The folks at the Family Research Council aren't stupid, just borderline evil. They have a new ad out against Cong. Tom Perriello, a progressive Democrats from Virginia. (Shameless plug: I have an article about Perriello's race coming out in the new print edition of NCR.) The FRC ad is clever, but what the hell does any of it have to do with "the family"? The FRC is one of the groups that gained a lot of traction when the Moral Majority closed its doors in the late 1980s - the Christian Coalition was the other. Indeed, Falwell said he thought FRC founder Dr. James Dobson would be his most likely successor as the face of the religious right. Falwell would always make a moral argument to defend his positions - you could agree or disagree, but he understood he was not an expert on government or arms control but a pastor.
This week at Q & A we are looking at the contributions of Pope Benedict to the life of the Church. This examination is prompted by the release of a new book about the Pontiff from the USCCB, Pope Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on His Papacy. It is natural that Americans tend to look at the Pope's contributions through the lens of our national experience, but I wanted to also see how the Pope is contributing to the life of the Church beyond our borders. So, today, we have comments from Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, who attended the meeting of the Latin American bishops' conference (CELAM) at Aparecida, where the Pope gave a memorable address. Bishop Soto's comments amplify the earlier observations of some of our contributors this week.
The question: How has Pope Benedict contributed to the life of the Church?
The Chamber of Commerce is catching hell for allowing foreign companies to put their cash into U.S. political campaigns. The Chamber has targeted several prominent Democrats, including Rep. Tom Perriello from Virginia, Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, and others. They have said they will spend $75 million, an amount that dwarfs the resources of even the best fundraisers in Congress.
The Chamber denies that it is using foreign money for its campaign ads, that it keeps foreign dollars segregated from domestic, political accounts. But money is fungible, which leads to an irony. Last summer, when the Capps Amendment was introduced to allow insurance companies to segregate funds used for abortion services from funds they got from the federal government, conservatives objected, noting that money is fungible. Now, it is the Democrats who point to the fungible quality of cash to blast the Chamber of Commerce.
Meg Whitman has presented herself to the voters of California as an American original. She is an internet zillionaire who is setting aside her private pursuit of profit to pursue the commonweal, a twenty-first century equivalent of the planter George Washington leaving his plow to take up the challenges of politics.
Florida may have turned temporarily blue for the 2008 presidential election, but the state remains decidedly reddish in hue. It has controlled the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee for more than a decade as well as both houses of the legislature. Since 1996, when the GOP took control of the Florida House (it had taken the Senate four years earlier) the number of Democrats serving in Tallahassee continued to plummet, although 2006 saw Democrats re-take some seats, but not enough to win control of either chamber in the state house.
Control in Tallahassee matters especially this year because of the re-districting that will occur once the Census results are in. Currently, Democrats do not have a seat at the table, but if they can win the governorship, they would be able to influence the process. Not only will the congressional lines be redrawn, but Florida is likely to gain two congressional seats so the district maps will be especially important.
Yesterday, the President received the Diplomatic Corps at the White House, including the Nuncio from the Holy See, Archbishop Pietro Sambi. I suspect that this photo will cause a few blood vessels to burst in the wacko conservative blogosphere and I wonder if Glenn Beck suspects the President and the Archbishop of secretly planning some kind of conspiracy.
Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies will be sponsoring a panel one week from today. “Religion & the 2010 Elections: The Impact of Religious issues and Religious Voters” will be held Wednesday, October 13, 2010, at the National Press Club. The event begins at noon and is slated to go until 3 p.m.
We continue the discussion about Pope Benedict's contributions to the life of the Church with comments from Catholic University's new president John Garvey.
This series on Benedict is undertaken to call attention to a new book about the Holy Father published by the USCCB: Pope Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on His Papacy.
The question: What is a significant contribution Pope Benedict has made to the life of the Church?
Doug Gansler has an op-ed in this morning's Washington Post in which he takes a position different from mine (below) on the Snyder v. Phelps case. I will only point out that Mr. Gansler is running for re-election and evidently knows how to read a jury.
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.