Friday, April 6, 2012

William McGurn Writing on Politics in the Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Understand Politics

Trying to be the Apologist for the Republicans and Failing

Democrats are giddy these days (showing that Democrats are not aware that the Fall elections are in the Fall) over the fact that Mr. Obama has a strong lead in the polls.  This lead is being driven by a huge gender gap, the fact that Mr. Obama has overwhelming support from women voters.  Conventional wisdom is that this is due to the Republican ‘War on Women’ that started earlier this year.  That war is where Republicans are trying and in some case succeeding in passing legislation to control women’s access to health care and to control what is done when they do have access to health care.

Now this explanation cannot be allowed to stand for Conservatives, because it would mean that one part of Conservative doctrine, that government should exercise more rather than less control over specific health care issue for women was not a winning political strategy.  So we have William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal trying to explain away the problem.  He starts out this way.

David Paul Kuhn is chief political correspondent for RealClearPolitics and author of "The Neglected Voter: White Men and the Democratic Dilemma." In an interview on Monday he told me the argument that Mr. Romney has lost women's support over the course of the contraception debate is contradicted by the timing.

"If the heated contraceptive debate was shifting the female vote, I would expect it to have burned Republicans with women back in February, when the debate was at its climax,"

So the first mistake Mr. McGurn makes is that he assumes everyone is paying as much attention to politics and issues as he (and us) are.  But there is a lag in public opinion.  It may take weeks or even one to two months before an issue penetrates the consciousness of an electorate consumed with other issues, like living a life, making a living, and dealing with the plumber.

But Mr. McGurn wants to argue that this is winning issue for Republicans, because it is really about religious freedom.

The first is that nearly half of women under 50 attend religious services weekly. The second is that a majority oppose in principle what the administration is doing. When asked, for example, whether the federal government has the right to force morally objectionable coverage on religious institutions, 52% of these women say "No."

Notice how the questions is phrased here, and the surprising fact that when it is phrased that way the response wasn’t 100%.  So Mr. McGurn concludes that Republicans have a winning argument here on religious freedom.

All of which suggests that Republicans who advance a religious liberty argument when asked about the contraception mandate will find a receptive audience.

Uh Mr. McGurn, Republicans have been making this argument for months.  It ain’t flying anywhere.

Finally for pure comic relief, unintended of course, there is this repudiation of the charge that Republican policies on women’s health and reproduction issues are not hurting Mr. Romney.

One problem with this explanation: The same USA Today poll reports that 63% of those surveyed say they don't even know what Mitt Romney's position on government and birth control is.

Really, can anyone read that and suppress a belly laugh.  Mr. Romney doesn't know what his position on government and birth control is, so why should the rest of us.  Thanks for the chuckles Mr. McGurn.

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