How do you tell the difference between a
pro-life Democrat and a pro-abortion one concerning presidential
Well if you have any kind of test let me
know since I can’t find one.
Catholic and “pro-life” Senator Bob Casey
Jr. has come out in support
of Sen. Obama. Funny I thought the support of infanticide or
for someone whose greatest regret was that Terri Schiavo did not die
earlier was not exactly pro-life. You learn something new
As Todd M. Aglialoro noted at
Inside Catholic a major piece of irony.
Casey was quoted as saying he
favored Obama because the Illinois senator “thinks we shouldn’t be deaf
to the voices of the next generation.”
But there is no lack of people
for who party trumps everything else. There were the pro-life
Catholics who thought that Rudy Giuliani was da bomb and of course
Casey’s predecessor Sen. Santorum decided to support Sen Specter over
an actual pro-life candidate.
Now I am sure that Senator Casey would
explain himself using some variation of the seamless garment argument.
Though I think for accuracy sake this should be renamed the
shameless garment argument since many people who use it are
quite shameless in how they justify supporting pro-abortion politician
and measures. Democrats who manage to see infinite shades of
gray for most moral issues see life issues as one solid color and
minimum wage can be of equal value as protecting the unborn.
If hospitals treated people like the shameless garment
argument then people who stubbed their toe would be as likely to get
immediate attention as someone who had already lost near a gallon of
blood. What we need is triage when it comes to the pro-life
cause and the unborn come first.
If I had to decide who was more
pro-abortion, Obama or Clinton, it would be difficult since they each
have a 100% NARAL rating. I guess I would nod toward Obama since he
described his biggest “mistake” in politics voting to allow the parents
of Teri Schiavo to have their daughters case reviewed in court.
I suppose Prof. Doug Kmiec, who also endorsed Obama, will applaud the
decision of Sen. Casey, and offer to join Casey and Obama on their bus
trip across Pennsylvania.
They can write “Pro-Life Catholics for Obama” across the side of the
bus! That might provoke some laughter from even the starchiest of
Well the reality is that they have thrown
the pro-life cause under the bus.
In related news a special “Mass for Democrats”
to be celebrated at San Jose diocesan cathedral for a group called
“Catholic Democrats of California” whose web site specifically supports
Swing and a miss on the seamless garment, Jeff.
As usual, you’d do much better to find a person writing or speaking explicitly on the seamless garment rather than dismiss the approach with an attempt at humor.
Within Catholicism of course, the seamless garment approach points an uncomfortable finger at those who stand behind tens of millions of aborted fetuses (the choice and action of individual citizens). Meanwhile, the policies of beloved Republicans get a mindless stamp of approval no matter how much murder and mayhem (the choice and action of the government) they produce.
For the record the pro-choice policies of most Democrats are heinous. But the Republicans are no better.
At least the Republican Party has a plank opposing the killing of babies and many of its members are reliable pro-lifers; the same can not be said of the blood-soaked Democrat Party that never ceases to pay homage at the Aztec shrines of abortion, deadly research on babies, and euthanasia!
That being said, though, it still astounds me that the Republican Party cannot seem to put forward a fully pro-life presidential candidate who recognizes the primacy of innocent life (the preborn, sick, etc.)! This should be a no-brainer!
We need to pray intensely for respect for life in our political leadership!
Home run Jeff. See? I can be the dogmatic umpire too.
“How do you tell the difference between a pro-life Democrat and a pro-abortion one concerning presidential politics?”
In this case, you make an effort to understand why Casey endorsed the ardently pro-choice Obama. Did he do so because Obama is so pro-choice? Does be believe somehow that Obama would be better in helping to end abortion? Perhaps he thinks McCain would appoint similar judges? Maybe the abortion issue isn�t a priority for him, or perhaps he doesn�t think it should be primarily addressed as a legal problem.
I don�t yet see that either Casey or Kmiec have thrown the pro-life movement under the bus; they may be merely opting for other means to the end of eliminating abortion. It�s not as though the Republicans have made the cause of ending abortion anything near the priority they�ve assigned to the War on Terror. How many speeches have we heard these past seven years aimed at persuading the American people of the need to fight terrorism? How many speeches have we heard aiming to persuade the American people of the dignity of unborn life?
There is a simple principle here – there are no exceptions:
If one votes Democrat, one is Democrat 1st and anything else 2nd (including religion)
For almost all Democrat politicians, party affiliation trumps religious beliefs every time. Therefore, this is almost a “Dog bites man” story about Bob Casey, Jr. Only the truly foolish voted for him expecting him to truly live out his so-called pro-life values.
Obama has, perhaps, the worst pro-death record of any major US candidate for president ever. For the ostensibly pro-life Bob Casey, Jr. to come out in support is simply obama-nable.
Speaking of swinging and missing with your moral equivalency of Democrats and Republicans. Any positive direction in the pro-life movement has come from the GOP and has been blocked by the Democrats. Are the two parties the same on the partial birth abortion ban, on ESCR, or any other method to kill the innocent. Sure I am well aware of the faults of the GOP in regards to being pro-life, but there is no comparison as to who would really move toward making abortion illegal.
