This isn’t the first time Douglas Kmiec–prominent legal scholar, former Catholic University dean, advisor to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, legal counsel to 2 Republican presidents–has made positive noises about Barack Obama. But Kmiec went so far as to formally endorse the Illinois senator yesterday in Slate:
As a Republican, I strongly wish to preserve traditional marriage not as a suspicion or denigration of my homosexual friends, but as recognition of the significance of the procreative family as a building block of society. As a Republican, and as a Catholic, I believe life begins at conception, and it is important for every life to be given sustenance and encouragement. As a Republican, I strongly believe that the Supreme Court of the United States must be fully dedicated to the rule of law, and to the employ of a consistent method of interpretation that keeps the Court within its limited judicial role. As a Republican, I believe problems are best resolved closest to their source and that we should never arrogate to a higher level of government that which can be more effectively and efficiently resolved below. As a Republican, and the constitutional lawyer, I believe religious freedom does not mean religious separation or mindless exclusion from the public square.
In various ways, Senator Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important fundamentals, but I am convinced based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view, and as best as it is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them.
No doubt some of my friends will see this as a matter of party or intellectual treachery. I regret that and I respect their disagreement. But they will readily agree that as Republicans, we are first Americans. As Americans, we must voice our concerns for the well-being of our nation without partisanship when decisions that have been made endanger the body politic. Our president has involved our nation in a military engagement without sufficient justification or clear objective. In so doing, he has incurred both tragic loss of life and extraordinary debt jeopardizing the economy and the well-being of the average American citizen. In pursuit of these fatally flawed purposes, the office of the presidency, which it was once my privilege to defend in public office formally, has been distorted beyond its constitutional assignment. Today, I do no more than raise the defense of that important office anew, but as private citizen.
Kmiec acknowledges that his endorsement is likely to have minimal impact on the Obama’s presidential fortunes. The conservative activists to whom he’s most well known are unlikely to cross party lines to back a liberal in November, and the Democratic base that’s voting in the remaining primaries doesn’t put too much stock in the opinions of conservative Republican legal advocates.
But if Kmiec’s support does stand to help Obama, it’s likely among white Catholics, the ultimate swing voters, who’ve so far preferred Hillary Clinton over Obama. In Ohio earlier this month, Clinton won over 60-percent of Catholics, who made up more than a fifth of the Democratic electorate. Catholics are the Reagan Democrats that Clinton is banking on to win big next week in Pennsylvania. If God-o-Meter was the Obama campaign, it would be placing a call this morning to Kmiec’s Pepperdine University office and asking how it could improve its lot among Catholics.