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It is what it isn't

BY BEAU ELLIOT | FEBRUARY 21, 2012 6:30 AM

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This is not about Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum, or — the cosmos save us — Newt Gingrich.

So little in this world is, if you think about it.

Back in 1998 — which was a quaint time before Facebook, Twitter, and ubiquitous smartphones, when blackberries were something you ate (no, really), Paris meant the capital of France, not some kooky heiress of a hotel fortune, and the Chicago Bulls actually won NBA championships — yeah, I know; that all sounds impossible. I must be exaggerating.

I mean, people didn't even text in public. As a matter of fact, "text" hadn't yet become a verb. How, you ask, could human beings even exist if "text" wasn't a verb? OMG.

(Actually, "OMG" didn't exist, either. It had only been a few years since the wheel had been invented.)

Human beings were more primitive then. They were probably more closely related to Australopithecus or Homo erectus (no dumb jokes, please — that's my bailiwick) than to our modern human beings. Things were so primitive that Republicans in Congress tried everything possible to sabotage the presidency of the Democrat in the White House — which, of course, is nothing like today.

Anyway, in 1998, Congress mandated that birth control be covered in health-insurance plans for federal employees. I don't recall any particular outrage at the time on the part of conservatives, who, back in those ancient times, seemed to realize that most people of age (whatever that might be) engaged in sex and most women wanted access to birth control.

Maybe people weren't so primitive. Nah.

Those conservatives seem pretty much quaint (that word again) these days. Where have they gone?

Oh — one, Newt Gingrich, is running for president. Another, Rick Santorum, is, too. They both seem to think birth control is a big deal these days, and they're agin it.

(Yeah, I know — I said this wasn't about the Newt or the Rick. I lied. Or rather, I was bluffing. It's something you learn when you play guys named Phil and Jerry in poker, which I don't advise unless you really don't care about having any money.)

Santorum (now leading the Mitt in GOP polls — how's that dog doing, Mitt?) seems to devoutly believe in the Catholic Church's view on birth control (and sex) circa 1633 — the year the Catholic Church's Inquisition went after Galileo.

Yeah. Let's elect a medieval prelate (grand inquisitor?) as president. It's only the 21st century, after all.

As Sandra Fish of the Washington Post points out, one of Rick Santorum's favorite PAC guys (her description), Forest Friese, actually suggested on Feb. 16 that women practice contraception with aspirins between the knees.

Yeah, I know. We've come so far since the primitive days of 1998. (The good news is, the Chicago Bulls actually have a chance to win the NBA championship this season.

The curious thing is that so many conservatives think that the whole birth-control/health-insurance brouhaha will negatively affect Democrats in the coming elections. (Yes, Virginia, there will be elections this year, barring some unforeseen plate-tectonic shift. Or the second coming of the Spanish Inquisition. As Monty Python famously pointed out, Nobody expects the unforeseen plate-tectonic shift. Thus the name.)

But the polls, as Greg Sargent of the Washington Post points out, disagree. (Pesky polls — which is a Boston Red Sox reference, for those of you counting at home. Always a dicey prospect.)

As Sargent reports: A New York Times/CBS poll asks: "Do you support or oppose a recent federal requirement that private health-insurance plans cover the full cost of birth control for their female patients?" Those polled favored the requirement 66 percent to 26 percent.

The poll breaks it down further: Republicans support the policy 50-44 (Yes, Virginia, even Republicans.) Independents support it 64-26. Women (unsurprisingly) support it 72-20. Catholics support it 67-25.

Um, yeah. Birth control/health insurance will be bad for Democrats, particularly President Obama.

And in 1998, Australopithecus ruled the world.


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