Mitch Daniels: Republicans Should Have Handled The Contraceptive Debate Better

Members Of Nat'l Governors Association Speak To Press After White House Meeting With Obama

Mitch Daniels says Republicans could have handled the debate over contraceptives better.

“Where I wish my teammates had done better and where they mishandled it is … I thought they should have played it as a huge intrusion on freedom,” Daniels said.

Instead, he said they got dragged into a debate about women’s right to contraception, an issue which was settled 40 years ago.

Daniels said they should have framed the argument as one about government intrusion on personal liberty. He said the Obama rule was like saying that because Yoga is healthy, the government should require it.

Daniels did not criticize any of his party’s candidates by name. Asked why there was so much focus in the Republican campaign on social issues when jobs and the economy were the biggest concerns of voters surveyed in polls, Daniels said some of that was not their fault.

“The Republican candidates didn’t start it (the birth control debate). It happened and they were asked to react to it,” he said.

Maybe there’s some truth to this, but honestly I think Republicans were doing just fine in the debate up until the Limbaugh/Fluke fiasco. They had the Obama administration on the run, unable to explain why every single American in this country should have their economic and religious freedoms subsumed by his administration’s preference for a contraceptive entitlement.

The Limbaugh called Fluke a slut, which was just the talking point the Democrats needed for their “war on women” campaign. They were able to turn the debate away from individual liberty to whether or not women should have access to contraceptives.

But it was never about access. It was always about who pays for the access. I still think Democrats will have a hard time explaining why the lack of an entitlement, paid for by other people, means the same thing as denied access.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Neiman

    I like how Daniels talks, I question his wanting to avoid social/moral issues; but he is right here, although I don’t think he really knew why he was right, there are many layers, the most important is that the GOP is the gang that cannot shoot straight. They are not leaders, they only react, they are not proactive and when they do talk, they do not know how to talk to real human beings in ways that will motivate them. This had nothing to do with Rush, he was absolutely right by the way, they would have found another way to get this issue debated on their terms, because quite frankly they know people, they know how to push their buttons, to frame issues in ways that paint the GOP as unfeeling monsters and the GOP refuses to be wise and learn how to play the game.

    This IS a moral issue, it is a religious issue and should have been fought and won on those grounds, as the people, even most women want a return to Judeo-Christian morality. It is like conservatives not running and fighting like conservatives and forcing the Left to give up their false women’s rights ground, which this is not. Blame? The GOP and Conservatives that refuse to learn how to communicate, to frame a message, to preempt these expected games by the Left with a direct, passionate and full throated ground game. Either lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. Well the GOP cannot lead, we don’t want them to follow the Left off the cliff, so they better just sit it out until they get sick of losing, grow up and learn how to fight.

  • WOOF

    Democrats have nothing to explain.
    Exposure of Republican’s vile attitudes towards women
    has sunk the party .

    Hell hath no fury

    • Davoarid

      It’s also done a good job of exposing just how IGNORANT conservative men are about contraception–so many conservatives made statements indicating they didn’t know what contraception was, what the differences in the various options were, or why women would need to speak to a doctor about them first, etc. 

      It was revealing. To me, THAT was the biggest indicator of sexism within the party–their complete inability to learn anything about the issue.

  • realitybasedbob

    When ya got your PA gop Gov basically saying broads should just close their eyes when we State mandate rape them with vaginal cameras, gop has no chance of winning their War on Women.

    • Econwarrior

      The liar tries to change the subject, while conveniently forgetting that Planned Parenthood requires an ultrasound before every abortion, which is much more intrusive than an ultrasound alone.  Just keep lying.

      • realitybasedbob

        Big 180 McCain voter, between the two, which one is a State mandated rape?

        • Econwarrior

          You made it up, liar; it’s whatever you imagine it to be.  Abortion both rapes and kills, though.

    • Kevin Flanagan

      Let me guess; you were a drama major back in school.

  • sbark

    ……and Mitch Daniels isnt doing anywhere near the job that Scott Walker is doing on reigning  in the Public Unions in Indiana……….

    …..maybe he should just worry about how “he is handling” that issue…….

    In Wisc the truth is coming out, school districts are admitting it——-and the unions are now jumping all over them for capitulating

    • Dakotacyr

      Wisconsin just went to a 16-16 tie in the senate when one of the recalled senators resigned forthwith.  

      • Econwarrior

        Showing, once again, that Democrats are more interested in wielding power than in serving the people.  Walker’s reforms were working, but now the Dems will obstruct any further progress.

        • Sparkie Arbuckle

          Walker was being a hyper-partisan c*nt, and it was shut down.

          Blaming it on the opposition in disingenuous when Walker’s ‘I know what’s best for everyone’ attitude generated the backlash in the first place.

      • sbark

        The Left is starting to eat their own…with the Unions at the top of the food chain as uusal

  • Econwarrior

    Daniels is a backstabber; the MSM will always saturate the public with the latest Dem talking points, and obama really needed that after he blatantly violated the First Amendment with his mandate.  I guess he thinks of us as nothing but a bunch of infidels, whose beliefs don’t matter.  In any case, Rush didn’t say anything out of line, and the MSM would have made something up anyway.

  • colnzgprnts

    Obama made a big splash when he appeared in Houston and called for civility in political discussions – the big flap was that Sarah Palin ‘targeted’ candidates which was threatening and war-like. Now the dems scream that repubs are waging ‘war on women’!

    Where is the media to call for BOH to condemn the dem choice of words. If Limbaugh’s comments were so crass, why do we as a nation not hold elected officials to at least similar standards?

  • TexasJew

    Besides, she’s too damned ugly to be a slut.

    • Sparkie Arbuckle

      Thanks for showing us how you feel.

  • Guest

    Gov. Daniels is right, but yes, the mainstream media has been awful on this. Worst example of carrying the liberals’ water I’ve ever seen.

    Limbaugh played into their game, but so did Santorum. It’s not a debate about contraception, it’s a debate about the rights delineated in the First Amendment. 

    To those knocking Gov. Daniels — live in the real world. He’s the best governor in the country, perhaps next to Scott Walker, and would have been the strongest conservative candidate for president.

  • awfulorv

    Having been given at least one half of what a divorced husband had, by biased judges, you don’t suppose the gals, somehow, want the rights to his vote too?  Looks like that may not be too crazy to envision.

  • Davoarid

    But it was never about access. It was always about who pays for the access.”

    Democrats said insurance companies. Republicans said insured patients.