Ken Connor

With each passing day it becomes more apparent that President Obama has little respect for the intelligence of his ideological opponents. If you don't agree with him, he assumes it is because you "don't understand the issue." In other words, you are ignorant, or misinformed, or both. We saw this attitude at work during the debate over Obamacare, and most recently with the conflict over his contraception coverage requirement and its implications for the First Amendment liberty of private religious employers. This week, we're seeing it play out in the always contentious debate over government involvement in embryonic stem cell research.

Whenever he is challenged the President tries to ignore or discredit his opposition, and if this proves unsuccessful, he attempts to placate his foes with meaningless "compromises." In the case of the birth control mandate, the President claimed to put the concerns of religious employers to rest by shifting the burden to their insurance companies. Never fear, he assured the religion-clinging, gun-toting opponents of his progressive insurance mandate, if you are a religious employer and oppose covering birth control costs for your employees, we'll just make your insurance provider pay for it. Problem solved and conscience clear. Never mind that anyone with an iota of common sense can see this phony compromise for the rhetorical bait-and-switch that it is. At the end of the day, religious employers will still be required to offer health insurance policies that cover contraception, and they will still be footing the bill for said contraception in the form of higher premiums that are sure to result from insurance companies passing along the cost of the President's mandate.

This week, another of the President's infamous "compromises" is in the spotlight, namely his executive order expanding federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Stymied by existing law limiting the government's involvement in this ethically troubling area of "scientific" work, the President crafted a workaround based on rhetorical hair-splitting, issued his order, and the dollars began flowing. The Alliance Defense Fund filed suit to enjoin the funding and in 2010 a federal judge issued a temporary injunction blocking the executive order. Judge Royce Lambert saw the President's policy for what it was: a complete disregard for the law based on a distinction without a difference:


Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.