Why I Cannot Vote for Obama

I really want to vote for Obama. There are a myriad of reasons why it would thrill me to cast my vote for him on November 4. He is such an attractive and inspiring figure, and I’m not just saying that because it’s the standard line about Obama. It’s true.

It would be so nice to have a president who is smart, articulate, even-keeled, poised, intellectual, and (it seems) genuinely passionate about helping downtrodden people.

I’ve been impressed with the way he’s handled himself on the campaign trail (certainly moreso than I have been with McCain), and I’ve more than once considered the possibility of voting for him.

At the end of the day, though, we have to look past all the promises and rhetoric of a presidential candidate and look at their record. In Obama’s case, it’s not all that extensive or especially committal (it’s clear that Obama was planning for the presidency from his very first days in the Illinois legislature). But there are things about his record that really frighten me, and chief among them is his far-left stances on abortion.

Based on his record, Obama is the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history. If you don’t believe that, read this article.

In it, Robert George, Princeton professor and renowned ethicist, summarizes Obama’s abortion record, and it is ugly. He begins by stating:

“Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress…”

The full article is truly eye-opening and disturbing, and I urge all of you to read it. If there is any part of you that is convicted about abortion and would like to see it lessened in America, you must consider Obama’s record carefully before you consider voting him into office.

I know, I know, people will retort that George W. Bush—possibly the most pro-life president in history—didn’t really do much to advance the pro-life cause. So why should I expect any different from McCain?

Well, it’s not about what McCain will or will not achieve on abortion. It’s about what an Obama administration would do to scale back abortion restriction laws and undo years of pro-life advances. If the democrats win a super majority in congress and Obama is elected president, we could be in for the biggest step back for the pro-life movement in history.

This may make me a “single-issue” voter, but so be it. I agree that “pro-life” goes beyond abortion—encompassing issues of poverty, the death penalty, even the environment… But abortion is a huge and important part of what it means to affirm the sanctity of life, and Obama’s cavalier legislative approach to it truly disturbs me.

I will not be crushed if Obama becomes the president; in some ways I’ll be very happy. But I’ll be praying that his tenure as president does not even go near abortion issues. It is that fear—that Obama will in his presidency be the pro-abortion extremist he has been as an Illinois legislator and U.S. Senator—that prevents me from voting for him.

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56 responses to “Why I Cannot Vote for Obama

  1. My wife and I came across that same article earlier this week, and it was truly an eye-opening and disheartening read. Like you, there are many reasons why we like Obama, but if even a fraction of what George writes is true, it dramatically increases the difficulty we have with voting for him.

    Anyone know any viable third-party candidates?

  2. you, sir, should read up what it actually means to be pro-choice. i am pro-life, i tend to agree with alot of what you say. but the idea of being”pro-abortion” is such a gross misrepresentation of what pro-choice people believe, its sickening (not to mention repeating ‘extreme’ with every phrase, to hammer home the fear. classy, robert george.). just wanted to put in my 2 cents. I won’t be revisiting to read responses and I will be unsubscribing from your feed. i encourage other sensible people to do the same.

  3. Thanks for speaking up for what’s right, Brett. You have hit the nail on the head with this post. You will certainly not win points with some Christians, and you have already been marked as “uncool” and/or “extremist” (definitely “not hip”). However, I appreciate your stance on this, brother.

  4. I have my doubts about Obama, but saying that he is the most pro-abortion candidate ever to run for president seems way too good to be true for so many right wingers who can’t stand the thought of him becoming president.

  5. I have to say that I agree with Ken. If we are ever to come together as a country and figure out how to discuss things on which we disagree, we have to be willing to assume others are acting in good faith: And what is the implication that George advances in this article? That Obama likes abortion? That he is callous and uncaring? That he is anti-life?

    I also notice that he drags out the old canard that Obama considers a child to be a ‘punishment,’ an ill-faith out-of-context citation that indicates that George is more interesting in criticizing Obama than he is in honestly assessing any information presented to him.

    The Obama-infanticide smear started with Alan Keyes and needs to stop here. The fact of the matter is that the born-alive bill Obama voted against in the Illinois senate is different from the federal version because it was not on the federal level— the makeup of the federal judiciary system is such that state-specific laws that are contrary to federal law (which the bill would be) wind up before the Supreme Court— meaning that the born-alive bill was tailor-made to undermine Roe v. Wade. Federal laws do not function this way, even if the language is exactly the same. And a child born alive after a botched abortion is, of course, already by law cared for and protected.

    But really, I go back to my original point: In the words of FactCheck.org, Obama’s critics are free to speculate on his motives for voting against the bills, and postulate a lack of concern for babies’ welfare. But his stated reasons for opposing “born-alive” bills have to do with preserving abortion rights, a position he is known to support and has never hidden. What does George speculate that Obama’s motives are? It seems clear that George wants his readers to conclude that Obama wishes death upon in-utero fetuses. This is not a good-faith argument, which is exemplified by his use of the term ‘pro-abortion.’

    Disagree with Obama on this issue all you like, but please give American politics the benefit of assuming its practitioners are, for the most part, not out-and-out acting to spread injustice, evil, and malaise. To do so is ridiculous and not germane to serious conversation.

  6. Hey Brett,

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I respect where you are coming from and the tension you carry about this aspect of the Obama package. I truly appreciate your ability to see the genuine strengths he embodies, even in the midst of your concern about this particular issue. That is a rare quality in those I’ve encountered who are not voting for Obama.

    I voted for Obama yesterday, so obviously I have landed in a different place than you concerning this. However, I respect where you are coming from and your decision to vote based on this issue alone. I have always been a single-issue voter in the past, basing my vote wholly on whether the candidate was pro-life. Usually it has been the case that those who were pro-life were also professing Christians, so it was like getting double the bang for my voting buck.

    This year, however, I discovered I couldn’t be a single-issue voter. I didn’t set out to be this way, to be political, or to even broaden my views; it simply happened that when election season rolled around, I discovered I was a different person than I was four years ago, and that the person I am now sees the Office of the President in a much broader scope.

    I have reached the conviction that the person we elect to office must be able to nimbly traverse plains of a wide-ranging scale, usually at one and the same time. He must understand and care for our concerns here at home and diplomatically and effectively tend — and, in most cases, mend — our relationships abroad. He must concern himself with our economy and the war in Iraq. He must look to the future and where we place our dependencies, putting infrastructure in place that will grow the future leaders and economies of our nation.

    In the past eight years, I am of the opinion that much damage has been done to the core of our American identity at home and abroad. I think we do not even yet fully see the ramifications of this, but I think it is much worse than we currently know. Because of this, I do not think the welfare of our nation can afford the continuation of similar policies or approaches, and I think we are of a moment where we cannot afford to bypass a genuine leader who unites, inspires, and calls forth the very best of our humanity. We need leadership, and a leadership of the sort that someone like Barack Obama is uniquely gifted to offer.

    I depart from Barack Obama in his views and voting record concerning abortion. Of all that he is and all that he stands for, this is the one burr that catches in the hide for me. I simply do not understand his position and wish that I could have a sincere conversation with the man to try to understand. I did not vote for Barack Obama because I agree with his views on abortion. I voted for him because I agree with every other core value and ability he embodies.

