There are a lot of things above Obama’s “pay grade”

posted at 8:30 am on August 17, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

I’ll credit Rick Warren with asking both John McCain and Barack Obama about abortion.  I skipped the Saddleback Church non-debate, but Jim at Gateway Pundit captured what has to be the quote of the election.  When asked the point when a human embryo achieves personhood, Obama said that the question is “above my pay grade”:

Q. Now, let’s deal with abortion. 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. you know, as a pastor I have to deal with this all of the time. \Aall of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. 40 million abortions. At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?

A. Well, I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade. But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is there is a moral and ethical content to this issue. So I think that anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue I think is not paying attention. So that would be point number one.

But point number two, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade and come to that conclusion not because I’m pro abortion, but because ultimately I don’t think women make these decisions casually. They wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with their pastors or spouses or their doctors and their family members.

And so for me, the goal right now should be — and this is where I think we can find common ground and by the way I have now inserted this into the democrat party platform is how do we reduce the number of abortions because the fact is that although we’ve had a president who is opposed to abortions over the last eight years, abortions have not gone down.

Q. Have you ever voted to limit or reduce abortions?

A. I am in favor, for example, of limits on late term abortions if there is an exception for the mother’s health. Now from the perspective of those who, you know, are pro life, I think they would consider that inadequate. and I respect their views. I mean one of the things that I’ve always said is that on this particular issue, if you believe that life begins at conception, then — and you are consistent in that belief, then I can’t argue with you on that because that is a core issue of faith for you.

What I can do is say are there ways that we can work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies so that we actually are reducing the sense that women are seeking out abortions, and as an example of that, one of the things that I’ve talked about is how do we provide the resources that allow women to make the choice to keep a child. You know, have we given them the health care that they need. have we given them the support services that they need. Have we given them the options of adoption that are necessary. That I think can make a genuine difference.

First, the entire issue of abortion involves determining when a baby becomes a person. If Obama thinks this is above his pay grade, then he probably shouldn’t be running for political office. If a baby is a person at conception, then abortion is murder. If Obama doesn’t believe that abortion is murder, then he can’t believe in the personhood, the humanity, of an embryo or fetus — not unless he’s some kind of monster.

As President — even as Senator — Obama is expected to have an answer for this.  Quite literally, there is no higher pay grade in the US government, and abortion is one of the issues he has to face.  If he can’t face it, then he should go back to community organization and leave politics for people who can.   John McCain had no trouble answering the same question. Obama dodged it — and for good reason: his answer would have exposed his radical views.

Even in his equivocations, though, Obama can’t be honest.  His reference to the Democratic platform on abortion is laughable.  He insists that it represents an effort to reduce abortions, but Obamas’ language pledges to oppose all efforts to limit abortion on demand while providing public financing for abortions.  That language actually strengthens the pro-abortion position over the 2004 position, while paying lip service to reducing abortions through nore government-funded programs.

Has Barack Obama ever voted to reduce abortions?  Obama never answered that question, but he hasn’t.   He voted against the ban on partial-birth abortions, a bill that passed Congress on a bipartisan basis three times before finally becoming law.  In Illinois, he voted to kill a bill that would have stopped Christ Hospital and other medical facilities from abandoning live infants from unsuccessful abortions so that they would die of neglect.  Obama lied about this, too, in an interview on CBN with David Brody last night:

As the NRLC has discovered, the Illinois bill did have the “neutrality clause” attached as an amendment to S.1082 in the same committee session in which Obama later killed the bill, on a party-line vote. That goes beyond abortion to infanticide, which makes Obama’s position on the personhood of a fetus even more nebulous. He’s moved into Peter Singer territory — the most radically pro-abortion candidate ever to carry a major-party nomination for President.

Unless, of course, voters buy the notion that the issue is above Obama’s pay grade, and that he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about. In that case, they’d still be better off supporting the candidate who understands the pay grade he’s already at and the pay grade of the job for which he’s campaigning.

Update: I didn’t think about this at the time, but isn’t Barack Obama a Constitutional law scholar?  Isn’t a question of personhood supposed to be in that “pay grade”?

Update II: You can watch the unclipped version of the CBN exchange here.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Barack Hussein Obama is the quintecential Chicago politician. He will pander to anyone, deliver to no one, and take care of his own self interests before even thinking of the electorate.

