Question to Ponder

Question to Ponder September 7, 2008

How do you interpret what Obama says on This Week With  George Stephanopoulos (Sept 7, 2008)? What are the possible implications of these words?


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  • blackadderiv

    I’d say the implication is obvious: Obama misspoke.

  • I’d say the implication is obvious: Obama misspoke.

    Well, interpretation: he misspoke.
    Implication: McCain supporters will have a fun time with it.

  • jim

    If you’re going to play this much of this exchange you need to play the next 30-60 seconds to be fair. Of course this slip will be taken out of context and used against him. That’s what the Republicans are all about. Especially if they think it will confuse people into voting for McCain.

  • David Nickol

    Henry,

    Don’t you think it is at best misleading (if not a gross distortion) to omit what Obama said next, in response to Brokaw saying, “You mean your Christian faith”?

  • jh

    Oh he misspoke. He no doubt was thinking of his mind of the Muslim RUmors and how McCain did not go there.

    I am sure though this will be YOu tubeed a thousand times

  • jh

    “That’s what the Republicans are all about. Especially if they think it will confuse people into voting for McCain.”

    It should be noted quite a few Republican leaning major blogs and sites have spent some time refuting varuous Obama conspiracies. Partly because they know this silliness will backfire and trying to pour water on the fringe crowd

  • I have been all over conservative political blogs this morning, and this is this first I’ve seen of this clip – here, at this blog.

  • ann

    Get off of it all you guys.

    I do not support Obama because he leans toward socialism, big government and is willing to oppose laws which protect live born children who are victims of abortion. McCain is no gift to the people either, but he is better than Obama in enough ways to allow me and many other Catholics to vote for him.

    Notwhithstanding that, the man just mispoke. Don’t waste cyberspace on it.

  • RR

    The Republican establishment won’t use this but the Republican grassroots will. Fortunately for Obama the Republican grassroots isn’t very tech savvy. The YouTube mashup authors seem to be overwhelmingly Obama or Ron Paul supporters.

  • David Nickol

    How do you interpret what Obama says on This Week With George Stephanopoulos (Sept 7, 2008)? What are the possible implications of these words?

    Henry,

    After Obama says, “my Muslim faith,” and Brokaw says, “your Christian faith,” Obama says, “Well, what I am saying is that he [John McCain] hasn’t suggested that I am a Muslim.”

    So in response to your question, I would say we do not need to interpret what Obama said, because in the sentence that you omitted, Obama clearly states what he meant, and what any fair person whould have assumed he meant had he not clarified.

    Even if you want to suggest that Obama made a Freudian slip, and he is in reality a Muslim, it was a distortion to omit Obama’s full statement.

  • Tom

    “A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.” ~ Ben Franklin

    Whatever his faith is, the slightest miscalculation or inadvertent gaff, whether fair on unfair, can be costly.

  • David – I’m pretty sure Henry does not believe that it was a Freudian slip, nor that Obama is a Muslim (as if that even matters). Nor do I think Henry omitted anything from the clip himself. He just posted what he found on YouTube. I think Henry is simply anticipating a ridiculous Republican response to and misuse of the clip.

  • I second Michael’s thoughts above. Which is scary, but nonetheless true. 🙂

  • jh

    One could take the more cynical viewpoint that perhaps this was intentional by Obama 🙂

    It will make the fringe conservative blogs go into overdrive and then he can counter his fringe problem that went to berserk on Palin

    I don’t know why this was one of the first things that popped in my mind this morning but ii did lol

  • Simple: Nemo dat quod non habet.

  • Rob

    I don’t like Obama but the idea that he is Muslim is ridiculous. If he were a Muslim, I would like him more. Muslims find abortion as abhorrent as I do.

  • David Nickol

    He just posted what he found on YouTube.

    Michael,

    That scarcely seems to me to be a defense!

    I am sure Henry didn’t intend to post something misleading, but the clip as it appears on YouTube is a distortion, and I think it was a mistake to post it here as if it were merely a clip from This Week With George Stephanopoulos. I think very highly of Henry, and I am not accusing him of mischief. I just think he made a mistake on this one.

  • “Muslims find abortion as abhorrent as I do.”

    Hey look, it’s a one-trick pony.

    Radical Islam has a lot in common with pre-Vatican II Catholicism, ie when it still had teeth. Thankfully, they never realized that and instead turned on one another. Inter-religious burning of heretics. Complementing lists of banned books. Woot.

