A Time to Choose?

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Obama’s campaign may have reached its zenith. The emerging story about his position on partial and live-birth abortion could be the unraveling of his reach for history. A problem he has is that the issue is not about logic or economics or energy sustainability or war. It is about the values people hold for themselves and the values they perceive in others.

While Americans are split on abortion in general, polls have shown strong opposition across the ideological spectrum to late term and especially partial abortions (and most likely live abortions as well).

Obama will be challenged for having an apparently inconsistent set of personal (and public policy) values. Are his positions incongruous? Can he convince the public of the high purpose of these abortion practices while arguing high moral purpose on other issues? This is a key question that independent voters who will determine the outcome of the election will be asking. Meanwhile perhaps this is a question we should all be asking ourselves as well.

For full disclosure: I am deeply saddened by and opposed to these practices. I think they seriously diminish our spirit and humanity.

About Ham Hayes

Closed Account • Member since Jan 11, 2008

Ham lived in Bellingham while writing for NW Citizen from 2007 to 2011.

Comments by Readers

Jill Brown

Aug 19, 2008

I would agree with you, especially if McCain runs with this issue.  If he picks a pro-life VP it would help him with his base as well. 
I don’t know if people actually grasp what a partial birth abortion is.  If people actually saw what one was like they would be horrified.


Bill Geyer

Aug 20, 2008

Ham, there will be many more times to choose - for Mr Obama to be truthful, and for the voters to decide.  There is another issue brewing about the Senator that resonates with the soul of this blog——full, transparent disclosure.

The Univ of Illinois-Chicago is stonewalling release of many documents that provide direct insight into Mr Obama’s role as Chairman of a non-profit, perhaps his longest tenure in a decision-making capacity.  His actions there would give a glimpse into his ability to manage issues. 

Known as the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, the non-profit was very active in educational issues in Chicago, and there is a sizable record of action and finances. 

Unfortunately, this cache of files is locked away by bureaucrats at UIC, even when it was just recently available to the public.  I am certain fellow blogger, John Servais, can relate to the roadblocks educational institutions use to block public disclosure.

Journalist Stanly Kurtz chronicles his approval, then denial to obtain these documents. 

National Review article

Key to the denial is the documents provide substantial details of Mr Obama’s working and political relationship with Weatherman Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, the Pentagon bomber.  Per Chicago politics, it is better to deny access then to place the facts in the sunlight. 

It is common knowledge that Bill Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist and has been quoted that he wished he could have bombed more. 

Direct, long-term working ties to known criminals/murderers that still proclaim their terrorists acts did not go far enough, is appalling.  To not refute these people is unconscionable. 

Mr Obama would do himself well to reject Bill Ayers in total, and immediately call for UIC to release all the documents.  Otherwise, he exhbits the same shady behaviour displayed by a Senator he just vanquished at the ballot box - Senator Clinton.


John Watts

Aug 20, 2008

Today’s CNN Headline Reads:

“Conservatives upset over abortion rights VP contenders”

? Tom Ridge, Sen. Joe Lieberman reportedly considered for John McCain’s VP pick
? Social conservatives object to both men because they support abortion rights
? Rush Limbaugh says either one on the GOP ticket would “ensure defeat”
? Another possibility, ex-U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, to campaign with McCain on Friday
I’m guessing you folks are Rush devotees, huh?

Too bad, your expressed preference for so-called ‘Pro-Life’ choices doesn’t extend to NOT putting thousands of US citizens unnecessarily into harm’s way, then NOT taking care of them or their families!

And, that doesn’t even begin to count the tens of thousands of people who happen NOT to be US citizens.

Mental gymnastics like this ought to be an Olympic sport, but then, who’d watch it?

Please don’t try to dumb down this election to a single issue - and certainly not one that even ‘conservative R’s’ can’t agree on!


Scott Wicklund

Aug 20, 2008

Ham and Jill, It does not look like McCain will meet your expectations.  The keynote speaker will be Rudy Giulianni….  The most mentioned veep choices are Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge…  All above strongly pro-choice…  If denying a woman’s right to decide is the number one issue to select a president, then I suggest you write in Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee.

