August 17, 2008

Asked at the Saddleback Forum "when does a[n unborn] baby get human rights," why did Obama say the answer is "above my pay grade"?

Roger Kimball finds Obama's "above my pay grade" feint on abortion "insulting and mendacious."
It is insulting because it ostentatiously evades the question while giving a little wink to his home team: “Oh, these religious morons and their obsession with abortion! Of course, I could care less about it, but I also know it’s impolitic to say so, so I’ll emit a brief rhetoric fog and hope no one will notice.” And it’s mendacious because when it comes to “pay grades,” no one’s is higher than the President’s.
"Above my pay grade" does seem like an awful expression in this context. It made a bad impression on me when I heard it last night. (I said it sounded "cold.") But thinking about it this morning, I'm pretty sure he meant to refer to God.

"Above my pay grade" is an expression of humility and submission to God: I don't purport to answer the question that belongs to God. He's trying to be folksy, coining a phrase akin to "the man upstairs." When someone says "the man upstairs," you don't start railing about how we're on the top floor, but that's because we know we're dealing with a folksy expression. People are too touchy on the subject of abortion to process the less common "above my pay grade" as an expression.

Obama may have thought that, in a church, talking to a pastor, with religion hovering around every question, listeners would understand that he was putting himself beneath God. But I didn't pick that up last night, Roger Kimball isn't picking it up, and, scanning the articles on the subject this morning, I'd say almost no one heard it as a religious statement, so we must judge "above my pay grade" as a rhetorical misfire. But we shouldn't say it's "insulting and mendacious."

***

Now, let's also look at Rick Warren's rhetoric. He asked, after a preface about abortion, "when does a baby get human rights in your view?" And, most obviously, his use of "baby" instead of "fetus" or at least "unborn baby" conveys a lot of opinion. But look at what else Warren is doing. He is not asking when does life begin?, a question that is much more susceptible to Obama's answer that only God knows. Warren is asking when do rights begin? That makes it a legal question. And Warren even appends the phrase "in your view."

So Obama's answer — that it's not for him to say — is inapt. Obama answered the question he expected to hear. But Warren had the wit to frame the question in terms of a legal opinion that Obama was fully equipped to give. When does the baby have legal rights?

And we know Obama's answer to that question, don't we? I think his answer is: When it is completely outside of the mother's body. Is it any more subtle than that? If it is, it's not much more subtle, and it's no wonder Obama chose not to answer the question asked.

ADDED: Rick Warren is asked whether the "above my pay grade" answer was good enough:
No. I think he needed to be more specific on that. I happen to disagree with Barack on that. Like I said, he's a friend. But to me, I would not want to die and get before God one day and go, 'Oh, sorry, I didn't take the time to figure out' because if I was wrong then it had severe implications to my leadership if I had the ability to do something about it. He should either say, 'No scientifically, I do not believe it's a human being until X' or whatever it is or to say, 'Yes, I believe it is a human being at X point,' whether it's conception or anything else. But to just say 'I don't know' on the most divisive issue in America is not a clear enough answer for me.

208 comments:

1 – 200 of 208   Newer›   Newest»
AllenS said...

"I'm pretty sure he meant to refer to God."

I'm pretty sure he meant to refer to white people.

PatCA said...

I agree with your analysis of the human rights answer. He jumps away from it and goes back to the debate about when life begins.

So, I guess his answer would be, human rights begin when the mother says so--even if she decides to abort a viable fetus. That's really cold.

EnigmatiCore said...

'and it's no wonder Obama chose not to answer the question asked.'

Because he lacks the passion of his convictions?

Or because he would rather lie by omission to his audience in the hopes of ascertaining their votes?

He's moved into the Edwards/Romney classification in my mind-- a pretty face who says things merely for political expediency.

Palladian said...

"Of course, I could care less about it,"

It's couldn't care less! couldn't care less! couldn't care less! couldn't care less!

Hello! Don't those pajamas people have editors?

Meade said...

"I'm pretty sure he meant to refer to God."

McCain answered the question, "at conception."

Hey McCain, get over your God complex!

Paddy O. said...

I'm within the expected audience of religious listeners and I got what Obama was saying.

I thought it a dodge, a quaint way of saying "I don't want to answer that". But I got that he was putting himself, and the Presidency, outside answering that question.

My impression was that he was saying God determines life, not me or anyone else. However pious sounding, that's not actually true. The Supreme Court did, and the President makes policy based on such a determination.

I disagree with your thought that sounded 'cold', because of that. It didn't sound cold, it rang of false piety. So, I didn't understand until you explained it right now, why it sounded cold.

I'd be surprised if most religious listeners didn't get what he was saying. We're probably a lot more attuned to all manner of various folksy expressions about our relationship with God.

chickenlittle said...

"and it's no wonder Obama chose not to answer the question asked."


I think it more likely that he just reflexively answered the question he expected to hear.


I'm willing to give him benefit of the doubt, but is there evidence that Obama took all those subtleties into consideration.

David Walser said...

And we know Obama's answer to that question, don't we? I think his answer is: When it is completely outside of the mother's body.

Actually, we don't know Obama's answer to the question of when does a baby born alive have rights. When he was a state senator, he voted against a bill that would have granted rights to a baby that was alive fully outside the mother's body -- if the baby was "born" alive as part to a botched abortion, the doctors would have had an obligation under the proposed law to treat the baby as a separate individual having full legal rights. Obama voted against that bill and then, as chairman of the committee the bill was referred to, killed the bill.

He claims that he voted against the bill to prevent the "born alive act" from being used to undermine a women's right to choose to have an abortion. He claims that he supports the federal born alive act that contains language stating that the law does not address any question of a person's legal status while still inside the womb. Unfortunately for his narrative, the state bill he voted against contained the same provision he says allows him to support the federal law.

P. Rich said...

Obama was primed and practiced to give canned answers to expected questions. He gave the canned answer, but the question wasn't quite what he was expecting, and he force-fit the prepared response anyway.

This isn't the first time he has done this. I have seen him interrupt a questioner and spout some prepared response before the question was even evident. His obvious purpose was not just to dodge an issue, but also to avoid sounding like a doofus (again) should he depart from accepted script.

I am amazed, just amazed, that any thinking person could take this character seriously.

Candor

McCain 1
Obama 0

Stephen said...

Yes, Obama's gotten unfairly slammed for this answer. Think of the context. Here's this brash young man who's been criticized for proclaiming that he can reverse the tides (from falling to rising or rising to falling I'm not sure which). Displaying a little humility in front of a Christian audience is timely.

And he also had to craft his answer to the much wider audience that is unwilling to believe that the embryo is a fully formed human being but also believes it is more than a fingernail to be clipped away.

He gave a shorthand answer, "above my pay grade", that signaled he was aware of the multifaceted complexity of the abortion issue.

To pro-lifers who are hearing him for the first time, it may have been enough to give them the impression that he at least understands their point of view.

The Democratic Party must love their candidate: he has the mental bandwidth to grasp and possibly empathize with many points-of-view, but when it comes time to act it's straight down the line with the liberal agenda.

The Drill SGT said...

Ann said in part..."Above my pay grade" is an expression of humility and submission to God...coining a phrase akin to "the man upstairs."

I hope you mean "using a trite expression rather than coining or creating a new usage.

"Above my pay grade" is a classic military phrase. One whose lineage likely doiesnt get to elite law schools :) It is akin to "Not my yob!". It is the preferred term in polite military discussions for "passing the buck" when one wants to "cover ones ass".

A phrase that McCain would be more likely to know, but less likely to use.

Clearly Obama won't be a Harry Truman (aka "The Bucks Stops here", Harry)

Host with the Most said...

Brilliant analysis, Ann.

Being pro-life, I no longer believe - as I did in the 80's and 90's - that most people are too stubborn or intellectually stupid to discuss abortion. My wife and I were involved in the 80's and 90's with housing, clothing, and supporting young pregnant indigent women who decided to carry their child to term. We were often angry at the insensitivity of so many who thought we were "fundamentalist cretons" setting back women's rights. We never protested at clinics, but we were treated as though we did by many, even though we only gave money and time and resources to women who wanted to keep their baby.

But after the anger went away, we began to realize that most people who are pro-choice - and a lot who are pro-life - are simply afraid of the issue. Most people don't want to wrestle with the questions of the "value of human life", because we instinctively know that connecting the dots will take us somewhere very uncomfortable, and most likely to someplace distinctly at odds with our personal value system. Throw in the peer pressure to conform to whichever social groups we belong and aspire to, and it's too hard to spend time really thinking such a volatile issue though.

Don Singleton said...

For Obama it is not even when it is completely outside the woman's body. He even opposed legislation requiring a doctor to try to save the life of a baby that was delivered in an attempt to abort it, but the baby was bor alive.

In other words even if God intervened and the baby was still alive, let it die. Don't feed it, or keep it warm. Just throw it in the trash.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I too think he meant the answer "God". But in that case the answer amounts to "it can only be decided on a religious basis". Now we get to see what his supporters think about that!

UWS guy said...

"Above my pay grade" sounds cold not because it's folksy, but because it's military jargon that has slipped into mainstream culture. "The man upstairs" would have been a better choice. In the back of your mind when he said the former you must have been thinking of starched uniforms, brill-creamed hair, and cobalt-blue metal.


McCain was the more "candid" as another poster put it? at conception? Give me a break, how much more could you pander? McCain is obviously outside the mainstream here that a child gets legal rights at a moment that no one witnesses....excellent...moments after a man ejaculates into a woman.

With McCain's regurgitation of pablum, "Rights begins at conception blah blah" was the same tin ear to Warrens question that Obama had. McCain was answering when does "life" begin and butchered a right-to-life talking point of "Life begins at conception."

When do rights begin? Obama and McCain both dodged the question.

AllenS said...

UWS guy said...

"When do rights begin? Obama and McCain both dodged the question."

So, what is the correct answer? 4:30 am? Quarter past eleven? Midnight? At age 18?

UWS guy said...

To the pro-lifers here, please. Yes, pro-choicers are happy to throw babies in dumpsters! The Obamas I'm sure sometime discuss getting pregnant again just so Michelle can abort the fetus, for fun!

Why don't you just say that Obama eats babies for breakfast?

AllenS said...

So, what is the correct answer?

UWS guy said...

I know you want the answer to be easy, but it isn't AllenS.

AllenS said...

Give it a try.

UWS guy said...

If cells dividing is considered life, then so be it. Life begins at conception. That does nothing to change when rights begin. Rights begin and to what extent when we as a people decide they do and enact laws to that effect.

PatCA said...

UWS,
The question was not "legal" rights, it was human rights.

Big difference.

Paul Zrimsek said...

