First the Obama administration managed to alienate both its liberal supporters and its religious critics by pushing and then pulling back its HHS contraception mandate. Now the White House has succeeded in hitting the political sour spot yet again by producing a compromise designed to placate the Catholic bishops…without consulting the Catholic bishops.A "compromise" that is imposed by one side, and that can be taken away at any time, is not a negotiation, an agreement, or a compromise. It's a diktat, kids. And that's why the bishops are still rejecting it, despite the bleatings of E. J. Dionne and others. Walter Russell Mead asks the salient question:
This isn’t political rocket science. Given the bishops’ openness on the issue, all the administration had to do was sit down with the conference and work out a mutually agreeable compromise before making the first announcement about it—let alone the second. Is this a deliberate choice of polarizing tactics to solidify the base, or simple ineptitude and arrogance?I don't think it's an either/or question. And remember what Jim Geraghty has observed: all Obama promises come with an expiration date.
Ball's in your court, (almost) Cardinal Dolan. Wanna carry that scorpion across the river?