Sunday, February 12, 2012

What Mattered This Week?

Better late than never, I hope:

Syria is the headline again, no? Also, I'd say that the announced decision to cut US personnel in Iraq matters. Why? It's another indication that this administration is willing to cut its losses; it doesn't allow itself to be held hostage to Friedman Units. One of the real strengths, in my view, of the Obama presidency.

The Santorum shocker on Tuesday? Hard to know whether it will wind up meaning more than what I thought on Wednesday, when I really didn't think it would matter much.

What about the birth control/Catholic Church thing? My guess is that it's a lot less important than it looks now. Surely that's true for the second half of the Komen flap. We also had two victories for marriage equality this week, with the courts coming down against California's Prop 8 and the Washington state legislature passing a law enabling same-sex marriage there.

What else? What do you think mattered this week?


  1. A couple of things:

    1 - The sense that the economy might recover substantially this year is spilling into the conventional wisdom. Yes, this will evaporate if there is a relapse. But at least for now I'm seeing mention - even on the right - that a recovery puts the GOP in a very awkward position.

    2 - The Komen PR retreat is the first political win for pro-choice that I can recall in a very long time. It was starting to fall into gun control limbo, where even supporters saw it as a political loser. (Compare to marriage equality being on a roll.)

    The birth control v bishops flap plays indirectly into this - to the degree that pro-life is politically conflated with anti-contraception, there is a much bigger constituency on the other side. Which is bad news for culture warriors on the right.

    Unlikely to affect anything this fall, but perhaps the start of a longer-term shift in the political dynamics?

    Tying these points together a bit, a good many people have been saying that maybe Obama really can play eleven-dimensional chess.

  2. What I don't understand is why the GOP wants to double down on their opposition to birth control as of today. What do they want to gain from continuing this fight?

  3. Anonymous -- "What do they want to gain from continuing this fight?"

    They want to undermine support for and undo recent healthcare reforms.

    It's just one more assault on "Obamacare" in general. (It is interesting to note, for instance, that polling shows Evangelicals, who tend to be conservatives, and are an important part of the Republican party's base, are MUCH more opposed to the mandate for coverage of contraceptives than Catholics. Why? Unlike the Catholic Church, Evangelical sects have no history of codified opposition to contraception.)

    Removing this requirement, and others, from all employers, secular as well as religious, is what the dust up created by conservative Republicans -- using the concerns of conservative Catholic Bishops as a foil -- is about and has always been about.

    I've been appalled by the naive commentary from beltway "liberal" Catholic commentators who seem unable to grasp, or, at least, unwilling to acknowledge, this reality.

  4. There's always a plan B, you should pardon the pun.You can't overturn the PPACA, or Griswold for that matter, in the courts, in law, you just have the accountants and actuaries and HR managers of a thousand firms, administering a thousand insurance plans, doing it for you in practice.

    No fingerprints on the corpse, too.

  5. Did you do this post on Friday or Saturday (and say something about how it wasn't a big week)? I thought I commented but ... oh well. Maybe it was at that other plain blog on politics :).


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