First Debate - McCain vs. Obama on September 26, 2008 in Mississippi
Second Debate - McCain vs. Obama on October 7, 2008 in Tennessee
Third Debate - McCain vs. Obama on October 15, 2008 in New York
First Debate - McCain vs. Obama on September 26, 2008 in Mississippi
June 3, 2008
ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain delivered the following remarks as prepared for delivery tonight in New Orleans, LA:
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/16/2008 04:16:00 PM
Exclusive: Obama – ‘Spread the Wealth Around’ Reveals Socialist Plan for America
Interview with Joe Wurzelbacher
October 15, 2008
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/16/2008 10:50:00 AM
The second presidential debate of McCain vs. Obama held October 7, 2008 in Tennessee
The third presidential debate of McCain vs. Obama held October 15, 2008 in New York
The 1978 duet "It's A Miracle" of Barry Manilow and Ray Charles
Mar 25, 2008 10:24
Now that John McCain's whirlwind visit to Israel is history, it is time to reflect on what was said and what was not. Taking advantage of his recent primary victories that all but assures him of his party's nomination, the Cinderella candidate must now await the outcome of highly personal and not very substantive slugfest between Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In previous columns we have discussed why from a Jewish and Israel perspective, both Democratic candidates are highly problematic. The question remains, "Why McCain?"
There are two principal reasons to vote for any candidate: his policies and his persona. In this column we have focused on Israel and the Jewish perspective, both of which militate strongly in favor of a vote for McCain, particularly in the aftermath of his recent visit.
The first thing that must be noted is that McCain chose to come to Israel at all. Originally the plan was to go to Iraq and make stops in one or two major European venues. But the very fact that McCain chose to add Israel to itinerary tells you something about the man's perspective on the Middle East and his priorities.
Israel is important in his strategic thinking and that is good for Israel. Among the Democrats, and many career foreign service officers in the State Department, Israel is a sideshow that creates many problems and few opportunities for US foreign policy. Many of these people see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the source of instability in the Middle East and predict that were only Israel to make peace with its neighbors, all would be well in the region.
Like most of us, McCain wants there to be peace in the Middle East, but he is under no illusions about who are the principal troublemakers in the area. He stated unequivocally during his visit that he views Islamo-Fascism as the main culprit propelled primarily by the Iranians and semi-autonomous terror organizations. He understands as well that the outcome of the war in Iraq will play a central role in determining whether the West or the Islamo-Fascists will prevail here.
As one commentator recently noted, "McCain has a deep understanding of the region's strategic problems and publicly supports a nuclear deterrent for Israel." Additionally, McCain stated in a very clear and unequivocal way regarding the threat faced by Israel and the West that "the only thing worse than a military confrontation with Iran was a "nuclear armed Iran," and that the "regime must understand that it cannot win a showdown with the world." Since the dubious NIE report's release last December that cast a cloud over Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions, McCain has been in the ranks of those dismissive of it. When have you heard that from either of the Democratic candidates?
McCain also made clear that the constant barrage of missiles and mortars against southern Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza is utterly intolerable. He indicated that had the same thing in his native Arizona; there would be little doubt about the American response - swift and brutal. Hamas is part of the crazy-quilt of organizations financed and controlled by the Iranians aimed at weakening, demoralizing and eventually destroying the Jewish State.
At the same time, McCain made it very clear that the proper response was Israel's and Israel's alone to make. There would be no dictating to Israel from a McCain White House what is necessary for her national defense and security. That, of course puts the ball squarely in our court here - where it belongs.
McCain also comprehends that the struggle of the Muslim extremists against Israel is not merely a matter of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, it is part and parcel of the general struggle between radical Islam and Western civilization as a whole. It is this struggle that America has been leading since 9-11 and which it must continue to lead for the foreseeable future.
It was equally significant to many including this writer that McCain did not find time in his schedule to travel to Ramallah and pay homage to Abu Mazzen, the PLO-Fatah leader nominally in control of certain areas of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Almost every world leader visiting Israel has been told that it he or she must give equal time to the Palestinians and the Israelis.
While McCain reiterated his hope and belief that Abu Mazen can lead his people to a peaceful settlement with Israel, his actions showed an acute understanding of the facts on the ground. McCain did find the time to visit Sderot and commiserate with some of the victims of the daily outrage that has turned that western Negev community into a virtual ghost town. That he did visit Sderot and did not visit Ramallah is highly instructive about how the Republican candidate sees the balance of equities in this part of the Middle East. There were no laments about the vicious cycle of violence, such as we hear constantly from the U.S. State Department and the Europeans.
McCain gets it - he does not suffer from the disease of moral relativism in the current chapter of the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict.
Another important aspect of McCain's visit was the fact that he came along with Democratic Independent Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn). The symbolism of this partnership cannot be overstated. Lieberman has been a lifelong Democrat. He was that party's nominee for Vice President in the 2000 Elections and unsuccessfully attempted to be the nominee for President of the United States in 2004.
