The Rising Tide of Death

It’s time once again to reveal the latest status of the geno-suicide of abortion in this country. How many of our own did we kill last year? In England and Wales there were 198,500. That does not include those discarded with the Morning After pill.

That really wasn’t the big news though. The overall number goes up every year. This year it was a 2.5% rise.

The biggest rise is in the number of abortions procured by under-14s. This has increased by 21% over the last two years. At the same time, the overall teen pregnancy rate has fallen slightly, so in real terms this is an even higher percentage of babies otherwise protected in the wombs of younger mothers now being snuffed out.

The killing goes on unabated.

Culture of Death is Alive and Well

Well, the great debate is over. I’m sure there have already been plenty of post-vote post mortems in the blogosphere, though I have trawled through to read them. Between marking exams and getting ready for the arrival of the grandparents, I haven’t had the time.

The culture of death is alive and well in Britain. We will continue to have some of the most liberal laws in Europe and babies will continue to die at a rate exceeding 500 per day. There has been no change to 24-week social abortion limit. Supporters tried to play this down by emphasising that only 1.5% of abortions occur between 20 and 24 weeks, Of course if you do the math, that’s over 3000 babies chopped up and pulled out of wombs each year. That’s more than eight per day. It’s also an increase of 44% over the last ten years. For those aged over 17 weeks, and there were 7,123 abortions, or more than 19 per day. Those children were also removed one amputated part at a time.

And speaking of eight, that’s the highest number of previous abortions recorded. In other words, in the statistics available, they only note individuals (we can’t really call them mothers, can we?) who have had eight or more previous abortions. This number obviously continues to increase. The 2006 figures – the latest available – show that 54 women had procured at least eight abortions. There were 65 who had six abortions before they were 30 years old.

Then the numbers get really scary. In just the year 2006, 1300 women had their what was at least their fifth termination. More than 3,800 were on their fourth and nearly 15,000 were killing their third child. I suppose it is some comfort that of those achieving a hat trick, only 82 of those were under 18.

Most all of this is at taxpayer expense. Don’t be fooled by hearing that less than 25% are carried out by the NHS. A further 67% take place in private clinics that are funded by the NHS. That’s 92% in total.

As for the rest of the legislation, MP voted for human-animal hybrids, against children of IVF needing a father, and for the production of children as saviour siblings.

Muscular Christianity

I just saw Dr Evan Harris, MP – key proponent of hybrids, embryo testing, and abortion – on BBC News The Record. He was discussing the upcoming legislation.

“I’m actually relieved that we’re not in the American situation, where I think there’s disproportionate influence in my view of white, extreme right-wing, muscular, evangelical Christianity.”

Dr Harris works better in an environment where the Church isn’t so strong.

Life and Death

According to the Daily Telegraph, Prime Minsiter Gordon Brown has been warned by his whips that his opposition to reducing the abortion gestational time limit is likely to fail. The mood of the House is to bring the limit down. With nine time-limit amendments tabled, the most likely compromise appears to be a fortnightly reduction to 22 weeks. I think 20 weeks should be a reasonable adjustment to even the most die hard pro-death supporter, but it would seem that even that extra two weeks will be too much for some to stomach.

The son of a Church of Scotland minister, Brown will vote against the pro-life position on any attempts to change the law. Even though less than one percent of abortions happen between 22 and 24 weeks, and those are the most gruesome (except for the very later abortions, which it appears will continue to be legal), Gordon doesn’t want to keep them from happening.

What is interesting to me about battle lines on this “women’s rights” issue is that the chief pro-life leaders in the House of Commons are women. The pro-choice campaign is led by men. Abortion is a very cross-party issue here. The Labour Party has long had significant support amongst Catholics.

So next week as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is debated by a committee of the whole House, it will be a matter of life and death.  On Monday, the debates will cover human-animal embryos and saviour siblings. Tuesday will start with lesbians and fertility treatment, before moving on to abortion. The preservation of the unborn and the sanctity of the entire human species is up for grabs.

