Sore Losermen

Thursday, September 30, AD 2010

One of the big stories of the year is the growth in prominence of the tea party movement.  Whether or not you are in accord with them politically, they have had an undeniable impact on the political landscape, bringing a new energy to the political scene.  Though tea party- backed  candidates have not been 100 percent successful, they have defeated a fairly substantial number of GOP incumbents and other Republican establishment candidates.  Even relatively conservative Republican incumbents like Senator Bob Bennett of Utah have been sent to an early retirement thanks largely to a grassroots revolt against his like.

One of the most recent successes of the tea party rebellion occurred in Alaska where Joe Miller defeated Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary.  Murkowski was appointed to the Senate to replace her father.  The governor who appointed her also happened to be her father, and it seems that she was led to believe that she is entitled to said seat.  So in the face of electoral defeat in the primary, Senator Murkowski – or Daddy’s Little Princess as she’s being dubbed in some circles – has launched a write-in campaign.  Evidently many voters in the state of Alaska crave royalty as she is actually running neck and neck with Miller in the general election campaign.

Murkowski is not the only moderate Republican who has demonstrated his or her contempt for the unwashed masses who dared to remove them from office.  Governor Charlie Crist, faced with a humiliating primary defeat in Florida against Marco Rubio, decided to jump ship and run as an Independent.  Alas Charlie now faces a humiliating thumping in the general election instead.  Mike Castle, who lost to Christine O’Donnell in the Republican primary for a Delaware Senate seat, toyed with a write-in campaign.  He decided against it, but has ostentatiously declined to endorse O’Donnell.  Other defeated incumbents, like Bennett above as well as Representative Bob Inglis have thrown temper tantrums because the voters dared remove them from office.

Alas it is not just so-called RINOs who have rejected the will of the primary voter.

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12 Responses to Sore Losermen

  • Wasn’t Hoffman the Conservative Party nominee PRIOR TO also seeking the GOP nomination? If so, I don’t see how failing to secure the GOP nomination affects whatsoever his status as the nominee of the Conservative Party. It’s not the same thing as the sour-grapes candidates who run for the GOP nomination and THEN decide to go 3rd party (such as, for example, Charlie Crist and Princess Lisa have done, and, indeed, as Christine O’Donnell did the last time she ran for the Senate).

    Why should a 3rd-party candidate bow out just to clear the field for the GOP?

    One could argue that, as a prudential matter, Hoffman is wasting his time because the right-of-center voters of the district have already spoken (and especially if the Tea Party folks are beginning to embrace the GOP nominee). But I don’t think Hoffman quite qualifies as a “sore loser” for continuing with his run as the Conservative Party candidate.

    By the way, if I’m mistaken in my understanding that Hoffman was already the Conservative Party nominee PRIOR TO also seeking the GOP nomination, then I withdraw my defense of him.

  • Jay,

    You are correct that Hoffman had the conservative party nomination, but the same is true of Ric Lazio, and the latter dropped out once he lost the primary election. Hoffman was attempting to “unify” the Republicans and the conservatives, but he failed in that bid. It seems to me that once you have decided to enter the fray, you should respect the wishes of the primary voters.

    I’ll grant that his situation isn’t exactly the same as Murkowski’s for the reasons you cite. And Hoffman certainly isn’t obliged to drop out simply because he lost the primary. But it seems as a practical matter that Hoffman should drop his conservative candidacy in the light of the primary election.

  • The term “moderate” is a misnomer for Republocrats like Murkowski…folks such as her are political elites who aspire to be the worst, most profligate aristocracy in human history. At least prior, historical oligarchies of other nations were restrained by the simple fact of technological paucity, requiring them to at least pay lip service to a higher auhority and transcendetal values…the scumbag “legislators” currently holding American government hostage make no such pretense. They are extremely dangerous and should not under any circumstances be referred to as “moderate” simply because they collude with each other under two different political brand names.

  • And then in Illinois we have the really strange case of a “sore winner” — Scott Lee Cohen, who won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, dropped out after all sorts of damaging revelations about his past came to light (involving lawsuits, accusations of domestic violence, knifing an alleged hooker, unpaid child support, etc.), then decided to run for GOVERNOR as an independent… and is now polling at or above 10 percent in some polls.

    Of course Cohen’s case is not quite the same as those listed above because he actually WON his primary, albeit for a lower office. However, he does have the potential to be a “spoiler” in the general election and most likely, it will be GOP candidate Bill Brady’s chances that he ends up spoiling!

  • I am vastly amused Elaine by the “I’m voting for Scott Lee Cohen” ads, with people repeating that statement. Who knew that there was such sympathy for the plight of a candidate who held a knife to the neck of his prostitute “fiancee”? I don’t really think Cohen will be a factor, and that Brady will double digit wallop Quinn, notwithstanding the Trib’s bizarre recent poll showing Quinn one point ahead, which contradicts every other poll I have seen.

  • Elaine and Donald,

    What is in the water in your state? Seriously, I think Latin American countries shake their head in disbelief at your politics.

  • I knew it was somewhat bad, but not this bad!

  • “What is in the water in your state? Seriously, I think Latin American countries shake their head in disbelief at your politics.”

    Concisely Paul what Sean Connery said in the Untouchables: “This town stinks like a whorehouse at low tide.” Chicago has an unbelievably corrupt political culture which has infected the entire state. For far too long the people of this state have tolerated it, and Illinois is facing bankruptcy because of it.

  • Illinois within its current boundaries is indicative of a problem with provincial government in this country in that you have an assemblage of small cities (50,000-270,000 in population), small towns, and countryside as a tributary zone to a megalopolitan area. New York, New Jersey, Arizona, and Nevada all have the same problem; Maryland has a variant of it. You need to reconstitute Illinois into a confederation of two components with parallel governments, cede some territory to Missouri and Iowa, &c.

  • Art, Downstate Illinois would happily readjust our boundaries so that Chicago would be Wisconsin’s problem, as was originally intended I believe back in territorial days. Alas, I am certain that those who live behind the Cheddar Curtain would object.

  • NO, Donald, NO, NO, NO!!! Just the thought of Chicago joining the Badger State makes me break out in a cold sweat. I think even the most left-wing Wisconsinites would be firmly opposed to any readjustment of borders. The libs might not be bothered by additional crime, voter fraud, and scores of sleazy politicians, but, goodness, bringing a bunch of Bear fans within the borders of our fair state, now, that really is a heinous thought 🙂

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CatholicVote & Endorsements

Thursday, September 30, AD 2010

The folks of CatholicVote had some objections to my post Tuesday. Brian Burch had this to say in the comment box:

Thanks Michael for your post, though I am compelled to respond and disagree with much of what you and others have written. I do believe that the questions you raise are highly relevant to the conversation occurring within the Church today about the proper role of the laity in public life, and especially American politics. I should also note for those that don’t know, Michael has been, and continues to be, a guest blogger on CatholicVote.org and we continue to welcome his contributions (and disagreements) on our site should he choose to cross post there.

CatholicVote.org was founded specifically to champion the cause of faithful citizenship from a distinctly lay perspective. As such, we seek to serve the Church by assisting the laity with material, catechetical resources, news and commentary, and tools for evangelization (videos, ads, etc) that incorporate an authentic Catholic worldview as applied to our civic life, in pursuit of the common good. To be sure, the issues that involve intrinsic evils, or questions that involve the “non-negotiable” issues are always treated as foundational, and not open to compromise or debate for Catholics. Our programming has almost exclusively been focused on the life issue, for example.

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38 Responses to CatholicVote & Endorsements

  • You mean all these years as a Catholic I wasn’t a
    Bear fan? Wow I should really get rid of all the Bears stuff I have. Maybe I should Drink the Greenbay Koolaid. Not!
    Anyway I am glad this is a blog that allows discussion and disagreement in a civil way without name calling. I thank you for your blog but I also appreciate all the help that Catholicvote gives us. Thanks for the blogs and God Bless

  • As the article clearly points out, Green Bay fans are not Catholics either so do not drink that Koolaid. Only those fans of the noble Who Dat Nation, the New Orleans Saints, are living out their call as Catholics to the fullest.

  • This is precisely where we hope to provide the laity some needed counterweight to the default socialist oriented, government-first, policy prejudices often assumed to be the more authentically “Catholic” position on many issues.

    It would be nice if you disclosure your bias on your website. I propose a FaithfulCatholicVoter.org to provide a counterweight to the default anti-solidarity policy prejudices often assumed to be the more authentically “Catholic” position on many issues.

  • to provide a counterweight to the default anti-solidarity

    ‘Anti-solidarity’? What does that mean?

  • In my hare-brained opinion: the USCCB, the commie-cath (Gospel of St. Marx) social justice crowd, et al have embraced humanism, statism and secular socialism: such that they believe it is a moral imperative to displace the evil, racist, unjust private sector distribution of goods and services with Obama regime rationing by hate-filled, class-envy warrior-bureaucrats.

  • I voted Demokrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending your (hard-earned) money than you do. NOT!

  • I voted Democrat because I’m more concerned about keeping keep all death row murderers alive than murdering millions of unborn babies by abortion.

  • I voted Democrat because I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t.

    Stop me . . .

  • In my hare-brained opinion: the USCCB, the commie-cath (Gospel of St. Marx) social justice crowd, et al have embraced humanism, statism and secular socialism: such that they believe it is a moral imperative to displace the evil, racist, unjust private sector distribution of goods and services with Obama regime rationing by hate-filled, class-envy warrior-bureaucrats.

    You clearly have devoted not one second to examining what the USCCB actually has said.

    Stop me . . .

    That I will do quite gladly.

  • CV could do a great service by putting the responses to the questionnaires online.

  • Once, again, Michael you are right on target. It seems to me that the folks from CV who have responded to your post do not really grasp what it is you are arguing, which suggests to me that they are more entrenched in their partisanship and dubious interpretation of subsidiarity than I initially thought. It reminds me of some of the leftist Catholic groups who misunderstand and/or misapply other chief principles of Catholic social thought, such as the dignity of human life and the common good.

  • Denton: Do you dislike my hare-brained opinion?

    Spend two seconds. Prove it false. Give me examples.

  • Spend two seconds. Prove it false. Give me examples

    Uh, no. You want to accuse the bishops of being Marxists, you darn well better have some proof. Burden of proof is on you this time.

  • I don’t think Nate Sliver’s percentage likelihood of winning is the best barometer. It’s true that Lipinski and Fortenberry are in the driver’s seat. But as I mentioned, we are supporting Lipinksi for many of the same reasons you like Cao. And in fact, because he’s a Democrat, that makes it all the more important. Fortenberry is now in the driver’s seat, thanks to the fact that a high-profile challenger (Nebraska’s Lt Gov) opted against a run. If he wins big and has strong support, it will make the case for a strong run against Nelson in 2012.

    A look at the other races:

    Benishek – Larry Sabato and Cook Report both had this at a Toss Up for months and only changed it to Leans R this past week.

    Schilling – Sabato has this as a Likely D race, but Cook now considers this a Toss Up. So opinion on this race varies.

    Duffy – Sabato has this race as a Toss Up.

    Guinta – Sabato has this race as Leans R. Not Likely. So it is competitive.

    Angle – Toss Up.

    Mulvaney – Leans D, but the District has a lot +7 R advantage and DeMint has come out strong for him. So it is winnable.

    Fimian – Leans D (not Likely D as Sliver indicates). The Democrats assailed Fimian’s Catholic faith last cycle. He deserves some Catholic support (and the race is winnable.)

    We think it is good to get Catholics active in supporting good candidates in office.

    Hopefully this will encourage more good citizens to run for office so we can turn things around.

  • Joshua:

    Ok, so I gather that an important race are those races you deem competitive, which makes sense. But what of the rest of the post?

  • I don’t think the claiming the USCCB has a specific agenda (whatever that may be) and claiming that is equal to what the bishops think is necessarily the case. One only has to look at the USCCB’s support of Health Care reform (with three objections) and the positions of the Bishops of Denver and Sioux City to understand that they can be quite different.

    The USCCB is made up in large part of laymen who have their own political perspectives. I think it fair to say it is quite liberal in a modern American sense and does not exhaust the possibile options for lay opinion. The USCCB in the past would note that their judgments were THEIR prudential judgments. Not so anymore.

  • Michael, you state that we at CatholicVote are “endorsing in the name of the Church.”

    I think it’s helpful to be more specific about terms. As Americans we sometimes use the words Church and the Bishops interchangeably when obviously in a true sense the terms are distinct.

    We at CatholicVote agree with the Bishops’ that they should not endorse candidates for office. We think having them outline the principles of Catholic teaching is a great role for them. But they think it’s wiser for them to not endorse candidates so as to not divide the flock.

    As a lay Catholic group, representing lay Catholics, we strive to put these principles into action. Not only through further education and lobbying (which the Bishops also do), but also through providing financial support for candidates that we think are worth supporting.

    So I don’t think we claiming to representing the Bishops. But yes, we do hope to be good representatives of the Catholic vote, by which I mean, the Catholic laity, who must ultimately decide who to vote for. The Bishops (rightly) won’t say which candidate to vote for. We come along and suggest that Candidate X is better than Y — we then give our reasons and state that we base this on Catholic teaching. Some of our conclusions are based on non-negotiables like life and marriage. Other issues are open to prudential debate and we freely admit that other Catholics applying the teachings of the Church could come down on the other side on a given issue.

    For example, on health care, there is considerable debate on which legislative program or health care delivery system would be the most just or the best application of Catholic principles (or at the very least an improvement).

    You think lay groups should avoid coming to conclusions. But this is where you and I very much disagree. Lay Catholics have been asking for more guidance. They love that their Shepherds outline the principles, but they then ask, okay, so who do you think we should support?

    We answer and give our reasons and, like our website says: “Unlike the issues of life, marriage, and religious freedom, these issues allow for a variance of policy approaches, and not every Catholic must agree with us (though we think you should!). We use the teachings of our Church, the lessons of history, nature, and our intellects to form our judgments in this area.”

    Michael, you contend that it’s virtually impossible to find candidates that could be defended and supported along Catholic principles.

    But with Bobby Schilling, Frank Guinta, and Keith Fimian we have three pro-life and pro-marriage Catholics who are trying to defeat Phil Hare, Carol Shea-Porter and Gerry Connolly — all pro-abortion “Catholics.” Additionally Shea-Porter and Connolly have co-sponsored a bill to repeal DOMA.

    We think it makes sense to get Catholics to financially support these three candidates (and the others we have endorsed) because we think they would be a vast improvement over their competitor.

    David Obey had a mixed record on life. Now that he’s retiring, Obey is supporting Julia Lassa, who is supported by Emily’s List. We think Catholics should financially help pro-life and pro-marriage Sean Duffy win this race.

    No candidate is perfect. And CatholicVote itself is made up of fallible people. But I don’t think that this means we shouldn’t have start a campaign fund that tries to support candidates along the teachings outlined by the Church. In fact, I think that’s a great idea. Obviously. 🙂

    Michael, I hope you re-consider your thoughts on this matter. If you move from being negative to neutral on the question of Catholics starting a PAC, that would be an improvement. But I do hope you begin to see it as a net good. I’m not asking for you to think it is perfect, but that it is better to have this PAC than not to.

    We think it is important for Catholics to become more politically active and to financially support good candidates for office. Will the next Congress have Julia Lassa, Phil Hare, Gerry Connolly and Carol Shea-Porter? Or do we have the chance to send Sean Duffy, Bobby Schlling, Keith Fimian and Frank Guinta to Congress?

    We can use all the help we can get. Let’s get these candidates the resources they need to win.

    How do you expect good people to get elected if you won’t support them when they run?

  • So I don’t think we claiming to representing the Bishops.

    I really don’t know where this line of argumentation came from. I never claimed that CV was attempting to represent the bishops, but the Church. What I argued was that CV, in speaking for the Church, was claiming authority it does not have (namely to produce conclusions on proper applications of Church teaching).

    Lay Catholics have been asking for more guidance. They love that their Shepherds outline the principles, but they then ask, okay, so who do you think we should support?

    There is a difference between guidance and answers: guidance helps you understand the problem and the possible solutions. By pronouncing the principles, the bishops are giving guidance. No, the bishops aren’t giving the quick “Vote for X” easy answer-not out of a concern for division of the flock, but b/c there are no easy answers. You have this bizarre view of the bishops as seemingly afraid and unable to endorse the candidates they know need endorsing. Instead, they’re not endorsing b/c there isn’t an clear favorite.

    Let’s take Schilling for example. 10.0 score. Pro-life and pro-marriage, but judging by his issues pages it seems pretty clear he’s in favor of deportation (with the euphemistic “should be given the opportunity to return to their country of origin”), in clear violation of the Church’s teaching on immigration & deportation. He also propounds the disgusting and demeaning view that “immigrants must be required to learn the English language as all American citizens are.” I imagine that if his blurbs on national security were expounded, we would find that he is favor of the unjust wars and torture (though if we had the CV questionnaire, we might have a resource to know for sure).

    How on earth do you balance that? Perhaps you make the judgment that abortion & marriage outweigh the damage he does on immigration & national security, and can make arguments on that (arguments I probably would agree with). But it is far from conclusive there is a definitive Catholic answer on this.

    In short, you simplify where simplification is not warranted. Catholics will be better voters when they understand that there is not a simple answer, and that both parties have significant problems that need to be addressed with substantial reforms. CV’s PAC moves us away from that, providing lazy Catholics with a quick checklist that fails to address the whole range of Catholic teaching. Instead of arguing whether the GOP or Democrats are more in line with Church teaching and then funding the GOP, CV’s resources would be better spent educating Catholics and politicians about the teachings of the Church. Even if one accepts endorsements by Catholic lay groups as permissible, those endorsements would be better served by promoting candidates who bravely defy party convention in favor of Church teaching (pro-life Democrats; socially-conscious Republicans-in this, CV’s endorsement of a democrat is encouraging, though frankly it seems to be a token endorsement).

