Another reason why we love Austen Ivereigh.
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.
I have been looking at a lot of poll numbers recently, but what I like about the new Politico poll is that it was done jointly by a GOP and a Dem firm, and it provides analysis from both. It is interesting to see two professionals look at the same set of data and see the silver linings for their side, a cautionary tale about the role of "experts" in political commentary.
UPDATE (10/25): This is another district with almost no public polling, which remains listed as "Lean Dem" by both Real Clear Politics and Cook Political Report. The biggest change since I first wrote about it has been the infusion of massive amounts of cash from outside sources. According to the Des Moines Register, the American Future Fund has thrown more than $1 million into attacks against incumbent, two-term Democrat Bruce Braley. This is one of those groups that does not disclose its donors, so who knows where the money comes from?
In addition to his own funds, Braley is Vice-Chair of the DCCC, so if his internal polls show him in danger, you can bet the DCCC will pump money into this eastern Iowa district.
If this race were in the Eastern Time Zone, it would be watched for indications as to whether the GOP wave is going to become a GOP tsunami. It isn't, but if the outside projections of huge GOP gains in the House come true, Braley will be retired early.
Tomorrow, the Holy Father will join the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury in a prayer service at Westminster Abbey. Not wanting to put a damper on the day, the prospect nonetheless called to mind the magnificent passage in Newman's Apologia when he recounts realizing that his view of Anglicanism as a Via Media had collapsed during his study of the Monophysite heresy and Pope Leo's response to it. Newman writes:
Why am I not surprised that Jack Smith, editor of the Catholic Key, was impressed by Sarah Palin's recent address to a pro-life group? But, in his commentary he penned these words: "The non-partisan Vitae had come under fire for bringing in yet another Republican grandee to headline their dinner this year. Well, somebody has got to raise the money for these ads and if the Democrats had a high profile prolifer who could do that, I would expect Vitae to invite them. But Governor Casey is dead."
Governor Casey's son is not dead, however, but he had the temerity to break with some right-to-life groups that were determined to use any and all arguments, legitimate and otherwise, to defeat the health care bill. Still, Smith's invoking Casey pere's legacy while ignoring that of Casey fils is telling. Why should the son know better than Smith what his father would and would not have done?
Q&A continues its celebration of Cardinal Newman's beatification. Today we hear from an American scholar of Newman who was kind enough to email us his comments, Professor Christopher Pramuk, Assistant professor of Theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati.
Over at InsideCatholic, they have an article that rails against what they call “Fake Catholic Groups.” By this, the author means groups that do not agree with her politics, not groups that somehow deny a line of the Creed or question the authority of the Pope and bishops to teach on faith and morals. The term “fake Catholic” evidences a judgmentalism that puts me in mind of the man in the synagogue who sat up front and prayed, “I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like other men.”
The appointment of Joliet Bishop J. Peter Sartain to Seattle is good news for the people of Seattle. How do I know this?
UPDATE (10/26): When I first wrote about this race in September, Real Clear Politics rated it as a "Toss-up" but the Cook Political report still rated it as "Lean Dem." No more. Cook moved it to the toss-up column at the beginning of October. There have not been any public polls in this race, so Cook's decision is doubtlessly based on the fact that Arizona is looking very red this year. The federal government's decision to sue the state has not helped with white working class voters who already had plenty of anxiety about Washington on account of the unemployment rate and concerns about the health care reforms. Even four-term Congressman Raul Grijalva in the neighboring Seventh District has seen his race go into the Toss-up column after a late September poll showed him leading by only 2 points. The GOP wave begins in Arizona this year, and it may well overwhelm incumbent congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
You almost wish that Christine O'Donnell would reach out to the people at American Catholic and see if she could hire someone there to be her campaign manager. They write about the controversy surrounding O'Donnell's remarks on masturbation: "Kudos to O’Donnell for speaking out on this topic, if she still holds these views. It shouldn’t diminish her standing as a candidate one bit, and ought to raise it in the eyes of Christians, though what should or shouldn’t happen, and what will happen are of course two very different things." The point is not what she had to say, really, but the unseemliness of not leaving the conversation to a child's parents. On video. On MTV.