John McCain has some real problems, as I am sure you are aware regarding torture and endless war plans.  See the link below:
Andrew Sullivan column

The circumstances of John McCain leaving his wife and three kids for young Cindi, a beer heiress and blond bombshell, would cause one to wonder how much he would support your positions.
For the rest of us, there are bigger moral issues on which John McCain fails to meet the test….


Rick Anderson

Aug 21, 2008

Ham writes “Obama will be challenged for having an apparently inconsistent set of personal (and public policy) values.” 

Let’s look at this from another direction: Will John McCain be be challenged for having an apparently inconsistent set of personal (and public policy) values when we consider the thousands of deaths caused by a preemptive war which he supported and continues to support?

I am sure the answer to both questions is yes.


Damon Gray

Aug 24, 2008

John, you make four stunning assumptions in your inane post above, all of which are beneath a man of your intelligence. If such a post were made in your name on any other blog (not requiring an authenticated login) I would assume a lesser individual was impersonating you.


John Lesow

Aug 26, 2008

Ham and Bill Geyer

Your perspectives on two important issues in this presidential election—abortion and full disclosure of Barack Obama’s ties with terrorists, are welcome.  Good to see some conservative moral clarity on these issues. 

The rejoinders and recriminations from the subsequent posters are predictably off point and mean-spirited.  Blond Beer Hieress?  Give me a break.  Aren’t we getting a little tired of this rhetorical Democratic boilerplate?

Reminds me of the hoary old socialist standing up in the union hall to deliver yet another “Workers of the World, Unite” speech.  The mind wanders.  The eyes glaze….......

John Lesow
(McCain Supporter)


g.h. kirsch

Aug 26, 2008

I sure do like the sound of that phrase, “conservative moral clarity.”  Would that be conservative clarity, moral clarity, neither or both?

At the risk of being labeled part of the blue gang or the red gang, let me say I’m neither.

And in all candor, find both so philosophically conflicted as to be pretty much politically bankrupt.

But I am struck by the hypocrisy(as John Watts points out)of the present conservatives’ great concern for those not born, given their utter lack of concern for those who have been.

Nonetheless, given the enormity of the economic predicament their fearless leader has presented us with, it’s understandable the “Reds” (that must just gall the hell out of ‘em) would avoid those conservative issues.

Which is not to excuse the “Blues.” It was their boy Bill, in between dalliances, who got this snowball rolling downhill. Deregulation is a lot like self policing.  Never worked, never will.

It’s not government’s role to make people richer.  Their role is to make people play fair.  Real conservatives don’t need government to bail ‘em out or cut ‘em a break.  They make it on their own.

Where the hell are those old Eisenhower Republicans, the old time conservatives, the guys growing corn in Nebraska, and running businesses on Main Street? 

Oh yeah, they’re trying to survive the mess these scissorbills in DC and on Wall Street have foisted on us too.

A real conservative would be embarrassed to be seen with these neo-conartists. 

I’m for change!  Let’s change back to the old tried and true principles of honesty, hard work and the simple understanding that if we all do well will each do well.

Show me who that is.  I’ll voter for them even if they’re Reds, or even if it gives me the Blues.


David Marshak

Aug 28, 2008

Bill Geyer wrote, “It is common knowledge that Bill Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist and has been quoted that he wished he could have bombed more.”

This is not true. What Ayers wrote in his book?and has said in several interviews? is not that he wished he could have bombed more?but that he wished he could have done more to end the war in Vietnam.

This distinction has been ignored by anti-Obama fulminators such as Mr. Geyer.

The guilt-by-association campaign of Geyer and many others requires ignorance of Bill Ayer’s actual life story.

Should Ayers have been convicted and imprisoned for his Weatherman activities? I’d say, yes. But since the U. S. Constitution was still in effect when Ayers was tried, he was released due to the U. S. government’s illegal activities in bringing him to trial. At that point he ceased his criminal activities and changed his life.

