Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why Does Kmiec Criticize McCain for Positions on Which He Gave Romney a Pass?

Donald McClarey, commenting in the previous post, makes a compelling case that former Romney advisor Professor Doug Kmiec's embrace of Obama and rejection of McCain has more to do with personal animosity toward McCain than it does with any sort of policy disagreement.

The evidence? On the policy issues for which Kmiec criticizes McCain, Romney's positions were either identical or even MORE at odds with the Church than McCain's:
"The Romney lawyers group is chaired by Douglas Kmiec, the Pepperdine University law professor who was head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel for the last years of the Reagan administration. Kmiec had already assembled a extraordinary roster of conservative legal talent (listed on the same campaign press release), and the Thompson reinforcements now put Romney atop something of an army of prominent Republican attorneys."

As the news story above indicates Kmiec was a firm supporter of Romney. In every area that Kmiec goes after McCain, Romney had an identical policy except in the area of immigration where Romney had a much tougher policy on immigration than McCain, as this story from last year indicates:

" COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The crowd at South Carolina's Republican convention cheered yesterday when former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney criticized a new immigration proposal and booed a key ally of US Senator John McCain when he defended it.

Globe front page "

As a supporter of Romney until he dropped out, I quite understand the frustration of Kmiec. However his now chastisting McCain for policy stances that Romney also embraced, strikes me as merely him doing his best to damage the McCain campaign and benefit Obama. To do this for a candidate who is a complete pro-abort appears to me to be a betrayal of the pro-life cause that Kmiec has championed.
(emphasis added)

What say you Professor Kmiec? Why the inconsistency? Why criticize McCain for his immigration stance - a position that is very close to the USCCB's own position and one that he has staked out at great political risk, when your man Romney's immigration position was the sort of harsh position of which the U.S. Bishops have been so critical?

And why does McCain's position on Iraq make him unpalatable, when your man Romney had the exact same position?

And what about torture/waterboarding? McCain, again at great political risk to himself, staked out a position on the issue in line with Church teaching while your man Romney was busy trying to out-Jack-Bauer the other GOP candidates. How in the world, then, was Romney supposedly acceptable to "Catholic Reaganites" but McCain is not?

Professor Kmiec, if you want to be taken seriously on this matter of Obama being a "Catholic natural" while McCain is not, then you're going to have to address these inconsistencies between your previous support for Romney and your criticisms of McCain. If you can't or won't address the matter, then I'm afraid Mr. McClarey is right that your "Catholic Reaganites for Obama" movement looks like nothing more than just sour grapes against McCain.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Deal Hudson on "Douglas Kmiec and the Lure of Obama"

Douglas W. Kmiec on "The Moral Duty to Inquire"

Professor Bainbridge: "Will Catholic Reaganites Go for Obama?"

Deal Hudson: "Preacher Man: Barack Obama and the the Gospel of Liberalism"

"Sorry, Doug Kmiec, But This Catholic Isn't Buying Obama"

Ramesh Ponnuru on Douglas Kmiec and "Catholic Reaganites for Obama" [UPDATED]

Romney Advisor Says Obama "a Natural for the Catholic Vote"

Obama "Post-Partisan"? Ask John Roberts

Obama and the "Pragmatic Center"

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At 2/21/2008 11:17 AM, Blogger James H said...

I totally agree with that on immigration. In fact it is so apparent the problem I wonder why he even brings it up

At 2/21/2008 2:07 PM, Blogger Tito said...

Mr. Kmiec got caught plain and simple. His animosity towards McCain is quite clear.

At 2/25/2008 2:13 PM, Anonymous Boethius said...


I'm admittedly late the Kmiec controversy and not fully versed in it, but please don't give McCain credit for being more Catholic with his positions on immigration and torture.

McCain's immigration position may be more similar to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's, but that doesn't mean it's more similar to the Catholic position. Though the bishops have their own pet issues, they do not speak for the Catholic Church on the issue and there is little that the Church says on immigration except that the dignity of immigrants must be respected. The Church has never tried to usurp a sovereign nation's ability to prevent illegal immigration.

Regarding torture, it is of course true that the Catholic Church opposes torture as a violation of human dignity. McCain's stance in condemning the so-called torture policy of the Bush Administration was nothing more than political grandstanding to gain further accolades from the New York Times and the rest of the main stream media by opposing the President on the issue. A principled debate would have considered what techniques actually constitute torture, an issue which the Catholic Church has little to say.

At 2/25/2008 2:42 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...


Without agreeing or disagreeing with what you say, I guess I'm posing my argument on Kmiec's terms.

If Kmiec views those positions as the "Catholic" view regarding those matters, why is he criticizing McCain for positions that are closer to the "Catholic" view than were Romney's?


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