Obama and the Catholics: It May Be a Kulturkampf, but He's No Otto von Bismarck

The Catholic League is prepared for war:

Catholic leaders are furious and determined to harness the voting power of the nation’s 70 million Catholic voters to stop a provision of President Barack Obama’s new heath car reform bill that will force Catholic schools, hospitals and charities to buy birth control pills, abortion-producing drugs and sterilization coverage for their employees.

“Never before, unprecedented in American history, for the federal government to line up against the Roman Catholic Church,” said Catholic League head Bill Donohue.

There’s never been any doubt in my mind that our secularist (yes, secularist) chief executive had something of a “kulturkampf” in mind when he made this decision.  And, yes, it’s the same Catholic Church that Otto von Bismarck launched his against in the wake of the unification of the Reich.  And, finally, it’s pretty much for the same reason: both Obama and von Bismarck wanted to make a show of force against a powerful institution that represented a challenge, implicit or explicit, to their authority.

But that’s where the similarity ends.  One of von Bismarck’s accomplishments was the institution of the comprehensive social safety net that is a hallmark of German society and has been widely admired and imitated elsewhere.  To say, however, that the complex, expensive plan widely called ObamaCare is a worthy successor to what von Bismarck did–and what the Germans do today–is laughable.  What we’ve got is so bad that, as I’ve said before, it makes a single-payer plan look good.  Had Obama adopted that, he wouldn’t be in federal court defending the mandate.

And, of course, Barack Obama, with his due obeisance to his environmentalist fans, would never countenance the development of the wealth-creating industrial base that von Bismarck did (witness the Keystone pipeline fiasco) or for that matter the broad-based (and upward mobility encouraging) educational system, both of which became the envy of the world.

In his day Otto von Bismarck was referred to as the “Iron Chancellor.”  But things have changed.  Maybe what we have now is the “Plastic President.”

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