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Pres. Obama Hands Women the Future

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
10 February 2012

It was done ugly. But let’s not miss this moment.

The furor forced the White House to make a final move Friday, with Pres. Obama starring.

It was insanity, except that Pres. Obama walked into battle with the majority of Americans behind him, including 99% of adult women who rely on birth control in their lives, including for serious medicinal purposes. It was a moment of promise reminiscent of how Obama came into the White House, except this time the media was tearing him apart instead of propping him up. A moment when Obama’s die hard supporters could say, this is the guy I voted for; when people could believe again, if only for a moment.

I’m not one of those people, never have been.

I’ve written innumerable columns about Pres. Obama’s continual inability to find a purpose or policy compass, while channeling Bush on foreign policy decisions and terror policy, over which progressives give him a pass. And one can only imagine if Pres. Obama would have understood the amount of energy and people power behind him when the health care debate began. These issues are real and troubling, with the cumulative compromise and capitulation to the right, including economically, remaining an irreconcilable situation.

That, however, doesn’t negate that the cosmos shifted on Friday.

Let’s skip over the flaws in the strong moral position position. Such as the fact that many states already require employers’ health care plans to cover contraception and that all over the United States there are Catholic universities and hospitals that comply.

Or that the bishops have totally failed to convince their own faithful that birth control is a moral evil and now appear to be trying to get the federal government to do the job for them. We’re rising above all that.

The Battle Behind the Fight, by Gail Collins

While everyone talked about the Catholic Church, religion and the 1st Amendment, women inside the Administration, dare I say including Michelle Obama, knew that the women employees of Catholic and other religious institutions needed to have their own 1st Amendment rights protected. If not, it would mean the female employees wouldn’t have the same rights or coverage as other women working at a non-religious institution.

Pres. Obama, the constitutional lawyer, knows the 1st Amendment goes both ways and decided to use a scalpel to manifest policy and an implementation that gave everyone what they wanted. A unicorn materialized, wrote Markos Moulitsas.

Except… If anyone heard Sean Hannity on Friday you were in for the laugh of your life, while seeing this will become the fight of the election, at least until they read the polls or turn to make it all about government intrusion, their only hope. There are consequences for adult behavior, Hannity railed, harping against free, free, free birth control. He was actually parroting the Catholic bishop line, which was rooted in being against, though I can’t believe it’s the 21st century and I’m writing this, women having sex for pleasure. Flashback:

I don’t want to overstate or understate our level of concern,” said McQuade, the Catholic bishops’ spokesperson. “We consider [birth control] an elective drug. Married women can practice periodic abstinence. Other women can abstain altogether. Not having sex doesn’t make you sick.” – Dana Goldstein (h/t Alternet and Amanda Marcotte)

Not having sex doesn’t make you sick.

This coming from a man representing celibate Catholic bishops who are part of a worldwide organization that was guilty of ignoring, protecting and hiding pedophile priests who sexually preyed on young boys for decades and decades; we’ll leave the nuns for next time.

All of this with a backdrop that featured a Super Bowl ad with Clint Eastwood praising the American car company comeback, which was orchestrated by the Obama administration, causing a furor for days. Karl Rove’s reaction precipitating Eastwood making a statement he wasn’t Obama’s guy. Heaven forbid. Even though bailing out the U.S. auto industry, part of our American heritage, ingenuity and genius, is saving part our national soul.

This isn’t working out like the Republicans expected. Not for Mitt Romney either, who is now stuck with one-upping Rick Santorum who is railing about the guillotine.

Now Sen. Roy Blunt, from my home state of Missouri, the same far right religious pack who brought Rick Santorum a win, has announced legislation to deny women the physical, emotional and economic freedoms Pres. Obama just gave them, to appease what ails the right. Republicans are evidently getting ready to fight 99% of the women in this country, including suburban Republicans and independents who use birth control and want their daughters to grow up with that safety net, too.

They’ve obviously snapped. Who wouldn’t? Beaten by Barack Obama. It’s got to be a bummer.

I’m elated.

Obama’s not down, he’s up and he’s just scored the biggest win for American women in a hundred years, ballpark.

Think about it. There’s serious and important history being made here.

For modern women, the stress level is about to be lowered, as are their monthly bills. Think of all the energy and potential to be unleashed. This freedom is personal, emotional and economical, unless Mitt and Rick get the opportunity to repeal free birth control.

