Well played, Mr. President, says William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal. In contrast, we see "the poverty of Notre Dame's institutional witness."
In a letter to Notre Dame's Class of 2009, the university's president, the Rev. John Jenkins, stated that the honors for Mr. Obama do not indicate any "ambiguity" about Notre Dame's commitment to Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life. The reality is that it was this ambiguity that the White House was counting on; this ambiguity that was furthered by the adoring reaction to Mr. Obama's visit; and this ambiguity that disheartens those working for an America that respects the dignity of life inside the womb.And here's the Rush Limbaugh treatment of the topic:
The New York Times in a story today, headline: "At Notre Dame, Obama Calls for Dialogue on Abortion." Now, what exactly has been going on in this country for 40 years? It's no different than the libs saying, "You know what, we need to have that national conversation about race." What have we been doing since the founding of this country but having a conversation about race? What have we been doing the last 40 years but having a dialogue on abortion? And Obama appealed to partisans on each side to find ways to respect one another's basic decency and even work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.... I have often asked, "Where is the middle ground between good and evil? Where do you compromise? Where's the compromise between life and death? Where's the compromise between killing and birth? Where do you compromise on that?"Ambiguity... compromise... You see the point. Obama's side of the debate wins simply by getting people to think that there can be a debate. By allowing Obama to be heard at all on the subject of abortion, Notre Dame loses ground, because the pro-Life position is not debatable, ambiguous or subject to compromise. That's a big political problem for pro-Lifers — their unwillingness to engage with the other side. And Obama is successfully exacerbating it.
So the assumption here is, find ways to respect one another's basic decency. Well, what's decent? Language still matters to me. What the hell is decent about abortion? What's decent about it? This is the first time I've ever heard abortion categorized as a form of decency. Even the pro-choice crowd in trying to justify it, has tried to say that pregnancy is a disease, or that pregnancy is a sickness that can threaten the life of the mother, or a fetus is an unviable tissue mass. But I've never heard them say that abortion is decency. But Obama has now just said that both sides of the argument feature people who are advocating decency.