Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, February 11, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 10



 Mountain Views News Saturday, February 11, 2012 

HOWARD Hays As I See It 

GREG Welborn


Any politician who takes on the Catholic Church 
over one of their most fundamental doctrines is 
presumed at face value, with no other evidence 
needed, to be utterly stupid. Such is the common 
explanation for why President Obama signed off 
on the Health and Human Services ruling that 
Obamacare would force Catholic institutions 
to provide and pay for health insurance 
which covered contraceptives, abortions and 
sterilizations. I don’t buy into that explanation. 
Unfortunately, I think it’s something else much 
more insidious.

Most of the time when a politician flubs a speech 
or public event, it’s along the lines of some of 
Mitt Romney’s most recent ones. Usually, the 
politician says something like, “I like being able 
to fire people” or “ I’m not concerned about the 
very poor”. In hindsight, they always look stupid, 
the context always tells you that the quote is out 
of context, nobody really believes that’s what 
was meant, and the politician apologizes and 
survives. These are the normal growing pains 
of the politically naïve on their way to becoming 
the experienced national leader. These are not 
at all similar to what President Obama has just 

First of all, I don’t believe President Obama 
believes it was a mistake. The evidence shows 
that an awful lot of thought and calculation 
went into this decision. Secretary Sebelius did 
not make this decision on her own. This was 
approved by the President himself, and it’s 
obvious Obama believes now is the time to try to 
make a game changing point.

The impact of this ruling is stunning. It 
announces to the nation that the federal 
government has the right to tell the Catholic 
Church that it cannot be Catholic anymore. 
The Catholic Church has as long a tradition as 
you can possibly have telling its adherents that 
contraceptives, abortions and sterilizations are 
sin. They are forbidden as a bedrock provision 
of the faith. To contradict this is to give the 
government the power to coerce all faiths. 

Our country has long relied on what’s knows 
as the “conscience clause”. It’s a provision of 
law, stemming from the protections of the first 
amendment, which 
exempts legitimate 
religious institutions 
from rules that clearly 
violate the tenets of 
their faith. The first 
amendment prohibits 
the establishment of 
a state religion, but 
it also prohibits the 
government from 
restricting the free 
exercise of religion. 
Our laws and court cases have reaffirmed this 
principle since our country’s founding.

To further prove that Obama couldn’t possibly 
have simply made a mistake, I’d point to last 
month’s Supreme Court decision in the Hosanna-
Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School 
case. The church fired an employee because they 
found her beliefs and practices contrary to their 
religious mission. The employee sued based on 
anti-discrimination employment laws, but the 
Supreme Court decided in favor of the church in 
a unanimous decision. Sadly, President Obama 
had his solicitor general file a brief with the 
Supreme Court insisting that employment law 
should trump church doctrine. Whatever you 
think of the wisdom of this argument, the fact 
that Obama lost the argument in a unanimous 
decision and then still proceeded with the 
contraceptive ruling afterwards tells us that this 
was not naivety or political miscalculation. This 
was a fight purposely picked and a battle to be 
won if possible.

But to what end, you might ask. We need look 
no further than the President’s own words 
as a candidate. He intends to fundamentally 
transform the U.S. He believes in a secular state 
where the government is supreme and faith is 
stripped from the public square. The election of 
2012 is about so much more than the economy, 
taxes and deficits. This election is about the soul 
of this country.

Gregory J. Welborn is an independent opinion columnist. He 
writes and speaks frequently on political, economic and social 
issues. His columns have appeared in publications such as The 
Los Angeles Daily News, The Orange County Register, The Wall 
Street Journal and USA Today. He can be reached at gwelborn@

 “By denying 
contraception as part of 
employee health plans, 
what the bishops seek is 
more like religious fascism 
than religious freedom.”

- Daniel C. Maguire, 
Professor of Moral 
Theology, Marquette 


 It’s no coincidence that 
Republicans routinely 
create controversies over 
emotional issues, even to presume government 
jurisdiction over a woman’s health, around 
election time – especially when it’s hard to argue 
the relevant issues.