    You ask how I expect good people to get elected if I won’t support them. My answer is that I think political reform will come not by electing a candidate her or there, but by fundamental changes in party philosophy. Neither party accepts the dignity of human life (Dems reject via abortion, escr, etc. ; GOP rejects via torture, war & immigration). Until those parties are converted, we can expect Catholic social teaching to remain untried. CV is not working towards that end, and so I think it ultimately a waste or misuse of resources. However, the work it is doing is not leading Catholic Voters to pressure politicians for a holistic embrace of CHurch teaching, so I’m afraid I cannot find CV’s PAC a neutral. Rather, CV’s PAC is doing demonstrable harm by attempting to simplify and frankly perverting (through bizarre interpretations on a number of issues) Church teaching, leading Catholic voters away from the goals they ought to pursue. It would be better if it did not exist.

  • Actually there is nothing is CST that prohibits deportation.

  • I might also add that leaning the language of the receiving country is not prohibited by CST either.

  • Michael,

    No need to provoke silly fights between TAC and CV. I critiqued you and your readers only for their unwillingness to draw specific conclusions on how Catholics ought to measure candidates, particularly in the admittedly messy business of applying Church teaching in areas of prudential concern. Your posts repeatedly defend this reticence.

    The “I will put the readers and contributors of TAC against any Catholic group…” sounds like playground talk. Of course you would. We hardly claim to be the only ones talking about these issues.

    But be careful you don’t get too specific, lest you have to remove the word “Catholic” from your blog name. I would hate for people to think you are speaking for the Bishops. 🙂

  • Phillip,

    I was basically going to say the same thing. What is demeaning about expecting immigrants learn the dominant language of the Nation that they are emigrating to? Moreover, even if one opposes instituting a national language, how does that conflict with Church teaching? Moreover, this:

    I imagine that if his blurbs on national security were expounded, we would find that he is favor of the unjust wars and torture

    Is the kind of crass generalization I’d expect to see at Vox Nova. First of all, we don’t know what his positions are in either respect, and second you’d then have to demonstrate precisely how those stances clearly contradicted Church teaching.

    And finally this:

    GOP rejects via torture, war & immigration)

    is off base. I know that one of the things that certain Catholics like to do is the “they’re all equally bad” game, but when you equate the Democrats clear embrace of positions absolutely antithetical to Church teachings with Republic positions that are not as clearly opposed to Church teaching, then your argument loses force. It takes a titanic leap of faith to argue that the prevailing GOP stance on immigration, for example, is in clear opposition to Church teaching. Now I’m sure someone will object and quote a passage from the Catechism or an Encyclical that actually doesn’t contradict the point I just made, but they’ll pretend it does so anyway.

    We’re also expected to swallow that the GOP “position” on the war and torture are similarly problematic. The problem is there is not GOP “position” on the latter, and while a fair majority supported the most recent wars, again you get into some difficulty proving that support for the war was a clear violation of Catholic teaching. As for torture, I would agree that some Catholic conservatives ignore the Church on this one, but then we get into the usual debate about definitions, etc.

    By the way, that’s not to say Michael’s ultimate stance on these endorsements is wrong. But I think trying to equate the faults of both parties vis a vis Catholic teaching is not going to work, at least on the issues mentioned here.

  • Brian,

    We enjoy reading Catholic Vote.

    There is no silly fight between TAC and CV.

    We both similarly aim for the same thing, engaging the public square.

    If anything we like to engage in creative dialogue to better fine tune our ideas in order to be the Creative Minority that changes America into a Catholic nation.

  • I amazed that out of a long post, Mr. Burch chooses to discuss one sentence. Alas. I was hoping at least he or Joshua Mercer would explain why CV did not post the questionnaires…

    No need to provoke silly fights between TAC and CV.

    I didn’t. You mischaracterized the nature of the readers & writers but pretending that somehow they lacked the courage to engage in issues involving prudence. That’s simply not true and I corrected you. All of our contributors advocate taking a particular prudential stand as being the one most in accord with Church teaching.

    sounds like playground talk

    What kind of playgrounds do you go to?

    But be careful you don’t get too specific, lest you have to remove the word “Catholic” from your blog name. I would hate for people to think you are speaking for the Bishops

    I imagine you think this is rather clever & witty, but it actually reinforces my point. TAC only promises a Catholic forum; TAC has not endorsed a candidate nor as a group claimed x prudential decision is the correct decision of a Catholic. In short, TAC is doing precisely what the Catholic laity ought to be doing by discussing these issues without issuing conclusions in the name of the Church. If TAC did, you are right, they should remove the Catholic from their name.

  • Now that I’ve critiqued Michael, let me come to my co-bloggers defense (not that he can’t hold his own).

    The “I will put the readers and contributors of TAC against any Catholic group…” sounds like playground talk. Of course you would. We hardly claim to be the only ones talking about these issues.

    He was merely responding to a comment that seemed to indicate that this blog and other Catholic blogs were not addressing serious issues as thoroughly as CV. Maybe you didn’t mean to imply that you were the only ones talking about the issues, but it certainly came across as an implicit put-down. Therefore I don’t think that Michael’s comment would qualify as “playground talk.” I also don’t think that Michael provoked any silly fights – he’s simply questioning – in a reasonable way, IMOHO – the basis of your endorsements. Nothing wrong with some good honest debate, is there?

  • I was basically going to say the same thing. What is demeaning about expecting immigrants learn the dominant language of the Nation that they are emigrating to? Moreover, even if one opposes instituting a national language, how does that conflict with Church teaching?

    There’s a difference between expecting them to learn it and “requiring” them to learn it. I don’t know what that requirement entails or what it is required for. As someone hesitant about governmental power, I think that would make you a little nervous.

    Is the kind of crass generalization I’d expect to see at Vox Nova. First of all, we don’t know what his positions are in either respect, and second you’d then have to demonstrate precisely how those stances clearly contradicted Church teaching.

    Maybe I shouldn’t be so judgmental, you’re right. I based my opinion on the fact that if you’re against torture you usually promote that, and so its absence seemed suspicious to me.

    The problem is there is not GOP “position” on the latter, and while a fair majority supported the most recent wars, again you get into some difficulty proving that support for the war was a clear violation of Catholic teaching

    It is hard as you point out to pinpoint one belief of the party, but that is true of both parties. While we could discuss the issues you name more in depth at a later time regarding whether a Catholic could hold those positions, I think it is fair to say that most Republicans who did and continue to support the war in Iraq are not doing so on just war grounds. The same in immigration. The problem is not merely the conclusions are wrong but that the GOP is not using the right principles.

    Now, one could retort that the Democrats did not oppose the war on just war grounds either, which is true and gets to my point-we need to argue for the adoption of these principles first and foremost, then we could discuss whether x party is better living them out than y party.

  • Is the kind of crass generalization I’d expect to see at Vox Nova.

    Let’s play nice. No need to impugn TAC’s reputation.

    🙂

  • There’s a difference between expecting them to learn it and “requiring” them to learn it. I don’t know what that requirement entails or what it is required for. As someone hesitant about governmental power, I think that would make you a little nervous.

    I guess I’d like to know what exactly Schilling is calling for. If he’s advocating that English be the national language, then I don’t have a problem with that. Beyond that, I can’t see how you could “require” anyone to learn any language.

    As for war/torture, the difficulty is that the when it comes to torture, the issue gets fuzzy because there are few politicians of any stripe that clearly advocate for torture. What we get instead are endless debates about “enhanced interrogation techniques,” so it’s not exactly as black and white as, say, abortion and gay marriage. But since I don’t want this thread to descend into the one millionth debate about torture, I’ll just leave it at that.

    Let’s play nice. No need to impugn TAC’s reputation.

    Sorry. That was truly below the belt. 😉

  • To answer a question that has arisen a few times: If we told the candidates that we would make their answers on the Questionnaire open to the public (and thus fuel for their opponents) candidates would never fill out our Questionnaire.

  • If we told the candidates that we would make their answers on the Questionnaire open to the public (and thus fuel for their opponents) candidates would never fill out our Questionnaire.

    Then your questionnaire is fairly meaningless as far as giving advice to others on who to vote for. I am just supposed to take CV’s word on it that these candidates are have appropriate answers on all these issues? I don’t think so.

    While I understand the position you guys are in, you can’t use the questionnaire to defend your candidates and their positions if you’re not willing to make it public.

    How many people did in fact return the questionnaire?

  • I think Michael is not being charitable in discussing the efforts we are trying to do with CatholicVote PAC.

    I hope others on this site will disagree with his assessment that CV PAC is causing “demonstrable harm.”

    We all may hope and work towards a day when all people will take the appropriate time to investigate all the issues and all the candidates.

    But to suggest that CV PAC is hindering or hampering that goal is grossly unfair. We hope our videos, our website (with the Issues pages and our blog) will further aid a vigorous discussion about these issues. And we hope to engage the American people with advertisements on the radio and TV, too.

    We are trying our best to steer the national political conversation towards a Catholic view of life and family and, yes, subsidiarity.

    I’m not saying we’re perfect, that we won’t make a mistake from time to time, or that we aren’t open to debate and critique.

    But I do hope that others will not accept Denton’s view that: “It would be better if [CV PAC] did not exist.”

    Groups like National Right to Life have candidates fill out Questionnaires and then work hard to educate voters on the candidates and their different positions. They provide a slate from top to bottom for people to support statewide.

    If they failed to do a checklist (which Denton seems to indicate is over-simplification and thus bad), this would not help bring the day when every voter exams the issues as much as we all do.

    No, in fact, if they refused to produce a simple checklist, they would be doing a gross disservice to thousands of pro-life voters who look to them to do research on the different candidates.

  • Michael, all nine candidates on our Endorsements page returned the Questionnaire.

    And again, we are not the first to make use of Questionnaires. If we told the candidates that we would go public with their answers, then they would not fill out our Questionnaire. Or in order to get anyone to respond with a Questionnaire, we would have to offer only the most basic simple Yes and No questions that honestly would provide us little more information than the candidate’s own public statements offer.

    Campaigns see the value of an endorsement and are willing to provide a PAC with more detailed answers on questions (including also internal polling and fundraising details to show their likelihood of success) in return for the PAC not going public with all the information.

    Again, this is not unique to CV. National Right to Life, Emily’s List, Club for Growth, etc, all use this same strategy so they can better determine which candidates are truly worth supporting.

    The alternative which you would prefer (full answers) is just not possible in this political environment.

    So, yes, the supporters of CatholicVote entrust our research team to make the best judgment of public and private information on which candidates to support – given all the realities and difficulties.

    There could be other or better ways to determine which candidate to support. I’m open to suggestions.

  • Tito/Michael,

    After re-reading my original post, I understand my critique of TAC could have been misinterpreted as more broad. My point was that I think you are wrong to sit on the sidelines and counsel Catholic groups against drawing conclusions on specific candidates.

    Whether we have wrongly applied the principle of subsidiarity, as Mr. Acquila seems to imply, remains a good question that deserves to be debated. But your argument that such particular judgments ought to be avoided altogether in the context of specific candidates remains unconvincing.

    It seems to me the debate boils down to this: should a Catholic lay organization spend time and resources researching and interviewing candidates for office and drawing specific conclusions for Catholic voters based on their application of the principles of Cath social doctrine? Your position seems to be, yes to research and conversation, but no conclusions. We disagree, and believe the trajectory of the development of the Church in this area, namely an increased deference (on non-negotiable questions) to the role of the laity, is precisely what is needed.

    Another point – we do not “endorse in the name of the Church.” In fact, we explicitly disclaim this in multiple places on our website, and I am dubious of the accusation that somehow, unknowing Catholics (or non-Catholics) will assume that CV is the political mouthpiece of the institutional Church.

    Final point, whether we adjust our policy and reserve the right to publicly disclose candidate responses to our questionnaire remains a point of debate within CV. I am not aware of what other political orgs do. For now, if you would like to see the blank questionnaire, we would be happy to share it.

    And of course, Catholic social teaching, authentically read, requires all football loving Americans to cheer for the Bears. See you in the playoffs.

  • Joshua:

    When I refer to CV PAC, I assume that is the branch of CV that handles the endorsements and the donations. My understanding was that the videos and blog were a separate aspect of CV. Never having been read into the structure of CV, I could be wrong. My comments ought to be taken that it would be better for CV to cease its endorsing activities, but that hopefully it will redirected its resources in more productive ways.

    The comparison to NRLC is apples/oranges. NRLC claims only a handful of issues and proclaims those issues to be the most important ones. The scores are based on those issues and are designed to educate on those issues. If I am not mistaken, NRLC (or other groups like) will often provide detailed voting records to justify their scores. NRLC also does not claim to speak for the Church. CV on the hand is supposed to be addressing all issues in the name of Catholicism.

    While I think a checklist on a narrow slate of issues isn’t a good way to base your vote (as you have said, I think we need to be broader than single-issue), it can be informative. There are however other ways for CV to provide research considering the scope of issues it claims to address. A much longer write-up on the candidates would be a start, such that it could address all the issues in a more in-depth way. It could provide a comparison between the candidates in a race (actually reid’s record to angle’s, for example). There are a lot of innovative ideas that using technology and social media CV could employ that would be far more informative than the simple “We like X” that would also avoid making conclusions on matters of prudence.

    The alternative which you would prefer (full answers) is just not possible in this political environment

    I’m not saying don’t use them, but I don’t think you can keep them secret while at the same time arguing that their presence justifies your decision. If someone tells me “Hey, I talked to that person. It’s okay,” I’m not going to base my decision on the fact that they talked; rather, I am going to base my opinion on my ability to trust the person telling me it’s ok. In other words, for these questionnaires to have an impact on my decision to vote, I would need to really trust CV to do my job for me.

    all nine candidates on our Endorsements page returned the Questionnaire.

    I figured that. But how many were sent out and how many were returned was more of what I was asking.

  • The USCCB letter on economics (“Economic Justice For All”) would be merely incomprehensible if it hadn’t been written with the stated intent of issuing pastoral counsel on a topic of which the Bishops freely admit, in the letter itself, to having no advanced knowledge. In doing so, it becomes a rather dangerous document written by Chruch authorities who clearly should have been dealing with more important issues in their own backyards at the time it was written (1986). I have the letter open in front of me right now and it is self-contradictory and does not even make correct use of the terms “economy” and “economics.” It is quite literally nonsensical from any perspective of academic and economic thought, from Keynesian to Austrian, and it is an all-around unfortunate document for the USCCB to have attached its name to, considering that the letter might seem to those who don’t know any better to offer meaninfgul instruction on topics that are indeed very imporant and which the Church can and does ameliorate on some levels: poverty and injustice.

  • Mr. Burch

    Your position seems to be, yes to research and conversation, but no conclusions.

    I think that’s accurate.

    Another point – we do not “endorse in the name of the Church.” In fact, we explicitly disclaim this in multiple places on our website, and I am dubious of the accusation that somehow, unknowing Catholics (or non-Catholics) will assume that CV is the political mouthpiece of the institutional Church.

    I think your error is in assuming that if people know that CV is not speaking on behalf of say the USCCB or bishops, then it’s not speaking on behalf of the Church. That’s not true. Once you claim to be Catholic, your actions and your statements are representative of Catholicism as a whole. This is true for us as individuals living our lives (think of how many people have been turned off from the Church b/c of person who claimed to be Catholic that lived a life that was anything but), and especially true for groups claiming to be Catholic in the public square. This requires a heightened duty to be faithful to the Church’s teaching.

    When CV says “this is our position” it is also saying “This is the position of good Catholics” regardless of the number of disclaimers put on the website. Insofar as prudence is involved both in the application of Catholic principles to various issues as well as the weighing of issues between one another, I think it is imprudent at best for Catholic groups to make such statements.

    For now, if you would like to see the blank questionnaire, we would be happy to share it.

    I think that would be very helpful in figuring out what CV is basing its decision on.

    And of course, Catholic social teaching, authentically read, requires all football loving Americans to cheer for the Bears.

    The fact that CV is led by someone who does not root for the Saints tells me all I need to know about CV’s lack of commitment to true Catholic principles. 😉

    See you in the playoffs.

    That’s very kind of you to tune in to watch Saints playoffs games. You’ll find them very entertaining.

  • I take back my snide remark towards Vox Nova.

    I like those guys (really I do).

    Charity needs to start somewhere.

  • Some thoughts from the Bishop of Camden on culture and migration:

    “The defense of cultural pluralism, especially in regard to migrant peoples, is always consistent with the Holy Father’s understanding of the human person. To strip a person of his or her culture, to reduce a person to an object, when only a person can truly be human is to be able to have the freedom to create their own culture. The Holy Father’s theory of culture is perhaps best expressed in a talk that he gave at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on June 2, 1980. This gave him the opportunity to speak in later discourses on the relationship of culture and faith. The theme of the talk was that the future of mankind depends on culture. In that historic talk he said, “It is through culture that man lives a truly human life. Human life is also culture in the sense that it is by culture that man is distinguished and differentiated from everything else that exists in the visible world; man cannot do without culture.”27 If we were to apply this to the situation of migrants, a migrant person also cannot do without culture. He or she often straddles two cultures and not only must maintain his or her own, but also acquire all that a new culture entails; languages, customs, etc. Migrants become the purveyors of diversity which contributes to the ultimate unity of the human family.”

    While he does not state that learning the language of the receiving country should be forced, he does note that the migrant should acquire the culture of the receiving nation as a duty of becoming a member of that nation. This includes its language.

