The Only Conservative Left

Friday, January 27, AD 2012

The 2012 presidential election cycle is truly one of the most depressing things to behold.  Neither of the top two candidates in the Republican field are particularly appealing, and the incumbent President has made Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan look like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Meanwhile, for all the bluster about the Establishment choosing our candidates (a charge not wholly without merit), conservatives have done themselves no favors by engaging in ridiculous character assassinations of any candidate who is not one hundred pure and good – meaning all the candidates.  Meanwhile, superficial bluster about being a conservative is taken more seriously than actual conservative governing records in big states.

To top it all off, the only conservative left in the race is barely gaining any traction, even when dismantling his opponent in exchanges such as this.

That was far from the only highlight for Santorum.  While Newt and Mitt were busy tearing each other apart for every perceived slight, Rick brought some common sense into the debate.

I don’t think Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have helped themselves with their terse exchanges on illegal immigration and Fannie & Freddie.

Apparently, Rick Santorum didn’t think so either. He said there was nothing wrong with Newt using his knowledge of Congress to help advise companies and then said there was nothing wrong with Romney making money. Santorum then implored Mitt and Newt, “Leave that alone and focus on the issues,” to strong applause.

Ah, but Senator Santorum is unelectable, according to the all the wise pundits.  There’s no way he could possibly be more electable than the guy who was once portrayed as the “Gingrich who stole Chrismas,” and who has a 2:1 unfavorable to favorable gap in the polls.  And he’s certainly not as electable as the guy who is so darn appealing that Republicans are climbing over themselves to pick anyone else but him to be the nominee, and who has an electoral record that makes the Detroit Lions look like a juggernaut.  Santorum lost his last election by 18 points, and as we all know someone that unpopular can’t ever recover.  No, we need to nominate the guy who left office with a 34% favorability rating, and who didn’t lose his bid at re-election because he didn’t even bother, knowing he was going to get destroyed.  Failing that, we can nominate the guy whose own caucus ran him out of Washington, DC.

But Santorum is unelectable.

We also know Santorum is also unelectable because he holds social views outside of the mainstream.  For instance, Santorum has this notion that marriage is an institution for one man and one woman.  This is such an insane notion that it is only shared by a majority of the American population and the current occupant of the White House.  You see, the problem with Santorum is that, unlike President Obama, he really means it.  As was discussed a couple of weeks ago at Creative Minority Report, Santorum is actually sincere in his beliefs.  So while he might hold policy positions that are identical with the rest of the field, he is the one being mocked because, well, he actually believes what he is saying.

One of the things that occurred to me recently that only augmented my political depression is that Gingrich does hold one electoral advantage over Santorum.  The fact that Gingrich is a twice-divorced man with a checkered past while Santorum is a faithfully married man and father of seven means that independents won’t fear Gingrich as much on social issues.  That’s right – actually being a man of unquestioned personal morality is an electoral disadvantage, because that just makes you seem all the more scaaaaaary.  Thank goodness our elections are decided by the sorts of people who think it’s just creepy that other people think that all life is precious, even lives conceived during rape.

So excuse me if I sit this dance out.

Update:  Great piece by Daniel Allott that discusses “Santorum Derangement Syndrome” and the problems that sincere politicians face.  H/t: Dale Price.

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16 Responses to The Only Conservative Left

  • As I recall Bush versus Clinton Mr Zummo, Mr Bush gained some traction from his stable marriage over against Mr Clinton. The public mood has changed a lot in some ways but disdain for Mr Obama’s sexual and medical policies are very important now. They will become more-so if Cardinal Timothy Dolan – well, as of 28 February- as head of the NCCCB gets a fire lit under] the Conference and all its members and its constituents and their flock. The insurance issue in itself and the attack on conscience is a nuke ready for ignition against all that is wrong with the current group in charge of setting policy.

  • Santorum was simply fantastic !! America should wise up.

  • Perhaps Michael Voris’ recent video on the “Five Reasons Conservatives Lost” bears on this topic:

    BTW, I would like to fuel that nuke HT was talking about with tritium and plutonium-239. I know where we can get a Subroc to do the trick! 😉

  • Apologies Paul P for using a WMD image as a pacifist. David’s smooth stone might have been better as long as it hits forehead and not ears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • No apologies required, HT. I was in violent agreement with you either way. If a smooth stone doesn’t cut it, then we always have the subroc! 😉

    Just kidding.

  • Santorum is getting a lot of positive buzz for his debate performance last night and people are beginning to pay attention to him. His takedown of Romney on Romneycare was memorable. Romney’s stuttering non-defense (Obamacare is nothing to get mad about) was a strong indication as to why the Weathervane is the weakest candidate to go up against Obama. As compared to Romney and Gingrich, Santorum seemed to be the only adult in the room. Santorum probably will not be the nominee this time around, but he is giving a good example of intelligent, articulate conservatism and people are starting to note this.

  • Donald R. McClarey: The soul of clarity

  • “Donald R. McClarey: The soul of clarity” Or is that McClarity? kay sorry.. ButI love Santorum… I am praying he wins.

  • While I’m definitely leaning toward Santorum (if only he hadn’t come out in favor of waterboarding…), the amount of sheer vitriol that’s already been leveled against him makes me fear the heights the Derangement Syndrome would reach if he made it to the White House. (If you thought the hatred of Bush was bad…) Then again, he’s been receiving that kind of backdraft ever since he was Senator, so maybe it won’t be so bad for his health…

    As for the majority of Americans opposing same-sex marriage, I’m not so sure how long that will last, as sodomy seems to have been accepted alongside divorce, fornication, and shacking up by society as something wholesome and worthwhile. (Have you ever tried to discuss the Catholic teaching on sexuality with someone outside the Catholic sphere? Or even tried to formulate an argument in a possible effort to – gasp! – try and win them to your point of view?)

    I dunno. (And then there’s conservatives’ sometime infatuation with Ayn Rand, which brings to mind the nightmare of an America divided solely between liberals and Objectivists…)

  • Local conservative radio host here in Houston says Santorum is not a fiscal conservative. Tom Delay supports Santorum and stated he is a true all-round conservative. Have heard he is big on unions – I personally don’t care for unions.

  • I kind of like 🙂 the moon colony idea of Newt….but we need the colony up and ready prior to the election not after… so that we have an alternative.

  • HAPPY FEASTDAY today 28 JANUARY “Tommy Aquinas” -presume he is your hero ? i find myself drawing closer to Mr Santorum from my earlier views when he was good but not seemingly electable. I also operate on the Higher Side of our Humanness. The hatred spewed on him is Evil at work, as it is for any Good, witness what we did to the GOOD SHEPHERD Jesus. My prayer and hope is that the combination of positive Gospel of Life people, the disdain for 44 and his backers, and the other nebelous factors in any public debate will be swept up by the Holy Spirit who will see ” the good, the true and the beautiful ” voted to triumph. That could be Mr Santorum, or Mr Gingrich or Mr Romney. As I noted elsewhere we are not electing a replacement Messiah.

  • “Santorum is actually sincere in his beliefs. So while he might hold policy positions that are identical with the rest of the field, he is the one being mocked because, well, he actually believes what he is saying.”

    This is the key to my support for Santorum and to the media’s–yes–conspiracy to ignore him. Every Republican is obliged to make pro-life noises. Once elected, he may throw pro-lifers a few bones, but for most part ignores them. I don’t think anyone believes Santorum would behave this way, whether they support his candidacy or not.

    I share your depression over this awful primary season, Paul.

  • Santorum’s hometown newspapers – no, check that, they are disgusting rags and/or scandal sheets – have never stopped ripping into him. It seems that Santorum’s wife worked for an abortionist before she met and married Santorum. The key to all of this is to make the Santorums look like hypocrites on the pro life issue.

    These disgusting rags – the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (the socialist rag) and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review (the libertarian/anarchist rag) point out Karen Santorum’s previous life, but ignore Dr. Nathanson and Norma McCovey. It does not fit their “world view”.

    I loathe the media. Actually I don’t like it enough to loathe it.

  • PenguinsFan: We all struggle with the hate-forgive-let go struggle. I am learning to take Jesus’ advice. walking the extra mile meant that, by law, Jewish men were obliged to carry a Roman soldier’s equipment for one mile. Jesus asks them to go the extra mile, and take the sting, hate and resentment out of the forced march. We can write letters, get on the local radio talk shows if available and make our points positively to the general public and maybe influence advertisers. One never knows the effect of a simple gesture, the biblical leaven or the mustard seed that influence the end product. Prayer of course is indispensable to take on Jesus’ mind as expressed in in Phil. 2:6-11- emptying ouselves of the fasle self and take on the mind of Christ Jesus.

A Baby by any Other Name

Friday, January 27, AD 2012

Hattip to Pat Archbold at Creative Minority Report for the video gently lampooning the twisted language employed by pro-aborts to attempt to deny the humanity of the unborn.

George Orwell, who literally wrote the book on how totalitarian regimes use language to serve evil ends, would have loved the video.  Although an agnostic and an opponent of the Catholic Church, Orwell was also not only an enemy of the dishonest use of euphemisms, but also an ardent foe of abortion.  This section of his novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936) indicates how deeply he hated abortion:

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4 Responses to A Baby by any Other Name

  • “The strong emotional reaction of Orwell’s character, Gordon Comstock, is precisely the way in which any decent human being should view abortion.”

    Abortionists are not decent human beings.

  • Ah, but through conversion and repentance they can become decent human beings Paul. The late Bernard Nathanson was an example of that and I could name others. We will win this fight through many means, and the conversion of some of our opponents is not the least of them.

  • Donald, this sentence, to me is the core of our Catholic Teaching against abortion…” “Whatever happens we’re not going to do that. It’s disgusting.”…Though I agree with you and believe that there is no hardened soul that the Holy Spirit cannot melt, we need tons of prayers before the Merchants of Death hear the cry of the unborn whom they dismember in their safest first home – their mothers’wombs and be converted into respecters of God’s Gift of Life for all…..Yet, I fear we are still far way off before the tide turns. There is a lot of money being made in this Infanticide Industry and the secular media is another collaborator in this Murder Most Foul Crime. And until you change the current Government and swipe the slate clean of Obama, Biden, that Clinton Woman and the Planned Parenthood, I see very hard and cruel times ahead. I call this bunch and the pseudo Catholics in your Government High Priests of Satan

Jesus Sided With The Outcasts, Which Means People I Like

Thursday, January 26, AD 2012

If there is one thing that virtually anyone can tell you about Jesus, it’s that he sided with the outcasts and the oppressed. He was on the outs with the Pharisees and he hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes and Samaritans.

Simplistically applied, many people tend to take this to mean that Jesus would clearly have approved of any cause which is scorned by the wider society. Of course, we all want to imagine that Jesus is on our side, and people often feel criticism keenly, so the end result often seems to be that people consider whatever causes they consider to be important to be those which are scorned by society, and thus which Jesus would approve of.

Thus, for instance, I recall my youth group leaders back in high school explaining to us that “if Jesus were alive today” (a phrase which bugged me nearly as much as our catechist’s tendency to declare that various things would cause Jesus to “spin in his grave” if only he knew about them) he would be marching in the Gay Pride parades and in favor of environmental causes. Why? Well, he was on the side of outcasts, and those movements are the outcasts. Ask someone else, and you’d get the precise opposite: mainstream society accepts gay rights and green causes, but pro-lifers and those who support traditional marriage are “the outcasts”.

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14 Responses to Jesus Sided With The Outcasts, Which Means People I Like

  • Excellent. Should be read from the pulpits.

  • Everyone – outcasts or not – gets the same message and is treated equally: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

  • Paul Primavera: Barrabas was an outcast . Jesus associated with “repentant” individuals who invited HIM into their hearts.

  • Agreed, Mary. And Jesus’ message was the same to both Pontius Pilate and Barabbas: “My Kingdom is not of this world…repent.”

  • Well, there goes one of my arguments for being a postmodern papist.

  • “Rather, Jesus came to present a message. He presented it to everyone, outcast or not, and he challenged everyone: Come and follow me.”


  • Thank You Lord for being a friend of sinners.

  • Wow….my roto rooter man did that tax collector con job. Maybe he’s a Biblical fan of the wrong parts of the gospel. He came to the house and quoted me $379 to snake out the tub only (main not involved because toilet flush caused no reaction). That’s a fifteen minute job. I escorted him to the door and the whole way, he’s cutting the price and I’m smiling and shaking my head no….and saying….”you’re not even close to my plumber”… he did it for $160 with a 6 month guarantee in writing. He started $219 higher than the $160 he did it for. He was almost an outcast into the street. Gospel tax collectors….tub drain snakers….”nothing new under the sun”. My gutter cleaners recently were on the grift too. As for outcasts….today Chris Christie and Dole both turned up the insult volume against Gingrich…word must have went out to introduce the hard line from the sidelines.

  • The morning paper editorial huffed about NG picking the wrong sparring partner – asking that “he stop criticizing the press for reporting the facts about an increasingly rancorous campaign that is not the media’s making”. Here come the scourged from the pillar.

  • Oh boy, posted too quickly –
    out of deference to our Lord, those last four words at 6:14 should have been wrapped with ” “, actually changed to “from their particular, special pillar”. Sorry.

  • I’m pretty sure Christ would tell us, “You must deny (turn your back on) the world, take up your Cross (whatever you need to do to grow in Faith, Hope, and Love, pray for Grace), and follow Me.”

    It is personal and individual: one-on-one with God through Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit. It’s what you do.

    Love is a verb. It’s not a tingling feeling running your leg. We love by acting for others.

    Politicizing the Gospels is illicit.

    PS: You ain’t loving your neighbor if you ain’t trying to get him the make a quick, sharp U-Turn on the road to perdition.

The War That Gets No Respect

Thursday, January 26, AD 2012

When it comes to the War of 1812, the ignorance depicted in the above video is no exaggeration.  Of all our major conflicts, our Second War For Independence is the most obscure to the general public.  In this bicentennial year of the beginning of the War, I will do my small bit on the blog Almost Chosen People , the American history blog that Paul Zummo and I run, to help correct this situation.   The War of 1812 was an important struggle in American history for a number of reasons, a few of which are:

1.      Until the War of 1812 the British tended to treat the United States as if it were a wayward colony that would ultimately become part of the British Empire again.  After the War the British understood that we were an independent power and a permanent factor in their calculations.

2.     The War established the United States Navy as an aggressive and resourceful combat force, unafraid to pit daring and skill against the massively more powerful Royal Navy.

3.     The War ended American dreams of conquering Canada.

4.     As a result of the War, the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi could no longer provide serious resistance to American expansion into the Northwest and the Southwest.

5.     The Star-Spangled Banner symbolized the new surge of nationalism that the country experienced as a result of the War.

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44 Responses to The War That Gets No Respect

  • 6. Check! Check! Although, the man was not so nice; sometimes I long for the days of settling matters of honor with pistols or rapiers.

    I think that war cemented American nationality. Our forefathers bore defeat and rapine, on our soil, and came out strong and united.

    It could have ended much differently.

    Little remembered land and naval battles in the Great Lakes areas of NYS are an interesting side bar.

    One of my least favorite wars.

  • Would that war deserve the later epithet “War is Hell”? Was number 4 above good for the native population or did they enjoy losing their land and broken treaties? Some of us who descended from conquered people and part of whose family still lives under colonial rule have a whole different take on war and occupying armies.

  • Well HT I am part Cherokee, as well as Scot and Irish. I have a standing offer to help assuage any white guilt for the wrongs done my people, in exchange for a substantial monetary payment to me, by sending out a personal letter of forgiveness and absolution. For a large enough contribution the letter will be sent out in Cherokee! ( I would note that I have absolutely no intention of sharing any of these funds with tribes dispossessed by the Cherokee, so descendants of the Muscogee should not even bother asking.)

  • I disagree, Don, With your point 3. Amanda Foreman writes in ‘A World on Fire’:

    “One of the legacies of the War of 1812 was a British fear that the United States might try to annex [Canada} and a conviction among the Americans that they should never stop trying. It was neither forgiven nor forgotten that precious ships and men had to diverted from the desperate war against Napoleon Bonaparte in order to defend Canada from three invasion attempts by the United States between 1812 and 1814. London regarded the burning of Washington and the White House by British soldiers in August 1814 as a well-deserved retribution for the sacking of York (later Toronto) by American troops.”

    Another legacy was a hubristic assumption thet the Americans had “licked the British twice” when in fact in the first instance they relied on foreign support (and a lot of luck) and the second (the Battle of New Orleans) was fought after the peace treaty had been signed, accepting what was essentially a draw, and therefore in cricketing terms was the equivalent of a catch outside the boundary.

  • London was concerned John with an attack on Canada in the event of war with the US in the Civil War. However, Lincoln was adamant that one war at a time was quite enough, and had no intention of provoking one with Great Britain.

    In regard to Great Britain in the War of 1812, the Brits had been impressing American seamen off American ships into the Royal Navy for a generation, and stirring up the tribes in the Northwest against the US since the glorious American victory in the War for Independence (Cue the trumpets!) The US had sufficient casus belli to justify going to war in 1812.

    In regard to the Revolution we would ultimately have triumphed in the War in any case, although it might have taken longer. The War in the North had largely been won by the time of French intervention, with the Royal Army clinging only to New York and its immediately surrounding areas, and the British forces during the Southern campaign were too small to have posed a lasting occupation force. One could argue that the French intervention caused the War to last longer by increasing British reluctance to recognize the obvious: they were never going to conquer the 13 colonies. However, I do not believe this. King George was too pig-headed to admit his ghastly mistake in trying to suppress the American patriots any sooner than he did.

    In regard to New Orleans, one of the most lop-sided defeats in British military history, I have my doubts as to whether the Brits would have easily relinquished it if they had taken it. Facts on the ground tend to be stronger than words printed on parchment. My guess is that they would have wanted some concessions in exchange. However, Old Hickory made such considerations purely speculative.

  • It never fails to disappoint me that some people always take the view of liberal revisionist history about the American Indians. Did the white man do wrongs? Yes. Did the red man do wrongs? Yes. Does that mean that the white man alone is guilty? All men have sinned and come short of the glory of God. PS, somewhere in my family tree – great grandmother on my father’s mother’s side – is Mohawk Indian. As Donald indicated, does anyone want to pay?

    PS, there is no equivocation to be made between the paganism of the native American Indian and Christianity. That doesn’t mean that the white man always (or even often) acted in accord with Christian principles. But it does mean that just as too many white men in today’s society are pagans, so also were most native American Indians back then. I have seen zero improvement in the donning of paganism in modern society for either white or red man. BTW, there’s only one race: the human race – just in case anyone had any doubts.

  • I suggest that it was only after the Civil War that the US abandoned her designs on Canada; once Canada had self-government it was more difficult for American politicians to justify invasion on the grounds that they were simply having another crack at the old enemy. There is ample evidence of US bellicosity in the half-century before the Civil War, and during the latter conflict Seward’s war-mongering is in sharp contrast to the measured statesmanship of Palmerston and Russell. England was an established Great Power, America an aspirant one, and it shows. I’m surprised at the extent to which present-day Americans still mythologize their Revolution.

  • I find no justification for any need to repeat comments that all humans are flawed and no race, ethnic group, or faith group is free now or ever was free of sin. My study of some areas of history is limited even now as an adult but as a very young child I learned all about Original Sin.

  • Then HT, one should kindly stop pointing out the white man’s guilt to the exclusion of all other guilt. The white man didn’t live up to his Christian principles. The red man was pagan. The inevitable happened – “the wages of sin are death.”

    Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing how those of my ancestors who by accident of birth were white were so violent towards those of my ancestors who by accident of birth were red. I don’t hate either of my ancestors, and I loathe this self-hatred that liberals (who invariably are white themselves) like to foster on the rest.

  • My views of Andrew Jackson can be summed up thusly:

    Tis a pity that Jesse Benton wasn’t a better shot, or that Chief Junaluska lacked the foresight at Horseshoe Bend that he later lamented.

  • I do not understand. I made a semi-serious reply to the post about that war. I simply asked a question about whether it was hell or not and if the Native population enjoyed losing their land and broken treaties. Re-read it and see if that is accurate, I said absolutely nothing about anything else. I happen to believe that war is hell, few are justified. I have also said over a lifetime as a teacher since Vietnam to the present, if American cities, were for the most part pawns in a surrogate war how would that be today? Electrical systems, and water supplies were bombed, shelled and overrun by foreign Troops who knew nothing of the local culture, political or religious system, ethnic rivalries and faith-group differences they would have cried foul many wars ago. Pearl Harbour and 9/11 versus Nagasaki and Hiroshima? 8.5 years, one trillion dollars and thousands of dead allies, ten times that many injured for life in body and mind,? No one knows how many civilians dead and refugees exiled and religious rivalries all over the whole Middle East as new “martyrs” for Allah are created. “The beat goes on, ” and the killing is still going on. Reminds me of the old saw that ” I am up to my backside in alligators but all I wanted to do was drain the swamp. “

  • Paul, I’m generally in agreement with your commentary, but what you refer to as the so-called “liberal revisionist history about the American Indians” could probably just be shortened to “history”. The “revisionist history” was the one that portrayed the native peoples of this land as savages, who could, at times, prove noble, and portrayed those who took their lands from them by force and chicanery as “civilized” Christians “taming the Wild West”.

    Just as slavery is a blight on this Nation’s history, so is the shameful treatment of the Indians. Now, I’m perfectly inclined to admit that the clash of cultures made the Indians’ decline inevitable, but the way it went down is absolutely shameful.

  • The wars around the world will not stop till the war against children in the womb stops.

  • Yes, Jay, I am in agreement, but I would revise your statement to say that savage were both the native Americans and their opponents, the descendants of white Europeans.

  • HermitTalker, you are absolutely correct that the War of 1812 proved to be absolute hell for the Indians. The death of Tecumseh, alone, meant that there would never be any organized resistance by the native peoples to westward expansion.

    American hubris regarding “besting the British” aside, there were no winners in the War of 1812 (although if anyone has a claim in that regard it is probably Canada). But the Indians proved to be the biggest losers.

  • To HT, let’s not bring the necessary but aweful and terrible nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki into this. BTW, as I mentioned before here at TAC, I was a reactor operator on a nuclear submarine. I had virtually no involvement with the nuclear weapons with which my submarine was armed (though due to limited bunking space in bearthing, I did sleep on a mat right next to one in the torpedo room). But being submarine qualified, I was trained in the rudiments of how to launch, assuming I were the last man alive. And if I had been given the order to launch, then I would have remorsefully but immediately carried out my orders. Liberals cannot understand such a sense of duty, nor did they ever understand the MAD doctrine that preserved the free world from communist aggression, and when defense – the SDI or “Star Wars” Program – was proposed as an alterantive to MAD, they opposed that tooth and nail, too. But none of that is relevant to the topic of this blog post.

