August 24, 2008
Obama, Biden, Foreign Policy and the Catholic VoteBy Kyle-Anne Shiver
Well, I must admit that over the course of the past 8 months, Barack Obama has given me quite a few What-in-the-world-is-he-thinking-? moments, but his choice of Biden for VP is one for the record books.
What in the world could he be thinking?
It appears that Senator Obama is thinking he has zero foreign policy experience himself, and must go with a seasoned pro like Biden. Well, that was a given in the minds of scores of voters already. And now, the not-even-through-his-first-term Senator has just gone and confirmed his own utter lack, in this regard, for the entire electorate.
The real problem with picking Biden for his foreign policy experience is that the biggest -- really huge -- foreign policy decision of this election cycle (as well as the last one) is the Iraq War. And, on the Iraq War, Biden has been consistently on the opposite side of the fence from Obama.
Lest we voters have forgotten, we have lots of search engines at our very fingertips to remind us. Here are just a couple of Biden's greatest hits on Iraq and Saddam:
On Meet the Press, November 27, 2005: "I've been calling for more troops for over two years, along with John McCain and others subsequent to my saying that."
Biden on Meet the Press in 2007, on Hussein's WMDs:
"Well, the point is, it turned out they didn't, but everyone in the world thought he had them. The weapons inspectors said he had them. He catalogued - they catalogued them. This was not some, some Cheney, you know, pipe dream. This was, in fact, catalogued."
Senator Obama, in absolute contradiction to both Biden and McCain, positively, and on every occasion, says that the Iraq War was a huge "mistake," and that a surge of troop strength would "make no difference." Of course, it may be a moot point by election time, as the Iraq War winds down, but I doubt that Biden and Obama will agree on other foreign policy matters any more. The two men apparently have completely divergent world views, which only seems to strengthen voters' apprehensions about Obama's world view, not allay them.
By picking Biden as his own running mate, Obama effectively signals to the electorate that
(A) his own judgment on Iraq was flat-out wrong;
(B) that he has changed his mind and forgot to tell us; or
(C) that he doesn't have a clue what he actually thinks and that the choice of VP is clearly above his pay grade.
Or, was Obama thinking that he might allay Catholic voters' disgust with his votes to uphold infanticide in Illinois, by picking a Catholic, somewhat more moderate, pro-abortion candidate?
Biden did vote for the partial birth abortion ban, but then he roundly criticized the Supreme Court decision last year, which upheld the ban. Biden does hold a lower approval rating with NARAL (36%) than Obama's 100%, but as any voting-age citizen already knows, the Vice President has zero, zilch, nada to say on abortion law. The only time the Vice President could even have a vote would be as a tiebreaker in the Senate on legislation, which is not going to happen in the next 4 years.
Senator Obama may have been thinking that he would help himself by putting a Catholic on the ticket, but he seems to have not taken any note of the fact that the Catholic Church is now guided by a new, very conservative Pope. There is not a single dictum emanating from this Pope, nor from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which lets a single Catholic off the hook on the matter of voting for pro-abortion candidates. If anything, the strictures against such votes have become much more important under Pope Benedict XVI than under Pope John Paul II.
It is entirely possible that Senator Joseph Biden will publicly be denied the Sacrament of Holy Communion during the course of this campaign. This, of course, will invite a siege of press attacks against the Catholic Church, but it will also signal to the Catholic laity, who make up a full 25% of the American electorate, that this Pope takes the abortion issue more seriously than any other at the moment.
Obama seems not to have paid much heed to the fact that John Kerry was the first Democrat to lose a majority of the Catholic vote to George W. Bush. He seems also not to have taken note of the new Pope's resolve on this issue. Perhaps Obama has been persuaded to believe that Father Pfleger is more the rule than the exception, and if this is the case, then he has been squarely bamboozled.
Why in the world would Obama think Biden helps his bid for the Presidency?
In one fell swoop, Senator Obama has stated uncategorically that he is flying by the seat of his pants on foreign policy and needs a Daddy figure to guide him. And this particular Daddy figure, Biden, has stated repeatedly that Obama's positions are wrong and McCain's are right.
Bonus for McCain.
Also, Obama has brought a pro-abortion Catholic politician to the glaring attention of Pope Benedict XVI, while unnecessarily putting the U.S. Bishops on the spot. The Vatican has lately been reminding priests and Bishops that they are not to offer Communion to pro-abortion politicians. It's always been a no-no, but Biden's position on the ticket will highlight the issue once again for one quarter of the American electorate, while putting Bishops on a hotter seat with the Vatican.
So, what in the world was Obama thinking?
Not much, it would seem.
The VP choice was perhaps another thing "above" Obama's "pay grade."
Kyle-Anne Shiver is an independent journalist and a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at kyleanneshiver.com.