In this day and age of dysfunctional politics, Americans don’t expect anything but hypocrisy from their elected officials.
But, just for the record, here’s another example of political double talk that’s sweeping the nation.
Republicans continue to pillory President Barack Obama’s initial requirement that Catholic universities and hospitals offer their employees contraceptive health benefits, accusing the president of an unprecedented attack on religious freedom.
But, as the Los Angeles Times pointed out the other day, Obama’s requirement, from which he has since backed down, was hardly any precedent.
Twenty-two states already have laws that resemble the administration’s original rule and more than a third of them had some Republican support, the paper reported.
No political figure has been more forceful in condemning Obama than former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. He insists the president has directly violated the First Amendment by interfering with religious beliefs.
Yes, many years before Huckabee backed similar mandates for Arkansas. In fact, Arkansas was but one of six states whose contraceptive mandates for health insurance were signed into law by Republican governors.
Indeed, when he was governor in 2006 of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, who now accuses Obama of orchestrating an “assault on religion,” signed a health care overhaul that kept in place a contraceptive mandate signed by his Republican predecessor.
New York has had such a law for more than 10 years. It was signed into law by George Pataki, another Republican. The state, of course, is the home to now Cardinal Timothy Dolan, currently archbishop of New York and formerly archbishop of Milwaukee. As the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dolan has been vitriolic in his condemnation of Obama. Funny, the New York Diocese has been living with the New York law since 2001.
So for the Republican politicians and the Catholic bishops to denounce the original Obama policy as something he somehow pulled out of his hat to attack religion is, well, nothing short of hypocritical.
But, as we all know, what else is new?