The essential dynamic of the GOP nominating contest has been clear for some time now: Mitt Romney, for a variety of reasons, seems unable to increase his support above the 25-30% range, providing a huge opening for one of the more conservative candidates to emerge as the anti-Romney candidate, but none of the other candidates seem able to grab that baton, still less run with it. Last night’s debate was yet another chance for someone to emerge as the un-Romney choice of the GOP base, but once again, that chance was lost.
Many commentators have noted George Weigel's nasty comments about the recent document from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. But, Greg Metzger has done the rest of us one better, employing a specatularly devastating rhetorical weapon: Weigel's own words in his oft-cited biolgraphy of Pope John Paul II. Kudos to Metzger for undertaking this necessary work that entailed the unpleasant need to re-read Weigel's magnum opus.
Nate Silver, at the New York Times, writes about Newt Gingrich's rise in the polls. I have been writing since the summertime that Gingrich's time would come although, as Silver suggests, it remains to be seen if Gingrich will capitalize on his moment.
Yesterday, the D.C. Court of Appeals upheld the individual mandate, a central component of the Affordable Care Act. Jonathan Cohn, at the New Republic, has the details.
The fact that the decision was authored by conservative jurist Laurence Silberman makes the ruling all the more significant.
Voters in Ohio overwhelmingly voted to overturn a law passed by the GOP-dominated legislature and signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich that would have stripped public employee unions of most of their collective bargaining rights.
This is a triumph, in the first place, for the rights to organize and collectively bargain. It is also a victory for all middle class workers who have a vested interest in seeing unions achieve their goals, raising the tide of wages for everyone. The decline of union members as a percentage of the workforce tracks identically with the decline of middle class wages over the past forty years. The vote is also a triumph for the commitment to labor first evidenced in papal teaching in Pope Leo's encyclical Rerum Novarum, 121 years ago, even if the bishops of Ohio, acting through their Catholic Conference, shamefully punted on opposing Kasich's union-busting law.
The Public Religion Research Institute released yesterday a new set of findings from surveys conducted in September about the role of religion and values in shaping Americans’ political views. In this survey, PRRI focused on the Mormon Question, issues surrounding income inequality and the 2012 presidential campaign. Many of the findings are interesting and, like all such polling, the findings raise interesting questions about the political landscape.
42% of all voters indicated that they were “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” with the idea of a Mormon President. By way of comparison, 67% say they would be somewhat or very uncomfortable with an atheist in the White House, 64% register the same skepticism about a Muslim, and 28% about an Evangelical.
I am not sure how I got on an email list to be invited to a fundraiser for the pro-choice political organization Emily's List. Nor do I know who "Nancy" is from whom I got the invitation, except that she evidently works at a political fundraising organization. But, I thought I would share my reply with my readers:
I seem to have received this invitation in error.
I am a devoted pro-life Democrat who believes Emily's List is one of the most pernicious organizations to afflict the American body politic in my lifetime.
Michael Sean Winters
Cong. Bill Keating of Massachusetts has announced he will not run against Cong. Stephen Lynch but will, instead, run for Congress in an adjacent seat. Lynch is the only pro-life Democrat in the Massachusetts congressional delegation and, as we saw during the health care debate, pro-life Democrats can make a huge difference. Hopefully, Lynch can help move the Democrats away from their pro-choice orthodoxy to, at least, a big tent position.
A Thumbs Down to the the Ohio Catholic Conference and a Thumbs Up to the Michigan Catholic Conference.
Today, voters in Ohio will vote in a referendum on a recently passed law that drastically restricts union bargaining rights. The law would deny public employee unions the right to bargain for pension and other benefits, as well as negating binding arbitration and forbidding public employee strikes. The measure to repeal the new law is called Issue 2.
To be clear, the new law does not deal with the specifics of any given contract between the state government and public workers. It deals with a principle: Do public employee unions have the right to collectively bargain or not? This is not a tough question for a Catholic. A long line of papal teachings dating back to Pope Leo XIII’s seminal encyclical Rerum Novarum affirms the rights of worker to organize and bargain collectively.
In the Outlook section of yesterday's Washington Post, Alec MacGillis of the New Republic, notes that there are more culprits than the thieves on Wall Street to blame for the nation's growing income inequality.
There are many sins for which it is difficult to forgive Bill Clinton, but surely his decision, highlighted by MacGillis, to lower the capital gains tax rate, after Ronald Reagan had raised it, is one of the biggest.