If the correct answer isn't easy, then why is it self-evident that the answer "at conception" isn't correct?

Trooper York said...

Lfe begins at forty. Before that you are too young to know anything.

AllenS said...

If you accidently drove your car into a woman who was 2 months pregnant, and the baby died, what would you be charged with? Would your answer be that the baby didn't have any rights yet?

Meade said...

PatCA got it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If cells dividing is considered life, then so be it.

Actually, yes. That is one scientific definition of life.

UWS guy said...

Y'all are making the same mistake in not listening to Rick Warren either. Rights, not Life people.

What if she was on the way to the abortion clinic AllenS?...

P. Rich said...

Obama: "You know, what I would tell them is that solving big problems like for example energy is not going to be easy and everybody's going to have to get involved and we are going to have to all think about how are we using energy more efficiently and there is going to be a price to pay in transitioning to a more energy efficient economy and dealing with issues like climate change." (my emphasis)

Brilliant. Let me help you leg shiver types with the logical breakdown:

fatuous lead-in [inane talking point] [inane talking point] [inane talking point] [inane talking point] filler ["climate change"].

Your typical Obama tripe, and I am exaggerating by calling those trite utterances 'talking points'. They hardly qualify for that lowly descriptor. There is not an iota of substance in any of it - just the way, apparently, Althouse likes the rhetoric from her guy.

A reek of Dem sweat. Phones ring quietly in back rooms. Delegates ponder.

Spread Eagle said...

When McCain says "at conception" he's saying what he really believes. He's always steadily and consistently been prolife. It isn't pandering when its who you really are.

Obama's "above my paygrade" comment was smugly dismissive. It was pandering to the pro-aborto crowd. This is someone who in truth doesn't regard anything as being above his paygrade.

P. Rich said...

Obama: "You know, what I would tell them is that solving big problems like for example energy is not going to be easy and everybody's going to have to get involved and we are going to have to all think about how are we using energy more efficiently and there is going to be a price to pay in transitioning to a more energy efficient economy and dealing with issues like climate change." (my emphasis)

Brilliant. Let me help you leg shiver types with the logical breakdown:

fatuous lead-in [inane talking point] [inane talking point] [inane talking point] [inane talking point] filler ["climate change"].

Your typical Obama tripe, and I am exaggerating by calling those trite utterances 'talking points'. They hardly qualify for that lowly descriptor. There is not an iota of substance in any of it - just the way, apparently, Althouse likes the rhetoric from her guy.

A reek of Dem sweat. Phones ring quietly in back rooms. Delegates ponder.

Simon said...

Ann said...
"'Above my pay grade' does seem like an awful expression in this context. It made a bad impression on me when I heard it last night ... [b]ut thinking about it this morning, I'm pretty sure he meant to refer to God."

Perhaps he was referring to women. ;) But if he's saying that the issue of life and death isn't a question for him because it's within God's domain, if we take him seriously on that, wouldn't that position dictate that abortion should be illegal? If the decision is God's to make, legal abortion removes it from God's hands by allowing people of a lower pay grade to make the decision. Doesn't his answer fail on his own terms?

UWS guy said...

The Pro-Life movement will fail (maybe continue to fail?) if they insist on saying, rights begin at conception.

If you really care about the unborn, you wouldn't argue/hold/try to enact wish-thinking untenable laws.

I can only presume that your all-or-nothing approach to the rights of the unborn is a rhetorical cudgel used put you in high dungeon, because holding this position will never win over the electorate.


Don't make the best, the enemy of the good.

Meade said...

uws guy said...
Rights, not Life people.

That's right. And, as PatCA pointed out, specifically, human rights.

Obama answered something like, it's not in my job description to give an opinion on that.

McCain gave his opinion: A human embryo has human rights. (Beginning, I presume, with the right to live.)

Simon said...

Palladian said...
"It's couldn't care less [not 'I could care less']!"

I think "could care less" makes sense if it's said sarcastically, but more commonly, I agree with you that it's an irritating malapropism. It just doesn't bother me as much as the true nails-down-the-chalkboard member of the class: people who say "all intensive purposes."

Ann Althouse said...

The Drill SGT said..."I hope you mean "using a trite expression rather than coining or creating a new usage. "Above my pay grade" is a classic military phrase...."

I mean that he is coining it as a reference to God. The familiar use you know is not a reference to God.

Host with the Most said. "we began to realize that most people who are pro-choice - and a lot who are pro-life - are simply afraid of the issue."

I think pro-choicers are withholding -- sometimes from themselves -- the blunter statements about what their position entails. Pro-lifers withhold some things too. Both sides are intent on winning an argument, and they will craft their language to win support.

UWS guy said...

P.rich. If you can't take your opponents arguments seriously, why should anyone take yours? "leg-shiver types" is old already, use your own words please.

AllenS said...

UWS guy said...

"What if she was on the way to the abortion clinic AllenS?..."

Well, then it would be ok. She probably would send you a thank you card with a gift certificate.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think "could care less" makes sense if it's said sarcastically..."

Actually, it's "I couldn't care less" that is sarcastic. You can always care less, just not much. "I could care less" would make sense if the right kind of emphasis were put on "less" so that it means — but not much less, because I'm that close to zero. It's like: I can think of something more boring. That's a way of saying: That's incredibly boring.

Tom said...

President of the United States is above Obama's pay grade.

garage mahal said...

I think pro-choicers are withholding -- sometimes from themselves -- the blunter statements about what their position entails


Such as whether McCain or pro-lifers would be in favor of imprisoning mothers who took a morning-after pill [and the doctor who administered it]. Should that mother be housed in a max security prison along with other convicted first degree murders? That is the logical conclusion to the pro-life argument that must be taken.

So, who's for that?

EnigmatiCore said...

"Both sides are intent on winning an argument, and they will craft their language to win support."

This sounds like a nice way of saying 'both sides lie, explicitly in what they say and implicitly in what they choose not to say, because they are intent on getting their way.'

Paul Zrimsek said...

I can only presume that your all-or-nothing approach to the rights of the unborn is a rhetorical cudgel used put you in high dungeon, because holding this position will never win over the electorate.

So Obama's answer should have been "Whatever works politically"? Would have been a bit more in character, I'll admit.

Middle Class Guy said...

AllenS said...
If you accidently drove your car into a woman who was 2 months pregnant, and the baby died, what would you be charged with? Would your answer be that the baby didn't have any rights yet?



In Illinois there is actually a specific charge for that situation.

rightwingprof said...

"I think his answer is: When it is completely outside of the mother's body."

Given that he voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, apparently your assessment is wrong.

Dogwood said...

Why don't you just say that Obama eats babies for breakfast?

You obviously didn't get the memo.

We're waiting for the photographic evidence before going public with just such a charge. The Enquirer is on it, so we should be ready to run with it in a few weeks.

Send me your email address and I'll see to it that you get on the memo distribution list.

P. Rich said...

uws guy said: "use your own words please"

Bad news, boyo. You aren't in charge of what I decide to use. And you clearly missed the entire point of my post in order to perform the typical, antiquated, "Look. Over there!" moronic ploy.

The concept might not be "current" enough for you, but the phenomenon is very much alive. There is not, and never has been, any substantive reason to support o-BA-ma for POTUS. And as time passes and nothing changes, the Althouses of the world continue clinging to... what, exactly? It's all about how supporters feeeeeel, and they don't want to give up that shivery feeling. Otherwise they might actually have to begin thinking. What a frightening concept.

Simon said...

garage mahal said...
"I think pro-choicers are withholding ... the blunter statements about what their position entails ... [s]uch as whether McCain or pro-lifers would be in favor of imprisoning mothers who took a morning-after pill (and the doctor who administered it). Should that mother be housed in a max security prison along with other convicted first degree murders? That is the logical conclusion to the pro-life argument that must be taken."

While that's one possible outcome, it's not a necessary conclusion of the pro-life argument; it depends on what kind of legal framework is adopted. The most common framework propose would lead to abortion providers - presumably doctors and/or nurses - going to jail or at least being stripped of their license to practice.

One thing that does follow from the pro-life position that many pro-lifers are uncomfortable talking about is that it imposes a de facto requirement that women carry a child to term. I think that'd be the stronger argument for you.

UWS guy said...
"The Pro-Life movement will fail (maybe continue to fail?) if they insist on saying, rights begin at conception."

Yeah, this best is the enemy of better tendency is quite frustrating: "We've seen that repeatedly in the abortion arena; a bill that incorporates not only reasonable regulations that would pass easily ('better') is loaded down with regulations that would effect something approaching a total ban ('best' - from the perspective of proponents), with the result that no progress of any kind is made." Still, I don't think that it follows that the movement will fail if members thereof insist that rights begin at conception; it will fail if they insist on making that the only acceptable reform. If rights from conception is the goal but incremental legislative steps towards that goal are acceptable, we'll make a great deal of progress, I think.

Tom said...

I believe there is a reasonable compromise on abortion that could work for both sides given modern technology.

The Bible states explicitly that "life is in the blood" and that is also a major theme in scripture.

Since the blood doesn't start flowing until about day 23, why not define that as the legal start of life and allow all pregnancy terminations before then and none after then?

Ann Althouse said...

Crimes are defined by statutes, so the question when you kill an unborn child is first what the statute says. If it's covered by the statute, there could nevertheless be a constitutional right that trumps the statute, as there is when a woman has an abortion. If the statute covers the killing of the unborn, and it's not an abortion, the question is what right is violated by criminalizing that killing? Answer: probably none.

ron st.amant said...

But thinking about it this morning, I'm pretty sure he meant to refer to God.

That was how I thought he meant it as well, Ann. Sure he was also trying to leave the general question of abortion unanswered, especially given the audience.

So a little of both I suppose.

Simon said...

Middle Class Guy said...
"[AllenS asked, '[i]f you accidently drove your car into a woman who was 2 months pregnant, and the baby died, what would you be charged with?'] In Illinois there is actually a specific charge for that situation."

Indiana, too. "A person who kills a fetus while committing or attempting to commit[] (1) a Class C or Class D felony that inherently poses a risk of serious bodily injury; (2) a Class A misdemeanor that inherently poses a risk of serious bodily injury; or (3) battery[] commits involuntary manslaughter, a Class C felony. However, if the killing results from the operation of a vehicle, the offense is a Class D felony." IC 35-42-1-4(d).

vbspurs said...

"insulting and mendacious."

I have to say, I looked at the replay of this answer, and was absolutely aghast.

I'll go on record by saying this is the worst answer I've heard from any US Presidential candidate, EVER.

"Above my pay grade".

When it doesn't insult you, it floors you with its inhuman coldness.

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"If the statute covers the killing of the unborn, and it's not an abortion, the question is what right is violated by criminalizing that killing? Answer: probably none."