    I might argue that failure to do so is a moral failure. As there are rights, there is always a corresponding duty. Moral failures can be compelled by legal requirements.

Cultural Rot

Wednesday, September 29, AD 2010

My wife and I often joke that we are going to raise our children Amish so as to shield them from our depraved culture.  We jest, but there’s a sliver of truth in our jesting.  And of course  Donald has written a series of excellent posts here at TAC on the signs of our cultural decay.

It’s not exactly a newsflash when a bunch of cranky bloggers at a website called the American Catholic bemoan our hedonistic culture.  But when others of a less socially conservative bent join the fray you know that things may have reached a breaking point.

Ace of Spades is a conservative blog, though one that tends to a certain amount of, err, frivolity with regards to cultural matters.  I don’t think Ace deviates from most social conservatives on the core issues, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a rant like this one a site like his.  But Ace completely lays into the singer Katy Perry and the awful message that she spreads to our youth.

Ace posts the lyrics to one of Perry’s new songs:

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30 Responses to Cultural Rot

  • I agree. But sex sells. And, in my opinion, the hyper-sexualization of our young at the hands of the entertainment and media and clothing industries is but one facet of the growing branding and corporatization of children, which starts at a very young age. (Cf: this excellent article: http://www.truth-out.org/040309J)

    I actually think that this is an issue in which social conservatives have more in common with traditional leftists (not liberal democrats, mind you) than either have in common with liberalism, properly understood.

  • It is interesting to note that most states have laws against “contributing to the delinquency of minors” and this appears to be directed towards minors whereas other media/advertising/music/speach can claim it is not directly targeting minors so they are not contributing. This type of stuff will never be removed from the public area but at least we/the public can express our dislike/disgust with it.

  • Kate Perry is a Calvinist choir girl compared to Brittany Spears. Perhaps BS is her role model.

  • Yeah, but she seems to be doing everything she can think of to slouch toward Brittany-dom. They have in common that both are of at best modest talents, though I think Katy is the better singer. She’s not good enough to make a career on musical talent alone, however.

    Commenter #67 at Ace of Spades made what I thought a rather adept point:

    “Why do leftists think that the best way to ensure sexual freedom is to encourage people to engage in sex that is risky and self destructive?

    That would be like the NRA promoting the second amendment by encouraging people to start shooting at everything.”

  • The link Henry provides is revealing. Both Perry & Gaga have roots as more demure singers-but they didn’t have success and altered themselves (choosing hyper-sexual personas in order to sell records). It really throws into question whether practicing Christians can succeed in the mass media-and if not, why do Christians continue to indulge in that media?

  • As much as I am generally critical of mass media and Hollywood, I do think Christians can succeed there. What is tougher is succeeding when the art form is an explicitly Christian one. Eventually, a so-called “Christian artist” is pigeon holed into an unsatisfactory limited market and decides he needs to change his image. Doing that with effectiveness may require doing a 180. The bottom line is that I think it should be perfectly possible to be a mass media artist who is also a committed Christian, but it is much harder to be a so-called “Christian artist.”

  • I guess it depends on what you define as success. Certainly specifically Christian artists – be they music, literary, or other – won’t be sell as much as secular artists, but I suspect that one can still have a relatively successful living as one.

  • Certainly specifically Christian artists – be they music, literary, or other – won’t be sell as much as secular artists, but I suspect that one can still have a relatively successful living as one.

    That’s certainly true, but a lot of them are artistically compromised by the ‘Christian music’ industry. They can’t explore new ground outside of the kids-in-youth-group/forty-something-mom demographics without losing their record deals, and this has a predictable effect on the quality of the music they produce (it’s generally boring, predictable, and formulaic).

    It’s certainly riskier and more difficult for bands composed of Christians to try and make music outside of the CCM industry, but I think those that do make much better music (even if they have less success without the captive CCM youth group audience). And, of course, there are bands like U2 which show that Christian musicians can be successful if they are really good at their craft.

  • I agree, Paul, but such artists must live not only accept far less pay they must also live with not being taken seriously by much of the artistic community. For instance, in general serious followers of rock music do not think highly of so-called Christian rock bands, even if those followers are themselves seriously Christian. Much of this reputation disparity may not be deserved, but no doubt the disparity is difficult for ambitious artists to live with. To be fair, many Christian rock bands probably couldn’t be successful in the broader market, but some certainly could if they abandoned their Christian-focused art. The fact that so many of these groups nonetheless continue as Christian artists is testimony to their faith and commitment.
    Finally, I would note that the best Christian artists are those whose Christian artistry is not very explicit. Think Graham Greene or Flannery O’Connor. There creative works would not have been as successful if they had been more explicitly Christian. When the art form is explicitly Christian it usually suffers from being not all that interesting.

  • John Henry’s response was superior to mine. I hereby incorporate it by reference, with credit of course. 😉

  • I had the same thought in reverse, Mike. The Flannery O’Connor and Graham Greene point is a very useful comparison. In literature, as in music, there are ghettos; honest art that is well done can usually win a hearing.

  • John, Henry, Paul, etc.

    I think those are good examples. I tend to agree with the idea that most explicitly Christian music/movies tend to be very formulaic and not so good (though there are exceptions). Indeed, Tolkien thought this to be almost a rule, which is why he despised Narnia.

    But I think that for a Christian artist, even one not advertising as “Christian,” the bar is higher for success. They have to be great. Whereas, if one is secular, the bar is lower (Perry, gaga, spears-no one, I hope, will be listening to their music in a hundred years).

  • I think part of it is what art is. Granted I’m speaking in large part from my own tastes in rock, but I think the type of music that rock is is better suited for lyrics dealing with conflict, pain, and the more base emotions. I simply can’t see suitable and lofty lyrics about God fitting into that format. It may simply be because they can’t. I know people try to, but their lack of mainstream success may point to this disconnect.

  • A distinction should be drawn between musicians who are Christian and musicians who make “Christian music” i.e. where all the songs are about Christianity. The latter is of course going to be limiting. I can see how the former would be the source of lots of temptations, but unless you’re a teenage girl singing pop music I don’t see being a Christian as being very hampering to one’s success.

  • “It really throws into question whether practicing Christians can succeed in the mass media-and if not, why do Christians continue to indulge in that media?”

    Well, a few acts come to mind–Switchfoot and P.O.D., for example. To paraphrase what I said earlier, one can build a career on talent rather than shock value–if one has some. And Amen to the literary examples–I think writers/artists whose worldview permeates their work rather than sitting on the surface are actually more compelling.

    But the link which Henry so helpfully provided us has me thinking: is little Katy a living example of what is wrong with Sola Fide? She claims to believe in Jesus (also space aliens) but doesn’t seem to wrap her mind around the concept that that belief places responsibility on her.

    And–oh, my goodness–I had to look it up–she is a middle child. Suddenly, everything falls into place.

  • One little funny anecdote before I get to my comment. As I was getting out of the Metro, what do I see but a poster for Saw – 3D. Fitting.

    Anyway, good points by all. I think it’s worth pointing out that it would be an improvement just to have art that simply isn’t hostile to traditional morality, and I don’t think one has to be an overtly Christian artist in order to produce a message that is at least not offensive to traditional mores. For example, U2 is widely successful and I can’t think of anything in their collection that I’d have to shield my child from – unless you think “Elevation” is not subtle enough. They’re but one example, but my point is that I’m not necessarily looking for specifically Christian-themed stuff (though that’s a plus), but it would be nice if most of pop culture didn’t seem to preach a message antithetical to what I hold dear.

    It’s also worth emphasizing that acts like Katy Perry target a young audience. As Ace points out it’s not that she’s an adult artist who kids happen to like. She intentionally markets herself to young girls and is teaching them that it’s okay to throw all morals aside in pursuit of living the “teenage dream.”

  • I could watch this video over and over and over again…

    LOL. ->just kidding

  • No, Jasper, I think you mean the Cleverly Trio’s version:

  • Uh…y’all aren’t gonna ban me for that, are you?

  • Some interesting pop culture perspectives by none other than Alice Cooper — yes, THE Alice Cooper, who also is a born-again Christian:

    http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=12960

    “He no longer performs some of his older repertoire. Any song promoting promiscuous sex and drinking “gets the axe,” he said. “I’m very careful about what the lyrics are. I tried to write songs that were equally as good, only with a better message.”

    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/alice.cooper.opens.christian.recreation.centre.for.troubled.kids/7124.htm

    “Speaking about the value of boundaries for kids, he (Cooper) said: “Kids love boundaries. We used to fight against them. But in all reality, what we really did want was to know where we could go.”

  • “Uh…y’all aren’t gonna ban me for that, are you?”

    Nah, cminor, if we’ll tolerate ABBA, it will take more than that! 🙂

  • Henry’s link reminded me of a Katy Hudson story (before she was Katy Perry) I linked to on the Catholic Report a couple of years ago. It was an archived story in which the reviewer was saying she would be the next great Christian singer. The Christian music scene sputtered and she took road too often traveled.
    http://www.thefish.com/music/reviews/11618329/Katy-Hudson/

    The difference between her and Alice Cooper which Elaine excellently alludes to is that Alice had a lot of right and wrong drilled into him. Eventually he realized the lessons from his youth and went back to them (though Alice’s faults often lie with his blood and gore stage shows, rather than with pomiscuity in his lyrics.) It sounds like Katy’s religious background was not as structured as Alice Cooper’s was. I wonder if the old “I am saved mentality” truly makes some people think they can backslide and do just about anything and still make it to heaven, no questions asked. It would appear that these folks left Matthew 7:21-23 out of their Bibles.

  • Nah, cminor, if we’ll tolerate ABBA, it will take more than that!

    What’s wrong with ABBA?

    🙂

  • Ditto with ABBA, Tito!

    Don just has a slight hang up there, but his excellent taste in classical music
    offsets that.

  • RL:
    For content, or musical style?:-)

  • Remember the Diana Ross and the Supremes song “Love Child?” A woman insists on waiting for marriage because she knows the shame of being an illegitimate child and does not want any child of hers to bear the same stigma. My, how quaint. What “progress” we’ve made in 40 years.

    Elaine: I knew Cooper was a preacher’s son, but didn’t realize he had returned to Christianity. I wasn’t crazy about his music when I was a teen, but I always liked him for doing stuff like being on Hollywood Squares and for making it very clear that the on-stage, rather scary “Alice” character was only a character. The off-stage Alice was always quite open about being a rather amiable “square” sort of fellow who voted Republican and liked to golf – with Barry Goldwater.

  • Donna V & Elaine,

    When I lived in Phoenix (where Mr. Cooper resides) Alice Cooper was a prominent pillar of the community. It was made clear he was a family man and he held strong conservative values. The people of Phoenix loved him for that.

    And yes, his onstage persona was only a character.

    He seemed genuine to me.

Unpopular President Obama

Wednesday, September 29, AD 2010

Most Presidents have a decline in their popularity by the time of the first midterm elections in their term, but few Presidents, except those who have reached an artificial high in popularity immediately following a national crisis, have fallen as far and as steadily as Obama.  When he was sworn into office, his approval ratings were in the mid-sixties.  The Real Politics average of current approval polls, has Obama approval at 45.3%.  The interesting thing about the decline is how steady it has been, just as the percent of the American people disapproving of Obama has steadily increased, and is now at 50.7%.

Even the artist who came up with the dopey socialist realism “heroic” multi-colored posters of Obama has recently expressed disappointment with him.

My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, believes the Obama decline will continue for the following reasons:

1) A bad agenda. Nearly every issue the president embraces polls against him, often at a 3-1 margin. Cap and trade, amnesty, state-run health care, more bailouts, takeovers, deficits, taxes, and the national debt. His vision is the same as that of the EU circa 1990 — one that even Europe now rejects as a failure.

The answer to every challenge is to found a new program, borrow billions to run it, hire millions more loyal to the progressive gospel of public employment, and demagogue any who oppose it.

*************************************************************************************

Hanson is on to something with this statement: The answer to every challenge is to found a new program, borrow billions to run it, hire millions more loyal to the progressive gospel of public employment, and demagogue any who oppose it.  Most analysts of Obama have stressed how different Obama is from past presidents.  Stylistically yes, to some extent, not in substance.  On economic issues Obama is a reactionary, a throwback to the New Deal Democrat era: massive spending on government projects is the way to restore economic health.  It was a dubious remedy almost eight decades ago and appears not to work at all today.  The failure of the stimulus to have any positive impact on the economy, and the inability of Obama to come up with any truly new policies to meet the economic malaise of the present, is now clear to all, even to many members of Obama’s own party.  Few things are more sad than a one trick pony who can’t even perform the one trick properly and that is the case with Obama on the Alpha and Omega political issue:  the Economy.

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11 Responses to Unpopular President Obama

  • All of this is epiphenomenal. Obama’s low popularity is a result of the bad economy. If the economy improves, so will his ratings. If not, they will continue to get worse.

  • The President’s economic advisors did not create ‘the chaos’. The economic problems we have were gestating from the end of 2003 and the crisis erupted before these characters took office. The positions held by Dr. Orszag and Dr. Romer change hands every 2 1/2 years on average and that held by Dr. Summers every 2 years, so their tenures are not exceptionally abbreviated.

  • Presidential popularity is governed to a large extent by the economy BA, but not entirely so. President Bush 43 had a fairly decent economy for most of his tenure, but his downward spiral of popularity began in 2005 and was bad enough by 2006 to hand the Congress to the Democrats. Presidents can come back from a bout of unpopularity, but it becomes progressively harder to do the longer the unpopularity goes on, especially if the President appears clueless to meet the challenges he confronts. Bush 41 in 1992 went into the election with an improving economy after a very mild downturn. However, his betrayal of the no new taxes pledge and the perception that he was not a good steward of the economy had solidifed in the public’s mind that it was time for a change. If the economy is still sour at this time in 2011, I don’t think it really matters how the economy performs in 2012.

  • The “stimulus” that was to cure the economy did not and only seems to made things worse. Applying a “cure” employed in the 1930’s by FDR only made the current situation worse.

    By all accounts the Great Depression could have been over by 1936 had FDR not spent like a drunk sailor on liberty. Bottom line is it did not help and only WWII ended the Great Depression.

    Flash forward to 2009 and the Boy Genius applied the same cure and guess what…it did not work. This falls on the Democrats folks.

  • I think the economy is an overrated factor in this discussion. The President and Congress have enacted policies that large percentages of the population disapprove of. The economy of course plays into popular dislike of the President, but I don’t think that a sudden economic turnaround will have quite the beneficial impact on President Obama’s popularity as people expect.

  • By all accounts the Great Depression could have been over by 1936 had FDR not spent like a drunk sailor on liberty. Bottom line is it did not help and only WWII ended the Great Depression.

    The labor market was badly damaged by what happened during the period running from the fall of 1929 to the spring of 1933 and was not properly arighted until about 1942/43. However, production levels at the end of 1936 were very near what they had been in 1929. Per capita income in 1941 was about 15% higher than it had been in 1929. The economy had recovered and then some befor the war.

    As for Mr. Roosevelt spending like a drunken sailor, I am not sure there was a single fiscal year over that twelve year period where public sector borrowing exceeded 4% of domestic product. I think economists vary a good deal as to the multipliers to expect from public expenditures, but one of the President’s critics among economists has said that WWII data indicate that public expenditure can be stimulating (with a multiplier exceeding unity) when there is such slack in the economy that the unemployment rate exceeds 12%. That rate in 1933 was about 25%.

  • Afghan-istan:

    You insulted drunken sailors everywhere. They spend their own money. These squanderers are spending your grandchildren-s money.

    Obama and his uber liberal cronies daily strike us with contemptuous disdain for traditional American virtues, and continuously impose policies and regulations that are comprehensively devoid of logic and common sense.

    They insist that every nation and every culture is superior to America; that illegal aliens and Islamic jihadists are entitled to free everything plus all rights (vote themselves dem pay raises each November) and privileges of U.S. citizens; that giving 31 million additional people health insurance will save (the 10% of Americans that pay 95% of the taxes) billions; that Supreme Court justices are social workers who wear black robes to work; that drilling for oil or digging for coal are evil; that windmills, sunbeams, and unicorn farts will supply all the energy for an industrial economy; that Christian symbols must be eliminated from the national landscape, but Ramadan must be a national holiday; that the redistribution (to fornicaters, felons, haters, terrorists, etc.) of Americans hard earned money is a moral imperative; etc.

    PS: My keyboard isnt doing quotation marks or apostrophes anymore.

    Art: Can you identify one financial panic (on average one each ten years prior to the Great Depression) that lasted 17 years?

  • Oh, wait! Must be charitable.

    Obama et al are doing one something correctly.

    They stopped torturing terrorists. Hooray! All pro abortion catholics – be proud!

    Now, they are assassinating them by umanned aerial weapons platforms.

    Kudos!

  • Can you identify one financial panic (on average one each ten years prior to the Great Depression) that lasted 17 years?

    From the foundation of the domestic banking system in 1792 to the present, there have been four sets of financial panics that were consequential for the real economy: 1837/40, 1873, 1929/33, 2008/??. The third was manifest in the stock market crash (Oct.-Dec. 1929) and three waves of bank failures (Nov. 1930-Mar. 1931, May 1931-Mar. 1932, Nov. 1932-Mar. 1933). It did not last 17 years, it lasted 3 1/2 years, on and off.

    See Kenneth Rogoff on the general patter of economic contractions induced by financial crises. They tend to be longer and more durable in their effects than the ordinary run of economic contraction. We did and have experienced not just that, but an economic contraction synchronous with that of other countries.

