Anger and Politics

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit says it all:

“NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE? So we’ve had nearly 8 years of lefty assassination fantasies about George W. Bush, and Bill Ayers’ bombing campaign is explained away as a consequence of him having just felt so strongly about social justice, but a few people yell things at McCain rallies and suddenly it’s a sign that anger is out of control in American politics? It’s nice of McCain to try to tamp that down, and James Taranto sounds a proper cautionary note — but, please, can we also note the staggering level of hypocrisy here? (And that’s before we get to the Obama campaign’s thuggish tactics aimed at silencing critics.)

The Angry Left has gotten away with all sorts of beyond-the-pale behavior throughout the Bush Administration. The double standards involved — particularly on the part of the press — are what are feeding this anger. (Indeed, as Ann Althouse and John Leo have noted, the reporting on this very issue is dubious). So while asking for McCain supporters to chill a bit, can we also ask the press to start doing its job rather than openly shilling for a Democratic victory? Self-control is for everybody, if it’s for anybody. . . .

UPDATE: Well, here’s an opportunity to see how they do.

Plus, days of rage.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hey, it’s not my rage. Remember, I lack fire. “Reynolds, at his most, barely reaches the level of mildly peeved.””


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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. It’s becoming a case of a candidate having to try to protect himself from the craziness (and ambition) of his loose supporters (and VP pick, along with her admirers):

    London Times

    “With his electoral prospects fading by the day, Senator John McCain has fallen out with his vice-presidential running mate about the direction of his White House campaign.

    McCain has become alarmed about the fury unleashed by Sarah Palin, the moose-hunting “pitbull in lipstick”, against Senator Barack Obama. Cries of “terrorist” and “kill him” have accompanied the tirades by the governor of Alaska against the Democratic nominee at Republican rallies.

    Mark Salter, McCain’s long-serving chief of staff, is understood to have told campaign insiders that he would prefer his boss, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, to suffer an “honourable defeat” rather than conduct a campaign that would be out of character – and likely to lose him the election. “

  2. I know I am outraged by denial of habeas corpus; abuse of executive power (for which Palin apparently has some state level training); concocted intelligence to sell an unnecessary invasion; unjust war; Palin’s fear and hate mongering; cronyism and incompetence from the Justice Deparatment to Katrina to the economy; and my ex-party’s never delivering on a 5th SC judge to overturn R v. W).

  3. “and my ex-party’s never delivering on a 5th SC judge to overturn R v. W).”

    Well Mr. DeFrancisis you can’t be very outraged on that score, since Obama, the man you are supporting for President, is pledged to appoint only judges who will support Roe. Admit it, the fight against abortion is of zero importance to you.

  4. Donald,

    I will not be duped by the GOP again. In speaking to PUMA Clintonites, for example, McCain touted his votes to confirm the 2 Bill Clinton SC appointees.

    Additionally, Bush has created such an anti-Republican beacklash across the nation that you would have to be a fool to think that there would be enough Republicans in the Senate to stand by McCain, if he is courageous enough to insist on no one but a anti-Roe v. Wade judge. And he is too unpersuasive and uncommitted, IMO, to raise the sentiment for a culture of life, in preparation for such an endeavor.

    Reagan and Bush I caved in the end. I see McCain less as a man of principle, who would not bow to poltical expediency.

    To me, the abortion issue, as much as I am pro-life, is thus a complete wash judicially in this presidentail election.

    But unjust war (intrinsically evil, btw, if it’s unjust), torture and racism are at play, as McCain will most likely go into Iran in a very bad way, and has already waffled as to the latter two, other intrinsic evils.

    And in the light of my judgement that there will not be a 5th judge for uswith either candidate, I weigh which candidates economic politicies will actually most decreae the incidence of abortions procured; here I judge Obama as the better candidate.

    Lastly, with what Roberts has said about Roe v Wade as ‘settled law” and his judicial temperament, I am not sure he’d actually vote to overturn R v. W. And his and Alito’s pro-executive powes rulings have been very dangerous to the precious balance of powers in our country, imo.

  5. Actually Obama’s judicial appointments might be irrelevant at that, at least on the abortion issue, since he is pledged to sign the Freedom of Choice Act which I discussed in a previous post. With a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, and a greatly enlarged Democrat majority in the House, I think a President Obama would probably get his wish to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. How anyone who is pro-life on the abortion issue could not view the prospect of an Obama administration with anything but horror is a mystery to me.

