On Sunday President Obama spoke at Notre Dame University, where he had been invited to address graduates of the Catholic school. As the President is pro-choice, this raised some controversy among Catholics. And, to paraphrase Jesus, where two or three are gathered to oppose Obama, there also are rightbloggers. Whatever their denomination, the brethren joined with excitable churchmen to denounce the event and to predict catastrophe.
Things didn’t work out as they predicted — in fact the President was warmly received by his audience and loudly defended when he was heckled — but at least they got to tell the world that they were mortally offended, and that’s what counts.
A common theme was that by accepting Notre Dame’s invitation, Obama committed a hostile act against both the university and Jesus Christ. “Today, President Obama spoiled graduation ceremonies for a more than de minimis number of University of Notre Dame students and/or their close family members by delivering the commencement speech and accepting an honorary degree,” said Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff without saying how he arrived at that conclusion. He hoped alumni would in reaction withdraw their support from the university — “that would strike this non-Catholic, non-alum as an entirely reasonable and proper response.”
“Obama’s decision to go forward with the speech knowing that it divides the faithful from the lukewarm is the driving of a wedge, plain and simple,” said Why Mommy is a Republican, though she didn’t seem to have anything against wedges, per se: “Take heart, readers. When the nation is polarized and people are outraged, hearts and minds can and do change.” (Should they need help, she pointed readers to “graphic video of an actual abortion procedure.”)
Fox News claimed local police and the Secret Service were “preparing for an estimated 20,000 protesters to come to their neighborhood,” which heartened the faithful. “Showdown at Notre Dame,” cried Michelle Malkin. Though “the White House is pooh-poohing the controversy,” she clearly looked forward to fireworks.
L.A. Catholic went schismatic, asking whether “we have two churches existing side by side in this country?… We have one bunch in the Church who love, vote for and abase themselves toward pro-abortion politicians… We have another group in the Church who love preborn babies and their moms.” So did Timothy Birdnow: “The Apostle Paul warned that before the coming of Anti-Christ there would be a great apostacy, a falling away from the Church,” he rumbled. “Notre Dame’s actions illustrate quite plainly that they, and likely many other ‘Catholic’ institutions in America, have surely succumbed to such apostacy.” Notre Dame underclassmen, your course is clear: transfer to Ave Maria, ere the final trump sounds.
Taking things even further was Justified Right, who said “Notre Dame Protests Ought to Be Violent.”
We searched his post in vain for signs that Justified Right was kidding. “Abortion is not an academic exercise of constitutional interpretation,” he went on. “It is not a cold war. It is a hot war. People are being killed, and Caesar is not only allowing the deaths, he is promoting them.” Still he insisted that “it is the personality of social left-wing protesters to be physically violent toward people and destructive toward property during their protests…”
Finally, after reviewing the doctrine of just war, Justified Right decreed “arms will not be used,” and that his fellow children in Christ should seize the commencement stage “before The President gets to it, and not yielded until he leaves the campus.”
SWAC Girl concurred, pointing readers to a site called Stop Obama at Notre Dame and approving of the stage-grabbing scheme — adding, “I am not Catholic but have been impressed and touched by the passion of those who are standing up to the University.”
Some anticipated near-divine intervention: Fighting Irish Thomas repeated a story “that the Vatican itself is on the verge of stepping in to stop the South Bend sacrilege.” So did The Radio Patriot: “Pope Benedict may be ‘correcting the abuses at Notre Dame.'”
But the Holy Father wasn’t acting fast enough for Reliapundit. “Where’s the freakin’ Pope?!” he roared. “BENEDICT IS USELESS. AND HE’S KILLING THE RC CHURCH.” In comments he added that he, too, was not a Catholic.
“I actually found myself crying,” said Blue Collar Republican. “Have Catholics so abandoned what they believe to the point that they feel they need to arrest one of their own for standing up for Catholic doctrine?” BCR then added: “If I were Catholic, I would be at Notre Dame on Sunday after watching this.”
Whispers in the Loggia was so angry after the arrests “no mention of the controversy surrounding President Obama’s appearance at tomorrow’s graduation was made during this afternoon’s Baccalaureate Mass for the Class of 2009” — which seems a sensible omission to us, under the circumstances — that he reproduced a picture of a dismembered fetus.
Southern Baptist Rick Scarborough said he’d received a $1,000 donation to go to Notre Dame and “stand for truth and with courageous men and women, going to jail if called upon.” (He was not so called, but talked about weeping when others were.)
Some just got so mad that they could spit, figuratively. “The Prostitutes who Run Notre Dame Abase Themselves to Moloch on Sunday,” said Marc Shea.
Obama’s speech, as anyone familiar with his style would have expected, was temporizing and MOR, shifting the topic to the terms of discussion of abortion, rather than abortion itself. This tolerance angle got both himself and the event planner out of a jam.
Rightbloggers certainly couldn’t have expected the President to be confrontational, but they pretended to be mad that he wasn’t.
Hot Air’s Allahpundit, while acknowledging that “realistically, this was the only rhetorical move he could have made,” sneered that Obama “didn’t have the stones to use this as an opportunity to make the case for choice.” In case you’re wondering where Allahpundit’s stones are on abortion, he claimed that “this isn’t my issue.” But he said nice things about anti-abortion people, who of course are a large part of what’s left of the conservative coalition he supports, mainly for the unreasonableness he presumed on their behalf (“I sympathize enough with true-believing pro-lifers to see how insulting the ‘agree to disagree’ approach must be to the depth of their conviction”). He also criticized the large majority of students who gave vocal support to the President who came to address them as “O-bots.”
Sister Toldjah didn’t want any of this tolerance crap either. “So, exactly what ‘common ground’ can be found with someone who doesn’t believe that a ‘non-viable’ infant born alive after an attempted late term abortion should receive medical care…”
Some made do with what few fireworks there were. Gateway Pundit at least enjoyed the brief interruptions of Obama’s speech: “Now Obama knows what it feels like to be a Republican.” He also lauded that “Notre Dame Alumni confirm $13.9 million in witheld donations.” Freedom Eden saw signs and portents in mortarboards marked with pro-life and pro-Obama insignia. “Note that the Obama symbol is upside down,” she said. “Appropriate.” (And probably predicted in Revelations.)
As befit their contempt for common ground, some rightbloggers filled the after-speech void by picking fights with Little Green Footballs’ Charles Johnson. Though a longtime, full-throated rightblogger, Johnson had failed to side with the brethren on the commencement, and for this they threw him (to coin a phrase) under the bus. “He’s a lefty, plain and simple, back to his pre-9/11 days just like Andrew Sullivan,” said Weasel Zippers. “Dude has seriously become as wacky as the posters at Daily Kos, Crooks and Liars, and Firedoglake,” said Stop the ACLU. Reliapundit characterized Johnson’s position as “GOD SUCKS. BELIEVERS ARE MORONS,” and his redoubt as the “Dickhead Lounge.”
And on this unfortunate scene we draw the curtain, expecting that rightbloggers will soon recover themselves and focus on another outrage — Joe Biden’s treasonous revelation of the location of Cheney’s secret bunker (“What a dumbass. What happens when Biden needs a secure, undisclosed location?”). As long as there are molehills, there will be rightbloggers to make mountains of them.