Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 6, 2004
POLITICS: Say What?

Instapundit is all over the story of John Kerry conceding that "I believe life does begin at conception," which as Captain Ed notes, makes anything but a pro-life position on abortion an appalling admission of callousness:

John Kerry, in his remarks to the Iowa newspaper, comes up with a completely different raison d'etre -- he seeks to define life so as to protect his political career. Kerry now admits he practices hypocrisy on a scale so monstrous, it boggles the mind.

If life begins at conception, why then does Jon Kerry not only agree to allow abortion, but campaigns on its behalf? Does he care so little for human life and the souls of the unborn that he cheerfully sells them out for political gain? John Kerry was one of only 14 Senators who voted to continue the practice of partial-birth abortions, which take a fetus past the point of viability into the birth canal and kills it by sucking out its brain. How does that match up with a belief in life at conception?

Read the whole thing. I tend to side with those who assume that Kerry doesn't and can't really believe this, as evidenced by his record and rhetoric over the course of his career.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:40 AM | Politics 2004 | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

John Kerry says that he personally does not agree with abortion and that he believes life starts at conception....but that as a politician he does not have the right to impose his views as a Catholic on Jews, Protestants, Athiests, Muslims, etc who may not share the same view but also happen to be citizen's of this country.

I personally disagree with abortion, but agree with a person's right to choose.

Not a hard concept, really.

Posted by: C Giddy at July 6, 2004 9:45 AM

No C Giddy, it is a hard concept.

If you agree that life begins at conception, and abortion is the act of ending that life, then abortion must be classified as murder. I guess some people can justify making an exception for fetuses, but I can’t.

And since when do Politicians not have the right to legislate based on their own principles? The faith issue is a total cop-out on Kerry’s part.

Posted by: Richard at July 6, 2004 12:50 PM

Some people think racial discrimination is wrong. Some people think torture is wrong. Some people regard poverty as demanding government action for moral and not just utilitarian reasons . . . many public policy issues demand moral judgments. Why would we exclude this one issue?

Posted by: The Crank at July 6, 2004 1:10 PM

Is Kerry being elected to serve those who vote for him or to serve himself?

If all politicians ever did was vote for or push for items that they themselves stood for, we'd have a very narrow constituency being served by the man in the oval office.

Kerry stated that he personally would not choose abortion. It would appear that even if that decision comes relatively easy to him, he recognizes that its not such a clear distinction for many other people.

Many people are for capital punishment, even though their Pope and their religion are against it. I don't see that item making its way onto this board.

Posted by: C Giddy at July 6, 2004 2:36 PM

While I admit to being somewhat conflicted on the death penalty, the Church's position is significantly less absolute, and dissent significantly less serious, than its position on abortion.

Look: there are myriad public issues on which one must decide who is a human being and who is not. You can't just leave the question up to private choices; that way lies Dred Scott.

Giddy: is it your view that the president should do nothing but follow popular opinion on all issues? Because, you know, the Iraq war was pretty damn popular at the time.

Posted by: The Crank at July 6, 2004 3:13 PM

The whole argument of "I can't impose my beliefs on others" is so weak I shouldn't bother refuting but what the hey. Where do any of our laws come from other than from someones beliefs? Murder is a crime. Hmmm, "Thou shalt not kill." Some lawmakers decide they believe it is unsafe to drive 80 MPH so we have a speed limit. Some people believe it's ickey to do the nasty with close relatives so we write laws outlawing incest. A crass politician follows the route of expediency. A leader makes what he believes to be the correct decision and hopes (or prays) that history will judge him/her well. After WWII many judged Germans who failed to stop the holocaust as complicit in those crimes for failing to prevent those 6 million murders. Years from now those of us who have failed to adequately fight against the current rage of infanticide may have to answer for 41 million (and rising) murders.

Posted by: LargeBill at July 6, 2004 4:06 PM

C. Giddy: This is a representative democracy, not a direct one. We elect these people because we share their beliefs and trust them to make these types of decisions based on principles, not polling. This especially holds true for Senators, as the Senate was intended as a check against the House, and ultimately against the power of the people (James Madison preached this in the Federalist Papers).

Senators were intended to “go their own way” while the Representatives were supposed to truly “speak for the people.” This still holds somewhat true today in that members of the Senate represent a larger number of constituents (which makes it impossible to do anything without offending some of them), and aren’t held accountable to their constituents as often as most elected officials. A Senators job is to have opinions and legislate as best he can. My biggest bone with Kerry is that he seems to stand for nothing other then he wants to be president.

Also, if by your logic it is wrong for a politician to “push for items that they themselves stood for,” wouldn’t it be wrong to “push” capitalism on Marxists, freedom on fascists, or the moral judgement that “murder is bad” on Charles Manson?

Posted by: Richard at July 6, 2004 4:39 PM

My position is simply that it is not hypocritical for Kerry to be personally opposed to abortion while publicly still supporting a woman's right to choose.

As President, Kerry is beholden to the people of the United States of America, not the Catholic Church.