    As it was, our economy was producing below long term trend lines from 1840-46, from 1873-80, and from 1929-41. The Great Depression was severe compared to previous experience and compared to what occurred in most other occidental countries. It was not different in kind. In any case, nearly all of the damage to production and employment occurred before Mr. Roosevelt took office and a recovery of output began almost immediately in the spring of 1933, co-incident with a series of measures the administration took to stabilize the banking system and stop the deflation.

  • Dr. Zero: Let me put this bluntly: virtually no one in America gives a damn what Barack Obama says about anything at this point. What could be more predictable, and less interesting, than Obama’s opinion on any given subject? Who wants to contemplate the economic wisdom of a guy who looted the Treasury for a trillion dollars, with less benefit than we could have achieved by stuffing hundred dollar bills into random cereal boxes? Who’s excited to hear about the next plan to convert taxpayer dollars into Democrat campaign funds? Who’s hungry for another hour of tedious excuses about permanently broken markets and the titanic dead hand of George W. Bush? Who wants a lecture on ethical business practices from the titular head of the party that gave us Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters? What use is another hollow foreign-policy speech from a man who sees no global adversary to rival the menace of Arizona? Even Obama’s supporters don’t hear anything he says any more. There’s nothing left to hear.

    Quotation mark does not work. Need new keyboard.

    No one except Obama worshipping zombies.

"The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II" — George Weigel's sequel to "Witness to Hope"

Wednesday, September 29, AD 2010

George Weigel’s new book, The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II — The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy, which was published by Doubleday on September 14, is the fulfillment of a promise the author made to Pope John Paul II less than four months before the pope died. In “A Promise To Pope John Paul II” (“The Catholic Difference” 9/17/10), Weigel gives his account of his parting words to the late Pope before his death:

The conversation over dinner was wide-ranging, and at one point, after the usual papal kidding about my having written “a very big book,” John Paul asked about the international reception of Witness to Hope, his biography, which I had published five years earlier. He was particularly happy when I told him that a Chinese edition was in the works, as he knew he would never get to that vast land himself. As that part of the conversation was winding down, I looked across the table and, referring to the fact that Witness to Hope had only taken the John Paul II story up to early 1999, I made the Pope a promise: “Holy Father,” I said, “if you don’t bury me, I want you to know that I’ll finish your story.”

It was the last time we saw each other, this side of the Kingdom of God.

The End and the Beginning covers the last six years of John Paul II’s life, including:

  • Karol Wojtyla’s epic battle with communism through the prism of previously classified and top-secret communist files
  • the Great Jubilee of 2000 and his historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land
  • September 11th, and the Pope’s efforts to frustrate Osama bin Laden’s insistence that his war with the West was a religious crusade
  • the Long Lent of 2002, when the Church in America grappled with the twin crises of clerical sexual abuse and episcopal misgovernance;
  • John Paul’s ongoing efforts to build bridges of dialogue and reconciliation with the Churches of the Christian East
  • his struggle with illness, “which brought him into at least one ‘dark night’ spiritually; and his heroic last months, in which his priestly death became, metaphorically, his last encyclical”

(Given that Weigel was personally engaged in the Catholic just war debate over the war in Iraq, it will be interesting to see the extent to which he covers this aspect of John Paul II’s pontificate).

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6 Responses to "The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II" — George Weigel's sequel to "Witness to Hope"

  • Witness to Hope was very well written.

    I never enjoyed a book that long ever since I read the Summa in under a week*.

    *not really.

  • I’m having dinner with him next week. (Weigel, not JPII.) Any questions you’d like me to ask?

  • Patrick,

    Not a question, but a request. =) I think of all the books by Weigel I’ve read, besides Witness to Hope I particularly appreciated Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace (1987). Unfortunately, it’s out of print and I’ve often wondered, with the various developments in just war debates since the time of publication, whether he would consider revising, expanding and putting out a new edition?

    Just a thought. =)

  • I ordered the new book on Monday… should arrive next week… can’t wait! As Christopher knows, I’m not always in agreement on Weigel when it comes to the interaction between Catholicism and liberalism (broadly speaking), but Witness to Hope was, all in all, fantastic, and I’m looking forward to this one.

  • I’ve put it at the top of my Amazon wish list!

  • (Given that Weigel was personally engaged in the Catholic just war debate over the war in Iraq, it will be interesting to see the extent to which he covers this aspect of John Paul II’s pontificate).

    That will be interesting to see. Personally, I found the sections of Witness to Hope on the lead-up to the Gulf War particularly interesting, as here to Weigel was clearly grappling with an application (or some would say, development) of just war teaching that he found himself fundamentally at odds with. I think the way he dealt with that controversy in the book was thoughtful and to his credit, and I’ll be interested to see the treatment of the second half of the war in the new book.

TAC NFL Rankings Week 3

Tuesday, September 28, AD 2010

Well, this has been boring, right? Steelers, Bears, and Chiefs are undefeated, just like we expected. Yawn.

Rankings…BEFORE the jump! (gotta keep you on your toes). Comments by me (MD), MJ (MJ), and Paul (PZ).

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (4) – The most complete team in the NFL–without Big Ben (MJ)
  2. Indianapolis Colts – As is the case with Green Bay and New Orleans, one gets the sense that Indy hasn’t really kicked into high gear yet, which is just truly terrifying to ponder. (PZ)
  3. New Orleans Saints (TIE w/ Indy) – Losing a game coming off a Monday nighter on the West Coast isn’t the end of the world, but when you’re a field goal miss away from a win against the main division rival, it hurts. (MD)
  4. Green Bay Packers – Outplayed the Bears for 57 minutes (MJ)
  5. Chicago Bears – Has there ever been a softer 3-0 team?  Maybe the 2006 Bears.  They have a soft schedule coming up, so they may be able to coast by for a while, but something tells me we will be soon shown that they are indeed who we thought they were.(PZ)
  6. New York Jets – So is the secret recipe just letting Mark Sanchez throw the ball? (MJ)
  7. Atlanta Falcons – They got the win, but barely against a Saints team not at 100% (Porter, Bush out + short week). They won’t get that lucky again.
  8. Baltimore Ravens – Not sure about this team; we’ll find out this week when they play the Steelers (MD)
  9. Kansas City Chiefs – This isn’t going to last, but I can’t really keep an undefeated team out of the top ten.  Jamaal Charles is just absolutely explosive, and they need to stop giving Thomas Jones the majority of the carries.(PZ)
  10. New England Patriots – Not the best two weeks of Pats football. (MD)

Others receiving votes: Eagles & Texans

Dropping out: Texans, Dolphins, and Chargers

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3 Responses to TAC NFL Rankings Week 3

  • Obviously, last year was a special year for the Saints, and no one (very few, anyway) thought this year’d be an exact repeat. However, I think the Super Bowl hangover has hit New Orleans pretty hard.

    Brees is still very good, but not great. His pinpoint precision is not there. The receivers have dropped passes they were catching last year. There’s no Mike Bell to alternate with Pierre Thomas.

    Defensively, Fujita’s presence is missing. And, if you want big fantasy team points, just take whatever tight end is playing against New Orleans. Rosario will be good for 8 catches, 60 yards, and a TD this weekend.

  • I was not expecting the loathsome Bears to continue to be undefeated. 🙁

    This Packer fan wept bitter tears (and ground her teeth this morning when confronted with a gloating Chi-town native – grrrrrr!)

  • Donna V,
    Bears fan here. The Pack played a terrible game and we barely beat you. Chin up babe.

    Daledog

36 Responses to Analyzing Catholic Endorsements

  • Michael,

    This is a great post, and I agree with almost everything you say, especially:

    I have a very hard time believing Angle ought to get an endorsement over Cao under Catholic principles.

    Thomas N. Peters strikes me as very dogmatic when it comes to his conservativism (one need only peruse his posts at The American Priciples Project), which has had led to some very senseless justifications for his political and policy positions on Catholic grounds. Hence, Cao, who is, I would think, exactly the sort of candidate Peters and Catholic Vote would embrace and endorse, is not trumpeted. This, however, is par for the course for Peters. And there’s the rub: Cao voted for a bill that is contrary to Peters’ dogmatic views of the “proper role of government,” despite Cao campaigning and voting in accord with the chief tenets of Catholic morality.

    I don’t think it is a problem to be a Catholic and subscribe to many of the positions that typify American conservativism and that are not explicit directives of Catholic morality and social teaching (e.g., gun rights, certain conomic policies), though I do think a lot of these positions are untenable on philosophical and sociological grounds (but that’s for another time). The problem is when it is thought that those positions are deduced/derived from Catholic teaching, and that’s the problem with nearly all of Peters’ political commentary.

  • As you seem to indicate, it’s certainly appropriate for Catholics to endorse candidates who support Catholic teaching on non-negotiable issues of life and marriage.

    But I find it bizarre that anyone would call it “abusive” for Catholics to support political candidates that they think will help advance the public good on issues like health care, the economy, and immigration. We never said they were more important.

    As our website states, these issues are important. But they are not more important than life and family. However… they are not irrelevant either.

    Catholics should talk about what a just tax system and a just health care system would look like. If there are candidates out there that support this, why should we not support them?

    As for Rep. Joseph Cao, his campaign did not return our candidate questionnaire, which is required for our endorsement. Have them call us.

    We did however endorse Rep. Dan Lipinski, which I’m surprised you did not mention. Lipinski, like Cao, supported the health care bill with the original pro-life Stupak language. And like Cao, Lipinski refused to support the final bill which didn’t have the pro-life protections in it.

    While CatholicVote.org opposed the entire health care bill and not just the pro-abortion language, we still support Lipinski for standing true on his principles. We need to support pro-life Catholics like Lipinski or else the entire Democratic Party will be in the wilderness.

  • MJ:

    On twitter, Peters said Cao didn’t get an endorsement b/c Cao didn’t respond to some questions. Taking him at his word, it’s not as bad of an oversight.

    However, I think considering Cao is in a hotly contested seat, CV probably ought to do some following up with the Cao campaign, as Cao can use some help.

  • Yes, it is quite true that there is a problem when it is thought that positions are derived from Catholic teaching.

    Catholics have much to dislike of the right-liberalism (freedom! liberty!) that swims so strongly inside the American conservative movement (and in Britain and Australia, the parties and coalitions of the Right wear the proper labels).

    However, the cheerleading for leftist figures and policies that is justified in the name of Catholicism, as we see in the linked post as elsewhere, can truly be toxic to our discourse. First, if that ad is “racist,” well, then, what can you say? It’s a small but thuggish tactic to shut down an opponent. Have a good faith conversation about the meaning of the word? About why illegal immigration is such a big deal in border states? About how wages are impacted by the massive influx of low skilled labor in recent decades (Cesar Chavez was right about that, by the way)? NO! Bad racist so-called Catholics. Second, if that ad is noteworthy as overly heated, then the person noting that supposed fact is rather uninformed about elections – heck, there are about 10 that are “worse” (look at Grayson’s latest) just in this cycle, not to mention the very rough and tumble 19th Century, which puts even Lyndon Johnson and his daises to shame.

  • Catholics should talk about what a just tax system and a just health care system would look like. If there are candidates out there that support this, why should we not support them?

    Not going to let this slip, since you appear to be begging the question against Michael. What exactly does a “just tax system and a just health care system” look like? Can you give an example of an “unjust tax system” or an “unjust health care system” such that if an American politician were to endorse one or the other you would refuse to endorse him/her on Catholic grounds?

    As for Rep. Joseph Cao, his campaign did not return our candidate questionnaire, which is required for our endorsement. Have them call us.

    If returning your questionnaire is a necessary condition for endorsement, and assuming few candidates actually do so, then how exactly do Catholics (like me) benefit from a CV endorsement? It seems likely that you will end up providing little to no guidance to Catholics in most political contests. Further, there is obviously some asymmetry with respect to your endorsements and oppositions; it does not appear that returning a questionnaire is a necessary condition for being condemned by CatholicVote.

    While CatholicVote.org opposed the entire health care bill and not just the pro-abortion language

    This seems disingenuous, then. The health care bill that included the pro-life protections was not contrary to any Catholic moral or social principles, so your opposition to it could only be justified (if it even could have been justified in the first place) on grounds quite apart from expressed Catholic teaching. Calling yourselves “CatholicVote” while opposing policies that are not themselves in conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching is misleading and, it seems to me, partisan.

  • it’s certainly appropriate for Catholics to endorse candidates who support Catholic teaching on non-negotiable issues of life and marriage.

    No, that is not what I indicated. For a Catholic to endorse a candidate requires more than token acceptance of pro-life views on abortion and marriage, but rather a wholistic embrace of Catholic social teaching-an embrace rarely found in either party.

    For example, there’s not a word on the site about torture. How do you claim a candidate is Catholic without examining this issue?

  • Michael,

    As you point out, CV’s emaciation of Catholic social teaching and its vague reference to the “proper role of government” seems to be arbitrary.

  • Michael, you make good points (especially about that humorless crusader called Minion!). And I also respect Anh Cao a lot – my wife has donated to him, and I’ve been to fundraisers. Let’s say he’s one Republican I hope wins this year (even if I think he made the wrong prudential call on the final healthcare bill).

    You have flagged the core problem here. It is one thing to claim that some issues are more important than others, or to support somebody while holding your nose over certain issues. But the Peters brigade goes much further. While calling themselves “Catholic Vote”, they actually seize a principle about the role of government which is quite at odds with a Catholic understanding and a Catholic sensibility. While we can certainly have debates over the appropriate role of government, I think certain positions can be ruled out of bounds, and Angle’s ultra-liberalism is one of them.

    It is rooted in a philosopical principle that the Church has long condemned. To give just one of many examples, Pope Paul VI in Octogesima Adveniens warns about the attraction of liberalism as a counterweight to totalitarianism: “the very root of philosophical liberalism is an erroneous affirmation of the autonomy of the individual in his activity, his motivation and the exercise of his liberty”.

    In essence, it forsakes all notions of solidarity. In healthcare in particular, this “evil individualistic spirit” sees health as personal responsibility and opposes all notions that the fortunate must be compelled to subsidize the unfortunate. This was really at the essence of the healthcare debate. During the debate, the Peters brigade used abortion as a smokescreen to mask their true liberal position. This explains why not a single one of these people supported the House bill, which had the language on abortion approved by the USCCB. Only Cao…

  • I agree with what you say here, and MM did point out some rather questionable issues with some of Angle’s views, but I do have a hard time considering Reid pro-life. He may not be as rabid a pro-abort as some other Dems, but a Cao he is not. Yet some on VN are painting the Reid v Angle as a pro-life Dem v. pro-life Rep contest, as though there is no difference between the two on that issue.

  • but I do have a hard time considering Reid pro-life. He may not be as rabid a pro-abort as some other Dems, but a Cao he is not.

    I thought the votes MM quoted showed me enough to not trust Reid on abortion; whether Angle is more trustworthy I cannot say, as I am not from Nevada and have no real interest in the race.

    Michael, you make good points (especially about that humorless crusader called Minion!

    You know what? You want me to call you by the full name, you gotta have a shorter name. I come from a generation where if you have a name that gets more than three letters in text-speak, you’re doing pretty good 😉

    MJ & MM

    I have a hard time accepting that either party has an understanding the proper role of government. While subsidiarity does call for smaller government, it does allow for larger ones to step if there’s a problem that either can’t or isn’t being addressed by the smaller. Healthcare seems to fit that bill. However, the Dems didn’t seem really interested in constructing a system that was geared towards returning the system to more local control (local, not state). To be fair, they had a hard time constructing much of anything with the lobbyists and such, but it seems to me that both parties didn’t really represent solidiarity in that debate. Which approach did more violence to the principle is hard to tell and up for discussion-which is precisely why it’s so hard to say “x candidate is good on the issues” in this partisan environment. Both sides have some elements of social teaching in them, but neither has nearly enough to be called Catholic.

  • My position is that there are a few issues, abortion and euthanasia being among them, where there is a clear Catholic position. On most other issues the Church leaves her sons and daughters free to execise their wits and determine their own positions.

    This letter from then Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick in 2004 has helped shape my thinking in this area:

    Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles

    by Joseph Ratzinger

    1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgement regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: “Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?” The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” nos. 81, 83).

    2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorise or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. […] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. […] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).

    3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

    4. Apart from an individuals’s judgement about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).

    5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

    6. When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgement on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

    [N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]

  • I posted the folloing in the comments sectio9n of MM’s post.

    Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”(Lev 19:15) “Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.(Col 4:1) Emphsis mine.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1807

    I think the discussion would be better made if took are catagoris from the Church’s teaching rather than secular political talking points.

    Questions

    What is the proper due to of a government to it’s citizens?
    What is the proper due to of a government to non-citizens it has allowed to reside there.
    What is the proper due to of a government to non-citizens who have moved there in violation of it’s own laws?

    That is probably not exhaustive but to have just policy all of them must be answered in a way supports giving each his popper due.

    Without the hype Ms Angle’s add is accusing Senator Reid of wanting the Government to take from what is due citizens and lawful resident non-citizens and to give unlawfully present non-citizens more than their due.

    I do not know all the facts of the situation, and would most likely dislike them both if I did, but there is nothing inherently racist in the video. If you want to disagree with Ms Angle go ahead send some money to Senator Reid’s campaign, but the accusation of racism is over the top and not really conductive to charity.

  • “He also claims Cao did not return CV’s questions, explaining why there is no endorsement.

    Well we should be able to correct that problem down here

  • We need to support pro-life Catholics like Lipinski or else the entire Democratic Party will be in the wilderness

    A fellow named Stupak showed us all not too long ago that the promises of “pro-life” Democrats are worth less than a warm bucket of spit. I’ll not let myself be suckered again.

  • Thanks Michael for your post, though I am compelled to respond and disagree with much of what you and others have written. I do believe that the questions you raise are highly relevant to the conversation occurring within the Church today about the proper role of the laity in public life, and especially American politics. I should also note for those that don’t know, Michael has been, and continues to be, a guest blogger on CatholicVote.org and we continue to welcome his contributions (and disagreements) on our site should he choose to cross post there.

