A new gender classification coming soon to a nearby Catholic university or college…

 

One of the premiere campus events during the month of October occurred beneath the radar screen: “Asexual Awareness Week.”

asexual

This lack of awareness won’t contine if Emily Johnston and some of her pals at Carleton College are effective in getting their message out, according to Inside Higher Ed. Johnston is the President and Co-Founder of The New England Asexual Community and Education (ACE) which holds meetings and is actively working to expand programming at Carleton for asexual students.

To date, Johnston and her allies have experienced some success. For example, Carleton’s Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) earlier this year added the word “asexual” into its mission statement as well as an “A” onto the LGBTQ acronym. For Johnston, that’s important because it provides recognition that asexuals exist and are a valued and visible part of the queer community. “It’s an act of validation,” Johnston noted.

The GSC’s Director, Laura Haave, said her organization is making an effort to sponsor programs that are more inclusive of asexual topics or speakers. In addition, the GSC is also revising some of its programs concerning communication and consent. The idea is to acknowledge that talking about sex for some people means identifying as asexual. “There’s a pretty strong belief in our society that if you don’t experience sexual desire or sexual attraction, there’s something wrong with you,” Haave said. Haave hopes the GSC’s recognition will mean asexual people won’t face the discriminatory pressure that confronted the gay, lesbian, and transgender populations, namely, to “change who they are” or “get better.”

What’s an “asexual” person? Johnston defined an asexual as a “person who doesn’t feel sexual attraction.”  However, Johnston added:

It means something different for everyone, and it means they experience relationships and intimacy differently.

As this definition isn’t inclusive of the wide spectrum of asexual variations, Johnston expressed her preference that people use the more inclusive term “asexual spectrum.”

For Johnston, even though the number and visibility of people who identify as asexual has grown, it’s still too low. Johnston observes:

It happens so often that people don’t even know that asexuality is an orientation. Or they’ve heard of the word, but don’t know what it means.

Beyond Carlton, the movement appears to be growing nationally with the establishment of support groups for asexual students at the University of Colorado at Boulder and New College of Florida. At other institutions—like the University of Georgia, for example—existing student groups have added asexual to the list of gender identities and sexual orientations represented.

Once academic administrators at the nation’s Catholic colleges and universities learn that asexuals are being stigmatized on their campuses because sex, attraction, and desire are celebrated and encouraged by the culture, they’ll be sure to note that Catholic social teaching requires a more inclusive approach towards asexuals. Perhaps the New England ACES would be willing to offer those administrators recommendations for their college gender and sexuality centers. Then, they’ll demonstrate greater compassion toward and inclusity of the newest of sexual minorities, all of those students on the “asexual spectrum.”

Any bet which Catholic college or university will spearhead the effort?

 

 

 

To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/11/10/asexual-student-groups-growing-more-common-campuses

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

PopeWatch: Schism

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Raymond Cardinal Burke discusses the possibility of schism in an interview with Diana Montagna at Aleteia:

 

 

But there is increasing talk of fear of schism, that if the Synod of Bishops keeps going in the direction it’s going, that it’s going to get worse. What could be done to avoid that happening, in your view?

We have individually to make sure that we keep in strong contact with the Tradition through our study of the Catechism, above all through prayer, and also through sound spiritual direction, strong in our Catholic faith and our witness to it. And then that we use other occasions and opportunities, whether it’s our personal witness in our daily contacts, visits with family and friends and so forth, to underline the beauty of the truth about marriage. And also events like today’s, a colloquium centering around questions that were raised at the Synod on the Family, and other questions around which there is a lot of confusion.

I think, for instance, of the question: is it possible that the Church’s teaching can remain the same and yet that she could have a pastoral practice which seems to contradict it. Those kinds of questions need to be addressed. And the confusion, too, surrounding the position of the Fathers of the Church with regard to Communion for those who are in irregular unions, or the confusion surrounding the practice of the Orthodox Churches and so forth, and the idea that we should adopt the same practice. 

And do you think that there is a real risk of schism in this?

If in some way the Synod of Bishops was seen to go contrary to what is the constant teaching and practice of the Church, there is a risk because these are unchanging and unchangeable truths.

At the Synod, when the interim report came out, some said it was a disaster.

It was a total disaster.