Free contraceptive coverage for modern women, regardless of means or status, is what Social Security and other entitlements are for seniors and the poor.

Wait until that sinks in.

The column was originally posted on 2.10, but has been bumped.

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31 Responses to Pres. Obama Hands Women the Future

  1. Art Pronin February 11, 2012 at 4:12 am #

    I SO agree TM. Im simply giddy about these events. The GOP fighting this will be their doom with moderate- hell almost any- female voters. This boosts Obama for the general and gives a stake perhaps for many in his re election- if he is not put bac in office the Right wing run GOP will toss this rule.

    On the other hand comes Monday when the 2013 budget is announced punishing the poor, esp women with a rumored 360 bil in hcr cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. There will be afury once again in the Left over it whiel the Right will demand even more radical nuttiness from the budget. 

    A day to celebrate for progressives for sure- but come next week another day of mourning  perhaps…

    • secularhumanizinevoluter February 11, 2012 at 7:33 am #

      “hell almost any- female voters.”

      I think folks would do well to remember at least half of the repugnantklan/teabaggers are women. The Phylis Schafly , Ann Coulter, warpig Cheney types are not gonna suddenly stop being hypocrits and become rational.

      • Cujo359 February 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

        Those women, and most of the women they know, can afford their own birth control.

        • secularhumanizinevoluter February 12, 2012 at 9:31 am #

          That’s right…and in typical, sociopath behavior if it doesn’t DIRECTLY impact them or someone they are related to or know….it doesn’t exist as a problem.

    • Cujo359 February 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      if [Obama] is not put bac[k] in office the Right wing run GOP will toss this rule.

      Which is something that I’m sure never occurred to him. ;-)

      It certainly does give women something to think about. Even though it was the right move politically, I’m still amazed he did this. Standing up is really not his way. I doubt he would rescind this if he were given a second term, but I don’t expect any more such actions, either.

      • spincitysd February 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

        My dear puppy,

        Read Amanda Marcotte and you will understand. Obama is exposing the Republicans as being anti-sex. He exposing the right in its adherence to nut-case Christian crazies and grumpy Catholic prelates with their sexual phobias. So riddle me this Cujo359, who out there in the unwashed masses does not like sex? Who out there wants to ban sex for pleasure? Show of hands please?

        Can you think of a better reelect theme than “hey I’m down with getting jiggy, but the other guys; not so much” ?

        • Cujo359 February 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

          I’m not befuddled by the logic of why he should have done it. I’m only befuddled that he did. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that he managed to avoid directly confronting the bishops and their ilk. They’ll have to work to pick a fight with him. That is his style.

          If Obama usually did what made political sense given that successful politicans take care of their base, and make their opponents look outlandish when they can manage it, there would be room to say I had overlooked something.

          • spincitysd February 12, 2012 at 8:24 am #


            You have been reading Taylor for this long and still don’t understand the difference between governing Obama and Candidate Obama? Candidate Obama just pinned the GOP to the wall on its anti-sex agenda. No mystery here. Obama covered his number earlier with the Plan B decision, and then set up the Christian Crazies for the kill.

            The B.C. decision was pure political theater, and Obama knew exactly where to put the coda. He gave the opposition just enough rope and then let them hang themselves. Three years of muddle by Obama the executive has clouded Obama the Chi-Town operator.

            The Windy City is a Darwinian / Hobbesian landscape that only the politically agile survive. Not only did Obama survive in that landscape, he thrived. Obama is a true idiot savant: a master of politics, a master of the deal, period. Someone showed Barry the numbers on this, and he saw “gender gap” politics that gave him a HUGE advantage. With the Bishops going off the hairy edge of public acceptance with a rocket pack, there was zero political downside for Obama and nothing but advantage for his reelect.  It’s all about the reelect Cujo359, from now until November. Everything Obama does from here on out must be analyzed from the perspective of the reelect; and damn little else.

    • RAJensen February 12, 2012 at 8:08 am #


      Before you join the amen chorus and the background noise of the chattering class (both Conservative and Liberal) over cuts to Medicare you need to read the ACA and the new budget. The ACA, despite the left and the right wing hysterics of ’500 billion dollar cuts to Medicare’ does not cut Medicare benefits. In fact, Medicare benefits have been expanded and include free annual physicals with no co-pay and the closing of the so-called ‘donut’ hole which caused thousands of seniors to pay thousands of dollars in out of pocket costs.