  • Mr Paul P: War will not end unless and until every leader and every citizen creates the climate wherein we hear God’s Message; we are made in His Image, the Earth and its resources are His and are given to us in Trust as stewards. Our flawed human nature whose root is Hubris, ” I am god or I want to know good and evil as the Genesis story tells us explains that. We trick ourselves, or are tricked into thinking we have it right so life from womb to tomb is disposable and subjected to “my” decision as to whether I can make money on it or get rid of it or decide that “they” have no right to it- whether land, jobs, property or life, for political, economic or national or religious reasons. The SIN takes many forms whether in colonial Aamerica, or in the battle against the Native Americans or Palestinian humans or sunni versus shia in the Middle East. I read a good line from the DC March for Life on Monday; “abortion is ripping the knitting out of God’s hands.” (Msgr C Pope). I add to that the rest of destroying life is like burning all the sweaters and jackets HE already finished.
    Peace.: from a Catholic Christian Humanist, which includes being a pacifist as Jesus’ BEATITUDES teach us.

  • You’re right, HT, war won’t end until we all repent.

    But in the meantime, thank God there were men like Charles Martel to turn back the Islamic Moors at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD, and thank God for the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary that led to the victory of the Holy League’s fleet against the Ottoman Sultan’s fleet at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 AD. There are many other examples, a great number that include Biblical heroes and heroines like Joshua, Deborah, Judith, David, etc. Personally, I thank God every day for our nuclear submariners who patrol the ocean’s depths, ever ready to unleash hell against enemies that might attack us. You see, regardless that that man of sin Obama is in charge, I love the US and we are the good guys, however flawed we may be. Indeed, when an Islamist bullet kills a woman or child, it’s a direct hit, but when an American does, it’s a complete miss.

  • Being 1/8th Native American myself I am in agreement with Don. Of course one should also consider the Native American habit of waging war against other Native Americans, their introduction of slavery (of other Native Americans) into the New World and other acts of barbarism which Europeans took issue with as they colonized the Americas. In fact many a Southwest tribe was pleased by the arrival of the Spanish in the hopes that these Europeans would be able to stop the Cheyenne agression in their lands.

    This European outlook influenced subsequent generations of Americans as they moved West.

  • “Peace of Earth to men of good will.” Everyone else “gets it.”

  • “‘Peace of Earth to men of good will.’ Everyone else ‘gets it.’”

    Having been rescued from men of ill will in two world wars, European liberals have gratitude for neither the country that did the rescuing nor the benevolence of the God who enabled that country’s efforts to be successful.

    In equal measure is their gratitude for the victory had at both the Battle of Tours and the Battle of Lepanto. Indeed, perhaps if the War of 1812 had gone differently, then perhaps 130 years later they would have gotten what they really wanted after all, and we’d all be speaking German with no Jewish synogogues anywhere.

  • I never like to second-guess what GOD could have pulled out of His hat over the centuries in all the wars and ills of society, we humans decided what or who or which battle plan fed HIS Grand Plan the best. Neither do I give much credit to people who are not taught their own history or forget the lessons. Someone referred up there a while back about God and the Old Testament wars. They reflect the culture of the time and do not necessarily reflect His take on war and violence, nor do the wives and concubines of HIS Patriarchs reflect His current views on marriage. Neither would HE have approved Abrahan passing off his wife as his sister to get out of trouble or making a baby by his wife’s servant-woman. I do think GOD had some fun when little David’s slingshot got the Big Bad Goliath. By the standards of the day, and the later David’s tactics, and what might have happened if Goliath killed the boy, that was pretty mild.

  • You still, HT, have no gratitude to the USA for what it did in enabling you to say the disrespectful things you say about the USA, and I for one obviously do not subscribe to your revisionist view that the “USA is evil, USA is evil.” Two world wars and the end of the cold war say you are incorrect (though I do agree that unlike former President Bush, Obama is indeed evil). I am not going to talk on this any further with you because arguing with a liberal is trying to convince a person who will forever remain adamantly unconvinced still, facts to the contrary of his viewpoint be darned. I love my God and my country. For all her faults, these United States are still the very best of the best. Hate her all you wish, I only pray that when the time comes we will still be able to rescue European liberals from the consequences of their decisions one more time. But that can only happen if first we repent of our liberalism.

    And PS, I not only pray for the safety of our troops overseas, I pray for their overwhelming and unconditional victory against the enemy – radical fundamentalist Islamic terrorists.

  • War of 1812 and Mexican War are definitely in the top 5 wars that still shape the US today, but neither is remembered well enough or given the sort of public monument on the National Mall that they deserve. The Vietnam War gets a memorial, but there is no monument to the victorious war that added almost a third of our territory and gave us Pacific ports?

  • I have absolutely no idea as to which of my comments you are replying. My last post above was a philosophic opinion about our humans not knowing what God would do or not do to see our problems solved. I went on then to comment in lessons from the OT with a little humourous take on Boy David and the Unjolly Giant. As a believer you are aware of the fact that JESUS, God’s Son came later to give us the Beatitudes and rejected even calling our enemy a fool. GOD is pro-life, His SON died trying to tell us to cut the crud that passes for “religion.” Your “primavera” “spring” name comes across to me Paul as dark, dreary winter mumbling on here as far as your treatment of some posts and your opinions are concerned. Do you actually try to see the points of view I express with the eyes of faith and knowing the immediate hands on effect of guerilla war and lying Government propaganda. Taking a look from my vantage point about life, and the fragile earth and its wasted resources ( people, cash and the land and its resources ) and dumb military moves that litter the history books. “Radical islamist fundametalists” Ask earlier generations how they were trained to see “the Enemy” dehumanised, every insulting name and li they could manufacture. emotionally healthy human beings cannot kill others- they are “products of conception ” or “commies ” or “dirty catholics” or ” terrorist palestinians” or Fxxxxing whoever else is sub-human in whatever theatre of war. GOD of course is always called on as being on “our” side. My earliest memory is on an Englishman in London chewing my backside because he saw some photo of Pope Pius X11 supposedly blessing some military equipment. Anything to dehumanise your presumred enemy, Truth be darmed.

  • “War of 1812 and Mexican War are definitely in the top 5 wars that still shape the US today, but neither is remembered well enough or given the sort of public monument on the National Mall that they deserve.”

    It’ll never happen because neither war is politically correct. Both wars are rightly seen as wars caused primarily by American expansionism (so-called “Manifest Destiny”), one at the expense of the Indians and the other at the expense of the Mexicans.

  • At the expense of very few Mexicans Jay. The Mexicans of course brought in the Americans into Texas to serve as a buffer against the Comanches who were the real rulers of Texas. The Mexican population of Texas in 1824 when American immigration began was 3000. By 1830 the Texans outnumbered the Tejanos by two to one. California had about 10,000 Mexicans in 1845, and a foreign, mostly American population of 2000. Mexican population was too sparse to hold onto such a vast region. If we hadn’t taken it in the Mexican War, I have no doubt that California would have come under British or Russian rule, and that Texas would ultimately have formed a break away Republic with or without American immigration.

  • “There is ample evidence of US bellicosity in the half-century before the Civil War, and during the latter conflict Seward’s war-mongering is in sharp contrast to the measured statesmanship of Palmerston and Russell. England was an established Great Power, America an aspirant one, and it shows. I’m surprised at the extent to which present-day Americans still mythologize their Revolution.”

    There is no need to mythologize the Revolution John; the history of that conflict is spectacularly pro-American enough, as underfed, dressed in rags America troops developed a Continental Army that could go toe to toe with the best Army on Earth.
    Palmerston almost caused a war with America due to his overreaction to the Trent affair. He will always get my vote as the most overrated British prime minister. It was the dying Prince Albert and his toning down of the ultimatum to the United States that crucially helped avoid war, along with Lincoln’s willingness to release the Confederate emissaries when he could politically do so.

    Canada was not a major factor in the conflicts between the British Empire and the US in the first half of the nineteenth century, after the War of 1812. It would obviously have become the main theatre of a war, but the conflicts were about other important issues, like the division of the Oregon Territory or the slaying of an innocent American pig (no, really!)

  • Non-Texans like to conflate the two, but 1836 and 1845 are two different wars.

  • All one big war Jay, or so the Texans thought at the time, especially since the Mexican government repudiated the Treaty of Velasco and thus remained at war with the Texan Republic throughout its existence.

  • Different wars fought over different territories by different constituent powers. But even if one were to accept your interpretation, which I don’t and few Texans would (and even at the time it was only the latecomers to Texas who saw the Texas Revolution in larger terms than independence from a country that couldn’t get its act together), it still doesn’t explain why expelling the Mexican forces across the Rio Grande wasn’t enough to accomplish the alleged goal of securing Texas. There was no need to invade and capture Mexico City and humiliate the Mexican people in order to achieve the peaceful annexation of Texas. No, the war was nothing more than an excuse for a great-big land grab.

  • Jay,

    That’s how long I’ve been out of school!

    The US declared war against the indians in 1812? Who’d a thunk!

    Did the brits go to war to save the Indians from us? That would be just like them. They acted in a similar charitable manner regarding Ireland in the late 1840’s.

  • C’mon Jay, if there’s a monument to our biggest defeat on the National Mall there’s certainly the possibility of a monument to our defense against the British and our glorious victory and expansion to the Pacific.
    Even the Canadians are putting up a War of 1812 monument

  • We need to give back AZ, CA and NM to Mexico before they drag down the rest of the country. They are obama states, right?

    Do you think Mexico would take meager Maine and insolvent Illinois off our hands, too?

  • Jay, your Texan ancestors would have vigorously disagreed with you. The Mexican War was immensely popular in Texas. The disputed land between Mexico and Texas that sparked the war had always been claimed by Texas. The Texans had also claimed Santa Fe. The idea that there was any reluctance on the part of the Texans to take part in the Mexican War is simply ahistoric. I would note that the history of the Texan Republic is filled with filibustering expeditions into Mexico by Texans intent on conquering more Mexican land. Likewise the Mexicans invaded Texas several times during this period, twice in 1842. The Texas Rangers who fought in the Mexican War were noted both for extreme courage and extreme brutality to the Mexicans luckless enough to fall into their hands. (The Mexicans usually showed small mercy to any Texan troops who fell into their hands.) If the Mexican War is to be considered a huge land grab, it all started with the land grab by American settlers in Texas. Of course the Mexicans grabbed the land from the native inhabitants, so I guess by rights the really aggrieved parties should be the Comanches and the Apaches and the other tribes, although they had of course displaced other tribes before them. If the Mexican War is viewed purely as a land grab, the Americans were only following a time honored tradition in the southwest.

  • “The US declared war against the indians in 1812 …”

    Don’t believe I said that. Might want to read what I wrote again. I said that the War of 1812 was about American expansionism (and it was since (a) annexation of Canada was a major goal of the U.S. side in the war, and (b) removal of the Indians from the Northwest Territory was a catalyst for Indian involvement on the side of the Brits) and that said expansionism came at the expense of the Indians.

    Is there really any disagreement about that fact?

  • “Jay, your Texan ancestors would have vigorously disagreed with you.”

    They’d have disagreed with me about stealing land from Mexicans? Imagine that.

    They’d have probably disagreed with me on the issues of slavery, too. And Indian policy. And being anti-Catholic freemasons, no doubt they’d have disagreed with me on a much wider variety of issues on top of those.

  • No doubt they would disagree with you about a whole hosts of issues Jay, but I believe we were debating history, and the history is as I have stated it. That it rubs some 21rst century Americans the wrong way is of little consequence to me.

  • “Even the Canadians are putting up a War of 1812 monument …”

    That’s because (a) they arguably won the war, (b) it’s not considered politically incorrect in Canada because they’re seen as fighting on the side of the Indians, and (c) the War is sort of a defining national moment for the Canadians – arguably, the thing that defined them as a nation.

    By the way, I would favor a memorial to the War of 1812 on the mall, just don’t think it very likely for PC reasons (the actual Star Spangled Banner in the Smithsonian sorta serves the purpose anyway).

    For my part, I plan to take my kids to as many War of 1812 commemorations as I possibly can over the next 3 years. Fort Meigs and Put-in-Bay are only about an hour a way, so those are definites. Probably will try to get to Niagara for some of their commemorations, and will try to make it for Baltimore’s celebration of the bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner.

  • Well, Don, I can tell you how it’s taught in Texas History classes, and there’s a chapter on the Texas Revolution, followed by several chapters on the Republic of Texas, followed by a chapter on annexation, and THEN there’s a chapter on the Mexican War. Texas History books are hardly paragons of PC, so I don’t think they’re trying to sugar coat anything. It’s just that Texans don’t view the war in 1836 as part-and-parcel with the war in 1845. And with good reason. There had been conflict with Mexico off and on during the ensuing years, including the Mier Expedition, but Texas had existed for almost a decade as a Republic (a struggling one financially, but a Republic nonetheless) before the Mexican War began. It’s not the same thing, and upon my extensive reading of Texas history (and I assure you it is quite extensive), the two wars are and always have been seen in Texas as separate events. Related, but separate. Texans have always seen themselves as having won their independence in 1836. Whether the Mexican War was ever fought a decade later, that fact was not going to change.

    As far as the history being as you state it, or my allegedly “being rubbed the wrong way” being of little consequence to you, I consider myself to be not wholly illiterate on the topic, and just happen to disagree with your interpretation of the facts in this instance. It need not become a matter of sharpness.

  • I meant no offense to you personally Jay. My comment was not intended for you alone but for general application. When it comes to history I strive to relate the facts of it and that people may find the facts unpalatable is always of little consequence to me, even when I greatly respect the individual I am debating, as I greatly respect you. Interpretation of historical events will always vary, but they have to be based on the facts of the history being interpreted. Fidelity to the historical record is very important to me.

    We will simply have to disagree as to whether the Mexican War was a continuation of the Texas war with Mexico that began in 1836. Texas was in a state of war with Mexico until the signing of the treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo in 1848. Mexico threatened war with the US if the treaty of annexation with Texas was approved. The start of the Mexican War of course was over the issue of whether the Nueces River or the Rio Grande was the boundary between Mexico and Texas. The Republic of Texas also claimed vast territories beyond the present borders of Texas, and those claims ensured conflict with Mexico following annexation. In the US it was long recognized that annexing Texas would probably mean war with Mexico which was one reason, slavery being the other main reason, why annexation took ten years. Texas annexation meant taking up the Texan war with Mexico, something that was understood by all three governments involved.

  • Don, by the time Palmerston became PM he was arguably past his best and a generation older than Gladstone or Disraeli. His reputation rests on his time as Foreign Secretary, particularly his first stint 1830-1841. The enormous workload of the job effectually killed two of his predecessors, Castlereagh and Canning, but Pam was up to it. His skilful handling of the protracted and extraordinarily complex negotiations which resulted in Belgian independence was admired by contemporaries, and he himself regarded it quite rightly as his greatest achievement. His skill in preventing what seemed inevitable conflict between the Great Powers as the Vienna settlement began to unravel is justly praised by historians, and the consensus is that he would have avoided the Crimean War had he been in office.

    He had no intention of declaring war on the United States (had war eventuated, the US would have declared it) but at the same time would not allow Britain to be insulted and diplomatically humiliated, although both he and Russell, well briefed by the British Minister in Washington, knew that Seward’s posturing was motivated by personal political interests. The British regarded US politics as mired in corruption, and with good reason.

    The chief myth about the American Revolution, which I fear still persists in certain quarters is that the Americans were victims of ‘colonialism’ who engaged in a popular and successful revolt against a foreign Power. In truth the so-called ‘Old Colonial System’ benefitted the colonies, and the Americans were not only colonists, but colonizers on a grand scale. In the 19th century we described expansion as imperialism, and did not dress it up in the euphemistic phrase ‘manifest destiny’.

  • I suppose the differing perspectives come from the fact that Texans interpret the event in light of independence from Mexico. For Texans, the defining event was becoming an independent Texas after years of being a province of the Mexican state of Coahila. For many years, they had sought independence from Coahila as a separate state within Mexico, and when this was viewed by the Mexican authorities as rebellion, it eventually led to the state of affairs that became the Texas Revolution and led to full independence for the Republic of Texas.

    Non-Texans, however, interpret the event in light of U.S. expansion, so annexation becomes the defining event and therefore the key focus of their historical perspective. Clearly, the annexation of Texas would never have happened (at least not when and how it happened) without the Texas Revolution. And, clearly, the Mexican War was a direct result of the annexation of Texas.

    But the reason Texans (and I believe even non-Texan historians should, as well) view the events as, although related, not the same conflict is because Texas’ existence as an independent entity from Mexico did not come about as the result of the Mexican War or the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. It came about because of the revolution fought a decade earlier by Texans. For 10 years, Texas existed in fact and in law as a free and sovereign (though financially struggling) republic (whether Mexico repudiated the terms of peace or not is somewhat irrelevant in that they were in no position to try to recapture what they had lost), and it did not come about because U.S. troops captured Mexico City a decade later.

    Mexico might seethe about losing Texas, but they weren’t going to regain their lost province, and were somewhat content to fight an ongoing border skirmish with the Republic. But what they would not tolerate was the United States becoming their next-door neighbor to the north, and they had good cause for concern given that U.S. interests in territorial expansion into Mexican lands weren’t going to end there. The Mexican War was about Texas’ annexation, not Texas’ independence. That war had already been fought and won by Texas. Certainly, closely related events from a historical perspective, but nonetheless distinct events.

The Oft-Repeated Lie About Warren Buffet’s Secretary’s Tax Rate

Wednesday, January 25, AD 2012

For last night’s State of the Union Address, President Obama invited Warren Buffet’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, to sit in the First Lady’s box during the speech and specifically promised in that speech to support tax changes in order to mend the injustice Buffet claims occurs allowing him to pay the lowest tax rate of anyone in his office, including his secretary. This line of attack is doubtless partly designed to pave the way millionaire Barrack Obama to make populist attacks on multi-millionaire Mitt Romney during the upcoming presidential campaign. Romney is, after all, very, very rich, and his income comes primarily from investments.

David Leonhardt at the NY Times asks both right-leaning economist Greg Mankiw and the left leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to comment on this alleged tax injustice. Mankiw makes a fairly reasonable case that the reason capital gains are lower is that investment income is based on corporate profits and corporate profits have already been taxed. Companies would have more profits to pass on to investors (either as dividends or in the form of being worth more) if they didn’t pay corporate taxes, and so the tax on investment income is set lower to avoid this “double taxation”. Chuck Marr of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities must know the facts aren’t on his side, because instead of answering the question he provides a canned response about income inequality and how tax rates are lower than in the ’70s. The column is worth a read.

However, there’s another issue here which I think is worth pointing out. Progressives writing on this issue usually act as if billionaire investors such as Warren Buffet are all paying right around 15% (the capital gains rate) in taxes — Buffet claims that he pays 17.4% — and that “middle class Americans” are paying the top marginal income tax rate of 35%.

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40 Responses to The Oft-Repeated Lie About Warren Buffet’s Secretary’s Tax Rate

  • I am tired of hearing about the rich paying “their fair share” when almost 50% of the country pays nothing in income taxes. I am all in favor of everyone doing their fair share and, in my mind, that obviously means setting a minimum tax. Even if it is just $100 a year, everyone should throw something in the pot. We should also stop administering welfare through the income tax system. It encourages people to accept benefits they would never dream of going to the welfare office to get.

  • Darwin,
    As a tax lawyer I must say your post is spot on correct. And I would add a few more points.

    * Capital gain rates should be lower in order to accomodate the fact that some gain is illusory inflation gain. A person buying shares of Company X in 1980 for $10,000 may well be able to sell those shares for $20,000 today, but much of the nominal $10,000 gain is just inflation and does not represent income in a true economic sense.

    * Capital gains are only taxed when they are recognized as a consequence of a sale. Selling investments is usually a matter of choice, and capital gains taxes act as a toll charge on a a voluntary sale. Accordingly high rates serve to encourage investors to stay “locked in” rather than liquidate their investments. In fact all tax scholars agree that high rates will result in reduced tax revenue for this very reason, but what they do not agree on is the tipping point. Personally, I think that there is some room to raise the rate without revenue loss, but I do not believe that one can remotely raise the rate to match with current ordinary rates without actually losing revenue. It would be a lose/lose — investors would be locked into unwanted investments while the government would get less tax revenue — all in the name of fairness.

    Buffett is a hypocrite. He can and should pay himself a high salary taxed at ordinary rates, but instead deliberately keeps his gains in his investments in order to benefit from lower capital gain rates.

  • Jenny,

    For a very long time I agreed with the point you make about everyone paying at least some taxes, but I think I’ve been gradually modifying my views on it.

    Part of my reason for change there is that (as the CBO numbers I linked to point out) basically everyone has some degree of federal tax liability, if they work at all, it’s just that they may have a negative income tax liability (a subsidy) which reimburses them for some of the payroll taxes that they pay for social security and medicare. Even for the bottom 20% of earners, they end up paying some positive amount of federal taxes. One could “solve” this weird appearance by scaling the payroll taxes instead of having them be a flat rate, but that’s comparatively hard to do, so instead we end up with this weird thing of charging some people payroll taxes while “giving back” money on their income taxes.

    Another element is that it seems to me that one of the things which conservatives have (rightly) won a lot of support for is lowering people’s taxes — and it seems to run totally counter to that to turn around and say that we should raise taxes on the half of people who pay no income taxes currently.

    Finally, and this is the thing I feel most mixed about, giving people subsidies through tax credits is a very “clean” way of trying to help out those who earn less. On the face of it, it seems like we shouldn’t throw money at people who don’t ask for it, and I find that argument persuasive in some ways. But on the flip side, the various forms of subsidy that people go down and apply for often end up reinforcing bad behavior and penalizing the hard working poor who don’t ask for help. They also lend themselves to all sorts of nanny state interference where bureaucrats say, “We’ll help you buy food, but only if you buy these things,” etc. In this sense, if we’re going to help people through financial subsidies, it seems to me that doing so through something like the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit in some expanded and more frequent form would actually be more conservative and less prone to government abuse than most of the other modes of assistance which are pushed.

  • I have heard that the idea behind the earned income tax credit was to reimburse lower income workers for their payroll tax contributions. It is a reasonable goal, but I do not believe we should completely erase a citizen’s entire tax obligation. I think it changes the relationship between the citizen and the government in an undesirable way.

    I also question if it is really true that most everyone actually has a tax liability. I know that my anecdote is not data, but for tax year 2010 I paid $0 income tax, ~$2900 payroll tax, and received ~$6200 in a “tax refund.” Now we have three children and one income, so that might change the math, but I do not consider us low income. We do not have a lot of budget leeway, but we are definitely not poor. If I make as much as I make and still get that kind of money from the government, how much more are other people getting?

