The back page of this week's Time magazine is an essay by editor-at-large Nancy Gibbs on the new Gallup abortion poll. Gibbs reasonably wonders about why a majority of Americans now say they're pro-life. She even bows to the notion that the GOP's "message on abortion is closer to the mainstream than Democrats care to acknowledge."
It only verges on syrupy at the end, when Gibbs claims Obama -- on the cusp of nominating a leftist to the Supreme Court who thinks Latinas are wiser than white men -- is wishy-washy on the social issues:
You can tell Obama isn't interested in a culture war. He has left gay marriage to the states, dropped family-planning money from the stimulus bill, refused to fund needle-exchange programs and said he wants to "tamp down some of the anger" surrounding the abortion debate. He is inviting all sides to the White House to discuss ways to reduce the number of abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies.
My theory? People always apply the brakes to whichever side has the momentum. The stakes are too high, the pain too private, whatever decision a woman makes, to see the issue treated as an ideological toy or fundraising tool.
Obama got in trouble in his talk last August with Rick Warren for saying that the question of when life begins was "above my pay grade." But just because he was glib doesn't mean he was wrong.
Only a liberal, Obama-favoring journalist would try to turn an obvious rhetorical pratfall like "above my pay grade" and try to make it look sensible. It certainly was an attempt to use glibness to outmaneuver Warren's friendly but firm attempt to focus on where he really stands on abortion. It also illustrated how incredibly lazy and supportive most of Obama's interviewers were during the campaign.