I have to say, I’m not the biggest fan of the GOP or most of its politicians. Of course I consider the party to be marginally better than the Democrats on most issues, and so if I grace the polls with my presence, I tend to prefer GOP candidates. But this is hardly a ringing endorsement. Nor can I possibly count my political support for Ron Paul as support for the GOP, since he rejects significant parts of the party platform, rhetoric and practice.
Paul Ryan, however, is someone I have begun paying attention to. Since he has invoked Catholic Social Teaching (CST) as the basic foundation of his approach to the federal budget, he has become quite the person of interest among combatants in the Catholic media and blogosphere.
Ryan recently penned a column which appeared in the National Catholic Register titled “Applying Our Enduring Truths To Our Defining Challenge.” It is worth reading. I will quote some of the highlights here. His main point:
As a congressman and Catholic layman, I am persuaded that Catholic social truths are in accord with the “self-evident truths” our Founders bequeathed to us in the founding ideas of America: independence, limited government and the dignity and freedom of every human person.
Absolutely! Human dignity and freedom are indivisible; every assault on a legitimate right or liberty is an affront to human dignity. It is no coincidence that those philosophers who have most despised liberty have also most despised man himself, viewing him as little more than a machine comprised of pleasure and pain receptors.
Ever since Congressman Paul Ryan announced his budget plan, claiming that it was inspired by his understanding of Catholic social teaching (CST) in general and subsidiarity in particular, old debates about the meaning of CST have flared up once again. Michael Sean Winters of NCR blasted Ryan’s conception of “subsidiarity”; then Stephen White of Catholic Vote critiqued some of Winter’s own oversimplifications. Since everyone and their aunt in the Catholic blogosphere will weigh in on this at some point, I’ll get it over with and throw in my two-cents now.
First: I do believe that some of Ryan’s statements are oversimplifications. For instance, he claimed that subsidiarity and federalism were more or less synonyms for one another. They are not. Stephen White pointed out that these concepts are complimentary, however, and they are.
Secondly: Winters, and he is not alone in this, repeats Vatican statements about “access” to health care as if they were an exact equivalent with Obamacare or other types of government-run healthcare schemes. As White pointed out, Winters presents his leftist policy preferences as non-negotiable points of CST.
Third: I think the entire framework of this discussion needs a serious overhaul.
This is meant to be a fun post speculating about who might run for the Republican Presidential Nomination. Here’s my list, who do you think will run?
Rick Santorum-former Senator from Pennsylvania
Tim Pawlenty- Governor of Minnesota
Mitt Romney-former Governor of Massachusetts
Still looking into it:
Mike Huckabee- former Governor of Arkansas
Mitch Daniels-Governor of Indiana
Sarah Palin-former Governor of Alaska
Newt Gingrich-former Speaker of the House
Bobby Jindal-Governor of Louisiana
Paul Ryan- Congressman from Wisconsin
Mike Pence-Congressman from Indiana
Tom Tancredo-former Congressman from Colorado
Ron Paul-Congressman from Texas
John Thune-Senator from South Dakota
Jeb Bush-former Governor of Florida
I think potential candidates like Huckabee and Palin have to be considered front runners in Iowa because of that state’s social and culture conservative leanings. Pawlenty may have an advantage in Iowa since he governs a neighboring state. Meanwhile, I think potential candidates like Romney and Daniels will play well in New Hampshire. I think all the candidates are going to have to build their war chests for the remaining candidates. I don’t really see any one of the current candidates running away with the nomination early on, so it may be a long drawn out battle. I don’t think it will go the distance like Obama-Clinton, but its not going to be wrapped up in a few primaries. What do you think?