Obama Didn't Cave on the HHS Mandate; He's Making an Unprecedented Power Grab
February 10, 2012
RUSH: Everybody's reporting that Obama's caving on this mandate that the Catholic services provide abortion and all. There's not a cave here! There may be an accommodation, but there's no big cave-in here. It's still the government mandating this stuff happen. They're just changing the provider. It's not done by the church. He says he gave them a way out of it by mandating the insurance companies do it, but that's not the point here.
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So everywhere I'm reading that Obama is caving on the mandate in Obamacare that Catholic churches -- well, not churches, but the schools and hospitals are mandated to provide contraceptives and abortion-related services that they religiously disagree with. "What's happened here is that Obama's caved! He has seen, he has heard, and now he's gonna shift that burden to the insurance companies!" Now, there are a bunch of stories today -- that one and another one involving a woman getting on an airplane, trying to get on an airplane to fly to Denver who was not permitted to get on an airplane because there were no female TSA agents to pat her down. None were on board.
She even said (paraphrased), "Look, I'll wave it. I'll let a guy pat me down. I need to get to Denver." They said, "Nope, not gonna have any of that. You have to take a different flight on a different day." It's a small down, small airport, not a whole lot of flights. And her reaction is instructive. My point here is, ladies and gentlemen, we are losing freedom and liberty inch by inch. It's not being taken -- well, in some cases it is, but in most cases it's not being taken from us in giant grabs. It's little by little by little such that people don't even see it. It doesn't even register. Let me start with the AP version of the Obama story. "Retreating in the face of a political uproar, President Barack Obama on Friday will announce that religious..."
He's supposed to do it in five or six minutes now, right in the middle of this program. President Obama "on Friday will announce that religious employers will not have to cover birth control for their employees after all, The Associated Press has learned. The administration instead will demand that insurance companies will be the ones directly responsible for providing free contraception." And we're supposed to applaud this? We're supposed to think that we have emerged with a big victory here? Obama can mandate that we buy insurance, and now Obama can mandate what insurance companies must offer -- and after mandating what insurance companies must offer, then Obama can mandate what insurance companies can charge for it?
Freedom doesn't mean anything to this guy! Freedom doesn't mean anything to this regime or this administration. To me, this is breathtaking. This is an incredible sight to behold here. So Obama is said to "offer a compromise proposal that is respectful of religious concerns," and everybody's applauding today. Now, look at this. The right to religious liberty in this context is unequivocal in our country and in the Constitution. It's right there in the Bill of Rights. Since when does a president have the power to threaten to issue a rule gutting religious liberty? That's the first thing. And, by the way, I don't think any of this a mistake.
I don't think this religious kerfuffle is something that they overreached on. I think roiling this country and distracting people, setting up these extreme things like this and then walking them back to create the illusion, "Okay, you know what? We're not gonna take your freedom," it's all BS, folks. And this is being spun in such a way to make it look like the winners are winning and the losers are losing, and they're not. The First Amendment -- the Bill of Rights of the Constitution -- explicitly says that government shall have nothing to do with religion. You hear, do you not, the left constantly caterwauling, whining and moaning about "separation of church and state"?
When do they do that? Whenever a religious Republican or conservative seeks political office! They start to worry about "the imposition of religious moral values on people," and say, "This is intolerable! This is intolerable. It's not permitted! It's a violation of the Constitution." So the left hates the Constitution when it's an impediment to what they want to do. When it supports what they want to do, they're the biggest constitutionalists in the world. So they're all concerned about separation of church and state? No, they're not! They are opposed to opposition. They will do anything to defeat opposition, and if the Constitution is in opposition to them, they'll do whatever they have to do there.
So here we have again from the top: Obama's gonna offer a compromise proposal said to be respectful of religious concerns. He started this. He started it by demanding that Catholic organizations provide birth control and other abortion-related services. That's unconstitutional. He cannot do it. There is an appropriate uproar. The regime says, "Okay, we'll walk it back and then we'll make the insurance companies do it." He's still getting everything he wants! He's getting mandated federal funding of abortion services -- and, in the process, trampling all over the Constitution. The right to religious liberty in this context is unequivocal in our country. It's in the Constitution!
