader so much insight.

  29. Tota says:

    Wow, thanks for the set of link from my cmeomnt, this link (!) and for cmeomnting at my site.I have read you for a few years and linked you on my Rockford Bloggers post as far back as 2005 (on my Lifetrek blog). I still post a list of about 20 Rockford Area blogs, let me know if you know of others. ()Question of the day — Mr. Obama — If you can reevaluate your 20 year membership at Trinity Church when the circumstances change, why can’t you do the same thing with something as important as Iraq?DKK