  7. I agree that some of George’s rhetoric is, Tim Coe pointed out, lacking in good faith. But rhetoric aside, are any of the statements in his article — such as Obama’s intentions concerning the Hyde Amendment, or the Freedom of Choice Act, and the implications thereof — untrue?

    I’m not trying to be snarky, just trying to be informed and make sense of this.

  8. Well said, Tim.

    I used factcheck.org when I had questions about Obama’s abortion views and found it much more informative than George’s article.
    If, as you said, you have some desire to vote for Obama, you should at least read his responses to questions on his voting record on the issue. Let the man have a response to your questions.

  9. Dear Ken sir, you will not be missed. Maybe if I were to go out on such a contradictory retort, I would probably leave the blog for good too. It IS the sensible thing to do.

  10. I’m pretty much there too, Brett.

    It kills me, because I’d really love to vote for the guy and, for several reasons, won’t be especially devastated if he takes office. I just can’t vote for him in good conscience.

  11. Nicely said, friend. I know we’re voting for different people, but if everyone (on either side) would actually look at hard issues like this (and I think Tim and Alaina have done this as well), that matters more to me than who they end up filling in the little dot for. I think we can quibble about details (like the definition of pro-life and pro-choice, for instance), but in the end, we’re probably voting for different candidates out of a fairly similar Christian conviction.

    In any case–it’s almost all over!

    Peace.

  12. Great post, Brett. Succintly said and truly spoken.

    I am not a “1 issue” voter, but I do prioritize my issues. Protecting innocent life is my #1 issue and Barack Obama has not voted to indicate that he is interested in doing so. Time and time again he has been given the chance to prove that he would like to protect the unborn and time and time again, he has found a loophole out of doing so. Our freedoms of Choice and Action are only guaranteed as long as they don’t infringe on someone else’s rights. The right to choose is infringing on another being’s right to life. I don’t understand how sober, thinking people can posit that someone’s Right to Choose trumps someone else’s Right to Live. A choice and a life, which is more sacred?

    Matt – Name a more radical pro-“choice” presidential candidate. (Hint: there isn’t one). You may not like to hear it, but the truth is the truth.

    Tim – The “Obama-infanticide smear” won’t stop until Barack stops his campaign to tear down all restrictions to abortion. It isn’t a smear. It is the truth. Do you realize that he wants to make it legal for a 13-year-old girl to get an abortion without her parents ever finding out? Have you read his speech against the Born Alive Bill in Illinois? I’m sure it’s hard to find now, but please read it if you haven’t. You will not have such an easy time typing that Obama is not pro-abortion. According to your statements, Obama prioritizes the preservation of Roe vs. Wade over guaranteeing the safety of a botched abortion victim. And please don’t tell me that “a child born alive after a botched abortion is, of course, already by law cared for and protected,” because the reason that the bill was sponsored in the first place is because these botched abortion victims were being left to die in a janitor’s closet in an Illinois hospital, sometimes taking hours to slowly die a painful death in isolation and abandonment. This is the activity that Barack Obama fought to defend on multiple occasions. Excuse me, the “choice” that he fought to defend. Do you realize that he was the only Congressman to oppose the bill? The only one. If there were all of these redundancies and undermining of Roe v. Wade going on, why didn’t any of his fellow Democratic Illinois Congressmen vote against it?

    Christianne – you are obviously free to vote however you choose to, but I cannot believe that someone who has voted strictly along pro-life lines picked this election and this candidate to break with tradition. All of the other issues you list are certainly valid and certainly concerns, but do they trump the protection of the least among us?

    Alaina – Obama is free to respond however he likes. He is the master-of-spin after all. His voting record does all of the talking that I need to hear.

    Thanks for the great p0st, Brett!

  13. Interesting and controversial post, Brett! I am assuming that you’ll then vote for McCain?

    (Personally, I’m most in line with Christianne’s views, that we have to look at politics holistically instead of just one or two issues, but that this particular issue strikes a negative chord with me when I look at Obama’s track record.)

  14. Luke—

    You have stated a number of untrue things. Firstly, BornAliveTruth.org, an anti-abortion site, correctly notes that the law already in place — compiled statute 720 ILCS 510/6 in Illinois already covers infants that ‘are considered viable – by the very doctor aborting them’. Again, in the words of FactCheck.org, That’s a fact, and reasonable people might agree or disagree on the merits of relying on a physician’s discretion. But for [McCain-ad featured] Jessen to claim that she “wouldn’t be here” without the legislation Obama opposed is false. Jessen’s life would have been protected under Illinois law with or without any of the “born alive” bills Obama opposed in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

    As for your claim that ‘he was the only Congressman to oppose the bill,’ I point you to this op-ed by Rick Winkel, the man who introduced SB-1082, the piece of legislation in question. In it Winkel states that the Health and Human Services Committee of Illinois voted against the bill 4-6— Obama’s vote being one of six. The bill never went before the State Senate, having been voted down by the committee. Winkel further states that ‘None of those who voted against SB-1082 favored infanticide. Rather their zeal for pro-choice dogma was clearly the overriding force behind their negative votes rather than concern that my bill would protect babies who are born alive.’

    Regarding the reasoning for the original sponsorship of the bill, Winkel states that the impetus was a nurse’s statement that infants were left to die in an Oak Lawn hospital. This may certainly be true, but if it is, it was already illegal. Under the existing Illinois law I linked to previously, if an abortion is performed when a fetus is deemed viable, the doctor, as explained by FactCheck.org, must:

    1) Choose the method of abortion least likely to harm the fetus.

    2) Have in attendance a second doctor who can immediately take over care of the child if it’s born alive.

    3) Use every available means to keep any born-alive child living and healthy.

    To do otherwise constitutes a Class 3 felony, which carries a sentence of two to five years in prison. That’s been the law in Illinois since 1975, and regardless of whether that law is broken in Oak Lawn, it is still the law.

  15. Tim – Reading the same FactCheck article that you seem to be basing your entire argument on, I found that the state bill had an Amendment added that matched the protections for Roe V. Wade in the Federal Bill exactly. So why did Obama vote against it? He is on record saying that he would have voted for it if it contained matching language and here is what FactCheck.org says:

    “NRLC posted documents – which are so far undisputed – showing that Amendment 001 was adopted in committee and added the following text: “Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being born alive as defined in this Section.” That wording matches exactly the comparable provision in the federal law. ”

    and

    “The statement (disputing that the language was identical) was still on Obama’s Web site as of this writing, Aug. 25, long after Obama had accused his detractors of “lying.” But Obama’s claim is wrong. In fact, by the time the HHS Committee voted on the bill, it did contain language identical to the federal act.”

    So what gives?

    Also, can you please explain this to me, Tim? In light of the Saddleback debate. Please read Senator Obama’s comments from the floor on the Illinois Senate from 2001:

    “Obama, Senate floor, 2001: Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – a child, a nine-month-old – child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it – it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute.”

