Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Down Goes Oberstar

Way back in December, the first time the allegedly conservative and moderate Democrats in Congress had their chance for a profile in courage, Mark Steyn had this to say about their collapse in the face of Obama Care:

... isn't one of the lessons of the last weekend, where the fate of the republic hinges on a jelly-spine squish like Ben Nelson, a terrible indictment of the political culture of the United States, apart from anything else. But doesn't it also tell you something -- I think as Jennifer Rubin over at Commentary magazine said that when it comes to the last ditch, every Democrat is a liberal and they'll sign on to the bill regardless of what's in it.

Remembering this, I considered it laughable that Jim Oberstar's allegedly bedrock pro-life beliefs were being invoked this past week as a potential barrier to passing Obama Care, based on provisions which will lead to federal tax dollars paying for abortions.

Looks like this 36 year incumbent from a pro-life district gets the last laugh on all of us:

With the finish line in sight on the long national health care debate, Rep. Jim Oberstar, a Democrat who opposes abortion, announced that he will not stand
in the way of a final bill, meaning that all of the pieces have fallen into place for the Minnesota delegation.

Oberstar spokesman John Schadl said Monday that Oberstar would prefer stronger abortion language, but that the difference "wasn't enough to warrant denying health care to 30 million people."

I suppose it's true that Oberstar does have a pro-life voting record in Congress. But this episode tends to expose the true nature of that stance. It's a "preference". Something to advocate for when convenient. Something it's OK to vote for when your party's contrary agenda has a safe enough margin not to need you. But when it comes to the last ditch, he has a bedrock belief even deeper than being pro-life.

Oberstar commonly cites his Catholic beliefs as a reason for his his heretofore pro-life record. It's interesting to note the motivations he cites for this current vote:

Schadl said Oberstar's office has been deluged with appeals from all sides, including letters from liberal Catholic theologians who say that the Senate bill upholds existing restrictions on abortion funding.

In the end, Schadl said, Oberstar will follow his own conscience as a Roman Catholic: "He will not be consulting polls, tea leaves, Tarot cards, or any other form of unholy divination before he makes a decision that is this important."

In summary, persuasive sources of information: letters from unnamed liberal Catholic theologians.

Unpersuasive sources: polls, tea leaves, Tarot cards, and other forms of "unholy divination" (!)

If Oberstar is limiting himself to these competing outlets, I can see where his conscience might have gone astray. But you'd think this regularly self-professing Catholic might consider sources more substantial than Tarot cards to counter the arguments of liberal Catholic theologians. A few suggestions he may have heard of before: The Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, various Papal Encyclicals going back decades, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and The Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Check 'em out Congressman, there's still time.

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