The final report noted the need for “sensitivity to the positive aspects” of civil marriages and, “with obvious differences, cohabitation.” The Church, it says, “needs to indicate the constructive elements in these situations.” The paragraph, number 41, passed the requisite two-thirds majority. Do you find it disturbing that this paragraph gained a two-thirds majority among the bishops? 

The language is at best confused, and I’m afraid that some of the Synod Fathers may not have reflected sufficiently on the implications of that, or maybe because the language is confused, didn’t understand completely what was being said. But that is disturbing for me. And then the whole matter: that even though [certain] paragraphs were removed, and rightly so, although contrary to practice in the past the document was printed with those paragraphs included, and one had to go and look at the votation to see that certain paragraphs had been removed. It’s disturbing to me that even those sections which were voted to be removed still received a substantial number of votes.

Juridically, when those three paragraphs did not receive the two-thirds majority, were they to be removed from the document?

Absolutely. We couldn’t have any discussion on that text, but we voted paragraph by paragraph, and what’s the point of voting paragraph by paragraph except to either accept a paragraph of have it removed. This is just one more disturbing aspect about the way in which Synod of Bishops was conducted. 

Do you see this agenda continuing through the coming year? They aren’t going to change course?

No, because the General Secretary has identified himself very strongly with the Kasper thesis, and he is not hesitant to say so and has gone around also giving talks in various places. He’s less outspoken than Cardinal Kasper but nevertheless it’s clear that he subscribes to that school. So no, this is going to go on and that’s why it’s important that we continue to speak up and to act as we are able to address the situation. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Happy 239th Birthday to the Corps!

You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced, to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth – and the amusing thing about it is that they are…You should see the group about me as I write- dirty, bearded, their clothing food-spattered and filthy- they look like the castoffs of creation. Yet they have a sense of loyalty, generosity, even piety greater than any men I have ever known. These rugged men have the simple piety of children. You can’t help loving them, in spite of their language and their loose sense of private property. Don’t ever feel sorry for a priest in the Marines. The last eight weeks have been the happiest and most contented in my life.

 Father Kevin Keaney, 1st MarDiv Chaplain, Korean War

 

 

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

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

I have always admired Marines, in spite of my having been part of the Green Machine during my long ago peace time military servitude.  Here is a recent example of why I admire them:

Retired Marine Maj. “Fox” Sinke says he has received threatening phone calls from Arabic speakers since he stood guard at Canada’s National War Memorial last week.

But as he told police: “If they’re looking for a fight, they came to the right guy.”

Sinke said he received at least two phone calls on Tuesday from people who screamed at him in Arabic and then hung up.

“The only words I recognized were ‘kill you,’ because I’ve heard them before,” he said.

When Sinke told police about the phone calls, he added, “I promise you this: If they come here, they’ll die here.”

Sinke is a decorated veteran who did tours in Vietnam and received five Purple Hearts. When Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian service member, was shot and killed last month while guarding Canada’s war memorial, Sinke felt obligated to honor the fallen hero.

“The murder of the young Cpl. Cirillo was so despicable and craven that I just couldn’t find it within myself to do nothing,” said Sinke, a dual Canadian-American citizen.

So Sinke, who lives in Canada, donned his Marine uniform and sword and went to the memorial to stand guard on Friday. He told local media that he came to pay tribute to fallen comrade in arms and he wanted to show that Canadians will not be intimidated. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Yep

Communism

 

JUST A FEW OF COMMUNISM’S MANY VICTIMS: The sad stories of those killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall. Communism was — and is, still — sold as something moral. But it’s a system of slavery, benefiting a few at the top at the expense of the many beneath. It was enforced by death and cruelty, because without death and cruelty it couldn’t work even for a little while. The people who say nice things about communism today either know this and are lying, or are profoundly stupid. Either way, you need neither listen to them, nor afford them even the smallest degree of respect.

Glenn Reynolds

Making Mock of Uniforms

 Honor

 

 

A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

John Stuart Mill

 

 

Just in time for Veterans Day!  David Masciotra at Salon has a piece that perfectly encapsulates the contempt and hate many on the left have for those who serve in our military.  The opening paragraph is a treasure trove of the pre-occupations of leftists in this country:

 

 

Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible.