    We also qualify for reduced lunch at school, but I do not take that government money. I can afford to feed my daughter lunch! The difference is to receive that benefit, I would have to fill out a form that basically declares I need the government’s help to feed my children. That declaration would be a falsehood so I do not fill out the form and no one requires me to do it. However I am required to file taxes, so, even though I do not *need* the money, I take all the deductions and credits I am allowed and get a fat check. It definitely feels like dirty money, and yet I take it anyway. I’m not sure what that says for my moral fortitude.

    I agree it is politically untenable. I hear folks calling the talk shows complaining about those ‘no-goods’ that don’t pay taxes and I wonder how many of the complainers actually pay income taxes themselves. Odds are that 50% do not.

    I understand your thought that the earned income tax credit helps the people who would not ask for help. I am a prime example of that logic. I would be more sympathetic to it if the country were not driving off the debt cliff. It is a moral hazard to set up government assistance through programs–be it from manipulative citizens or nanny state bureaucrats–but we cannot afford to allow 50% of the country to free ride anymore.

  • I hear what you say, Darwin, but don’t think I fully agree. Social security is basically a pay as you go defined benefit retirement plan. Folks receive retirement benefits imperfectly based on what they contributed to the pot during their working life. In truth the plan is a hybrid — part retirement plan and welfare plan since those who pay in the maximum get a bad deal while those who pay in smaller amounts (i.e., low and moderate income earners) get a good deal. I don’t think these taxes can fairly be characterized as contributions to the common good, which is a different pot altogether, except perhaps in part the taxes paid by those who consistently contribute the maximum since they are subsidizing others.

  • Mike,

    Fair point. I guess I tend to look on Social Security as being more of a welfare program conveniently masquerading as a defined benefit retirement plan — but I readily admit this is in part a result of my own crank-iness.

    In all honestly, I’m not sure I fully buy the “tax credit as reimbursement for payroll tax” argument, especially as there’s not a fixed relationship between the two. Few people end up getting more subsidy via income tax then they pay in payroll tax, but I’m sure that some do, and my support for the idea of using refundable tax credits in place of other forms of subsidy isn’t necessarily related to the amount of subsidy being less than one has paid in payroll taxes. On the other hand, I think one of the problems with this approach, though it appeals to me in other ways, is that offends people’s common sense. And that’s not something to be taken as lightly as many policy wonks seem to think.


    Fair points. I don’t remember comparing how much I got back via income taxes to my payroll taxes, but I do definitely recall that 7-8 years ago when we had two kids and our family income was under 50k we got back about a thousand dollars on our tax return more than we’d paid in. And I think the child tax credits are higher now than they were then. Things were tight (given we lived in California and paid the sort of rents one can expect there) but I certainly didn’t consider us “poor” and would never have applied for government aid.

    This, actually, is my main source of self questioning as I’ve come to see the refundable tax credit as a better way of applying government subsidies than traditional welfare programs: it’s simple and fair, sure, but back when I actually qualified for that kind of thing it drove me up the wall and I was firmly in the camp of thinking that everyone should pay at least some taxes. I’m not really comfortable with the fact that this is something I’ve only come to like the idea of as my income has increased, though I’m not sure if this is the result of cause and effect or just that I’ve got into reading a lot of economic policy analysis over the last decade.

  • I agree it is politically untenable. I hear folks calling the talk shows complaining about those ‘no-goods’ that don’t pay taxes and I wonder how many of the complainers actually pay income taxes themselves. Odds are that 50% do not.

    Some numbers here. 47% of households have no “liability”– they can claim deductions sufficient to only be paying SS and Medicare tax; those who hit the black when you include their side of the payroll taxes is half that. (still depressing, but not as much)

    Things to keep in mind is that this is a matter of HOUSEHOLDS– from memory, being married and being a bit older are both things are associated with being conservative, and one of the major causes of poverty in children is being a single mother; it’s very believable that those calling in are paying taxes, contributing, etc, even if the “50%” statistic would imply otherwise.
    Oh, that reminds me– some of those “households” might be college kids of the sort that I went to high school with– they’re on every program possible, are supported by their parents and get part-time jobs while they’re in college basically so they can game the system. (I didn’t really realize this until one mentioned the free birth control program for Washington State was being “threatened.” Guess I should’ve known, almost everyone at the school was on reduced lunch, even though my family was one of the lower income ones!)

  • I will attribute your changing opinions to reading economic policy rather than the pity you have for us down the income chain. 😛

    If our goal is to help those who would not normally ask for help, we could keep the credits if we dramatically cut the income requirements to get the credits. For tax year 2011 you can still get a credit with an AGI of $50,270. That’s adjusted income higher than the country’s gross median. This is pure insanity.

    I do not mind government subsidies helping the poor and even those teetering on the edge, but that is not our current policy. We are throwing money at solidly middle class people who would never ask for the money on their own. We cannot afford to do it anymore.

  • I will attribute your changing opinions to reading economic policy rather than the pity you have for us down the income chain.

    Thanks. 😉 I guess what makes me mildly suspicious of myself is that I’m pretty sure that my 25-year-old self would have thought my 33-year-old self is just out of touch. And while having five kids and large old house adds a lot of responsibility, compared to two kids and a tiny new house, I can’t help wondering if my 25-year-old self was right at a gut level.

    I do not mind government subsidies helping the poor and even those teetering on the edge, but that is not our current policy. We are throwing money at solidly middle class people who would never ask for the money on their own. We cannot afford to do it anymore.

    There I think you get at the heart of the matter. Middle class voters turn out much more reliably, so I think both parties have been a party to buying off the middle class by cutting taxes very, very low for many of them, without actually helping those desperately in need all that much. To the extent this has resulted in virtually putting the middle class on welfare, that’s a big problem. That kind of help should be reserved for those who desperately need it. (Perhaps part of the problem is that a lot of these beltway types imagine that making 50k is “poor” when it fact it’s the median income out here in real America.)

  • Excellent comments, Darwin and Jenny.
    It seems to me that one persistent theme, even if perhaps somewhat subtextual, is the unwillingness of our elected officials to be truthful about the *character* of government benefits. It is true that social security is in part a welfare program. As long as its dominant characteristic, however, is that of a defined benefit retirement program, the welfare component remains disguised. Many Americans are comfortable with this, including those who don’t want to admit that they are receiving welfare (i.e., those whose payouts compare favorably to their contributions) as well as those who view welfare as social *justice* rather than taxpayer *charity* — the latter frankly bristle at the word.

    When we employ tax credits, especially refundable tax credits, all too often they are not properly understood as welfare when they may well be exactly that . This is particularly true of refundable credits to compensate for social security contributions that are conceptually and financially necessary to fund future retirement benefits. This is no accident. Politicians do not want to wound the pride of their voting base. Truth is the victim.

  • St. Warren’s secretary’s tax rate is huge but not because we evil rich S.O.B.’s don’t pay a high enough taxes.

    St. Warren’s virtuous, long-suffering secretary’s taxes are about to become even more onerous. And, he will not raise her salary to cover the harsh increases in food and fuel prices he (profiting for the keystone denial) and Obama (raising fuel costs to get green votes) are laying on working class Americans.

    At least he hasn’t laid her off, yet.

  • In my view, the “everyone should pay some taxes” idea leads inevitably to bigger government for two reasons:

    1) If everyone had to pay something in taxes, the poor would have to rely more on welfare programs like food stamps, Medicaid, etc.

    2) To be politically viable, marginal rate cuts have had to be coupled with rate cuts across the board. But if you aren’t allowed to cut anyone’s taxes to zero, then you very quickly end up with a situation where you can’t cut taxes for a large segment of the American population. So no more tax cuts.

  • Thank you Darwin Catholic!!

  • BA,

    I think it is wrong to tax away anyone’s necessities or ability to pay for necessities. To the extent what we call the “poor” includes this group then I think we should not tax them. If we accomplish this by taxing and then paying rebates, that is fine with me — such an approach arguably has the virtue of greater transparency — i.e., truthfulness.

    The idea that almost one-half of American households should not contribute to the common good is untenable. Aside from those whose necessities are at stake, all should contribute to the common good, even if in varying amounts computed at graduated rates.

  • Annual income = $27K
    Taxes (state + local) = 29%
    Single tax rate

  • St. Warren is correct! Among Obama aides, 36 owe $833,000 in back taxes.

    Taxes are for the little people.

    Salary of St. Warren’s secretary: $200,000 to $500,000.
    Her second home with pool in AZ: $144,000.
    Playing prop for Obama lies: Priceless!

  • Why not ditch the income tax all and all? One of the things I like about the flat tax is that it removes the gov’ts power to tinker on income, and– in theory– would cut down on the amount of work needed to keep track of all that information.

    Total pie-in-the-sky, since the entire setup is built around federal knowledge of exactly how much and where your money comes from, but I can dream….

  • Foxfier,

    I accept your point about the audience make up of conservative talk shows, but it is likely that many getting welfare tax refunds do not realize it is happening. It is easy with tax prep software and companies do think that your refund is just a refund. Unless you are knowledgeable about the tax code or do the math by your own hand, you may not realize you are getting back more than you paid, and I wonder how many of those are complaining.


    Here is the spot that your 33-year-old self has forgotten about your 25-year-old self:

    When you realize you are getting welfare from the government, it makes you feel poor. When you know you are not poor, but either someone else thinks you are poor or is trying to buy your vote, you get angry. When your finances are such that, even though you don’t really need it, it would be very foolish to turn down the money, you feel worthless.

    So you are now far enough away to see the wisdom in the overall policy without feeling the sting of having bribe money waved in your face.


    You are probably right that making everyone pay taxes would make more people dependent on government programs. Perhaps the real problem is the qualifications for these programs. The income requirements need to be severely cut back. The argument made by the current administration that nearly 50% of the country is poor and in need of assistance is laughable on its face.

  • Dulce taxatio inexpertis.

  • Worse yet. Consider Buffett’s motives for promoting a new tax on high income earners. He owns a significant stake in life insurance companies, which offer tax sheltering and avoidance strategies for the rich. The end result of his proposal? More clients, more revenue, more profits. And he’s since structured his assets that he wouldn’t even be effected. Just call him what he is: a corrupt crony capitalist lobbying for a law that he will substantially benefit from

  • Jenny-
    Maybe if you have a company where you just drop off your paperwork and they do it, but I just filled out our taxes this morning (With H&R Block! /advertisement) and blocks 2, 4 and 6 are really obvious– “Tax withheld.” When you look at the return before filing it, it lays it out: Federal withholding, EIC, additional child credit. The first one, natch, matches the “tax withheld” total.

    I’d be really, really hesitant to suggest that someone did not notice that they’re getting more back than they paid in; folks respond poorly to implications that they’re stupid.

    The argument made by the current administration that nearly 50% of the country is poor and in need of assistance is laughable on its face.

    Not half of the country– half of the households that file taxes. If I’m reading this right, the average individual income is $45,559. (I know, average, not median– yell at them!)
    I know I keep beating that same drum, but given how many more single-adult households there are these days, it’s important….

  • Foxfier,
    I don’t know about stupid, but certainly ignorant and lazy. Many people, including the college educated, are completely flummoxed about income taxes. This is exactly why outfits like H&R Block are in business. The vast majority of the returns the prepare as so simple a cave man could do it — but we live in a nation of people who don’t know the difference between income and a bank account — and that is just a fact.
    Ask any VITA volunteer.
    This is not to say that our income tax rules could not be made easier, but the complications are not really related to low income earners.

  • Mike-
    I helped do taxes when I was in the Navy; NONE of those folks were unaware of the difference between the amounts of their withholding and refunds, whatever way it tilted. True, that’s a select group– but so is the “Low-Income, Elderly, Disabled and Limited English” population! I’d suggest that the average IQ person does sort of what I did– used H&R because they make it so incredibly painless to do your taxes, even making efiling a matter of clicking the “next” button twice. (/advertisement)

    No volunteers needed.

    Heck, even my moron, thug former-brother-in-law could figure this stuff out, although he was gloating about “free money.”

  • Foxfier,

    I did not imply that people are stupid. I flat out said they do not pay attention. Since we are exchanging work experiences, I worked at a bank in the era before direct deposit for tax refunds became widespread. The rapid refund loan checks outnumbered treasury checks probably four to one. It is not hard to imagine that those people had no idea how much money they had actually paid in taxes.

    I’m not sure what you are suggesting by pointing out the average employee income is $45,559. Are you saying that is poor or not poor?

  • Jenny-
    You keep talking about “half the country” when you’re talking about tax paying households instead of individuals. I didn’t say it was poor or not, since income divorced from all other factors is a pretty cruddy way to figure out “poor”– what’s poor in Coronado, CA is not poor in, oh, Reno NV. I did find it interesting that the average individual income was so close to the median household income, which may hint at the root problem.

    You said:
    I accept your point about the audience make up of conservative talk shows, but it is likely that many getting welfare tax refunds do not realize it is happening. It is easy with tax prep software and companies do think that your refund is just a refund. Unless you are knowledgeable about the tax code or do the math by your own hand, you may not realize you are getting back more than you paid, and I wonder how many of those are complaining.

    I am not knowledgeable of the tax code, nor did I do my tax-math in my own hand, I just looked over the form as required and am not so dumb that I notice a thousand dollar difference. When you’re getting to that level of cash in your own pocket, it’s beyond “not paying attention.”
    As for treasury checks vs “rapid refund” ones, it’s hardly surprising that people are willing to pay to get money faster– especially with the well-known speed of government!
    I don’t know what the tax code was like for real households, but I remember when I first started working, I adjusted my deductions so that I didn’t get a check at the end of the year. If a dumb high school kid knew to do that, it probably wasn’t odd for adults who actually have to live on the money to do it.

  • Foxfier,

    I bring up the rapid refund checks not to point out that they wanted the money faster, but to say it is likely that these people indeed went to “a company where you just drop off your paperwork and they do it.” I understand that you are supposed to look over the return before signing, but a lot of people do not, which is why the ‘innocent spouse’ provision exists. We are also supposed to read the ‘terms and conditions’ on websites, but most people do not. It is in our nature to trust and accept what is presented to us at face value. And you do not give yourself enough credit for adjusting your withholdings in high school to avoid a refund. A lot of people prefer the check from Uncle Sam, not understanding it is a loan without interest.

    So, approaching half of tax filing households do not pay income tax and have been deemed ‘poor’ by the government. Is this a precise enough statement for you? Does it seem reasonable to you that half of tax filings are from poor households? I think the point you are making is that a married couple making 80K is counted as one household, but a divorced couple each making 40K is counted as two households. It does tip the numbers in the wrong direction.

    My argument is that 40K is not poor in the majority of the country and should not be treated as if it were. If the average individual income is ~45K in the richest country on earth, it would seem that 45K is not poor and yet our current government policy is that it is.

  • It isn’t being treated as “poor”– the IRS site says that the EITC is supposed to encourage low to moderate income folks to work; the child tax credit is for households that have under 100k/year to defray child costs.

    Basically, they’re not charity type things, they’re just straight social engineering– we want people to have kids, buy houses and have jobs. (Possibly vote buying too, but that’s neither here nor there.) I vaguely remember the EITC was partly because they figured out people had stopped working because going over some amount would leave them with less in their pocket. Nobody wants to take away a tax break, so there are layers and layers of incentives… no wonder the “burn it all and build over” approach is getting so popular.

    Speaking of being deemed poor by the gov’t, I’m sure you’ve seen those surveys on what the average “poor” have… the government is simply not set up to effectively figure out what constitutes poor, even before you look at the whole twisted incentives thing!

    I think the point you are making is that a married couple making 80K is counted as one household, but a divorced couple each making 40K is counted as two households.

    And a woman who is not married and gets either formal child support or under the counter support (what’s it called, the “gray” economy?) is going to have low on-paper income, and both parents in a divorce are going to have less chance to make money– it’s more likely to be something like an $80k household becoming two $35k households, or even less if it’s a nasty split and the non-custodial deliberately avoids making money to keep from being dinged for more.

  • I am very much in favor of burning it down and starting over, but I do not see much chance of that happening as long as the government promotes the idea that 45K is ‘low-income.’ It may be driven by social engineering goals, but we cannot afford these delusions any longer.

  • Oh, goodie, yet another yard-stick– median income for a family of four. $67k for ’08.

    Assuming that the definition of “low income” is constant, low income is 60% of the state median or 150% of poverty, whichever is higher. The bottom third is a defensible definition of “low income”….

    That said, the USAToday article looks like a re-heating of this sort of thing, with an amazing unwillingness to wonder why nobody is hiring when it became more expensive to do so and there’s the whole unknown upcoming regulations factor….

  • Darwin – Where is the exact quote that you are calling a lie? Did Warren Buffett state that he paid a lower tax rate than the average tax rate of the middle class? And did he also define middle class in terms of a dollar income range? It is not at all unbelievable that the secretary to the richest man in the world (she probably is a well paid secretary but still arguably in the middle class) would pay a tax rate higher than 17%. We don’t know what rate she paid so how can you say he is lying?


    Buffet himself declares that he pays a 17.4 percent rate on taxable income. His staff, like Bosanek, pay an average of 34 percent. The IRS publishes detailed tax tables by income level. The 2009 results show that the average taxpayer paying Buffet’s 17.4 rate earns an adjusted gross income between $100,000 and $200,000. But an average taxpayer in Bosaneck’s rate (after downward adjustment for payroll taxes) earns an adjusted gross income of $200,000 to $500,000. Therefore Buffett must pay Debbie Bosanke a salary well above two hundred thousand.

  • Thanks for the article Foxfier. I don’t see a lie here. Even if the secretary does make between 200k and 500k it still speaks to the point Obama is making. Warren made AGI of $62 million and paid 17% tax rate and the secretary made up to 500k and paid a higher tax rate. Why can someone who lives off of his great-great-grand-daddy’s fortune pay a lower rate than someone who actually works? (I undertand Warren actually made his fortune but his kid didn’t and his great-great-great grand kids wont be able to say the same.)

  • Toll:

    Buffett’s secy paid a tax rate becuase unlike Buffett she could not elect to not pay herself and cash in long term capital gains.

    Buffett paid taxes on the long term capital gains rate, which is 15%. He elected to not be pay himself a salary of $6,000,000 because he knew he would pay 39% income tax on most of it. Buffett has control over his company pay. His secy does not.

    It’s the tax code and Buffett playing with it.

    In fact, Buffett’s companies are in tax court because he refuses to pay billions in federal taxes. Buffett’s LT cap gains are the chief profiteers in Obama’s ban of the Keystone oil pipeline.

    Pharaoh and Buffett are lying. And, you, Toll, are a pharaoh-worshiping ignoramus.

  • John Toll,

    What I’m calling a lie here is comparing two completely different tax rates: the top marginal rate and the effective tax rate.

    Buffet it talking about his effective tax rate, which given that he pays himself a salary well below market rates for a successful CEO and takes most of his income in the form of long term capital gains instead (a tax dodging tactic which certainly belies his claim to be concerned about the rich not paying their share). He’s probably also throwing in his payroll taxes, which don’t amount to much since they only apply to his salary and not to his millions in investment income. This is how he gets his effective tax rate of 17.4%. He is not, however, including the impact of corporate taxes on his investment income. Arguably, he should, because corporate taxes come out of corporate profits before profits are distributed to investors, and corporate taxes reduce the profitability of a company and thus reduce it’s market capitalization. If you looked at the effect of corporate taxes on his income, his effective tax rate is arguably more like 30-40%.

    Now comes what I very strongly believe is straight up deception: Obama claim’s that while Buffet pays 17.4% in taxes, his secretary pays 35.8% in taxes. Here’s the thing: the top income tax rate is 35%. There is absolutely no way that she can be paying an effective income tax rate of 35.8% percent, because no one pays that much in income tax.

    Now, the way I think they’re getting to this deceptive number is by taking her top marginal income tax rate which could be anywhere from 25% to 35% and adding to that some amount of her payroll taxes.

    However, her actual effective tax rate is doubless below Buffet’s. According to Congressional Budget Office data (linked to in the post) the top 5% of earners pay an average effective income tax rate of 17.9%. Those are people earning $326,100 to $457,400. So even if Buffet’s secretary is making 300k+, he effective tax rate is no higher than his. It is absolutely not 35.8% as is claimed, that’s pretty much impossible. Even if she had no mortgage, no kids and no charitable donations and made over a million a year, her effective tax rate (even including payroll taxes) could not total an effective rate of 35.8% of her gross income. It’s just not possible.

    And it’s because Obama (and Buffet) and choosing to be so blatantly deceptive in their claims that I’m calling it (accurately, I think) “a lie”.

  • It would not surprise me if the President was unaware of any deception. I doubt he is a detail man.

  • I agree the phAresident is not being deceptive. He is fabricating that which supports the agends.

  • Hit “enter” my accident.

    I meant, “For the pharaoh, The truth is that which advances the agenda.”

  • In for a penny, in for a pound. Planting seeds of confusion and mistrust in the minds of his people he swore a oath to serve, he tends the growth of evil.

  • Pingback: Obama’s Phony Tax Reform | Libertarios of America

Gingrich 48-Obama 50: Remember Grant

Wednesday, January 25, AD 2012


The most recent poll by Gallup matching Newt Gingrich against Obama has Obama up by a whopping two points:  48-50.   This, after a week when Gingrich has had a concerted attack by ABC to take him out as a candidate after the Marianne Gingrich non-revelation that Newt cheated on her, as she had cheated with Newt while he was married to his first wife.  Gingrich has gained 4 points in the trial heat.

Of course polls of the general election at this point in a presidential election year don’t mean spit, as President Carter could attest, as he led Ronald Reagan, often by vast margins, in the trial heat polls almost all of the year in 1980.  I bring up this poll now to counter-act some of the “woe is us” commentary too often seen in GOP circles currently.  Obama has presided over a disastrous first term, and will likely go down to defeat in the fall.  All the signs are there.  To listen to some of the Republican caterwauling at the present time, one would think that Obama was a shoo-in for a second term.  He isn’t and I am getting tired of the doom and pessimism brought on by a perfectly normal contested presidential nomination race.  This reminds me of an event in the Battle of the Wilderness in May of 1864:

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4 Responses to Gingrich 48-Obama 50: Remember Grant

  • U. S. Grant was short for “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.

    Newt is a fighter. The country needs him.

    Anyone remember November 2010?

    Latest 0 approval rating was 44: worse than Ford and Bush 41, a tad above Carter.

    Obama must go.

  • I bring up this poll now to counter-act some of the “woe is us” commentary too often seen in GOP circles currently.

