The junior Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, is an immensely ambitious potential president—and, as a legislator, he gambles too.
Republicans have already sided with the Catholic Church on contraceptives: President Obama, they argue, has no right to tell some 800 Catholic employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptive prescriptions for about a million employees.
Presumably, these workers would remain free to purchase contraceptives, out of pocket—as apparently nearly 90% of fertile, sexually active American women do.
These Catholic employers, Republican legislators believe, should continue to be free to administer billions of public dollars on behalf of essential public services and not be asked to use any of that public money to buy worker insurance that would make it financially easier for their workers to exercise their own consciences.
However, Rubio doesn’t want do the exclusive bidding of his Church.
So, yesterday, he escalated the whole issue by introducing legislation that would allow any employer in America to exclude contraception coverage for their employees. All the employer has to do is believe that contraception offends his or her religious beliefs. Whether these employers practice what they believe or not, they would be free to interfere with the rights of their workers to have the same access to contraceptives as workers generally.
Click on: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/gop-bill-lets-any-employer-deny-birth-control-coverage.php?ref=fpa
Rubio claims grandly that this isn’t a social issue, it’s a constitutional issue.
It's as if the power he’d grant to employers to exercise over their employees is of no social consequence—and, indeed, over the capacity of a democratically elected government to assure the equitable delivery of a vital social service.
The US constitutional right he’s inventing is extreme, to say the least. Presumably, if the bishop, the prophet, the imam, the rabbi, or the preacher insists, the godly employer should be free to not pay taxes for government activities he doesn’t like, or, say, not hire heathens, for that matter.
There is, however, one thing Rubio, the gambler, may accomplish: inflaming divisive social issues now will probably make it almost impossible for Mitt Romney to be president—with or without Rubio on the ticket.
In 1964, private citizen Ronald Reagan gave a ripping speech endorsing Senator Barry Goldwater for president. Reagan’s speech didn’t soften or broaden Goldwater’s appeal—or save his doomed campaign. But, his uncompromising message made him a rising political star.
Have a look.
You can be sure Rubio has.