Since when...? I'm gonna ask this again: Since when does a president have the power to threaten to issue a rule gutting religious liberty and then claims the power to make compromises on that issue? This is how, folks, we lose our liberty. This is how we lose the Constitution. The suggestion that Obama has the power to alter that which he doesn't have the power to do in the first place, is simply unacceptable. The first thing he does he doesn't have the power to do. He doesn't have, constitutionally, the power to mandate that religious organizations provide -- free of charge or otherwise -- any abortion-related service with which they disagree. He doesn't have the authority. Then to supposedly correct it, he then engages in more authority that he doesn't have!
"Okay, tell you what: I'll tell the churches they don't have to do it." It's none of his business what the churches do! He doesn't have the authority to do any of this. The very idea that Barack Obama has the power to alter that which he doesn't have the power to do in the first place? This is two exercises of power he doesn't have. The first exercise is telling the churches what they have to do. The second exercise of power is then changing what he told the churches they have to do. There's no compromise, no negotiation. There's no phony balance here. Obama is simply not empowered to interfere with religious liberty. No president is!
It's no different than recess appointments when not in recess. There's no "compromise" in his "compromise" here. It's all BS. And the media is perfectly willing to support the notion of Obama having dictatorial powers now because they support them. But this is how, folks, the public is dumbed down. This is how he just hacks away at the First Amendment. Then, after there's an uproar, said to be compromising his position when, in fact, the First Amendment's being destroyed with both moves, with both efforts here!. So his effort to make people think he's compromising and caving is working. The press is reporting that. I even had friends of mine say, "Hey, we beat this back!" We didn't beat anything back. In fact, it's far more complicated than what is actually being reported.
Somebody in the White House has been leaking to the media all morning about what Obama's gonna do. It involves the Hawaii rules. It really is far more complicated here, the change, than is being reported. The second example of this that I want to cite is this little story about a woman who wanted to fly to Denver. She just wanted to get on an airplane and go to Denver. That's all that mattered to her. "A Denver woman claims she couldn’t board a flight from Wyoming to Denver because of her gender. Jennifer Winning makes the flight from the small airport of Rock Springs, WY, to Denver often, but on January 29th it was different.
"'They wouldn't let me get on the plane because I'm female,' Winning said. She said she checked in and arrived at security about 35 minutes before the scheduled departure of her United flight. 'They asked if I was on the flight to Denver, I said yes, they said that they couldn't screen me because they sent all the female TSA agents home,' Winning said. A female agent was necessary because of the new security pat-downs. 'I said, 'Would you be willing to let me sign a waiver and I would approve for a man to pat me down if necessary?' and they said no,' she said. Winning missed her flight and wound up renting a car for $165 and driving the roughly 350 miles back to Denver. She said she’s getting over her anger, but thinks the policies need to be clearer."
Now, I don't know how that story hits you, but I'll tell you how it hits me. Here we have an American citizen in Rock Springs, Wyoming, who wants to get on a flight to Denver that she takes frequently. And there's no female TSA agent there. So she's told she can't get on the airplane. She's an American, she's not a security risk, she never has been. She can't get on the airplane. She offers to sign a waiver. Look at the freedom this woman readily surrendered. What is she mad about? She's not mad at the encroachment in her daily life by the federal government via the TSA. She's doesn't seem to be all bothered by that. What she's mad about was that they sent all the female agents home.
This is how we lose our freedom! I don't blame her for being mad, but she doesn't see the big picture. She passively accepts the premise that the government can easily tell her she can't get on an airplane. Despite no evidence that she intends any harm, despite no track record that she's ever been a problem on this flight. She's a semi-regular on this flight. So she passively accepts the idea that the simple fact that there no female TSA agents means she can't fly, that's what she gets mad about. Not at the fact that the federal government has encroached so much over her individual liberty and freedom.
And I submit to you that this is how we end up losing it, slowly but surely and in ways that people don't even recognize, in ways that people don't even see it. And during all of this, we have to listen to the media and we have to listen to the president and the Democrats tell us that we're the party of "no" and that they are the party that liberates people. And we're the ones, the old-fashioned conservatives, we want to deny people a good time, we want to deny people fun, we want to deny people all these things in life. So we have yet another example of life in America under the thumb of an ever-expanding state with central planning, otherwise known as "well-intentioned liberalism."
