Radio Personality: Members of the Opposing Party Should be Denied Health Care

Friday, October 2, AD 2009

Garrison KeillorYesterday Rush Limbaugh said that Democrats should be denied health care.  No, no, wrong radio personality!   If Rush had said anything that stupid, rest assured that you wouldn’t have had to wait to read about it on this blog to learn of it.  The networks would have been shouting the news and condemnatory editorials would have been thundering from newspapers coast to coast.  Instead it was just Garrison Keillor, National Public Radio’s Mark Twain wannabe, who decided that there are just too darn many Republicans and by gosh something should be done about it.  (As they would doubtless phrase a call for gopcide in Lake Wobegon.)  Writing in the Chicago Tribune,  Keillor has this charming sentiment:

When an entire major party has excused itself from meaningful debate and a thoughtful U.S. senator like Orrin Hatch no longer finds it important to make sense and an up-and-comer like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty attacks the president for giving a speech telling schoolchildren to work hard in school and get good grades, one starts to wonder if the country wouldn’t be better off without them and if Republicans should be cut out of the health-care system entirely and simply provided with aspirin and hand sanitizer. Thirty-two percent of the population identifies with the GOP, and if we cut off health care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.

Denying health care on the basis of political ideology.  Nice guy.  Of course Keillor was merely joking.  He has a long history of hating Republicans,   but I am sure he merely jokes, and perhaps fantasizes, about the deaths of those who have the temerity of disagreeing with him politically and in reality he would never harm a fly.  At least a Democrat fly.

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38 Responses to Radio Personality: Members of the Opposing Party Should be Denied Health Care

  • Keillor is a typical “progressive” idiot. He has a platform and a reputation bought with out tax dollars and he acts as thought that gives him the right to do our thinking for us. God save us from such fools.

    By the way, where did he acquire the reputation for being a humorist? I have tried on several occasions to listen to his radio show and found only low grade witticism no better than what fellow workers produce freely in the course of the workday. And if I’m driving, I am constantly in danger of being put to sleep and driving off the road.

  • I confess Jim that my wife and I in the mid to late eighties listened to Prairie Home Companion. We stopped, partially due to the politics that began seeping in, but mostly because Keillor simply was recycling the same gags and skits in the show with minor variations. It got boring to us, a cardinal sin when your goal is entertainment.

  • I remember coming across the show quite by accident in the mid-80’s. Keillor was talking about being raised in the austere sect of the Plymouth Brethren and his secret boyhood wish to be Catholic (specifically an Italian Catholic – red wine, spaghetti, paintings of nekkid ladies, and “Let’s do the motorola!”) I laughed so hard I cried.

    I think the politics began seeping in because there is only so much material you can squeeze out of Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery and a small handful of characters. How many Norwegian farmer jokes can you do?

  • Oh, and it’s one thing to bring politics into the show, but Keillor has gotten increasingly bitter and spiteful about it. For a guy who places such a high value on “being nice to each other” – well, apparently conservatives are barely human (we’re all rich and greedy too), so there’s no need to be nice to them.

  • I recall that one Donna! Keillor definitely had his moments.

  • Keillor used to be pretty funny — mostly back before he started retiring with a big farewell episode every year and then coming back again. (Which was, what, 15-20 years ago?) Though even then there was a certain amount of off-key political ranting about Reagan.

    Well I remember the NPR lineup of Prairie Home Companion, following by the BBC imports My Word and then My Music. Ah, youth…

    But this editorial piece of his is just moronic. And then, of course, we have the Democratic congressman from Florida calling saying we need to pass the Obama bill now in order to stop the holocaust.

  • I peg the date that Keillor stopped being even remotely funny and started being a partisan hack at roughly November 1994. He completely went off the deep end and became unbearable to listen to right about 1998.

  • I think some folks here are being lead around on their nose by their ideology. Feigning may be a skill in court, but it is tiresome in writing. I also find it interesting that you don’t just have to disagree with Keillor’s column, but you also can’t find him funny, entertaining, or even like him.

  • I think some folks here are being lead around on their nose by their ideology.

    Unlike you, of course, who is the world’s last independent thinker. Never mind your recent penchant for defending any piece of left-wing agitprop, no matter how silly or offensive. Oh, if only the world had as many courageous, independent minds like Mz Discalced Yooper Forrest.

