Obama’s Olive Branch to Cultural Conservatives

obama9.jpgObama devoted one fat graph in tonight’s nomination acceptance speech to culture war issues:

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America’s promise – the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.


In acknowledging differences on the hot button issues, Obama conspicously declined to repeat the popular Democratic talking point that those issues are mere distractions from the “real” issues. Obama also declined to simply ignore those issues , as John Kerry did in his ’04 convention speech , or to parrot the Democrat’s socially liberal line, as Al Gore did in his 2000 convention speech:

And let there be no doubt. I will protect and defend a woman’s right to choose. The last thing this country needs is a Supreme Court that overturns Roe v. Wade.


Obama didn’t modify the Democratic position on abortion or marriage. But he did invite social conservatives to join him in staking out a middle ground. This isn’t the first time he’s extended an olive branch to that crowd. But the fact that he’s doing it over and over again says a lot about Obama’s determination to pick off religious conservative votes from the GOP.
When you ask religious conservatives about McCain’s olive branches, meanwhile, they usually point to the Arizona senator’s Wake Forest University speech on appointing conservative judges to the bench. That speech happened three months ago.


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posted August 29, 2008 at 7:48 am

The goal of reducing abortions is laudable, and I find it difficult if not impossible to understand why conservative pro-life partisans cannot join in with their more liberal partisans to work towards this goal. For those women who see abortion as the only choice because of economic realities in their lives, changing those realities might give them the ability to not have the abortion and instead have the child.
In reconfirming his commitment to Roe, Obama has shown that he supports the woman’s right to choose. In confirming his commitment to improving the economic factors that often lead to abortions, he has shown that he supports making that choice one that is not forced by circumstances beyond the woman’s control.
Reducing abortions. Giving those women who would choose to bear their child the wherewithal to make that choice. Worthy goals for both pro-choice and pro-life partisans.
The only reason I can see for not working towards them is that political victory is worth a few thousand dead children daily. This is what the “all or nothing” crowd on the conservative side insists upon.

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posted August 29, 2008 at 8:26 am

You’re absolutely right ds0490!
Many would rather see the mostly poor women die on the side of the road from an illegally performed abortion than to have abortions legal, safe, and rare.
Take the young teen age mother beaten to death by a father that is not understanding. In there view it is better to be conservative than loving, liberal, and compassionate. These are extreme examples but they have happened before and they will happen again.

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posted August 29, 2008 at 10:59 am

When I hear the shrill, hysteria rants of mean-spirited, pro-life Christians who insist on the right of a fetus while ignoring the horrible lives of children already living I am so turned off I want to distance myself from them. When these pro-lifers demonstrate Christ’s love to the children already born, then perhaps I’ll listen to what they have to say. Put up the crosses for the children killed by their own parents! Drive white wooden crosses into the heart of poverty, ignorance and abuse, then come talk to me. Extend a white cross to a woman who would rather die in a back alley than continue an unwanted pregnancy then we’ll chat.
If someone asks me the greatest drawback to religion today I would have to say it’s these unforgiving, radical pro-lifers. God forgive them all.
Besides, folks, isn’t abortion just one of many serious issues facing America today? Doesn’t a candidate’s stand on war, education, economics, health care, social justice play a role.
I voted Republican my entire life — I was an officer in the Young Republicans.
But Obama’s right: eight is enough!

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posted August 29, 2008 at 1:25 pm

I am a voter who is really torn on what to do with this election. I have great admiration for Obama and really do want change. The underlying issue is worldview. Regardless of the views on all these other social issues that are huge, the view of abortion is the only one that deals with ending life in a definitive way. If there is a realistic debate on when life begins, I don’t know where it is going on. I think it is relatively clear it begins at conception. The only issue left is when does a soul begin. I choose to err on the side of conception on that as I can’t imagine finding out in eternity future I was wrong.
With this being said I continue to ask myself what this really has to do with this election. If Obama is so much more progressive in all these other social issues does it overcome his willingness to choose “rights” over “life”. What would really be the changes brought about by his presidency?
Some final thoughts: I think the scare tactic of “back alley abortions”, and using that sole issue as a means to allow abortions whenever, and funded by my tax dollars, is ridiculous and almost amounts to reductio ad absurdum. I would love it if my tax money went to education, adoption care, prenatal care, and even “family planning” in the forms of condoms. Also, to argue that kids don’t deserve the right to live because they will have bad parents and a bad home life growing up is a genuinely slippery slope for a society.

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posted August 29, 2008 at 7:08 pm

The tradition in this country, is where is there is not a general consensus on a particular value, to leave that issue to individual responsibility. That viewpoint is central to our freedom. We constantly struggle on the edges of these issues, but past efforts to enforce particular values without consensus have been failures. The consensus does move over time, but it moves very slowly.
Yes, Obama does believe that there should be Medicare funding of abortions for poor women. Joe Biden, on the other hand, disagrees. This is a year where the Democrats are willing to have a discussion on this issue. The Republican platform still specifies a right-to-life amendment to the constitution to make all abortions illegal, including for rape & incest or to protect the life of the mother, and would make many forms of birth-control also illegal. They just changed their platform to specify that all forms of embryonic stem-cell research should be illegal, whether publicly or privately funded. Which party has the extreme position?