    Yesterday Mark Steyn subbed for Rush. Not only is Steyn the best co-host, he is sometimes a more enjoyable listen than El Rushbo himself. After about forty minutes I had tot turn him off because it was non-stop “oh these guys are so terrible” navel gazing. He’s not entirely wrong, but the GOP electorate have been behaving like a bunch of ninnies lately.

  • To listen to some of the Republican caterwauling at the present time,

    I see you read Peter Lawler’s blog too.

  • Never have Art, although I will now!

3 Responses to Barry Soetoro Live!

  • I’m sorry!

    I watched three consecutive hours of “Big Bang Theory” episodes. They also were fictions and reruns.

    At least I don’t cry while watching TV physicist farce.

  • Too tired … saw the Capitol Bldg. on Mon. afternoon which fell between two nights riding on a bus, but there were tears this am during the conversion of St. Paul and Jesus sending the eleven readings at church. Wish our deficit spending were as cute as the one in the picture.

  • To be fair, each POTUS since Mr Reagan, and the several Congresses then and now are to take their share of blame for the current mess. One would hope that adding debt for the heck of it, borrowing to pretend, and relying on Keynesian economics will be buried in the same deep hole once the nation digs itself out of the debt. This cartoon is an example of the old cinema days when they showed a humourous short film after a deadly serious longer one.

Confessions of a Reluctant Romney Supporter

Tuesday, January 24, AD 2012

I haven’t written much of anything about the GOP primary contest, despite the fact I have been following it closely, in part because I found myself so incredibly dissatisfied with all the candidates. However, as the field narrows and appears to be actually competitive, and various people I respect line up behind candidates, it seemed like it was time to come out of the closet as something I’m not very enthusiastic about being: a Romney supporter.

This is not because I’m particularly fond of Romney. I don’t trust him a great deal, I’m not clear how solid any of his principles are other than his conviction that he should be president, and I don’t find him particularly inspiring. As various candidates have had their five minutes of popularity for the achievement of not being Romney, I kept hoping that one of them would manage to pull ahead and show some stature. I was particularly hopeful about Rick Perry, but he just didn’t seem able to run a campaign.

So why support Romney?

I’ll start with the positive. While I’m not enthusiastic about Romney, I think that most of what the GOP needs in order to oust Obama this year is simply a credible alternative who doesn’t scare people too much. Given how bad the economy is and how unpopular some elements of his policy have been, “not Obama” can be a solidly popular candidate by that virtue alone.

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30 Responses to Confessions of a Reluctant Romney Supporter

  • I think Romney has a glass jaw Darwin. Of all the Republican candidates, except for Ron Paul (R. Pluto), I think he stands the best chance of being beaten by Obama. He gives every sign of conducting the same lifeless, passive campaigns that Dole and McCain ran. Your support of Romney also typifies Romney’s problem: even his supporters are very tepid about him. I will vote for him if he is the nominee, but the only reason I can think for doing so is that he would be the Not Obama in the race. This year that may be enough, but that is a frail reed to base an election on.

  • Yeah, I guess my fear is that Gingrich will on alternate days have a nitroglycerine jaw and no jaw at all. Heck, if we were okay with a flaky philanderer for our nominee why couldn’t we stick with Herman Cain? At least he didn’t have the bad congressional history and we could have pizza at all the campaign events.

    If Santorum were the one polling equal to or above Romney, and if either Santorum or Gingrich weren’t doing a lot worse in the general election polling, I’d be moderately happy to support Santorum. But although I’d reluctantly support Gingrich if he wins the nomination (which is perhaps more than I could say for Ron Paul) I have to admit I’d prefer Romney at the top of the ticket to Gingrich. (Kind of the way I supported Dole over Buchanan.)

  • Gingrich’s personal life is despicable, at least it was during his first two marriages. However thus far in this campaign he has shown a talent for coming back from the political dead, twice, and going off the script. The script I am referring to is that Republican candidates are supposed to be deferential to a media that despises them and their supporters, and that they are supposed to adopt a defensive crouch towards their ideological adversaries. I fear that is a script that Romney will faithfully follow if he is the nominee. I would much prefer it if Santorum were the one with a chance of beating Romney, but I think that ship has not only sailed, but sunk.

  • Now I think about it, I think my preference is based on one other expectation: Obama is clearly going to run one of the most viciously negative campaigns in recent memory. There will be no more of the hopey changey drivel we got last time — even his own base doesn’t believe it any more. So instead we’ll get one of the lowest and nastiest campaigns ever.

    There are, I guess, two ways to go after that. One is to put in someone like Gingrich who will fight back tooth and nail. The other is to go for someone like Romney who will try to do the teflon routine and brush it off with a, “You’re saying that because you’re a failure. Now are we going to move on and get the economy together or are we going to focus on looking for scapegoats for the next four years?”

    My instinct is that the latter will work better — though my crystal ball is no more functional than any other, so we’ll see what happens.

  • I’ve been pleased by how much emotion I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks. The line on 2012 was that it was going to be uninspiring, but people have suddenly become passionate about the race. And it’s still nine months away.

  • We are in agreement on the type of campaign Obama will run. We disagree on the best response to it. If Romney goes with the “above it all” routine he will be lucky if all of his kids vote for him as he goes down in flames. Negative campaigning is effective, and being passive to it is normally a one way ticket to political oblivion.

  • As to the feeling that the choices were weak this time around, I think that both Clinton and W did a poor job of developing the farm team. Reagan did a great job in that area, making appointments and supporting candidates who went on to become leaders. It’s not just about the so-called “team of rivals”, which doesn’t necessarily work anyway (it didn’t even work particularly well for Lincoln). It’s also about giving the rookies a chance to shine. During the past year people have been talking about their list of candidates who didn’t run (Palin, Rubio, Christie, etc.). A lot of those names are newbies. The reason that newbies are getting so much attention is because there isn’t a strong group of established politicians, the people who would have been newbies 10-20 years ago.

  • Romney consistently polls best against Obama in head to head match-ups, he has better favorable/unfavorable ratings than Gingrich, his implied electability on Intrade is higher, and of course he doesn’t have Newt’s history of blow-ups. Why anyone would think Gingrich is more likely to beat Obama is beyond me.

    If Jeb Bush or Mitch Daniels got in I would be thrilled. But I don’t see that happening.

  • “Why anyone would think Gingrich is more likely to beat Obama is beyond me.”

    Because he knows how to attack BA rather than to simply stand there and be a punching bag which seems to be Romney’s chief political skill. That and attempting to run to the left of his Democrat adversaries on social issues, which is a tactic he employed in both 1994 and 2002. Of course, now he is a changed man. (At least until the next shift in the political wind.)

    If pre-election polls were the determinging factor in who should be the Republican candidate than George Bush should have been the nominee instead of Reagan in 1980, since he normally polled stronger against Carter. As a matter of fact, Carter polled 10 points ahead of Reagan in the poll taken just before the October 28 Reagan-Carter debate when Reagan aggressively mopped the floor with Carter. Reagan went on to win by nine points. The rejoinder is that Gingrich is no Reagan. True, although Reagan was no Reagan until he put away a President he had trailed in almost all the polls the entire year.

  • I could understand holding one’s nose and voting for Romney in the General Election because one sees him as the better of two bad alternatives. I disagree with it, and won’t do it myself, but I understand it.

    But I just cannot understand actually supporting him in the primary. Fortunately, Darwin, Sarah and I will be more than happy to cancel out your vote in the Ohio Primary.


  • Romney consistently polls best against Obama in head to head match-ups, he has better favorable/unfavorable ratings than Gingrich, his implied electability on Intrade is higher, and of course he doesn’t have Newt’s history of blow-ups. Why anyone would think Gingrich is more likely to beat Obama is beyond me.

    That’s basically my thinking. If there was a candidate out there who I thought people would love if only they could get a better look at him, I’d be happy to support someone on that basis who didn’t yet poll well. But other three who have made it this far I like even less than Romney. Which is what leaves me supporting him.

  • Drew over at Drew Musings explains why he is backing Gingrich:

    “In the end, I’ve settled on Newt Gingrich.

    It’s been a long journey and the final choice I’ve come to represents a compromise on my ideal choice to fight the battle against Barack Obama.

    Originally I wanted a bland conservative who was plausible to most voters as a reasonable option to be President. I wanted the election to be a referendum on Obama with the GOP offering a solid, if not spectacular alternative. A Sanford/Pawlenty/Daniels type would have kept the focus where it belonged…on Obama.

    Some will argue that Romney is in this mold. I don’t think so. His wealth and more importantly his lack of basic political skills makes him to easy for Democrats (Obama, pundits and “reporters’) to caricature. He simply hasn’t shown the ability to take a bunch and drive the narrative.

    Failing that I figured we’d have a battle of ideas. If we can’t make it about Obama, then we damn well needed a big time personality to make the most pro-conservative case possible. I saw Christie and Perry as the best options for this kind of fight. Sadly, Christie didn’t run and Perry was simply incapable of carrying the fight to anyone, let alone Obama.

    Again, some will say that Romney could do this. His lack of conservative accomplishments, his record of bashing long held conservative beliefs and his lousy political skills (he can’t sell capitalism to GOP primary voters!), make the idea of Romney The Ideological Warrior a joke.

    That leaves us with the fight we have…going toe-to-toe with Obama in a long, hard, slog. It’s going to be hard to unseat a sitting President under the best of conditions and this election isn’t going to be that. What Newt brings to the table is what a heavyweight fighter always brings to the ring…a puncher’s chance. No, Newt isn’t going to win the election with a big line at a debate but over the course of a 6-8 month fight, Newt will land plenty of big blows on Obama on policy, record and rhetorical grounds. That combination will generate something that was missing for the GOP last time… real excitement in the base. The question is will he be able to pick up enough swing voters along the way? I think (hope) there are enough that are fed up with the bill of goods Obama sold them last time that Newt can make Obama too unattractive to support again while seeming to be a reasonable option himself.

    Gingrich will take a lot of shots in return but unlike Romney, he’s shown over and over again an ability to get back up and start swinging again. Yes, Newt’s been knocked out before and fought some losing fights but if he’s going to go down to Obama, he’s going to bloody him on the way out. He just might be able to knock Obama out before he falls himself.

    I just don’t see on what grounds Romney has any policy or political advantage over Obama.

    It’s not an ideal way to fight this battle but I think Newt’s way is the best chance we have.”

  • I agree with Darwin. I do enjoy Newt’s combativeness, but his most recent debate response regarding Marianne’s interview was nothing more than an egotistical outburst that bordered on pathological. It is exceedingly difficult to listen to and unpack this statement and still believe that Newt has any true remorse for his callous behavior. I fear he is not only an egomaniac of the highest order, but he is horribly deficient when it comes to basic human empathy. And his ideas are half-baked. Some may be worth baking to completion, others plainly not, but he lacks the patience to drill down and finish the job. I’d still probably vote for him over Obama.

    Santorum’s principled social conservatism is admirable and attractive. I think he is also a genuinely decent man. Unfortunately, I think he is not only unelectable, he is also incapable of effectively governing a nation that sadly does not share his his passion on social issues. That would take a leader with with exceptional persuasive abilities, and I don’t see that in Santorum.

    Paul is just weird. Deep inside I do think he still worries about the Trilateral Commission and is only partially convinced that 9/11 wasn’t an inside job.

    Romney is more technician than idealogue, which is why he is so at sea when it comes to articulating abstract ideas and his own beliefs. I think he governed center-left in a hard left state, and I think he would govern center-right in a center-right nation. I do think he would appoint conservative judges, though perhaps not as reliably conservative as Santorum.. I also think that Romney is a decent man and an adult who is capable of self-restraint and self-discipline, something I don’t think applies to Gingrich. Like Darwin, I am comfortable supporting Romney, even if not enthusiastic.

  • And that’s why the GOP establishment will keep shoving guys like Romney down our throats … because we’ve proven time and again that we’ll throw over good, decent pro-life candidates like Santorum and, in the end, support whatever pro-abort RINO stiff gets the nomination.

    Please don’t take the foregoing as a harsher criticism than what it is meant to be. But it is frustrating for me to see a couple of gentlemen for whom I have the utmost respect and with whose poltical instincts I generally concur, take this line.

  • No worries, Jay. I appreciate your frustration and admit that my calculus could be incorrect. Basically, my number one issue is abortion specifically and life generally. That said, trying to advance that agenda involves more than simply identifying the candidate whose believes are most in accord with mine. More precisely it involves identifying the candidate who is most likely to actually make progress on this issue, and that is a function not only of my assessment of (i) his priorities and beliefs but also my assessment of (ii) his likely efficacy. While I think Santorum is considerably stronger on (i), I think Romney is much stronger on (ii), especially since I do not think Santorum can defeat Obama in November. I am very much a pragmatist. I have little interest in supporting a candidate who I believe would work hard to advance the pro-life cause if I think he will neither really get that opportunity nor would be able to be successful if he did. My gut tells me that a Romney administration would be much more pro-life than Obama’s, and that he would favor conservative jurists who are skeptical of Roe. That is not perfect, but it is good insomuch as it is better than Obama — and I am not prepared to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
    All that said, I realize that this calculus is almost entirely prudential, and I could just be flat out wrong.

  • Here’s my present voting stance:

    1) Santorum
    2) Gingrich
    3) Romney (holding my nose)

    …Ron Paul NEVER!


  • If pre-election polls were the determinging factor in who should be the Republican candidate than George Bush should have been the nominee instead of Reagan in 1980

    I don’t say they are the determining factor in who should be the nominee, but they are an indication of who is more likely to win a general election. That Reagan ended up winning against Carter doesn’t change that fact.

  • A rather poor indicator at this time in a Presidential election cycle BA. After the conventions they have greater validity, although even then they need to be taken with a boulder of salt as demonstrated by the Reagan example. I believe the majority of polls in the first week of September of 2008 showed McCain ahead of Obama.

  • “…Ron Paul NEVER!”

    Agreed WCC!

  • It’s not conservative vs. moderate vs. liberal. It’s about the credentialed eiltes whose world views separate them from us. Seems they get upset when knuckle-draggers, such as myself, rise up on our hind legs and get in the way of their choices.

    Them there conservative elites didn’t excoriate Palin because she was liberal or moderate. They feared and loathed Sarah because she is not one of them.

    Newt will fight. He is from Mars.

    Santorum hasn’t shown any fight. He is from Venus.

    Romney is afraid or ashamed of himself. So, he can’t counter-punch. He is from Uranus.

    Paul and libertarians are worse than liberals. They are from Jupiter: could not be more stupider.

    Anyhow, Obama is at 44% approval rating. That’s down from 47% in second year; 57% first year; and 69% approval Inauguration.

    Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush had better polling numbers at similar dates in their failed re-election runs. Carter was slightly worse. I can’t understand that last one.

  • If Ron Paul (R. Pluto) gets the nominee, I’m going third party.

    As for Jay’s comments, I luv it! Romney is just another H.W.Bush/Dole/McCain clone that leaves me reaching for a swig of whiskey and a revolver.

    I want Santorum and he’s getting better in the debates.

    I could vote for Gingrich and hope he lands several debilitating punches to forever render Obama the worst president ever.

    I’d vote for Romney, if there were no one else and pray for a quick eight years to go by quickly.

  • Can anybody name a candidate for national office whose winning campaign strategy against an incumbent was to build a majority out of reluctant supporters?

  • Darwin:

    Santorum actually strikes me as a strongly principled social conservative, and in some ways I do like him, but I just don’t see him as having the executive presence to lead the nation or to succeed against Obama onstage.

    Mike Petrik:

    I think he is not only unelectable, he is also incapable of effectively governing a nation that sadly does not share his his passion on social issues. That would take a leader with with exceptional persuasive abilities, and I don’t see that in Santorum.

    You did not ask, but I tell anyway. I would not bother too much about handicapping candidates in this manner. The electorate can be highly tolerant of a considerable swath of characters if ambient conditions take a certain form. You will recall that in 1980 the country elected a man who had (eleven years earlier) been literally alone among the country’s governors on important policy questions. You will recall that three years ago the country elected a man who had been, just four years earlier, sitting in the Illinois legislature. Unlike Barry Goldwater or George McGovern, Mr. Santorum has been road-tested on a large and diverse electorate. His stance on the issues is pretty much what is modal among Republicans, just more emphatically stated. He will do as a candidate. His real deficiency is a deficit of preparation: no background as an executive and a truncated career in the private sector.

    Which brings us to what the problem is. The country needs to climb out of the hole it is in over the next four or five years. That will require instituting a combination of budget cuts and tax hikes. The latter is not admitted by Republican pols generally and quite a number may be perfectly sincere for all that. Mr. Romney’s utility (aside from an absence of distractions in his life like Marianne Ginther Gingrich) is that when he denies an intent to seek a tax increase, he is among the candidates the most likely to be lying. He also has experience presiding over restructurings. That will be useful.

    In effect, we are reduced to the hope that Mr. Romney will be much like the elder George Bush: a cheesy candidate but not a cheesy President. Wish things were different….

  • Art, you may be right. But I would note that I voted for Ronald Reagan. Twice. Rick Santorum is no Ronald Reagan.

  • Rick Santorum is no Ronald Reagan.

    Per David Stockman, Ronald Reagan was, a good deal of the time, daft. I have seen no indication that that is true of Mr. Santorum. (It is true of Michelle Bachmann, alas). So, yes, he is no Ronald Reagan.

  • David Stockman calling Ronald Reagan daft is like a turtle calling an eagle slow poke. Stockman should have been fired by Reagan after his Atlantic article in December 1981. One of Reagan’s faults is that he always was too kind hearted to mendacious mediocrities like Stockman, who was lucky to avoid a jail cell after his tenure as CEO of Collins & Aikman during 2003-2005.

  • 1. Stockman is not a mediocrity; he is anything but daft.

    2. He was known (and likely still is) for bouts of compuslive honesty. Some of them were in the presence of William Greider, which was not particularly prudent;

    3. One of Stockman’s accounts concerned a questionnaire he forwarded to the President ca. 1983. It was an attempt to flesh out just what were the Presidents priorities and preferences with regard to federal expenditure. The President was fascinated with the questionnaire and budgeted time over several days to complete it. Stockman examined the answers and discussed the implications with the President, which were as follows: you get everything you want and we have $800 bn in deficits over the next five fiscal years. Mightn’t we consider requesting a tax increase? Reagan’s reply, “Now, David, it is deficit spending that is the problem….”.

  • I have to echo Micha Elyi’s comment: “Can anybody name a candidate for national office whose winning campaign strategy against an incumbent was to build a majority out of reluctant supporters?” And let me add to it: Can anybody name the last time the candidate running against an unpopular incumbent won by being bland, moderate and uncontroversial?

    Whoever the GOP nominates, the Democrats are going to ask the swing voters, “Granted that BHO hasn’t done a very good job, do you really want to replace him with this guy?” And if it’s someone the core can’t get excited about, you can’t expect the swing to get excited about him, either. Just being “not Obama” in the most literal sense possible isn’t enough; the not-Obama has to be clearly not Obama in terms of policy and philosophy as well as identity. Romney simply hasn’t convinced anyone outside his own camp that he’s anything but “kinda-sorta-not-Obama”. That’s not a recipe for success — if we’re not careful, someone’s gonna think we’re afraid of Obama. He’s not an 800-pound gorilla! And neither Santorum nor Gingrich are that scary! (Ron Paul, on the other hand ….) I think either one of these two could get the core whipped up enough to pull the swing to the right. Mitt simply isn’t that attractive. Let’s not vote scared.

  • Voting the lesser of evils is why we have had evils in government for so long. We call ourselves Christians and even Catholics but we do not have the faith the size of a mustard seed. God is Almighty and can do all things even put Rick Santorum in the White House. Only Santorum can lead America back to God and to being, once again, a Christian nation.

Brother Dan Doesn’t Like the March for Life

Tuesday, January 24, AD 2012

Most Catholic pro-lifers know the truth, and lament it, that if all Catholics in this country fought against abortion, the days of legalized abortion in these United States could be measured in months.  Alas, that is not the case.  Half the Catholics in this country routinely give their votes to the political party that is pledged to keep abortion legal, and many of these same Catholics routinely work against the pro-life movement.  Curious how that segment of Catholics was observing the March for Life, I wandered over to the National Catholic Reporter and read a post, read it here, which gave paeans of praise to a post, go here to read it and the comments,  by a Franciscan Brother, Daniel P. Horan, at his website, Dating God, explaining why he does not support the March for Life.  It so perfectly embodies the mindset among Catholics that has enabled abortion to remain legal for the past four decades that I decided it was worthy of a fisk.

There are indeed numerous reasons to withhold support for the so-called “March for Life.” I wish here to highlight three of the reasons that I have serious reservations about the annual ‘pilgrimage’ to Washington, DC, that draws thousands of well-meaning people, the young and the old alike.

Ah, come on Brother Dan, the use of the term “so-called” as an adjective to modify something that one does not approve of is so cliché.  You can certainly do better than that!

 Ah, but before I go further, I feel as though I need to qualify that last sentence. While the generational divide is usually traversed by a diverse representation of different ages and from idealistic youth and young adults to the more narrowly focused and opinion-concretized geriatric crowd, there is very little racial and ethnic diversity represented.

People on the left are as obsessed as any Ku Kluxer with skin color.  Intellectual diversity however, never seems to be of much concern to them.

Anticipating the likely unhappy responses in what will appear in the comment section below, I suppose it is necessary to acknowledge that there are indeed African-American, Latino/a and Asian women and men who arrive for the events of the annual pilgrimage.

Yeah, Brother Dan lots of ’em, a fact that you would know if you bothered attending the March.

However, their numbers reflect that category into which they are so blindly corralled in this country – a minority. The sea of protesters (and that is what they are) is overwhelmingly white and that is not an insignificant dimension of the event.  

Once again the obsession with race.  The marchers Brother Dan want to save all the unborn, no matter what their skin color.

Among the various reasons one might chose to omit him or herself from participation, I wish to highlight three: (a) the event’s moniker is incomplete at best and disingenuous at worst, (b) the mode of protest has proven ineffective, and, following the second point, (c) the ‘march’ and its related events is a self-serving exercise in self-righteousness, self-congratulatory grandstanding and disinterest in the most pressing matters of human rights and dignity in our world today.  

If stopping the slaying of the most innocent and defenseless among is not the most pressing matter of human rights and dignity in the world today, I wonder what is?  I am sure Brother Dan will enlighten us!

 To begin, I have no problem with people of faith taking a public stance against abortion.

Big of you Brother Dan!

You will never find me supporting abortion legislation nor encouraging those with and for whom I minister as a Roman Catholic cleric to support abortion.

Just casting aspersions from the side lines against those fighting against this manifest evil. 

I believe it is a legitimate issue against which, as a Christian and Roman Catholic, I feel should be a thematic feature of social transformation.

