Friday, January 20, 2017

Don't Ask How the Sausage is Made

Along the way, his administration often seemed to go out of its way to pick damaging fights with conservatives. Perhaps it was just trying to motivate the base with “wedge issues.” But I think it was often simply that the politically “clean,” ideological folks he put in key positions were also often politically inept.
A compromised old glad-hander of a political appointee would have quietly made some accommodation for the Little Sisters of the Poor, for example, no matter how many rules had to be bent, rather than give them a chance to go on television and ask why the administration was trying to force nuns to buy birth control.
A soulless party hack at the Office for Civil Rights would have known that regulatory guidelines that encouraged colleges to punish boys for drunk sex, and informally dictating that high school locker rooms across America must be open to transgender students, was going to trigger a backlash that could ultimately undermine the very rights they were trying to promote.   The Obama administration didn’t think that way; all it thought about was the principle. In some sense, that’s really admirable. In another, it’s completely lunatic.
The Little Sisters of the Poor case always struck FLG as completely politically nuts.  He gets that there are folks who believe access to contraception is a right.   Ok, but what's the actual harm in allowing for religious exceptions?  Who is actually harmed?    Women who have chosen to work for religious organizations or businesses whose owners are very strongly religious?   If one goes to work for the Catholic Church, it's not like you don't know that it's against contraception.   Find another job.   Doesn't seem like an excessive burden on a huge segment of the population.  FLG gets a sort of slippery slope argument there, but doesn't think it's very compelling.   And the politics of forcing those organizations to buy something which they think is immoral for employees who voluntary accepted a job with their organization is politically tone deaf outside of some very ideological individuals.  Compromising a tinsy bit to get a lot more support or avoid a lot more opposition is what makes politics work.

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