4

Jihadists, Truth and Father Raymond J. de Souza

The appalling murder of dozens of Christians at Our Lady of Deliverance Cathedral by Al Qaeda on October 31, gives us another opportunity to look into the minds of these butchers.

Al Qaeda released a statement on the Internet claiming the attack.

“Upon guidance issued by the Ministry of War in the Islamic State of Iraq in support for our downtrodden Muslim sisters that are held captive in the Muslim land of Egypt and after accurate planning and selection, an angry group of righteous jihadists attacked a filthy den of polytheism,” according to the statement, which was obtained by The Long War Journal. “This den has been frequently used by the Christians of Iraq to fight Islam and support those who are fighting it. With the grace of God, the group was able to hold captive all those in the den and take over all its entrances.”

Based on the statement, it appears that al Qaeda in Iraq had hoped to hold the Christians in Baghdad hostage for at least two days, as a deadline for “the release” of Egyptian women supposedly being held in Coptic churches in Egypt was issued.

“The mujahidin in the Islamic State of Iraq give Egypt’s Christian and belligerent Church as well as its chief of infidelity a 48-hour ultimatum to disclose the status of our sisters in religion, who are held captive in Egypt’s monasteries of infidelity and churches of polytheism,” al Qaeda demanded. “The mujahidin further demand the release of all of them together with an announcement of the release via a media outlet that the mujahidin can access within the deadline.”

Al Qaeda said that if the demands were not met, “the lions of monotheism [al Qaeda’s fighters], who wore their explosive belts, will not hesitate to kill the militant Iraqi Christian captives.”

Al Qaeda in Iraq also threatened to carry out attacks against Christian churches across the globe.

“Afterwards, various attacks will be launched against them inside and outside this country, in which their lands will be destroyed, their strength will be undermined, and they will be afflicted by the humiliation that God ordained for them,” al Qaeda said.

The jihadists want us dead because we are Christians.  They have absolutely no compunction about slaying Muslims who oppose them, and in their eyes Christians are fit only to be killed or to be slaves.  The alleged reasons given by Al Qaeda for the attack on the Cathedral are completely delusional and demonstrate yet again that to them the murder of Christians is, in itself, a positive good. Continue Reading

8

CS Lewis Explains Why We Honor Veterans

 

When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today.  Inscription on the memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Division at Kohima.

We have made men proud of most vices, but not of cowardice. Whenever we have almost succeeded in doing so, God permits a war or an earthquake or some other calamity, and at once courage becomes so obviously lovely and important even in human eyes that all our work is undone, and there is still at least one vice of which they feel genuine shame.  CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters

Sometimes simple questions can help illuminate great truths.   Why do we honor veterans? 

 Today is Veterans Day.  Ironically, many veterans will be working today as the “holiday” is mostly one solely for government workers, and most veterans in the private sector will be on the job today.  Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day and was observed to recall the ending of that conflict on November 11, 1918 and to honor the American veterans who served in it.  After World War II, veterans of World War I, many of whom had sons who served in World War II, spearheaded a move to change the name to Veterans Day to honor all Veterans.   Legislation changing the name of the holiday was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Eisenhower on May 26, 1954.  All well and good, but why do we set this day aside to honor those who have served in the military?

One veteran of World War I, CS Lewis, perhaps can help us understand why we honor veterans.  Lewis served on the Western Front as a Second Lieutenant in 1917-1918 until he was  wounded on April 15, 1918.  Lewis, the future Oxford Don, was an unlikely soldier and he wrote about his experiences in the War with humorous self-deprecation.  However, he had immense respect for those he served with, especially the enlisted men under his command, for their good humor and courage under the most appalling circumstances.  His war experiences had a vast impact on Lewis, as can be seen in his Screwtape letters, where Lewis writes about war. Continue Reading

2

Happy 235th Birthday to the Corps

On November 10, 1775 the Continental Congress passed this resolution authored by John Adams:

“Resolved, That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said battalions but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve with advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present War with Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by names of First and Second Battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.”

The Marines have fought in all our wars and by their conduct have lived up to this description of the Corps:

“No better friend, no worse enemy.” Continue Reading

7

Jim DeMint Speaks the Truth

When a politician says something that’s this on the money, one wonders if there is a “but” in there to soften the message.  Not with Jim DeMint:

You can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.

Naturally this bothers AllahPundit and some of the other shrieking libertarians at Hot Air, but DeMint is of course right.  Continue Reading

5

New Blogsite: Gulf Coast Catholic

A blogsite dedicated to all things Catholic in Houston

Gulf Coast Catholic is a blogsite that will be serving the Catholics of the the great Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.  A group of writers got together over a year ago and have been working and planning together to get this site up and running.  I am their Chief Editor and we will be writing on activities, events, apostolates, and other things Catholic that are occurring in Houston area.

We hope you all take a look at it give us some feedback on this new endeavor.

There will be a slight emphasis towards young adult Catholics, but like anything Catholic, there is always something for everyone.

We will be serving the laity and clergy of the Gulf Coast region in establishing a strong, vibrant, and orthodox fellowship among Catholics!

For the Gulf Coast Catholic link click here.

5

You May Be Dead!

