Speaker of the House John Boehner: Pro-life Stalwart

Friday, November 5, AD 2010


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.

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5 Responses to Speaker of the House John Boehner: Pro-life Stalwart

Rep. Cao's Defeat

Thursday, November 4, AD 2010

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?

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22 Responses to Rep. Cao's Defeat

  • Looking at the pictures, he is cute. Good thing he looks like his mom. 😉


  • Who says he doesn’t want Cao? I’d have no problem voting for him if he ran in my jurisdiction.

  • Of all the congressmen/women to lose their seats on Tuesday evening, no one deserved to retain their own more than Joe Cao 🙁

    He will be missed.

  • There should be room for Rep Cao in the GOP. If not perhaps it is time for a distinctly Catholic political movement; one faithful above all to our Magisterium. I don’t even agree with him on the Healthcare bill, questions of abortion notwithstanding, but I have no problem working with any conscientious Catholic whose faithfulness to the principles of Evangelium Vitae and all Catholic teaching is beyond question. Such I believe to be the case of Rep Cao, at least from what I know about his career.

  • I don’t think Cao’s loss reflects an attitude that he isn’t wanted. I think most conservatives and Republicans would love to have Cao still in that Congressional seat. That Cao received so little support is probably more than anything else a reflection of what donors thought of his chances to retain his seat vis-a-vis other more winnable races. Donors weren’t going to contribute to what they saw as a lost cause when other candidates needing money were running in races that seemed within reach.

    But because Cao was so unlikely to retain the seat anyway, that makes Obama’s insertion of himself into the race on behalf of Cao’s opponent all the more despicable. That’s how bipartisanship gets rewarded, I guess.

  • Cao voted for Obamacare. Maybe, the Republicans that voted against him thought that he was not willing to stand up against expanding government and reducing spending. These appear to be the current concerns in the Republican party as I see it.

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

    Which [missing] ‘we’ did you have in mind? Most of ‘we’ do not reside in the 2d district of Louisiana. One account has it that the demographics of the district are as follows:

    30.2% White, 64.1% Black, 2.7% Asian, 3.8% Hispanic, 0.3% Native American, 0.2% other.

    Tough territory for a Republican.

  • Aww, congratulations!

  • But because Cao was so unlikely to retain the seat anyway, that makes Obama’s insertion of himself into the race on behalf of Cao’s opponent all the more despicable. That’s how bipartisanship gets rewarded, I guess.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to suspect that the President’s claim that he wants to be a post-partisan leader who heals national divisions is somewhat less than whole-hearted.

  • Dale: I share your suspicisions. According to the President, it’s Obama’s way or the highway.

  • Congrats on the son Michael! I assure you that your world will never be the same again based upon my on-going adventure with my kids!

    In regard to Cao I think he has a bright political future if he wants it. He might be a tad liberal on some fiscal policies for many Repbublicans, but he more than makes up for that by his strong devotion to the pro-life cause and the various pokes in the eye that he gave to the North Vietnamese government while in office. He is bright and principled and both qualities show in his life. He should try running for statewide office in Louisiana.

  • Dale, I like the dry way in which you wrote your observations about Obama. It reminded me of Burke Breathed’s classic cartoon where Opus is watching professional wrestling and one of the groping gladiators hits his oppponent with a monkey wrench. Opus turns to the reader and says, “You know, I think this might be fixed!”

  • I was very, very disappointed that Cao did not win re-election. He is a sincere, conscientious Catholic. I’ve never heard of a Congressman going to Mass and praying before votes. I would have voted for him without blinking.

  • Cao continued his oddball antics by siding with the Log Cabin Republicans. I wish he hadn’t.

  • A Republican who seems to be Catholic first, Republican second. One of the only American statesman who doesn’t reinforce my gratitude that I don’t have to vote in your elections. Let us ask God for more such “oddballs.”

  • I get frustrated when people see Rep. Cao as truly pro-life. Being truly pro-life means being able to see beyond abortion. It means being able to understand how easy it is for socialism and communism to be slipped into the fabric of American Culture.

    I certainly did not like our Bishops misleading the Catholics in the US about the Health Care Vote. Simply saying, ” Call your representative to make sure abortion is not in the bill” was not enough. As a matter of fact, I think that position gave the Democrats a sort of blessing to force this health care bill into our livelihood.

    Rep. Cao should not have voted for the bill whether there was funding for abortion in it or not. These are principles we have to have ingrained in our hearts and minds. We should not promote the breakdown of our culture by encouraging the government to provide us with goods and services that majority do not want. That is why we have the Church to provide us with goods and services out of charity. This charity is what gives the world the sanity that it needs to keep going on. Let charity be from the bottom up, not from the top down.

    Unfortunate for Cao because he listened to the US Bishops.

  • Phillippus, Cao voted against final passage of Obamacare precisely because of his fear that it opened the door to public funding of abortion. Voting against the center piece of Obama’s legislative agenda was to sign one’s own political death warrant in Cao’s liberal district, but Cao, always a man of principal, cast that vote anyway.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    Perhaps I can say what I mean in other words. Anybody who voted for or supported the bill was doing so even after they knew it was a bill forcing Americans to buy a good and service. Furthermore, there were “death panels” provisions made in the bill that was clear to the supporters of the bill (even though they chose to ignore it because it sounds ridiculous to the common ear). What part of “Catholic” is voting for the bill? In my opinion, it is none.

    If the government wants to provide for people who are needy, ought they not try to work with independent groups such as charitable organizations and Churches to see what they can do from their own sides?

    There is a better approach than forcing the people to take on additional burdens and also ensuring that they don’t have a way out of it.

    I’ve got an idea, how about those people who want to support free health care for all ask the government to take the money out of their paychecks and let those people who truly have a moral problem with perpetuating the idea that the government should provide all, be left alone.

    If the state gives us such goods and services, then we have become the slaves of the state and will no longer seek to call on God for we will have forgotten Him.

    Cao is an honest man, but he was also honestly naive. He calls Obama his friend and was surprised that Obama campaigned for his opponent just before Tuesday’s elections.

  • Oh! I should also add that Health Care for All is as absurd an idea as Education for All.

    We wanted free public education. We have got it. And then now we are fighting a war with the state not to treat us as secular people. We want them to respect our Christian beliefs and not teach us about same-sex attraction as a normal way of life. We rip what we sow.

    In that same vein, when we call for free health care, are we not giving too much power to the state to determine how we want to be cared for when we fall into their hands?

    We burden a civil state with the responsibility of being our teachers, our doctors, our housing provider and our food provider.

  • I agree with much of what you say, but your attempt to make our prudential calculations Catholic orthodoxy is mistaken. There is no reason a good Catholic could not have favored ObamaCare if it had contained appropriate protections against abortion funding. Such support would be very mistaken in my view, but not incompatable with Church teaching as such.

