My mother, an incurable Democrat, God forgive her, adored Adlai Stevenson. To her mind, he and Richard Nixon offered the extreme and opposite poles of spiritual reality, like Saint Michael and Lucifer.
Among today’s politicians, Sen. Barack Obama inspires the same rare kind of devotion. I am not suggesting that this passion is warranted; on the contrary, I think it is, sub specie aeternitatis, ridiculous. Obama is a reflexive liberal who was reduced to absurdity last summer by a simple question. He had just delivered a tirade against dogfighting when a member of his audience asked why, if he is a professing Christian, he finds dogfighting more outrageous than legal abortion.
Obama, of course, had no answer to this. Rather desperately, without his typical aplomb, he muttered the usual formulae of his party about women, “choice,” and so forth, but he had nothing even slightly illuminating to say about the actual subject: the deliberate killing of innocent human beings before birth.
His duel with Hillary Clinton and her husband came to a head during the annual obsequies for Martin Luther King, Jr., an exercise in vacuous piety I have never been able to understand. King’s courage commands my respect, but his words, now quoted like Scripture, are offensive to reason, quite apart from their hypocrisy. I found them irritating long before the...