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  Actually this isn’t too much wilder than various other scams my elderly clients have brought to my attention over the years.  One scammer wanted one of my clients to defray the costs for an expedition to reopen the lost King Solomon diamond mines in Kukuanaland, in exchange for 25% of the profit from the mines for ten years.  I explained to my client that I was impressed that the scammer had read H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, or at least seen one of the film adaptations, but I was unimpressed that he had mispelled Africa.

12

November 9, 1989

Twenty-one years ago today my wife and I arrived home from buying software for our Commodore 64  (Yeah, it is that long ago.) and watched stunned after we turned on the tv as we saw East Germans dancing on top of the Berlin War, tearing into it with sledge hammers.   It is hard to convey to people who did not live through the Cold War how wonderful a sight this was.  Most people at the time thought the Cold War was a permanent state of things.  Not Ronald Wilson Reagan.  He knew that Communism would end up on the losing side of history and throughout his career strove to bring that day ever closer.  His becoming President so soon after John Paul II became Pope set the stage for the magnificent decade of the Eighties when Communism passed from being a deadly threat to the globe to a belief held only by a handful of benighted tyrannical regimes around the world, and crazed American professors.  In most of his movies, the good guys won in the end, and Reagan helped give us a very happy ending to a menace that started in 1917 and died in 1989.  Continue Reading

2

1946, 1994, 2010 => 1948, 1996, 2012?

Picture it: Upper East Side of Manhattan, November 9, 1994.  There is a buzz throughout the halls of Regis High School, and it’s not just because today is student exchange day and there will actually be girls in our school.  The previous night the Republicans had won control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, and my friends and I – little Republicans in training that we all were – were quite joyous.

First period was US History, and our teacher knows that I am certainly excited about the election.  So he writes on the board the following:

1994=1946

His point?  As was the case in 1946, the Republican victory would be short-lived.  Republican gains in 1946 were wiped out – and then some – in 1948.  On top of that, Harry Truman was re-elected.  History would repeat itself.

I scoffed at this ridiculous notion.  There was certainly no way that Slick Willy Clinton could possibly earn a second term as US President.  I had been counting the days to his 1996 electoral humiliation since roughly November 7, 1992.  Surely this was the first stage on the road to that inevitable defeat.

Fast forward to November 5, 1996.  Needless to say I was as disappointed on that night as all us Regians were at the end of that November day in senior year. (I mean come on, we’re talking about a bunch of nerdy kids from an all boys school.  It took most of us a full year of college before we could properly talk to members of the opposite sex.)  Mr. Anselme was right.

But not entirely.  Though Bill Clinton had indeed won re-election, the election was not a total repeat of 1948.  The Republicans lost a few seats, but in the end they retained control of both houses of Congress – something they had not done in successive cycles since the Hoover administration.

History is informative, and we certainly should be aware of the lessons of elections past when we think about what will happen down the line.  But we should refrain from assuming that events will necessarily repeat themselves. Continue Reading

19

TAC College Rankings: Week 10

This post is dedicated to my beautiful wife Shannon. On Tuesday, she gave birth to our son, Benedict Michael. Do you know where she wanted me on Saturday? In Death Valley, watching LSU end Alabama’s dreams of a national title. It need not be said that I love my wife, very, very, very, very much.

With LSU’s glorious victory and TCU’s pasting of Utah in Salt Lake, the national title race has narrowed down considerably. The Big 12, with Oklahoma’s loss to the Aggies and the near loss by the Cornhuskers to freaking Iowa St., will almost certainly not send a team to the BCS title game. I imagine the same will also be true for the Big 10, though I suspect Ohio St. has the best chance of proving me wrong there. Still, the Big 10 will likely get 2 BCS bids, which is not too shabby.

To me, there are 5 teams in contention: Oregon, Auburn, TCU and Boise being the obvious, with LSU still an outside shots. For LSU, they’d need 2 out of the 3 of the Ducks, WarPlainsTigersEagleMen, or Horned Frogs to lose. I don’t think LSU needs Boise to lose. Before you call me a homer, look at the computer rankings. LSU is already above Boise in the computers and we have an opportunity to improve that ranking when we play Arkansas. The human polls may revolt against LSU if it gets close (b/c they really don’t like the idea of LSU playing for the title) but there are plausible scenarios where LSU makes it in-even if LSU doesn’t win the SEC. Of course, if LSU jumps Boise without winning the SEC, there will be a riot. While I expect Oregon to remain undefeated, the other three undefeated have at least one more test left. Auburn, a team weak against the pass, has to face AJ Green and Julio Jones (as well as possible Florida). Boise still has Nevada, and TCU has to avoid the let-down game against a San Diego St. that’s 7-2 and getting some votes in the polls. It ain’t over yet, and it’s so much fun!

This would all be simpler if the NCAA did its job and declared Cam Newton ineligible. Seriously, do you think he decided to not play for Dan Mullen b/c he was impressed with Gene Chizik’s record at Iowa St.? The whole thing stinks, and someone is going to get busted for it. It would be a tragedy if the NCAA waited to finish this investigation until it’s too late (i.e. after the SEC title game).

