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Armando's front page diary this afternoon cites a January 29 op-ed in which E.J. Dionne discussed the Obama Administration's approach to mandatory contraception coverage as part of the HHS rule on the Affordable Care Act.  The diary, titled, "E.J. Dionne breaks faith with progressive values," says the following in the second paragraph:

Before the president's announcement, the past week had provided us the spectacle of ostensibly "progressive" Catholic men pontificating (pun intended) on how it was wrong of the Obama Administration to enact public policy supported by science and common sense because some leaders of certain religions object to the requirement that their religions must comply with the law and the public policy of the government.
Not only does Armando create a straw man of Dionne, but he uses outdated two-week-old op-eds to make his point.

More after the jump.

I hadn't read Dionne's January 29 editorial, so I followed the link over to WaPo to read the whole thing.  Armando's diary quotes Dionne thusly:

Speaking as a Catholic, I wish the Church would be more open on the contraception question. But speaking as an American liberal who believes that religious pluralism imposes certain obligations on government, I think the Church’s leaders had a right to ask for broader relief from a contraception mandate that would require it to act against its own teachings. The administration should have done more to balance the competing liberty interests here.
Armando doesn't quote Dionne saying this:
Obama was also willing to annoy some in his liberal base during the battle for the health-care bill by making sure that Catholic institutions do not have to perform or pay for abortions. Rather than praising him for this, the bishops and the Catholic right invented the idea that the health law covers abortion.
and this, from the paragraph immediately preceding the one quoted by Armando:
As a general matter, it made perfect sense to cover contraception. Many see doing so as protecting women’s rights, and expanded contraception coverage will likely reduce the number of abortions. While the Catholic Church formally opposes contraception, this teaching is widely ignored by the faithful. One does not see many Catholic families of six or 10 or twelve that were quite common in the 1950s. Contraception might have something to do with this.
Dionne also said the following:
Unfortunately, the administration decided it lacked authority to implement a Hawaii-style solution. The Obama team should not have given up so easily, especially after it floated a version of this compromise with some Catholic service providers who thought it workable. Obama would do well to revisit his decision on the Hawaii compromise.
And this, in fact, is exactly where the Obama administration ended up.  What we have, in the end, is a well-played game of Kabuki theatre in which the Obama administration played out the string to demonstrate why the policy was created in the way that it was.  And we've had a series of great news days as Republicans hyperventilate about allowing women to take the pill or use Plan B.  

And here's Dionne on Friday:

Nonetheless, Obama’s move is a welcome step away from a religious battle that neither he nor the country needed. There were legitimate liberty interests on both sides of this debate, as he said today.  The administration’s new rule, unlike its initial decision, honors that fact. It is an important step.
Dionne also noted, with post-scripts to his own op-ed, that conservatives are moving further and further into extreme positions of opposition that run counter to common sense and American public opinion:
My sense is that there is division among the Bishops, and some awareness, as Father Tom Reese of the Woodstock Center noted, that while the cause of religious liberty is broadly unifying, both inside the Catholic Church and beyond, opposition to contraception is not.
While Catholic bishops hold a tremendous amount of clout within the Catholic hierarchy and tradition, they have exactly the same number of votes as Nancy Pelosi or E.J. Dionne or John Kerry - or any Catholic voter.  And as the bishops and most Catholics are fully aware, the bishops have little to no power over private sexual and medical decisions that women make.  The frustration and anger we're seeing from conservatives is directly proportional to their powerlessness to change the behavior of others.  

Because that's how conservatives roll.

We can expect Dionne to continue writing about this stuff in the weeks to come.  It should be obvious to everyone that Dionne is speaking as a moderate Catholic male who works for a think tank.  He doesn't speak for the Democratic Party.  He doesn't speak for anyone other than himself.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen. (Oh, and I support President Obama in 2012.)

    by Benintn on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 02:55:16 PM PST

  •  Is the point of your diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gustynpip

    to get the site in trouble because of your egregious violation of copyright law?

    It certainly isn't to make any points on your own.

    •  You misconstrue what copyright entails. (11+ / 0-)

      When the subject of a study is a published article, it is fair use to quote and analyze it extensively. So long long as what you do is analysis.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:19:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He made many good points (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, eztempo, congenitalefty

      Can't say the same about your comment, however.

