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Obama sure talks purty

"My fellow TelePrompters"

"My fellow TelePrompters"

President Obama read another speech off his TelePrompter last weekend and (surprise, surprise!) the Obamafluffers are getting all gooey about his unmatched-in-history  eloquence and bold leadership in “facing down” anti-abortion protesters.


Here is the portion of the official TOTUS transcript that dealt with the subject of abortion:

Nowhere do these questions come up more powerfully than on the issue of abortion.

As I considered the controversy surrounding my visit here, I was reminded of an encounter I had during my Senate campaign, one that I describe in a book I wrote called The Audacity of Hope. A few days after I won the Democratic nomination, I received an email from a doctor who told me that while he voted for me in the primary, he had a serious concern that might prevent him from voting for me in the general election. He described himself as a Christian who was strongly pro-life, but that’s not what was preventing him from voting for me.

What bothered the doctor was an entry that my campaign staff had posted on my website – an entry that said I would fight “right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman’s right to choose.” The doctor said that he had assumed I was a reasonable person, but that if I truly believed that every pro-life individual was simply an ideologue who wanted to inflict suffering on women, then I was not very reasonable. He wrote, “I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words.”

Fair-minded words.

After I read the doctor’s letter, I wrote back to him and thanked him. I didn’t change my position, but I did tell my staff to change the words on my website. And I said a prayer that night that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me. Because when we do that – when we open our hearts and our minds to those who may not think like we do or believe what we do – that’s when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.

That’s when we begin to say, “Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.

So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women.”

Please note that Obama never actually states his position on the issue.  He states that a campaign staff member posted something on his website but he never said he agreed with what was posted, even if the “right wing ideologues” part was changed to to “anyone.”  Will Obama fight anyone who wants to take away a woman’s right to choose?  We don’t know because he didn’t say.  We know we can’t rely on what his staff says, because they frequently get his positions wrong.

His references to reducing unwanted pregnancies, making adoption more available and providing care and support to pregnant women are nothing new, both parties have been using those talking points for decades.  His reference to the “spiritual” dimension of choosing to have an abortion should raise red flags for anyone who doesn’t think women first need to get permission from their minister, priest or rabbi.

Obama’s endorsement of the conscience clause is not a pro-choice position – the clause was intended to make it more difficult for women to obtain the medical services necessary to safely terminate a pregnancy.  Like parental notification laws and so many other rules the anti-abortion crowd keeps coming up with, their goal is to chip away at Roe v. Wade until they can persuade SCOTUS to reverse it.

So far Obama’s pro-choice record consists of repealing the global gag rule, which doesn’t help women in this country.  If his other executive orders are any indication, look for the rule to be quietly reinstated with cosmetic changes in the wording.

Obama also offered this bit of rhetorical fence straddling:

The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships can be relieved.

Those words would make a nice preamble to an policy announcement but that would require Obama to take a stand on a controversial issue. Take out the flowery language and it’s just another way of saying “There’s two sides to every story.”

If you want to see bold leadership then Barack Obama is the last person to watch. Robert Kennedy was a bold leader. When Bobby Kennedy was running for President he spoke out against college deferments from the draft. Kennedy believed they were unfair because they forced the poor and working class to bear the burden of fighting the war in Vietnam.

But Bobby Kennedy didn’t speak out against college deferments to the people whose sons went to war instead of college. He went to college campuses and spoke directly to the students who were enjoying the deferments. They may not have liked what they were hearing, but they knew Bobby was right.

When Martin Luther King was assassinated Bobby Kennedy was in Indianapolis. Kennedy didn’t call his political handlers and tell them to run some polls and focus groups so he could decide what to do. Even though the chief of police told him he could not provide protection Kennedy went out and made an impromptu speech at a rally in a predominantly black neighborhood.

Kennedy spoke for less than five minutes, talking about his brother JFK’s assassination and calling for racial reconciliation. He asked people to go home and pray for King’s family and for the nation. There were riots in 60 American cities in the wake of King’s murder, but Indianapolis grieved without violence.

That’s bold leadership.

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39 Responses

  1. It is and it was Kennedy’s best moment. That speech contains the great Aeschylus quote about “the awful grace of God.”

  2. myiq – great post. Could you add that facebook link thingy so I can put it on my facebook page?

