Abortion is controversial. And Obama won’t touch controversial public policy. He prefers to make such issues go away by giving Republicans and conservatives what they want.
The problem is that these issues won’t go away. Women (and men) care about choice. Tens of millions of gay Americans and their families and friends care about civil rights. Tens of millions of Latinos care about immigration. These hot-button issues aren’t going to go away simply because the president caves to the opposition. The one inherent problem with this strategy is that it’s only a short-term fix that tends to enrage the core Democratic constituencies who find that they’ve been fixed. And just as bad, it emboldens Republicans and conservatives to come back times harder and ask for ten times more.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told me on ‘This Week’ the President will go beyond language in a House bill to make sure no public money goes to pay for abortions under health care reform.
Abortion foes argue language in the House bill has too many holes and that taxpayers could potentially subsidize abortions. Sebelius told me there will be no uncertainty with the President’s plan.
“In fact recently the Catholic bishops came out, after the President’s statement saying that his statement about what he intends in the plan that no public fund would go to fund abortion and the fact that he has come out firmly for insuring all Americans and saying that it’s a moral issue as well as an economic issue and they endorsed moving forward. I think the legislative language will reflect what the President has just said.”
GEORGE: “So you are saying that he will go beyond what we have seen in the House and explicitly rule out any public funding for abortion?”
SEBELIUS: “Well that’s exactly what the President said and that’s what he intends that the bill he signs will do.”