From violating religious rights where there is no power permitted to do so, to mandating the purchase of products, to now mandating insurance companies sell certain products at a price that's also mandated, from czars, to denying the right to travel, it's all here. We're living in a country that's becoming unrecognizable! Who is the party of "No"? Want to throw a football in a public beach? It's the Democrats that say "no!" Can you believe it? You can't throw a football or a Frisbee on a beach in Los Angeles County, only a volleyball! Why? Did somebody get hit? Why can't you throw a football on a beach? Or a Frisbee, for crying out loud?
Who's the party of "No"? You want to exercise your religious rights, provide health insurance to employees that respect those rights? Democrats say, "No, you can't do that!" You want to buy a health insurance policy when you want buy it? No! Democrats say, "You can't do that." You want your government to operate on a budget. The Democrats laugh at you and say, "We don't need no stinkin' budget. Wait 'til Republicans are in charge and then we'll need a budget." You want to flatten the tax code, get rid of the crony capitalism, Democrats say, "No, we're not gonna give people more access to their hard-earned money!"
You want to reform entitlements that are eating away your kids' and grandkids' future? Democrats say, "No, we can't touch any of that!" You want to become energy independent using America's natural resources and the resources of an ally that borders our country with a pipeline, bringing much-needed oil right to our Gulf of Mexico? Nope, can't do it! Democrats say, "No." And we're "the party of 'No'"? We're the party trampling on people's liberties? Want to travel freely about the country? Democrats say, "No." You want the border tightened and shut down so that people cannot get in here illegally? No! The Democrats say, "No." You're the governor of a state that tries to enforce federal immigration laws? Democrats say, "No," and the President sues that state and the governor of that state!
Now, the Republicans want to privatize the Transportation Security Authority, the TSA, and Democrats say, "No! You can't do that. We gotta keep this in the hands of our union buddies." So each and every day, little by little, Barack Obama tramples on the Constitution, usurps authority that he doesn't have, in the midst of an uproar. He might surrender a little bit of it where everybody thinks that they're winning and they beat back the ugly collectivist, when in fact the collectivist and the central planner has solidified his claim to power that he doesn't have over the Constitution. He's out there saying (paraphrased), "Yeah, I never saw this as a political issue. This mandate, health insurance mandate on Catholic Churches and abortion, I never saw it as a political issue. No, no, no way!"
So the insurance company is now gonna have to give out free contraception. The insurance company is gonna have give out free abortion pills. And, by the way, it isn't gonna be free. So no religious organizations will have to pay for the coverage now. But somebody's gonna have to. It's being mandated. And somebody's gonna have to make it available. It's being mandated. And somebody's gonna have to pay for it. Whether they see it's free to the end user or not, it's never free to the end user. He's not taking any questions about this.
RUSH: So after the president speaks... I just got a note, by the way, that in St. Louis they cut out of the program and carried the president. That mighta happened at other affiliates, too, in which case you people missed (laughing) a grand-slam home run. I don't know that I should try to repeat it here. It'll come up. It'll be woven in as the program unfolds, what you missed. I was basically responding to the president. I didn't need to hear what he's saying. I know what he's doing. He is usurping constitutional authority he does not have. There's no "compromise" here. The president didn't cave. He's not giving anything back. The evidence is on MSNBC, they immediately went to a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood -- who's delighted!
The Planned Parenthood babe, person was delighted, and why shouldn't she be? Because, guess what now's been codified? Insurance companies have to pay for birth control and abortions! This is a huge achievement for Obama. This is a major accomplishment. Doesn't matter to him if, okay, the churches don't have to but now the insurance companies do. Birth control and abortion pills have just become a right! This entire health care plan is unconstitutional based on that mandate that requires everybody to buy insurance or pay a fine if they don't. That renders this whole thing unconstitutional, I don't care what the Supreme Court says. But now look what's happened. While everybody's celebrating here Obama "caving," he has just succeeded in mandating, in telling... He does not have the right to tell insurance companies what to sell. He doesn't have the constitutional authority to tell 'em what to charge for it. He just did, and people are out there applauding, like Planned Parenthood.