  • That one should be left up to show how the intelligentsia thinks.

  • “Old men shouldn’t be allowed to doze off at the switch and muck up the works for the young who will have to repair the damage. Get over yourselves. Your replacements have arrived, and you should think about them now and then.” Keillor

    Though given M.Z.’s last comment perhaps its the middle aged that should take over.

  • I deleted MZ’s use of the colloquial term for fornication and e’s quotation of the same. I trust that people can express their thoughts adequately without using some of the language prized by the felons I defend in criminal matters.

  • Donald (?):

    Thanks for cleaning up M.Z.’s mess.


    You’re fortunate that the TAC moderators were kind enough to wipe that little expletive of yours off the record. You might want to exercise a little more retraint. To resort to such profanity can only worsen your case, not to mention, reveals certain aspects of your character, too.

    God bless.

  • Donald: So it was you! Just wanted to bring to the attention of the TAC moderators that little expletive of M.Z..

    I appreciate greatly how promptly you attended to it. Needless to say, such profanity is undeserving a place here at TAC.

    I find it ironic that just a little while ago, Vox Nova, of which M.Z. & Michael Iafrate are part, looked down on such comments as these and even devoted an entry to address the matter with such supposedly noble intention that they would hitherto not allow that kind of foul commentary on their blogs.

    I guess that doesn’t apply to the Vox Novans themselves as far as their own participation goes on other blogs.

  • I knew your intentions were honorable e.

  • If you’re going to go to the trouble of taking down my comment, take them all down, and at least remove my name from Paul’s comment.

  • Nothin’ like some good ad hominems

  • I have no idea of what has transpired in the past 90 minutes, but if MZ would no longer have his full name associated with his comments, then it’s fine by me if you delete that portion of my comment.

  • MZ I have no problem with Paul’s comment or a rejoinder from you so long as no language better left to lock ups is used.

  • Uhhhh… Paul, I believe that little expletive of M.Z., which subsequently followed your comments, was meant for you.

    I can’t be sure, but perhaps it was something you said that enraged him so?

  • e:

    I have no idea what MZ said in response to my comment. I went out for lunch and came back and saw only the aftermath of the controversy.

  • If I see either of you in real life, you’ll regret it.

  • M.Z.

    Was that a threat?

    Hopefully, Paul hasn’t divulged his personal information or the results could prove disastrous.

  • Now my comments make less sense. But they’re still billiant!

  • Yes, e, the *natural* reading of “If I ever see either of you in real life, you’ll regret it” is a physical–albeit conditional and not immediate–threat.

    Having been repeatedly accused of issuing a threat myself (since graciously retracted by the accuser), I hold out hope for another explanation.

  • e.,

    Please stop provoking M.Z. You can say the same thing without having to use certain adjectives and adverbs.

  • Hold on, now —

    Before M.Z. sics his mafia hitmen on me, let me just say that it was Paul who provoked M.Z.’s ire; not me.

    I only entered into the scene because I deplored M.Z.’s subsequent comment to him which contained uncalled-for profanity.

  • e.,

    I know what you’re saying, just being your friendly taco tracker and making sure this doesn’t escalate anymore.

  • Before M.Z. sics his mafia hitmen on me, let me just say that it was Paul who provoked M.Z.’s ire; not me.

    Oh come on e, that’s just not fair. I now have to spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder, hoping against hope that some crazed albino assassin doesn’t whack me while I’m out for a stroll along the Potomac. For the love of humanity, one of his co-bloggers knows exactly where I am every Sunday morning. What chance do I have?

    Time to write that will.

  • Back to GK’s statement. I get the humor and don’t mind it at all. I just don’t get the math. He seems to forget that the 32% self-identified GOPers pretty much pay for their own health care insurance and are almost certainly aggregate net contributors to the care of the other 68%. No money to be saved there unless one expects the GOPers to pay for nothing, which as I think about is probably just shorthand for the public option.

  • Thank you Mike for bringing this back to the post. All further comments on this thread, please focus them upon the post.

  • There’s nothing more spiteful and mean then a Liberal that’s been disagreed with!

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  • Reading this blog entry has made me choose to abandon this blog altogether. There are so many things in this world to complain about – why don’t you choose one of the real ones?

