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More on the Rick Warren Show

This article seems to be based on the theme that McCain’s simplistic directness may have played better with swing voters than Obama’s thoughtfulness. But it actually shows with some "specificity" how thoughtless, illogical, and inaccurate Barack’s abortion answers were.

AND it’s reported on NRO’s THE CORNER that McCain and/or his people are calling around to conservative leaders to check out how ticked off they would be if he picked a pro-choice running mate. Amazingly enough, I haven’t been called yet, maybe because they don’t have my new cell number. But here’s my advice: Don’t blow this big advantage you now have on this key issue. Listen, Mac, please: You can’t pick a running mate who can’t honestly say that, in his or her opinion, ROE v. WADE was wrongly decided. No Ridge, no Lieberman, and no some maverick nobody has ever heard of.

Discussions - 19 Comments

It's not pro-life consistency that's huge here. Is the guy, {or gal} a true Conservative on a host of issues. That should be the question.

Ridge should be barred not because of his squishiness on abortion, but because he didn't do a good job as Governor, nor as Homeland Security Director. And additionally, Ridge can't deliver Pennsylvania.

As a Pennsylvanian, I'm sympathetic with the idea of making a move for Pennsylvania's Electoral College votes, -------------- but Ridge isn't a guy who can deliver. Maybe Pat Toomey, but not Ridge. Santorum has a better chance at delivering for Pennsylvania than Ridge, especially since Casey has demonstrated himself to be not just an empty suit in Washington, but proven his pro-life positions to be fraudulent by his votes in the Senate.

Not to mention even if Santorum doesn't deliver Pennsylvania, he DOES assuage Conservative concerns.

So Ridge agitates Conservatives, doesn't deliver Pennsylvania, and costs McCain in terms of rousing the base. Whereas Santorum delivers nationwide regarding Conservatives, delivers Italian Americans, delivers Roman Catholics and might deliver Pennsylvania.

However I don't think the VP pick is huge. Barrack Hussein/Elmer Fudd performed so badly the other day, and that's been consistent for him ever since Super Tuesday, that I think McCain is going to win rather handily.

Can anyone name the last Democrat who won The White House who had so narrow a "lead" at this point in the race?


There's no separation, no bounce from the big European adventure, and if he can't hold a bounce from his Convention, ----------------------- I think it's safe to say it's over for old Elmer.

21 days from now we'll know whether Elmer/false messiah can hold his bounce from the convention, and that should tell us which way the race is going to go.

Is the guy, {or gal} a true Conservative on a host of issues. That should be the question.

Maybe a better question would be whether McCain is a true Conservative on a host of issues. He's not really trustworthy on life issues at present, even without a pro-abort running mate.

McCain should pick pro-life. He should stick with his clear answer "at conception." Whatever his rhetoric in the past, he has consistently voted pro life. Obama has not.

With a pro life candidate, Mac can prominantly display his national security message, although he should show more interest in the economy--and if he can--issues like abortion.

But McCain seems hesitant to wade into the socio-religious territory and its prominent issues, and for all of Obama's nuance on the abortion and same sex marriage issue, his emphasis on ambiguity and indeterminacy and "who am I to say" rhetoric seemed to do well with Rick Warren's nice guy Christianity. Nice guys find apparent profundity to be true. It displays a recognition of one who struggles with the issue. Perhaps nice guys are also dupes.

Case in point, in Newsweek a couple of weeks ago, Jon Meacham compares Obama's approach to religion with Lincoln's second inagural and with Reinhold Niebuhr's interpretation of Lincoln's political religion. When asked about Rev. Wright, Rick Warren may think liberation theology is Marxism in Christian language (he's right), but seminary surely taught him the profundity of a Niebuhr. Can the nice guys see Niebuhr's stance on sin and on judgment? Or will they simply want the next president to lead a national therapy session where everyone agonizes over how tough it is to make moral decisions in each and everyone's life?

McCain has Obama on the run, and he considers this? One of the few things that can and will highlight his distance from the base? In a year in which many of them are mulling over the "I won't vote" option? Amazing.

McCain's simplistic directness may have played well with everyday Americans, but its ramifications are far more complicated in practice. This Time article explains it well: Mccain and Obama on Abortion
Prof. Lawler thought it was "exceptionally lame" that Obama would have us assume that women are morally serious when they make abortion decisions--I'm still wondering whether the "exceptionally lame" part refers to women's moral seriousness or Obama's insufficiently concise response.

nom, on Saturday, Obama's responses on abortion were evasive (on when he believed life began), inaccurate (on the abortion rate in the Dubya years) and dishonest (on his voting record on born alive legislation in Illinois). But other than that, Obama has alot to be proud of.

McCain's choice of a pro-life VP is very important because, given his age, there is a definite possibility that the VP could become president.


