Bill Galston is always worth reading and his post over at The New Republic highlights the Democrats' dilemma precisely: They can't run on their record nor can they run from it.
Anne Applebaum has an important article in this morning's Washington Post. She argues that the Pope's critics did him a favor, guaranteeing wall-to-wall coverage of a papl visit that might otherwise have been a yawn.
UPDATE: The race in PA-10 has not really focused on issues, and incumbent Democrat Chris Carney needs to keep it that way. The district ranks a +8 GOP rating on the Cook Partisan Index, so Carney would have a tough time in this district in the current climate with so many energized GOP voters. But, unlike the race in PA-3, Carney has drawn a deeply flawed opponent, Tom marino, whose previous ethical problems have damaged his candidacy.
Cook Political Report still has the race rated as a toss-up, in part because Marino's fundraising has also been lackluster. Outside money has poured into the race, but it may not be enough. Real Clear Politics rates the race as "Lean Republican." Only two polls have been published in October. A public poll showed Marino up by 6 points and a Democratic poll had the race a tie. This will be a classic case of Democratic GOTV vs. GOP-friendly political environment. How it turns out will give us an early indication on election night as to how big the GOP wave will be.
Earlier, I mentioned the great tradition of hymnody. At the prayer vigil in Hyde Park, the congregation sang Newman's beautiful hymn "Lead, Kindly Light" at the conclusion of the service. Here it is sung by the Wells Cathedral choir. (And, if anyone can find me a video of "Praise to the Holiest" from the start of the Mass at Birmingham next day, I shall be grateful.)
President Obama went to church yesterday, and the American Papist has decided to guess at his motives for doing so, among which a desire to pray does not figure.
This week at Q & A, we asked five experts to submit, by email, their thoughts on the Tea Party and what it means for the November midterm elections. Our first respondent is Professor Matthew Green, a politics professor at the Catholic University of America and a fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies.
The question: Will the Tea Party be a blessing or a curse for the GOP in the November midterm elections?
Professor Green: Recent Tea Party election victories show why direct primaries are both a blessing and a curse for political parties. On the one hand, the primaries worked just as they were intended by progressive-era supporters: they forced a party organization (the G.O.P. in this case) to be more responsive to voters and gave people a greater say in who represents them. On the other hand, the primaries circumvented the ability of the Republican Party to select candidates most likely to win general elections.
Pope Benedict was not wrong when he said, in his comments at an ecumenical prayer service in Westminster Abbey, that “the choir sang” the entrance hymn “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation.” The choir did sing. But, so too did the congregation. As I watched that moment, I wondered if Pope Benedict grasped the beauty of congregational singing.
Yesterday, President Obama and his family attended services at St. John's Episcopal Church, across the street from the White House. If he went more frequently, perhaps fewer Americans would think he is a Muslim. If his handlers are paying attention, they will also instruct him to attend the Red Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral on Oct.3. A picture - of him walking out of the Cathedral arm-in-arm with the archbishop - is worth a thousand words. (H/T to Ben Smith at Politico.)
When you go to the RealClearPolitics site, they have a spread sheet that shows all the competitive races. The district designation is rendered in the party that holds the seat currently, and they are put into columns that show how the prognosticators think the race will go this fall. In the Toss-Up column, there are 37 blue, Democrat races, and in the
Lean Republican column, there are 26 Democratic districts and only two Republicans. Over on the Likely Dem column there is a single Republican seat, LA-2.
Pope Benedict’s trip to the United Kingdom had one, over-arching theme: There must be a place for the Church in the public square and the efforts of “secularism” to deny the Church such a voice in the public affairs of nations should be resisted. As is always the case, Pope Benedict speaks with great clarity, and he commended John Henry Newman, whose beatification was the highpoint of the visit, for the clarity of his many writings. Yet on this central point of the Church’s role in civil society, he something less than perfectly clear.