  • Suit yourself LTN. This is a fairly eclectic blog when it comes to what we write about, and part of our blog brief is to write about American culture and politics.

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Are All Abortions Equal?

Tuesday, June 9, AD 2009

As a matter of first principle, yes. As a matter of law, no, and such compromises are frequently necessary. Ross Douthat explains (is it just me, or does he seem somehow less influential as a New York Times columnist than he was as a blogger):

The argument for unregulated abortion rests on the idea that where there are exceptions, there cannot be a rule. Because rape and incest can lead to pregnancy, because abortion can save women’s lives, because babies can be born into suffering and certain death, there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever.

As a matter of moral philosophy, this makes a certain sense. Either a fetus has a claim to life or it doesn’t. The circumstances of its conception and the state of its health shouldn’t enter into the equation.

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10 Responses to Are All Abortions Equal?

  • Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that Roe and Casey, rather than unreasonable pro-lifers, are the real barriers to compromise (and reduction) of abortion in the United States.

    Yup, exactly. This piece, like most of his stuff, is very good in that it gets to insightful points quickly without unncessary fluff.

    Abortion was imposed by judicial fiat in an outrageous power grab by the courts. It belongs in the democratic process.

  • Once Roe is overturned, and I am confident it will be eventually, year by year we slowly hedge abortion in with ever-growing legislative restrictions state by state, while we continue our long term, but I think growingly successful, effort to convince the public that abortion is an evil that a civilized society must not tolerate. I am in favor of any restrictions on abortion. I look upon them as milestones to the ultimate goal of legal protection for all children in the womb.

  • Those, like Kmiec, who make the all-or-nothing argument that, since the Supreme Court isn’t likely to do the “REAL” pro-life thing and apply the 5th and 14th Amendments to the unborn, one might as well vote for the party fighting tooth and nail against any and all restrictions on abortion, sets an impossibly high standard for pro-lifers.

    It is done purposefully. By taking overturning Roe off the table as a viable (no pun intended) pro-life option, the intent is to make voting for the pro-life party seem just as “pro-choice” as voting for the pro-abortion party. Kmiec explicitly argued as much during the election, claiming that McCain’s anti-Roe views, which would return abortion to the states, were equally as “pro-choice” as Obama’s never-met-an-abortion-he-didn’t-like-and-didn’t-want-to-constitutionally-protect-from-the-democratic-process views.

  • It would be returned to the states effectively. However, if there were a federal majority of pro-life members of Congress, a bill such as The Right to Life Act or other unborn-personhood legislation could effectively outlaw abortion nationwide.

    The assumption that overturning Roe v. Wade will overturn the matter to the states, to remain at the state level isn’t a necessary assumption. If anything, supporters of legal abortion will immediately seek to protect their views from Washington, D.C.

    If anything, those who advocate waiting for the culture “to change” strike me as similar to the “white moderates” addressed by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his Letter From Birmingham Jail.

  • Eric I think that for a HUman Right act to pass we would need more than a simple majority.

    If it returns to the States I have a feeling the COurt would be wary of drastic regulations to protect or ban abortion via commerce clause

  • “Abortion was imposed by judicial fiat in an outrageous power grab by the courts. It belongs in the democratic process.”

    The degree to which murder is decriminalized does NOT belong in the democratic process. Murder is murder is murder. I’m ok with chipping away, but the “compromise and reduction” that Mr. Douthat commends is total garbage. The same sort of garbage that made Roe possible with the Blackmun exception.

    A personhood bill could make an end run around Roe. Why is this never acknowledged here?

  • Steve,

    A personhood bill would not (successfully) make an end run around Roe. Roe says that women have a Constitutional right to abortion. Congressional legislation infringing on that ‘right,’ even a personhood bill, would be struck down to the extent it interfered with that right. There are really only two ways to ahieve more abortion restrictions: 1) A constitutional amendment; 2) Changing the composition of the Court.

    Douthat’s piece is an effort to point out to a liberal audience (i.e. NYT readership) that Roe is the most serious obstacle to abortion compromise (which most liberals claim to want) in the United States. Even if you dislike the compromise you think he’s selling (which is undefined in the article btw), you should recognize that Douthat’s main objective here is doing spadework for overturning Roe. This is valuable work from a pro-life perspective, even if you would prefer to see different strategies emphasized.