RUSH: Let me tell you what's just happened here. The regime, Barack Hussein Obama... I don't know how many of you people think Obama caved. I'm simply reacting. I got a bunch of e-mails, "Hey, Rush, we won, man! We won! Obama caved." He didn't cave on anything. That's what I'm reacting to here. All that's happened here... The Obama regime, they didn't see they don't have the power to force the Catholic Church to give up its religious views. They just said, "You know what? We changed our mind. We're not gonna make the Catholic Church do it. We're gonna make the insurance companies do it."
Big win. Biiiig win. Right. "We're not gonna make the Catholic Church, right now, 'cause you people don't quite understand. So, okay, we're not gonna make the Catholic Church give out abortion stuff but we'll make the insurance companies do it." So now people who oppose abortion pills are going to be paying for them. Do you think the insurance companies gonna reach into their personal back pockets and pick up the charges for this? Insurance premiums are gonna go up to cover the increased cost associated with Barack Obama, the president of the United States, telling them: What they have to sell, what they have to include, what they have to cover. The president of the United States has just told the insurance companies, "You know what? I changed my mind.
"I'm not gonna make the church do this, I'm gonna make you do it." They say, "Okay, fine." The insurance companies, they don't have a beef about anything, so they'll just raise their premiums. So Obama now mandating that private companies charge other citizens for the cost of abortion pill. This is unprecedented as far as I know. It's completely unprecedented. And don't for a minute think that the administration has given up trying to tell the Catholic Church what it will and won't do. That'll come later. They'll come back for a further bite of the apple. They'll do something. I also got a note (snidely), "Well, Rush, okay, the woman who wanted to fly to Denver, we can't do anything to TSA. What do we do? You sound like you want that woman..."
Yeah, I want that woman to wake up and become part of the army that votes against Democrats. That's what I want. I'm not suggesting the woman stand up and get into a fight with the TSA. That's not what I'm talking about. My whole point here is that people are having freedom and liberty taken away in a ways they don't even see. This woman in Denver, she's upset, but at the wrong thing. She's accepted the premise that the government can tell her she can and can't get on an airplane if there aren't any female TSA agents around. Her anger is that they wouldn't let a male pat her down or they wouldn't going to do a female and bring her back to work to pat her down. That's what she was mad about.
I'm not complaining at her by any means. I'm hoping that people dig a little deeper and figure out what is happening to everyday liberty and freedom and realize who's responsible for taking it away from you -- it's the Democrat Party and Barack Obama -- and vote against them. I've always said this program takes place in the realm of ideas. What we want, the way we effect -- in my mind -- meaningful, lasting, substantive change is an informed electorate voting and changing the course of history. That's, if there is an autobiography here above and beyond satisfying the radio business requirements for success, it would be that. I'm not trying to tell some woman to get into an argument with TSA people. That isn't gonna go anywhere. That's not gonna accomplish anything. There's a much larger issue out there.
I want to spend a little time, not much, on what Obama just did here. And I first saw this being alluded to in a flash report by our old buddy Jacob Tapper at ABC News. And Jacob's story was headlined: "White House to Announce Accommodation for Religious Organizations on Contraception Rule -- With the White House under fire for its new rule requiring employers including religious organizations to offer health insurance that fully covers birth control coverage, ABC News has learned," because the White House called them, "President Obama will announce an attempt to accommodate these religious groups. The move, based on state models..." That's where the rub of this is.
"The move, based on state models will almost certainly not satisfy bishops and other religious leaders since it will preserve the goal of women employees having their birth control fully covered by health insurance," in a mandate that Obama doesn't have the power to issue. Jacob didn't say that; he never would. I'm throwing that in. "Sources say..." This is Jacob writing here. "Sources say it will be respectful of religious beliefs but will not back off from that goal" of mandating abortion services being provided for in Obamacare. Now, so we go to the AP story on this: "Retreating in the face of a political uproar, President Barack Obama on Friday will announce that religious employers will not have to cover birth control for their employees after all...
"The administration instead will demand that insurance companies will be the ones directly responsible for providing free contraception." Right. Okay. They get it right here. But to say that Obama is retreating? It's not a retreat whatsoever. Obama simply took a sidestep. And then later in the AP story: "By keeping free contraception for employers at religious workplaces -- but providing a different way to do it -- the White House will assert it gave no ground on the basic principle of full preventative care that matters most to Obama." Right. What if I said, "You know, we need to mandate helmets for bicycle riders!" What is it about contraception? What is it about abortion that makes it sacred? Birth control pills, RU-486, what is it that makes this sacred?
