“I realize a lot of 60-something male pundits look at this issue & think hmmm… bad politics for Democrats on the Catholic side. There’s another way to look at it.” – Rachel Maddow

Who are those “60-something male pundits?” More importantly why do we care what they think?

Mark Shields, E.J. Dionne and Chris Matthews, as I see it, are three of them, but there are many more.

What’s the other way to look at the issue of Pres. Obama’s contraception decision, beyond what the “60-something male pundits” view?

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Americans of all faiths, including Catholics, but also those unaffiliated, agree with Pres. Obama. Then there are the all important independents, which Obama has lost over the last couple of years:

Numerous pundits have predicted that the requirement ““and its narrow exemption for churches ““ will be a political liability for Obama. But where Shields sees “cataclysmic” fallout, the White House sees something quite different: a chance to widen the reproductive health debate beyond abortion to issues like contraceptives, winning over key demographics of independent voters in the process.Why White House sees political opportunity in the contraception battle

It’s a catastrophe say the male pundit class!

Matthews says, it’s not about the number of Catholics who use birth control.

But but but, Mathews say, or the number of non-Catholics who attend Catholic colleges or universities or receive help from Catholic charities.

Matthews say it’s about what the church itself teaches. Mark Shields and E.J. Dionne agree. I’m sure the Catholic bishops are pleased, but all represent a contingent bent on controlling women.

I wonder if any of these men find it ironic that they’re defending dogma that American Catholics by a wide majority completely ignore. All of these men, mind you, don’t have ovaries or the job of planning their life in an environment that is economically challenging.

According to the Matthews-Shields-Dionne contingent, it’s not about the hundreds of thousands of women employees who work in Catholic institutions who would be denied affordable contraception, which is an economic issue for any modern woman, as well as a means to plan her future.

There is another way to look at this issue, but you’d have to look beyond a myopic vision that doesn’t include what’s good for all women, regardless of religion.

We’ve seen throughout our media during this debate why the story on women’s rights and our freedoms is so often left in the dark. They ignore the issue at hand and jump to the fantasy political impact, while screaming about the 20th century traditional views that don’t represent the 21st generation.

Yesterday on “Daily Rundown,” Chuck Todd had E.J. Dionne and another middle-aged man on to talk about this issue. Today he had a terrific panel of women (video below), including the formidable Neera Tanden, making a lot more sense than the 60-something male pundits yesterday. Shira Toeplitz from Roll Call said not even in Pennsylvania, which she covers a lot, will this issue impact over other issues and for the very reason I stated in the previous paragraph. It’s a new generation era. Sara Taylor Fagan, a former Bush administration official, also brought up relevant points.

I’ve done the rundown on what happened on “Morning Joe,” where guests and Scarborough stated Obama would lose the election over this issue, which David Gregory parroted today. Mika Brzezinski did a terrific job this morning herding squirrels, while Tina Brown emphasized that most Catholics agree with Obama.

In new media, Josh Marshall chose to feature a religious conservative reader expressing dissent on the subject of Obama’s free contraceptive care for women. The focus of the email was that the reader claimed to have quit reading the Washington Monthly “because their presentation of religious concerns showed a clear lack of effort to understand the point of view of people who are religious.” Falling into the usual trap of giving religious conservatives a platform to make a women’s health issue about religion is TPM’s choice. It may even be an economic one so as not to lose readers, which I certainly can understand. But when no such threat to religious freedom exists and you choose not to engage the falsehood, you’re not helping women or clarifying the issue. But TPM has never been feminist.

In this discussion we also see yet another chapter in why we still do not have a female president, but also why we still see so few women leaders in our public life. The criteria for what it takes to pass the test is steep. A newcomer first has to kiss all the local establishment men’s rings on religion and women’s right to prove you won’t be too shrill. But we all saw what Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as Rep. DeGette and other so-called members of the “pro choice caucus” were willing to do when push come to shove. The first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history caved to the men in her church to get health care passed.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating here. No matter the religion, that women choose to be dictated spiritually through the inherent misogyny embedded in organized religion, wherever it occurs, and the politics that props up this philosophy remains a real issue for modern women and the relevancy of the church today.

Men like Matthews, Shields and Dionne are representatives of this religious hierarchy because they fuel the Catholic Church’s anti-women agenda. But modern women of all faiths and none are seeing through them, because after all, it’s the 21st century and it’s long past time for women to take back faith and spirituality.

Our traditional media, cable networks and even new media sites are replete with hostility for the basic instruments women need to maintain their financial health and plan their lives. They are led by men and network executives, producers and others who are cowardly and some even unethical, putting profits above women’s health and economic security, or pretending there’s a religious freedom issue to boost ratings and the political pie fight.

Below is a comment I want to share from “roseOred.” People are watching how this subject is being covered and many don’t like who networks are choosing to make an argument against women.

With the exception of Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, MSNBC has been infuriating me on this topic.

  • They gloss over or ignore the fact that religious universities and hospitals benefit from public money.
  • They ignore the fact that a whole bunch of states all ready require religious universities and hospitals to cover contraception and there was no big uproar over it.
  • They ignore the fact that apparently some of those states require even churches to cover birth control (thank you Rachel Maddow).
  • They ignore the fact that for a lot of women in a lot of areas, just going to a different hospital or finding a job at another hospital/university isn’t easy, realistic, or even possible.
  • There’s no mention of the fact that in this economy it is particularly heinous to vilify contraception given the cost of having and raising children.
  • There’s nobody pointing out the irony that when working class or poor women- especially women of color- have unplanned babies and require government assistance to feed them, conservatives fall all over themselves to blame them and call them a drag on society, welfare queens, etc. (You’d think for that reason alone they’d try to help poor women control their own fertility. Of course then they’d lose that warm feeling they get from feeling superior and demonizing groups of people they know nothing about. And they’d lose the perceived electoral benefits that this kind of posturing gives them.)
  • And nobody (save Melissa Harris-Perry) has mentioned the one thing that would end this whole controversy forever and ever: the adoption by the US of single-payer healthcare or a public option. If we had either one of those things, nobody’s healthcare would get in anybody’s religion and nobody’s religion would get in anybody’s healthcare. Instant fix, everybody happy! Right?

You know what I love? Some middle aged white dude telling me how problematic our lady-needs are for Catholics (98% of whom use contraception) and for the President’s re-election chances (as if there is any indication at this point that the general election will be that competitive, given the profoundly flawed group of Republican candidates and upward economic trends).

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