Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren has been a fundraising juggernaut so far in her 2012 campaign to beat freshman Republican Senator Scott Brown. But currently, that money hasn’t been translating into a lead in the polls.
According to Roll Call, early February polling shows her trailing Brown by 9 points, coming in at 43 to Brown’s 52 percent support.
But that could change as Congress continues to fight over contraception coverage in health care plans. Despite the vast majority of voters supporting no copay birth control, Brown has aligned himself with the supporters of the Blunt Amendment, which would allow any employer to deny coverage for health practices they deem “morally” objectionable.
Brown knows how unpopular his position is to his constituents. So to soften the blow, he’s invoking the name of favored politician, the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. In a radio ad, Brown states, “Like Ted Kennedy before me, I support a conscience exemption in health care for Catholics and other people of faith.”
Kennedy’s family wants that to stop. Son Patrick Kennedy sent a letter to Brown, writing, “My father believed that health care providers should be allowed a conscience exemption from performing any service that conflicted with their faith. That’s what was in his 1995 law and what he referenced to the Pope. That is completely different than the broad language of the Blunt Amendment that will allow any employer, or even an insurance company, to use vague moral objections as an excuse to refuse to provide health care coverage. My father never would have supported this extreme legislation… You are entitled to your own opinions, of course, but I ask that, moving forward, you do not confuse my father’s positions with your own. I appreciate the past respect you have expressed for his legacy, but misstating his positions is no way to honor his life’s work.”
In order to pass the Blunt Amendment in the senate, Republicans will need every vote they can get. Although Brown is confident his support of “religious liberty” will play well with the Catholic voters in his state, it may backfire once he realizes that a majority of Catholics do in fact use birth control. And they tend to not appreciate having Kennedy’s legacy misused, either.
Photo credit: ElizabethForMA flickr
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.