A woman has a right to kill her own child before a certain point, but not someone else's, and a man has no right to do either.

vbspurs said...

submission to God

Bad choice of wording, Ann, though it's not meant as a reproof but a heads-up.

Christians accept God. It is Muslims who submit.

In fact, it is the salient difference between our two religions/cultures.

I do not submit to anyone or anything, not even to God. I accept God and his son Jesus Christ of my own free will.

Simon said...

Tom said...
"I believe there is a reasonable compromise on abortion that could work for both sides given modern technology ... Since the blood doesn't start flowing until about day 23, why not define that as the legal start of life and allow all pregnancy terminations before then and none after then?"

I've tended to advert to a heartbeat and detectable brain activity as the threshold after which abortion should be impermissible. That leaves ample scope for contraception, "emergency" contraception - and even early abortions. I don't think that's a popular position among pro-lifers, but I would hope that as a compromise position, they'd sign on to either mine or yours. I don't think mainstream pro-choice advocates would sign onto either, though. The name of the game for them is unfettered discretion - abortion on demand, at any time, for any reason.

Trumpit said...

"... expression of humility and submission to God..."

That's how the 20 religiously indoctrinated thugs began their fateful one-way plane trip into the twin towers. Thus prompting two or more wars and the death and destruction of tens if not hundreds of thousands of innocent and a few guilty people. No goddamn abortion was necessary to wipe out so much life that had begun in earnest.

Fuck when life begins. Most of you are trapped in your moronic pettiness, rickety and wasted bodies, and waning lives that you haven't even begun to live yet. Have you done the trip, in an artsy fashion mind you, to L.A., like Ann just completed. Have YOU paid witness to and knelt before the holy Watts temple...er..I mean towers. Is Watts too black for your lily white scared, scarred, bland taste? Your pissant, miserable, meaningless lives are worse than worthless. That goes double for Palladium who like a failure-to-be-aborted fetal immature juvenile pedophiliac blob of cells goes around hearting young teenage boys. Maxine, you are right for once. Get a life, Palladium. I'll tell you to fuck off before you tell me. That's the kind of infantile game that you like to play. Go heart yourself and have a heart attack while you're at it. (Godfuckingdamnit, I'm so fucking witty!)

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Actually, it's 'I couldn't care less' that is sarcastic. You can always care less, just not much."

Not when I use it. When I say "I couldn't care less," I mean it sincerely not sarcastically, and although on some subconscious level I suppose you may be right that to say so may not be correct, strictly speaking, that doesn't transform it into sarcasm. Maybe it's a transatlantic thing.

Meade said...

It's a contraction thing. If it is meant sincerely, it needs to be ennunciated and emphasized: I could NOT care less.

Meade said...

simon said...
I've tended to advert to a heartbeat and detectable brain activity as the threshold after which abortion should be impermissible. That leaves ample scope for contraception, "emergency" contraception - and even early abortions. I don't think that's a popular position among pro-lifers, but I would hope that as a compromise position, they'd sign on to either mine or yours. I don't think mainstream pro-choice advocates would sign onto either, though. The name of the game for them is unfettered discretion - abortion on demand, at any time, for any reason.

I could NOT agree more.

amba said...

I just heard Obama's line as a profession of humility -- "Who am I to say when life begins" -- which, as Ann points out, might have been an appropriate answer to a question Warren didn't ask. "That's over my head" or "out of my league." It was an odd choice of expression, required a momentary double-take to get it, but I didn't find it appalling as Victoria did.

Trumpit said...

Meade & Simon,

I devoutly, religiously, earnestly, wish your mothers had decided to abort your sorry asses. I could NOT care less when your foul hearts started to beat. I just wish they would both stop, so you'd stop your disgusting moralizing. Women hate you for trying to destroy their freedom and lives. They are right to hate you, and wish for your early demise.

Paddy O. said...

"I do not submit to anyone or anything, not even to God."

Victoria, I thought you were Catholic.

James may have been an epistle of straw for Luther, but I'm pretty sure it's still canonical for the rest of us, Catholics and Protestants.

James 4:7 So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Whether or not you accept God, everyone is going to have to submit to him. That he prefers more of a relationship is an added benefit.

Meade said...

Not all women hate me, Trumpit. Just the other day, my grown daughter, a woman, said to me, "hey, dad, thanks for not letting me be aborted 22 years ago." And then she said, "here's my subway train. Gotta go. Love ya."

EnigmatiCore said...

It seems from the comments that this is another case where if one is inclined to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, they will do so once again, and if one is not inclined to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, then they aren't going to once again.

This election is getting repetitive.

Randy said...

What amba said sums up my impression.

Vics, my vote for worst answer ever in a presidential debate in our lifetimes goes to Gerald R. Ford:

There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration." Frankel responded, "I'm sorry ... did I understand you to say, sir, that the Soviets are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of influence in occupying most of the countries there?" Ford responded, "I don't believe ... that the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Romanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. Each of these countries is independent, autonomous, it has its own territorial integrity, and the United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union."

It cost him the election.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I devoutly, religiously, earnestly, wish your mothers had decided to abort your sorry asses. I could NOT care less when your foul hearts started to beat. I just wish they would both stop, so you'd stop your disgusting moralizing. Women hate you for trying to destroy their freedom and lives. They are right to hate you, and wish for your early demise."

Does someone need a hug? Come here, you big lug. No need to be so angry, everything's going to be all right.

Just lay your head down right there and take a nice nappy and everything will be better...

amba said...

Not bad, Simon, as a legal standard. When are brainwaves detectable? The heartbeat comes first, I know.

I secretly favor the "intrusive" practice of requiring an ultrasound before abortion.

I also think that in a moral sense (threshold higher than the legal) life begins at implantation.

Meade said...

"I also think that in a moral sense (threshold higher than the legal) life begins at implantation."

I think it was in the moral sense that Rick Warren was asking the question about human rights of a baby.

Ranking of moral thresholds:
1. amba
2. McCain
3. Meade, Simon, et al.
?. Obama

Meade said...

467. Trumpit

Simon said...

amba said...
"Not bad, Simon, as a legal standard. When are brainwaves detectable? The heartbeat comes first, I know."

To my recollection it's about six weeks in. I want to dodge answering that, because I don't think it's material to the legal standard. I think that's a medical question, and I think that the legal standard should be broad enough to accomodate advances in medical technology. the rationale for brainwaves and a heartbeat is that I don't believe in life from conception, but I don't know when life does begin, so it seems to me that we should err on the side of caution and say that while we don't know that life begins as soon as there are the physical prerequisites thereof - brain activity and a heartbeat - we should assume that it might be and take appropriate steps to protect it.

I also agree entirely that it's a mistake to think that the legal and the moral standard must join up. There are a lot of things for which morality will hold someone accountable but that the law of (wo)men doesn't and/or can't.

Randy said...

Victoria: Oops! Strike "our lifetimes" and insert "my lifetime."

Randy said...

Meade, where, in your opinion, on your tote board of moral thresholds does Ann Althouse fall?

Meade said...

And let's not forget that quite a few grown women with scientifically technologically detectable heartbeats and brainwaves are walking around with wombs of their own and they see themselves as embryos with a long long way to go until they can make their brothers understand... what? That they are Persons with personhoods and that certain legal and moral rights and restrictions apply?

Palladian said...

Trumpit's mentally ill. Really. I wonder if, had she known during pregnancy that he would grow up to be a mentally ill sociopath, his mother would have aborted him.

"Women hate you for trying to destroy their freedom and lives."

Asked how they felt about the women who destroyed their freedom and lives, the killed, discarded unborn could not be reached for comment.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Drill Sgt said it at 10:20 and this is what I wrote in the wrong post:

"Above my paygrade" is not uncommon in the military. It means someone in authority has made a decision and you're just following orders.

It didn't work in Nuremberg, either.


I suspect he's being influenced by his military advisors--picking up the lingo--but not really 'getting' it.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

'He' meaning Obama.

Drill Sergeant clearly gets it.

Meade said...

Randy, I'm not sure I know where Althouse sets her moral threshold but I'm pretty sure she isn't in favor of indiscriminately killing viable human persons, however she defines personhood.

Meade said...

By the way, I realize I have McCain's and amba's moral thresholds reversed in my chart of moral thresholds above.

Randy, where does yours fit in? And don't give me that pay grade crap!

vbspurs said...

Oops! Strike "our lifetimes" and insert "my lifetime."

LOL, I had quite forgotten that from Ford. I honestly think the Nixon pardon cost him the election, but I wouldn't disagree with your choice either.

(And yes, I wasn't really conscious of politics in 1976) ;)

Regarding submission v. acceptance.

My point is a more niggling one, in that submission has a Muslim sound to it, and I'm trying to prevent the anti-Althouse trolls from getting their knickers in a twist about it, since there was no suggestion that Obama=Muslim just because of that word.

It's sad that I feel I have to protect our rear-flank, because trolls and malcontents use any opportunity to insinuate these things.

Paddy O:

I still contend that acceptance is the path to Christian conversion, not submission.

This is why our Christianity is singular to ourselves and not transferrable -- our children are not born Christian just because we are, and certainly not without baptism and confirmation, unlike in Islam.

Cheers,
Victoria

Chip Ahoy said...

I understood his answer to mean, "I'm not God."

But I also understood the answer to stand in stead for, "When the neonate emerges fully formed from the mother's cervix and the umbilical cord had been severed, having negotiated and survived the many blocks and hazards set before it, condoms, spermicides, diaphragms, cervical caps, IUDs, estrogen and progestin pills, abortions, even so far as late term abortions, and then brazenly boldly presents itself wailing purple and screaming loudly having gasped its first breath and breathed in a harsh new hard reality.

Obama knew intuitively, smart fellow, that wouldn't fly.

Chip Ahoy said...

McCain's answer was worse. Human rights at conception, that's patently ridiculous.

Middle Class Guy said...

Ah, To take this a step further, if there is a statute protecting the unborn in the cases of Traffic Accidents and Homicides;

What if a woman is struck by a vehicle, killing her unborn fetus while she was crossing the street on her way to the women's health clinic to get an abortion?


I reall have to stop hanging around with my pal, the ultra-orthodox rabbi.

Meade said...

"McCain's answer was worse. Human rights at conception, that's patently ridiculous."

Only if the entity conceived is non-human.

Randy said...

Meade, Althouse has been quite clear about her support for abortion rights, so I don't think it unreasonable to ask where you would place her on your tote board given your placement of amba and Simon, to cite two examples.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I honestly think the Nixon pardon cost him the election, but I wouldn't disagree with your choice either.

(And yes, I wasn't really conscious of politics in 1976) ;)"

I was. I think it was the Poland quote that did him in.

