04 February 2013

In politics it doesn't matter what you do, it matters what you can get people to repeatedly say about it

Reason: Hit & Run | Ronald Bailey | Obama "Compromises" on Contraception Requirement for Religious Institutions. Really?

The Washington Post is reporting that the Obama administration has compromised on the thorny issue of requiring under ObamaCare that religious institutions buy insurance that covers contraception for their employees. Really? The Post Wonkblog notes:
Under this proposal, objecting nonprofits will be allowed to offer employees a plan that does not cover contraceptives. Their health insurer will then automatically enroll employees in a separate individual policy, which only covers contraceptives, at no cost. This policy would stand apart from the employer’s larger benefit package.

The faith-based employer would not “have to contract, arrange, pay or refer for any contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds.”
Say what? Is it really credible that health insurers won't simply boost the prices of their non-contraceptive policies to cover the "no-cost" contraception coverage? Does the Obama administration really think that believers can be that easily duped?
No, they do not think that believers will be duped.

But they probably do think that there are several million voters who don't really care that much who can be duped. And they're right.

They're counting on those people hearing the words "Obama compromised so that churches do not 'have to contract, arrange, pay or refer for any contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds'" several dozen times. And people will hear those words, and they'll accept them at face value, because we're cognitively lazy and do not take a whole helluva lot of wool pulled over our eyes before we just give up and agree that it's dark out.

In politics, if you tell people often enough and fervently enough that you're not picking their pocket with your right hand they won't bother to object when you pick it with your left.

So I guess the moral or the story is that (a) you don't need to outsmart your ideological opponents, you just need to outsmart the laziest voters, and (b) politicians are contemptuous jerkholes.

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