Over at Politics Daily, David Gibson has an excellent analysis of how the Catholic bishops managed both to win the anti-abortion battle and be on the losing side of the health care war. There will no doubt be some smoke emanating from USCCB quarters about how they had to stand on principle–including the principle of including undocumented immigrants. The bottom line is that, when push came to shove, they pushed for the bill to go down to defeat, and got shoved out of the way.
I don’t doubt that some bishops are secretly happy that things turned out as they did, and presumably Cardinal George, the head of the conference, will quickly try to pivot toward immigration reform. But having lost on health care, they’ve showed that their bark is worse than their bite. Had they embraced the Stupak compromise at the critical hour, they’d be the mastiffs in the room, not the poodles.