Fox Nation, RCP and MRC-TV pick up on what must be the most awesome heckler Mitt Romney has ever met. While campaigning yesterday in Peoria, Illinois in advance of the primary today, a woman challenged Romney by demanding free birth control. Romney told her she’s at the wrong rally:
Woman: “So you’re all for like, ‘yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff. And ‘yay, like pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”
Romney:”You know, let me tell you, no no, look, look let me tell you something. If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy. That’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about.”
Romney has struggled to connect with conservatives, but in this case he hits the nail on the head. The woman uses the common, historically- and politically-illiterate argument that “pursuit of happiness” means a right to delivery of happiness. Nowhere in the foundational documents of this nation does the right to achieved happiness exist — only that government will stay out of the way of citizens who seek it to the greatest degree possible.
In this case, the woman believes that free contraception will make her happy. That conflicts, however, with people of faith who think that not funding or facilitating contraception will make them happy, for whatever motives they have. The proper role of government in this case is to stay out of the way of both, allowing the woman to seek financial relationships with those who want to provide free contraception, and allow those who don’t want to fund it to make that choice for themselves. That is exactly the model that “pursuit of happiness” means.
The only question remaining is whether Romney’s campaign got the woman’s name and number, and arranged for a few more such appearances in the future.