    Wait a minute. I thought defining when life begins is above the Senator’s “pay-grade”? Doesn’t sound like it here. It sounds like he’s already made up his mind that a previable fetus is NOT considered a person. And he voted accordingly.

    I understand that it has been a law in Illinois since 1975, but obviously it wasn’t a very effective law since aborted fetuses were being left to die in a broom closet. Are you suggesting that we should just leave it alone since there’s already a law in the books? There’s also a law forbidding jay-walking, but if large numbers of people are dying horrible deaths through the practice of jay-walking I think something else needs to be done.

    I agree that his rhetoric is appealing (albeit empty) and his oratory skills are superb, but at the end of the day he is simply a well-polished charlatan, in my opinion.

  16. Luke, it was my intention through my comment to express why that “break with tradition” actually did occur. It is because I have come to hold the responsibilities of the Office of the President to a broader standard.

    We are essentially voting for a person to hold the CEO position of the grandest (in scope) company in the world. When considering candidates for a CEO position in any company, there are certain qualifications, qualities, and responsibilities they must embody and be able to execute. When we heighten that requirement for broad responsibilities, qualifications, and qualities to the nth power for CEO of the United States of America, it no longer makes sense to hire someone based on one specific issue that is a slice of the innumerable other issues they must also contend with while in office.

    It is a whole package we are dealing with here. The world and its concerns are broad. We should be voting the person into office that we believe can carry forth on all of these concerns better than any other candidate.

    On this point is where I think it is healthy to diverge. We can look at competing ideologies for how the country should be run, and we can look at the candidates themselves and their viability for the position and all it entails. In my opinion, Barack Obama and his overall plans fit this bill for me. You may decide differently, obviously.

    My only intention was to say that the office and our country deserve a greater respect than reducing it to one issue. Would you vote for someone who was the only pro-life candidate in a line of candidates but miserably qualified to execute the rest of the duties required of the office? That strikes me as incredibly irresponsible, but that is where the extremest form of this view you are putting forth would land someone, ostensibly.

  17. Christianne-

    I do understand what you are saying and why you say that you voted the way that you did. CEOs have much more unilateral capability than the POTUS does, but I see where you are going with it. Also, the President is not only responsible for maintaining the balance sheet, but also protecting the lives of his “employees”.

    You are correct, it doesn’t make sense to hire someone based on one specific issue, but when that one specific issue is one facet of a larger worldview, then we must start thinking a little more seriously. I believe that Obama’s stance on abortion is representative of his larger world-view about the sanctity of life. This is more than just one issue, this spans multiple issues and various demographics. I do not trust Senator Obama to uphold the rights and protections guaranteed in our Constitution. Period. In fact I believe that he will do whatever he can to erode some of the ones that he does not like. He hasn’t shown me that he will not do so and has hinted that he will. me people agree with him that it is time that those Constitutionally-based rights were changed or removed from certain populaces. In some cases they want the Constitution stretched to include instances that it was never meant to include.

    Regardless, as I stated in my first post, I am not a 1 issue voter. I do prioritize my issues, however. And when one candidate’s stance on a specific issue is indicative of his position on a whole bunch of related issues, the choice is pretty clear for me.

    As far as whether I would vote for someone who was pro-life and miserably qualified at all of the other issues, am I to assume that this person has been taken seriously enough to get nominated? I mean, if this person is miserably qualified at every single issue but has a stellar pro-life record, how is this person on the ballot? That being said, I will never vote for a person who supports abortion as an option. This is not an extremist view, this is how I feel. And just like you don’t see this issue as being as important as other issues, I have the right to take this one more seriously than other issues. Do I not?

  18. Luke, as I said earlier, the fact of the matter is that the born-alive bill Obama voted against in the Illinois senate is different from the federal version because it was not on the federal level— the makeup of the federal judiciary system is such that state-specific laws that are contrary to federal law (which the bill would be) wind up before the Supreme Court— meaning that the born-alive bill was tailor-made to undermine Roe v. Wade. Federal laws do not function this way, even if the language is exactly the same.

    Regarding the efficacy of the law, I agree that if a law is being ignored and this is resulting in widespread deaths something more needs to be done. Two points, however: 1) A single instance at a single hospital does not constitute ‘widespread’ anything, and 2) If the problem is that a law is being ignored, how will an additional law do anything to change this? You seem to be arguing that we should make it against the law to break the law.

    Re: the Saddleback conference, Obama is merely articulating what is already federally adopted language regarding fetuses. He is not attempting to define anything, but to explain the law as it exists in our country. He has in fact already made up his mind that a previable fetus is not considered a person because legally a previable fetus is not considered a person. That’s all he’s saying.

    Again, I have to ask— what is the gist of your argument? Is it that Senator Obama does not care about life? That he likes babies dying?

    To quote the late David Foster Wallace,

    In this reviewer’s opinion, the only really coherent position on the abortion issue is one that is both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice.

    Argument: As of 4 March 1999, the question of defining human life in utero is hopelessly vexed. That is, given our best present medical and philosophical understandings of what makes something not just a living organism but a person, there is no way to establish at just what point during gestation a fertilized ovum becomes a human being. This conundrum, together with the basically inarguable soundness of the principle “When in irresolvable doubt about whether something is a human or not, it is better not to kill it,” appears to me to require any reasonable American to be Pro-Life. At the same time, however, the principle “When in irresolvable doubt about something, I have neither the legal nor the moral right to tell another person what to do about it, especially if that person feels that s/he is not in doubt” is an unassailable part of the Democratic pact we Americans all make with one another, a pact in which each adult citizen gets to be an autonomous moral agent; and this principle appears to me to require any reasonable American to be Pro-Choice.

    This reviewer is thus, as a private citizen and an autonomous agent, both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. It is not an easy or comfortable position to maintain. Every time someone I know decides to terminate a pregnancy, I am required to believe simultaneously that she is doing the wrong thing and that she has every right to do it. Plus, of course, I have both to believe that a Pro-Life + Pro-Choice stance is the only really coherent one and to restrain myself from trying to force that position on other people whose ideological or religious convictions seem (to me) to override reason and yield a (in my opinion) wacko dogmatic position. This restraint has to be maintained even when somebody’s (to me) wacko dogmatic position appears (to me) to reject the very Democratic tolerance that is keeping me from trying to force my position on him/her; it requires me not to press or argue or retaliate even when somebody calls me Satan’s Minion or Just Another Shithead Male, which forbearance represents the really outer and tooth-grinding limits of my own personal Democratic Spirit.

  19. First of all, everyone on here has the right to take seriously or prioritize whatever issue they want. The point is that we DO take seriously the issues, and consider them carefully.

    Obviously I align more with Luke on this, but I respect the other opinions voiced here, and especially appreciate the well-articulated arguments of Christianne.

    I agree that the presidency requires a much broader set of qualifications than just the stances on one issue. But with regard to Obama, there is so little that we can base our future estimations of him on. I mean, he’s run a good campaign and there are signs that he could be a good leader, but there is no real basis on which we can predict exactly how he will fit into the executive role of president. I haven’t really seen much in Obama’s record that indicates that he will have an effective handle on “the world and its concerns”… This is not to say that he won’t. He could very well be a very effective world leader. One hopes. But it is an uncertainty.