    CatholicVote.org was founded specifically to champion the cause of faithful citizenship from a distinctly lay perspective. As such, we seek to serve the Church by assisting the laity with material, catechetical resources, news and commentary, and tools for evangelization (videos, ads, etc) that incorporate an authentic Catholic worldview as applied to our civic life, in pursuit of the common good. To be sure, the issues that involve intrinsic evils, or questions that involve the “non-negotiable” issues are always treated as foundational, and not open to compromise or debate for Catholics. Our programming has almost exclusively been focused on the life issue, for example.

    However, it should come as no surprise that Catholic voters are confronted with a host of public policy questions where an authentic Catholic approach to a particular public policy solution is not as easily discernible. Your beef seems to focus on our use of prudence in reading Church teaching, particularly on the issue of subsidiarity, in evaluating and scoring candidates for public office. This is precisely the debate we hoped to spawn, namely, one that involves questions of prudence in the application of this foundational principle of Catholic social teaching to the questions of economic justice, taxes, immigration, health care, and other issues where Catholics in good conscience are permitted to disagree. To your credit, you acknowledge that our scoring analysis makes clear that we make no claim that Church teaching binds Catholics to vote and follow particular policy approaches on these prudential matters. That does not mean, however, that the principles and guidance of the Church should be ignored, or as some here suggest, be kept out of the public square by Catholic groups in the context of specific candidates seeking elected office.

    This is precisely where we hope to provide the laity some needed counterweight to the default socialist oriented, government-first, policy prejudices often assumed to be the more authentically “Catholic” position on many issues. We openly acknowledge our reading of Catholic social doctrine to incorporate the principle of subsidiarity in the development of policy prescriptions that seek to bring about the conditions most conducive to the common good. This reading of Church teaching, not altogether novel incidentally, leads us to advocate in many instances a more limited role for the federal government in the governance and control of policies that impact our economy, health care and so forth.

    I think it is perfectly defensible to suggest that the Church, particularly since Vatican II, and more recently the public statements from the Holy Father, urge the laity to assume a more active role in this area. Quite frankly, I continue to be disappointed in the reluctance on the part of highly competent Catholics (including many of your readers) to engage these questions head on. This is precisely the function of the laity, whom in many cases possess a level of competence or expertise in various areas (economic policy or health care delivery for example) that may exceed even that of our priests or bishops or, most certainly, the staff of the USCCB. This is in no way intended to slight our bishops, whom we serve and obey without qualification on questions of faith and morals. But it does seem to me of utmost importance that the laity assert their role, apply their insights and expertise in light of the guidance provided by the Church, and most importantly, not be afraid to say that their judgments are informed by Catholic social doctrine and tradtion. Catholic voters in return can more responsibly rely on lay groups such as mine as a place to help formulate and articulate political positions that are shaped and guided by the insights of the Church.

    Whether Sharon Angle for example should be supported by Catholics is a highly relevant question, which we unabashedly try to answer. There are some Catholics who may disagree with our judgment, but I find it odd, if not irresponsible, to suggest that Catholic laity (or groups using the word Catholic in their name) should shun such judgments.

    Finally, I think it important to propose that Catholics begin to work to overcome the “single-issue voter” critique, as if the Catholics who follow the Church’s teaching on the life issue have nothing further to contribute to the our national political conversation. We have much we can offer, and indeed must learn to articulate the ways in which the life issue is indeed foundational, by and through, our articulation of a Catholic approach to other issues. Socialist Catholic organizations have understood this for years, and have harmed the Church because, unlike you and me, they don’t truly take seriously the non-negotiable issues to begin with.

    I have written far to much for a comment box, and I could go on much further, but perhaps I should stop now and allow the discussion to continue. Your post, and the comments by your readers are indeed helpful and thought provoking. Like most here, I hope this conversation, and any success we achieve, contributes in some small way, to the New Evangelization, of which we are all a part. Any grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, or lapses in logic can be blamed on my lack of sleep from Monday night, having attended that glorious upset of the Packers at Soldier Field. Go Bears.

    But wait, a few final remarks –

    – our questionnaire that must be completed prior to any endorsement is the most extensive questionnaire that I know of. It is not multiple choice, and requires candidates to submit lengthy answers, including an explicit question asking about their opposition to torture;

    – those that read into the placement of issues on our website as indicative of the priority we place on these issues are simply looking to cause trouble; if the work we have done, and the commentary provided by Thomas and others on our site has not made plain that we believe the issues of life, marriage, and religious liberty to be foundational, then they I can’t help them.

    – Finally, the endorsements on our site do not constitute a comprehensive list of all candidates worthy of an endorsement or Catholic attention; because this is our first public foray with our PAC, we have chosen to keep our “slate” to a limited number of candidates who qualify for our endorsement, and whose races we believe to be significant

  • “A fellow named Stupak showed us all not too long ago that the promises of “pro-life” Democrats are worth less than a warm bucket of spit. I’ll not let myself be suckered again.”

    Words to live by Donna.

  • A fellow named Stupak showed us all not too long ago that the promises of “pro-life” Democrats are worth less than a warm bucket of spit. I’ll not let myself be suckered again.

    I know this debate dragged on for quite some time, and I do not wish to rehash it, but it is not at all apparent to me that Stupak betrayed any pro-life principles. Stupak remains a hero of mine and many other pro-life Catholics.

  • Well, IIRC, Stupak proposed an amendment that would have provided some pro-life protection in the health care bill, and voted for the package including the amendment (as did Cao). The Senate dumped the amendment, and when it came back to the house, Stupak voted for it w/o his amendment (Cao voted against after the amendment was dropped). So, who did his Father’s will?

  • For months Stupak, along with the Bishops and the vast majority of pro-life advocates, argued that the bill provided federal funding for abortion. He stated that he couldn’t support the bill unless it included language specifically excluding abortion. He said that, without such language, the bill was “unacceptable”.

    Then, when push came to shove, he voted for the very bill that he had previously said was “unacceptable” because it funded abortion. He chose voting with Pelosi over voting with the Bishops. Then, in defense of himself, and in speaking against Republican efforts to reintroduce HIS OWN Stupak Amendment, he smeared the very pro-lifers who had stood with him for months as not caring about health care for mothers and only caring about babies up until the time they are born:

    http://proecclesia.blogspot.com/2010/03/smear.html

    As if that weren’t enough, he then attacked the Bishops and other pro-lifers as “hypocrites”:

    http://proecclesia.blogspot.com/2010/03/smear-part-2-stupak-attacks-catholic.html

    I’d say that’s a fairly serious compromise of one’s pro-life principles.

    It’s funny because Rick Santorum is still raked over the coals (and rightfully so) for his far less egregious sell out of the pro-life cause in his support of Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey. It almost seems that every misstep by pro-life Republicans is magnified as a sell-out of epic proportion (and I happily join in on piling on the GOP when that happens). So why would we give more deference to a pro-life Democrat whose actions arguably will, if the Bishops prove to be correct, actually lead to more abortions via federal funding?

    I was one of Stupak’s biggest cheerleaders during the healthcare debate, and often referred to him as a “hero” myself. The fact that he is a Democrat made him even more of a hero in my book. I was even willing to support the final bill (a bill I otherwise opposed) had the Stupak language been inserted, and to encourage others to do so, just as a show of good faith that a Democrat who had up until then stood up for pro-life principles against the pro-abort Dem leadership would be rewarded for his actions.

    So I understand the desperate need to find true pro-life Democrat heros. But not at the expense of calling Stupak’s sell out exactly what it was – a betrayal of pro-life principles far more egregious and far-reaching in its consequences than most pro-life sell-outs.

  • Jay, Very true. Many pro-life activists were very excited about Bart Stupak for standing true to his principles. In fact, we at CatholicVote launched a video comparing him to Braveheart and encouraged people to Stand With Stupak (www.standwithstupak.com). The hope was that he would begin a strong and bold pro-life movement within the Democratic Party.

    Conservatives said that this was wishful thinking — that Stupak would betray the pro-life cause.

    And he did betray us. Like Jay said, he also attacked those who stood with him.

  • Nice article, Michael. To stir the pot a little, the focus on abortion and family as the greatest political issue may come into conflict with what John Paul II taught: “the one issue which most challenges our human and Christian consciences is the poverty of countless millions of men and women.”

  • “most challenges” can mean a lot of things, nate, not necessarily “this is the most important issue.” I do think the poverty around us-spiritual and material-is what spurs us into politics. What issues we address in order to cure that poverty is the question. Indeed, part of the difficulty is that in America we have artificially divided things into separate issues whereas in Catholic social teaching, as Benedict makes clear in Caritas in Veritate, all issues are part of a whole.

    This wholeness, in turn, makes voting difficult and endorsing almost impossible for Catholics in America.

  • Michael, in terms of substance, this is one of the best pieces I have read on this blog in a very long time.

  • “I was one of Stupak’s biggest cheerleaders during the healthcare debate, and often referred to him as a “hero” myself.”

    I reacted the same way Jay, a mistake I am going to do my best not to repeat.

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  • Jay,

    From this:

    He stated that he couldn’t support the bill unless it included language specifically excluding abortion. He said that, without such language, the bill was “unacceptable”.

    Then, when push came to shove, he voted for the very bill that he had previously said was “unacceptable” because it funded abortion.

    you make the following inference:

    I’d say that’s a fairly serious compromise of one’s pro-life principles.

    The inference simply does not follow. You can (rightly, I think) charge Stupak with inconsistency on the substance of the healthcare bill. But it does not follow from his inconsistency that he compromised his pro-life principles. He stated that he voted for the bill because of the Presidential Executive Order, whose content he deemed sufficient to block that content of the bill over which he objected. Now, we can debate over the efficacy and content of the PEO or whether Stupak misunderstood it, but either option would be a matter separate from the question over whether Stupak compromised his pro-life principles.

  • He stated that he voted for the bill because of the Presidential Executive Order, whose content he deemed sufficient to block that content of the bill over which he objected.

    But the statement that the executive order changed Stupak’s opinion is an obvious lie. The executive order has no effect whatsoever on the legislation; the executive order did not and could not trump the congressional legislation (as its text makes clear). I think Stupak has received more criticism than he probably deserves; I am certain his efforts did result in some marginal improvements in the ultimate shape of the legislation.

    But his performance at the end was simply a disgrace – first he bashed pro-lifers, then he lied about the significance of the executive order. There was no need for him to do this – he could have simply said – ‘look, I was bluffing to get the best pro-life deal I could in the legislation, and in the end they called my bluff’. Instead he tried to play pro-lifers for fools by claiming the executive order was significant (it wasn’t), and then kicked sand in their eyes with antagonistic comments. Certainly, he was under a lot of pressure, but let’s not pretend he behaved in an honest or praiseworthy manner. I’m discounting as unworthy of serious consideration the idea that Stupak was unaware that the executive order was meaningless – it’s possible he’s an ignoramus on matters relating to the most basic facets of his job, but I’m assuming (perhaps erroneously) that he is not.

    Lest you think I am mis-stating the significance of the order, here’s Slate and the Volokh Conspiracy puzzling over Stupak’s bizarre behavior in light of the legal effect of the order.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2248490/
    “Why did Bart Stupak hold out for a meaningless executive order?”

    http://volokh.com/2010/03/22/the-stupak-conundrum-why-did-the-stupak-nine-change-their-positions-on-the-health-care-bill-in-exchange-for-a-meaningless-executive-order/

  • I think there are two interpretations of what Stupak did.

    1) Stupak sold out. He was grandstanding to make a name for himself and to get more favor for his vote that he could trade for earmarks for his Michigan. The pro-life schtick was a sham.

    2) Stupak realized at the 11th hour that he had failed and that Obamacare would fund abortion. Hoping to at least bind the Obama administration as much as possible, he traded his vote, which he now knew was meaningless, for the EO in order to at least slow down the flow of abortion funds into the coffers until the GOP could come back and fix it.

    #1 doesn’t make much sense, because it seems to have been a gross miscalculation as everyone dislikes him now. #2 doesn’t square away with the comments he directed towards the pro-lifers who had faithfully backed him. The whole thing doesn’t quite make sense, and Stupak is still trying to argue the EO means something (he & pro-healthcare Catholics seem to be the few who think this). Until he comes clean, we can argue about it. But I think it’s possible that Stupak made a prudential error in voting for the bill in order to get the best pro-life protection he could get-which wasn’t much, if anything.

  • I just think he was sincerely pro-life and pro-health care and pro-his career. He was under a lot of pressure and made some poor choices (and voting for the bill wasn’t necessarily one of them). There is no legal basis for claiming the executive order accomplished anything. None. It’s impossible for me to believe that Stupak doesn’t know this, given that he was (theoretically) holding hostage Obama’s signature initiative for this reason. My problem is less with his actions re: voting, than how he went about it, which reflected some combination of foolishness and dishonesty, although we can disagree about how much there was of each. It’s one thing to vote for the bill. Quite another to make obviously false statements about the rationale for said vote, and attack pro-lifers in the process.

  • This:

    the statement that the executive order changed Stupak’s opinion is an obvious lie.

    Does not follow from this:

    The executive order has no effect whatsoever on the legislation; the executive order did not and could not trump the congressional legislation (as its text makes clear).

    This problematic way of drawing inferences is what I pointed out about Jay’s commment.

    There seems to me to be no grounds for the following three claims:

    1. Stupak compromised his pro-life principles (made by Jay)
    2. Stupak betrayed the pro-life cause (made by Joshua)
    3. Stupak lied (made by John)

    None of these three claims follows from the facts of the matter. Instead, each claim depends by and large on speculation about Stupak’s intentions and understanding with respect to the bill and the PEO. It may be the case that Stupak made an error of judgment about the nature and content of the PEO and its precise relation to the bill, and we could criticize him for this mistake (if he made one) and express our disappointment that he made it. But to attribute ill-will to Stupak (e.g., “he lied,” “he betrayed us”) or to claim he compromised his faith and principles is to not only go well beyond the facts we have available to us, it is to give no benefit whatsoever of the doubt to him. In that case, I question the motives behind portraying Stupak in the worst possible light (it’s hard to imagine saying anything worse about his legislative actions than that he deliberately compromised key Catholic moral principles or willingly deceived pro-lifers).

    A more charitable take on the Stupak case is that he misjudged or misunderstood what was at stake with respect to the PEO. This seems to me to be more plausible than the speculation offered in this thread.

  • A more charitable take on the Stupak case is that he misjudged or misunderstood what was at stake with respect to the PEO

    It is possible for a third way-that he understood that it was weak, but took the deal because it’s better than nothing. That doesn’t mean he betrayed his pro-life principles, but rather did what he thought best to secure the best pro-life bill he could.

    But to attribute ill-will to Stupak (e.g., “he lied,” “he betrayed us”) or to claim he compromised his faith and principles is to not only go well beyond the facts we have available to us, it is to give no benefit whatsoever of the doubt to him.

    I think his comments from the House floor really hurt a lot of his former supporters. While they could be more charitable, Stupak did also stir the fire against him and made a lot of mistakes in handling how he switched his vote so that mistrust is understandable even if not ultimately justified.

  • Stupak decided to fight the good fight, until the going got rough and then he capitulated unconditionally. Obama gave him the executive order as a figleaf, nothing more. More’s the pity if Stupak has managed to convince himself that what he did accomplished anything for the pro-life cause.

  • MJ,

    I would be willing to buy your take and to have given Stupak the benefit of the doubt had he not, after all was said and done, attacked the pro-lifers who had stood with him. Had he not called the Bishops and other pro-lifers “hypocrites” for their pointing out the worthlessness of the Executive Order.

    The evidence of Stupak’s bad faith lies not in conjecture on my part, but in his words and deeds since he switched his vote.

  • John Henry and I haven’t always agreed on everything (usually differences over form rather than substance), but I know him to be one of the more thoughtful and measured contributors here. He is not prone to harsh words about anyone, and in those very few instances where his commentary does take on an edge, it is almost never without justification.

    I also know John Henry to have once held Bart Stupak in the highest esteem.

    So, the fact that John Henry now takes this tack with regard to Stupak’s actions gives me confidence that Stupak’s critics here are not acting uncharitably or in bad faith in forming their assessments of him.

  • None of these three claims follows from the facts of the matter. Instead, each claim depends by and large on speculation about Stupak’s intentions and understanding with respect to the bill and the PEO. It may be the case that Stupak made an error of judgment about the nature and content of the PEO and its precise relation to the bill, and we could criticize him for this mistake (if he made one) and express our disappointment that he made it

    Respectfully, MJ, you seem to be ignoring the main issue and injecting doubt into the discussion about the executive order where none exists. Everyone from Ezra Klein to Slate to the conservative law profs at Volokh agree that the Executive Order carried no legal force; it did nothing to modify the law and said as much in the plain text of the Order. Stupak’s claim on that score is simply false, and your comments haven’t acknowledged that. Once we understand that his statements were clearly false, we are left with two (unflattering) conclusions:

    1) Stupak knew they were false, and was trying to save face by claiming the Executive Order had some legal force.

    2) Stupak made a deal completely misunderstanding its contents.

    As I said, I find the second explanation implausible; Stupak was holding the entire health care reform bill hostage over this issue. Either he knew or he should have known that the deal he made was meaningless. I don’t even see why 2 is really all that much more flattering than 1; is it really more flattering to portray him as an ignorant dupe than a politician caught in a tight spot who decided to lie to cover up for his reversal? Your comments suggest you think it is, but you haven’t explained why. There is no ambiguity here legally; pretending there is simply wishful thinking. As I said, Stupak has received more criticism than he deserves; that does not mean the criticisms are wholly unfounded – your comments here have been rather obtuse.