  • I should have made clear that my previous message was directed toward Philippus.
    I am in complete agreement with Don.

  • Cao’s initial vote for ObamaCare put him on the skids, but he was bouncing back a bit until he opined that he wasn’t sure he’d vote for the GOP leader for Speaker – stating that he’d like to see what they’re platforms were before making such a choice. At that moment, he was finished because he opened up the prospect of actually voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. It wasn’t lack of money – candidates with even less chance of winning than Cao took in bags of money (most notably Starr Parker in California who actually outspent her Democrat incumbent and was still blown out of the water) Yes, we want more genuine Catholics in office – but there has to be some political sense in there, some where. Cao simply didn’t have any.

    Unless we Catholics want to form a specifically Catholic political party – which would be suicidal – we’re going to have to adjust ourselves to the fact that the majority of those we work with won’t be Catholic. We still should and can become the largest political force in America and we must work diligently to implement as much of Catholic teaching as possible – but we also have to recognize that we won’t get it all, and that some times non-crucial things will have to take a back seat to the crucial. While some sort of national health care plan has been a desire of the Bishops for ages, the larger issue in ObamaCare wasn’t health care, but government control – including such things as eventually government control over Catholic hospitals, with the implications that they’d be force to provide birth control and abortions.

    We must help the poor; we must give a fair shake to all those illegals we de-facto invited in to the country; we want all sorts of things all sorts of Democrats will claim they are shooting for – but we must recognize the reality of what the Democrats are doing: using high minded principles as a cover for a naked power grab. And not just any, old power grab, but a power grab designed to implement the most anti-family, anti-Christian and anti-American policies imaginable. Given these circumstances, the default position of any Catholic to any Democrat proposal must be opposition and only if it is 100% clear that both intent and actuality are in accordance with Catholic teaching should we back a Democrat proposal.

Sliding Further Down the Path of Irrelevance

Thursday, November 4, AD 2010

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.

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5 Responses to Sliding Further Down the Path of Irrelevance

  • Delightful Frum column. (What an odd combination of words.) “These answers have gained Rubio little traction among Florida voters, where he trails Crist badly in all demographic categories.” What Frum failed to foresee is, well, everything.

    The fact is, candidates like O’Donnell and Paul saved the party. A year ago people were discussing whether the Tea Party movement would become associated with the GOP, become a third party, or endorse D’s and R’s as they saw fit. The health care vote and the tea party’s GOP primary wins cemented them, if not in the GOP, then outside the Democratic Party. Tuesday’s results drove the last fiscally-moderate Dems out of office.

  • Are you sure his name is Pavelyev and not Pavlov?

  • I very much enjoy reading predictive commentary right after it has turned out to be horribly wrong. The political ones are great, though I want to frame Peter King’s column last year predicting the Saints as the 21st best team last year.

  • I know “close only counts in horseshoes,” and a loss is still a loss whether it’s by 0.1 percent or 20 percent, but still, the mere fact that allegedly unelectable “fringe” Tea Party candidates like Angle came close enough to seriously threaten allegedly unbeatable candidates like Reid ought to give Democrats everywhere pause. The Tea Party is certainly not going away any time soon, not even in areas where they lost.

  • “close only counts in horseshoes,” or hand grenades as an old Marine Gunnery Sergeant who I knew was fond of saying.

State Legislatures go Republican

Thursday, November 4, AD 2010

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.

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4 Responses to State Legislatures go Republican

TAC NFL Rankings – Week 8

Wednesday, November 3, AD 2010

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.

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3 Responses to TAC NFL Rankings – Week 8

  • Did Tito rank the Colts 8? There’s just a blank there.

    And I’m not sold on the Giants. I don’t know why, but getting crushed by the Colts really soured me on them. They’d be my #11.

  • He ranked them third. Must have accidentally deleted the number before I copied and pasted it, but it didn’t affect the final rankings.

    The Colts game was ugly, but ever since the Giants have done exceptionally well. I’d say it was no worse than losing to Cleveland at home, though I think in the end the Saints probably are a better team.

  • Well I am off to the Lions Vs Jets game in Detroit this week. My Jets scored zero thons are puttig up good numbers. It should be a fun game. I hope Cleveland takes the Patriots from your top spot and that will allow the Jets to move to a higher postition for your next weeks poll :)…

The Day After

Wednesday, November 3, AD 2010

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.

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10 Responses to The Day After

  • I would have given up 20 House seats to see Reid and Boxer go down. Look at the new political map of the U.S. and the entire country is a sea of red except for a portion of the left and right coasts with a splotch of blue in between here and there.

    Obama’s “can’t we all get along and work together” plea today rings hollow and hypocritical after he relegated the Republicans to the back of the bus for the past 2 years. Now let him sit in the back, or would that be a “racist” remark?

  • “Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan”

    Leave Florida off that list for a second. Add in the win in Illinois, and Chris Christie’s New Jersey. What you’ve mapped out is the Rust Belt. That’s the area the loss of which was supposed to point to the GOP’s descent into a regional party. If the Democratic Party controls that strip, the GOP is left to the South and the less-populated states west of the Mississippi. If the Republican Party controls that strip, the Dems have only the NY/Boston corridor and the West Coast.

    Of course, neither party owns that territory. But it’s been home to some of the worst GOP party organizations in the country like Ohio and NJ, teams that I thought could lose anything. The only state in that zone where the GOP lost the three major races – you know, “lost” isn’t strong enough – was NY. The New York Republican Party might be the least effective organization in the country.

  • I found this interesting:
    “I watch three groups especially closely in politics, because they have almost perfect track records in voting for the winner. They delivered once again last night. White Catholics were 19 percent of the electorate, and they voted for winning House candidates by 58 to 40 percent. (In 2006, they voted more for Democratic House candidates). Those with “some college” education were 30 percent of the electorate, and their vote in House races was 53 to 44 percent for Republicans. (In 2006, they voted narrowly for Democratic House candidates.) Independents were 28 percent of the electorate and they also voted disproportionately for Republicans in House races, 55 to 39 percent for Democrats. (In 2006, Independents voted 57 to 39 percent for Democratic House candidates.)”

  • Nationally, it looks like the generic vote was around +7 for the Republicans which is around where the average of the generic polls put it. Gallup overshot by more than double. However, Republicans picked up more seats than a +7 would suggest, suggesting that Republicans won more toss-ups and badly lost the sure losers. Maybe party funding is becoming more efficient.

    Rasmussen proved to be the most consistently inaccurate poll, giving Republicans 3-4 points more than they actually got.

  • Vox Nova sure is quiet today.

  • “Look at the new political map of the U.S. and the entire country is a sea of red except for a portion of the left and right coasts with a splotch of blue in between here and there.”