  • The Republicans will use it. That’s what they do. Did you hear the nonsense about the discarded flags at Denver? It’ll give sustanceless-Sarah something to pounce on, and cray base world will go crazy– giving her a free pass on the distorted “Christianity” of her own pastors.

  • Yes and the Democrats are pure as the driven snow. It’s politics. It’s dirty. Get used to it. Obama’s only high-falutin’ as long as the teleprompter doesn’t fail. Remember how the Obama camp referred to Palin as a mayor of a city of 9000, not as governor. It’s the will to power. Both parties have it. I for one don’t care how Obama is beaten, as long as he is beaten. Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

    And who are you to ” ” other people’s Christianity when you yourself sit in the St. Peter’s of glass houses ? Of course, you do it all the time. You’d have made a good Grand Inquisitor. “Your Holiness, he is a Calvinist ! I say we have him drawn and quartered by virtue of his Dualism alone !”

  • David Nickol

    I for one don’t care how Obama is beaten, as long as he is beaten. Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

    Gerald,

    Now you’re just trying to be shocking. If you really believed this, we should all just stop reading what you have to say, since it would be perfectly acceptable for you to tell any lie you thought would help elect McCain. I find it difficult to believe you are as amoral as you are claiming to be.

  • jh

    It appears my fellwo Conservatives are playing this smart. THe red most red meat of Conservative sites on the net “Hot Air” that gets a ton of linkage is throwing cold water on this

    http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/07/video-no-obama-didnt-admit-to-being-a-muslim-on-abc/

  • I consider Obama to be a catastrophe, on many levels. Why would I care how he loses ? Politics has never been a fair business. The purpose sanctifies the means. When Iran, EUrope etc. wants Obama to win, it’s clear he has to close. No one needs another Jimmy Carter.

  • Brett

    “Why would I care how he loses?” “The purpose sanctifies the means.”

    What is a catastrophe is this logic and rhetoric. People who think this way actual hold false ideas, like it is actually morally possible to “win” an unjust war. False pretexts for war? No problem. Use of toxic depleted uranium during the war, thus violating justice in war criteria. Ha! Who cares? Ends justify the means. Nonsense!

    Gerald says: Lie cheat and steal to make Obama lose, because his victory would be a “catastrophe.” Gotta get your hands dirty and play rough. This is a nasty world.

    Mind boggling any Christian could say such a thing! What ever happened to the idea that Christians would rather die than lie? Our inability to practice and insist on truthful speech is absolutely killing us. It is just as important as the abortion question. If you want to know why, let me recommend you a fine, fine book by Paul Griffiths: _Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity_ which explains why, for Augustine, lying is so deadly serious for Christian discipleship.

  • blackadderiv

    The Republicans will use it. That’s what they do. Did you hear the nonsense about the discarded flags at Denver?

    Between the rumors that Gov. Palin’s son was actually her grandson and the ones that she was cheating on her husband with his business partner, it’s understandable if people missed that one.

  • Obama has a difficult time without a teleprompter. He was probably thinking of two ways to say the same thing.

    “John McCain hasn’t brought up the rumor that I’m a Muslim.”

    Saying Muslim is not a good thing when rumors are flying, so what came out was “Muslim Faith”.

    My vote is on “misspoke” also. I can see it in the next ad though. 🙂

  • Mike

    Gerald, if you believe that “the purpose sanctifies the means,” then you are hopelessly immoral and corrupt. You’re a natural Republican.

  • How do you interpret what Obama says?

    That Stephanopoulous is absolutely right? I would interpret that statement as an implicit positing on Obama’s part of absolute truth, meaning that Obama is not a relativist.

  • I agree with Michael Iafrate. (!!!) Not worth discussing.

    On the other hand, rather than ridiculous speculations about Obama’s “Muslim” faith it would be more productive to comment on Senator Biden’s repeat of Nancy Pelosi’s horribly botched presentation of the Catholic position on abortion in today’s Meet The Press — after a week of individual and collective teaching on the subject from the Catholic bishops.

    That is something Republicans could justifiably go after.

  • That scarcely seems to me to be a defense!