1976 was really like this year in a lot of ways. Watergate had made being a Republican toxic, and Ford did fall on his sword with the pardon in a way that hurt him.

But the Democrats chose Carter, who was sort of a cross between Dean on quaaludes and a white Baptist Obama. And like this year, he was off to a solid lead.

Two differences, though. Carter took a significantly larger lead than Obama has taken, and Ford had the power of the Presidency.

After the initial blush or crush on Carter faded, so did his lead. Badly. Ford even took the lead in a few polls. People saw Carter as too inexperienced, too liberal, too condescending. The world was a crazy place, and Ford was trusted in foreign affairs in a way that the neophyte Governor of Georgia could never be.

Until the debate where Ford made it clear that Foggy Bottom wasn't the only place foggy when it came to diplomacy and foreign affairs. His momentum stopped on a dime, and Carter held on for a narrow win.

If not for that comment by Ford, the Carter years would never have happened. What a different world it would have been.

Meade said...

Okay, Randy, let me go back to my tote board, as you call it. Hmm... I'd guess somewhere between Simon and Obama. I highly doubt that Althouse would vote to allow unsuccessfully aborted live babies to be dropped off in the janitor's room and left to die alone without comfort and a modicum of human kindness just in order to protect Roe v Wade.

EnigmatiCore said...

Where does Trumpit go?

EnigmatiCore said...

Also, given what we have seen on this thread--

I owe ZPS an apology. He's not even in the same ballpark.

Randy said...

EC: I remember it well because I was running a few phone banks for Ford in 1976 and our best volunteers disappeared.

Synova said...

"To pro-lifers who are hearing him for the first time, it may have been enough to give them the impression that he at least understands their point of view."

Not really, no.

I didn't watch this so I don't know if there was something about the context that obscured the fact that Obama was talking about God, but it seemed immediately obvious to me, reading this, that he was.

Leaving reproduction up to God means certain things in the religious community. I may mean not using contraception at all! Or it may mean, when using contraception or when contemplating a tubal or vasectomy, that if God really wants a child born He can make that happen, no matter what we have done.

Talking about God in relation to reproduction is something that is often done and it is NOT done at all in the way that Obama seems to have just done it.

No pro-life person is going to think, "Hey, maybe Obama really understands my point of view about abortion and God's sovereignty." Not one.

Frankly, he also seems to be doing is taking the pro-choice male default... as someone pointed out... above his paygrade isn't God, it's Woman. I think he meant God, but the rest is something heard often enough... he's not even pro-choice or pro-abortion... just doesn't care one way or the other.

There is no pro-life way to look at this.

somefeller said...

So Obama's answer — that it's not for him to say — is inapt. Obama answered the question he expected to hear. But Warren had the wit to frame the question in terms of a legal opinion that Obama was fully equipped to give. When does the baby have legal rights?

If memory serves, Donald Rumsfeld was fond of saying, with regard to interviews, answer the question you wanted asked, rather than the question asked. That generally seems like good advice, and was probably what Obama was attempting here. Whether or not he pulled it off well depends on the viewer.

Synova said...

As for legalities... I'm with those who have suggested that heart beat or brain activity is a reasonable place to define life and legal rights. Brain activity is actually a nicely balanced way of doing it, as we use that standard on the other end, for death.

And it really isn't that hard to figure a legal standard that works without defining abortion as First Degree Murder... IF people are actually interested in working out a legal code that is fair. The law already deals with different degrees and sorts of killing and with different sorts of mitigating circumstances. This is what the lawyers get the big bucks for, no?

And I was thinking about this... we know that Obama isn't interested in limiting abortion in any way, and certainly isn't interested in alienating the pro-choice element of his base. That doesn't really matter.

What might matter a whole lot is that as president he is going to have to take sides, to make decisions, about all sorts of things. And what he seems to have been very good at is avoiding that.

Am I wrong?

Is it part of being a college prof? That's what he's done, right? That's almost all about not making decisions, choices, taking sides, but leading students through the concepts in the material. But not taking sides.

And a person has to wonder... what ELSE is going to be above his paygrade? Being POTUS is all about having to choose, to make decisions that often have opposite and compelling elements to them.

Is he going to be able to do that?

Has he ever had to?

garage mahal said...

Randy, I'm not sure I know where Althouse sets her moral threshold but I'm pretty sure she isn't in favor of indiscriminately killing viable human persons, however she defines personhood.

Which leaves the Vatican one of the few morally consistent authorities since they against both abortion and the Iraq war.

PrestoPundit said...

You've got Obama's answer dead wrong.

He's in favor of not letting a baby live when it's been born alive, and is lying alive on the table after being born alive in misfired abortion procedure (i.e. one that failed to kill the baby.)

This actually happens, actually happened in Illinois, and Obama actually lead the charge in the legislature to make sure those living outside the womb babies didn't live. It's a fact, it's out there to know.

And you aren't being honest if you actively keep yourself from knowing it.

Randy said...

What might matter a whole lot is that as president he is going to have to take sides, to make decisions, about all sorts of things. And what he seems to have been very good at is avoiding that.

Am I wrong?


I don't think so.

Being POTUS is all about having to choose, to make decisions that often have opposite and compelling elements to them.

Is he going to be able to do that?


That's the $64000 question of 2008, isn't it?

Host with the Most said...

Susan Estrich and Hugh Hewitt held a debate last year at California Baptist University over the recent Roberts appointment to, and future direction of, the Supreme Court.

Host with the Most said...

to continue . . .

I attended. During the question and answer period at the end, one woman challenged Ms Estich to defend abortion. Susan said that she herself had had abortions, and felt strongly about the issue, but understood the position of pro-lifers. The woman continued with several questions that began to make Susan obviously uncomfortable, at which point the moderator called it an evening.

I had brought along a book written by Susan for her to autograph. When I got to her, I immediately told her that I appreciated her willingness to come into a "foreign " environment, and that I admired her work and numerous positions, even though I was a conservative more like Hugh. She thanked me and signed, but was visibly shaken by the turn of the last set of abortion questions. It was obvious that she couldn't wait to get out there. I felt for her, and I doubt that she was convinced to reexamine her position on abortion.

Simon said...

Randy said...
"Meade, where, in your opinion, on your tote board of moral thresholds does Ann Althouse fall? ... [She] has been quite clear about her support for abortion rights, so I don't think it unreasonable to ask where you would place her on your tote board given your placement of amba and Simon, to cite two examples."

I can't find the thread, but I had thought she indicated in a comment earlier this year that she's morally opposed to abortion herself but supports abortion rights. I could have misread that, but I remember it really jumped out at me at the time. Maybe this would be a good opportunity to request a clarification.

Chris said...

Even if Obama was referring to God, it's an awfully bizarre answer. If they don't make decisions about an issue themselves, people at lower pay grades have a duty to figure out what the people at the higher pay grades have decided about an issue. Put another way: OK, God decides when people start to get rights. What do you think God has decided about that?

Meade said...

I think I remember that too, Simon, come to think of it.

somefeller said...

During the question and answer period at the end, one woman challenged Ms Estich to defend abortion. Susan said that she herself had had abortions, and felt strongly about the issue, but understood the position of pro-lifers. The woman continued with several questions that began to make Susan obviously uncomfortable, at which point the moderator called it an evening.

Imagine. A pro-lifer decided to ask hectoring personal questions to a debate participant, rather than sticking to the topic of the debate, which apparently was the Supreme Court under Justice Roberts. No surprise there.

Oh, and yes, I'm well aware that there are more than a few leftists who are obnoxious at public events also. I've gone to more than a few events where some moron from the Mumia or Spartacist crowd decides to spend too much time on the microphone, believe me. However, from what I've seen, the sharp and inappropriate questions in events like this about people's personal morality and relationship to God tend to come from the right side of the bench.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Ha ha. You guys are arguing about abortion on a blog.

xoxo

Steven said...

UWS Guy --

"Rights begin and to what extent when we as a people decide they do and enact laws to that effect."

---

So, you completely disagree with Obama. If the question as to when rights attach is a matter of legislation or constitutional definition, then it is unquestionably within the purview of a Senator.

---

Interestingly, your answer also declares that, should the laws be amended to say that rights do not attach until citizenship in the U.S. is acquired, the torture of aliens would violate none of the rights of the aliens. Or that, for example, if the laws did not recognize Jews as having rights, it would be no violation of the rights of Jews to, say, round them up and exterminate them.

Perhaps you'd like to sit back and reconsider the nonsense you posted?

---

On McCain's answer, there is actually nothing inconsistent about having rights attach at conception and legally permitting the morning-after pill. My right to life does not currently include a right to draw sustenance from the body of anyone else; why would it have included such a right at the moment of my conception? Refusing to allow me to attach myself to your body is not considered murder; the same refusal at conception would not imply a need to charge the mother with murder, either.

somefeller said...

Off-topic here, but am I the only person on this thread who thinks the term "Saddleback Forum" would be a great name for a gay bar? Perhaps some of our other regular commenters (you know who you are) can chime in with their opinions.

UWS guy said...

Do you have a legal right to kill an innocent person in order to save your own life?

UWS guy said...

The Constitution of the United States needed to be amended precisely because black men and women did not have the rights of life, liberty, nor the persuit of happiness.

Our passage of laws determined that blacks had human rights.

constitutional isn't a synonym with moral.

UWS guy said...

In answer to steven. Nothing I wrote was nonsense.

Seven Machos said...

I have a lot of respect for Susan Estrich and, if she had an abortion, perhaps it was pre-Roe.

That said, I have a question: doesn't it seem like a lot of ostensibly smart, responsible females end up having abortions? What's up with that?

If you can make A's in college and law school, can't you prevent pregnancy?

UWS guy said...

Smart women get abortions in their 20's because they want to educated.

Seven Machos said...

Here is what I want to say about "above my pay grade": It's grossly un-American. We are a nation of laws, not men, and gods. We decide how we want to live, through free elections, and glorious and spirited debate, and always fallible yet always correctable and improvable legislation.

It's not up to anyone else but us how we live and how we organize our communities.

Seven Machos said...

But UWS -- Smart women are idiots to have sex without birth control.

Conceiving a baby takes effort, man.

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

Smart women are idiots to have sex without birth control.

Condoms break or leak and no birth control method is 100% effective, including the pill, especially when you're dealing with parties who are at the height of their fertility. So even with birth control, pregnancies occur. Plus, let's not mince words here. Stuff happens when you're drunk, particularly after a good off-campus party.

UWS guy said...

Nature finds a way!

Good point on the "above my pay grade". Thank god the for electoral college IMO. Think how bad politicans would pander to the public if we actually voted for POTUS!

Seven Machos said...

The birth control pill is 100 percent effective. The disclaimer is for people who don't take it every day.

