Kmiec’s endorsement of Obama — as well as a similar endorsement on different grounds by Philly radio host Michael Smerconish — is evidence of the Bush fatigue/”brand damage” issue that has increasingly affected the GOP since the 2004 election. In the Republican ascendancy, the bandwagon became crowded (I remember Smerconish hawking a book at CPAC 2006) and now they’re hopping off. As with Kathleen Parker and Christopher Buckley, the reasons offered for these Obama endorsements range from implausibly naive to absurdly superficial.
Kmiec’s whole purpose is to persuade Catholics to vote for Obama, but his suggestion that sex education of the “comprehensive” variety that Obama advocates will reduce abortion is not merely naive, it is un-Catholic. Though I am myself strictly Protestant, in years of covering the pro-life movement I have necessarily become acquainted with Catholic doctrine on this subject (e.g., Humanae Vitae) which is directly at odds with the “comprehensive sexuality education” (CSE) philosophy that Obama and the Democrats support. Not only is CSE pro-homosexuality, but it mandates explicit instruction in the use of condoms and contraceptives (“safe sex”), which are forbidden by Catholic teaching.
Furthermore, as any truly hard-core pro-lifer would tell you, contraception causes abortion. I repeat: Contraception causes abortion. This counterintuitive fact involves several factors, including the undeniable reality that every method of contraception (except abstinence or surgical sterilization) has a failure rate. If a method of contraception is 99% effective, that 1% failure rate will result in a lot of unplanned pregnancies if millions of people are using that method regularly. At a more fundamental level, the widespread use of contraception gives rise to a culture in which sex without consequences is the norm and pregnancy — which is the most natural outcome of sexual intercourse — is viewed as an aberration. This inevitably leads to more promiscuity and less commitment in relationships, both of which contribute to the abortion crisis.
As to the propriety of sex education, perhaps Kmiec would benefit from dialogue with Jim Sedlak, a devout Catholic and president of the American Life League. Sedlak argues strongly against any classroom sex-ed program (including abstinence-based programs) on the grounds that this undermines the parents’ role in their child’s moral instruction, and that discussing sex in a room full of 25 kids violates modesty. (Read Wendy Shalit’s A Return to Modesty, where she talks about her own experience with being mocked because her parents opted her out of her school’s sex-ed program.)
Kmiec and his fellow Obamacons, like a lot of Americans, are in for a brutal disillusionment once Obama actually becomes president. It’s been 14 years since Democrats controlled both the White House and the Congress. If others have forgotten 1993-94, I have not.