On February 4, after Newt Gingrich lost the Nevada Primary, there was a very small group of reporters asking questions. One of the questions was related to the Obama administration’s HHS mandate requiring Catholic institutions (including hospitals and charities) to begin providing health insurance that included contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients. Newt Gingrich’s response to Obama’s mandate was essentially one of rage; how dare Obama attack the Catholic church and flagrantly quash the freedom of religion. Gingrich went on to predict that the Catholic church would rise up and repudiate the HHS mandate as an attack on one of our most basic freedoms. As I wrote in a previous article, Gingrich’s prediction did not occur in a matter of weeks or months, but days. On February 4, when Gingrich had given the press conference, there was a widespread but largely unspoken anger within the Catholic church and in America in general. By February 8, Catholic leaders, joined by other Christian groups, were calling for civil disobedience against the mandate with some stating they would gladly go to jail before complying.
On February 8, when Obama had summoned Barbara Boxer and a host of other Democrats to join with him to “stand up” for women’s rights against the Republicans calling for the mandate’s rescission, the controversy was thought to be dispensed with by the normal repudiation of the Republicans. But either Obama was a fool or so absolutely out of touch with the American people that he didn’t realize that on January 26, a letter from the Catholic leadership was read to virtually every Catholic congregation across the United States repudiating the mandate. By February 8, almost the entirety of the Catholic church along with a large body of Christian Evangelicals and Jews were against the mandate. Did Obama not realize that the Republicans in Congress were simply responding to the wishes of their constituents, which is how government generally works?
On February 9, Obama finally woke up to the reality of the situation, hinting that he would be willing to compromise, and began the same smoke and mirrors strategy that had worked for him so many times before. Except this time, he wasn’t fighting against the Republican Congress; it was the American people.
On February 10, when Obama had announced that the Catholic leaders and “pro-choice” advocates had agreed to an Obama-brokered “compromise,” whereby the health insurance industry would provide free “preventative health services” for women, there was a sigh of relief in the Leftist blogosphere. They were thankful that this storm had passed and that the country could now get on to more important matters, like funding more “green” energy. But it appeared very odd to those of us who had been following the story that the “Catholic leaders” that had made the compromise were the same Catholic leaders that had supported the original HHS mandate in the first place. Sr. Carol Keehan, the “Catholic leader” of Catholic Health Association (CHA) who had agreed to the “compromise”, had backed the original Obamacare HHS mandate as far back as September of 2010. Furthermore, there is evidence that CHA had circulated news of the “compromise” even before Obama had supposedly made his decision, which indicates that it was more of a collusion to present a media narrative rather than any real discussion.
Obama foolishly announced the so-called compromise before the Catholic church, specifically Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, had had a chance to look over the specifics of what Obama called an “accommodation.” Dolan had merely said it was a step in the right direction, but in no way approved it. By the evening of February 10, Dolan, along with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, resoundingly repudiated the “accommodation” noting that the only acceptable accommodation would be rescinding the mandate.
What occurred on February 10—the “accommodation”— astounded much of America. A President of the United States had initially called on Americans to violate their consciences by paying for what they considered a mortal sin (abortifacients, etc.); Obama had basically nullified the First Amendment religious freedom clause. But what shocked America more—if this is possible—was when Obama unilaterally mandated that the health insurance industry would have to sell a specific product—health insurance that included contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients—and that the price of this product would also be mandated.
Aside from the fallacy that the insurance companies would not pass on this cost to the Catholic church, negating the “accommodation”; and aside from the fact that a large portion of Catholic universities, hospitals ,and charities operate their own health exchanges, America discovered that Obama was mandating what a private company could and could not sell. What the product was didn’t matter. It could have been mandating that fast food restaurants provide healthy food with every meal. This frightened and appalled America.
The siren call of many conservatives was when much of America went along with the argument that because those who did not have health insurance were using emergency rooms for basic treatment, refusing to pay for the services, and thus were driving up the cost of health insurance for all, that this permitted the government’s involvement. That because the price was being affected, the government then had the authority to regulate it under the authority of the Commerce Clause.
Of course, the problem is that virtually every behavior affects in some way the cost of a product, from the use of an emergency room for routine care to consumption or non-consumption of healthy foods; therefore, the Commerce Clause could be used to regulate virtually every behavior. For example, it is generally known that those who consume large quantities of foods high in saturated fats, calories, etc. will be less healthy than those who consume foods low in saturated fat, calories, etc. Subsequently, individuals who are eating unhealthy food will have more health problems, require more medical care, and thus drive up the cost of health insurance. According to the Obamacare argument, we would move from Michelle Obama going around the country encouraging healthy eating, to mandating purchasing and consuming healthy food, given that this behavior also falls under the Commerce Clause. We of course would then have gone from a benevolent government providing everyone with healthcare to a totalitarian nightmare beyond anything this world has ever seen.
But there is a silver lining to the abomination of this administration. Obama has awoken a sleeping giant that will slumber no more, that grows larger by the day—nay, by the hour.
Strangely, on February 10, it seemed that there was an underlying feeling, an underlying emotion in America, whereby the American consciousness—freedom, belief in a better future, and renewed pride in our country—was returning. It seemed there was a feeling that this three year nightmare of Obama was finally coming to an end—whether through the election in November, resignation, or even impeachment. It seemed that the sun was rising, and that, as Ronald Reagan said so eloquently, it was morning again in America.
It is said that history repeats itself. Jimmy Carter had destroyed the economy, and his weakness had led to the Iran hostage crisis. Nixon’s enemies list and illegal actions led to his resignation. Obama’s weakness and foolishness in calling for the United States and Israel’s ally Mubarak to step down in Egypt has led to Islamic radicals taking power and sixteen Americans being held hostage. Iran is on the verge of building a nuclear bomb and vows to annihilate Israel. On February 13, we found out Obama has his own enemies list and a minion to do his dirty work. Not in secret corners, but in the White House. Yes, Media Matters for America is Obama’s Nixonian propaganda machine. But it doesn’t matter. America knows that the darkness will soon be gone, and again, it will be morning in America, either through election, resignation, or impeachment. We care not how it is accomplished; only that it is accomplished.
Kris Zane is editor of The Obama Files