It has been almost two weeks since the voters rendered their verdict, and we in the commentariat are still trying to figure out precisely what that verdict was. Of course, politicians are also trying to figure that out, from Nancy Pelosi’s “it was the recession” state of denial to Rand Paul’s “We are taking our government back.” Here at Distinctly Catholic, we have heard from expert analysts like Professor Steve Schneck of CUA’s IPRCS and from those involved in shaping the election like Catholic United’s Chris Korzen and NRLC’s Douglas Johnson.
Fred Rotondaro is the Chairman of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a progressive Catholic organization begun after the 2004 elections which played a vocal, and critical, part in the effort to get universal health insurance passed earlier this year.
As part of our on-going look at the election results, we asked Rotondaro for his thoughts.
Fred Rotondaro: Conservatives, moderates and progressives should have all learned the same lesson on Nov 2nd. American public policy is not decided in one election. It's an ongoing process-- a brawl if you will that takes place over many elections, many decades.
A second underlying theme is that the major issues are often symptoms and not underlying causes of what needs to be changed in the nation. America has deep problems today and they do relate to jobs, the deficit, and politicians' disconnect from the average American. But the causes go back three decades and more. And dealing with one problem will often complicate solving a different problem.
A wise monsignor once told me of a quote from Jacques Maritain to the effect that we are born into the world with either a liberal heart or a conservative heart, and that either way there is little we can do about it, and that the goal of a genuinely humane education must be to try and understand the widsom unique to the kind of heart you were born without.
This is why I read everything that Peter Berkowitz writes. Along with Rick Garnett of Notre Dame who appears in Q & A with some frequency, Berkowitz always writes articles that make me smarter, even -- perhaps especially -- when I disagree with him.
Berkowitz wrote a review of a new book about Obama for The Wall Street Journal. The phrase "shining self-image of the progressive intellectual" is worth the price of admission, but the whole review is worth a read.
How do you know it is time for a vacation from the task of being a Catholic blogger?
Yesterday, I received an email entitled "Two Cardinals Receive Gold Glove Awards" and I assumed immediately that when I opened the email, it would contain an article about the always polite but always obvious mutual dislike between incoming Cardinals Raymond Burke and Donald Wuerl.
Instead, the article was about Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals' baseball team earning awards for fielding.
Time for a vacation.
Politico reports on several GOP senators who are up for re-election in 2012 and who are now looking over their right shoulders, worrying about a primary challenge from the Tea Party. Maine's Senator Olympia Snowe appears the most vulnerable with a whopping 63 percent percent of prospective GOP primary voters indicating they would support a more conservative candidate. Senators Orrin Hatch, Richard Lugar, John Ensign and Kay Bailey Hutchinson also have to watch their backs.
This threat to so-called GOP moderates -- and who would have ever thought to call Orrin Hatch a moderate!?! -- raises the specter that the Tea Party could shoot itself in the foot in these states as it did in Delaware, Colorado, and Nevada, losing Senate races that might have been easy pick-ups because they nominated Yahoos.
Yesterday, as part of the Q & A segment on this blog, I published an election analysis by Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). I have read and re-read his submission and hope you did too. I should add that in the emails back and forth between Mr. Johnson and myself, I have been delighted to find him possessed of a robust sense of humor and a keen mind and I look forward to the day when we might share a coffee or a drink in person.
We continue our survey of election reactions with a commentary from Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.
I hasten to point out that the views he expresses are not shared by me, but when I solicit these submissions I promise to print them without editing.
Still, I will allow myself the comment that the right-to-life movement is in trouble when its spokespeople demonstrate such acute harshness to people with whom they agree on 98 percent of the issues. It costs nothing to be mangnanimous in victory.
That said, I admire Mr. Johnson's commitment to the defense of the unborn enormously and believe it is a credit to his organization, as it is to the Catholic Church, that no matter how long the odds, he and we have not abandoned the effort to call our nation's attention to the evil of abortion in our midst.
I may quibble with his analysis and his methods, but I do not quibble with his cause.
I had not been introduced to Colleen Thomas until today. I am delighted to be able to introduce you to her.
I have not been shy about calling out crazies on the left as well as the right, but the left has no one that can hold a candle to Miss Thomas.
Check out 2:19, where she explains why the Pope wears red shoes.
(h/t to Right Wing Watch)
Anti-gay bullying has been much in the news since the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, the young man who jumped off the George Washington bridge after fellow students videotaped him having sex with another male student. They posted the video on the web and Clementi became desperate, commiting the ultimate act of desperation.
Two bishops addressed the situation, one explicitly and the other obliquely, in recent comments that flew under the radar screen.
Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson wrote a column about the incident in his diocesan newspaper, rightly noting that the students had violated Clementi's privacy in an unconscionable manner.
And, in a videoblog discussing pro-life month, Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond of New Orleans said that teen suicide was a pro-life concern, along with poverty and homelessness. The entire video is worth watching but the relevant part is around 4:50 on the tape.
The Washington Post has a great quote from Tea Party favorite Joe Miller about the counting of write-in ballots in Alaska.
After noting that he had closed the gap considerably with the counting of absentee ballots, Miller said that "People throughout the state are excited; they're still out there fighting to make sure their votes are counted."
Of course, Miller's goal is exactly the opposite. 41 percent of those who voted cast write-in ballots and presumably almost all of them wanted to vote for incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Miller and his lawyers will be seeking to throw out write-in ballots where the voter's intent may be clear but there might be a slight misspelling of Murkowski's name. Otherwise he loses.
To claim that he is seeking to make sure every vote counts is not gibberish. It is a lie.