By November, nobody is going to remember who Sandra Fluke is. That’s what Republicans need to keep in mind as they judge the political impact of opposing the Obama administration’s latest health-care mandate. The issue is likely to help Republicans in the fall, if they can keep their wits about them.
They’re not doing that right now. Instead, they’re overreacting to two mistakes that opponents of the mandate have made. Both involved Fluke. After the Obama administration announced that it would require almost all employers to offer insurance that covers contraception, abortion drugs, and sterilization, whether or not those employers have moral objections, Representative Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) held hearings before the government-oversight committee he chairs. The Democrats requested that Fluke, a Georgetown Law School student and liberal activist who favors the mandate, testify. But the request was denied as too late. Since one of Issa’s panels had no female witnesses, the Democrats then used the incident as an illustration for their story that Republicans are waging a “war on women” by resisting the mandate. Press coverage was brutal. Since then, Issa has been telling his House colleagues to avoid the issue, and many of them have done so.
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