Notwithstanding his unquestioned loyalty to his Party, the Party leadership targeted him for defeat in the 2006 mid-term elections and succeeded in ousting him as the Democratic candidate for Senator. It was only because of his own courage and determination and the not insignificant support he received in the general election from Republicans and Independents, including the Republican White House, that Joe Lieberman was returned to Senate.
Those same Democratic forces are now enthusiastically pushing the Obama and Clinton candidacies. Stating that it was the Democratic Party that moved too far left and not that he left them, Senator Lieberman announced that he strongly believes that John McCain is the best qualified candidate to lead the free world and therefore he endorsed the Republican nominee John McCain for President in November 2008.
Lieberman and McCain view the current geopolitical reality and America's role in it in the same way. They understand that we are at a critical juncture in history and that, like it or not, America is the only power on the planet in a position to lead the West in putting down the existential threat of Islamo-Fascism. Yes - existential threat - particularly when the self-proclaimed leader of this movement, the Islamic Republic of Iran is frantically pursuing a nuclear weapons program. It is not only Israel that has cause for concern; the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, the emerging, newly liberated Iraq, the democratic regime in Turkey and the world at large is in Iran's bomb-sites.
McCain gets it, it is not clear whether the Democrats do and whether either of them will be able to muster the judgment and leadership so critically needed to confront and manage the manifold threats. In fact Barak Obama stated that he intends to sit with Iran's Ahmadinejad during his first year as President.
McCain is the right person for this point in history. His personal courage is unimpeachable, as is his patriotism. But he is no sloganeering jingoist. His analysis and demeanor have earned him the respect of policy-makers around the world, particularly in Europe. His personal style and his skill in negotiation will serve him and the country well during the next four to eight years. His relationship with politicians on both sides of aisle, means that he has the ability to pull the country together and begin to mend the fissures of the past, unity that will be all important as America deals with the threats from without.
Unlike the Democratic candidates who are really both neophytes, McCain is a seasoned veteran of the Senate, serving since 1979 and before that serving as an advisor to the late Democratic Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, perhaps the best friend that Israel and the Jewish People ever had in the Senate.
John McCain has over 35 years experience in Congress with many of those years on critically important committees such as the Senate Armed Services Committee. Barak Obama on the other hand has been in Congress three years with two of those years he has been running for president.
McCain's personal conviction on domestic and international matters has earned him the reputation of being a non-conformist when core values are involved, even at the risk of alienating members of his own Party. McCain is the only viable candidate for the Presidency. As one noted Israeli commentator stated the other day:
[A]s far as Israel is concerned, and in view of the candidates' current positions - no one is better than McCain. The Republican candidate is clearly more qualified than his rivals to be commander-in-chief - in theory of the American armed forces only, but in practice also of the international alliance against radical states and terrorist organizations.
In the trying times that lie ahead for the United States, Israel, the region and the world, the world needs for the White House to be occupied by a man like John McCain.
The writers are Co-chairman Republicans Abroad Israel
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/15/2008 04:27:00 PM
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, May 21, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Decision '08: John McCain's big speech on Latin America Tuesday projects a leadership that will go down well in our southern hemisphere. Instead of focusing on dictators, he aims to shun tyrants and champion people.
Zeroing in first on democracy's biggest black hole, McCain in Miami warned the Castro oligarchy that "Cuba is destined to be free" and he didn't intend to stand passively nor buttress the Castro regime on its last legs by inviting them to tea in the White House. Winds of change are coming.
"I will provide more material assistance and moral support to the courageous human rights activists who bravely defy the regime every day, and increase Radio and TV Marti and other means to communicate directly with the Cuban people," McCain said.
It was a startling contrast to Democratic contender Barack Obama, whose plan to free Cuba seems to revolve around getting the Castro brothers' permission. Obama has offered unconditional talks with the regime, as if murders of Americans, state sponsorship of terror and raising the dictatorship's prestige didn't matter.
"We have refused to talk to people we don't like," Obama said, as if that, and not the dictatorship, was the problem. Just as "Jimmy Carter went over and kissed Brezhnev," McCain responded.
By contrast, McCain not only gave hope to Cuba's oppressed people, but alluded to the common idea that once fueled independence across the Americas — democracy, the unique inheritance of every country in our regional neighborhood.
The McCain approach is more sophisticated, given the quickness with which decayed tyrannies like Cuba's can collapse. It also is in tune with what has happened in the past 30 years in the region, including the switch to democracy and the rise of the private sector.
Instead of focusing on Cuba's dictators, with the vague hope of "nudging" the Castros toward democracy, as Obama supporter Bill Richardson explained it, McCain emphasized that he intended to "give hope to the Cuban people, not the Castro regime."
That meshes well with the rise of the Internet, the cell phone and mass travel, all of which have been transferring new democratic ideas and rising expectations. Those changes are vividly impressed on Latin America's youthful population. Obama's focus on dictatorships and talk, instead of real people, doesn't sound like "change."
Instead of talk, McCain's policy would project both hard and soft power to boost democracy and build the private sector. He tells the Castros to empty the political prisons, free the media and legalize labor unions and political parties. He also wants free elections, which Cuba hasn't seen since 1958. And that was just his carrot.
