The GOP is clearly losing the argument about Obama’s contraception mandate, and this issue is clearly becoming a liability, an embarrassment, and even a reduction of chances of electoral victory for Republicans.
The GOP’s hopes of turning it into a wedge issue were naive, foolish, and doomed to be proven wrong from the very beginning. A few week ago, just 50% of Americans opposed it and 44% supported it; by now, a majority of Americans probably supports it. Moreover, the vast majority of Americans wants contraceptives to be legal and widely available and use contraception themselves, and don’t want Republicans to lecture them about morality or legislate it.
Republicans’ only hope of using this issue as a weapon was to make the discussion be about an overreaching, arrogant federal government. However, they missed their opportunity to do so, and instead turned this into an argument about the morality of contraception – an argument they were doomed to lose. Making things worse were people like Rick Santorum and Foster Friess, who made absurd, arrogant comments about contraception; for example, Friess said that women should put an aspirin pill between their knees.
And now Republicans are bearing the consequences of this mistake. According to the Washington Times:
“GOP on losing side of birth control
30% in party back Obama’s stance
By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times Monday, March 5, 2012
Their fight with President Obama over contraceptive coverage is becoming a losing battle for Republicans, a significant chunk of whom reject GOP leaders’ stance that it’s a fight about religious liberty, according to the latest Washington Times/JZ Analytics poll.
While a majority of Republicans side with their party’s leaders, a striking 30 percent agree withMr. Obama’s stance that his contraception mandate is about women’s health.
Regarding young voters, the poll has even worse news for the GOP.
“Drop this baby right now. Drop it. This is not a winner,” John Zogby, the pollster who conducted the survey, said by way of advising the GOP. “I don’t know if the White House was smart enough to box Republicans into a corner on this — I don’t know if it was by plan — but I think it worked out that way.””
See? I told you so. I warned Republicans – privately on Facebook on February 15th and publicly on this website 5 days later – to ignore this issue, or at least to shove it to the backburner, and to focus instead on Obama’s planned deep unilateral cuts of the US nuclear arsenal, which will take it down to 300 nuclear warheads if implemented. And for a long time, I’ve been urging Republicans to frequently criticize Obama for his disastrous policies on the whole spectrum of defense and foreign issues, and to make defense one of the top issues of this campaign.
Had I been listened to, the GOP would not have been facing the debacle it is facing today. The vast majority of Americans understands that disarmament, especially unilateral disarmament, is dangerous, foolish, treasonous, and suicidal, and would be furious if they found out that Obama plans to cut the US nuclear arsenal so deeply in a unilateral manner. Moreover, polls have consistently shown that a large majority of Americans opposes defense cuts, including defense budget cuts.
Moreover, defense is, in general, a noncontroversial issue that, whenever used, is an electoral winner for Republicans. It’s a public issue. It’s about the security of all Americans, the country, and its allies. It’s about whether the US will have a sufficiently large, well-equipped, technologically advanced, well-trained, well-organized, well-led, well-compensated, generously-funded military or not. All that this requires ordinary Americans to do is to vote for pro-strong defense politicians and to pay their taxes to fund national defense.
On the other hand, contraception is a strictly private matter, and Americans, as a free people, DON’T want the federal or state governments to lecture them about morality or tell them whether they can or cannot use contraceptives. That’s their private affair. They want to have sex and use contraception and to keep their bedrooms private. Sexual needs are basic human needs, just like food and beverages.
The GOP has angered the American people by lecturing them about morality and contraception.
Had it avoided this topic and focused on the issue of national defense, it would’ve dealt Obama a severe blow.
It’s not too late to win the general national discourse about which party is better suited to lead the country (and therefore to win the 2012 election). But to prove to Americans that the GOP is that party, it must stop lecturing the American people about morality and start attacking Obama, with no kid gloves, on the full spectrum of defense, foreign, and economic issues. For the sake of the Country as well as the Party.