    Interestingly enough, these political maps of supposedly deep-blue Illinois, courtesy of CNN, show similar results: a sea of pure red except for Chicago and a couple of splotches of blue:




    Although at least three, and perhaps four, IL Congressional seats flipped from blue to red the news isn’t all good for the GOP here. The Senate race was won by one of the most “moderate”(i.e. pro-abort)/RINO congressmen ever; and the Democratic incumbent governor still has a 12,000 vote lead, which no amount of absentee ballot counting is likely to erase at this point. In that race, at least, Cook County still had enough votes to cancel out a full-force GOP tsunami in the rest of the state.

    Even so, the Illinois GOP was just a few short years ago a strong contender for the title of most inept GOP organization in the country, but now it looks like they are starting to get their act back together.

  • Even so, the Illinois GOP was just a few short years ago a strong contender for the title of most inept GOP organization in the country, but now it looks like they are starting to get their act back together.

    I’m not sure if my native home state (New York) or my adopted home state (MD) is worse. Actually, the Maryland GOP isn’t so much incompetent as invisible. Unlike New York, there’s never been much of a viable Republican presence in Maryland, so I guess that puts NY over the edge.

  • If territory were coextensive with votes, territory would be significant. Even Republicans would be glad to cede downstate Illinois if they could pull 60% from metropolitan Chicago. All we know right now is that Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan are competitive. Only a couple of those are surprising in the least. Since New York and California aren’t competitive for the GOP, they need the Dakotas to Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi just to get to parity. The GOP has certainly won a reprieve from regional obscurity. Their problems haven’t evaporated with one election cycle. The Dems have their own issues, starting with neither Pelosi nor Reid being electable in a significant number of held Democratic districts.

  • Red states are going to get 6 extra net electoral college votes starting in 2012. This is a marginal benefit, but it does make the electoral math a bit easier for them (for example, with the new numbers Bush could have lost Ohio in 2004 and still been re-elected). Republicans also managed to win majorities in a lot of state legislatures, which will be an advantage in redistricting. Again, it’s a marginal benefit, but it is a benefit nonetheless.

  • Obama is squandering $200,000,000.00 a day in what-was-called-Bombay doing what? Visiting outsourced jobs?

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

Wednesday, November 3, AD 2010

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.”  

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

  • Yes, because nothing is so close to our Holy Mother Church as the platform of the Republican party in America.

  • Glad you finally recognize that. 😉

  • Pingback: Midterm Election Results Show The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy : The American Catholic « Deacon John's Space
  • I wouldn’t conflate electoral trends with trends in the Church more generally, still less (shudder) the Republican Party. Did the 2008 elections show the tide was turning away from Catholicism?

  • Do you have an example of Cdl-Des. Wuerl’s past chiming in about considering the greater good and one’s conscience?

  • John Henry, every political wave has an impact on religion and vice versa. I am sure I am not the only one who has heard anecdotal evidence of some saying after 2008 that they didn’t need religion and or specifically the Catholic Church. This is not unusual. For example, not everyone who went out to San Francisco during the Summer of Love in 1967 was a budding liberal. Some were conservative kids who went on a moral bender (so to speak) and came home and once again embraced the truths they were taught growing up.

    However, what I believe to be of greater significance are those liberals who thought after the Election of 2008, that they truly were the “ones we have been waiting for” (remember that speech?) However, world peace and economic nirvana didn’t come to fruition, actually far from it. Because of it, some realized what Big Government could never do and resumed their quest for the truth. In those quests, a 2,000 year old institution (the Church) becomes an interesting option. Now I am not asserting that it is anything but a tide. I hope some day to talk about a tsunami. However, a tide sure beats stagnant water.

  • There are very few Catholic Bishops and Prelates that support unlimited immigration. Theere are many that support comprensive immigration reform

    Conservative Catholic job will also include pointing out the extreme no amnesty crowd that there is a differnce especilly in this COngress

  • Dave:

    I’ve read those links. In fact, I double checked them before posting my question to you.

    Neither of them quote Cdl-Des. Wuerl talking about considering the greater good and one’s conscience.

    Do you have an example where he does what you say he “usually” does?

  • Tom K, in the interest of clarity I have reworded the paragraph to state that both men have a disagreement over denying Holy Communion to pro abortion politicians. Cardinal Wuerl doesn’t agree with it, while Cardinal Elect Burke says there is no other choice.

  • It’s helpful to remember that being a Cardinal or being a Pope makes one neither prudent nor wise.

    I have come to believe that there are two Magisteriums: that of the bishops, and that of the saints. While the bishops generally do a very good job articulating the dogmas of faith, they generally do a poor job of living those dogmas out. They generally an even worse job of articulating the prudential application of those dogmas. In other words, they can tell you that the Golden Rule is right, but they generally don’t live it, and hence, they usually don’t know how to explain it.

    The saints, however, live the truth in love. Their living Magisterium teaches us what all those encyclicals and councils mean. I speak, of course, not simply of the saints officially recognized by the bishops, but of all the saints.

    When it comes to Cardinal-to-be Burke, then, I remember the words of Christ: “do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.”

  • Dave:


    I remain fascinated by this statement: “It appears Pope Benedict XVI’s elevation of Cardinal Burke to such a senior position in the Vatican caused the establishmentarian spiritual leader of the nation’s capital (as well as its various legislative bodies) to hold his tongue.”

    Cdl-Des Burke, of course, held his current position in the Vatican when Cdl-Des Wuerl gave the interview in the link you suggested to me, and as you indicate they will both be made cardinals at the same time. To me, that makes it appear that Pope Benedict’s elevation of Cdl-Des Burke is demonstrably not the reason Cdl-Des Wuerl held back a comment on Cdl-Des Burke’s statement. But then it’s not even apparent to me that he had a comment to hold back.

  • Dowd is Catholic? Really?

  • Yes! Cardinal Burke and I seem to agree. You probably will not be getting into Heaven if you vote dem.

    Nate: OUCH. I know you have good intent. The real Church counsels charity and truth in all things.

    Teachable Moment: Calumny is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary (1992) as a “false statement maliciously made to injure another’s reputation.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) places calumny as a serious sin under the Eighth Commandment, “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neihbor.” The Catechism states, “He becomes guilty of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them” (2447). The Catechism notes that calumny offends “against the virtues of justice and charity” (2479).

    Please don’t emulate them vile, kool-aid drinking marxists.

  • Maureen Dowd’s uncle was Tommy (“the Cork”) Corcoran. He paid her way when she was an undergrad at Catholic University.

  • Dave is very clear that the connection between the Faith and yesterday’s voting pattern is based on the tendency of many individual Republicans at this time to believe in the holiness of life and the dignity of the individual. I understand that several generations ago those who identified themselves as Republicans were less protective of the unborn than those who then identified themselves as Democrats. The stability and the consistency are in the Faith, not in shifting party labels.

