Let me begin by saying that Chris Hayes has been a friend for nearly ten years. He's a smart guy who couldn't be nicer in person. But this "analysis" is just embarrassingly weak:
Here's the issue in a nutshell: one political coalition in America things birth control is a good thing. The other isn't so sure. — Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 24, 2014
He tweeted that pearl of ignorance amid the manufactured uproar over Mike Huckabee's "female libido" comments -- which were clearly aimed at Democrats, and weren't disparaging toward women under any fair reading. But none of that matters once a narrative-driving feeding frenzy is underway. Conservatives are absolutely right to oppose the administration's liberty-depriving, intolerant, unconstitutional birth control mandate. That being said, I don't think it's helpful for male conservative figures to weigh in on women's sex drives in any context. In any case, back to Hayes' contention. Lest one think he'd been misunderstood, Hayes clarified:
@philipaklein I wasn't trying to take a shot or be intellectually dishonest. I think that's what it comes down to, as a descriptive matter — Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 24, 2014
He apparently couldn't fathom any scenario in which people who are totally fine with birth control would nevertheless oppose Obamacare's coercive mandate on the matter. Unleash the snark:
Conservatives are deeply invested in defeating the birth control mandate while insisting it has *nothing* to do with birth control — Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 24, 2014
Several folks quickly jumped on Hayes' case, reducing his argument and its underlying assumptions to intellectual rubble. A small sampling:
One political faction believes that people should be able to spend money on birth control as they choose. Another is not so sure. — Jim Antle (@jimantle) January 24, 2014
One side fears and loathes babies, fights against them w/ chemicals and scalpels. Other side doesn't. This is fun, @chrislhayes!@chrislhayes We call those people tyrants. — Timothy P Carney (@TPCarney) January 24, 2014
One side fears and loathes babies, fights against them w/ chemicals and scalpels. Other side doesn't. This is fun, @chrislhayes! — Mollie (@MZHemingway) January 24, 2014
But here's the data that delivers a coup de grace to Hayes' assertions and subsequent speculation:
That's a Gallup poll taken in 2012, when this controversy first boiled over. As you can see, the partisan gap between Republicans and Democrats on the moral acceptability of, say, abortion is vast -- 30 percentage points. But on birth control, that gap vanishes. The overwhelming majority of people who populate both "political coalitions" have no problem with birth control. And yet, a CBS News poll from around the same time showed that 57 percent of Americans also believe religious employers should be allowed to opt out of the government's new birth control edict. My painfully obvious conclusion:
Seriously, @chrislhayes, there is virtually no partisan gap whatsoever on the moral acceptability of birth control: http://t.co/V1oJLuc3qV — Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 24, 2014
Thus, one political coalition's opposition to the birth control mandate must be rooted in something other than suspicion of birth control. — Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 24, 2014
You see, conservatives and people who care about the First Amendment generally can simultaneously believe that (a) birth control should be widely available and affordable in a free society, and (b) the federal government shouldn't force people to pay for (or facilitate) others' contraception -- especially if those people are, say, the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Supreme Court will settle this dispute in a few months, and I suspect the side of religious freedom, tolerance, and core American liberty will prevail. And it may not be close. Nevertheless, the Left's willful attempts to conflate opposition to the birth control mandate with opposition to birth control itself remains a sub-moronic and cynical form of deception. It would be nice if the Left's supposed smart set would at least take four seconds to consider what might actually be motivating their opponents instead of reflexively going the hack route.
Editor's Note: This item is cross-posted in HotAir.com's Green Room.