The Not-So-Independent View of Christians Working in Parliament

Back in 1992 when I was a visiting law student in London, I interned with a Conservative backbencher. I got the job because of my pro-life credentials. I wrote to the sister of a family acquaintance, but since she had been elevated into the Government of the day and was not allowed unpaid interns, she referred me to another Tory MP who was very active in the pro-life movement.

Thus, I was quite interested to read in the Independent today that a Christian pro-life charity has been sponsoring interns to work at Westminster. Of course for the left-wing Independent, this is a rather dastardly thing. This is particularly bad since it is “allowing them unrestricted access to Westminster in the run-up to highly sensitive and potentially close votes on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill next month.” Never mind that Christian Action, Research and Education (Care) has run the internship programme for 10 years.

There is no suggestion that Care has actually done anything wrong. The only thing the Independent found to exploit is that two of the twelve members of Parliament who have Care interns failed to note them as such in the main register of members interests. It is not a lack of public record as to their sponsorship. The interns themselves have registered this. The paper even admitted, “There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of any of the MPs who employ Care research assistants.”

There is not even any evidence that Care-sponsored interns are lobbying MPs about the HEF Bill or anything else. It’s just that they could.

The Independent knows that Care is an evil organisation because it campaigned against the repeal of the infamous Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. Section 28 banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools. It also campaigned against assisted suicide in the House of Lords (or what the Independent likes to call “assisted dying”). Why didn’t the Independent mention that Tom Harris has a staffer who is Parliamentary & Campaigns Officer for the pro-euthanasia activist group Dignity in Dying? Or for that matter, that Bob Laxton employs the Chief Executive of the Birmingham Brook Advisory Centre, an organisation that promotes abortion?

And the Independent does not mention that there are members with staff who are sponsored by other organisations with political agendas – it’s just that the agendas are more fitting with the views of the Independent. For example, Michael Clapham employs someone registered as “Independent Parliamentary and Political Consultant” and lists eight organisation as clients. Natascha Engel has a staff member who is Parliamentary and Campaigns Officer for the Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV charity which encourages promiscuity as a partner of Playzone: “We’re working in partnership with gay venues to improve conditions and make your play safer.” Eliot Morley has a staffer who is “Parliamentary Consultant, Network for Animals”. Fabian Hamilton has a staffer who is involved as Parliamentary liaison/research for the trade union Amicus. Lindsay Hoyle employs one of their Policy Officers. Doug Henderson employs the National Political Officer of the GMB union. Diana Johnson employers a Regional Manager for Unison. Edward O’Hara employs two staffers who are Parliamentary Assistants for Age Concern. I know this is a fairly innocuous organisation, but it is a lobbying group nonetheless.

Or how about the fact that Michelle Glidernew and Martin McGuiness of Sinn Fein have staff on the register at all? Neither has taken their seat since being elected, because they won’t take the oath of allegiance. However, Sinn Fein’s press office assures me that they are entitled to public money for this and most everything else, just like any other MPs.

Free Vote?

When members of Parliament are given a free vote, they are allowed to vote their conscience on a particular bill. Free votes are not particularly common, especially on significant legislation.

For Americans, the severe whipping MPs sometimes get may seem strange. In Congress and state legislatures, there are party whips who use various methods to persuade members to vote a certain way. They may be able to dangle carrots of certain preferential treatment or future committee assignments. Party discipline here is a different. Because the executive and legislative functions are so intertwined, an indisciplined party can bring down a Government.

That is why a Government that chooses to introduce very morally questionable legislation has to force members of its party to choose between the Prime Minister and their conscience. If a Government allows a free vote, they are saying that it would be nice if the bill were inacted, but not key to their policies and agenda for the country.