  • He is not prone to harsh words about anyone, and in those very few instances where his commentary does take on an edge, it is almost never without justification.

    I don’t really agree with this – I have wished I were more charitable towards people in comment threads (including you, as you know) many, many times – but thank you for saying it. As for Stupak, I think it was fine for him to make a prudential judgment about the health care reform bill; I just think he should have been more upfront about his reasons for doing so (or if he was being honest, he shouldn’t have agreed to a deal that he clearly didn’t understand).

Pretend Clown Testifies Before Real Clowns

Tuesday, September 28, AD 2010

“Every time congress makes a law, it’s a joke. Every time congress makes a joke, it’s a law”.

Will Rogers

A fitting ending to the 111th Congress was having Stephen Colbert testify regarding migrant workers.  The Christian Science Monitor had a story on this bizarre episode entitled Stephen Colbert Congressional Testimony:  Why Was He Invited?

He was invited by the subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, a liberal Democrat from California representing a very liberal congressional district.  She thought that inviting Colbert to testify would get some publicity for her subcommittee.  Well it certainly did that!  Colbert’s testimony was so off-color that Steny Hoyer Democrat Majority Leader in the House on Sunday said:  “His testimony was not appropriate. I think it was an embarrassment for Mr. Colbert more than the House.”

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  • Well, he got it half right – it was inappropriate, but the House Democrats were more embarassed (or shamed?), not Colbert.

  • Yet, Colbert did have some more serious moments.

    I think all this “controversy” around his opening statement is rather silly. It seems as some would say there is no room for humor in Congress and it’s subcommittees. I was amused, and I also understood his point.

  • I thought Colbert’s “testimony” was at once brilliant and poignant. If one allows oneself to cut through the satire, one will see that he makes some important points, whether or not one ends up persuaded by the implicit argument he is making from them. Overall, I do not think it is the case that his testimony was a joke or off-color. Colbert is too clever to waste the opportunity.

  • Because I have not and will not listen to Colbert’s “testimony,” I have no view one way or another regarding its substance. The man is a comedian, and I am no more interested in his political opinions than those of my barber. The fact that Congress so routinely takes an interest in the views of Hollywood celebrities is ridiculous. If he is making fun of them then they plainly deserve it.

  • I watched his opening remarks and thought they were reasonably well done. He was a little off-color and rude in some of his responses in the Q&A session, but he also broke character to explain his reason for appearing and concern for immigrants as the least among us. For some reason Drudge decided to make this a top story for a day or two, so there was a lot of media coverage, but I don’t think there was anything particularly newsworthy.

  • The man is a comedian, and I am no more interested in his political opinions than those of my barber.

    Out of curiosity, whose political opinions do you think are worth your interest and what is your criteria? Why not be interested in the political views of a comedian or barber (or bus driver or lawyer or professor or home-schooling parent or…)?

E. J. Dionne & Maureen Dowd Are Playing With A Dangerous Fire

Tuesday, September 28, AD 2010

In a recent column Washington Post columnist, E J Dionne noted that the Tea Party movement is a great scam. Quite an indictment coming from the self described progressive Catholic who still thinks government can never be big enough and the Church should tell the faithful more about the teachings of the agnostic Saul Alinsky than that of 2,000 year old teachings of the Catholic Church. Dionne has made it his business to comment on all matter of politics and religion for quite some time. His partner in left wing chicanery is New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd who never hesitates to go for the jugular.  Though she says he she comes from humble Washington DC roots, you would never know it by how she mocks those who really came from humble surrounding and never forgot it. She probably grew up with many Sarah Palin’s and Christine O’Donnell’s around her. Yet, I doubt she mocked many to their face as she gleefully does now to the backs of Palin and O’Donnell.

Dionne and Dowd seem to have it backwards, they don’t think citizens should voice their views about the fallacies of liberal Big Government, but they do believe everyone knows better than the divine about religion. This is quite common for liberals who often seem to think they are divine. Dionne and Dowd are part of a movement who thinks they should control government and religion, and those who disagree with them are often labeled as unintelligent; the worst sin as far as liberals are concerned. However, who is the unintelligent one? Big Government has never worked. It has only brought huge debt which has to be repaid by future generations. Individuals who go into debt face a series of tough measures. Yet Dionne and Dowd seem oblivious to this and advocate the same disastrous path for the government, the end result being tough measures for everyone.  In other words Big Government is a disaster that doesn’t work.

However, Big Government isn’t the only disaster Dionne and Dowd advocate. They want the Catholic Church to turn her back on its 2,000 year old teachings and embrace the Dictatorship of Relativism, so named by Pope Benedict XVI. Dionne and Dowd are happy to embrace dissident Catholics who espouse this sort of thinking. It seems Dionne and Dowd are more comfortable with the views of Marx, Alinsky and Freud than they are with Christ, St Paul, St Thomas Aquinas, St Joan of Arc and Pope Benedict XVI.

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  • Apologies in advance: Top ten reasons to vote dem:

    10. I vote Democrat because I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t.

    9. I vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

    8. I vote Democrat because Freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

    7. I vote Democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.

    6. I vote Democrat because I believe that people who can’t tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don’t start driving a Prius.

    5. I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies through abortion so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

    4. I vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits.

    3. I vote Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the democrats see fit.

    2. I vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

    1. I vote Democrat because my head is so firmly planted up my @$$ that it is unlikely that I’ll ever have another point of view.

  • T Shaw did you come up with this? If you did something tells me that this might show up across the internet. Who knows old EJ and Maureen might heartily approve, not realizing your satire (well at 2-10.)

TAC College Football Rankings Week 4

Monday, September 27, AD 2010

This weekend was the first opportunity for me to rejoin my brethren in purple & gold, and enjoy the tailgating, so college football has officially begun. Notes from the week:

  • 8:15 games are lame, made more so with long TV timeouts. I didn’t get home till 1:45 (granted, I waited out the traffic at a nearby apartment but still).
  • The Big East in in trouble. No one in the Top 25, with all three marquee teams losing this weekend (WVU, Pitt, & Cincy).
  • The ACC is a mystery to me. With GT losing and UNC’s troubles, hard to pick a favorite. Miami looks good, and NC State is undefeated, but the Hokies don’t have a conference loss yet and made a good statement against BC.
  • As of right now, the SEC West has the teams ranked #1, #10, #12, and #15 in the AP poll. Your chaos of the season will ride on what happens there (as well as what happens when Florida plays some of those teams-starting this week when Bama is rewarded for its efforts v. the Hogs by meeting the stronger-looking Gators at home). You may begin an “S-E-C!” chant now.
  • Do you think Brian Kelly & Notre Shame expected to be 1-3 right now?
  • What happened to Georgia? They got creamed by Moo U. and sit firmly behind Vandy in the SEC East. Very sad.
  • The Heisman race continues to intrigue. Ingram, despite missing a few games, looks solid. Robinson was out for much of the game but looks ok. Pryor handled business, and Peterson added another special teams TD. I will say that I acted very dignified when peterson scored his TD and did the Heisman pose. And by dignified, I mean jump up and down so much that I almost knocked my sister down. However, I did resist putting that picture as the lead this week (saving it for a future week, perhaps?)
  • Right now, I think conference ranks are 1. SEC, 2. PAC-10, 3. Big-10, 4. Big 12, 5. MWC, 6. ACC, 7. Boise St. 8. Big East.
  • This week, Idaho receives no votes in the TAC poll. In a unrelated story, the TAC poll gains nation-wide credibility (love ya, tito!)

Ok, rankings after the jump.

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  • This week, Idaho receives no votes in the TAC poll. In a unrelated story, the TAC poll gains nation-wide credibility (love ya, tito!)

    I don’t know…TAMU and Kansas State are somehow getting votes! 😉

  • And check out Dave and Denton with their blatant anti-USC bias!

  • Michael,

    Please tell me you were not among the Boo Birds in Death Valley Saturday night.

    Although I believe that Miles waited too long to put Lee in (at least for a couple of series), I can’t understand those fans who actively booed JJ.

    Imagine that LSU is entertaining a top QB prospect (or any other position, for that matter). Is that what we want highly-touted recruits to see and hear? That our fans will jump all over them when they’re stuggling?

    Crowton, IMHO, is the problem. He’s got to be replaced if the offense doesn’t get any better this year.

  • I did not boo when JJ came back in. I don’t boo players. However, I was trying to start a “Jar-ret Lee!” chant before then. Didn’t work.

    Crowton needed to be replaced last year.

    And check out Dave and Denton with their blatant anti-USC bias!

    I did rank them. I think that’s better than previously.

  • Look on the bright side, T-sippers: you’ve shown improvement against UCLA since your last drubbing at their hands.

    In between drubbings, I recall a certain inVINCEable outing for the Longhorns.

  • All USC has to do is beat a lathargic Washington Huskies squad and they should easily move up my poll, that is if the Men of Troy actually decide to field a defensive squad. There are bound to be upsets this week, so the Trojans should move up quite nicely. By the way what happened to Jake Locker? Is it him or is the Huskies offensive line a pale comparison of last year’s unit?

  • It’s nice of y’all to put Michigan at 15, but that’s overrating my team.

    The offense is a beast, but the defense is a porous, talent-deficient nightmare. They scrap, but they’re so clearly overmatched it’s not funny. My original prediction for this year was 7-5. If the breaks fall their way, they could get to 8-4. The two-all-but-guaranteed losses are to OSU and Wisconsin, both road games. Almost as likely is a loss to Iowa, even though that’s a home game and they played the Hawkeyes really tough last year. They likely lose to either (but not both) MSU or PSU. Then toss in the annual rude surprise, and you’re back at my original pick. I want to believe, but I don’t.

  • In retrospect, I’m thinking my assessment of Ryan Mallett was a little overly harsh. I’m not sure he actually had much of an opportunity to fold like a cheap card table while he was at Michigan, and he actually performed fairly well in some of the games he started, such as in the 38-0 routing of the Fighting Irish.

    But he certainly folded like a cheap card table in the 2nd half of that Alabama game.

  • No, you were right about Mallett, basically. Yes, he wasn’t on the field much, but the scuttlebutt about the guy’s attitude was strongly suggestive of a folder. Lloyd Carr was *not* delighted with him during his last year as coach, and IIRC, there were hints he would have transferred even if Carr had stayed on another year.

  • Oh, and I would have voted OSU number 1–and not as some kind of jinx, either. 🙂

    ‘Bama’s good, don’t get me wrong. But I think they’re good for at *least* one conference loss this year. National Championship hangover plus everyone in the SEC gunning for them every week.

  • TAMU!

    Gig ‘em!

    If the Aggies beat Oklahoma State this weekend, then I think they are worthy of a vote for the week 5 rankings. Up to now, they haven’t shown us anything.

  • It’s been a fun couple of years to be a Stanford fan (Handing USC its largest loss ever was too sweet). But once your coach gets the national spotlight… (Hands off, Dale Price.)

  • rather, this Thursday.

  • Sorry, jchris–the Harbaugh Watch has been on since the gun sounded at the end of the OSU game last year.

    I see what RichRod’s trying to do, and when it works–wow. But his defenses have to get better, fast, or he’s going to be out, and Dave Brandon’s going to be knocking on your door.

  • Oh, and I would have voted OSU number 1–and not as some kind of jinx, either.

    You could always write your own rankings that would be included…:)

    Michigan at 15 makes sense just b/c of the makeup this year. 1-5 are solid contenders (though I have a feeling oregon will switch out with Stanford this week), 6-15 are teams that could be contenders but have problems (LSU and Florida fit this mold pretty well), and after that are a lot of teams that could have decent seasons. Michigan is on the cusp of being a contender, not to mention I don’t trust many of the other Big 10 teams (Wisconsin is begging to be beaten). so 15 is about right.

  • My prediction: if RichRod doesn’t beat Tressell in the next couple of years, I think Stanford fans can say “So long” to Harbaugh.

  • You sure Michigan doesn’t want Michigan man Les Miles? We’ll even throw in an offensive coordinator!

  • I am a homer for TAMU.

    After their less than thrilling 3-0 run, I dropped them a few.

    I’ll continue to drop them if they don’t have an impressive win soon and OSU should provide the Aggies for that.

    Gig ’em!

    (self-honorary Aggie fan)

  • I am not sure Harbaugh would come back to Michigan. Think about it Stanford’s a great job. If you don’t do well, people will say your academics are too tough. Ty Willingham looked like a genius at Stanford, but far from it at Notre Dame and Washington. There are certain jobs that just don’t have much pressure. Pitt is another one, few in Western Pennsylvania care about the Pitt Panthers. Their main focus is the Steelers and Penn State as an after thought, Dave Wannstedt with all of his underachievement looks like a genius compared to the Pirates front office.

  • I hope you’re right, Dave, but I’m skeptical. Maybe getting burned in basketball by Mike Montgomery’s traitorous jump to Cal has me jaded.

  • Michael Denton,

    What’s the name of your banana colored kitten gravatar?

  • Mike the Tiger. He also goes by “Who needs Offense?” and “He who won a national title with Les Miles”

  • j. christian:

    “ALL YOUR COACH ARE BELONG TO UM.”

    🙂

  • Lolz, Dale. I mean, all those women’s tennis titles are fine, but can’t we have just a few more good years of football, please?

  • If you’d like a modicum of comfort: Harbaugh antagonized some folks with his comment about Michigan academics a couple years back. It rankles in some quarters.

    A little more comfort: there are still influential Michigan Mafia types pining for Les Miles. “Sure, he’s wacky–BUT HE COACHED WITH BO SCHEMBECHLER (PBUH)!” Also, it sounds like plenty of LSU fans are happy to offer Miles at a steep discount, despite being 4-0.

    The best thing that can happen for fans of the Cardinal is a good Michigan season. So far, so good.

  • I like Les, but any deal to get rid of Crowton is a deal LSU should take.

  • I for one hope that Les Miles does come to Michigan. We need another curmudgeonly type in Ann Arbor. It makes the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry so much more interesting. Rich Rod doesn’t exactly seem like the well heeled Michigan man that some of the more elite alum types would have. Les isn’t exactly well heeled but he does bare a little resemblance (in personality) to Bo. Now Woody and Bo and the 10 Year War, those were the days. It certainly left an indelible mark on my childhood!

  • What we need is for Tressell to start acting like Woody. Hell, I’d pay to see him punch a Clemson player.

    (And, no, the fact that the woman to whom the Church says I was never married is a Clemson alumna has absolutely nothing to do with that. Really. It doesn’t.)

    😉

  • So much for the Ags’ top 25 hopes. But a team that turns the ball over as much as the Aggies have all year doesn’t deserve to be highly ranked.

  • I couldn’t believe that last interception – he overthrew the receiver by fifteen yards.

  • It’s a shame really. TAMU has a great team. Without the turnovers, they’d have killed OSU and been in the top 25. But 5 turnovers, particularly the last mind-boggling 2, are really disappointing for a squad that could be better.

    At least it was a great game.

  • Were we all watching the TAMU game? Lol, we may need to have an Aggie game thread next time.

  • They’ve had … what … 15 turnovers in the last 3 games, or something like that? The Ags have a lot of talent, but teams that aspire to be great can’t turn the ball over like that.

  • Total bummer dude. I just opened my Shiner after Texas scored the tying touchdown at 35. 🙁

  • Total bummer dude. I just opened my Shiner after Texas scored the tying touchdown at 35.

    TEXAS?!?

  • lol, hook em horns, Tito.

    However, Shiner is a good beer and is worthy of being opened & consumed win or lose. Probably the only good thing to ever come from Texas.

  • LOL @ MJ & MD,

    I learned that the Aggies are referred to as the “Texas Aggies”.

    Hence why you hear insecure Longhorns say that they are “The University” of Texas.

    I could be wrong, but that’s what I see and hear here in my short six years in good ole Houston.

  • That may be true, but if you’re at an Aggie bar and openly start proclaiming your love of “Texas,” very bad things will happen.

  • 10 turnovers the last two games. Mind boggling, really. This game was ripe for the picking for the Aggies, but Johnson turned the ball over WAY too many times. I don’t get it… he wasn’t prone to this sort of thing last year. Something seems to have gotten to him mentally. I hope he fixes it.

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CNN Joins The Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI and The Catholic Church

Sunday, September 26, AD 2010

It would appear that those in the mainstream media who want to do hit pieces on Pope Benedict XVI need to take a number. The latest to engage in Yellow Journalism is CNN. The “network of record” dispatched Gary Tuchman to do the dirty work. One might recall that it was none other than Tuchman who remarked how distressing it was travelling in the heartland during the 2008 Election campaign. He complained that some who recognized him told him that their Middle American views and ideas were repeatedly mocked by the mainstream media, all the while those of the liberal establishment were hailed. Tuchman’s words were quite revealing when it comes to this story.

CNN has been advertising their hit piece on Pope Benedict XVI as if he was already guilty of some sort of cover up, even though during the Abuse Scandal it was none other than the New York Times who praised then Cardinal Ratzinger for tackling the tough problems. What tough problems did he tackle? The most notable example being Father founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Father Marcial Maciel was one of the few prominent conservatives caught up in the Abuse Scandal, most of the abusers were Church liberals who wanted to change the Church. Cardinal Ratzinger took on Father Maciel at the height of his power and popularity. One might recall that Father Maciel was quite close to Pope John Paul II. So from this example we can see that Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) showed no favorites and pulled no punches. The Legionaries of Christ were shaken to the core and as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI removed their leadership and installed his own, hardly the work of someone who was timid.

