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It's Miller Time

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Joe Miller is the presumptive Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alaska. The Palin-backed, Tea Party favorite holds a slim lead of 2,000 votes over incumbent GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski. The result shows that all politics is local. It also shows that the GOP may have a big problem on their hands.

The meta-narrative this year has been that incumbents are in trouble. Of course, the vast majority of incumbents, and their cousins – the “establishment candidates” – have won their races. Sen. John McCain did not lose Tuesday. Sen. Michael Bennet held on in Colorado a fortnight ago. Many senators and congressmen and women did not face opposition. It is true that some prominent incumbents have lost. Sen. Bennett of Utah did lose his party’s nomination. The “establishment candidate” in the Florida governor’s race lost to a self-funded newcomer. Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick lost her bid for another term, but it was her son’s prison term that seems to have done her in, not an anti-incumbent tsunami. So, while it is true that incumbents like Murkowski might have sailed to re-election in a normal year and are now making retirement plans, many incumbents will survive in November.

Yahoo Watch: Inside Catholic

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Over at InsideCatholic, Deal Hudson asks “Why is the Archdiocese of Chicago Funding Protests Against the Arizona Diamondbacks?” But, he doesn’t answer the question, choosing instead to continue his campaign against the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. He does quote another blogger to the effect that life issues are social justice issues, which is a point always worth making, although many people do not see it that way, which is a burden for both sides of the Catholic political debates.

But, here is an answer to the question: Because protesting against the racist anti-immigrant law in Arizona is the right thing to do.

Q & A: Professor Patrick Clark

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This week at Q & A, we are hearing from young theologians who participated in the Fordham Conversation Project, which brought together a group of young theologians working at Catholic colleges and universities. Today, we hear from Professor Patrick Clark, Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of Scranton.

The question: From your perspective as a young theologian teaching in a Catholic university, how do you view the divisions in the American Catholic Church? Do you see things differently than the previous generation? Are there any signs of hope for healing our divisions?

Gerson on the Tea Party

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For months now, I have been warning the GOP that the extremists in the ranks of the Tea Party threaten the long-term viability of the Republican Party, not the Democratic Party, because ultimately, the American people are not primarily ideological, they want problem-solvers in office, and whatever they think of the Democrats, nobody likes voting for a candidate who can be described as “kookie.”

Will the Real McCain Please Come Back

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John McCain won big and ugly last night. He trounced J. D. Hayworth by a margin of 57 to 32 percent. But, McCain’s path to victory was an ugly one.

In the past few months, facing a challenge from his right, McCain “the Maverick” morphed into just another ranter on the right. Gone was the man who had negotiated campaign finance reform with liberal Senator Russ Feingold. Gone was the man who had promoted comprehensive immigration reform with liberal giant Sen. Ted Kennedy. Instead, McCain tacked so far to the right that he lost sight of the truth, asserting that Phoenix had become the “#2 kidnapping capital in the world,” even though it wasn’t, and that his flip-flop on immigration was caused, in part, by rising violence along the border, even though crime has fallen in each of the past four years along the border. McCain even denied that he had once been a Maverick.

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