Backbench member of the party of Government are held in line with a lot of carrot and stick. Fronbenchers – members of the Prime Minister’s ministerial team – are held in line with their jobs. If a minister cannot vote with the Government, they are expected to resign and return to the back benches. This means a loss of between one-third and more that half of their salary, depending on their ministerial rank. Except for particularly high-flyers, it also means their hope for advancement in their political career is effectively over.

It is easier to return to the frontbenches after a scandal of immorality than it is over disloyality to the party whip. In other word, it is better to lie, cheat, steal, improperly use ministerial influence for personal gain, or cheat on your spouse using public money to finance it and cover it up, than it is to vote your conscience.

If you are still with me, I said all that to say this. Gordon Brown has determined that Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill now has parts that can be allowed a free vote and parts that can’t. Human/animal hybrids are now optional, as are saviour sibilings. However, embyro screening and lesbian parents are not. And once all the amendments have been voted on, regardless of the outcome, all ministers must vote for the Bill or resign.

Prior to the PM’s partial back-down, there were a dozen members of the Government who were willing to rebel, including three Cabinet ministers. Reports are that two of the three Catholics, Paul Murphy and Des Browne, are satified. Ruth Kelly, a member of Opus Dei, was reported back in 2004 to be “straight down the line” on abortion and other life issues.

The embryo screen provisions of the Bill are plainly contrary to Catholic teaching. This would specifically authorise the killing of embryos that do not meet certain genetic criteria. I’m also not sure how the idea that lesbian parents would both be able to register as parents on a birth certificate is in line with Catholic teaching either. Under this provision, children of lesbian parents will be forbidden to from contacting their fathers (since due the nature of the species, every has a male parent, whether or not that fits into the lesbian lifestyle) until they are eighteen years old.

When the dust has cleared, it will be interesting to see who has voted their conscience, or even for which Catholics the teaching of the Church is their conscience.

Moral Backbone and Bankruptcy

I haven’t written anything here about the upcoming vote on the Human Embryology Bill, though I have been commenting at length elsewhere.

Once again there is no lack of vitriol aimed at the Church, especially the Roman Church. So many people don’t want the Church pronouncing upon public policy, as if there was some sort of separation between the two. Since public policy is about choosing right and wrong paths of action and the Church is about instructing concerning which paths of human action are right and wrong, it would appear to the naked eye that this Church is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing. Secularists seem to be of the clouded view that ethics can somehow be divorced from morality and exist in a vacuum.

When attack the Church, these secularists seems to have no regard for facts. I was looking at a BBC World Service blog which poses the question “Where do you draw the line in scientific research?” and marvelled at usual at some of the comments: “Not wanting the Church to repeat a Galileo who died for saying that the world revolve around the sun.” He was killed for it? Really? (No.) “Let’s not forget the persecution Galileo, Leonardo and other geniuses who dared to challenge the status quo.” Leonardo? When was he persecuted? And who are the other geniuses?

When they run out of facts, they resort to ad hominem. “The faithful are morally and philosophically bankrupt!
They should not have a say!”

Despite all of this, some people are listening to what the Church has to say. In a rare show of moral backbone, even some Catholic members of the Cabinet have revolted. Gordon Brown has been faced with losing a significant number of ministers or backing down and allow a free vote. But given the true moral bankruptcy of the country, he has allies on Opposition benches, possibly including Conservative leader David Cameron. If there is any ethical waffling involved, he can probably rely on the Liberal Democrats as well.

Christians Are Just Too Happy

As Western Easter approaches, it seems the voice of disbelief has gotten louder. I don’t know if I just happen to be surfing to the wrong blogs, but especially being post-Christian seems quite fashionable. That’s not to say that never-have-believed crowd is being pushed to the side.

Andrew McKie, the Obituaries Editor of The Daily Telegraph dared to blog today “Why I believe in God“, and most of the responses are the same atheist drivel. Stuff like: “After Darwin kicked away one of the major supports of Christianity, it was downhill all the way. Because only Flat-earthers and Americans buy that Creationist/Intelligent Design crap.” You gotta love that poncy British air of superiority.