 When George H.W. Bush ran in 1988, the issue 
was black inmates paroled under Gov. Michael 
Dukakis. As Bill Clinton moved to strengthen 
our economy and confront al Qaeda, Republicans 
obsessed over marital infidelity. With Al Gore, 
the threat was he’d confiscate guns from fellow 
Tennesseans. John Kerry seemed “French” and 
doubts were manufactured over the legitimacy of 
medals earned in Vietnam. Now, the issues are 
religion, contraception and reproduction.

 Our troops are coming home and the economy 
is rebounding. As Vice President Biden put it, 
“Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors 
is alive”. In this context, no candidate appears 
capable of sufficiently firing-up even those 
disappointed with President Obama. 

 Mitt Romney is a candidate worth a quarter-
billion, with a $100 million trust fund set up 
for his kids, who asks us to believe he shares 
the anxieties of the unemployed; a candidate 
who urged we bail out the banks but let car 
manufacturers go under; who’d rather speed up 
foreclosures than help families keep their homes.

 Newt Gingrich offers moon bases and another 
Middle-East war. Rick Santorum dismisses 
basic science (global warming is a “hoax”) while 
advocating a Fundamentalist Sharia. Ron Paul 
faces an electorate not ready to turn our national 
parks over to private developers (and would 
permit morning-after contraception only in cases 
of “honest rape”).

 Republican options are limited. One is to block 
efforts they know would spur the recovery, such as 
investing in infrastructure or breaks for middle-
income taxpayers. Another is to hearken back to 
the days when Spiro Agnew was a familiar name, 
disco had yet to break out of gay nightclubs, and 
contraception and women’s reproductive rights 
were still unsettled controversies.

 Last month when the Susan G. Komen 
Foundation cut ties with Planned Parenthood, 
they claimed it was non-political. Karen Handel, 
the individual who carried out the move, came to 
the organization with little foundation experience 
but a long record in Republican politics, having 
ran unsuccessfully for Georgia governor under 
a rigid anti-choice, anti–Planned Parenthood 
platform. She was recruited for the Komen job 
by former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer.

 Within days of the announcement, Planned 
Parenthood, which provided 170,000 breast 
exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals through 
Komen support over the past five years, received 
a flood of donations which surpassed the amount 
they would’ve gotten from Komen. Handel 
resigned and the Komen Foundation reversed its 

 The Affordable Care Act is based on the premise 
that prevention is cheaper than emergency 
treatment. Preventive measures are to be offered 
without co-pays. Twenty-eight states (including 
California) already mandate the inclusion of 
family planning in health coverage, as does 
Medicaid. The new HHS regulations exempt 
religious institutions from these contraception 
requirements; those nonprofits whose “primary 
purpose” is the “inculcation of religious values” 
and that “primarily” serve and employ those 
who “share the religious tenets”. Churches and 
seminaries are exempt. Women working for a 
large university or hospital, though, are not to 
be denied contraception coverage because of the 
institution’s religious affiliation.

 Were it not for the election, this wouldn’t 
be controversial. According to a recent Public 
Policy Polling survey, 57% support coverage 
for contraception, including at Catholic-
affiliated universities and hospitals. Support 
among Catholics is 53%, with 60% support 
among Catholics identifying themselves as 

 Rick Santorum denounces contraception as “a 
license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter 
to how things are supposed to be.” The Institute 
of Medicine within the National Academy of 
Sciences sees it as a means of reducing the risk 
of endometrial cancer and pelvic inflammation 
disease in women, and in preventing infant and 
maternal mortality. President Obama decided to 
go with the Institute of Medicine.

 Twenty-three Christian, Jewish and Muslim 
leaders wrote, “We believe that women and men 
have the right to decide whether or not to apply 
the principles of their faith to family planning 
decisions, and to do so they must have access to 
services . . . Hospitals and universities across the 
religious spectrum have an obligation to assure 
that individuals’ conscience and decisions are 
respected and that their students and employees 
have access to this basic health care service.”

 Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), said on the 
Senate floor, “For the first time in a long time, 
our nation is talking about women’s health . . . 
but unfortunately, too much of it isn’t really about 
women’s health. It is politics disguised as women’s 

 Newt Gingrich characterizes it as an “outrageous 
assault” on religious freedom. 