  6. Perhaps if you could step out side of yourself for a moment and listen to your interlocutor, it would not be such a mystery.

    A fellow, locus61(?) already more of less rehearsed my argments in another thread below.

  7. “Perhaps if you could step out side of yourself for a moment and listen to your interlocutor, it would not be such a mystery.”

    No, I understand what you are saying, but it simply doesn’t make sense for someone who cares about stopping abortion to vote for Obama. I think you care about other issues much more, and the fight against abortion simply isn’t high on your priority list.

  8. Mark,

    I’m a Democrat and I — like you — don’t think the Republican Party gives abortion the primacy it deserves and it’s an issue that they use for the most part to win elections. I know and understand your position and I think it’s critical.


    George W. Bush has in fact signed a timetable on Iraq. We have an agreement with their government and the war is going to, in fact, end.

    In regard to abortion, it is NO small matter. It is the greatest issue of our time. Capital punishment in this country since our founding days is 4 days of abortion. The war in Iraq? At best 15 days of abortion. There has been nearly 7,500,000 abortions since the war in Iraq began. It’s not that I don’t care about any other issues. I do care about them, but the issue of abortion is so insurmountable that I cannot in good conscience get around it.

    If my reasoning is clear, I hope you may at least reconsider your support for Obama. Obama supports the “Freedom of Choice Act,” which in effect would wipe out every pro-life law since Roe v. Wade. That means doctors who are protected by conscience laws from performing abortions would lose that protection and the fight of forcing them to perform abortions would rise. There will be no parental notification or consent laws. No laws against cross state borders. No laws requiring women to wait and think it over 24 hours. No laws mandating that women be allowed to view an ultrasound or even be told scientific and medically accurate information about abortion and human life development. No law that whatsoever restrict abortion.

    Obama would solidify the pro-choice Supreme Court for another generation and he will undermine the Hyde Amendment and fund abortion via the medium of Title X and under the label of “healthcare” with his plan. We’ll be subsidizing it more directly with our tax dollars and women can receive free abortions. And if the Democrats reach 60 in the Senate and gain more seats in the House, there will be nothing to stop them.

    The entire fruits of 35 years of the pro-life movement will be eradicated in a single blow and that is a disqualifier. I don’t care how fed up with the Republican Party one might be. I’m very disenfranchised by the GOP and I would love nothing more than to cast my vote for my own party.

    But, the party is dominated by hyper-liberal special interests whose view of the human person is dominated by Enlightenment thinking, whose view of society is of the same mentality, and you combine this with moral relativism and you have a problem.

    Democrats support fighting AIDS in Africa, but they use contraception which does not at all solve the problem. In fact, AIDS is not declining. Moreover, the virus itself is smaller than the pores in a condom and can still readily pass through. As Catholics, we know that contraception does not help the problem whatsoever and creates more vice.

    Democrats want to expand embryonic stem cell research. McCain while he supports it, arguably would avoid doing it because of the pro-life GOP base. Arguably. But with Obama, there is no uncertainty.

    We could potentially face the legalization of euthanasia, or even find it in our healthcare system. Obama when asked what’s the one thing that he regretted as a Senator said he regretted voting to save Terry Schiavo. Thats abhorent. (Look here: http://www.lifenews.com/bio2347.html).

    This man opposed bills to save babies that survived abortions and these babies, in fact, were left to die in utility rooms for the few hours that they could survive without medical care.

    I don’t see how you can say all the other issues can help you get around this. If you’re pro-life, you are an abolitionist. Slavery abolitionists didn’t say let’s reduce the number of slaves. The pro-slavery bunch were not really in for the elimination of slavery. Neither are the pro-choice lobby. No one ever voted for Hitler saying “I don’t want to be a single-issue voter. Genocide is bad, but hey, he supports universal healthcare.” Certain issues are a disqualifier because no good society can be built on such thinking.

    The GOP is far from perfect. But a man who thinks babies who survive abortions have no basic right to medical care and no basic right to life has no business leading a nation. A man who was only a U.S. Senator 143 DAYS before he started running for president. He has no legislative accomplishments that qualify him for the highest office.

    If you simply must speak about peace and war and thus vote for Obama, then do so standing upon the right to life if you wish to be morally coherent. Call abortion what it is: an objective, aboherent evil. Admit that Obama’s position on it is terrible. But criticizing the other side only and not your candidate who has unspeakable positions make your claims look dubious and paper thin, when you as a pro-life Catholic are voting for the most pro-abortion candidate who will eliminate — if he has his way — any chance to end abortion for at least another two generations.

    The argument is not that McCain will succeed in ending abortion, it’s that Obama will succeed in expanding it.

  9. I want to add something. (I know, I know — this kid isn’t done yet?)

    Abortion effects our foreign policy. The Clinton Administration withheld aid from third world countries to pressure them into allowing the creation of abortion facilities and we were funding those industries with tax payer dollars in other countries. We funded abortion in Mexico as well.

    George W. Bush, as terrible as a president he is, turned that money faucet off. If Obama is elected, he will turn it back on. Somewhere in the range of 46 million abortions occur worldwide in one year — 365 days. And this is the case from roughly since the 70s. It was higher in the 90s, but in recent years has declined about 4 million or so. But no one would say that 42 million is any more acceptable.

    Add up WWI, WWII, deaths from AIDS, from cancer, from the holocaust, from Iraq, from Afghanistan, from Darfur, from 9/11…and abortion still wins.

  10. Eric

    Such numbers are a unrevealing game. I used to think that way too.

    How many abortions has the Republican judiciary-centered approach actually really prevented?

    As abortion on demand has been virtually the law of the land these past 30+ years, I’d venture that it’s close to 0.

    The Partial Birth Abortion Ban was a really only a moral victory, as other procedures are available, expediting pre-late month abortions.

  11. Tony is a completely binary thinker.

    He is simply paralyzed by the fact that America does things which the Vatican and out Catholic faith oppose.

  12. Eric,

    You downplay the atrocity that will be Iran and minimize the unnecessary loss of 100s of 1000s of human lives in Iraq.

    It’s like saying that we broke into a house, killed half of the family members, but now negotiated peace with the remnant relatives.

  13. Mark,

    In all seriousness, do you think that the Freedom of Choice Act is irrelevent to the pro-life cause? If the Republicans are as you arguing playing with the pro-life movement what is to be made of a Democratic party that has no place for any legal restriction on an unlimited abortion license at all? This would be the equivilent of a Republican administration not only codifying all the administrative practices that produced torture (that includes the rendition protocals tht both Democratic and Republican administrations have employed) but then illegalizing any efforts to undermine or challenge these. Call the Republicans cynical on pro-life issues if you will, I find the honest determination of the Democrats, particularly Sen. Obama, to eliminate any and all efforts to protect the unborn in law to be terrifying in their sincerity and honesty. I am honestly curious as to how you can think that such a forceful, unambiguious affirmation of abortion as a good is compatible with any claim of concern for pro-life legislation at all.

  14. Isn’t it funny that there were less abortions under the Clinton administration than there were under past GOP admininstrations?

    And Bob Casey Jr spoke at the Dems’ convention.

  15. Mark,

    You miss my point. I’m a pro-life Democrat. Why? Because I’m suspicious of Republicans and their sincerity to help the unborn. But that does NOT immediately qualify a vote for the other side. It does not.

    America engaging war with Iran is not necessarily the future. It can go either way. McCain has repeatedly said that he would is Secretary of State and lower level officials engage in diplomacy and advocate the U.N. to impose economic sanctions on Iran. Barack Obama has said basically the same thing with the minor difference that he himself may sit down with someone and negotiate.

    Republicans may be half-hearted in fighting abortion. But there are Republicans who are sincere and advocates of the unborn. The list begins with Sam Brownback and these Republicans are of status in the party. There is only one proven 100% pro-life Democrat in the U.S. Senate and that’s Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

    Though you cite several instances of where the Bush Administration has gone wrong, you have to qualify a few things.

    Barack Obama claims that he is going to unite the country, but he has the most partisan record of anyone in the Senate. He votes partyline 97% of the time, when John McCain has gone against the GOP on taxes, on torture, on immigration, and on climate change. Have you ever seen Obama do that?

    Look up Obama’s legislative history. There is ONE bill that he introduced with a Republican and it’s a government transparency bill that no one opposed. Is that really, risky dangerous bipartisan legislativion that makes him anything more than a run of the mill Democrat who have 143 days in the national scene for whatever reason decided he should be our next president?

    You ignore the “number’s game” but 46,000,000 million abortions in one year in 365 days is no small matter. This is an overall decrease since 1995 which I think was the last peak. But if Obama turned the ‘money faucet’ back on, we would be subsidizing abortions overseas. There would be no pro-life law and abortions will be free in the U.S. as it would be subsidized by our tax dollars.

