Sunday, March 23, 2008

Kmiec Endorses Obama

Doug Kmiec, a former attorney for the Reagan and Bush (I) administrations, has announced he is endorsing Obama.

Kmiec isn't a big name, and I already gave away what salience there is by noting Kmiec's significant links to the modern Republican Party. But it raised my eyebrow because Kmiec is not an ex-conservative who's seen the light. Even as recent as last July I sparred with him (I'm vastly overstating my relevance, of course -- he wrote a column, and I responded to it. The odds he ever read my response are rather slim), and it was not the first time.

As best as I can tell, Kmiec's endorsement is based solely upon disgust with the war in Iraq. He reiterates his opposition to gay marriage and abortion, his support of federalism and limited judiciary -- the works. And while he expresses hope (audacious hope?) that Obama's actions will match his rhetoric on such issues as race and human rights, his only positive reason for his decision came in this passage:
Our president has involved our nation in a military engagement without sufficient justification or clear objective. In so doing, he has incurred both tragic loss of life and extraordinary debt jeopardizing the economy and the well-being of the average American citizen. In pursuit of these fatally flawed purposes, the office of the presidency, which it was once my privilege to defend in public office formally, has been distorted beyond its constitutional assignment.

This, more than anything else, shows how the GOP coalition is fracturing at the seams. At the same time as moderate Republicans are finally recoiling from their affiliation with far-right social conservatives, social conservatives (at least in the rank and file) are beginning to rebel from supporting the Iraq war. Which leaves a Republican Party consisting of Paul Wolfowitz...and very little else.


PG said...

Yeah, I found Kmiec's Hastings article on the procreative argument for proscribing same-sex marriage to be deeply aggravating. This endorsement isn't coming out of the blue, however, nor is it based wholly on Obama's anti-Iraq war stance. Kmiec wrote a much-noted piece in Slate in February, talking about how Catholics should consider Obama. Several Catholic conservative law professors immediately retorted that no, they shouldn't.

Between the Democratic candidates, however, I think people for whom faith is important, and who aren't ignoramuses convinced that Obama is a secret Muslim, are leaning Obama because he seems comfortable talking about religion. After making some nasty remarks about Obama's speech (including the popular "threw grandma under the bus"), Prof. Bainbridge did conclude that "like many great civil rights speeches, this is a profoundly religious speech. I come away from reading the speech convinced that Obama is a person of deep and profound faith in the same God in whom I believe. Indeed, I suspect that Obama’s personal faith is much stronger than that of all too many elite Republicans whose personal life does not reflect the values of faith."

Anonymous said...

Re: the Kmiec Obama endorsement, you note that he "...reiterates his opposition to gay marriage, abortion, federalism, limited judiciary -- the works". I think he actually would oppose only the first two of those four items and would strongly favors the last two.

David Schraub said...

Bad phrasing on my part -- fixed. Thanks.