Democratic fallout from Hobby Lobby decision is 'no surprise'

by Vinnie Rotondaro

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There is an old political saying that where Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line.

But in the fallout from the Hobby Lobby decision, it seems the reverse is holding true, as Democrats have run with the decision -- channeling a message that Hobby Lobby will "deny" women contraceptive care -- while Republicans, at first enamored with the decision, now find themselves on the defensive, again accused of being against women's rights.

"Are you ready to fight just as hard for women's rights as conservatives seem to be fighting against them?" asks a July 14 email from Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. "Add your name to stand with women and show the other guys that religious freedom doesn't mean the freedom to deny women their rights."

"U.S. Supreme Court Lets Private Companies Deny Birth Control Coverage to Employers" reads the headline of a press release from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Even if claims that the ruling would "deny" women contraceptive care are exaggerated (see my last story), that hasn't stopped Democrats from repeating it to rally their base during an election year, political analysts say.

"It's really no surprise to see this kind of language from Democrats during an election season," said Geoffrey Skelley, a political analyst at Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball. "It's meant to enrage and excite the base."

Single women, who traditionally vote Democrat, constitute a growing bloc of the electorate. Their vote is expected to prove critical in the 2014 midterm elections.

"The worry is that they won't turn out in high enough numbers," Skelley said -- and that worry is especially pronounced in the Senate, which the Democrats are in danger of losing.

On July 16, a Senate bill nicknamed the "Not My Boss's Business Act," which would have effectively overturned the Hobby Lobby decision, failed in a vote, 56-43.

Still, even in defeat, some say it represents a victory for Democrats.

On July 17, Charles Babington of The Associated Press called the vote "the latest example of Democrats' win-by-losing strategy, which forces Republicans to vote on sensitive matters that might rile women this fall."

[Vinnie Rotondaro is NCR national correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @VinRotondaro.]

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