  • “Cardinal Burke and I seem to agree. You probably will not be getting into Heaven if you vote dem.”

    Well, in that case I’m doomed because I did actually vote for ONE Democrat this time… a candidate for a local office. I did so because the incumbent Republican has demonstrated what I consider to be egregious mismangement of his department to the point of threatening public safety (too long to explain here) and I felt he needed to go. (Didn’t do any good; he won anyway).

    At the local level sometimes you get people who run as Democrats, Independents, or Greens or Libertarians simply in order to provide opposition to the incumbent and not out of any affinity toward the Democratic party platform. Plus, their jobs cannot impact abortion, same-sex marriage or any of the non-negotiable Catholic issues anyway.

  • Yes Mack, I specifically avoided using party labels for the very reasons you chronicled. There was a time (in the early 1970s) when there were probably more pro-abortion Rockefeller Republicans than pro-abortion Democrats in the South & Midwest.

    The article was about the faithful removing their faith in Big Government liberalism and putting it back into the core teachings of the Church.

    There was a time (decades and centuries ago) when the faithful and not so faithful came to the Church for aid, and not the government. Sadly for some today, Big Government is their belief system.

  • T Shaw, really??? I don’t vote, but I am really tired of hearing people damn others for voting Democratic.

    Give me a break. You really think people deserve an eternity of torture for supporting political candidates you don’t like? First, at an individual level voting does not change political outcomes. So, who you vote for is only of symbolic importance, making the notion that one’s electoral preferences constitute grave matter suspect. Second, people might sincerely believe in alternatives to criminalization as a means to combat abortion. Those arguments may or may not stand up to scrutiny, but being incorrect doesn’t mean a person deserves hell. Finally, who qualified you to decide who is probably not getting into heaven?

  • “I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64.”

    This is the ‘proof’ in EVERYTHING you write…

  • I can’t really agree that voting Democrat ipso facto is a sin, etc. There are some decent local Democrats who are good candidates. It is the individual candidate’s qualifications/position on issues that need to be judged. Particularly in the South, there are a lot of pro-life Democrats.

  • T. Shaw, I should clarify that it is not simply the bishops who generally fail to follow Christ, but all of us who are not yet holy. It isn’t, I think, an act of calumny to remind ourselves that we are indeed sinners, even our bishops and popes.

    Now, a bishop or pope who is not only an authoritative teacher, but a holy teacher, is a rare and precious gift from God! John Paul the Great comes to mind.

  • I think the Supreme Court has 5 Catholics, but wouldn’t count on them as a solid block when it comes to voting. As encouraging as GOP gains in legislative races has been, social issues are generally decided by the Supremes and the addition of Sotomayor and Kagan, along with their Lib colleagues, makes any reversal of abortion policy highly dubious.

  • Yes Mark DeFrancisis, I will continue to regularly mention those statistics which highlight the demise of once proud places like Rochester, where leadership has simply given short shrift to orthodoxy. In addition, I will continue to highlight places where vocations are growing like Lincoln and Denver. There are blogs dedicated to the subject in places like Rochester where vocations are sparse. I would hope as a Catholic you would want to know why places like Denver and Lincoln are thriving, while the reverse is happening in locations like Rochester. Wouldn’t you want to know why Lincoln and Omaha combined had nearly 10x the vocations as did Rochester, even though Rochester is bigger than both Lincoln and Omaha combined? In locations such as Lincoln and Denver the Church’s teachings are embraced and dissidents are not welcomed. In addition in places like Denver and Lincoln, Marian Devotions and Eucharistic Adoration are widely practiced.

  • I wonder, Mr. Hartline, if the link between vocations and orthodoxy isn’t rather a link between vocations and traditionalism?

    Orthodoxy and traditionalism aren’t always the same thing. The Amish are quite traditional, and have been growing well for quite some time. They have a strong sense of identity rooted in a counter-cultural lifestyle. But obviously they aren’t orthodox.

    I’ve noticed that vocations do blossom where traditional practices are practiced, where young Catholics can feel part of a strong counter-cultural social body. But traditional practices do not always translate into orthodoxy.

    Orthodoxy, and orthopraxis, are right belief and right action. Many traditional doctrines have undergone development within the Church–especially (and most importantly) the social doctrines. I have noticed that many of the younger priests are very pro-life (thank God!), but do not seem to understand that peace and justice constitute (in the words of the Church) an integral and essential aspect of evangelization–of the Gospel. Many do not even seem to understand what justice is.

    The danger, then, is that in promoting traditional practices and thoughts, though we may gain many vocations, but we may also end up with many priests who are deaf to the ‘Church in the Modern World’.

    My best, Nate.

  • Francisco,

    Take a nap. That comment is hyperbole and a wild-eyed generalization. I do not dislike dem candidates. I hate innumerable evils they impose on America.

    Nate, You wrote up bishops. If you wrote thusly about me, it would be appropriate.

    Mark D: How’z it been, you Obamacatholic?. Are you okay after Tuesday nite?

    I was about to commit detraction. I am likely the vilest person any of you ever imagined.

  • Nate, on the surface your point seems to have much merit. However when you dig deeper, you can see that it really doesn’t hold water. For example, the Amish completely ignore the modern world, and while they seem to be growing, they are not. There is much consternation over some young Amish leaving the fold and living outside the community during the day (working and partying), only to come back late at night. I have even heard there is a theological battle over cell phones, since many believe that because they use battery power they aren’t techincally electrical-modern devices.

    As for Catholicism, I have spoken to a number of seminary rectors and they point out an interesting finding. Often, the young men coming their way are those young men from smaller cities outside the wealthy urban and suburban areas. These young men are often well adjusted and quite liked and successful. They come to understand their vocation, sometimes in college and sometimes in their late 20s. They fit in well with the world around them and often have successful jobs, many friends and a girlfriend. However, they come to find that they have the greatest love for the Church and feel she is the only hope in a world that has embraced pleasure and possessions at a break neck level.

    In addition, they feel truth has become hostage to what Pope Benedict XVI calls, “The Dictatorship of Relativism.” Incidentally, the same dynamic holds for young woman who are embracing a more traditional view of the religious life, complete with embracing the habit and or veil. I am not saying every seminarian is going to make a stellar priest, but the days are long gone when the seminary would take some young man who didn’t fit in and hoped he could as a priest. As one rector told me, the results of that practice were disastrous. The rectors, who have been rectors for quite some time, have told me that they can’t remember a time when they have seen such a period where class after class has such stellar seminarians. Nate, I hope this explanation helps. Take care!

  • Unfortunately the tsunami, or should I say Tea-nami, failed to make a dent in the liberal stronghold that is my home state of California. Saints preserve us from those who got this state in the mess we’re in and those who had the audacity to keep them in office.

Narrative Failure

Wednesday, November 3, AD 2010

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.)