 

1.  Anti-white racism?  Check.

2.  Contempt for American culture?  Check.

3.  Hatred of patriotism?  Check.

4.  Paranoia about authoritarianism and/or totalitarianism for those who do not share the political views of the left?  Check. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Ronald Reagan

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At the same time, we invite the Soviet Union to consider with us how the competition of ideas and values — which it is committed to support — can be conducted on a peaceful and reciprocal basis. For example, I am prepared to offer President Brezhnev an opportunity to speak to the American people on our television if he will allow me the same opportunity with the Soviet people. We also suggest that panels of our newsmen periodically appear on each other’s television to discuss major events.

Now, I don’t wish to sound overly optimistic, yet the Soviet Union is not immune from the reality of what is going on in the world. It has happened in the past — a small ruling elite either mistakenly attempts to ease domestic unrest through greater repression and foreign adventure, or it chooses a wiser course. It begins to allow its people a voice in their own destiny. Even if this latter process is not realized soon, I believe the renewed strength of the democratic movement, complemented by a global campaign for freedom, will strengthen the prospects for arms control and a world at peace.

I have discussed on other occasions, including my address on May 9th, the elements of Western policies toward the Soviet Union to safeguard our interests and protect the peace. What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term — the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.

Ronald Reagan, Address to British Parliament on June 8, 1982

The Anti-FDR

The Anti-FDR

 

Overshadowed by Republican victories in Congress, Republican control of state legislatures is the real story out of last Tuesday’s elections:

 

The Republican wave that hit the U.S. Congress in Tuesday’s midterm election also boosted the party in state races, where it gained control of 10 chambers and could be on track to holding the largest number of legislative seats since before the Great Depression.

Democrats lost their majorities in the West Virginia House, Nevada Assembly and Senate, New Hampshire House, Minnesota House, New York Senate, Maine Senate, Colorado Senate, Washington Senate, and New Mexico House to Republicans, who also won enough seats to tie control of the West Virginia Senate, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reported on Wednesday.

“Everyone knew it was a Republican year, but they really blew away expectations at the state legislative level,” said Tim Storey, the bipartisan group’s election analyst.

With Tuesday’s vote, Republicans took over the U.S. Senate, beefed up their majority in the U.S. House and won the governor’s office in several key states. The vote also increased the number of state legislative chambers with Republican majorities to 67 from 57. Party control of the Colorado House and Washington House was still up in the air.

The number of states with Republicans in control of both legislative chambers came to 27 ahead of the election and has now edged closer to the high mark of 30 in 1920, according to Storey. By contrast, Democrats will control the lowest number of state legislatures since 1860, he said. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

November 9, 1864: Sherman’s Special Field Orders 120

 

After a frustrating month during which Sherman’s planned March to the Sea had been delayed due to jitters of Grant and Sherman regarding Hood’s foray into Tennessee, Sherman readied his troops for their epic march by issuing Special Field Orders 120.  This made clear that the army was to live off the land and that supply lines were to be of no consequence during the march:

 

Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, Kingston, Georgia, November 9, 1864

I. For the purpose of military operations, this army is divided into two wings viz.: The right wing, Major-General O. O. Howard commanding, composed of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps; the left wing, Major-General H. W. Slocum commanding, composed of the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps.

II. The habitual order of march will be, wherever practicable, by four roads, as nearly parallel as possible, and converging at points hereafter to be indicated in orders. The cavalry, Brigadier – General Kilpatrick commanding, will receive special orders from the commander-in-chief.

III. There will be no general train of supplies, but each corps will have its ammunition-train and provision-train, distributed habitually as follows: Behind each regiment should follow one wagon and one ambulance; behind each brigade should follow a due proportion of ammunition – wagons, provision-wagons, and ambulances. In case of danger, each corps commander should change this order of march, by having his advance and rear brigades unencumbered by wheels. The separate columns will start habitually at 7 a.m., and make about fifteen miles per day, unless otherwise fixed in orders.

IV. The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under the command of one or more discreet officers, who will gather, near the route traveled, corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or whatever is needed by the command, aiming at all times to keep in the wagons at least ten day’s provisions for the command and three days’ forage. Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants, or commit any trespass, but during a halt or a camp they may be permitted to gather turnips, potatoes, and other vegetables, and to drive in stock of their camp. To regular foraging parties must be instructed the gathering of provisions and forage at any distance from the road traveled.