And, yes, let's not mince words: it's very easy to pull out. If you are sober enough for sex, you are sober enough for that.

But, dude, let's say you are right. Let's say you are a lonely, nerdy Smith girl who went a crazy Haverford party and got all hammered on Zima and went home with a Swarthmore guy. The sex was great. Lumbering, but great. Now you are pregnant. Is it above your pay grade whether to abort the fetus? Or is a legislature equipped to sort that out?

chickenlittle said...

UWS guy said: "Smart women get abortions in their 20's because they want to educated."

Somebody should have told Stanley Dunham that. She could have flown to CA and shaved decades off her PhD.

EnigmatiCore said...

Dan Riehl brings up a good point that speaks to the phoniness I was talking about.

Obama said his toughest decision was the one where he decided to vote against the Iraq war.

Only Obama didn't vote against the Iraq war. He certainly would have wanted to, but since he wasn't a Senator yet, he couldn't have struggled over which way to vote, since he wasn't going to be voting.

Or maybe he was just being inartful when he said "vote."

EnigmatiCore said...

Now watch McCain do something that would make me stay at home, like nominate either Huckabee or Romney as his running mate. Or even worse, Lindsey Graham.

EnigmatiCore said...

"The birth control pill is 100 percent effective. The disclaimer is for people who don't take it every day."

Which makes it less than 100 percent effective. People are imperfect. They have imperfect memories and sometimes forget to do very important things.

Our oldest was conceived while my wife was on the pill. It definitely worked out for everyone, though!

Seven Machos said...

Yes, Enigmatic, if you don't use the product correctly, it is not effective.

Strange.

Anonymous Blogger said...

If Trooper York were awake, he'd make a joke about Mort being asleep.

Simon said...

UWS guy said...
"Smart women get abortions in their 20's because they want to educated [sic.]."

Perfect...

The Drill SGT said...

Andrea Mitchell on MTP fronting what she claims are Obama camp claims that McCain must have cheated to beat their guy...

MS. ANDREA MITCHELL: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, there was the crisp, immediate, forceful response by John McCain, clearly in a comfort zone because he was with his base. And Barack Obama, taking a risk in going there but seeing an opportunity. And a much more nuanced approach. The Obama people must feel that he didn't do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because that -- what they're putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.

Anonymous Blogger said...

The birth control pill is 100 percent effective....

at changing women's personalities.

Seven Machos said...

I have been picturing this cone of silence since yesterday. It's sort of an orb, like those plastic Easter eggs. It's white on the bottom half and glass on the top half. The single seat inside is green. The background is white and stark and modern.

There's McCain, sitting, waiting, until a blond and fairly hot evangelical babe comes to escort him to the stage.

Until now, I never pictured McCain with the ear piece in, sinisterly listening to the questions.

Evangelical Christians. Is there any scheme so low and evil and immoral that they won't stoop to it?

The Drill SGT said...

chickenlittle said...
Somebody should have told Stanley Dunham that. She could have flown to CA and shaved decades off her PhD.


I don't think so. That would have been late 60, early 61. I was a college student in California in 68, when a friend flew to Japan for an Abortion (not my child). Anyway, Roe v Wade was 71. I don't recall abortions being legal. In 57 apparently abortion was completely illegal. by 67 there was a health of the mother exception along with rape, but only for CA residents. Only in 69, did the CSC find a fundemental right to abortion.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

But, dude, let's say you are right. Let's say you are a lonely, nerdy Smith girl who went a crazy Haverford party and got all hammered on Zima and went home with a Swarthmore guy. The sex was great. Lumbering, but great. Now you are pregnant. Is it above your pay grade whether to abort the fetus? Or is a legislature equipped to sort that out?

My pay grade or not, it's her decision (i.e.: within her pay grade) to determine whether to continue with her pregnancy, and thankfully the Supreme Court has made it clear that a bunch of podunk legislators don't get to make that choice for her. That's why these things are referred to as reproductive rights, rather than reproductive policies of the legislature currently in session.

UWS guy said...

Yes, women on birth control pills pick genetically incorrect mates! Based on this study I can presume that most women should be a perfect match for me...

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

LOL, 7M.

Imagine if the positions were reversed and Obama had smacked McCain down, then McCain's folks had claimed that Obama "must" have gotten help to do that well?

How many seconds before the Obama camp would have responded with a racism charge?

How about simply, Obama was overconfident and ill prepared, while McCain has a lot of experience in town hall questioning.

I mean it wasn't a huge surprise that abortion, faith, etc were questions.

EnigmatiCore said...

"if you don't use the product correctly, it is not effective"

Yes, it is a mystery.

However, snark aside, my point is that for matters as serious as life or no life, relying on the effectiveness of not just a product but on the effectiveness of a person's memory is not going to be anywhere near a 100% effective rate. An IUD is the way to go if looking for that.

Anonymous blogger is also correct-- it can change their personalities a ton. But the worst had to be Depro-provera. It certainly was effective! It made my wife ill at the thought of sex.

chickenlittle said...

Drill SGT: I didn't say it had to be legal or even safe. The point was to ridicule the absurdity of UWS's statement.

Seven Machos said...

Thank God we sophisticated elites have the right to kill babies and no duly elected official can touch that.

However, these podunk legislators are vital when it comes to restricting guns, encouraging fairness preventing and hatefulness in speech, limiting donations to political candidates, taxing to high heaven, and curtailing economic liberty of all kinds, and so much else.

Sloanasaurus said...

For Obama it is not even when it is completely outside the woman's body.

I think for Obama, it depends on whether the child is "wanted" by the mother who is carrying it. That is the only position that makes sense based on Obama's various votes on the matter.

Obama's position is morally indefensible. I can understand the view of determining when life begins via the legislature and then attaching rights at that point. But allowing the mother to decide when life begins is an immoral and injust system. Why not just let people decide all moral positions on their own. If that were the case, nothing in society would be immoral because everything would be relative to each individual. Thus, you may disagree with Mccain's position that life begins at conception rather than say 16 weeks, but at least McCain's position is based on a general framework of principle.

UWS guy said...

The real question is will all the Hillary supporters confront reality and flee McCain? Why would hard-core liberal women vote for McCain who says that rights begin at conception?

Will they all flow back to the Democratic nominee?

Question #2: How, after stating this position could McCain pick any running mate other than a pro-lifer? And would this not just further alienate McCains crossover appeal?

UWS guy said...

Sloanasaurus McCain didn't say "life" begins at conception he said, "rights".

But on this you have to give McCain and Obama a pass in answering the question they wanted and not the question asked.

somefeller said...

However, these podunk legislators are vital when it comes to restricting guns, encouraging fairness preventing and hatefulness in speech, limiting donations to political candidates, taxing to high heaven, and curtailing economic liberty of all kinds, and so much else.

Actually, the Supreme Court has also ruled in one form or another on all those issues as well, so the implication that the Supreme Court (whom I am assuming you are referring to when you talk about "sophisticated elites") hasn't been involved in such issues while only legislatures have had a vital role with regard to such issues is a false one. Also, in our system of government, the Supreme Court (and the federal courts in general) get to say what the law is, rather than just let the legislative and executive branches do what they want. And thank heaven for that.

Sloanasaurus said...

My pay grade or not, it's her decision (i.e.: within her pay grade) to determine whether to continue with her pregnancy, and thankfully the Supreme Court has made it clear that a bunch of podunk legislators don't get to make that choice for her.

That's interesting because in some systems and in our past women and slaves did not have rights either. Their masters could decide whether they lived or died. I guess their masters had slave-owner rights - after all they were burdened by the cost and care of these slaves, just as a woman is burdened by the pregnancy of an unborn child. But at some point, we decided that slaves had rights too and today we are considered an enlightened society for that reason. Perhaps some day we will realize that the unborn also deserves such rights.

UWS guy said...

and cats and dogs.

Rights come with responsibilities. What responsibilities do unborn children have?

Live children don't have rights either, they're protection comes from what others are not allowed to do to them. Just like cats and dogs.

Seven Machos said...

I thank the stars every day that there are nine unelected and infallible leaders who went to the best schools who can deliver to us from on high a moral, ethical, and legal framework so that we can live our lives.

Furthermore, I am comforted that these unelected leaders occupy a branch of government that has absolutely dominion over the other two branches. In this way, the podunk people who elect their podunk legislators are rightly restricted from self-rule.

Long live the elites! Long live the philosopher kings! Long live the autocracy!

Sloanasaurus said...

Rights come with responsibilities. What responsibilities do unborn children have?

No, rights are inherent with your existence or given by God depending on which way you look at it.

Most pro-lifers believe that they day a child is conceived, it deserves those rights.

EnigmatiCore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark K. Sprengel said...

"When it is completely outside of the mother's body."

If Obama said that, woudln't he be contradicting his vote against the Illinois Born Alive legislation?

EnigmatiCore said...

"Rights come with responsibilities."

No, it is with great power that comes great responsibilities.

[The deleted comment above was very similar to this, but with the word come at the end, which made me sound like friggin' Yoda, which made an already geeky post 80 million times moreso]

And generally it takes something tragic like Uncle Ben dying for a person to learn this.

UWS guy said...

"John Locke - Social contract theory. Denotes an implicit agreement within a Issues regarding the rights & responsibilities of the Issues & its citizens. Influenced the American revolutionaries as reflected in the American Declaration of Independence."

His intellectual antecendants:

"Under a theory first articulated by Plato in his Socratic dialog Crito, members within a society implicitly agree to the terms of the social contract by their choice to stay within the society. Thus implicit in most forms of social contract is that freedom of movement is a fundamental or natural right which society may not legitimately require an individual to subrogate to the sovereign will."

What were you saying about silly movies again?

Trooper York said...

If Mort were awake he would tell you that mentioning Uncle Ben is racist.

Kirby Olson said...

Obama's success has come from his speeches being completely scripted in advance. He can't think on his feet. Or rather, what we saw last night was him thinking on his feet, or tripping on his feet.

McCain can think on his feet. What we saw last night was how easily McCain can think for himself on his feet. He's effortless, because he's so used to being his own, and thinking for himself, and articulating what he thinks.

Obama needs to know what everybody thinks first, and then script a speech that everybody in his crowd will agree with, and then he goes to town, stroking everybody's ego with their thoughts.

Last night he knew that nobody wants to hear what his crowd thinks in that forum, so he was just lost.

I suppose it would be like McCain in a San Francisco leftist audience where everybody wanted to hear what he thought about body piercing, taking drugs for fun, and whether he thought multiple partners should be able to marry.

Obama would have aced the San Francisco crowd.

Trouble is, for Obama, that crowd isn't very big, and is packed into a few coastal cities and the archipelago of elite universities.

