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Tales From the Goofie Left: Ed Schultz

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Ed Schultz of MSNBC had his shorts in a knot last night. He wanted the President to “fight” and “hang tough” on negotiations with Republicans over the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Schultz may not have noticed that the Senate failed on Saturday to vote for the specific policy proposal he favored. Nor did his angry guest, Sen. Bernie Saunders of Vermont, who also seems not to have noticed last month’s election results.

To be clear. The Republicans are wrong on the merits. They maintain that given the weak economy, it is the wrong time to raise taxes on the wealthy, that the tax increase would adversely affect small businesses that create the most jobs. The fact that the Republicans are essentially lying was proven on the Senate when they rejected a different compromise that would have extended the tax cuts for anyone making less than $1 million per year. If you are a small business and you are earning, net taxable income, $1 million per year, your business may be small but you are way past rich enough to be doing hiring.

California: Outlier or Trend-Setter?

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It has long been said that cultural and political trends start at the coasts and eventually meet in Springfield, Missouri. If so, the Democrats need not despair because New England, with the exception of New Hampshire, and California bucked the GOP trend.

This morning, at The New Republic, Peter Schrag argues that California will increasingly set the model for a more multi-cultural, and specifically Latino-dominated, politics.

From his lips to God's ears.

Tales From the Goofie Left: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

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The Democratic Party is in danger of being consumed by its own “goofie left” wing and the phenomenon is now too common to ignore. There are different aspects to the phenomenon, some focus specifically one what caused the anti-Dem tsunami last month in the midterms and others simply re-hash old, very old orthodoxies that have long since needed to be retired. Today, let’s look at an example of this last goofie left habit, the re-hash of an old orthodoxy for no good purpose. Exhibit A is Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s article in yesterday’s Outlook section, “What Palin gets wrong about JFK.”

Townsend seeks to defend her uncle’s famous 1960 speech in front of the Houston Ministerial Association in which he set out his beliefs about the relationship of church and state. Palin, in her new book, criticizes the JFK speech, joining a long line of critics of JFK’s speech including, among others, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput and me, and he and I do not usually agree on anything, although mine and the archbishop’s grounds for criticism were different from Palin’s.

Palin-palooza Wrap-up

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Our experts split evenly on Sarah Palin's chances at securing the GOP nomination.

Colin McEnroe and Matt Green think she can't survive the gruelling process, albeit for slightly different reasons. Mark Silk and Steve Schneck both think she is an odds-on favorite to win the GOP nod should she run.

I am going to break the tie and side with Silk and Schneck. Here's why.

Matt Green is right to point out that running a campaign organization is a big task, of the kind Palin has never excelled at. But if she has enough cash, there will be plenty of hired-hands to do the work. And Green is wrong to think that a lack of gravitas is an impediment to the GOP nomination.

27 percent of Americans think President Obama is not a Christian. That's enough to win a GOP primary.

Ditto McEnroe's concern that Palin will not pass the "I Can Imagine That" test. Indeed, Palin has already erected an effective narrative to deal with any mistakes: The media is out to get her. I can't imagine that Mitt Romney will hit her hard in debates. He would risk the wrath of the Tea Party, which has the GOP much more scared than the Democrats right now.

Good & Bad Economic News

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The good economic news is that the deficit reduction plan proposed by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House chief-of-staff under Bill Clinton, Erskine Bowles failed to garner the 14 votes necessary to send it to Congress.

All three House Republicans voted against the plan, which shows how unserious they are about achieving real deficit reduction. But the plan was flawed, appropriately characterized as policy only Wall Street could love, heavy on middle class cuts and doing nothing to address the growing income inequality that besets America, and does so uniquely.

Other Western industrialized economies have nothing like the income disparities we find in the U.S.

Faith & Stimulus

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Politico.com has an important article today about President Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Initiatives and the work they have done helping religious organizations get money from the much maligned Stimulus Bill.

From new windows for a church school to direct aid for the homeless, millions of dollars have gone to faith-based organizations that have grown accustomed to operating on shoestring budgets. Catholic Charities -- which should be the first check you write for Christmas -- received $50 million in Stimulus funds.

This is important at several levels.

Luke Gormally quote is back

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A reader commented that the link I provided in my article about conservative replies to the Pope's condom comments did not contain the quote I excerpted. The original story by Sandro Magister did contain the quote from Mr. Gormally, but Mr. Magister must have amended his article at some point after I posted the link.

He has now posted the entire email sent to him by Mr. Gormally which you can read here.

I especially like the sentence about the Pope lacking competence as a moral theologian. Hmmmm. If Benedict XVI attains that competence, do you think he might get a teaching post at Ave Maria University?

There is one other aspect to all this. Mr. Gormally is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. During the later years of Pope John Paul II, there were some pernicious influences surrounding papal apartment that resulted in some very sketchy, and one-sided appointments, to such academies and councils. One of the things Pope Benedict and Cardinal Bertone should undertake is to bring in some new blood.

B16's Homily at Mass for Manuela Camagni

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I mentioned last week that one of the four women who care for the Holy Father and his household was killed in an automobile accident while she returned home to the Vatican from work. The website of Communion and Liberation has now posted the text of the Holy Father's homily at a special Mass held yesterday for Manuela.

Unsurprisingly, it is very beautiful, filled with the Giussani-like comments about memory, God's and ours, and about the relationship of the past, present and future in the eternal Christ. And, those who think Benedict is all about rolling back the reforms of Vatican II should note his comments about the post-conciliar liturgy at the end. Most importantly, I think the Holy Father's deep love for Manuela, his respect too, comes through very clearly. He took joy in her joy.

Eternal Rest grant unto her O Lord...

Abp Broglio Is An Embarrassment

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Sen. John McCain is not the only man embarrassing himself on the issue of "Dont' Ask; Don't Tell." Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the archdiocese of the U.S. military posted a column at the Washington Post in which he repeats an especially clumsy analogy he has used before, comparing homosexuality to alcoholism.

Take your pick: Is that analogy more offensive than it is stupid, or more stupid than offensive?

Mark Silk has already taken on the evangelical military chaplains who are opposing repeal of DADT and he has now posted an article on Broglio. Both postings are, predictably, very smart.

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