Tuesday, August 19, 2008

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

Yesterday, I wondered how Prof. Kmiec would spin Sen. Obama's performance at the Saddleback Forum to his advantage. Well, Prof. Kmiec does not disappoint, and has obliged us with this contemptible piece at Catholic Online:
... The Obama campaign had thoughtfully arranged for my wife and myself to attend the forum, and we did – well, sort of. When we arrived with plenty of time, the church grounds were “locked down” and we never did make it inside. The Sheriff’s Department was confronted at the entrance with loud and sometimes unruly protest. Many protesting were carrying large pictures of unborn or aborted babies.

As a pro-life Catholic, I understand that one way to instruct about evil is to unmask its ugliness. Abortion is ugly. And so for the next two hours we were subjected to one bloody photo or another being thrust into our face as one epithet or another was hurled at Senator Obama. There was also a contingent of yellow-tee-shirted protestors proclaiming marriage to be between one man and one woman, to which as Catholics we also concur.

Again, though, there was something about watching otherwise normal looking people rip into one another – in several cases literally
[ED.: Really? LITERALLY? Ripped into one another? That must've been bloody.] – to fully grasp that what the First Amendment rightly protects as a means of expression, might as a matter of decency be disqualified as a tenable method of persuasion.

[ED.: So, you never actually made it into the forum to see how the candidates did; so, instead, you've decided to "rip into" (I hope not "LITERALLY") your "fellow" pro-lifers and portray them as a bunch of unruly hooligans. Prof. Kmiec, by this point, you've drunk so much of the Kool-Aid that you've even adopted the left's favorite caricature of pro-lifers as your own. Disgusting.]

Later that evening, when my wife and I saw a rebroadcast of the forum on television, we were startled by the profoundly different answers given by Senators McCain and Obama to Pastor Warren’s question as to whether there is evil in the world, and if so, what should be done about it? While the good Deacon [Keith Fournier] generously awarded Senator McCain an overall gold medal, let me respectfully suggest that his answers were not of that high standing.

McCain’s answer, for example, on the question of evil: confrontation writ large; he will get the radical Islamists; he will deploy troops wherever and whenever necessary to prevail over “the enemy” however we may describe that enemy from time to time. Years ago, it was “the communists;” then, the soviets; then the Viet Cong; then the Iraqis or al Qaeda or radical Islam (the qualifying adjective being necessary only for cover since our comparative understanding of the nuances of most religions beyond our own is often too paper thin to justify expressing an opinion, let alone sufficient grievance to send an army).

How did Senator Obama respond? By acknowledging the existence of evil and the importance of confronting it, but by first grasping, in humility, its cause. All Americans detest the horrific killing in the Republic of Georgia, but events of that nature do not manifest themselves spontaneously, and part of the art of diplomacy is undertaking the balance of relations that bring security by agreement and deterrence, not reactive force.

In the context of the later questions dealing with war, Senator Obama acknowledged the extraordinary service of the American military in responding to the attack at Pearl Harbor by referencing his grandfather's service and a recent visit to the Arizona war Memorial. Responsible and proportionate force is sometimes unavoidable, not in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church, there is a presumption against the use of force – as a matter, by the way, of honoring the culture of life.

[ED.: At this point, it ought to be clear to anyone paying attention that Prof. Kmiec's support of Sen. Obama, first and foremost, comes down to his opposition to the Iraq War and other potential conflicts like that one. Fine. I can respect that. But then Kmiec should just say so and quit perpetrating the farcical notion that Obama is the better candidate from a Catholic perspective on a myriad of other issues. Just come on out and say, "For me, it's ALL about the war", dammit! I might disagree with your prudential judgment in believing that to be a proportionate reason for supporting the pro-abortion Sen. Obama, but at least I could continue to hold some modicum of respect for you, which respect I have lost by your insistence on continuing in the sophistry that Sen. Obama is a better "pro-life" candidate. But Prof. Kmiec just can't help himself, as the following excerpt illustrates.]

The McCain and Obama answers on abortion followed a similar pattern. McCain said all the right Catholic things: life begins at conception and he intends to be a pro-life president. McCain’s support for embryonic stem cell research as Deacon Keith acknowledges is inconsistent with what our faith teaches, but by virtue of Senator Obama's statement that he does not support reversing Roe, McCain’s inconsistency passed as a footnote.

[ED.: Ah, yes. If only Sen. Obama hadn't proclaimed his consistent and undying fealty to legalized abortion-on-demand right up to the very moment of birth (and even after, as his votes against the Illinois BAIPA indicate), then more attention could have been paid to, and we could have made a much bigger deal about, Sen. McCain's inconsistency on ESCR. Sucks to be you, Prof. Kmiec, but nobody forced you to pick the most abortion-friendly candidate ever.]

Does being a pro-life president involve anything more than hoping the Supreme Court will express its approval that states can be either pro-abortion or pro-life which is McCain’s wholly unsatisfactory position.

[ED.: Liar. Prof. Kmiec, you are beneath contempt for repeatedly engaging in this subterfuge. Having argued the federalism position on abortion yourself until very recently, you KNOW that what you've just described isn't the be-all and end-all of the efforts to overturn Roe and end abortion. The struggle would continue in the state legislatures as opposed to taking place in the judicial confirmation proceedings of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. The people, acting through their representatives, would finally and once again be able to act to end, or at least limit, abortion. In fact, if Roe were overturned today, several states are at this moment ready to act to end most if not all abortions, which is a vast improvement - and would result in the saving of thousands of lives - over the current legal regime that constitutionally protects abortion on demand in all states, which you and your candidate of choice (no pun intended) are now defending. At this point, I no longer give you ANY benefit of the doubt. You are arguing in bad faith, engaging in false witness and prevarication, and you need to be called on it.]