    I am sure Henry didn’t intend to post something misleading, but the clip as it appears on YouTube is a distortion, and I think it was a mistake to post it here as if it were merely a clip from This Week With George Stephanopoulos. I think very highly of Henry, and I am not accusing him of mischief. I just think he made a mistake on this one.

    I guess what I’m saying is that, if I know Henry, he is precisely asking what the Republicans will do with this sliver of the interview, knowing that it is taken out of context.

    Gerald, if you believe that “the purpose sanctifies the means,” then you are hopelessly immoral and corrupt. You’re a natural Republican.

    Ha!

    On the other hand, rather than ridiculous speculations about Obama’s “Muslim” faith it would be more productive to comment on Senator Biden’s repeat of Nancy Pelosi’s horribly botched presentation of the Catholic position on abortion in today’s Meet The Press — after a week of individual and collective teaching on the subject from the Catholic bishops.

    That is something Republicans could justifiably go after.

    And I agree with Christopher, save for his insinuation that his Republican identity is what would inspire “going after” Biden on this issue. Catholics should go after him on it. And they should also go after McCain-Palin (that is, if they had the chance to actually interact with Gov. Palin) for their monstrous views on foreign policy and economics.

  • Obama’s views on foreign policy.

    Didn’t he refuse to take military action against Iran “off the table?” in the O’Reilly interview?

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,417563,00.html

    OBAMA: Here’s where you and I agree. It is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. It would be a game changer, and I’ve said that repeatedly. I’ve also said I would never take a military option off the table.

    O’REILLY: But would you prepare for one?

    OBAMA: Well, listen…

    O’REILLY: That’s the question though, senator. Anybody can say option. Would you prepare for it?

    OBAMA: Look, it is not appropriate for somebody who is one of two people who can be the president of the United States to start tipping their hand in terms of what their plans might be with respect to Iran. It’s sufficient to say I would not take the military option off the table and that I will never hesitate to use our military force in order to protect the homeland and United States’ interests.

    And then in his acceptance speech, McCain said, “I hate war.”

    It would be helpful if VN would provide a non-partisan, unemotional side-by-side examination of what the foreign policy of these two tickets really is, instead of resting on the assumption that the Democrats (the party of Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton, all men with blood on their hands) are peace-mongers.

  • Winston D

    It will be just like the Palin-as-Trig’s-grandmother story, or the Palin-affair story, or the Palin is a hypocrite for having Trig, with the exception that mainstream publications won’t endorse the comments as accurate. http://www.salon.com/env/feature/2008/09/05/sarah_palin_down_syndrome/

  • It would be helpful if VN would provide a non-partisan, unemotional side-by-side examination of what the foreign policy of these two tickets really is, instead of resting on the assumption that the Democrats (the party of Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton, all men with blood on their hands) are peace-mongers.

    I believe it’s important to separate what these two say and what they do.

  • Here’s what some Republicans are doing:

    No, Obama didn’t admit to being a Muslim on ABC (HotAir.com — Michelle Malkin’s website. I know Vox Novans think she’s the most despicable person in the world, but hey: credit where credit’s due.

  • “That is something Republicans could justifiably go after.”

    Sorry? Whatever Biden or Pelosi say about such matters is an intra-Catholic issue, and “Republicans” have no part in this debate, especially given their dominant evangelical theology and culture.

  • Insofar as Biden’s “personally opposed, but unwilling to impose my religious belief on abortion on others” stance is morally and rationally incomprehensible I’d say it’s fair game for anybody, not just Catholics.

    I imagine if a politician made similar remarks substituting torture or slavery or racism for “abortion”, you’d be all over that. And justifiably so.

    This “Obama is a Muslim” — not worth discussing.

  • jeremy

    Sorry? Whatever Biden or Pelosi say about such matters is an intra-Catholic issue, and “Republicans” have no part in this debate, especially given their dominant evangelical theology and culture.
    There goes MM again, imposing his religious beliefs on the rest of us.

  • jeremy

    … helpful if VN would provide a …, unemotional
    you are new here, aren’t you…

  • Cal Brian

    Politics is a dirty business and watching both conventions, I’ve come to the conclusion that Republicans are just better at it.

    Historically, the way things are going, the incumbant party should be thrown out 60/40(whether or not they are actually responsible for all of the problems or not).

    However, I wouldn’t be suprised if the Democrats actually blow this one.

  • I believe it’s important to separate what these two say and what they do

    That might be useful if Obama had actually done anything except campaign for president.

