Monday, June 16, 2008

Cranky Conservative: "But At Least He Says It with a Smile"

The Cranky Conservative calls out Doug Kmiec and other Obama apologists for claiming that the guy whose campaign recently issued the press release below allegedly "respects" the views of pro-lifers:
I would like Douglas Kmiec and other Catholic and supposedly pro-life sycophants for Obama, who maintain that Obama is actually the anwer to our prayers because at least he takes our views seriously, to explain this bit of language from a campaign press release:
Like Bush, McCain holds staunch anti-choice views, and during the Republican primary campaign he even bragged about his long record of opposing reproductive rights in Congress. Behind closed doors McCain told Gary Bauer that he would impose a “pro-life” litmus test on his appointments. But far too many voters don’t know about this record. In fact, a recent poll found that nearly a quarter of McCain’s female, pro-choice supporters in battleground states mistakenly believe he is pro-choice. The fact is, on reproductive rights, John McCain represents a third Bush term.
They don’t even call him anti-abortion - no, they go the whole hog and use the anti-choice label. As we all know, calling people who defend the sanctity of life “anti-choice” is as sure a sign of centrism as any.
As I was reading Cranky's post, the thought occurred to me that this demonizing of the anti-abortion position by Obama's campaign all sounded vaguely familiar to me. And then I remembered this Jim Geraghty article about how Obama reacted to a similar effort at demonization in one of his previous campaigns. Here's an excerpt from Obama's book The Audacity of Hope:
The reason the doctor was considering voting for my opponent was not my position on abortion as such. Rather, he had read an entry that my campaign had posted on my website, suggesting that I would fight “right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman’s right to choose.” He went on to write:

“Whatever your convictions, if you truly believe that those who oppose abortion are all ideologues driven by perverse desires to inflict suffering on women, then you, in my judgment, are not fair-minded. … I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words.”

I checked my website and found the offending words. They were not my own; my staff had posted them to summarize my pro-choice position during the Democratic primary, at a time when some of my opponents were questioning my commitment to protect Roe v. Wade. Within the bubble of Democratic Party politics, this was standard boilerplate, designed to fire up the base. The notion of engaging the other side on the issue was pointless, the argument went; any ambiguity on the issue implied weakness.

Rereading the doctor’s letter, though, I felt a pang of shame.
Well, isn't that sweet. But if Obama REALLY felt "a pang of shame" for such divisive campaign rhetoric that demonizes the pro-life side, then why is his campaign doing it again now? Has he not learned and taken to heart the lesson that he writes about in his own book?

My guess is that Obama will once again blame his staff for this press release, just like he did in that previous campaign. You see, Obama benefits doubly from playing the game that way: The message gets out there to the voters "via his staff" that his opponent is an “anti-choice extremist” on abortion, and then Obama gets to look "centrist" and "moderate" by “scolding” his staff and feeling “pangs of shame” for his campaign's use of such harsh rhetoric.

The Cranky Conservative concludes:
Hey, Doug, next time you have a little love-in with Mr. Audacity of hopefullness and change, see if you can get him to explain why he thinks you’re anti-choice.
See also "Obama and Abortion" by Ramesh Ponnuru.

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2 Comments:

At 6/16/2008 7:50 PM, Blogger Kyle R. Cupp said...

Yeah, life is less work not having to defend one of these two candidates. I wish I could support one or both of them, and while I admire certain aspects of their politics, both McCain and Obama promote certain evils that prohibit me personally from giving them my support.

 
At 6/16/2008 8:25 PM, Anonymous crankycon said...

I would bet - if I were a betting man - that you're right, and the denouncements will come. Undoubtedly something to the effect of "These weren't the campaign staffers that I knew."

 

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