Obama Moment of Truth

If sports is a metaphor of life, Barack Obama needs to take a look at the Washington Redskins. The Washington football team started out like gangbusters this year, but it swooned at mid-season and finished out of the NFL playoffs. Obama, beware.

Who can doubt that our president-elect had a terrific 2008, assisted by an economic crisis and cheered on by pom-pom wavers in an obsequious press corps? But come January 20, inauguration day, and the game is for real. And even the pom-pom wavers — perhaps especially they — can turn mean terribly fast.

Every president takes the oath of office amid hopes and fears, but none since Ronald Reagan has come to office surrounded by quite so many expectations and anxieties as Obama.

Many of the expectations are grossly unrealistic. Obama is an extremely talented man, but no matter how talented he is, many of the problems he’ll face as president fall in the category of intractable. Which is to say: devilishly hard to solve and in some cases lacking acceptable solutions.

Very soon, though, America’s problems will be Obama’s problems. But they are our problems too, and, considered in that light, it would be crazy for anyone to hope our extremely talented new president fails. From fighting the recession and straightening out medical care, to deflecting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, deterring international terrorism, and calming the Middle East, if Obama comes up short, not just he but all of us will be in hot water.

The exception to this rule is the set of concerns commonly called “social issues.” On these matters — abortion, gay marriage, and the like — moral conservatives understandably hope that the president either pulls back or else falls on his face. Unfortunately, neither thing seems very likely.

During the year past, Catholics have been involved in a sometimes ugly intramural spat over Obama’s intentions on abortion. The claims of Catholics who backed him during the campaign generally reflected what can only charitably be called wishful thinking. Once he was in the White House, these folks repeatedly told us, he could be trusted not to act as pro-abortion as he had acted for years and as he had promised during the campaign he would continue to act.

Now it’s almost the moment of truth. And the weeks of the transition haven’t been encouraging — a bevy of pro-choice cabinet choices, including Tom Daschle as health and human services secretary and administration point man on health care reform, plus a cluster of pro-abortion types in key White House posts.

Word from the transition team was that Obama would act quickly to overturn Bush policies like barring funding for groups that promote abortion overseas and limiting government subsidies for embryonic stem cell research to existing cell lines.

Beyond these things lies the Freedom of Choice Act declaring abortion a fundamental right and supplying the statutory basis for overturning virtually all federal and state restrictions on it. As everyone surely is aware by now, Obama cosponsored the bill as a senator and said that as president he’d sign it into law if he got the chance. Despite soothing voices from the Catholic left, the best way to give him that chance is by neglecting to fight FOCA.

Like Obama, moral conservatives also need to learn a lesson from football: Don’t let your guard down on abortion with this administration or they’ll probably go for the bomb. Hope and pray President Obama succeeds on many things. Hope and pray he fails on this. Work hard to bring that about.

Russell Shaw


Russell Shaw is a freelance writer from Washington, D.C. You can email him at RShaw10290@aol.com.

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  • Claire


  • I am reminded of Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s words that with the election of Obama we have entered the “Twilight of America.” We have to pass through twilight (and night) in order to get to the glorious morning. What is most important is that we as individual Catholics and we as the whole Church never give up hope–for it is as Jesus reminded us, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33). The problems facing America seem overwhelming, but they have all already been conquered. Praise the Risen Lord!

  • Reilly

    I am sorry, I stopped reading at the point where you stated “Obama is an extremely talented man”. I may finish reading this article, for most of YOUR work is talented, but can you please tell me just what talent Obama has – other than being able to raise untraceable funds through foreign websites? He is indeed a skillful manipulator – proven by his actions. He is indeed a most dedicated prevaricator – proven by his statements. He is without question the most popular proponent of infanti-/sui-/geno-/cide – proven by his promises and appointemnts. Please enlighten me, what are his talents? Can he speak intelligently without a teleprompter? Probably not from all instances I’ve seen. Can he care about the “little people” without government assistance? I believe his financials prove he cannot. Does he care? Yes! But demonstrably, only about himself. Please show me a true talent.

  • MichelleGA

    I agree with Reilly. I stopped for a moment at the “…extremely talented man…” part to try to understand what extreme talents Obama may possess. I think he is someone’s puppet as I have not seen any extreme talents for the good from him.

  • goral

    I was thinking the same thing as Reilly, scrolled down and found my thoughts already in print.
    What talent??? If crafty manipulating is one than that’s it.
    The empty suit has succeeded only in politics propelled by circumstances and financiers. There are custodians with more intelligence, ability and moral fortitude than this guy.
    He’s in, that’s what we’re dealing with for the next four years. Everything that he’ll be facing is over his head.
    Of course we want him to succeed in areas that matter to us for the sake of the country. Let’s not be delusional though, the guy is a scorpion.

