Yesterday, I discussed the governor's race in the Lone Star State and, this morning, the Washington Post did the same, noting that the Democratic Governor's Association is running ads there. They must have an internal poll that shows the race is close.
Welcome to Distinctly Catholic, a blog by Michael Sean Winters that examines politics, religion and the estuary where the two meet, all from a distinctively Catholic point of view. The blog is small "c" catholic as well as big "C" Catholic, examining a wide range of issues but always from the perspective of Catholic history and theology.
UPDATE (10/25): This race has seen mountains of spending, a single debate, and much national attention since I first looked at it. All of the prognosticators rate it as a toss-up and it will be very instructive to see if Nate Silver's model at fivethirtyeight.com is correct: He gives Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle a 68% chance of winning. What baffles me is that every poll in the past two months is within the margin of error, so I do not know how statistically Silver reaches his conclusion.
I stick by my prediction that Latino turnout will put Reid over the top.
Also check out this commentary on the race from Catholic University Politics Professor Matthew Green.
This morning, at the library doing some research, I came across an article from the New York Times entitled "Senate Unit Votes Ban On Abortions." What it shows is two bad things, first, the pro-life community has been getting little more than lip-service from the GOP for almost thirty years now, and second, that by 1981, even conservative Democrats had caved on the abortion issue. Here is the lede:
"A Senate subcommittee today approved legislation that could allow the states to prosecute abortion as murder, a first Congressional setp toward overturning the 1973 Supreme Court decision that a woman has a right to terminate her pregnancy. By a vote of 3 to 2, the Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Separation of Powers approved a measure that said 'the life of each human being starts at conception,' thus giving fetuses rights under the Constitution."
Alas, that is not how the Constitution works and we are still, thirty years later, faced with the daunting task of changing the culture, not just the make-up of a Senate panel, if we are ever to convince our countrymen and women that abortion is wrong and should not enjoy legal sanction.
Usually at Q & A, I email one question to five different people, soliciting their replies. This week, to change things up a bit, I emailed five questions to the same person, blogger extraordinaire Rocco Palmo, whose blog Whispers in the Loggia has become a must-read for Catholics.
I first heard of Rocco on a trip to Rome many years ago, when there was speculation his was a pen name for a retired and particularly well-connected Vatican monsignor. I returned to the States, sent an email, and found he was a then-twnety-three year old living in Philly. I drove up I-95 the next day to meet him and have been reading and chatting and emailing ever since. I hope the readers will enjoy his commentary on the state of the Church.
First question: Do you perceive a central characteristic among Benedict 16th's appointments to the hierarchy?
The American Catholic calls attention to a recent ad that seeks to invert the famous "Morning in America" ad run by Ronald Reagan in 1984. This is funny at a couple of levels, in part because the GOP got whipped in the midterms also in 1982, the proximate comparison for this year's election, and they got whipped for the same reason the Dems are likely to lose seats: the economy had not turned around quickly enough.
Politico has a smart article about GOP strength in the Midwest, a region where Democrats are struggling not least because the GOP landed some top flight candidates for key races such as the Ohio Governorship. As well, Obama faces the "arc of history" he likes to invoke but here it works against him. The industrial Midwest has been struggling for decades, losing manufacturing jobs and the culture that went with them. Politicians have been asking for their patience for years, and Obama's request for patience is likely to fall on deaf ears.
Earlier this morning, I called attention to the importance of the upcoming midterms for the re-districting that will happen once the Census results are in. The last report I had seen had Texas gaining three seats. According to a report in Politico this morning, that number is up to four and Florida is slated to pick up two more seats.
As we have been pointing out, things are not loking that bad for some Democrats in the Northeastern part of the U.S. where the kinds of Republicans who win elections are not the kind of Republicans that excite the Tea Party crowd. E.J. Dionne makes the point in a smart article this morning.
This morning's Washington Post has a good article on the efforts of Team Obama to get young voters engaged again. The President will be hitting college campuses in the upcoming weeks. Polling models usually predict low turnout among young voters so, in races that are rated a "Toss-up" using those models, a few extra percentage points from young voters could tip the scales.
It is strange to me that the GOP has not been able to put the Texas governor’s race into the win column with only six weeks out. Texas has been an overwhelmingly Republican state. Not only did favorite son candidate George W. Bush win the state resoundingly, but John McCain beat Barack Obama in Texas by a huge margin of 55 percent to 44 percent. Both of the state’s U.S. senators are Republicans and twenty of the state’s 32 Representatives are Republicans. The GOP controls both houses of the state legislature. States don’t get much more red than Texas.
Still, RealClear Politics only has the gubernatorial contest as “Lean Republican,” and even that is a bit of a reach. The RealClearPolitics average of six polls, all conducted in August or September, shows incumbent Governor Rick Perry with a 5.8 percent lead over Democratic challenger Bill White. One of the six polls, done by a GOP firm, had Perry ahead by twelve points. The other five range between giving Perry a 7 point advantage or a 1 point advantage. The Cook Political Report, which had the race as “Lean Republican” earlier in the year, now rates it as a “Toss-up.”