Will Obama Keep His Word?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Dec 08, 2008 10:44 PM
As I noted this morning, liberals are upset with the seemingly moderate choices Barack Obama has made for his most visible Cabinet posts.  So far, it looks like his administration might be considerably more centrist than anyone acquainted with his record and history had any right to hope.

But there's a big issue on the horizon: the Freedom of Choice Act.  Obama promised that signing it would be his first act in office -- and given that he doesn't quail at voting against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, it's reasonable to take him seriously.  But as Ray Kerrison points out in The New York Post, the result of his signing FOCA would be apocalyptic: Eliminating all state abortion laws, requiring taxpayer funding for abortion, forcing religious hospitals to perform abortions in violation of their convictions or else close down.

How Obama handles the FOCA issue -- and his promise to sign it first thing -- will tell us a lot about what to expect over the next four years.  If he goes ahead, it will be a sign that he intends to use a moderate Cabinet as cover for moving left -- hard, fast and aggresively.  If he reneges on this promise, it will be a relief to know that he is, in fact, sticking with his new centrist agenda -- but it will also signal that an Obama promise is worth less than the hot air it takes to articulate.  And the president-elect's much-vaunted penchant for compromise won't help him much on this one; abortion is the one issue where there's just no way to split the baby (pun intended).