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.