Jonah Goldberg
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Alas, when it comes to abortion, it's probably silly to expect anything but rote fealty to ideological pieties from a Democrat, just as it's naive to expect anything but the appropriate pro-life talking points from a Republican. But for a self-styled champion of nuance, political Obama's rigidity is spectacular to behold.

In 2003, as chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Obama received a statement from Jill Stanek, a registered nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. She testified that at her Chicago-area hospital, she'd seen a baby accidentally delivered alive during an abortion and then "taken to the soiled-utility room and left alone to die."

I'm no expert on the Christian Gospel, but something tells me that Matthew might consider these wailing creatures the least of our brothers.

Alas, the abandonment of babies to suffer and die on the modern equivalent of a Spartan cliff did not require confronting evil when Obama saw it. Indeed, Obama turned a blind eye, leading the battle to defeat Illinois' version of the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which would have treated babies living, albeit briefly, outside the womb as, well, babies. He opposed the bill in 2003 (as he had a similar one in 2001), saying it would undermine Roe v. Wade. But even after Roe-neutral language was included - wording good enough that it won support for the federal version of the bill from abortion-rights stalwart Sen. Barbara Boxer - Obama remained unmoved.

Until this week, Obama denied that he ever took such a position. His campaign now admits that he was, in effect, lying when he said pro-lifers were lying about his record. But simultaneously, Obama defends a position that comes dismayingly close to the layman's understanding of infanticide while claiming any other position would require him to play God.

"A lot of evil has been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil," intellectual-theologian Obama said at Saddleback. And "just because we think our intentions are good doesn't always mean that we're going to be doing good."

Perhaps that theological Obama should wrestle a bit more with political Obama.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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