“A thematic feature of social transformation”, whatever the heck that is supposed to mean.

 However, it is not, at all, the most important issue, nor is it the single issue upon which Catholics – or anyone – should focus in an exclusive manner. 

Why not?  Most great evils in this world have been removed due to a single-minded focus upon a particular evil for a time.  The crusade against slavery in this country comes immediately to mind.

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61 Responses to Brother Dan Doesn’t Like the March for Life

  • Is Br. Hogan monastic?

    He certainly doesn’t seem to be afflicted by the realities of an active participation in this issue. Has he not heard of The Gabriel Project? The litany of links on the right of this page is broad enough that anybody who wishes can have as much useful information as could be digested.

    There are many of us in the Church who believe that all life is sacred – that euthanasia, war and capital punishment are also contrary to the teachings of Christ (a dead enemy cannot enjoy Christian fellowship with you, and a dead man can’t reconcile) – but we do not keep this as sine qua non for being anti-abortion; I personally bristle at Br. Hogan’s assertions.

    In any event, I hope somebody at the See sees his screed and gently reminds him of his commitment under Holy Orders to render unto God what is God’s and forget the rest.

  • Brother Dan thanks God that he is not like that taxpayer over there.

  • Er, tax collector.

    Sigh. Coffee time.

  • The tax collector analogy came to mind as I was reading his post Dale. My guess is that what he wrote probably passes for common wisdom in his circles which is a depressing insight into the state of too much of the Catholic Church in this country.

  • One of the more annoying rejoinders I have heard used against those who are pro-life is the assertion is that unless you are anti-everything-else listed in the seamless garment perspective you are a hypocrite, or else motivated by some deep seated anger against women. Even if you hold that all of the other issues usually listed in the seamless garment perspective carry equal moral weight, the last time I looked there are only 24 hours in a day, and most of us have lives that require us to work, care for children and family, and address other such minor diversions. Most people pick and choose their battles, and to suggest that one must devote equal amounts of time and energy to all these causes to maintain some sort of moral eqipoise is absurd.

  • Thank you for posting this, it is eye-opening. Man does he sound angry – can’t he just pop in Brother Sun and Sister Moon and chill out?

    Seriously though, does anyone know to which province Horan belongs? I’d like to know how they consider his viewpoints. While we live in a democracy, there is, or at least was, a discipline in religious orders when it came to statements like his in public forums. I apologize for coming across as naive about Franciscans. The Franciscans I know are Pro-Life (albeit they fixate on physical poverty over spiritual poverty, ironically) and would never hold forth in such a manner.

    I will strongly reconsider financial support of the Franciscans, which I have done in the past.

  • This type of story is one of the reasons that I have many protestant brothers and sisters questioning my faith and whether it is truly Christian. They wonder why clerics or clergy are allowed to make such statements publicly and are not censured or punished (may be a poor choice of words). I do not have a decent reply when they are making such a valid point. I pray that all those Catholics that are not following the church teachings reconsider and learn there faith and following its beliefs.

  • All I can wonder is when the last time Brother Dan was at the March, because he seems significantly out-of-touch with what goes on and the type of person who attends the March for Life.
    If Americans died at the rate of 3,000 daily from any other cause, you can bet we would want to fight that cause! We would vote based on that illness or natural disaster and its relief; we would have banners and posters to fight that reality; we would march. What is wrong with publicly denouncing the murder of literally thousands of our brothers and sisters daily with an annual protest?
    I’m a Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco; I’m pro-life, and I intend to educate the young to speak up in respect for life, especially the life of the unborn.

  • Br. Dan and Fr. Angelus aren’t about to let something so trivial as the “so-called pro-life movement” stand in the way of their devotion to the Democrat Party (and the praise from the “smart-set” Catholics that accompanies such devotion).

  • Richard-
    my husband asks me the same thing. Best thing I can answer is that the system is incredibly slow, and it requires that a long list of people do what they ought. (Misbehavior is reported to the cleric’s superior, they either talk to the guy or pass it up, lots of opportunities to repent and reform which means even more delay, lots of work to try to avoid driving out those that have been misled, trying to correct those who have weak or flawed formation without destroying them….)

    Even more depressing, although we don’t know exactly how many women die of abortion complications, I’d lay serious money that it’s more than the kids who die in association drop-side cribs (~13 a year–includes SIDS and jumping out to land on your head, etc) and yet, somehow, one is worthy of being banned and the other needs to be “protected.”

    Thankfully, the pro-death crowd is getting to the point of self-parody and it’s turning off some of those who have been manipulated into supporting it– I know of at least one “it’s a woman’s choice, it’s so tough, I can’t judge” type Catholic who’s now anti-abortion because of the Gosnell abortuary coverage. (Or un-coverage, since so much of the “compassion” argument depends on things being hidden.)

  • The National Catholic Reporter column mentioned “REASON” no less than five times in its short piece. Everybody else is unreasonable, and only they have the “REASON”, but they would not have “REASON” if their brain had been aborted and their tax dollars used to experiment on their aborted brain.

  • This past Sunday I taught my 7th grade CCD class all about abortion. I really wish I had this post so I could have read it to the kids. I wouldn’t have used names (so the kids wouldn’t be scandalized by this friar), but would have gone through the dialogue back and forth.

    The number of abortions occuring are staggering.

    I think it’s very important to teach our children early what the pro-abortion arguments are. How they try to confuse with words. So when one of our young impressionable kids hears it they can have that internal dialogue of “I already heard this and I know why it’s wrong” and are not swayed.

    Thank you for this post, I will be using in next year (with appropriate rewording for the age group) or even in a later class if the opportunity arises.

  • Before I continue reading (I am excruciatingly slow) it is extremely important to realize and accept that the MARCH FOR LIFE is the Constitutional First Amendment right to peaceable assembly to petition the government for redress, and if there were only one person attending, he would be a majority of one. I did so enjoy seeing all those persons expressing their freedom (and mine). and thinking WOW. And although I could not march, I got to see Nellie Gray and Chris Smith and Father Pavone. Thank God. Government does not have authentic authority to define the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, giving food to the hungry, to Terry Schiavo, or to dictate the will of God to God and to the people of God, when the person is constituted by his immortal soul and brought into existence. Government has no legal ability to redefine the human person by withholding the acknowedgement of his conscience. Government is establised to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our constitutional posterity, all future generations. Taxing citizens for obligations not fulfilled is extortion and taxation without representation. At least Brother Dan might have spoken up for some of our money, if not our life. Obama has subsummed all future generations as liabilities.

  • WK. Aiken: Capital punishment is the temporal punishment due to one found guilty of capital homicide and may be found in Acquinas’ just war theory. Only a person who has been rehabilitated may live. A truly repentant capital one murderer must expire with grief over his crime or his contrition is not perfect and society does not have to accept imperfect contrition or to enable the murderer to commit another homicide which will make society liable for the crime.

  • Donald R. McClarey:
    I am so glad you set Brother Dan straight on his path. Thank you.

  • Great fisk Don. That was one of the most uncharitable & condescending pieces of writing by a so-called Brother I have ever read! Plus, I made the mistake of reading the comments, ick. But I take heart; what his writing really means is that the March for Life does make a difference and hearts & minds are changing – odd that this bothers so-called Br. Dan.

  • Congressman Allen West (R. Florida), perhaps the most electrifying speaker at the March for Life this year:

  • Thank you Will, Mary, Chris and Lisa for your kind words. We will wage this fight for the protection of innocent life until we prevail, and when we do we can all remember those who lent a hand to help in the struggle. Those who sneered from the sidelines will be forgotten, the usual fate of those who stand idle while a great evil is afoot.

  • “While the generational divide is usually traversed by a diverse representation of different ages and from idealistic youth and young adults to the more narrowly focused and opinion-concretized geriatric crowd, there is very little racial and ethnic diversity represented. ”

    – ! – idealistic youth: Br., it is good that they exist and haven’t been drowned in misery and evil of opinions. There were many accompanied by parents, teachers, and priests (some of whom are becoming reality’s super heroes and, by example, teaching the Gospel).

    – ! – narrowly focused opinion- concretized geriatric crowd: This red flag of a phrase from a Franciscan brother is abomination. Who passed the law to begin this mess? Can’t resist saying it sort of takes one to know one.

    “I have heard numerous people, even those who avidly support the march, lament that the Vigil Mass has become more a “Who’s Who” of a sector of the American Catholic Church than it has the Eucharistic celebration it alleges to be.”

    – ! – Good thing for the American Catholic Church. Also, is this sentence an invitation to the evil of gossip.

    “Perhaps, just maybe, a single Samaritan or even a few might be among the crowd and stop to pick up the ignored and forgotten and left-for-dead issues that continue to threaten life and human dignity in our world.”

    “Binary” good/evil, “Binary” moral, Boutique issue.

    What could be the in-between of good and evil that you frightfully imply? Maybe, yesterday you missed the chance to see any Samaritans while you were in the boutique. It will be televised Sat. at 2:00.

  • Someone should tell Brother Dan there might have been more blacks at the March for Life if they hadn’t comprised the 60% of the abortions that have taken place since Roe v. Wade. On another note, how could Brother Dan know about the marchers’ self-congratulatory attitude unless he’d been given Divine permission to sit in judgment of them? Finally someone should tell him that if doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity, he’d probably want to avoid frequent confession.l

  • “Yet, innocence is a construct that has theological and ethical implications and characteristics that have been explored on this website as well as on the excellent WIT: Women in Theology website. I will not rehearse those discussions here.”

    Here’s a link to WIT. I haven’t checked but I suspect they might look upon the fetus as an unjust aggressor on a woman’s body.

  • I haven’t checked but I suspect they [Women In Theology] might look upon the fetus as an unjust aggressor on a woman’s body.

    Claiming the pre-born person one brought into existence – into a state of unvolitional bodily engulfment and dependence onto oneself – is an “unjust aggressor” mocks reality. Sure, someone might object that this has left a loophole that doesn’t rule out abortions in cases of rape. But that apparent opening (in the seamless garment?) is closed off by other moral prescriptions, including the obligations of charity.

    Still, someone might ignore charity and appeal to the State that this is a practical matter of the pre-born person being a trespasser. Well, we should not practice using the State’s authority to do harm to anyone presumed innocent. Mustn’t there be due process for a person accused of the crime of trespass? It seems to me a trial is required. And as a practical matter the State must wait until the person accused is competent to stand trial… yes?

  • I was not able to force myself through all his drivel. Made me nauseous. I simply cannot understand how the slaughter of a defenseless innocent child can be ho-hummed away. I know monumental injustice, intimately, but these are children burned to death or torn to shreds……

  • “Mustn’t there be due process for a person accused of the crime of trespass?”

    Indeed Michael. I have done many trespass cases and can recall not a one where the Defendant was executed.

  • My comment was tongue-in-cheek. However not so much for WIT:

    “First, it is for this reason that some moral theologians (including, I think, Cathy Kaveny on the Commonweal blog) have argued that the fetus could be thought of in some situations (such as the Phoenix case) as a materially unjust aggressor. It does not intend to attack the mother’s body in an unjust way, but it nonetheless is doing just that, for reasons out of its control. Thus the fetus would be in the same category as the starving but insane man who lunges at your head with a knife because he is convinced it’s actually a melon that sits atop your shoulders. Killing such a person could be said to constitute self-defense.

    Second, and of more interest to me in this post, is that formal innocence is not usually what we mean when we talk about a fetus being innocent. Rather, we mean innocent in the sentimental way that we call adorable animals and babies innocent (Augustine notwithstanding). We mean they are helpless, pitiable, and not [yet] mean beings who can insult us or harm us–and how could you be so cold-hearted that you’d kill such a creature? This kind of rhetoric automatically juxtaposes the innocent fetus with other kinds of people whom society (and a large portion of the pro-life demographic, judging from voting statistics) does not usually call innocent and finds generally threatening or disgusting: enemy soldiers, death row inmates, and worst of all in this discourse, the women who seek abortions in the first place. It is no coincidence, in my opinion, that the pro-life movement is often criticized for failing to care about just this kind of life outside the womb.”

  • It is no coincidence, in my opinion, that the pro-life movement is often criticized for failing to care about just this kind of life outside the womb.

    Well, of course not. If you can’t win on substance and facts, you have to fight by changing the subject and making stuff up.

  • ” because of the so-called innocence of the fetuses ”

    whats next brother Dan? Spokesperson for Planned Parenthood?

  • Are you sure that this “Brother Dan” and God are still dating??? I just wondered if they were perhaps on the verge of breaking up or something…telling post indeed. Thanks, Donald.

  • Richard,

    Having experienced Brother Dan’s in Chanceries and formation programs in several dioceses, I can say he truly believes he is carrying out God’s work. His type are possessed of a radical ideology formed of the sixties that reduces the Gospel to social issues. They pick from authentic Catholic Social teaching when it meets their needs – even shouting out “its infallible” when needed. Then turning their back upon authentic teaching when it doesn’t suit their ends.

    The “Seamless Garment” is a perfect example. It is used to manipulate others to accept that any opposition to raising the maginal tax rate or any govt. cuts is equal to supporting abortion.

    Of course if you take the thoughts of Brother Dan and Women in Theology such things are not the same. Opposing tax hikes is worse than aborting an “unjust aggressor.”

  • Phillip,

    Right. They think the Gospel says “You have this World. It’s all you have. You need to make it the best thou canst.” See Orwell’s essay on Gandhi. He knew you choose the worldly or the Spiritual. He does not say one is better. He says they are incompatible. And, he concludes the mildest liberal through the violent revolutionary has opted for the worldly.

    So, what if they kill 45,000,000 unborn, the dems are for making Heaven on Earth. And, that’s what it’s all about.

    And, they believe the rich and tax cuts for the rich steal from the undocumented migrants, poor unionized public school teachers, millionaire Federal bureaucrats, UAW workers of GM, 10,000 ACORN-clones, Willy Horton, and et al.

    And, it is working oh so according to plan: “People are hurting, and badly. The official unemployment rate may have fallen, slightly, but the real unemployment rate — the number of working-age Americans who aren’t working — rose from about 12% before the 2008 crisis, to about 23%, and hasn’t come down. That includes people who have retired early because they can’t find work, spouses who used to earn a second income but have gone back to homemaking because work isn’t available, self-employed people whose businesses have collapsed, young people who live in their parents’ basement because they can’t afford tuition and can’t find work. . . . Roughly one out of eight Americans who presumably want to work, and were working before 2007, can’t find work today.”

  • A good rule of thumb is, whatever the National Catholic Distorter says is good and reasonable, really isn’t.

  • His type are possessed of a radical ideology formed of the sixties that reduces the Gospel to social issues. They pick from authentic Catholic Social teaching when it meets their need

    Evidently he was born in 1982, grew up in Utica, N.Y., and got the first leg of his tertiary schooling at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y. Radicalism was certainly not something he would have absorbed from his social matrix.

  • “Radicalism was certainly not something he would have absorbed from his social matrix.”

    What social matrix would that be?

  • Lots of witty prose in the article and the comments. It’s unfortunate that most of it is scornful. If we could criticize in a more constructive fashion, wouldn’t we be more successful in the anti-abortion effort. We as Catholics should be leaders in this domain instead of following in the footsteps of the vitriolic politicians.

  • Not so much scorn as heartfelt response. Just as Br. Dan is heartfelt in his comments. We just believe he is wrong.

  • Kyle- the proper response to someone claiming to prove that a tiny baby is not innocent is scorn. The response to a Catholic brother who attacks those who protest the slaughter of the unborn is a great deal stronger than scorn.

    If we could criticize in a more constructive fashion

    If? Not only can we do so, we do— when appropriate, and in ways appropriate. “Constructive criticism” usually means soft words and gentle suggestions. When there’s a Catholic brother using dishonest– though standard– rhetorical tricks to attack those who do the small thing of publicly protesting the slaughter of children, it’s unlikely to be appropriate. When dealing with someone who actually tries to write a justification of the slaughter of a tiny baby because they’re not “really” innocent, it’s unlikely to be appropriate.
    A point-by-point response that offers the scorn due this justification of attacking the defenders of children coming from a Franciscan is more likely to be constructive than honeyed words. He’s clearly heard them before, to no effect.

  • Bro, sounds guilt-ridden. Maybe because he’s so wrong and his conscience is trying to tell him something. Yes, the poor can be fed but the aborted baby is DEAD. Which should take priority. You can convince people to help the poor but can you bring the DEAD back to life? Should I try to help a woman shot by a gun or give her a sack of flour, Bro.? Seamless garment is a cop out. What judging of peoples movtives who are attending the March. Should we keep bringing it to the light or sit home and run the soup kitchen while 54 million children have been killed in this country alone. How many poor have died in this country? thousands proably. No comparision. Its not a matter of innocence vs. guilty it about LIFE vs. DEATH. You can’t be any poorer than DEAD.

  • That Bro. Dan unfortunately proves the point that you can’t fix stupid.

  • St. Francis is weeping.

  • -I find it striking and disturbing that Brother Dan, associated with the Church as he is, not only thinks this way, but writes about it, broadcasting his opinions that DIRECTLY contradict the Church.
    -Brother Dan talks about the lack of racial diversity (implying that white folks are trying to force minorites to have babies) in the Pro-Life March. Think of this another way. “White” folks are protesting abortion that kills a much higher percentage of minority babies than white babies. If the white folks are racist they would think that fewer minority babies is good, would they not? If “white” folks think that fewer minority babies is good, why protest against abortion? Let them kill themselves off!
    -If Brother Dan wants to personally focus on poverty, unemployment, at-risk teens, etc., then great. There are so many areas of human existance that need help. But that does not mean ridicule those who focus on the Pro-Life issues. ALL human life is valuable, Bro. Dan, you cannot take the attitude of ‘let’s fix the people we have before we add more’; Jesus taught that the poor will always be with us, not to say that caring for the poor is useless, but that there are teachings, beliefs and moral standards that are timeless.
    -Commentor Philips’ link to Women in Theology where the writer attacks the concept of innocent life, etc., literally turned my stomach. Comparing pregnancy to an unjust attack on a woman’s body, calling concerns for the innocent lives the same as our sentimental love of cute baby animals, etc. I do not “live in a cave”, but I have never read such things, even with my reading on Nazism and Eugenics – not an emotional exaggeration. O.M.G.

  • Micha Elyi: Let me add: The person is invited by the marital act and therefore cannot be an “UNJUST aggressor”. In a tubal implantation which might cause death, both the mother and child must be saved, if possible. Otherwise, intent to commit abortion is extrauterine homicide. The contradiction here is that the person whose existence is willed by God cannot be both and at the same time, a non-person and a criminal. The child is innocent until the age of reason counted at seven because of a lack of reason, and then counted as an infant child in a court of law until emancipation. To give informed consent after the age of emancipation to a crime is against the law. In cases of rape, the innocent victim who is doing the will of God and nature’s God cannot be put to death because of the crimes of his parent. Only for his own crimes can a man be put to death. Rapists ought to be put in jail for their rest of their lives. Abortion defies the will of God. Nobody comes into existence but by the will of God.

  • Br.Dan”…have heard numerous people, even those who avidly support the march, lament that the Vigil Mass has become more a “Who’s Who” of a sector of the American Catholic Church than it has the Eucharistic celebration it alleges to be.”

    Dr. McClarey: No one has ever claimed Brother Dan that the March for Life is a celebration of the Eucharist. That allegation is simply bizarre.
    Brother Dan is calling the Vigil Mass an “alleged” Eucharistic celebration. NOW, Brother Dan has gone too far…(censored by the poster) The devil is jealous.

  • What social matrix would that be?

    Utica and St. Bonaventure.

  • Pillip: About INNOCENCE. Our Creator (The Declaration of Independence) creates a rational, immortal soul to bring man into existence, as man is comprised of body and rational soul. There is no sin in God. God cannot and does not create sin, therefore, the rational, immortal soul endowed with unalienable rights to life, sovereign personhood and virginity is perfectly innocent at creation and endowment. The human being is an image and likesness of God, our Creator, in perfect moral and legal innocence at the first moment of his existence. The newly begotten child of God has a guardian angel. This guardian Angel is dispossessed of his charge and joins the soul back to God. Planned Parenthood cannot kill a person twice, but I bet they would like to try. Women in Theology? no way. If laymen and non-Catholics of good will can write of freedom….

  • Mary @4:24P.M. You are good. Keep up the good work

  • Art: Born in 1982? Brother Dan sounds like a decrepid old, very old man, whose brain has atrophied. No tongue-in-cheek.

  • Art,

    Reading the information from St Bonaventure, it seems it is well affected by the spirit of the 60’s.

    One needs not have been born in the sixties to be affected by the university environment fostered by it.

  • I left this comment on his blog, which apparently he will not allow to be posted:

    “So another rich, privileged, white man withholds his participation from a diverse, grassroots, protest movement. Sounds like the same old song, just a different singer.”

    I guess he didn’t like the irony.

  • @Mary De Voe “Art: Born in 1982? Brother Dan sounds like a decrepid old, very old man, whose brain has atrophied. No tongue-in-cheek.”

    Bingo! Br. Dan’s Church of the Hip ’70s is dying. Did you notice that he has two Master’s degrees from the Washington Theological Union. Guess what? WTU is closing this year because of lack of funding, students, and support from the consortium of religious orders that founded it.

  • Reading the information from St Bonaventure, it seems it is well affected by the spirit of the 60?s.

    Compared to where? They have one facially problematic course of study: Women’s studies. All of their graduate programs bar one are in vocational subjects. They have no anthropology faculty and the race-class-gender obsessives you see elsewhere appear to be almost absent from their faculties of history, sociology, and political science. (I am judging from course descriptions and the titles of presentations given and scholarly articles published). There red flags you see in the course descriptions, personal statements, publication titles, and presentation titles of the education faculty are actually a pale pink. I have little doubt the place could be better than it is, but in the scheme of things there appears to be rather less crud than you would expect in baccalaureate institution.

    The place is located in Olean, a pleasant and unpretentious town of about 18,000. That’s a Republican area. He grew up in Utica, also a place almost free of protest politics. The overwhelming reality in both the Southern Tier and the Mohawk Valley has been a decades long process of adjustment to industrial outmigration. In and around Utica, the one place you encounter leftobabble is the campus of Hamilton College, a place run by and for outsiders.

    One needs not have been born in the sixties to be affected by the university environment fostered by it.

    The guy’s just a sport.

  • Bingo! Br. Dan’s Church of the Hip ’70s is dying.

    He grew up in the Diocese of Syracuse. The church of the Hip ’70s is fairly unusual if not unknown therabouts. The church of casual violations of liturgical norms and music appropriate to score a TV movie sponsored by Hallmark and inane homilies in which the phrase ‘relationship with God’ occurs again and again is what you gett here (and I would wager what he grew up with). The benefit of growing up in Utica is that the Eastern-rites are close at hand. Those parishes are anything but packed, however.

