Sarah Steelman hits the air first in using the HHS mandate on religious organizations as a billy club in the upcoming elections. Steelman will run for the chance to replace Claire McCaskill in a tough Republican primary, one in which she will almost certainly get outspent by John Brunner. With only $84,000 cash on hand at the moment, Steelman rolls the dice by hammering McCaskill over her support for the mandate, and vows to fight for First Amendment rights if she beats McCaskill in the fall:
This is a pitch-perfect ad from Steelman, and one fellow Republicans should study closely for their own ad campaigns. What’s the one word that doesn’t get mentioned in the spot? Contraception:
In the spot, Steelman speaks directly into the camera and accuses the president of trampling on Americans’ constitutional rights.
“It is a slap in the face for religious freedom and is another disastrous byproduct of Obamacare. Worse yet, Claire McCaskill has agreed with them. I don’t,” she says.
The ad never specifically cites contraception and frames the issue as one of “religious freedom,” a pitch that could be received particularly well in the southwest part of the state which is home to many evangelical Christians.
Democrats have to defend a lot of red-state and swing-state Senate seats this year, and this could be a big issue if Republicans keep the focus on this issue as two principles at stake: religious freedom and the abuse of power by the Obama administration through ObamaCare. Steelman doesn’t get derailed into a discussion of the merits of contraception, nor should other Republicans, but in upholding the rights of religious organizations to refrain from facilitating violations of religious doctrines, and more generally of businesses to make their own decisions on what they will subsidize and what they will not — just as they were free to do before the passage of ObamaCare gave the federal government diktat power.