But the most ridiculous of all is, “Over time religious people will die off and nonbelief and science will triumph over ancient mythology.” The only problem is that there are more and more religious people. Christianity is growing at a far greater rate in the global south than it is dying out in western Europe. And not only do religious people far outnumber non-believers, but they also have a much higher rate of procreation.

As I commented in response on McKie’s blog, what’s actually dying is western Europe itself. At well below the replacement rate of population, nonbelief is on pace to die out pretty quick. This is because humanism has a very selfish, personal side. A significant number put off procreating until it is biologically too late and if they do it at an inconvenient time, and miss the morning-after pill, they elect to have one of the 200,000 abortions recorded in the UK each year.

The same commenter then said something even more ludicrous: “Some recent studies indicate that religious people are happier than nonbelievers. People are always happier when they are deluded because they do not realize there is a reason for them to be unhappy. Couple that with the fact that nonbelievers in the United States are marginalized and attacked by believers it should surprise no one that nonbelievers are less happy.”

That’s right. Christians are happier because they are deluded. If they knew the truth, they would be as unhappy as everyone else. What a depressing worldview. And non-believers are not just unhappy because they are not deluded. No, it is the fault of those happy Christians! Or more specifically, those happy American Christians. They are compounding the depression of nihilism already oppressing the unbelievers! Roving gangs of happy Christians attacking random unbelievers. No doubt stopping unbelievers on the street and when they can’t pass the Christian shibboleths, marginalising them right then and there.

And it would appear that according to this commenter, the impact of these American attacks is felt world-wide by non-believers, making all of them less happy. Who knew? Well, clearly not believers. They have been blissfully deluded.

Doctors Tried to Kill a Healthy Baby

I can understand how people can be opposed to abortion and the death penalty. What I can’t understand is how people could opposed capital punishment, yet have no problem with abortion.

Death penalty opponents often (as in just about every time I see or hear one) say, “With an imperfect justice system, there is no doubt that an innocent person will be executed.” How many of them take the same view when it comes to abortions performed on the grounds of the serious illness or handicap of the foetus?

In the England, Wales and Scotland, a child in the womb diagnosed with a serious handicap can be aborted up to the time of natural delivery. Doctors wanted to abort Brandon Kramer. He was diagnosed with rhomboencephalosynapsis. He would be born blind and deaf and only survive for a few hours. That diagnosis was after they said he had Downs Syndrome.

His parents are glad they withstood the pressure from doctors. His father put it succinctly “I feel incredibly guilty thinking that I could have killed him – and then I find myself wondering how many other babies are killed who would have turned out to be completely healthy.”

Read the whole story in the Mail on Sunday.

Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind in Kosovo

I’ve debated within myself whether to step into the morass that is the matter of Kosovan independence. After my post on the Rest of the Bible blew away all my previous stats on this blog and overnight became the most read post in the history of this incarnation of my blog and my daily stats doubled my previous high, the return to normal numbers is a bit of a letdown. If I alienate all of my Ortho-blogger friends, the numbers are likely to dry up even further.

Let me say from the outset, that I don’t think the Unilateral Declaration of Independence was a good thing for a least three reasons. First of all, Kosovo is Serbia. It is just one of a number of regions. It happens that ethnic Albanians have migrated there. Second, UDIs create a mess in international law. Invariably some countries recognise it and others don’t. It’s made an even bigger mess when members of the UN Security Council are on opposite sides of the matter. They can (and are perfectly will to do so in this case) block the emerging country from joining the club. Third, as Steve notes, Kosovo UDI is a triumph for terrorism.

The Serb minority in Kosovo have been, and will continue to be, subject to persecution. I think this is a bad thing. Yes, it is a statement of the obvious. So why do I bother?