For his stick, McCain admonished the Castroites that human-rights tribunals, drug-trafficking prosecutions, yanked visas and other consequences await them — so they should think twice about their repression once the tide of history moves against them.
McCain's focus also was echoed in his impassioned plea for Colombian free trade, a cost-free treaty that benefits 44 million Colombians by making trade relations permanent and ends $1 billion in tariffs on American businesses.
To please his Big Labor backers, Obama would rather shut out those 44 million Colombians than help them. He hasn't bothered to visit Colombia's democratically elected leader, President Alvaro Uribe, even as he promises to hobnob with the Castros.
In short, McCain is serious about Latin America, Obama isn't.
McCain made an impassioned plea for treating Latin America as "partners" rather than "little brothers." Obama has yet to put anything major on his Web site about the region, let alone about our ally Colombia, which he only has managed to insult.
It shows. The only open endorsement that Obama has gotten from Latin America has been from Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega, who called him "revolutionary." The only other endorsement, albeit oblique, came from Castro himself.
By contrast, McCain claims a growing number of Latino voters and real endorsements from Latin Americans who know a friend when they see one. Paying attention to the region's people, not rewarding its dictators, shows that he gets what's going on there.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/15/2008 04:25:00 PM
So far this story about Michelle Obama's temper tantrum when she called African Press International (API) hasn't been reported by the mainstream media but it is a very hot topic in the Blogosphere. Your humble correspondent checked on the credentials of API and it has been in existence for a little over two years and has filed numerous stories in that period. Additionally, this story has been posted at World Net Daily. If the MSM wants to verify this story they can contact API directly to investigate its veracity. Perhaps they don't want to check out this story because Michelle Obama comes off with an extreme case of bad temper. This API article starts out with Michelle article making accusations of disloyalty against that organization in a phone call (emphasis mine):
Accusing API of colluding with American internet bloggers in an effort to bring down her husband, Mrs Obama said she decided to call API because of what she termed, API’s help to spread rumours created by American bloggers and other racist media outlets in their efforts to damage a black man’s name, saying she hopes African Media was mature enough to be in the front to give unwavering support to her husband, a man Africans should identify themselves with.
When API told her that our online news media was only relaying what the American Bloggers and other media outlets had discovered through their investigations, Mrs Obama was angered and she came out loud with the following: “African press International is supposed to support Africans and African-American view,” and she went to state that, “it is strange that API has chosen to support the racists against my husband. There is no shame in being adopted by a step father. All dirt has been thrown onto my husband’s face and yet he loves this country. My husband and I know that there is no law that will stop him from becoming the president, just because some American white racists are bringing up the issue of my husband’s adoption by His step father. The important thing here is where my husband’s heart is at the moment. I can tell the American people that My husband loves this country and his adoption never changed his love for this country. He was born in Hawaii, yes, and that gives him all the right to be an American citizen even though he was adopted by a foreigner; says Michelle Obama on telefon to API.”
Wow! Talk about a red hot temper! But will the MSM even ask Michelle Obama about this? This article is chock full of more shocking information:
This is a very interesting turn of events. The American man Dr Corsi was recently reported to have been arrested in Kenya because there was fear that he might reveal information on Obama when he wanted to hold a press conference in Nairobi.
The question now is why he was arrested and who ordered his arrest. Was Obama’s hand in this in any way? We will never know the truth but what is clear is that Dr Corsi was seen as a threat while in Kenya.
When API asked Mrs Obama to comment on why Dr Corsi was arrested by the Kenyan government and whether she thought Kenya’s Prime Minister Mr Raila Odinga was involved in Dr Corsi’s arrest, she got irritated and and simply told API not to dig that which will support evil people who are out to stop her husband from getting the presidency.
When asked who she was referring to as the evil people, she stated that she was not going to elaborate much on that but that many conservative white people and even some African Americans were against her husband, but that this group of blacks were simply doing so because of envy.
On Farakhan and his ministry, Mrs Obama told API that it was unfortunate that Mr Farakhan came out the way he did supporting her husband openly before the elections was over. That was not wholehearted support but one that was calculated to convince the American people that my husband will support the growth of muslim faith if he became the president, adding “even if my husband was able to prove that he is not a Muslim, he will not be believed by those who have come out strongly to destroy his chances of being the next President. Do real people expect someone to deny a religion when 80 percent of his relatives are Muslims?; Mrs Obama asked.
Mrs Obama asked API to write a good story about her husband and that will earn API an invitation to the innoguration ceremony when, as she put it , her husband will be installed as the next President of the United States of America next year.
Double WOW! As I stated, African Press International has been in existence for over two years and has filed over a thousand stories. So will the MSM investigate this? Meanwhile this story is gaining enormous steam in the Blogosphere.
UPDATE: Because of the high level of interest in this story, API has just posted a phone number where they can be contacted for verification. Calls must be made between Oct. 16 and 18. Here is the number posted on their site: 004793299739. To call from the USA, the number is: 011-4793299739.
