I'm trying to imagine the meeting of Republican strategists who decided that THIS was the issue to go to the mat on. Let's listen in:
Strategist 2: "Well maybe the Catholic bishops would see it that way, but it's really old news, isn't it? Most of the states already have similar rules for health insurance coverage. And there are exceptions for churches and other religious organizations that predominantly have employees of their faith. This rule would only make a change for some hospitals or universities run by religious institutions."
Strategist 1: "Maybe so, but we can still make it sound really bad, as if the Obama administration is forcing religious organizations to violate their sacred principles."
Strategist 3: "I'm still not seeing it, considering that these Catholic hospitals have so many non-Catholic employees who would want their health insurance to cover birth control. And even their Catholic employees want this. Hardly any practicing Catholics pay attention to the Church's teachings on birth control. I mean, what century is the Church living in, anyway? Besides, nobody's forcing anybody to use birth control. All they're saying is that if somebody wants a prescription, it should be covered by insurance. So how does this impinge on anybody's religion?"
Strategist 4: "We must have some better issues to take a stand on than birth control. I mean, practically everybody is in favor of birth control. Even Governor Romney, our potential presidential nominee, said at one of the debates that we should leave contraception alone, it's working just fine."
Strategist 5: "That was funny, wasn't it? Though with five kids, I'm not sure contraception was working just fine for Romney. Anyway, I heard that Romney put almost the same rule into effect in Massachusetts, so how could he criticize Obama for doing exactly what he did?"
Strategist 1: "Somebody said we must have some better issues to run on. What are they? We're getting our legs knocked out from under us trying to run on the economy."
Strategist 2: "You're right. It's getting pretty hard to keep arguing about how bad the economy is, when it keeps getting better every day."
Strategist 3: "There's always the deficit."
Strategist 1: "But people are starting to figure out that the Republicans aren't very serious about that, considering that all we do is complain about cuts to defense spending, and we won't agree to any tax increases."
Strategist 3: "We can still attack the president for his weak foreign policy. And there's always Iran."
Strategist 1: "Every time we try calling him weak, though, we have to hear about Bin Laden. And he didn't look so weak in Libya, either. Or in Afghanistan. And he's been playing pretty tough with China too. I have a feeling he'll keep a lid on Iran too until after the election."
Strategist 3: "There must be something better than birth control we can use as a campaign issue. Come on . . . anybody?"
Strategist 2: "Sorry, I got nothing."
Strategist 4: "Me neither."
Strategist 5: "I can't think of one right now."
Strategist 6: "Oh my God, I can't believe we're going to go into the campaign as the party that is against birth control. Something almost 100% of the electorate supports. We're doomed."
Strategist 1: "Look, it's all we've got right now. We're just going to have to make the best of it."