... After declaring abortion to be intrinsically wrongful, the Catholic mind too often closes itself to all but one means – the reversal of Roe -- of addressing it. Like McCain’s un-nuanced understanding of evil this incomplete thought plays into, if not stokes, the “us v. them” mentality.

[ED.: Just wait ... it gets worse ...]

In this, there is no effort to address underlying cause and certainly no extension of empathy with the poverty or the ignorance or the cruelty that may lie behind the morally tragic contemplation of a woman to take the life of her own child. And with the Catholic mind so totally closed to alternative means to reduce abortion, it then often remains closed to every aspect of the social justice teaching of the Catholic tradition – whether it be providing a living wage, decent shelter, adequate prenatal care or the preservation of the created environment.

[ED.: Once again, disgusting! Have you so little faith in your "fellow" pro-life Catholics that you don't believe we can work together on two fronts to end abortion? How dare you defame those of us who believe abortion to be intrinsically wrongful, and therefore work to end its legal sanction, by accusing us of being closed-minded to the plight of the poor, of lacking empathy, of failing to pursue alternative means to reduce abortions, of being closed to the Church's social justice teaching? What little credit you give to Catholic pro-lifers who, in addition to believing that unborn children should be protected in law via the outlawing of abortion, also work countless hours in or donate countless amounts to crisis pregnancy centers, or engage in sidewalk counseling, or work to ensure young mothers have the health care they need, or engage in other charitable and/or political activities with Catholic social justice aims. Has demeaning those you once worked with in the pro-life movement become your raison d'etre? Such behavior is without honor, sir (and I use that term "sir" lightly), and you owe an apology to those with whom you were once in solidarity. As I said recently, it may be a lot for you to get your ivory-tower-pointy head around, Prof. Kmiec, but we folks out here in flyover country who do the REAL pro-life heavy lifting DO know how to walk and chew gum at the same time, thank you very much.]
(emphasis and editorial commentary added)

Don't miss the comments to Prof. Kmiec's piece. This one captures the tone of Prof. Kmiec's piece perfectly:
Poor Doug Kmiec. First he was denied Communion (wrongfully, he claims). Now, he was denied entrance to Saddleback due to security fears about abortion protesters. And for two hours, he and his wife had to look at bloody pictures of fetuses. In Kmiec's mind, he has become a martyr for Obama. And only Kmiec could walk away from these experiences thinking that God was trying to teach him about Obama's "common ground", which is abortion and infanticide on demand.

(Hat tip: Feddie)

From The Washington Times:
... Douglas Kmiec, a conservative lawyer who is pro-life but has endorsed Mr. Obama, called the Democrat's answer "much too glib for something this serious."

He added, however, that Mr. Obama's entire response was more "thoughtful" than Mr. McCain's...
Got that? The "glib" remark about questions of life being "above my paygrade" was a "more thoughtful" response than Sen. McCain's comments that human rights attach to babies "from the moment of conception".

No, Prof. Kmiec isn't a disingenuous sycophantic shill for Sen. Obama. Not at all.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
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"

Obama "Post-Partisan"? Ask John Roberts

Obama and the "Pragmatic Center"

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At 8/19/2008 11:11 AM, Blogger Chris Dickson said...

I would say "Saddleback" became Barack Hussein Obama's "Broke-Back!" He should have consulted his grandmother before taking on McCain. But we all know this his grandmother would have told him that John McCain was above his pay grade....

Geeeesh, Jimmy Cater asks his daughter Amy about Nuclear Proliferation and BO asks his grandmother about Pay Grade....

From the musical: Barack Obama Super Star:

Hey Boma, Ho Bama, Bama Bama Hey Bama, Ho Bama, Hey Bam Ma!

At 8/19/2008 11:20 AM, Blogger Michael R. Denton said...

Yeah, what you said.

At 8/19/2008 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"he will deploy troops wherever and whenever necessary to prevail over “the enemy” however we may describe that enemy from time to time. Years ago, it was “the communists;” then, the soviets; then the Viet Cong; then the Iraqis or al Qaeda or radical Islam (the qualifying adjective being necessary only for cover since our comparative understanding of the nuances of most religions beyond our own is often too paper thin to justify expressing an opinion, let alone sufficient grievance to send an army)."

I love the scare quotes around enemies. If Kmiec believes that the communists we fought in Korea and Vietman, the Soviets during the Cold War and the radical jihadists that long to murder him and every other American aren't our enemy, then he is even a bigger fool than I thought.

At 8/19/2008 1:45 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

When your life is required of you, shall you answer that 'I served on SCOTUS', Prof. Kmiec?

At 8/20/2008 12:04 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

Kmiec: "And with the Catholic mind so totally closed to alternative means to reduce abortion..."

Is he speaking only with reference to McCain or "the Catholic mind" in general?

I can't help but wonder if Kmiec proceeds any further down this path he'll reach a "God damn the bishops" moment (aka National Catholic Reporter's Joe Feurherd).

At 8/20/2008 11:20 AM, Blogger Fredi said...

Dear Jay,

I commend you for expressing your justifiable anger. You've been providing a much needed service by rebutting Kmiec's commentaries that have been posted on other sites. And you have done so as charitably and responsibly as possible. The work you do must be done by someone and you do it very well. Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

Fredi D'Alessio

At 8/20/2008 11:27 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Thank you, Fredi!

At 8/26/2008 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kmiec is a Catholic like Judas was an apostle....

Technically true, but in service of evil.

Jay, God Bless you. Are you excited by the clear, powerful and persuasive leadership being offered in the public square by Cardinal Egan, Chaput, etc.!? I am more energized as a Catholic than I have been for a long time.

Thank you for playing an important role in this contest!



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