UDATE #2: Jeff Schrieber, of the America's Right blog, after expressing initial skepticism over this story has an UPDATE:
Listen, I'll be the first to admit that I was wrong. And I think I was wrong.
I just got off the phone with a very reputable source that says there is absolutely, positively an audiotape showing that Michelle Obama did in fact say what she said.
I cannot say more right now, as to the source, but let's put it this way -- If you want to know something about Obama, you talk to this guy.
KEEP CHECKING HERE!!
Okay, Jeff, will do. Now waiting for that audiotape...if there is one.
—P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.
Arizona senator's speech, as prepared for delivery
Thurs., Nov. 16, 2006
WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain, R-AZ spoke to the Federalist Society convention, in Washington, DC, on Thursday, November 16. Here are the Senator's remarks, as prepared for delivery.
Thank you, Ted, for that kind introduction, and for your service to and your sacrifices for our country. It is been my privilege to have known a great many honorable public servants. But I know no one more honorable or who has more faithfully discharged the responsibilities of his public office than you. And I am proud and grateful to consider you a friend. I also want to thank you and everyone at the Federalist Society for your commitment to the subject of this year’s conference, limited government, and to the rule of law.
I thought I would begin by sharing with you a few thoughts about last week’s election from a Republican’s point of view.
The voters obviously wanted to get our attention last week. While I would have preferred a gentler reproach than the one they delivered, I’m not discouraged nor should any of us be. Democrats had a good election night. We did not. But no defeat is permanent. And parties, just like individuals, show their character in adversity. Now, is the occasion to show ours.
The election was not an affirmation of the other party’s program. Try as hard as I could, I couldn’t find much evidence that my Democratic friends were offering anything that resembled a coherent platform or principled leadership on the critical issues that confront us today.
Nor do I believe Americans rejected our values and governing philosophy. On the contrary, I think they rejected us because they felt we had come to value our incumbency over our principles, and partisanship, from both parties, was no longer a contest of ideas, but an ever cruder and uncivil brawl over the spoils of power.
I am convinced that a majority of Americans still consider themselves conservatives or right of center. They still prefer common sense conservatism to the alternative. Americans had elected us to change government, and they rejected us because they believed government had changed us. We must spend the next two years reacquainting the public and ourselves with the reason we came to office in the first place: to serve a cause greater than our self-interest.
Common sense conservatives believe that the government that governs least governs best; that government should do only those things individuals cannot do for themselves, and do them efficiently. Much rides on that principle: the integrity of the government, our prosperity; and every American’s self-respect, which depends, as it always has, on one’s own decisions and actions, and cannot be provided as another government benefit.
Hypocrisy, my friends, is the most obvious of political sins. And the people will punish it. We were elected to reduce the size of government and enlarge the sphere of free and private initiative. We increased the size of government in the false hope that we could bribe the public into keeping us in office. And the people punished us. We lost our principles and our majority. And there is no way to recover our majority without recovering our principles first
While times may change, the values and principles for which we stand do not. Your work and the mission of the Federalist Society is critical to ensuring that our nation remains faithful to the self-evident truths and enduring principles that have always made the American experiment an inspiration and example to the world.
Ideas like “limited government” or “the rule of law” can sound pretty abstract when we talk about them here in Washington in the halls of Congress. And it’s a measure of how divided our politics have become that they are often taken for partisan “buzz words.”
In fact, they are ideas worth fighting for; worth dying for. And Americans have fought and died for limited government and the rule of law for well over two hundred years, in places as close to home as Brandywine Creek and as far away as Iwo Jima, at Gettysburg and Khe Sanh, at Kandahar and at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
So it’s important that we remind ourselves that limited government and the rule of law are more than the arid cliches of partisan political debate. In fact, they are the essential underpinnings of our freedom, and the principles for which the Federalist Society has been fighting since its formation over 25 years. To lose either would be to lose freedom, for they are our strongest bulwarks against tyranny. People are suffering today physical and emotional agony, terrible loneliness, and even death to advance those ideals in countries where the power of the state observes no limits, where human dignity is denied the respect and the protections that must form the basis of morality, in any culture, any religion, and any society.
We should never forget their sacrifice and purpose. In the name of those brave people, I want to share with you today my understanding of and support for these vital ideals.
The genius of our founding fathers wasn’t that they were better people than those who came before them; it’s that they realized precisely that they did not have a greater claim to virtue, and that the people who followed them weren’t likely to be any more virtuous than they were. That critical insight led them to realize something important about power: if its exercise isn’t limited, it will become absolute. Power always tries to expand. It’s a law of nature, of human nature.
As James Madison wrote in The Federalist No. 51, “[w]hat is government but the greatest reflection of all on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, no internal or external controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
The Founders saw the truth of this insight play out in their lifetimes, in the arbitrary exercise of power by King George III, and in the ominous rise to power of Napoleon in France. Our parents’ generation saw it in the rise of Hitler and Stalin, and in the post-war twilight struggle against communism. We’ve seen it in our generation in the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan, of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, of Kim Jong Il in North Korea and the reign of the mullahs in Iran. We see it most starkly today in Osama bin Laden’s vision of a global medieval caliphate.
