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Don't Ask/Don't Tell & John McCain


Few political stories are as genuinely sad as the forfeiting of his once impressive moral stature by Arizona Sen. John McCain. The man known for reaching across the aisle to work with Democratic colleagues for the good of the country, to achieve campaign finance reform or to make a stab at immigration reform, that man is no more. Instead, we now see only a petulant crank.

Over the past year, on several occasions, I have written about how disappointed I was at seeing the Senator abandon positions he had once embraced. But, he was facing a GOP primary challenge from the right, and he would not be the first Senator to run away from the ideological center to win a primary, only to run back to the center for the general election. But, the problem is, McCain won his primary and did not run back to the center.

Yahoo Watch: Bradlee Dean on Gays & Muslims


Sometimes, you think - I couldn't make this stuff up. A conservative talk radio personality in Minnesota, Bradlee Dean, is convinced that Rep. Keith Ellison is trying to advance the "homosexual agenda" because he wants to introduce Sharia Law into the United States.

Ellison is a Muslim, you see, and even though some Muslim countries still believe in stoning gays, well, stateside, it is all part of the same nefarious plot. Oliver Stone: Call your office!

Q & A: Steve Schneck on Palin-palooza


This week, we are asking prominent scholars about the propsect of a presidential campaign by Sarah Palin. Today, we hear from Professor Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America.
Steve Schneck:
Sarah Palin, as she herself insists, wants to take the GOP in a new direction. Her vision for the party has three distinctive components. First, it’s populist. That is, it looks to capitalize on recession-driven, middle class resentment. Angry about imagined handouts to the poor and illegal, on one hand, and coddling of Wall Street, on the other hand, the shrinking middle class boiled over this election year and looks to be a continuing force for political change in 2012. Accordingly, Palin’s language is filled with symbolic references to touchstones of populist sensibilities.

E.J. Dionne Calls for Some Democratic Spine


E.J. Dionne's article this morning points to a central problem facing the Democrats: They seem scared of their own shadow and the Republicans have succeeded in winning the narrative about tax rates and their economic effects.

Here is the problem. Remember "voodoo economics?" That was what George H. W. Bush called the supply-side theories that have come to dominate Republican Party economic thinking. That was 1980. Now, in 2010, no one has seriously challenged the acendency of this point of view. The reason is simple: Democrats hate talking about taxes on the theory that if you go into the ballot box thinking of yourself as a taxpayer, you are going to vote Republican. If you go in the voting boot thinking of yourself as a worker, you are going to vote Democratic. Ergo, Dems should talk about workplace issues and wages and not about taxes. But if you let the other side do all the talking, you can't change the narrative.

Condomania Continues


Okay, the conservatives who once championed Pope Benedict XVI - and labelled journals like NCR "dissenting" or "unorthodox" and "cafeteria Catholics" - well, those conservatives are now in full meltdown.

Sandro Magister's latest article details the anger and hostility directed towards the Pope by people who have evidently forgotten the fact that the old line about being "more Catholic than the Pope" was always intended as a joke.
To wit, this from Ave Maria Univerisity's Luke Gormally: "It seems to many people I know that it is both irresponsible (because it creates confusion in the general populace about the exercise of the papal magisterium) and self-indulgent; self indulgent because it is a case of the Pope retreating to his ‘comfort zone’ of writing and talking while neglecting urgent tasks of governance."

Can you imagine what the comment section would look like if anyone here at NCR called Benedict "self-indulgent"?!!!???

Advent & the New Evangelization


I had not intended to spend the week speaking about Advent, but I have warmed to my theme. Monday, I argued in favor of Christian resistance to the commercialization of the Christmas season in part by focusing on the Advent theme of expectation, about which the Holy Father spoke so beautifully at last Sunday’s Angelus. Tuesday, I discussed the ways our commercial culture corrupts our souls in ways that make the celebration of Christmas impossible. And, yesterday, I looked at the distinctive Marian quality to the Advent season. Today, I wish to examine how the spirituality of Advent is uniquely suited to understanding what the “New Evangelization” means.

Hometown Boy Makes Good


Ben Smith at Politico is reporting that Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is going to head the Democratic Governors Association. O'Malley is my governor, so I feel some pride of place in his rise to national prominence. Additionally, he is a fellow alumnus of the Catholic University of America. If he is not yet on your shortlist of presidential candidates for 2016, he should be.

Q & A: Mark Silk on Palin-palooza


We continue our examination of a potential presidential run by Sarah Palin with comments from Mark Silk, a professor at Trinity College and author of the blog Spiritual Politics that has become daily reading for those of us concerned about the estuary where religion and politics meet.
Mark Silk:
No one should judge the likelihood of a major political figure running for president without visualizing that person getting up in the morning, peering into the mirror, and murmuring, “I could be looking at the next POTUS.” Based on such a visualization, I’d say Sarah Palin’s running.


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In This Issue

August 28-September 10, 2015


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