Federalist vs. Pro-Life

Thursday, October 16, AD 2008

The quixotically named Catholic blogger Morning’s Minion has a post this morning in which he (yet again) tries to make the case that the pro-life issue is basically a wash between Senators Obama and McCain. Now, I know that many of our readers already agree that MM’s conclusion is wrong, and deeply wrong, but I want to focus on why this particular argument is wrong, because I think it’s an important question for Catholics living in our republic. So I’d like to ask that people avoid basic “I don’t see how any good Catholic could vote for Obama” comments in favor of discussing whether federalism can be a pro-life position, or is simply a passing of the buck.

MM says:

Basically, neither candidate can be called “pro-life”….
OK, abortion. The starkest difference here is not related to the need to grant legal protection to the unborn child. No, the candidates instead indulged in a quaint little constitutional debate. Obama: “the constitution has a right to privacy in it that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum”. McCain: “I think decisions should rest in the hands of the states. I’m a federalist”. Sorry, but neither position qualifies as pro-life. It is a debate about which level of government has the right to strip legal protection from the unborn child…

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17 Responses to Federalist vs. Pro-Life

  • He’s also quite stupid, given that he’s had it explained to him on more than one occasion that American pro-lifers see the overturning of Roe not as the end game, but as the first and necessary step — sine qua non of making any further progress.

  • The argument here might have more merit if McCain opposed making abortion illegal at the state level. He does not. It’s not even the case that he’s indifferent on the matter. When South Dakota had a referendum on whether to ban abortion a couple of years ago, McCain supported the ban, and he’s on record as saying that states should ban abortion once the issue was back in their hands (some states, of course, wouldn’t have to ban abortion if Roe were overturned, as their anti-abortion statutes are still on the books).

  • Nah, I shouldn’t say that . . . MM isn’t stupid. He seems to be perfectly intelligent. It’s just that everything he says about politics is driven by one overriding goal: to defend Democrats. Thus, on the abortion issue, he’s very good at making the case that Democrats are better than they are and that Republicans are worse than they are. He can then pretend that both parties are roughly equivalent.

  • MM is highly intelligent in my opinion judging from his postings. However his attempt to equate McCain’s return it to the states policy on abortion with Obama’s abortion now, abortion forever enshrining of Roe in federal statutory law per the Freedom of Choice Act is ridiculous. Overturning Roe will simply do exactly what McCain wishes to accomplish: leave the abortion issue up to the people of each state through their elected representatives. If MM wishes to push for a federal Human Life Amendment to the Constitution I will give him every assistance that I can, but judging from his support of Senator Obama, the most ardent pro-abortionist to ever run on a major party ticket for the White House, I doubt if pushing for such an amendment is high on MM’s list of priorities.

  • S.B.,

    Your comments are greatly appreciated, though please refrain from such language. We want to be an open forum for constructive dialogue.

    I agree with what your comments say, but I disagree with the tone.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


  • I’m not really thrilled by the appeal to federalism as a cornerstone the pro-life movement, but I understand it as a strategic political choice. Similarly, I’m not really thrilled by the fact that much of the dissenting opinion on abortion jurisprudence from the SCOTUS is based on strict constructionist objections to the “right of privacy” rather than an appeal to natural law. I guess we have to make do with what we have for now, and try to make the case that there is something universal at stake here.

  • Great rejoinder. I especially like this:

    “Now some Catholics (and perhaps MM falls in this category) are not at root comfortable with the moral implications of a democratic form of government. “Error has no rights” as the old saying goes — and perhaps MM feels it is a grave moral compromise to allow abortion laws to be settled on a democratic basis. Perhaps he would prefer to imagine a world in which a court or autocrat could simply impose a complete abortion ban without all this messing about with debate and voting and compromise.”

    I have perceived a very authoritarian streak in many of the arguments offered at Vox Nova. What I have yet to see is any of them consider the historical and social fact of pluralism in their politics. This, I think, is a glaring omission.

  • J. Christian & Zach,

    It does strike me that one is legitimate in being a bit uneasy about federalism and liberal democracy when applied to moral issues. There’s a dangerous modern tendency to equate majority consensus with moral rightness: “The majority wants this, therefore it must be the right thing to do.” Clearly, this is not the case. The majority can very well be wrong, and one can point to tragic examples of this going right back to Athens.

    However, I think that we as Catholics should (especially in the modern world) recognize that liberal democracy can be as much a protection from immoral rule as a tool for it.

    One can make arguments back and forth as to whether one should impose good laws without the consent of the ruled if one had the ability to do so — but the fact we have to face in the modern world is that most people do not agree with the Church as to what is “good” and so we can either appeal to a fantasy oligarchy in which all the right laws would be enacted by fiat, or we may throw ourselves behind liberal democracy as the best way of at least getting the government most of them ask for, if not actually the one they ought to have.

  • Darwin: I will respond I get a bit of time. But on that last point, democracy is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

  • “Mornining’s Minion” is the first reference to the falcon in Gerald Manley Hopkins’ classic poem, ‘The Windhover.’

  • MM,

    I do agree with you that democracy is a means, not an end unto itself. (In fact, I think that’s pretty much what I said in my comment directly above yours.) However, it seems to me that it is the only realistically available means in this case. And since in any readily imaginable modern US those “in charge” are unlikely to fully share our worldview, we would be wise to remain strict adherants to liberal democratic principles (rather than oligarchic ones) so that our moral, cultural and civic views can have _some_ voice at the table, instead of none.

    That said, clearly I would not be advocating federalism on the issue if there had been a Supreme Court decision ruling that abortion was invariably illegal — just as I don’t advocate an overturn of Brown vs. Board of Education even though it seems to me that was another example of judicial isogesis in place of exegesis.

  • Darwin,

    I would take your starting point about the limits of constitutional democracy, and push it in another direction. It is my firm belief that if Roe is overturned using current tactics (and it could easily be), the states will codify the same rights– at least the largest, most populous states, that account for the vast majority of abortion. Sure, some states will not and some that do will introduce European-style restrictions. This is certainly better than the current condition. And yet it is a most imperfect outcome. But it is by far the best that can be done under the current strategy, and it will come with great cost (those “pro-life” justices have a habit of ruling rather poorly on other areas).

    I would argue that Catholics must address the culture, by affirming the consistent ethic of life. I know from personal experience that the advocates of “abortion rights” detest those who oppose abortion from the narrow Republican angle (which they deem hypocritical), and yet remain more open to the consistent ethic of life argument, which frames the abortion issue not as part of the useless “culture war” but as part of a “culture of life”, based on the ultimate dignity of the human person. Christians can persuade only by example. I find the current strategy completely self-defeating, which is waht frustrates me. Look, support for the death penalty has gone down in recent years. Part of it is lower crime, but part of it is the influence of Pope John Paul and the US Catholics that followed his lead. Unlike gay marriage, which I really think is a lost cause, the younger generation remains quite squemish about abortion. They can be influenced. They will not the influenced by the outmoded take-no-prisoners culture-war rhetoric.

  • FOCA goes well beyond “codifying Roe” — as bad as that would be, FOCA is MUCH worse. The USCCB has an action page about in on their site: usccb.org/prolife/issues/FOCA/

    McCain wants to overturn Roe and make it possible to end abortion state by state.

    Obama wants to pass FOCA and make it impossible to end abortion. He wants abortion to become a taxpayer-funded unlimited “right”.

    Those don’t sound at all the same to me.

    On what exactly have those pro-life justices ruled badly? Are they prudential issues or intrinsic evils?

  • In looking at any particular issue, there is the pragmatic view and the theoretical view. (I’m very well acquainted with these, because as a mathematician and theoretical computer scientist, I’m very much on the theoretical, and as an engineer, my wife is very pragmatic.)

    We have, as Catholics, the following:I cannot support any candidate that is not pro-life because the life issue is fundamentally the most important. Neither viable candidate is 100% pro-life. Therefore, I have a dilemma. Who should I vote for?

    There are two options, really: either cast a vote for a non-viable candidate (or throw it away completely), or pick the lesser of the two evils.

    The theorist affirms that anything less than 100% pro-life is not really pro-life. If you can make excuses in some places (such as embryonic stem cell research), you’ve missed the point, and we can’t trust you on any other issue. To pick the lesser of the two evils then is to discard the life issue altogether and look at other hot topics.