  • That might be useful if Obama had actually done anything except campaign for president.

    What I am referring to is the fact that McCain has been one of the architects of the War in Terror, and desires to expand it, and yet he says he “hates war.” Obama says “all options are on the table,” but he opposed the Iraq War. (Obviously, the latter’s views on war are not perfect, but no one campaigning for the highest office of the perpetually warmaking united states could ever be a pacifist.)

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    “I make [decisions] as quickly as I can, quicker than the other fellow, if I can… “Often my haste is a mistake, but I live with the consequences without complaint.”- John McCain

    I, for one, don’t want to live with the consequences of this admitted impetuousness–particularly, in regards to foreign policy.

  • Ok, I’ve given people a chance to discuss this without making my own response.

    First, every statement one makes requires interpretation. Even “direct statements” require it.

    Second, obviously I didn’t think Obama was saying he is a Muslim (nor that most people would believe he is saying it here — though, when I had posted this, I had already seen some discussion saying this proves he is, because they said it was a Freudian slip, etc).

    So what is the point? The point is the implications of interpretation and how one interprets and how one should go beyond sound bites, but, as Michael I was saying, look beyond words but also to actions.

  • Teresa

    You would do well to look at how I criticized Biden to see how he failed in matters of war. Obama, on the other hand, is, you are right, using the possible threat of force against Iran as a means by which he would enter into talks with Iran. That would make such talks more than a little unbalanced, to be sure; on the other hand, we have seen the kind of ridicule his critics have put on him for being willing to enter such dialogue. Yet, has anyone really said Obama is a pacifist, or the Democrats are pacifists? No.

  • HA

    Radical Islam has a lot in common with pre-Vatican II Catholicism, ie when it still had teeth. Thankfully, they never realized that and instead turned on one another. Inter-religious burning of heretics. Complementing lists of banned books.

    Ah, nothing like re-posting the same lame argument over several threads in the hopes that repetition will somehow make it more convincing or amusing. After all, I would think that centuries of Catholic/Islamic “turning on one another” is ample indication that there was more to being either than banning of heretics and burning of books.

    In any case, it must be pretty galling, as a self-professed pragmatist, that it is certain enlightened pragmatist societies like Holland and Netherlands who are colluding with Islam these days when it comes to banning cartoonists and outspoken anti-Muslim political figures.

    But don’t take it too hard. I’m sure we’ll all you find you a lot less of an ass once that joint encyclical/fatwa is issued regarding the appropriate size of the projectiles to be used in stoning homosexuals, and the optimal size of rods for disciplining whichever of our four wives happen to be acting up.

  • HA

    Muslims find abortion as abhorrent as I do.

    Actually, Islam, having no central authority, has a variety of views on when it is permissible to abort, given different jurists’ opinions on when the fetus is completely formed and possessing a soul. I.e. they are generally softer on abortion than Christian societies have historically been.

    But I’m sure Gerald Naus has some clever and droll — not to mention lame — rationalization/observation of that, too.

  • HA

    like Holland and Netherlands

    Let’s try making that Holland and Denmark. So much for posting at 4am.

  • S.B.

    Obviously Obama misspoke, just as he misspoke when he referred to being in “New Pennsylvania.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuysikG55Ks The interesting thing is the vastly different attitude that the VN crowd has when Obama misspeaks compared to when McCain misspeaks (i.e., referring to Czechoslovakia, which at least did exist for many years, whereas New Pennsylvania has never existed).

  • S.B.
  • Well, even Michelle Malkin didn’t jump on this one. Guess who did, though? Yes, Bill Donohue, who heads an organization with the name “Catholic” in it.

    http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1482

  • S.B.
  • S.B.

    Although this isn’t exactly an airtight denial: “‘Any statement that I made would only further this activity which is not in the interest of Barack,’ al-Mansour is quoted as saying.”

  • Donna

    Obama misspoke. I am a McCain supporter, but I don’t buy into all this “Obama is a secret Muslim” nonsense. And I would expect that any decent Obama supporter would decry BS about Palin’s baby/supposed love affairs and McCain being brainwashed by the North Vietnamese.

    Rubbish all of it.

  • Franklin Jennings

    Great, so we’ve demonstrated that Bill Donahue is as goofy as half the contributors at Vox Nova, just in the other direction. My, what a high bar we have set.