    I think it’s safer to vote on what I DO know for certain about a candidate, rather than look at his potential and hope for the best. And there is no issue on which Obama has been clearer than abortion. I know where he stands, what he has voted, and all of that is a pretty convincing indicator of where he will be on the issue if he becomes president.

    Because I am passionate about the issue in exactly the opposite direction as Obama, I cannot bring myself to vote for him in good conscience.

    There are other issues I’m concerned about, but none of them are as black and white to me (in terms of where Obama stands as different or similar to where I stand) as abortion is. So on that note, I will be voting for McCain.

  20. Brett – Word.

    Tim – Wallace quote is moral relativism, something I am antithetically opposed to.

    As far as determining when a fertilized ovum becomes a human, I’ll do the same and use other’s words to speak my mind (quotes posted on firstthings.com):

    Dr. Hymie Gordon (Mayo Clinic): “By all criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”

    Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth (Harvard University Medical School): “It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.”

    Dr. Alfred Bongioanni (University of Pennsylvania): “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.”

    Dr. Jerome LeJeune, “the Father of Modern Genetics” (University of Descartes, Paris): “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion . . . it is plain experimental evidence.”

    The fetus has genetic material that is distinct from the mother. How is this not individual life? And how does this not solve Wallace’s “conundrum”? By his logic, no one should have stepped up to put an end to the Holocaust either. And the Abolitionists should’ve butted out since the slave owners were “autonomous moral agents”.

  21. Sigh.

    The reason I quoted Wallace was not because I think we should have a debate here about abortion. I did so because I thought you might benefit from seeing that it is possible for someone to be morally opposed to abortion— as I am, and as Obama is— while still maintaining that it ought to be legal. The issue of abortion comes down to metaphysical uncertainty, which does not apply either to the Holocaust or slavery; it is upon the knife-edge of this uncertainty that one must balance morals v. ethics. Feel free to disagree; the point I was making was that there is a valid view counter to your own, and that to dismiss this possibility as you have, and as George does in the originally-linked article, is myopic and inhospitable to productive discussion.

    If one’s opinion on the abortion issue takes precedence over all else, it certainly makes sense for that person to oppose Obama’s candidacy. I have no beef with that. This is clearly true for many of the people here, as it is true for Prof. George. However, for these people to claim, as is being done, that their opponent’s views on this divisive issue are invalid because they run counter to the presuppositions of their own views is to misunderstand the entire argument, the very nature of which is over presuppositions. All that George and others end up arguing, over and over, is that Obama is pro-choice, which was never in question. The continuation and enumeration of reasons by which we can tell that Obama is pro-choice, as though such makes him more and more outrageously terrible, only adds more lines that are preached to the choir.

    Again, if you are anti-choice, then you disagree with Obama. But do not think that continually articulating this disagreement makes Obama anti-life. To do so is disingenuous and misunderstands the nature of the discussion.

  22. Tim – I believe the Holocaust/Slavery comparison is apt, particularly because the rationale used by the aggressors (and indeed the rationale used in almost every genocide or holocaust) is that the beings in question were “less than human” or “barely human”. Is this not the distinction at the very root of the pro-abortion argument? That this act is permissible because the fetus is not human?

    Whether Obama is anti-life is a question no one can answer but Obama. What I can tell you is that Obama places a higher priority on someone having a choice than someone having a life. This is the truth, boiled down to the nuts and bolts. His speeches, his actions, his voting record, and his interviews bear this out. It is not disingenuous and I certainly haven’t misunderstood the nature of the discussion.

  23. If you really want to do this abortion debate, then I would simply like to ask you: If, in your mind, abortion is murder, and apologetics for abortion are equal to apologetics for the Holocaust, then do you think that women who get abortions should serve prison time— or even, perhaps, suffer the death penalty?

  24. Several people have noted that the article linked to in this post has numerous factual errors that make Obama out to be some kind of baby-killing lunatic, when in fact he’s a deeply reasonable and decent family man. So to that I’ll only add that this is a resource worth investigating:

    http://www.prolifeproobama.com/index.htm

  25. I’ve really been enjoying this discussion. Thanks to everyone for continuing to chime in and keep a pretty civil tone, even in the midst of trying to communicate in a sometimes unwieldy, sometimes dehumanizing medium.

    Luke, yes. I totally extend respect to you to vote on this the way you deem most fit. That is the respect I offered to Brett in my initial comment here, and it’s the same respect I offer to everyone. That’s what it means to live in a democratic society: we each get one vote to do with as we deem fit, and we fundamentally must respect each person’s right to determine what that fitness is.

    Tim, I’ve really appreciated what you’ve brought to this discussion today. You’ve offered numerous counter perspectives to those most often cited, which broaden the conversation and help us look at it from more multifaceted angles.

    I am most thankful for your inclusion of the David Foster Wallace quote. I think this is just the sort of explanation I have been wanting to receive when I say that I wish I could have a real conversation with Obama to understand how he could be disposed the way he is to all of this. I’m really just trying to understand the worldview in general so that I can then begin considering what constructive conversation would even look like between two people on different sides of the fence. That quote provided a really great starting place. Thank you.

    Brett, I hear what you’re saying about Obama’s actual ability being, as yet, an untested uncertainty. It makes sense that you would then turn to what he has demonstrated about himself to determine your vote. I guess I will add that I do not think his campaign work of the past 20 months is insignificant, in terms of demonstrating his executive abilities. I have thought often on this point over the past year (especially as we saw Hillary Clinton’s campaign implode on itself with infighting and lack of cohesive vision within the ranks, as opposed to Barack’s fluid and continually gaining strength within and without his campaign staff), but just this weekend past weekend it was brought into sharp perspective for me again.

    I was listening to POTUS 08 on XM Radio, and they were reporting on the $150 million pull in fundraising for the Obama camp in the month of September. The commentator basically said, “Here you’ve got a guy who has had command of a $600 million organization for almost two years. He employs thousands of staffers and volunteers. He has created a unified brand and vision. He has empowered those working for him to do what they do best in their respective areas. He has run an executive organization, basically, and he has done it seamlessly pretty much the entire time.”

    That, in short, I find pretty remarkable.

    Granted, it’s not the exact leadership situation he would experience in office because he carries a much greater freedom to make decisions in how he runs his campaign than he would in the Oval Office, as Luke pointed out. But it does demonstrate remarkable executive ability, at the very least.

  26. I’m really surprised that nobody’s brought up the issues of war, yet. To me, at least, we’ve got Obama who supports abortion one side and McCain who supports foreign war on the other.

    And they both end in death. Not to be callous, but that seems like a wash to me–I’m going to have to make my decsion based on something other than who supports killing people more.

  27. Brett,
    thanks for the discussion. Its certainly a great thing that this issue is being debated (almost ad nauseum), because it truly is an important issue – one of the most important issues of our time, or any time really.