When on earth did the Big 10 decide to play like the PAC-10? I’m looking at you, Michigan & Illinois. At least the Big 10 has a bunch of bowl eligible teams. Speaking of teams that may not get into bowls, what happened to Texas? We knew it’d be a down year, but losses to Baylor, Iowa St. & Kansas St? At least Texas fans can watch their beloved Cow… oh. Same goes to Notre Dame. They have to win 2 out of 3 against the Utes, USC, and Army. While I’ll be rooting for them against the Utes and USC (yeah, this is the time of year where I root solely to hurt other teams in front of LSU. You do it too), if they don’t get in one perhaps may start considering an Obama curse. Since Notre Dame invited Obama, they haven’t been to a bowl.

Important games of the week:

San Diego St. v. TCU, Georgia v. Auburn, VT v. UNC, South Carolina v. Florida,

I may want to explain the VT v. UNC game. Boise’s big win is against VT; LSU has a win over UNC. If UNC beats VT, VT might fall from the rankings and UNC get in. While the humans may not care, the computers will, and LSU will get even stronger in the computers. Furthermore, a VT team with 3 losses, including the one to James Madison, isn’t going to motivate voters to support Boise. On the other hand, a VT team that goes through the ACC undefeated with only another loss that’s almost excusable (you’re an idiot scheduling a Sat. game after a Mon night game, even if it is James Madison) is a very strong win. Combined with wins against Nevada, Boise would have a very strong case to make it in if people start losing ahead of them.

Alright, let’s get to the rankings!

Continue Reading

2

Grief Counseling For Defeated Democrats

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  Apparently the staffers of defeated Democrats in Congress are being provided with grief counseling. 

A staffer for a congressional Democrat who came up short on Tuesday reports that a team of about five people stopped by their offices this morning to talk about payroll, benefits, writing a résumé, and so forth, with staffers who are now job hunting.

But one of the staffers was described as a “counselor” to help with the emotional aspect of the loss — and a section in the packet each staffer was given dealt with the stages of grief (for instance, Stage One being anger, and so on).

“It was like it was about death,” the staffer said. “It was bizarre.” The staffer did say the portions about the benefits and résumé writing were instructive.

I have always had a keen concern for the mental health of Democrats in Congress, so I will attempt in this post to give them a few pointers to help them work through their grief:

1.  Denial:  As the saying goes, it is just not a river in Egypt.  Best to deal quickly with this stage.  “The Election was just a bad dream.  We did not suffer the worst rejection at the polls of either party since 1948.  All will be well, all will be well.  Chant together:  Hope and Change!  Hope and Change!  Hope and Change!”  With luck you can get beyond this stage in a few days, certainly by the time the office movers come.

2.  Anger:  Let it all out.   “Blast those lying, knuckle dragging Republicans!  Can you believe how stupid the average voters are!  After all we did for the country!  This nation is doomed!  I’m moving to Canada!”  Turn on Hannity and engage in primal scream therapy at the TV.  Listen to Rush as you dust off that voodoo doll of him and stick pins in it.  After a few days you will get past the teeth grinding stage whenever you think about the election. Continue Reading

4

"The New Evangelization"?

Carrying on the mission of his predecessor, Pope Benedict announced in June 2010 a pontifical council for the “the new evangelization”, the principle task of which was to:

[promote] a renewed evangelization in the countries where the first proclamation of faith has already resounded and where there are churches of ancient foundation present, but which are living through a progressive secularization of society and a kind of ‘eclipse of the sense of God.

Fr. Mirilli of Rome seems to have interpreted the Holy Father’s directive in a rather novel manner:A section of the crypt of the Basilica di San Carlo al Corso near St. Peter’s Square has boasted tombs of cardinals for centuries, has been turned into a nightclub by Rome’s Catholic Church.

Image Source: The Beerean

Continue Reading

1

Lame Ducks, Internet Hitler and Olbermann Anger Management Counselor

Clint Howard takes us behind the scenes of a strategy meeting of a lame duck Democrat Congressman.  I would love to be a fly on the wall of the actual meetings of lame duck Democrat members of congress and their staffs.  I would imagine that some of the comments aimed at Pelosi are unprintable. Continue Reading

Saint Oliver Plunkett: Deo Gratias

Oliver Plunkett first saw the light of day on November 1, 1625 in Loughcrew, County Meath, Ireland, a scion of an Irish-Norman family.  Educated by his cousin Patrick Plunkett, Abbot of Saint Mary’s in Dublin and a future bishop, Oliver decided at a young age that he wished to become a priest, and in 1647 he went to study for the priesthood in Rome at the Irish College.  Ordained in 1654, he acted as the representative of the Irish bishops in Rome.

While performing duties as a Professor of Theology at the College of Propaganda Fide, he never ceased speaking out on behalf of the suffering Church in Ireland, enduring massacre and suppression under the brutal Cromwellian Conquest.  On November 30, 1669 he was consecrated Archbishop of Armagh. 

In Ireland he went at his duties with a will, traveling up and down the country confirming Catholics, the sacrament often being administered in huge open air masses.  He joyously shared the sufferings of his persecuted flock, often living on a little oat bread as he brought Christ to his people.  He attacked drunkenness as being a prime curse of the priesthood in Ireland and championed education for the youth of the Emerald Isle.

