The president’s attack on Catholics and Catholic institutions –from Boston College int he east to Notre Dame in the midwest and Loyola Marymount and Gonzaga in the west– has done much more than outrage. It has triggered an enormous and growing revulsion about and opinion shift concerning the president and his team.
Jay Carney blathered on under the questioning of Jake Tapper yesterday, asserting that the regs were not wholly new, skipping over the combined letters and statements of bishops across the country such as Cardinal-designate Dolan, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, Archbishop Olmsted of Phoenix and Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, sounding disingenuous and arrogant, in effect saying these poor bishops don’t know what they are talking about.
Of course they do know what they are talking about, and the White House attempt to avoid answering why Catholic institutions such as Notre Dame has to provide insurance benefits covering “the morning after pill” to all of its employees will not fly and will further enrage Catholics and prepare the ground for the massive refusal to comply that has already been announced by the Bishops. The prospect of hundreds if not thousands of Catholic institutions simply saying no presents the prospect of a situation not seen in this country since the Civil Rights movement: Millions of people refusing to comply with a government order and willing to accept the penalties for it.
As I noted in yesterday’s column, the bishops have to force the issue. They should have already responded to Carney’s absurd and deceitful statement, and they should have laid out from their lawyers the probable consequences of non-compliance when their “waiver” of one year runs out. The place to keep checking is here, but the staff at the CCB needs to be on the ball and not let Jay Carney shine on the country ona daily basis. The White House press corps got a clue from Tapper that this is a big, big deal, but then laid off, perhaps because he threw up enough smoke that they needed to retreat. Hopefully they will be back today with some key new questions:
Did the president sign off on these regs?
Did Cass Sunstein do so from with OMB’s OIRA?
Was there discussion within the senior political staff?
Has David Axelrod weighed in (that one is for the next reporter who engages Axe.)?
People are saying the president is anti-Catholic, that such a naked attempt to punish the Roman Catholic Church and destroy its institutions which they say cannot conform to these mandates cannot be interpreted as other than anti-Catholic?
Has the president reached out since the controversy broke to any of the bishops, like Dolan in New York, Chaput in Philadelphia, Olmsted in Phoenix, and Gomez in Los Angeles who have written on the subject?
Has the president read those letters? Have you Jay?
Finally, please describe what happens when, say, Notre Dame doesn’t comply. These bishops say there is simply no way they will comply. So when that happens, what happens? Surely you must have told them exactly what would happen if non compliance occurred?
Watch this space. If you are a news gathering institution, focus on it, and perhaps start a news silo. It is a major moment in American politics, and the fury is widespread and growing and not limited to Catholics, though they are the group that will be most visibly and immediately damaged.
I continue to think there is a possibility that this confrontation was provoked at this time to tip the scales at the Supreme Court against the constitutionality of Obamcare, and Alan Sears, founder and president of the Alliance Defense Fund said yesterday they hope to include a discussion of the outrage in their amicus brief before the SCOTUS. This is a clear unconstitutional consequence of the unconstitutional law, and should help to push Justice Kennedy and perhaps others to a declaration of start over and don’t even think about such assaults on religious freedom again much try to abuse the reach of the commerce clause. A ruling from the Court tossing out all of Obamacare would help the Administration in that the growing disaster of the law –premiums continue to rise as Medicare shrinks and doctors drop out and millions get shifted from previous coverage despite the oft-repeated explicit promise of the president– is an albatross around the re-election effort.
Call them Machiavells or Alinskyites, everyone from the president on down is involved in outrageous conduct, all of it geared to keep the lease on 1600. But whoever cooked up a full frontal assault on the Roman Catholic Church as a good idea in an election year really is a fool, unless they had a different motive entirely.
UPDATE: Read the long post by Article VI’s John Schroeder this morning that ends with reflections on the GOP presidential campaign, the prayer breakfast yesterday, and the attack on the Catholic Church, concluding with the key observation that religion is not a mere question of when and how people worship, not a “matter of taste,” but that many people impacted by the American culture of the past decade might easily think it is.