Want to know what B. O. stands for? Just look closely at ChiTcago. Higher taxes, abortion on demand, and sanctuary for law breaking ILLEGAL Aliens is on the top of his list.

DannoJyd on August 17, 2008 at 11:33 AM

Ed, you may enjoy this editorial:

Aug 17, 2008 10:02 | Updated Aug 17, 2008 17:41
The audacity of resume-padding (or, why Obama makes things up)
By ABRAHAM KATSMAN AND KORY BARDASH

It seems that Obama recognizes that while his résumé titles are impressive, his actual accomplishments are weak. It’s as if he were jockeying to be the next company CEO with little to show for his prior high-profile management positions. So, he does what anyone else does who has spent years coasting on charisma without doing any heavy work: he pads his résumé–stretching the truth here, stealing credit there, and creating the illusion of achievement during his lackadaisical, undistinguished tenure in previous jobs.

A few examples? Take Obama’s first general election ad. We are told that Obama “passed laws” that “extended healthcare for wounded troops who’d been neglected,” with a citation at the bottom to only one Senate bill: The 2008 Defense Authorization Bill, which passed the Senate by a 91-3 vote. Six Senators did not vote-including Obama. Nor is there evidence that he contributed to its passage in any material way. So, his claim to have “passed laws” amounts to citing a bill that was largely unopposed, that he didn’t vote for, and whose passage he didn’t impact. Even his hometown Chicago Tribune caught this false claim. It’s classic résumé-padding–falsely taking credit for the work of others.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1218710381368&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

funky chicken on August 17, 2008 at 11:33 AM

You all are just plain looking at this the WRONG way!

There are many things that are not above Obama’s (PBUH) “pay grade”, and you all should be happy with that.

Such as:

being a Liar
being a Fraud
being a Crook
being a Hollow-suit
being a Muslim who practices “Taqiyah
being a Marxist
being Anti-American (check out his answer at the Faith Forum on this question, to remove all doubt!)
being an Anti-White Racist
being an Anti-Semite
being Pro-Jihadi
being a Slum Lord
agreeing it’s okay to murder unborn babies

See, none of those things are above Obama’s (PBUH) “pay grade”.

So give him a break on the abortion question, okay?

Dale in Atlanta on August 17, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Sadly their was just a segment on Fox News talking about what a great answer this was from the Obumbler, but I switched to This Week on ABC and they seem to understand how bad this was. The “news”world is turning upside down.

RW_theoriginal on August 17, 2008 at 11:36 AM

Nice to see Obama knows more than God.

Nethicus on August 17, 2008 at 11:38 AM

Sadly their was just a segment on Fox News talking about what a great answer this was from the Obumbler, but I switched to This Week on ABC and they seem to understand how bad this was. The “news”world is turning upside down.
RW_theoriginal on August 17, 2008 at 11:36 AM

This morning or last night?

The one I watched last night had four people on as guests. They identified the three (as my recollection, as it were) were democrat supporters, former advisors to mondale or some other democrats, and Krauthammer.

Of course anyone on the panel can praise Obama, if that was their opinion. Doesn’t mean that this is the consensus.

wise_man on August 17, 2008 at 11:40 AM

A flippant response to this serious moral issue is deeply offensive.

obladioblada on August 17, 2008 at 11:41 AM

I thought the “above my pay grade” comment was flippant and most definitely lacking in gravitas. This guy is a rank amateur and I feel like this whole campaign is nothing more than an extended and massive episode of Candid Camera. Its time for Alan Funt to come onscreen and let us all in on the joke.

HawaiiLwyr on August 17, 2008 at 11:51 AM

There literally is no pay grade above President. Obama himself just admitted that he is not qualified to hold that pay grade.

Guardian on August 17, 2008 at 11:55 AM

wise_man on August 17, 2008 at 11:40 AM

This was just a couple of minutes before I wrote the comment. There was a guest assessing the answers that thought this “above my pay grade” answer was a good one and Jamie Colby agreed with the guest, although I guess it’s possible she was just trying to move the segment along.

RW_theoriginal on August 17, 2008 at 11:56 AM

JiangxiDad, I’m with you! That “My Friends” schtick is as annoying as the “The American People want …” (fill in the blanks.) Politicians use that one every time they try to justify one of their screw-ups!

