Doug Kmiec Says HHS Policy May Cause Him To Oppose Obama

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.

But why?

24 Responses to Doug Kmiec Says HHS Policy May Cause Him To Oppose Obama

  • RL says:

    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.

    No doubt! My thoughts exactly. It’s like condemning a rapist for not wearing a condom.

    BTW, we heaven’t heard from Bart Stupak as far as I know. I did a google search and found that Benjamin Zycher at NRO was wondering him about him too. I’m curious to see what he has to say. Not that it matters much because the damage is done, but you know…

  • daledog says:

    Being with the herd is safe, warm, cozy.
    Identifying with the teachings of Christ is hard.
    ‘Hard’ meaning ‘ridicule from lefties’, not real financial or physical harm though.

  • Donna V. says:

    Yeah, daledog, it’s one thing to fold when you’re threatened with being fed to the lions or shipped off to a concentration camp and quite another to fold because you want to be invited to the chi-chi Georgetown cocktail parties.

  • Does Kmiec actually think anyone from either political party cares in the very least who he “endorses” at this point? I certainly don’t. This story reminds me of something from the movie “Legally Blonde” or similar, except that the main character from that movie was actually very clever. He isn’t.

    Doug Kmiec was a lifelong Republican with a strongly pro-life reputation going back to the Reagan era, as well as a 2008 Romney supporter who then jumped ship quite suddenly and totally when Obama began rising to fame. To be fair a lot of us were taken in by this guy for awhile (the current President, that is). But most of us were not professors of Constitutional law at Pepperdine University who wielded the kind of political and moral influence he once did. How could he have not known better?

    He thus sold his apparent soul with the expectation of becoming ambassador to the Vatican, and after that didn’t work out ended up in Malta, eventually clashing with the Administration he helped elect after being chided for supposedly speaking out and writing “too much” on moral issues while there. Yet even then Barack was still his man. The fact that he was still even considering supporting President Obama for another round after that telling flap is truly mind-threatening. Even to me. Even at my blondest moments.

    And now that his man Romney is again on top or close, he “threatens” to switch sides yet again? Hooplah. No one is scared, Doug. I am pretty sure that the Obama team has already long forgotten you and could not give a Chicago rat’s poor little behind if you do so, since, by now, on a pretty total level, you have managed to successfully alienate everyone who ever trusted you due to your complete spinelessness and personal ambitions over the past 3 years.

    When a wife comes home and finds the woman next door undressed and in bed with her husband, and he then tries to tell her he was just “showing her around the neighborhood,” she should probably find an attorney and quickly, rather than giving him 2 or 3 more chances to give more “neighborly tours.” Kmiec is a bit late on his hollow banter here. But never fear, Doug, Notre Dame may yet hire you.

  • Clinton says:

    Doug, Obama’s just not that into you, anymore. None of us are into you. Please just
    go away and most of all, stop talking. How can one man be so naive?

  • Kyle Cupp says:

    I’m not, you know, an Obama supporter, past or present, but I may venture one theory as to why this issue matters to Catholic supporters of Obama in a way that other graver issues did not: regarding the latter, his supporters perceived that Obama would be more or less maintaining the status quo or the seemingly inevitable social and cultural movements of the day. The former, however, was a break with the the staus quo, not to mention Obama’s promises about respecting religious liberty, and an advance into a new area of tyranny or abuse of power.

  • Darwin says:

    Kyle,

    I agree that that seems to be the line of reasoning. I guess what confuses me (in a “how could you think that?” kind of way) is just that this seems so clearly in keeping with what I’ve always expected out of an Obama administration, it staggers me that someone would have supported him and not feel like this was the kind of thing he was signing up for.

    Of course, that’s because I’ve never had a very positive view of Obama in first place.

  • c matt says:

    would be an opportunity to be more sensitive to religious freedom than the law requires

    Please tell me he is not a lawyer. The law (meaning the Constitution) requires this as a minimum.

  • Pinky says:

    It’s actually a very common phenomenon. You justify your political support for a candidate by constructing a very elaborate house of cards, then when a good wind comes by you’re forced to realize how wrong your spin on events was. I think a lot of conservatives overlooked Bush’s expansion of Medicare and rated him highly until his economic interventions of 2008. I think that a lot of liberals had come to terms with Clinton’s extramarital activities but couldn’t wrap their minds around his lying about Lewinsky.

    It reminds me of a movie from a few years back called Swing Kids, about German youths in the late 1930′s. A lot of people condemned the movie because the kids didn’t seem to mind Nazism until it started interfering with their dance clubs. But I think that’s kind of the way human nature is. You accept greater and greater wrongs for a long time by modifying your thinking, until you find the one thing that you simply can’t reconcile with your beliefs.

  • Mike Petrik says:

    I have not really analyzed it, but I’m inclined to agree with c matt. I find it hard to believe that forcing Catholic institutions to do something that flies directly in the face of Catholic moral teaching cannot be squared with Wisconsin v. Yoder.

  • T. Shaw says:

    I understand how a genius like Kmiec bought into it.

    He took the demon’s bait “hook, line and sinker.” He gave less moral weight to abortion, contraception, gay privileges, the destruction of the family, public school moral destruction of children, etc. than he gave to his beef with whomever or whatever. It surely has to do with the nature of evil.

    He has time to repent, Confess, do penance, amend his life, etc. Otherwise, pretty sure when Doogie assumes room temperature he will share a ditch with ed kennedy in eternal justice.

  • Tess S. says:

    Thanks T. Shaw for listing some of the moral degradations in which the USCCB has done little except provide politically correct lip service. I, for one, see a glimmer of hope because this mandate is bringing Truth to the forefront where for too long the voice of Truth has been silent. If the Catholic Bishops of the United States will lead the Catholic flock by getting on their knees and begging God for forgiveness for dissenting from Pope Paul VI ‘s HUMANAE VITAE, if they will pick up the banner of Truth and shepherd the Lords’ flock by their courageous and authentic witness to Truth speaking Truth to power—perhaps, only perhaps, this witness will spark the laity to live authentic Catholic lives in full communion with the Church and the New Evangelization to which Blessed John Paul II dedicated his pontificate to promote, will catch fire and change this country and the world.

  • Paul Nichols says:

    The thing that gets me is that THIS is what makes him “unhappily without a candidate”? Is he saying up until this issue he was STILL an Obama supporter?

  • Pauli says:

    The problem with Doug Kmiec trying to pull his pants up now is that he isn’t wearing them anymore. He took them off 4 years ago amid the wild party and just didn’t bother to figure out what happened to them. He didn’t make any sense back then and he barely makes sense now. He says that he needs to speak to the President like he’s confused about this. Well, the Bishops aren’t confused, and we’re not confused. The HHS mandate couldn’t be clearer. But Doug’s confused? That’s what happens when you fall in love, I guess.

  • CT says:

    They are upset (those that are) not because of the nature of the issue or what is at stake, but because their opponents have been shown to be right about Obama. Obama let them down. The progressive Catholics had argued that Obama was the most Catholic candidate around and that he was a deeply spiritual man with great sympathy for religion. He’s made them a laughingstock. So they’re furious.

    Simple.

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