A renewed period of persecution struck Ireland in 1673, with the churches being closed, and the schools disbanded.  The Jesuit college at Drogheda that Plunkett had established was leveled.  With a price on his head, he refused to go into exile and traveled in disguise.    The Archbishop carried on with his duties, undeterred that his episcopal palace was usually a simple peasant’s hut.  Continue Reading

3

"We Are Elected!"

Since a number of regular bloggers and visitors here at TAC are Abraham Lincoln and Civil War history buffs, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you my impressions of a unique event held last night in Lincoln’s hometown (and mine) of Springfield, Illinois. Saturday, Nov. 6, was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s election to his first term as President in 1860.

To commemorate the event, the Old Capitol and Lincoln Home historic sites staged a reenactment of Lincoln’s election night celebration. This also marks the beginning of what is likely to be a boom period for history buffs nationwide — the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and of Lincoln’s presidency. But more on that in a moment.

Lincoln’s election marked the end of a bitter four-way contest for the presidency among Lincoln, the nominee of the recently organized, anti-slavery Republican Party; U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas, also of Illinois, the Democratic nominee; then-Vice President John Breckinridge, nominee of Southern Democrats who split from Douglas and the rest of the party over the issue of expanding slavery to the western territories; and John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party, a loose coalition of former Whigs, Know-Nothings, and moderate Democrats who hoped to avert secession and war by evading the slavery issue altogether.

Lincoln had not been the first choice of the Republicans; many had preferred William Seward of New York or Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, who had more experience in public office (both had been governors and U.S. Senators from their respective states) and had taken stronger public stands against slavery. Also, several Southern states had made it clear before the election that they intended to secede if Lincoln won. Nevertheless, Lincoln won 40 percent of the popular vote on Election Day, and Douglas finished second with 29 percent.

It’s worth noting that the electorate even in Springfield was sharply divided that day. Lincoln prevailed in the city of Springfield by just 70 votes over Douglas, but lost surrounding Sangamon County by about 40 votes. As the official Democratic candidate Douglas would have enjoyed strong support among the Irish and other predominantly Catholic immigrants that were flooding into Illinois at the time. Douglas also campaigned in person throughout the nation — something that no presidential candidate before him had done, while Lincoln allowed Republican operatives to do most of his campaigning for him.

On Election Day itself, Lincoln had not originally planned to vote, believing it wouldn’t be appropriate to vote for himself. However, his law partner William Herndon persuaded him that he should at least vote for the other offices on the ballot, so he walked across the street from his office to what was then the Sangamon County Courthouse to cast his ballot.

Later in the evening, after the polls closed, he gathered with other supporters in the State House of Representatives chambers to await the results, transmitted via telegraph. He later went directly to the telegraph office in hopes of getting the results more quickly (lacking, of course, the modern advantages of exit polls and network news anchors projecting the results).

Around 11 p.m. Lincoln received word that the critical state of Pennsylvania had gone to the Republicans. He and his group then adjourned to a saloon near the Statehouse to await results from New York, the state that would put him over the top in electoral votes. Around 1 a.m. he learned that New York was safely in the Republican column, and the celebration began. Accompanied by a throng of supporters, he arrived at his home on Eighth Street and announced to his waiting wife, “Mary, we are elected!” Illinois historian Paul Angle describes the scene that ensued:

Old men and young men, bankers and clerks slapped each other on the back, danced, sang and yelled until their voices sank to hoarse whispers. Outside one long shout announced the news. From stores, from houses, even from housetops, men called out that New York was safe, while groups ran through the streets shouting their joy at having joined the Republicans. Never had Springfield seen anything like it.

Since I live just a few blocks from the Lincoln Home, the weather was nice (albeit chilly) and the event was free, I decided to participate in the election night reenactment. (Unfortunately, my cell phone didn’t have enough charge left to take pictures.)

The event began with local Lincoln presenter Fritz Klein and others in historic dress leading a torchlight parade from the Old Capitol to the Lincoln home.  National Park Service personnel then conducted candlelight tours (using electric candles for safety reasons) of the home at 10-minute intervals. Each tour began in the home’s front parlor with a beaming Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln greeting each visitor. Costumed interpreters were stationed in each remaining room of the house, explaining not only the room’s use but also the impact Lincoln’s election would have had on the occupants.

For example, the interpreter outside what had been the bedroom shared by the Lincolns’ youngest sons, Willie and Tad, noted that the boys had frequently “campaigned” for their father and were excited at the prospect of living in the White House. However, they would now have to leave behind their friends as well as the family dog, Fido. The interpreter also pointed out the small bedroom used by the Lincolns’ live-in maid. With the family on their way to Washington, the maid would have realized her days of working for the Lincolns were numbered.  On the other hand, having the President of the United States as a reference probably didn’t hurt her prospects for future employment!

Another interpreter noted that Lincoln greeted his wife by saying “We are elected” because in many ways, he could not have achieved that milestone without her. Mary Todd Lincoln had been born into a prominent Kentucky political family, had a lifelong interest in politics and unfailingly promoted her husband’s political ambitions. Her husband’s election as president would have seemed like a dream come true for her. Of course, she did not know then that the next four years would turn into a nightmare of war, personal attacks against her, and grief over the loss of both her son Willie and her husband.