As far as the Rick Warren forum goes… I thought it was very good. I would definitly like to see more of them. McCains performance was very good and it made me see him in a different light. I DON’T like his illegal alien stand, his global warming stand and several others but, I have to admit that he came across as LOVING this country. In my book, that’s a big plus.

He also endorsed school choice, constitutional judges, pro life, LOW taxes on EVERYONE, war on terrorists no matter where they are, and tax credits for health care. As much as I was against McCain before…. I’m starting to lean his way.

Proudvet on August 17, 2008 at 11:58 AM

But point number two, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade and come to that conclusion not because I’m pro abortion, but because ultimately I don’t think women make these decisions casually.

Uh, some do make these decisions casually, dude. Up here in Canada’s north, in small communities populated by an ethnic group that shall remain nameless, abortion is frequently used as simple birth control, rather than condoms or the pill.

Frozen Tex on August 17, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Thank you, RW_theoriginal.

.

And the “above my pay grade” comment, I’ve heard this many times before. It’s the way some in politics speak. I believe that its origin is in the military. An Captain (an O-3) might comment that a question to him is above his pay grade, when an Lieutenant Colonel (an O-5) would be the one to answer that question. In case anyone was wondering.

Seems like Obama answered that question in a cute way (pay grade) that could also be answered: ‘it’s not up to me, that’s a question for God.’ in other words, above my pay grade, I’m only president. Or, at least he wants to be.

– may take on it.

wise_man on August 17, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Like I said on LGF, if you are the President of the United States from the middle of the twentieth century onwards, there isn’t a damn thing that’s a whole lot past your pay grade.

Sekhmet on August 17, 2008 at 12:11 PM

1. Obama’s answer was likely what wise_man suggests, though that makes it no less subject to some of the objections Ed raises.

2. The Supremes have assiduously avoided the “personhood” issue in their abortion cases.

Karl on August 17, 2008 at 12:17 PM

DannoJyd you are absolutely correct. Well said.

UnEasyRider on August 17, 2008 at 12:17 PM

I just hope Shillery doesn’t grab the nomination away from this clown in Denver. McCain doesn’t need a stick to beat him, the O!’s words will do just fine.

JimK on August 17, 2008 at 12:25 PM

I guess everything is above his pay grade..he cant make a decision and stick to it!

He is sinking fast.

becki51758 on August 17, 2008 at 12:33 PM

For the record Fox just did another segment of just their own reporting where they contrasted the answers on this question and in this report they called Obambi’s answer vague.

RW_theoriginal on August 17, 2008 at 12:40 PM

Good article about Obama’s little pro-infanticide problem.

You can tell Barack Obama knows he has a problem when he starts lying about his record, and the lie is readily disprovable. Such is the case with his 2002 vote against the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act…

JiangxiDad on August 17, 2008 at 12:51 PM

I believe that statement will be the slogan which will define exactly why the Obamessiah is not ready to lead.

Which leads me to believe that we don’t need to attack him, he’ll do enough damage to himself.

Before last night’s forum I was really on the fence about McCain….but today?

McCain 08.

monique on August 17, 2008 at 1:02 PM

wise_man:

Seems like Obama answered that question in a cute way (pay grade) that could also be answered: ‘it’s not up to me, that’s a question for God.’ in other words, above my pay grade, I’m only president. Or, at least he wants to be.

If the wise_man take on this is an accurate one I see the answer as just as inartful a dodge as Ed perceives. If this is an acceptable way to answer moral/political questions then any politician can answer the same way. What about war? A question only God can answer? What about the sin of breaking the law to enter a country illegally? Many clergy in America believe that’s in God’s purview too. The point is, any moral question when posed to a politician has a distinct political aspect to it. NO politician should be able to dodge political questions by using God as a cover. Obviously Obama knows his true thoughts (substantiated by his actions) are highly unpopular in the electorate, especially in places like Penn. and Ohio. Its probably better to take the heat for dodging than to let his true colors show. We shouldn’t so easily let him off the hook though.

