Democracy Soup

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Notre Dame Protesters Got the Coverage but Obama Won on Message

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Originally published on on Mon, 05/18/2009 – 11:07am

Video of the Commencement Address by President Barack Obama

Transcript of the Address

Yes, the right-wing protesters at President Barack Obama’s commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame received a lot of attention, a huge amount given their relatively small numbers. And they were there to chastise the university for inviting Obama due to his support for abortion rights and stem cell research.

Given the huge amount of TV coverage they received — coverage that those on the left would have loved at any of their events — you would have thought this would be a huge success for the right.

But if this group was trying to reduce the number of abortions in this country, they were protesting the wrong president.

Progressives know that there were fewer abortions under Bill Clinton than George W. Bush. And once the economy recovers, there is every reason to believe abortions will go down under Barack Obama. But those on the right clearly don’t know that. And those who took advantage of the opportunity for more media coverage — the last thing on their minds was letting the truth interfere with a good media photo-op.

Sure, Alan Keyes got more screen time than when he ran against Obama for the U.S. Senate seat in 2004, even though his primary residence wasn’t even in Illinois. For Keyes, this was a major success.

For Sean Hannity, another conservative Catholic on TV, he got yet more media attention. And Randall Terry, who got a huge platform on Hannity, also saw success.

Keyes, Hannity, Terry, and the other conservative media ilk weren’t there because Obama’s stance is not theirs — they were in it for the publicity and media exposure.

Barack Obama, in his speech, knew what the issue was about: where this country stands on abortion. Not the screaming matches we see on television, but the private decisions made by women — and men — over whether to have the procedure done, or not.

“Because when we do that — when we open up our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do or believe precisely what we believe — that’s when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.

“That’s when we begin to say, “Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually, it has both moral and spiritual dimensions.

“So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions, let’s reduce unintended pregnancies. (Applause.) Let’s make adoption more available. (Applause.) Let’s provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term. (Applause.) Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women.” Those are things we can do. (Applause.)”

While for some, the abortion question is a religious one, for many, it’s an economic one. There are many reasons to have an abortion and many reasons not to. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, about as far to the right on the abortion issue as you will find in a politician, recently admitted that she entertained the thought with Trig.

The president understands that like most Americans, there are shades of gray in the debate. Those screaming from the outside only see it in black and white.

Those few protesters who weren’t celebrity media whores got shouted down by the student body during the speech, and the speaker of the day made the strongest argument on the subject, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum.

Even though the coverage was intense, and showed once again that the MSM cares way more about right-wing protesters than those on the left, in the end, it was the president, the Democratic president who stole the show, and the argument away from the protesters.

And how did the president pull this off? In his own words on Sunday, “Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It’s a way of life that has always been the Notre Dame tradition.”


Written by democracysoup

May 18, 2009 at 11:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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