  • “(If the) suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”

    -Justice Blackmun in the Roe v. Wade decision

  • Steve,

    As I said, even if Congress passed a law stating that fetuses are persons entitled to legal protection, I think the current Court would simply disregard it. The Court has held abortion is a fundamental right; in doing so, it has held that fetuses are not persons under the Constitution. A law passed by Congress cannot alter the meaning of the Constitution. Granted, the Court’s claim that abortion is a right guaranteed by the Constitution is based on very dubious reasoning, but correcting this mistake requires changing the composition of the Court.

  • Mr. Henry,

    I suppose I’ll accept that premise since I know it frustrates you as much as it frustrates me.

    That said, I think pushing a personhood bill is necessary, and the GOP’s failure to even attempt it makes them contemptible in my eyes.

Mary Ann Glendon

Tuesday, April 28, AD 2009


Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard, is in the limelight now for her decision to deprive Jenkins of his fig-leaf over his invitation to honor Obama on May 17, 2009.  I am not surprised by this development.  She has long been an eloquent defender of the unborn in a completely hostile environment.  She has written many articles on the subject.

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16 Responses to Mary Ann Glendon

  • I was glad to see her remind Jenkins that his first reponsibility was to honor the graduates and not turn their special day into some three-ring travesty of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Glendon made good use of her teaching moment, whether or not the lesson was received.

  • A great woman with integrity, wit and eloquence.

    I hear the position’s still open for an ambassador to the Vatican? 😉

  • Glendon is awesome. BTW, looks like Notre Dame is having a REALLY tough time finding a replacement:

  • A beautiful woman – inside and out.

  • South Bender,

    That’s hilarious.

  • I am not a catholic, am very pro life and I wanted to let her know I am so excited to see someone with their beliefs and principles stand up against notre dame for honoring Prez Obama/ it is so wrong for the school to honor a man who has none of the same views of life.. breaking Gods heart im sure!

    thank you for your courage Ms Glendon!

  • An observation:
    Ever notice that the bravest people speaking out against the excesses of Islam are women? Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nonie Darwish, Brigitte Gabriel are a few. The same can be said about the pro-life cause. It’s a beautiful thing.

  • Mary Ann Glendon for Vatican ambassador? Been there, done that 🙂

  • Bishop D’Arcy has suspended Fr. Jenkins faculties a divinis. He is forbidden to say mass, hear confession, preach or in any way address the Catholics residing in his diocese. This is nuclear option.

  • Matt, according to American Papist this suspension rumor is merely an e-mail hoax:

  • That’s crazy, the Director of Pro-life at the diocese sent it to me. It’s a shame if it turns out as a hoax.

  • First rule of the internet Matt: just because we wish something to be true does not make it true.

  • Thanks Donald, I’m sure a wise man like you never makes this kind of error.

  • Not often, but when I do I own up to it and resolve not to make that stupid blunder again.

  • I have the highest regards for Mrs. Glendon and applaud her decision. The rewards that this woman will have someday will make the Lataere Medal look like a peanut. God bless her.

  • Kudos to Mary Ann Glendon! It’s wonderful to see that there are still at least a few people who are willing to stand up for their morals and God’s Law and refuse to follow the lemmings over the cliff. While Fr. Jenkins has not rescinded his decision to “honor” President Obama at ND’s commencement, he will hopefully get that “knot in his stomach” when it actually happens and he realizes what he has done in spite of the best advice in the world to recant. How can an educated and practicing Catholic, a teacher at an iconic Catholic University, simply ignore the counsel of the entire Council of Catholic Bishops and others, such as Mrs. Glendon and hundreds of thousands of Catholics, who have tried to pint out the error of his decision? Hopefully, for Fr. Jenkins’ sake, God will not look on this as “scandalizing his little ones”!

Scalia on Stare Decisis and Roe

Sunday, March 22, AD 2009

Hattip to the ever eagle eyed Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia.   Justice Antonin Scalia on stare decisis and Roe.  By the way, Scalia’s low estimate of Roe as a legal opinion is pretty nearly universal in the legal world.  Liberal attorneys and judges, even though they support abortion on demand, will frequently agree in private, and sometimes in public, that Roe was a shoddy piece of legal work, and that Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe, was a poor excuse for a jurist.  This of course does not prevent them from supporting Roe since they approve of the result, but it does mean that all of the many cases following Roe are based on an intellectually, and of course constitutionally, rotten foundation.  We can see this in the opinions that strain to make sense of Roe, which, as Judge Bork famously noted, is completely devoid of legal argument.

