I am not in the habit of making political predictions, nor do I follow the polls or pundits sufficiently to feel comfortable doing so. But I did tweet on the eve of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare that if the President’s plan was upheld, then he would lose the November election. The reason is that the Supreme Court’s decision would energize the GOP’s base at a time when its November candidate is hardly inspiring too red meat conservatives.

Obama had no control over the Court’s decision or timing (on the eve of the election), but he has had some say in other matters that are also energizing social conservatives, such as immigration or gay marriage, and for some reason the Obama campaign doesn’t seem to worry about riling up all of those people who listen to Rush, Sean, Bill (Bennett), Michael (Medved), and Hugh (Hewitt). Maybe these guys are the smartest people in the nation. Or it could be that they are tone deaf to Red State politics.

A further indication of Obama unwittingly helping Romney came yesterday with the news that Wheaton College is joining with the Catholic University of America to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate. In an interview with Christianity Today, Wheaton’s president Phil Ryken explained why despite the timing this should not be construed as a partisan political act:

Wheaton College is not a partisan institution and the effect of our filing on any political process has played no part at all in any of our board discussions on the issue. The timing of things is driven primarily by the mandate itself. Wheaton College stands to face punitive fines already on January 1, 2013, and I am welcoming incoming freshmen in two weeks. It’s already an issue for us in terms of our health insurance and what we provide for this coming academic year. Although we wanted to wait for the Supreme Court decision out of respect for the legal system, we do not believe that we can wait any longer.

I too regard this as simply the prudent action of a college administration in response to unwise federal policy. And that is what is remarkable. Wheaton College is hardly part of the Religious Right. Ryken is no culture warrior. In fact, if anything the college is as uncomfortable with the GOP as many evangelical colleges and universities (compared to the 1980s). And yet, Obama and company have put Christians, with all sorts of reasons to be sympathetic to him, on the defensive at a time when they may revert to Republican habits of vote.


23 thoughts on “Baseless?

  1. Christians have “all sorts of reasons to be sympathetic” to Obama? Really? Could you please name two or three?


  2. I disagree with you strongly on this. If this was 2004 or 2008 maybe, you would be right, but the culture has experienced a cultural revolution now that more and more millennials have gotten the right to vote and frankly more and more of the ”Greatest generation” die off. The majority of Millenials (60-70% depending of where you get the numbers) but more importantly the majority of middle aged (35-55 +-) do support it (Not by a whole lot, low 50%), but in 2004 when Bush Ran using a strategy of social issues and national security, less than 30% supported Gay Marriage. I think Universal health care functions in the same way, given the numbers are more or less the same depending on how the question is asked. Social conservatives (i.e. tea party) have lost organisational and institutional power even within Republican circles (though not completely). Obama’s historic 2008 election marked the end of the culture wars, with traditionalists loosing and while they have strong fundraising power, they will never achieve the influence they once had.


  3. Frank, evangelicals who were weary of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who were weary of fighting wars without raising taxes, who hoped for an end to partisan politics, who liked the idea of an African-American president, had reasons to wish Obama well and even vote for him. I was not one of them. All I’m saying is that Obama drew some evangelical votes, the kind of folks associated with a college like Wheaton. Now it could be that his domestic policies will mean that Romney receives as many evangelical votes as Bush (and the turnout may be strong).


  4. Joseph, you could be right, but the 2010 congressional races (not to mention the recent referendum in Wisconsin) do not necessarily bear out your conclusion. Plus, the millenials may need to be energized themselves and if Obama is winning (and not a victim) they might think that if they don’t vote someone else will.


  5. Perhaps we should remember the non-right-wing of the Republican Party, and the rich white people who send their children to Wheaton College. I would suggest that in recent years more Wheaton students have converted to the ideology of “high church” than have defected from the Republican Party. As long as the upwardly mobile don’t actually have to go to war or pay for it, why would they bother to “limit” the military-industrial complex?


  6. DGH, I hope you’re right but the right might be underestimating the allure of free stuff. I’ve seen young conservative men go on unemployment and take whatever minimal steps necessary to stay on unemployment until the benefits ran out, then they really got a job. Now consider the contraceptive mandate. Who would takes contraceptives? Most pre-menopausal women. So there’s a lot of women and their partners who might like to get some free stuff, and their numbers are greater than the right wing that is galvanizing against the mandate. If Obamacare isn’t undone before people start getting free stuff, it will be too late to undo it. If 51% if the population likes free stuff, that’s a lot of voters for politicians who promise it.


  7. Jon, there are all kinds of things that are subsidized to some extent or another. For each one, there are various arguments of various strengths used to justify them. I think we have too much of that kind of thing. I think such things tend to produce dependence while creating bureacracies and empowering the government. Ultimately I think we are going the way of Europe, and that model isn’t economically sustainable. (I hesistate to even speak of economics with Jed around since he actually knows what he is talking about.)

    So, there you go. If you want to say that receiving anything free or subsidized is theft from other taxpayers, here’s your opportunity. But I could be confusing your voice with other noise on the blog, so my apologies in advance if that’s not where you’re heading.


  8. MM, I’d like to think that evangelicals who like free stuff are also deep down moralists who don’t want free stuff if it compromises their morality. It has happened before (and it will get me to sleep tonight).


  9. DGH,

    This election seems like more of a race to the bottom than a battle between two great politicians. Both candidates have found endless ways to shoot themselves in the foot. It wouldn’t be terribly shocking if Romney doesn’t make it out of the GOP convention over his recent gaffes, and the whole tax disclosure fiasco. One political blogger I follow put it this way, “If a gun is put to my head, and I am forced to choose between Obama or Romney, the gun is becoming more and more of an attractive option.” Frankly, outside of party loyalists, I think that there are a lot of Americans who feel the same.