The CNN piece was perhaps even more despicable than the New York Times hit piece, because in the interim much of the modus operandi of the Old Gray Lady was exposed. Still CNN used the same material and claimed that they had something new. There is nothing new here. The crux of their argument comes from material provided by Jeffrey Anderson the attorney who has made millions off the scandal. Anderson says he is one a mision to “reform the Church.” What kind of reform would that be? Some Catholic dioceses have been forced into bankruptcy, which means the poor whom they dioceses assisted through their social programs are left in the cold. For all his concern of “reform”  Anderson hasn’t provided a penny to these particular poor.

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18 Responses to CNN Joins The Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI and The Catholic Church

  • This is a message for Dave Hartline:
    I was in Woodlawn in Chicago during the early years of
    The Woodlawn Organization when it was taken over by the
    Alinsky operatives, including, Fr. Egan, Nick Von
    Hoffman,et.al. I was one of two clergy who opted out
    of the movement for moral and ethical reasons. I read
    your article with comments on Alinsky and the”Radical”
    modus operandi in Fr. Dick Kim’s blog last week. You
    have a far different perspective than the Chicago Diocese at that time. Interesting.

  • Thank you for your post. I do believe there were many people like Alinsky who had great influence on those in the pre Vatican II Church. It was reported that Pope Pius XII wanted to convene the Conference but became too ill to do so. In some US Archdiocese, as well as a few in France and Belgium, movements arose that today one would view as being heretical or schismatic. I do recall the Catholic author Dave Armstrong (who was brought into the Church by Father Hardon SJ) saying that Father Hardon would often say, “The Revolution began…” Dave Armstrong couldn’t remember the precise date but it was sometime in the 1930s or 1940s.

    Anyway, what I am getting at it is before the modern communications era there were folks like Alinksy who claimed to be in line with what the Church was teaching (even though Alinsky was an Agnostic.) In reference to those who say that Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals,” which was dedicated to Lucifer among others was really sort of tongue and cheek. One generally doesn’t dedicate books to the leader of the dark side as some sort of joke. I find that dedication intersting because it happened in 1971, the twilight of his life. Why didin’t he dedicate his previous books to Lucifer? The reason I feel this happened is because it would have caused a stir. Perhaps in the twilight of his life, Alinsky was being more open about his agenda.

    The first time I had heard of Alinsky occurred in my freshman year of college when some radical graduate students were quoting him like most fervent believers would quote the Gospel. In the turmoil that was the Church in the 1970s, I don’t think many people paid much heed to the role of these radicals until recently. However, I dare say that the likes of Father McBrien were quite familiar with the lofty aspirations of Alinksy and those of a similar mindset. This doesn’t even touch on those in the media who were influenced by Alinsky, and who today run those organizations. Does anyone think that the hit pieces on Pope Benedict in particular and the Church in general would have been possible had not these poeple been calling the shots?

    Fortunately as I have said before the tide is turning. I can’t help but refer back to a priest I know who was ordained some five years ago. There was quite a stir when he made no bones about his orthodox or conservative views. I spoke with him recently and he laughed saying, “those in the seminary now make me look like a milquetoast moderate.” Now that is what really drives the left up a wall, they thought the Election of 2008 would end any talk of conservatism prevailing in any sector of society. With the coming election, it appears that it is liberalism whose back is against the wall.

  • For my taste, Mr. Hartline, you seem too optimistic.

    Also, not just from you but from others I keep hearing of how good “new” seminarians are but I have not seen much to bouy my spirits among those have seen.

    Benedict is too little too late. The trials are upon us.

  • Karl with all due respect, it isn’t about your taste or mine, it is about facts. The fact is the Church was ruderless in the 1970s, Pope Paul VI said as much when uttered his famous words, “The Smoke of Satan had entered the Church.” However, Pope John Paul II’s Springtime of the Evangelization is here. We didn’t get into the mess we are in overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight either. However, with Pope Benedict at the helm (perhaps fulfilling St John Bosco’s vision of the Twin Pillars) we will make great strides. The trials have been upon us many times before; the Islamic Invasions, the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, the 1960s Cultural Revolution, and yet here we are still Fighting the Good Fight!

  • I see the same facts but interpret them differently. It is not about taste though, you are spot on. The shoes we walk in influences our take. I remember into the early sixties. I have lived throughout this tempest. I believe we have seen, nothing yet.

  • In light of the customary, infernally low level of intellectual honesty in the Commie News Net pile-on piece of journalistic excrement, here’s my proposed response:

    Keep the Faith.

  • Karl, I certainly agree with you on your concluding point. However, I think we are in much better shape that we were 35 years ago. Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI, through their leadership and those seminarians, women religious and laity whom they influence, are at least beginning to waft out the Smoke of Satan that had entered the Church.

    T Shaw, the Haku War Dance. I wonder if the Knights Templar did something similar before battle? May God Keep Us All Safe from enemies within and without!

  • “All one has to do is read the writings of those who started the French Revolution (which is often widely praised and celebrated in the West)…”

    During the 1780’s, many who made up the Third Estate, particulary the bourgeoisie (merchants, bankers, lawyers, etc), were fed up with the inequities of the ruling class.

    The First Estate (Clergy) and the Second Estate (Nobility) were a small minority of privileged men who made up the Aristocracy. As a result of the blurred lines between the two classes,(holding high positions under the Church’s provision, for example) the Aristocratic ruling class was exempt from almost all taxes. Many of the bourgeoisie were also exempt, which left the burden of paying for wars, affairs of state, etc. on the backs of the peasantry.

    The causes of the French Revolution were many and historians still argue over them but there are aspects of the Enlightenment that conservatives, particularly American conservatives, should appreciate and identify with.

    Those who advocated for change at the time, pushed for positions in government, the Church and the military to be open to men of talent and merit. They fought for a constitution and a Parliament that would limit the king’s power. Religious toleration and fair trials were also part of their agenda.

    Now, as we all know, the French Revolution got totally out of hand but there are reasons for those of us in the West to identify with the philosophes of the 18th century.

  • DP

    It was Louis the XVI who called the Estates General. The likes of Robespierre, Danton et al were not interested in what you suggest above they wanted real power and to remake society as they saw fit. They wanted to import their revolution to all of Europe.

    You know sort of like Lenin and Stalin.

  • Afghani Stan, excellent point. I would also ask that our friend DP consider that some of the ideas that Enlightenment is given credit for dates back to the Magna Carta. In addition, there were already primitive forms of government in some Swiss Cantons (Catholic cantons at that) which espoused early democratic ideals. Sadly, Ulrich Zwingli tried to put a stop to that, which in some ways was the start of the Left’s War on Rural Inhabitants.

  • If memory serves (John Robinson, Dungeons, Fire and Sword), the Templars entered battle assuring each other that, “Whether we live or whether we die, we are The Lord’s.”

  • Stan and Dave,

    Yes, Louis XVI did convene the Estates General at the last minute but only after a hiatus of 170+ yrs and to no avail.

    Robespierre was, of course, an extreme leftist and a tyrant as well. But there are other Enlightenment notables such as Locke (a champion of America’s Founding Fathers), Newton and Montesquieu who contributed a great deal with regard to the expansion of thought and science in secular society.

    In fact, Pope Benedict XIV respected Montesquieu and the advances of the Enlightenment (especially tolerance) even though many of his bishops didn’t share his sensibilities at the time.

    In any case, some of the ideas and ideals of the philosophes should be celebrated by both the West and the Church.

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Civilization V is Here

Sunday, September 26, AD 2010

I haven’t done a post recently to refresh my credentials as the geekiest member of the TAC blog.  Among my hobbies, besides writing blog posts and annoying people for fun and profit, is the playing of rather elaborate strategy games.  I began playing these games circa 1971 when I wheedled a copy of Luftwaffe from my parents for Christmas that year.  The next year for Christmas I received a copy of Panzerblitz, and I have been playing and collecting strategy games since that time.

My wife and I acquired our first computer in 1987, a commodore 64.  Since that time almost all of my playing of strategy games has been on the computer.  Christmas Eve 1991 was a memorable one in the McClarey household.  It was the first Christmas Eve we spent with our newborn twin sons, and our copy of the computer strategy game Civilization arrived in the mail.

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8 Responses to Civilization V is Here

  • I just sat through the entire video clip.

    I’m sold!

    Unfortunately, like all Civ games, I’m going to have to upgrade my computer in order to enjoy all the features.

    Which means next Summer!

    It’ll be worth the wait!

  • 11:00 PM-“I should go to bed. One more turn and then I’m hitting the hay”

    12:00 AM-“I should go to bed. One more turn and then I’m hitting the hay”

    2:00 AM-“I really should be getting to bed. One more turn…”

    6:00 AM-“I should get ready for work. One more turn…”

  • It will indeed Tito!

    Quite true JS!

  • I too started with Panzerblitz but have stayed on the military side in my gaming…I am currently playing War in the Pacific, Admirals Edition and it is June 17, 1943…I started on December 7, 1941 and every turn is a day…800+ turns and counting.

  • I have it on my harddrive David, but I have never played more than a few turns. I’ve liked Grigsby’s War Between the States which I have played quite a bit and I am eagerly anticipating War in the East.

  • France 1940 and Tobruk. Panzerblitz is good if you want easy play. 😉

    Just getting into Civ IV. ARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Try the Planetfall mod for CivIV Phillip. It converts CivIV into an intriguing total conversion to Alpha Centauri. My wife has been playing it a lot over the past few months.

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=252829

  • ………refresh my credentials as the geekiest member of the TAC blog.

    Yes Don, you are indeed the Geekmeister supreme. 🙂

    I’ve never bothered with these games – seems an inordinate waste of time, especially+ when you’ve got she-who-must-be-obeyed with a never ending list of chores (my idea of Hell) 😉

The Minstrel Boy

Saturday, September 25, AD 2010

Something for the weekend.  The Minstrel Boy.  The patriotic Irish song was written by Thomas Moore in honor of his friends killed in the Irish rising of 1798.  The video above is from the incredibly good movie Rough Riders, with some of the Rough Riders singing the song before charging up Kettle Hill on July 1, 1898.

The song is sung just after the death of Captain Bucky O’Neill who, the son of Irish immigrants, had made The Minstrel Boy the song of his company.

Theodore Roosevelt describes the death of O’Neill:

“The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. O’Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to take cover – a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the transport running, ‘The officers; may the war last until each is killed, wounded, or promoted.’ As O’Neill moved to and fro, his men begged him to lie down, and one of the sergeants said, ‘Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you.’ O’Neill took his cigarette out of his mouth, and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed and said, ‘Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn’t made that will kill me.’ A little later he discussed for a moment with one of the regular officers the direction from which the Spanish fire was coming. As he turned on his heel a bullet struck him in the mouth and came out at the back of his head; so that even before he fell his wild and gallant soul had gone out into the darkness.”

Bucky O’Neill is portrayed in the film by Sam Elliot who gives his usual fine perormance.

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6 Responses to The Minstrel Boy

  • Bless them all, bless them all, the long and the short and the tall.

    Our son served with 3/71 Cav, 3 BCT, 10th Mountain Div. all of 2009 in A-stan.

    We met him on a 10-below zero night, January 2010 at 3AM on Fort Drum.

    For some officers and NCO’s that was their third deployment.

    Greet them ever with grateful hearts.

  • Addendum: Just answered the phone. A brave troop’s mother calling to tell us her son just redeployed (came home) from his second deployment in A-stan with the 101st. Joy. Thank God.

    They also serve who stay home and wait.

  • Few joys can compare T. Shaw to a son’s safe return from a combat zone!

  • If you like “The Minstrel Boy”, then be sure to get a copy of the Clancy Brothers Irish Songs of Drinking and Rebellion.

    It’s actually a double-album that includes “Minstrel Boy”, but also such great songs like: “The Croppy Boy”, “The Rising of the Moon”, “Kevin Barry”, “The Parting Glass”, “Finnegan’s Wake”, and “Nell Flaherty’s Drake.”

    Great stuff, indeed.

  • A woman who is with me on our RCIA committee, her son has just returned to Afghanistan for his second deployment.
    Our guys are not in the front line like yours – we are generally in Banian province, where the people are friendly, but the taliban raid from time to time.
    Actually, we have about 100 SAS over there too – but you would never know where they are – they operate independently of even our government knowledge – military only.

  • Nicholas, I have the Clancy Brothers Songs of Rebellion album. I didn’t know they had an album which combined the two favorite Irish pastimes!

    Don, SAS are always first class and very effective.

A Dead Horse and All That…

Friday, September 24, AD 2010

I shouldn’t have, but I did.

Today I read Fr. Richard McBrien’s article on Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the new head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. As the prefect for this congregation Cardinal Ouellet will play a crucial role in the appointment of the Church’s bishops in the years to come.

In his article McBrien makes the following observation:

When commenting on the greatest crisis to confront the Catholic Church since the Reformation of the 16th century, Ouellet seemed to blame the scandal of sexual abuse in the priesthood on the weakening of moral standards in society — a common explanation given by those who are reluctant to address the internal problems of the church, including obligatory clerical celibacy, the role of women, and the declining quality of pastoral leadership.

While there might be some who see the clergy sex scandal as the greatest crisis for the Church since the Reformation, I am certainly not one of them. But what I found completely absurd — again, I should’ve avoided the article to begin with, because it was to be expected — was McBrien’s reference to the role of women in this context. How, exactly, would priestesses have prevented the abuse of children by clergy?

Father McBrien: your vision of the Church and of the Second Vatican Council is both erroneous and dying. Only a tiny fraction of young Catholics in general and those seeking degrees in theology in particular accept that erroneous reading.

Might I propose that you get with the times?

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19 Responses to A Dead Horse and All That…

  • I think the rationale is that women in decisionmaking positions within the Church would not have cooperated with the cover ups. Possible but there’s no way to prove it one way or the other.

  • But even that doesn’t make sense after a few moments of reflection, RR… what in womanhood makes participating in coverups such as this less likely?

    And if I understand Fr. McBrien correctly, the scandal is the abuse itself, as well as the coverup, and having priestesses wouldn’t have prevented the former.

  • You can never be sure that the horse is dead until a veterinarian confirms it, so please kick it a few more times just to be sure.

    The French Revolution, communism, modernism, WWII, half the stuff the Jesuits have done over the years…the history of the Church is one of nonstop crises. I wouldn’t want to have to rate them, but I bet that the rise of evangelicalism in Latin America has put more souls at risk than the current pedophilia scandal.

  • I think the rationale is that women in decisionmaking positions within the Church would not have cooperated with the cover ups.

    The Church did not make its personnel files public or turn them over to law enforcement. It settled law suits rather than going to trial. In most cases this may have had something to do with:

    1. The confidentiality of personnel files is the default among American employers;

    2. Attorneys in civil practice very seldom take cases to trial because trials are crap shoots;

    3. Priests hear a great deal of dirt in the confessional and are not in the habit of reporting dirt to law enforcement;

    4. The accusations against priests were generally made 10, 15, 25 years after the fact and it is very difficult to reach satisfying conclusions about their veracity.

    I would not wish to deny the horror stories you hear of episcopal non-feasance (the cases of Maurice Grammond or of Cdl. Madeiros’ handling of John Geoghan comes to mind), but in most cases honest bishops faced impossible dilemmas in attempting to evaluate accusations.

    Women are less likely to commit predatory crimes than men. The notion that the mundane integrity of the female population exceeds that of the male population is characteristic of someone who does not know many women or who is engaged in status-seeking behaviors in a certain sort of milieu.

  • “…..than the current pedophile scandal.”

    Repeat a lie often enough, it will become the “truth”.
    The clerical sex abuse scandal was homosexual – not pedophilic. Very few cases were actaully pedophilia.Its just not PC to call it as it is unless we upset the gay movement, who have gained acceptance within the wider secular society, and are trying to infiltrate the church to a small degree.

    Michael Rose makes a good exposee in his book, “Good bye, Good Men.”

    Many women (some ex nuns) who had inveigled their way into positions of desisionmaking on entrants to clerical studies turned away “manly” men, in favour of “soft” men, in whose ranks were many SSA men. So feminist women were , to some extent, part of the cause of the problem.

    However, I consider that it is a cleansing of the priesthood, which will be the stronger and more humble, orthodox and obedient because of it.

  • “I think the rationale is that women in decisionmaking positions within the Church would not have cooperated with the cover ups. Possible but there’s no way to prove it one way or the other.”

    The abuse situation in public schools is far worse, and there are plenty of women in decisionmaking positions in those institutions.

  • Chris, motherly instinct. Unless, you don’t believe such a thing exists. Also, the cover ups sometimes led to more abuse.

    Don, were the victims not mostly minors? You make it sound like it was consensual.

    Brian, I’m not aware of a widespread sex abuse cover up in public schools. Do you have a link? For now, let’s put aside the fact that you’re comparing public school teachers to men of God.

  • RR,

    Your questions weren’t posed to me, but I’ll reply to a couple anyway. 🙂

    I believe in a motherly instinct as well as a fatherly instinct. Unfortunately in this fallen world and in particularly this fallen culture those things have been disordered in many. Based on first hand interactions as well as observing events in the news and discussing matters of family law I would say that women are no more immune to losing the parental instinct than men – perhaps they’ve fallen even further. Never mind that a woman who doesn’t feel called to the vocation of motherhood may very well not have that motherly instinct in the first place.

    The victims were mostly minors. However that doesn’t necessarily constitute pedophilia. This was clearly a case of pederasty and pointing that out in no one implies it was consensual.

  • RR.

    Agree with what RL has to say. Pedophilia applies to pre-pubescent children – the vast majority of those offended against were from around 9 or 10 into early to mid teens. The abusers were in a position generally to groom and then seduce the victims, but that dos not imply consensual involvement.

