Kmiec-George Smackdown!

Fellow pro-lifers, Catholic conservatives–and since the 2008 campaign political antagonists–Doug Kmiec and Robert George faced off in a “discussion” (not a debate) last night at the National Press Club in Washington.

The discussion was titled “The Obama Administration and the Sanctity of Human Life: Is there a common ground on life issues? What is the right response by ‘Pro-Life’ Citizens?” It was sponsored by the Catholic University Law School, and PoliticsDaily’s Melinda Hennberger was there and called it “The Catholic Thrilla in Manila.”


The crowd also buzzed over Kmiec’s argument that Obama was committed to reducing the number of abortions – and that “he’s already demonstrated he’s listening” to pro-lifers by supporting funding for adult stem-cell research and by affirming, in his Notre Dame speech, that he supports conscience-clause laws that protect the jobs of pro-life health care workers.

“It’s wrong to make the perfect the enemy of the good,” Kmiec said in summing up. “And wrong not to recognize the good heart” of a good man like Obama.
George was more forceful in his presentation, and he talks faster. “One does not treat an interlocutor with respect if one does not speak plainly,” he began, and by that measure, he proceeded quite respectfully. “I find myself at odds, deeply at odds, with the Obama administration” on life issues, he said. And for all who agree on those issues, “our goal must be to frustrate at every turn” the president’s efforts. If there is any common ground to be found, he added, it is the government who should “find common ground with us in this great struggle” for human rights.

But afterwards, many in the audience grumbled that the discussion had been unsatisfyingly polite: “I’m from New York, and I like a good argument,” said a priest who didn’t want his name used. “It’s no fun kicking somebody if they don’t know they’re bleeding.”


So maybe more vanilla than thrilla. Still, not such a bad thing in today’s public dquare.

Check it out. CSPAN has the video. The Witherspoon Institute has the text of George’s remarks.

Comments read comments(7)
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David - midwest

posted May 29, 2009 at 7:43 pm

David – Any sense of how the headline on this post ‘slaps’ one in the face out here in the midwest??!!?

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posted May 30, 2009 at 6:14 pm

The key to winning this battle against evil is two-fold, In the first place trying to federally fight the legality of abortion is a losing battle. Legislation needs to be promoted to outlaw the paractice by referendum at the county level. When the fight is allowed to be fought in this venue you can easily see that by providing education and alternatives the Pro choice stance will be the choice of either abstinence or adoption. It isn’t a plan that will win everyone over at one time, it won’t solve the problem in one foul swoop, but with prayer and perseverance it will gradually take hold and flourish. Through God’s grace we all were given free will. My free will choices should decide what someone 2000 miles away does with theirs. That doesn’t mean that eventually we won’t see in common what the horrors of abortion truly are, and fight them together.

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posted May 30, 2009 at 6:17 pm

My free will choices should NOT decide what someones 2000 miles away should be.

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David Gibson

posted May 31, 2009 at 7:02 am

Dear Midwest: Headline too snappy? It’s very New York, perhaps. But you guys don’t get wrestling?

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Your Name

posted May 31, 2009 at 8:40 am

It’s not easy to deal with individuals who believe that some murder is justified. They simply don’t want to be confused with the facts because thier minds are already made up.

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posted May 31, 2009 at 8:55 pm

It’s not easy to deal with individuals who believe that some murder is justified.
It’s not easy to deal with individuals who call something murder that has not been historically treated as murder and is legal now, either.

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posted May 31, 2009 at 8:57 pm

But you guys don’t get wrestling?
Are you telling us the whole Kmiec-George thing was an act like pro wrestling?

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