Because I think was goes around comes around. Or to use biblical language, what you sow, you reap. As Orthodox, ever-persecuted, or at least in the West having a sympathetic persecution complex, we want to see Serbia as the victim – the victim of the Croats, the victim of Bill Clinton, the victim of the Muslims (whether Bosnian or Albania or Turk). Neither am I denying that Serbia and the Serbs have suffered in the past, both distant and recent. But neither have they been keen to turn the other cheek. They have been just as willing to perpetrate genocide when it suited them.

So you say, yeah, sure, but that’s those evil politicians and generals like Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić. The Serbian Church has been pure as the driven snow over the mass graves in Bosnia.

Unfortunately, that’s not true either. The Serbian Church has behaved like the Russian Church when communism was overthrown there. It has immediately grabbed ahold of the leverage of the State to persecute other Christians. Like the Russian Church, it is nationalistic and ethnocentric. You can’t encourage violence and oppression against Protestant Hungarians in Vojvodina and then cry foul when Muslim Albanians start wrecking your churches and burning your icons in Kosovo.

Several bloggers have suggested that Russia will come to Serbia’s aid in this latest turn of the Kosovo crisis. Will that be in the form of fascist Putin Youth, fresh from the government-sponsored stadium rallies encouraging them to fornicate to make babies for Mother Russia? Are Orthodox in the West willing to decry American imperialism while supporting the resurgence of Russian imperialism, because it is the imperialism of an ostensibly Orthodox country?

Frankly, I think that rather than looking to them for spiritual guidance, Orthodox in the West need to start asking some hard questions about the “Orthodox homelands”. Let’s set aside the blatant Phyletism, if we can for a moment ignore the elephant in the room. Why is the abortion rate in Russia only exceeded in Europe by (you guessed it, another Orthodox country) Romania, that only legalised after the fall of Communism what the Church has always recognised as the intentional killing of an innocent human life, when the Church was once again free to proclaim and propagate the Tradition? Bulgaria, Belarus, Ukraine and Greece are not far behind.

I do not for a minute want a single person, Orthodox or otherwise, in Kosovo to suffer persecution in any form. I do not want to see the historic churches there to suffer even worse than the churches of this country did under Oliver Cromwell. But neither will I blindly support the Serbs just because they are Serbs or Orthodox, nor will I ignore the whole political and spiritual picture.

Huck Not Out

While he is clearly trailing, and I don’t think he will get the nomination – especially as the media have already nominated McCain – Huckabee showed last night that he’s not Hucka-been just yet. Sadly I have to agree with the pundits that he is working himself into position for the VP nod. But the good news is McCain will be the oldest President if elected. That gives Mike a shot at the top spot before ’12 or ’16.

I was looking at the exit poll data from Missouri – always noted as a bellweather state. Huckabee was favourite candidate of Protestants generally. He was the overwhelming favourite amongst small city and rural voters (38% as opposed to 26% for McCain). He was by far the favourite amongst the “very conservative” (41% to 17%). He was the favourite of voters under 30 (35% to 27%). Not surprisingly, he was the choice of those absolutely opposed to abortion (40% to 29%). He was the choice for those voters who said what mattered most was for a candidate to share their values (41% to 21%). Amongst those who called themselves “born again”, Huckabee doubled McCain’s vote (44% to 22%). In all these categories, Romney falls somewhere in the middle.

If McCain wants to motivate and mobilise the vote, he needs Huckabee. This is especially true if Obama gets the Democratic nomination. Even though his voting record is more liberal, Obama hasn’t built up the negative feeling that Hillary has.

As I noted in a comments to the previous post, I stopped watching BBC coverage after while and switched to SkyNews. After the insightful comments of comments of Christopher Hitchens, the Beeb didn’t have much time for Huck. They didn’t even carry his speech live. They were much too enamored with Clinton and Obama. To be fair to Hitchens (even if he doesn’t feel obligated to be fair), he did note that for all the talk of Obama being the first black president, he is only half-black and that half wasn’t descended from forced migration to the US (as he refers to the Peculiar Institution). Thus he shares nothing more than skin tone with the vast majority of African-Americans.