  • Is it just me, or did anyone else hear Br. Dan’s post being read in their head by the voice of Sheldon Cooper?

  • It’s a good thing Br. Dan’s mother didn’t have the same attitudes that he does, OR he wouldn’t be here!

    His superior should be monitering what he says about any Catholic teachings. Oh yeah, Br. Dan what are you doing for the unborn?

  • Donald, sorry I have been indisposed for some days. But even before I read all the respondents here, tell me, Donald, is this “Brother Dan” a Roman Catholic?? Because reading the excerpts of his Article is he totally against the Teachings of the Catholic Church on this very very crucial Moral Issue of genocide against our neighbours in their first, and the safest home – their mothers’ wombs. This is a Cardial Sin, a Sacrilege of the First Order. If he is truly a Catholic Brother, his Superior must kick him out YERSTERDAY

  • “is this “Brother Dan” a Roman Catholic”

    Yes Mary, and a Franciscan. Perhaps Brother Dan might wish to take a moment from perusing the Women In Theology website to read this excerpt from Saint Bonaventure’s life of Saint Francis:

    ” It happened in the third year before his death, that in order to excite the inhabitants of Grecio to commemorate the nativity of the Infant Jesus with great devotion, [St. Francis] determined to keep it with all possible solemnity; and lest he should be accused of lightness or novelty, he asked and obtained the permission of the sovereign Pontiff. Then he prepared a manger, and brought hay, and an ox and an ass to the place appointed. The brethren were summoned, the people ran together, the forest resounded with their voices, and that venerable night was made glorious by many and brilliant lights and sonorous psalms of praise. The man of God [St. Francis] stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy; the Holy Gospel was chanted by Francis, the Levite of Christ. Then he preached to the people around the nativity of the poor King; and being unable to utter His name for the tenderness of His love, He called Him the Babe of Bethlehem. A certain valiant and veracious soldier, Master John of Grecio, who, for the love of Christ, had left the warfare of this world, and become a dear friend of this holy man, affirmed that he beheld an Infant marvellously beautiful, sleeping in the manger, Whom the blessed Father Francis embraced with both his arms, as if he would awake Him from sleep. This vision of the devout soldier is credible, not only by reason of the sanctity of him that saw it, but by reason of the miracles which afterwards confirmed its truth. For example of Francis, if it be considered by the world, is doubtless sufficient to excite all hearts which are negligent in the faith of Christ; and the hay of that manger, being preserved by the people, miraculously cured all diseases of cattle, and many other pestilences; God thus in all things glorifying his servant, and witnessing to the great efficacy of his holy prayers by manifest prodigies and miracles. “

  • Donald, I am aggrieved…..that a Franciscan would support heartless, cruel and vicious mass slaughter of the “Innocents” by “Herod Obama” Administration must be making the Merciful Heart of Jesus pierced with a lance, gush forth Blood and Water all over again on the Cross. “Brother Dan” certainly needs a lot of prayers and the Intercession by our Holy Mother….in fact, I dare say, a Miracle. Because as it is, he is on the road to perdition just like Judas Iscariot

  • Donald:

    As the Hispanic Services Coordinator (unpaid) at a pro-life crisis pregnancy center, I, like you, counsel the women that deal with unplanned pregnancies on a daily basis. I help them deal with the “choices” that confront them, the racism they deal with on a daily basis when they elect to keep their children, and I work with women who suffer the indignities and emotional turmoil that result from having had abortions (freely or not). I support the March for Life and I am dismayed at the attitude of this Franciscan Brother. Thank you for so succinctly debating his insidious remarks and for pointing out what seems the almost obvious for those of us who are in the trenches. We may be winning slowly, but we ARE winning. LIFE will prevail over DEATH.

  • Bro. Dan, indeed, found a wonderful, and free way to promote his new book. Well done, Bro. Dan…just remember all those you are leading astray.

  • This is the problem with academia: They take obvious church teachings (i.e. the stand against abortion) and twist them using convoluted phraseology which the average person doesn’t understand (and hence cannot dispute). These academic theologians (for that is what Brother Dan is) rely upon the “openness to dialogue with others” created by Vatican II. That, plus the absolute absurdity created by feminist theologians (i.e. the Women in Theology website) creates an atmosphere in which official Catholic teaching is obscured at best, and actively hindered at worst. Now imagine going to a college influenced by these factors (i.e. St. Bonaventure) and we can see how Brother Dan may have arrived at the conclusions that he has.

    In response to Will: Br. Dan belongs to the Holy Name Province. You can find this site here:

The Abolitionist and the Liberator

Tuesday, January 24, AD 2012



Frederick Douglass, the black abolitionist of 19th century America and Daniel O’Connell, the Liberator, who led the fight to gain the right to vote for Irish Catholics in 19th century Ireland, have always been two of my heroes.  Most Americans tend to be unaware of the connection between them.

Throughout his life Daniel O’Connell had been an opponent of slavery, and made his sentiments known at every opportunity, calling upon Irish-Americans to attack the “Peculiar Institution”.  He was frequently quoted by opponents of slavery in the United States.  While a boy and a slave, Douglass had heard one of his masters curse O’Connell for attacking slavery, and Douglass knew that he must love O’Connell if his master hated him so.  In 1846 Douglass went to Ireland for four months and went on a speaking tour.  O’ Connell was seventy-one and had just one more year to live.  Douglass was a mere twenty-eight.  However, a firm friendship quickly sprung up between them.  O’Connell, perhaps the finest orator of a nation known for oratory, heard the eloquent Douglass speak in Dublin and proclaimed him the “Black O’Connell”.

The wretched condition of most of the Irish moved and shocked Douglass as this passage he wrote in a letter to William Lloyd Garrison on March 27, 1846 reveals:

The spectacle that affected me most, and made the most vivid impression on my mind, of the extreme poverty and wretchedness of the poor of Dublin, was the frequency with which I met little children in the street at a late hour of the night, covered with filthy rags, and seated upon cold stone steps, or in corners, leaning against brick walls, fast asleep, with none to look upon them, none to care for them. If they have parents, they have become vicious, and have abandoned them. Poor creatures! they are left without help, to find their way through a frowning world—a world that seems to regard them as intruders, and to be punished as such. God help the poor! An infidel might ask, in view of these facts, with confusing effect—Where is your religion that takes care for the poor—for the widow and fatherless—where are its votaries—what are they doing? The answer to this would be, if properly given, wasting their energies in useless debate on hollow creeds and points of doctrine, which, when settled, neither make one hair white nor black. In conversation with some who were such rigid adherents to their faith that they would scarce be seen in company with those who differed from them in any point of their creed, I have heard them quote the text in palliation of their neglect, “The poor shall not cease out of the land”! During my stay in Dublin, I took occasion to visit the huts of the poor in its vicinity—and of all places to witness human misery, ignorance, degradation, filth and wretchedness, an Irish hut is pre-eminent. It seems to be constructed to promote the very reverse of every thing like domestic comfort. If I were to describe one, it would appear about as follows: Four mud walls about six feet high, occupying a space of ground about ten feet square, covered or thatched with straw—a mud chimney at one end, reaching about a foot above the roof—without apartments or divisions of any kind—without floor, without windows, and sometimes without a chimney—a piece of pine board laid on the top of a box or an old chest— a pile of straw covered with dirty garments, which it would puzzle any one to determine the original part of any one of them—a picture representing the crucifixion of Christ, pasted on the most conspicuous place on the wall—a few broken dishes stuck up in a corner—an iron pot, or the half of an iron pot, in one corner of the chimney—a little peat in the fireplace, aggravating one occasionally with a glimpse of fire, but sending out very little heat—a man and his wife and five children, and a pig. In front of the door-way, and within a step of it, is a hole three or four feet deep, and ten or twelve feet in circumference; into this hole all the filth and dirt of the hut are put, for careful preservation. This is frequently covered with a green scum, which at times stands in bubbles, as decomposition goes on. Here you have an Irish hut or cabin, such as millions of the people of Ireland live in. And some live in worse than these. Men and women, married and single, old and young, lie down together, in much the same degradation as the American slaves. I see much here to remind me of my former condition, and I confess I should be ashamed to lift up my voice against American slavery, but that I know the cause of humanity is one the world over. He who really and truly feels for the American slave, cannot steel his heart to the woes of others; and he who thinks himself an abolitionist, yet cannot enter into the wrongs of others, has yet to find a true foundation for his anti-slavery faith.

It is a tribute both to Frederick Douglass and Daniel O’Connell that their compassion was not limited to people like them, but extended to victims of injustice far removed from them.


In his memoirs published in 1882, Douglass recalled O’Connell:

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8 Responses to The Abolitionist and the Liberator

  • A fascinating post, Don! O’Connell certainly put Catholic Emancipation on the political agenda following the County Clare by-election of 1828, but to me the real heroes are the Duke of Wellington and Robert Peel, the leaders of the Tory party who got the measure through Parliament. Peel had to give up his Oxford seat as a result:

    O member for Oxford, you shuffle and wheel!
    You have altered your name from R. Peel to repeal!

    Daniel O’Connell once remarked of Peel that his smile was like the gleam of a brass plate upon a coffin, but his ministry of 1841-1846 was of momentous significance and he is the architect of the modern Conservative Party, which despite the PC posturings of its current leader, best enshrines the moral values which must inform our society.

    Thank you for directing me to Amanda Foreman’s ‘World on Fire’ which I persuaded someone to give me as a Christmas present. She seems to have an American readership in mind, hence her use of the term ‘banquet’ instead of ‘dinner’ and a couple of unfortunate references to British warships as ‘the HMS …’ (cringe, cringe). I wonder if American readers might find it a bit Anglocentric, however.

    I have gained a lot from your coverage of American politics – not really understood in Europe.

  • With all due respect to Mr. Douglass, and to you, Don, this passage reads like the sort of nonsense one would expect to read at NC Reporter:

    “Where is your religion that takes care for the poor—for the widow and fatherless—where are its votaries—what are they doing? The answer to this would be, if properly given, wasting their energies in useless debate on hollow creeds and points of doctrine, which, when settled, neither make one hair white nor black.”

    What hogwash! We were treated to the same sort of attacks on the Church by the so-called progressive Catholics during the debates over the new Roman Missal: “Why are we spending so much time debating the words of the Creed – ‘consubstantial’? Really? No one even knows what that means! – when there is so much suffering in the world?”

    Examples can be found here:

    The truth is that the Church can walk and chew gum at the same time. It can (and has throughout its entire 2000+ year history) debate creeds and still care for the poor. To accuse the Church in Ireland of not being there for the poor is outright calumny. The Church was ALL they had, and did what it could to alleviate their suffering.

    Whatever Mr. Douglass’ virtues as an abolitionist, in this instance, at least, he was either grossly misinformed or a liar.

  • Douglass was not a Catholic Jay, and I would note that his comment was not directed solely against the Church. The poverty in 19th Century Ireland among Irish Catholics was absolutely incredible to behold, especially during the potato famine, and it shocked most foreign visitors and not just Douglass. In other writings on Ireland, Douglass laid the blame for much of the poverty at the feet of the British government, and at the alcoholism that was rampant through all sections of Ireland at the time. The man also only spent four months in Ireland so he hardly had time to become expert on what the Church was doing to alleviate poverty. My guess is that his statement was uttered out of shock that such poverty was possible in a nation that purported to be Christian. Throughout his life Douglass was an outspoken advocate of Irish independence, so he certainly had no prejudice against Irish Catholics. As to his virtues as an abolitionist, they were great, as he was a walking refutation of the theory prevalent at the time that blacks were naturally inferior to whites.

  • “The man also only spent four months in Ireland so he hardly had time to become expert on what the Church was doing to alleviate poverty.”

    Then he probably should’ve kept his mouth shut regarding aspects of the situation about which he was ignorant.

    My problem with ALL progressives, even ones who are right about such things as slavery, is that religion is all to often for them a cheap scapegoat.

  • Douglass had the additional misfortune of being owned by extremely pious slaveholders during most of his life as a slave, and witnessing another nearly beating another slave to death over a minor infraction. The only one who treated him with any decency was a man who never made any profession of religious belief. While contacts with religious abolitionists helped over time, he had little patience with professed belief that was not matched with words.

  • “not matched with *actions.*”

    In linking to this post, I also link to Douglass’ “Narrative,” the first account of his life in slavery. It makes a difference when reading him here.

    Douglass was a remarkable man, and not afraid to change his opinions, startling even those who were staunch political allies. He alienated a lot of radical abolitionists when he broke with them over whether the Constitution was a slave-enabling document beyond redemption. He came to the conclusion that it was not, and shocked Garrison by arguing against him on that point in public.

  • “Then he probably should’ve kept his mouth shut regarding aspects of the situation about which he was ignorant.

    My problem with ALL progressives, even ones who are right about such things as slavery, is that religion is all to often for them a cheap scapegoat.”

    Douglass was a staunch upholder of the Constitution Jay, as Dale notes, and a fervent believer in free market capitalism. He wanted blacks to simply enjoy the rights and opportunities of all other Americans, and that strikes me as being a quite conservative position. He cannot be dismissed as a mere progressive. As to his comments, frankly the history of Ireland would have been a great deal better with less religious based hatred and a great deal more Christian charity. I am sure that Douglass did meet with some Protestants and Catholics in his visit to Ireland who seemed quite a bit more concerned with hating each other than in helping their poor countrymen. Such people, unfortunately, have never been in short supply in Ireland.

  • A minor point of correction. The issue of 1828 was not that Irish Catholics did not have the right to vote (they did, and the electors of County Clare voted for O’Connell) and in any case the franchise at that time was not a right – most Englishmen did not have it. It was that legislation dating back to the 17th century prevented Catholics from sitting in the House of Commons.

Reason Number One to Defeat Obama in November:

Monday, January 23, AD 2012


A statement yesterday from President Obama:

As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.  I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.  While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue- no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.  And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

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31 Responses to Reason Number One to Defeat Obama in November:

  • It’s sad that so many Roman Catholics in America have cast aside the issue of abortion in favor of other social issues. If Americans were dying at the reate of 3,000 daily from any other influence, whether illness, or war, or natural disaster, you bet that would be a political priority. Are these children not important enough because they are silent? Thanks, Kathy – I love your blog!

  • Reason #1 of 50.
    This is a man aligned against the human spirit.
    Survive the abortionist’s vacuum and then get assigned to an inferior public school that treats you as an object.
    Make it out of the public schools intact then work half your life to pay taxes that pay for more abortions and more inferior public schools.

  • Abortion is not just about the destruction of life within the womb. Our society which now legally destroys nearly a million tiny infants per year in abortion clinics and hospitals across the country (official records indicate over 50 million since Roe vs. Wade) has in effect redefined human life.
    Life in the womb now is not much different than a filet minion in the grocery keepers’ meat case. It’s something you can have if you feel like steak for dinner so take it home. If you decide later that you don’t want it and would rather have pizza you can just throw the steak out. That may sound crazy and one would think that you could/should give the steak to someone else who would love to have it. Forget about it! It’s yours; you can do with it as you please.
    The facts are today a new human life in the womb is no longer recognized as a gift from heaven or the procreated fruit of true love. Our president has even described its presence as a “punishment” for making a poor choice. Life in the womb is not treasured by society as its most valuable asset and our hope for the future.
    This society has decided womb life is no life and deserves little consideration and no protection under the law. Some, like our president have “personally” and “legally” determined that even when out of its home in the womb on an abortionist operating table having survived an attempt to be destroyed it must be ignored and left to die since it was “unwanted”. Unlike the unwanted and homeless on our streets these little souls currently have no tin cup or neighborhood shelter or government assistance to turn to for help. When they arrive on the scene or sonogram they aren’t received like illegal aliens and given the benefits of citizenship like the thousands crossing our borders daily. In short, the most helpless of all “life” in our country are the least served by us. They have been disenfranchised, sold if you will, by society edict and left on their own since ownership has been transferred to the womb keeper along with all “rights” for disposal much like the unwanted and discarded filet minion from the meat case at the grocery.
    We need to ask ourselves:
    Do we ever want to get to the point where all men may consider behaving as human “gentle” men, spouse protectors, family providers and not a domesticated form of reproductive animal?
    Do we ever want to see an end to women being treated by some men as if society had given them a license to use women as a depository for their male sexual passions?
    Do we ever want all women to someday have enough self pride and dignity to understand and admit their bodies were designed to be the very sanctuaries of human society and their wombs are and always have been the wellsprings of mankind?
    Do we ever want both men and women to understand that within this concept and the knowledge they are “pro-creators” that children are more than simply a product of physical activity between lovers?
    Do we ever someday want all children to grow up to realize and understand they were begotten out of more than blind passion?
    When ever we have answered yes to these questions we will have begun to know the true meaning of human love and “life” and when it begins

  • “It’s sad that so many Roman Catholics in America have cast aside the issue of abortion in favor of other social issues.”

    Unfortunately in part because our shephards so teach us. At today’s Mass (which is offered in the Missal for the legal protection of the unborn) the priest only talked about respecting all life from conception to natural death. No mention specifically about what this day meant. Thus he ignored the number of abortions that routinely occur and intentionally or not equated the contingent nature of judgments about other social issues and legitimate means to end poverty etc with outright killing.

    But it isn’t just this priest. This is now the constant theme that I have heard from other priests and bishops. It was the theme at this weekend’s March for Life in our capital. They seek to equate all social issues (and unfortunately their chosen solutions) with abortion.

    Prudential solutions about problems of homelessness, immigration and poverty do not equal the intrinsic evil of abortion. The fact that some clergy have courted this line is coming home to roost in the attack on conscience.

  • Just because the supreme court voted in favor of roe vs wade does not make it right. The supreme court also voted in the horrible “Jim Crow” laws. PLEASE vote that man out if office!!!!

  • Newt Gingrich’s message to the March for Life:

    Thank you for bearing witness today to the incomparable dignity of every human life, born and unborn.

    And thank you for your commitment to change hearts and minds and laws in defense of the unborn.

    I join you in this commitment.

    It is a testament to the American spirit and the vision of our founding fathers that almost forty years after Roe. v.Wade, millions of Americans have grown stronger and not weaker in their conviction that the words of the Declaration of Independence are in fact true, that all are created with unalienable rights, including the unborn.

    Our American history represents an ongoing effort to fulfill the vision of the Declaration.

    It is important to pause today to consider why the pro-life cause is winning and why we will one day see an end to abortion in America.

    Americans know in the core of their souls that the idea that we can say one class of humanity — whether the sick, the poor, the elderly, or the unborn — is less valuable than others, is fundamentally opposed to every value that we cherish and that makes us who we are.

    The truth that every person is created equal in the eyes of God, with equal value and worth and equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit his or her own future and destiny, is at the root of our system of law and government. Americans know this, and slowly but surely they are coming to terms with the irreconcilable reality of legalized abortion in our nation.

    A prominent commentator recently wrote, “That the pro-life movement is bigger is a given. It’s also younger, increasingly entrepreneurial, more strategic in its thinking, better organized, tougher in dealing with allies and enemies alike, almost wildly ambitious, and more relentless than ever.”

    Your marching today is evidence of that relentlessness.

    My commitment to you is twofold: first, to continue supporting your work to defend the rights of the unborn, and second, if elected President, to advance pro-life legislation, appoint judges who will stay true to the meaning of the Constitution, work to bring about an end to judicial tyranny, defend religious freedom, and work with allies in Congress and throughout the country who desire to bring about a day in which America restores legal protection to all unborn human life.

    Specifically, on day one of my administration, I will sign an executive order reinstating Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City policy that prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions overseas.

    I will also oppose federal funding of any research that destroys a human embryo.

    I will work with Congress to repeal Obamacare, and will defund Planned Parenthood so that no taxpayer dollars are being used to fund abortions– but rather use that money to promote adoption and other pro-family policies.

    I will also support Congress enacting pro-life legislation that would grant protections under the 14th Amendment to the unborn, including legislation that would define personhood as beginning at conception.

    There was once a similar battle waged in America over whether the rights in our Constitution applied to all Americans, or only those selected or favored by the political class. It was during the battle to overturn the deeply engrained institution of slavery, something considered universally repugnant to us all today, that Abraham Lincoln said the following:

    We will make converts day by day… We will grow strong by the violence and injustice of our adversaries. And unless truth be a mockery and justice a hollow lie, we will be in the majority after a while. This battle … [will] be fought out on principle.

    Together, let us continue to work for the day when there will be no abortions for any reason, and that every unborn child will be welcomed into life and protected by law — from conception until natural death. May God bless each of you in your efforts to bring about this day.

    Thank You.

  • Mitt Romney’s message to the March for Life:

    In great number, men and women from across our country are gathered today on the Mall in Washington in the cause of defending the rights of the unborn. In their ranks are many who remember the day when Roe v. Wade was announced. Also among them are thousands of young Americans born after 1973 whose idealism and good hearts will continue to represent the passion and resolve of the pro-life movement. All of them are marching today in the spirit of compassion and mercy, and I share their commitment to laws that protect the innocent and uphold a culture of life. We take heart that we are winning this issue step by step, and I look forward to working arm and arm with the pro-life movement until the wrong of Roe v. Wade has been set right.

  • Ron Paul has attended the March for Life before, but I can’t find out whether he is there this year. His son Rand was to be one of the speakers until he was detained by the TSA. (I wonder what genius thought in the TSA that it would be a good idea to detain a US Senator because he would not consent to a pat down?)

  • Speaker of the House Boehner is at the march as one of the featured speakers, leading a contingent of pro-life members of Congress:

    It’s an honor to serve with men and women committed to protecting the sanctity of life. We may disagree in other areas, sometimes starkly, but we are one and the same on this. Because human life is not a political or economic commodity. And defending life is not a matter of party … it’s about standing on principle.

    In that spirit, I think it’s important we take a moment to reflect on the first principles that bring us all here today.

    We’re blessed to gather on this National Mall, hallowed ground kept hallowed by footsteps and echoes. Here, half a century ago, John F. Kennedy let the world know Americans would ‘pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship’ to keep freedom alive and well.

    Like many of you, my family of Kennedy Democrats was moved by those words. I’m from what you might call a big family … I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters. It wasn’t easy for my mother to have 12 children. But I’m sure glad she did.”

    Respect for life, at every stage, was instilled in us early on. My heart still grows restless at the story in Scripture that says ‘whatever you do to the least of my people you do unto me.’ No life is an island … we’re all taught that. We’re taught to extend a helping hand, especially to those in need.

