Douglas W. Kmiec continues to try convince himself and others that Sen. Obama is not only the savior of the free world and genius of all trades, but also a champion of life who is the best choice for those wishing to lessen the number of abortions:
Why would the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party devote so much time talking faith rather than politics? Quite simply, because it is the senator's deep personal faith that explains his audaciously positive hope for his country.
Obama's life is one of accomplishment in the face of unexpected challenge—the all-too-usual perils of an absentee father overcome by the extraordinary love of mother and grandparents; a home with little religious practice surpassed by an early education in Catholic schools and a later immersion in the hard work of faith assisting the poor in Chicago. When Obama picks up the political glass it is uniformly half full, and frankly, when he encounters the skepticism of others—as he occasionally did in our meeting—he casts a smile that doesn't discount or disregard doubt, but somehow manages to engage it with the intelligence of everyone in the room.
The discussion dwelt at some length on abortion. Obama said he earnestly wants to "discourage" the practice—despite the distortions of some who think if they affix the "pro-abortion—won't overturn-Roe-label" to the senator, pro-lifers like myself won't give him the time of day. Sorry, good friends, not this year.
Exactly how stupid does Kmiec think people are? Pretty stupid, it seems to me. And maybe he's right (about people being stupid, not about Obama and abortion). Christopher Blosser, for one, is not taken in by the empty rhetoric, pointing out what is obvious to anyone who studies Sen. Obama's public record and recent speeches: the man is as pro-abortion as anyone at NARAL or Planned Barrenhood:
Mind you, he's speaking to a man who carries a 100% legislative voting record from NARAL.
Who promised, at first opportunity he would get, to join his fellow Democrats in signing the Freedom of Choice Act into law.
His idea of "encouraging responsible sexual behavior" is to cease federal encouragement of sexual abstinence and provide contraception to every teenager and adult.
He would repeal federal funding of crisis pregnancy centers.
Read Christopher's post at "Catholics in the Public Square."
Paul Kengor, in a recent Catholic World Report article about Catholics supporting Sen. Obama, provides a pithy, on target analysis of Kmiec's position:
Unlike other Catholics who ignore the issue altogether, Kmiec addressed his difference with Obama over abortion. But he deals with the difference unconvincingly. Kmiec acknowledges that he believes life begins at conception, “and it is important for every life to be given sustenance and encouragement,” then renders this stance meaningless with a vague hope about Obama’s openness: “In various ways, Sen. Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important fundamentals, but I am convinced, based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing, that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of views and, as best as is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them.”
To which public pronouncements is Kmiec referring? Recall Obama’s remarks to a screaming Planned Parenthood crowd last July, to whom he promised, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act,” which would overturn state pro-life laws nationwide and make abortion the supreme law of the land. In that speech, he told the appreciative women that Planned Parenthood was a “safety net provider” that needed to be given “discounted drugs” so that “all women” would have access to “affordable contraception.” In the speech, he hailed Margaret Sanger—eugenicist, racist, and Planned Parenthood founder—as a voice in the “struggle for equality.”
Amazingly, Kmiec read this speech and points to it as an example of Obama’s alleged flexibility. Kmiec sees the speech as lacking the vituperation of so many speeches by pro-choice Democrats to abortion groups, an interpretation that mistakenly assumes that style and tone trumps substance and policy for Obama.
Behind Obama’s smile is an uncompromising advocacy for unfettered abortion rights. Obama is committed to appointing strictly pro-abortion judges to the US Supreme Court. As for Reaganesque pro-life judges recently promoted to the court by President George W. Bush—namely, Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, both of whom Kmiec commends—Obama boasts of his votes against these two judges.
Obama has said that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most stalwart abortion crusader on the high court, is his ideal justice. Kmiec, given his expertise as a legal scholar, knows this.
To be blunt, Kmiec’s perception of Obama’s openness to accommodation on abortion is pure projection. There is absolutely no reason to conclude that a President Obama would be receptive to a pro-life message. Obama himself has repeatedly made it clear that his stance on this issue will be unyielding. As president, he might say he is open to pro-lifers and that he respects them, but he would not be expected to join them on any meaningful pro-life action.
There is a psychological-emotional attraction to Obama that goes beyond the traditional reasons explaining why people, Catholics included, support certain candidates. What’s more, the Roman Catholics in Obama’s camp are largely typical of the religious left generally and left-leaning Catholics specifically who identify with and support a liberal Democrat for president. The abortion issue simply loses out to a wider swath of “social justice” issues that for them take precedence.
Read Kengor's article, "Roman Catholics for Obama '08" (CWR, June 2008).
• Sen. Barack Obama: "I don't know anybody who is pro-abortion." (Jan. 24, 2008)
• That's why Catholics should vote for Sen. Obama? (Feb. 15, 2008)
• Catholic reporter defends his support for Obama, stating: "bishops be damned" (Feb. 15, 2008)
• The soul of Senator Barack Obama (Feb. 28, 2008)
• Donahue vs. Obama (May 13, 2008)