It takes courage to be a Catholic educator. In America's culture wars, abortion is the trump card of every moral discussion. Or so the righteous right requires us to believe.
At Notre Dame, the most Catholic of Catholic universities, a national protest is building over the decision by the school's president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, to invite President Obama to give the commencement address on May 17.
Marin then goes on to write that Obama's done much more than advancing abortion and embryonic stem cell research. For example, he's "trying to stop the economy from going over a cliff." She approvingly quotes a former Catholic university administrator saying the role of those institutions is to "espouse academic freedom where people are allowed to research, teach and hear many voices on campus . . ." And what would an article mentioning the Catholic Church be without at least one reference to pedophilia? Marin doesn't disappoint in that regard.
You'd think Marin, who prides herself on journalistic professionalism, would at least have started the column with the facts. Obama was not merely invited to give a commencement address. Notre Dame's own Web site acknowledges he will also be "the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree."
According to Sun-Times columnist and long-time Chicago journalist, Carol Marin, journalists at Barack Obama news conferences have come to realize that Obama has pre-picked those journalists whom he will allow to ask him questions at the conference and many of them now "don't even bother raising" their hands to be called upon.
One wonders why journalists are allowing this corralling of the press? Would they have allowed George W. Bush to pre-pick journalists like that? Would they meekly sit by and allow themselves to be systematically ignored, their freedom to ask questions silenced by any Republican? Would journalists so eagerly vie with one another for the favor of Bush like they are Obama's?
Today's Chicago Sun-Times features "It's time for Obama to prove his passion" by columnist Carol Marin. Amazingly, she finds an itsy bitsy problem with Barack Obama; he's just too darn cerebral. He needs to show voters what's truly in his heart, the things about which he's genuinely passionate. Marin manages to take a quick swipe at President Bush:
But Obama is a guy, wide smile and well-crafted message notwithstanding, who seems to give the electorate more of his head than of his heart. And though, lord knows, after George Bush we need a president with a head, the heart part is not incidental.
For 10 minutes, the talk show host grilled his guests about whether "George Bush's mental weakness is damaging America's credibility at home and abroad." For 10 minutes, the caption across the bottom of the television screen read, "IS BUSH AN 'IDIOT'?"
For the first time since 1984, after six successive appearances on the podium, the Rev. Jesse Jackson will not address the Democratic National Convention in Denver later this month.
There are people who will applaud that fact. I won't be among them.
In her tribute to Jackson, Marin claims that "the unassailable fact of the matter is that he helped set the stage for the history that has already been made this year as an African American and a woman finished first and second in the race to nomination." Whether he indeed "helped set the stage" is in my mind questionable given Jackson's polarizing influence, but that's just a matter of opinion.
Obama can certainly lose this race. But McCain's going to have to find a better way to win it than by invoking Paris Hilton or by sniping in his most recent ad how "life in the spotlight must be grand but for the rest of us, times are tough."
What's tough for McCain is that despite having had a practice run at the presidency once before, it didn't limber him up, cause him to realize that even the elderly now skillfully navigate the Internet or help him craft a "vision thing."
In the short run, jealous jabs at Obama for having too much face time on the covers of Rolling Stone and GQ may appear to close the gap in national polls. But the aggregation of images -- Obama in Germany, Obama with his cute girls and beautiful wife, Obama visiting his grandmother in Hawaii -- is by dribs and drabs helping America feel familiar with him, visualize him on foreign soil, and see him, perhaps, as both human and presidential.
In some ways the tightening numbers work for Obama, not against him.
We can all painfully recall when back in 1998 New Yorker columnist Toni Morrison obsequiously called Bill Clinton our "first black president," can't we? I suppose it isn't surprising that Morrison is now supporting Barack Obama since she is all about race, of course. It should be noted Obama is a tad blacker than Bill Clinton so the race mongers of the left are finally streaming to him after a slow start. Yes, the racemongers are a block sewn up by the Obama campaign at last. But this leaves the identity politics folks with a problem. What of the purported but fading "first woman president," Hillary Clinton? Well, the Chicago Sun-Times is here to help us out with that, pulling a Morrison by calling Barack Obama "our first woman president."
Sadly, columnist Carol Marin, a reporter with a reputation in Chicago of being a real reporter (in other words, one that reports, not one that emotes), unleashed the latest of the many absurdly adulatory honorariums bestowed upon Barack Obama by the pliant and sycophantic media. Sadly, Marin's reputation may take a hit for this foolishness of calling Obama "our first woman president."