It's all of a piece with the Obama-Stephanopoulos practice of Calculated Deception.
I have frequently discussed in this column the concept of Calculated Deception. That is President Obama's practice of taking advantage of what he calculates average people don't know, and what the Democratic Party-controlled media won't tell them, to mislead them into thinking and believing what will most benefit him politically. That practice is now spreading across the entire Democrat party.
We are seeing this play out now in particularly ugly fashion in regard to the fabricated issue of contraception. President Obama, the Democrats, and their party-controlled press are play-acting as if the Republicans are campaigning to ban contraception. That is their interpretation of Republican opposition to President Obama's mandate forcing Catholic institutions to provide for their employees free contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization.
It is not just the Catholic Church. We will all now be forced to pay for free contraceptives for everybody -- and abortion, sterilization, and anything else Il Duce decides we must pay for -- through the individual and employer mandates of Obamacare. Prepare to dig into your pocket to pay for partial-birth abortions in a second Obama term. This fascist authoritarianism is what the Democrat party has given us in the Obamacare legislation they undemocratically crammed down our throats, when they temporarily held the last Congressional Democrat majorities in U.S. history.
The Supreme Court Has Already Ruled
As Dick Morris, Rush Limbaugh, and others have already pointed out, the game began with George Stephanopoulos, a political activist who plays a journalist on TV for the political activist organization ABC News. During a Republican presidential debate Jan. 7, Stephie stunned the candidates by asking whether they thought states had the power to ban contraceptives.
Mitt Romney rightly replied that it was a silly question. That was the correct answer, because the Supreme Court ruled on it almost 50 years ago.
In the case of Griswold v. Connecticut 381 U.S. 479 (1965), the Supreme Court struck down an 1879 Connecticut law that prohibited the use of "any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception." The Supreme Court struck down the statute as unconstitutional precisely on the grounds that states do not have the power to ban contraception.
Seven years later, in Eisenstadt v. Baird 404 U.S. 438 (1972), the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a Massachusetts law that prohibited the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried persons. The court ruled that states do not have the power to prohibit contraceptives for unmarried people, as well as for married people, as at issue in Griswold.
So the answer to the question asked by Stephanopoulos is No!States do not have the power to ban contraceptives, under long-established law. But Stephanopoulos already knew that. This is where Calculated Deception comes in.
Stephanopoulos and his Obama administration overlords also understand that the average person has no knowledge about the legal history of Griswold v. Connecticut or Eisenstadt v. Baird. And Stephie and his Obama pals also know their politics. They know that no political party can viably campaign on banning contraceptives in modern America today. The Republican Party would be better off disbanding than doing that.
So what better way to deflect criticism of the Obama mandate that the Catholic Church pay for contraceptives and abortion drugs contrary to their religion, than to turn it into a charge that the Republicans are standing with the Catholic Church on this because they want to ban contraceptives. After all, why is the Catholic Church holding to this outdated view on contraceptives unless they and their Republican allies really do want to ban them?
As Glenn Reynolds has explained, this makes as much sense as claiming that those who would oppose on religious liberty grounds a law requiring mosques to sell bacon really are out to ban bacon. But this is not about sense or logic. It is about politics, and manipulating the gullible into changing the subject.
So this comes down to an even more fundamental assault on the Catholic Church than the mandate. The Obama administration, the Democrats, and their media allies are really attacking the Church as an outdated institution with retrograde beliefs unacceptable in modern society. And they are doing so to sacrifice the Church to their political interests in misleading the voters as to what the Republicans believe. And because they literally hate the Catholic Church, for its very beliefs.
The bottom line is that there is no Republican anywhere in America campaigning on banning contraceptives. There are no proposals in state legislatures anywhere to ban contraceptives, even though Republicans now control a majority of state legislatures. But this is not about a debate on the issues. It is about dishonorable Calculated Deception to mislead voters about what Republicans stand for, in an extreme, fundamental way completely unrelated to reality.
Of course, many conservatives disagree with the reasoning behind the decisions in Griswold and Baird. That would be an interesting issue for a legal seminar on constitutional law. But it has no place in politics today, unless you want to be Exhibit A for the Marxist Left running today's Democrat Party, and unless you want to be an instrument for the reelection of Che Guevara as president. Note that even those conservative legal philosophers who disagree with the reasoning of Griswold and Baird are not advocating laws to ban contraception.
The Crisis in American Media
To further extend a theme from last week, it is dishonorable for those in the media to pose with the Democrats as if they are raising a legitimate issue here. That only reflects a fundamental crisis in American media.
As suggested above, George Stephanopoulos is not a journalist. He is a long-time Democrat political operative posing as a journalist. His question from out of the blue at the Republican debate last month transparently reflects close cooperation and collaboration with the Obama administration and the Democrat party to help carry out their political strategy. That is why his continued employment by ABC News in the phony role of independent journalist is a dishonorable deception by ABC News.
But Stephanopoulos is not the only one. He reflects a fundamental crisis throughout what has been called the mainstream media, but has been more properly labeled recently by Investors Business Dailyas the "legacy media."
