Yes, I forced myself to watch the debate last night. These things are painful to me, since I realize that no matter what happens, ONE of these two is going to be President. Crap! We deserved so much better this year, and we almost had it.
In any case, I thought this was the best debate. Bob Schieffer asked some idiotic questions, of course, and was blatantly favoring Obama in terms of time and slant, but for the first time, I felt we got a look at who these two men really were. The format was more intimate and allowed them to interact with each other more closely. This was inarguably John McCain’s strongest performance, and he had the best line of the night: “If you wanted to run against George Bush, you should have run for President four years ago.”
Indeed. But what really stood out for me was when the candidates started talking about Supreme Court judges and, by extension, Roe v. Wade and abortion. Take a deep breath, feminists. You’re not going to like this.
Let’s start with McCain’s answer.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Let’s stop there and go to another question. And this one goes to Senator McCain. Senator McCain, you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Senator Obama, you believe it shouldn’t.
Could either of you ever nominate someone to the Supreme Court who disagrees with you on this issue? Senator McCain?
MCCAIN: I would never and have never in all the years I’ve been there imposed a litmus test on any nominee to the court. That’s not appropriate to do.
SCHIEFFER: But you don’t want Roe v. Wade to be overturned?
MCCAIN: I thought it was a bad decision. I think there were a lot of decisions that were bad. I think that decisions should rest in the hands of the states. I’m a federalist. And I believe strongly that we should have nominees to the United States Supreme Court based on their qualifications rather than any litmus test. Now, let me say that there was a time a few years ago when the United States Senate was about to blow up. Republicans wanted to have just a majority vote to confirm a judge and the Democrats were blocking in an unprecedented fashion.
We got together seven Republicans, seven Democrats. You were offered a chance to join. You chose not to because you were afraid of the appointment of, quote, “conservative judges.”
I voted for Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg. Not because I agreed with their ideology, but because I thought they were qualified and that elections have consequences when presidents are nominated. This is a very important issue we’re talking about.
Senator Obama voted against Justice Breyer and Justice Roberts on the grounds that they didn’t meet his ideological standards. That’s not the way we should judge these nominees. Elections have consequences. They should be judged on their qualifications. And so that’s what I will do.
I will find the best people in the world — in the United States of America who have a history of strict adherence to the Constitution. And not legislating from the bench.
SCHIEFFER: But even if it was someone — even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?
MCCAIN: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test.
For a Republican, that was an excellent answer. As we know, McCain is hamstrung by the religious right’s chokehold on his Party, and constrained to proclaim he wants Roe v. Wade overturned. But note how he brings up specific instances in which he voted for liberal justices because they were qualified, and states firmly that there will be NO litmus test for any Supreme Court nominee. Remember, the Senate must confirm anyone that McCain, as President, would nominate. If that august body chooses to nominate someone who is determined to overturn Roe v. Wade, then the Senate bears that responsibility.
But I believe it’s a moot point, since the Supreme Court has had the ability to overturn Roe v. Wade for years and has not done so. As Bush has clearly illustrated, the next wave of pushing against reproductive rights will come through Congress. Again, if our CongressCritters refuse to stand up to it, then they must answer for their own craven spinelessness.
Here was Obama’s answer.
OBAMA: Well, I think it’s true that we shouldn’t apply a strict litmus test and the most important thing in any judge is their capacity to provide fairness and justice to the American people.
And it is true that this is going to be, I think, one of the most consequential decisions of the next president. It is very likely that one of us will be making at least one and probably more than one appointments and Roe versus Wade probably hangs in the balance (emphasis mine).
Now I would not provide a litmus test. But I am somebody who believes that Roe versus Wade was rightly decided. I think that abortion is a very difficult issue and it is a moral issue and one that I think good people on both sides can disagree on.
But what ultimately I believe is that women in consultation with their families, their doctors, their religious advisers, are in the best position to make this decision (emphasis mine). And I think that the Constitution has a right to privacy in it that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum, any more than our First Amendment rights are subject to state referendum, any more than many of the other rights that we have should be subject to popular vote.
OBAMA: So this is going to be an important issue. I will look for those judges who have an outstanding judicial record, who have the intellect, and who hopefully have a sense of what real-world folks are going through.
Didja catch that, ladies? First the veiled threat about Roe v. Wade, which events in the past eight years have proven to be fearmongering of the most despicable type. Then, Obama assumes that before making a decision about our own bodies and our own babies, we naturally “consult with” an entire committee of people. Does he actually know anyone who’s had to deal with this choice? (At least he has finally realized that some women are not Christian! Mr. Sensitivity has substituted the words “religious advisers” for the more exclusive word “pastors.”)
It never occurs to Senator Obama that women can make these decisions without “consulting with” anyone. It never occurs to Senator Obama that some women would not dream of going to any religious figures to ask whether or not to get an abortion, because some women are atheists or agnostic, or know that their “religious advisors” would not support them in their decision. (DUUUUHHHH.) And it never occurs to Senator Obama that some women are pregnant BY members of their families, and that going to their families would be the LAST thing they would do in that case. Anyone who is at all familiar with the attempts by the religious right to try to force women to get the consent of their parents before getting an abortion, would be aware of that fact. (Double DUUUUUHHHHHH.)
But here’s the worst part. Let’s pretend Obama is right about Roe v. Wade, and that it does ZOMG “hang in the balance.” Where is his pledge to protect it this legislation, which is so important to him? He said very clearly that there is NO LITMUS TEST for his judicial appointments.
Chew on that, Obama apologists. Roe v. Wade has just as good a chance of being overturned under President Obama as it does under President McCain because there is NO LITMUS TEST.
Well, Barack darling, you’ll find there are a lot of decisions women can make all by themselves. And you’ll see how we decide on Election Day.
Oh, and one more thing:
Cross-posted at Partizane