The Biden Rundown
"Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama introduced Sen. Joe Biden to the nation as his running mate Saturday, telling supporters that he is "a leader who is ready to step in and be president." (CNN)
In another report, the radioactive phrase about Biden appears:
"[Biden is] a Roman Catholic..."
- pro-abortion (36-75% rating by NARAL, 0% by National Right to Life Committee)
- supports the nomination of pro-Roe v. Wade supreme court justices
- pro-allowing minors to cross state lines for abortions, and against telling their parents
- pro-embryonic stem cell research
- pro-contraceptives (but supports some abstinence education)
- against making harming an unborn fetus a criminal penalty
- against-partial birth abortion (unlike Obama)
Except for being less extreme than Obama regarding partial birth abortion, Biden holds basically the same positions, but as a Catholic. He also accepts "on faith" that life begins at conception, while still remaining pro-abortion.
Now, let's quickly sweep through the reactions to Biden's selection, from good-to-bad.
The best analysis I've read thus far is from Canon Lawyer Edward Peters (relation):
Barack Obama’s selection of Joseph Biden as his running mate is sure to provoke questions about Biden’s eligibility for holy Communion under canon law. Hoping to get out ahead of things, I’m suggesting that we start by asking the right questions, well.
One need not be a Catholic in good standing to be President or Vice President of the United States, but one must be a Catholic in good standing to receive holy Communion from the Catholic Church.
For a Catholic perspective, that's your one-stop read.
I can't say I'm pleased with the Catholic News Service's introduction of Biden and discussion about his Catholic faith. On the one hand, they do admit in the first paragraph that Biden supports abortion, but immediatly add that Biden "has been an ally for the church’s public policy interests." Such a claim, however, cannot be logically true when you've already noted Biden is pro-abortion. Unless somehow protecting unborn human life is not part of the church's public policy interests. I'll leave you to read the rest of their treatment, but I have other reservations as well.
Chris Korzen of "Catholics" United has issued a press release supporting Biden's selection. I have serious questions about Korzen's sincerity when he says that his organization "refuse[s] to water down our [Catholic] faith in service of partisan politics." That's simply unbelievable coming from someone with such a partisan background. I'll talk more about this in a future post. (update: I talk about it here.)
CNN's "expert" analysis, meanwhile, plays things safe, claiming that "Biden gives Obama old-school cred", and also:
Now what a naive, narrow observation to make.
So how does Biden help Obama politically? Biden is Roman Catholic. There are nearly 70 million Roman Catholics in the United States, about 20 percent of the electorate, and they can tip the balance in a close contest.
Moving farther to left (prettymuch to the brink, in matter of fact), the feminists:
Biden has a not-so-hot record on choice. He says he supports Roe v. Wade, but is not really interested in expanding access to low-income women.
It continually frightens me to see what some people aren't satisfied with regarding abortion access.
So there's the lay of the land, as I see it now.
What are your thoughts? Open thread time...
update, day 2 reactions:
- Whispers: Hail, Columbia... Hello, Controversy
- InsideCatholic: Why Biden Will Not Help Obama Attract Catholic Voters
- Deacon Keith Fournier: Obama Chooses Senator Biden for VP and the Battle for Life is Engaged
- CNA: Despite losing among Catholics, Obama chooses pro-abortion vice president
- AP: Obama Faces New Criticism on Abortion