Thursday, February 21, 2008

Deal Hudson on "Douglas Kmiec and the Lure of Obama"

Deal Hudson responds to Professor Kmiec's Catholic Online piece:
... Responding to my own column, Kmiec wrote:
These are remarkably uncharitable and uninformed words. They are words of hate, designed not to advance the protection of human life so much as to thoughtlessly denigrate.
My words were not motivated by hate, but by anger. I've admired Doug Kmiec for a long time, and I was angry that he could argue something so mistaken.
[ED.: A lesson I've learned over and over again the hard way: NEVER write in anger.] I could find no other explanation than that he was looking to ingratiate himself to Obama. Nevertheless, I should never have impugned ill motives to Kmiec. I am not a mind reader and should not have acted like one. I apologize for that. [ED.: Good form.]

Of course, the charge that I spoke "uninformed words of hate" requires a response. This is simple sophistry -- how could it be that I "denigrate" unborn life by pointing out that Senator Obama is in favor of ending it, even after the baby has emerged from the womb? (Obama voted against a measure outlawing partial-birth abortion in his home state.) Barack Obama has a 100 percent pro-abortion rating from NARAL, but for pointing that out, I am the one denigrating unborn life?

Kmiec writes that I am guilty of "blind partisanship" and accuses me of using the pro-life issue as a political "wedge." He's right about that. That's why I wrote a number of articles publicly opposing Rudy Giuliani's candidacy when he was the presumptive GOP nominee. There is nothing wrong with criticizing a candidate who is entirely opposed to the teaching of the Catholic Church on a non-prudential matter such as abortion. I have been (and will continue to be) critical of John McCain on the matter of research on embryonic stem cells, just as I was of George W. Bush in 2001 when he allowed federal dollars to be spent on existing embryonic cell lines...

Ironically enough, Kmiec also calls my article "uninformed," and yet he lists McCain's position on immigration as another reason Catholics might prefer Obama. That despite the fact that among all the GOP candidates for president, no one is closer to the position of the U.S. Bishops on immigration than Senator McCain. His bi-partisan effort with Senator Ted Kennedy to propose an immigration bill, the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act" (June 2005), is entirely consonant with the bishops' "Justice for Immigrants" campaign launched just a month earlier.

Furthermore, Kmiec fails to mention that Obama and twenty-six other Democratic senators, including Hillary Clinton, voted for the border fence in November, 2006. That McCain now supports the building of a security wall should not obscure the fact that he has suffered much criticism from grassroots Republicans for defending a bi-partisan position on immigration that was consistent with the position of the USCCB.

... Kmiec's fundamental error: He compares McCain to Obama on prudential matters and finds Obama a "Catholic natural."
[ED.: We've been seeing a lot of this lately, and are likely to see much more before this election is over.] Prudential issues do matter and they must be included in the range of factors informing the choice of candidates. But they are not equal in importance to the life issues, as both the Holy Father and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly taught...

[Read the whole thing]
(emphasis and editorial commentary added)

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Douglas W. Kmiec on "The Moral Duty to Inquire"

Professor Bainbridge: "Will Catholic Reaganites Go for Obama?"

Deal Hudson: "Preacher Man: Barack Obama and the the Gospel of Liberalism"

"Sorry, Doug Kmiec, But This Catholic Isn't Buying Obama"

Ramesh Ponnuru on Douglas Kmiec and "Catholic Reaganites for Obama" [UPDATED]

Romney Advisor Says Obama "a Natural for the Catholic Vote"

Obama "Post-Partisan"? Ask John Roberts

Obama and the "Pragmatic Center"

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At 2/21/2008 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Romney lawyers group is chaired by Douglas Kmiec, the Pepperdine University law professor who was head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel for the last years of the Reagan administration. Kmiec had already assembled a extraordinary roster of conservative legal talent (listed on the same campaign press release), and the Thompson reinforcements now put Romney atop something of an army of prominent Republican attorneys."

As the news story above indicates Kmiec was a firm supporter of Romney. In every area that Kmiec goes after McCain, Romney had an identical policy except in the area of immigration where Romney had a much tougher policy on immigration than McCain, as this story from last year indicates:

" COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The crowd at South Carolina's Republican convention cheered yesterday when former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney criticized a new immigration proposal and booed a key ally of US Senator John McCain when he defended it.

Globe front page | "

As a supporter of Romney until he dropped out, I quite understand the frustration of Kmiec. However his now chastisting McCain for policy stances that Romney also embraced, strikes me as merely him doing his best to damage the McCain campaign and benefit Obama. To do this for a candidate who is a complete pro-abort appears to me to be a betrayal of the pro-life cause that Kmiec has championed.


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