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10 Responses to Narrative Failure

  • I just hope that the GOP keeps its promises and actually offers solutions… I had enough of faux-conservative policies in ’04-’08.

    Having said that, I wonder how happy the electorate would be with a Congress that would actually take deficits seriously…

  • You know, my comment above reads like a liberal bitter about last night’s losses! Sorry ’bout that. 🙂

  • Hi there,

    The reason Oh-Bummer was elected was because of the failure of the Republicans, previously. To the extent that “conservatives” tend to be Republicans, people think Republicans are conservative but the Republican party failed to follow conservative principles and that’s why they lost and Oh-Bummer won.

    Take something like smaller government. Bush greatly expanded government but instead of asking taxpayers to foot the bill, they instead masked the costs of war by borrowing the money. There will be the devil to pay over that; you can be sure. Other conservative principles, similarly. They ignored them and lost the support of their largest faction.

    In addition, they put up some very hard-to-stomach candidates. McCain is insipid, timid, and behaves like a Democrat. Palin was completely a wild card. No one knew what she would turn out to be and she scares the heck out of some people because she seems to be poorly educated and not very careful either.

    If the Republicans do a better job in two years of putting up a candidate we can have faith in and also if they stick to conservative principles in the mean time, they will take the White House back. If not, we’ll punish them again.

    -Paw, Doomer in Chief

  • It was not narrative failure. It was racism and calvinistic, dualistic PURE evil; er stupidty; er treason; er insanity; er . . .

    We will do better next time.


    “I had enough of faux-conservative policies in ’04-’08.”

    I think that would be from 2004 (or 1994) to 2006. The (D) (is for despicables), veritable conservatives, have been in firm control of the congress since January 2007, and the regime spent $3,000,000,000,000.00 more than tax receipts in the most recent two years.

    Did voting out faux-conservatives reduce the deficit or advance true conservativism? I think not.

    If the new crowd does same same as the old crowd, we will vote them out in 2012.

    The part of the electorate that believes it is the government’s duty to provide for them may have reason to be unhappy. The people that pay to provide for the people . . . , not so anguished.

    I love you, Man. You were being sarcastic, right?

  • LWPH will no longer be house leader; a small but important victory.

  • CA Dems elected a dead person.

  • Let’s spread the rumor that Olympia Snowe is going to switch to the GOP.

    The loss of House leadership isn’t a small thing. It’s huge. The Senate can’t do anything on its own but appoint judges. In fact, the Senate can’t do much of anything else without 60 votes. They couldn’t pass cap-and-trade or even the health care bill, really, when they had 59. In the low 50’s, nothing will get through without big negotiation.

  • The idea that electoral losses are caused by being too moderate/centrist are common both on the left and the right. If you think about it, the view is kinda crazy, but it’s more pleasing that the realization that most of the country doesn’t share one’s own politics.

  • Yeah, on the right it’s: Bush forgot fiscal restraint, so he lost the country (ignoring Iraq, Katrina, and the economy)

    On the left it’s: We needed a bigger stimulus; if we had only spent $2 trillion then unemployment would have gone down and the country would have approved.

  • Don’t forget the public option. There was great yearning for that among the populace.

No Final Victories, No Final Defeats

Wednesday, November 3, AD 2010


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.

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16 Responses to No Final Victories, No Final Defeats

  • True, but some abiding changes in political economy and social relations were effected in 1861-77, 1933-39, 1947-54, and 1954-71.

    Finessing the country’s problems in public finance &c. will require co-operation between the political parties. That will require (among other things) that the negotiating parties be able to set priorities and have some degree of appreciation for the concerns of the opposite party. The intramural culture of the Democratic Party is infected with social and historical fictions which inhibit the latter and we have seen little evidence that the President is capable of the former or the latter. We are in for interesting times.

  • Cogent as always Art, although I think the more things change, often the more they stay the same. Slavery for instance. The basic argument in regard to slavery was is there a class of human beings that may be treated as property. I would argue that the same basic debate is being carried out in regard to abortion, with unborn children being reduced to chattel. Pro-lifers have often noted the eerie parallels. In regard to the role of the federal government and the states, you could take the arguments of the Whigs and the Jacksonian Democrats, and transplant them to the modern day, re-label them Republicans for Jacksonian Democrats and Democrats for Whigs, and with only very little alteration they would sound like a recent debate on the floor of Congress.

  • “The basic argument in regard to slavery was is there a class of human beings that may be treated as property. I would argue that the same basic debate is being carried out in regard to abortion, with unborn children being reduced to chattel.”

    I once got into a debate with a anti-lifer who insisted that a fetus was an object that the mother was in possession of and not a human. Somehow, through the “miracle” of birth, the “object” became a human; when I inquired as to the process of this he just stated that a human isn’t a human until it’s born.
    I pray for his soul (and the souls of all those who think like he) most days of the week.

    On topic, I’m very glad that the Republicans managed to win just the House (I’d be super excited if it were both Chambers, but one is enough to stop the Obama agenda).

  • New crooks replace the old. Business as usual. Back to bread and circuses.

  • I like Rubio’s quote from last night: “We make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican party. What they are is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago.”

  • I think that is the exact mistake Democrats and liberals in general made with 2008. 2008 was not some great embrace of the liberal agenda as MM’s quote above mistakenly thought. It was a repudiation of Republican lip service to conservative principles followed by decidedly unconservative actions. Last night was a clarification of that sentiment, and it seems at least Rubio gets it (also heard Steele saying something similar, but again, that may just be lip service from him). Also, one of the most annoying moments was hearing Steele trying to somehow take credit for the Tea Party, as though he was all in favor of it.

  • Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
    Churchill, November 1942

    If only . . .

  • “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,”

    That is a constant.

    “Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn out tools;”

    If we work extremely hard, we may avoid that tragedy.

  • As I told my son, who’s taking AP History this year, in 2008 I heard people wondering what party would take the place of the GOP, which would disappear by 2016. And in 2002, I heard people wondering what party would take the place of the Democratic Party. And in 1991, I heard some people joking about Democrats thinking of nominating George H.W. Bush as their nominee in ’92, since he was bound to win anyway.

  • That quote stands. It helps to think in longer terms than electoral cycles.

    If you think this represents a positive endorsement of the Republican party, you are deluded. It was a kneejerk rejection of the ruling power, its perceived arrogrance, and its perceived inability to bring the power of government to end the worst recession since the Great Depression. Sadly for the American political system, that meant…going back to the people who brought you the recession in the first place! What was that about thinking long term again?

  • MM, the first sign of recovery from a mistake is to admit that you made one. Your statement in 2008 indicates that you understand this country and its politics as well as a pig does penance. In your blind partisan joy in 2008 you thought the GOP was headed for the ashheap of history, and, instead, it is the administration of the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history that may be headed in that direction.