There are cultural differences in other parts of the world, to be sure, and we must adjust our tactics based on our understanding of those differences. But there are some basic underlying truths: unlimited government confers unlimited power on its leaders to impose their will on others. That’s one truth. Here’s another: people generally don’t want to live their lives in the crosshairs of government oppression. They want to be free to make for themselves and their children, by their own decisions, talents and industry, a better future than they inherited.
The solution that our founders devised guides us to this day: limited government. Understanding the natural tendency of power to expand, the founders designed our government to restrain it.
They created a federal government of enumerated powers, of three branches whose reach was limited by the powers of the other branches, by the powers reserved to the states, and by the rights reserved to individuals. They divided the power to make war between Congress and the Executive, making the President the commander-in-chief but giving Congress the power to raise and fund armies and declare war. They gave Congress the power to raise and appropriate money to support the government but the president the power to spend. They gave the President the power to negotiate treaties, but the Senate the power to ratify or reject those treaties. They gave the President the power to appoint judges, but the Senate the power of advice and consent.
They enumerated certain baseline individual rights, but instructed that this list was not exhaustive, and they provided that the rights and powers that were not enumerated were reserved strictly to the states and the people.
They created courts of limited jurisdiction, which could hear only “cases or controversies” “arising under” the Constitution. The further development of the common law we inherited from England, and the scope of the individual rights reserved to the states, were questions left to the individual states, removed from the jurisdiction of the federal courts.
By limiting government in these ways, the founders attempted to ensure that no one branch could dominate the others, that the federal government could not usurp state powers, and that one individual asserting his rights could stop the entire machinery of government from taking away his freedom.
Why has the appointment of judges become such a flashpoint of controversy in the past twenty years or so? When you understand our system in the way I’ve just described, when you see the wisdom in it and the humility it requires of public servants, it’s easy enough to understand why we are so concerned that the judges we appoint share that understanding of the nature and limits of power.
Some basic attributes of judges follow from this understanding. They should be people who respect the limited scope afforded federal judges under the Constitution. They should be people who understand that the founders’ concern about the expansive tendency of power extended to judicial power as well as to executive or legislative power. They should be people who are humbled by their role in our system, not emboldened by it. Our freedom is curtailed no less by an act of arbitrary judicial power as it is by an act of an arbitrary executive, or legislative, or state power. For that reason, a judge’s decisions must rest on more than his subjective conviction that he is right, or his eagerness to address a perceived social ill.
This truth was well understood by Chief Justice Roberts’ mentor, my fellow Arizonan Chief Justice William Rehnquist, whose passing we mourn. During his 33 years on the Court, Justice Rehnquist earned our respect for his sharp intellect, his strong sense of fairness, and his enormous devotion to the Court and to public service. His profound understanding of the balance inherent in federalism, between the states and the federal governments, as well as between the three federal branches—left us a strong legacy.
It’s a legacy I hope will be respected by the judges President Bush has nominated, and in whom we have vested great trust to discharge their judicial duties with prudence and principle.
I am proud of my role in persuading my fellow Republican Senators to respect the limits of our own power and not abolish the filibuster rule--changes which promised to empower a different majority under another president to impede our cause of limited government and constrained judicial power. Instead we have focused with considerable success on assuring that a high percentage of the President’s nominees have been confirmed. And those judges and justices will interpret our Constitution as our founders intended.
The efforts we undertook a year and a half ago, working with Senators of both parties, who were concerned about abuses of the filibuster tradition, was resulted in a substantial increase in the confirmation of the President’s Circuit Court nominees. Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, and Bill Pryor have all been confirmed, and this year Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. The President nominated these individuals; I supported each of their nominations; and we fought successfully to confirm them. President Bush now has a higher percentage of his nominations confirmed to both the District Courts and the Circuit Courts than did President Clinton during his presidency. I am also proud to see Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Alito serving with such distinction on the Supreme Court.
They are good people, deserving people, and their decisions will be grounded in the text and history of the statute, regulation, or constitutional provision under consideration, and interpreted narrowly in light of the specific facts of the case before them.
Of course, to paraphrase Mr. Madison, if angels wrote laws, we wouldn’t need judges at all. Unfortunately, angels don’t write laws; Congress does. And we’re called a lot of things, but no one would mistake us for angels. Too frequently, we write laws that are unclear, we vote on laws we haven’t adequately debated, and sometimes, I am sad to report, we vote on laws we haven’t even read. When we pass laws like that, we leave too much to the discretion of our federal judges. We fail in our role to ensure that the judiciary’s scope is limited. As we debate reforms to the practices and procedures of Congress, I hope, particularly we Republicans, will take an honest look at how we fail to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities when we write laws that invite judicial activism and misinterpretation.
Why these restraints on federal judges? Because the structure of our government, by itself, will not ensure our freedom. That structure, while it reduces the likelihood of tyranny, is only as strong as our commitment to the rule of law, and the rule of law depends largely on our judiciary’s commitment not to impose its will arbitrarily on us.