    So I’ve never considered ‘pro-life’ to be a label or a position. It’s just who I am. It’s who I am, and it’s who we are as a people. If you’re like me, when you climb the steps on the other side of the Tidal Basin, you’re awed by Jefferson’s immortal words: ‘God who gave us life gave us liberty.”

    These two founding principles, life and liberty, are intertwined. Together, they form the core of our national character. They comprise the standard by which the world looks to us. When we affirm the dignity of life, we affirm our commitment to freedom. When we don’t affirm life … when life is cheapened or weakened, here or abroad, freedom itself is diminished.

    Here on this Mall, many solemn vows have been made in the long fight for freedom. America is an idea, and our duty is to preserve its blessings, the first and dearest of which is life.

    That is why Nellie Gray marches on. Let us rise to Nellie’s example and raise our voices together in defense of life. Let us pray that more of our countrymen, whether you belong to one party or no party, will join this noble cause.

    God go with all of you, and God bless the United States of America.

  • The press release from the White House states in part: “but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters”.

    Yet just last week the HHS rule regarding contraception coverage for all regardless of religious convictions was mandated (rather shoved down our throat).

    We must defeat this man and pray that our country is still salvageable.

    God Bless America – please.

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  • To Phillip’s comment: At my parish yesterday we had a very powerful sermon, primarily about abortion. The deacon did talk about broader issues, specifically care for the needy, but then brought it back around to abortion – in our area, Catholic charitable organizations have seen their aid cut because they don’t provide their employees with “family planning services”.

  • Life is the wellspring of freedom

  • Pinky,

    Good to hear. What diocese are you in? Obviously not all clergy have a disordered sense of moral issues. Unfortunately for me, I have not heard a homily about abortion without being equated to other issues in an exceptionally long time.

  • Washington DC. I think that as the host diocese for the March for Life, we’ve become more articulate on the subject than a lot of other dioceses. Now, the deacon did also talk about the death penalty (which may be overturned in Maryland) and other issues. But the subject of abortion is taken seriously, and not just as a once-a-year topic either.

  • I did read a blog post from a priest of the D.C. diocese recently that noted the issues involved in political judgments, allocating scarce resources, legitimate differences in solving problems etc. Much more balanced than the simple “life issues” theme.

    We need to spread such intelligent thought throughout the clergy.

  • Seems those people believe it’s licit to vote for the 365/24/7 abortion candidate because he/she promises to justly and pacifically confiscate/tax other people’s money and hand it over to the virtuous victims of rich men’s universal larceny.

    They don’t think much past the propaganda. To start, there is no way to steal gently or kill with honor.

    St. Robin Hood, pray for us.

  • I am so depressed reading hours of pro-life blogs and comments. After each one I emit an unconsciously led audible sigh. I am trying to understand why. Maybe at 62, I don’t feel I will live long enough to see abortion disappear. Do any other people get these feelings of hopelessness even when they are reading words whose intentions are to be uplifting?

  • Bill,

    I’m 61 years old. It’s all uphill beginning with rolling out of bed and verifying everything is properly functioning.

    I think [shudder] depression is a sin against Hope. Trust in God and do what is possible (talent, time) in this vale of tears. Besides, I need to be up because I want to help my family.

    I get feelings of rage.

    Plato [?] said, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

    Pray for the conversion of sinners and America.

    He will not nominate a pro-life Federal judge. His policies are ruining working people. Obama must go.

    No Democrat senator will accept a pro-life Federal Judge. I never vote Democrat only GOP pro-lifers or RTL.

  • “Maybe at 62, I don’t feel I will live long enough to see abortion disappear.”

    I can’t promise you Bill that you will live to see it, but each day we are one day closer to the ban on abortion. Opinion is shifting on abortion and time is on our side. We all need to keep slugging away until the goal is reached: recognition under law of the right to life of the unborn. On slavery Thomas Jefferson said: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” Precisely the same law of divine justice is at work on the issue of abortion. Be of good cheer, and keep up the fight!

  • @Pinky @3:43 Capital punishment is the temporal punishment due to capital one homicide. Capital punishment has been banned often and must be reinstated because the murder of innocent people is a crime that flourishes in its absence, especially of little children, when the murderer KNOWS that he will be spared the very same death that he is inflicting upon an innocent person. It has been said that life in prison is worse…than being denied freedom and civil rights by rigor mortis in a six by three foot box six feet underground? Unhappily, abortion is touted as “saving” the aborted person from suffering. The child comes into being (existence) through the will of God, lives through the will of God and returns to God at the will of God.

  • First off– thank you for a picture that gets the point across without giving me nightmares right off the bat. So many folks can’t manage that; I understand that abortion is destroying a tiny human, like the one asleep on my lap right now– that doesn’t make seeing their shredded corpse any easier!

    Growing up, the only time I ever heard about abortion was in “sex ed” in school.
    (Class of 2001, Spokane dioceses.) Came back five or so years later, and even our “let’s put him where he’ll do the least damage” run of priests mentioned abortion being bad a few times. Moved to a population center, it got mentioned during the sermon , and they even had a drive for baby supplies expressly to help remove one of the pressures for abortion. With the new bishop there’s been serious focus on fighting abortion, both in the supportive and the resistant manners– even knowing that location mattered a lot, there’s a LOT more action going on!

  • Before I read all the Responses I feel an urgent need to respond to Phillip…..Philip, if every Catholic in your country was faithful to God and ready to obey Him, they would not need their Priests or the Bishops to be hollering at them at every Mass that abortion is the greatest Insult to God and the worst Sin…..killing an innocent, defenseless person in the very place they should be safest – their mothers’ womb. Let us be honest….every Catholic and any person of goodwill – knows the Teachings of the Catholic Church and the Divine Law – written by God in their very hearts – and what offends God. Let us just pray to God to give us His Grace so that we can do the right thing – prove our love for Him by striving to live our Faith in fidelity.

  • Also, thanks for the picture.

    Our daughter-in-law is expecting our grandchild in July.

    I pray for that little baby, growing, every day.

  • Thank you Foxfier and T.Shaw. I thought the picture was an eloquent rejoinder to the boiler plate defense of the indefensible that Obama issued. Abortion is evil at its most graphic and Obama’s words, as usual, were banal. In his defense of this crime, one of the few consistent stances in his political career, Obama is the living embodiment of Hannah Arendt’s phrase: “The banality of evil.”

  • [email protected],

    I don’t disagree. The ultimate path to all justice, including social justice, is the personal holiness of all the members of society.

    That being stated, my point was to address the cover that is being given to ignore the evil of abortion by equating it with other social issues which are not intrinsic evils. (See Don’s post on Brother Dan above.)

  • At St. Patricks in DC yesterday morning the church was filled to the brim with high schoolers, mostly male who a Dominican priest give an amazing homily on Maximilian Kolbe and how we are to be prepared to die for Christ.There was not a sound made by the kids during the homily. It was a war call. Then we hit the streets and mother nature was not kind, but it did not matter. We are on the side of life; these kids know it. They are the future. God will win in the end.

    Lord, give us holy priests. Priests who can inspire and direct souls toward heaven and towards a love of humanity, even in the smallest form.

    My favorite sweatshirt yesterday was worn by a large group I think from Christendom U. It said: “Death roe survivor.”

  • The picture … there was one on a screen in the center of the route of a quarter standing on its edge with two little hands near the bottom kind of holding on to it or balancing it, definitely showing us dimensions in a heartstopping, dramatic way. And only God knows whose hands they were or whose feet are up there – I was lucky or blessed enough at that moment to focus on the voice of a Priest ahead beginning the third sorrowful mystery and think from behind he looked like Mr. Gingrich …

    (I just had to go back to see the title.) A vote to stop the reason for the subject and photography isn’t a lot to ask when you think of the purpose those two unknown lives had. Heard some young people saying they wanted to tell Obama that his mother was pro-life and wondered what she thought of him. Bill, there’s hope. Your sighs could be prayers, like in the Psalms. Listen to TShaw, Don, Foxfier, elm, and the Marys. Your prayer adds to it. Maybe our salvation depends on remembering the little ones to God. Some on them could be very young grandparents by now since that law.

  • …we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.
    -President Barak Hussein Obama

    When did “our sons” have the “rights, freedoms, and opportunities” to kill someone they found inconveniently in the way of “fulfill(ing) their dreams”? Scott Peterson, call your attorney!

  • Thank you, Philip, for seeing my point on the vital role for us the Faithful to push this campaign to its logical conclusion – i.e. the end of abortion and all the other bestialities the Obama man is ramming down the throats of Americans and to all the other countries where America holds a vice-like control. @T. Shaw, I am 73 heading to 74 and I am determined to be around to America abolish abortion and same-sex pervesions, embryonic stem-cell experiments and euthanasia…..I pray to God every day for this. And to think this man – whose philandering father is my countryman – was the perfect subject for abortion but for the human love and compassion of his betrayed mother….it makes me want to cry.

Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth

Monday, January 23, AD 2012

In a sensitive area such as this, involving as it does issues over which reasonable men may easily and heatedly differ, I cannot accept the Court’s exercise of its clear power of choice by interposing a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life and by investing mothers and doctors with the constitutionally protected right to extinguish it.

                                  Justice Byron White-Dissent in Roe v. Wade (January 22, 1973)


SAY not the struggle naught availeth,

The labour and the wounds are vain,

 The enemy faints not, nor faileth,

And as things have been they remain.

 If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;  

  It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,

Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,   

And, but for you, possess the field.

 For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,

   Seem here no painful inch to gain,

Far back, through creeks and inlets making,   

 Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,

When daylight comes, comes in the light;

In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!  

  But westward, look, the land is bright

Arthur Hugh Clough

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8 Responses to Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth

  • We do know the end of the story – Revelation 19:11-21. Jesus wins, Obama and the pro-aborts loose.

  • Pray for the conversion of sinners and America. And, you won’t be going to Heaven if you vote democrat PERIOD.

  • My great admiration for Byron White is tempered somewhat by his decision to wait to retire until a Democrat was President and could nominate his successor (White having been nominated by a Democrat, JFK). The result was Justice Ginsburg or Justice Breyer, I forget which. The result was replacing an anti-Roe Justice with a pro-Roe Justice.

    With the Court’s current split likely to be 5-4 in favor of upholding Roe, such choices as White’s make a big difference. A pity he didn’t give as much thought to how his replacement would come down on the issue as did some of the pro-Roe Republican appointees who waited to retire until a pro-Roe Democrat president could appoint their successors.

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  • Jay, I’ve heard it said that Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson and others were pro-life until the political wind shifted the other way. Could White have been affected similarly, in which case it might have been a calculated decision to wait rather than something to which he didn’t give much thought?

  • Could White have been affected similarly, in which case it might have been a calculated decision to wait rather than something to which he didn’t give much thought?

    Doubtful, Brian. He voted with the minority in Casey vs. Planned Parenthood. That was the Supreme Court case upholding Roe when Justices Souter, O’Conner and Kennedy joined in on what is, in my opinion, the most horrendous decision ever handed down by the Court. White joined with Thomas, Scalia, and Rehnquist in wanting to overturn Roe. The case was decided in 1992, a year or two before White retired.

  • Thank you Paul. In light of that, his decision to want to be replaced by a democrat appointee seems odd.

  • White was always a firm vote against Roe. He also indicated that he felt most comfortable during his tenure at the Supreme Court during the Rehnquist court. White was in good health when he retired, but he was 76 and I wonder if he just thought that it was time to go. Here is a section from his dissent in Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (1986)

    “If the woman’s liberty to choose an abortion is fundamental, then, it is not because any of our precedents (aside from Roe itself) command or justify that result; it can only be because protection for this unique choice is itself “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” or, perhaps, “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” It seems clear to me that it is neither. The Court’s opinion in Roe itself convincingly refutes the notion that the abortion liberty is deeply rooted in the history or tradition of our people, as does the continuing and deep division of the people themselves over the question of abortion. As for the notion that choice in the matter of abortion is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, it seems apparent to me that a free, egalitarian, and democratic society does not presuppose any particular rule or set of rules with respect to abortion. And again, the fact that many men and women of good will and high commitment to constitutional government place themselves on both sides of the abortion controversy strengthens my own conviction that the values animating the Constitution do not compel recognition of the abortion liberty as fundamental. In so denominating that liberty, the Court engages not in constitutional interpretation, but in the unrestrained imposition of its own, extraconstitutional value preferences.”

Gingrich Assails Elites Over Anti-Religious Bigotry

Sunday, January 22, AD 2012

The South Carolina victory speech of Newt Gingrich last night.  Most such primary victory speeches are fairly forgettable efforts and the Gingrich speech was largely no exception except at one point in the speech.  Go to 12: 30 on the video, and watch Gingrich lambaste many elites in our society for their anti-religious bigotry.  Gingrich has raised the issue of anti-Catholic bigotry in particular, and anti-Christian bigotry  in general, before in this campaign, go here to read his earlier comments, and he may have hit on the sleeper issue of the year in this campaign.  With the words of Pope Benedict, go here to read them, warning last week about the lessening of religious freedom in this country, this is a message whose time is now upon us.

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9 Responses to Gingrich Assails Elites Over Anti-Religious Bigotry

  • Obama has graciously given the Church a year of grace before it must pay for abortions and then he pushes for gay rights and the end of ancient religious hatred.

    Could it be: Newt is the only one defending Holy Mother Church?

  • Better a flawed messenger than none at all.

  • The reporting in mainstream, such as the Sunday morning paper, manages to identify people of Christian religions in the broad stroke of “born-again” when they describe the voters in both Iowa and South Carolina as if being Christian is an anomaly.

    This talk of ‘ancient religious hatred’ being a problem for hedonists is a posturing stretch of him who, stepping on the Constitution and flag of the country he swore to serve, has already legalized ‘rights and benefits’. Must be moving on to building hatred and bigotry for religion and race into America’s psyche.

    Long months ahead. May God grant strength to handle this wake-up call sent during this week of prayer for Christian unity (18-25).

    Supernatural or what? – today’s first reading about prophet Jonah, first refusing, then suffering, then doing God’s will. In a day, all the people of Ninevah repented and were blessed with God’s mercy. Symbolism of God’s power and love. Jonah ch. 3. (South Carolina speech) (and on the eve of the March for Life right in DC.)

  • I apologize; “ancient religious hatred” is a quote from godless, serial rapist/sexual harasser Clinton’s Press Secretary Joe Lockhart slandering Christians for opposing gay privileges.

    I think it concisely reveals the enemies of God and man and their attitudes toward the little people.

  • Oh – i wasn’t complaining – just looking at the way the phrase is used in so many ways

  • Even if he doesn’t get the nomination, its been refreshing to see someone speak truth to power regarding religious bigotry in the gov’t and media in a way that finally gains national attention.

  • I went to Mass Sunday noon at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; sat near the front. A few minutes later as I was craning my neck to see the mosaics, I saw that Speaker Gingrich was directly behind me in the next pew.

    After pondering all through Mass on the Face of Christ beyond the altar, I turned to Mr. Gingrich after the recessional and said, ” If you sit here weekly and see this rendering of the Face of Christ, how could you not be headed on the right path? He agreed. He seems to be very comfortable in his own skin. I’m still wanting the morals and ideals of Santorum to win; perhaps God has him in this race to be a constant voice for the unborn and marriage. But having met the Speaker face to face, and hear him sing praise to God in the Mass setting, my allegiances are taking a turn towards Gingrich. My “sincerity” meter gave him good marks. May God protect him and keep him close to His heart.

54 Responses to Gingrich Wins South Carolina Open Thread

  • Excellent! I’d really prefer anyone but Romney on the Republican ticket. It doesn’t matter much though, because Obama round 2 is inevitable. At least with a Gingrich we’ll have some interesting debates.

  • 1) The inevitable oh-so-electable Romneybot is now 1 for 3 in his own party.

    2) Santorum got hosed by Newt’s ego starting on Monday night.

    3) Santorum needs to stay in the race, and every time he’s asked about that he needs to say, “Absolutely, it’s only a matter of time before Newt implodes and we all know it and I plan to be here to give people that solid conservative choice when he does.”

  • Santorum made a good show tonight. Having been denied the momentum of a first claim to victory in Iowa, he still beat Ron Paul. That’s bigger than most people think. I think it likely that Newt supporters will dwindle as they start to review his record rather than his rhetoric. The same is obviously true with Romney. Game on. Go Rick Santorum!

  • Just throwing this out there, but if Newt wins the election – the general – then that’s gonna go down as the biggest political comeback in American history. Not even Nixon comes close.

  • Indeed Paul. Absolutely nothing would surprise me this election year. The country is in such a mess that a candidate like Gingrich who would normally not even be in the running might just be able to get the nomination and go on to win. I suspect that the Obama campaign would much prefer to run against Romney, who I think they regard as McCain II. Gingrich is just too unpredictable to make an opposition strategy easy to map out. Additionally a candidate who can take a normally campaign destroying event like the resurfacing of an ex-wife who talks about adultery, and turn that stinkbomb to his advantage, is a candidate with formidable political skills. Note how Gingrich in his victory speech played up the religious bigotry of the Obama administration. He will not be an easy candidate to fight against due to just how unconventional and imaginative he is. Gingrich is usually his own worst enemy, but he is also his strongest asset.

  • Whatever happens, Obama has got to go. Seeing how Obama and Sebelius destroyed any pretense at conscience protection has infuriated me to no end. The days of my ever being nice to liberals are over (if indeed there were any such days). They have got to be shoved out of power for good. As to Gingrich, may God bless him. I prefer Santorum to be sure, but Gingrich isn’t a bad choice and even the Weather Vane as Donald calls him is far superior to that man of depravity and idolatry now sitting in the Oval Office. I just finished posting a nasty letter to (I wasn’t threatening, but did make the King Manasseh comparison) and then prayed the Rosary for God’s mercy on our nation and on his soul. Let’s see if I am arrested tomorrow morning! 😉 Nothing would surprise me at this point.

    Godless wicked Democrat! Arrrrrggggghhhhh! But hoorah and thank God for Newt!

  • I dunno. I don’t see Gingrich as having enough fuel in the tank to make it all the way through the primary contest. I’d still tend to bet heavily on Romney being the eventual winner, but I hope Santorum stays in for the long haul so we continue to have a viable alternative after Gingrich eventually implodes.

    Honestly, I can’t see Gingrich managing to win the general unless outside history manages to intervene (say, with the European economy collapsing like a house of cards in the fall), and if he did, I’m not sure he’d actually be any happier a political comeback kid than Nixon.

    It’s fun to hear him spout off but he just isn’t reliable at any level.

  • All good points Darwin, but I would note that Gingrich has been given up as political vulture meat not once, but twice in this campaign so far. I certainly thought he was politically dead the first go round when his entire New Hampshire campaign staff bailed on him. I am not going to make the mistake of underestimating him again this year, although I rather hope that Romney continues to do so. Santorum will doubtless stick around through Florida. If Gingrich wins Florida however, I think Santorum may decide that there is no way that he gets back to being the anti-Romney and drop out. If he does that and endorses Gingrich, I think that Romney has a difficult path ahead of him.

  • It doesn’t matter much though, because Obama round 2 is inevitable.

    I keep hearing people say this, and not one of them is able to elaborate upon an explanation of why they think this.

    What disconcerts about all this is what a gratuitous self-inflicted injury is incorporated within it. The man is a godawful spectacle who appears to be prospering on the basis of a certain sort of forensic talent. Serial adultery? No problem! A complete absence of administrative experience? No problem! An affection for management fads? No problem! Payola from Freddie Mac? No problem! And didn’t he do a job on that moderator?

  • A thought

    The Daley machine hack in the White House had his second machine provided Chief of Staff decide to go back to Chicago and his replacement did not come from the machine. With Ritchie Daley retired I wonder how many more of the President’s entourage will want to go back to Chicago.

    Will this put a crimp in his operation?

    Who Knows? But interesting

    Hank’s Eclectic Meanderings

  • John King of CNN actually inadvertently produced this result. Gingrich is a media slayer and South Carolina loved it. If the media stops the Gingrich attacks, does Gingrich then fade into normality and get beat by Romney’s money chest and it’s resultant ad and organizational power?

  • The gingrich performance in response to John King was an embarrassment, his win in SC is an embarrassment and if he would be president, he would be an embarrassment. Glib, manipulative, brilliant-but-phony, pugnacious, opportunist, cheater – not exactly words I would like to apply to our president.. He is not the best man in the race… may be the worst.

  • The major embarrassment thus far in this race Anzlyne is the attempt by Romney to pass himself as a conservative Republican. The average GOP voter understands that he is nothing of the sort. That fact is why they have been looking for an alternative since the start of this race, and that is why Gingrich is prospering now. Absent that fundamental antipathy to Romney, Gingrich would be ready to announce today that he is heading back into retirement, instead of leading an insurgency which may deprive Romney of his opportunity to see if he can blow the election against Obama in the Fall.

  • Ninety-seven percent of us are worried about the economy. Seventy-nine percent are very worried. There are significant numbers preparing for economic and societal collapse.

    It ain’t Newt that will implode.

  • One cultural note about “cheating” for those who think Gingrich did not really repent: country music, loved in many non urban oriented states, has an odd combination of a gospel aspect and a cheating or fornicative aspect. Patty Loveless sings gospel related songs and sang also ” I Know You’re Still Married”….and ” On Your Way Home” ( after leaving her house: “Where’d you get that alibi/ did it fall out of a midnight sky/ or did ya find it/ laying by the side of the road”).
    Loveless was twice married.
    Alison Krauss, divorced and a Grammy Winner…26 of them and twice winner of the Gospel Music Association Award… recently with Union Station sang “Let Me Touch You For Awhile” about a girl in a bar hitting on a cowboy on the rebound for at least a one night stand…..despite Krauss doing entire gospel albums.
    The country audience is neither the Knights of Columbus nor the Mennonites in the sexual or
    faithfulness area.

  • Gingrich? Newt Gingrich?


    The man has political skills, but I think the best case scenario is that he loses by McCain’s margin.

    Unless the economy significantly weakens, which, long term, is more likely than the current smooth patch indicates.

    I dunno. Nominating Newt seems like the ultimate own-goal.

    I recognize Santorum’s profound executive weaknesses and sometimes grating demeanor in the spotlight (though he’s a winning, genuine guy in person, as I can attest), and I think I’ve even acknowledged the same here. But unless one gets hives at the thought of a sincere social conservative with the nomination (e.g., the Reason [sic] fanbois), he has far less baggage to explain away than Gingrich or Romney.

    Thanks, Jindal, Christie, Jeb, etc.

  • Question: After three marriages and three affairs (2+1), how does this man stay in the good graces of the Catho
    lic Church. Or is he?

  • Thanks, Jindal, Christie, Jeb, etc.

