Thursday, October 25, 2012

Not Quite As Dumb, But Still...

I have a bone to pick with my fellow pro-lifers in the Republican party. I am as pro-life as you can get. Really. When it comes to abortion, I think there should be an exception for the life of the mother -- and that's it. I'm quite firm on that, and I have no trouble understanding how someone else could think the same way that I do.

But what I don't understand is... why in the hell can't my fellow pro-lifers running for office articulate their own views in a way that makes sense?? When Todd Akin spoke about rape and abortion, I wanted to slap him. If that man sincerely believed that a woman's body knows how to shut down her own reproductive system if the sperm inserted wasn't really wanted, his intelligence really needs to be called into question. And, frankly, one bonehead in the crowd is probably to be expected.

But now Mourdock stepped in it, too. Granted, not quite as stupidly... but he certainly didn't articulate his views in a way that would be compelling. He was asked in a debate about his views on abortion, and he said he believes that it should be illegal except in the case where the mother's life is in danger. He went on to explain, "I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. And I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

Oh, my.

So, of course, the feminists are up in arms because Mourdock thinks that God intended the rape to happen... and this somehow makes it okay. And no, that's not what he said - nor is it what he meant to say - but that doesn't really matter.

Here is the deal. I believe that life is precious. It is valuable. The value of a life is not determined by its age, its location, or its origination. If I am pro-life, but I'm willing to make an exception on the value of a life in the case of rape, then I'm saying that a life created in that way is somehow less valuable than another life.... it's less worthy of protection. I am pro-life because I believe that life begins at conception. If there is no difference in the value of a life by age, and we allow for a difference because of how that life originated, then logic would say that anybody who is born as a result of rape (yes, it does actually happen that some mothers will carry the baby to term) is somehow less valuable for their whole life. I reject that idea.

Please... can we have some pro-life people run for office who have thought out their position on the issues clearly and are able to articulate them? Please??

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Blame Game

A search for "Who blames whom for Benghazi" turned up some interesting results. Top results are:

1. Susan Rice Blames Bad Benghazi Intelligence
2. Obama Blames the Girl - Hillary Takes the Fall
3. David Axelrod Blames State Department
4. White House Blames State Department

And my personal favorite, number 5...

Jay Carney Blames Republicans for BenghaziGate.

You had to know that was coming, right? The article is from, and is written by Renee Nal. It says, "Jay Carney was asked about Vice President Joe Biden's statement on additional security requests by Benghazi staff at his press conference on Friday. Carney blamed Republicans in general, and Congressman Paul Ryan in particular, for 'politicizing' the issue to make President Obama look bad. Even worse, he blamed Republicans for denying funding for U.S. embassy security. This oft repeated statement about Embassy funding needs a fact check." Methinks that Obama doesn't need Ryan's help to make him look bad.

Jim Carney in his press conference: "This president is very concerned about the safety and security of diplomatic personnel around the world. One way to measure that is in the budget priorities that he has put forward in his budgets. And what he has done is fought every year to restore funding for diplomatic security that has been slashed by Republicans especially in the House, including Congressman Ryan."

One thing that bothers me about politicians and their spokespeople is how they cannot ever seem to just answer a question forthrightly. In this press conference, Jay Carney is asked by a reporter, "Are you saying on Libya that, basically, the buck stops with the State Department on security then - it doesn't stop with the White House?" Carney answers, "Well, that's unartful made-for-television phrasing, Ed, but the fact of the matter -" The reporter interrupts with, "...that basically, he doesn't make those assessments is what you're saying." Carney says, "There are thousands of diplomatic personnel around the world, there are countless facilities around the world and I am saying that when it comes to the number of personnel who are in place at consulates and embassies and other diplomatic facilities around the world those decisions are appropriately made at the State Department by security personnel. When it comes to funding, yeah - this President fights to make sure that embassy security and diplomatic security is adequately funded - make sure that funding is restored when efforts on capitol hill are made principally by House Republicans including Congressman Ryan to slash it in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest 2% in this country - you bet, that's the President's responsibility and he has demonstrated that he has kept that responsibility."

OyVEY. Really? The president's responsibility is funding?!? He's the Commander in Chief -- in charge of fighting for funding!! Go Barack!