    He may recover; Bill Clinton certainly did after 1994. However, I think Obama has more of the ideologue about him, and I doubt that he possesses the flexibility that President Bubba possessed. We shall see.

  • that meant…going back to the people who brought you the recession in the first place!

    Right. Because clearly the recession was caused by Republicans, and not by a bi-partisan attempt to expand access to housing, flawed monetary policy set by the guy who was also head of the Federal Reserve under Clinton, and the actions of millions of private actors. I suppose the expansion during the dotcom bubble should be credited to Clinton, but the collapse of said bubble should be blamed on Bush?

  • The quote doesn’t stand at all, but it certainly does provide yet another example of partisanship, domestic political ignorance, and snide.

    MM is correct that the election does not represent a positive endorsement of the Republican party – in fact, the GOP is probably less popular than the Democrats. But the election certainly was a rebuke to the Democrats, who have overreached.

    And then here come the partisan blinders…..the Republicans brought us into the recession. Well, they did – along with the Democrats, those that took out loans they shouldn’t have, the supposed regulators, and the banks that so outrageously bet with the full faith and credit of the public purse.

    The story of this recession simply can’t be told without this uncomfortable truth being front and center: the effort, since the early 90s, to “expand opportunity” to folks that had no business whatsover purchasing property and taking on huge debt loads in general. WARNING: “RACISM” ALERT”!!!!! HIDE!!!!!

    Events such as the White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership on Oct. 15, 2002 have been pushed down the memory hole with good reason: a lot of our ruling class is complicit, just as the borrowers are complicit.

    Is this the whole story? No. But it’s a very big part of it, and MM’s status-posturing whenever its brought up has comical these past few years (because, of course, he’s not racist!).

    The economy would not be in the tank now, and unemployment would be a lot better, and wages would be higher, if : 1). there was a requirement of 15% down to purchase a home 2). the labor market had not been flooded with low skill labor these past few decades

    You want to be a social democrat in a place with high social capital? Great – me too! Look to Germany, where the labor left deserves a lot of admiration. They are starting to protect their high wage labor markets, and their fiscal policies actually make sense (like Italy, their businesses typically do not take on mounds of debt, and their elites usually do not try to demonstrate their moral superiority too badly).

    Thilo Sarrazin, a leftist, is right. MM, you are a smart guy, but your partisanship and water carrying do tend to get the best of you.

  • However, I think Obama has more of the ideologue about him, and I doubt that he possesses the flexibility that President Bubba possessed. We shall see.

    More to the point, the public finances of the United States are trashed, the labor market has sustained a series of injuries and is suffering from the worst sclerosis it has seen in 70 years, and the lesson drawn from the last thirty months by Messrs. Krugman, Stiglitz et al is that the public authorities were insufficiently profligate. That last will be the Administration’s point of departure; that of the Democratic caucus will be maintaining the pipeline of patronage to their constituencies; that of the Republican caucus will be magical thinking on taxation. This is not 1995, and we have only a few years to turn things around before the bond market cuts us off at the bar.

    going back to the people who brought you the recession in the first place!

    Messrs. Bush, Hastert, & Lott may be faulted for a number of things. Generating an asset bubble with their trusty magic wand was not among them. ‘Fraid allowing deposits-and-loans banks to get mixed up in proprietary trading, prime brokerage, securities underwriting, hedge funds, and private equity was a of bipartisan folly signed into law in 1999. As for Citigroup taking on $55 bn in subprime loans and $500 bn in uninsured foreign deposits, why not query their $15 million/year resident guru, Robert Rubin (D). Dr. Mankiw and Sen. McCain may have wanted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to improve their accounting practices and capital cushions; they were sabotaged by Barney Frank acting at the behest of his boy toy Herb Moses and various other members of the Democratic insider nexus…

  • Pingback: Electoral Musings « Vox Nova
  • If you just put an “I wish” at the beginning of all these political predictions, they make a lot more sense.

The Super Secret, Mystical Recession Cure

Tuesday, November 2, AD 2010

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.

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15 Responses to The Super Secret, Mystical Recession Cure

  • Here is what is so very difficult for this idiot (moi) to understand: why a man with a PhD that knows there is to know about economics is not a multi-billionaire?

    Posted at Instapundit: “They’ve spent the past 18 months calling you names and questioning your sanity and patriotism. But today you get to vote, and that’s all that matters.”

  • I don’t think a formerly unemployed person who gets a new government job is going to sit on his money because of some mystical economic anxiety that wouldn’t exist if it were a private sector job. A well-designed stimulus works in theory and in reality.

    After two years the program is a success, and so the wind turbine program ends. Now what happens to those workers and the capital investments in those factories? How easily are they turned to other work, and how long are they unemployed in the interim? Do we simply end up with another economic slowdown as a result of massive unemployment in the windfarm industry?

    Same could be said of the public works projects of the Great Depression. If it’s successful, the economy would pick up and there would be more demand for unsubsidized jobs.

    The way I see it, the problem with stimulus is almost entirely about your second point. The government is unlikely to create many jobs that don’t replace private sector jobs. What percentage of the unemployed can weatherize homes and make wind turbines?

    Ideally, we would’ve had a high skill jobs program in place so the unemployed can tutor kids or patrol streets. But there’s no chance of that happening now.

  • I didn’t read your article, DC, because then I’d have to read excerpts of Krugman, and that’s not going to happen. But I hope your article was good anyway.

  • I certainly don’t think that a formerly unemployed person who gets a government job won’t spend more money than they did while unemployed — but in order for the theory to work they need to not only spend more than while unemployed, but that spending needs to make the private sectore become so encouraged that they decide good times are here again, ramp up capacity, hire a bunch of people, etc. That seems pretty hard to do.

    To be honest, I would think that in our modern economy the best approach (though it doesn’t have the virtue of allowing congress to spend like a drunken sailor on all their favorite programs) would be to stick with a stimulus which consists of payroll tax relief for businesses and extended (and perhaps more generous) unemployment benefits for those actually out of work. There are those who argue that even this slows the reallocation of resources, but I’d think it’s an acceptable risk because of the human benefits.

  • Extended more generous unemployment benefits = Government jobs without the benefits of work

  • I thought you made some really good points. Particularly, that the spending needs to be focused much different in this economy than in the 1930s and that people are scared to spend b/c they’re worried about the bill they’re going to be hit with in the future. I know I am expecting taxes to be have to be raised sometime soon, so I’d be preparing if I have any money to save.

  • Paul Krugman is, to put it as nicely as possible, an idiot. Keynesian economics is a failure.

    The private sector employs the most people. The private sector is the engine of creation and ideas. Government is not. Stimulation of the private sector through lower personal income tax rates, lower corporate income tax rates, and lower taxes on investment and capital gains is what successfully stimulates an economy into recovery and increased employment. The subsequent economic growth results in increased tax revenues.