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2 Responses to Scalia on Stare Decisis and Roe

  • Roe can be defended solely on an outcome-based (if you are pro-choice) criteria. It is an abomination from a constitutional perspective. What’s worse is that I think Casey is an even greater atrocity, and I’ve always loved Scalia’s dissent. It sums up what’s wrong with it so perfectly.

  • I’m not going to sit in judgment of the soul of anyone. Lord knows, I’ll have enough of my own failures to answer for on the Day of Judgment.

    But let’s just say I’m glad that a last-minute switch in the Casey decision to preserve the abomination of Roe v. Wade for at least another generation won’t be one of the things that I’ll have on my conscience when I answer to the Lord for my treatment of the least of these.

Saturday, January 24, AD 2009

A new website: This is their mission statement:

In the course of the 2008 presidential campaign, a small group of Catholic and Evangelical Protestant intellectuals and activists, while saying that they personally support legal protection for the unborn and oppose the redefinition of marriage, promoted the candidacy of Barack Obama, who made no secret of his intention to wipe out the entire range of laws restricting or discouraging abortion and embryo-destructive research, or of his opposition to all state and federal initiatives (such as California Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act) to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman. These men and women assured their fellow Christians and other social conservatives that Obama’s economic policies would reduce the incidence of abortion, and they promised that Obama was being honest when he said that he was opposed to “same-sex marriage.”

Despite these assurances, we fear that the Obama administration will swiftly begin an assault on pro-life laws and pro-marriage policies.

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Proposal: The Fair Fight Initiative

Thursday, December 4, AD 2008

As is observed every time we discuss Supreme Court appointments, there is very little pro-life progress possible under the Roe v. Wade regime, because anything which is seen as unduly obstructing a woman’s access to terminate her pregnancy (and thus use her constitutional right to “privacy”) is struck down by the courts. And yet, while abortion on demand is decidedly not popular according to the polls, Roe v. Wade mysteriously is. A solid majority of people way they want to keep Roe v. Wade, despite the fact that a solid majority would also be in favor of legal restrictions on abortion well in excess of what Roe allows.

It seems to me that one of the most difficult tasks for the pro-life movement is thus not to convince the population that abortion should be seriously restricted and reduced (banning would right now be a very hard sell, but it would seem that a great deal of progress in that direction would be possible) but rather to convince citizens that Roe is actually an obstacle to this. Thus, “the fair fight initiative”. The purpose would be (and the lawyers on here can inform me if this is indeed a legal possibility) for Congress to pass a law which would officially remove from the federal government (legislature and courts) any ability to restrict or allow abortion.

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7 Responses to Proposal: The Fair Fight Initiative

  • The Supreme Court reviews acts of Congress for constitutionality, and this legislation would be struck down under Roe and Casey, which both maintain that a right to abortion is present in the Constitution. Roe and Casey are an abuse of the text of the Constitution, but they are the law as long as Kennedy is the fifth vote.

    As to the questions posed:
    1) I think federalism arguments are useful to pro-lifers, but it is often noted that one’s position on federalism is often strongly governed by the underlying issue. E.g. – (the 1964 Civil Rights Act was a violation of federalist principles which I support).

    2) I do not think there would be much chance of persuading Democrats to support such an initiative because they would say it is right-wing abortion extremism clothed in federalism;

    3) I am not sure whether it would help or hurt the pro-life movement – it would serve an educational purpose for people who don’t realize that overturning Roe would not make abortion illegal, but it is also very unlikely to happen. I am inclined to think it would not be very helpful.

  • Justice Scalia was right when he said that the “sweet mystery of life” passage from PP v Casey “ate the rule of law.” With so many precedent land mines like those scattered about (Lawrence v Texas, Griswold v Connecticut, etc.), I don’t see how this could work. It’s not a bad idea, because you’ve correctly identified the misperceptions about Roe, but as a practical matter I think we (the citizenry in general) are too far along that line of reasoning.