That’s why the appointment of federal judges has become such a flashpoint issue for so many. Judges stand in our system where our commitment to limited government meets our commitment to the rule of law. To the extent that judges impose their own will, they undermine both the structure of limited government and the rule of law.
History teaches us that without the rule of law there is nothing – no form of oppression, no form of physical suffering -- that people will not inflict upon one another. I know this to be true. I see it in the appeals I receive every day from supporters of human rights advocates around the world who have been imprisoned, tortured and murdered for daring to challenge the tyranny of their governments. I have seen it in countries such as Burma, where I have met with the woman who willingly surrendered the privileges and comforts of life in the West but has, on behalf of her people, refused to surrender voluntarily her inalienable right to freedom. And I saw it many years ago, as I watched men deprived of every liberty, who were routinely tortured, maintain their dignity and their loyalty to their country, and its ideals. That is why, I have been outspoken in opposition to using torture against our enemies. The moral strength that enables people to stand up to tyranny in other countries resides in their conviction that were the situation to be reversed they would not avail themselves of the abuses of power that they have suffered.
We, Americans stand for something in this world. We stand for a vision of human happiness and potential, of human freedom, based on limiting the powers of government and respecting the rule of law.
Those are the ideals I fought for in my youth, and that I fight for today, at less personal risk than faced by the Americans who now stand a post in foreign countries in defense of our interests and ideals. We best honor those who are fighting and dying in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan by not losing our way.
We honor them by insisting in our every action, from the appointment of federal judges to the trial of enemy combatants, that our ideal of limited government under the rule of law continues to be respected.
So let’s resolve here today not to lose our way. We’re in one heck of a mess in Iraq, and the American people told us loud and clear last week that they are not happy with the course of this war. Neither am I. But let’s be clear: that’s the limit of what they told us about Iraq and the war on terrorism.
The American people didn’t tell us to forget the people we lost on 9/11, who were going about their lives free to work and dream and love, unaware that they were the intended victims of a jihad. They didn’t tell us to forget the sacrifices of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, or to choose a course that would imperil their mission.
They didn’t tell us to abandon our friends in remote parts of the world to moral monsters like Osama bin Laden or to apostles of hate like the Taliban who oppress everything they cannot understand.
Above all, they didn’t tell us to forget our ideal of limited government.
I think the American people want us to reaffirm who we are. So let’s do that today, my friends.
We are a nation that limits the reach of government because government by its nature will, if permitted, limit the reach of the human heart.
We are a nation that limits the reach of government because we understand that no government should have a right to impose itself between human beings and their lawful aspirations to make of their lives what they will.
We limit government because the greatness of our country, our productivity, resourcefulness and compassion, is not a product of the state’s decrees or prerogatives, but derived from the free exercise of the rights and responsibilities of liberty.
We are a nation that limits government so that government cannot limit us.
I believe this notion of limited government will stand as our lasting contribution to the world. We are proof that people can frame a government to serve as an instrument of the people, not the other way around.
And by our actions both at home and abroad we will prove once more, as we did in the last century, that regimes like the Nazis, or the fascists, or the Soviet Union, or the Taliban, which place the interests of the state or a movement or a cause above the rights of the people, is on the wrong side of history.
America must remain ever vigilant in the preservation of our governing ideals. You must continue your good work in service to that essential work, because you know something that we here in Washington too often forget: that neither the courts, nor Congress nor the President can make us a great country. Only the American people can do that, if we, all three branches of government, safeguard their rights, which we have sworn an oath to do.
The endless ranks of Americans who have died in service to that ideal, and who fight to defend it today, demand of us, who do not share their sacrifice, that we use our talents and industry to keep that ideal inviolate within the boundaries of the country they have loved so well.
I thank you for keeping faith with their faith, and for lending your hearts and minds to the enduring and noble cause of preserving in our time the greatest experiment in human history: government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/15/2008 10:39:00 AM
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama's views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.
Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.
Yet there are Catholics and Evangelicals-even self-identified pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals - who aggressively promote Obama's candidacy and even declare him the preferred candidate from the pro-life point of view.
What is going on here?
I have examined the arguments advanced by Obama's self-identified pro-life supporters, and they are spectacularly weak. It is nearly unfathomable to me that those advancing them can honestly believe what they are saying. But before proving my claims about Obama's abortion extremism, let me explain why I have described Obama as ''pro-abortion'' rather than ''pro-choice.''
According to the standard argument for the distinction between these labels, nobody is pro-abortion. Everybody would prefer a world without abortions. After all, what woman would deliberately get pregnant just to have an abortion? But given the world as it is, sometimes women find themselves with unplanned pregnancies at times in their lives when having a baby would present significant problems for them. So even if abortion is not medically required, it should be permitted, made as widely available as possible and, when necessary, paid for with taxpayers' money.
