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Friday, April 10, 2009


This guy is apparently an authority on what's moral and what's not. Who knew?

On the issue of President Obama's invitation to speak at Notre Dame's May 17 commencement, watch the inimitable Lawrence O'Donnell tear Buchanan a new one here. It's really a shame that Mike Barnicle cuts this debate short at the end:



It's not worth going into it in-depth, as O'Donnell remarked correctly that this is largely a made-up controversy engineered by much fewer people than the protesters would have you believe. However, O'Donnell hot fire in this segment lays bare the intellectual dishonesty of the Republican "pro-life" movement. (I prefer its more factual, less pious name: "anti-abortion", but let's use "pro-life" for the ironies it brings out.) In calling out Bush's support of the death penalty during his time as the Governor of Texas, O'Donnell played his trump card right away and completely set the tone for what came afterward. Buchanan was on his heels, relying more on Republican philosophy than actual Catholic dogma. He's like an attorney who wants to convict someone, but hasn't shared evidence through discovery with the defendant. And like most current Republican mores, Buchanan's position is fraught not only with contradiction, but with the celebration of ignorance.

It's one thing to avoid answering a question for 10 minutes because you don't know the answer. Quite another to not only know the answer, but attempt to convince your questioner that he's too knowledgeable for his own good. It's almost as if Buchanan tries to convince O'Donnell that if only used less complicated thinking to arrive at his conclusions, that he'd see the light of day.

Doesn't seem too, well, smart, does it? That's a strategy more likely seen coming from a Bond villain than a political operative. While I've never held high esteem for Buchanan's intelligence, I thought he'd be smarter than this.

The thing that's truly offensive both about the base position of the Catholic Church on abortion and those that twist its interpretation for political gain is that they apply a strangely subjective classification for murder that contradicts the ones understood not only by polite society, but also by the Bible. "Thou shalt not kill" is certainly open to interpretation, but how can people like Buchanan argue that abortion is murder and yet, we're justified in killing anyone who breaks the law in particular ways we find abhorrent?

My faith in the Lord is strong, and I believe killing is wrong, no matter whom. But I also don't believe that (most) abortion is murder, and I guess that's where Buchanan and I part ways. But O'Donnell makes the central point here: to try to bar one President who believes in something the Church opposes despite the knowledge that another President who also believed - and actively practiced - another thing that the Church opposed is nothing but hypocrisy.

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