    This is an oft-repeated lament. While most of these folks (not Christie) would be an improvement over the current field, I am sure that the circular firing squads would have taken them down. To borrow from my comment at Ace last night, if Paul Ryan had entered the race, for example, he would have been the front-runner. Then Michelle Malkin would have written some naggy article about how two or three votes of his that suggest he’s a RINO. Then he would have given some answer in his first debate that ticked a few people off, and his poll numbers would have gone. Then he goes on CNN to present his 30 point plan to improve the economy. Point 19 sounds vaguely similar to an Obama proposal, causing Red State to run three days worth of blog posts calling him a statist.

    And so on and so forth.

    To put it another way, if Rick Perry had not gotten in the contest, we’d all be lamenting how the sure-fire winner decided not to run.

    Conservatives: our own greatest enemy since 1995.

  • Rotifer:

    Here’s the “drill”: repentance, Confession, penance, amendment of life, good works . . .

    Do you think Newt converted to Catholicism in a cynical posturing to get elected prez? If so, what evidence do you have?

    Obviously, Obama wants to get in the good graces of the Catholic Church. He gave his USCCB a year to get used to the fact they will be required to pay for employees’ chemical abortions.

  • Rotifer
    The Church records are confidential but guessing despite that: Newt’s second marriage was probably annulled by the Catholic Church because the wife was married prior and did not annul her first marriage. His first marriage could well have been annulled because Newt himself at the time was morally incapable of really knowing what a Christian marriage is nor capable of vowing it til death. An annullment is a declaration by the Church that a real marriage in the past never took place before God even if Catholic Church authorities or separated Christian authorities authorized one at the time…..while not knowing the true hidden moral maturity or lack of it
    in one or both people….OR….a separated Christian authority permitted a second marriage despite a first (Newt’s second wife’s case).
    Does Church infallibility enter into this area? No. Just as the Church could have been incorrect marrying a couple, it could be incorrect permitting an annullment.

  • Perhaps someone could explain how Newt Gingrich is actually more conservative than Mitt Romney.

  • I wonder if any of the remaining candidates for the Republican presidential nomination will
    join, even for a short time, the March For Life tomorrow?

  • Sure BA:

    1. Flip flops on abortion. From 1994 when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy: ‘But as a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want and not to impose our beliefs on other people. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.”
    2. Romneycare.
    3. Judicial appointments while governor of Massachusetts.
    4. Tax increases he sponsored while governor of Massachusetts.
    5. Flip flop on abstinence based sex education.
    6. Flip flop on embryonic stem cell research.
    7. Flip flop on the minimum wage.
    8. Flip flop on gun control.
    9. This quote when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994. “I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.”
    10. This quote: “My sons are all adults and they’ve made decisions about their careers and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard. One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.”
    11. Flip flopping on abolition of the Department of Education.
    12. Flip flopping on allowing prayer in school.

    Mitt Romney’s campaign slogan if truth were a requirement for such things: “If you do not like my views today, they are bound to change tomorrow!” Mitt is a conservative now because there is no way that anyone but a conservative can get the nomination. His record clearly indicates that he is a liberal Republican.

  • “I wonder if any of the remaining candidates for the Republican presidential nomination will
    join, even for a short time, the March For Life tomorrow?”

    Karl, Rick Santorum was there in 2011, as he has been in earlier years. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is there tomorrow.

  • Then Michelle Malkin would have written some naggy article about how two or three votes of his that suggest he’s a RINO. Then he would have given some answer in his first debate that ticked a few people off, and his poll numbers would have gone. Then he goes on CNN to present his 30 point plan to improve the economy. Point 19 sounds vaguely similar to an Obama proposal, causing Red State to run three days worth of blog posts calling him a statist.

    Game. Set. Match.

  • As a catholic, I am especially grateful for the redemption I have received from Jesus Christ through His Church. Examination of Newt should include a thoughtful examination of his character post conversion to the Catholic faith. The Lord seems to like to use those of us who have been the greatest sinners to serve Him–just look at His choice of King David, Mary Magdalen, Augustine, and Thomas Becket to name a few. To me, considering Newt as a serious contender in this Presidental race was cemented when he stated emphatically that marriage is a sacrament. He gets it! Additionally, his SC victory speech emphasized the extremely important issue of religious liberty his number 1 point of contention. Of all the contenders, Newt is the only candidate in my lifetime since Ronald Regan that actually speaks truth to power. We need to pray to the Lord that His choice for President be done. Perhaps its time for America to begin a fast of sack cloth and ashes.

  • Don,

    Thanks for the list. What interests me about your examples is that they are almost exclusively about positions Mitt Romney took many years ago, rather than anything he’s said or done during this campaign (or the last one). By that standard Ronald Reagan wasn’t particularly conservative, and neither is Newt Gingrich. Gingrich supported an individual mandate (and at the federal level) for more than a dozen years, supported embryonic stem cell research, supported cap and trade, etc.

    More significant, however, are the flip flops that Newt has made just during the course of this campaign. He attacked the Ryan Plan as “right-wing social engineering.” Then flipped and endorsed the plan (and said that anyone who quoted his prior statements on the issue was a liar). He defended Fannie and Freddie as necessary for the housing market (after getting paid millions to do so), then flipped and said they should be broken up. He attacked Romney for his private equity work at Bain Capital. Then said his prior criticisms were irrational. Then made the same criticisms again, only more forcefully. As far as I can tell, the idea that Gingrich is more conservative than Romney seems to depend almost entirely on the assumption that when Romney changes his position he doesn’t really mean it, whereas when Newt does so he is completely sincere.

  • You are incorrect in your assumption BA. Virtually all of my examples, except for the Senate race statements, come from Romney’s term as Governor of Massachusetts which was from 2002-2006 and which I do not think qualifies as “many years ago”. In regard to abortion Romney ran as a complete pro-abort in 2002.

    The McCain opposition research book on Romney is a very good mine of information on the Weathervane’s flip flops and is linked below:

    Be pro-Romney if you will BA, but Gingrich is a piker when it comes to flip flopping compared to the Weathervane. Romney could hold a very interesting debate all by himself himself considering that he has managed to be on both sides of so many issues over the years.

  • “Be pro-Romney if you will BA, but Gingrich is a piker when it comes to flip flopping compared to the Weathervane. Romney could hold a very interesting debate all by himself himself considering that he has managed to be on both sides of so many issues over the years.”

    Almost could not catch my breath from laughing so hard as the result of this statement!

    To be witty is a gift; to alloy it with intelligence is a blessing, not just to the one gifted with it but to whomever is blessed through observing it. Thank you.

  • Don,

    2002 was ten years ago. Perhaps it’s a sign of my relative youth, but that seems like a fairly long time. And in any event, Gingrich was still supporting a federal individual mandate, cap and trade, and embryonic stem cell research after all of the cases you cite against Romney.

    Can we agree at least that, going by what they’ve said in this campaign, Romney is clearly the more conservative candidate, and that the only way to say Gingrich is more conservative is if you believe what he says but not what Romney says about their own positions?

  • Thank you Karl!

    Ten years seems like a mere blip to me BA, either due to my study of history or my approaching 55th birthday.

    One could say that Romney is now a conservative if one were to have a bad case of amnesia as to the rest of his life. I can accept a politician having a Road to Damascus experience on one or two issues, but Romney’s conversions have been wholesale, and always very convenient for whatever office he is aiming at. I doubt the man’s honesty and for me in regard to a politician that is the kiss of death. If he is the eventual nominee I will vote for him for one reason and one reason only: he will be the Not-Obama in the race.

  • Tess. Pope Gregory in 590 or so made up the story about Mary Magdalene being a prostitute. There is nothing to support the assertion. Give the girl a break.

    Re Newt. He went thru 3 wedding ceremonies. He has bought his way out of one or (possibly) two thru annulments. He was of legal age, 19 yr old, at his first wedding and married his math teacher, 7 years his senior, after a 3 year ‘affair’. In all, he had affairs with his next two wives, while married to someone else. It’s called adultery. Another affair has been documented. All the time he was beating up on fellow legislators for doing the same. Is this the guy u think should be the leader of the free world; appoint moral judges; push the right kind of social legislation (or lack thereof)? This guy into repentence? He’s too arrogant. He has rationalized all this as part of working too hard. Have u read his reasoning? Seen the tape? **choke**

  • Politics is all about comparison Rotifer. Compared to Gingrich I prefer Santorum. Compared to Romney I prefer Gingrich. Compared to Obama, I prefer the Republican.

  • “19 yr old, at his first wedding and married his math teacher, 7 years his senior, after a 3 year ‘affair’.”

    If that is true, then his first wife was more at fault than the 16 year old Gingrich, and that got him off to a rather rocky start in regard to man-woman relationships.

  • Gingrich at least has a balanced budget and welfare reform to point to when making his claims to conservatism. What aspects of Romney’s record does he point to? He ran as a liberal. He governed as a liberal. And he is a liberal. His 2007 election-eve conversion of convenience is not convincing to me. And, apparently, it’s not convincing to most other people either.

    I will NOT vote for that fraud should he win the nomination.

  • Re Newt. … He has bought his way out of one or (possibly) two thru annulments.

    “Bought”, eh? Care to reveal what the bid-ask spread is on annulments these days?

    If the media stops the Gingrich attacks, does Gingrich then fade into normality…?
    -bill bannon

    If the past is any guide, the establishment media doesn’t stop attacking Speaker Gingrich until he’s long since stopped bringing himself to public attention. I doubt they can even help themselves anymore, they just can’t resist trying to attack him. Likely, the South Carolina results shocked them; bunches of media operatives are probably still shouting “inconceivable!” Come Monday, they’ll be back.

  • This:

    “Mitt Romney has no tangible record of conservative accomplishments but has occasionally made statements that sound conservative.
    “Newt Gingrich has a tangible record of conservative accomplishments but has occasionally made statements that don’t sound conservative.”

    Can anyone really argue that this statement is untrue? So, I’m struggling to ascertain on what conceivable basis one might posit that Romney is “conservative”, much less come to the conclusion that he is “clearly … more conservative” than Gingrich.

  • Dan McLaughlin has had some very insightful posts on the candidates. Here his take on Newt, and here’s a series of posts on Romney. Long story short, though there are some troubling things with Newt’s style of conservatism, it’s really not even close between the two.

    As the comment Jay links to points out, there is simply nothing in Romney’s actual record of governance that indicates any sort of conservatism. At all. And the Massachusetts excuse doesn’t fly. We here in Maryland were governed at the same time by Bob Ehrlich, a fairly conservative (though pro-choice) governor who governed much more conservatively than Romney. Yes, he was defeated in his re-election bid – as Romney would have had he run – but he actually left office fairly popular. He just had the misfortune of having an -R next to his name in 2006. But he managed to govern a state that is every bit as liberal as Massachusetts without imposing an individual mandate or other disasters.

  • We here in Maryland were governed at the same time by Bob Ehrlich, a fairly conservative (though pro-choice) governor who governed much more conservatively than Romney.

    Some things are a matter of honor, Paul, and when people breach that, you cannot forget.,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=213&cntnt01origid=26&cntnt01returnid=29

  • Then Michelle Malkin would have written some naggy article about how two or three votes of his that suggest he’s a RINO. Then he would have given some answer in his first debate that ticked a few people off, and his poll numbers would have gone. Then he goes on CNN to present his 30 point plan to improve the economy. Point 19 sounds vaguely similar to an Obama proposal, causing Red State to run three days worth of blog posts calling him a statist.

    You’re 100% right on that, and the “own worst enemy” comment. And Redstate’s woodshedding of Santorum has been a gruesome wonder to behold–if not as laughable as Coulter’s weathervaning on Romney.


    Any of the others would have less baggage than Newtromney, and less fodder for credible flyspecking. I think even Christie (save on 2nd Amendment issues) would be less subject to it. Oh, the Axis of Redstate would still find something to fulminate about with each, but it wouldn’t have the same traction. It would be relegated to the eyerolling closet much, much faster.

    Perry’s fatal flaw was expectations combined with some of the most remarkable pratfalls this side of Chevy Chase. That, and running a socon campaign when he had the Texas economic record to tout.

  • Thomas Sowell on the Gingrich vs. Romney comparison:

    … While the televised debates are what gave Newt Gingrich’s candidacy a big boost, concrete accomplishments when in office are the real test. Gingrich engineered the first Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 40 years — followed by the first balanced budget in 40 years. The media called it “the Clinton surplus” but all spending bills start in the House of Representatives, and Gingrich was speaker of the House.

    Speaker Gingrich also produced some long-overdue welfare reforms, despite howls from liberals that the poor would be devastated. But nobody now claims that they were.

    Did Gingrich ruffle some feathers when he was speaker of the House? Yes, enough for it to cost him that position. But he also showed that he could produce results.

    In a world where we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available, the question is whether Newt Gingrich is better than Barack Obama — and better than Mitt Romney.

    Romney is a smooth talker, but what did he actually accomplish as governor of Massachusetts, compared with what Gingrich accomplished as speaker of the House? When you don’t accomplish much, you don’t ruffle many feathers. But is that what we want?

    Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain…

  • I doubt the man’s honesty and for me in regard to a politician that is the kiss of death.

    Do you consider Gingrich to be an honest person?

  • With his first two wives? Absolutely not. With the voters? Much more so than Romney.

  • Conservative, neocon, moderate, log cabin republican– “average republican voter’??
    personally I want someone whose policies and personal life are coherent and trust worthy I think we have an opportunity to vote for a candidate who is good.. which is such a relief from so many years of choosing the lesser of the evils–
    I want to vpte for a leader disciplined by faith in true Authority -higher than his own impulses and or value judgments (G, R and O).
    ” broken promises, glib demagoguery, and cynical political moves ” phrase used by Thomas Sowell to describe B Obama. could that also describe Newt-different particulars, but same idea about lack of respect for a promise and willingness to demagogue ( is there a better example of exploiting peoples emotion than Newt’s display last week? Ethics – is it ok that he does questionable things as long as he gets things done?
    Look at Townhall Rebecca Hagelin’s “Blinded by Hate” column and
    “Newt and Mitt: Two Sides of the Same Coin” .

  • Don,

    Leave aside the issue of his marriages. Gingrich claims that Freddie Mac paid him $1.6 million dollars for him to tell them “as a historian” that there business model was flawed. Do you really believe that?

  • I believe he has said a good deal more than that BA, although I understand that is the talking point of the Romney campaign.;cbsCarousel

    The contracts between Freddie Mac and the consulting firm of Gingrich will soon be released and we will all find out all about it. No doubt Romney in return will be itching to disclose literally tons of documents about his activities at Bain and other business ventures over the years.

    Really BA this Tu Quoque defense of Romney will not hunt. Romney is a pretend conservative, a liberal trying to masquerade as a conservative, and that, along with being a truly lousy politician, is why against an underfunded challenger like Gingrich, who has tons of baggage, he is floundering. Most politicians will be mendacious on occasion, but few politicians have ever been as mendacious as Romney as to just what he believes over such a wide spectrum of issues.

  • Really BA this Tu Quoque defense of Romney will not hunt.

    It is not a Tu Quoque defense, except for Democratic pols who also got a share of the swag from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (James Johnson, Jamie Gorelick, Barney Frank, &c.)

  • Disagree Art. The issue that BA and I have been discussing is honesty with BA claiming that Gingrich is as big a liar as Romney, which is simply not the case.

  • Don,

    Actually I only asked whether you thought Gingrich was an honest person in response to your claim that you couldn’t support a politician if you didn’t think they were honest. Would you like to modify your position to that you can support a dishonest politician so long as you think they are less dishonest than Mitt Romney?

  • No BA, my position is that Romney is a wretchedly dishonest politician that I will only vote for if the only alternative is Obama. However, considering the meltdown I think is happening with the Romney support in Florida and around the country, I am beginning to hope that I will not be forced to vote for President with my left thumb and forefinger clamped on my nose. Compared to Romney, Gingrich is Diogenes’ honest man found.

  • Don,

    You accused me of making a tu quoque, but that’s exactly what you are doing here. You said you couldn’t support a politician if you doubted whether they were honest. That naturally raises the question of whether you think Gingrich is honest. It is no answer to say that he is not as dishonest as Romney, since in your view Romney is incredibly dishonest.

    Again, I’m not the one who said they could only support honest politicians (from my perspective that would rule out most everybody). All I’ve done is ask whether you really believe that Gingrich is an honest guy.

  • “That naturally raises the question of whether you think Gingrich is honest. It is no answer to say that he is not as dishonest as Romney, since in your view Romney is incredibly dishonest.”

    Asked and answered BA. I have already said that Gingrich is being honest with the voters in my opinion as opposed to Romney’s cross dressing attempt to pass himself off as a conservative.

  • Out of curiosity, Don, who did you support back during the 2008 primary when it was Romney v. McCain v. Huckabee?

  • Actually BA I voted for Romney as a protest against McCain. In Illinois he got 28% to 44% for McCain, and I was hoping that a McCain loss might slow down his momentum, although I doubted that would be the case. I posted this on Darwin’s blog the day before the election:

    “Donald R. McClarey said…
    Although I will vote for Romney tommorrow in Illinois, he is toast and McCain will be the nominee. I will grit my teeth and vote for him in the Fall.

    Super Tuesday will not settle matters for the Dems, which will probably be good news for the Republicans. After a long and grueling contest I think Clinton will be the nominee, although I expect she will alienate a fair number of Obama supporters along the way.

    She will probably offer him the Veep spot. If he is smart he will decline it, pray that she is beaten in the Fall and begin preparing for 2012. This election has a strange feel of 1976 about it, with Clinton being Ford to Obama’s Reagan.”

    So much for my crystal ball in 2008!

South Carolina Surprise

Saturday, January 21, AD 2012

It all seemed so simple for Mitt Romney, a/k/a the Weathervane, just a week ago.  He  had won New Hampshire by a wide margin and he was ahead by more than 10 points according to most polls in South Carolina.  He was poised to win the Palmetto State, and then on to Florida at the end of January.  After three victories in a row, the primaries would be effectively over and he could concentrate on the battle in the Fall.  Tonight Gingrich was declared the winner immediately after the close of the polls, crushing Romney, who had outspent Newt two to one, and who enjoyed the support of the South Carolina GOP establishment.  What happened?

It started to unravel last Monday in the first of the South Carolina debates, where Gingrich performed superbly, and Romney acted like a deer that had wandered into the debate, frozen by the television lights and unable to answer any questions coherently about the release of his taxes.

On Tuesday Sarah Palin announced that if she lived in South Carolina she would be voting for Gingrich, to keep the primary process going.  Her husband had endorsed Gingrich the week before.

All week Romney kept fumbling over the tax return issue, finally announcing that he would release his current tax return sometime in the Spring, and sheepishly mentioning that his effective tax rate was 15% due to most of his income being from investments.  His campaign continued to seem unable to respond to Gingrich attacks on Romney’s employment at Bain Capital.  Romney made a major faux pas when he stated that he had earned very little from speaking fees in 2010 and early 2011.  It turned out that the very little money was 374k, fortifying his image as an out of touch rich guy.  A very bad week for the Weathervane.

On Thursday Newt had an electric moment at the beginning of the second of the South Carolina debates.  Go here to read all about it.  This enhanced Gingrich’s image as a champion debater, and a fighter, taking no guff from a liberal media bent on destroying him.  This was tailor-made to appeal to Conservatives, and Gingrich should send a public thank you to John  King and CNN for allowing him to use them as a punching bag.  On Friday Perry dropped out and endorsed Gingrich, noting that Gingrich was not perfect, and emphasizing the redemptive power of religion.  If Perry had been as eloquent during his participation in the debates, he would now be the de facto Republican nominee.

So, what does this all mean?

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10 Responses to South Carolina Surprise

  • It may have been here or on other blogs where someone mentioned that Gingrich would not fare as well as his opponents with women. Well . . .

  • He has more skeletons in his closet than Davy Jones has in his locker.

    The quaity is right but they seem to all be out of the closet, any one who cares know’s about them and he is still getting teir support.

    Santorum would be the best President amoung them, but Gingrich is most likly to win.

  • The music was great to read by.
    2. A real live statesman FOR our republic – or what will be left of it.
    3. Hope not. Who better than another real live statesman FOR our republic as – well – running mate?

  • Paul Z- I have a vague suspicion that it may be a result of that obvious hit-piece interview. The woman struck me in the wrong way in that much-replayed soundbite, especially knowing that she was the “other woman” at one point.

    The Sarah and Todd Palin thing probably didn’t hurt, either.

  • Lastly:
    1. Best as CFO equivalent for this statesman. Oversight is a massive need.

  • After the campaigning and primary results from South Carolina, I am, most sadly, more convinced than ever that President Obama will be reelected in the fall. It will be a very close election in the electoral college, but Obama will win. We Republicans are simply too divided to effectively provide a viable alternative to President Obama. While we fight and discredit each other, he simply waits.

    Whoever the Republican candidate is, he will be greatly weakened by the primary process. Given our disarray, many Independents, who desperately want an alternative to Obama, will conclude that they have no real choice but to vote for Obama again. I hate to admit this, but it is now obvious that this is true.

  • I will vote for the Republican candidate. I haven’t paid much attention to the primary process, because it’s too painful. I prefer Newt over Romney and Santorum over Newt, most of all Palin is my preference. However, any one but Obama has been my mantra. If Obama does win the presidency I pray that the Republicans are able to keep the House and take the Senate because I think the humiliation of an impeachment would be sweeter justice than his actually losing the presidency.

  • The woman [in that obvious hit-piece interview] struck me in the wrong way in that much-replayed soundbite, especially knowing that she was the “other woman” at one point.

    Apparently you’re not at all alone in that opinion. Yesterday at Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds quoted from the emails of two women whose opinions were similar to yours (and in one case, saltier).

Song of the Vagabonds

Saturday, January 21, AD 2012

Say to your Son that I am His.

Through Him all my sins are lost:

Forgive me, as Mary Egypt was,

Or, so they say, Theophilus,

Who by your grace was still blameless,

Though he vowed the Devil a guest.

Protect me always from like excess,

Virgin, who bore, without a cry,

Christ whom we celebrate at Mass.

In this faith let me live and die.

Francois Villon

Something for the weekend.  Song of the Vagabonds sung by the Robert Shaw chorale.  Song of the Vagabonds is the showstopper song in the 1925 operetta The Vagabond King by Rudolph Friml.  The operetta is an imaginative fantasy set in 15th Century Paris where Louis XI, the Spider King, makes Francois Villon, brilliant poet and petty thief, Marshal of France for a day after he criticizes Louis.  Villon must defeat the Burgundian Army besieging Paris or be hanged.  Villon rallies the Paris rabble, his people, and defeats the Burgundians.  He wins the woman he loves and goes into exile for her.  Alas, not a syllable is true to history.

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6 Responses to Happy Penguin Awareness Day