The pride that the Lincolns and the citizens of Springfield felt at his election was tempered by their realization of the enormous burden he faced. By the time the Lincolns departed for Washington in February 1861, seven Southern states had seceded and a provisional Confederate government had been organized.  We see those times through a somewhat romanticized lens since we know the outcome.

However, the people who actually marched through the streets of Springfield with Lincoln that night in 1860 had no assurance that their nation would survive. For all they knew, Lincoln would be the last president of the United States and they would be living within shouting distance of a hostile slave nation a few years hence.

Three months later, on the day Lincoln left Springfield for the last time, he acknowledged that he faced a task “greater than that which rested upon Washington”  at the nation’s founding.

“Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed,” he added.  “With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well.” That’s still good advice, especially for those times we are tempted to become mired in despair over the state of our current political discourse.

Update: The New York Times last week launched a series of opinion pieces titled “Disunion”, analyzing events of the same week 150 years before as if they were being covered in real time. The feature began with an analysis of the 1860 presidential race and Lincoln’s chances of victory in New York.

In 1860 St. Louis reporter Samuel Weed spent Election Day with Lincoln. His account, however, was not written until 1882 and not published until 1932. The story can be read at this link.

19

Free Olbermann

I think that Keith Olbermann is one of the lowest of all media low-lifes — a rude, ignorant and bigoted opinionator posing as a journalist, but I am frankly flummoxed by MSNBC’s decision to suspend him indefinitely for making political donations to Democratic candidates. This is, apparently, a portion of their employee code of conduct, and so they are certainly within their rights to do so. But it makes no sense to me that they should suspend him for donating a could thousand dollars to a specific Democratic candidate, when he nightly performs the far more valuable service to the Democratic party of supporting them and attacking their opponents before hundreds of thousands of views. It would be an insult to sock puppetry to compare this charade of journalistic objectivity to such.

If MSNBC objects to the flagrant support of one party over the other, they should simply shut down. If not, they should leave Olbermann alone, and silently signing a check is doubles one of the less offensive ways that he has supported the Democrats in recent years.

3

Remember, Remember

The idiotic anti-Catholic celebration of Guy Fawkes Day , observed each November fifth, was effectively ended in America during the Revolution in large part due to George Washington.  Here is his order on November 5, 1775:

As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope–He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada. Continue Reading

5

Speaker of the House John Boehner: Pro-life Stalwart

 

It may not be common knowledge, but the next Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has been an ardent foe of abortion since entering Congress in 1991, and a leader in the fight.  As indicated in the video above, while accepting the Henry Hyde award from Americans United for Life earlier this year, for Boehner this is an emotional issue, and he is heart and soul on our side.  A refreshing change from Nancy Pelosi. Continue Reading

22

Rep. Cao's Defeat

If I said anything about the election in general, I’d probably be wrong. At about 9:17 pm, while everyone else was watching election returns, I was at the hospital, meeting 7 lb. 14.9 oz. little Benedict Denton (Luckily for you, I’m not one of those dads who posts absurd quantities of pictures of his irresistibly adorably cute son). So  I didn’t really give a damn about the election (though I did vote in it), nor did I glean much other than the GOP performed in the mid-range of everyone’s expectations, and that the coming of the Tea Party was overrated. The latter is all that really matters to me, as I expect it will have consequences for the GOP candidate in 2012 (sorry Palin). I’ll leave it to others to craft the results to fit nicely in their gradiose theories about the inevitable victory of their political persuasion.

The only race I did care about was Louisiana’s 2nd district in which La. Rep. Joseph Cao lost to Democrat Cedric Richmond. It was one of the bright spots of the Democrat’s night, but it was entirely expected as Cao only won two years ago b/c most of the Bill Jefferson’s voters didn’t know he hadn’t already won the election. Cao always was an odd-ball, with his significant votes coming in the healthcare debate. A Catholic who cared deeply about the opinion of the bishops, he voted for the healthcare bill with the Stupak language and then, recognizing that without abortion would be funded, changed his vote.

His votes made everyone uncomfortable. The Republicans didn’t like their unanimous front being broken. The Democrats didn’t like the stinging rebuke on their lies about abortion funding in the bill. In heavily Democratic 2nd district, Cao was almost certainly giving up any chance of re-election in order to vote for life.

It was no surprise that Cao received almost no national support, even from some “Catholic” organizations. What may be surprising is who came down hard opposing Cao: Pres. Barack Obama. Two years after promising to change the tone in Washington, Obama campaigned hard for a indisputably corrupt Democrat against the only bi-partisan Republican in Congress. Hope & Change? hardly.

This makes me question whether Americans are telling the truth when they claim they want a less partisan Congress. We say we’re tired of the stupid games, but we don’t support the candidates who fight to change that. I’m not talking here about RINOs or other candidates who lie through their teeth about their true positions. I have no problem giving them the boot. I’m talking about candidates who don’t like up perfectly with their parties but are honest about the differences. Candidates who are willing to work with those outside the party for the good of their constituencies, not those working to get a plug for the New York Times.

So if don’t want Cao, and we claim to not like the status quo, then what do we want?

5

Sliding Further Down the Path of Irrelevance

Now would be a good time as any to re-visit this David Frum column from about a year ago:

Republicans heading for a bloodbath in Florida.

