Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: McCain's Birth Control Problem

Saturday, July 12, 2008

McCain's Birth Control Problem

Although the initial response I saw about the McCain/Fiorina flap focused on the idea that McCain was embarrassed to discuss Viagra, it started to make sense fairly quickly that he was trying to avoid discussing birth control. Although I know there are pockets of resistance, and abortion remains a contentious topic, I'd pretty much assumed that the availability and acceptability of birth control was essentially settled. Unfortunately, most of those pockets of resistance are the very voters McCain is trying to woo, so it should only be expected that he's got no good response to Carly Fiorina's assertion that medical coverage should include birth control. We can't know what McCain's personal attitudes toward birth control are, but, any "maverick" tendencies to the side, it's not at all a surprise that he's voted against it on the Senate floor. But even reading all about this left me completely unprepared to see the actual video of the exchange. It went viral fairly quickly, so you may have seen it already, but if you haven't, I'll link to Don's embed of it. It truly was astonishing to me to see how completely lost, how nonplussed he is in his reaction. He even admits at one point that he's "ducking" the question. Not only is it a fascinating political and sociological artifact, the video is endlessly entertaining, as well.

When it comes down to it, McCain is actually walking a number of tightropes--some of them perpendicular to each other--in his candidacy. He has a lot of people with sometimes conflicting opinions that he has to keep happy. He can't offend the religious right, but avoiding a discussion of birth control is not likely to endear him to many independent (or Republican, for that matter) women. I think we're going to see many more situations like this as the campaign progresses. It'll be fun.


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