Everybody else thinks like McCain.

From Inwood said...

A friend of mine likes to ask the following:

"What Kind of Car Would Jesus Use To Drive His Girlfriend To The Abortion Clinic?".

This has turned into an abortion argument rather than whether Obama's answer passed muster, if I may use another old military cliche.

I am amazed how people who otherwise worship science dance around a simple scientific question: when does life begin, & attempt to define the begining of Life in the "Fourth Trimester", so that a partial (a phrase reminiscent of "being a little bit pregnant") birth abortion is OK morally as well as legally to them.

I feel that Obama, who, I understand is the world's best orator, answered the question he wanted to answer with the answer he'd gone over previously in his prep with his advisers.

I don't think that they realized how flip it would seem to some of us, who are now being told that our reaction only proves how fundamentalist & humorless we really are.

BTW, Andrea Mitchell should know that Obama is omniscent & thus knew McCain's answers before McC even uttered them, so that McCain needed to cheat & hear Obama's answers through his upper Left molar (or which ever side he hears better from) to even things up! Notice the swollen face? Hmmmm?

Seven Machos said...

Also, if you oppose Obama's views on abortion, you are a racist.

PatCA said...

"Human rights at conception, that's patently ridiculous."

The word "patently" adds nothing to your argument, which you dropped when we asked for a clarification between human and legal rights.

I know plenty of women who get an education while pregnant. And are you equating enduring a pregnancy while getting an education with enduring a life threatening pregnancy?!

Anecdotally, I also know women who have gotten abortions. To a woman, they were intelligent, sleeping with one or serial partners, and not on the Pill because they thought the pill was "dangerous" to them. A pregnancy would have been inconvenient and embarrassing. Getting an abortion was almost a point of pride. So, Susan Estrich, live with it.

AllenS said...

I wonder how the smartest women in the world would have answered that question.

From Inwood said...

Randy

President Ford was, of course, judged guilty of a faux pas (especially since he was given a follow-up question to help him out), & it really hurt him, (though I doubt that anybody actually changed his/her vote solely because of this; I mean Chevy Chase...), but didn’t Ford really mean that no one in Eastern Europe had “submitted” to Communist control? Ann & Victoria can explain “submission” to you.

somefeller said...

Long live the elites! Long live the philosopher kings! Long live the autocracy!

I'm sorry that judicial review offends your populist sensibilities so much. Maybe you can take it up with John Marshall in the afterlife.

EnigmatiCore said...

If he meant submitted, would he not have used the word submitted? I can see using the wrong word once, but count them:

"Ford responded, "I don't believe ... that the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Romanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. Each of these countries is independent, autonomous, it has its own territorial integrity, and the United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union.""

Dominated and the forms thereof are the, er, dominating theme of that passage.

OK, now to my much anticipated (by me) threadjack.

I have long said that I would have nothing to do with the Democrats if Edwards was anywhere near their ticket, because I considered him a phony. Got one right.

I've said the same about Romney. And I think I have also about Huckabee, although I am not certain if I posted it here.

Yesterday, I asked McCain supporters to make the case for their guy and not just an anti-Obama case. I can't say that I was persuaded-- the best argument seems to remain the anti-Obama one.

But let's look at my particular pet peeve-- the flat out liars. I think Reagan, by and large, was mostly honest. I think George Bush, for all of his obvious weaknesses, is mostly honest. I think Jimmy Carter, for all of his overwhelming weaknesses, was honest.

I liked Clinton at first, but that turned out just to be because he really was, at least for a while, an unusually good liar.

I didn't like McCain in 2000. He struck me as, well, off. He did not match his long record. He was liberal on things he had been conservative on previously and he was conservative on things he had been liberal on previously. He claimed Bush was playing dirty and ran his Catholic Voter Alert smears in Michigan. I sensed phony. I hate phony.

I was right to sense it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/01/AR2008080103032_2.html

"""I didn't decide to run for president to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be president because it had become my ambition to be president. . . . In truth, I'd had the ambition for a long time."

That ambition led McCain into a moral lapse that appalled him. It involved an ongoing dispute in South Carolina over the tradition of flying the Confederate battle flag atop the state capitol, in Columbia. In a television interview, McCain said the flag was "offensive," and he appeared sympathetic to its critics. His aides were alarmed, fearing the consequences in the upcoming South Carolina primary, and they wrote a damage-control statement that McCain read repeatedly before television cameras. "I understand both sides," McCain said. "Some view the flag as a symbol of slavery. Others view it as a symbol of heritage. Personally, I see the battle flag as a symbol of heritage."

But that, McCain wrote a year later, was "a lie." The flag symbolized both slavery and the South's secession from "the country I love," and "should be lowered forever from the staff atop South Carolina's capitol."
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"I had promised to tell the truth no matter what," McCain wrote in the book. "When I broke it, I had not just been dishonest, I had been a coward, and I had severed my own interests from my country's. That was what made the lie unforgivable." "

It is very expedient that he has learned now to be honest. But one of my ways of detecting the BS artists like Edwards and Romney is if all of their changes are politically expedient. McCain saw the money-in-politics light after being involved in the Keating 5. He sees the importance in being honest and courageous about beliefs now, when it makes for a nice contrast with Obama.

Why shouldn't I see McCain as just as phony, but from the other side of the aisle and with less press coverage?

Convince me. You haven't so far.

somefeller said...

I suppose it would be like McCain in a San Francisco leftist audience where everybody wanted to hear what he thought about body piercing, taking drugs for fun, and whether he thought multiple partners should be able to marry.

If you think body piercing, recreational drug use and bigamy/polygamy are phenomena that only occur in places like San Francisco, you don't get out much. If anything, those sorts of behaviors are more common among working-class red-state folks than among "liberal elites". You'll find a lot more tattoos, piercings and drug use in your average biker bar in Texas than you will in Harvard Yard. And in the case of the last example, the prime supporters of that policy who have been in the news recently sure aren't coastal liberals.

From Inwood said...

Simon

Seriously, I agree with you & others. The perfect is the enemy of the good, good here being Pro-Life, but no matter what kind of less-than-perfect legislation is ever enacted, after much compromise & no matter how much legislative history accompanying such legislation genuflects to Roe & its progeny, seems that there's always a judge & who will strike down any such partial solution legislation, even anti-"Fourth Trimester" legislation as unconstitutional.

Even if Obama meant his "pay grade" reference to God as his apologists would have it, as someone has said (turning the old verse on its head), in this area "God proposes" (Thou shalt not Kill) but "man" (the unelected judiciary) "disposes".

So Obama assuming for the sake of argument that Obama meant what his apologists say he meant, he is still copping out.

And yes, I know that even if Roe is "thrown out" many enlightened states will simply pass legislation....

Palladian said...

"Convince me. You haven't so far."

Who the hell are you? I mean, stay at home if you don't like the candidates. Why is it our job to "convince you"? Maybe if we worked for the campaign it would be our job to do that. But it seems that many people here support McCain because it's the only way to prevent the certain disaster of an Obama administration. If that's not a good enough reason to vote for McCain, then stay home. You're not likely to be convinced by anyone here.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Who the hell are you?"

I'm Batman.

"I mean, stay at home if you don't like the candidates."

Been my plan of late. Been waffling about doing that though, and some seemed to want to persuade me. I am challenging them to do so again.

"Why is it our job to "convince you"?"

Is it above your pay grade?

"Maybe if we worked for the campaign it would be our job to do that."

You are often a witty commenter, and it is much more effective than the whole "who the hell are you" bluster. I am a voter who isn't sure about what is right about a lot of things, and asks questions and challenges people to be persuasive. If that is annoying to you, too damned bad.

It's instructive to see that the liberal voters aren't the only ones who can slip into off-putting obnoxiousness. I'll tell you what-- I'll be obnoxious for the undecideds.

Palladian said...

Oh I missed this earlier:

"That goes double for Palladium who like a failure-to-be-aborted fetal immature juvenile pedophiliac blob of cells goes around hearting young teenage boys."

Listen, I know you are mentally ill, but I'm not going to be called "pedophiliac" [sic] and let that stand. Though it's usually hard to tell what you're talking about, I assume, in this instance, that you're referring to me writing "I ♥ Chris (Ann's son)" in a thread yesterday. I know that brain-damaged "liberals" such as yourself seek to perpetually infantilize people, but it's rather a stretch to call my crush on Ann's 25 year old son "pedophiliac" [sic] isn't it?

Friendly advice: Take your medication and stop stalking me. Oh, and go fuck yourself.

From Inwood said...

Enigm

Lighten up. I said that Ford refused to take the life line offered to him. It is inexcusable to let oneself get in a situation like Ford did. And all the king's horses asses couldn't get him out of it. I think that he was inexcusably inarticulate (Dems made him addled) & the MSM never let up. Somewhere, down deep, he had a point. I took a shot at what that point might have been & at the same time kidded Vicky & Ann about submission. But as the saying goes, deep down Ford was superficial & it hurt him & those of us who had laughed at Jimmy's inexperience. And so we got four years of Jimmy.

I think that Obama should have to live with his flip answer here. And since the MSM will give him a pass, he, unlike Ford, may never have to explain.

As for the rest of your comment, I don't agree that McCain is a complete phony. Notice I said "complete". So hold him to an impossibly high standard & either withhold your vote or -- or what --vote for the inexperienced empty suit? Or maybe you don't agree that Obama is that.

From Inwood said...

somefeller

You ask whether "Saddleback Forum" would be a great name for a gay bar? ROFL!

Hey it's the title of the sequel to "Brokeback Mountain"

Palladian said...

Enigmaticore:

I don't mean to be obnoxious (in this instance at least) but you've spent a considerable amount of time the last day or so asking people here to convince you why you should vote for McCain. Most people here don't seem like particularly partisan people, and I haven't heard many people here who seem terribly keen on the merits of John McCain. Therefore, it seems to be the wrong forum in which to be convinced of the merits of voting for John McCain. If I vote for John McCain, it will be because I intensely dislike Obama, and I suspect that many people here will vote for McCain for similar reasons. It's rather like 2004 all over again. I assume that most people who voted for Kerry/Edwards were only doing so because they hated Bush/Cheney so much.

Again, I think that opposing Obama is a great reason to vote for McCain but obviously you want more than that. Which is fine and normal, but I doubt you're going to get information and encouragement from anyone here.

I think it's as valid to vote out of opposition as it is to vote out of support.

EnigmatiCore said...

Palladian,

Fair enough, and I apologize for snapping back. Let me explain where I am coming from-- and why here.

I started this campaign wanting Giuliani. I remain convinced that he would be a great President, although the crap campaign he ran suggests that faith might be wrong.

I was going to sit it out after that. Why vote for someone when I am not convinced that any of them is better than the other, when I am not sure which approach is right?