  • RL, but that’s not what Don was pointing out. He broadened the actions to mere “homosexual” acts and places it in the same category as consensual gay sex. I’d also remind people that this “It’s not pedophila. It’s pederasty!” line of defense is counter-productive especially when put in the tone that Don put it. It’s like the people defending the Ground Zero mosque on the basis that it’s not technically a mosque. They’d be missing the point, not addressing the actual issue, and looking petty in the process.

  • “Never let a ‘good’ crisis go to waste . . . ”

    Sorry for the cliches (you started it: dead horse): a stopped clock is correct twice a day. O’B doesn’t meet that standard.

  • RR,

    From what Don wrote I don’t get that he’s trying to broaden the actions to mere homosexuality, nor do I get the impression that he considers any homosexual act as “mere”. To the contrary I think he is trying to narrow it down in order to correctly identify the problem.

    I realize the term pedophilia sounds worse to most people and might be a preferable term due to that, but I assure you the damage done to these kids is every bit as bad at age 12 or 14 as it would be if they were 6. Still, if we want learn from this scandal and proactively address and correct it going forward we would do well to identify the true nature of it. This was in part what the John Jay study was about (and it was that report which substantiates what Don said about it primarily being a pederasty problem).

  • I believe McBrien’s concept of how things should be are erroneous but I do not believe they are dying.

    They are wholly present and merely adapting to rear their heads in other disguises. To think otherwise is too stupid to address.

  • Karl, they may be present among the uninformed, but for those who *want* to learn more about their faith, dissident notions aren’t nearly as popular as they were 30 years ago.

  • My guts say otherwise, having lived through all of this since 1954. I would bet against your position and hope to lose, as bizarre as that sounds. I think, I would take the pot.

  • As for the notion that putting women in charge would have prevented the sex abuse scandals or the cover ups… well, not too long ago Fr. Z’s blog had links to stories saying that the LCWR (the “liberal” nuns’ group) had been stonewalling attempts to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of children by nuns of the member orders:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/06/lcwrs-long-standing-coverup-of-sexual-abuse-of-children-by-nuns/

    The reason I post this link is not to argue whether or not nuns of whatever ideological/liturgical stripe are better or worse or “as bad” as priests when it comes to abuse, but simply to point out that cover-up and denial is not strictly a male thing.

  • You are correct. You shouldn’t have bothered reading Fr. McBrien’s article, and quoting from it. It is another episcopal scandal that his column is printed in so many diocesan bulletin. The man never did learn to think, but only to orate.

  • Elaine, that is an excellent observation, as it shows that not only is the
    sexual abuse of children not the exclusive preserve of men, but also that
    men do not hold the patent on covering up that abuse.

    The sexual abuse of children that takes place in our public school system
    dwarfs the Church’s problem with such abuse, not merely in number but
    in offenses per capita. The school system’s habit of transferring offending
    employees is also well-documented. These offenses are committed and
    covered up by both men and women, married and unmarried. It is simply
    laughable to blame the Church’s sex abuse scandal merely on the fact
    that it was caused by celibate males.

  • Oh, and Fr. McBrien is such a tiresome hack.

    Can anyone imagine a respectable institution holding a symposium
    on his collected works? In a generation, will anyone in his field
    remember his ‘contributions’?

White Tea Party Racist to Run for 2012 US Presidency

Friday, September 24, AD 2010

[Update:  There is already a Draft Cain 2012 website up!]

Oh wait, the picture doesn’t follow the mainstream meme does it!

I guess Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann’s running narrative of extremists running the Tea Party doesn’t quite fit the pic.

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7 Responses to White Tea Party Racist to Run for 2012 US Presidency

  • Token… or Uncle Tom?

  • Neither.

    He’s the real deal.

    Alex V.,

    That’s a bit of a borderline racist comment there. Be careful, we don’t tolerate that here at TAC.

    We’ll let it slide this one time in case you weren’t aware of how your comment could be read.

  • After reading this post, about a man I had never heard of, I simply had to click the link to his website, which you put in your post.

    I read the following and simply must comment that what I am posting is a quote from Mr. Cain himself, which made me laugh for the content/comment in the final line of this quote and the joy it brought to me for his having said it and the relief of having not said it myself, although I wish I did.

    He said:

    “Keep one thing in mind as we get into 2011. There are a lot of people that may be interested in seeking the Republican nomination, but I want you to remember one thing, there might also be a dark horse candidate that you don’t know about.”
    Herman Cain

    Mr Cain. Thank you. Tito, thanks to you too. I love this guy’s sense of humor.

  • Maybe it’s time again to elect someone who’s not a career politician. Couldn’t do any worse than the one we’ve got.

  • Sounds like a good man with alot of common sense. Thats exactly what we need.

  • I voted for this class act in the primary in 2004. While Isakson has been much better than expected, we really missed our chance to send a great conservative to the Senate. Herman is the real deal.

  • if you elect a career politician… you get a career politician. if you elect someone who isn’t a career politician… eveyone complains because they aren’t experienced enough.

    I’m beginning to see a slight difference with the crowd the tea party is gathering. there is a faint “so what” when someone in the media tries to make the “not enough experience” argument.

WSJ Poll Alert, Should the Church Drop Celibacy?

Friday, September 24, AD 2010

[Update:  Great job TACers!  The poll has swung heavily to Catholic teaching.  It is now 83.3% wanting to keep to Catholic teaching, which was 44% previously.  See the updated poll below after the jump.]

The Wall Street Journal is running a poll on whether or not the Church should drop the requirement for celibacy by priests.

The results so far as of September 24, 2010 at 2:17pm US Central time:

We recommend our readers go visit the poll with fidelity to the Church.

Hat Tip:  Father Zuhlsdorf.

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30 Responses to WSJ Poll Alert, Should the Church Drop Celibacy?

  • Right now the poll is running 100% opposed in Vatican City, so tough noogies for the majority of the WSJ readership.

  • This is a discipline, rather than a doctrine. As Pope Benedict could wake up tomorrow and change his mind on the subject, I don’t see the harm in expressing an opinion either way.

  • John Henry,

    I agree that this is a discipline.

    But my reasoning for making this alert is that I don’t like a secular newspaper asking non-Catholics what to do with our faith.

  • What Tito said. Who cares what secular libertarians think the Church should do?

  • I didn’t vote, but I would actually vote yes. I won’t vote however because there is not an option for “Yes, when/if the Holy Spirit says it is time.”

  • Nothing wrong with voting “yes”. It does not go against any dogma of the Church.

  • Who cares what secular libertarians think the Church should do?

    I don’t see any reason to care about that; just thought it was worth noting that faithful Catholics can come down either way on this one.

  • just thought it was worth noting that faithful Catholics can come down either way on this one.

    I understand that, and I agree (though personally I think it would be the wrong move, and it certainly should not be done for the reasons outlined at the WSJ link, but that’s for another time).

  • The three obvious points here are:

    1. Nothing prevents the Church from permitting priests to marry.

    2. Whether the Church will/should do this doesn’t depend on what the polls say.

    3. Internet polls are worse than worthless.

  • It can’t be worse than sticking a pencil in my eye can’t it?!

    😉

  • Eric, any chance we can get a sketch of your rationale for why you’d voted yes? You’ve piqued my curiosity.

  • I get it. Marriage is bad, protecting pedophiles is a-okay. If Catholics are uncomfortable with others having thoughts on their practices, perhaps it is time for the RCC to butt out of politics. I am not a Catholic, and find it disturbing that money donated by the faithful is used to pressure my government to pass laws which will not pertain to Catholics. If you think abortion is wrong, fine. No argument. Don’t have one. And I’ll trust your god to judge me when my time comes.

    The word for religious people trying to legislate their doctrines onto non-believers while decrying reasonable attempts to stop the massive sexual abuses committed by Catholic clergy (all over the world!) is “hypocrisy”.

  • Redflags,

    Why you butt out of our affairs.

    For that matter, let us take you argument to the next logical conclusion.

    Stop forcing your morals and ethics on us, the American people.

    Abortion on demand was imposed on us by an unelected judiciary.

    Gay marriage is trying to be imposed on us by an unelected judiciary.

    As for the pedophiles, why you don’t take a look at the rampant sex scandals in the public schools and clean up your own “secular” schools for that matter.

    Your own hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  • Even though celibacy is a discipline, it has nevertheless deep theological roots, and it will never be discarded as a general rule. There have been several pronouncements throughout history regarding celibacy, starting with the council of Elvira.
    There are married Catholic priests – take Fr.Dwight Longnecker – and there will be many more like him with Anglicanorum Coetibus. And of course, the Eastern Rites.

  • Wow. Check the updated chart – the ‘no s’ are in the ascendency.

  • Blackadder,
    “Nothing prevents the Church from permitting priests to marry.”

    In my opinion, that is far more problematic than allowing currently married men to be trained and ordained for priesthood. It’s two different things. The Orthodox admit married men to priesthood, they don’t allow celibate ordained men to pursue a romance and get married in the course of their priesthood.

    I also want to point out that married Catholic priests are among the greatest promoters of the gift of celibacy. It is an AMAZING gift. It’s not very often accepted, though. I wonder, in the “mustard seed” Church to come, if this dispensation might be relaxed by necessity.

  • Karl,

    I’m confused at your comments.

  • The Orthodox in general promote adultery through their “penitential marriages” which should be anathemized, directly, ex cathedra, by the Pope.

    The dialogue between the Churches should have it CLEAR that this heresy must be stricken from their practices, no matter how far back it goes, BEFORE serious talks regarding “unity” can be taken with more than polite conversation.

    Obviously, since Jeuss had married Apostles

  • Tito,

    I think you got the wrong one(deleted post) but that is fine. Sorry.

    I do not separate the issues of marriage and celibacy as the priesthood and marriage are both sacraments relating to manifest sexuality and how it is addressed/practiced.

    Obviously, since Jesus chose married disciples any assertion that a married clergy is “wrong” cannot be defended. However, a married priesthood, in the current state of things, in my opinion, is lunacy. Marriage means nothing, inside and outside of the Catholic Church(big and little tent). The Catholic Church must restore itself regarding marriage or nothing really matters. Celibacy is secondary to marriage in my eyes. All the sacraments are secondary without people, who are supposed to get here through marriages.

    Perhaps a married clergy should exist but only with personal exemptions, very, very, very limited and granted only by a sitting Pope, in consultation with the bishops and laity, who have shown a dogged defense of marriages, not simply due to holy orders, or advanced degrees(both of which are increasingly meaningless as we see those with these “qualifications” exhibiting lack of wisdom, daily).

  • I know a married Catholic priest who I asked, begged is a better word, to intervene with a close friend of his who is a bi-Rite Catholic priest who supports the
    “orthodox” heresy of “penitiential marriages” and who supports my wife’s adulterous relationship, knowing she is MY WIFE. Both of the heretics know Rome upheld our marriage, TWICE.

    He refused. So much for the “wisdom” of marriage for a priest. I asked him to ask his wife about it or if I could talk to her about it. He refused!

    Corruption is corruption. Marriage will only divide the mind of a man. Only the truly exceptional man should even “think” about a married clergy.

  • Marriage was only exception made because the woman would get everything. If you look back at the start the true reason they made marriage illegal was because women would start to take wealth from the church. In the modern day the church has means to protect itself better than in the past so .. it is dumb not to allow priest to marry may stop all those homos that enter the priesthood

  • Alex V.,

    It’s quite apparent you’re here to provoke rather than engage in dialogue.

    You are on moderation now.

  • I doubt the discipline of celibacy requires more from a homosexual than it does from a heterosexual man.

    It is simply folly to think that a man can give himself fully to, two vocations.

    I have lived as a married husband and father. I have lived as a single(divorced) celibate man who remains a father(and a married man if one accepts what the Church teaches, I do).

    I could not be a priest and be married and be free enough to function as both. That is clear to me. In a perfect world, I would believe, such would be possible, but not otherwise. There are too many demands, that are legitimate ones, upon the life of a priest. Both his wife and their children would suffer, to their detriment.

    Especially, the sometimes necessary intimate contact that priests must have with women in some pastoral situations, makes them(both) very vulnerable to temptation.

    The agony, that I live with everyday, because it never goes away(from our divorce, my abandonment and abuse), fully, reminds me, graphically, when I must be, by necessity, in very close, personal, contact with women, on occasion, of what damage I could do in weakness, through temptation, to another man or to the children of the woman I am close to at that moment.

    It is, primarily, my personal suffering, that protects(all of us), in such a circumstance. It stands guard, right next to discipline and respect for the teachings of the Church when I am in situations of temptation, which are, thank God, very rare.

    I never, ever, want to cause or precipitate in anyone else’s life, the hell that never ends for me, or for our children.

    I might consider a man who has been maliciously abandoned and who has learned to cope with it for many years, as a “possible” candidate for married priesthood, but not many others.

    May God save the Catholic Church and its clergy from
    such a “pastoral response” to declining numbers of priests. The answer is not an end to celibacy or an openness to a married priesthood. The answer is supporting marriage.

  • Allowing priests to marry is definitely not the answer to a declining priesthood. The priesthood and marriage are reflections of each other – the priest being the good example to married couples with his fidelity to the Church and all of her teachings and a constant service to his flock, and the married couples supporting the priest in his vocation by their fidelity to each other and to the Church. There is a decline in all self-giving professions, (protestant ministry, OB doctors, nurses, etc.)of which only the Catholic Church requires celibacy. It is our self-serving versus self-giving culture that has caused the decline. We have become materialistic and do not tend to pursue any vocation that isn’t about making money or conferring status, which has made it very hard to hear the call of God to a vocation. A good friend of mine who is a very holy priest has often told me about how his parents taught constantly about selflessness. This man is always other-serving so as to serve Christ. He would absolutely have no time for a wife or children. He keeps his schedule busy 24/7 serving others. (When I need some direction from him, I often find my emails were answered at the early hours of 2 or 3 a.m. as it may be the only time he had that day to get to his email) He does a holy hour and says mass every single day. He comes from a household of 11 children from which came 2 very holy priests (out of the 3 boys) and 1 cloistered Carmelite nun (out of the 8 girls)! They were constantly focused on prayer and on others. They learned early about redemptive suffering and how to offer it to God and not place too much emphasis on their own problems – that to focus on others to serve Christ was the best way to deal with any problems. In our pursuit of wealth, our families have shrunk, leaving many parents loathe to plant the seeds of religious vocations in their own children so as not to lose out on their own possibilties of grandparenthood etc. It’s all about fidelity to all of the Church’s teachings, not just the ones that are comfortable for us…

  • OB doctors, nurses

    The decline at least in these professions is not just the lack of selflessness. Liability issues (and for nurses, the rather low wages compared to the effort invested) have as much to do with it.

    As for the celibacy practice, I can certainly see the good reason for having it. Being a husband and father, I don’t see how one could handle well the familial role as well as the priestly one. Some professions I suppose fall into a similar category (ER docs, criminal defense attorneys, police/firefighters) – where you have to give priority of one over the other because conflicting duties will inevitably occur. Perhaps some sort of limited role for married clergy to relieve some of the pressure off the parish priest (eg, hearing confessions, hospital ministries, last rites, etc.) might be a good idea. I don’t care much for the “part time” or “on call” priest inuendo that would develop from it (thus making the married priest appear less than a “real” priest”), so I can also see arguments against it. As always, the Church should take her time with such an important issue.

  • Don’t you understand that this WSJ poll is unscientific and that its results, therefore, are worthless?

  • Patrick,

    Yes.

    Catholics can have fun too.

  • Tito,
    It is said that this is an open forum to discuss our opinion yet you would censor my thoughts. It is fine since it is your blog, but I only stated what I said to stir discussion. I honestly believe that priest should be allowed to marry. I would challenge you to look up the history of this from the church. When did it start? Why was it done? That is all I am asking. I believe in a lot of teachings of the church, but some I do not. Not because I pick and choose, but because i look at logic and the church has gone back and forth in many other things. You cannot say that the modern church is the same church my grand parents grow up in. I am catholic because i believe Jesus founded this church even with its flaws (it started out good because of jesus) but remember it is still ran by men no matter how good the intentions.

  • Alex V.,

    Your views are similar to Truthers and Birthers line of reasoning.

    Hence why you put on moderation, plus your insults didn’t help much either.

    You’re off moderation and can post all you want without moderation.

  • Tito,
    I guess I deserve that slap. My apologies, in the future I will get into more detail than just slap mud on your blog. I will be the first to admit that I am quick to insult and not explain. Thank you for taking me off moderation, I will try not to insult but explain my point of view better.

    In this case I remember the history of the church:
    (Source: http://hnn.us/articles/696.html)
    “Peter, a Galilee fisherman, whom the Catholic Church considers the first Pope, was married. Some Popes were the sons of Popes.

    The first written mandate requiring priests to be chaste came in AD 304. Canon 33 of the Council of Elvira stated that all “bishops, presbyters, and deacons and all other clerics” were to “abstain completely from their wives and not to have children.” A short time later, in 325, the Council of Nicea, convened by Constantine, rejected a ban on priests marrying requested by Spanish clerics.

    The practice of priestly celibacy began to spread in the Western Church in the early Middle Ages. In the early 11th century Pope Benedict VIII responded to the decline in priestly morality by issuing a rule prohibiting the children of priests from inheriting property. A few decades later Pope Gregory VII issued a decree against clerical marriages.

    The Church was a thousand years old before it definitively took a stand in favor of celibacy in the twelfth century at the Second Lateran Council held in 1139, when a rule was approved forbidding priests to marry. In 1563, the Council of Trent reaffirmed the tradition of celibacy.”
    I think that they should allow marriage. It may bring more men into the priesthood. They have already opened other priests from other faiths that allow marriage to convert to be a catholic priest why can’t roman catholic priest be permitted to marry.Outside the modern reasoning of the church why would it be bad?