One Man and Two Women

The creation of Franken-byros continues.

Ten human embryos each containing the DNA from one man and two women have been created in a project that within three years could lead to the first genetically altered babies being born in Britain.

These embryonic humans were killed after just five days.

The point of the exercise was to replace cell mitochondria, thus removing the potential for certain diseases. This has already been done in mice, gestating them to birth and then using them to reproduce.

Scientists involved and other proponents say this is not creating designer babies, because the mitochondria don’t affect the development of appearance or personality. However, it is clearly obvious that this is the next step. Once the mitochondria can be interchanged and the baby grown to term, swapping out genes will be easy to introduce without causing to much of a fuss. It wouldn’t be a fuss, because it would already be legal.

Lord Walton of Detchant has proposed an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill currently working irs way through Parliament. It would allow this treatment to be used with the approval of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. No further legislation would be required.

Left to Die

If someone’s going to go an kill a baby in the womb, they ought to at least do it properly. The NHS apparently isn’t do such a good job.

That doesn’t mean these babies born alive are allowed to continue living.  They are just left to die. Sounds particularly barbaric, doesn’t it?

Babies Playing the Postcode Lottery

The debate in Parliament over the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill has provided the opportunity to members to present amendment to either liberalise or further restrict abortions. There is a big push amongst some MPs and in certain outlets of the MSM to reduce the number of gestational weeks during which an abortion can be procured for social reasons. It is currently at 24 weeks, having been reduced from 28 week in 1990.

But that’s all over the news. You don’t need me to tell you something you can read anywhere. What I didn’t know is that there are only 180 neo-natal units in this country. That’s roughly one for every 333,000 people.  As you would expect, they are not evenly distributed. It’s another example of the NHS postcode lottery.

If you get yourself to University College Hospital in London, your baby has one of the best chances of survival in the country. In the years just after the legislation was amended to it’s current state, 1991-95 the rate of survival for babies born at 23 weeks was 44%. It has risen since then. At 24 weeks, over the same periods, survival rose from 50% to 81%.

Live where there is no unit and the outlook isn’t so good.  Sometimes even the right postcode doesn’t help. As reported in the Daily Telegraph, “according to a National Audit Office report each unit had to close its doors an average of 52 times during 2006-07.” Even if those closures were for only one day at a time, that’s still an average of once a week. Chances are that at least in some cases, the closures were for longer.

Given these problems with the health service, it is surprising that the survival rate for neo-nates is as high as it is. It is not surprising that the rates are higher in other countries.

Embryology Agenda

Embryologists may have missed this fact: there are already plenty of sperm and egg cells in the world today. The potential is there for creating enough babies for everyone, using a method that has been available since the beginning of the human species.

There is no need to create sperm cells from female embryonic stems cells or from male bone marrow cells. There is only one reason for doing this. All of the research and attempts to change legislation are to make it possible for gay or lesbian couples to have children that are genetically related to both partners.

It is ultimate attempt to thumb the nose at God – the ultimate humanism. It is mankind saying, “We will make our own creation. We will do it by our own rules.” It is the consumate rejection of the natural order. It is the crime against nature.

At the same time that new ways are being developed to create life, 200,000 abortions are being recorded each year in the UK. That number does not include those resulting from the “morning after” pill. There would be plenty of babies available for adoption by childless couples – even gay and lesbian couples favoured under current legislation – if they weren’t all being killed.

Searching for Mike

Once again I have been getting lots of traffic from various Mike Huckabee searches. It is interesting to see the sort of searches that bring people to my blog. So far today it has included “huckbee + gay rights”, “Mike Huckabee theocrat”, “huckabee theocrat”, “Michael huckabee”, “mike huckbee evolution”, and “mike huckbee immigration”.

Seems a lot of folks are worried about Mike, afraid he is going to persecute gays, ban the teaching of evolution, and do all sort of other dastardly theocratic things. Of course he’s never suggested these things.

