Monday, October 11, 2004

Code

Timothy Noah thinks Bush's invocation of Dred Scott in the last debate was code to the Christian right for Roe v. Wade. That's possible - Bush would surely rather talk in terms of promoting a "culture of life" than in terms of judges' opinions on Roe v. Wade. However, the supposed allusion was completely lost on me. (Why didn't I get the email from Rove!?) Anybody who interpreted it as an unambiguous pledge to only appoint Supreme Court justices opposed to Roe v. Wade already trusts Bush to be solidly pro-life, so why bother to make such an obscure allusion? The other religious allusions Noah mentions, "culture of life" and "power, wonder-working power," are unambiguous and unobscure. When I first read Bush's use of "wonder-working power," I immediately heard the chorus from the appropriate hymn in my head. "Culture of life" is a term most familiar to Catholics, but I've seen it plenty of times. I think the most likely explanation is just that Bush wasn't bold enough to explicity mention Roe v. Wade, and that the Dred Scott reference was just another botched attempt of Bush to speak extemporaneously.

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