mailbag.jpgIn the day after endorsing Barack Obama, conservative Catholic legal scholar Doug Kmiec says he received several hundred email responses, with four in five of them applauding his decision. Four of those responses provide insight into the betrayal felt by some of Kmiec’s fellow conservatives but also into Obama’s uncanny appeal to many on the right:

1. Hi Doug,

By now you’ve probably heard from a lot of folks upset or critical of your endorsement. I’m sure you expected as much when you wrote it. And therefore, I know it took courage and careful reflection to write the article. I’ve been trying to describe to conservative and libertarian friends why I think Obama is so intriguing, despite his clearly liberal track record. I thought his speech was both moving and important. To that end, the chant from some conservatives that seems to boil down to “Race, Race, RACE” is especially dismaying. I see no reason to doubt that he does want to move the nation beyond past divisions on race despite the comments from his pastor. And that could be a truly historic and lasting accomplishment. I’m not prepared to vote for him, but I sometimes find myself rooting for him a bit despite myself. I look forward to talking all of this over with you. You’ve always been a person I’m proud to count as a friend and whose commitment to the principles of liberty I have long admired. Nothing in your endorsement changes that.
Hang in there.
2. I really don’t know where to start. I’ve always considered Pepperdine University as an elite institution. I now wonder if I can have any respect for ANY institution of “higher” learning. If you were coming from the liberal institutions such as Berkeley and others like them and were a liberal, I could understand. In your endorsement of Obama, you espouse your credos on abortion and the rest of the isms of the right. If you are sincere, how in the world could you even consider a Democrat???? Have you gone through the list of the differences between the parties? I have. And there is a marked contrast in the beliefs of each. Most important to me is ABORTION! You call yourself a CATHOLIC? Hogwash! If there is only one thing that I would consider if I were a single issue voter would be this cruel and inhumane procedure. I heard this morning the left wing media couldn’t wait to report….we’ve reached 4,000 deaths in Iraq…a “milestone”. Isn’t this the number of abortions recorded every day? How dare you, Catholic in name only, endorse one who approves of this….unconscionable!!!!
3. Dear Professor Kmiec,
I write to you as a former student of yours at Notre Dame (Class of 19 — ) who had the pleasure of taking studying both Property and Constitutional Law under your direction. I write to you because I have read your endorsement of Barack Obama in Slate and wanted to thank you for articulating in public that which many of us have felt privately for quite some time. I too am a Republican and a Catholic who believes that life begins at conception, that religion has a role in public life, that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that the courts have a limited role in our democracy. Nevertheless, I too am supporting Barack Obama in this election, for exactly the reasons you articulated in your endorsement.
You write that your endorsement may be of “little note or consequence.” However, your endorsement is of significant consequence to me and likely many others who know and respect you. Many of us have struggled with the fact that we are “conservatives,” yet find ourselves choosing Obama. We are reluctant to announce publicly our support of Obama because, as you correctly point out, our friends may describe this as “intellectual treachery.” The fact that you have come out in support of Obama will make it much easier for the rest of us to articulate and justify our own positions.
4. Dear Sir:
It is not enough that you yourself are “deeply disturbed” about abortion; you should come out strongly against politicians like Barack Obama who support abortion on demand. Senator Obama has voted or come out against: legislation that would protect babies born alive during abortion; laws requiring minors to get parental consent for abortion; and attempts to ban partial birth abortion. In short, Senator Obama’s record is consistently and extremely pro-abortion.
I am appalled that someone with your conservative credentials – and someone who identifies himself as a Catholic — would be throwing his support behind Barack Obama. For shame!


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