instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not even Wales

Mark Shea suggests that Douglas Kmiec could be made Attorney General for Wales in an Obama administration.

Kmiec is known to me only as that Republican who keeps writing absurd opinion pieces about how truly madly deeply pro-life and anti-abortion Obama really is, if only we had eyes to see.

The "Attorney General for Wales" crack is, of course, a reference to one of the best lines in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons. Richard Rich is leaving the courtroom, having just perjured himself in order to condemn Thomas More, and More notices that Rich is now wearing a dragon seal, symbolizing his new appointment as Attorney General for Wales. More says, "Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to lose his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?"

(Kmiec, as it happens, used to be the St. Thomas More Professor at Catholic University of America's law school.)

I, too, had thought, "But for Wales?," when reading pieces by other Catholics in the tank for Obama. No lesser of two evils for these folks. Obama isn't just better than McCain on the war or on universal health care. He's more pro-life! He's more anti-abortion! He's not a cynical manipulator of the hopes and fears of unintelligent Catholics; he's a Democrat!

Now, though, I think "But for Wales?" is unfair to most Catholics For Obama. Richard Rich (certainly in the play, and almost certainly in real life) chose freely to perjure himself in order to benefit himself at the price of another man's life. His was old-fashioned, self-serving treachery.

All indications are that Catholics for Obama believe the claims they make about their man (and again, these aren't least-bad claims, these are best-good claims). On dotCommonweal, David Gibson not only thinks the gravely evil Democratic Party draft plank on abortion is "a victory for Democratic pro-lifers," but he detects "the whiff of desperation" in one pro-abortion writer's celebration that the plank no longer suggests that abortion should be rare.

Personally, I don't detect the whiff of desperation in such comments from pro-life pro-Obama Catholics, much less any cynicism or duplicity. I think they're expressing opinions that are entirely honest and sincere.

Entirely daft, as well. Maybe the Attorney Generalship of Neverland is available?