    While I think that George goes a little bit overboard in his analysis of Obama, particularly in his rhetorical language, I do think its important to note that the logic works in his argument. Common thought goes such that we often believe a person is either pro-life or pro-choice. Well, to say that you are pro-choice (which Obama is) is essentially to say that you are okay with abortions, whether its an issue of legality or not in your mind. Its to say that you’re okay with someone choosing an abortion. I don’t see any other option. Am I missing something? I am perfectly willing to stand corrected. You might choose to have one yourself, but you are essentially saying you are okay with someone having one. I’m not comfortable with that, myself.

    Now, regardless, as Brett suggested, the legislation is unlikely to change much, especially in favor of the pro-life movement, whoever is elected.

    But Obama does make a good point that the issue must be dealt with through adoptions and preemptive strikes, if you will – sex ed, etc. However, also as Obama says, this must be done at a grass-roots level.

    Which brings up a bigger, civic issue. Government interventions, etc. If we are going to solve things at a grassroots level, than the government has to allow things to happen and change with some fluidity, organically, so to speak. In other words, they have to get out the way and let people work, as Americans have been doing for generations. The government can’t mandate that such movements do things a certain way, subject of course to the legality of their activities.

    My biggest concern with Obama at this point is his love of big government.

    More government, more bureaucracy will only hinder the efforts of grassroots efforts. Most people who have ever tried to start a small business, a ministry, or a movement on a college campus knows this.

    Eh. this a more complicated argument than I have time for now.

    But my basic point is that I’m against big government, Obama is not. I’m for individual communities governing themselves based on the needs of the individual communities and their members.

    So, let the Federal Gov. give money to the state, who will then allocate it to the grassroots movements in accordance with their need and local “flavor.” This principle across the board: Jobs? We need people investing in their local communities more than in the over-arching policies of Washington politicians.

    In fact, I think we need to revert back to the Republic we once, a collection of free states; there is nothing truly special about being a democracy, at least, only a democracy. The Greeks did it, so did the Romans.

    Lets go back to an agrarian society. Seriously.

    So Im voting Wendell Berry.

  28. I realize my comment on the democracy/republic subject was simplistic, and in hindsight, probably not helpful.

    Yes, I know the Romans were a Republic for a while too.

  29. Josh-
    I’m familiar with Doug Kmiec and prolifeproobama.com. I agree with a lot on that website. Abortion is indeed an issue with many systemic causes that we can and should address. But so is murder, theft, rape, and a vast number of other immoral actions that we still expressly forbid through legislation. There are a lot of things we should do to help single mothers, make fathers more accountable, improve the economy, etc… and this will have positive effects on a whole host of issues (crime, poverty, abortion, etc). But all of this doesn’t change the fact that abortion is a dreadful thing that should be limited and prohibited wherever possible.

    It is clear that Obama is compassionate about the mothers out there, and the families that have to deal with unwanted pregnancies. But if he were consistent in this compassion, he would also care about the babies themselves. It is wrong to ignore the impoverished, to not come to the aid of the widows and unwed mothers, but in my view it is much worse to be complicit in the killing of developing human beings. Is there more value in a human life that has existed for 21 years than one that has existed for 21 days? I have a hard time making that argument. And that argument is essential in rationalizing abortion.

    Plus, how can we say that improving the quality of life (i.e. decreasing poverty, etc) is in any way of equal importance than protecting the very existence of it? Yes, I want to decrease poverty, make people healthier, make families stronger, but before people can be any of that, they first must be alive. Before we can make society more livable, we have to start by affirming life at the very outset; if life is so unimportant to us that we do not stand in the way of the legal ending of it, what hope is there for making the quality of life any better?

  30. “Before we can make society more livable, we have to start by affirming life at the very outset.”

    This is precisely how I feel, Brett. No one would argue that there are many issues besides the issue of abortion that need improvement, but we are not protecting the most basic of all demographics, one that we all have in common in that we were all a newborn in the beginning.

  31. Brett said:
    “It is wrong to ignore the impoverished, to not come to the aid of the widows and unwed mothers, but in my view it is much worse to be complicit in the killing of developing human beings.”

    Please know, I don’t disagree–at all. There is a particular evil to the notion of killing the unborn, the killing of someone at their most defenseless.

    However…if you take out the word “developing,” couldn’t you argue that this would apply to McCain in his unilateral support for the Iraq War and the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terror? I know that McCain has gone on record as saying he opposes and would close Guantanamo (and thank God for that), but still, while he was a vocal Senate leader (in the majority party for most of the last eight years!), his majority gave Bush carte blanche to enact policies of torture, illegal extradition, extraordinary rendition, “secret” prisons, and rubber-stamped an unjust war.

    I don’t disagree that Obama is pro-choice, or even disagree with the notion that a pro-choice candidate is necessarily pro-abortion (with all respect to Tim). But I don’t honestly think you can say neither candidate has blood on their hands. Neither one of them has a consistent life ethic, and we need to keep that in mind.

  32. Thanks, Brett. I’ve definitely heard more about abortion-and-the-campaign in the past week than in the six or seven months previously, and I’m glad that the American public is making an attempt to keep it on the table in an important election year, when it’s clear that neither of our candidates seems to find it a foundational issue.

    With respect to the question of the war (the one at the bottom of the list when I got here; hi, Ryan), George Weigel has an excellent article in Newsweek this week which really – I think – hits the nail on the head in terms of how to weigh the relative importance of the candidates’ various stances on issues pertaining to social justice. He’s Catholic, and here responding to pro-Obama Catholics, but, whatever, I don’t think there’s anything unecumenical in the point he’s making here:

    [The] Catholic Church’s teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion involves a first principle of justice that can be known by reason, that’s one of the building blocks of a just society, and that ought never be compromised—which is why, for example, Catholic legislators were morally obliged to oppose legal segregation (another practice once upheld by a Supreme Court decision that denied human beings the full protection of the laws). Questions of war and peace, social-welfare policy, environmental policy and economic policy, on the other hand, are matters of prudential judgment on which people who affirm the same principles of Catholic social doctrine can reasonably differ. The pro-life, pro-Obama Catholics are thus putting the full weight of their moral argument on contingent prudential judgments that, by definition, cannot bear that weight.

    I think it’s time for Christians to insist on the return of an idea which they popularized a few years ago with respect to culture and art and then seemed to drop from the picture as soon as the current political situation hit: ideas have consequences, and, let’s face it, no matter how good a politician’s stance on individual issues is, if s/he isn’t bringing to the table an internally consistent worldview that fundamentally supports life, the truth will out in his/her political actions.

    If nothing else, the strident contrast between Obama’s position on abortion and his position on the war and other social injustices should raise serious red flags for everyone concerned about whether or not he will make wise decisions concerning life in the future in any capacity. (Or make logically consistent ones in any area, if it comes to that.) If Weigel is correct in his division of “first” and “contingent” principles, Obama is supporting life in a “contingent” situation while denying a “first” proposition which should (in theory) be the contingent situaton’s justification. It’s reasonable to assume that the second is a truer manifestation of his core values than the first, since, I’ll posit, it operates at a more basic level. Not to be chintzy, but the whole situation sounds like Christ’s fig tree to me: Obama’s position on the value of life may have some decent-looking fruit right now, but I think it’s foolish to assume that such a yield will continue for four years. The article you cited at the beginning of your post, I think, supports this.