JonPrichard on August 17, 2008 at 1:09 PM

Hmmm. Apparently Obama doesn’t realize that by not making a moral decision he’s made a moral decision and in doing so he’s agreed to, and approved, the possible killing of innocent human beings. Most abortion advocates fall back on the position that human life doesn’t begin with conception, and therefore, abortion isn’t killing a human being. Whether correct or not, that’s at least logical and consistent. Obama’s position is far worse. By refusing to take a position as to whether or not life begins at conception, he’s admitting that he doesn’t know when human life begins and when it doesn’t. So essentially, Obama approves of the mass killings of what, in Obama’s mind, may very well be human beings.

So not only is Obama inconsistent, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by the possibility of mass murder. One can, in all good conscience, for abortion on the basis that what is being aborted is not a living human being; the possibility of mass murder has no effect on Obama’s conscience. And this is the guy claims to care about the poor and disadvantaged?

under on August 17, 2008 at 1:22 PM

I can’t stand this fraud. . .I very seldom any
more listen and almost never watch, so it’s been a
while. . .I did notice while I was thowing up watching
Omama this time that he blinks as much as Madam Pelosi.

That alone speaks volumes.

Texyank on August 17, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Two points…

First, above my PAY GRADE is a quisentential military saying… Problem is when we are talking about the Commander in Chief, there is NOTHING above that pay grade… I guess on Obamas desk the sign would say “The BUCK STARTS HERE!”.

Second. That a Constituional Lawyer, and purported Christian, does not even have, or give, his opinion on one of the most divisive moral issues of our day, tells me he has no moral center… and thus, is not someone I want making decisions for the country under stress.

Romeo13 on August 17, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Yikes! Perhaps I should read entire original posts first before I comment–just read the first paragraph and then watched the video. Got a bad habit of doing that. I just read the entire original post and realized I had nothing new, and therefore, wasted a post.

under on August 17, 2008 at 1:37 PM

This would make a great headline if the media were not a part of the DNC.

Something like, “Obama Admits he is Unqualified to be President.”

EJDolbow on August 17, 2008 at 1:37 PM

The Democrats are sending a boy out, to do a man’s job!

byteshredder on August 17, 2008 at 1:47 PM

So not only is Obama inconsistent, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by the possibility of mass murder. One can, in all good conscience, for abortion on the basis that what is being aborted is not a living human being; the possibility of mass murder has no effect on Obama’s conscience. And this is the guy claims to care about the poor and disadvantaged?

under on August 17, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Very well said under, and while I agree, the pro-abortion crowd will forever crow that this is a woman’s privacy right issue. The consideration that a murder might be taking place is not allowed in their dialogue.

Rovin on August 17, 2008 at 1:51 PM

As usual Obama didn’t answer the question. Instead he pontificated around it with double speak. On this one I think his record stands for itself and it isn’t pretty.

duff65 on August 17, 2008 at 1:56 PM

wise_man on August 17, 2008 at 12:05 PM

If you take that as his answer, that when life begins is only definable by god (thus above obama’s pay grade), wouldn’t you err on the side of caution here – to make sure you don’t piss off god?

lorien1973 on August 17, 2008 at 2:33 PM

Did I not call it that because all the Pundits said it was going to be boring and uneventful that this thing would awesome?

– The Cat

P.S. Yeah, I’m that great

MirCat on August 17, 2008 at 3:56 PM

I wish Obama’s mother hadn’t punished us with a baby.

marklmail on August 17, 2008 at 3:57 PM

I find it very difficult to believe that anyone could have difficulty to answer such a simple question as when does life begin. A fertilized egg doesn’t look like a human being, but nine months later, it will be. It won’t be a frog. Or a wildebeest. Or anything else than a human child. A baby that hasn’t yet been born is still as much a human and a person as the 10 minutes later when they are delivered into this world. Did life begin when their cord was cut? When they started to look like a human? what about when they looked more like a tadpole. Still human then?

If Obama doesn’t want to answer the question directly, or if he thinks that a human life begins at the third trimester, then he could say just that. I don’t know. I won’t say. It’s not up to me to judge. But as president, he will be nominating judges who will either share his view, or oppose his. So he dodged the question. Still not much doubt in my mind which way he’ll make a contribution, in the form of the next supreme court justices.

wise_man on August 17, 2008 at 4:33 PM

Here’s an excellent recap of Barry’s B.S. and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act – from David Freddoso at NRO.

