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Will the Real McCain Please Come Back

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John McCain won big and ugly last night. He trounced J. D. Hayworth by a margin of 57 to 32 percent. But, McCain’s path to victory was an ugly one.

In the past few months, facing a challenge from his right, McCain “the Maverick” morphed into just another ranter on the right. Gone was the man who had negotiated campaign finance reform with liberal Senator Russ Feingold. Gone was the man who had promoted comprehensive immigration reform with liberal giant Sen. Ted Kennedy. Instead, McCain tacked so far to the right that he lost sight of the truth, asserting that Phoenix had become the “#2 kidnapping capital in the world,” even though it wasn’t, and that his flip-flop on immigration was caused, in part, by rising violence along the border, even though crime has fallen in each of the past four years along the border. McCain even denied that he had once been a Maverick.

Money & Politics

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Money and politics function like pasta and olive oil: They cling to each other. The making of money today is accompanied by elaborate lobbying efforts to get special provisions into the tax code, or special regulatory standing, or some governmental special treatment. And campaigns can’t run if you can’t pay the staff, can’t run the ads, can’t send out the mailings.

Candidates for political office spend hours upon hours “dialing for dollars.” The candidate sits in a room, calling people on the phone and asking for donations. Sitting opposite the candidate is a staffer who feeds them the name, number and personal information about the person they are calling. As they wind down one call, the staffer begins dialing the next number. This is all opaque to the public: You never, ever let the press see the candidate dialing for dollars. It would appear so humiliating. This has given rise to a number of self-funding candidates, super-rich people who wish to share their capacity for “success” with the public.

Blast From the Past: Church History & RCIA

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Later this week, I shall be giving a talk to the RCIA group at my parish about Church History. So, I dusted off my notes and thought I would share some of the highlights from the talk I will give.

By way of introduction, I always like to tell those aspiring to be Catholics why it is important to study the history of the Church. Among the observations I make are these:

Non-Yahoo Watch: Rand Paul

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Politics makes strange bedfellows, they say. Rand Paul, the Republican candidate for Senate in Kentucky, who got into a heap of trouble when he expressed some extreme views regarding the Civil Rights Act has come forth with a statement about the ground zero mosque that is, all things considered, admirable. I do not share his concern for property rights in the matter so much as his concern for the First Amendment. And, I do not believe his swipes at “neo-conservatives” regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are on point, in part because the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were engaged on vastly different rationales. But, no matter, he gets applause for denouncing the objections to the mosque as demagoguery and for seeing the anti-Muslim animus for what it is, a political battering ram being employed for political purposes. Kudos to Paul.
(H/T to Rick Garnett)

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April 11-24, 2014

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