Monday, November 03, 2008

Hopefully Doug Kmiec's last poor editorial defending Obama

Doug Kmiec’s latest attempt to defend Barack Obama and Obama's position on abortion is absolutely destroyed by Ryan Anderson and Sherif Girgis. They open by noting,
Doug Kmiec is at it again. His most recent Obama propaganda piece is titled ''Why Archbishop Chaput's Abortion Stance Is Wrong.'' As far as we can tell, Kmiec, a legal scholar who identifies as pro-life, has never written an article titled ''Why Senator Obama's Abortion Stance Is Wrong.'' We await such an article. In the meantime, Kmiec has offered a pro-Obama reply to Archbishop Chaput's wise counsel that Catholics vote with a view to securing the equal protection of the law for all people, born or unborn. Kmiec's answers to the Archbishop can be divided without remainder into three categories: the irrelevant, the false, and the fallacious.
and conclude by saying,
Professor Kmiec's response to Archbishop Chaput is a textbook study in shoddy reasoning. He has placed red herrings, baseless factual claims, and glaring non sequiturs in the service of a conclusion whose logic would be laughable if it did not threaten countless innocent lives: that the most pro-abortion politician in American history would be a blessing for the unborn. Barack Obama offers the unborn no hope to believe in but much change to deplore. Doug Kmiec offers Barack Obama cover for his assaults on the sanctity of human life.
What I found surprising was that Kmiec actually mentioned Obama’s support for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), though in a water downed way (more on this below). I don’t recall him doing this in the past. He writes,
To conclude, let me just briefly address one further label Archbishop Chaput affixes upon Senator Obama: "the most committed 'abortion-rights' presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973." While not stated explicitly by the Archbishop, such allegation is typically premised on the Senator's promise to sign the so-called Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) which has been sitting around Congress for two decades or so.
Ummm... no - it’s typically premised on Obama votes against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, legislation which passed the U.S. Senate 98-0. Being in favor of legislation (and promising to sign it as your first act as president) to get rid of every state-level abortion restriction and require tax-funded abortion certainly doesn’t help. Numerous U.S. Senator and Congressmen are in favor of FOCA but only one current senator has voted against giving basic rights to infants who survive abortions.
There is much dispute over FOCA's intended effect. Its opponents (including me) argue that it will roll back important policies like waiting periods; its supporters (including the Senator) think it more a non-discrimination principle, allowing restrictions on abortion but only when they exist on other comparable medical procedures. Either way, is this an independent reason for Catholics to disregard Obama's commitment to social justice?
Could Kmiec downplay FOCA’s “intended effects” anymore? Yes, it would roll back waiting periods. It would also roll back parental consent, restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion, partial-birth abortions laws, etc., etc. Plus, the view that FOCA will roll back prolife legislation isn’t the subject of “much dispute.” It’s held by proponents of FOCA like Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

A better question would be: Is the fact that Obama thinks tax dollars should fund the killing of innocent human beings be an independent reason for Catholics disbelieve Doug Kmiec’s claims about Obama’s commitment to social justice?

Hopefully, most Catholics would understand it’s tough to be committed to social justice when you think tax dollars should fund the killing of innocent human lives.
Not really. At the Democratic convention, leading members of the House and Senate publicly expressed the view that FOCA is so deeply flawed - some scholars believing it unconstitutional and most lawmakers finding it unacceptable as a matter of policy - that it will never reach the president's desk. This is a fact that has some plausibility given its history, but of course, one that may change with the composition of the new Congress. This is more fairly an issue regarding the election of others, and not primarily Obama or McCain.
Kmiec reasons away Barack Obama’s promise to sign FOCA by stating it is unlikely to reach the president’s desk. Most current lawmakers find it unacceptable but if the Democrats have large majorities in the House and Senate, “most” could become past tense. The last sentence is simply ridiculous. It’s like Kmiec thinks we should ignore Obama’s position on this issue because the legislation is supposedly unlikely to reach his desk but it should be an issue for the election of congressional candidates so we can ensure it doesn’t reach Obama’s desk. So we need a prolife Congress to make sure Obama (he of such high commitment to social justice) doesn’t get to fulfill his promise to Planned Parenthood to sign hideous legislation? I wonder if Kmiec would make the same argument for John McCain if McCain favored some legislation which, though unlikely to pass, would force taxpayers to fund spousal abuse. Probably not, eh?

There is a reason Doug Kmiec never brings up Obama’s position on tax-funded abortions in these numerous Obama-praising-editorials.

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