Seldom does dawn rise on an America where the morning’s New York Times displays a more intuitive grasp of a story than the New York Post. The coverage of Barack Obama’s commencement address at Notre Dame, however, was such a day. Where the Post headlined an inside spread with “Obama In the Lions’ Den,” the Times front page was dominated by a color photograph of a beaming president, resplendent in his blue-and-gold Notre Dame academic gown, reaching out to graduates eager to shake his hand or just touch his robe.
It was precisely the message President Obama wanted to send: How bad can he be on abortion if Notre Dame is willing to honor him?
We cannot blame the president for this one. During his campaign for president, Mr. Obama spoke honestly about the aggressive pro-choice agenda he intended to pursue — as he assured Planned Parenthood, he was “about playing offense,” not defense — and his actions have been consistent with that pledge. If only our nation’s premier Catholic university were as forthright in advancing its principles as Mr. Obama has been for his.
Read the rest from the Wall Street Journal:
Let’s Vote: Do Americans Want To Continue Abortion or Not?
Obama’s Immaculate Deception on Abortion at Notre Dame
Saying What’s Necessary to Win
Notre Dame is In My Blood; Allowing ND To Be “Used” Offends Me
Opinion from the Washington Post
President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame yesterday is another sign that pro-lifers are slowly winning the political battles over abortion. It was not the speech of a man who is confident that his position is right and popular. It was the speech of someone who is trying to minimize a problem–which is what the association with abortion assuredly is for the Democratic party.
More voters have left the Democrats over abortion than have joined it. And the public has been moving in a pro-life direction for years. (The latest Gallup poll even has a majority of Americans calling themselves pro-life.) Obama wants to defend a status quo in which abortion is effectively legal through all stages of pregnancy and abortion policy is sealed off from democratic decision-making. He even wants to make taxpayers pay for abortion. So at Notre Dame, he handled the political difficulty deftly. He didn’t try to make the case for his views on abortion and related issues. He just plead for mutual understanding, civility, and the search for common ground. All of those are perfectly valid goals, of course, but they are also the ones you’d expect to see emphasized by the side that’s defending a politically dangerous position.
Pro-lifers often get annoyed when they see politicians with hard-line records in favor of legal and subsidized abortion talk, as Obama did, about how much he wants to reduce abortion. But that type of rhetoric, however little follow-through it generates, is itself a concession to the moral and political force of the pro-life case. The more politicians who favor unrestricted, subsidized abortion talk about what a tragedy it is, the more they undermine their own premises. If it’s such a terrible thing, why fund it? Why not allow states to try different methods of discouraging it, including restrictions?
Obama has handled the politics of abortion deftly. He is doing the best he can from a position of weakness.