Roger’s Rules

Above his pay grade? Obama opts out

Last night, the televangelist Rick Warren asked Barack Obama and John McCain at what point a baby gets human rights. Whatever your position on abortion–whether you think it comes under the category of “reproductive rights” or regard it as a moral enormity–I think you’ll find their respective answers indicative of their character.

Obama: “. . . whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity . . . is above my pay grade.”

McCain: a baby’s human rights began “at the moment of conception . . . I have a 25-year pro-life record.”

I can understand that people who favor “abortion rights” would not like John McCain’s answer. I find it difficult to believe that any candid person could regard Obama’s response as anything but an insulting and mendacious equivocation. It is insulting because it ostentatiously evades the question while giving a little wink to his home team: “Oh, these religious morons and their obsession with abortion! Of course, I could care less about it, but I also know it’s impolitic to say so, so I’ll emit a brief rhetoric fog and hope no one will notice.” And it’s mendacious because when it comes to “pay grades,” no one’s is higher than the President’s. If a man who aspires to the highest office in the land cannot respond to a pointed question about an important moral issue without taking refuge in empty sophistries, how will he deal with the myriad difficult issues with which the President is confronted daily? It seems to me that in claiming that it is “above his pay grade” to answer this question forthrightly, Obama essentially admits that he is unfit for the office he covets.