    There are things on which Christians can reasonably differ when it comes to politics, especially with respect to any given war or any given economic situation. I’m personally opposed to the Iraq war, I do believe that something like abortion is on a whole other “plane” that tips one side of the scale so heavily that you’d have to throw several elephants on the other side to balance it out. It’s directly attacking – on principle – the most foundational assumption about human society. If we as a nation yield up the battle over the principle in favor of a “package deal” of comprised of several conclusions on a contingent level, I think we will quickly find that the principle we are assuming Mr. Obama traces his thought back to when he comes to such ‘reasonable’ conclusions about social justice is not really there.

    Does John McCain hold such a principle? Who knows. But he is heavily indebted to a voter base which does, and, as far as I’m concerned, the outward expression of a candidate’s principles – the ruler against which each contingent situation is measured – is found in their Supreme Court appointments, because, just like principles, these are what live on and apply themselves (may I say: determine) all the contingents that the future may hold. I’d rather have John McCain’s conscious (if shaky) adherence to the principle than gamble that Mr. Obama’s inconsistencies will come down on the good side when our children face the consequences of Supreme Court decisions he, for all practical purposes, will be making in the years to come.

  33. I’d merely like to point out that the last several posts have been, as I said earlier, begging the question: the political controversy surrounding abortion comes down to a metaphysical question: at what point is a human being defined? All of these statements that Obama doesn’t ‘support life’ or doesn’t care about ‘babies’ are fundamentally flawed arguments: You are assuming that you have already won the argument on definitions and are using those suppositions to draw conclusions about the argument. The fact is that in your opinion Obama does not ‘support life’— in your opinion he has an inconsistent worldview. But if, legally and ethically, we cannot define a fetus in utero as a human being, having a pro-choice, anti-war worldview is internally consistent: It is the realization that, while morally I may find abortion abhorrent, I cannot ethically legislate my morality unless there are legal and ethical arguments for doing so. It seems to me that anti-choice figures, who preach endlessly about a ‘culture of life’ while endorsing needless war, are clearly sporting an inconsistent worldview both morally and ethically.

  34. SSo I feel I should chime in. I have really been enjoying reading everyone’s opinions and I think Brett should be credited for creating an atmosphere here that allows for people with such varying opinions to discuss them intelligently and respectfully – most blogs would have resorted to flaming by this stage in the conversation.

    So, as an American abroad with a vote in a DEEP DEEP red state, I have posted off my ballot and did, in fact, vote for Obama. The night I did so, I had a very long and honest conversation with my friend James, who I attended seminary with. Both of us are evangelicals. Both of us are deeply committed to seeing the “already” aspect of the Kingdom of God as well as the “not yet” parts of it. He said that he didn’t envy me being American and having to make a decision this year, as he was unsure that he would be able to decide. He loves Obama and most everything he stands for, but feels that abortion is such a big issue, he was unaware of whether he would be able to vote for him or not, but also is aware that McCain, to him, is a complete nightmare for the international community, in large part due to the liability that is Sarah Palin.

    I am technically resident in Alaska and used to live in Wasilla when Palin was mayor. My mother and brother still stay there, and so tend to be pretty clued up about what’s happening back there and I can only say that the idea of her being a heartbeat away from the presidency is terrifying to me for several reasons, including especially her abuse of power in each level of government she has participated in and her lack of experience with international issues. I am sure she can bone up in the meantime, but still, I am not comfortable with her. (I had just about decided to vote for McCain when he chose her and I immediately came out for Obama.)

    James pointed out another very important issue that I hadn’t considered. George W. Bush, being a rather unashamed evangelical has made the church’s mission work more difficult. As it stands just now, America is the largest organiser and sender of missionaries. Over the last few years, Americans have become less popular and more questioned/suspected than before the “war on Terror” started. Also, I find myself, as an ex-patriot American, perpetually having to justify my country, my president, and their respective international policies.

    Ultimately, there are complaints that he has no concern for human life outside of the United States and the numbers of “innocents” he has ignored or condemned to death due to the war in Iraq; the increased isolation of “terrorist” states which are notorious for their internal repression of their populations; food crises due to lack of aid/low produce prices and increased prices for cash crops such as cocaine and poppies; floods and desertification increasing due to global warming which may or may not be our fault; thousands of children dying daily from malnutrition due to living on less than $1 per day and drinking unclean water. Lives throughout the world do in a very real way depend on the United States and how it decides to interact with the rest of the nations of the world.

    Another thing that I found important to consider is that, regardless of the abortion stance of the executive in the US, the abortion rates have been lowest when the country has been economically strong. Personally, the circumstances where I have had to interact with women getting abortions have been when they felt they had no money, drug issues, or were too young. There are so many important and effective ways to reduce the abortion rate – mostly through creating better adoption options, improving educational opportunities for women, and re-investing time and money into teaching men the value of family and the importance of being a father. What we need is to make women not want to seek abortions in the first place – make it a non-option. It can happen. It will happen.

    In the end, I felt that Mr. Obama’s policies were more likely to bring about these real changes and make a real impact on the abortion rates, which is the most pro-life position I can take. Perhaps it’s not the traditional pro-life stance, but I think that it is the one that makes the difference. And I desperately want to see those children given every chance at life, no matter who brings it around.

    So, yes, I think that abortion is still one of the most important issues we face, but there are many different ways to deal with it, and we must be both effective and loving in our ways of addressing this most evil of practices.

  35. I ask this question purely out of curiosity.

    What response do Obama supporters have regarding some of the shady business that seems to have been going on in the obama campaign, and im not talking about the negative ads, of which both parties are surely guilty. Rather, what of the possible voter fraud, the questions regarding bill ayers, the questions about the Joe the plumber possible illegal action (illegally tapping into his personal info), and others, including his partial funding of an organization which was involved with almost a dozen illegal activities.

    Overall, I admire Obama as a man, but these questions are concerning. These aren’t simply attacking his opponant. They are attacking the people he is supposedly supposed to be serving. It seems to me that when someone disagrees with him he does all he can to ruin them.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    Can anyone explain these issues?

    Again, don’t respond with “Well McCain does too.” I’m not arguing pro-McCain but rather needing some convincing about Obama.

  36. Well David, it’s pretty off-topic, but I hope I can do something to assuage your doubts here.

    Re: Bill Ayers: Since his participation in the Weather Underground 40 years ago, Ayers has grown up and become a respected political figure in Chicago. Mayor Daley has referred to him as one of the most significant figures in the world of Chicago education; he is a professor and regularly functions on education-related boards and fundraisers. Obama served on one such board, which was put together by a former Reagan ambassador; the head of the Chicago Tribune also served on this board at the time. While Ayers certainly was a repulsive figure in the 60s, political acquaintance with him today is in no way damning: and Obama has barely any acquaintance with him as it is.