That term reflects the more fundamental truth that what is called the mainstream media is rightly no longer respected by most Americans as mainstream anything. The game is too obvious to anyone paying attention. It is no longer a question of media bias. What is involved is well beyond that. It is now outright political partisanship and political, ideological activism.
So let me be clear, to use an Obama phrase. The New York Timestoday is no journalistic enterprise. It is a political activist organization posing as a journalistic enterprise.
Similarly, the Los Angeles Times is no journalistic enterprise. It is a political activist organization posing as a journalistic enterprise.
And ditto that for ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the rest of the legacy media that is stumbling along based on respect earned long ago when they werejournalistic enterprises. This is no longer an issue over which reasonable people can differ. It is an issue of whether you are living in the real world today.
For the Obama administration, the Democrats, and their party-controlled media allies to play-act, to mislead the public over supposed Republican policies that are so radically disconnected from reality, is a Leninist-Stalinist tactic. And for modern American media institutions to allow themselves to be as thoroughly controlled by a political party as the old Soviet media was controlled by the old Communist party is not only fundamentally deceptive to the point of being dishonorable, it is now a crisis in American media. That adds up to a crisis in American democracy, and whether it is even functional anymore.
TANSTAAFL: The Economics of the Individual and Employer Mandates
But President Obama says there is no real problem for the Catholic Church because it won't be paying for contraceptives and abortion drugs under his new mandate. He is ordering the insurance companies to pay for them and give them away for free.
A thinking person would ask where the President has the legal authority to order the insurance companies to give away anything for free. But there are no such thinking persons in the Democrat Party-controlled press, which is ready to applaud a third-world style Obama benevolent dictatorship – benevolent, that is, if you are part of the party political machine.
This reflects the developing Obama model of governance, operating under the motto "Sue me." Obama increasingly operates outside the law, relying on intimidation and dare, as in the case of his "recess" appointments made when Congress was not in recess. He will soon discover the applicable legal limits, when he finds that nothing those illegal recess appointees do will be enforceable in the courts.
But he figures he can use those legal challenges as political issues framed around the poor and vulnerable against the corporate fat cat challengers of benevolent Obama dictates, such as free contraceptives for everyone. By the time the law catches up with him, he will be reelected. After appointing enough judges in a second term, he will be beyond any legal limits, just like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. If you think the term benevolent dictatorship is excessive hyperbole, just wait until a second Obama term, and tell me what you think then.
But there are limits beyond legal ones. The total costs borne by insurers will always be rolled into the price of insurance. So you will be paying in any event for whatever benefits Obama and his henchwoman Kathleen Sebelius (the perfect villainess, taken right out of Ayn Rand central casting) decide to require in their mandated insurance. That will include "mental health" bull sessions, repeated drug rehab, contraceptives, and ultimately abortion, regardless of what you think about personally paying for any of it. This dictatorial government power is a central reason why individual and employer mandates are such bad policy, at the federal or state levels, Ann Coulter to the contrary notwithstanding.
Obama, however, is not a one-trick pony. If insurance companies resist his intimidation, and insist on charging for the benefits they provide, Obama will slap price controls on their insurance, andforce them to give away free stuff. But there is still a further limit beyond legal and economic ones. It's called math: 2 + 2 = 4, even under Obama the Magnificent. Even the all-powerful Sebelius doesn't have the power to change that. If insurance companies are prohibited by law from recovering their costs, they will just go out of business altogether.
Oh, what a sad day that will be for the Obama socialists. Their motto will go from "Sue Me" to "Sorreee," like my son used to say when he was a child and knew he had done wrong but wouldn't be punished. For this is how the Obamanistas accomplish their real goal, full government control over health care -- or in other words, instead of Patient Power, Sebelius Power.
The EnablersFinally, it is long past time to hold accountable the real enablers of this rapidly developing decline of America. The real problem is not Obama, or even the Democrats. The real problems are the schemers, scammers and thieves contributing to them, and voting for them.
Obama is going to raise a billion dollars for his reelection? And who exactly is financing this Hugo Chavez-style takeover of America? They need to be held accountable by the targets of Obamunism, which includes not just Catholics, or health insurance companies, or oil companies, or coal companies, or banks, but also small businesses (too bourgeoisie independent), job creators (ditto), investors (rich), homeowners (still too rich), anyone making above average income (anti-social), anyone who has saved any significant money (ditto), and all Bible-believing Christians (worship God rather than the state and their real savior, Obama). Stop patronizing and financing the enablers of your own demise, and of the decline and fall of America. Let them know that what they are doing is dishonorable.
And the voters who think they are entitled to things at your expense, who heedlessly support America's decline and fall to get their free stuff? Hold them accountable too. If they reject correction, then stop consorting, socializing and tolerating them. Let them know that their fundamental attitude is dishonorable as well.
Peter Ferrara is Senior Fellow at the Carleson Center for Public Policy, Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy for the Heartland Institute, and General Counsel of the American Civil Rights Union.He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush. He is the author of America’s Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb, now available from HarperCollins.