The most ridiculous part of the media’s narrative about the primaries has been the focus on the record turnout among GOP voters. For the first time since 1930, more Republicans voted in their primaries than Democrats voted in theirs. This, we are told, is more evidence of a GOP sweep in November.
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: "I am not a witch" is no way to start a political ad, but there was the inimitable Christine O'Donnell starting her first television ad with just those words. The ad was a Saturday Night Live skit waiting to happen, which of course happened the next weekend. O'Donnell went on to express her conviction that the First Amendment does not dictate the separation of Church and State. Not only has O'Donnell handed the Democrats an easy win in Delaware, but her ads on Philadelphia television have taken a toll on Pennsylvania's GOP Senate candidate Pat Toomey.
Voters may want a change, but they also value sanity. What is especially interesting about O'Donnell is that she is so obviously a flake, I don't see why the Tea Party crowd, which is nothing if not earnest, backed her. Coons has opened up a 17 percent lead in the RCP poll average. The day after the election, Ms. O'Donnell will become a footnote in political history, a hilarious footnote.
As mentioned yesterday, the occasion for Newman's great Apologia was an exchange of letters between himself and the Rev. Charles Kingsley after the latter had written that Newman, and the Catholic Church generally, did not value truth. Yesterday, I printed Newman's initial letter to the editors of the magazine where Kingsley's charge appeared. Kingsley and Newman exchanged more letters that can be read here.
Newman concluded the correspondence with an extraordinarily witty reposte:
I wonder if the good people at National Review stop worshipping at the altar of tax breaks for the rich and famous even on Christmas and Easter. They have a post up today, by J.D. Foster of the Heritage Foundation that includes these lines: "Of course, the tax hikers prefer to talk in terms of whether tax cuts for the wealthy would help the economy. But we’re not talking about tax cuts. No cuts are on the table, unfortunately. The issue at the moment is whether taxes go up." This is doublespeak.
This week at Q & A we emailed a variety of Newman scholars, asking them what Cardinal Newman would have to say to the Church of the 21st century. Today, we hear from the Very Reverend Richard Duffield, the Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, that is, Newman's successor.
Today is a great day first of all because I get to vote today in the Maryland primary. There are several local races that are being hotly contested. Voting is the most basic act of citizenship and I love going in and marking my ballot.
UPDATE (10/25): Steve Driehaus is another Democratic congressman who appears to be a one-termer. Driehaus is facing a rematch with former GOP congressman Steve Chabot whom he beat in 2008. Driehaus just won a court battle against the Susan B. Anthony List, regarding ads they were running in the heavily Catholic suburbs of Cincinnati, saying Driehaus had voted in favor of federal funding of abortion because he supported health care reform. An Ohio Elections Board ruled there was probably cause to believe the ads were false, and yesterday, a District Court also agreed to allow the case to proceed. But, it is too late to save Driehaus who is losing by double digits in some polls and both Cook and Real Clear Politics rate the race as Lean Republican. If, for whatever reason, this race is not called soon for Chabot, the national race is going to be closer than anticipated.
I just realized I made an outrageous mistake this morning in my post about the race in Ohio's 16th Congressional District.
In assessing the race I commented that money was not so important because Canton is an inexpensive media market. In the early hours of the morning, when I was only on my third cup of coffee, I confused Canton and Dayton. Canton, where the 16th Congressioanl District is located, shares a media market with Cleveland, and so it is not cheap at all.
On the DMA ratings, Cleveland-Akron-Canton is the 18th largest media market in the country. Dayton, on the other hand, is the 65th largest media market. So, ads in Canton are expensive and ads in Dayton are cheap. Ergo, money matters more in Canton than in Dayton.
I regret the error.
No one should read the Apologia Pro Vita Sua without first reading the correspondence between Newman and Charles Kingsley that gave rise to its publication. Newman was, amongst other things, a great controversialist. As the following letter he wrote to the editors of Macmillan's Magazine demonstrates, I suspect Newman would be a great blogger if he were to live in our time, and hereby recommend that he be declared the patron saint of bloggers once he is eventually canonized. Here is the letter:
The Oratory, Dec. 30, 1863,
I do not write to you with any controversial purpose, which would be preposterous; but I address you simply because of your special interest in a Magazine which bears your name. That highly respected name you have associated with a Magazine, of which the January number has been sent to me by this morning's post, with a pencil mark calling my attention to page 217.
There, apropos of Queen Elizabeth, I read as follows:-
John Cornwell has delivered himself of an essay about Cardinal Newman that, unsurprisingly, tells us more about Cornwell than it does about Newman. Cornwell hates the Pope. Is that news?
Rarely does one discover such a perfect example of published idiocy as Cornwell’s essay. The burden of his argument is that Newman was a liberal, Pope Benedict is not, and the pope is “hijacking” Newman’s reputation to his own ends. John Henry Newman was many things, but a liberal is not one of them, if by liberal you mean someone who is unconcerned with the dogmatic content of the faith, or someone who values that dogmatic content less than contemporary intellectual fads, or someone who rejects the supernatural in favor of a rationalistic faith, or someone who ascribes to any one of a number of contemporary political concerns, all of them more or less rooted in a hyper-individualistic view of the human person. If by liberal you mean “broad minded,” well who isn’t a liberal? And, Newman was never so “broad minded” that he valued his mindedness, broad or otherwise, above the teaching authority of the Church.