    Regarding ACORN, the organization that has been gathering voter fraud-related headlines, the facts of the matter are these: ACORN makes it a habit to hire the homeless, unemployed, and lower-middle-class people. These people are paid to register voters, and because of this a certain number of them fill out illegitimate information on voter registration cards, Disney characters, or the same person on multiple days, because they aren’t willing to do the actual work for which they’ve been hired. In certain states, ACORN is required to submit all voter registration cards that they’ve gathered, even those which they themselves have deemed to be illegitimate: in fact the vast majority of fraud investigations into ACORN have been begun at the request of ACORN itself. The important thing to note about this is that this voter fraud is fraud perpetrated against ACORN, not against the American government: no matter how many times Mickey Mouse appears on the books, he will never show up to vote, and thus this fraud cannot lead to illegitimate votes. This is simply a case of a people attempting to defraud ACORN, not ACORN itself attempting to rig the election. Obama also has no present relationship to ACORN. He once represented them in a law suit, but they were on the same side as the US Justice Department. He also once led a couple of leadership training sessions for ACORN while he was a community organizer. As for the financial contribution in question, it was made not to ACORN but to Citizens Services Inc., a get-out-the-vote body that sometimes hires out its services to organizations such as ACORN.

    Re: Joe the Plumber, there is presently absolutely no information about who might have illegally accessed his information, or why. There is no reason to suspect that the party or parties involved are related to the Obama campaign.

  37. I think that Professor George’s article is extremely persuasive.

    Bill Ayers may have “grown up,” but he hasn’t shown remorse for his violent crimes with the Weather Underground. As he says, “Free as a bird, guilty as hell.” On September 11, 2001, a New York Times article quoted him as follows: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Under his own definition, he never participated in terrorism; terrorism is, for example, Sherman’s March to the Sea in the Civil War. During a 2006 visit to Venezuela, he praised communist dictator Hugo Chavez and said, “We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution.”

    Here is one of my many problems with Obama:
    No decent person, including Geraldine Ferraro, can make a negative comment about Obama without being slandered as a racist. On the other hand, Jeremiah Wright really does make racist statements, and apparently that didn’t trouble Obama until it interfered with his political ambition.

  38. It doesn’t matter to me whether Obama is a Muslim or a Christian–I would still vote for him if I thought he’d done a steadfast and upright job so far–but if he’d really had a record to be proud of, I think we would have heard about it by now, instead of so many vague words like “hope and change.”
    With so many of my classmates, friends and relatives cheering for Obama, I started to weaken in my mistrust of him–and to try to stay as objective as possible up until the end–but the abortion issue is very much alive, and your reminders are timely. Thanks.
    My other misgiving comes from Obama’s promises to take care of every American health-wise. As someone who has navigated the web of government aid in the past couple of years, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the system is badly broken, and that entrusting the health care system to the same government would be a huge mistake.

  39. Helen Jones-Kelly, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, approved checking the state child-support computer system for information on Joe Wurzelbacher after the October 15 presidential debate.

    Jones-Kelly, a maxed-out Obama donor, denies that the investigation was political.

    Maybe this information was unavailable when Tim Coe posted his last comment.

  40. Obama’s Campaign “Paid More Than $800,000” To ACORN For Get-Out-The Vote Efforts; The Campaign Originally “Misrepresented” The Group’s Work To The FEC. “U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign paid more than $800,000 to an offshoot of the liberal Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now for services the Democrat’s campaign says it mistakenly misrepresented in federal reports. An Obama spokesman said Federal Election Commission reports would be amended to show Citizens Services Inc. — a subsidiary of ACORN — worked in ‘get-out-the-vote’ projects, instead of activities such as polling, advance work and staging major events as stated in FEC finance reports filed during the primary.” (David M. Brown, “Obama To Amend Report On $800,000 In Spending,” Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 8/22/08)

  41. Well now that that information is available, I stand by my statement: making donations to a campaign does not make you a part of that campaign, and I don’t see how anyone could honestly say that an Obama supporter doing something wrong makes Obama culpable for wrongdoing.

    Regarding the Bill Ayers interview published Sept 11, 2001, you’ll note that that means the interview was conducted prior to the events of Sept 11, 2001. Also, four days later, in a letter to the editor of the New York Times, Bill Ayers states that the published interview is ‘not a question of being misunderstood or “taken out of context,” but of deliberate distortion.’ He states that what he said was that not enough was done by the anti-war movement to stop the Vietnam war; the statement was not in any way about bombings. Throughout Ayers’ memoir, he discusses his hatred of terrorism: And while you may claim that this makes him a hypocrite, please note that all Weather Underground bombings took place at night, after calling the building to ensure that everyone evacuated so that no one would be injured. And while setting bombs in empty buildings is still reprehensible, the purposeful linking of Ayers with the murderous terrorism of Sept 11 is absurd— and somehow suggesting that Barack Obama is likewise complicit because he served on a charitable board with Chicago’s 1997 Man of the Year is laughable.

    Betsi, we’ve had this conversation before, and I can’t believe you’re still claiming that you haven’t heard of a record from Senator Obama, because I know that I specifically pointed you to several sources that refute the notion that his candidacy is about ‘vague words.’ The fact that you either ignored that or have chosen to forget it disturbs me.

  42. Oh, please. I gave the date of the NYT article. I didn’t link Ayers and Obama with the terrorist acts of 9/11. Straw man, anyone?

    Betsi, how dare you do something that “disturbs” Tim Coe! What are you thinking?! : )

  43. KS, I would appreciate it if your part of the conversation did not take the form of mockery.

  44. Um, let’s see. You distort one (well, several) of my points and call it “laughable,” but that’s not mockery. Or maybe you can write things that “take the form of mockery,” but I can’t? Methinks you take yourself too seriously.

    It’s nice to see the “Yes on 8” link here.

  45. KS, if I have offended you, please believe that I sincerely apologize. I am not, however, convinced that the frequent citation of the Ayers interview from 2001 by opponents of Obama is in good faith: certainly, it was published on Sept 11, and stating so is not a distortion, but the date of publication is frequently cited along with the quotation with the direct intention to imply to Ayers is saying his ‘pro-terrorist’ opinions in response to the events of Sept 11. If this was not your intention, then again, I apologize, but it is certainly the intention of many people who bring it up. The refusal by these same people to acknowledge Ayers’ subsequent rejection of the NYT’s framing of his words is, I believe, telling.

    Regarding your earlier statement that no one can make a negative comment about Obama without being accused of racism, please see the entirety of this thread. I don’t see any accusations of racism despite the many criticisms of Sen. Obama. And Geraldine Ferraro, whom you mentioned, may not have make racist remarks, but she certainly made race-related remarks, which places them under a far more specific category of ‘negative comment’ than your statement implies.

  46. Regarding the second paragraph in your 7:42 pm comment, Tim Coe, I wasn’t referring to this blog.

    In the eternal words of Elvis Costello, “I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused.”

  47. Okay, let’s try to keep things civil. Doesn’t look like this latest discussion is going anywhere.

  48. Tim please. I have lived in the Chicago area for the past 8 years. Some of the statements that you made are completely unsubstantiated:

    1) “Ayers has grown up and become a respected political figure in Chicago” Are you kidding? How has someone grown up when they’ve never fessed up to wrong-doing? 8 year-olds know this basic fact. And he is not a “respected political figure in Chicago”, he is a polarizing figure at a public institution with as many detractors as supporters.