    If, according to the Court, I get to define my meaning of existence, then I doubt I’ll be amenable to a states’ rights argument that could potentially chip away at my existential-defining rights…

  • “Roe would effectively be overturned by this in that it would be stated that the federal courts had no authority to deal with issues surrounding abortion.”

    It has long been a hotly contested question among lawyers and judges as to how far Congress can go in stripping the Supreme Court, and the lower federal courts, of jurisdiction in particular cases. Even if the Supreme Court ruled that such jurisdiction stripping legislation was constitutional, something I doubt they would do, Roe would still remain the law of the land. The state courts would almost certainly still rule that Roe established a right, under the US Constitution, to an abortion. Now if the highest court in a state ruled otherwise, than that would effectively overrule Roe in that state, since no appeal would then be available to the US Supreme Court if that tribunal had previously ruled constitutional the jurisdiction stripping legislation.

  • It’s an interesting idea. If it did, in fact, allow the states to pass restrictions on abortions, I would call it a big improvement for the pro-life side. Abortion would no longer be a “right”.

    And therefore, I think the chances are slim to none that Democrats would support it.

  • Donald,

    I think that many state courts would be fine with legislative restrictions on abortion if it was established that the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction in this area. It would be analogous to same-sex marriage; different courts in different states would have different interpretations.

    At the same time, the Court could not uphold Congressional legislation depriving the Court of authority in this area without overturning Roe, Casey, Carhart, etc. which all assumed that abortion was a constitutional right. The federalism/legislative deference arguments were rejected in Roe and Casey; the Carhart majority must have believed the Court had jurisdiction in this area over Congress because the Partial-Birth Abortion ban it reviewed was passed by Congress. I think the proposed legislation would require Roe/Casey/Carhart to be overturned.

  • Update – Carhart would not need to be overturned, but the position of at least one Justice (either one of the dissenters or Kennedy) would need to change to uphold jurisdiction stripping.

  • The problem John Henry is that any legislative action could not be retrospective in nature. The US Supreme Court clearly did not have its jurisidction restricted when it decided Roe and, effectively, amended the constitution to add abortion as a right. That such an action was merely “a raw exercise in judicial power” as noted by Justice White, and not justified by the text of the Constitution, does not help the fact that the decision was made. I am afraid that almost all State Supreme Courts would still adhere to Roe on the basis that it was the last word on whether abortion restrictions are constitutional , as modified by the progeny of Roe such as Casey, by the US Supreme Court while the US Supreme Court had jurisdiction.

How To Argue About Roe

Tuesday, November 18, AD 2008

One of the most common complaints directed at pro-lifers is that they are trying to overturn a Supreme Court decision that is popular with the American public. In one respect, this is a fair point. Roughly sixty percent of the country, when asked, says that they would not support overturning Roe. At the same time, roughly 2/3 of people say they would prefer the type of ‘stricter limits’ on abortion that are barred by Roe and Casey.

Noting this disconnect, Peter Suderman recently suggested that pro-lifers should focus on framing Roe as a barrier to compromise on abortion.

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3 Responses to How To Argue About Roe

  • This coming right after “How Obama Got Elected” keeps a particular theme going. People hear names, have a vague idea (if that) of what the names mean, and know very little about any content. People think of Roe v Wade as maybe a victory in the matter of civil rights, as oppose to fervent protection of abortion. Phrasing the issue properly has always been a political matter. Consider the election: Obama continually phrased the issue of a McCain presidency as four more years of Bush, four more years of “failed” economic policies. Or consider Prop 8 in California. You can phrase that as either “protecting the sanctity of marriage” or as “a fundamentalist Christian attempt to deny civil rights to United States citizens.” Which message takes hold will influence people, regardless of the actual content of the candidate or bill.

    It reminds me of the petition spread around to ban “dihydrogen monoxide” because of all the adverse affects it has. Because it was phrased as petition to fight against a grave danger, people signed onto it without any consideration of what the petition was actually about–banning water.

    Ah, our sound-bite culture. Please don’t make an issue last for more than thirty-seconds, because that’s all the thought we can put into it.

  • You make a good point Ryan. Our culture being what it is, I think we need to try and make a more forceful 30 second sound-bite. For a long time, we have emphasized the humanity of fetuses (which is the central point to emphasize). However, ideally I think we would have a two-part argument: 1) Abortion is wrong, 2) Our current abortion laws are a barrier to compromise. The second point is hard for pro-lifers to say because, honestly, this is a human rights issue so compromises are unsatisfactory.

