Dana Milbank has a great article showing how many former GOP leaders would not meet the criteria used to label contrmporary Republicans like Lisa Murkowski as insufficiently conservative. Ronald Reagan used to joke that in his administration, the right hand never knew what the far-right hand was doing. These days, the far-right hand is the only hand left.
Politico has an article about pro-life Democrats in Congress who are facing tough re-election races. We have looked at some of those races in our "Election Time" series. The Susan B. Anthony List is leading the charge against these pro-life Dems because of their vote on health care. Try and count the number of dis-information items in the quotes!
Fred Phelps has his day in court today. The hateful bigot-pastor from the Westboro Church in Kansas was sued for protesting at the funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder by Snyder’s parents on the grounds that he invaded their family's privacy and inflicted emotional distress on the family. Pastor Phelps and his congregants, who tend to share bonds of blood affinity to an unhealthy degree as well as the bonds of their distorted understanding of Christianity, protest at the funerals of American military personnel. They believe these brave men and women deserved to die because America tolerates homosexuality. So, while wearing tee-shirts that read “God Hates Fags,” at the funerals they wear signs that read “Thank God for IEDs.” How to put this in the most Christian manner possible? Phelps and his family/parishioners are beneath contempt.
The California gubernatorial contest did not interest me at first.
While examining the California Senate race, I asked why such a large state produced two lousy candidates, but I know why this large state produced such lousy choices for the Governor’s race: The job is impossible.
If Arnold the Terminator can’t fix Sacramento, it probably can’t be fixed.
So, the race appeared boring both in its content and in its outcome and the candidates attracted to the prospect were predictably boring. The Democrats nominated an old government hand and former Governor, Jerry Brown, and the Republicans nominated a zillionaire CEO, Meg Whitman, who has poured more than $100 million of her own money into the race.
What to say about Jerry Brown?
Wendy Wright, of the conservative group Concerned Women of America, has a splendidly ridiculous article in which she demonstrates that health care reform violated all 10 of the 10 Commandments. This is Colbert-worthy ridiculous.
This week at Q & A, we are looking at the contributions Pope benedict XVI has made to the Church to call attention to the publication of a new book from the USCCB, Pope Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on His Papacy.
Today we hear from Fr. Ken Himes, who teaches theology at Boston College.
The question: What do you perceive as a specific contribution Pope Benedict XVI has made to the Church?
Father Himes: After Joseph Ratzinger was elected Bishop of Rome, a friend told me that I should take a vacation from my study of Catholic social teaching since there would be no new social encyclical coming out of Benedict’s papacy. While my friend was joking, it is fair to say the expectations of many people were low regarding Benedict’s interest in social teaching. Yet this papacy has continued the practice of commemorating the social encyclicals of predecessors while adding its own voice and perspective to social questions.
Michael Gerson this morning has an article in the Washington Post in which he discussed the Obama administration's loss of religious voters. He believes that in its pursuit of "big governement" solutions, the Obama administration fell afoul of religious conservatives who are suspicious of big government, exciting anew what Gerson calls "long-standing evangelical fears of the aggressive secular state."
UPDATE (10/26): Carol Shea Porter appears headed for defeat against the former mayor of Manchester, Frank Guinta, the largest city in the state. Independents are breaking heavily for Guinta with some recent polls showing him with a double digit lead, and no recent poll showing him with less than a 5 percent lead. Both Cook and Real Clear Politics list the race as "Lean Republican." Guinta is likely to become New England's only GOP respresentative in the U.S. House.
I can recall precisely where I was when I realized that Joseph Ratzinger had been elected Pope. I was jogging on Varnum Street, near Providence Hospital. For those familiar with Washington, D.C., the Brookland section of town, where I then lived, is known as “little Rome” because it is home to so many Catholic institutions: CUA, the Shrine, the Franciscan monastery and other religious houses, Providence hospital, etc. The bells in the Shrine began to ring. It was close to noon, so I assumed they were pealing the Angelus. But, they kept ringing. I cut my run short and as I got closer to my home, the thought occurred that if the cardinal electors had reached their decision so quickly – it was the first full day of the conclave – they had to have selected the frontrunner, Cardinal Ratzinger. I got inside and turned on the television and shortly thereafter, Cardinal Medina Estevez stepped on to the loggia of St. Peter’s and announced that, indeed, the cardinals had elected Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope.
I mentioned Pope Pius VI's trip to Vienna in 1782 this morning. This excerpt from Eamon Duffy's masterful history of the papacy recounts the tale of Pope Pius VII's trip to Paris in 1804 for the coronation of Napoleon. Once again, those tyrants who sought to subject the Church and its Pope were done in by the simple faith of their own people.
"The slow journey through northern Italy and France was a triumph, and a revelation. Wherever the Pope went, he was mobbed by emotional crowds. His carriage drove between lines of kneeling devotees, men pressed forward to have their rosaries blessed, women married by civil rites under the Revolution to have their wedding-rings touched by the Pope. It was clear to everyone that the papal office had gained more mystique than it had lost in the flux and turmoil of Revolution. Napoleon was not pleased."