V. To army corps commanders alone is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, &c., and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless according to the measure of such hostility.

VI. As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit, discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments or bridges. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain from abusive or threatening language, and may, where the officer in command thinks proper, give written certificates of the facts, but no receipts, and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

VII. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns may be taken along, but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one and that his first duty is to see to them who bear arms. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Twenty-Five Years Since the Fall of the Berlin Wall

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

Here is an interview Sam Donaldson did with Reagan immediately after the fall of the wall:

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Lech Walesa, a leader of that band of millions of heroes and heroines, at the head of which were Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan, who won the Cold War, gave this salute to Reagan after Reagan died in 2005: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Moral Law and the Ritual Purity Law

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Those wonderfully twisted folks at The Lutheran Satire explain the distinction between the moral law and the ritual purity law to internet atheists.  It is an important issue and I have addressed it before:

 

A question arose yesterday in a thread, posed by Michael:

I have a real question. Homosexuality, as a sin an abomination, is mentioned in Leviticus. That book, however, also says:
 – disrespect of parents should be punishable by death
 – sleeping with a woman during her period should make both parties outcasts
 – don’t eat pork
 – shellfish are an abomination

So my question is, why are some of the verses ignored and others so important?

It is a good question and sometimes confuses Catholics and non-Catholics.  The answer to the question is in the very earliest history of the Church.  After the ascension of Jesus, the apostles went about the great task of making “disciples of all the nations”, and Christianity began to spread among Jew and Gentile alike.  The question quickly arose as to whether Gentile converts would have to be circumcised (the males only of course!) and follow all of the Jewish laws regarding ritual purity.  If they were asked to do this, it would mean a complete revolution in their life.  They would no longer be able to even eat a meal with their Gentile relatives and friends.  Like the Jews, the Christians would be a people set apart, cut off from interacting in the simplest ways with non-Jews for fear of violating the hundreds of laws of the Old Testament regarding ritual purity. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Jenky v. Dolan

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From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

A verbal battle between two Catholic leaders over the body of legendary Archbishop Fulton Sheen has put the former television personality’s sainthood campaign on hiatus.

The bishop of Peoria,  Illinois, Bishop Daniel Jenky, has been working to beatify Sheen for some time, but all that came to an unexpected hiatus this week when Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York reportedly told Jenky to “Back up before you gets smacked the heck up.”

In a letter to Jenky, the New York archdiocese issued a statement saying that Dolan opposes the “dismemberment of the Archbishop’s body” for the purpose of collecting relics, and concluded it by inviting Jenky “if he so dared,” to try to take even one step on “Dolan’s turf.”

Spokesman for the New York Diocese John Frank told EOTT today that Dolan was saddened by accusations leveled on him by the Peoria bishop, and said that since Jenky was “itchin’ for a stitchen’,” that the New York Diocese would accommodate him and set up a bare knuckle, mixed martial arts throw down in the octagon.

Even the Vatican office that oversees the creation of saints hasn’t been able to resolve the unusually public dispute between New York and Peoria, but have shown a lot of interest in the MMA fight between the two bishops.

Peoria Diocese spokesman Donald Walters told reporters today that Jenky has accepted the challenge, and cautioned Dolan against instigating Jenky anymore than he already has, saying that Dolan would do well to “check himself before he wrecks himself” because Jenky is reportedly “bad for his health.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

November 8, 1864: Lincoln Re-elected

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Ohio claims they are due a president as they haven’t had one since Taft. Look at the United States, they have not had one since Lincoln.

Will Rogers

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Lincoln and Liberty Too.  Mr. Lincoln was re-elected 150 years ago.  The 1864 campaign songs have been long forgotten, while Lincoln and Liberty Too from the 1860 campaign is probably the most famous campaign song in American political history.

With the re-election the last faint hope for the Confederacy vanished.  The War would be fought to a finish and slavery was as dead as the hundreds of thousands of men who had fallen in the bloodiest conflict in American history.

Lincoln garnered 55% of the vote to 45% for McClellan.  The electoral vote was a landslide of epic proportions:  221-21.  Even if all the Confederate states had been able to cast unanimous votes against Lincoln, he still would have won a solid majority in the electoral college.  The margins in some of the Northern States were close, but as the saying goes, that only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Civil War?