      You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

      by tomjones on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 05:31:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This meets the test of Fair Use (3+ / 0-)

      It is properly cited and used for analysis. And not the quotes were from multiple publications (ie, OP-EDs published on different days.

      Mind explaining the legal basis of your concern?

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 05:43:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The guidelines here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko

        still speak of three paragraphs as the normal max for "safe harbor" as fair use.

        •  Not quite. (0+ / 0-)

          What the FAQ states is:

          Limited copying within the bounds of the doctrine of "fair use" is permitted. A reasonable rule-of-thumb is that copying three paragraphs from a normal-length news article or editorial is acceptable. (This, however, is not a safe-harbor. If even three paragraphs seems like "too much," then copy less or nothing at all.) For more on fair use, please visit this [dead link] site.
          NB - The dead link should be updated to here [DFF Fair Use Primer] and/or here [PDF version].

          In other words, there really isn't a numerical limit on use, but rather, any use regardless of length or number of passages would have to meet the fair use tests, which are generally defined but slightly ambiguous (for a reason).

          Obviously some of the full-on republication that occasionally happens here is NOT fair use, but I'm reasonably confident this diary is OK because:

          (a) It is actually quoting multiple articles, including "second-hand" quotes.

          (b) In every instance, the content quoted is brief, relevant to the diary subject and commented-upon by the diary author.

          Item (b) is the important point - by no reasonable means could one conclude this was republication when every quote is preceded and/or followed by original commentary.

          I hope you don't think I was taking you to task - I have frequently policed this on Daily Kos myself - only that I think this case is not a violation of fair use.

          Judgement call.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 05:13:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit. No copyright violation here. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, congenitalefty
  •  I, for one, appreciate this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, thomask

    I don't nomally read Dionne and the front page article sounded a little angry and alarmist to me.  I did not particularly want to get my panties in a wad, so I just skipped most of it.  I appreciate you following up with some quotes.

    Not that we want to get into a pie fight ... but I abhor TV or any type preachers that preach with the floppy Bible in their hands and then misquote four little words out of context to support their point of view.  There is no  comparison, of course.

  •  The problem with Dionne's take on this... (11+ / 0-)

    and the problem with the President's compromise, is the tacit assumption that the bishop's have any right at all to be heard on this, or any, issue--

    as bishops.

    They really don't. They have precisely the same right to a hearing as any other citizen.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:34:16 PM PST

    •  Yes But Obama's Fine With Establishing Religion (6+ / 0-)

      in government policy far more than progressives would want. Or framers-- Madison, the author of the 1st draft of the Constitution, vetoed a faith-based initiative to fund churches feeding the poor. He called it an "improper establishment of religion" for carrying out a "civic duty."

      Today we have religion established for similar civic duties all over the place and Mr. Obama is never going to take the position that it's improper for them to weigh in on public policy as religious figures.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:40:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, we have a holey "wall" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, koNko

      Bishops have as much right as anyone else. They also possess a little leverage, like unions, in that they speak to a captive audience, once a week, that they have at least a little influence on.  It was last Sunday, after the homily repeated around the nation, that the brouhaha gained energy. And also, Bishops have the religious liberty rights that has been extended into tax law so, like anyone else, they can be expected to at least try to summon up as much leeway and curry as much favor as they can get away with.

      It was Obama who invited the Bishops' liaison into the health care reform discussions trying to leverage their promotion of universal healthcare. Of course it blew up in Obama's face when the Bishops entrenchment helped them to stonewall the bill in every which way over the abortion issue.  

      Rather than a "wall between church and state" I wish we had an officially secular state in every way. There's no infringement on religious beliefs to observe a fully secular public sphere, maybe much less than with today's holey "wall".

      In political calculations or chess games between the Bishops and politicians, especially Obama, smart money's on the Bishops, right or wrong.

      Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

      by kck on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:52:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Uh. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      It wasn't just the bishops. The republicans were amplifying the message to make political hay out of it.

      It was a genuine political issue.

      You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

      by tomjones on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 05:35:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No doubt the Thugs will use-- or manufacture-- (0+ / 0-)

        anything at all to undermine the President and throw red meat to the conservative lions. The fact that this involves something as anathema to them anyway as reproductive rights is just gravy.

