As the Republican party continues to search for a political issue that it may browbeat the Democrats into submission with…they decide to hold hearings on the new Obama proposal to guarantee women free birth control via their insurance company if a religious entity has a moral objection to providing it directly. And which experts did House Republicans select to testify on women’s reproductive health? Let’s see if you can figure out what may be missing here…
Warner W. Johnston referred to it as ” a hearing on whether birth control for women violates men’s religious liberty”. And that’s about right. But what you didn’t hear at the hearing was any testimony from the Democratic side of the debate. The Democrats wanted Sandra Fluke to testify at the hearing.
Says the Washington Post:
Fluke says she would have used the hearing to talk about the students at Georgetown that don’t have birth control covered, and what that’s meant for them. “I wanted to be able to share their stories,” she says. “My testimony would have been about women who have been affected by their policy, who have medical needs and have suffered dire consequences.. . .The committee did not get to hear real stories I had to share, about actual women who have been dramatically affected by this policy.”
And despite polling that says this is an unpopular issue for Republicans…as in – the public disagrees with their position on this issue in large numbers…they will very likely try to win the debate over messaging. That is to say – that like during the discussion about Obamacare – they will stray from facts and try to convince Americans that the Obama proposal is really an assault on religious freedom. And that is where the fighting will take place. If Americans see it as an attack on religious liberty – the Republicans will be on the winning side. If Americans correctly see it as an issue of women’s health and reproductive choice – then the Democrats will be on the winning side of the debate. According to this study by the Kaiser Foundation – it would appear that the Republicans are losing the war on messaging…largely due to the fact that they’re just making it up as they go along.
More from Greg Sargent on the Republican strategy with the political battle at WaPo:
He conceded the battle could go either way, but argued Republicans can win if they frame it “in the context of an overweening government mandate that is part of Obamacare and forces religious institutions to do things they fundamentally disagree with.” He argued Republicans must not allow the argument to “devolve into, `are you for or against contraception.’”
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