I recently participated in a postmortem type of forum on the election at my university. As one of the other speakers talked about how masterfully the Obama campaign mobilized various constituencies, including single women, I experienced a flash of insight.
Imagine that you are the Obama White House. You know that you need to maximize your base to win the election. Single women are solidly in your camp, but they don’t vote. How do you get them going? Answer: find a way to make contraception a presidential campaign issue when it never has been before. (Remember how mystified Mitt Romney was when George Stephanopoulos raised the matter in one of the primary debates?)
The way to make contraception an issue is to pick a fight with the Catholic church. You will only upset the Catholics who are seriously devout and they don’t vote for you anyway. That is exactly what the administration did and VOILA! It appears that single women bought into the idea of a war on women and the need to “vote with your ladyparts” as the Obama campaign famously suggested.
Somewhere, Machiavelli is peering through the mists of time thinking, “Wow, those guys are devious.”
The administration can have their win. I just hope the courts undo the damage inflicted on religious liberty and the future of religious institutions in public life.