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Obama Taken Out Of Context Once Again 
3rd-Apr-2008 10:35 am
'Punishing' Obama for not wanting to 'punish' his daughters
By: Steve Benen via Crooks & Liars blog
Barack Obama hosted a town-hall meeting in Johnstown, Pa., over the weekend, and was asked how his administration would address HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases among young girls. Obama emphasized education and prevention, including comprehensive sex ed and access to contraception.

"I’ve got two daughters; 9 years old and 6 years old," Obama said. "I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at the age of 16. You know, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information."

For reasons that elude me, some conservatives — including Sean Hannity, a correspondent for Pat Robertson’s TV show, Hugh Hewitt, and some right-wing blogs — pounced on the "punished with a baby" line, suggesting that Obama somehow equates parenthood with punishment.

Word about this is apparently making the rounds in conservative circles, because the complaints are getting louder. In his Washington Post column, former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson insisted that "Obama’s record on abortion is extreme," and cited the weekend’s comment, among other things, as evidence.
And now Obama has oddly claimed that he would not want his daughters to be "punished with a baby" because of a crisis pregnancy — hardly a welcoming attitude toward new life.
And now the religious right is seizing on what it sees as a wedge opportunity.

The conservative Washington Times reported that "pro-life activists" are outraged.
Pro-life groups have long criticized the record of Mr. Obama, Illinois Democrat, who has voted against legal protection for babies who survive botched abortions and against prohibitions on taking a minor across state lines for an abortion.

His "punished with a baby" comment Saturday at a town hall in Johnstown, Pa., reignited the outrage. […]

Concerned Women for America (CAW) called on Mr. Obama to recant his comment, saying it stigmatizes babies conceived by teenagers and "provides an excuse for aborting them."
If the right wants to complain about Obama being pro-choice, that makes sense. It may not be an effective electoral strategy in a country that tends to support abortion rights, but at least I understand where they’re coming from.

But this outrage over Obama’s comments from the weekend seems wildly excessive.

The campaign told reporters on Monday, "What Sen. Obama said and what he believes is clear — children are 'miracles,' but we have a problem when so many children are having children. As Sen. Obama said on Saturday — and on many other occasions — parents have a responsibility to teach their children about values and morals to help make sure they are not treating sex casually. And while he understands the passions on both sides of this difficult issue, Sen. Obama believes we can all agree that we should be taking steps to reduce the number of teen pregnancies and abortions in this country."

Obama believes teenagers should be given as much accurate information as possible so they can make the right choices. If a teenage girl makes a mistake, and gets pregnant, Obama believes she should have a choice. Conservatives believe that girl can’t have comprehensive education on sexual health, can’t have access to contraception, can’t have access to the morning-after pill, and has to deliver a baby whether she wants to or not.

It’s hardly a stretch to call this "punishing" the teenage girl for her mistake. Contra Gerson, I don’t think this is an "extreme" position to take; I believe the opposite is.
In the comment thread, FGFM writes Won’t fly. The only people who will act like they are taking this seriously weren’t going to vote for him anyway. I think the relevant issue here is proper context. Those looking to see a particular thing are going to see it regardless of evidenciary support to the contrary or base logic. FGFM is spot on - those people were never going to support a democrat of any stripe anyway, but I don't believe for a second that this is going to sway any fence sitters for or against him.
3rd-Apr-2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
<RevBubba mode=apoplexy>Sex ed and *gasp* contraception?????

OMGWTF, next he'll be talkin' 'bout Evo-looshun and shit.


OK, so the caveman Hannity has his Victoria'sSecrets in a twist. I guess the Folks from Fuck Up Your Family will be pontificating speaking out next. (Yes, I realize the irony-dig of using pontificate wrt FotF. Curb Your Dogma!)

This group of Neanderthalic-idiots are upset at Obama's use of word punishment because they see a 16-year-old whose plans for college are tossed in the gutter because of an avoidable pregnancy had she received any form of Sex Ed other than Abstinence Only as receiving, *ba-dum-bump*, A Gift From God™ Praise Jeebus! (instead of a gift of a sperm cell from her boyfriend).

The Neanderthals will then force the two into getting married, where they will grow to hate each other, fight over whose turn it is to take care of the baby and get divorced within 18 months. The child will just be another item of property to them.

Wedge opportunity? My ass. As if this group would ever vote for a) a Democrat, b) a *gasp* Black Man. The only thing wedged are their collective heads up their collective asses.
3rd-Apr-2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
Um, John, could you please let loose and tell us what you really think? ;-}}}}

And, BTW, are they "Neanderthalic-idiots" or more "Encephalitic-morons"?
3rd-Apr-2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
Like you haven't ever, Mike.

I'll stick with Neanderthal. By their chronology, Adam & Eve rode to "Church" on the back of a dinosaur, ie they think of The Flintstones as "Documentary."
3rd-Apr-2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
Awwww, I got a helluva kick out of it, thus the beard-y-smile-y. You spoke nothing but capital-t Truth, in a way I thoroughly enjoyed.
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