As the Democrats gather in Charlotte, you would have thought that it might have occurred to them that they need a narrative to justify the case for re-election but, instead, they have seemed unable to even answer the simple question: Are you, and is America, better off than we were four years ago? David Plouffe couldn’t bring himself to say yes to this question. Finally, Vice President Biden said: “Of course we are. Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.” The narrative needs to be filled out, but there is the start of a narrative.
Last week, I published an open letter to Republican Catholics and today I do the same for Democratic Catholics. As mentioned, it is important to recognize the relationship of noun and verb: Catholic is the noun, party affiliation the adjective. If you are a partisan first, this is not for you. I am speaking to Catholics who, for whatever reason, have an allegiance to the Democratic Party but recognize that their prior allegiance is to their Catholic faith.
Dear Democratic Catholics,
I concluded last week that the GOP’s commitment to laissez-faire and libertarian economic ideas amply fulfilled Pope Pius XI’s warning about the “poisoned spring” such ideas represent in his 1931 encyclical Quadragesimo Anno:
Maybe all those years reading French Deconstructionists has finally run its course. A concern for truth is returning to our political life, and not a moment too soon.
This morning, Kathleen Parker, who is hardly a screaming leftie or Dem partisan, chastises both Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan for running as someone they aren't, or at least as someone they have never been before.
And, Melinda Henneberger also jumps into the discussion of facticity with a column about the need for all of us to become fact-checkers.
Over at the Huffington Post, and just in time for Labor Day, Gerald Beyer and Jaroslav Makowski have an essay about the many ways Mitt Romney's ad invoking the memory of Pope John Paul II distorts the reality of what happened in Poland, not least the Pope's commitment to strong labor unions, a commitment that is, shall we say, somewhat lacking in Mr. Romney's resume.
Few Americans got to watch Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s benediction at last night’s GOP convention. I found it curious that the stage was cleared of the Romney and Ryan clans before Dolan was brought out to offer his prayer: Why wouldn’t the Republican nominees want that photo op?
As the Republicans brought their convention to a close last night in Tampa, and I prepared for bed, I pulled out my legal pad to note one last, overall impression. I wrote the single word “underwhelmed” across the page.
Over at The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn, who actually does understand policy and budgets better than almost any journalist writing today, looks at the five biggest mischaracterizations of fact in last night's speech by GOP Veep nominee Paul Ryan. I touched on some of this in my post this morning, but Cohn really slams Ryan.
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has a beautiful set of Labor Day reflections from Fr. Clete Kiley, America's leading labor priest. You can read them here.
Nothing quite like being attacked by Bill Donohue to make a liberal Catholic’s day. Donohue is to informed discourse what Hurricane Isaac is to the Louisiana coast, all blustery and destructive wind. Yesterday, Mr. Donohue issued this press release attacking my post about the arrest of Archbishop-elect Salvatore Cordileone for driving while under the influence.
The key paragraphs are these:
The ideological diversity of the Republican Party was on display at their national convention yesterday, but the GOP’s central case – that “we have to stop spending money we don’t have” – as Veep candidate Paul Ryan put it, suffered from two difficulties. First, many speakers, including Ryan, surrounded this argument with mendacity as well as some well-crafted lines, but more importantly, the GOP convention had to battle with another story, Hurricane Isaac, in which the newly built, government-paid for levees kept New Orleans from turning into a nightmare. If you live in New Orleans or one of the surrounding parishes, my guess is you are pretty keen on some government spending, and government services also.