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Damian Thompson in The Spectator wonders if the Church is nearing Civil War:

 

 

‘At this very critical moment, there is a strong sense that the church is like a ship without a rudder,’ said a prominent Catholic conservative last week. No big deal, you might think. Opponents of Pope Francis have been casting doubt on his leadership abilities for months — and especially since October’s Vatican Synod on the Family, at which liberal cardinals pre-emptively announced a softening of the church’s line on homosexuality and second marriages, only to have their proposals torn up by their colleagues.

But it is a big deal. The ‘rudderless’ comment came not from a mischievous traditionalist blogger but from Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura — that is, president of the Vatican’s supreme court. As it happens, Pope Francis intends to sack Burke, whose habit of dressing up like a Christmas tree at Latin Masses infuriates him. But he hasn’t got round to it yet. And thus we have the most senior American cardinal in Rome publicly questioning the stewardship of the Holy Father — possibly with the tacit approval of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Nothing like this has happened since the backstabbing behind the scenes at the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago. It raises the question: is the Catholic church in the early stages of a civil war between liberals and conservatives, fought not over liturgical niceties (the source of relatively harmless squabbles under John Paul II and Benedict XVI) but fundamental issues of sexual morality? →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

November 7, 1864: Davis Proposes Enlisting Slaves in the Confederate Army

Jefferson Davis

On November 7, 1864 Jefferson Davis made his annual speech to the Second Confederate Congress.  Most of the speech was a valiant, albeit largely delusional, attempt to place a happy face on the desperate military situation confronting the Confederate States.  However, there is one section which finally brought out into the open the question of enlisting slaves in the Confederate Army.  Long rumored to be under consideration, bringing it before Congress was a testament to how bad the military prospects were for the Confederacy, the protestations of Davis to the contrary notwithstanding.  However, even at five minutes to midnight for the Confederacy, Davis still raised the proposal as a possible move in the future, not an immediate policy.  To many members of the Congress it must have seemed ironic that a War begun in defense of slavery, had now reached such a dire pass that they were being asked to liberate slaves to preserve their new nation.  Here is the portion of the speech of Davis dealing with the issue:  →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

So About that Emerging Democrat Majority

In graduate school I read John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira’s The Emerging Democratic Majority. Here is the Amazon summary of the book:

In five well-researched chapters and a new afterword covering the 2002 elections, Judis and Teixeira show how the most dynamic and fastest-growing areas of the country are cultivating a new wave of Democratic voters who embrace what the authors call “progressive centrism” and take umbrage at Republican demands to privatize social security, ban abortion, and cut back environmental regulations. As the GOP continues to be dominated by neoconservatives, the religious right, and corporate influence, this is an essential volume for all those discontented with their narrow agenda — and a clarion call for a new political order.

I confess that the book provided a good chuckle, particularly as I read it in 2003, sandwiched in between successful Republican electoral triumphs. Particularly laughable were predictions that states such as Georgia and Texas were destined to become fertile ground for Democrats thanks to rapid demographic shifts.

Twelve years later, and I confess that I am not seeing much blue here or here.

Now, to be fair, Judis and Teixeira were not arguing that a permanent and enduring Democrat majority was on the cusp of dominating the political landscape. They noted that cultural and demographic trends favored the Democrat party, which is an observation that certainly rings true in many respects. Certainly at the presidential level it is true that Republicans seem to start out perpetually behind the eight ball, having to win every possible swing state to have any chance of barely squeezing past 270 electoral votes. And election results in 2006, 2008, and to a lesser extent 2012 seemed to confirm that the Republicans were in danger of extended minority status.

Then again, there’s this.

For those too lazy to click the link, it’s a map of US Congressional districts by party in control, and there is a sea of red that just washes over nearly the entire country. If you do not live along the coast in the United States, then there’s a near guaranteed chance that your representative is a Republican.

Even this map does not do the party justice. These maps show party control of the various state legislatures. After Tuesday night the GOP can now add Nevada, Minnesota, and West Virginia to the mix. Additionally, after inauguration days in January, 32 states will have Republican governors, including Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland. This table presents a clearer picture of where things stand. Republicans control both the governor’s mansion and the legislature in 24 states, with super-majorities in 15 of those states. Democrats, meanwhile, hold both the legislature and the governorship in seven states, with super-majorities only in Rhode Island and Hawaii. Seven GOP governors will have a Democrat legislature (with a super-majority of Democrats in Massachusetts), and 11 Democrats governors will have a GOP legislature (with a Republican super-majority in Missouri). Additionally Nebraska has a Republican governor and a non-partisan unicameral legislature.

