On the February 8 episode of MSNBCs Martin Bashir program, the host along with liberal Democrat Rep. Peter Walsh (Vt.) used the contraception mandate controversy to advocate the elusive liberal Democratic dream of a Canada-style government-run health care monopoly. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bashir started the interview -- better described as a Democrat strategy session -- to blast Speaker John Boehner for his opposition to the Obama administration’s health care ruling.
“I found that slightly surprising since there are other more pressing issues right at this moment on his desk like extending the payroll tax cut extension and unemployment insurance," Bashir pontificated. "But he seems to think we have time what, to legislate on this issue now?"
Apparently to Bashir and his colleagues at MSNBC, the religious liberty of charitable organizations like Catholic-run hospitals is a "toxic waste"* of the Congress's time. On a side note, it was Boehner and congressional Republicans in December who pushed for a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut, something congressional Democrats refused to assent to.
What’s even more disgusting is that Rep. Walsh used Bashir's rant as a jumping off point to defame the GOP by claiming Boehner and the entire GOP want to repeal Roe v. Wade, and "really set women back." Of course, Roe is not at issue in the present debate and both Walsh and Bashir know it, yet Bashir failed to call the Democratic congressman on his groundless bluster.
The two continued their liberal pep talk by agreeing that all health issues would be solved if we just had a single-payer health system in America, just like in Bashir's native England. But all such a system would do would be to ensure that the lack of choice the administration is foisting on religious institutions would be spread over billions of religious Americans whose taxes would most surely pay for contraception and abortions with which they disagree.
Besides Rep. Walsh, Bashir stocked the rest of his program with liberal guests like Rep. Barbara Lee and former DNC communications director Karen Finney who sang from the administration's song sheet when it came to the contraception mandate.
Oddly enough, Bashir closed his program with a "Clear the Air" commentary that slammed liberal New York City Michael Bloomberg (I) for an "egregious form of religious intolerance" if he should refuse to rent public school space out to religious groups for worship services.
It's testament to Martin's intellectual incoherence to condemn Bloomberg's policy while finding Republicans' desire to debate Obama's policy in Congress as a complete waste of time.
*Toxic Waste of Time was an onscreen graphic earlier in the hour that described congressional Republicans hopes to debate the contraception mandate.
Below is the relevant transcript:
MARTIN BASHIR: I wonder if I could turn your mind to domestic thoughts now and what appears to be the latest chapter in the so-called culture war. Speaker John Boehner took to the floor of the house today, as you know to oppose the Obama health care rule that requires religious organizations to include free contraception to employees on their insurance plan. Mr. Boehner says it's unconstitutional, and he wants Congress to vote on legislation to change it. I found that slightly surprising since there are other more pressing issues right at this moment on his desk like extending the payroll tax cut extension and unemployment insurance. But he seems to think we have time what, to legislate on this issue now?
CONGRESSMAN PETER WELSH: Well, you're dead right, Martin. I mean this has been totally politicized. And keep in mind its Mr. Boehner and the GOP that wants to repeal Roe v. Wade and really set women back. The bottom line here is that in a lot of ways, we would be much better off if we had a single pair health care system where you didn’t have employers involved and where the benefits would be available including contraception.
BASHIR: I could not agree more sir but that's not what we have.
WELSH: That's right. So the White House is doing the right thing here where it's acknowledging that we have to make certain that women who want access to contraceptives have it, and they try to work out an arrangement where that can be done without asking some bishops and prelates to violate what they regard as a doctrinal matter.