Obama & McCain at Saddleback Civil Forum
You've heard all about it and now it's here and gone and now subject to the spinmeisters. I wish the video was available (it may be, don't know), because I wasn't able to watch it, but I did read the transcript. It was a very good exchange, though I would agree with Rush that McCain definitely made the stronger impression. McCain simply gave sharper, more succinct, and more direct answers. When I listen to politicians answer questions during debates or interviews, I often think to myself, why can't they just start with a simple "yes" or "no", or short answer, and then go on to explain? The Senator from Arizona did the better job in this regard. Barack Obama, the first to be interviewed, did not hide his positions on abortion, the war in Iraq, the Supreme Court, and marriage, though he was somewhat hesitant. It was disturbing to hear Obama referencing the Bible on "thinking about the least of these," and then support Roe v. Wade on the very next question (and embryonic stem-cell research)! It should be obvious on both of these issues who the "least of these" are. Infants yet in their mother's womb and harvested embryos-both in the early stages of human development but still human-are totally without a voice unless we speak up for them; that would qualify as the "least of these."
Even more disturbing was Obama's statement that the question of when a baby qualifies for human rights is "above his paygrade." This is an unbelievable statement, particularly since he also says that he is decidedly pro-choice, implying that he's already taken a position on the question: that the pregnant mother has rights to decide whether to birth the baby in her womb, who has no right-to-life that trumps his/her mother's right to choose. Furthermore, in a country where we believe that basic human rights are "self-evident" and "endowed by our Creator" it is absurd political sidestepping to claim to pass this question on to the "professionals" and "specialists." Simply put, Obama, as other pro-choice advocates, does not want to be caught on camera saying what his position screams: human babies in their mother's womb have no human rights.
On the Supreme Court, Obama tripped up considerably. He stated that he would not have nominated Clarence Thomas and it would have been enough to say so on the basis of idealogy but to say, "I don't think that he was as strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation" is too much. Barack Obama is a young, junior Senator running for the office of President of the United States! Thomas, according to Obama, was not qualified for the bench then, but Obama is claiming to be qualified to run the executive branch of this country. Think about that for a minute.
I've critiqued Obama without saying too much about McCain. That's because I think McCain got it right on the questions he was asked. At the end, it seemed quite apparent that one of these two men was certainly qualified and prepared to fill the office of the President of the United States of America and the other was not. You read and decide.
Rick Warren and the folks running Saddleback Civil Forum deserve applause for their creativity and efforts. The format was far better than a debate, avoiding all the pitfalls of a debate yet keeping all its strengths. Rick Warren's questions were very good and meaty. He did not avoid the tough questions, and what a waste it would have been had he done so.
For all those who think that such a forum held in a church is an attack on the separation of church and state need to think again. You know there was a time in America when in many a town, there was a place called the meeting house. A congregation may had church there on Sunday and the town council met there in the middle of the week. How ridiculous to think that a large group of American citizens are wrong to invite men they will soon vote for to come and answer questions on where they stand? And how ridiculous to think that by simply asking questions this group and their pastor are forcing their thoughts on these two men seeking office? Obama and McCain accepted, appreciated the opportunity for which many of us are now grateful, and that's all that matters.
Also, read Dr. Al Mohler on the Saddleback Civil Forum here.