The media, especially blogs, are all abuzz today with the content of an interview Barack Obama had with George Stephanopoulos over the weekend. Chief among the observations was that Obama slipped up and inadvertently claimed to be Muslim. I can completely understand how someone like Obama faced with the kind of good journalism Stephanopoulos presented in that interview could slip up. I could happen to anyone. Some people I have spoken to have not been as forgiving, and think that this Freudian slip reveals some hidden truth about him.
What the clip now on YouTube shows in all its glory is how badly Obama handles himself in that setting. It seems "change" and "hope" are not Obama's ethereal words of choice after all. His favorites can actually seen to be "um" and "uh."
Robert Bellah, of whom I have usually been a fan, said of Barack Obama: "I believe that speaking well and thinking well usually go together, and vice versa, as the incumbent president so vividly illustrates." Low blow and not nearly a certainty even if the idea itself is expressed nicely (oh, the irony!).
So speaking of speaking well, let's parse a portion of that interview where Obama, after having time to recalibrate his response, answers the question of when a human person begins to have rights:
Original Answer: "Answering that question with specificity, um, you know is, uh, above my pay grade."
New And Improved Answer: "What I intended to say is, uh, that as a Christian, uh, I have, uh, I have a lot of humility about, uh, when does the soul enter into [the body].
AND Later, as a Summary: "All I meant to communicate was I don't presume to be able to answer these kinds of theological questions. What I do know is that abortion is a moral issue, that it's one that families struggle with all the time, and that, uh, in wrestling with those issues, I don't think that the government criminalizing choices that families make is the best answer for reducing abortions."
So, let's break that down:
1.) "Abortion is a moral issue." That is a true and very vague statement. Imagine Obama equivocating! Yes, it is a moral issue, but in his relativistic mind, he should easily forgive those who see it as taking a life. And if there is any uncertainty about what abortion is, shouldn't we preserve life as much as possible unless we know for certain that what we have ended in an abortion is not human life?
2.) Abortion is a moral issue "that families struggle with all the time." Here's another great blanket statement for you! Here's another: Lots of people struggle with lots of things all the time, and sometimes they make the wrong decision....sometimes this decision is not only wrong, it's illegal! So what does this statement add? Nothing.
3.) Therefore, "government criminalizing [the] choices that families make is [not] the best answer." If you have already read the last two statements thoroughly, you'll see this is something of "straw man" argument. Like saying: "McCain want's to make criminals of families that make everyday choices." The rule of law is itself evidence that government make decisions on values all the time, and abortion be treated the same, not differently, because it affects many lives.