I left it open that a candidate or their campaign or their supporters might convince me to do otherwise.

Of late, I have started to have the same visceral reaction to Obama that I had towards Edwards, towards Romney, towards Kerry in 2004. And towards Huckabee for that matter. So I have started to wonder if I really should sit this one out.

Which leads to...

"Therefore, it seems to be the wrong forum in which to be convinced of the merits of voting for John McCain"

If I wanted to be convinced by hardcore partisan hacks, I would go to Daily Kos or Free Republic. While there are some token Kossites here, by and large most people here seem to at least exist somewhere in the same universe as me.

Is it their job to convince me? Not at all.

But if they want to convince me, the challenge to do so has been levied. Sorry again if me placing that challenge rubbed you the wrong way, but I don't feel bad about issuing it.

Randy said...

Inwood: I agree that was the point Ford meant to make. He bungled it badly, unfortunately.

Trooper York said...

Well EnigmatiCore, the only thing I can say is that Obama is the Sanjaya of this competition. So maybe we have to hold our nose and vote for the old guy. I mean he is weird and shakes a lot and yells out “Soul Patrol” but what the hell are you gonna do?

I don't know if that will convince you but that's the best I can do.

Cedarford said...

UWS guy - McCain was the more "candid" as another poster put it? at conception? Give me a break, how much more could you pander? McCain is obviously outside the mainstream here that a child gets legal rights at a moment that no one witnesses....excellent...moments after a man ejaculates into a woman.

With McCain's regurgitation of pablum, "Rights begins at conception blah blah" was the same tin ear to Warrens question that Obama had. McCain was answering when does "life" begin and butchered a right-to-life talking point of "Life begins at conception."

When do rights begin? Obama and McCain both dodged the question.


You miss the point. We have a logical disconnect in our laws, which protect the health of the fetus and assign value and criminal penalties if someone hurts a fetus - but through the wisdom of lawyers dressed in robes dictating to society - have also left whacking the fetus to the whim of a woman at an early stage.

We have OSHA laws that require employers to pull any "declared pregnant women" out of certain work environments where there is anything on a long, long list of chemical exposure, radiation, work not recommended in pregnancy (diving, prison guard, etc.) And require the employer to continue to pay the women as a function of those fetal rights.

Indigent declared-pregnant women are given access to special taxpayer-paid medical pre-natal "well-care" programs as pushed by Teddy Kennedy and other abortion fans, as well as pro-life people in power, as a function of fetal rights - if the woman's whim is to keep the fetus.

In torts, and criminal law, we have also assigned penalties. They start at the death penalty for someone who kills two people (woman and fetus) in certain states. And go into a wild world of tort settlements of wrongful death in accidents, loss of consortia for a baby never born - up to multi-million dollar awards. Huge awards for drugs or environmental exposure that happened in the first few months of "human rights assigned fetuses except for mother's whim"- and a judge, jury concurs - or the usual backroom deal between trial lawyers & insurance company lawyers happens.

McCain is right. Just that our whole body of law that protects fetuses human rights from conception in various aspects - have to deal with SCOTUS inserting "except at the mother's whim, those rights can be waived" exception on early term abortions.

Not that it is all that monstrous. We have come to a conclusion, nearly globally, that abortion may be a nasty thing, but it is a necessary thing in a range of situations each culture decides on.

Obama's answer, "above my pay grade" - for a senior lecturer in Constitutional Law who has never written a scholarly legal article - suggests indeed that he got a patronage job, as did Michelle, as proteges of the powerful and immensely wealthy Crown, Pritzker, and Klutznik Families and Chicago black elites - that control the U of Chicago Board of Trustees. Imagine the touted "brillant, but never-published legal mind of Obamessiah" grappling with the human rights and protection under US law of illegal immigrants, black civil rights protestors, terrorists and deflecting the answer - saying "well, those questions too are outside and above the paygrade of what U of Chicago paid me to be a Senior Lecturer in constitutional law at their elite law school" ?

There is a reason why the rest of the Senior lecturers at elite law schools are outside the Obama Exception - the schools only pick seasoned jurists and highly published scholars and noted national & international experts in a field of law to be professors or senior lecturers.
So they can give their best, reasoned advice to legal theory and the proper development of young lawyers.
Obama has never published a legal opinion or scholarly article in his life.
He is different from the rest.

====================
Sloanasaurus No, rights are inherent with your existence or given by God depending on which way you look at it.

Incorrect. We are a society that has laws set by men, not God. We may believe in natural rights, or God/Allah/Wicca Spirit/Messiah-Prophet derived rights. But at the end of the day, humans waive, limit, or modify many of those rights in order to construct a society that works well & rationally (best case). No society can afford absolute rights to life, private property sanctity, unlimited free speech, any personal weaponry private individuals can acquire.

Karridine said...

Baha'u'llah, in The Book of Laws, clearly writes that the human rational soul is associated with its material body at the moment of conception.

The 'higher pay-grade' (The Glory of God, Baha'u'llah) makes known what is right.

Obama keeps quiet when asked HIS human, legal opinion.

vbspurs said...

Sorry again if me placing that challenge rubbed you the wrong way, but I don't feel bad about issuing it.

Enigmatic, that was a good explanation of where you're coming from, IMHO.

However, Conservatives aren't usually into "convincing" people about politics. Liberals (as well as atheists, and anyone who takes a contrarian opinion) are the ones who have an almost evangelical need to convert people to their opinions. We largely do not.

Being Conservative is a matter of being, not believing. It gets easier as you get older, and therefore as you know, our side is used to receiving a lot of people into it as time goes by.

I would ask you what is important to you:

Defense of country? The importance of principles not rules? A suspicion of big government?

Then vote McCain. Good luck either way. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

somefeller said...

However, Conservatives aren't usually into "convincing" people about politics. Liberals (as well as atheists, and anyone who takes a contrarian opinion) are the ones who have an almost evangelical need to convert people to their opinions. We largely do not.

Unless, of course, one is talking about Conservative Evangelicals, right? And doesn't this contradict the old saying: "Conservatives hunt for converts, liberals hunt for heretics"?

vnjagvet said...

Enig.

Here's the reasoning of an old Kennedy Democrat and a Giuliani supporter:

We're still at war, and for me, Obama was on the wrong side of that most important issue.

The Russian shenanigans in Georgia show that we are better off in the future with a President with the life experience to make wise, sound, non-ideological judgments.

In an old play, Teahouse of the August Moon, the narrator, an Okinawan peasant (played by Marlon Brando in one of his obscure roles), has a key line:

Pain make man think. Thought make man wise. Wisdom make life endurable.

Don said...

So "baby" conveys more opinion than "fetus"? Don't kid yourself.

Simon said...

vbspurs said...
"Conservatives aren't usually into 'convincing' people about politics. Liberals (as well as atheists, and anyone who takes a contrarian opinion) are the ones who have an almost evangelical need to convert people to their opinions."

I'm reading The Economics of Justice, and this apt quote jumped out at me earlier. Posner argues that radicalism is the "bitter cousin" of utopianism: "Lacking an understanding of the real world to which his reforms must be fitted, the Utopian reformer grows increasingly impatient at society's failure to implement his ideas and proposes increasingly radical measures to force a refractory world into his imagined mold." Richard Posner, The Economics of Justice 40 (1981).

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

@ Ann Althouse

""Above my pay grade" does seem like an awful expression in this context. It made a bad impression on me when I heard it last night. (I said it sounded "cold.") But thinking about it this morning, I'm pretty sure he meant to refer to God. "

Complete and utter bullshit and a further sign that you are in the tank for Obama.

Tell me. If someone violates your rights do you appeal to God? Or to the courts? From where do the courts get their standards? God? Or the legislature?

At what point can/do you appeal to God for "human rights"??

It's clear that the question specifically addresses the legal determination of when a fetus, without any rights at all, becomes an infant, with all the rights of a human being.

Your mendacity and sophistry is frankly amazing.

Paddy O. said...

Why McCain for me?

I liked Fred Thompson, and wish more people did. But I have warmed to McCain.

Couple of things for me. One is that on most every issue McCain more closely represents my views. Not to say that I agree with him on everything, but rather that of the two he's the closest.

We don't have a holodeck or some artificial way to create our ideal candidate. We are offered the choice of two. Closest wins for me.

McCain might be disagreeable, but there's no doubt he's a tough, old SOB. Foreign countries know this. I remember when Bush took over there were a number of provocations, testing his fortitude. China and the reconnaissance plane incident for instance. Obama is very untested, and there is no doubt in my mind other countries, the ones who don't like us, will see this inexperience and test it out. I don't know if Obama would be strong or not, and I suspect he will take about a year or two to settle into the role. So, simply because of this uncertainty of his Presidential strength there will be more international incidents.

I very much doubt there will be too many with McCain.

Now, that's basically a two year argument. After two years everyone will know who they are dealing with, and a weak president McCain will get a lot of provocations and a strong president Obama wouldn't. But that's still two years.

I think McCain would more readily step onto the world stage and navigate us past what does seem to be a crucial reorientation of global politics.

McCain seems to me to have a more settled personality and stronger sense of his own self. That is an impression, and not always one that leads to positive attributes, but it does indicate he will be a stronger leader, less liable to bow to the conflicting winds, and thus more likely able to make hard decisions and stick to them.

McCain is older, has experienced more, come to terms with his demons and his abilities, had a lot more background with just about every topic, and otherwise comes into the presidency with a wealth of a lifetime. That suggests more immediate wisdom and more quick decision making abilities.

In short, I am voting for McCain because I think he can be a decisive leader who most closely matches the broad range of my various opinions on issues.

And last night I saw I could be positively surprised by his inspiration and passion and communication skills. He frankly acted younger.

I pray I will be positively surprised in the same way by his Presidency.

These aren't particularly detailed policy reasons, more impressions of who McCain is as a man. But, that to me is most important given the often surprising and changing role a President has to play. I want someone able to deal with rapidly changing situations and experienced in maintaining composure in the midst of utter stress. McCain has shown he can do that.

From Inwood said...

somefeller

All old sayings are contradicted by another old saying, e.g., "many hands make light work" vs. "too many cooks spoil the broth".)

Also, I would suggest to you that you seem to ignore the fact that while some people are both Economic & Social Conservatives & some are both Economic & Social Liberals, others are at the same time Economic Conservatives & Social Liberals & others are at the same time Economic Liberals & Social Conservatives.

If you're talking about the Religious Right, I suggest to you that these people seemed to keep to themselves politically until "progressive" or Liberal extremists began to impose their, i.e., progressive, values on these religious folk in the area of popular culture, in schools, in the workplace, etc.

peter hoh said...

