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the gladsome glendon nomination

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 07, 2007

Now this is going to be interesting. Bush announced he'll pick Mary Ann Glendon as his rep to the Holy See. The Globe/AP story reporting the nomination wastes no time making sure she's properly tagged:

President Bush plans to nominate Harvard University law professor Mary Ann Glendon to be his new US ambassador to the Vatican. Glendon, 69, is an antiabortion scholar and an opponent of gay marriage who has written about the effects of divorce and increased litigation on society. Her 1987 book, "Abortion and Divorce in Western Law," was critical of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a legal right to abortion.

An "anti-abortion scholar." Got the picture, you Boston Globe subscribers? Re-read it again slowly until you're convinced she's a threat to human liberty at home and abroad. Right then. Note also that she's an opponent of gay marriage. In the article's last sentence but one we're told, offhandedly, that Glendon "teaches in the areas of" human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and legal theory -- but who cares about her hobbies? Let's keep focused on her qualifications for the job.

In more than one way I'm pleased that Glendon has been spray-painted by the Globe right from the get-go. Her nomination is subject to confirmation by the Senate, and that means Hillary and Obama will have to give her a thumbs-up or thumbs-down or find a plausible reason to abstain, while Edwards can maneuver himself into the gaps they leave for him. The Dems probably hope to play it drowsy and treat Glendon benignly as a successful working mom mildly handicapped by a congenital Catholicism, but that easy exit may be sealed off if the appointment takes on a larger symbolic value. I hope her nomination is an issue raised early and often at campaign media events.

The pundits tell us the Dem presidential nominee needs to win a substantial chunk of the Catholic vote (say, 45% or so) to get elected, and Hillary has been trying to blur her red-in-tooth-and-claw pro-abortion convictions so as to appeal to the mushy middle. It'll be hard for her to vote against Glendon on "equity feminist" grounds (being nine years older, Glendon was even more of an outsider than Hillary in the law school world and had a steeper climb to get where she is, and her credentials are considerably more weighty than the former First Lady's). Yet if Hillary picks up the red banner in the culture wars and attempts to criticize Glendon on abortion or gay marriage, she'll wreck a lot of the pro-family camouflage she's been carefully arranging around herself.

On the other hand, should Hillary keep mum and abstain, Obama (and, from the left field bleachers, Edwards) have an opportunity to position themselves as more solidly pro-abort and pro-sod than the front-runner, thus scoring points with the Democrat core groups they need behind them to win the primary battles. As Mark Steyn explained some time ago, male Dems have to exaggerate their lean to the Left to prove their feticidal bona fides:

No male Democrat could get away with Hillary's tentative moves away from Dem orthodoxy on abortion: Kerry was reduced to claiming that, while he personally believed life begins at conception, he would never let his deep personal beliefs interfere with his legislative program; Dean was practically offering to perform partial-birth abortions on volunteers from the crowd. But, if a woman runs as kinda-sorta-pro-life-ish, I'll bet the NOW types decline to protest.

So how does Hillary handle the nominee the Globe has already labeled as every Klansman's favorite Klansperson? Does she beat her up and vote against her so as to keep the NARAL and NAMBLA crowd cheering, or does she take a dive and vote to confirm, murmuring some innocuous family-friendly clichés she can cash in with the squishier bishops come next summer? Whichever course she takes will provoke gnashing of teeth at MoveOn.org and wringing of hands at the NCR.

Nice pick.

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 08, 2007 7:02 AM ET USA

    Isn't it nice that when the US looks to appoint their representative to the Church they can find such a well qualified person, and a woman too. She is well qualified with impressive academic credentials, US political credentials, and Church credentials. I hope she uses her position and becomes not only the US rep to the Vatican, but also the Vatican rep to the US. Here’s to the echoing voice of an outspoken Glendon for the next few years!

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