Now, elections are cyclical, and things can change in American politics. The Republican majority in the Senate is rather tenuous considering that Republicans will have to defend 24 seats in 2016, many in blue or purple states, and in a presidential election year. That being said, Republican dominance at the state level is hardly a new thing. Republicans have fared well at state-level elections even in heavily Democratic years.

In the end, the Judis and Teixeira proposition (which they continue to defend, by the way) is fatally flawed for a number of reasons.

1) Politics is local – It’s a cliche, but it happens to be true. Though Americans tend to focus on presidential elections at the exclusion of all other races (much like some Catholics tend to focus on the Papacy at the exclusion of all other offices, ahem), believe it or not the presidency is not everything. Local decisions still have more bearing on your day-to-day lives than what the federals do, even if the federal government is more powerful today than in years past. Local circumstances are unique, and individual politicians at the local level might be able to connect with the electorate in a way that federal officials cannot.

2) Even the presidential disadvantage is overrated. Sure Republicans face certain electoral defeat in states that total close to 200 electoral votes (although Democrats face a similar hole in about the same amount of states), and Republicans continue to fail to break through in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico and other swing states, while losing their grip in Virginia and Colorado. Yet again one must ponder if this is due to a complete change in the electorate or unique circumstances in each presidential election. It is my contention that candidates matter, and the lackluster string of GOP nominees – including the one guy who won – over the past two decades have failed to move the electorate. Yet the potential GOP field in 2016 is incredibly deeper than the Democrat field. The GOP will have at least half a dozen credible candidates running. GOP has establishment governors (Christie, Bush, possibly Romney), conservative Governors (Walker, Jindal, potentially Kasich, Pence, Perry), as well as conservative Senators (Cruz, Paul, Santorum). All of these candidates would be serious contenders on both a primary and general election level – perhaps the Senate field less so. The Democrat field meanwhile is essentially Hilary Clinton and . . . umm, is her husband eligible to run again? Elizabeth Warren is being touted as a potential candidate, but does anyone see her as a legitimate threat to win a general election? What else is there? Republicans will still have to scratch and claw to win in 2016, and they will have to do much better than they did in 2012 to get out the vote, but almost all of these candidates (except Romney) would seem to be individuals who could inspire more of the electorate.

By the way, I would tie this in with point one. Republican victories at the state level have provided the GOP with a much deeper bench to help them become more competitive in presidential elections.

3) The idea of any kind of cyclical majority is simply wrong. And this is the most critical point. The Teixeira/Judis thesis is part of a larger body of work in political science that contends that American politics has been dominated by a series of electoral realignments. Starting in 1800 with the Jefferson coalition, one party dominates government for roughly 30 years before a new governing coalition dominates. Therefore the next coalition after Jefferson emerged in 1828 with the Jackson Democrats, 1860 with the Lincoln Republicans, 1896 with the McKinley and the GOP, 1932 with the FDR coalition, and then 1968 with GOP electoral dominance. So now we should be entering a period of Democrat dominance. But as Richard Mayhew* aptly demonstrated, electoral realignment theory just doesn’t pan out under close scrutiny. There are just too many holes in realignment theory to show that there is a real pattern. In reality, elections are decided by unique circumstances. The quality rather than the ideology of candidates determines national elections much more than is acknowledged. And while demographic trends should not be ignored, nor should we simply rely on demographic analysis to predict election results. The politics of demographic groups change over time. After all, I don’t think Democrats are counting on the Irish Catholic vote as much as they used to. Some trends on Tuesday should be encouraging for Republicans, including garnering a majority (or plurality) of the Asian vote, a much more substantial percentage of the Hispanic vote, especially in Texas, and some inroads among women. Again, the midterm electorate might be different, but those groups should not be counted on to vote in exactly the same way for all perpetuity.