Well, I suppose if Frum meant that the Republicans would be the one administering the bloodbath, he was right on the money.  Alas, I don’t think that’s what he meant.

Now that Republicans, led by an array of conservative candidates, have enjoyed their most successful election in 80+ years, Frum and his acolytes must be fairly chastened.

Yeah right.  FrumForum contributor Andrew Pavelyev writes that the blame for the failure of the GOP to re-capture the Senate lies in the successful campaign of men like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Continue Reading

4

State Legislatures go Republican

The video depicts a little bit of excitement on the floor of the Alabama Senate in 2007 between two Senators. 

Lost in the attention paid to the marquee races for the Senate, the House and the Governorships, were the huge Republican gains in the state legislatures:

The Republicans’ 60-seat pickup in Congress – the most by any party in a half-century – appears insignificant when you consider that in the New Hampshire state House, Republicans appear to have gained at least 120 seats.

All told, Republicans gained at least 680 state legislative seats nationwide on Tuesday night, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, an outcome that could have far-reaching implications for both parties.

Preliminary results indicate that the GOP gained control of at least 19 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers, while holding others where they were already in the majority. Heading into the election, Democrats controlled both houses of 27 state legislatures, while Republicans held both in 14, and eight were evenly divided.

The result is devastating for Democrats in this respect: Many state legislatures control the decennial process of redrawing state legislative and congressional district boundaries. The NCSL now says Republicans have unilateral control of the boundaries of 190 congressional districts.

“2010 will go down as a defining political election that will shape the national political landscape for at least the next 10 years,” Tim Storey, elections specialist with the NCSL, said in a news release. “The GOP … finds itself now in the best position for both congressional and state legislative line-drawing than it has enjoyed in the modern era of redistricting.”

At a minimum, 54 legislative chambers will be under GOP control when they reorganize, the highest number for Republicans since 1952. They will hold 53% of the total number of seats, nearly 3,900 – the most since 1928. Continue Reading

3

TAC NFL Rankings – Week 8

I’m filling in for Michael this week as he’s getting acclimated to the world of fatherhood.

It was a comparatively uneventful week as for once we’re all basically in agreement, though it was Michael’s turn to make one particularly questionable omission.   The AFC remains very strong, though a couple of NFC teams are finally making some noise.  Though perhaps the most interesting development had to do with some teams not even on the list: the Vikings and the Redskins.  Coach Shanahan’s decision to bench Donovan McNabb in the final two minutes against the Lions was greeted with everything from shock to outrage, and this humble correspondent is just soaking in the joy of a week’s worth of sports talk outrage in DC.  As for Brad Childress’s decision to dump Randy Moss, well, I’m sure he’ll be enjoying his time next year as someone’s offensive coordinator. Continue Reading

10

The Day After

In the aftermath of the best electoral night for the Republicans since the age of flappers, I thought I would share a few reflections on some of the common memes that have sprouted up over the past 24 hours.

Evidently at about 4 in the morning CNN was running with a headline on their website that read “Split Decision.”  Even less hopeless cases pondered why the GOP seemingly didn’t do as well in the Senate as it did in the House.  While it’s true that there were some disappointing results in Nevada, Colorado, and West Virginia, the fact of the matter is the Republicans won 25 of the 37 contested Senatorial contests.  Republicans had to defend 19 of their own seats and then win an additional ten in order to gain majority control of the Senate, a rather long-shot proposition to begin with.  As it is the Republicans won two-thirds of all Senate contests, lost none of their own seats and picked up six in the process.  That would be a good night  by any measure. Continue Reading

28

Midterm Election Results Show The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

While most political pundits mull over the stunning defeat the Democrats suffered in the 2010 midterm election (some 60 seats in the House and at least seven in the Senate,) most pundits, including Catholic pundits will not have noticed a striking phenomena.  Though practicing Catholics easily went for McCain-Palin in 2008, the entire Catholic vote went for the Obama-Biden ticket somewhere between five to eight percent. Yet, in 2010 we are told that Catholics voted over 60+% against candidates who supported the Obama agenda. I have yet to see a statistic for practicing Catholics, but we can assume it is much higher than 60%. This turnaround is unprecedented in the history of political polling. Though, I do believe the majority of this is the result of economics, we are seeing a fundamental shift among Catholics. Some Catholics have abandoned the Church (and their conscience) to secularism and to entertainment based mega churches, but many Catholics now see the wisdom of Catholic orthodoxy. After the momentous mid-term election results, what a relief it is to see an open practicing Catholic as the new Speaker of the House (John Boehner,) compared to the outgoing Speaker (Nancy Pelosi) who openly defied the Teachings of the Church and her archbishop.

However, the good news doesn’t just end with the incoming new speaker. There were some great Catholic victories and I will highlight two of them. Those Catholics who aren’t ashamed about the 2,000 year old teachings of the Church were rewarded with unabashedly Catholic politicians like Senator elect Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Congressman elect Sean Duffy in Wisconsin, both reliable blue states. Toomey has been a trooper for pro-life causes while Duffy and his wife Rachel Campos Duffy have been big advocates for traditional parenting. They have a growing family and have not been ashamed of standing out in a world that is often hostile to traditional religion. Both were MTV Real World partipants and Rachel was the last one cut from being on the View. One can only imagine her going toe to toe with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar (probably why she wasn’t picked.)