    Thanks much.

    I think word needs to get out about his lack of a stance on this and many other issues.

  3. Even the old talking point,”safe, available, and rare” is taking a stand.

    • When you straddle the fence on every issue all you get is splinters in your ass.

    • I hate that talking point, because it’s still hedging on women’s right to control their own bodies.

      • “Safe, legal, and rare” is hedging? Doesn’t seem to be hedging in the least.

        • The implication of “rare” is that there is something wrong with getting an abortion. Is there a push to make vasectemies “safe, legal, and rare?” When there is that kind of pressure on a decision men make about their bodies, get back to me.

        • Why not just say “A woman’s right to control her own body shall not be infringed?”

  4. He says nothing at all about the constitutional issue, but the whole world gasps in awe of his brilliance? The whole world has gone screwy. This is an email I got for an academic roundtable:

    The Obama Effect:
    A Public Roundtable on Barack Obama as President and Icon
    University of Western Australia American Studies Research Group

    Global media pundits endlessly interpret Barack Obama’s presidency through 24-hour news commentary. His response to crises, ranging from financial meltdown to war and the threat of pandemic, captivates audiences around the world. This multidisciplinary roundtable-to be followed by open discussion-offers a different sort of analysis. Using the Obama presidency as a lens into cultural stabilities and transformations in the United States and across the globe, panellists will discuss how people today assess both themselves and the White House’s newest occupant.

    Speakers include:

    Prof Gareth Griffiths
    As/Prof Brenda Walker
    Prof Bill Taylor
    Dr Shalmalee Palekar
    Dr Ethan Blue
    Wednesday 27 May 2009, 6:00-7:30pm

  5. As a college student in 1968, I thought McCarthy was a bit of self-absorbed fluff, although many fellow students adored him. Me, I was totally sold on Bobby Kennedy. I still am. I’ve never been as convinced of a politician’s authenticity. The contrast with our current fresh-frozen life-sized cardboard copy of a perfectly marketed and sterile president is mind-boggling.

  6. Obama says nothing in a magical way that’s totally unlike the way any other President has ever said nothing. If his mealy mouthed equivocation that cedes the moral issues and ultimately ends up with all his supporters under the bus doesn’t bring us together in love and harmony, what will?

    • You have summed it up precisely, in just two sentences!!!

    • Actually his speeches are written very much like Bush’s, but Obama speaks his lines better. Same sort of rhetorical flourishes that always left the DC media loving them some Bush until his last year or so.

  7. Bring us together—now there is the rub. I don’t think we should all come together. I am concerned about the collapse of Republicans just because I think it is devastatingly dangerous to have us all come together. Coming together at a Fourth of July parade is fine; in a moment of celebrating the feat of a Capt. Phillips or a Scully—yes, that is fine. But coming together behind one political perspective or person is far too dangerous. Obama really wants the narcissist ultimate dream—everyone coming together in awe of his awesomeness, his brilliance, his right ideas. We need Catholics to be stubborn in the belief that there is a God who values human life from conception forward if nothing else to stop the relentless march of media and mass society to devalue life. We need people who look at a balooning national debt and say no to it; we need people who look at mind-altering drugs and say we should not become a chemical society; we need people who challenge our common sense and our moral and ethical easy rider attitude. We even need those Obot types—but not too much and God please not too long.

  8. Fucking fucksticks:

    It isn’t often that Democrats and Republicans see eye to eye. But on the thorny question of whether photos of U.S. military personnel allegedly abusing Iraqi prisoners should be released, a new national poll suggests Democrats and Republicans appear to agree.

    Nearly three out of four Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday do not believe the U.S. government should release the photos.

    The poll suggests that 87 percent of Republicans are against the public release of the photos, as are 62 percent of Democrats. Three out of four independent voters would also prefer for the photos to stay under wraps.

    “Obama has been getting some pressure from the liberal wing of his party to release the photos, but six in ten liberals in the poll say that the photos should not be made publicly available,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

    First of all, I don’t believe that’s how people really feel.

    Secondly, it doesn’t matter what popular opinion is, because OBAMA IS REQUIRED BY LAW TO RELEASE THE GODDAMN PHOTOS!

  9. I’m at a loss as to why the conscience clause line didn’t cause head explosions. Maybe because his supporters are hypocrites who don’t actually believe in anything? It was a dog-whistle phrase, straight up.