  10. Something that may be of interest for the benefit of this discussion is the list of those who actually supported the HHS mandate (overtly, that is):

    “…“Cultural liberals” support the HHS mandate, because they believe that the employees of faith communities should be liberated from cultural norms and the expectations of faith communities. “Social liberals” support the HHS mandate, because they believe that contraception and abortion are part of “health care” and because they want to expand the rights of women in these areas. “Fiscal conservatives” oppose the HHS mandate because they oppose all of the “Affordable Care Act” due to its tax burden…” [the last of these was, in fact, made painfully obvious to the liberals by Justice Roberts when he pointed out that Obamacare will have to be support by tax increases, something that the Demos have tried down play]


  11. MM and DGH,

    You guessed it right – I do think that taking free stuff (bought by tax money) is stealing. But there o go being black and white again.


  12. As has grown to be my customary habit these days when commenting on just about anything regarding the presidential race, I first say, “Ron Paul 2012!” The man is not out of the race. Beware, I’m taking an internet forum induced soap-box moment here!

    Plus, I get the feeling that Jon might be on my side because Ron Paul is quite the enemy of taxes. Though I do not agree that all taxation is theft, I do believe that income tax, property tax, and the covert inflation tax brought on by the Federal Reserve system’s fiat currency are all theft and I agree with Ron Paul that the IRS ought not to exist as was the case before 1862.

    Ron Paul is an interesting and more than viable candidate. While the widely “neo-conservative” (a self-contradictory term) majority of the GOP has been resistant of Dr. Paul, he is their only viable chance to defeat Obama. Seriously, the GOP could not have a worse candidate than Mitt Romney to run against Obamacare. Like it or not, Obamacare was inspired by Mitt Romney’s health care bill in Massachusetts, which he signed into law. Like it or not, Mitt Romney is on video saying that he thought the health care bill should be a model for the nation. Even though Romney tries to claim that soundbite as referring to state governments across the nation rather than federal government, he simply has no credibility on this issue.

    Dr. Paul, on the other hand, has been working in the health care field since 1961 when he graduated from Duke University’s School of Medicine. He saw four years of the system before government involvement came in with Medicare in 1965. He is a man of such integrity that when he began his OB-GYN practice, he refused to receive any money from Medicare, yet he still treated the patients who had Medicare, charging them only the amount that their co-pay would have been. Here is the guy we need to stand in opposition of federal involvement in health care, not Romney.

    Furthermore, to touch on another topic mentioned here, he is also the only peace candidate. As a constitutional conservative, he is opposed to all of our foreign military endeavors. The only military action he supports is that which has been constitutionally declared, and during congressional deliberations he argues against any war that is not an outright defensive war. He cites Augustine’s Just War theory as his personal conviction on warfare, which is a good ethical theory. Yet again, Dr. Paul proves himself to be the ideal candidate to take the stance of peace, not merely in that his voting has been consistent through many years of congressional service, but also because he has served in the military. Dr. Paul served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 until 1965 and he served in the United States Air National Guard from 1965 until 1968. This guy is the dream candidate. Being a peace candidate and a major opponent of the federal war on drugs, due to the unintended consequences of black market economics and the violence brought on by such prohibitions, Ron Paul has great appeal to Democrats. Interestingly, he has received nearly twice the amount of donations from military members among all the other presidential candidates combined. He is actually a constitutional conservative, which at least in words the “neo-conservative” GOP claims to be all about, and Ron Paul is often referred to as the father of the Tea Party. Thus, Ron Paul should appeal to the GOP. He also polls very highly among independents. With appeal among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, why do so many overlook him?

    His straightforward unapologetically honest speech lacks the tunnel-vision talking-point politics of the two divided parties, Ron Paul is the only person with the potential of being a unifying candidate.

    Maybe I just think that it would be a highly interesting historical moment for the youngest, most politically inexperienced, most politically liberal President to be unseated by the candidate who would be the oldest, most politically experienced, and (at least according to his congressional voting record next to all Congressman within the past century) the most politically conservative. What an interesting study for political philosophies it would make to observe those two presidencies right next to each other.

    I look forward to the GOP convention because Ron Paul has won the majority of delegates in enough states to be nominated and he may have enough delegates to cause a real stir. We shall see.

    Thanks for the article, Dr. Hart.


  13. Luke,

    I’ve never stated that all tax is theft. Only certain taxes. Entitlements (ie, taking free stuff) are theft.

    The only difference between me and MM and DGH, is that I am consistent in calling theft a sin.


  14. MM,

    The gleaning laws are the favorite example for would-be socialists to trump out to prove the validity of redistributionary tax laws. The only problem is that you had to actually work to glean from the crop yield, whereas today’s welfare program allows you to stay at home and buy drugs all day.


  15. Jon, broad brushes get the job done quickly but they’re kind of sloppy. You’re slopping black paint on a lot of people. I know you can use a finer brush because you do it when you interpret gleaning laws – use that one more often.


  16. MM,

    You’re a smart dude, and witty! Despite our disagreements. Sometimes I wish I had the wit of some of you guys (being serious).


  17. Those guys are generally funny, though I agree with Jackie Broyles… “language!” Haha.

    On a more serious note, just in case you were hinting at some vestige of the horse-burger scraps of the beaten horse that is the newsletter, this ad by one of the PACs shows Dr. Paul’s personal beliefs according to his actions.


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