      The so-called ‘cuts’ to Medicare include cutting tax payer subsidies to private health insurance companies. The ACA reduces the 14% premium transaction charge for every dollar of every claim charged to Medicare and paid by private health insurance companies that offer Medicare Complete and Medicare Advantage private health insurance policies.The private health insurance companies pay the claims then charges Medicare for the cost of the claim plus a 14% transaction charge for every dollar of every claim. The ACA reduces but does not eliminate the premium transaction charge. Medicare is barred from offering any additional coverage other than basic Medicare. Medicare is prohibited by the 2004 Senior Drug Precription Act (written by the insurance and pharmaceutical industry lobbyists) from offering prescription drug benefits, they can only be obtained by buying a private health insurance company policy that offers prescription drug benefits.. The free annual physicals as scored by the CBO will  substantially reduce Medicare costs diagnosing health problems which can be treated early and effectiviely and reduce the high cost of Medicare patients with chronic health problems that go undiagnosed until it is too late to be treated effectively and at lower cost.

      I don’t know what the new budget will include but based on what has been discussed it  will probably include means testing for wealthy Medicare beneficiaries who will be asked to pay higher premiums and higher co-pays.

      You need to do a little research on your own  instead of what you will most likley do, falsely accuse President Obama of cutting Medicare benefits, he didn’t in the ACA and I doubt he will do so in the proposed budget..He will likely propose changes that will reduce costs, not benefits, but it will be miscontrued by the left and the right..

  2. Art Pronin February 11, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    So do you think now Obama is understanding people power? Lets hope he is

    • Taylor Marsh February 11, 2012 at 7:19 am #

      He did on this one, because the women around him bolstered him.

      But Pres. Obama is still who he is, which is a conservative who believes in austerity. As with the things I mentioned in this piece, it’s another irreconcilable element.

  3. Joyce Arnold February 11, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Obama being Obama occasionally means he responds to the Left side of things with more than a compromise. In this case, I’d guess he and his campaign knew that millions of votes actually might be at stake.

    However he did it, he did finally get there. Good.


    • newdealdem1 February 11, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      Yes, this is a big deal for women.  All of us.  The Republicans like Scarborough and the GOP assorted nuts and clowns running for POTUS were milking this for every last drop but it’s turned into a wasteland now because in their false argument that HHS and the POTUS were “attacking” the religious freedom, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah, because (to paraphrase Bill Clinton), there was nothing there there.  But, there was everything there in what women would have lost if these constipated Catholic Bishops bullied their way to get their way like they did with the Stupak amendment in the ACA.

      “women inside the Administration, dare I say including Michelle Obama, knew that the women employees of Catholic and other religious institutions needed to have their own 1st Amendment rights protected. If not, it would mean the female employees wouldn’t have the same rights or coverage as other women working at a non-religious institution.” Taylor

      Yup, thanks to the women in the administration (and, yes, I would also venture to say Michele Obama influenced the POTUS’ decision to do the right thing for women) and to women like Senators Boxer and Gillibrand and Murray who came out early and strong on behalf of women (and on behalf of women regarding Susan Komen for the Cure’s disgraceful decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, which the Catholic Church aka, the Bishops have also made into a straw man in their battle against women, and that’s just what it has been and continues to be).

      I was watching Chris Hayes program this morning and he invited a priest from Notre Dame to discuss these issues with his panel.  And, it was a great dialogue but which revealed the incredibly perverse and harmful attitude towards women by  the church’s objection to contraception.  The priest called it “immoral and unjust” for women to use contraception.   Like the women on that panel, especially Rebecca Traister from, I was outraged at that description.  And, they told him why his comment was untenable.

      Last night, I posted my thoughts about all of these attacks on women’s physical autonomy which seemed to be on a continuous loop over the past 2 weeks.  What is immoral and unjust is denying women access to contraception.  It affects all women at all economic levels but most especially poor women.

      One of the reasons I am no longer a practicing Catholic is because the Catholic Bishops and the Pope, more specifically Pope John Paul (the Polish one) by preaching their untenable doctrine of  no contraception has consequences that are immoral and unjust.  I posted this last night:

      “I remember being turned off of Pope John Paul for various reasons especially re/women in the church and his refusal to even consider having women ordained as priests (even as there was a huge shortage in the priesthood) but the one that really turned me off of him and the Church’s teachings over contraception was when he would visit third world countries and preach against the use of birth control (except for the Rhythm Method – which has a high rate of failure) for impoverished women in these countries who have been “brainwashed” into blind devotion to the Church and most particularly to the Pope.  So, they believed and obeyed every word he said and didn’t practice birth control.  How many children could that family not afford and how many of them because of his preaching died from malnutrition or were prostituted out by their families to make ends meet?  Or those women who died in childbirth from so many pregnancies? Where is the moral responsibility for those consequences?”

