Sunday, August 31, 2008

Darwin Catholic: "Douglas Kmiec, Master of Dissembling" [UPDATED]

Darwin Catholic takes on the latest sophistry from our favorite "conservative" Catholic legal scholar:

Most of us (outside of the set of "conservative legal scholars") had never heard of Professor Douglas Kmiec ... until the Romney campaign, which he had been working for, ran aground and he became "the conservative legal scholar who has endorsed Barack Obama". Perhaps realizing that fame is fleeting, and that short of the highly unlikely event of a judicial appointment from a President Obama (which would seem next to impossible, given that Kmiec lists his favorite Supreme Court justice as Clarance Thomas -- whom Obama considers manifestly unqualified to be on the court) he will never be heard of again after this election, Kmiec now seems unwilling to cede the dubious notariety that he has earned for himself. Thus, he has an interview in today's New York Times, which is in turn a promotion for the book he has coming out in two week, which is about (wait for it...) how Obama is a great candidate for Catholics to support.

Catholics are, all accusations to the contrary, people too. And far be it from me to suggest that there is some sort of monolithic "Catholic line" one must take to voting. We are, as Catholic, obliged to vote in a manner that will, to the best of our understanding, help society. Because there is much reasonable room for debate over just what is good for society, Catholics may most certainly disagree about who in any given election (this one included) is the best choice.

So it's not that Prof. Kmiec supports Obama that I object to. It's that he attempts to insist that some of Obama's positions are good and moral which are obviously not, at least if one accepts Catholic moral teachings. High among these is the issue of abortion. Obama insists that while a "grave matter" and an "agonizing moral situation" abortion is an fundamental right which must be protected, funded, and readily available at all times. This is clearly and absolutely wrong from a Catholic moral perspective.

Now it is possible (I personally think very difficult, but still theoretically possible) that there might be circumstances in which one might argue that the president at this time has little ability to affect the legality of abortion in this country, and that there are other factors which are more important in a given election. However, Kmiec does not attempt to make that argument. Instead of arguing that there are other good things Obama that outweigh his support for abortion (or bad things about his opponent that make Obama a better choice) Kmiec wants to argue that Obama is a better pick specifically in regards to pro-life issues.

It's a bad argument, and he makes it badly...

[Read the whole thing]
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Darwin does a fine job of describing what has been my chief objection to Prof. Kmiec's arguments on behalf of Sen. Obama all along - that Kmiec tries to baptize Obama's horrific position on abortion and make it the Catholic position, or at least one that Catholic voters should support. Excellent work, Darwin!

And better yet, it saves me the hassle of having to read Kmiec's piece in The Times and having to dissect it myself. Lord knows, I've wasted too many keystrokes on Kmiec as it is.

Besides, my real hope is that Cardinal Egan will read Kmiec's piece in The Times and/or his book and feel the need to respond as he did to Mayor Giuliani's reception of Communion during the Papal Visit and to Speaker Pelosi's dabbling in Patristic Theology on "Meet the Press".

Then again, perhaps Prof. Kmiec is such a small fish that he doesn't merit that sort of response.

UPDATE (2 September)
The Cranky Conservative asks the inevitable question of Prof. Kmiec: "Have you no decency left?"

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Prof. Rick Garnett on Kmiec's "Missing the Point"

A Former Student of Prof. Kmiec Speaks Out ...

Prof. Kmiec Shifts the Goalposts

Kmiec's "Bridge Too Far"? Obama's Attacks on Justice Thomas

Without Further Ado: Doug Kmiec on McCain v. Obama at Saddleback [UPDATED]

Paging Prof. Kmiec ...

Doug Kmiec Claims Democrats Making "Steps Toward Honoring Life" in Platform

Prof. Garnett Takes on Prof. Kmiec ... Again

Casey Jr. to Get Prime-Time Slot in Denver to Appease Catholics [UPDATED]

Fr. Neuhaus Responds to Doug Kmiec

Deal Hudson's Open Letter to Doug Kmiec

National Catholic Register on Catholics, Kmiec, and Obama

Prof. Hadley Arkes: "Political Distraction Among the Catholics"

Doug Kmiec - What He Said Then vs. What He Says Now Re: Constitutional Jurisprudence

What is the "Pro-Life Position" Regarding Abortion?


Unrequited Love

Doug Kmiec: "After Meeting with Barack" [UPDATED]

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

Doug Kmiec Again Places Platitudes Above Policy [UPDATED]

Prof. Bainbridge on "Obama, Abortion, & Catholics"

Prof. Rick Garnett on Kmiec's Latest Nonsense

Deacon Keith Fournier: "Why I Disagree with Doug Kmiec, Once Again"

Give It a Rest Already, Prof. Kmiec!

Deacon Keith Fournier: "No More ‘Left’ or ‘Right’, Time for a New Catholic Action"

Doug Kmiec's Newfound Celebrity Status Among Those on the Left

Doug Kmiec Soon To Be Sorely Disappointed

E.J. Dionne on Kmiec Being Denied Communion [UPDATED]

Deal Hudson on Prof. Kmiec and Blurring the Lines Between "Pro-Choice" and Pro-Abortion

Did Doug Kmiec Just Now Catch On That Obama and NARAL Are Politically Conjoined? [UPDATED]

Deal Hudson on "How Obama's Catholics Will Dodge the Infanticide Question"Kmiec's Dishonesty [UPDATED]

Catholic Teaching and Political Risk Taking: When Credit Isn't Given Where Credit is Due [UPDATED]

Kmiec's Wishful Thinking on Obama and Abortion

The Curt Jester: "Shameless Garment" [UPDATED]

So-Called "Catholic Reaganite" Doug Kmiec Endorses Obama [UPDATED]

"No'bama for Me, Thanks"

Can a Catholic Vote for Obama?

Obama's Pledge to Planned Parenthood: “I Will Not Yield"

Deal Hudson: "Barack Obama's Catholic Problem"

"Why American Catholics are Supporting Barack Obama"

Catholics at the Ballot Box

How the Catholic Left Will Tackle McCain

Why Does Kmiec Criticize McCain for Positions on Which He Gave Romney a Pass?

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

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"

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