    Not only that, do give me a break that a Republican judiciary is the only reason abortions haven’t ended. Have you noticed that pro-choice Democrats have been fighting them — the sincere pro-lifers like Sam Brownback — tooth and nail? The Democratic Party won’t even link to the Democrats for Life of America on their national website. The Democratic Party rejected DFLA’s conscience clause on abortion from the platform and wrote the most pro-abortion platform ever, i.e. the Democratic party “unequivocally” supports a woman’s right to an abortion “regardless of ability to pay,” meaning we’ll subsidize it.

    Margaret Sanger, the lunatic racist who founded Planned Parenthood is still honored by the organization. Ever notice that Planned Parenthood pops up in the socio-economically disadvantaged areas where blacks and hispanics live? Abortion is an industry and they have targets so they can make money. Abortion has been declining and it’s no wonder that the Democrats — who receive millions in funds from pro-choice groups — are positioning themselves to make abortion at any point in pregnancy enshrined in federal law and protected by the Supreme Court for another two generations.

    It’s not just “bad Republican policies” or apathetic conservative judges, it’s the fact that the pro-abortion groups are expanding their services. Case in point, 1 in 2 African American pregnancies end in abortion. Nearly 2,000 of the 4,000 abortions in a day are unborn African American children. My city Houston is facing the establishment of the largest Planned Parenthood facility in the western hemisphere. This effects abortion directly — those who provide it.

    “The Partial Birth Abortion Ban was a really only a moral victory, as other procedures are available, expediting pre-late month abortions.”

    By the way, Mark, your candidate for president opposed that. And he will protect the “other procedures” and enshrine them into law as a fundamental right.

    If you can vote for a candidate that thinks that partial birth abortion is a legitimate procedure and even opposes protecting children that have been born, fine.

    But don’t pretend that it’s the more ‘pro-life’ thing to do.

    I don’t think that the immense problems we face are going to be solved by John McCain. But I do know that we will not find any justice under Barack Obama who will eradicate the pro-life movement, expand embryonic stem cell research, and perhaps even legalize Euthanasia, and with it, gay marriage — Connecticut just joined California and Massachusetts.

    Do these issues not matter? Or are they just a few issues among many?

  16. -It’s not that I don’t care about any other issues. I do care about them, but the issue of abortion is so insurmountable that I cannot in good conscience get around it.-

    I feel the same way. I’m not a republican and never have been, but I can’t vote Democrat anymore becuase of this issue.

  17. Organic fertilizer, Mark De Francisis.
    Please read this:

    Abortion rates skyrocketed during the 1970’s (Ford and Carter, only one of whom was GOP and certainly not a conservative) They peaked around the time of the first Reagan election, and subsequently began a steady decline. The decline became a fairly precipitous drop late in the George H.W. Bush admin and continued during the early Clinton years when it levelled off slightly. It nonetheless continued to drop through the Clinton and George W. Bush admins. Not only that, actual numbers of abortions dropped under W. Bush according to the factcheck page.

    It is intellectually dishonest to lionize Clinton for a trend that began over a decade before he ever had any control over it. The most that can be said for him is that he failed to implement policies that might have reversed the trend.

    Casey, Jr. may be pro-life up to a point but I doubt he got that convention spot without compromising his principles somewhat–the endorsement of the Senate’s most rabidly pro-abortion member, a man with a fairly scanty paper trail in almost every issue but abortion, being the prime example there. And surely you haven’t forgotten the shabby treatment his father got at the hands of the Democrats before him?

  18. Mark,

    In re the “abortions declined under Clinton” meme: The abortion rate has declined in a straight linear progression with a 90%+ correlation to the number of years since 1980 for the last 28 years — with only the most minor of deviations. Now, I suppose that one could claim that the constant hammering of pro-life Republicans (and the small number of courageous pro-life Democrats) at the local level has not been any factor in this gradual reduction over time, but frankly I cannot as an analyst imagine any responsible way in which one could ground the claim that removing _all_ local restrictions on abortion plus providing funding would not increase the number of abortions.

    As for balancing that fear against that of a war with Iran: Count me with the group that finds it more likely we’ll end up in a war with Iran if Obama is elected than if McCain is. Iran will bet that they can be the Kruschev to Obama’s Kennedy and try to push him around in ways that would not be the case under a McCain administration.

