It appears that Barack Obama has survived a tough couple of weeks. In the words of some, he's shown that "he can take a punch."
But, frankly, I think Obama is still getting kid gloves treatment from a press corps that tilts left.
Despite the hounding about his "bitterness" remarks and the ongoing story of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, there's been hardly 10 seconds of attention about his incredible statement that he wouldn't want his daughters "punished with a baby" if they "make a mistake."
This in a discussion about HIV/AIDS in which he said that contraception should be included alongside of abstinence in sex education.
Regarding his two young daughters, Obama said, "I am going to teach them first about values and morals."
First? What are values and morals if there is a second? Faith, of course, includes forgiveness. But values and morals are absolutes. There is a world of difference between forgiveness and teaching alternative paths.
There have been questions, appropriate questions, about how Obama could have been sitting in the Rev. Wright's church for 20 years and suddenly, today, realize he does not agree with him. How so?
We have a good possible answer here. Religion for Senator Obama is not something too serious. It may satisfy some social needs and provide intellectual and emotional salve. But it doesn't translate into behavioral absolutes.
The arena for addressing life's dilemmas for Obama is politics, not religion. So, in this sense, the Rev. Wright had it right. His former congregant is first and foremost a politician.
In answering a question about abortion while campaigning in Iowa last year, the always deliberative Obama said: "I think the American people struggle with two principles: There's the principle that the fetus is not just an appendage, it's potential life ... They also believe that women should have some control over their bodies ..."
The fetus is "potential life"?
Shortly after the Supreme Court's decision last year upholding the constitutionality of the ban on partial birth abortions, Obama spoke at a Planned Parenthood conference in Washington, D.C. Condemning the court's decision, he said that it was part of "a concerted effort to steadily roll back" legal abortions.
Criticizing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in the case, Obama said, "Justice Kennedy knows many things, but my understanding is that he does not know how to be a doctor."
Of course, Kennedy's job is not to be a doctor but to be a judge. And in doing so, he included in his opinion testimony of a nurse who participated in a partial birth abortion procedure:
"The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby's arms jerked out ...The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby's brains out ... Now the baby went completely limp. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta, and the instruments he had just used."
Thus the end of what, for Obama, was "potential life."
Nat Hentoff, no conservative but a libertarian who writes for the "Village Voice," calls Obama the "infanticide candidate."
In a recent column, Hentoff noted that, while in the Illinois State Senate, Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. This act addressed cases where, during an abortion procedure, the live infant was actually born. The act would have banned killing the living child.
Responding to John McCain's remarks delivered the other day at Wake Forest University about law and judges, Obama contrasted McCain's pledge of "judicial constraint" with his own concept of legal activism.
Obama said he'd seek out judges "who are sympathetic to those who are on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless."
Aside from this bizarre idea about the role of law, what irony there is in hearing this from a man with zero empathy for our most vulnerable the helpless infant in the womb.