After the liberal perfect storm victory of 2008, I found myself on the receiving end of those who said Catholic orthodoxy, and or the conservative Catholic lifestyle was going the way of the horse and buggy. However, the hangover of liberal Big Government and the moral decay that goes along with those who think every lifestyle, feeling, whim, or urge needs to be embraced has aided many Catholics to see the wisdom of the two thousand year old teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition, I am sure hearing the latest rants of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, along with reading the latest screeds against Catholic orthodoxy from the likes of Catholics like outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and columnists Maureen Dowd and E J Dionne has helped many see the light.

The plummeting poll numbers of liberals coupled with a few announcements from the Holy See must have made for an eternity for the left, primarily the Catholic left. In those days leading up to election day, Pope Benedict XVI gave an address on the plight of migrants and illegal aliens. The Holy Father spoke of the compassion one must have for those on the run, but he clearly stated that nations have the right to defend their borders and accept the integrity of their nation state. This was certainly a blow to those on the Catholic left, including some clergy and even a few prelates who seemed to favor unlimited immigration.

The finishing blow for the Catholic Left occurred when it was announced that Archbishop Raymond Burke formerly of St Louis and now head of the Vatican Court was going to be made a Cardinal. If that wasn’t bad enough, Cardinal Elect Burke made one of his patented unflinching addresses on the grave sin of those Catholics who vote for politicians that support abortion and same sex marriage. It was also announced that Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington DC was also to be named a Cardinal. Though friends with Cardinal Elect Burke, the two have sparred over whether Catholic politicians should be banned from receiving Holy Communion, something Cardinal Elect Wuerl is against. Cardinal Elect Burke has stated that the arguments used by his brother Cardinal Elect Wuerl and others, that state banning pro abortion politicians from receiving the Eucharist would politicize the sacrament and there is still much teaching to be done on the subject, are “nonsense.”   Continue Reading

10

Narrative Failure

There’s nothing more annoying that excessive crowing over an election, but I can’t help taking just a moment to observe that there’s something which doesn’t quite fit about the idea that the GOP (and in a number of cases, the Tea Party wing of the GOP) did so well yesterday because the electorate was outraged that Obama and congress didn’t tack harder left in the last two years. Yes, it’s true that it was moderate Democrats, in many cases, who lost, but that’s mainly because those moderate Democrats were elected in 2010 in districts which were to the right of them, districts which had previously been held by the GOP. But the fact that Pelosi was reelected while Driehaus lost doesn’t mean that the electorate as a whole wants people on the hard left — it’s because Pelosi’s district is in San Francisco while Driehaus’s was in Cincinnati.

What both rightists and leftists should keep in mind after elections like this one and 2008 as well is that elections in the US are decided by a swing bloc which might charitably be described as pragmatic/a-political (or uncharitably as generally ignorant of political ideology and policy.) Continue Reading

16

No Final Victories, No Final Defeats

 

The Republican party had a very good election last night, and the Democrats had a very bad election.  The Republicans took control of the House and have gained approximately 60 seats with around 13 still to be decided.  The House will be more pro-life than at any time in our nation’s history since Roe v. Wade in 1973.  In the Senate the Republicans have gained approximately 6 seats with around 3 still to be decided.  The Republicans have gained at least seven governorships with a few to be decided, and at least 17 state legislative chambers have flipped to the GOP.  By any standards it was a great night for the GOP, and a vote of no confidence in both the Obama administration and the Democrat Congress.  It would be tempting to predict only triumph now for the Republicans and only doom for the Democrats in the future, but it is a temptation to be resisted. Continue Reading

15

The Super Secret, Mystical Recession Cure

For some reason, I found myself reading through Paul Krugman’s recent NY Times material. Perhaps it was a desire for a little mental vaunting, what with the direction the elections seem to be taking, and if so I should have come away quite satisfied as Mr. Krugman is in full Chicken Little mode. A GOP takeover of congress will be a disaster, and we should all be very afraid. Stupid people are allowing their emotions to run away with them and will destroy the world economy through getting all moralistic about debt. And of course, the reason why the entire world doesn’t see things Krugman’s way is because macroeconomics is too hard for them to understand.

Well, I’m certainly prepared to admit that Krugman’s expertise in macroeconomics is greater than my own — and I’ll even stretch and say that my understanding probably goes farther than that of the average bear. Continue Reading

8

TAC College Football Rankings

This week is Bama week for the rest of LSU, but it’s also Baby Denton week for me. TCU & Boise have their toughest conference tests so far this week.

In an interesting stat note, the SEC West has as many bowl-eligible teams as any other conference. If any SEC West team gets through with just one loss, they have to get in (though I expect LSU will have a harder time b/c of reputation than Bama or Auburn). All in all, the tests for the top teams are dwindling; most have only one or two tough games between them.  Continue Reading

53

TAC Election Night Live Blog

 

The live blog will start tonight at 6:00 PM Central Time.  I will be listening to Fox due to Michael Barone who is the chief Fox election analyst, and who knows more about each Congressional District than anyone else alive, and browsing the internet to bring you the latest information.  I ask TAC commenters and contributors to chime in with  information and observations.  The picture at the top of this blog will help you keep track of when polls close in each state.  The image is from 2008, but I believe it is still accurate.

