Yes, it’s Doug Kmiec again, straining mightily to reconcile his own moral abhorrence of abortion with his sudden hero-worship of a man whose only opposition to the practice in 12 years as a legislator has been tepidly rhetorical. Some of his fellow Catholics are letting him hear about it now (occasionally in ugly ways), so back we go for another try at squaring the circle:
It won’t help now that the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) has endorsed Obama over Clinton. This is an endorsement that is deeply troubling unless the good Senator Obama intends to match it with the sobering acknowledgment that abortion is less “right,” than avoidable tragedy…
[Church teachings] obviously would preclude a Catholic voter from supporting a referendum providing public funding for abortion, but what about a candidate like Obama who is not pro-abortion, but of the view that the civil law best leaves this question to the mother in consultation with their own clergyman and doctor?
Catholic voters in this circumstance are asked to consider what other social goods Obama represents and whether they can honestly and openly say that they are supporting him for that reason and not his stand on abortion… The list is long: the death and economic waste associated with an unjustified war in Iraq; failure to be good stewards of the environment; promoting a tax code that favors the wealthy and undermines a family wage; perpetuating an immigration system that divides families and overlooks the exploitation of labor and more.
This isn’t one of my core issues but I think I’ve got a handle on the basic pro-life position, so help me out here. Kmiec’s solution to the NARAL dilemma is to have Obama propose a “fulsome initiative” to promote adoption; evidently that would restore his anti-abortion bona fides to a level worthy of a pro-life voter’s vote. If you believe abortion is murder, though, why would some sort of hortatory measure like that suffice? It’d be like if Obama proposed letting family members euthanize Alzheimer’s patients so long as there was some “fulsome initiative” to inform them of the virtues of letting them live. Some behavior is immoral to a degree that we merely cajole, other behavior is immoral to a degree that we prohibit. How did abortion end up in the former category for anti-abortion advocate Doug Kmiec? And what on earth does it mean to say that Obama “is not pro-abortion,” as though that’s some mark of distinction? There isn’t a single mainstream pro-choice politician I can think of, left or right, who doesn’t load up his/her abortion rhetoric with lip service about what a tragedy it is, how it should be safe, legal, and hopefully rare, etc. Anything less would be ghoulish. As such, Obama’s hesitancy isn’t evidence of virtue, it’s evidence of his being barely sentient enough to know that he’d better be sober in how he talks about this lest those independent voters he needs head for the hills.
As for his laundry list of the Messiah’s other selling points — going green, ending the war post haste, promoting a family reunification policy for immigration that would let millions through the border — I’m starting to see now why Mitt’s campaign often seemed so … confused. Exit question: What, pray tell, could possibly justify this repulsive choice of words?
International strategic thinker Edward Luttwak recently speculated in the New York Times that by this happenstance of birth, it is not “realistic” to think an “Obama presidency “will decisively improve relations with the world’s Muslims.”
Luttwak also served President Reagan, so it’s possible his essay is a McCain IED, but I doubt it.