 Prof. Daniel C. Maguire of Marquette 
University (a Catholic / Jesuit institution) writes, 
“Catholic theologians overwhelmingly support 
contraception. Dozens of Catholic hospitals 
and universities cover prescribed contraceptives. 
Ninety-eight percent of Catholic women have 
used contraceptives. Only 2 percent of Catholic 
women use the ‘rhythm method’ of birth control 
favored by conservative Catholics. Therefore 
the decision of the Obama administration, 
rather than threatening Catholic teaching on 
contraception, is actually more attuned to 
actual Catholic teaching than are the American 
Catholic bishops with their idiosyncratic taboo 
on contraception.”

 Those who’d exploit such an intensely personal 
matter in an attempt to score cheap political 
points are undeserving of participation in the 
discussion, let alone being considered for high 

TINA Dupuy 


“Gen X” was 
popularized as an 
advertising term. 
Marketers used the label to describe young 
people of the late 80s, and the focus was on 
how to sell goods to the MTV generation.

Advertisements at that time, just as one 
example, started to feature unmarried couples 
to appeal to this group of consumers. This 
was a first and in the early 90s it was pushing 
the envelope. It apparently resonated. The 
advertisers gauged correctly: They successfully 
sold their products to Americans with the now 
documented lowest marriage rate in history.

The argument could be made (mainly by those 
who want to take us back to a mythical innocent 
time of the supposedly recent past) that it’s 
advertisers who’ve corrupted our culture and 
changed what’s socially acceptable through their 
manipulations. Or, if you have sold your proverbial 
soul to the gods of unfettered commerce – like 
the rightwing self-described Culture Warriors, 
or the (formerly) Moral (former) Majority – 
advertisements are the market speaking for the 
greater culture at large. And the greater culture, 
funny enough, largely disagrees with the rightwing.

Here’s how it works: Advertisers put out an image or 
an idea – the greater public concurs by buying those 
products. Successful ads equal agreed upon ideas. 
Marketing is, after all, the definitive pandering.

And here is what the culture is saying through 
advertisements: We like racial diversity. Why can 
I say that? Because commercials not only have 
racially diverse groups of friends and co-workers 
– they now regularly feature bi-racial couples in 
ads. In a Budweiser Super Bowl spot this year, 
there were black men flirting with white women 
sans scandal. If those spots are moving widgets 
it means consumers agree with the message. 
It’s a type of voting. Even if some viewers don’t 
notice or don’t have a visceral reaction one way or 
another – it’s an indicator of a new cultural norm.

Also Americans are okay with homosexuals. The 
American Family Association, an association for 
only pre-approved families, threatened JC Penney 
with a boycott after they hired Ellen DeGeneres 
as a spokesperson. Now, DeGeneres, besides 
being a comedic genius, is also a successful talk 
show host and a popular pitchperson for brands 
like Covergirl and American Express. The 
market has spoken time after time, and Ellen 
is adored and sought after. She also happens 
to be a lesbian, which has made her the target 
of the AFA whose influence is clearly eroding.

What else does the market proclaim? Well, 
Americans widely approve of birth control. 
And yes, even legal abortion. In the dust-up last 
week between Susan G. Komen for the Cure 
and Planned Parenthood the market picked 
the winner. It was Planned Parenthood. The 
nonprofit health care provider saw a spike in 
private contributions after Komen announced 
they would no longer give Planned Parenthood 
a grant to screen for breast cancer. And 
Komen’s brand has been forever tarnished by 
putting politics before their cure-finding goal. 
It’s already resulted in one resignation of the 
Vice President of Public Policy, Karen Handel.

You can think of the market as a leading 
indicator of our social mores and the 
Republican primary as a lagging one.

Disgraced former Speaker of the House, Newt 
Gingrich, has been trying to play the well-worn 
Goldwater Southern Strategy to rile up the base. 
He calls Obama the food stamp president and 
said he wants to go talk to the NAACP about 
“why the African-American community should 
demand paychecks and not be satisfied with 
food stamps.” He also said immigrants should 
learn English and not use the “language of the 
ghetto.” That phrase hurt him in the Spanish-
named (former Spanish colony) state of Florida. 
Why? Because the market has spoken, we have 
our first biracial president and we no longer care 
for these antiquated wedges Gingrich peddles.

