"Above my paygrade" Obama biffs it at Saddleback

The line that may well haunt Barrack Obama for the rest of his campaign, according to The Corner, the blog for national Review Online. Blogger Mark Hemingway writes:

When asked "At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?," McCain answered "At the moment of conception." Obama's answer here was flaming-dirigible bad:

Whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is, you know, above my pay grade.

That spectacularly inept metaphor is going to haunt Obama throughout the rest of the campaign. News flash: There's not a job on the planet above the pay grade of the President of the United States. If you can't solve every problem and are humble about it, that's fine — but you can't get away with being unsure about the most defining moral issue in politics. Of course, he didn't put down the shovel:

But let me speak more generally about the issue of abortion. Because this is something, obviously, the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And So I think that anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue is not paying attention.

So after completely hedging on the question and declining to give a specific answer — he wants to speak "more generally" about the issue? And, lo and behold, speak more generally he does: "I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue." In related news, Obama is also "absolutely convinced" that the sky is blue, water is wet and puppies are adorable. None of this, however, tells me a thing about his judgment and moral worldview.

McCain's answer is a bit more revealing and forthcoming:

McCain, I believe had something more to offer. When asked whom they would turn to for help, Obama started off with his wife and grandmother. Great answers, if you're running for Miss USA. For the job of PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES experience counts. McCain began with General Petraus, A Democratic Senator John Lewis and the former CEO of Ebay Meg Whitman.

In the comments section of the article, this stood out to me:

In the first fifteen minutes, McCain had established a moral seriousness stemming from his conduct in Vietnam as a POW and his long-time as a national leader that Obama can't match. Throughout the rest of the night, he brought up Iraq, al Qaeda, and the Georgia crisis, when Obama was more inward-looking. McCain sounded like a potential commander-in-chief, Obama more like a potential friend. This is not to say, again, that Obama was not impressive. But the skills he showed tonight—the thoughtfulness and verbal dexterity—were those of a very talented memoirist, which, of course, he is.

Byron York
also points out that one of the key factors that stood out last night was: EXPERIENCE! Yes folks, it still counts. He writes,

John McCain has lived a much bigger life than Barack Obama. That’s not a slam at Obama; McCain has lived a much bigger life than most people. But it still made Obama look small in comparison. McCain was the clear winner of the night.

I could go on with a few other things that got my thinking. But I think this gave McCain chance to show his experience, his war record, and even get to show his more human side. It will be interesting to see how this Forum affects the polls in the next few days.

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