Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Catholic Teaching and Political Risk Taking: When Credit Isn't Given Where Credit is Due [UPDATED]

The Opinionated Catholic had this excellent insight in a comment at another blog:

... Let us say that McCain put up a judge that said he would overturn Roe v Wade. I mean he was quite explicit on it. Would Catholics and others pro-lifers go to the mat and do the hard political work to overcome a Filibuster? I have my doubts.
My eyes were really opened during the immigration debate how people that take a stand on something controversial are not rewarded nor get much real political help to make it happen.

I would note that Senator Brownback that ran for the nomination had a much more restrictive view [regarding] the Death Penalty and when it should be used. He was met by Catholics of all political stripes with a big yawn.

On the State level there has been progress in this debate. However where are the activists!!! Will Catholics reward Republicans that dare go outside the box? I am not so sure. The great political risk and capital that John McCain, President Bush, John Kyl, Borwnback, and Senator Lindsey Graham among others spent on the immigration debate is not rewarded. Why should Republicans that oppose the Death Penatly be any different. I mean in the irony of ironies Obama will be proclaimed by many Catholics as the true voice in solving the complicated issue of illegal immigration. Even though it was [due] in large part to his poison pill amendment in the Senate that the whole thing died and thus we could not get over to the House...
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Excellent points! Obama talks a good game about being "post-partisan" and "reaching out" to the "pragmatic center" and acting at being all religious and stuff. But what ACTUAL political risks has he taken to show that he is anything different than your typical left-liberal pro-abortion secularist? In what way has Obama - who was 1 of only 20 of the more extreme-left Senators who wouldn't even vote for John Roberts for Chief Justice (and I'll assure that his vote had nothing to do with so-called concerns over a "unitary executive" and everything to do with Roe v. Wade) - proven himself to be a "different" kind of Democrat that Catholics can work with to create a culture of life?

Can someone answer that? Can someone show me where Obama has bucked Democrat Party orthodoxy to take a position that is closer to that of the Church? For example, can someone point to a single instance of political risk taking on the part of Obama that is even close to the sort of risks taken by (1) Bush, McCain, and Brownback on the issue of immigration reform; (2) McCain in bucking his party on torture/water-boarding while at the same time trying to win the GOP nomination; (3) Brownback in opposing most instances of capital punishment (he favors it for acts of terrorism)?

I don't think anyone will be able to come up with anything. But they'll continue to give Obama credit for doing absolutely nothing, while giving no credit to those on the right who have taken actual political risks, instead criticizing them for not doing enough.

As if almost on cue, Feddie links to this piece by Professor Douglas Kmiec that does exactly what I describe in that last paragraph above.

Here's an example of the dissembling extremes to which Kmiec has now prostituted himself:
“I do not understand Senator Obama to be pro-abortion . . . .”

Of course, there are many more reasons to affirm my original endorsement of the Senator, including his willingness to:

•Transcend the politics of division – so well illustrated on any given day by the unfortunately base tactics of the Clinton or McCain campaigns (see the recent GOP ad in North Carolina once again dredging up Reverend Wright) …”
Uhhh, let's put aside the fact that OF COURSE OBAMA IS PRO-ABORTION, perhaps Professor Kmiec has his head so far buried in … errr … uhhh … sand (yeah, that’s it) that he missed the fact that McCain was not only NOT responsible for the Wright ad, but condemned the ad and the North Carolina GOP for engaging in “divisive” politics. And I want Professor Kmiec to tell us in detail EXACTLY which “base tactics” the McCain campaign itself has engaged in. He can’t because the whole notion that McCain has engaged in a divisive campaign is bovine excrement, which makes the truth-impaired Kmiec the one who is really, in fact, engaging in dirty pool.

I'm not even a McCain supporter, but Kmiec has lost whatever little remaining respect I had for him. He's beyond pathetic.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Obama "Post-Partisan"? Ask John Roberts

Obama and the "Pragmatic Center"

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At 5/07/2008 3:48 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

It's especially ironic that in this election year the left is hitting McCain hard as "McSame" and "Bush III" while claiming to be running a uniting, post-partisant candidate. There are things I don't like about McCain (ESCR, being the biggest) but I have to hand it to him that there is no major politician on either side more known for combining a sense of honor with a genuine desire to work across the aisle. And opposite that, we have Obama who had done NOTHING (other than being bi-racial, if you want to give him credit for that) which is even slightly bi-partisan.

At 5/08/2008 5:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kmiec cannot be sane.

At 5/08/2008 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had talks with some CUA law alumns, and the consensus seems to be that Kmiec just really hates McCain, and that this is what this is all about. I tend to agree with them, but Kmiec is doing himself no favors by continuing to look like a fool with all this Obama gushing.

At 5/08/2008 8:41 AM, Blogger DP said...

I'm beginning to think McCain kicked sand in Kmiec's face at the beach once.

I'm at an absolutely loss as to what's happened to the Professor. He was a Romney guy, but now he's shaking the pom-pons for Obama. Beyond weird.

At 5/08/2008 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was a Romney guy, but now he's shaking the pom-pons for Obama. Beyond weird.

It's even more bizarre when you consider the respective positions of McCain and Romney when you look at the issues which seem to be driving Kmiec. On the war, there is little daylight between Romney and McCain. And on abortion, again, there is little difference, but at least McCain has a longer history on the issue. So how can Kmiec be so anti-McCain when he was willing to back - and did back Romney?

I'm gonna go with Dale's "kicked sand" theory, because it makes as much sense as any other theory.

At 5/08/2008 1:04 PM, Blogger James H said...

Thanks for the link. By the way Louisiana Republicans lost a House race last week. The Democrat that won was a pro-lifer. He got a lot of votes from Pro-lifers and quite a few Republicans.

I would love if it would work the other way too as I allude


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