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spiritual warrior

posted August 31, 2008 at 9:25 am

Well i believe that 1) woman should play a bigger part in their lives when it come to getting pregant ,thay should take whatever steps they need to prevent this from happening and their partner should do the same .If they both take the proper steps than the abortion rate would drop at least 30% maybe even more . As far as a women being raped well that is a differnet story then they should have a choise and i do believe that parents even though they don’t wanna believe their child isn’t having sex they need to wake up and pay more attenion to what their child is doing because all the signs are there with any behaveior
in children this is 2008 not 1980 and parents some parents just live in there own little world and some don’t even care what their child is even doing just 1 more thing like the no child left behind act alot of schools have bad scores just because of the drop out rate thats the parents fault not the schools and part of that the government expects the disabled students to be scored the same as the regular students, in closing i believe that parents need to play a bigger roll in thier childs life and don’t be afraid to punish thier when need,and praise then when they need because life is what you make it

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posted September 2, 2008 at 10:38 am

KRM, a pro-lifer, writes:

I would love it if my tax money went to education, adoption care, prenatal care, and even “family planning” in the forms of condoms.

God-o-Meter wonders how many other pro-lifers share that support for publicly financed condom distribution. That would certainly be a break from the position of the national pro-life leadership.

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posted September 7, 2008 at 12:14 am

OK-I am new here-maybe I shouldn’t even be on this website. It looks “spiritual” and has “God-O-Meter” at the top so I was just curious and started reading. Well, I disagree 100% with each and everyone of you. I am all for pro-life, even in the rape or incest situation. If you do not want the baby, give it up for adoption. Many other people who cannot have babies would love it. It is like you all are saying that God (whoever your god may be) “approves” of abortion in cases of rape, incest, the life of the mother, etc. Well I am here to tell you that God does NOT approve of abortion in ANY way. Do you know the 10 Commandments? The 5th one says, THOU SHALT NOT MURDER! Abortion is MURDER. I was reading some of the other articles and it is like you are voting for Obama. Well, I can’t tell you how to vote, but there are LOTS of other issues on Obama that I just cannot believe a TRUE Christian would even THINK to vote for him.
He is going to raise taxes, practically PROMOTE abortion because he doesn’t want his daughters to be “punished” with a baby-since when is a baby a “punishment”? God says, “Children are a blessing from the Lord.” Do you not know that? Just because some doctor says that your baby is going to be handicapped, have Down’s syndrome, be retarded, etc., should NOT give ANYONE the right to MURDER their baby because of that certain handicap. It should make the mother want to have it even more. It makes me wonder, with over 50 MILLION babies aborted since Roe vs. Wade, how many of those babies would’ve have NO handicap and been a healthy baby. The doctor CAN be wrong.
Also, I’ve heard studies that women who have had abortions feel guilty EVERYDAY because they knew they were killing their own baby. I’ve also heard of mothers of pregnant teenagers practically drag their daughter to the abortion clinic AGAINST the teenager’s will. The mother doesn’t want anyone to know her daughter is pregnant. She just wants the baby gone and “sweep” it under the rug, but the teenager has to live with that abortion the REST of her life.
Spiritual warrior said “parents need to play a bigger role in their child’s life”. I agree, but parents can teach everything to their kids, telling them right from wrong, but it is the KID who makes that choice. It is NOT the parents fault on everything the kid does.
These days, it seems like wrong has turned right in our society-justifying abortion, homosexuality, pornography, etc., etc. Kids see all of that everyday. I have 3 kids and I make sure I know what my kids are watching on TV, playing on the computer, etc. We go to church every time the doors are open. If they do wrong, I punish them. Discipline is something else that parents are not doing.
KRM said “I would love if my tax money went to condoms” (narrowed down words a bit). Why? Condoms do not always prevent pregnancies. Neither does birth control. Only abstinance. Why can’t your tax money be used to teach abstinance in schools? Besides, God also says in the Bible that sex should not be performed outside of marriage. How many people have forgotten that one?
Obama’s words were, “We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on the number of unwanted pregnancies.” Well, if you don’t want a pregnancy, DON’T HAVE SEX!!! ABSTAIN FROM IT!! Teach THAT to your children! If Obama does get elected, I’m sure the number of abortions wil go higher than ever before because of those very words. How many teenagers are listening to him too? They are going to say, “Well since the president of the US says I can have an abortion if I get pregnant, then it is OK to have sex.” That is NOT a good example for president. I am for John McCain ALL the way. Obama also said that John McCain will overturn Roe vs. Wade. Unless God intervenes, I doubt that will happen. Believe me, I WANT it overturn, but it would have to go through other people who vote for or against it and right now, most everyone in the White House is pro-choice, with a few exceptions-John McCain being one of the exceptions.
BTW, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m one of those “crazy conservative Christians” and VERY PROUD to be one.

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