Buy Danish on August 17, 2008 at 5:57 PM

I wish Obama’s mother hadn’t punished us with a baby.

marklmail on August 17, 2008 at 3:57 PM

Evidently, his mother, father, and step-father thought the same. I am very sorry for him about that, sincerely. His grandparents did a wonderful, wonderful thing for him– although it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s not all that grateful. It stings to be abandoned.

JiangxiDad on August 17, 2008 at 6:12 PM

Liar

Jaibones on August 17, 2008 at 6:27 PM

Romeo13 on August 17, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Excellent, on both points.

Mallard T. Drake on August 17, 2008 at 7:28 PM

Mr. Hope and Change thinks he can vote “present” during every crisis when he’s president. Seeing as making those decisions will ‘be above his paygrade’.

GarandFan on August 17, 2008 at 7:45 PM

Seems to me, Obama’s purported status as “constitutional lawyer” with his ivy league degree, is the most glaring example of the abominable “fruits” of affirmative action from our oh-so PC institutions of lefty indoctrination.
[or is that Obominable?]

This. man. Must. NOT. BECOME. PRESIDENT!

Fishoutofwater on August 17, 2008 at 8:09 PM

Above is pay grade? Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me!

SouthernGent on August 17, 2008 at 8:50 PM

The HypoChristian further defined:

If you’re PREBORN your special…

If you’re PRESCHOOL your screwed (especially if you’re dark skinned and from a country that has lots of oil in the ground)

DanKenton on August 17, 2008 at 9:24 PM

Mr. Obama said:

and by the way I have now inserted this into the democrat party platform

Given the number of prominent Democrats who have made an issue of people, specifically Republicans, addressing the “party” by its proper name, being the “Democratic Party”, you’d think that their presumed Presidential nominee would at least attempt to accede to their wishes. But like so many other intellectual slipups, Barack gets even that wrong, as if it, like his other gaffes, were of no consequence…..

And has anyone noticed that in addition to his hundreds of political/foreign policy/government advisors, Barack Obama seems to have a full contingent of volunteers who run around acting as “interpreters” every time he spews out some unscripted and/or nuanced off-the-cuff remark or opinion? I’m not just talking about spinmeisters. I’m talking about Liberals, especially MSM types, who are waiting in the wings the moment he says -anything- unscripted so that they can interpret it according to prearranged and/or quickly approved by the Obama campaign….. meanings to his words?

He wants us to speak a second language, and suggested Spanish…… perhaps a new language is in the works: Obamaspeak?

KendraWilder on August 17, 2008 at 10:47 PM

Tard. Though, considering the support he has ( Obama ) it only confirms the sheer number of tards we got in this country. Hopefully the tards don’t win in Nov.

tx2654 on August 18, 2008 at 2:46 AM

First, the entire issue of abortion involves determining when a baby becomes a person.

My question is, if a baby in the womb is NOT a person, then what exactly is it? If it is a person they why is there a constitutional right to kill it?

abcurtis on August 18, 2008 at 7:46 AM

If Obama thinks this is above his pay grade, then he probably shouldn’t be running for political office. If a baby is a person at conception, then abortion is murder. If Obama doesn’t believe that abortion is murder, then he can’t believe in the personhood, the humanity, of an embryo or fetus — not unless he’s some kind of monster.

Well said, Cap’n. I’m with you.

abcurtis on August 18, 2008 at 7:48 AM

the more he’s not in front of a teleprompter, the more I know that pretty much everything is above his “pay grade.”

jdsmith0021 on August 18, 2008 at 7:59 AM

Maybe I’m a cynic, but Obama’s pay grade comment struck me as saying ‘give me the job of president, and I’ll tell you later what my position is’.

Think_b4_speaking on August 18, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Exactly. Of course Obama knew he was going to be asked about abortion, so it’s certain that his answer was rehearsed and not off-the-cuff. An attempt at yet another artful dodge.

How anyone could actually think of voting for this vapid, utterly inconsequential man to be president of the United States is beyond my comprehension.

rockmom on August 18, 2008 at 11:07 AM

Well, this is just like Obama’s vote “present” on his IL senate record on hard issues.

Anything he doesn’t want to get nailed down, he can use the paygrade answer.

Sir Napsalot on August 18, 2008 at 12:52 PM

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