    The starry eyed voters who gave him a ride across the pond are as the frogs who got stung once on the other side.
    Why did you do that to me? asked the frog. The response- because I am a scorpion, I can not do differently.

  • Richard Bell

    All appearances aside, talentless hacks do not become president. Obama has many talents that lend themselves to winning high office. However, whether he is talented as president has yet to be seen. Manipulating people is a talent, even if the abuse is more common than its use. When we like someone, we call them persuasive, not manipulative, even if the denotations are the same.

  • Lucky Mom of 7

    I think Obama is the devil, but I can’t deny he’s talented. He’s extremely intelligent, charismatic and even handsome.

    I don’t think this point was meant to be the thesis of the article, though. 🙂

    I encourage those who stopped reading to finish.


  • edfromlasvegas

    Professional thiefs have talent. Bill Clinton had talent. Guess where they get that talent to do evil. Not God. Satan – who is roaring about the earth seeking the destruction of souls. Satan has more talent than any human being. Given to him by God, being the angel of light. Lucifer was his name – remember?
    So, talent is relative – Obama’s talent for co-sponsoring the FOCA is from satan.
    Most of his talents are. But, you cannot deny he does have “talent”.
    But have faith. God’s talent outshines, and outlasts satans talents everyday of the week.

  • karinann63

    I’m afraid I have to agree with the Reilly club. I also was tempted to stop reading after you said the man has talent. To quote Dr. House- “Huh?” I just don’t see it. The only thing I do see in him is incompetence. And well that’s just what the New World Order folks were looking for. They needed a puppet to further their agenda. I will not give up hope that we can see some good from this administration and that Obama will have a profound conversion experience. May God have mercy on him and us! Oh one other thing- I believe Mrs. Obama is also a force to be reckoned with.

  • Mary Kochan

    In my opinion this is just the right-wing version of “Bush is dumb.”

    Let’s start with the fact that you do not get into Harvard with no brains and you certainly don’t become editor at the Harvard Law Review with no talent. Obama’s organizational strengths and strategic savvy were clearly evident in his mangement of his campaign.

    Russell Shaw asked me to post this comment from him: “Let’s go back to the sports metaphor. The best way to get beaten badly is to underrate your opponent. Like it or not, folks, Barack Obama is a very talented guy. He wouldn’t be where he is today if he weren’t. If we prolifers can’t accept that, we’re in bad trouble right from the start.”

  • goral

    I don’t think any of us Obama detractors for one minute think that the guy is talent-less. If you breathe and walk you have talent.
    I don’t see any striking or extraordinary ability in the man. In other words he’s an average politician with an above average ability to beguile.
    I’m looking at his accomplishments to date, let’s see… ah…
    Look at his appointments right now, all throwbacks to the impeachment days.
    There is nothing impressive here.
    As I said the right circumstances with the right financing will get you to where he is right now.
    The challenges that the country faces will not be solved by a president who’s leaning so far left that he’s in danger of falling that way.

    I’m looking for major mistakes from the messiah; not because I underestimate him but because his trail of accomplishments can’t be found, he was a mediocre Senator. This is a job where you have to meet payroll, he’s never had to do that.
    I guarantee you that the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces couldn’t name the successive ranks of the officers in any one branch of the military.
    I do think that he’s been practicing his salute.

  • Cooky642

    If Mr. Shaw is looking for sports metaphors for the Obama administration, I suggest he look at the Detroit Lions!

  • SolaGratia

    Guys (in the same gender neutral sense as ‘brethren’), the point is that we must gear up for a very tough fight here.

    Bill Clinton had a talent for showmanship more than accomplishment. Did that result in people seeing him for what he was? No, because these guys know how to spin. Look at the nightmare of trying to end partial birth abortion under Clinton’s watch. And yet, we have people who are actually calling him one of the greatest presidents of our country.

    This is the era of calling good evil and evil good. No matter what your opinion of him is, EXPECT Obama to be portrayed as the greatest thing since toasted bread (that probably makes me a racist) & everything he does made to sound good & right. Will the press turn on him? Perhaps, sooner or later, but they have already made themselves willing propagandists to the leftist cause so don’t expect them to do it to our benefit…

  • sillyfuzz

    “talentless hacks do not become president”???? Have you ever heard of Jimmy Carter? The only talent I can tell the Obama has is memorization. He sure knows the liberal/socialist playbook word for word, which he learned in his schooling. And also, it is naïve to think that Harvard would not admit a black(minority) man that is unqualified. Being charismatic and good-looking does not qualify as talent, outside of Hollywood. I guess it all depends how you define talent. Isn’t understood or implied that one’s talent is to be good? For example, your son’s school teacher tells you that your son is talented in math. Do you not take it as your son understands and learns his math studies well and not that his talent is how well he cheats to get good scores? So, back to Reilly. What is Obama’s talent?