    The pragmatist, hopefully, also recognizes that anything less than 100% pro-life is leaving a candidate wide open to error, but he says that there is a gradation. Someone who only supports ESCR is a lesser evil than someone who supports ESCR and abortion. Thus it makes sense to keep the life issue number one, especially when there are wide differences of error between the candidates.

    The thing to note is that either viewpoint–the theorist or the pragmatist–runs the risk of scandal. The theorist risks scandal because by calling a tie on the life issue and looking at others, he gives the impression that the life issues are not as important. The pragmatist runs the risk of scandal because he gives the impression of hypocrisy by claim that life is the most important issue and then not voting for a candidate that is 100% pro-life.

    In truth, I start to feel that Mark Shea is right in voting third party. Does the need to keep Obama out of office outweigh the need to have a clear, consistent message that life is the most important issue there is? (Of course, I say this with the sinking feeling that Obama’s election is pretty much inevitable. Ask me if I still say this if Obama faces a crushing October surprise…)

  • MM,

    Thank you for the courteous and substantive response.

    There are, however, several areas in which I think it’s important to highlight some disagreement with what you say.

    You observe that if Roe is overturned in the near future, that many states would move to allow abortion to a great extent, and while you say this would be better than the status quo, you say it would be an imperfect outcome. However, I’m unclear why we must avoid this “imperfect outcome” in the short term by preserving the far more imperfect status quo. That the federalist solution would be less that perfect is something I would not question — but it would allow our republic to begin sorting the issue out and experiencing what different restrictions are like in different parts of the country. I think that for the first few months people would be very, very unhappy about this in the pro-choice camp, and even in the “middle” but as time passed we would be able to move into a phase where people argued nearly sanely in the public square about these issues.

    You say that pro-life constructionalist justices tend to rule poorly in other areas — I’m certainly aware this is your opinion, since you are very progressive in your politics and strict constructionalists are unlikely to legislate progressively from the bench. There are, of course, a number of very disturbing trends among the liberal justices ranging from their rulings on eminant domain to “separation” of church and state to restrictions on the free speech to moral issues like gay marriage and euthenasia. While there are areas I might quibble with the results of a strict constructionalist approach to the constitution, the great advantage is that such justices rule on what the constition _says_ not what they wish it said. And so, if we wish our laws to be different, we can change them. According to the more extreme “living constitution” theories, it really doesn’t matter _what_ our laws say, because the justices will rule on what they _ought_ to say instead.

    Now I absolutely agree with you that the primary area in which change on abortion can and must take place is cultural — however I fail to see how this is some sort of either/or question. Shocking as it may seem to one of your persuasion, even many of us who vote conservatively have many friends who think differently and to whom we talk about these issues when possible — not to mention the quiet witness of a life lived in keeping with Catholic principles. But we can’t silo our live from our principles when it comes to the public square. To insist that the right to life _ought_ to be protected while insistantly voting for incredibly pro-abortion candidates woudl be like insisting one wanted racial justice but only voting for rabid segregationalists.

    I commend you for holding back from the excesses of the “culture war” mentality. I don’t think we need more people screaming “baby killer!!!” at their opponent any more than we need more people wearing “Abort Bush!” t-shirts. But you’ve chosen not merely to silently pull the lever for a pro-abortion extremist, but to publicly endorse him on a Catholic blog and to post constantly in his support. I think that’s highly misguided.

  • I would argue that Catholics must address the culture, by affirming the consistent ethic of life.

    This is just the usual false dichotomy. There is absolutely no reason that trying to overturn Roe is inconsistent with also working to “address the culture.” And by the same token, there is absolutely no justification for claiming that you are going to “address the culture,” and then joining sides with politicians who are dedicated to affirming the choice of abortion.

    I know from personal experience that the advocates of “abortion rights” detest those who oppose abortion from the narrow Republican angle (which they deem hypocritical), and yet remain more open to the consistent ethic of life argument, which frames the abortion issue not as part of the useless “culture war” but as part of a “culture of life”, based on the ultimate dignity of the human person.

    Pro-choicers might accept your eager political support when you announce that you are liberal on most other issues and don’t really care about the legality of abortion, but that does not mean that they have themselves become more open to opposition to abortion.

  • And again, it’s right that letting states decide is an “imperfect outcome.” But you completely fail — even after having been reminded of this fact — to recognize that overturning Roe is just a first (and necessary) step, and that by addressing the “culture” at the same time, the larger states would hopefully change over time.

    In any event, it’s a bizarre non sequitur to claim that because it would be “imperfect” to reach a situation in which some states (but not all) restricted abortion, therefore one is going to vote to preserve abortion everywhere and at all times.

The Root of All Abortion

Thursday, October 16, AD 2008

While sitting down with a group of friends for an afternoon of games, the issue of pregnancy came up. My friends, which are of a liberal bent, had the following things to say about pregnancy: “the most contracted STD”, supporting a “parasite”, like “having cancer”, and a few other clever remarks we’ve all heard hundreds of times over. When the issue of abortion came up, you can bet they were all in support of a woman’s right to “choose”.

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23 Responses to The Root of All Abortion

  • Excellemt commentary.

    There’s a big difference between ‘Christian humanism ‘ and ‘secular humanism’, and that difference is really the ‘big divide’ in the abortion discuassion.

    (In Canada we’re not even allowed to discuss it!)

  • Phenomenal.

    You’ve exploded the lame duck excuses into smitherines. God bless you for it.

  • It makes me almost laugh when someone says they accidently got pregnant. I have always wanted to answer with, “did you have sex?” When you have sex (the purpose of which is both unitive and procreative – not getting into this that is a whole other issue) and do not get pregnant it is more like you accidently did not get pregnant. When you flip on a light switch you do not say I accidently turned on a light — that is the purpose of the switch.

  • Ryan, you need new friends. They say these things in front of you? Maybe you can hand out this fine essay of yours to them as a way of explanation.

  • Ryan,


    J. Christian,

    I’ve always struggled with that once I embraced the full teachings of the Church. In my opinion, and it’s only an opinion, maybe Ryan by his faithful witness to Christ may be able to sway their opinions. Maybe even have them convert!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


  • Tito,

    There is always the possibility that by his witness Ryan will win them over one day, and I certainly hope this is true. It would take a person made of much stouter stuff than I. To have “friends” who think of children as a disease… Well, Christ be with you, Ryan!

  • J. Christian,

    It is very difficult. Especially when comingling with my secular friends. When certain subjects come up I’m uneasy as to correct my buddies or let it slide.

    It’s never easy.

    Though in these instances one can learn humility and patience well.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


  • I was struggling with the Precious Blood Chaplet, in which you say 33 Our Fathers while reflecting on text from Evangelium Vitae. Sounds good, right?

    But repeating the Our Father that many times got tedious, and I wanted to pray it with my heart (I know, this shouldn’t be a struggle for someone praying the Rosary).

    I feel like this post was the answer to my unspoke prayer. At this time in history, on the cusp of an Obama presidency, we need to pray the Our Father more times than we think we ought. “Thy will be done!” must be our constant refrain as we submit to the rule of Choice, as we watch more of our tax dollars pile into the hands of abortionists, as we watch cloned embryos treated as waste products, as we watch the right to life lobby get beaten to a pulp.

    No, we will not stop our outcry. But God have mercy! Thy Kingdom come~

  • Is comment moderation in effect?

  • Sorry–wasn’t getting through for some reason. Please delete or ignore the above.

    Good post.

    For good pro-life discussion of the rape issue, see
    http://www.feministsforlife.org/Q&A/Q2.htm and the linked articles.

    For a thoughtful scientific response to the “parasitism” analogy, see
    The author, a biology professor, taught courses in both embryology and parasitology. The library page of the parent site (Libertarians for Life) has links to many well-written articles:

    I’d like to add clarification to your remarks on Church teaching. The Catechism states:

    “Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law…” (#2271)

    In other words, an intentional attempt to kill or dislodge the embryo/fetus before it can reasonably be expected to survive independently violates moral law. A medical procedure necessary to save the mother’s life may be used even if fetal demise occurs as an unintended secondary effect. An example would be the removal of a fallopian tube in imminent danger of rupture from an ectopic pregnancy. (Of course, in the given example the baby would have no chance of survival even if the tube were left alone.)

  • Sorry for the above inanity; I think the combox was just refusing my urls. I can email them if anyone is interested, but I suppose Google will do.

