Monday, August 18, 2008

Profound Wrestling

A few quick notes on Saturday's Saddlewood sit-down:

- Obama has been getting a lot of heat--and rightly so--for his response when asked when a baby's human rights begin. "Above my pay grade" is a tricky way for people to appear clever (at least in their minds) while dodging a question. It's a pretty lame excuse when someone employs it the business world. It's inexcusable that a candidate who wants to be President of the United States would try to get away with it.

But I thought the more interesting part of Obama's response was the logic he used to explain why he supported Roe v. Wade. Here's more of his response from the transcript:

BUT POINT NUMBER TWO, I AM PRO-CHOICE. I BELIEVE IN ROE V. WADE AND COME TO THAT CONCLUSION NOT BECAUSE I'M PRO ABORTION, BUT BECAUSE ULTIMATELY I DON'T THINK WOMEN MAKE THESE DECISIONS CASUALLY. THEY WRESTLE WITH THESE THINGS IN PROFOUND WAYS.

I really don't think abortion is that complicated. If you believe that it ends a human life, you oppose it (unless you're from the Singer school and think taking human life is fine as long as it serves utilitarian purposes). If you don't believe that abortion ends a human life, you support allowing women to have a right to it (although some part of your conscience often calls on you to say that you "personally oppose" it or that it should be rare). This is the primary division between those who are pro-choice and those who are pro-life.

But Obama rationalizes his pro-choice position based on the degree of difficulty involved in arriving at the decision to have an abortion. Can you imagine applying this sort of standard to other areas of morality? Well, I really struggled with the decision whether to embezzle money from my employer. Let me tells you, the decision to whack dat guy was not arrived at easily.

Whether an act is right or wrong is based on the action itself and the consequences of it not how hard it was for someone to come to the decision to act. Besides, doesn't all this profound wrestling about whether to have an abortion or not argue for the idea that when in doubt you come down on the side of life? After all, no one struggles with the decision whether to brush their teeth in the morning.

- No matter how they really feel about John McCain or how hard they're going to have to hold their noses to vote for him come November, Republicans should realize how fortunate they are to have a candidate whose upside at appearing at a forum like Saddlewood is far greater than his downside.

Even the biggest backers of George W. Bush would have to admit that they would cringe at the thought of him appearing in a similar setting. The potential for disaster would be high and the best you could hope for was that he made it through without committing any major rhetorical blunders.

I can still recall that sinking feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach watching Bush in the 2004 debates. You were holding your breath and praying that he could just muddle his way through. You had no expectations of anything more.

Now with McCain, the feeling is different. You feel confident that he has a command of his thoughts and the ability to put them into words. His answers are usually clear and crisp and he avoids the rambling that often leads to trouble. I look forward to the presidential debates this fall and only wish there were more of them. I'm not sure if Obama supporters can say the same.

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