“… I think women should be deacons as well as men. …But if the federal government, if the Justice Department offers a mandate ordering Southern Baptists to make women deacons, I would be the first to say get the hell out of our business.” – Joe Scarborough (9 February)

That quote tells you all you need to know about this debate.

Scarborough’s quote above is a good example of the disingenuous nature of the argument being made by religious conservatives. It is one of the most preposterous falsehoods said yet. That Joe Scarborough chose to say it and then defend it reveals how low Republicans will go to make a religious point even if it’s false.

If the feds tried to tell the Episcopal Church they couldn’t be spiritually feminist, standing up against the misogyny in other churches that bothers no one, I’d be the first to say get the hell out of our business.

The Obama administration has let this play out all week and it will conclude tomorrow with the backdrop of the CPAC conference, when Santorum, Romney and Gingrich give their speeches.

“It’s becoming a thorny problem for the White House and it appears to only be getting worse,” said one Democratic strategist. “The politically astute move would be to modify this thing, and quick.” Asked if the administration should shift course, a former senior administration official said, “I don’t see how they couldn’t. It’s pretty bad.” – The Hill

Pretty bad? Anyone supporting the decision was put in the position of having not only to do White House education on the issue and the constitutionality of it, but damage control on male “60-something pundits” blowing a gasket across cable.

Nicely played, team Obama. It’s political malpractice of the first order. Somewhere Rahm Emanuel is shaking his head.

Pres. Obama also was warned what was coming, which has been reported by Bloomberg, who broke the tick tock, then Jake Tapper and others following.

This is also no longer about contraception, abortion or even a wider rule on religious exclusion. It’s also become about the Affordable Care Act and the allies Pres. Obama had by his side who now feel betrayed. That’s the thumb on the scale as we count down to the compromise.

TPM has a classic headline, with a picture of Pres. Obama that’s unintentionally priceless: Will Dems Shoot Themselves In The Foot On Contraception? I can only assume they’re being ironic or rhetorical.

V.P. Joe Biden and Bill Daley were among the concerned Catholics inside the White House that warned Pres. Obama about what has come to pass this week. I’ve not written about the roll-out, because anyone who thinks this was going to be easy any way the Administration did it hasn’t been paying attention to Republicans lately. Chuck Todd and Mark Halperin opined today that Pres. Obama needs to make the case, which shows you how little the elite news media knows about him. The fact that we haven’t seen Pres. Obama, which I never expected we would on something this electric, is that he has no intention of putting his personal capital behind Administration policy that is in the works of being reversed.

Therein lies the entire issue with Pres. Obama’s presidency. Not shoring up allies in Congress, then using pins and tape at the end of a process to get a second or third version of the legislation you want over the finished line. He’s got no allies, except women in Congress who remain a minority. I have no idea how Obama and his team, especially Valeria Jarrett, concluded he could announce something so sweeping, politically important, as well as a boon to to women, especially hourly wage employees, without knowing who had his back, but also a political strategy to lay it out.

This policy required great theater. Women ready to announce it, religious groups among them, Democratic senators and representatives standing ready to hit the airwaves for a policy they supported.

The stories are ricocheting now, as Friday looms and the Sunday shows approach, which will certainly feature a cavalcade of criticism, even as something is frantically being cobbled together. A conclusion needs to be announced so on Sunday everyone can nod their heads, criticize the initial decision, then smile approvingly that Pres. Obama’s compromise isn’t caving to pressures from the right. It never is, right?

That the Susan G. Komen foundation figured out how to right a PR disaster faster than the Obama White House is embarrassing.

TM NOTE: This column inspired Joe Scarborough to unleash an unhinged DM rant in my direction, which is detailed in my column “Joe Scarborough’s Weird DM Rant Invades My Weekend,” which made the rounds in a tweet heard round Twitterworld.

TM NOTE: The title of this column has been changed.