Paging Prof. Kmiec ...
... Why is it that Michael Gerson can recognize what you can't (or WON'T?) see?
... the Warren forum demonstrated how difficult it will be for Obama to appeal to religious and conservative voters as the campaign proceeds. His outreach to evangelical voters is obviously sincere, but he doesn't actually agree with them on much. In the course of the forum, he endorsed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in spite of the existence of humane and promising alternatives. He proposed controversial government regulations on faith-based charities that accept federal funds. He attacked Justice Clarence Thomas as unqualified and defended his vote against the confirmation of the widely admired Chief Justice John Roberts. Obama deserves points for honesty on all these issues, but it is possible to be honestly off-putting.(emphasis added)
Obama's response on abortion -- the issue that remains his largest obstacle to evangelical support -- bordered on a gaffe. Asked by Warren at what point in its development a baby gains "human rights," Obama said that such determinations were "above my pay grade" -- a silly answer to a sophisticated question. If Obama is genuinely unsure about this matter, he (and the law) should err in favor of protecting innocent life. If Obama believes that a baby in the womb lacks human rights, he should say so -- pro-choice men and women must affirm (as many sincerely do) that developing life has a lesser status. Here the professor failed the test of logic.
For many evangelicals, the theoretical Obama -- the Obama of hope and unity -- is intriguing, even appealing. But this opinion is not likely to improve upon closer inspection of his policy views. Obama is one of those rare political figures who seems to grow smaller the closer we approach him. "I want people to know me well," Obama said at the forum. Among religious conservatives, that may not be an advantage.
You know, I'm REALLY trying to be charitable in giving Prof. Kmiec the benefit of the doubt; but the truth of what Gerson writes above is SO obvious, that I'm having a difficult time believing that Prof. Kmiec is arguing in good faith when he claims that Sen. Obama is the MORE "pro-life" of the 2 major-party candidates running for President.
I suppose the most charitable spin I can give it is that Prof. Kmiec wants to award Sen. Obama and candidates like him for making the effort to show up at events like the Saddleback Forum, regardless of whether those candidates actually agree with the views of the faith-based voters whose votes they are seeking.
To say the least, it will be interesting to see how Prof. Kmiec tries to spin the Saddleback Forum to Sen. Obama's benefit.