      Until the Catholic Church changes this “man-made” doctrine of theirs (I don’t recall Jesus ever weighing in on  this topic), the immoral and unjust outcome will be on their heads.

      On a lighter note, watching the Chris Hayes program, his crew came up with an hilarious doctored Guillotine graphic from that ridiculous analogy used by Santorum’s outlandish comparison of the Obama Administration to the Reign of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.  Talk about uber delusional.   He mentioned the Guillotine as what? A  threat towards Barach and Michele and the rest of us liberals by him and the cretins in his base?  lol   Truly bizarre.  Which is Santorum’s true middle name.

      But, that doctored Guillotine graphic from the Chris Hayes crew was brilliant, perfect, priceless and lol funny.


      • secularhumanizinevoluter February 11, 2012 at 11:26 am #

        “Truly bizarre.  Which is Santorum’s true middle name.”

        I am enjoying this election run up immensely. The world is really getting a chance to focus on how utterly gibbering insane and delusional this mob really, REALLY is. And what greater gift could one wish for then Mr. Frothy Mix as the repugnantklan/teabagger front runner?!!!!

        • Cujo359 February 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

          His middle name is Truly? I like it, actually: Richard Truly Santorum.

      • spincitysd February 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

        Another tour de force from newdealdem1.

        Sidebar 1 : Man, when Roman Catholic women fall away from the church, they do not fool around.

        Sidebar 2: The Pollock Pope was just following the teachings of Paul VI who followed Pius IX, who laid down the ridiculous dogma of Papal infallibility. Don’t get me started about that nonsense of the Immaculate Conception.

      • Taylor Marsh February 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

        What a rockin’ comment, newdealdem1.

        I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had with women of faith who cite what you did above.

        When that Chris Hayes graphic came on TV I laughed out loud!!

      • Cujo359 February 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

        Until the Catholic Church changes this “man-made” doctrine of theirs (I don’t recall Jesus ever weighing in on this topic), the immoral and unjust outcome will be on their heads.

        Accepting that belief in some supernatural being is the basis for a morality requires three things to be true, at a minimum:

        - The existence of that being (or beings)

        - That (those) being(s) taking the form described by that religion

        - Those interpreting what the being(s) are supposedly telling us get the message(s) correctly

        Under the circumstances, I don’t think too many people reading here are shocked to find that sometimes the people who run religions decide that what their deity has commanded happens to benefit them personally. They certainly shouldn’t be.

        Which is why, as I mentioned in an earlier thread, I stopped thinking of these folks as being arbiters of morality nearly a lifetime ago. It’s astonishing, though, how few others have caught onto that idea.

        • Taylor Marsh February 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

          We saw this week how the elite media handled this, cujo359.

          Younger anchors & hipper shows help dislodge the 20th century constipation on faith and religious institutional strength.  Women are spiritual, often before being religious, today.  This is not reflected on “Hardball” or other programs.  When you switch for Fox it’s even worse.  CNN has covered religion well, but look at the crap they’ve taken for it re: Muslims.

          • Cujo359 February 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

            I know I’ve written this here before, but most major religions are nothing more than text-based Rorschach tests to me. What its adherents get out of them tells me far more about them and their needs than it does about what the religions are actually about. As I tried to explain, one has to assume an awful lot to believe that a particular religious belief, or a particular interpretation of it, FTM, is a guide to much of anything.

            Our morality comes from our status as thinking social beings who have to survive in the circumstances we find ourselves. What we learn and experience helps us make sense of all that, whether that’s via religion, science, comic books, or whatever. The quality of that learning, and the particular condition and needs of the mind doing that learning, determine how all that turns out.

            I’m hoping all those young hipsters learned something fundamentally different from what their older counterparts did, or we’ll be hearing the same things out of them in a couple of decades. If we were in the real world, I could point to a few acquaintances as examples.

            Anyway, no one gets to tell anyone what morality is based on the belief that his sky god set a bush on fire and then handed him a tablet.

  4. ladywalker68 February 11, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Thanks for this recap, Taylor.

    The jury is still out for me, as to whether or not I will vote for Obama.I didn’t in the last election.

    I agree this is a victory of sorts, but as a person who reached young womanhood by the late 60′s, it is mind-boggling that we are having this war on women in February of 2012.

    One thing is for sure:  I would have considered voting for Romney, but at this juncture, I will never vote for any of the sorry crop of Republican misogynists running for President right now. I just don’t get them, and I get their wives even less. I believe that other women who buy into this culture are as big, no make that bigger, for lack of a better word, enemies of what is right and just for women. If they want to be their husbands’ baby-making slaves, then go for it  but don’t sentence me to a life like that.

    As far as the dude who preached abstinence, well, he needs to chat with the mates of the women who try to deny them sex before making it sound as if it is a walk in the park. Especially if you hold the view that the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman for the purposes of pro-creation.

    Oh, another thing, where do vasectomies fall into the equation?  That is a form of birth control, is it not? I assume that the Catholic institutions who are so outraged will also deny copays for that procedure. Pity.

    Anyway, since in addition to being a woman, I also fall into the age bracket where Social Security and Medicare are about to kick in, especially SS that I have paid into for 40 years of my fully employed life, the biggest test for me of whether or not I vote for Obama will be what happens in that battle.

  5. Betsy February 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Here’s an article on Jonathan Turley’s blog.  I personally think that any Senator or Congressman who votes for this hopefully will be sent to hell.  Also they should be voted out.  But that probably won’t happen unless women unite and vote the right people into office.

    As I have said, I haven’t always been  too happy with Obama but on this one and several others I think he’s done a great job.  The alternative is very frightening.

    • Taylor Marsh February 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

      “The alternative” also includes people voting for someone who isn’t the lesser of two evils or voting D or R because they’ve been seduced to thinking you only have 2 choices.

      That’s a 20th century paradigm that must be shattered if we’re ever to rid ourselves of 2 corporate parties in a rigged system.

      Turley is always a must read. Thanks for posting the link.

      • ladywalker68 February 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

        Taylor, I agree 100%!

      • Betsy February 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

        I do agree with you Taylor on everything.  I really wish there was a person who could run as a third party candidate (preferably a woman) who doesn’t have any baggage and isn’t afraid to stand up to Congress.  Actually my favorite person is Debbie Wasserman Shultz, but she probably would never run as a third party candidate.

        I agree with you on Turley.  I get his daily emails.

    • Lake Lady February 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

      Betsy, we can oly hope that when Blunt finally gets dianosed with rocks in his head , all the surgeions will tell him they have a moral objection to extending the life of a neanderthal.

  6. fairmindedindependent February 11, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Oh dear god, just watching CNN and Singer and Actress Whitney Houston died at age 48 !! My god, what a talented woman, she was proberly one of the best singers ever !! I grew up to her music and I am just so shocked !! Maybe Taylor will write a article or tribute to her. RIP Whitney Houston !!

    • secularhumanizinevoluter February 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

      She made it to 48. Considering her life…drug addiction, abusive relationships etc. etc. it is TRULY a wonder she made it that far. Why are SO many of the most talented people SO fu*ked up inside.

      Being an artist myself I can say when your whole sense of being is tied up in the acceptance or rejection of your most personal efforts…… can wear on ya.

      • Cujo359 February 12, 2012 at 1:08 am #

        I think that need is what drives them, in many cases. There used to be this fad back in the early 90′s for something called “egoless [computer] programming”. The idea was that if you just let go of your egotistical desire to write something useful or otherwise cool, that you would be a more productive programmer. The problem was, as most of us soon realized, that no one works hard for the simple purpose of being part of a cog in a machine. People do it either for recognition, or to at least show themselves that they can create something that few other people can.

        If performers didn’t care about whether people liked their performances or not, I think very few of them would be really good at it. The ones who care the most have the most motivation.

  7. lynnette February 12, 2012 at 12:09 am #

    Women need to be part of the decision making hierarchy of the Catholic Church, imo.   Isn’t this an idea whose time has come? All of these men making decisions for women and their health just makes no sense to me.  Where is the inclusiveness?  If women can’t make these kinds of decisions for themselves, then they are not truly free. Self determination is everything.


    As for Whitney Houston, I am deeply saddened by her tragic and premature death. What a powerful and beautiful voice she had – one of the best I have ever heard. I can still remember her first two albums in the mid to late ’80′s coming out with the music videos of her performing the songs. She was absolutely stunning and there was nobody like her at the time.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong