A Warning to the GOP

 

In an op-ed published after the election, former Governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman wrote, “Unless the Republican Party ends its self-imposed captivity to social fundamentalists, it will spend a long time in the political wilderness.”

And who are these “social fundamentalists?” In Whitman’s political lexicon, they are “the people who base their votes on such social issues as abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research.”
When I read Whitman’s column I had three thoughts:
  1. Why is she putting the label “fundamentalist” on fellow Republican voters?
  2. Does she know she’s also talking about Catholic voters who consider non-negotiable issues before casting their ballot?
  3. Is she asking Catholic and Evangelical voters who care deeply about these issues to leave the party and declare themselves independent?
It’s remarkable that someone who considers herself a leader in the GOP would go out of her way to antagonize millions of voters who have been dependable Republicans for over three decades.
Whitman and the other GOP leaders who have made post-election stabs at social and religious conservatives had better start minding their manners. Whatever happened to the “Big Tent”? The Republican Party may find itself hemorrhaging its most zealous constituency.
Did Gov. Whitman not hear the roar that went through St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center the night Sarah Palin walked out on stage? Here is Whitman’s take on Palin: “Her selection cost the ticket support among those moderate voters who saw it as a cynical sop to social fundamentalists, reinforcing the impression that they control the party, with the party’s consent.”
Gov. Whitman knows very well that the pro-life, anti-gay marriage conservatives don’t “control” the party — such a claim will bring laughs from anyone familiar with the inner workings of the RNC.
Really, Whitman isn’t worried about control; she wants an end to the pro-life plank of the party platform. She wants to take the pro-life pressure off GOP candidates, especially on the national ticket. If the GOP abandons its public stance against abortion and gay marriage, she thinks the “moderates” lost to Obama will return.
Whitman’s numbers are telling, but they don’t actually support her argument. She notes that Kerry won 9% more moderate voters than Bush while Obama stretched that number to 21% against McCain. But if moderates are turned off by “social fundamentalists,” why would they have cast 6.4 million more votes for the evangelical George W. Bush? Kerry was just as liberal as Obama on social issues, and mainline Protestant McCain was more reticent than Bush in discussing them.
Whitman doesn’t mention what is widely recognized as the major cause of the moderate swing to Obama: the economy. In exit polls, Obama led by nine points among the two-thirds of voters who said the economy was the most serious challenge facing the country. Add to that the increased voter registration and turn-out among Democrats, deep discontent with the GOP, Democrats’ targeted appeals to sections of the Republican coalition, and you have the reasons for Obama’s victory.
The moderates were not casting ballots against Sarah Palin or the social and religious conservatives she represents — this election was not a referendum on abortion or gay marriage. How could they be when John McCain almost never brought them up?
In reality, McCain’s reticence on social issues contributed to the fact that 4.1 million religiously active voters did not go to the polls on Nov. 4. If there is a warning for the GOP from the presidential election results it is this. As Karl Rove noted, “Americans aren’t suddenly going to church less; something was missing from the campaign to draw out the more religiously observant.”
If Whitman has her way, something will soon be missing from the entire Republican Party that will keep religious conservatives — or should I say “social fundamentalists”? — from serious engagement in GOP politics. Whitman is calling out a potential voting group of 30,000,000 Catholic, Evangelical, Mormon, and Mainline Protestants.
In the final chapter of my recent book, Onward, Christian Soldiers, I posed this question for the future, “Will the Democrats Get Religion, Will the Republicans Keep It?” Obama won, in part, because he successfully courted religious voters — the Democrats successfully found religion, at least for one election cycle.
Did the GOP lose religion? No. But when over four million religiously active voters stay home there was certainly what Evangelicals call “backsliding.” If Gov. Whitman has her way, the GOP will offer voters nothing different from the Democrats on abortion and marriage. If that happens, the Republican Party can wave goodbye to religious conservatives.

Deal W. Hudson

By

Deal W. Hudson is president of Catholic Advocate, an organization which engages and encourages faithful Catholics to actively participate in the political process to support elected officials and policies that remain consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Formerly publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine for ten years, his articles and comments have been published widely in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and U.S. News and World Report. He has also appeared on TV and radio news shows such as the O'Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, NBC News, and All Things Considered on National Public Radio. Hudson worked with Karl Rove in coordinating then-Gov. George W. Bush's outreach to Catholic voters in 2000 and 2004. In October 2003, President Bush appointed him a member of the official delegation from the United States to attend the 25th anniversary celebration of John Paul II's papacy. Hudson, a former professor of philosophy for 15 years, is the editor and author of eight books. He tells the story of his conversion from Southern Baptist to Catholic in An American Conversion (Crossroad, 2003), and his latest, Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States, was published in March 2008. He is married to Theresa Carver Hudson, also a Baptist convert, and they have two children, Hannah, 21, and Cyprian, 13, who was adopted from Romania in 2001.

  • nobody

    When “social fundamentalists” are stripped from the GOP what do you have left? Liberal light RINOs, and how do you win an election out spending real liberals!

    LOL

  • JC

    When the Whigs lost their brief hold on the government in 1852, the Northern Industrialists who formed the powerbase of the party blamed it on the abolitionists, losing the party is evangelical voter base. The party imploded, and, eight years later, the Evangelicals returned as the GOP and won without the help of the Northern Industrialists.

  • Billy Valentine

    Deal — you are right on target.

    Whitman is a has-been, she now works as a lobbyist — she’s no leader in the party and never will be. She grew up a rich girl, part of an influential family. She doesn’t understand what its like to be an ordinary American, and obviously doesn’t have a clue what its like to hold everyday American values.

    Whitman’s support for abortion is so extreme that she vetoed a bill to outlaw partial-birth abortion. Polls show that over 70% of Americans supported outlawing partial-birth abortion while it was still legal. Its not that she thinks being pro-life doesn’t work politically; she just supports and celebrates abortion, plain and simple.

  • Micha Elyi

    The top of the ticket for the party Gov. Whitman claims has her alliegance was darling-of-the-moderates Sen. McCain. What more do squishy moderates like her want?

    Frankly, my first thought about Sen. McCain’s choice of Gov. Palin as his veep choice was that he’d picked her as a sop to women, especially feminist women like Gov. Whitman.

    Finally, an old political saying is, “When the economy is bad, the economy is the issue and when the economy is good, something else is the issue.” The financial turmoil on Wall Street that immediately preceded the November election made the economy the dominant issue; Gov. Whitman is trying to re-write history if she supposes that all would have been well for the Republican ticket if not for its vice-presidential nominee. Had Gov. Palin not been there to recover conservatives for the GOP ticket, what would Gov. Whitman be saying now — that a ticket led by a moderate cost Republicans the White House? Of course she wouldn’t confess that; but it’s true.

  • Dan

    But as for your argument, I’m not buying it. Evangelicals apparently sat on their hands during this election, even with Sarah Palin on the ticket. And, if you’ve read DG Hart and Christine Wicker, you already know that their “strength” is pretty much illusory and that the number of evangelicals (self-identified) who actually practice their faith is 7-8%. So the “threat” from evangelicals to the GOP if it nominates a social moderate is minimal. And frankly I’m sick of the GOP being held hostage by the equivalent of the Iranian mullahs.

  • Andy

    And frankly I’m sick of the GOP being held hostage by the equivalent of the Iranian mullahs.

    Hyperbole much? You consider conservative Christians to be the same as Iranian mullahs? That’s just as bad as the other extreme that considers Obama the second coming of Stalin.

  • Dennis Carter

    I agree with you Deal.
    Wonder if “Dan” (previous post)would urge the Democrats to rid themselves of the gay/lesbian coalition, the radical fems, the hate America history teachers, weak on criminals judges, the affirmative action chorus, the abortion on demand people (including the pro-abortion Catholics like Proff Kmiec), the increase taxes crowd, and the gun control advocates??
    See, the people who work for a candidate or party are those who believe that if he or she wins, the person can help make their dreams and their issues a reality. They want a winner and they want someone who believes what they say. Even though he got 46% of the vote, McCain (right before the economic bust and the Puslson/Bernanke crisis,) was ahead of BO. In my opinion, if we had a guy who really raised the primary Repub issues and really reached out to our core issue groups, we could have won–even considering economy and Presidential unpopularity. NO–there is no chance the Repubs will dump their strong supporters because, after all, we are correct in our arguments. Lets find good candidates for Congress in ’10 and then (assuming Obama will BE Obama) get us a REAL conservative who can debate, argue and make the issues clear for Americans

  • Mother of Two Sons

    I don’t believe that it was the economy that caused OBAMA to win rather we have, as a Nation, become a MASS Marketers Delight… look at all the programming: Football Games, Baseball, Basketball Concerts Nascar…. and then you have Politics and Religion(boring!)…. AMERICANS want to be entertained…..

    OBAMA didn’t say anything of content, as far as I am concerned, He just had a great Marketing Campaign. His campaign, of which he, himself did not design, promised CHANGE and the MEDIA has been saying we need CHANGE since BUSH was elected again in 2004. It was a brilliant demonstration that you can become President of the United States and have done nothing measurable in your life. God Bless America….

    and God bless Catholics and Christians with the commitment and the will to live LIFE that points to ETERNITY…. The way most live: boring, predictable, settling for less, dull lives ….all it seems like we done is pour sour milk on FREEDOM….. why, just yesterday evening at the Feast of Christ the King the priest begins by saying; Now since most of us cannot relate to a KING lets focus on Jesus the Shepherd…….. are you kidding me!!!!
    FREEDOM in Jesus Christ my KING is FULLNESS of LOVE way never experienced through sin; CREATIVITY beyond what sinners could ever produce; JOY immeasurable…… as I see us in 2008 we come across as living the GOSPEL with our dukes up– as if in prohitionary times….. My hope comes from the new Catholic Communities springing up on purpose. We must, with the Angels and the Saints, design and build neighborhoods,schools, and Parishes where JESUS is KING not excluding others who are attracted in, but not sitting back and letting the complete eradication of His Kingdom to happen in America.

  • Kathy

    Iranian mullahs??? What a laugh!

  • RK

    I went to your link for “backslidding” and still don’t know what it means. What your piece doesn’t account for is the emerging block of disaffected social conservative voters. Many have come to the realization that the Republican party is a lousy host for anyone who adheres to “non-negotiables”. The GOP has never permitted pro-lifers to set any part of the agenda. After 35 years of mistreatment many ar realizing it’s more effective to just stay home.

  • helenm

    It does seem Whitman and other Republicans are signaling that voters with a conscience who care deeply about abortion, life issues, embryonic stem cell research, marriage, etc are unwelcome. But one group did not wait for the invitation to leave.

    Alan Keyes left the GOP in April of 2008. In June his supporters decided to form a new Independent Party, America’s Independent Party, AIP, http://www.aipnews.com . It is already the third largest party in the US in terms of registration numbers.

    AIP is a party based on the principles that this nation was founded on. AIP

  • Joe Marier

    I went out with a bunch of libertarian Republicans the other night, and I and a couple other folks were arguing against the idea that social conservatives had too much influence over the party. If you’re economically conservative in the usual sense – for low taxes and private charity and insurance instead of for redistributive social programs, for freer trade instead of for higher taxes on imports, for less complex business regulations instead of more, et cetera – but also socially liberal, then your choice on how to vote is simple. If economics is more important to you, then you vote Republican. If social issues are more important to you, you vote Democrat. Just realize that the coalitions are what they are, and I see the libertarians’ job as convincing their fellow libertarians that they should vote based on economic freedom rather than the illusory threat of religion. Pro-lifers have spent a lot of time and effort convincing economically liberal pro-lifers to vote for pro-life economic conservatives, after all.

    Incidentally, Christine Todd Whitman ain’t a libertarian, by any stretch of the imagination. Pro free trade, cut a few taxes, but that’s about it.

    http://tinyurl.com/6kxtco

  • Adriana

    As the old saying goes, if you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog..

    Don’t look now, but it looks like you are being thrown under the bus…

    You should have seen this circular firing squad forming when the most damaging news about Governor Palin were Republican leaks.

  • Deal Hudson

    Yes, Adrianna, the leaks about Palin were disturbing, but I read them as the preparation of a scapegoat in advance. We will see whether the GOP leadership acts on Whitman’s agenda when the next head of the RNC is chosen. That will be a very telling moment.

  • Francis Wippel

    The GOP already did it Whitman

  • Tony Esolen

    Excellent commentary, Deal.

    Frankly, the next Republican woman senator or governor I meet who actually seems to understand the moral and social collapse of the west will be the first. That includes everybody, I’m afraid. The reason is that understanding it is too darned painful; it requires removing the feminist fangs from the flesh.

    But I shouldn’t blame them too much. I’m waiting for people generally to notice that traditional virtues — and that old fashioned thing called a “family,” with husband and wife and children — are also the virtues you need if you are going to have a well-ordered home, and not be a burden on your neighbors and your town. How many people in America have fallen below the (always rising) poverty line, who have exercised even the rather modest virtues of continence and diligence? You don’t have to be heroic — you don’t have to do anything particularly strenuous or brave or painstaking — nowadays to make a modest living.

    What such self-styled social “liberals” as Governor Whitman refuse to understand, despite plenty of attempts to instruct them, is that without the virtues that arise from and foster the traditional family, you don’t even have the liberty they say they value so much; you have chaos. And that’s not even mentioning the evil of abortion itself, or of homosexual pseudogamy — or of no-fault divorce. If they had their way, America would have two parties, one of them long since godless and soulless, fostering dependency as a means of social control, and the other one as stupid as can be, always trying to catch up to the godless party and never quite managing it.

  • Adriana

    It is sad, but a known fact of life that defeat engenders a lot of passing the blame or “it wasn’t my fault”.

    Or “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan”.

    This is why I am not that interested in reading instant analysis of a defeat. It takes time for facts to sift, and for a true perspective to be found. Until then, while those instant analysis may provide some emotional relief, they are not to be trusted.

    I am sorry Deal, but I include you with Ms. Whitman among the instant commentators. She says that it is your fault, and you say that it is hers… Maybe in a couple of years we’ll figure out who was right.

  • Sister Mary

    I agree with the post about a New Independent Party. Allan Keyes is a solid Catholic who has intellectual reasons for what he proposes. I am not completely familiar with this Party, but we have to do something different. If Catholics, Evangelicals and Muslims would join together, we might return our nation to morality based on natural law.
    One first step is for the Catholic Bishops to start being what they are supposed to be – zealous apostles, not crafty politicians.

  • Maryanne Linkes

    As were my parents, I was a democrat for many years. But I changed that when my son was about 3. I saw the direction the leaders of the party were taking the party. While they had once been for the people, for the little guy, they now were catering to lobbyists and every extreme group – groups that did not reflect my values or what I wanted for my son. So I joined the Republican party. For many years that was fine. But now is time to renew the Republican party and make sure they keep the values that brought me to them – profamily, prolife, high moral values, less government, more responsibility put on every person for their own lives. I am not sure how the party got lost, but we must put it back on course. And that should be the work of every person – the little guys can make a difference. We must always keep to natural law and the teachings of God. Otherwise, this country will fall.

    We mus speak up. We must demand our Representatives actually represent us and not themselves!

  • Howard Kainz

    Kathleen Parker takes the same position in her column: No, it wasn’t the economy, or the love affair of the media for Obama, or the fact that Republicans in crucial states didn’t go to the polls. It was “social issues” — even though abortion and other moral issues were hardly mentioned during the entire campaign. A reality-check is recommended.

  • Joe Marier

    Deal, I’m not so sure that there is an RNC candidate representing Christine Todd Whitman’s agenda. Jim Geraghty wrote a write up this morning (at http://tinyurl.com/5vxo7o), and said that there aren’t a lot of policy disagreements at this stage.

  • Deal Hudson

    Texas GOP chair, Tina Benkiser, is another candidate for RNC head who would be a good choice, along with Michael Steele. It is interesting to note so many of Whitman’s “social fundamentalists” in line for this post. Let’s hope the GOP keeps the door open to religious conservatives by protecting the abortion plank in the platform and choosing a friendly chair for the RNC. Haley Barbour, I am told, is in the running, and he did an excellent job during his previous tenure.

  • Ann

    What the GOP needs to do (and these aren’t my thoughts, but Gov. Huckabee’s) is start relating on an economic basis to the working class.

  • Jeff

    What do you do if you’re a Hollywood star, a pop artist, or a politician, and you know you’re not a thoughtful person, but you want the ego-boost of having others think you’re really smart?

    You attack religion. It costs you nothing; it causes a large strata of our culture to think highly of you; and it makes others want to sound smart by attacking religion too!

    And because you’re in fact not very thoughtful, you have no clue that you’ve wronged others, so you sleep like a kitten at night!

  • Carl

    “Unless the Republican Party ends its self-imposed captivity to social fundamentalists, it will spend a long time in the political wilderness.”

    I think Whitman is talking about Sarah Palin’s message(s) and the low-information wingnuts who populated her rallies. The cancer eating at the GOP has to do with more thanjust babies, guns and religion (thanks, Rush!). It’s the “young-earth creationism,” the anti-intellectualism, the thoughtless drill-baby-drill mantra, and the hate/intolerance against gays, foreigners, minorities, non-Christians and anyone else who questions, challenges or disagrees with the fear-mongering wingnut ideology. Moderates took one look at the Palin Circus attendees and made a run for it. Moderates and educated conservatives looked into the faces at Palin’s rallies and said, “That is NOT who I am! Those people CANNOT be the GOP to which I belong! If they are, I’m outta here!” The Moderates also noticed that wingnuts use ALL CAPS a lot. [smiley=wink]

    Many conservatives and other Republicans besides Whitman have recently written about the damage inflicted on the GOP by its identification with the highly-political Religious Right “our way or the highway” crowd. The Religious Right starts “dialogues” by stating that they have all the true beliefs which are all non-negotiable and which everyone must practice or be defamed, verbally stoned and condemned to Hell. If that isn’t mullah-brand fundamentalism, I don’t know what is.

    The GOP is now stuck with the cancer it catered to and used to its advantage until the social fundamentalists form their own party. How about the Regressive Religious Intolerance Party?

    In the meantime, the GOP and the Religious Right fully deserve each other.

  • Alisa

    was aimed right at the “low information” right-wing religious nut jobs from the evangelical wing of the Republican Party and she’s right. I’m sick of these people running the party and judging everyone else. And if you think they’re friendly to Catholics, think again. Go to vicious little blogs like Triablogue and read some of the commentary there.

  • Phil

    Like Alan Keyes, I also left the GOP years ago. It’s simple. Among the 5 non-negotiable life issues listed by the US Bishops were embryonic stem cell research. McCain is all for embryonic stem cell research. Therefore, I do not consider him to be adequately pro-life. Obama, of course, was never a consideration, since he seems to be the newly-crowned King of the Culture of Death.

    Third party, all the way, until one of the 2 main parties gets their act together.

  • Mike Moehlenhof

    This is a great post, Deal. Conservatives must practice their platform and principles they set out to do. If they back down, they such great groups such as the Franciscan University College Republicans, who was third in the nation in CR groups in the number of voter contacts with 42,000, will back down on the party.

    Also, if the GOP does back down on religious conservatives, then it’s likely I’ll stop working for the Republican Party.

  • Deal Hudson

    Moderates and educated conservatives looked into the faces at Palin’s rallies and said, “That is NOT who I am! Those people CANNOT be the GOP to which I belong! If they are, I’m outta here!” The Moderates also noticed that wingnuts use ALL CAPS a lot.

    The CAPs thing I will grant you, but I do not agree with the “educated conservatives”crack. I didn’t see anything objectionable in crowds surrounding Palin, but then I didn’t study their faces for signs of imbecility.

  • katherina

    You are right on with this one but there’s a more insidious problem within our own ranks as Catholics. We don’t live our faith and fail to educate ourselves in the Truth! Several Catholics were confronted about some serious issues. One, an elected official, voted for a strip club in our city. Another provides services supporting the homosexual cause(without evangelizing), that leads such persons away from the truth and justifies the sinful notion of a gay partership! One individual actually “thought” about the issue and went to confession, the other defended their position with the notion that they were helping people. While sincere, there are many misguided Catholics in our own midst. Interesting how we puff up with pride at supporting our ’cause’ because we think we are doing the ‘right’ thing. Lay Catholics must address these issues with their fellow parishioners. That means the Catholic pro-choice politican MUST be confronted by the error of their way, not just one person but many. If the heat is turned up on the soup, it begins to boil, same goes for folks in error and we pray they might be purified of their error and do the right thing. Public officials and others don’t respond unless they are held accountable. What is sad is that many don’t realize that they will be held accountable for those they lead into error. How often we forget that we ourselves will be held accountable for our sins of omission. Thank you for this article!

  • Apollo F. Salle

    Once and for all: the reason why John McCain lost is actually a lot more simple than what many commentators and observers (like Christine Whitman) thought it to be. And it is this: the economy! When the economy is in a bad shape and it is an election year, voters tend to blame the party in power. And the party in power this election year happens to be a Republican administration. With John McCain as the Republican candidate, he practically was “doomed”. But remember that John McCain had a dramatic surge in the polls in the first few weeks after the Republican National Convention, even overtaking Barack Obama to the point that media reports were already saying that some Obama campaign officials were starting to worry. But then, Wall Street crashed one day after another and big-name corporations started laying off employees by the THOUSANDS week after week, and all that pulled down John McCain’s rising popularity with it. Now with the economy in such a dismal state, it would only be logical to expect for John McCain to lose by a landslide, but he did not. He still managed to gain 46% of the popular vote (bigger than what Bill Clinton got when he first won the White House in 1992 and bigger than what Bob Dole got when he lost to Bill Clinton in 1996) and took 22 of the 50 states. And I think that can be attributed to one sole factor: Sarah Palin. It was Sarah Palin who single-handedly brought life, energy, and enthusiasm to an otherwise ho-hum McCain Presidential campaign and who, I deeply believe, turned out votes for John McCain which otherwise would not have been cast (in other words, it was she who gave John McCain a fighting chance, if only for a while). Sarah Palin most certainly did a heck of a lot better than Geraldine Ferraro (I remember quite clearly that Geraldine Ferraro was received with much ecstatic adulation from the secular media and liberal groups such as NOW, in stark contrast to the deep-seated animosity shown towards Sarah Palin. Despite all that, Walter Mondale still lost by a landslide and taking only 1 state, his home-state of Minnesota.)! Which is why I am already looking forward to 2012, when it will be “Sarah Palin for President”!

  • R.C.

    It is very common, in government, to follow this procedure:

    1. Exaggerate a small existing problem, or paint as systemic or permanent a problem which is temporary or infrequent;

    2. Recommend a government solution which, if human beings did not respond to changes in incentives, would actually fix the problem, but which, because human behavior does change in response to incentives, actually makes the problem worse;

    3. Allow sufficient time for these measures to fail spectacularly;

    4. Recommend, as a response to the failure, that the same measures be greatly increased, on the theory that their utter failure was caused by insufficiently drastic usage.

    Whitman’s plan for the GOP follows exactly this pattern:

    1. Detect an upswell of enthusiasm for the Democratic Presidential Candidate caused by said candidate’s skin color, and a simultaneous decline of enthusiasm for the GOP, caused by a confusing and bad economy and the utter failure of that party to govern in a principled way while in power in Congress…and paint this temporary confluence of events as a systemic failure of core conservative principles themselves;

    2. Recommend, as a solution, a downplaying of conservative principles, in the form of a candidate widely seen as contemptuous of the most ideologically passionate portions of one’s base and whose connection to conservative principles comes from casual adoption of them rather than ideological allegiance to them;

    3. Allow time and the election to demonstrate the failure of this nomination, in the form of a thoroughly unmotivated GOP base unwilling to campaign or donate;

    4. Recommend, in response to the failure of that nomination to excite the base or the electorate, a further abandoning of the kind of candidates, policies, and ideas which would excite the base.

    Perhaps, then, there’s a role for Whitman in the Obama administration? I hear they’re on the lookout for pols willing to try solutions with a consistent track-record of failure….

  • Carl

    You are welcome to believe anything you want about why McCain lost. It wasn’t the economy. To a small degree, McCain’s hysterical non-handling of the economic cisis hurt him.

    Every post-election poll illustrated that Palin cost McCain votes in all demographics except her “base,” the low-information wingnuts whom she incited to hate and violence at her rallies. America correctly saw Palin as a whole lot scarrier than the man she repeatedly trashed.

    Palin single-handedly put Obama in the White House.

  • Mother of Two Sons

    The high level of intellectuallizing on this blog reminds me of a time when I heard Mother Teresa speak back in 1976. She stated that she would no longer accept anymore American girls to join her order in Calcutta rather they would be opening convents in America as she had come to realize that America was becoming more spiritually poor than Calcutta, physically poor.

    I rarely read on this blog about anyone’s work or political position or solution linked to their relationship/prayerful discernment with Jesus the Lord; it is all full of intellectualizing. Granted you have, many of you spent years harnassing your sharp minds; Jesus, however rarely comes up. I am sorry to bring this to the surface but this is a Catholic site? The world compartmentalizes but we are not to compartmentalize our work from our Lord, are we?

    This work is not our work; I guess I am a wingnut because I understand the work to be a collaborative in the “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done On Earth as it is in Heaven” assignment that previous generations have abandoned and dropped into our laps. We are where we are today across the board because it seems that the whole country, Church included went on Spring Break! All playing games like “See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil” tolerating everything under the sun and/or The Blame Game which clearly deflects all personal accountability or engagement in REAL quality relationship building.

    We are already organized by Parishes, it seems if we set out to establish economically self-sustaining micro-communities through a 21st century wealth-building model we could lead by example instead of argue and theorize all day and all night about things completely out of our control about Leaders who will never give us the time of day.
    When the successful micro-communities demonstrate Top-Performing schools, across all dimensions, academics. languages, arts and athletics, with zero drop-out rates, affordable healthcare (not government provided), zero need for welfare subsidies– then we have something to show for all of our words! Our Faith-based models of community would usher in a true and lasting transformation. This would be a legacy worth leaving to our children.

  • Andy

    the low-information wingnuts whom she incited to hate and violence at her rallies.

    I’m calling shenanigans here. Please provide a transcript or video of Palin inciting hate and violence among her supporters. Otherwise, you might want to question those that gave you that information.

  • Baby Rose

    Religious people had the civic duty and religious obligation to cast a moral vote. Evil flourished because too many good people did nothing. (4.1 million!!!) I think that only 7-8% take their faith seriously which is not enough to deem a nation Christian.

    What are all these wars we fight in anyway, if we don’t exercise our freedom & right to vote?? Just to own cell phones, and saturate ouselves with prescription drugs and sexual enhancers?? Celebrate & be merry until doomsday?? Isolate ourselves until we don’t remember how to interact with fellow humans?? Shallow lives.

    America doesn’t have to wait for an invader to conquer her; she is rotting from within. Our lack of morals in this Country will be its economic demise. They are intricately interwoven. Without morals Democracy will fail as a system of Govt. It’s just a matter of time. We always bounced back before by the Grace of God, but I believe God is now going to let us finish off what we have started: to make ourselves extinct. If we want a culture of death; then that is what we shall have.

    Perhaps God is going to allow America to be consumed from within by the Muslim faction and then we will see a massive “righteous” cleansing of those living reprobate lifestyles. We are already on our way to censorship with the Fairness Doctrine which will make an opinion a hate crime. With the Freedom of Choice Act God will be swimming up to His broken heart in murdered babies. Very soon I think He will have had His fill. This will be the test of trust for every authentic Christian.

  • Carl
    the low-information wingnuts whom she incited to hate and violence at her rallies.

    I’m calling shenanigans here. Please provide a transcript or video of Palin inciting hate and violence among her supporters. Otherwise, you might want to question those that gave you that information.

    Andy, Palin’s lies and smears against Obama incited her followers to yell, “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” The videos were run repeatedly on cable news channels. The FBI reported a marked increase in assassination threats against Obama at the same time that Palin went “rogue” with the hateful content of her rally speeches. The McCain campaign had to insist that she cease and desist her lies and smears against her opponent because of the potentially lethal behavior she was inciting.

    FAUX News and other Murdocke “news” outlets probably didn’t report any of this. Sorry you missed it.

  • jcc

    Unfortunately, you are correct. Palin is a joke. She is intellectually challenged. She made Obama win.

  • nobody

    I’m a little old but I would like to be adopted by your family!

    I wish to self-impose myself to your social fundamentalists captivity.

  • IC Lurker
    the low-information wingnuts whom she incited to hate and violence at her rallies.

    I’m calling shenanigans here. Please provide a transcript or video of Palin inciting hate and violence among her supporters. Otherwise, you might want to question those that gave you that information.

    Andy, Palin’s lies and smears against Obama incited her followers to yell, “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” The videos were run repeatedly on cable news channels. The FBI reported a marked increase in assassination threats against Obama at the same time that Palin went “rogue” with the hateful content of her rally speeches. The McCain campaign had to insist that she cease and desist her lies and smears against her opponent because of the potentially lethal behavior she was inciting.

    FAUX News and other Murdocke “news” outlets probably didn’t report any of this. Sorry you missed it.

    The “issue” with this video wasn’t so much Palin’s commentary as being a hateful lie/smear, but that she failed to keep the crowd under control in a situation where she clearly should have been able to do so. That her comments incited this barrage in and of itself was never the issue anyway. Considering that a secret service agent at the rally say that he himself didn’t hear the more asinine/extreme/hateful comments (such as the “kill him!” line), shouldn’t this be a moot issue now?

    Saying that Palin is responsible for the “Kill him!” comments is like saying Biden is responsible for the “she’s a cunt!” comments at Obama rallies held by Biden. I don’t hold him responsible for idiocy clearly inspired by a different source, nor do I hold Palin responsible for raucous supporters at a McCain rally.

  • Mother of Two Sons

    Good Morning Nobody and Everybody,

    All I am trying to say was “in the beginning was the Word and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” and there are alot of words on this blog that seem futile and quite frankly empty shows of vociferousness.

    I am just suggesting that we put some flesh on our Ideals of America as a voting Catholic/Christian group by making it manifest in our own Parish communities and neighborhoods. There are so many brilliant minds on this blog that it seems we could harness it and build something amazing and real….. But perhaps bloggers just want to blog….

    There is no cohesive Catholic Vote and there is no real birth of a 3rd party here. And there will be neither without authentic solidarity at the grassroots level. I just thought that we are already ahead of the game since we are already organized around Parish Community Systems.

    Just because I consider in my Christian Community Model our social needs doesn’t make me a Socialist— I am not proposing a government gifting I am proposing that God has given us all the talent we need, all of us, to enjoy independently wealthy lifestyles if we would ever commit to pooling all of our resources. I might not see it in my lifetime but I long to collaborate with my music and put a significant amount of my profit out there to seed another Catholic/Christian’s business idea/invention who would then seed another and so on….

    Nobody, consider yourself officially adopted and loved by me. Happy Thanksgiving! Mother of Two Sons and Nobody[smiley=happy]

  • Deacon Frank Osgood

    Speaking of Alan Keyes, who I believe received 41,000 votes, and doesn’t seem like a viable option at this point:

    I know it’s a bit off the subject, but Is anyone else aware of the lawsuit filed by Alan Keyes in CA to potentially disqualify Obama? I have not seen it in the press or on the web. See http://www.ballot-access.org/2…ANDATE.pdf

  • Apollo F. Salle

    The 2008 election scenario is a repeat of another election year, and that year is 1992. In the spring of election year 1992, the elder George Bush was just glowing with popularity after the victory of the U.S. in Gulf War I, to the point that, for a while, no Democrat wanted to take him on (in fact, there was this newspaper cartoon which portrayed the Democratic mascot gloomily reading the book “Final Exit” by the infamous Jack Kevorkian). But then, the economy crashed taking down the sky-high popularity of Bush, Sr. with it thus paving the way for a Clinton White House. 2008 is virtually identical to 1992. With a Republican President at the helm during a massive economic disaster which took place during a Presidential election year, any Republican Presidential candidate was destined for defeat (if Bush, Jr. were eligible for a 3rd term and had he did run for a 3rd term, he was the one who would have gone down in defeat). It was just a question of how big a defeat. Before choosing Sarah Palin as his running-mate, John McCain was generating only the most modest interest at best even from the most faithful Republicans (social conservatives, be they Republican or not, for instance, were skeptical of him because, more often than not, his past comments on, say, the abortion issue were rather ambiguous!). It was only after he announced Sarah Palin as his running-mate when his campaign really got the vibrancy that it so sorely needed. She gave the floundering McCain campaign a much-needed shot in the arm because her presence in the ticket rallied Republican activists as well as voters who are not necessarily registered Republicans but simply have a traditional view on moral issues, and it was proven by the fact that Sen. McCain soared to popularity albeit briefly after the GOP convention (and crowd turnouts for Sarah Palin’s campaign appearances were larger than the turnouts for John McCain’s, before AND after the Wall Street crashes). But that was BEFORE the crashes in Wall Street, which permanently halted whatever momentum John McCain was already having. I don’t believe for one moment that Sarah Palin is a major factor in the victory of Barack Obama. If anything, it was Sarah Palin who, in spite of the “writing on the wall” for Sen. McCain, was still able to attract a considerable number of votes that made Sen. McCain get an extremely respectable 46% share of the popular vote. If Sen. McCain chose anybody other than Sarah Palin as his running-mate, his margin of defeat would have been much bigger and, therefore, more humiliating. And had the Dow Jones been closing on record highs like the previous year in the months between the GOP convention and Nov. 4, it would have been Barack Obama who would not have the chance. So, it’s all economy, economy, economy.

  • Mike Glaser

    Let’s see… the Republican Party reached out to the so-called “center” in the 2006 mid-term elections, by “moderating their tone,” and trying to understand and appreciate the Center and even the Left’s points of view. The result was the Democrat Party’s regaining control of the Congress. In other words, the Republicans abandoned many of the conservative principles that effected the landslide victory in Congress for the Party in 1994.

    The Party continued to reach across the aisle in the 2008 Presidential Election, and was again soundly thumped. There is a message here, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand that it is well past time for the Republican Party to find its collective spine and stand up for the principles embraced by our Founding Fathers that have afforded this Country its greatness – limited government of self-disciplined people thriving in an atmosphere of liberty, with values based upon those that also happen to be extolled in the teachings of Christianity.

    What the Republican Party and we the people have accomplished is to open the door for tyranny and socialism. Perhaps we have come to the point, God forbid, where Americans have decided that liberty and the sovereignty of America are no longer worth the effort or the risk.

  • Guy Bake

    What this issue really boils down to is simple – are we Christians who vote or are we voters who are Christian? I am a Reformed, Born Again, Covenantal, Bible Believer. I am opposed to abortion, marriage between anyone other than a man and woman and against stem cell research.

    However, the culture war in America is not going to won in the voting booth. It is going to be won through discipleship. It is going to be won by each like minded Christian reaching out to a potential convert and showing them why opposition is harmful to our country and all we think is right.

    If we make Christianity a political party we are violating scripture in my opinion. There is NOTHING in scripture to suggest we become a political party. We are to wise as serpents and peaceful as doves. We have successfully made Christianity the issue and we are losing the battle and the war fight now. Jesus is suppose to be a sweet sound, not a clanging gong.

    If we fight this battle on the right turf we can win the BIG war – eliminate abortion, contain gay rights and eliminate stem cell research. But if we continue to do this the way we are doing it – we will lose the BIG was and the other ones as well.

    So make your choice – but as for me and my house – I choose to fight a battle we can win – a battle of ideas for low taxes, minimal government and the laundry list of other issues non Christians will vote for. If we make every election a referendum on abortion, gay rights, etc. the GOP is doomed.

  • Lisa S.

    I find it very sad that on a nominally Christian blog, people are so uncharitable towards another Christian. I’ve known Sarah Palin for over 8 years, and she’s bright, charming, and has a better memory than anyone else I know. As for her effect on the campaign, I can only speak from my personal experience working a booth at the state fair. The day before the announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate, we could barely give away McCain stickers for free. The day of the announcement, we literally could not keep up with demand for the same stickers, once we starting slapping on small red “Palin” stickers to make a jury-rigged “McCain-Palin” sticker. Even after we started asking for donations for each sticker, we still had lines of people standing and waiting for us to make more stickers. Many were visiting from out of state, and were as enthusiastic as the Alaskans.
    Anyone who thinks Sarah Palin is stupid based on edited media interviews must not have watched the live interviews, and must not have ever had their recorded statements edited by someone not exactly on their side.
    The silver lining for Alaska is that we get her back as Governor.

  • dina little

    Those of the ‘Culture of Death’ just hate any and all restrictions on the new utilitarianism(on both the left and the right), which is why both parties are squeezing out the people of life and true social conscience (and why the GOP turned so savagely on Bush because he had the gall to try to save a ‘useless eater’). These ‘intellectual giants’ would have run the founding fathers themselves out on a rail if they lived back then, as it is, they’re bent on tearing the constitution to shreds.

    But what the heck…we have a brave new America were we have the right to suck over a million babies a year down the drain and to euthanize the ‘useless eaters’ now (sorry Terri).

    Christina doesn’t have to worry…I personally am joining the constitution party. I have no desire to be affiliated with her either.

  • Jeb

    When I read the title of this article, I could have sworn that it would contain a warning from the Catholic bishops that, unless the GOP actually started to fulfill its promise to overturn Roe v. Wade (after 24 years in the White House and despite 8 GOP appointments to the Supreme Court, of whom half voted in support of Roe), the bishops would soon begin to hold GOP politicians accountable for more than their rhetoric.

    I guess not.

  • R.C.

    Jeb, et alia:

    You must first have power, in order to use it.

    This is fundamental, but I suppose with a nation full of graduates of government-run primary and secondary schools, it’s hard to expect more than a nodding familiarity with the operation of government.

    There are two major parties in the U.S.: Democrat and Republican. The latter has a pro-life platform, 95-ish% of the pro-life politicians currently in federal office, and a leadership that is pro-life tho’ prone to cowardice on the harder cases (e.g. rape, incest). Republican presidents go out of their way to nominate pro-life judges.

    The former has a pro-choice platform, boasts 3-ish% of pro-life politicians in federal office, and a leadership that is pro-choice in every possible way except for the purely rhetorical fig-leaf of wistfully wishing that abortion be “rare.” Democrats go out of their way to nominate pro-choice judges.

    Those are facts. So are these:

    We have not had a pro-life majority in government at any time since Roe v. Wade.

    (Notice I did not say a Republican majority; I said a pro-life majority.)

    Had G.H.W.Bush been in office instead of Bill Clinton after the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, we’d have had it. But he lost in ’92 (oh, well). That eliminated any pro-life benefit from the Republican Congressional majorities in the 90’s (oh, wellll!).

    Had Republicans won a few more seats in the Senate in 2000 or 2002 or 2004, we’d have had it. But the Senate was very nearly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. It remained so throughout the six years of Republican majority.

    But the 2 or 3 pro-choice Republican Senators were enough to ensure that, had any pro-life bill passed the House, it would be defeated by the pro-choice majority in the Senate, because of a few RINOs voting with the Democrats. Even Cheney’s tie-breaker vote would not be sufficient to give pro-lifers 51 votes in the Senate.

    The Republican Party as a whole, and Republican president G.W.Bush, had no power to pass serious pro-life bills in this period. None.

    “Well,” you say, “having the presidency and a pro-life majority in the House has to count for something, right?”

    Well, the pro-life majority in the House actually doesn’t count for much, on an issue like abortion. The Senate approves federal judges, and as for legislation, you have to get it passed in both chambers.

    And as for the President, what can he do? Well, he can pass executive orders, and he can nominate pro-life judges. That’s all he can do…and G.W.Bush did all of the above. The executive orders will, of course, get reversed by Obama the moment he takes office. But the two pro-life Catholics G.W.Bush put on the Supreme Court are there for life, thank heaven.

    Look, the G.O.P. is far from perfect; sometimes they’re downright contemptible. But the downside of voting against the lesser of two evils in order to keep them in line is that you get the greater of two evils taking office. (Oh, wellllll!)

    My point is this: The G.O.P. has done all that could be done, with the election wins it received, for the pro-life cause. It could not have done more, because the votes weren’t there.

    The obvious solution: Win more elections, without thereby watering down the pro-life nature of the G.O.P. And, place special focus on “culturally conservatizing” those districts that elect pro-choice Republicans, so that they shift toward pro-life Republicans instead of pro-choice Democrats.

    The stupidest solution is: Vote for Democrats to punish the Republicans. I can’t think of any better way, barring actually killing ourselves, to let the Democrats know that they’ve nothing to fear from people of conscience than for those people to commit political suicide by voting in the party that’s least friendly to their agenda.

  • Sam

    When the Whigs lost their brief hold on the government in 1852, the Northern Industrialists who formed the powerbase of the party blamed it on the abolitionists, losing the party is evangelical voter base. The party imploded, and, eight years later, the Evangelicals returned as the GOP and won without the help of the Northern Industrialists.

    JC,

    Very astute observation! If the GOP follows Whitman’s advice, I will join the Constitution Party. If enough people like me do that and leave the GOP, the GOP will become the Whigs and the CP will become the 1852 version of the GOP. The only things keeping me in the GOP are the life and family issues (as well as a Reaganesque national defense stand against Islamic Fascism).

  • Michael Webb

    The focus on a few key issues by Catholics and Evangelicals in the GOP is not the main game and never has been.

    The main issue as I see it is the problem of lack of participation by Catholics and others from working class backgrounds in politics generally, especially within the Democratic Party. Pro life and moral issues, in order to get hearing need to be first and foremost for sure however, because the GOP is not a labour union friendly Party and neither are many of its Catholics and Evangelical supporters, I think that working class devout Catholics and others should join the Democratic Party in order to make it pro life and also a Party of the working class once again rather than a Party of the rich.

  • Philadelphia Lawyer
    the low-information wingnuts whom she incited to hate and violence at her rallies.

    I’m calling shenanigans here. Please provide a transcript or video of Palin inciting hate and violence among her supporters. Otherwise, you might want to question those that gave you that information.

    Andy, Palin’s lies and smears against Obama incited her followers to yell, “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” The videos were run repeatedly on cable news channels. The FBI reported a marked increase in assassination threats against Obama at the same time that Palin went “rogue” with the hateful content of her rally speeches. The McCain campaign had to insist that she cease and desist her lies and smears against her opponent because of the potentially lethal behavior she was inciting.

    FAUX News and other Murdocke “news” outlets probably didn’t report any of this. Sorry you missed it.

    Prove it. Provide citations. Provide just one “hateful” quote from Palin. The usual conservatives-are-just-racist-scum bit won’t cut it. The only hate I saw was directed at Palin. The all-out media offensive against her was unprecedented.
    I see you even have to rename “Fox” as “Faux.” How juvenile. The left goes apoplectic over Fox because it is one of the very few media outlets which aren

  • Philadelphia Lawyer

    Christy Whitman has been beating the abortion drum for years. She isn’t just proffering what she believes to be a winning strategy for Republicans. She wants to eliminate the GOP as an obstacle for causes which she supports. She’s as much of a “‘social fundamentalist'” as anyone.
    A governor, she didn’t even restrain spending. She might as well have been Jim Florio or Jim McGreevey.
    I almost sat home rather than vote for Chris Christy, because I wasn’t thrilled with him. He’s much better than Whitman, though.
    I would not support a stripped-down, Democrat-Lite version of the Republican Party. That’s mostly what we get here in NJ. That’s why I don’t volunteer or donate. They’re lucky if I vote.

  • Philadelphia Lawyer

    Like Alan Keyes, I also left the GOP years ago. It’s simple. Among the 5 non-negotiable life issues listed by the US Bishops were embryonic stem cell research. McCain is all for embryonic stem cell research. Therefore, I do not consider him to be adequately pro-life. Obama, of course, was never a consideration, since he seems to be the newly-crowned King of the Culture of Death.

    Third party, all the way, until one of the 2 main parties gets their act together.

    Phil: You won’t teach the GOP a lesson by leaving. It will not know that you left, and life for the less than adequately pro-life will only be made easier by your departure. You can’t change things from the outside, and the third party route has proven to be a dead end too many times. I know your frustration with the Republican Party. I live in freakin’ New Jersey!!! Our republicans would be democrats anywhere else. I don’t know. I’d just encourage you to stick it out and try to influence things locally. And keep in mind that sometimes half a loaf is better than a kick in the teeth.

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