The GOP-worshipped market has chosen 
the winner of the culture wars, and it 
hasn’t looked favorably on its most devout.

Of course, the market for Republicans is just like 
the Bible or the Constitution. They worship it 
piously as long as they believe it agrees with them.

If their deified market is all-knowing and 
all-powerful – it clearly favors a progressive 
social agenda…and not the GOP’s.

Yeah…tough sell.

Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the managing 
editor of Crooks and Liars. Tina can be reached at tinadupuy@

Independent’s Eye by

JOE Gandelman


– Barring some big 
political development 
that again upends the 
conventional wisdom, 
former Massachusetts 
Gov. Mitt Romney 
still seems poised 
to win the 2012 
Republican presidential 
nomination. Here in 
the center of America 
newspapers are filled with stories about 
the Republican political nomination battle.

The former moderate-but-now-conservative 
Romney is dominating the national political 
news cycle here in America’s geographical center. 
But his biggest battle lies ahead: can Romney win 
the country’s political center in what increasingly 
is shaping up to be a toss-up presidential 
election? And can he do it without risking the 
wrath of the GOP’s distrustful conservative base?

By most measures, these should be happy days 
for the man who would have been the perfect 
late 20th century Republican candidate. Despite 
gaffes suggesting his mouth is a powerful 
magnet and his feet are made out of metal, 
Romney is the race’s current front-runner (but 
unloved). The way Romney unleashed his 
PACs and used his own rhetoric to politically 
dismember chief rival, former House Speaker 
Newt Gingrich in Iowa and Florida proved 
he has the ruthlessness to go all the way.

But this has taken a huge toll on Romney. 
Press scrutiny and increased coverage haven’t 
been kind to him. The media has chronicled 
his often clumsy and unconvincing move to 
the right and dutifully covers an outraged 
Gingrich, now pursuing what Gingrich’s 
former colleague Dick Armey calls a “first-class 
vendetta” against Romney. Stories about the 
low taxes Romney pays plus his gaffe about not 
caring about the poor got widespread coverage 
and provided material for TV comedians.

The result? An ABC News/Washington Post 
poll finds that 52 percent to 24 percent the more 
Americans learn about Romney, the more they 
don’t like him. Why is this important? The public 
already knows what can be known about Barack 
Obama. Romney faces the prospect of more erosion 
as more unflattering info about him seeps out.

It’s a truism of American politics that to 
win a nominee has to move to the center to 
attract independents after wooing the more 
ideological party base in primaries. But can 
Romney? If he does he’ll have to do it slowly 
or risk angering conservative GOPers. Given 
the nature of 21st century communications, 
it will be harder for him than ever.

More than ever, Romney’s every word and breath 
will be analyzed and draw a response from not 
just Democrats but 24/7 cable news, new and 
old media, You Tube posters, bloggers, and 
the growing number of activists among the 300 
million worldwide who Tweet -- and link to the 
new and old media. Candidates used to be able 
slowly tip toe towards the center. No more. Plus, 
team Obama has a wealth of footage of Romney 
in his moderate incarnation waiting to be aired 
that’ll be new to many Americans. If Romney 
tries to shift too much to the center, conservatives 
could stay home. Analysts point to lower turnout 
in the Republican primary in Florida and the 
Nevada caucuses compared to 2008 as partially 
due to a lack of conservative enthusiasm. 

Romney must keep his party’s conservative 
base, run an aggressive campaign taking it to 
Obama, positively redefine himself, offer solid 
policy alternatives, and perceptively edge to 
the center to win independents. Polls show 
that as he battles Gingrich his negatives go up 
-- and his appeal to independents goes down.

What can Romney do to soften his image 
while playing hardball? More often than not 
when attempting humor he stumbles or brings 
to mind part of the lyric from “Oh What a 
Beautiful Morning” from the musical Oklahoma: 
“The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye, An’ 
it looks like its climbin’ clear up to the sky.’

From the look of it, it’ll be easier for the corn to 
climb clear up to the sky than for Mitt Romney to 
easily move to the center.

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for 
newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared 
on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of 
The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists 
and moderates. CNN’s John Avlon named him as one of the 
top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be 
reached at and can be 
booked to speak at your event at