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.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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