Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wow ...

If I thought Hillary Clinton was bad on the abortion question, I should have waited for Barack Obama's answer.


It's amazing to me that someone as eloquent and intelligent as Barack Obama (and Hillary Clinton, as a matter of fact) can become a verbal puddle when asked a simple question about abortion. The question couldn't have been simpler: Do you believe that life begins at conception? The answer is either yes, I do, or no, I don't. Anything between these responses is not an answer.

To his credit, Newsweek editor Jon Meachem asked Obama the follow-up that Campbell Brown missed with Clinton: If you don't believe that life begins at conception, then where does it begin?

Obama dodged the question and spent somewhere between 60 and 90 very uncomfortable seconds blubbering and stuttering through an unintelligible sentence that bore no resemblance to a coherent thought.

I guess this is what happens to politicians when they try to square head knowledge -- that life cannot begin at any time other than conception -- with political reality -- acknowledging it would alienate powerful supporters that both candidates need.

It's unfortunate that in a setting wherein both candidates talked about finding "common ground" on abortion, neither one would acknowledge even the most basic (and scientifically irrefutable) premise about it.

Author Michael Gershon made an excellent point in CNN's debriefing following the forum when he said that although abortion is a religious issue for many Americans, there are many more who see it through lenses of human rights and human dignity. Neither candidate, he said, acknowledged this reality or had much to offer regarding non-religious concerns about abortion.

Gershon is right, and he demonstrated why there can be no "common ground" between two groups when one is firmly on the land and the another is in the middle of the ocean, continuing to drift away.