Ayers became a school teacher and then an education professor. When Obama met Ayers, he was already a distinguished university professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago and an advisor to Mayor Richard Daley. He was a prominent and valued figure in Chicago political circles.

So, if you want to play the guilt-by-association game, you need to include thousands of people in Chicago?not just educators and politicians and government officials but also CEOs and Chamber of Commerce types who served on Daley’s committees with Ayers?as well as many other thousands of people all across the nation with whom Ayers has interacted over 25 years.

I was on a panel once with Bill Ayers at a session at the American Educational Research Association convention. So, according to Bill Geyer, I’m also culpable for Bill Ayer’s
Weatherman activities nearly 40 years ago.

Since I worked very hard and long in those years to argue against violence, I find Geyer’s guilt-by-association contention particularly offensive.

Actually, the guilt-by-association charges demean the accuser more than anyone else. These kinds of charges appeal to ignorance and passions, not to thoughtfulness, and seek to influence voters with fear, not with ideas or policies. In American history, we see again and again that guilt-by-association is the tactic of those who seek to deceive and repress their fellow citizens. Just think Joe McCarthy and the young Richard Nixon. Or Attorney General Alexander Palmer.

David Marshak


Scott Wicklund

Aug 30, 2008

Ham and Jill!  Looks like you got what you seem to be looking for!  Sarah Palin scores high opposing a woman’s choice and supporting the teaching of creationism in public schools!
What more could you want in someone a 72 year old’s heartbeat away from the Presidency?
But what does this really say about John McCain’s judgment and temperament? Are you now clapping and celebrating his wisdom?


John Lesow

Aug 30, 2008

Ham, Greg and others…

“Conservative moral clarity” on the subject of abortion supports the proposition that life begins at conception.

Barack Obama’s muddled response to the question of when life begins is a troubling example of his incapacity to articulate a straightforward answer to an important question.

Contemporary liberal logic—for which this blog provides safe haven—suggests that the 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade are less onerous than the deaths in a “preemptive war”.  The fact that war and abortion are separate issues is lost in the intellectual maunderings of today’s progressives.

“Pro Choice” has a tolerant ring, but I have the uneasy feeling that some adherents will not be satisfied until every woman has the constitutional right to a taxpayer-funded partial birth abortion.  We are all diminished as a society when this unfettered position reaches full term, and Roe v. Wade is Exhibit 1.

I appreciate David Marshak’s apologia for unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers.  Glad to see that liberals are beginning to embrace Redemption in their values set.  I hope this Judeo-Christian tenent continues to catch fire in secular-progressive circles.

Let’s forgive Bill Ayers for his youthful transgressions.  And let’s extend the same Christian compassion to David Duke.  Like Ayers,  the mellowing of 40 years and advances in dermabrasion should qualify him as a newly-minted, well-shined Presidential Confidante, irrespective of his radical past.

Let’s see if David Duke’s re-entry into the arena of political respectability is as seamless as the welcome mat extended to Ayers by Obama Progressives.

Until I witness examples of the Left’s mutual respect for divergent views, I’ll continue to withhold any forgiveness of Ayers, Dohrn and the cadres of unrepentant criminals that poison our political discourse.

John Lesow
(McCain Supporter)


g.h. kirsch

Aug 30, 2008


You would have us accept that, ?? war and abortion are separate issues…? and this, ?...is lost in the intellectual maundering of today?s progressives.?

I would propose that the sanctity of life is a single issue.  And that ?regressives? are intent in making distinctions where there is really no difference.

We need to achieve some consistency here.  Capital punishment, abortion, collateral damage, political assassination; these are all life and death matters.

My criticism of social conservatives? position in the life/choice debate is not an advocacy of choice, but their failure to really support life.

But of more concern to me, is that an issue (Roe v Wade) that is presently beyond our resolution will again be raised to divide and distract us from addressing issues we urgently need to resolve.

In the words of one songwriter, ?? the Titanic sails at dawn.  Everybody?s shouting, which side are you on…and nobody has to think too much about Desolation Row.?


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