    Good post.

    For good pro-life discussion of the rape issue, check out the topics page at Feminists For Life’s website.

    For a thoughtful scientific response to the “parasitism” analogy, go to Libertarians for Life’s website and look up the article, “Why the Human Embryo or Fetus is Not a Parasite.”
    The author, a biology professor, taught courses in both embryology and parasitology.

    I’d like to add clarification to your remarks on Church teaching. The Catechism states:

    “Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law…” (#2271)

    In other words, an intentional attempt to kill or dislodge the embryo/fetus before it can reasonably be expected to survive independently violates moral law. A medical procedure necessary to save the mother’s life may be used even if fetal demise occurs as an unintended secondary effect. An example would be the removal of a fallopian tube in imminent danger of rupture from an ectopic pregnancy. (Of course, in the given example the baby would have no chance of survival even if the tube were left alone.)

  • I|remove the word abortion and consider the human emotions and it is a question we all face. Will we be selfless or will we be selfish? The rest is just chatter.

  • I don’t think it’s wrong to expect justice for oneself.

    The problem is that people don’t expect justice for the unborn!

  • Exactly. What gives those embryos the idea that they have the right to come into this world uninvited? We need to dispense justice on the unthinking potential-humans that unfairly take advantage of people who make love in a certain way!

  • I certainly hope that I will have a positive effect, a good Catholic influence, on my friends. One of them is a homosexual, and has made it clear how grateful he is that I don’t simply condemn him out of hand. He knows that I feel his acting on his sexual preference is sinful, but he also knows that I still offer friendship and support. We sit down and talk amiably about issues of religion and particular viewpoints from time to time, and I don’t know if I’ll have any effect, but at least he’ll be more informed.

  • CMinor,

    Moderation is not in effect.

  • Suzanne,

    No, there’s nothing wrong with expecting justice for oneself. The problem is, we tend to expect preference for ourselves, and to justify it we try to wrap it up as justice. I doubt any one of us really wants what we truly deserve (outside the sacrifice on Calvary, of course).

  • CMinor,

    No we are not moderating, but our spam detection system marked your posting as spam.

    I apologize for this, but I believe that it was because you had a link in your comments. This shouldn’t happen again. Everyone can place a link in their comments, it just takes time for our spam detection system to discern what is and is not spam.

    Comment away CMinor!

  • My apologies–as no message came up when I hit the “Submit” button I figured my comments had evaporated into the ether. Boy, do I feel stupid!
    Would somebody on the site please just delete my multiple post attempts and just leave the last one? There’s no reason anybody should have to plow through my repetitions.

  • CMinor,

    No apologies needed.

    It wasn’t you (I think), it was our spam detection program. It thinks you’re a spammer.

  • A good commentary. I know we talked about it a while ago but I just wanted to mention that it looks like overpopulation theorists (whom I think we all agree contribute to a culture of death) are starting a new fundraising and organizing drive.

    Here is a link.


    Some of those who signed the letter I recognize like Albert A. Bartlett. This is the same person speaking in a set of youtube videos that a believer of his put online as “The Most IMPORTANT Video You’ll Ever See” in 8 parts.

    The first is in the above link.

    About the Bartlett videos, I watched them all and wrote up a list of the things that were questionable. It ended up being 3 or 4 pages long. Maybe I write using too many words but (in spite of being a math lesson on a specific type of equation) it has many errors (that I’m willing to point out if someone is interested in listening and noting them, and also notice how little he actually talks about ecological damage).

    As Tito may know already, I don’t view those who advocate better care of the environment as foolish or encouraging others to act badly. I think they are trying to deal with a serious topic that should be taken as such.

    But I’m not sure if this misuse (in my opinion) of environmentalism is likely to end soon. And I don’t want to see a movement that is intended to do good turned into a cheerleader for the culture of death-especially when real world attempts to deal with “overpopulation” have resulted in no improvement in environmental conditions (sometimes things have gotten worse) and a sizable number of people dying.

    One last thing makes me curious (and I apologize in advance if this makes me seem ignorant to someone who can explain). Why is it that people like Bill Gates are actively listed among those invited to join?

  • I can’t cite chapter and verse re Gates’s charitable work, Nathaniel, but it seems to me this won’t have been the first time he’s promoted population control through his foundations.

Joe the Plumber?

Thursday, October 16, AD 2008

For those of you who were wondering during the debate last night, who the heck is Joe the Plumber?, here is a video of his encounter with Senator Obama.

Here is Joe’s reaction to the encounter:

I have run a small business, my law firm, since 1985.  It provides the entire livelihood for my family.  The first decade of the business we scraped by.  Now it provides a pretty good living, and, God willing, will allow me to pay for college for my kids.

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18 Responses to Joe the Plumber?

  • Of course Obama is going to view any successful business as a cash cow. His very words implied as much when he says, “When you spread the wealth around, it helps everyone.”

    What Obama does not realize, fundamentally, is that having successful businesses that create jobs IS spreading the wealth around. Everyone who has ever attempted the experiment of heavily taxing the rich to “spread the wealth around” has discovered that there is far less wealth to spread around in the end. I don’t know what they think people do with profits. I guess they think rich people hide all their money under the bed, because:

    1) Spending profits on necessities and peripherals helps support jobs that are existing

    2) Reinvesting profits in the business helps the business grow, offering more jobs

    3) Lending the money to banks for long term investments allows banks to then in turn lend money to other people to start up new businesses.

    When you place huge taxes on the wealthy, what is the result? Less money going to existing jobs, which means people laid off. Businesses stagnating, which means no new jobs. Less money for loans to start up businesses, which means fewer jobs created.

    Where do new jobs come from, then? Well, maybe a bunch of private citizens come together to start up a new business, or someone starts a business really small, already within his financial means, and that is a hard climb up. We certainly cannot expect the government to provide new jobs (except for those jobs created to feed the ever-expanding bureaucracy) with the money it receives in taxes. Maybe the fact that we’re running a $400 billion/yr deficit escaped Obama’s attention, and that all those taxes he raises are going to have to go to cover that deficit if he’s at all serious about balancing the budget.

  • This is where Obama’s complete lack of understanding of the private sector shows through.

    Obama’s take is simply, “Joe used to be middle class, but now he’s saved up a lot of money and can afford to buy a business, and so we need to tax him and give the money to those ‘behind him’ who haven’t yet got as far.” What he doesn’t seem to understand is that if he taxes Joe sufficiently heavily, Joe won’t be able to buy and run that business, which means other people won’t have jobs. Getting a $500 tax credit at the end of the year is no substitute for having a job all year round.

  • The guy lacks a professional license…

    He was probably a plant; the McCain campaign needs all the help it can get.

    Also, it turns out–as the major networks have ably reported–that Samuel (His real name) would not be affected by Obama’s plan.


  • A plant! Give me a break! Yeah, the Republicans must have used mind control to cause Obama to have a conversation with him.

    Plenty of unlicensed plumbers work for plumbers who have licenses.

    The Obama plan will hurt him if he buys his bosses’ business.

    The Senator made a potentially fatal mistake with his “spread the wealth” meme.

  • Mark’s comment perfectly encapsulates what is wrong with this electorate. He takes at completely face value a media report, and completely apes it because, well, it confirms his preconceived notions of who Joe must be. He sits there watching CNN, and decides that he doesn’t actually have to do any research, but instead will just parrot the media talking points. And of course Mark will turn around and say that I am the one who is narrow-mindedly ideological. No, I am just intellectually curious enough not to snookered by the MSM.

  • crankycon,

    How mavericky of you…

  • He was probably a plant

    I hear he’s an illegal immigrant.

  • Mark, speaking of tools and potted plants. It sounds like you are one for the Socialist Utopia. Obviously, if the state says you aren’t a plumber you aren’t one. I am sure Marx would be proud of you. Not far from me, Amish men build homes and women set up to sell their crafts and food stuffs. Perhaps, I will remind them that according to you they don’t know what they are doing, because the “state” doesn’t sanction them.

  • Mark,

    I hear he was on special leave from Guantanamo for good behavior.

  • Mark should read the relevant Ohio law instead of parroting Obama talking points. Amazing. This man asks a POLICY-RELATED question of a candidate, and the Mark Ds of the world feel the need to try to destroy him.

  • Hey Mark, I’m a plumber. Guess what? Any decent Dad can who remember righty-tighty, lefty-loosy is a beginner plumber. I can cut and weld pipes without any government functionary sanctioning my actions. The real definition of a plumber to Obama is someone dumb enough to give money to a corrupt union that will funnel money to the Dem party coffers.

    Bottom line: I’ve gotten help from plumbers, carpenters, electricians, etc. I don’t get help from politicians.

    Also, Mark please tell us you are not so foolish as to think we plant people in their own front yard to trick Obama into saying ridiculous socialist BS.

  • Mark DeFrancisis’ World: Ask an unloaded, straightforward question about Obama’s policies and get the politics of personal destruction visited upon you. We’ve had more media investigations into Joe in the past 36 hours than we have about Obama during the entire campaign.

    Moral of the Story: Only ask questions that lead to a scripted moment with Obama. Got it.

    That’s change you can believe in!

  • Pingback: Obama, ‘Joe the Plumber’ and Catholic Social Teaching « American Catholic
  • Have any of you read the Obama tax plan?

    If there is a one-man or two-man plumbing business whose owner ( and worker) are each clearing a quarter million dollars in net profits per year (or taxable income for the employee), then I have to wonder how much that plumber is charging his customers per hour. That plumber also must not have many business expenses (business expenses are not taxed as income.)

    $250,000 / 2080 hours = $120/hr
    note: the nominal work week is 40 hours x 52 weeks per year = 2080 hours) So, this is 40 billable hours of work per week (i.e. no travel time to the job sites) with no vacations, no expenses, no sick days, no vehicle costs, no gasoline, no tools, no holidays at all (ie. can’t take a break for Christmas day unless it falls on Saturday or Sunday), no plumbing supplies, no phone bill, no advertising costs, no insurance premiums, no state taxes, no sales taxes, no office supplies, no utilities expenses, no FICA expenses, no half-days off to meet with the children’s teachers, no business expenses on any sort etc.

    In the real world, a plumber netting $250,000 per year, probably has to bill, at a minimum, somewhere between $250 – $300 per hour, and probably more likely $400 per hour. (I know that I won’t hire a plumber at that rate.)

    Then, only the income /profit above that level will be taxed at the higher marginal rate.

    I hope this clarifies the impact that the Obama tax plan will have on Joe the plumber in Toledo, OH

    (note: many small businesses don’t turn any profit for the first couple/few years of existence and only after time begin to show small profits. The tax code is set up to allow this in order to give small businesses a chance to grow and improve their bottom line as they become established.)

  • Larry, a plumbing business often has several plumbers as employees. One of my plumbing clients has seven other plumbers working for him. Last year he netted over half a million.

  • Donald, I think that is great. And, if he (or she) is truly clearing over a half a million a year, I don’t have a problem with that. I also think that the marginal increase on the second quarter million of their net is not going to cause them to lay off one of their employees. (But if they do, I guess that is on them.) If, the seven other plumbers all have taxable income over $250,000, then I also don’t have a problem with each of them paying an increased rate on the amount of taxable income above that quarter million. Let’s not conflate small business revenues with profits or with taxable income.

    I was writing about Joe the Plumber and the Obama tax plan effect on his hopes to own a one-man or two-man business.

    By the way, what was the gross for that 8-man business?

  • The gross I don’t recall. I remember his net only because of a legal matter where that fact was rather important. I also don’t recall Joe the Plumber indicating to Senator Obama how many plumbers he ultimately hoped to have working for him. As for the 250,000 threshhold, I suspect that would vanish as quickly as did the middle class tax cut in the Clinton administration in 1993. Some members of Congress are now calling for a second New Deal, and even confiscatory tax rates on earners making over a quarter of a million dollars a year wouldn’t raise enough revenue for spending of that magnitude, assuming that a President Obama would agree with such an agenda.

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Final Debate: Obama Lied (Once Again) On BAIPA

Wednesday, October 15, AD 2008

As Weekly Standard notes, Obama lied regarding his motivation for voting against the Illinois born alive infant protection act:

Questioned about his vote against the born-alive infants protection act, Obama said: “There was already a law on the books that required lifesaving treatment, which is why … I voted against it.” Obama and his colleagues never cited this law as a reason for opposing the bill in the Illinois Senate. More importantly, that 1975 law only protected “viable” infants–and left the determination of viability up to the abortionist who had just failed to kill the baby in utero.

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17 Responses to Final Debate: Obama Lied (Once Again) On BAIPA

  • The debate starkly showed the difference between the candidates on abortion. If you think that abortion on demand is good social policy, and you wish to remove any restrictions on abortion and have abortions paid for the poor out of public coffers, Obama is your man. If you believe that abortion is an unmitigated evil and that abortion on demand must be fought against, McCain is your candidate.

  • Senator McCain: I will pick judges based on their competency. Roe v. Wade will not be a litmus test.

  • “Senator McCain: I will pick judges based on their competency. Roe v. Wade will not be a litmus test.”

    Yep and Obama does have a litmus test for justices.

  • But I guess in both cases we will not get judge #5.

  • No, if McCain is elected I think he would nominate someone in the mold of Scalia and Roberts, who he supported in the Senate. Obama voted against both of them, largely because he feared that they may vote to reverse Roe.

  • Could McCain even get the judges necessary to overturn Roe past an oppositional congress?

  • Mark,

    You can justify all your want about your decision for Obama; but you know that you are being disingenious with your comment… he said he would support a justice that goes against Roe v. Wade in the dabate.

  • He said….just like Reagan said… with Kennedy and O’Connor as the result , and Bush 41 said, with Souter as a result.

  • Mark,

    Perhaps you missed the line right afterwards when McCain said, “But a judge with a proper understanding of the constitution would not support Roe.”

    It was during the overtalk after McCain’s litmus test comment. Anyone have the exact quote on that for did they skip the overtalk in the transcript?

  • He noted for Breyer (sic?).

  • Mark,

    He said, “I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications…”

    Look at 1:45 – 2:03 on the video….

    Besides why did we get Kennedy? Was it Reagan’s fault or the Democratic Congress’ fault? We would should have gotten Justice Bork if wasn’t for the Congress.

  • Reagan buckled.

  • Though I will agree thus far: I honestly don’t know if we’d get Justice #5 from McCain. I don’t think he has a terribly coherant judicial philosophy.

    But we know that Obama’s justices would be absolutely terrible. In every respect.

    (And it doesn’t help that Obama would doubless manage to prolong the recession with his tax policies.)

    Overall, I thought McCain brought up a lot of the right stuff in this debate. But Obama was simply teflon — even when he had no principled answer he just smiled and said something glib and for a moment even I would find myself forgetting the guy is a hard leftist with virtually no experience.

    I suspect that with many who haven’t already made up their minds, Obama seemed like the winner.

  • Mark,

    He put two justices up there… and both were shot down by a Democratic Congress…. but you want a Democratic Congress with Abortionist President.

    Who is buckling?

  • Bret, thank you for pointing out the details! McCain did miss one opportunity, for all Obama’s talk on supporting abortion restrictions with the “health exception”, he did pledge to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would effectively eliminate all restrictions. Clearly this guy is not in the mainstream on abortion.

  • That is why we need Sarah Palin debating this stuff 🙂

    Because Sarah Palin Rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Alan,

    I did watch the interview with Margaret Sanger on your blog… pretty interesting stuff… really scarry stuff…

    especially about Philip Morris 🙂

Robert George On Obama's Pro-Life Defenders

Wednesday, October 15, AD 2008

(via Pro Ecclesia) Over at Public Discourse, Prof. Robert George has an article entitled “Obama’s Abortion Extremism” which is very much worth reading:

I have examined the arguments advanced by Obama’s self-identified pro-life supporters, and they are spectacularly weak. It is nearly unfathomable to me that those advancing them can honestly believe what they are saying. But before proving my claims about Obama’s abortion extremism, let me explain why I have described Obama as ”pro-abortion” rather than ”pro-choice.”

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6 Responses to Robert George On Obama's Pro-Life Defenders

  • This article is devastating to the ‘Catholic’ case for Obama.

  • THere really *is* no “catholic case for Obama”. Those who support him based on his war position, or on his promises of economic benefits to “the least of these”, are just practicing another form of cafeteria Catholicism.

    As clergy, I would never tell anyone for whom they should vote; vote for whom you like. But please, please, please don’t try to call it anything other than what it is when you vote for the Democrats: it is a compromise with the devil. You might (emphasis on *might*) get what you think you want, but the millions of children who will die becuase abortion becomes enshrined in law even more than it is today willcertainly not get what *they* want: a chance to draw breath outside their mothers’ wombs.

  • I don’t know how Christian can claim to support Obama because of his war position. Obama has pledged to defeat the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan and in southern Afghanistan. Obama has several times he wants to send 10,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Obama repeated his threat to hit at al-Qaida in neighboring Pakistan unilaterally. This sounds like the expansion of war in the world not reduction.

  • Something that seems to be missing in all the abortion arguments, and the one that I hope to cover tomorrow in a post, is the “inconvenience factor” that leads women to have abortions. When the primary reason to abort a child is because it is “inconvenient” to have a child at a particular time (due to career choices and financial matters and so on), how are economics going to solve that issue? Yes, I understand that poverty is often an excuse for abortion, as exemplified by the large number of abortions among low-income black women. But at the same time, many women have abortions not because of poverty, but because they’re on track for high-paying jobs (either going to school or working up the ladder in a business) and they don’t feel they can wreck their careers with a baby.

    Fixing the economy won’t end abortion. Having good foreign relations won’t end abortion. Having universal health care won’t end abortion. Raising our science and math scores won’t end abortion. Nothing will end abortion unless people realize why abortion is always, always, always a grave evil: because it puts self above all other considerations.

  • Nathan, you may be under-appreciating the subtle intelligence of the Catholic Democrat voter. Catholic Democrats know that Obama isn’t really serious when he says he will sign the FOCA, or fund embryonic stem-cell research on a large sale, or advocate irresponsible militaristic approaches foreign policy (that’s just election-year rhetoric).

    Conversely, they know what Obama is serious about – doing all of the good things with health care/education/ redistribution that they want him to. Obama is to be contrasted with McCain who hides how evil he really is (he wants to attack Iran!) with more moderate statements, and he doesn’t really intend to help anyone or appoint pro-life judges. It’s a level of subtlety that, I confess, I am not able to appreciate.

  • This article is an outstanding summation about the dangers of Obama’s clearly stated intentions and goals.

Father Duffy and the Fighting 69th

Wednesday, October 15, AD 2008







When Father Francis P. Duffy, pastor of Our Savior parish in the Bronx, was appointed chaplain of the 69th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard in 1914, he was already an old hand at being a military chaplain, having served as one in 1898 during the Spanish American War, although he never saw  duty overseas during that brief conflict.

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4 Responses to Father Duffy and the Fighting 69th

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  • The first husband of my grandmother, Alice Cregan, was Charlie Chambers (otherwise Joseph Chambers). I understand that he was killed in the first world war when fighting with the fighting 69th. Where can I get any information on his involvement with the fighting 69th?

  • Dear Paul, If you would be so kind as to wait a couple of weeks, i will forward to you what information I can with regard to Charlie/Joseph Chambers. I am the grand nephew of George Patrick McKeon, who sailed off to france as a member of the 165th NY Infantry (Old 69th) and was KIA at the second battle of the Marne on July 16, 1918. I have done a great deal of research on the men of the 69th and should be able to tell you something once i consult with volumes of source material and records. Presently my computer died, but I will try to get back to you as soon as i can. Please give me your e mail address so that i can forward to you what i have. -michael

What Palin Reads

Tuesday, October 14, AD 2008

Some may recall that there was an episode of media hysteria a couple weeks ago over fears that the GOP vice presidential nominee couldn’t read — based upon Governor Palin’s failure (or refusal) in an interview with Katie Couric to name magazines and newspapers that had “formed her worldview”.

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8 Responses to What Palin Reads

  • I hope you’re right. But the elitist in me still wishes she was able to name some magazine or thinker or journal she reads to inform herself. It’s not essential, but wouldn’t it be nice?

    At the time I imagined she was told not to say anything for fear of incriminating herself. But who knows, maybe she doesn’t read much. With 5 kids, it’s certainly understandable.

  • Exactly what magazines or journals produced by pagan modernity are worth basing one’s world views on? The Christianity that imbues works by CS Lewis and the life of George Sheehan is sufficient (and the ONLY thing on which we ought to base our world views). The great St. Paul was an apostle for Christ first and foremost, and a Roman secondarily. Liberal elitism that demands a pagan substitute for Christian virtues must be defeated – and in the end, it will be defeated, for we know the conclusion of the story – Christ wins, not some politician, left or right.

  • Zach,

    My impression from her picks (and how she described them) is that she is probably not an extensive or deep reader. I’d guess that like several Christian executive types that I know, she reads books and articles about Christian living (I’d bet she’s read Purpose Driven Life) and about her hobbies. She probably doesn’t read any particular newspapers or magazines all the time, but reads a lot of individual articles that get pointed out or emailed to her.

  • Ross Douthat has been on fire lately in his comments about the necessity of elites and the directions of anti-intellectual, populist party politics.

  • On fire he’s been, though I only agree with about half of what he has to say.

    I do certainly think that a party needs intellectuals (and to listen to its intellectuals — though I think many of the pundits streaming towards the exits of the conservative building have in fact failed, and long failed, to provide a coherent intellectual case for conservatism) but I’m not at all clear that the vice presidential or even presidential candidate need be intellectuals themselves.

  • I’ve been impressed with how swifty she has improved as the campaign has gone on. Her stump speeches are some of the best I’ve heard since Reagan rode into the sunset. She probably isn’t well read, but I believe she has a quick and agile mind. At 44 she is going to be a power in Republican politics and the nation for a long time to come.

  • But Darwin, certainly there is a difference between being an intellectual and being able to answer simple interview questions coherently. Palin’s inability to answer questions like ‘what kind of periodicals do you read?’ or ‘why have you cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia….?’ or questions on the bailout or Supreme Court cases suggested an ignorance deeper than ‘not being an intellectual.’ George Bush is no intellectual and he could have easily handled those questions.

    Douthat is simply acknowledging that Palin came across as woefully unprepared in those interviews. She has other talents, and, with time, she may develop her own voice and a coherent political philosophy. Nevertheless, she’s similar to a very talented high school basketball player at this point. She could be Kobe Bryant or she could be Kwame Brown.

  • Actually — it’s not so much Douthat’s assessment of Palin that I disagree with (I get the impression he’s still basically rooting for her but feels she was pulled national four years too early, which may be true) but his assessment of the important of figures like David Brooks and George Will and Christopher Buckley in the wider conservative movement. While I agree with Douthat that the movement needs its intellectuals, I don’t think those are necessarily important ones for the movement (nor that their departure on this campaign or even permanently is a bad sign) because I don’t think they agree with the modern conservative movement on many key issues.

2 Responses to Deliberately Omitted? What's Missing From The Debates

  • Those one minute debate recuts are high-larious.

    It could only be better if they were done in thirty seconds with bunnies…

  • I caught CNN’s live coverage of a McCain-Palin town hall meeting last week. One questioner asked:

    “I wanted to ask you about — about the issue of abortion, and specifically about the debate a couple of nights ago. The moderator cleverly never brought this — the question up.

    And with the debate coming up again, I would ask if you’re going to find a way to bring the subject up, even if it’s not asked about, because I firmly believe it’s an issue which you have the advantage.”

    Before McCain could answer CNN speedily cut away, changing the topic to the national debt clock before going to commercial.

    Who decides which issues are important?

    How much are the issues Americans say they care about determined by what issues news editors care and report about?

    I know I’m affected by how the news frames the debate. When answering the pollsters bombarding Colorado phone lines, I’ve had to remind myself to add cultural issues when asked what top issues were of concern to me.

13 Responses to Guilt by Participation

  • Keep it up, Mr. McClarey.

    It will be an Obama landslide.

  • I hope you are a poor political prognosticator Mr. DeFrancisis. In any case, if the American people choose not to think it important before the election that Senator Obama had no problem working with an unrepentant terrorist as a politcal ally, I have no doubt that in time they will find that it is very important indeed.

  • “What is that spirit we want to connect to? That spirit of rebellion. The spirit of resistance. The spirit of insurgency.”