    Krugman is far too stupid to understand this. So are the Democrats and far too many Republicans.

  • Keynes was particularly annoyed that in a depression people tend to save and not spend. Guess why?

    Mr. Krugman is a product of the academy; his ideas are academic.

    Try Belloc’s ECONOMICS FOR HELEN, as a simple but accurate explanation of the public economy. As J.K. Galbraith noted, economics is not that difficult to understand – unless you burden it with unnecessary and superficial mathematics.

  • Associating current Keynesian economics with JM Keynes does the man a disservice. He was a pragmatic man who espoused government spending when it could have helped. I doubt that he would have endorsed the the policies of his noisier followers.

  • “Extended more generous unemployment benefits = Government jobs without the benefits of work”

    The difference is that unemployment pays people less than they would make working to look for a job — a government job turns someone from a job seeker into a job holder. Thus, leaving someone looking for work doesn’t involve a top down decision on specialization, it leaves emergent order to work out what sort of jobs people should train for and take.

  • RR is kidding, right?

    About the “Extended more generous unemployment benefits = Government jobs without the benefits of work?”

    That’s a joke, right?

  • Oh, sorry, he said, “…without the BENEFITS of work.”

    Perhaps it’s because it’s 1 AM, but something made me think he was saying something like, “…without the DRAWBACKS of work.”

    Never mind.

    (Of course, it isn’t just “without the benefits of work”; it’s “with the additional drawbacks of a marginal increase in the incentive for joblessness.”)

  • Te Deum laudamas . . .

  • What was Reagan’s definition of an economist? Someone who tells you why something that works in practice won’t work in theory?

  • I don’t think it’s economics as a whole that’s the problem — Krugman just happens to be one of those people who, in regard to politics, believes that if you fail at something it’s because you didn’t do more of what he wanted.

TAC College Football Rankings

Tuesday, November 2, AD 2010

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. 

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8 Responses to TAC College Football Rankings

TAC Election Night Live Blog

Tuesday, November 2, AD 2010


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.

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53 Responses to TAC Election Night Live Blog

  • I will attempt to stay with the liveblogging until control of the House is called.

    Boy Don, I hope you can manage to stay awake until 8:30. 🙂

  • From your lips to God’s ear Paul! 🙂

  • “until control of the House is called”

    That might happen at, oh, 7:01 p.m. Central Time at the rate things are going.

  • I wish we had the Silly Party instead of the Democratic Party. From a policy standpoint I can’t see how they could be worse, but they just seem so much more human and lively.

  • I just got back from voting. Dwight, Illinois is a pretty heavily Republican town and I can’t recall so many people turning out to vote this early. The polling place for the entire town is at the Saint Patrick’s Parish Hall and the parking lot was full. I have never seen that happen at 6:15AM on an election day, even in Presidential election years.

  • Voted this morning in lovely Montgomery County – also known as my semi-annual exercise in futility. There were about eight-ten voting machines, all occupied, with a pretty decent-sized line. So lots of turnout here, though that just might be the pre-work rush.

  • Election Day is a holiday for Illinois state employees every other year, when there is a general election, so I have the day off. However, I voted early (two weeks ago) so that means I can enjoy our beautiful weather today and our beautiful election results tonight 🙂

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  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy): I was told by the election judges for our precinct when I came to vote that they had been momentarily confused when Don voted, because our oldest son (same first name as Don, but different middle initial) had voted via absentee ballot from college. However, another election judge (state employee now, but used to work for Don) quickly straightened them out.

  • Does anyone have any info on early voting returns yet, or do they not release that until the polls close on election day (or get closer to closing?)?

    I also noticed longer lines at the early voting here in the Lone Star State.

  • C Matt:

    They won’t release voting returns in any state until the polls are closed in the respective state. Sometimes you’ll see some exit polls released around 4-4:30, but that’s about the only indication you might get.

  • One addendum: There is info about early voter turnout by party affiliation. Jim Geraghty had the latest data here.

  • Caveat: Jay Cost’s piece this morning says to ignore exit polls. They are done with an agenda, ususally hostile to Republicans. I believe Cost is correct in this.

  • Houston Reporting:

    About 7 people in line in my (temporary) precinct. All for last names ending in A-K.

    The L-Z line was empty, but the voting booths don’t work for both groups of last names.

    Our government in action!

    Made me more determined to vote for a straight Subsidiarity-Party line.

  • Uh oh. No less a personage than Meghan McCain predicts that Charlie Crist is going to win tonight. If she says it, you know it’s gotta be true.

  • One can rely invariably on Meghan McCain to be wrong on any subject under discussion!

  • Snooki Mac makes Paris Hilton look like a genius. However, I think Snooki’s opinions on matters political are somewhat important as, perhaps, they offer some insight into where her old man may be coming from. We’re probably quite fortunate that her dad lost the race for the Presidency in 2008.

  • Regarding the effect of early voting, check out this link:


    The races and results posted here are for the two big Illinois races (governor and Senate), but they might hold valid elsewhwere. Long story short, two separate polls show a Democratic edge among those who voted early but an even stronger Republican tilt among those who intend to vote on Election Day.

  • Correction: the polls posted above are for the Illinois governor race only.

  • This has got to be about the 20th time in two days I’ve heard the same radio ad against Jim Moran from his opponent, Patrick Murray in the 8th District of Virginia. Murray has a real shot at an upset, but one would think they could have timed their ad blitz a little bit better. Just how many more voters are they gonna pick off three hours before polls close on election day through radio advertising on talk radio?

  • Well, in WA, we won’t know much for a while. Almost all counties vote by mail. As such, our ballots either had to be dropped off or postmarked by today. In a race as tight as Murray/Rossi, it’ll take a few days to sort out. Maybe we’ll even get to see King County produce many more ballots like they did in 2004 during the gubernatorial race!

  • Well, it’s official: first Senate pickup for the GOP is Coats in Indiana. Rand Paul also wins in KY.

  • Florida has been called for Rubio. This, by far, is the best result of the night, no matter what happens. Good night, Charlie.

  • Two more in Virginia just called – Perrielo and Boucher are both out. GOP up 3 now in the House.

    Also, a good point by Ramesh Ponnuru – considering where the GOP started this year, it is remarkable to think that they are in the position they’re in. That 20 years of Democratic rule appears to be at an end after all of two.

  • Fox News just called it for Manchin. It’s gonna take a miracle in Washington and California for the GOP to get to ten in the Senate.

    On a happier note, Alan Grayson is done. The US House of Representatives is a much better place without that . . . individual no longer a member.

  • FOX and MSNBC have all made the following Senate race calls: Boozman over Lincoln in Arkansas (GOP pickup), Blumenthal over McMahon in Connecticut (Democrat hold), and Coons over O’Donnell in Delaware (Democrat hold).