    That said, if we are going to move the opinion poll numbers (and thus politicians) against Roe, we need to emphasize more the extreme nature of Roe, rather than being too easily written off as extremists ourselves. I think this is a difficult balance to strike in practice, though.

Cardinal: Obama "Aggressive … and Apocalyptic"

Monday, November 17, AD 2008

His Eminence the polite and soft-spoken James Francis Cardinal Stafford head of the Supreme Tribunal of james-francis-cardinal-staffordthe Apostolic Penitentiary gave a lecture on November 13 at the Keane Auditorium at Catholic University of America last week titled, “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul“.  In it Cardinal Stafford critiqued President-elect Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and he further added that Obama ran an “extremist  anti-life platform”.

Here are some highlights of his lecture:

“Because man is a sacred element of secular life,” Stafford remarked, “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”

“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.”

Cardinal Stafford said Catholics must deal with the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” by beginning a new sentiment where one is “with Jesus, sick because of love.”

The lecture, hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, pertained to Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and celebrating its 40 anniversary this year.

Stafford also spoke about the decline of a respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the original values of marriage and human dignity.

“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” said Stafford, an American Cardinal and Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary for the Tribunal of the Holy See. “In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins.”

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12 Responses to Cardinal: Obama "Aggressive … and Apocalyptic"

  • Interesting. I wonder if the Pope was sending a sharp message to Obama via Stafford?

  • Message sent loud and clear. One wonders if the first assault by Obamaites will be on all forms of human life protection or packing the FCC to snuff out the Fairness Doctrine. In truth, most of those allegedly terrible talk hosts are pro-life. Thanks to Cardinal Stafford for heads-up from The Boss.

  • Apparently the good Cardinal didn’t get the memo. Obama was the true pro-life choice and that far from being apocalyptic and extremist, he is our great hope for the end to abortion in this country and a great promoter of life. After all, we are told that nobody is really for abortion – leaving aside those who choose to abort their children, the doctors and staff that perform the procedure, those who consider it a right, and those who would prefer their grandchildren be aborted lest their child be “punished” with a child of their own – it’s pretty much true.

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  • Cardinal Stafford is indeed typically soft-spoken… that he would come out *so* strongly speaks volumes.

    And he can’t be dismissed as a wingnut in clerics… he was fairly strong against the invasion of Iraq.

  • Speaks great volumes indeed.

    Something is afoot and I don’t believe that the recent boldness of American bishops along with Obama winning the presidency is pure coincidence (being a Catholic nothing is coincidence).

    I can’t put my finger on it, but we may be experiencing something akin to the tumultous 60’s, but towards a virtuous path, not that demonic path back then.

  • T- methinks you are sniffing out something real. There will be a humdinger of a kerfuffle between Pro-Life and Anti-Life (Obamaites) in the next three years. Time for American Catholics- aka America’s Happy Middle Managers- to do something they are reluctant to attempt in any endeavor. Choose.

  • Should Roman Catholics be single issue voters? Both of these candidates supported issues in conflict with catholic doctrine. Should McCain supporters repent also?

    McCain supports the death penalty for federal crimes. McCain says we should extend use of the death penalty and implement stricter penalties for violent felons. McCain supported legislation to prohibit the use of racial statistics in death penalty appeals and supports banning it for persons under eighteen.

  • Jamel,

    One issue carries more weight than the other and more grievious.

    I can understand the reasoning that you are stating.

    Though “one-issue” Catholics is a straw man argument.

  • Jamel – Catholics are not required to be single-issue voters. Many Catholics, however, feel that the moral significance of abortion outweighs many of the other issues.

    For instance, there are 1.3-1.4 million abortions every year in the U.S., whereas about 55-65 people are executed. It is hard to make the case that these are of equal significance if you believe that abortion takes a human life.

  • Moreover, people often overlook the fact that Democrats are not monolithic on capital punishment. Both Clinton and Obama support capital punishment.

