Regular readers know that Fox News' “Democratic pollster” Doug Schoen is hardly a muscular voice for progressive values. He’s more often a muscular voice for Republican memes – and has even penned editorials calling on President Obama not to run for re-election. So imagine my shock when Schoen appeared on Hannity last night and took a strong stand on behalf of the Obama administration’s new rule requiring employers (including Catholic institutions, though not churches) to offer reproductive-health benefits at no additional cost as part of their health coverage. As Hannity hammed it up over Obama’s “war against our Constitution,” Schoen told him that this Republican hissy fit was going to cost “more votes.” So you know the polling has to be squarely on President Obama’s side.
Hannity pontificated, “As far as I’m concerned, this is a war against our Constitution, the First Amendment, freedom of religion, the free exercise thereof!” Father Jonathan Morris, Fox News’ favorite Catholic GOP mouthpiece and the other guest, was with Hannity all the way.
After Hannity finished railing, Schoen said calmly, “I see it differently. 98% of Catholic women use contraception. 60% support this very measure. Doctors who want to opt out can opt out.”
But Hannity was still on his Hanctimonious high horse of hysteria: “This president chose contraception over freedom of religion! That’s why this is important!”
Schoen agreed with Hannity that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles “but not edicts, and freedom of choice is preserved.”
Then, Schoen added a statement that was almost certainly more painful for Hannity than any contraception coverage: “This is gonna cost the Republicans more votes.”
Sure enough, the polling is on the side of contraception. U.S. News reported yesterday: a new study by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that Catholics overwhelmingly support the new rules. The poll reveals that six out of ten Catholics believe employers should be required to provide their employees with healthcare plans that cover contraception, while 55 percent of Americans at large supported the new requirement.
NPR reported similar results from Public Policy Polling. Those results also specifically bolstered Schoen’s contention that Republican Mitt Romney’s opposition would cost votes:
Even a majority of Catholics appeared to support the Obama administration decision though by a narrower margin, 53 percent to 45 percent.
One of the most interesting findings was the response of Catholics to the question of whether they would be more or less inclined to support the GOP presidential candidate in November because of his (opposing) position on the issue.
Forty six percent of Catholics said they would be less likely to support Romney versus 28 percent who said they would be more likely and 23 percent said it would make no difference.
The hypocrisy is stunning, of course. Where’s Hannity’s outrage over the substantially similar law Romney supported in Massachusetts? Where have Hannity and Morris been as many Catholic universities and hospitals have already covered contraception in their health plans?
In a Hill editorial, Democratic consultant and MSNBC commentator Karen Finney noted:
In its criticism, the church also ignores the fact that no individual is required to buy a plan that covers contraception costs, houses of worship are exempt and no Catholic doctor is forced to write a prescription.
Furthermore, she wrote:
Notably, questions of morality have not been raised about the coverage of prescriptions enhancing a man’s sexual pleasure in the plans currently offered.
Your apples to oranges nonsense didn’t work. An insurance policy is not a vacation package. Health rights, especially gender-based ones that affect women’s health (was your vasectomy or Viagra covered?) are not remuneration. Try logic instead of fallacy next time.