The defect in this argument can easily be brought into focus if we shift to the moral question that vexed an earlier generation of Americans: slavery. Many people at the time of the American founding would have preferred a world without slavery but nonetheless opposed abolition. Such people - Thomas Jefferson was one - reasoned that, given the world as it was, with slavery woven into the fabric of society just as it had often been throughout history, the economic consequences of abolition for society as a whole and for owners of plantations and other businesses that relied on slave labor would be dire. Many people who argued in this way were not monsters but honest and sincere, albeit profoundly mistaken. Some (though not Jefferson) showed their personal opposition to slavery by declining to own slaves themselves or freeing slaves whom they had purchased or inherited. They certainly didn't think anyone should be forced to own slaves. Still, they maintained that slavery should remain a legally permitted option and be given constitutional protection.
Would we describe such people, not as pro-slavery, but as ''pro-choice''? Of course we would not. It wouldn't matter to us that they were ''personally opposed'' to slavery, or that they wished that slavery were ''unnecessary,'' or that they wouldn't dream of forcing anyone to own slaves. We would hoot at the faux sophistication of a placard that said ''Against slavery? Don't own one.'' We would observe that the fundamental divide is between people who believe that law and public power should permit slavery, and those who think that owning slaves is an unjust choice that should be prohibited.
Just for the sake of argument, though, let us assume that there could be a morally meaningful distinction between being ''pro-abortion'' and being ''pro-choice.'' Who would qualify for the latter description? Barack Obama certainly would not. For, unlike his running mate Joe Biden, Obama does not think that abortion is a purely private choice that public authority should refrain from getting involved in. Now, Senator Biden is hardly pro-life. He believes that the killing of the unborn should be legally permitted and relatively unencumbered. But unlike Obama, at least Biden has sometimes opposed using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion, thereby leaving Americans free to choose not to implicate themselves in it. If we stretch things to create a meaningful category called ''pro-choice,'' then Biden might be a plausible candidate for the label; at least on occasions when he respects your choice or mine not to facilitate deliberate feticide.
The same cannot be said for Barack Obama. For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, ''forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead.'' In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive today would have been exterminated in utero were it not for the Hyde Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen. That is why people who profit from abortion love Obama even more than they do his running mate.
But this barely scratches the surface of Obama's extremism. He has promised that ''the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act'' (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed ''fundamental right'' to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, ''a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health' reasons.'' In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would ''sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.''
It gets worse. Obama, unlike even many ''pro-choice'' legislators, opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature and condemned the Supreme Court decision that upheld legislation banning this heinous practice. He has referred to a baby conceived inadvertently by a young woman as a ''punishment'' that she should not endure. He has stated that women's equality requires access to abortion on demand. Appallingly, he wishes to strip federal funding from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that provide alternatives to abortion for pregnant women in need. There is certainly nothing ''pro-choice'' about that.
But it gets even worse. Senator Obama, despite the urging of pro-life members of his own party, has not endorsed or offered support for the Pregnant Women Support Act, the signature bill of Democrats for Life, meant to reduce abortions by providing assistance for women facing crisis pregnancies. In fact, Obama has opposed key provisions of the Act, including providing coverage of unborn children in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), and informed consent for women about the effects of abortion and the gestational age of their child. This legislation would not make a single abortion illegal. It simply seeks to make it easier for pregnant women to make the choice not to abort their babies. Here is a concrete test of whether Obama is ''pro-choice'' rather than pro-abortion. He flunked. Even Senator Edward Kennedy voted to include coverage of unborn children in S-CHIP. But Barack Obama stood resolutely with the most stalwart abortion advocates in opposing it.
It gets worse yet. In an act of breathtaking injustice which the Obama campaign lied about until critics produced documentary proof of what he had done, as an Illinois state senator Obama opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist's unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability. This legislation would not have banned any abortions. Indeed, it included a specific provision ensuring that it did not affect abortion laws. (This is one of the points Obama and his campaign lied about until they were caught.) The federal version of the bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate, winning the support of such ardent advocates of legal abortion as John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. But Barack Obama opposed it and worked to defeat it. For him, a child marked for abortion gets no protection-even ordinary medical or comfort care-even if she is born alive and entirely separated from her mother. So Obama has favored protecting what is literally a form of infanticide.
You may be thinking, it can't get worse than that. But it does.
For several years, Americans have been debating the use for biomedical research of embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (originally for reproductive purposes) but now left in a frozen condition in cryopreservation units. President Bush has restricted the use of federal funds for stem-cell research of the type that makes use of these embryos and destroys them in the process. I support the President's restriction, but some legislators with excellent pro-life records, including John McCain, argue that the use of federal money should be permitted where the embryos are going to be discarded or die anyway as the result of the parents' decision. Senator Obama, too, wants to lift the restriction.
But Obama would not stop there. He has co-sponsored a bill-strongly opposed by McCain-that would authorize the large-scale industrial production of human embryos for use in biomedical research in which they would be killed. In fact, the bill Obama co-sponsored would effectively require the killing of human beings in the embryonic stage that were produced by cloning. It would make it a federal crime for a woman to save an embryo by agreeing to have the tiny developing human being implanted in her womb so that he or she could be brought to term. This ''clone and kill'' bill would, if enacted, bring something to America that has heretofore existed only in China-the equivalent of legally mandated abortion. In an audacious act of deceit, Obama and his co-sponsors misleadingly call this an anti-cloning bill. But it is nothing of the kind. What it bans is not cloning, but allowing the embryonic children produced by cloning to survive.