  • Pingback: CNN Wolf Blitzer’s “Diatribe” of Cardinal Stafford « The American Catholic: Politics and Culture from a Catholic perspective

Bishops Call For Both/And Approach to Life

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2008

Election fever is catching everybody these days, even bishops, and since it’s so fashionable to issue clarifying statements about the 30+ page Faithful Citizenship document, Cardinal Justin Rigali (chairman of the USCCB* Committee on Pro-Life Activities) and Bishop William Murphy (chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development) have issued a clarification about clarifications of Faithful Citizenship.

Though my tone in stating this is flip, there’s some very good material in the two page letter:

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5 Responses to Bishops Call For Both/And Approach to Life

  • Darwin,

    I’m getting around to a post about universal healthcare, what I think are many common misconceptions about it, and particularly what is wrong with the American health care “system” and try to get a general consensus of what we can all rally around.

    In my research of healthcare, I have found that not all models or notions of universal healthcare mandate that the government actually run hospitals nor be the delivery system of healthcare. Rather it’s creative ways — some good, others bad — of how we can cover everyone, or at least have the possibility there. The best version of a universal healthcare I have seen (and of which I agree) is put forth by the group “Republicans for Single-Payer,” which is a group that posits a single-payer universal healthcare system (not government-run) while maintaining their committment to a free-market economy.

    In regard to the statement itself, I think the Bishops may being acknowledging charges made at groups like Catholic Answers who advocate applying a litmus test on candidates. You take two candidates: candidate A and candidate B and you look at their views on abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and gay marriage. If candidate A, supports abortion, then you’re morally obligated to vote for candidate B. If both candidates support abortion, then you look at the other four, and if they support all, then you’re allowed to look at other issues and make your decision from there.

    In essence, while I do sympathize with that view, I do think that such a rigid litmus test is not what the Bishops recommend. Though, I’m not at all defending for voting for pro-abortion candidates. In essence, what I’m thinking is this, Republicans are often charged with legally restricting abortion, but not supporting “progressive” policies that would lead women to choose abortion. While there is much folly to that proposition, there is some truth. SCHIP — the child healthcare program — that provides healthcare to socio-economically disadvantaged children allows many families to have their children covered with basic healthcare, while the parents cannot afford it. Republicans (and some pro-life Democrats) have fought tooth and nail to get unborn children covered in this program so that pregnant women feel they have an option. Republicans also routinely vote against expanding coverage, or redirecting funds toward something else, which seems to me a contradiction of their own principles. Why cover unborn children, if you’re going to redirect the funds to something else, thus limiting the recepients and thus limiting the number of unborn babies potentially saved?

    I think that’s what they’re getting at. Then again, I could be wrong.

  • haha…I meant “lead women to NOT choose abortions”

  • I figured that was basically it — but it still strikes me as something of a straw man dichotomy, though perhaps a necessary one in order to get both sides to listen to your critique.

    I’ll be curious to read a piece by your about health care. I would certainly agree that we need some outside the box thinking about it. A while back I did a somewhat unrealistic thought experiment on it focusing heavily on subsidiarity. And I’d be interesting to brainstorm some more realistic ideas.

    In this particular election, I don’t think McCain’s health care plan is all that great — though I don’t like Obama’s either.

  • Health care… what an interesting topic. Personally, I’ve been employed by companies with stellar benefits for the most part. The exception being a temp position at a major firm that Darwin surely remembers. 🙂 Currently, my employer offers several medical packages, one of which is a zero contribution plan (i.e. no payroll deductions, for the whole family). With this, I am truly blessed.

    My sister, on the other hand, is employed by a school district somewhere in north Texas and the medical benefits do not even come close. Her coverage is less than $100 per month. When adding her husband to the plan, the employee contribution jumps to over $500. My brother-in-law recently jumped onto his employer’s plan. In effect, it’s a $400 “raise” a month for them. Others aren’t so lucky.

    Another friend from back in TX is in a similar predicament with insurance. Covering his family is just too expensive, so they pay for some other insurance.

    Looking forward to your piece, Eric.

  • Please consider posting this video and passing it along, it’s amazing. It’s great at showing the distinction between MaCain and Obama in regards to the abortion issue. Please pass this along to everyone you know. We have to get McCain elected… E

    Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.
    Ronald Reagan

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:

    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:

    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

    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:

    For a careful legal analysis of FOCA by the USCCB’s Office of General Counsel, see:

    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: