The Peril of Total Political Disengagement

Pro-life Demonstrators

In a recent column, I argued that Catholics should willingly lend political support to the Republican Party. The focus of that piece was on the contention that there is no particular principle on which the Republican Party and the Church are clearly and intractably at odds.

For many serious Catholics, I suspect that that argument will come across not as wrong, but rather as dissatisfying or unresponsive to their true concerns.  In my experience, anti-Republican resentment is fairly strong among Catholics, but the antipathy is not a response to the party’s formal commitments so much as the lackluster way in which it pursues them. Republican politicians pay lip service to certain cherished principles of religious conservatives, but relatively few seem to be committed pro-lifers, and even fewer seem genuinely to care about protecting marriage, the family or the autonomy of the Church. These issues, Catholics feel, are reluctantly included in the Republican platform merely for the sake of winning votes. Republican leaders have no serious intention of pursuing a socially conservative agenda in the foreseeable future.

I’ve heard this analysis time and again from Catholic friends who are disillusioned with the Republican Party. And in fact, there’s an element of truth in it. The reality is that America is at present a deeply divided country in which religious conservatives represent a counter-culture. High-ranking political personalities tend to be immersed in an elite culture that fears and reviles traditional religion along with traditional values and mores, so they aren’t always well-versed in, or sympathetic to, the concerns of serious Christians (or serious religious people of any stripe). Also, politicians are perpetually looking for ways to win elections, and it understandably seems to them that it will be difficult to win with a social message that is increasingly out of sync with modern popular culture.

This predictably creates some tension within the party, and it’s fair to say that prominent Republicans don’t all hold religious conservatives in high esteem. Some, to be sure, are genuinely eager to hold onto a fusionist vision that combines a small government agenda with a robust commitment to virtue, community and family. For others, accommodating social conservatism is just a necessary evil. It’s a crude oversimplification but not entirely wrong to suggest that Democrats have “bought” a winning coalition by supporting welfare and organized labor. As the party of fiscal austerity, Republicans are unwilling to match Democratic spending commitments, and consequently they are “stuck” with religious conservatives as the only remaining voting block large enough to keep the party viable.

Nobody likes feeling like the last kid picked for the team, and considering the matter from this perspective, it’s hardly surprising that religious conservatives feel used. It’s not very thrilling to think of ourselves as microscopic cogs in a political machine mostly dedicated to preserving the elite status of the power-hungry. I’ve known many who were sufficiently discouraged about this that they stayed home on election day, or cast “voting my principles” ballots for powerless third parties.

Others call for a kind of grassroots revolt from the traditional party structure. This perspective was reasonably well summarized in a recent article from American Conservative’s Noah Millman. Angered by the way in which the elite exploit the rhetoric of the culture wars to entrench their own positions of privilege, he recommends that we ignore the charged rhetoric, denying political parties the opportunity to take us for granted.

It sounds appealing on its face, but there are some problems with this position. First of all, political parties are not hive minds. They are big, messy conglomerates of wildly diverse people and groups, each with their own sets of concerns. Political strategists endeavor to meld these varied interests together into a reasonably coherent political message, but since no single person has absolute control over the entire political process (much less the media), the resulting product is still typically quite diffuse. Late in his article, Millman attempts to pinpoint what each party “really” values (he mostly sees the parties breaking on size-of-government lines), but any effort to do that will be fairly arbitrary, because the party isn’t a single organic entity. Different members value different things, which is why so much negotiation goes into developing a platform and political message.

Of course, it’s also quite true that the entire political process is awash in greed and empty ambition, and that many people (whether politicians, pundits or political operatives) will say or do almost anything to maintain their own status and position of privilege. So it has always been in our fallen world, and ever shall be. But that bland observation really shouldn’t affect our personal voting habits. We can’t look into politicians hearts to gauge their sincerity, so the best thing we can do is make it worthwhile for the ambitious to represent our interests. The way to do that is by making the case that there is real life and cultural vitality in the positions we want them to espouse (both in rhetoric and in concrete political efforts).

Given how religious conservatism is viewed within “elite” American culture, it’s entirely unsurprising that many Republicans want to secure our votes while making as little commitment as possible to our views. Thus, we see regular calls for a “truce” on social issues, which generally amounts to an appeal for social conservatives to remain in the Republican fold while muting their social views as much as possible. Of course, we should reject this kind of “truce.” But even that won’t be possible if we storm away from the negotiating table.

As unwelcome as the news may be to certain ranking Republicans, the party still needs our votes. But if (as Millman recommends) we stop voting on social issues, the parties will inevitably realign in such a way as to leave our social concerns unrepresented. Given the current direction of the culture, it’s more or less a given that the end result will not be pleasing.

Perhaps this wouldn’t matter if indeed the GOP did nothing to promote the good. If Republican pro-life and pro-marriage advocacy were really confined to rhetoric, perhaps it would be just as well to vote our fiscal views or not at all. But it’s a terrible mistake to think that the Republicans have done nothing concrete to protect life or promote the family. As Exhibit A, consider the substantial progress the pro-life movement has made in restricting (which often means closing) abortion clinics in recent years. Liberals are in something of a panic about it. Would we have been able to pass that legislation without Republican leadership?

As Exhibit B, we should note that the judiciary, bad as it is, could be worse. Thanks to Republicans, we have at least some justices who are sympathetic to our concerns about life and marriage and willing to rule in favor of academic or religious freedom. Beyond this, recent losses on the marriage front shouldn’t cause us to forget the many successful campaigns the Republicans have waged within the last decade to protect traditional marriage. In short, it’s really not reasonable to doubt at this stage that the Republican Party is the best available political organization through which to pursue pressing social goals.

It’s understandable that religious conservatives would feel irritated given their (often accurate) perception that they are not respected in mainstream political circles, and that their views get less attention than their numbers would warrant. At the end of the day, though, pouting is the quickest and most effective way to slide ourselves into irrelevance.

The truth is that faithful religious people are reviled by America’s liberal elite precisely because we have a vibrant, functional culture of our own, which doggedly resists liberal attempts to co-opt it. Moreover, the cultures we have built can boast precisely those goods (a strong marriage culture, high birth rates) that are most desperately needed in our society, as even liberals have begun to appreciate. The best way to increase our political influence, therefore, is by persuading the Republican Party that they would do well to tap into that cultural energy rather than hiding it under a bushel. We can only do that if we remain engaged with our political allies, summoning as much grace and optimism as we can in what is admittedly a trying time for conservatives of all stripes.

Politics is rarely edifying, and not everyone is called to labor in the political vineyard. Even those who are called to this work allow themselves occasional breaks from the relentless news cycle, so that they can restore their sense of perspective. What we should not do, however, is allow our disdain for the fallen world to overflow into a kind of self-righteous eagerness to vacate the field, removing ourselves to cultural “bunkers” in which we can live out our personal convictions in private.

It is perilously easy to give up on a world as depraved as ours, taking pleasure and pride in the superiority of authentic Catholic culture that we hold in our mind’s eye. Of course we should endeavor to build our own homes and communities around such a vision, but at the same time, we should recognize the peril of total disengagement. As we saw with the recent Arizona religious liberty bill, people are not easily moved to respect the integrity of lifestyles that they do not understand, or beliefs that they have been taught to regard as irrational and bigoted. People who consent to live in bunkers tend to be annihilated in the long run. For our children’s sake, and for the sake of our country and compatriots, we must labor energetically to ward off such a grim future.

Rachel Lu

By

Rachel Lu, a Catholic convert, teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where she lives with her husband and three boys. Dr. Lu earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at rclu.

  • Arriero

    The author says: «[...] I argued that Catholics should willingly lend political support to the Republican Party.»

    Why? Simply because Catholics are, unluckily, a very ill-considered minority within the US, despised by both the atheist left and the protestant right*. That’s why Catholics are compelled to do something not-very-Catholic; that is, protecting some of their interests supporting the lesser evil – or so is commonly thought -. Any old Catholic knows that there is nothing intrinsically Catholic in the Republican Party; even the few good Catholic things that it may have are not sufficiently admired and praised, and more than often we just see a very ugly «protestanized Catholicism».

    Have you ever asked yourselves why the latino vote went to Obama? Among other things, because they, who usually are overwhelmingly Catholic, know that the Republican Party is everything, but Catholic (and as you may have noticed the South, where there are more inmigration, is profoundly conservative). I’m sure a real Catholic party in America could gather many votes, even more in the future. The (mainly white) protestant right in America has less of a bright future than Catholicism. This vacuum has to be filled.

    Then, what should a Catholic vote in America? He/She should vote Catholic leaders and Catholic parties. And if there are no Catholic parties? Let’s create one. Why do you think Pope Francis has come into the Church? To put the Church, again, in the commanding. Also in America.

    * Although at first glance they may look different (the atheist left and the protestant right), atheism was unchained in the very anti-Catholic Reformation, was later controlled under the very Catholic Counter-Reformation and again freed during the also very anti-Catholic Robespierran Revolution, a product of the pseudo-calvinist anti-freedom nihilism. Hence, both the right and the left are (more or less) the same; ultimately they ARE NOT Catholic.

    • tom

      Latinos want other people’s goodies, extracted from them by our Leftists.

      That’s not Catholic, that’s theft.

      • Art Deco

        Take it somewhere else, Moby.

        • tom

          You too, L O S E R.

          • Crisiseditor

            Now, now. Can’t we all get along? Civility, gentlemen.

            • tom

              Boo Hoo…he started it, Mr. Editor.

      • Arriero

        That’s exactly one of the things I wanted to surface with my comment: the anti-Catholic crappy racism within the pseudo-calvinist right movement.

        Latinos, despite their problems and situations, are brothers in Faith. Latinos are the «XXIst century Irish», who were also despised and marginalized by the same pseudo-calvinist anti-Catholic people. We should already know who are those with us and who are those against us.

        We, real Catholics, very well know that old pseudo-calvinists (the old protestant right) supported slavery for centuries; and we still don’t know if they really have changed their minds. Their ideology have also turned post-modern corporations in labour camps, but that’s another issue.

        Of course, your comment is the kind of anti-human, anti-life and anti-Catholic ideology that this post-modern world so much loves. I call it «CEO ideology». And don’t think this ideology is far from the atheist left; in fact, IS the same ideology: same root, same prospects, same consequences.

        • tom

          I render on to Caesar’s what is his. Breaking the civil law with illegal entry into a nation is not something to applaud. Worse, these “Catholics” vote 75% for the pro-abortion party, take jobs away from Americans, and add to our calamitous state and federal debt by not paying their taxes, either. Comparing the illegals’ assault to the Irish diaspora is a simplistic misreading of history.

        • TheAbaum

          Notice the typical leftist tactic of diminishing the opposition with the race card. How much is Soros paying per post these days, eh troll?

          • Arriero

            There is another kind of racism which matter a lot more for me: religious racism.

            The other racism does not make much sense in this discussion. Many Latin Americans are whiter, more handsome and more intelligent than many americans (unluckily for some americans, Spaniards did not exterminate indians as they did in North-America. Those peaceful Pilgrim Fathers…) We’re not talking about black vs. white here. Irish people were white, too. It’s a matter of religion and ideology.

            There sometimes exists the same racism in Europe, indeed. Many germans refer to Southerners as «these lazy southern Catholics» (the yellow german newspaper Bild is prone to these kind of statements). Hey, and Southern Europeans are not afroamericans.

            The race card is a stupidity, much more for a Catholic. But please, re-read tom’s comment.

            You’re a bit obssessed with Soros, aren’t you?

            • Art Deco

              (unluckily for some americans, Spaniards did not exterminate indians as
              they did in North-America. Those peaceful Pilgrim Fathers…)

              The Pilgrim Fathers did not exterminate the Indians. The demographic disaster which befell the aboriginal population of North and South America occurred during the century after the conquest of Mexico and was driven by disease. The Pilgrim Fathers arrived in 1620.

            • TheAbaum

              You’re a bit obsessed with Calvin, aren’t you?

    • Art Deco

      Arriero, in this country, the protestants who despise the Catholic Church tend to despise any sort of religious belief and practice that is inconvenient or unfashionable in certain bourgeois milieux. They have an even greater distaste for serious evangelicals (who do not tend to be particularly sectarian outside the sphere of Sunday worship).

      • Arriero

        I’m not always talking directly about protestantism as religion; I’m rather talking about protestantism as an ideology (that’s why I talk about «pseudo-calvinists», because many of them are not even pure calvinists). There are many atheists who indeed follow this pseudo-calvinist ideology. In another thread I already said that the Rand-Objectivist theory has penetrated both in the right (in its politico-economic branch) and in the left (in its socio-eugenesic branch). I don’t distinguish between left-right in the sense many americans assess the issue (state vs. anti-state), which is certainly reductionist and a nonsense. I distinguish between Catholic and anti-Catholic; and there’s certainly an ideology, a mainstream ideology, heir of the Reformation, that has spread their nihilist tentacles all over. Pope Benedict already said that Protestantism opened the box of relativism «à grande échelle». This ideology has mutated over the centuries, until reaching the post-modernist stage we’re now immersed on. This ideology was born as an attack to the Catholic Church and has been marginalizing it for centuries. We must set the record straight and stop playing with fire.

        PD- There is a difference between respect and acceptance. I respect and many times even admire many «good» protestants, but I do not accept their premises. Many times I’ve said that my comments have not to be taken as personal attacks. The worst thing is how this ideology has penetrated in some parts of the Church, it’s disturbing hearing some Catholics («The Pope is a marxist», or the comment above about latinos and theft are good examples) that are much more influenced by the pseudo-calvinist ideology than even many protestants. Even within the same protestant movement there are stages of craziness.

        • tom

          Then, you oppose the Mexican government’s arrest and imprisonment of Americans illegally in Mexico? I did not think so. Mexico has far less debt than the USA and has a GDP growing at triple America’s. it guards its borders like a armed hawk! You pick and choose your civil laws and what Christ rendered to Caesar? How arrogant of you.

        • Art Deco
        • TheAbaum

          Could you say something in less than 1000 words?

    • TheAbaum

      What the he-two sticks would you know about us?

      • Arriero

        Unlike you, I can see from inside and from outside.

        • tom

          I don’t doubt it. Being two-faced comes in handy.

        • TheAbaum

          Unlike me, you comment on matters you are woefully ignorant on.

  • C

    Dr. Lu,
    Your two part article was an excellent piece of practical reasoning. Catholics should not disengage or despair, regardless of the strong temptation to do so. We can slide into a worse situation making civil life all the more difficult for or children and grandchildren. I will support the party(s) that support Catholic social principals …. pro-life, pro traditional marriage, pro unhurried natural death. At the moment no third party can garner nearly enough support to make sufficient change. We cannot afford to wait a generation or two for that to happen. Things will become so bad by then this will all seem like a ‘good’ time comparatively. I agree with you, support the Republican Party, (keeping their feet to the fire), and encourage our fellow Catholics to do so as well.

  • thomistica

    I recently decided to vote pro-life and pro-family, which is to say, vote Republican in most cases one can envision, but not officially register as a *member* of that party. This is an important distinction–voting for members of a party versus being a member of the party for which one usually votes.

    The title of this article refers to “total political disengagement”. The stance described here is not one of political disengagement.

    I resent being counted as a statistical unit for purposes of political machinations of persons who would readily throw socially conservatives Catholics under the bus if their political calculi “required” it. Moreover, the most important battles are on the cultural front lines and are not primarily political. Politicians primarily respond to what they perceive happening in the culture.

    The question arises, too, whether the stance of voting without publicly declaring party allegiance provides a kind of leverage if the Republican party does not know just how many social conservatives are out there, given the unreliability of polls.

    • TheAbaum

      I will continue to vote Republican (while holding my nose to avoid the
      stench) for the foreseeable future, but recently gave up “membership” in
      that party–i.e., I went Independent.

      The case can be made to do exactly the opposite.If your state has a closed primary-you can’t affect the candidates that run in the general election.

      • thomistica

        Share a secret with you: I registered as a Democrat so I could vote in a primary at one point, then shifted back to Republican. Probably creates some annoyance at the courthouse/voter registration, but the government workers are on our dime, so no guilt there.

        You can see here my vision of politics and the uselessness of party identity.

        • tom

          Good show! I’ve done the same thing at times.

          • thomistica

            Yes, nothing wrong with taking a very instrumentalist attitude toward voter registration, in my view.

      • thomistica

        Well, actually, don’t tell anyone: I once registered in the DNP for just this reason, to vote in one of their primaries. Then I switched back to the GOP forthwith, and … as mentioned… recently switched to Independent. It may annoy the folks at voter registration, but what the hell, they’re on *our* dime.

        In any case, you can see the Machiavallian, game theoretic attitude I harbor toward the political process, not to mention an attitude that party membership in these last, gasping, waning days of the republic amounts to little.

  • Dan M.

    The bottom line for me will always be: If we never vote for any party but the two who are in power, we condemn ourselves forever to the status quo. There will NEVER be change.

    The arguement that I’m “throwing my vote away” is a short sighted one. Again, the alternative is condemning ourselves to things as they are, forever.

    I must vote for truth. The Constitution Party is solidly Catholic and moral in it’s platform and actions. I will vote for them.

    • tom

      A third party vote worked for the GOP to end slavery, didn’t it? I have to look into the Constitution Party, Dan.

      • tom

        “Independent” is a viable option, too.

    • Art Deco

      I am sure abolishing central banking and paper money will do us all a world of good.

    • Watosh

      When they tell me i am throwing my vote away, I had my vote thrown away when faced with only choosing between Gore or Bush, or, between Bush or Kerry, or, between Obama and McCain, or, between Obama or Romney. The godless, secular Constitution Party is “solidly Catholic!” Wow, you have to give Satan credit for being diabolically clever.

      • T Houle

        Where do you get the PC is godless and secular?

        • Watosh

          Well now since the Constitution is secular and godless as a product of Deist liberals, who were very anti-Catholic, So given this foundation, the Constitution Party as being a Party where religious values are no more than a veneer to attract the naive and misinformed. Now you may argue that it is inaccurate to call Deists godless, as they allow for the existence of some remote supreme being, but Deism is a form of godlessness. Show me a Deist and I will show you a liberal who feels man determines what is good and what is bad. Of course the myth celebrated by the American public, a public of which 70% believed that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center just before we invaded Iraq, is that the colonists came to America to practice their particular form of Christianity, and many did, but a number of influential leaders were heavily influenced by liberal ideas which they incorporated in the American Constitution. It had some good features, but it hd some time bombs which are now appearing. You can look it up, if you want to know the truth.

      • T Houle

        Where do you get the CP is godless and secular?

  • Vinnie

    “bad as it is, could be worse.” Done with that! I now vote strictly for a candidate that has the social view I want. Chance of having one? Close to zero. If there was one, his chance of winning? Probably zero. However, without that view, the chance of this country surviving as anything worthwhile, also zero. Civilizations have waxed and waned throughout history. We have proven this one is no different.

    • tom

      We should be voting against our pro-abortion Catholics, throwing their kids out of Catholic schools, with these Democratic pols being tossed out of the Mass service by the ushers! You may as well have a Nazi as the cantor at the synagogue: “Next, the Horst Wessel song!”

  • publiusnj

    Arriero argues: “Why? Simply because Catholics are, unluckily, a very ill-considered minority within the US, despised by both the atheist left and the protestant right.” There is some truth in that, but there is a reason for it and there are differences between the atheist left and protestant right. The reason Catholics are a despised minority is because they split their vote nearly down the middle. There are a lot fewer Blacks than Catholics, but since they do not split their vote and instead vote 95-5 Democrat, they get heard. Politics is a numbers game and the more splits there are in a voting bloc, the more despised it becomes.

    Moving on to the differences: we Catholics have NOTHING in common with the Democrats; they’ll kill anybody that needs to be sacrificed on the way to an electoral majority. So, if helpless babes in the womb are targeted to be killed, the Democrats will figure out a “right’ to allow it. Likewise, if the care of the elderly undoes the assumptions of Obamacare, death panels will take care of that. The Protestant right, at least, has most moral principles in common with Catholics.

    • Art Deco

      I think you mean ‘passably orthodox Catholics’ (and, as Mark Shea says, we’re all material heretics to some degree) have nothing in common with the Democratic Party. The trouble is, somewhere between 65% and 85% of the people you see in the pew on Sunday are not passably orthodox. That includes the man at the altar. There’s been a terrible hollowing out of Catholic belief and practice over the last 50-odd years.

      • musicacre

        I can’t help but blame (for the most part) the conferences of Catholic Bishops in N. America. I don’t know what they do in other parts of the world, maybe actually encourage each other to fight the good fight and be shepherds to their believing flocks. But here in Canada, and I suspect from what I see in the States, they seem to hold the bishops back from proclaiming all truth unconditionally. They seem to have to have consensus before they they can say anything, which would mean their hands are tied behind their backs, if they want to preach against the pill, for example…. It isn’t even a truly legit authority for them; only the Pope is their higher authority, according to canon law. They claim the org. is for “collegiality” but why are they all feeling forced to give lip service to “jusitice ” organizations that milk the massive funds that come from the pews for less than upfront organizations that end up “unwittingly” funding abortion in other countries. If they are that continuously “unwitting”, for the past 30 years, maybe, just maybe…they should NOT be privileged to receive such largess from the average hard-working Catholic Church member. I’m not on a tangent, because this milky toast pussy-footing is precisely why otherwise intelligent adult Catholic are clueless about the faith. The bishops need to be on fire for their faith til their vocation is over, and remember why the Cardinals’ color is red.

        • TheAbaum

          “They claim the org. is for “collegiality” but why are they all feeling
          forced to give lip service to “jusitice ” organizations that milk the
          massive funds that come from the pews for less than upfront
          organizations that end up “unwittingly” funding abortion in other
          countries.”

          If I were the Pope, these conferences would be severely limited. They seem to be useless bureaucracies that do little but waste money and advance a political agenda. This would be a very useful step toward a “poorer” Church.

          • Stilbelieve

            TheAbaum, you are right on point with “collegiality.” This is the
            dominant drive within the USCCB first started by Archbishop Bernardin
            who also introduced into the conference of U.S. Catholic bishops the
            concept of “a consistent ethic of life” when he accepted the
            chairmanship of the Pro-Life Committee on the request of Ab John Roach, president of the bishops’ conference upon the sudden death of the
            previous cm. He accepted the cmship on the grounds that he be allowed
            to make some changes in the (pro-life) program based on “his theological
            and POLITICAL (my emphasis) reflections of the last several years.” (“Cardinal
            Bernardin – Easing conflicts and battling for the soul of American
            Catholicism” by Eugene Kennedy, a 30-year-long friend of the future
            Cardinal.

            The “last several years” happen to be the first term
            of President Ronald Reagan who was positively supported by Catholic
            Democrats. Bernardin was the Archbishop of Chicago, the most
            Democratically controlled and corrupt city in the country. Chicago is
            run by a mayor and a 50-member City Council who are called Alderman.
            The mayor and ALL 50 Alderman are Democrats. There is no doubt,
            Bernardin’s motivation to change the direction of the Catholic pro-life
            program by incorporating so called “social justice” issues was to
            provide a reason to enable Catholics to remain in the pro-abortion
            Democratic Party. That is why the author of “Cardinal Bernadine,”
            Eugene Kennedy, never had to retract a major reason to change the
            pro-life message for Catholics in his biogrophy, and that was, “Not only would this move
            gain greater support from Catholics and others but it would keep the
            pro-life movement from falling completely under the control of the right
            wing conservatives who were becoming its dominant sponsors.” This book
            was published in 1989; Cardinal Bernardin did not die until 1996.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      I heard part of that Protestant Right on the radio this morning denying the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist- their definition of life is completely arbitrary and self-serving. Sorry, don’t have anything more in common with them than I do with the Democrats.

      • publiusnj

        Theological purity is a standard that likely would not work in a majority Catholic country, much less a decidedly pluralistic one.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          And that means we should stop striving for it and just vote for evil, right?

          • tom

            T.S., you’re like reading “The Wasteland”. Say something positive every fortnight, OK?

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              I would if there was anything positive left.

              • tom

                Oy!

          • publiusnj

            Why do you try to put words in my mouth? Stop with the strawmen.

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              I thought the entire thread was about forcing people to vote for the lesser evil, as opposed to creating something better. My mistake.

    • Watosh

      Now that is an excellent observation, we cancel out the Catholic vote by splitting it in half, so we lose the slight chance we might have to exert some influence on the godless secular, liberal, environment created by our Constitution. It is no accident things are turning out the way they are.

      • publiusnj

        You are quite correct. To most politicians, a group is only important to the degree it produces plurality votes for him/her. A small group, if cohesive, can have a far greater impact than a larger group if the larger group’s vote is essentially dissipated by being evenly divided. For a smallish minority, the break point probably comes above 65% (Jews, blacks, Latinos and Gays all get above 65% for one party and are awarded with power). Likewise, “evangelicals” tend to be more cohesive than Catholics and are therefore listened to more by the Republicans.

        IOW, little has really changed from the time of the Roman Empire. They said it well: “divide et impera.” (Divide and conquer).

  • poetcomic1

    Yadda Yadda. Are you REALLY and TRULY going to hold your nose AGAIN and vote yet AGAIN for the next McDoleney RHINO that these Judas-wannabes package for us???

    • Art Deco

      When you are the Republican presidential nominee, you define what an authentic Republican is, not some combox blatherer. The “RINO” discourse is stupid, particularly when applied to Messrs. Dole, McCain, and Romney.

      McCain is problematic on several issues (immigration, for one). Other than lying to his primary electorate in 2010 about future stances on immigration law (and only a chump would have believed him), I am not aware of who he is supposed to have betrayed. Dole is a political careerist, to be sure, who has sponsored some truly wretched legislation (the Americans with Disabilities Act) and done some quite vulgar things (the Viagra ads, the public appearances with Bilge Clinton); I am not sure who he’s betrayed either (unless you’re referring to his 1st wife, discarded like a pair of old shoes). As for Romney, the man was operating in just about the most uncongenial political environment you could imagine (Massachusetts).

      • poetcomic1

        But you fail to address the most important issue: wouldn’t Romney – handsome and mature – be a great spokesman for Viagra? He was made for the part.

        • Art Deco

          Lame. (And evasive).

        • TheAbaum

          Romney had (has, he sure sounds like a guy putting the donut on the bat before another trip to the plate) his deficiencies, but exhibitionism didn’t seem to be one of them.

          • poetcomic1

            I wasn’t speaking of his personal traits but in general that a man who could have leader of the ‘free’ world peddled Viagra. as my nephew says, “I can’t wrap my mind around that.” Still can’t, never will.

            • TheAbaum

              Well, now you have a guy who Peggy Noonan once called “elegant”.

              There isn’t a real man in the world who would ever want a word like that associated with his description.

              • tom

                He surely wasn’t ready for the lead pipe Democratic machine toughs from Chicago. He never knew what hit him. Then, they hit him again and again and started kicking him with steel-toed boots.
                It was over by September, and he never guessed.

              • Art Deco

                What, you have something against Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.? It’s perfectly appropriate for a certain sort.

    • tom

      If the Catholic 1/4 of the electorate voted based on our Church’s principles, we’d turn America back towards the grace of God. It’s the one half of the 1/4 voting Democratic-Marxist who are murdering America while destroying their own souls.

      • poetcomic1

        “And if Grandma had a beard she’d be Grandpa.”

        • tom

          We can beard Grandma, too. Have Faith in the ability of roman Catholics to co-ordinate a little. If there’s a Dem pol in your parish he’s the parish pariah…or ought to be. .

          • TheAbaum

            Have Faith in the ability of roman Catholics to co-ordinate a little.

            Why?

            • tom

              From this column’s participants, that’s a salient point. We have folks who like Republicans, who frown on fusionists, and who won’t vote, ever again. well..”because”. Others swing at anyone they can sucker punch. The art of bringing order out of chaos seems lost among Catholics. I guess we have to think of a sausage factory and hope for better results.

              • TheAbaum

                I wasn’t even talking about that. When Church pews are stuffed liked sausages, when confession lines are full, when the Catholic League is as feared as CAIR, when we see an overwhelming majority of Catholics believing in the Real Presence and they contracept at a lower rate than the general population, then there’ll be cause to believe in cohesion.

                • tom

                  True. Being in the public square is a good start. A Disney boycott can help as much as Bill Donohue’s successful boycott of Guinness. Everyone who isn’t a member of the Catholic League should be. I am. I’ll only add that too many pro-abortion folks do it for racist reasons as a form of eugenics. it’s a deplorable combine of murder + hate = genocide.

                • musicacre

                  Exactly right. And the shoulders responsible for this work of rejuvenation is the bishop. The bishops nowadays see themselves so much as administrators, their whole purpose steering the staff in their office and almost never descending to the pavement to lead the processions and give confidence to the flocks and not encourage Catholics to hide out in similar caves.

  • David Kenny

    The Democrats are openly committed to supporting abortion on demand, the normalisation of homosexuality, indoctrination of school children in sexualisation at an early age, restricting religious freedom for the preceding three and “equality” and unrestricted debt. No serious Catholic can support these as it’s a pure moral issue. “Catholics” who do support the Democrats cannot be serious.

    • tom

      “Catholics” who support the Democratic Party simply support Marxism and are the enemies of Christianity. They are our Orcs.

      • Art Deco

        The Democratic Party is a stew of constituency groups who have patron-client relations with career politicians and public agencies. It is not Marxist in any meaningful way. It stands for rent-seeking and social and cultural degradation, not the Dialectic. They actually do not give a rip about the generic working clients. Its more urban gentry and their clients against the middle.

        • tom

          If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck…

          • Art Deco

            The term ‘Marxist’ does not mean what you fancy it means. Stop beclowning yourself.

            • tom

              I know the enemy when I see them, clown. You can’t.
              and would rather demean decent dialogue.

              • Art Deco

                No, you do not. You’re enemy is the generic Democrat. Howard Zinn types are a problem in the academy, not among the general run of journalist or politician.

                • tom

                  Well, I’ve read Marx and Engels and found Engels easier to digest, but found both to be profound enemies of the individual soul. You can choose to disagree but not presume to guess at the depth of my knowledge.

                  • Art Deco

                    I do not have to guess.

        • Arriero

          Maybe you should read that:

          http://www.salon.com/2013/03/21/private_sector_parasites/

          The view you have of capitalism is a bit strange. Definitively, real Catholic liberalism (Schoold of Salamanca and Oporto) has to be much more studied.

          • Art Deco

            I’ve never offered my view of ‘capitalism’ in these precincts and I am not responsible for the issue of your imagination.

          • Watosh

            Gerry Mander has a thought provoking book “The Capitalist Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System.” Now this title will undoubtedly make some accuse Gerry of being a communist or Socialist, which he isn’t, he has worked for big corporations himself, but he points out as one of the flaws of
            Capitalism today, corporations only purpose, built into its operating rules, is to expand its wealth, and then to do it again. Think of what this means you devotees of Ayn Rand. You can do this for a while but resources are not as plentiful as they were and corporations under this program have gotten bigger and bigger and more powerful, now able to exercise more power than any one country. His thoughts show the need for Catholic economic measures.

            • Art Deco

              1. He’s actually a professional agitator, though he claims some training in economics.

              2. The only devotees of Ayn Rand on this board are the voices in your head.

              3. ‘Obsolete’ would imply there is some sort of alternative technology which achieves certain ends with fewer inputs. What could that be.

              4. If you do not have economic decisions over production and consumption made by a run of independent actors in goods and factor markets, you have something else. That something else would have to be allocation decisions vested in state planning agencies or localized cartels or subsistence production. Somehow I do not think your are going to persuade too many people that any of these models is non-obsolete.

              • Watosh

                Art, I don’t believe we speak the same language.
                we may use the same words but you have attached your own meanings. Now after reading some of your comments over time and those of some of the other uncivil remarks by others who love to insult people, to see you call me a professional agitator, when you continuously are engaged in taking exception to many of the comments others have made, day after day, why that ranks with Kerry showing no sense of embarrassment when telling the world that invading a country on false pretexts in order to advance ones interests is a terrible thing for any country to do in the twentieth century, when that is what the U.S. did in invading Iraq a little over ten years ago. And I never had any training in economics outside a miserable course in ECO 101 that consisted of graphs showing equilibrium points between supply and demand. Nowhere did i ever claim that I had some training in economics, so that was simply another example of your looking for ways of making me wear horns. I do read. I read a lot. I read arguments for and arguments against. I try to search for the truth, not to confirm my prejudices. And I know that when a blind man examines an elephant you can’t convince him of what an elephant actually looks like, because he has felt the elephant and knows it is like a tree, or he thinks it is a snake. There is a saying that in the valley of the blind the one-eyed man is king. My experience tells me that in the valley of the blind the one eyed man will be put to death. Their are alternatives. Would you dare to read Gerry Mander’s book before you leap to defend somme prejudice of mine. And Ayn Rand would say amen to your point number 4.

            • TheAbaum

              It seems appropriate that such a person would choose a pseudonym that has become a noun for political chicanery, as he invites in in droves.

              • Watosh

                You do like to create straw men in order to discredit others. You never checked your facts, but you merely asserted that Gerry Mander was a pseudonym chosen to hide behind, and because gerrymandering is a noun for political chicanery, you leapt to use this to discredit the book he wrote. Now “Gerry” (a nickname based on a given name of Jerome) and Mander is the author’s family given name, and many people prefer using a nickname when it has become the name that he has become known as. You could look it up. But it suited you to smear the book’s author in order to discredit anything he might say, which beats having to read what the author wrote and then issuing a refutation, because then you might not be able to refute what was said. Your dismissing Gerry Mander’s book by this sleazy tactic is like someone dismissing the New Testament on the grounds that it contains the sayings of someone that was crucified between two thieves.

                • Art Deco

                  The book’s on Amazon, but the author’s name is spelled ‘Jerry Mander’. Again, the man’s a professional agitator and the replacements for ‘capitalism’ amount to central planning and mercantilism breeding rent-seeking.

                  • Watosh

                    I have l ways maintained faith without reason leads to error and reason without faith leads to error. I say this because I have met some catholics who feel that faith means that you will not waver no matter how convincing the evidence to something contrary to faith. We see this in fanatical muslims. They have faith and no matter how strong the arguments against the Muslim Faith they will maintain the faith despite all reason to the contrary. It is the same with faith in the unrestricted free market, no reasons will shake their faith. Nay, they will strike out at anyone who suggests that the unrestricted, free market which they identify with the ill defined term “Capitalism” cannot be questioned, with heated rancor. Their faith is the same blind faith that naive Communists had that Communism is the salvation of economic mankind. They are absolutely convinced despite all evidence to the contrary that the unrestricted free market will lead to more for everyone, and anyone who doesn’t believe that is guilty of keeping the world from reaping the benefits of the Libertaian, unrestricted free market, which in actuality makes profit the only morality, and the workings of Corporations as recognized even by Adam Smith that Corporations if left alone will rig the market for their benefit.It is sad to see people willfully blinding themselves.

                    • Art Deco

                      It is the same with faith in the unrestricted free market, no reasons will shake their faith.

                      There are no anarcho-capitalists on this board. When you’ve learned to address people’s points and not caricatures of people’s points, get back to me.

                    • Watosh

                      Maybe I have misunderstood you, it seemed to me that you firmly believe that unrestricted, free market in which the only function of a corporation is to make a profit and that morality has no place in it. should not be questioned, and we need to do more to make it unrestricted, and anyone who questions this system must be an anarchist, socialist, or communist. If this is not your point I entreat you to enlighten my miserable understanding, and I am trying to make my point as obvious as I can, so that you do not have to make a caricature of it, I really wouldn’t want to be the cause of your doing something like that Art. What I don’t understand is how John Kerry and Pres Obama can denounce other countries for violating what they, Kerry and Obama, interpret as being International Law, when we have clearly done so repeatedly. They aren’t embarrassed at all. well that goes to show you that people are different. Some can do this, some of us feel this is dishonest. But I am drifting off my point, which I know you wish to pointedly address.

      • Arriero

        You don’t seem to know much about marxism, do you?

        With half of corporate America – including big banks – supporting Obama and you dare to call him a marxist? I don’t know where you’ve read about marxism…

        For you information, the “Labour theory of Value”, a milestone in marxist economic theory, was embraced by both Adam Smith and David Ricardo.

        • tom

          My emphasis is on the dignity of the individual more so than macroeconomic systems. I doubt you or Deco know much at all about the reality of the Marxist-Democrats in our midst. it’s always th dumbest casting stones about the intellect of others. Can’t say I blame them.

          • Art Deco

            I do not give a rip about your ‘intellect’. I do care about casual and foolish misuse of terminology. Marxism is not a problem in this country outside the arts-and-sciences faculty and even there it’s largely trumpery for disagreeable cultural impulses which do not require Marxist discourse to be disagreeable.

            • tom

              it is amusing to watch Art and Arriero do their two-step, together. it goes no where but is fun to watch. i wonder if they tie their shoelaces together by mistake, sometimes?

              • TheAbaum

                Art can be a bit eccentric, but Arrerio is an abject fraud. He’s a generic Eurocentric leftwinger with a pronounced hatred for the United States who masquerades as a hyper-orthodox Catholic (a PHO or pseudo hyper-orthodox Catholic). His routine is as tedious and tiresome as it is pretentious and pedantic.

                • Arriero

                  I don’t understand this part about hyper-orthodoxy. I thought one can only be either Catholic or no-Catholic.

                  It’s not difficult hating the US, but I let this task to others.

                  I still don’t know what you understand by «left-winger». Everybody who disagrees seem to be a «left-winger».

                  Pope Francis has said: «I’ve never been a right-winger»*. If the Pope says so…

                  * Source: http://americamagazine.org/pope-interview

                  • TheAbaum

                    “I don’t understand this part about hyper-orthodoxy.”

                    There’s a lot you don’t understand.

                    Everybody who disagrees seem to be a «left-winger».

                    The principal trait that distinguishes a person as a left-winger is a belief in the efficacy, benevolence and sagacity of government, i.e., a statist. You have a long record in expressing a belief in government, so you are a left-winger.

                    On the other hand, you are also a hypocrite, because everybody who disagrees with you is a “Calvinist”.

                    So in a scant few minutes, you’ve cited, Salon.com., Krugman and Americamagazine and you complain about being identified as a leftwinger? I’ve never read Calvin in my life, but you are pretty deep into the hard-left. Conversely, the Pope did not say “I’ve always been a Left-winger”. He also told me to follow my conscience.

                    • Arriero

                      - «[...] but you are pretty deep into the hard left.»

                      Of course that I’ve read – and studied – the true and hard left (which was not the stupid hippie-progressive anti-intellectual left that exist now). You cannot fight something you don’t know about. That’s why is very funny – but also very disturbing – reading people who have no clue about what is marxism calling a Pope marxism.

                      I have to say that I also very well know the libertarian discourse. Also the Hayekian/austrian thesis. And I’m now pretty impressed by the early works of Schumpeter and Minsky. I don’t shoot the messenger before reading the message. Not long ago died Eric Hobsbawn, whose dissertations on the cultural degeneration of the West are impressive and incredibly insightful.

                      But above all I’ve read, studied and admired the first liberals in world history, who were Catholics, Counter-Reformation Catholics. Domingo de Soto, Martín de Azpilcueta, Tomás de Mercado, Juan de Mariana, Baltasar Gracián, Bartolomé de las Casas, etc. It’s always a pleasure reading them, and realizing how great and how right they were. It’s a pity that we consider others to be the founders of classical liberalism.

                      I go to the sources – which are Catholic – and I don’t play with fire.

                      http://shop.acton.org/sourcebook-in-late-scholastic-monetary-theory-the-contributions-of-martin-de-azpilcueta-luis-de-molina-and-juan-de-mariana.html

                    • TheAbaum

                      “I go to the sources – which are Catholic – and I don’t play with fire.”

                      Salon, Krugman and Alternet are hard-left, with not a trace of Catholicity. So you go to non-Catholic sources and I suspect, in your lexicon, you are a pyromaniac

                    • Arriero

                      If I’m sincere I didn’t know about Salon and Alternate, but these two news I cited were related with what I was saying. I’d never read any of them.

                      For sure that if I have to read some hard-left stuff I don’t go to read to these stupid happy-flowers progressive pages. Even with hard-left one has to go to the sources. Hard-left has always been written in french and german, and delivered in Europe. The american progressive media is a featherweight, empty of contents, vacuous.

                      Thinking that the american left is a serious enemy of Catholicism is funny and joking. Does someone really thing a millenarian religion is going to be intimidated by the coward theories of rubbish-intellectuals? You don’t know how worse theories this great Church has killed and buried.

                      Enough for today. Have a nice day!

                    • TheAbaum

                      Your attempts at evasion and exculpation have a certain degree of immature audacity about them, like a child believing that providing a denial with just the right amount of earnestness will convince the teacher who has heard it all before of their innocence.

                    • Arriero

                      You seem to know more than me about the american hard-left.

                      By the way, calling the american progressive suit&tie-rich&coward progressive left «à la Jon Stewart» (or «à la this new New York mayor who studied in I don’t know which Ivy League snob university») is an insult for the real hard-left.

                      We can disagree with the hard-left, but truth is that even the had-left is decadent and out from the debate.

                      If I ever read them is for fun. You seem to take more seriously the nonsense they say. I suppose is a matter of morbid attraction.

                    • TheAbaum

                      More evasion. You say you read them for “fun” but you quote them for substance.

                      We don’t disagree with the hard-left, I do. You are the hard-left.

                    • Arriero

                      Sure, but you don’t seem to know enough about the really important things.

                      The Catholic Church HAD TO take all her INTELLECTUAL ARTILLERY to fight marxism et al. You don’t seem to know anything about the intellectual debate that happened between the Church and the hard-left, the real left, the european – mainly french and russian – old left.

                      Americans, except in rare cases, have no clue about what is the hard-left. There has never been old marxist left in America (not even economists like Paul Sweezy or Paul Baran could be considered hard-left). Those of us who knew the greatest Catholic intellectuals who fight that enemy – direct heir of the Reformation -, don’t so easily call someone “marxist” or “hard-left”.

                      I’m sure there are debates that are above some minds. America has an easier enemy, this JOKE and EMPTY BIN that is the progressive left in America. I let you fighting with that featherweight. And if you’re not able to win, don’t doubt in calling the very-Catholic mormons for help.

                      PD- I already understand why Pope Benedict, one the greatest intellectuals in the XXth century, focused heavily in Europe. You find very strange species outside the Empire of the Faith.

                    • Arriero

                      Gustavo Bueno, one of the greatest Spanish intellectuals of the XXth century, who is self-considered a «Catholic atheist», who admires and considers the Church the greatest Institution in world history and never has denied her power and influence; also from his marxist perspective have some impressive discourses critizicing abortion and explaining how irrationally anti-human is this act, while noticing the contradictions within the modern left and its anti-life ideology. Not all the left is of the low intellectual level than the American left, who have never read a good book in their lives and who deny God without arguments and despise the Church without Reason.

                      The “NO” to abortion from the philosophical materialism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alm9rHPfeFE (He says, briefly, that abortion is murder)

                      He has another great video about the relation of the democratical fundamentalism and abortion.

          • Arriero

            In America there has never been a real implantation of marxism.

            I dare to say no one in the Democratic Party knows anything about marxism, neither have they read anything.

            If you think the policies of Obama are something near to marxism, socialism or even social democracy «à la europea», you’re completely wrong.

            In monetary policy, for instance, Obama is more hawkish than many, many economists. In fiscal policy he is far from what a real socialist would have done. The same for taxation.

            A good thing of America is that you can put a donkey as president that this donkey is always surrounded by very valid people who advice him of what the great majority of experts thinks is the best. Romney would have done very similar things, because these are the things that the VSP (very serious people) think that have to be done. Some difference on the details, but the same general framework.

            • TheAbaum

              “In monetary policy, for instance, Obama is more hawkish than many, many economists.”

              Obama doesn’t set monetary policy in the United States, and there’s no indication that he has any particular capacity to expound a coherent personal opinion on monetary policy.

              • Arriero

                - «Obama doesn’t set monetary policy in the United States»

                Oh, but HE APPOINTS people, important people, people that make decission, important decissions, among them the FED Chairman (or Chairwoman). And he has appointed the most hawkish people he could. People who fear the nonexistent-inflation more than anything. He even wanted to appoint as Fed chairman the ultra-hawkish secular-stagnationist Larry Summers.

                He, first of all, has no clue or interest on monetary policy; because as a good post-keynesian only cares about fiscal stimulus. Secondly, he has done everything in his hand to appoint hawkish members to the Board.

                But, hey, money matters.

                http://uneasymoney.com/2014/03/04/why-fed-inflation-phobia-mattered/

                • Art Deco

                  And he has appointed the most hawkish people he could.

                  I take it you’re not familiar with the spectrum of opinion on monetary policy in this country.

                  That aside, the Federal Reserve governors serve fixed terms. They cannot be dismissed at will. Usually, the Federal Reserve does not rebel against the President, however. Again, there is not one element of public policy that is not outside Obama’s skill set. In his vapidity, he has few equals.

                  • Arriero

                    - «[...] I take it you’re not familiar with the spectrum of opinion on monetary policy in this country.»

                    As TheAbaum likes to say: there are many things that I don’t know about.

                    But I’m very well aware with which is the spectrum of opinion in America about monetary policy. Obama is a hawk. That’s why he preferred Summers than Yellen, for instance.

                    • Art Deco

                      1. You misapprehend Obama.
                      2. Who got the job?

                    • Arriero

                      Obama has power, but he is not Almighty.

                      http://www.alternet.org/economy/economist-back-janet-jellen-federal-reserve

                      Obama thinks monetary policy is not important. He does not care.

                    • TheAbaum

                      “In monetary policy, for instance, Obama is more hawkish than many, many economists.”

                      “Obama is a hawk.”

                      “Obama thinks monetary policy is not important. He does not care.”

                      The surest sign of somebody trying to punch above their weight class is when they start punching themselves.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      The trouble is, near as I can tell, so are the Republicans. They have had political majorities several times since 1973- enough to pass massive tax reductions for their crony capitalists. Yet the genocide marches on.

      • Art Deco

        No, they did not, Theodore. The only time the Republican Party had concurrent control of the Congressional committee architecture and the Presidency was for five months during 2001 and for the period running from 2003 to 2007. Passing major legislation requires in the Senate a supermajority they never had. Over the period running from 1995 to 2007 they had a mean of 226 seats in the House of Representatives. A half-dozen New England squishes conjoined to a few others who were advocates of some petty constituency was enough during those years to derail just about any reform.

        The remains of the filibuster will have to be eliminated and a secure majority in both chambers had before anything much gets done.

        • tom

          Civil Disobedience, Conscientious Objection and our collective presence in the public square work, too.

          ( Notice how the Left went crazy over this year’s NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade!! It was as though they were splashed with holy water, burned.)

          We should be counseling our military that our wars are unjust, too. No young Catholic should attend our now-twisted military academies, either. Of course, Fordham’s a dangerous place for a young Catholic these days, too.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            So is West Point. Worse than a left-wing Catholic seminary in the 1970s.

            • tom

              Obama’s purge of christian soldiers is frightening, as are his disciplinary threats against chaplains. Barack is the Commander-in-Chief of the Orcs.

              • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                Worse than that, it’s a prelude. Troops are easier to manage under sexual immorality (as many a young farm boy found out during WWI in Gay Paris), so next they’ll start indoctrinating it in basic training.

                I don’t want my child anywhere near the homosexuals in the military.

                • tom

                  Catholics should be warned away from these rank ranks. It’s not granddad’s military anymore. The non-com rape of girls at Lackland AFB was particularly vicious with Obama’s non-coms running the show.

          • TheAbaum

            All war is “unjust”, but as I recall the war was brought to the U.S. not the other way around. You may not like the prosecution of it, the scope, magnitude or duration, but the first shot was fired with attempt on the WTC-in 1993, not 2001.

            Had Clinton stopped having “inappropriate” relations with “that woman, Monica Lewinski”, and quietly taken out Bin Laden (he admitted in public Bin Laden was offered on a silver platter but he couldn’t find a reason to remove the threat), their wouldn’t have been 3000 incinerated, crushed and fallen to their deaths and no need for a full scale action.

            It’s not “our war”, but if you insist on using that, realize you are a part of the Left that goes crazy all the time.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          And yet, somehow, they passed Reaganomics in the 1980s, passed major capital gains tax reductions in the early 1990s, passed major welfare reform in the mid 1990s, and more tax breaks in the first decade of the 21st century.

          Quite a bit got done despite the filibuster, just nothing on life.

          • Art Deco

            There was a brief period where a conjunction of Republicans and Dixiecrats had a functional majority in Congress (1981-83). They did not have control of the House committee structure and their functional majority was crucially dependent on the willingness of temporizers and liberal in the House Republican caucus being willing to stand down for a couple of years. Persuading members of Congress to toss bon bons at their constituents (in the form of tax cuts) is going to be a good deal less challenging than persuading them to strip the appellate courts of jurisdiction over given issues. This confluence of events will not likely recur because:

            1. There are no Dixiecrats left in the federal Congress.
            2. Marginal tax rates are a great deal lower than they were in 1980.

            As for the capital gains reductions, you did not have much popular agitation for that. However, it was the one domestic issue that George Bush the Elder was willing to go to the mat on and it was coincident with a general tax increase the Democratic caucus was insisting on.

            As for welfare reform, Bilge Clinton signed it for electoral advantage because his svengali Dick Morris was insistent on the question, he’d vetoed an earlier version, and it was an election year. It was his druthers to defer to the standing constituencies in the Democratic Party and veto the legislation until the Congress dropped the idea. Obama has not defied any standing constituency within the Democratic Party this side of Cindy Sheehan.

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              And thus, they were able to get all this done, all while ignoring the right to life.

              That’s why I say that economic prosperity in the United States is built on genocide.

              • Art Deco

                They did not ‘get all this done”. They tossed off some tax rate reductions, something done during the Kennedy Administration, the Johnson Administration, the Nixon Administration, and sought after by the Ford Administration. All four administrations faced Democratic Congresses. And Dick Morris was never going to persuade Bilge Clinton to sign a law stripping the federal appellate courts of jurisdiction over life legislation.

                There’s just very little you can accomplish with our federal legislature. Jimmy Carter’s tax reform plan was abandoned as hopeless after six months and his civil service reforms were by Congress transmogrified into a fellatio of the public employee unions.

          • TheAbaum

            “And yet, somehow, they passed Reaganomics in the 1980s”

            Thirty years ago.It might was well be ancient history.

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              Ok, then “and yet somehow, they went to Iraq in an unjust war”.

              • TheAbaum

                Your opinion and the authorizing resolution had “bi-partisan” support.

                • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                  Thus proving my point, that it does not matter which “lesser evil” you vote for, you’re still voting for evil.

              • Art Deco

                The war was not unjust. Opponents of the Iraq War are happy to lie about it.

                • tom

                  Of course it was morally unjust. John Paul said so too, you know. It simply did not comply with the Church’s teaching on war.

                  • Art Deco

                    John Paul had a number of policy recommendations about the first and second Gulf War. He did not proclaim them unjust.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber
                    • Art Deco

                      You given a link to a Vatican page which has links to a mess of statements which (far as I can tell) are all written in bland diplospeak. Even the statement issued by Joaquin Navarro-Valls on 18 March 2003 does not say ‘Iraq War is unjust’.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      From the second link:
                      “A Vatican envoy Wednesday carried the pope’s message to the White House that a U.S.-led war against Iraq without United Nations’ approval would be “unjust and illegal.”

                      The stern words from Cardinal Pio Laghi, who met for 40 minutes with Bush, underscored the rift between the president, who considers himself a deeply religious man, and a number of Christian leaders over Iraq.

                      Pope John Paul II has regularly preached against the war and asked Catholics worldwide to pray for peace and fast on Ash Wednesday.”

                      What part of unjust and illegal do you NOT understand?

                    • TheAbaum

                      “is illegal, it is unjust, it’s all you can say.”

                      The Nuncio could express an opinion, either on his own or at the direction of the Pope, that a military action is “unjust”.

                      However, not being a deliberative or adjudicative body of competent jurisdiction, he can’t declare something “illegal”.

                    • Art Deco

                      You provided a link to a page which has actual statements issued by Laghi and he does not say that over his own signature.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      In other words, you just want to ignore the truth. I’m done.

                    • TheAbaum

                      I’m done.

                      Finally.

                • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                  http://www.foxnews.com/story/2003/03/12/vatican-strongly-opposes-iraq-war/

                  Among them, Pope John Paul II. Who to me was a greater authority of Just and Not Just than just about any other human being at the time.

                  In fact, my reaction to Obama’s recent visit with Pope Francis was “I’ll bet he listens to the Pope as well as Bush did; that is, not at all”.

                  • Art Deco

                    There is not one quotation from the Pope in that article.

                    I do not want to fry your circuits Theodore, but ‘was not unjust’ is my personal assessment. ‘Happy to lie about it’ refers not to that but to the nonsense peddled by some people who comment here (one of whom portrayed Saddam Hussein as if he were an irascible old uncle).

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Ok, then let’s see how the invasion of Iraq stacks up against the Church’s definition of a Just War:

                      1. In self-defense, as long as there is a reasonable possibility of success. There certainly was a reasonable possibility of success, but I’d question the self-defense, as Saddam Hussein didn’t have a single weapon capable of reaching the United States.

                      2. Preventive war against a tyrant who is about to attack. Also possible, and maybe even President Bush agreed, but John Paul II and many other world leaders didn’t.

                      3. War to punish a guilty enemy. This is more what it really was- revenge for Saddam trying to take out W’s dear papa.

                      4. It is necessary that the response be commensurate to the evil; use of more violence than is strictly necessary would constitute an unjust war. I’d certainly call the several hundred thousand Iraqis killed- far beyond just Saddam and his family- non-proportional.

                      5. Governing authorities declare war, but their decision is not sufficient cause to begin a war. If the people oppose a war, then it is illegitimate. The people have a right to depose a government that is waging, or is about to wage, an unjust war. The Iraq invasion was exceedingly unpopular, especially since it allowed a worse despot, Osama Bin Laden, to escape justice for almost a decade.

                      6. Once war has begun, there remain moral limits to action. For example, one may not attack innocents or kill hostages. Abu Gharib ring any bells?

                      7. It is obligatory to take advantage of all options for dialogue and negotiations before undertaking a war; war is only legitimate as a last resort. This did not occur at all- even the weapons inspectors couldn’t find any weapons capable of attacking the United States, and even after it was all over, the closest we found was some East German manufactured mustard gas with an expiration date on the container of 1986.

                    • Art Deco

                      1. Decisions are made prospectively on incomplete information.
                      2. The United States is not the only stakeholder re Iraq.
                      3. The breakdown of order at the Abu Gharib prison was not a function of policy.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      1. Then we shouldn’t be making a decision involving the potential destruction of human life, if all we have is incomplete information.
                      2. Correct, but we were the only ones to preemptively invade. We broke it, we owned it.
                      3. Maybe, but it happened anyway, and thus, was a part of the lack of *moral limits to action*, a major requirement for just warfare.

                      Just warfare is hard, for a reason. The judgement is set and strict.

                    • Art Deco

                      1. You cannot make any decision without information deficits.

                      2. So what?

                      3. No, that’s not the reason.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      1. Exactly, so the decision to *invade* is always wrong without a clear invasion of *your own territory*.

                      2. So President Bush should have listened when Pope John Paul II sent envoys to Washington DC telling him NOT TO GO TO WAR.

                      3. If the commanders had actual control on the ground and a clear set of rules, Abu Gharib would not have happened.

        • TheAbaum

          Dagnabbit Art, I told you before, don’t let get facts get in the way of a rant.

      • TheAbaum

        What makes you think “massive tax reductions” are desired by “capitalist cronies” or that the Dems don’t have “capitalist cronies”?

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          I never said that the Dems didn’t have capitalist cronies- Obamacare is the result.

          But as to why businesses want tax breaks, doesn’t every business owner want to reduce costs and increase prices, thus maximizing profit? Reduced taxes means fewer costs.

          • TheAbaum

            Not necessarily, especially if the tax code punishes your competitors disproportionately or if your tax department is so particularly adept negotiating the maze that it is considered a “profit center”.

          • Art Deco

            Please read some of Michael Kinsley’s columns on the pending tax reform legislation in 1986. One of the things Kinsley remarked on from his reporting was the lack of interest on the part of certain business interests (e.g. oil companies) in marginal rate reductions. They wanted to retain their special deductions, exemptions, allowances and credits because it aided them in competition with generic businesses in raising capital.

      • The_Monk

        Your historical narrative is sadly lacking factual foundation. The Democrat party is the party of abortion and promoter of greed and envy. As for crony capitalism, there is no greater or more successful practitioner than his exalted majesty, President Obama….

  • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ Scott W.

    No sale because long ago the GOP became the party of Three Exceptions on abortion. As Evangelium Vitae puts it (my emphasis):

    A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases
    where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more
    restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place
    of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are
    not infrequent. It is a fact that while in some parts of the world there
    continue to be campaigns to introduce laws favouring abortion, often supported
    by powerful international organizations, in other nations-particularly those
    which have already experienced the bitter fruits of such permissive
    legislation-there are growing signs of a rethinking in this matter. In a case
    like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely
    abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition
    to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at
    limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences
    at the level of general opinion and public morality.

    There is nothing absolute about the GOP’s position on abortion, they think that deliberately killing an innocent in cases of rape and incest is acceptable. One might as well claim they are pro-Jewish but only in favor of gassing the bad Jews. Jeb Bush gives the game away because he is not “extremist in women’s issues”. Get that? The Catholic position is extremist. The sooner we accept that we are resident aliens in Babylon, the sooner we can realize that isn’t much we can do other than continue to proclaim the truth boldly and refuse to worship at the altar with all the funny levers on it.

    • tom

      Splitting doctrinal hairs doesn’t change the professor’s valid arguments. Non-participation in a democratic republic is, in my mind, a sin. A united 25% of the electorate could change America positively. Right now, Catholics are split in half, Manichaean style.

      • Art Deco

        That 25% can be broken down as follows:

        70% who hold to an inconsequential nominal designation.
        20% who attend Mass
        10% who attend Mass and make at least an annual confession.

        The people who are going to be motivated by life issues and other concerns of Catholic Social Teaching are to be found in that last group, which constitutes about 2.5% of the voting population in this country.

        • tom

          Yet, half the Democratic pols in our ethnic states (NY, IL, OH, NJ, PA are “Catholics”. Their kids attend Catholic schools, the pol’s an usher at the local parish where he received Holy Communion and then they exploit this presence to shag our votes. We need to toss them and their kin out through the vestibule and on to the curb. I suppose Bavarian Catholics had a similar problem with “Catholic” Nazis.

          • Art Deco

            I grew up in a diocese where the chancery fancied that about 25% of the total population had been baptized Catholic. In the main metropolitan centers when I was in junior high school, about 11% of the students enrolled in school attended Catholic schools run by the diocese or the religious orders. In the outlying areas, it was lower. That was about 35 years ago, when the economy of Catholic schooling had yet to implode and the tuition remained modest because the ample cohorts of religious recruited prior to 1965 were still working aged.

            • Art Deco

              All of which is to say that in most locales, the greater part of ‘Catholic’ youngsters attended public schools back in the day. Now, that tendency is more pronounced because of the poor economy of the Catholic schools and the hollow character of much Catholic profession among the laity.

              • tom

                Each precinct is different. some are 60% “Catholic and 75% Dem.
                This is where those using and exploiting our Faith to move themselves up the ranks of the local Democratic Machine need to be tossed out on their ears. It’s insane to educate them with nuns in primary schools, priests in high school and then off to Notre Dame or Fordham before they run on a pro-abortion plank! If it doesn’t help the neighborhood one whit, it’ll give the folks who have adhered to their Faith something we’ve all lost…HOPE.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        We haven’t lived in a Democratic Republic since 1973. A Democratic Republic doesn’t commit genocide.

        • tom

          We do have 6 “Catholics” on the Supreme Court. We’re just miserably uncoordinated. We’ve been wandering around in our own desert for over 40 years now. The Promised Land is still out there. Catholics just don’t play well together the way other religious groups do. Yes, we can!

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I’m convinced it won’t matter. If the Supreme Court tries to end this genocide, they’ll just be euthanized.

            • tom

              Just stop dealing with Democrats. I have.

              • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                The Republicans are equally bad- removing WIC to starve out the poor.

                • tom

                  The father of the child needs to do what fathers have done for millennia…support his unborn child and the mother. There is a moral place for ‘benign neglect” to retain civilization, itself.

                  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                    Good luck with that one after teaching for 40 years that men are worthless and not needed to raise a child.

                    • tom

                      The toothpaste CAN be put back into the tube. it’s coming because the USA is financially bankrupt, too. Easy riders will become rarer as public monies dry up.

                • Art Deco

                  You’ve lost track of the distinction between your imagination and the here-and-now.

                  http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/women-infants-and-children-wic

                  Not only does WIC abide, but federal grocery subsidies are of unprecedented significance. The poor in this country have many problems, but a deficit of nutrition is not one of them (as you can tell from a trip down a slum thoroughfare).

                  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                    Over and over though, in the proposed budgets from the house, WIC has been on the table.

                    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/05/24/173968/house-gop-wic-cuts/

                    BTW, in THIS country, where fat and carbs are cheap and anything green is expensive, obesity is a sign of malnutrition.

                    • Art Deco

                      You’re using the sorosphere as an authoritative source? That aside…

                      obesity is a sign of malnutrition.

                      That has to be the most insane thing you’ve said here yet.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Maybe because I’m writing using the root words, and you’re using the culturally accepted version. Malnutrition doesn’t necessarily mean just a lack of calories. Take a look at the root prefix, Mal, which just means wrong. One can get scurvy eating only McDonald’s hamburgers, and diabetes on cheap soda pop. One won’t be skinny, but one will most certainly be malnourished- wrongly fed.

                    • Art Deco

                      Maybe because I’m writing using the root words,

                      1. If you wish to communicate with people, you do not make use of idiosyncratic usages.

                      2. If people wish to gorge themselves on chips and beef jerky, it is not the responsibility of the rest of society to subsidize them while they do that.

                      Honestly, grocery purchases now account for about 6% of personal income (when I was a youngster, it was 16%; when my grandparents were reaching working age, it was 40%). The notion that we have to have particular means-tested subsidies for grocery purchases is cock-eyed, and here you’re whinging about the Republican negotiators suggesting that current spending levels on same are de trop. This is Catholic Social Teaching????

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Mal meaning wrong is an idiosyncratic usage? Maybe to the illiterate.

                      Grocery purchases are at 15% of my income and rising.

                • TheAbaum

                  WIC is just another of those mechanisms that tell young woman you don’t need a father.

                  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                    It’s an admission that 40 years of feminism have so destroyed fatherhood, that few young men *want* to be fathers.

                    Life is still a more important value.

                    • TheAbaum

                      If you must answer, answer with something relevant and coherent.

                      Feminism has nothing to do with teen age girls getting pregnant on purpose-or their paramours cutting and running and I’ve read thousands MA maternity care cases that provided clinical counseling notes. “I want somebody to love me” is hardly a feminist anthem.

                      Life is important enough that it be reserved to the mature and competent, not girls playing house.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      If you think feminism has nothing to do with men no longer being involved with the family, then yes, I have nothing relevant to your fantasy world.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Stop writing about things you don’t understand.

                      Fifteen year old inner city girls care a lot more about Beyonce than Gloria Steinem. They know they can get pregnant without shame and with the government ready to give money, You approve of this with your phony compassion.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      BTW, you may be on the Autistic Spectrum if you can’t stand not having the last word.

                      Beyonce Knowles is a product of the feminista culture that sees sexuality as power.

                    • TheAbaum

                      BTW, you may be on the Autistic Spectrum if you can’t stand not having the last word.

                      No, I’m OCD and I can’t stand leaving things messy and you keep messing things up.

                      Don’t project.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      OCD is a symptom of autism in the DSM-IV. I haven’t had time to find out if it made it through the redefinition of autism in the DSM-V, but I’d suspect it did.

                    • TheAbaum

                      It may be, but not everybody with OCD is autistic, and I am not.

                      Stop messing up the place with your unlicensed practice of medicine (and theology and economics….)

                      By the way, there’s a difference between wanting to get the last word, and not allowing you that disordered satisfaction.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Bullshit. You just need to get the last word. And as proof, you’ll reply to this.

                    • Crisiseditor

                      Glad to see that both of you have decided to end your disagreement civilly and on good terms.

                    • TheAbaum

                      IS “Bullshit” now considered civil? Wow, the state of affairs is worse than I thought.

                    • Crisiseditor

                      My message was directed at both of you. Let’s turn down the heat a little.

                    • TheAbaum

                      I’m not the one resorting to profanity.

    • RufusChoate

      Last time I checked the Republican Party wasn’t a Catholic institution. I have never support those “limits” and don’t like them but prudence dictates that the culture and the electorate would never support a Candidate who was adamantly aligned with the truth of the Faith in his platform. Unfortunately both Clinton (both) and Obama are rabidly pro-Abortion without distinction and they won a plurality of Catholics in every race.

  • tom

    The GOP is our last, best chance at the ballot box. Yet, it’s the 80,000,000 Catholics working together to help one another that’ll do more than either political party. Mitt Romney, a bishop, talks of getting a group together to form a corporation. They’re all fellow Mormons. They all became richer. Catholics couldn’t do that if their very souls depended on it. We can work together on a pancake breakfast…if we’re lucky! Are we too dumb, jealous or mentally ill to help one another?

    • TheAbaum

      We have to many people who are abysmally ignorant of economics. Look at these comboxes (where you get screeds that should be written in crayon, or the PHO’s who peddle the nebulous fantasy of distributionism). For that matter look at the vainglorious releases from Bishops-especially the one’s whose diocese are in Chapter 11.

      • tom

        You’re right. Those bishops are likely registered “Democrat”, too. it’s worth looking them up at election headquarters and then questioning them about it.

        • TheAbaum

          I don’t know how they are registered, but there’s some that need to be paying closer attention to the number of butts-in-pews and the finances of their diocese, than to opining on the federal budget.

          Poster child for this: Stephen Blaire.

          • tom

            After what our Church has gone through, it’s worth boycotting everything Disney, too, until they stop their assault on the Boy Scouts for not welcoming pedophile leaders into the kids’ tents.
            Supporting the local troops has never been more important.

            • tom

              I don’t want to think whom Disney’s hired to be Goofy at their amusement parks these days. Walt would have conniptions.

              • TheAbaum

                The seeds of Disney’s corruption are very, very old. Long before this dispute, long before the “Powder” controversy, there was this:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2DkiceqmzU

                • RufusChoate

                  Ahh the 60’s, the wondrous age of evil idiocy. I note that the people being shown are brown and black. How quixotic is that? Not much.

                  The green revolution was right around the corner but the propaganda never changes.

                  The banality of evil is still bland.

                  • TheAbaum

                    Green is just recycled red. Family planning was always about minimizing those swarthy types, you know.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    I gave up on the American government when the party providing welfare decided to start killing off the welfare recipients and the party that was supposed to end abortion decided that tax breaks for the rich was more important.

    I’ll vote Constitution instead, but I have NO hope left. None at all. Near as I can tell, America is dedicated to satanic destruction of life, and our profits and prosperity are based on a holocaust.

    • tom

      A little “Catholic Action” would go a long way. Stop associating with Democrats at the parish level. May as well have a stein of bier mit Adolf the Nazi, true?

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        If I did that, at my parish, I’d be sitting in a corner alone.

        • TheAbaum

          So what? You aren’t there for the respect and good cheer of your fellow parishioners.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            If I’m not there to try to help save their souls, and let them try to help me save mine, of what use is religion?

            • tom

              Not associating with “Evil” minimizes its strength, so you are saving souls.

        • tom

          At least you’d be in good company.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    While I agree that no serious Catholic can vote for a Democrat, it does not thereby follow that the Republican candidate is “lesser enough” of an evil to justify voting for him or her. Here in Ohio, the Republican Party is even less respectable, in my opinion, than the Democrats. The latter are openly perversely liberal in their views. They are shamelessly honest in what they promote. The former are fundamentally, irredeemably deceitful. (Rob Portman is the most glaring example. He is a master at manipulating the Christian vote. But he is hardly alone.) Although I anticipate voting in the 2016 national elections, I cannot foresee voting for a single Ohio Republican for statewide or national office in the 2014 mid-term elections.

    • Guest

      I think I read in a com-box that Republicans are not our friends , but Democrats are our enemies. True enough.

    • Art Deco

      I would be cautious about slamming Republican pols in general. Portman, however, did reveal himself as one of the world’s hollow men. You could call him a deceitful politician, but his short-comings are more profound than that. No serious person allows his dependent adolescent son to jerk him around that way. (My remarks apply to Mrs. Portman as well).

    • tom

      Good for you…that’ll help the Dems like Pelosi and Sebelius, Sacred Heart girls and baby killers.

    • MSant

      I very much agree with you about the republican party in Ohio. In my district the Republican establishment is actually trying to get rid of conservative and staunchly pro-life (Republican) incumbents by funding cronies to run against them in the primaries. The primary elections are more important than anyone realizes.

      • tom

        You bet. That’s the drawback to being “Independent” in a two party nation.
        When you lose the preliminary bouts you can never fight for the championship.

    • djc

      This Ohioan has sadly came to the same conclusions.

    • TheAbaum

      His 180 on SSM based upon the discovery of his son’s homosexuality was pure political machination parading as some sort of situational epiphany.

      Boehner is a disaster and Kasich’s acceptance of MC expansion is the worst type of eating the seat corn political finance that put us $17T (officially) in debt.

      • Art Deco

        I will wager there was little political calculation in it, and that the Portmans are people motivated by convention and commodious living. There just is not much there there.

        As for Will Portman, read here.

        http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2013/03/25/portman-coming-out/

        For all this youth’s exhibitionism, it is weirdly unrevealing.

  • Michael Chavez

    I cannot ever vote vote for a Democrat. They have turned their collective back on Catholics in a big way.

    • tom

      We shouldn’t associate with registered Democrats. They stand for the opposite of the Gospels, always.

  • thomistica

    “Some, to be sure, are genuinely eager to hold onto a fusionist vision
    that combines a small government agenda with a robust commitment to
    virtue, community and family”

    Beware the fusionists. I believe in subsidiarity and a virtue ethic but strongly suspect many who bear the fusionist label are really libertarians first, virtue ethics only secondarily. Fusionism as I read it is (was?) a philosophically incoherent way to create a big tent for the GOP.

    Bozell, Sr., long ago wrote an essay on all this.

  • hombre111

    Yes, indeed, the Republicans have used religious conservatives, especially pro-life groups for their own purposes. It began with Reagan, who talked pro-life and mostly did nothing. He was followed by a whole generation of politicians who knew the outraged pro-life groups could be counted on to vote in reactionaries whose real cause was the dismantling of government. This finally led to the Tea Party and a Republican right wing without a mind, but even more woefully, without a heart.

    • tom

      Reagan stopped public funding for abortions. Not bad at all.

      • hombre111

        With the power he had, he could have done much more. And right now, the conservative majority at the Supreme Court finds artful ways to avoid a collision with Roe vs. Wade.

        • Art Deco

          There is no ‘conservative majority’ on the Supreme Court.

        • TheAbaum

          “With the power he had,”

          You confuse the actual, lawful and limited powers of the presidency with the arrogated, unlawful and unlimited powers being exercised by the current occupant.

    • TheAbaum

      “It began with Reagan, who talked pro-life and mostly did nothing.”

      Exactly what did you want him to do?

      As opposed to Clinton (who made abortion, safe, legal and rare, hah hah) or Obama whose dedication to abortion knows no limits.

      As for being without a mind, you’d be an expert on that, and as for using “religious conservatives”, you’ve been supported by them your whole life-and that’s what really gets your panties in a wad. The left doesn’t drop the paper in the collection like conservatives.

  • John

    As in the UK, the so called “conservatives” are little different from the crazed left wingers and liberals. The Republican Party is slightly saner than the Democrats but not much more and I for one am sick of voting for the lesser evil and getting it anyway. Don’t vote for any of these parties! As I said in my last post, we are WAY beyond the point where politicians can help us.

    • tom

      Half of life is showing up. when the Church held sway, we had the Eucharistic Congress, parades on May Day, even a few thousand marchers when a new bridge opened. The RCC frowns on such displays, now, as it leaves the public square to EVIL.

  • Pingback: Pontifical Laetare Sun. in Rome w/Bp. Matteo Zuppi - BigPulpit.com

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Noah Millman’s article touches on a rather interesting point, namely the success of the AIPAC (a tiny minority) in ensuring that both Republicans and Democrats share a broadly pro-Zionist stance.

    This is in stark contrast to Europe. In France, the parties of the Hard Left, such as the Trotskyite Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle) and LCR (the Revolutionary Communist League) and the Maoist Gauche prolétarienne (Proletarian Left) – the equivalent of the Democrats – are almost fanatically Pro-Palestinian, and the parties of the Nationalist Right, Front National (National Front) and the Mouvement pour la France (MPF) – the equivalent of the Republicans – are decided cool towards Israel, whom they regard as intransigent. This despite the fact that France has the largest Jewish population in Europe and the third largest Jewish population in the world (after Israel and the US)

    This is a pattern that repeats itself throughout Europe, where a pro-Palestinian stance is everywhere a hallmark of the Far Left.

    What is the AIPAC doing right?

    [The main French parties, or rather, coalitions, Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) and Parti Socialiste (PS) have no American equivalent, being mere pragmatic coalitions of quite disparate interests, with no ideology worth speaking of, so I leave them out of account]

    • Arriero

      In Europe (I’m thinking in Spain, Italy and France) if you have four parties:

      1) Far right (Extreme populist right). 2) Right (Christian democracy). 3) Left (social-democracy). 4) Far left (socialists).

      The natural pacts were: 1) & 3) and 2) & 4).*

      In the 80’s, for geopolitical reasons, the pacts changed: 1) & 2) and 3) & 4)

      For the health of the world, we should return to the first pacts.

      * It is well known that Le Front Nationale was a creation of the Left to steal votes to the right. Le FN, besides, is stolen far more votes from the left than from the right. It is called “the new party of the workers” (http://www.abc.es/internacional/20140212/abci-frente-nacional-francia-201402121331.html ). Before Merkel destroyed the once admirable CDU party, many things were shared between the CDU and Die Linke. It is also well known the presence of Catholicism and Catholic intellectuals within the Italian left and even within the communist party. In Spain, Franco, a staunch Catholic, was a socialist from an economic point of view.

      • RufusChoate

        What?

  • Art Deco

    No, MPS, AIPAC does not accomplish that all by its lonesome. Some of the pathologies of British and French and Norwegian politics do not manifest themselves here. There is very little constituency for the Arab cause in this country because that cause is grotesque. AIPAC lobbying may account for the generosity of overseas development assistance for Israel, but that has been declining in contextual significance for a generation (and, by the way, Egypt gets a nice cheque each year as well, in spite of their odious political culture). You may have an excuse for being unawares of any of this, but Noah Millman certainly does not. (He has to earn is commissions at The American Conservative I suppose, and Scott McConnell insists on this bilge).

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      It is easy enough to see why, in Robert Redeker’s words, “Palestinians and the contemporary Muslim masses replace the proletariat in the [Left wing] intellectuals’ imagination” as the pure, ideal alternative to Western capitalism. It springs from an ideological need to fill the post-Soviet vacuum. The capitalist is now represented by the demonized figure of “Jews-Israelis-Zionists” and the proletariat by the “dominated and the oppressed,“ symbolized by the Palestinians.

      That the Democrats have not embraced it is, I suppose, an example of American exceptionalism.

    • tom

      Anti-semitism is blossoming on our college campuses. A Vassar professor had the nerve to plan a trip to Israel and was subject to scorn and contempt. The attacks seem to be led by Trotskyite Jewish students, of no religious faith. Meanwhile, Muslim students prevent pro-Jewish spokesman from speaking at Columbia.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        No doubt but anti-Zionism does not appear to have been embraced by Republicans or Democrats. This is what I find odd as Trotskyites are the Democratic party’s natural constituency and I dare say every other Trotskyite party in the world is anti-Zionist

  • ColdStanding

    A politician is a technician. His technique consists in the inflammation of the passions. The method of inflaming the passions is to entice the individual to take the bait. Once the appetite tasted and ingested the politician’s “fruit”, the body will adjust to the distortion in the soul in anticipation of more of the same enticement. It is the Faustian bargain the politician makes to attain power. A politician serves Mammon.

    Now, politicians, as a class, are all the sons of revolutionaries. Individual examples may tend more strongly towards virtue and others are notable for their success in applying their techniques, but there is no going along without getting along. If the path to power is to inflame the passions of the populace, the end result is the death of the civilization. There is no civilization (culture) of death. There is either civilization or death.

    The Catholic response to politics isn’t political. It is liturgical. The priests of the sacrificial priesthood are the master craftsmen, and a shepherd is a type of craftsman, whose work is to calm the passions and direct the faithful towards God through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. This is done through liturgy. Liturgy is a public work in the service of the state. All the baptized faithful are to practice the liturgical craft under the headship of our master craftsman, Jesus Christ. No, I am not a Freemason!

    But the state, for Catholics, is not the national government. It is the Kingdom of God. Worship of God is the public work of the Church. The protestants of old understood, even if they mistook it for Rome, that Catholics are in the service of a foreign power.

    Therefore, if you are, rightly, disgusted with politics, there exists a viable alternative. No, not politics transposed to liturgy, aka liturgical politics, but the life of the Church itself, aka liturgy (which is far more than the liturgical rite, even if the rite is central to that life).

    Enough with the complaining that Catholics are inept at politics. The fault lays not with the Catholic faith, per se, but with Catholics attempting to have a foot in both realms. That makes one lukewarm. He is beginning to vomit us out.

    • tom

      In contrast, I say move the Church more into the public square, by the millions weekly and daily. It is there where Christ labored and where Catholics belong. We’ve surrendered the public square to EVIL without even a final parade with a fife and drum corps leading the way. Encasing ourselves in the 4 walls of a church building is more coffin-like than Life-like.

      • ColdStanding

        You are seeking battle but you have not put on the armor of God. Risky business.

        Oh, I am not saying that we hide our light under a bushel basket. Quite the contrary. The liturgical life is a thorough going enterprise from the quite of our room where we shut the door in prayer to the public profession, procession, and witness to the faith.

        The problem isn’t per se, Evil. Satan is the enemy of the faithful, but we must realize that many quite happily place themselves under his dominion. Granting the case is made that most do so out of ignorance. The problem is the inflamed passions of man. Satan would have nothing to work upon if man became rightly ordered again.

        However, with regards to this world, the while the goal is the salvation of all mankind, this is God’s will, not even most will be saved. There will be no building of the City of God in this world by the hands of men. We must build up and inhabit what structures we can, realizing that these structures are dependent upon the degree to which we humbly submit ourselves to God’s providence and mercy. Basically, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

        This will look limited, but what we present to the world, namely, eternal life, is of infinite value.

    • RufusChoate

      Ah no and the next time attempt brevity. Most of your post is inane filler stating the same point over again.

      • ColdStanding

        Thanks for reading. That was the brief response. I am sorry you found it inane. I promise you it won’t be any better next time. The answer is not going to change. Kudos if what you are doing is working for you, what ever it is.

  • Mack

    As someone said several years ago, Democrats work hard to win elections, while Republicans work hard to be approved of by Democrats. The painful experience of watching Republicans attempting to dance to hip-hop at the quadrennial convention demonstrates the point.
    Democrats are malevolent; Republicans are irrelevant.

  • RufusChoate

    The problem is tactical not strategic. The Republican Party isn’t perfect any more than any other political or public institution but if you consider the profoundly antithetical stance of the Left in both Parties and their supporters in the Culture to the Catholic Church and the immense advantage to them by the donations of the Cultural Left and Unions, they are the only prudential choice. If you don’t like the operation of the Party and if you are able to do it, you should become in the Party to alter policies but as I said before the time is long past to be pusillanimous about political engagement.
    The Barbarians is inside the gates and we should not be wasting time picking a pretty flag to die under.

    • ColdStanding

      What you suggest is suicide of the soul. Hey, now I don’t feel so bad. At least my posting was only inane.

  • halivie

    While the Dr. of Philosophy seems to make a practical application of the point for ‘have, at least some, even if not listened to voice, at the dog and pony show or none at all, and ends her piece with the conclusion that those who ‘bunker-down’ culturally, amongst themselves, eventually ‘tend’ to be annihilated.What; like the Essenes? Like the Catholics of the first, second and third century? Like the Mennonites? I would like to share our Truths in practice, with one or the other party, and admit Republicans have been superior to Democrats, but neither will do and putting our eggs in a Republican basket will just as assuredly ‘tend to get them annihilated’. The time has come, I contend, that we no longer identify ourselves as Republican or Democrat, Californian or Rio De Janeiroians.. but solely as Catholics; 1.25 billion of us, and that our efforts on unification with a voting segment be spent working on adding the Eastern Rites, and the various Protestants of the world to our ranks; adding another 1.25 billion to our ranks. If we still loose, after building a viable ‘world-party’ then better to leave history another example of Masada or an Essene cave than the republican version of our Faith in Practice.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      I wonder if I resemble that remark because I was raised in an area of the country with a lot of mennonites.

      • halivie

        Theo, I point out that Mennonites HAVE survised all nicely ‘bunker-downed’.

  • LgVt

    Dr. Lu touched on it briefly, but it is very important to understand that much of the dilemma(/remaining hope) is due to the nature of the US’ two-party system.

    Essentially, each party’s positions on various issues can be divided into two tiers: The core issues that define the party, and the “expansion” issues that they don’t have strong feelings about, but feel free to adopt in order to reel in extra voters, because the other party has taken the opposite stance. Issues in this latter tier are the ones which party “moderates” can and do discard for the sake of appealing to members of the other party in elections.

    The problem for us is that pretty much every issue we’re concerned with here, from abortion to gay marriage, is a core issue for Democrats (in opposition to the Catholic position) and an expansion issue for Republicans. If GOP leadership thought they could, by abandoning their stance on any of these issues, peel away more Democratic voters than they would lose from our camp, they would do so in a heartbeat (and in point of fact, I will go out on a limb here and predict that the 2016 Republican platform will do just that with regards to gay marriage).

    The GOP is the tool we have to work with in the political arena, because the Democrats are wholly unacceptable and no other party has a realistic chance of being effective at this point in time. But make no mistake: The Republicans are not our allies. They are using us (just as surely as we’re using them) and they will stab us in the back if and when it becomes advantageous for them to do so.

  • Ellen Kolb

    This is a discussion worth having, not least because it unsettles the legacy Republicans who want to continue taking pro-lifers for granted. I worked on staff for my state’s GOP for the 2012 election, giving up my independent status to do so. I believed then that the most effective pro-life political work I could do at the time was to unseat the incumbent President. The most frustrating aspect of the job was the relentless emphasis on jobsandtheeconomy (all one word, in that campaign). All my colleagues knew I was pro-life. In my field work statewide, I met one social conservative after another demanding to know why the party was “backing off.” They felt slighted, despite my best efforts – and too many of them stayed home.

    My post-campaign work has been with a public policy group in my state, working on legislation. Some of the Republicans I helped elect on the state level have been disastrous, like the Senate Majority Leader who is co-sponsoring a “buffer zone” bill. Every pro-life political activist has seen outcomes like this.

    I think the Democratic party in my state has the right idea. Among voters in the state, Dem registrations account for only a little more than a quarter, with independent registrations outnumbering those of both major parties. Do the Dems care? No. They don’t mind not having your registration, as long as their candidates get your vote. Vote the candidate, not the party – and that tactic has served the Democrats well in recent years in my state.

    I continue to support many Republican candidates, but the party isn’t getting any of my money. Stay fully engaged in elections, but keep a hand on your wallet: that’s what I recommend to every disenchanted pro-lifer. Staying home doesn’t help.

  • Isaac S.

    I question the entire idea of “political engagement” to begin with. Up until 250 or so years ago, “political engagement” meant doing what the king told you to, and somehow people managed to lead saintly lives before 1776. While some Catholics may be called to engage in the political process to help move our government in the right direction, the vast majority of Catholics are best served by just living their lives in as holy of a way as possible. Being a strong enough witness to get one’s spouse, children, and a few of one’s friends and extended family to heaven is challenging enough without getting engaged in our country’s perpetual “culture wars.”

    • Art Deco

      Electoral institutions have been present in this country since 1619. Municipal communes, guilds, and small merchant republics were governed by electoral institutions during the high middle ages. The British parliament was founded in 1265 and other medieval kingdoms had analogous institutions.

      • Isaac S.

        And your point is? In the early days of British parliament you didn’t have any voice unless you were part of the aristocracy; that didn’t really change until 300 years or so ago. My point is that for the vast majority of human history, the majority of people were simple peasants that had no political involvement whatsoever. There have always been those called to greater involvement in political affairs but such involvement has never been a requirement of the Catholic faith. Too many people in this country look to Caesar for salvation. I used to be very active in the Republican party and have seen first hand how many of the party “bigwigs,” even at the local and state level, have contempt for believing Catholics and Evangelicals and shamelessly manipulate their messaging to capture the Christian vote only to completely ignore their concerns once they are voted into power. Certainly indifference and pandering is better than the outright hostility that the Democrats have, but it shows that we shouldn’t put too much stock in politics.

  • Jdonnell

    The POV expressed in this article promotes a most unchristian move–Catholic support for the Republican party. The growing US wealth disparity–class warfare successfully being waged by wealthy against the rest of the country–derives from Republican policies. Period.

  • Louis

    Mrs. Lu while your views are interesting the Republicans accelerated the decline of this country with free trade. Like the British did when they dumped opium in China, Latin Americans and especially the Mexicans have dumped drugs in the U.S. to try and kill American children and force our markets open. As a parent you must see the danger in this. By passing NAFTA and leaving the border open Republicans simply sped up this process. Now they want to pretend it is not a problem by legalizing drugs. This is pure evil. I feel not the slightest guilt in saying no to amnesty and no to both parties in November. The only reason I voted after 2000 was because of the Supreme Court vacancies. There won’t be anymore anytime soon and Roberts is a dud anyway. Picking fights with Russia was stupid as well. We will not have any future if we are not united with Russia soon. How do you defend Republicans on any of this?

    • Art Deco

      Louis, street drugs are contraband and are not incorporated into trade agreements. There is no connection between the issue of the status street drugs should have in state penal codes on the one hand and tariffs and administrative controls on international trade on the other. Free trade has been the preferred policy of both political parties since the end of the 2d World War. NAFTA was negotiated by the Bush Administration, endorsed by Bill Clinton, and ratified in 1993 with the votes of more than 130 Democratic members of Congress.

MENU