I'm late to the party, and I'm not going to read this thread, but I will toss this into the mix: when I read "above my pay grade" last night, I understood that to be a reference to God.

ron st.amant said...

Paddy O brings up the idea of terrorists 'testing' the new president. With the exception of Bush 41 (who had been elected but not sworn in when the Pan-Am bombing occurred) this has been the case dating back to Reagan however, so I'm not sure I agree with you that whether Obama or McCain is president will heighten or lessen the probability of an attack.

For the record:
Under Reagan-
The two US Embassy bombings (Lebanon and Kuwait), and then the Marine barracks bombing, the Achille Loral hijacking, and then the Berlin disco bombings.
The Pan-Am flight from Lockerbie bridged the two administrations Reagan and Bush 41. al-Qaeda was tied to an assasination of an Israeli in New York and members of that plot were part of the WTC bombings in '93. So in a sense that somewhat bridged the Bush-Clinton administrations.
Clinton- the '93 WTC, the Kenyan and Tanzania embassy bombings, the USS Cole.
Bush 43 of course 9/11.

I don't think terrorist organizations care much who is President.

Trumpit said...

When does life begin? Is there a term in the lexicon for someone who wants to have sex with a fetus? Paleface Palladium comes on this blog to indulge his tendency toward reverse pederasty. Someone who has a mental age of 3, like you do, shouldn't have "crushes" on 25 year olds. Your juvenility, inanity, lusting, and thrusting have shown no bounds of decorum. I say you are a sick fuck and I stand by it.

Fen said...

I don't think terrorist organizations care much who is President.

Al Queda certainly wishes Clinton could have served a 3rd term.

Sloanasaurus said...

Incorrect. We are a society that has laws set by men, not God. We may believe in natural rights, or God/Allah/Wicca Spirit/Messiah-Prophet derived rights. But at the end of the day, humans waive, limit, or modify many of those rights in order to construct a society that works well & rationally (best case).

Yeah, rights become limited in one form or another by the body politic, rights are also trampled by criminal activity. Protecting rights is an enduring war. However, it is not "incorrect" to say that rights are not inherent in every human being. When you stop believing this and start believing that rights are "granted.." is the moment you are no longer a conservative.

Revenant said...

When does life begin?

When the kids move out and the dog dies.

Revenant said...

If Obama thinks the question of when a baby gets human rights is "above his pay grade", how is it that he feels qualified to discuss the issue of human rights at all? How does he feel qualified to say, for example, that black people have a right to be treated the same as white people? Why isn't that question in God's hands, too?

rhhardin said...

``That's above my pay grade'' means you yourself don't settle such things.

It's not an indication of respect. Usually it means the idiots running things decide that.

rhhardin said...

When the dog dies, I get another dog.

``Another dog. Same breed. As soon as possible.''

The unsatisfactory thing about dogs is that they don't live as long as people, so you go through a number of them.

Then one day you die first.

Meade said...

When does life begin?
When the kids move out and the dog dies.


I always thought that was a cute joke and looked forward to the day. And then the kids moved out and the dog died and I realized how much I missed them.

The unsatisfactory thing about dogs is that they don't live as long as people, so you go through a number of them

Even people don't live as long as people. So you... go through... a number of them.

Then one day you die first.

Unless you time it just right and die before getting that last dog. That would be a kindness to the dog and maybe fair considering everything dog has done for you, wouldn't it?

Paddy O. said...

Ron, I wasn't thinking of terrorist organizations as much as other countries, such as Russia or China or Syria and such.

Terrorist organizations don't care. They're not exactly thinking in those terms.

The more 'civilized' states, however, are. Countries that look to take advantage of transition.

Look at Russia's timing. Olympics, a very divided American government, an unliked president, a weak Europe. They calculated their timing and went for it while everyone was distracted.

All presidents get prodded. But McCain is a significantly more known quality, and for reasons that even the least civilized civilized leaders have to see as being tough.

McCain is actually tough. More like Bush 41.

What's interesting is that because of how history makes other paths unknowable we can't really make this an unimpeachable argument. It's just a strong suspicion--and a positive reason to vote for McCain. Certainly not the only reason or even the best. Just one combined with an assortment of others to add some flavor.

downtownlad said...

I'm late in responding here, but OF COURSE he was referring to God. I got that immediately and i assumed almost everyone else did as well.

It wasn't even subtle. And I have to seriously doubt the IQ of people who still don't get this, even after it was pointed out to them.

Michael said...

This baffles me; it was blindingly obvious in the context -- a faith-oriented forum -- that he was referring to the Man Upstairs.

But I guess we tend to confuse even the most obvious literary devices when we, as a general rule, celebrate vapid sound-bytes, zingers and gotchas.

Kirk Parker said...

Palladian,

"Don't those pajamas people have editors?"

Who needs editors, when you have had teachers who helped you learn what irony was?

Garage,

"indiscriminately killing viable human persons... the Iraq war."

Ah! I'd heard a few references to some war in Iraq, and wondered what it was all about. Thanks for filling me in!

AllenS,

"I wonder how the smartest woman in the world would have answered that question."

Well, she didn't do so well against O during the primary campaign, did she?

bonnie said...

Obama understood the question as the following:
"When does a life become a life that requires protecting under human rights laws?"
Which is really:
"When does life begin?"
Any Christian would know that, and recognize that. And the answer:
"that's above my pay grade"
refers to the FACT that man is INCAPABLE of determining when life begins, just as we are incapable of foreknowledge of when our lives will end. Anyone who claims otherwise is reaching "above their pay grade" aka. above their abilities as humans aka. assuming the knowledge of God. If you're asking WWJD? I believe humility would trump authoritative exegesis in this situation.

"The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient."--St. Augustine

Humility, "consists in keeping oneself within one's own bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but submitting to one's superior." St. Thomas Aquinas

"And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
Matthew 23:12

stormhit said...

It's amazing to me that even this far down the comment thread, no one has actually bothered to point out the key word in his response-- specificity. Actually, before getting to that, yes, he was talking about God. It could not have been more obvious, and really it's the only context in which the statement even makes sense. The rest of his line should have made it clear: "..whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade."

The question is about human rights, and given that a nebulous term like human rights probably has it's theological corollary in the term 'soul'-- his answer is the only honest one that exists. No one but God knows when that precise moment is, and no one ever will. "Conception" is a great talking point term, but what does it mean exactly? There's a number of time frames and situations through which conception can take place. It's not one-size-fits-all. But if you're so sure that there is indeed a precise moment for human rights/soul to be bestowed, this leeway can not be acceptable. After all, you are claiming to know when exactly that moment is.

This is why there's absolutely no religious agreement on when exactly a soul is attached to a fetus. Anyone claiming otherwise is beyond arrogant and presumptuous. Thus Obama answered the question with far more honestly and depth than McCain, but I suppose making a valid philosophical observation is to be ridiculed these days. It's better to be wrong and decisive than accurate and thoughtful.

wildernessgal said...

I'm a 20 year military retiree so let me explain the "Above my pay grade" term used by Senator Obama. It's a military term -- refers to a military member's rank/grade (i.e. private, sergeant, general, colonel). It's an all encompassing term which is used a variety of ways and in a variety of difference circumstances but basically it means (1) the authority to make that decision or consider that suggestion is made at a higher level than myself and/or (2) it is outside my purview.

Ann Althouse said...

wildernessgal said..."I'm a 20 year military retiree so let me explain the "Above my pay grade" term used by Senator Obama. It's a military term -- refers to a military member's rank/grade (i.e. private, sergeant, general, colonel). It's an all encompassing term which is used a variety of ways and in a variety of difference circumstances but basically it means (1) the authority to make that decision or consider that suggestion is made at a higher level than myself and/or (2) it is outside my purview."

Yes, but my point is that Obama was appropriating that phrase in a new way, to refer to God.

And since we're almost at 200 comments, let me say that if you want to see the newer comments, click on "post a comment" and scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "newer."

Artemesia said...

Life, schmife.

There was a point, billions of years ago, when the "soup" turned into replicating "life." Since then it has been a continuum.

Individual human beings come into existence and go out of existence as part of the pattern of life that has existed since the beginning.

What Christians are really talking about (but don't put explicitly) is when does a SOUL come into existence. This, too, can be debated (I personally like Monty Python's formulation: it comes into existence through thinking and contemplation), but it is NOT being debated.

And I think Obama's answer is perfect: only God knows.

The evangelicals (and Catholics and others) who purport to KNOW when God puts a soul into the tissue that has the possibility to grow into a human are indeed talking "above their pay grade."

annie said...

It wasn't even subtle. And I have to seriously doubt the IQ of people who still don't get this, even after it was pointed out to them.

.....

But I guess we tend to confuse even the most obvious literary devices when we, as a general rule, celebrate vapid sound-bytes, zingers and gotchas.


no reason to doubt, or be confused. everyone knew exactly who he was referring to.

I'm pretty sure he meant to refer to white people.

we really don't have to look far (first comment) to find the incentives here. all the people here, who for political reasons support mcCain, will find a way to criticize Obama over this answer. it is terribly sad what has become of americans.

this has got to be one of the most heart wrenching of personal experiences for a woman, being faced w/the prospect of bringing a child into the world at what feels like the wrong time, or the wrong partner, or the wrong anything. it is never easy for anyone. either the woman who, for whatever reason cannot bring herself to end her pregnancy, or the one who does.

for the woman, or girl as many times the case may be, that choice doesn't end there, either way. it is a painful process and it isn't for me to judge that persons choice. i will not be standing at the gates except for my own entrance.

is it really worth snide dismissive remarks based on your political affiliations here guys and gals.

That's really cold.

lacks the passion of his convictions

would rather lie by omission

merely for political expediency.


it goes on and on and on. you don't really know what is in a mans heart. but the words speak for themselves.

basically it means (1) the authority to make that decision or consider that suggestion is made at a higher level than myself

thank you wildernessgal

tsousley62 said...

"Above my pay grade" is NOT an allusion to God. It's an allusion to the U.S. military.
In the military, responsibility and assignments are granted via a strictly rank-oriented system, which equates to pay grade (an O-2 pay grade -- a first lieutenant or ensign -- gets greater assignments and responsibilities, than an O-3 pay grade -- a captain or Naval lieutenant - for example).
The president in Commander in Chief in the U.S. military. Thus, there IS NOTHING above his pay grade! Nothing!
It was a wimp-out, pure and simple.

tsousley62 said...

Oops, mixed up the order of O-2 and O-3 -- it's the other way around. Just substitute "lesser" for "greater" there.
The point, however, still holds.

tsousley62 said...

Oops, mixed up the order of O-2 and O-3 -- it's the other way around. Just substitute "lesser" for "greater" there.
The point, however, still holds.

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