        Republicans suck. Won't get an argument from me. But how does making that rather obvious point support Dionne's underlying contention that this "compromise" is a nuanced solution to a genuine moral dilemma, rather than a cynical effort to make a problem go away, even at the expense of core Democratic beliefs?

        It's not a "genuine political issue" if our side declines to accept that premise at all.

        When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

        by PhilJD on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 05:55:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's not about the bishops it's about the liberal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      congenitalefty, gramofsam1

      Catholics.  They are just as much part of the liberal coalition as you are, and a significant number of them had a problem with the previous policy.  The bishops are going to be pissed regardless, who cares?  The accomodation was for the benefit of the liberal Catholics that had a problem with the previous poicy, not for the benefit of the bishops.

      •  but liberal Catholics (0+ / 0-)

        presumably make up the bulk of recent polling showing even most Catholics in favor of Obama on this issue. the only religious group who weren't in favor were Evangelicals. I don't think most liberal Catholics thought this was out of line in any way. people looking for increased page views are a different story.

  •  Sadly very untrue (5+ / 0-)

    > they have exactly the same number of votes as Nancy Pelosi or E.J. Dionne or John Kerry - or any Catholic voter

    They have a huge megaphone and millions and millions of dollars to throw into political campaigns.

    Ask any gay person how powerful - and evil - they are.

    And people like E J Dionne pay for their salaries and prada outfits and lawyers.

    John McCain is deeply disappointed that Barack Obama has failed to follow through on John McCain's campaign promises.

    by tiponeill on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:54:35 PM PST

    •  Yes, that was as idiotic as including (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie

      the Koch Brothers or Rush Limbaugh in that list . . .

      This country has gone very far from the "one person one vote" fiction

    •  I doubt the bishops will toss $millions in (0+ / 0-)

      But they do probably have a couple of million voters that care what they think about a church-run university having to contribute to insurance premiums that include contraceptive benefits.  Not that any of them are going to vote for Obama, but still, they may talk to friends or something.

  •  You make some good points. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, mickT

    Especially in the next to last sentence-
    "...a moderate Catholic male "

    I really am sick of hearing about what males -moderate, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Impressionist painter, fisherman, construction worker, senator, cobbler, analyst, Friend, Buddhist, editor,  dog trainer, actor, knife thrower, programmer, rocket scientist, intern, typist, chef, writer, dead person, ghost, vampire, troll, minister, taxi cab driver, mason, knight of columbus, christopher columbus, da Vinci, fabio, lord fauntleroy, doubting thomas, prince william, princde of thieves, carnival harker, botanist, deep sea diver, wood worker, beauty pageant judge, singer, bartender, brewer, football player, tanner, whistle blower, CEO, clown car driver, photobgrapher glass blower, window decorator, fashion designer, smuggler, door hanger, assemblyman, sailor, tinker, taylor, or spy, think about women.

    I really don't think many realize  how sick women are of having others speak for them. we can speak you know. not that men ever let us.  dionne does NOT speak for women and women should be able to speak about contraceptives.
    what a farce this country is. people who will never get pregnant speaking about how not to get pregnant

    I dont give a f@D#k about what dionne says- he ought to speak about things he knows about- or stfu

    •  But one could equally argue (5+ / 0-)

      that women should have no say in any male-specific issue like funding for prostate exams, as an example. Or that childless citizens have no right to weigh in on education policy. The list could expand almost infinitely were we to admit the argument that a citizen, of whatever gender or persuasion, has no standing unless they are personally affected by the issue. I understand your annoyance to some extent but I am not willing to exclude a point of view simply because it came from someone with a Y chromosome.

      Fructose is a liver poison. Stop eating it today.

      by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 04:28:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In this situation here, Benintn (4+ / 0-)

    decisively destroys Armando's conventional crap.

  •  unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

    I think Dionne ended up making himself one of a handful of token liberals aiding a right-wing argument here. it's not the most egregious of errors, but he should know better. this is an issue which has been through the courts already, many times. the only actually tricky part of this issue politically is that Catholics are used to getting their way on these things, with no legal basis. someone comes along and tries to apply the law to them and even though their own 'constituency' doesn't support them, they become incredibly effective whining machines. and they just immediately get their POV elevated over the POV of the majority. this wasn't even a real political issue, it's a nearly 100% media-generated confab.

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