In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes, however in the mean time, you can always try to get a reprise of your brush with newsworthiness. Self anointed high-profile Obama supporter (and now former ambassador to Malta) Doug Kmiec seems to be trying for this dubious honor by getting back into the national political scene to announce that unless he hears a very good explanation out of the Obama Administration for their HHS policy refusing religious conscience exemptions to Catholic institutions, he may not be able to support Obama in 2012.
Douglas Kmiec, Obama’s former ambassador to Malta, is strongly opposed to Obama’s new mandate that Catholic hospitals and universities provide contraception in their employee health plans.
Kmiec, who served in the Reagan administration, noted that he urged Obama last year to grant an exemption, explaining that such a move “would be an opportunity to be more sensitive to religious freedom than the law requires.”
Asked whether he will back Obama in 2012, Kmiec replied in an email, “Until I have an opportunity to speak with the president, I am for now (unhappily) without a candidate.”
He told The Hill that “there were several ways to reimburse employees of Catholic institutions for the expense which did not implicate any of the ethical concerns of the theologians. Why exactly did we not walk down a path that would have led to common ground — namely, coverage without ethical objection? That’s what I need answered before deciding on 2012. I find it most troubling to be tossed into this dilemma since as a Republican with independent, if not latent Democratic, tendencies, I am very proud of the president’s success on the healthcare initiative and his withdrawal of troops from Iraq…”
I have to admit, I’m impressed with some of the members of the Catholic left who’ve suddenly grown and spine and decided that this is the bridge too far for them and they won’t support the Administration if it doesn’t back off its HHS ruling on conscience exemptions. However, while it never does well to question why people are late to the barricades (we can use all the allies in the “culture war” that we can get) I must admit that I’m kind of perplexed by the reaction.
Figures like Kmiec have shown themselves willing to sell huge moral issues like abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage down the river of political expedience in return for little gestures of “fair mindedness” from Obama and the Democratic party. I figured, naturally enough, I think, that this was because they simply cared a lot more about the package of political issues which define the Democratic party than they did about these moral issues, and that the crowing over gestures of accommodation was just so much window dressing. This sudden feeling of betrayal over an issue which, while grave, is certainly less shocking than Obama’s strong support for far more pernicious evils almost makes it appear that it was, all this time, the window dressing that they valued.