Five Takeaways from the Democratic National Convention

By Dave Andrusko

Last night, an hour after pro-abortion President Barack Obama delivered his acceptance speech, we posted an initial reaction: “Game On:Obama Accepts Party’s Nomination for a second term, classic pro-life/pro-abortion matchup

Before sittingdown at my keyboard I’d listened to some of the talking heads on cable news.Their responses ran (using sports imagery) from Obama hitting a homerun to no less than a solid double, perhaps stretched into a triple.

I honestly did wonder if we’d listened to the same speech. I found the speech a dreary rehash of 2008, devoid of specificity other than attacks on Mitt Romney and a promise—if no longer to “slow the rise of the oceans”–to at least begin to drain the fiscal swamps. I would give the speech a bunt single.

So, looking forward to the next 59 days, what can we say about the Democratic National Convention?

#1. For all the effort made to make Republicans seem“radical,” it’d be hard to miss that Democrats have decided their best chance of winning is to mobilize their base constituencies using the most inflammatory language. Abortion is the primary example, and in so many ways. The public is (as they say) conflicted on abortion. But pounding the mantra that there is a“war on women”–because Republicans are pro-life and believe that the Obama mandate is a threat to religious liberties–is a very, very dicey proposition. In that context

#2. Please read Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s closing prayer (“A Prayer for Our Country at the Democratic National Convention”). It is aremarkable pro-life tour de force. In a benediction of less than five minutes, he affirmed core pro-life principles which are wildly at odds with the overwhelming emphasis on the right to kill unborn babies which permeated many convention speeches. For example,

“Thus do we praise you for the gift of life.  Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure.  We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected. Strengthen our sick and our elders waiting to see your holy face at life’s end,that they may be accompanied by true compassion and cherished with the dignity due those who are infirm and fragile.”


“Renew in all our people a profound respect for religious liberty:  the first,most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our Founding.”

If you listen to apologists for the Obama mandate, people of faith are asking for special privileges when they resist being forced to pay for health insurance plans that cover medical procedures and drugs contrary to their religious beliefs and/or conscience. In fact, the mandate quashes religious liberties which is apparently of little, or no concern, to Obama and his allies.

And it is important to remember, as we discussed yesterday, a story in last weekend’s NewYork Times makes abundantly clear that they understood what they were doing. There were members within the Obama Administration who not only “worried about how forcing church-affiliated organizations to pay for it would play,” but also“felt that the rule put important Catholic allies in the health care fight in a tough position, and potentially violated a law banning regulations that impose a substantial burden on religious expression”(emphasis added).

#3. There was much talk going into the convention how President Obama would matchup against prior speeches delivered by his wife, Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and his own vice President Joe Biden. The possible downside was underplayed; after all,Obama is, we are constantly reminded, a peerless orator. What did he offer? Republicans are evil, “you” elected me in 2008, and unless “you” re-elect me again, the forces of darkness (Romney and Ryan) will prevail. Not exactly Churchchillian.

Amazingly, if you read the accounts, with a few almost embarrassingly incoherent exceptions, Obama is almost universally panned. A“dull and pedestrian speech tonight, with nary an interesting thematic device,policy detail, or even one turn of phrase”; “The demigod turned out to be entirely human, and his results were disappointing”; “the speech felt at times like a laundry list of policy goals, at others like an overly vague call for hope, patriotism, togetherness, etc.”—and this from columnists predisposed to like President Obama!

#4. Speaking of the power of persuasion, to borrow theheadline to Washington Post columnist Melinda Henneberger’s column, “’Abortion-palooza’ in Charlotte: Did we mention we support a woman’s right to choose?” Democrats,she observed, “seem to think that in repetition on reproduction [rights], there is poetry.” I would not pretend to have heard all the speeches sprinkled, soaked, or drenched in abortion advocacy, but I saw or read most of them. For the most part they were simply awful, none worse than the painfully wooden speech of Caroline Kennedy-Strasburg, the daughter of President Kennedy.

#5. Most obviously, this was a convention for the already-converted, which, I think, accounts for the ugly attacks that croppedup over and over and over again. Sometimes they would be prefaced by “Gov.Romney is a nice man…” but they were most often followed by scathing, withering personal assaults that would make any non-partisan very, VERY squeamish.

Let me closewith what I wrote last night, which I think perhaps captures the most important“takeaway”:

Biden and Obama readily agreed with Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan: this election offers starkly different choices with implications for decades to come.

As Biden said of Romney and Obama, “They bring vastly different values and visions to the job.” They do, indeed.

Gov.Romney values the lives of unborn babies and President Obama simply does not. Obama prides himself on his inclusiveness but when it comes to the most vulnerable, his vision is blinded.

If I may paraphrase Proverbs, “Where there is no vision, the unborn perish.”

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