  • It would certainly be interesting to see the West Coast come through for the GOP, but it’s unlikely. And the cynical side of me wonders if it may be harder on Obama in 2012 if he can’t claim to have faced a unified Republican congress for two years.

  • This could be a bad night for the Tea Party mama grizzlies. It’s depressing despite the fact that the GOP is doing slightly better in the House than expected.

    Manchin’s win may not be so bad. He’ll probably be one of the most conservative, if not the most conservative, Democrat in the Senate.

  • Lot of talk already of Rubio as GOP VP nominee in 2012.

  • Fox News now projecting that the House pickup will be in the neighborhood of 60. Too early to pop the champagne, but there it is.

  • Congratulations Rand Paul! Now if Boxer goes down, it will make my night.

  • Manchin is basically a win-win for the GOP since he has to run again in 2 years. Either he votes as a conservative to get-relected, or he become a party loyalist and gets beat in 2012.

  • If Boxer goes down, it makes everyone’s night.

  • Local elections are getting short shrift, unfortunately. We’ve already had our first state legislative body flip – the Indianda legislature has gone from Democrat to GOP control. Not a surprise when one looks at the House races there.

    Alas, here in Maryland I am stuck with four more years of Martin O’Malley. The wave is skipping this part of the country.

  • What’s amazing about this election is that people keep forgetting that the Republicans are defending a majority of Senate seats. Even if they “only” pickup 8 Senate seats, that means that Democrats will have won a whopping 11 out of 37 Senate races.

    Come to think of it, there’s your silver lining for the Dems. They’ll only have to defend 10-12 seats in 2016. So at least they’ve got that going for them. Which is nice.

  • I’m a little disappointed that Deval Patrick won. It looks like Massachusetts is going to be another state unaffected by the wave – tonight, that is.

  • Some significant Illinois results:

    — Republican Mark Kirk wins Obama’s old Senate seat for the GOP.
    — Four Congressional seat pickups for the GOP (IL-17, IL-14, IL-10 and IL-11) and a Republican seat hold that had been in doubt (IL-10, the seat Kirk gave up to run for the Senate)
    — Governor’s race not yet decided but incumbent Dem Pat Quinn is running ahead by about 4 percentage points. It appears that indepednent candidate Scott Lee Cohen’s 4 percent of the vote came almost entirely from people who otherwise might have voted for Republican Bill Brady, thereby enabling Quinn to squeak by.

    Almost exactly the same thing happened four years ago when a Green Party protest candidate drew votes away from a Republican challenger and enabled the incumbent Dem (Blago) to win. And that, my friends, is why I never, ever vote third party/independent/write-in against an incumbent I really want to get rid of — I’ll take a “lesser of two evils” challenger any day.

  • So it’s looking like the holdouts for the Dems are California, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Meanwhile Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, and Pennsylvania are all swinging big to the GOP. Hmmm, what do those latter four states have in common?

  • “Hmmm, what do those latter four states have in common?”

    Swing states that went for Obama in 2008?

  • And Jay gets the prize.

  • Elaine, it looks like Joe Walsh might beat Melissa Bean in Illinois 8. He is currently up 1300 with 96% in.

  • I may have spoken a little too soon there. Governor’s race too close to call, now less than 1 percentage point apart; Senate race has about a 2 point spread but it still looks like Kirk will win.

    Also, there may be a 5th GOP congressional pickup: in IL-8, Joe Walsh (R) just pulled ahead of incumbent Melissa Bean (D) with 94% of the vote counted. Bean was expected to win this one and this would be quite an upset.

  • Oops, Don has more up to date results, guess I took too long commenting 🙂

  • Chabot routes Driehaus to take back Ohio 1 — Driehaus was one of the Stupak band of turncoats, and turned on pro-lifers during the election to file an election complaint against the Susan B Anthony list, blocking their advertising.

    Republican Kasich is ahead in the Ohio governor’s race with 95% of precincts reporting, but it’s still too close to call.

  • “Driehaus was one of the Stupak brand of turncoats”

    Speaking of pro-life Congressional Democrats … one of the few remaining specimens of this highly endangered species, Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3), has easily retained his seat with 70 percent of the vote. He voted FOR the Stupak Amendment but AGAINST the final version of Obamacare.

  • And speaking of Stupak, his old seat (MI-1) has gone GOP also.

    On the down side, looks like we’ll have to keep calling Barbara Boxer “Senator” for 6 more years.

  • It looks like the Iowa Supreme Court justices will be ousted. Problem is the governor who appoints them is Democrat Chet Culver. He lost today so whether Iowa will be pro-gay-marriage or anti-gay-marriage justices depends on when the appointments will be made.

  • Ugh. Reid survives.

  • It’s official: Kirk wins in IL; Giannoulias is conceding as we blog.

  • Sean Duffy, pro-life Catholic father of six (and husband to the very fine-loooking Rachel Campos-Duffy), has won a Wisconsin Congressional seat currently held by retiring Democrat David Obey.

  • Boycott Las Vegas (Sodom).

    Boycott Mohegan Sun if the tribal nation is forced to pay taxes to CT (Gomorrah).

    Call a Constitutional Convention to throw them (and DE and MA) out of the Union.

Where They Stand: House Races

Monday, November 1, AD 2010

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.

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4 Responses to Where They Stand: House Races

The Incredible Hulk and the 2010 election

Monday, November 1, AD 2010

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.

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4 Responses to The Incredible Hulk and the 2010 election

  • Nate Silver: “Our model also thinks the spread of potential outcomes is exceptionally wide: its 95 percent confidence interval runs from a 23-seat Republican gain to an 81-seat one.”

  • Silver in full CYA mode. I will be using him in my liveblogging on the election results tomorrow, but he has not been a profile in courage this election.

  • Here in Wisconsin, I can’t wait to vote for Ron Johnson and Scott Walker. If Sean Bielat takes Barney Frank’s job away from him, Sean Kelly gets Obey’s seat, and Ruth McClung (?) manages a win in AZ, I will be truly ecstatic. I expect to have a very enjoyable Tuesday night!

  • Oh let this be the end of Barbra Boxer. I can’t wait to vote against her tomorrow.

The November 2 Election and Joe Biden

Monday, November 1, AD 2010

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?

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2 Responses to The November 2 Election and Joe Biden

  • No doubt a team of liberal operatives are already working to discover if that ice cream store guy has ever had a DUI or a tax-lien or a one-night stand.

  • Truth.

    “In fact, Obamaites offer three”, no four!, “unhinged exegeses for the looming defeat: […]”

    d) the American people are too dull (they need elite liberals/philosopher tyrants to rule their every move) to appreciate the ‘beauty’ of government’s duty to provide for them in their newly-minted states of dependency and desperation (SIGH: If only we had achieved a 25% unemployment rate!).