I will grant you the inaccurate and dishonest, but I think what you call "evasive" was really an attempt to do justice to the complexity of an issue that is not easily summarized into a soundbite. I don't really think the "above my paygrade" bit was off the mark at all--theological speculations about the significance of fetal life go back a long ways. In the previous thread about the Rick Warren show, it seemed that folks were wanting to forge a new populism that would appeal to the allegedly straightforward moral reactions of middle Americans. This strikes me as odd and unwise on a number of levels. Party hacks, for sure, want to see their guy elected, and are more than willing to exploit the votes of those who are proud to be politically and culturally disengaged, but if I am not mistaken, this website has always prided itself on supporting widespread cultural literacy, which would seem to include inculcating citizens with the attention spans to follow complex arguments. Tocqueville warned about the dangers of democracy, but I'm surprised at the enthusiasm with which a lot of commentators here have wanted to trumpet them, to make a virtue out of the tyranny of the masses. The many may have approved McCain's decisive answer, but when push comes to shove, they will not put the rights of an embryo on par with a fully-grown woman. This is where consistency and complexity matter, and why I think Obama's hedging was justified.

nom, I've already said why I don't think Obama's was really a hedge answer. But I do grant your point about McCain's decisive answer, and he could have been a lot less decisive and still be against ROE.

nom, "I don't know." would at least have been an answer. And Obama was not asked as a scientist or a theologian, he was asked as a politician whose definition of human personhood will influence whether other (maybe) human persons get legal protection or whether they can be killed with no due process. The status of the fetus is a key question regarding abortion. They fact that it is disputed tells us nothing. The human status of nonwhites was disputed at one time. Imagine if such a tactic - well its disputed, theologians are confused, its above my paygrade - as used by Obama was adopted (actually it was by Senator Douglas of...Illinois)and succeded as a conversation stopper in the case of the humanity of nonwhites. Most people I know - even most pro choice people - think that a fetus in the ninth month is a living human being. They are generally horrified at the thought that obortion is legal in the ninth month as a form of birth control. We do not usually let one person terminate the life of another person with no questions asked. Sayng that the person doing the terminating is likely very serious does not get it done either. Not when its another human life. So whether it is a human being that is being terminated is a pretty important question. I would like to know what Mr. Obama thinks. No, Yes, I don't know, anything is better than the evasion he gave us, which was really a way to avoid thinking about the issue, or avoid telling us what he thinks.

Nom, you need to get used to the simplistic one-phrase answers of the neocons and evangelicals on this issue. Usually they operate in the one-note code words, such as McCain's remarks, or George W.'s, so the slightest movement off of those verbal patterns triggers charges of waffling or indecision. Nor is it a case of the facts being disputed preventing the inference. So what if science has long since rejected there even being a 'moment of conception', let alone some moment when life begins or when humans get their rights. When the head of the sperm burrows into the first cell membrane of the ovum? Maybe the second cell membrane. Maybe Obama should have suggested to the good Pastor that it was when it penetrated the cell membrane, or maybe when the acrosome containing the sperm's DNA dissolves. Maybe he should have said it is when the sperm's DNA is released into the cytoplasm of the ovum. Or when the pronuclear envelope breaks. Obama should have just said that it is when the chromatin from each pronucleus intermixes to form the diploid zygote nucleus, or when the first mitotic division occurs, etc. etc. and followed that by pointing out that granting rights to the fetus at whatever moment would still be less than the rights of the mother. Since the religious mythologies by which these idiots have long since prevented them from even being able to look through a microscope, the best you can do is return them to their regularly scheduled ideological programming.

Stertinius, I have no problems with looking through microscopes, it is insane reasoning that troubles me. Humans are supposed to be at the top of the intellectual ladder, yet we are the only species debating whether our fruit is like us...human! Maybe it's because we have forgotten what it means to be fertile. The word doesn't simply suggest the capacity for bearing life. It comes from the Latin word, "ferre", which means to carry or bear (fruit). If a woman is truly fertile, she is carrying fruit, plain and simple. Since we all know that "Like begets like", her fruit is human. A lengthy debate over when life begins is nothing more than a sham offered to weakly excuse the choices of the "fully grown", as you refer to them.
I lost a daughter early in the second trimester. Though she was born dead, there was no question as to whether she had ever been a living human. The proof of it was all over her tiny face, and her beautifully formed fingers and toes. Spare me the medical bloviating. I have stared the fetus in the face, and she was painfully human. This basic question remains. Why do the "fully grown" have more rights than the unborn, especially when it is a matter of life and death? Determining a moment of conception is meaningless to me unless we can agree that for conception to ever occur, life must be present and worthy of protection.

Science has not rejected that human life begins with conception.

It is taught in basic human embryology.

Both men lied for political gain.

Obama wouldn't dare say "I don't know" or "I don't care". As usual, he tried to escape being nailed to a position by having it both ways - don't anger the current audience too much, but don't anger his base either. Coward.

But McCain's quick, decisive answer was easy for him. Nothing to lose - everything to gain. McCain knew he'd pay no price for giving that answer.

Put them in front of a different audience, and their answers would change accordingly.

I really don't understand why people psychologically adopt politicians and political parties. They defend and remain loyal to them as if they were their loved ones. Weird. Blinds them to the realities. Neither of these two men impress me - but neither is so horrible. There is no need to demonize either one, but that's all I seem to see out there. I find THAT behavior far more worrisome than anything these two men say or do.