    2) “Mayor Daley has referred to him as one of the most significant figures in the world of Chicago education” Daley’s endorsment is the gold standard these days, eh? Do you know that the DOJ is circling Daley and Gov Blagojevich like vultures these days? Daley would say anyone is a “signifigant figure” if it benefitted him. Please do some research before you write these “facts”.

    3) “and I don’t see how anyone could honestly say that an Obama supporter doing something wrong makes Obama culpable for wrongdoing.” Under Obama’s direct supervision, $1,056,162 was steered to Ayer’s Small Schools Workshop from 1995-2001. If you add to that the amount of money given by the Woods Fund (again under Obama’s direct supervision)
    he has kicked back to Ayers $1,968,718
    . That’s totally fine? That’s totally legal in your eyes? No, that is the Chicago Way. It isn’t Hope and it isn’t Change, but that’s what Barack is all about.

    4) “Obama has barely any acquaintance with him as it is.” This is simply not true. When he was the Chair of the Annenberg Challenge, he shared on office with the Small Schools Workshop (yes, the same group that he hooked up with over $1m) for 3 years. Don’t believe me?
    Check the letterhead.

    And here
    pertinent info is on page 14 of the 2nd doc. Kind of strange that he’s directing a ton of money to an organization that shares the same office space with him and he “barely knows him”.

    5) “Joe the Plumber, there is presently absolutely no information about who might have illegally accessed his information, or why.” As KS graciously posted, there is a TON of info about who illegally accessed his information and please don’t tell me that you really can’t figure out why. I believe that you are an intelligent person, Tim. When the man’s personal information is hacked into directly following the Oct 15th debate by
    the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department
    . Can you really not put the pieces together? Or are you just deliberately putting your head in the sand, to avoid the truth? Obama has run one of the dirties campaigns in history. Don’t believe a Republican? Then talk to Senator Clinton’s campaign
    who filed a lawsuit
    in Nevada because of voter supression.

    6) “please note that all Weather Underground bombings took place at night, after calling the building to ensure that everyone evacuated so that no one would be injured” This one takes the cake. Haven’t you read about the Weathermen
    planting 3 bombs
    at the house of a New York State Supreme Court Justice who was trying the “Panther 21”? His children were sleeping in the house at the time and the next morning they found these words scrawled in red outside: “Free the Panther 21; The Viet Cong have won; Kill the pigs. ” No one called this family and the bombing was not at night in an empty building.

    There are more inconsistencies and unsubstantiated statements, but my fingers are getting tired. Unfortunately Tim, you and many other Obama supporters are being blinded by Obama’s personality and empty rhetoric, or simply do not care enough to get to the truth of the matter. That being, this man is steeped in crooked politics and has some of the craziest associates I have ever heard of and his political record is not one of hope or change but corruption.

    Please keep in mind that we haven’t even raised the associations of Jeremiah Wright (pastor for 20 years) or Rashid Khalidi (former spokesman for the PLO and babysitter for the Obama children). We’re just barely scratching the surface. Imaging what we will find when Tony Rezko finally cuts a deal?

  49. 1) If Ayers has ‘as many detractors as supporters,’ then he has supporters— which I would assume means that he is respected. The point is that he is not a domestic terrorist any longer; he is a politician, and to say that Obama’s ‘palling around with’ Ayers is Obama ‘palling around with’ a terrorist rather than with a politician is dishonest.

    2) No, Mayor Daley’s approval is not a gold seal of approval, but rather another data point referencing the fact that Ayers is a politician, not a terrorist. And I don’t understand how details about Daley mean that he can’t approve of someone, thus necessitating scare quotes around the word ‘facts.’

    3) I was referring to the offices of Nancy H. Rogers, whose financial donations to the Obama campaign were used to attempt to make Obama culpable for the illegal accessing of Joe the Plumber’s information. Obama is not responsible for the actions of those who contribute to his campaign, which is the implication that was made. As for your point about money steered towards the Small Schools Workshop, I am not aware of any laws against government earmarked funds going to charitable organizations, no matter who is involved in them. Suggesting that this is illegal is akin to suggesting that legislators may only steer funding to organizations of which they have no knowledge.

    4) Again, serving on charitable organizations with someone does not make one responsible for that someone’s actions of thirty years ago, nor does it mean that one has knowledge of them or approves of them, or knows that person. I have had several coworkers whose last names I never learned.

    5) At the time that I posted the statement you quote, this information had not yet come to my attention. However, please see (3) above.

    6) I was unaware of this, but I still remain skeptical that the insinuation that Ayers is like the Sept 11 hijackers, which is the implication that I am arguing against.

    As for your closing statements, I am tired of people telling me that I am certainly swayed by empty rhetoric and vague platitudes, and I am convinced that those who level such accusations are not interested in constructive dialogue but rather angry back-and-forth arguing. Because of this I am done speaking with you. I wish you the best.

  50. Tim,

    I am not interested in angry arguing and have offered a lot of constructive dialogue and supportive facts. I was hoping to receive some supportive facts from you, bolstering your refutations, but I can certainly respect your wishes to stop this discussion.

    Take care.

  51. I think it’s odd to describe Bill Ayers as a politician. To my knowledge, he is not a seeker or holder of public office. But I understand that Obama’s political career was launched in the Ayers-Dohrn living room, so maybe that makes Ayers a politician.

    In some ways, I do hold Obama responsible for the actions of those who contribute to his campaign. He could activate controls on his website that would limit donor fraud, but he does not. I wish that he had honored his pledge to participate in the presidential public funding system.

  52. I would like evidence showing that people who are pro-abortion show a lesser degree of respect for the sanctity of life beyond the confines of abortion.

    It seems on the other hand, the very opposite…in general.

  53. I found a very interesting perspective on this topic in an interview with Frank Schaeffer on Worldview on Chicago Public Radio today. here’s a link: http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Program_WV.aspx

    Basically, Frank discussed how it is quite likely that, as Obama has made it a plank in the democratic platform actually to *reduce* the number of abortions performed in America, your most pro-life vote might actually be an Obama vote.

  54. Schaeffer’s opinion aside, the former plank in the Democrat platform called for abortion to be safe, legal, and rare, while current plank calls for it to be safe and legal–“rare” has disappeared. (Yes, it calls for government programs for women who choose to give birth, as if those don’t exist already.)

    Obama has vowed that “the first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.” He favors repealing the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding of abortions except in connection with rape or incest or to save the life of the mother. Your most pro-life vote is actually a McCain vote.

  55. Brett – please read this. I am a conservative, evangelical Christian and I reached the opposite conclusion. I host a blog myself and I really, really hope you’ll at least hear what I have to say and consider it. Here is my article. Please read it and the comments that follow. My point is further fleshed out in response to some of the people who disagreed with me:

    The Conservative Christian Case for Supporting Obama.
    http://opinionstreams.com/blog/?p=65

    God bless you,

    Rob J
    http://opinionstreams.com

  56. Pingback: Who are you voting for? - Pastor Danny Schulz

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