The closest thing might be when in 1992 he suggested that those with AIDS should be quarrantined. Since AIDS was generally associated with the gay community due to the nature of the transmission of the disease, particularly in the early days, I suppose this could be considered a persecution of gays.

Most Americans don’t believe in evolution, so like the majority of the electorate, Mike Huckabee is a creationist. Of course the liberal elite (even those who call themselves Fiscal Conservatives) can’t imagine that someone who holds high political office actually holds the same views as the unwashed masses. This is really why they can’t stand Mike. Politicians all talk about being public servants – but they don’t really mean it.

The only weakness I see is the immigration issue. There seem to be an awful lot of people for whom immigration is a very hot button issue. Mike is trying very hard to be anti-immigrant as possible, while still obeying the directive to love his neighbour as himself. It is certainly a hard row to hoe. If he shows a Christ-like attitude toward immigrants it could cost him the votes of many of his natural constituents who are anti-abortion, favour the traditional family, and don’t believe in evolution.

Character and Moral Leadership

I wish I could remember which blog (or blog combox) I read that said Mike Huckabee seems to be running for America’s pastor rather than American’s president. I don’t do lots of blog surfing, so it may be a sentiment that has been oft-repeated or picked up from an MSM expert or pundit.

Tonight as I was washing the dishes, I realised that if that’s what Mike is trying to do, then he has the right idea. What are Americans looking for in a president? They are looking for someone who is caring and comforting in time of need. They are looking for someone who can articulate a vision and inspire hope and courage. They are looking for someone who is not afraid to call evil “evil” and good “good”; someone with a fixed moral compass.

Should voters care about a candidate’s view on foreign policy? Not really. It doesn’t change much from administration to administration, because each has to deal with the exigencies of the day in a pragmatic way. Bush policy didn’t different much from Clinton policy until 9/11 and there’s nothing to say that Gore dealing with post 9/11 would have done it any different than Bush. Would Gore have been more forbearing of Saddam’s flagrant disregard for sanctions and the no-fly zones? Frankly, we don’t know who he would have had running State, Defense, and the NSA, so we don’t know which ways he would have been pulled. Had he invaded (an idea most everyone loved at the time), would he have been stuck in the same mire as the Bush administration? Probably so.

So much of the hype and focus by the MSM is based on red herrings. I would hope for more honesty in the blogosphere. From what I can see, the bloggers of the Northeast and the West Coast, as a few wannabes caught in the Red States in between, are stropping around the blogosphere, furious that a lot of Republicans don’t want gee-everyone-makes-mistakes-like-two-openly-adulterous-relationships Guiliani. They can’t for the life of them understand why Americans might not want a contest between a pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion Republican and a pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion Democrat.

Both sides know that these issues and others have little to do with the Presidency. It’s like Mike Huckabee’s answer about evolution. Why is somebody asking this of a candidate for president when it has nothing to do with the presidency? Those asking the questions are trying to show that Huckabee is a religious idiot – that’s what Blue Staters want to see and will see regardless of how he answers questions on evolution. No one in the Red States believes in evolution anyway, so all it does is convince them that Mike’s their man.

And for all of Bill Clinton’s “It’s the economy stupid” slogan, the Chief Executive actually doesn’t have a lot of control of that either, the OMB and the Departments of Treasury and Commerce notwithstanding. At the end of the day, it is about character.

It is not about competence. Just about every candidate running in the two main parties is competent to be president. All the Republicans want to be like Ronald Reagan and he slept through much of his second term, still managing to combine his moral leadership with that of some pastors in Eastern Europe to being down the Iron Curtain.

All the Democrats want to be like JFK, whose presidency was about fiascos and philandering. Oh, and he got himself killed. Assassination is the civil religion equivalent of martyrdom, so he’s now a saint.

No, it’s about character. It’s about moral leadership. I’m a firm believer that elections give the electorate what they deserve. If the Red States lose their focus on values, they deserve to get a valueless president.