Check out the weather in Hell and be on the look out for flying pigs. Jennifer Rubin has a column I agree with. She points out that Rick Santorum is going to have a tough time getting votes with his anti-contraception views. She also writes, “The impression that Santorum finds the prevalent practice of birth control ‘harmful to women’ is, frankly, mind-numbing.”
Santorum’s archaic views make it difficult to determine which way the Republican nomination battle is going. Republicans are still looking for a non-Romney, but with all the people in the world who are not named Romney, so far they have been stuck with losers named Cain, Bachmann, Perry, and now Santorum. Romney remains unable to convince conservatives that he is one of them, having held both liberal and conservative views on so many issues over the years. I’m happily married, have a family, and run a business. Applying Mitt Romney’s argument, this makes me a conservative who other conservatives should support for the GOP nomination. No wonder he is having trouble sealing the deal.
At the moment Santorum looks strong in the polls, leading nationally and leading Romney in Michigan, where a loss for Romney could be devastating. Around Michigan the talk is that Romney would make an excellent candidate, if only it was George and not his son. Apparently George H. W. Bush was not the only Republican who wound up with an idiot son. There is even speculation that Romney could have to self-finance his campaign if his big donors give up on him as he has not been able to get the large numbers of small donors who have kept other campaigns going.
So far the Republicans have had eleven front-runners as they go through the list of potential not-Romneys. Each time Romney remained on top as information on each opponent turned out to be so bad that even conservative Republicans couldn’t stomach them. Newt Gingrich has now become the most dis-liked politician in America according to two polls. We knew that there was no way that even the Republicans would nominate Herman Cain, Donald Trump, or Michele Bachmann. Will Rick Santorum also suffer the same fate, or will social conservatives prevail and make him the GOP candidate? With Rick Santorum surging (and in the case of Rick Santorum, no double entendre is intended with surging), this must mean that conservative “small government” means government small enough to fit through the key hole into your bedroom.
Santorum’s views on contraception would be opposed by strong majorities in a general election, and even most Republicans don’t agree with Santorum. Virtually all women (more than 99%) aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using a method according to information from the Guttmacher Institute. These numbers don’t trail by very much even among Catholics. A Pew Research Center survey found that 85 percent of the country believes that contraception is either “not a moral issue” or “morally acceptable.” Eight percent agree with Santorum in viewing contraception as “morally wrong.”
The contraception issue is not only hurting Santorum. It is a wedge issue that can hurt the entire Republican Party. Greg Sargent reviewed some of the pertinent numbers from a New York Times/CBS News poll on whether people support Obama’s policy on mandating contraception. The poll shows that 66 percent are in support and only 26 percent oppose it. He then reviewed a partisan breakdown of answers:
* Even Republicans support this policy, 50-44.
* Independents support it by 64-26.
* Moderates support it by 68-22.
* Women support it by 72-20.
* Catholics support it by 67-25.
* And even Catholics who attend church every week or almost every week support it by 48-43
We all know that this debate is really over one’s view on contraception, despite Republican efforts to disguise this as an issue over requiring funding by religious institutions. Sargent also looked at the question, “what about for religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university — do you support or oppose a recent federal requirement that their health insurance plans cover the full cost of birth control for their female employees?” The response still was not helpful for the Republicans: “Registered voters say Yes, 61-31; independents say Yes, 59-31; moderates say Yes, 64-29; and even 41 percent of Republicans say Yes, with 53 percent opposed.”
With the Republicans lacking a credible candidate and holding views unpopular with most of the country, it is no surprise that Obama’s approval rating is on the rise, now back to 50 percent, with Obama leading all the Republican candidates both nationally and in the many key battleground states.