It's because that stuff is the sacrament to the religion of liberalism. And then later on in the AP story, it says, "The White House consulted leaders on both sides of the debate to forge a decision. And officials..." These are unnamed officials, by the way. "And officials said Obama has the legal authority to order insurance companies to provide free contraception coverage directly to workers. He will demand it in a new rule." He does not have legal authority! Do you realize, folks, if Barack Obama has the legal authority to order insurance companies to provide free contraception coverage directly to workers, he's got legal authority to demand anything. He's got legal authority to make you go get a Chevy Volt. He's got legal authority to make you stop voting Republican.
If he's got the legal authority to demand this, he's not bound by any restrictions whatsoever. And the simple fact of the matter is he does not have this authority. He does not have this power. It's the First Amendment, the Bill of Rights. This whole separation of church and state issue? You notice how it's vanished now? Separation of church and state doesn't matter anymore? I think this is outrageous what is happening. Let's go to the audio sound bites. This is Karl Rove last night on Greta Van Susteren. They were talking about this, and she said to him, "First of all, this fight over contraception, it's sort of something we were talking about today and tomorrow, but come November, is this gonna have any impact at all on 2012, or is it a big issue?"
ROVE: It's a big issue. Look, the biggest group of swing voters in the electorate are Catholics. They represent roughly 25% of the electorate. And any presidential election in the modern era, Catholics have tended to go with the winner. Bush won them in 2000, 2004. Obama won 'em in 2008. And it's been thus for decade. So it's beyond me why they're picked this fight. And the president has picked this fight and dug in his heels on it.
RUSH: Yeah, and he's exactly right. He's dug in his heels on it. He's picked it because this is what he wants. He's making a claim for power outside the Constitution, and nobody's stopping him on that. Nobody is challenging the primary premise here, which is that the president of the United States can order employers or insurance companies to provide anything at any price. He doesn't have that authority. I'll tell you something else is gonna happen. Since Obama now here is essentially said, "Okay, you religious bunch? I'll exempt you. In my magnanimity, I'll transfer the burden over to the insurance companies."
So how many employers are now gonna get religion and say that they have a religious opposition? 'Cause they don't want to pay for this. Do you realize what's happened here is that contraception, abortion pills, all of this... It has now been mandated that somebody provide it and pay for it under the notion that it's free. Well, it isn't free. So now the employers are now gonna trying to find a way to off-load it to insurance companies. So they'll get religion faster than you've ever seen anybody get religion. You watch. (interruption) See, Snerdley says, "Why are you against women's health?" That's another thing.
I got a sound bite coming up from a woman talking about the health risks of pregnancy and how abortion is actually medicinal. It is, but that's not new. The idea that abortion is life-saving, that birth is life-threatening has been a common technique used by the feminazis throughout the last 20, 25 years. This is not new, the idea that you could buy giving childbirth and abortion is the way to save a woman's life. They've tried everything. I'm stunned by this. I really, really am. More Rove, one more spite from Rove. He went on to say he doesn't know why the regime has picked this fight...
ROVE: He is more afraid of Barbara Boxer and the pro-abortion crowd in the Democratic Senate caucus that he visited here in the last day or so, than he is of every cardinal, every bishop -- you know, every priest, every nun, every brother -- in the Catholic Church. His attitude is, "That doesn't matter to me. I just gotta go placate my left-wing allies, the secular left wing; and not worry about, you know, what used to be the bulwark of the Democratic Party, working class Catholic households. They're out."
RUSH: Well, as far as it goes, he's right. But that's not what Obama's doing here. The New York Times had the story before the end of the year last year that "white working-class Americans" are no longer targeted in terms of Obama's reelection. There's a big story. I forget who wrote it but it was a column in the New York Times, and it will come to me who wrote it. Some former Washington Post guy, columnist, who's now big at the Huffing and Puffington Post, wrote this. Was it Dan Balz? I forget who it was. He said that the regime was not interested in "white working-class voters." They said we're not gonna go after those voters. Rove is interpreting it as: Well, we're not gonna go after the Catholic vote.