    Finally. This is what has been found wanting in all the Ayers talk. McCain, Palin and their supporters have failed to articulate this properly, and have finally done it using Ayers’ own words (contemporary words nonetheless). Much ado has been been made about the association with a terrorist, leaving the opposition to narrowly view this as a guilt by remote association thing. I have a lot of problems with both candidates, but much more so with Obama, and this being one of them. The problem for me isn’t so much that Obama served on boards with a guy who planted bombs 40 years ago, it’s that the guy is still a subversive trying to move the nation to despotism. The tactics have changed, one of which is to support fellow revolutionaries get in office and work from the inside out as well, this is the concern over Obama’s relationship with Ayers.

    Now granted, some people, and apparently a few Catholics, might think an Ayers sort of revolution a good thing, but I think the common man, including some who might currently be supporting Obama, would balk at such a thing. The question is, is Obama part of the Ayers movement, a willful agent of sorts, or are the two just equally opportunist?

  • The problem with the Ayers connection is that his blatant terrorist activities are long in the past. Why else would the pundits on the left keep referring to the fact that Obama was only seven or eight when the bombings occurred? It is because they know that the American populace doesn’t have the attention span to care about something an individual did thirty or more years ago. The fact that he hasn’t bombed anyone else in that time (that we know of) must indicate some amount of reform, right? Who cares about his education policies. Everyone “knows” that the religious nuts on the right are trying to indoctrinate our youth, whereas Ayers is just giving them another viewpoint, as legitimate as any other that doesn’t mention the whole G – O – D word. This point is crucial. While independents may not see it this way, the left certainly sees Ayers as having done nothing wrong in all the time since the bombings.

    In my opinion, Rick, the answer is that both are just opportunists. The association isn’t as deep as I think pundits on the right are trying to make it seem. I think they both thought they could use each other, and perhaps they have to the mutual benefit of each. I could be wrong, though.

    While I do think the Ayers connection casts a stain on Obama’s record, it isn’t something worth pursuing in the campaign setting. McCain’s focus should be on how Obama’s plan will further destroy the economy, and how McCain himself intends to fix it. McCain needs to spell out loud and clear where the problems came from, and he must not spare even his Republican allies who share in the responsibility; he must spell out loud and clear how Obama’s health care plan is the equivalent to shooting ourselves in the foot; he must spell out how his economic plan is the best option. And he’d better be sure it is the best option.

  • Apparently McCain is announcing new economic proposals today:


    A good thought experiment in regard to Ayers Obama is to imagine if a person McCain had associated with during the same time period were an unrepentant Klansman who had bombed churches during the Sixties or someone who had bombed an abortion clinic. Imagine then if the bomber were now teaching at some evangelical college and had become an authority on homeschooling and was well thought of within his academic community. Somehow I think the coverage of the mainstream media in regard to that type of connection would not be as blase as their coverage of the Ayers Obama connection has been.

  • The problem for me isn’t so much that Obama served on boards with a guy who planted bombs 40 years ago, it’s that the guy is still a subversive trying to move the nation to despotism. The tactics have changed, one of which is to support fellow revolutionaries get in office and work from the inside out as well, this is the concern over Obama’s relationship with Ayers.

    Sol Stern has a series of articles in City Journal examining Ayer’s “education reform”:`

    Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer. (If you find the metaphor strained, consider that Walter Duranty, the infamous New York Times reporter covering the Soviet Union in the 1930s, did, in fact, depict Stalin as a great land reformer who created happy, productive collective farms.) For instance, at a November 2006 education forum in Caracas, Venezuela, with President Hugo Chávez at his side, Ayers proclaimed his support for “the profound educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chávez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane.” Ayers concluded his speech by declaring that “Venezuela is poised to offer the world a new model of education—a humanizing and revolutionary model whose twin missions are enlightenment and liberation,” and then, as in days of old, raised his fist and chanted: “Viva Presidente Chávez! Viva la Revolucion Bolivariana! Hasta la Victoria Siempre!”

  • Donald,

    I see you are an alumnus of U of Illinois. Have you attended alumni functions recently or received such newsletters? If so, you are indeed palling around with…

  • “I see you are an alumnus of U of Illinois. Have you attended alumni functions recently or received such newsletters? If so, you are indeed palling around with…”

    Pretty weak Mr. DeFrancisis. I am an alum of the U of I Champaign-Urbana. I of course had no say in the decision of the U of I Chicago in hiring Mr. Ayers. If my opinion of the hiring decision had been requested, it would have been unprintable.

  • Nr. McClary,

    It was a weak joke. 🙂 Sorry.

    BTW, McCain looked today like the man I voted for in the 2000. Relatively impressive!

    Hopefully, BOTH campaigns rise somewhere remotely close to the seriousness that our representative democracy deserves in these trying and important times.

    Unfortunately, I see only glimmers of hope.

  • Sorrry about my butchering your name so badly–someone interrupted me while I was typing…

  • No problem Mr. DeFrancisis. I butchered your name initially so badly when I made my last comment that I deleted it in order to correct the spelling of your name! In regard to the candidates, I have never been a fan of McCain, although I do respect the courage he displayed as a POW, and I think I have made my policy differences plain as to Obama. Whichever of these men is elected, I hope God will grant him grace and wisdom. I am afraid the nation is in for a rough few years no matter who wins come election day.

Kmiec on Korzen, Kelly and Chaput – A Matter of Priorities

Monday, October 13, AD 2008

“Catholic Answers: Two books for voters who take their faith seriously”– Doug Kmiec, who has lately become something of a poster-boy and spokesman for ‘Catholics for Obama’, reviews Archbishop Chaput’s Render unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (Doubleday, 2008) and A Nation for All How the Catholic Vision of the Common Good Can Save America from the Politics of Division , by Chris Korzen and Alexia Kelley.

As to be expected, Kmiec finds a sympathetic ear in Korzen & Kelley, given their assertion that Catholics have become ‘preoccupied’ with abortion to the subordination of peace, the environment and welfare:

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5 Responses to Kmiec on Korzen, Kelly and Chaput – A Matter of Priorities

  • I cannot help but believe that these guys simply have no interest in abortion as an issue. I don’t believe their insistence that they are somehow pro-life, nor can I believe that they honestly think that Barack Obama will cure war and poverty in the same way that they criticize Republicans for not having ended abortion.

    At best, these guys may think that they’ll be pro-life later, when there ain’t-a gonna be no war no more, and when the poor are no longer with us. But I can’t help my suspicion that, even if they could achieve these things, they’d still want to uphold the “right” to an abortion.

    Their refusal to be taught by the bishops and the Holy Father on this issue is most telling. They are desperate to justify their vote for Obama and the new ardently pro-abortion regime he promises. Maybe they can sleep at night after spending their days giving such scandal, but I couldn’t.

  • I believe it is utter rationalization to vote for Democrats, who champion the culture of death in all its forms, because the Republicans haven’t eliminated abortion themselves. Congress operates on coalitions, and, Bush has only been able to get two Supremes through…both pro-life.

    Simply put, it is the ONLY issue this year…everything else pales next to the sacred duty of all Christians to uphold “personhood!” The Natural Law, upholds the dignity of each human life, but, for Christians, it is the Holy Trinity, ie., “three Divine Persons in communion,” which bestows ultimate dignity on human personhood. “Personhood” is the ultimate victim in every abortion.”

  • “Of course, voting for a “prolife” candidate does not guarantee that he will appoint Supreme Court justices who accept the church’s natural-law arguments against abortion. Nor does it mean that anti-Roe appointees will be approved by what is sure to be a Democratic Congress.”

    Is Kmiec trying to say that only “natural law” jurists will be anti-Roe?

    One of Kmiec’s arguments that really concerns me holds that we’ve been counting anti-Roe justices wrong.

    First, because the GOP is unwilling to make openly the case for overturning Roe, we have to judge anti-Roe justices by circumstantial evidence, like whether his wife is a strong pro-life woman.

    Even if a justice is putatively anti-Roe, he or she might not completely overturn Roe but only make minor piecemeal changes. The justice might be more committed to stare decisis or schools of jurisprudence that would mitigate his or her desire to fully overturn the decision.

    As for FOCA, I’d like to know if it has a realistic chance of passing even under a predominantly Democratic Congress.

  • But why is the GOP unwilling to openly make the case for overturning Roe?

    I think it is because this type of campaigning is easily misunderstood; people may misunderstand the Constitution and the law. It also might not be a very winning issue politically.

    I don’t think this is a good excuse, but it’s probably why they’re not doing it.

