- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2008

Revised answer

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama admitted he’d been perhaps too “flip” when saying that a question about when life begins was above his “pay grade” last month during a forum with Pastor Rick Warren in California.

“What I intended to say is that, as a Christian, I have a lot of humility about understanding when does the soul enter into — all I meant to communicate was that I don’t presume to be able to answer these kinds of theological questions,” he said in response to a question about whether he had been too “flip.”

Mr. Obama said abortion is a moral issue and that when families struggle with the issue, “I don’t think that the government criminalizing the choices that families make is the best answer for reducing abortions.” He also noted the recently adopted Democratic platform calls for finding ways to support young mothers or women who have an unexpected or difficult pregnancy. He said they should have a range of choices, including adoption and keeping the baby.

The apostate

“Next week, Congress will reconvene and Sen. Joe Lieberman will have to deal with the outrage of his Democratic colleagues over his decision not only to speak on behalf of John McCain at the GOP convention, but also to attack his own party’s nominee, Barack Obama,” John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“No immediate reprisals are expected, but Mr. Lieberman can at a minimum expect to be stripped eventually of his chairmanship of the Government Operations Committee. ‘The only way that doesn’t happen is if Democrats have 59 senators after November and they need Joe to be the 60th senator to break filibusters,’ one Senate aide told me.

“But Mr. Lieberman is probably not overly worried about his future. Should John McCain be elected, he is unlikely to stay in the Senate, being a favorite of Team McCain for either secretary of state or secretary of defense. His seat would then go to a Republican appointed by Connecticut’s GOP Gov. Jodi Rell. Should Mr. Obama win and Democratic hazing become too intense, Mr. Lieberman always has the option of crossing party lines and joining the Republicans.

“‘We certainly would welcome him,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told a group of reporters at the convention. ‘He would be out of sync with most of our members on domestic issues, but frankly, we have other members who are. He is the last Scoop Jackson Democrat.’”

Party of mavericks

“When Representative Kevin McCarthy of California introduced the Republican platform to the party’s convention last week, he had this to say: ‘Yes, we are a party of mavericks,’” Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.

“The next night, a video extolling Ronald Reagan was screened with the disclosure that Reagan had been a maverick. And in his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination, John McCain mentioned in passing that he’d been called a maverick, too. ‘Sometimes, it’s meant as a compliment, and sometimes it’s not,’ he noted.

“One thing it’s never meant as, though, is a coherent set of political ideas or a strategy for governing. Nor is there a maverick ideology that might compete with conservatism or liberalism or even libertarianism. If there were, we’d have heard a good bit about the virtues of maverickism during the four days of the convention.

“Of course we didn’t. And the reason is that, in politics, a maverick merely suggests someone with a certain attitude and image or, as McCain put it, ‘someone who marches to the beat of his own drum.’ Indeed he’s just such a person, McCain said. ‘I don’t work for a party,’ he declared. McCain said this right after accepting the Republican Party’s presidential nomination ‘with gratitude, humility, and confidence.’

“As far as I could tell, no one at the convention or in the Republican hierarchy or in Congress was bothered by this contradiction. Yet having as president and head of the Republican Party someone who proudly strays from party orthodoxy or ignores the party entirely — that’s a recipe for difficulties in Washington. And Sarah Palin wouldn’t be ready to offer immediate help. As governor she’s clashed with Republicans in Alaska as frequently as McCain has with Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“If the McCain-Palin ticket loses, the governing problem will vanish. Congressional Republicans will be on their own. But if McCain wins — and his chances improved considerably when he chose Palin as his vice-presidential running mate — he’ll have a tricky task to accomplish. As a Republican president facing a hostile Democratic Congress, McCain would need Senate and House Republicans as reliable allies. And most of them, by the way, aren’t mavericks.”

Losing teeth

“Anyone who heard Sarah Palin’s rousing speech at the GOP National Convention should now understand why Democrats have been trying to destroy her. And why, luckily for the country, they’ve failed,” San Diego Union Tribune columnist Ruben Navarrette writes.

“You mess with a hockey mom — and even go after her family — and you’re bound to lose some teeth,” Mr. Navarrette said.

“Such as when Palin drew a distinction between ‘candidates who use change to promote their careers,’ and ‘those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.’ Or when she said that ‘a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities’ and small-town folks don’t know what to make of candidates who talk about them ‘one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.’ Or when she described Barack Obama as ‘a man who has authored two memoirs, but not a single major law or even a reform’ and someone who ‘can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word “victory,” except when he’s talking about his own campaign.’

“Don’t feel bad for the Democrats. They asked for it. The bunch that President Bush aptly described as ‘the angry left’ has been high-sticking Palin since Day One with a series of assists from their friends in the news media.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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