That's not what's going on here. When Karl says he's more afraid of Barbara Boxer and the pro-abortion caucus, this is what I mean by -- in my humble opinion -- people missing the point. This is where the RNC, the Republican establishment, doesn't quite get what's going on here. Obama is not doing what he's doing to make Barbara Boxer happy or the pro-abortion crowd happy or the Democrat Senate Caucus happy. He knows that's gonna happen. What he's doing is violating the Constitution. He is coalescing extra-constitutional power. He is making a power grab here that is unprecedented in the history of the presidency. (interruption)
Thomas Edsall, that's right. Thomas Edsall wrote that piece in the New York Times, former Washington Post columnist. So I don't think... This has been my argument with the Republican establishment from the get-go with Obama. I don't think this is traditional politics at all. I don't think traditional politics has anything to do with why Obama's doing this. This is about fundamentally transforming this country from a representative republic to a pure, straight democracy with the president assuming he's the majority and therefore can do whatever he wants to do. We're not dealing with the average, "Okay, the Democrats won the White House. They're gonna have it for four or eight years. We gotta try to stop 'em however we can and we'll get power back."
There's something unprecedented going on here.
Woodrow Wilson dreamed of this.
FDR dreamed of this.
Obama is doing this.
RUSH: I'm told -- I didn't see it but I'm told -- that Obama spent most of his TV appearance a half hour ago talking about how important birth control pills are to women's health. Birth control pills prevent cancer. That's why most women take birth control. Did you know that, Snerdley? Most women are taking birth control pills to prevent cancer. Do you know that? Yep! The president of the United States just said it: Women taking birth control pills is the most important that they can do for health, because it prevents cancer. (interruption) What? (interruption)
Okay, great. It even helps with acne, so it's an added benefit. They're not taking birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. No, no, no! We've been under the illusion that they're trying to stop getting pregnant all these years. It's to prevent cancer. The president just said so. Abortion, they say, "Oh, yeah, abortion is a much safer procedure than -- than -- than -- than -- than -- than -- than birth is." Yeah, well, what about the baby? Do we forget there's a baby involved here? Oh, well. Back to the audio sound bites. Catholic cardinal, Cardinal Donald Wuerl was on with Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe today discussing the issue here. And I want you to listen to this. This is quite interesting.
BRZEZINSKI: I want to add another dimension to this (snickers) conversation which is a little uncomfortable, but do you keep in mind also that mmmany Catholics -- possibly even a predominant number -- use birth control? And how do you factor that into this?
WUERL: The first responsibility --
BRZEZINSKI: Are they not Catholics?
WUERL: Oh, they're Catholics. I don't want to shock you, Mika.
BRZEZINSKI: (cackling) Okay. We have to just go there, because this is --
WUERL: I don't want to shock you, but, you know, there are even Catholics in jail.
BRZEZINSKI: I understand but --
WUERL: There are Catholics that do bad things and there are Catholics that do things that they know their Church is opposed to. That's between... As they work out their conscience. That doesn't mean that they're going to say because I don't live up to all the rules of the Church, the government should be able to silence my Church. I think that's where many, many Catholics are.
RUSH: Do you realize the power and purpose of the point there that Cardinal Wuerl was making? It doesn't mean that Catholics gonna say, "Because I don't live up to all the rules of the church, the government should be able to silence my church." So Mika Brzezinski wants to say, "Ah, a bunch of Catholics! You know, you cardinals and you bishops and you monsignors, you're a bunch of hypocrites. You have all these restrictive rules denying women the fun of being alive in 2012, and they're still going out and they're violating all of what you say." The Cardinal says, "It doesn't mean the government can tell my church that it can't practice its belief. Nobody's infallible." Everybody sins. We all know this. But here we go again: The demand for perfection, as defined by Obama, and if it doesn't get met -- if that demand for perfection doesn't meet Obama's standards -- then Obama can shut down what isn't perfect in his mind, or he can limit what it can do. Folks, it's a wake-up time here. A wake-up call.
RUSH: No, no. Here's my point, folks. I don't care if most Catholics do use birth control or if most Catholics don't use birth control. What's that have to do with the government imposing its will on the Catholic Church? It doesn't matter. The government has no right to impose its will on the Catholic Church regardless what practicing Catholics do or don't do. It's irrelevant.