    The good news is, he doesn’t write what he reads from the teleprompter, so maybe he’ll forget about it. Oopsie, was I being a hater?

    Link on conscience clause and how it has most frequently come up with pharmacists (birth control pill, morning after pill):


    And OT: an interesting piece on torture –


    “But there is a different problem with Cheney’s criticisms: his premise that the Obama administration has reversed Bush-era policies is largely wrong. The truth is closer to the opposite: The new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expanded some of it, and has narrowed only a bit. Almost all of the Obama changes have been at the level of packaging, argumentation, symbol, and rhetoric. This does not mean that the Obama changes are unimportant. Packaging, argumentation, symbol, and rhetoric, it turns out, are vitally important to the legitimacy of terrorism policies.”

    • Alice, I tend to agree with you — where is the f*****g outrage over the conscience clause even being mentioned by Obama? Now Obama thinks its a good deal as long as he can help make it reasonable legislation. It’s not reasonable at all. They are pharmacists who have a job to dispense ALL medication despite their beliefs. What are they now be allowed to decline dispensing chemo drugs to stop an ectopic pregnancy? What are we just back to ripping it out of the womb under the guise of some other procedure? Cause that’s the road Obama is leading us to.

      Obama is setting back the pro-choice movement decades with even the mere suggestion that we should think about passing some sort of conscience legislation. But then again, he believes women should consult with some other man (husband, dad, preacher) before making decisions about whether to have a baby.

  10. Is it that hard for this man to choose a side? When will people get tired of it?

    • I think a lot of people are getting tired of it. The man has no core values at all. He believes in nothing but his own imagined magnificence.

      • bb,

        Obama’s big tent is a cloak.


      • I keep hoping that just maybe Obama will finally become the president his supporters want him to be. You are right, he has no core values. He is still the same guy that stole Alice Palmer’s job and used it to accomplish nothing for his people.

  11. myiq,

    That stupid story about the how Obama heard from the anti-abortion guy and then changed his website is in “The Audacity of Hope.” The entire book is like that. He never takes a stand on anything except wanting to privatize social programs and how great Reagan was.

  12. His “magnificence” is only a product of the depths to which our standards have fallen. After Nixon, Reagan, Carter, & the Bushs–and especially W–anyone who can string a sentence together is considered a genius. We live in the age of Paris Hilton, Brangelina, and celeb-journalists. From the start, Obama always sounded like a lame imitation of great leaders. He always reminded me of someone who had studied their speeches (RFK, MLK, JFK et. al.) and copied their mannerisms and speech rhythms in the mirror. It is hollow and artificial. Since he was young, he has had people telling him he is “special,” a “leader,” so he just wore the suit (empty as it is), and plays the part, but there is no passion or conviction to any of it. It’s just a role he plays to get strokes. And boy, do they stroke him. The whole thing is a massive charade.

  13. It is cumbersome that no politician looks to the future when it comes to the issue of choice and what that means for all of us. That a church dictates what that means. It isn’t just about abortion. It never was. “My body, my choice” encompasses us all for many reasons.

  14. From The Hill Pundits Blog, even Lanny Davis now supports prosecution of Dick Cheney etal for torture/war crimes.


    The Left is growing on this issue.

  15. 68% of adults surveyed don’t want Roe v. Wade overturned


  16. Thanks for this myiq. That’s what I heard too… zippo, nada, crap. Great post.

  17. We’ve always known that Obama doesn’t like abortion personally, and now we have extra proof that he considers women who have abortions morally suspect (but is willing to provide some political cover for them anyway, thanks).

    What astonished me was the utter silence in left blogtopia over this pronouncement, especially on the feminist blogs. If a republican had made this speech, the screeching and wailing would have been deafening, but since the One made it, I guess we all need to shut up now and accept whatever compromises the One makes for us.

    I need to stop being astonished.

    • Honey, I’ve finally moved beyond that point and am now on to “it’s happened again!”

      Obama don’t give one whit about a woman’s right to choose! Remember how he was caught blaming Planned Parenthood for his vote on BAIPA-IL, saying they told him how to vote when he was caught in an obvious lie and he couldn’t explain himself, so he just blamed it on the women? The man has no balls!

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