On this site, it is said that Tocqueville speaks of the inevitability of what is called populism. Populism is to be avoided. It is tyranny of the majority, or even worse, simple sheepish conformism. It is a world of other directed clowns who have never thought for themselves. It will hold legislative, executive, and judicial power in the same hands--and it will be awful. I agree, but I don't think it will happen--even if some may say that it has already happened.

In democratic elections which require a majority (even with the electoral college), populism is how one wins elections. Populism becomes the actual meaning of "equality of conditions." Who stands above me? Who is my peer? I'm either greater than all, or I am a worm. Perhaps I'm the same as others--or so democracy teaches me--I have no superior to look to as a standard. Experience in a democratic society teaches me that I am no better than others nor they than me. In the USA, this is as true in politics as it is true in any other walk of life. If you find yourself outside of the common opinion of what is most required by what the majority says (even if it is as rarefied as the opinions on No Left Turns) then you are fucked. You are a screwed at least as far as your ambitions thought would take you elsewhere. Yes, you can lament that there is no more West to go to. No more GTT (Gone to Texas). Suck it up sucker.

Nonetheless, populism can still be ennobled. Populism can be pointed in directions that it may not ordinarily go. This amorphous mass is not as amorphous as it appears. Did Tocqueville simply rely on the spontaneous habits of the heart? He made sure that American religious and civic institutions would provide for the need to be political. But how much does this provide?

It doesn't provide for much, for the capacity for making distinctions requires good tending--but in what way? Tocqueville spoke of those civic conditions which make for concern for others, but these things no longer exist except in some theme park nostalgia or parody.

However, perhaps Tocqueville also pointed to a free mind. As Mr. Lawler points out, Tocqueville speaks of "restless mind"--perhaps beyond Augustine's restless heart. One can have a moment when it tells one to "open and look." But in democracy to what should one look to. Oneself? Others?

To return to the world of the recent election, McCain as a presidential candidate should choose as his running mate someone who is pro-life. This candidate need not be the biggest genius regarding pre-natal science, but he should have an understanding of family and friendship. He should recognize something bigger than himself--even if that means a woman bringing to term a child (to use the pro-abort language).

These pro-abortion people cannot defend their position, unless they are willing to suggest that pregnancy is just a problem like having the flu. Friendship and family provide aristocratic answers to the inevitable levelling to the same that occurs in a democracy of equality of conditions. Abortion prevents another person from participating in this distinctive way of life.

I agree that populism is democracy in the worst way, but one need not read Woodrow Wilson on leadership in order to recognize that one thinks one must interpret the wishes of the masses. Perhaps the masses need someone to show the way. This seems to be what happens in politics today. BTW masses is a disgusting word for a democracy, but this is how contemporay politics goes.

The USA deserves much more, but I think we live in a situation that Dr. Tom More presented in the early 1970s in Love in the Ruins. Look for love, but avoid the gin fizzes if they give you hives.

Mickey, Thanks for that (and sorry for your loss) and good to hear from you. slick, there's something to what you say and thanks for introducing some nonpartisan realism. And John, thanks especially for reminding us there's much to learn from LOVE IN THE RUINS.

I'm not sure who the "idiot" is when Sternius can't use common sense to come to the conclusion that the meeting of egg and sperm start a baby, and that at the end of 9 months, no human woman has ever birthed anything except a human baby! 1 + 1 ALWAYS = 2!! One doesn't need to be religious to face the truth.

Did you all see the NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY/WSJ interview with Rick Warren? Within it is this: Mr. Warren cites polls showing that the younger evangelical generation is even more concerned about abortion than the older one.

Perhaps respect for life will be one of the defining issues of this century. I am happy for that. Right now, I am happy if it becomes one of the defining criteria for the general election. This, not least because regardless of religion, if a man sees human life as narrowly defined, say as defined by himself at this moment in time and anything less than that superior being is not human, that is someone to fear, not someone to exalt. If Stertinius, or Barack Obama, or any such man is the measure of all things and the standard of humanity, then the rest of us are in trouble. I, at least, am aware that I will not so wonderful as he is in his own eyes, and if he has the power of life or death over me, then my life is at risk. Woe to the unborn child whose humanity is even more in question, or whoever does not fit "human" when bioethics becomes defined by convenience or preference or idealists.

A man who simplistically knows that a pregnant woman carries a human being, knows that instinctively, has a better character for leadership. So, even though a vice-president, or even a president has little control over the life or death of the unborn in America, I would prefer a vice presidential candidate who is pro-life because that stand speaks to the character of the man. Such a man represents the character of America to the world and even to itself.

Pete, given the numbers of successful births before the ninth month, two of my grandchildren included, I don't think we can wait till then to decide the unborn is not an infant.

Mickey Starling, having endured a couple of miscarriages, all, all sympathy to you and especially your wife. Thank you for your comment. Isn't it hard to believe that just because your child was wanted it had a humanity that an unwanted child does not have? That's the "choice" and it is an absurd one.

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