  19. Even George Will has said that a McCain victory guarantees war with Iran.

    With the way McCain acts with his enemies, it will end up being not just a war with Iran.

    Expect a conflict of WW4 proportions.

  20. Gentlemen, I enjoy a good combox tussle, but let’s make sure it doesn’t get personal. Thanks.

  21. “Even George Will has said that a McCain victory guarantees war with Iran. With the way McCain acts with his enemies, it will end up being not just a war with Iran. Expect a conflict of WW4 proportions.”

    I have (many) doubts about McCain, but this isn’t really one of them. I thought it was interesting in the most recent debate that Obama kept saying that he would attack Bin Laden on Pakistani soil without the cooperation of their government, whereas McCain was arguing the need for diplomacy and caution. I think the whole exchange was nonsense on Obama’s part – bluster without substance (is killing Bin Laden himself such a big deal at this point?) – but it was interesting listening to Obama advocate a policy which would anger a country with nuclear capabilities, while the ‘war-monger’ McCain was advocating caution.

  22. Cminor,

    My apologies for my snide retort.


    My interpretion on that exchange in the debate was that McCain essentially ageed with Obama, but was trying to score points about his contender’s purported amateurish, in “telegraphing” to the enemies of our possible actions.

  23. Mark – I had a different take. I thought Obama was trying to score cheap points. “Bush hasn’t gotten Osama, isn’t that terrible!!!” Never mind that there’s no real evidence, other than Osama being alive, that he’s a serious threat for anything other than a razzie for worst home-made threatening video. I also thought Obama stating that he would carry out attacks within Pakistan’s borders without their approval needlessly provocative. McCain may have agreed in substance, but I think he had a legitimate point: it’s silly to antagonize other countries by talking about hypothetical attacks on their soil just to look tough in a debate.

    To be fair, I thought McCain was buffoonish when he said “I know how to get Bin Laden.” He’s said that before, and every time I think – “well then, why haven’t you passed that knowledge along to anyone over the last seven years?”

    In any case, to your original point, it’s highly unlikely that McCain would go to war in Iran – do you think any President will be able to lead the U.S. into war anytime soon with Iraq so fresh everyone’s minds? Perhaps you have a different read on the mood of the country, but I don’t think it at all likely that a President will be able to garner the support of the country for another war for at least 10-15 years. Frankly, I never understood how 2/3 of the country supported the war in Iraq.

  24. FusO1,

    I can easily entertain your interpretation of the exchange as a legitimate one. I still am inclined yo mine, however.

    Believe me, as much as I defend the Catholic choice for Obama, it has been a difficult one for me.

    I wish there was a politician around like Bob Casey Sr.

    He was my governor and is my political hero.

  25. No offense taken, Mark. Shall we both tone down the snark? Posting remarks made exclusively for the purpose of provocation really doesn’t advance reasoned discussion.

  26. By the way, I have to agree with fus01. If Obama’s purpose is to portray himself as a diplomat par excellence, the noise he’s been making at Pakistan has been extremely unfortunate. Particularly with a new, potentially friendly president coming to power there.

  27. why do people try to make it sound bad to be a one issue voter?

    abortion is the only issue, nothing else matters.

    obama rates 0% on the pro life meter.

    if mcain rates anything higher than that guess who I’m voting for?

    it really is just that simple.

  28. What if only an anti-abortion Neo-Nazi ( I know, that would be a strange combo) were running against Obama?

    Or only a strict, Shiite Muslim, who is anti-abortion 100%, but wants to impose Islamic law on all Americans?

  29. I think it’s implied when people say ‘abortion is the only issue,’ they mean that none of the other issues in this election are of equal significance. They do not mean to make a universal statement that a pro-slavery, pro-sharia, pro-whatever-evil-thing-may-be-worse would be better as long as they were pro-life.

  30. Worse than a shiite muslim who wants to impose sharia law… I would vote a democrat who promises to tax everyone in excess of 75% and use it to plant baby seals in the everglades, if they promised to work day and night on a constitutional ammendment guaranteeing the right to life for the unborn.

  31. That is the odd thing A.Rowe. I lean towards being a fiscal conservative, but would certainly vote for the Democratic party if (in a Sliders-like alternative universe) the Democrats were pro-life and the Republicans were pro-abortion, even if nothing else changed in the platforms of the respective parties. Abortion is not the only issue I vote on, but with the coming budget shortfalls I don’t think either party will be able to accomplish much over the next four years other than appointing Steven’s and Ginsberg’s replacements.

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