  • Kevin – FOCA has been attempted in the past. However, there is more support for it from members of Congress than ever more. The current legislation was introduced April 19, 2007. Planned Parenthood is actively campaigning for the bill. See: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/issues-action/courts-judiciary/support-foca-14393.htm

    Given our country’s political climate at this time in history, it would be imprudent for Catholics to assume the FOCA is too radical to ever be passed.

    The house bill has already more than 107 cosponsors (106 Democrats, one Republican). To view an always-current list of co-sponsors, arranged by state, click here for the current list: http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/bills/?bill=9653451&cs_party=all&cs_status=C&cs_state=ALL

    The senate version introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.), had more than 19 Democratic cosponsors, including presidential candidate Barack Obama (IL) plus Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY), and independent Joseph Lieberman (Ct.). To view an always-current list of co-sponsors, arranged by state, click http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/bills/?bill=9668701&cs_party=all&cs_status=C&cs_state=ALL.

    This bill is so dangerious that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat has urged clear, vigilant, and persistent advocacy against the “Freedom of Choice Act” (or FOCA). The Pro-Life Secretariat has expressed grave concern to state Catholic conferences that FOCA would, if enacted and signed into law, sweep away hundreds of pro-life laws and policies at the state and federal levels! Check out the USCCB-approved alert released September 24, 2008: http://www.nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=263

    For a careful legal analysis of FOCA by the USCCB’s Office of General Counsel, see: http://www.nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/pl-foca.pdf

    Cardinal Rigali recently warned “if enacted, would obliterate virtually all the gains of the past 35 years and cause the abortion rate to skyrocket.” See the September 30, 2008 press release from USCCB about FOCA: http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2008/08-141.shtml

Sarah Palin and Small Town America

Monday, October 13, AD 2008

When Sara and I were working through our marriage preparation last fall, Fr. Gallinger warned all of us that we should make sure to have the marriage license ready before the ceremony. After all, there’s nothing like reaching Saturday and finding out that the courthouses are closed. I assume this is a general cautionary for people getting married elsewhere, for he continued in a humorous vein: “Of course, in Wyoming, if you can’t get into the courthouse, you know someone who knows someone who has the keys to let you in.”

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One Response to Sarah Palin and Small Town America

  • Dear Ryan,
    Very good!! I was amused by the small town “keys of the courthouse”:) story. I think you may be right about the small town factors. I like living in Wyoming, too.
    Take good care.
    Sincerely yours,
    p.s. Because of your giving me the Catholic websites, I realized that it was the debate tonight, and I ran over to the Newman Center and saw the entire final presidential debate. Thank you so much for that!

Preferential Option for the Middle Class?

Monday, October 13, AD 2008

In discussion with my more politically progressive Catholic brethren, I’ve had it put to me that the American political party which receives by preference has at its heart a “preferential option for the rich.” Supporting a Democrat such as Obama may mean compromising on the abortion issue (while hoping that the economic miracle that will spontaneously occur when a Democratic posterior inhabits the chair in the oval office may in fact do a better job of “decreasing the incidence of abortion” than actual restrictions) but at least we can be sure that there will be an end to senseless war mongering, a “preferential option for the poor”, health care for all, an end to the cruelty of capital punishment, restriction of those murderous pieces of inanimate metal called “guns”, etc.

This long list provides the “proportionate reasons” to vote for the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history, not merely with a sense of reluctant necessity, but with a moral righteousness that scorns all others.

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16 Responses to Preferential Option for the Middle Class?

  • One of Obama’s ‘advisors’ is economist James Galbraith, author of the recent book, “The Predator State”.

    Read that expose of this administration’s decimation of our economy and intentional tranfer of wealth upwards, and you will understand where many of us are coming from.

  • Mark,

    Why don’t you look at the wealiest 10 people in Congress? And look at campaign contributions from the Fortune 500 Companies… it is telling picture of the lies liberals spread about helping the poor.

  • With many on the left, the issue is power and not to the people.

  • Money, money, money,

    All that talk about money. This argument that Mr. Obama is acually the real pro-life candidate, robin-hood of change comes, in my opinion from a mis-informed conscience, not an informed conscience.

    Mr. Obama’s stance on abortion, in all extremes in very evident from his factual voting record, yet there seems to be a denial of these records for one of Hope and Change.

    We HOPE his election will equal less abortions, although he will continue to advocate for them with those in power in congress.

    We hope he will be able to CHANGE the taxation of the middle class and 95% of the people disspite the 700 Billion bailout and any future billion dollar bailouts to the States and Auto industry and whatever else comes up.

    All empty promises again in my opinion with a trillion dollars of new proposed expenditures. Just doesn’t add up.

    Church teaching is not as grey as many catholics are claiming it to be and all the twisting to rationalize the “Means Justifies the Ends” arguments just don’t add up to a well informed conscience.

    “I’m voting for a pro-choice candidate in HOPE that there will be less abortions”


    I’d rather meet my maker with a life of an unborn life saved and empty pockets rather than an extra dollar in my hand and pocket full of empty hopes and changes.

    WCC +<

  • Folks,

    While I agree that support for legal abortion is a dealbreaker for me as a voter in any readily forseeable circumstance, I’d like to see us as Catholics be able to discuss policy without always falling into a “Yeah, but abortion!” discussion. Mark brings up an economic point which I disagree with (and I’ll get to that in a moment) and which is tied to an Obama advisor, but disagreement with the economic point need not (and indeed in the interest of civil conversation probably should not) be tied in with the abortion issues — even though Obama is clearly terrible on the abortion issue and that’s one of the (many) reasons I would never vote for him.


    Actually, I agree (to an extent) with Galbraith’s complaint that we are often not pursuing fully free market (or free trade, come to that) policies. That’s been a huge frustration of economic conservatives, especially from 2000 to 2006 as DC insider-ism really went to the GOP’s head. (Keep in mind, conservatives and Republicans are sets that overlap but are not at all identical. The fact that we have no other options as regards to political party does not mean that we approve of everything the GOP does.)

    However, I think he goes seriously off the rails in asserting that the solution to our current situation, in which we have a semi-free market but lots of corrupt seeking of advantage by large corporations, is to move _more_ in the direction of a command economy.

    Further, it seems odd and a little scarry that he several times takes inspiration from the Chinese combination of government control and economic growth. Many would argue that it is precisely the centralization and state control of the Chinese economy that results in so much waste and poverty there — while developing nations such as India which have moved farther in a free market direction have done much better than China.

    So while I agree with his point that corporate favoritism has too much traction in our country, I think his proscriptions are almost entirely wrong.

  • DC,

    Thank you for the thoughtful response.

  • I am not as skeptical of government intervention as DC generally, but it is odd that many people who argue for the expansion of government spending/regulation seem shocked when expansion leads to increased corruption and/or more concessions for the dreaded ‘special interest groups’. It seems fairly obvious that the expansion of government control provides higher incentives for individuals to influence government, and that an increase in corruption and inefficiency is a more or less inevitable consequence of government expansion. That is one of the reasons why I am strongly opposed to the type of cap-and-trade programs advocated by McCain and Obama. This doesn’t mean that we should never increase the size of government or scope of government regulation, but it does mean that we should approach such expansion cautiously.

  • First off I’l like to say that my comments were not directed at any one individual in the comments.

    Mark, my appologies if that was your impression.

    However, I do stand by my comment. In the body of the original post both abortion and economics were linked together and as such I responded more to the post than an individual.

    Thanks DC though on your ‘civil discussion’ reminder.

    I do believe sparating the two can and does lead to a disservice to both issues. It’s like separating politics and religion in the public forum. but as DC pointed out one can make a specific point about one or the other.

    Caution: the following statement is on economics. 😉

    I don’t believe the current efforts of Mr. Obama to frame his economic plan as “I’m helping the poor and to heck with the rich” will end up actually helping the poor at all. At least not in the long run. Nor will it punish the rich (if that’s the goal).

    We all know that greed and corruption are existant but a re-distribution of wealth doesn’t in my mind seem to resolve the matter. It, in my opinion doesn’t give any incentive to achieve and overcome adversity.


    WCC +<

  • WCC,

    Yeah, sorry to semi-single you out there. (If I’m coming off as a hard-ass in the comments latey, it’s partly in trying to work towards what will hopefully be our normal tone around here.) It’d been striking me on the more general level we were experiencing a lot of loop-back-to-abortion, and so I took the opportunity to comment on it when it sort of showed up on this thread. (And you’re right, I linked the two in my post.) It’s a hard balance to hit because it really is true that the Dems are pretty much closed off in my view because of that issue — and yet one wants to be able to talk about other issues as a Catholic as well.