*In the world of political science, academics aside from Mayhew are akin to the priest who delivers 25 minute homilies that ultimately seem to have no point and which are forgotten by the time the Creed starts, whereas Mayhew is the young priest who delivers a meaty seven minute homily that you’re still thinking about the next day.

Demographics is not destiny. American politics is more than just the presidency. And the Republican party, as flawed as it is, is safely off of life support.

Schadenfreude

 

 

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Language advisory to the above video. Schadenfreude is a dish best sampled none too heartily in politics since the wheel always comes round the other way, but I can’t resist a few bites.

1.  Sandra Fluke down in flames-Sandra Fluke, whose sole qualification for public office was being called a slut by Rush Limbaugh, has had a very long 15 minutes of fame, but they may be over.  With 100 percent of the votes counted, she was decisively defeated by fellow Democrat Ben Allen, a veteran local school official, running for a seat left vacant by the retirement of incumbent State Senator Ted Lieu.    Reportedly Ms. Fluke flushed a million bucks of her rich in-law’s money down the toilet on this losing effort.

2.  Charlie Crist-A former Republican governor of Florida who abandoned all his prior political stances to run as a born again liberal Democrat, was beaten by Rick Scott, the rather unpopular Republican governor of the Sunshine State.  The Richard Riches of this world do not always prosper.  I give the majority of the Florida voters credit for having a sound sense of smell in regard to Crist, who gives slime a bad name.

3.  Scott Walker-re-election:

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For the denizens of the left wing of the Democrat Party, Scott Walker was enemy number one due to his having found a formula to break the power of the public employee unions, the mainstay of their party.  Congrats to the usually hysterical Ed Schultz for giving a sober analysis for what his victory may mean.

4.  Debbie Does Delusions-On the other hand another Schultz, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is so ordinarily delusional that she makes Nancy Pelosi look like the voice of sanity in comparison:

Americans go to the polls Tuesday dissatisfied with the economy and President Obama’s job performance, but Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz remains confident for Democrats.

The Florida Democrat and chair of the Democratic National Committee predicts Democrats will hold the Senate and the election will yield more Democratic governors.

 

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PopeWatch: Radical Neo-Pagan Ideology

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Father Z brings us the words of Bishop Athanasius Schneider who raises direct talk to an art form:

 

His Excellency Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan, had an interview with a Polish news outlet. HERE. He speaks with his usual forthrightness, to the point of being blunt.

I am tempted to say, “Enjoy the clarity and honesty now, friends. Who know how long it will last?”

Here is the first question and answer, with my usual emphases and comments:

Q: Your Excellency, what is Your Excellency’s opinion about the Synod? What is its message to families?

A: During the Synod there had been moments of obvious manipulation on the part of some clerics who held key positions in the editorial and governing structure of the Synod. [Without question.  And we should be happy that it was unmasked.] The interim report (Relatio post disceptationem) was clearly a prefabricated text with no reference to the actual statements of the Synod fathers. [“no reference” is not quite right, not as far as the whole thing is concerned.  But the troubling paragraphs were prepared ahead of time.] In the sections on homosexuality, sexuality and “divorced and remarried” with their admittance to the sacraments the text represents a radical neo-pagan ideology. This is the first time in Church history that such a heterodox text was actually published as a document of an official meeting of Catholic bishops under the guidance of a pope, even though the text only had a preliminary character. [Creeping Incrementalism] Thanks be to God and to the prayers of the faithful all over the world that a consistent number of Synod fathers resolutely rejected such an agenda; this agenda reflects the corrupt and pagan main stream morality of our time, which is being imposed globally by means of political pressure and through the almost all-powerful official mass media, which are loyal to the principles of the world gender ideology party. [What does this remind me of? “Through some crack the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God.” – Paul VI, 1972] Such a synod document, even if only preliminary, is a real shame and an indication to the extent the spirit of the anti-Christian world has already penetrated such important levels of the life of the Church. This document will remain for the future generations and for the historians a black mark which has stained the honour of the Apostolic See. [BUT… it isn’t all only grim…] Fortunately the Message of the Synod Fathers is a real Catholic document which outlines the Divine truth on family without being silent about the deeper roots of the problems, i.e. about the reality of sin. It gives real courage and consolation to Catholic families. Some quotations: “We think of the burden imposed by life in the suffering that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a burden inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffering Christ in the weakness of the flesh. … Conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common. This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. … The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you”.

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