The reporter wasn't quite finished... he went on to ask, "To be clear, you are saying from this podium that the President and the Vice President have never been briefed about the fact that security - more security - was needed in Benghazi. That you're saying that never in the Presidential daily briefing - never briefed." And Carney's answer... "What I'm saying is that matters of security personnel are appropriately discussed and decided upon at the State Department by those responsible for it. Obviously it is the case that everyone responsible for national security in this administration and those who I believe are knowledgable about it on capitol hill have long been aware of the fact that Libya is a dangerous place." Dance, dance, dance....

Then more talk about "classified information." It always cracks me up when things immediately become classified when they're evidence of a screw-up. Just sayin'.

I picture in my mind a cartoon I don't have the talent to draw... All the top officials in the current administration standing around, fingers pointing at one another until you get to the White House spokesman whose finger is pointed at Paul Ryan standing in the corner. You just gotta love it when there's a major snafu in the current administration, and their official position is that it's the fault of the running mate of the guy who's NOT in charge of anything. It would be really, really funny if it weren't so sad.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Please Talk Personally About This...

Well, the Vice Presidential debate certainly had more pizzazz than the first Presidential debate on the Democrat side, didn't it? Perhaps a bit more vice in it, too... Joe Biden's borderline personality disorder that shined throughout the debate was not something I found overly appealing. He started out openly mocking Ryan with his grins and giggles, then ventured into interruptions and a bit of anger... and then, when asked about religion he suddenly became very subdued and continued in that vein for the remainder of the debate.

With all that's going on in the world, I was fascinated by the foreign policy segments of the debate. I was thrilled that the debate opened with a question about the Benghazi scandal. But the debate became even more fascinating when the moderator (who did an excellent job, by the way) asked about the candidates' view on abortion and how they personally arrived at their stance.

Ryan's personal view on abortion appears to be strongly, strongly pro-life. He was clear that "the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother." I think he was also clear that his personal feelings differ on what the Romney administration's formal policy would be. Ryan is not personally in favor of exceptions for rape and incest. He explained himself in this way:

"All I'm saying is, if you believe that life begins at conception, that [rape and incest], therefore, doesn't change the definition of life. That's a principle. The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother."

So Ryan's personal view on abortion is that he stands by the principle that life is sacred and should be respected. Terminating a life, at any stage, is murder and he opposes it. How that life is created does not change the principle that life is sacred. He is not willing to bend his logic to serve a political purpose. He is, however, willing to serve in an administration which does not see things the same way. Fair enough.

Biden answered the question with a few contortions. Here is his answer in its entirety:

"My religion defines who I am, and I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who - who can't take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to - with regard to abortion, I accept my church's position on abortion as a - what we call a (inaudible) doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

"But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the - the congressman. I - I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that - women they can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor. In my view, and the Supreme Court, I'm not going to interfere with that. With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.

"Now with regard to the way in which the - we differ, my friend says the he - well I guess he accepts Governor Romney's position now, because in the past he has argued that there was - there's rape and forcible rape. He's argued that in the case of rape or incest, it was still - it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. I just fundamentally disagree with my friend."

This is fascinating to me. It sounds so politically acceptable. So beautiful. So complete. What a good man -- Biden hates abortion, he accepts the teaching of his church like a good Catholic boy should. However, he recognizes that he should not be imposing his beliefs and his views on others, unlike his opponent... except that he does impose his views on others. Just look at how the Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves! In that respect, Biden feels completely justified in imposing the Catholic doctrine on others through income redistribution. No problem there.

Being a staunchly pro-life person myself, I'm perfectly fine with the position that Ryan has taken. I would have to answer the question in much the same way. If I were running for office alongside a person who was pro-life with exceptions, I would have to say that the administration's policy was going to be with exceptions but my personal belief is that abortion is wrong except when it's being done to prevent the imminent death of the mother.

I do think that Ryan dropped the ball just a little bit in his information about abortion later, though. When the moderator asked him, "If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried," he answered, "We don't think that unelected judges should make this decision; that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination." This answer is great, but incomplete. Much of the American public is under the impression that if Roe vs. Wade were to be overturned by the Supreme Court, abortion would be outlawed throughout the land. This is just patently false. If Roe vs. Wade were to be overturned, this would only send us back to individual states legislating as they saw fit. If the federal government were to begin to enact legislation regarding abortion (which absolutely some would try), then the argument could be made that the federal government was overstepping its bounds.

All in all, the Vice Presidential debate was interesting to watch. I enjoyed, in my own twisted way, watching it. I really do find our political process wretchedly fascinating. Oftentimes the emphasis would be placed on wretchedly, but it's fascinating nonetheless.