    On the economics: I think you’re right.

    Obama’s plan to tax the top 5% hard and keep high corporate taxes (he claims that our corporate taxes aren’t functionally high compared to the rest of the world because of loopholes — but then he promises to fund his programs by closing loopholes so go figure) strikes me as unlikely to help much in the final analysis — and it may actually do quite a bit of harm.

    Getting a tax credit at the end of the year is going to be precious little help if you get laid off in the meantime. And Obama’s pledge to start off a big public works program strikes me as way too warmed-over-1930s.

    (On a side note, I would sure love to see someone use this opportunity to make a serious proposal for cutting government spending by means testing Medicare and Social Security.)

  • Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, issued in November of 2007, offers clear guidelines (at least in my understanding) for how to deal with the abortion issue, that so many people seem willing to view from a ‘proportionate’ perspective. So if I may, I took the liberty of quoting below, a few KEY paragraphs from this document, put forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I can not, in good conscience, put any other issue above that of human life – particularly with regard to abortion which is BLACK and WHITE no matter the angle from which it is examined. And if I am wrong, then I hope that some good bishop or priest out there will correct my thinking – abortion is an intrinsic evil, and I do not believe that there is any other issue of this campaign that trumps that fact or that can be relegated to the category. Not taxes, not immigration, not the War in Iraq, and not the bail out. If you’ve not taken the time to read this document – you can find it here http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/fcstatement.pdf

    22. There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed thatthey are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called “intrinsically evil” actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia. In our nation, “abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others” (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 5). It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the
    destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.

    27. Two temptations in public life can distort the Church’s defense of human life and dignity:
    28. The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.3

    34. Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.
    35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan
    preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.
    36. When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely
    to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.
    37. In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions.
    These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.

  • Mary,

    I agree with your judgement that there simply aren’t any proportionate reasons that outweigh abortion on the table in this election — but if we bring every conversation around to that we’ll never get to talk about any other issues.

  • DC,

    You’re right that it’s important to discuss other issues and exchange ideas and opinions about them. However I think Mary’s main point (and I agree) is that although there are other issues, as soon as a candidate adopts a hard pro-choice stance, those other issues become (for our purposes) moot. Sure, you can discuss them, but they’re going to have little or no impact on who we can in good conscience vote for.

    This is a kind of clumsy analogy, so please excuse it, but…
    Imagine a scale, if you will. Each side represents a candidate. Each issue is represented by a marble (although of varying sizes). Well, abortion happens to be a boulder, none of the other issues coming remotely close in size. So yeah, you can debate and weigh the other issues, but they’re not going to tip the scale back the other way…so some might argue there’s no point in putting them down at all.

  • I have read comments on blogs this year where catholics are saying they will vote Democratic because they think the abortion issue is a “non-starter,” and Roe won’t be overturned any time soon; therefore, they justify voting on such grounds as immigration, etc.

    I find this utterly irresponsible in terms of a “catholic informed conscience.”

    I think the catholic Bishops are also conflicted by the immigration issue. They rightly show humane concern for illegals, but they fail to instruct the faithful that breaking sovereignty laws and the over-burdening of social structures, crime etc that that sin precipitates is also morally wrong.

    What results from this “selective” moral position is that many catholics end up voting pro-choice because they sympathize with illegal immigration.

    Sorry, if this seems off topic–I just thought of it as I was reading the arguments for discussing other issues even though abortion is pre-eminent.

  • -as soon as a candidate adopts a hard pro-choice stance, those other issues become (for our purposes) moot.-

    At times in my life I have been practically a socialist, now I am a free market type. I would readily admit that I can be convinced in either direction. Economics is not doctrine. My mind is open.

    But abortion is always murder. I can’t get around that. Others have said it: if the Democratic party wasn’t pro-abortion, these dialogues would be much different (and likely more civil).

  • I do agree with folks that a pro-choice stance is a deal-breaker as far as voting.

    In that sense, I think I see now that I framed my post rather poorly. I’d primarily wanted to make the case that, even setting the abortion issue aside, the Democrats are not currently a party primarily focused on aiding the poor and oppressed, but rather on providing centralized benefits to the middle class.

    However, since I brought up abortion (and the argument about “proportionality”) people naturally addressed themselves to the question of whether there are in fact “proportional reasons” to vote for a pro-choice politician at this time.

    As Rob says: Things would frankly be a lot more interesting politically without the abortion issue, because the votes of serious religious people would be much more in play.

    So I’ll make sure that I frame things more clearly in future if I’m attempting to do a post dealing with issues in separation from the abortion question.

    Which, incidentally, I think it’s important to do. After all, even if the GOP remains the only party open to pro-life candidates at the national level, as we’ve seen with candidates ranging from Huckabee to Ron Paul to John McCain, there’s room for a huge amount of diversity in the GOP as regards economic policy — and I think that sorting out new balances of power on those issues will be very important over the next 2-4 years, whoever wins the election. And who knows, perhaps we will even see a resurgence of the pro-life wing of the Democratic party some day, or a viable Christian Democrat thirty party. While I’m myself conservative to libertarian on most issues — it seems to me that the forced marriage of economic conservatism and traditional morality is often an uneasy and unhappy one, at least for some people.

  • I agaree with what you’re saying DarwinC. I too think the debate would be less volatile if abortion were not THE issue.

    The fact that, with “feminism, for example, it’s really all about abortion, ie. see how Sarah Palin is being mistreated, shows us the ultimate spiritual truth which is at stake regarding that issue.

    Generally, the economic argument revolves around bigger government vs. smaller government. Aside from Bush’s inability to veto spending and ear mark corruption run rampant in both parties, I side with conservatives, against the inordinate dependency and victimhood culture that big government engenders. But, the lines are not always easy to define in terms of policy.

    Our founding fathers would “turn over…” to see the large hand of government, taxes, etc. to which we have succumbed.

    Career politicians are a big part of the problem. No one should be allowed to make a career out of congressional service. We should go back to citizen government servants…who serve for a short time…then, go back to private life. That would end “earmarks” which are really just re-election bribes, and it would prevent the odious naked corruption.

Lincoln and Liberty Too

Monday, October 13, AD 2008

I live in the Land of Lincoln.  I sometimes joke that we call ourselves that because Lincoln was the only honest politician ever to come from Illinois.  Each summer the family and I go down to Springfield.  We see the Lincoln museum and go over to the Lincoln tomb.  We say a few prayers for the soul of the Great Emancipator.  “It is all together fitting and proper that we do” that, but why do we do it?

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2 Responses to Lincoln and Liberty Too

Obama: Reason To Be Afraid.

Sunday, October 12, AD 2008

The [“Born Alive controversy”] does show him to be a down-the-line pro-choice legislator. In fact, the charge that Obama is the most pro-choice candidate in years may well be true (though the other Democrats were pretty pro-choice too). When I read through the legislative history, I came to believe that Obama’s general impulse was: when it doubt, side with NARAL. If you’re ardently pro-life, you are absolutely justified in being scared of Obama for that reason alone, without having cast him as a serial killer.

Beliefnet’s Stephen Waldman
by way of Marc Stricherz: “Obama’s Moral Fortitude is Questionable “
by way of Matthew Fish: “disingenuous”

Good posts, worth reading.

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Anger and Politics

Sunday, October 12, AD 2008

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.)

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41 Responses to Anger and Politics

  • 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. “

  • Speaking of crazed supporters of political candidates:


    Left wing sites are filled with this type of raw sewage.

  • Michelle Malkin has a good article on the rage on the Left in this campaign which the mainstream press sedulously ignores.


  • 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).

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • I guess Mark Defrancisis is polluting these comboxes too with his lefty rhetoric.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Mark,

    Bob Casey Jr. had a scripted speech where abortion was never mentioned.

    And there were more abortions under Clinton than W’s eight years.

  • 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?

  • -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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • cminor,

    scatalogical headers for you?

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

    Argument from authority?

    I think George Will is wrong.

  • From the mouth of the Maverick:

  • Try “scatological”, dear.

  • Thank you for the correction; you are more of an expert on the matter, I see…

  • Enough to know it when I see it, dear.;-)

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

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.