So the alarm goes off at 6:45 (
Pacific Civilized Standard Time) and because I hate my brain, I flip on The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd on MSNBC. He has his panel of three pundits who are all there to give us the usually wrong conventional wisdom for the day.
And Dan Balz is on there and he’s telling Chuck that the Obama administration showed their incompetence on handling of this entire contraception controversy (my previous takes here, and here, and here), that it was a real “bobble” (yes, his word), and why didn’t they just come out with this “accommodation” right away instead of picking a fight with the bishops.
Well, first of all, I’m not sure how it can be considered a “bobble” when the majority of Americans agree with the policy and disagree with the bishops. And if the White House has “bobbled” by managing to get the GOP candidates united around an anti-contraception coverage policy, then keep on bobbling White House. Bobble away.
Finally, I’m sure I wasn’t the only liberal in America facepalming or spitting out coffee at Balz’s brilliant suggestion of just coming out immediately with the accommodation instead of moving towards it afterwards. Yes, if only Obama would be more reasonable immediately on his many policy proposals, then maybe the GOP would just say yes, and we could eliminate all the bickering! A new bipartisan spirit will descend on Washington and everyone will get a pony.
There are two ways I look at this faux controversy. First, and most importantly, Obama made the correct policy decision and is looking out for the health concerns of women in getting them this contraception coverage. This really can’t be overstated, and I really wish this was the only point to be made. Women have an advocate in the White House, truly, and he is in danger of being replaced by a man who thinks that contraception is wrong.
But secondly, dismissing the policy and from a purely political view, I see this as Obama finally learning that when you are negotiating with people who are not acting in good faith, you don’t start with your compromise. You don’t come out and say, “here, I’m going to give you this and this and this, and I just get this, but I’m willing to do this deal.” Because the other side always sees the first offer as… a first offer. And you will always get less than the first offer.
So, to the idiot pundits like Dan Balz out there who are dumbfounded that Obama seems to be actually, horror of horrors, acting in such a way that he ends up getting his preferred policies implemented, just shut up.