Nate Silver over at 538 has put together a handy sheet listing the crucial seats that the GOP needs to win to take the House.  Go here to view it.  This will be an indispensable aid as we watch the returns coming in. 

I will attempt to stay with the liveblogging until control of the House is called.  I am stocking up on pizza and pop to stay awake!  The Senate may not be determined for a few days, as it may come down to what happens in California and Washington, and those races may be close.

Feel free to comment during the day in regard to any rumors that you hear.  Detailed reports as to elections in the areas in which you live are welcome.  I view this as a group project, and all assistance I receive from our TAC community will be welcome. 

Oh, and political passions will doubtless be running high today and tonight, but let us remember that it is only politics and keep a sense of perspective about it.  The issues in contention are important, but politics, and politicians, often go hand in hand with great absurdity.

Continue Reading

4

Where They Stand: House Races

I am certainly not ambitious enough to forecast all 435 House races, but Jim Geraghty of National Review is.  Here is his roundup of all 435 races.  He is predicting 76 Republican pickups, with 6 seats switching from Democrat to Republican, for a net Republican pickup of 70 seats.

I think the Republicans should net at least 60, though it’s really hard to pinpoint exactly how many seats the Republicans will have when all is said and done.  The Gallup generic ballot puts the Republicans up double digits, which is just unprecedented.  Alan Ambromowitz, a professor of mine at Emory, translates how many seats to expect the GOP to win based on the generic ballot total. A GOP margin of +10 would give them a net gain of 62 seats, and a 68-seat pickup if the margin is 12.

It’s also interesting to note that the highest number of seats the GOP held during the twelve years they recently had control of Congress was 231, and that was after the 2004 election (they held 230 after 1994).  Therefore if the Republicans gain a net total of 54, they would have more seats than they’ve held at any point since 1946.  They would have basically erased two elections worth of Democratic gains in one night.  Amazing.

4

The Incredible Hulk and the 2010 election

Last week in a post here, I quoted Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard as follows:

Allocating the undecided voters proportionally, Bruce Banner gets a two-party vote of 54.5 to 45.5.  That’s a nine-point GOP win, in line with a prediction of a historically high Republican caucus, say 240 seats (which is what I actually did predict last week).

Incredible Hulk.  The Hulk has problems with this analysis.  It tosses out what has historically been the best estimator of midterm congressional results, the Gallup generic ballot likely model.  This year Gallup is calling it the “traditional” model, but in every midterm before this, it was the only likely voter model.

Only once in 60 years has the Gallup generic ballot underestimated Democratic strength by a significant amount – by 2% in 2006.  On average, it slightly overestimates the Democrats, by 0.7%.

Here is what he is seeing this morning based upon Gallup showing a 15 point GOP likely voter advantage:

My internal conflict between “Bruce Banner,” who predicts a 1994-style scenario, and “The Incredible Hulk,” who thinks 2010 will be as Republican as anything since the 1920s, has been resolved.

Hulk wins. Here’s why. Continue Reading

2

The November 2 Election and Joe Biden

Assuming the polls are correct, obviously a big assumption, the Democrats are in for a very long election night tomorrow.  In the face of devastating election losses, the Dems can rely upon Veep and beloved national clown Joe Biden!  First, we should understand why the Democrats are looking at the electoral equivalent of a wheat farm in Death Valley.  My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson explains what went wrong:

Barack Obama entered office; nationalized health care; ran up record $1 trillion deficits; promised to hike taxes on the rich; pushed cap and trade through the House; took over large chunks of banks, insurance companies, and auto corporations; made hard-left appointments from Van Jones to Sonia Sotomayor — and in 21 months saw his positives crash from near 70% in January 2009 to little above 40%, with the specter of near record Democratic losses in the Congress just two years after the anti-Bush/anti-Iraq sweep of 2008.

All the polls of independents and moderates show radical shifts and express unhappiness with higher taxes, larger deficits, a poor economy, and too much government. In other words, the electorate is not angry that Obama has moved too far to the right or stayed in the center or borrowed too little money. A Barney Frank or Dennis Kucinich is looking at an unusually tight race in a very liberal district not because liberals have had it with them, but because large numbers of moderates and independents most surely have.

Yet if one were to read mainstream Democratic analysis, there is almost no acknowledgment that the party has become far too liberal. Indeed, they fault Obama for not being liberal enough, or, in the case of the Paul Krugman school, for not borrowing another trillion dollars for even more stimulus, despite the failure of the earlier borrowing. In fact, Obamaites offer three unhinged exegeses for the looming defeat: a) there is no looming defeat: the Democrats will still keep the House; or b) Obama did not prove to be the radical as promised; or c) the American people are clueless and can’t follow science and logic and therefore do not know what is good for them.

Do liberals really believe that had they rammed down cap and trade, borrowed $6 trillion instead of $3 trillion the last 21 months, and obtained blanket amnesty their candidates would be posed to ward off Republican attacks this election year? The problem right now with Greece is that it borrows too little, hires too few, and spends not enough? Continue Reading