Can it get still worse? Yes.
Decent people of every persuasion hold out the increasingly realistic hope of resolving the moral issue surrounding embryonic stem-cell research by developing methods to produce the exact equivalent of embryonic stem cells without using (or producing) embryos. But when a bill was introduced in the United States Senate to put a modest amount of federal money into research to develop these methods, Barack Obama was one of the few senators who opposed it. From any rational vantage point, this is unconscionable. Why would someone not wish to find a method of producing the pluripotent cells scientists want that all Americans could enthusiastically endorse? Why create and kill human embryos when there are alternatives that do not require the taking of nascent human lives? It is as if Obama is opposed to stem-cell research unless it involves killing human embryos.
This ultimate manifestation of Obama's extremism brings us back to the puzzle of his pro-life Catholic and Evangelical apologists.
They typically do not deny the facts I have reported. They could not; each one is a matter of public record. But despite Obama's injustices against the most vulnerable human beings, and despite the extraordinary support he receives from the industry that profits from killing the unborn (which should be a good indicator of where he stands), some Obama supporters insist that he is the better candidate from the pro-life point of view.
They say that his economic and social policies would so diminish the demand for abortion that the overall number would actually go down-despite the federal subsidizing of abortion and the elimination of hundreds of pro-life laws. The way to save lots of unborn babies, they say, is to vote for the pro-abortion-oops! ''pro-choice''-candidate. They tell us not to worry that Obama opposes the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City Policy (against funding abortion abroad), parental consent and notification laws, conscience protections, and the funding of alternatives to embryo-destructive research. They ask us to look past his support for Roe v. Wade, the Freedom of Choice Act, partial-birth abortion, and human cloning and embryo-killing. An Obama presidency, they insist, means less killing of the unborn.
This is delusional.
We know that the federal and state pro-life laws and policies that Obama has promised to sweep away (and that John McCain would protect) save thousands of lives every year. Studies conducted by Professor Michael New and other social scientists have removed any doubt. Often enough, the abortion lobby itself confirms the truth of what these scholars have determined. Tom McClusky has observed that Planned Parenthood's own statistics show that in each of the seven states that have FOCA-type legislation on the books, ''abortion rates have increased while the national rate has decreased.'' In Maryland, where a bill similar to the one favored by Obama was enacted in 1991, he notes that ''abortion rates have increased by 8 percent while the overall national abortion rate decreased by 9 percent.'' No one is really surprised. After all, the message clearly conveyed by policies such as those Obama favors is that abortion is a legitimate solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancies - so clearly legitimate that taxpayers should be forced to pay for it.
But for a moment let's suppose, against all the evidence, that Obama's proposals would reduce the number of abortions, even while subsidizing the killing with taxpayer dollars. Even so, many more unborn human beings would likely be killed under Obama than under McCain. A Congress controlled by strong Democratic majorities under Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would enact the bill authorizing the mass industrial production of human embryos by cloning for research in which they are killed. As president, Obama would sign it. The number of tiny humans created and killed under this legislation (assuming that an efficient human cloning technique is soon perfected) could dwarf the number of lives saved as a result of the reduced demand for abortion-even if we take a delusionally optimistic view of what that number would be.
Barack Obama and John McCain differ on many important issues about which reasonable people of goodwill, including pro-life Americans of every faith, disagree: how best to fight international terrorism, how to restore economic growth and prosperity, how to distribute the tax burden and reduce poverty, etc.
But on abortion and the industrial creation of embryos for destructive research, there is a profound difference of moral principle, not just prudence. These questions reveal the character and judgment of each man. Barack Obama is deeply committed to the belief that members of an entire class of human beings have no rights that others must respect. Across the spectrum of pro-life concerns for the unborn, he would deny these small and vulnerable members of the human family the basic protection of the laws. Over the next four to eight years, as many as five or even six U.S. Supreme Court justices could retire. Obama enthusiastically supports Roe v. Wade and would appoint judges who would protect that morally and constitutionally disastrous decision and even expand its scope. Indeed, in an interview in Glamour magazine, he made it clear that he would apply a litmus test for Supreme Court nominations: jurists who do not support Roe will not be considered for appointment by Obama. John McCain, by contrast, opposes Roe and would appoint judges likely to overturn it. This would not make abortion illegal, but it would return the issue to the forums of democratic deliberation, where pro-life Americans could engage in a fair debate to persuade fellow citizens that killing the unborn is no way to address the problems of pregnant women in need.
What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama's America is one in which being human just isn't enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama's America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the law. In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: ''that question is above my pay grade.'' It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator's pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy - and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.
In the end, the efforts of Obama's apologists to depict their man as the true pro-life candidate that Catholics and Evangelicals may and even should vote for, doesn't even amount to a nice try. Voting for the most extreme pro-abortion political candidate in American history is not the way to save unborn babies.
Robert George is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/15/2008 08:28:00 AM