In a somewhat similar vein, I am personally opposed to the United States flag being burned but I do not support a flag-burning ammendment to the constitution. In fact, I support a person's right to burn the flag, even though I find the act reprehensible. Of course, this is no where near as serious an issue as abortion, at least for me it isn't...

...so in an identical vein, I would likely not choose, or even consider, abortion as an option, yet I can hardly say that the decision for me is the same as it is for a woman actually confronted with the option.

Now, rant at me all you want about abortion being infanticide and murder, etc. I understand your arguments. Go ahead and vote against Kerry for not supporting a ban on abortions. This is not the issue being discussed in this particular post.

The issue is whether or not his stance is hypocritical. And I'd argue that his stance is not hypocritical.

President Bush apparently had plenty of experience with recreational drugs during his irresponsible youth, and yet as Governor of Texas he supported policies that would've required him to spend a fair amount of time in prison had he been caught as a young adult and had the same rules applied to him and he supported policies that would've denied him financial aid for college had he been caught in possession at an earlier age....as if he ever needed to apply for financial aid....but I digress.

And yes, I've called these actions by Bush hypocritical, even though they're not.

Posted by: C Giddy at July 6, 2004 4:50 PM

Richard,

Let me put it a different way. Each state has 2 Senators. Each of those Senators will run on a platform on a number of different issues. I'll ballpark it at around 50 to 75, but let's just say its 5 main issues for this example.

What percentage of the population do you think shares the same viewpoint as the Senator on each of the 5 main issues?

Anyways, I can already see this example getting messy.

So let's go a different route.

Kerry is decidedly pro-choice. A vote for Kerry will be a vote for the continuance of abortions.

By stating that he believes life begins at conception, and by stating that he is personally against abortions, do you think he's misleading some pro-lifers into believing he'll push for a ban on abortions?

I'll tell you what Kerry has just done, he's appealed to a whole bunch of people who share the exact same feelings that he does and who have the same difficulties in reconciling their personal beliefs to the beliefs of their church and to the basic principals of the constitution that governs them.

Bush apparently doesn't have this issue. And for many, that's reason enough to vote for him.

Posted by: C Giddy at July 6, 2004 5:04 PM

It’s always hard to ever tell with Kerry, since he refuses to ever take a stand on anything, but I suspect his position is that he has his “own beliefs” yet he feels that it is wrong for him (i.e. the government) to dictate his moral beliefs on others (i.e. mothers of the unborn). That is a logically defensible position, but a difficult one morally, especially since the government routinely imposes itself on the individual in every day in matters far less serious than the termination of human life.

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at July 6, 2004 6:36 PM

I'll tell you what Kerry has just done, he's appealed to a whole bunch of people who share the exact same feelings that he does and who have the same difficulties in reconciling their personal beliefs to the beliefs of their church and to the basic principals of the constitution that governs them.

Kerry's stated belief is that life begins at conception. The Catholic Church's stated belief is that life begins at conception. The Constitution says nothing about the question one way or the other. Where lie the difficulties in reconciling these positions?

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at July 6, 2004 7:46 PM

Paul, you telling me that Kerry is officially pro-life, or rather, not pro-choice?

Or are you just going to parse my words to obfuscate the matter?

In other words...what's the point of your post?

If your point is that there is no difficulty in reconciling, then you're obviously ignoring something, otherwise there would've never been a charge of hypocrisy in the first place.

Posted by: C Giddy at July 6, 2004 10:42 PM

Obviously I can't speak for Paul, so I won't fight his fight, but he does bring up an excellent point:

What is the difficulty in making his personal position on abortion (that he doesn’t support the act itself, supposedly) conform with the “basic principles of the Constitution?” The Constitution does not imply, in any way, shape, or form, that abortion is a right. It doesn’t even imply a “freedom of choice” in this matter. I’m sure the issue of abortion never even occurred to the Framers, and if it did it likely appalled them.

We’re on our own here- the Constitution is of very little use in this argument. That’s why I think personal morality has to become our guide- it’s the only compass we have on this issue.

Posted by: Richard at July 6, 2004 11:29 PM

Obviously I can't speak for Paul, so I won't fight his fight, but he does bring up an excellent point:

What is the difficulty in making his personal position on abortion (that he doesn’t support the act itself, supposedly) conform with the “basic principles of the Constitution?” The Constitution does not imply, in any way, shape, or form, that abortion is a right. It doesn’t even imply a “freedom of choice” in this matter. I’m sure the issue of abortion never even occurred to the Framers, and if it did it likely appalled them.

We’re on our own here- the Constitution is of very little use in this argument. That’s why I think personal morality has to become our guide- it’s the only compass we have on this issue.

Posted by: Richard at July 6, 2004 11:30 PM

No, CG, I believe that Kerry really does face an irreconcilable conflict: that between what he's telling us he believes and what he actually believes. This sort of conflict is known to the non-nuanced as "lying". As someone said, not a hard concept, really.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at July 7, 2004 12:06 AM
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