Casey was quoted as saying he favored Obama because the Illinois senator “thinks we shouldn’t be deaf to the voices of the next generation.”
Yeah, except the 1.3 million kids of the “next generation” who will be denied the right to life and, therefor, a voice.
Jeff, I think the conservative problem is the expectation that moral change in the US (or the world) will come from political action. I have very little hope for it.
I think your criticism of the seamless garment approach was shallow, ignorant, and lacking in your usual humor.
While the Democrats in the land (plus their pro-choice allies in the R’s) are pleased enough to stand by and let other people do the killing, it is the Republicans of this adminstration who advocate killing at the hands of the state.
These are not morally equivalent, but each heinous in its own way, each undeserving of any Catholic moral support.
By the way, how many Republican presidents have appeared at the March for Life? How many are willing to hold their hand out to the religious right as they say, “Those judicial activists have tied our hands again. More money, please?”
We’d all do better to leave the pols of both types twisting in the wind and rolling up our sleeves to do the real work in the trenches on the local level.
But if you Republicans who are accidental Catholics want to keep getting played like fiddles, by all means revel in your relevance.
Ah, but didn’t Pope Benedict XVI state, while he was head of the CDF, that one could never vote for a politician who supports abortion without proportionate reasons (and differing opinions on economics don’t count as proportionate), while faithful Catholics can disagree on application of the death penalty and what is a just war.
Yes, the Republicans may be supporting an unjust war and some of them may be endorsing torture, but such is not a justification to vote for Obama or pro-abortion Democrats or Republicans. It just means that neither side presents a consistently Catholic ethic. A person who sees both as bad cannot choose the evil of abortion over the evil of an unjust war including torture. Both are evil, neither should be supported.
Finally, the seamless garment is abused frequently as an excuse for voting pro-abortion and as such creates a false moral equivalence between things like how the economy should be structured to support the poor, and abortion. The latter takes precedence, period. A pro-life politician whose economics make you shudder a little trumps a pro-abortion politician whose economics you adore, every time. At most, one can choose not to vote for the pro-lifer; voting for the pro-abortion politician is never justified. For the moral equivalency it is used to justify, the seamless garment is deserving of ridicule.
At test to identify pro-life Democrat Senators?
Easy! They’re always accompanied by unicorns.
Yes, the Republicans may be supporting an unjust war and some of them may be endorsing torture, but such is not a justification to vote for Obama or pro-abortion Democrats or Republicans. It just means that neither side presents a consistently Catholic ethic. A person who sees both as bad cannot choose the evil of abortion over the evil of an unjust war including torture. Both are evil, neither should be supported.
To be fair, Todd made that point. Of course he took it too far with the rash assumption that we are all voting Republican. (Get a refund on that Magic 8-ball into the soul) I remember a dissenter tried to play gotcha with us on another blog with the question, “What about Schwarzenegger and Guiliani?” Most of us said they were unacceptable candidates as well and this woman, usually verbose (and she remained so elsewhere at the same time) went stone silent. The idea that someone would jump the party ship on principle was completely alien.
Speaking of Guiliani, remember “Catholics Against Rudy?” Conservatives lining up to sink his nomination over abortion and same-sex marriage, etc. Hannity of course freaked out in typical end-justify-the-means manner, but something similar happening on the Dem side is unimaginable–most of the protest over there being over who can get the vital 101% rating from NARAL first. Point being, Guilaini was all but the shoe-in for a while, now he’s toast–demonstrating that the alliance between pro-lifers and the Republicans, however shaky and perfuntory, isn’t dead.
” they may be merely opting for other means to the end of eliminating abortion.”
Horse manure! “Merely” opting? Just who is it who is being held hostage as we consider “other means” to save them? More than a million children will die from abortion the year after we “merely opt” for a Democratic president. That is shameful!
There are many means to the end of reducing abortion as much as humanly possible. Legal protections for the unborn are one such means, and they are necessary, but building a culture and society that respects the life of the unborn requires much more than laws and political policies.
Don’t expect many lives to be saved or the pro-choice movement to crumble with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. I suspect groups like Planned Parenthood and others have contingency plans for how they will operate when that court decision is overturned.
Yeah, for the sake of the unborn, you bet I’m open to other means. I’m not saying the Democrats offer such means. They may not. But we should listen.
It was by political means that abortion became mainstream in the first place. First the Supreme Courts making up of a right for an abortion out of whole cloth (there version I guess of a seamless garment) followed by politicians working to ensure that the unjust law of the land would continue.
This is certainly a both/and situation where we must work both to make abortion illegal and to heal the culture from its selfishness in the murder of the unborn.
As long as abortion is legal some people will see it as a right. The number of abortion before Roe V. Wade certainly was not the same as after. Right now our best hope is changing the court and then being able to work state by state to make the argument for life. While at the same time supporting crisis pregnancy centers and every means possible to advance the culture of life. Putting in a president that appoints Justices likely to maintain Roe V. Wade will result in the continuation of millions of deaths that will make Stalin and Hitler look like amateurs.
Todd comments about my lack of my usual humor in this post. Sorry if I just don’t feel funny when it comes to supporting intrinsic evil and sucking the brains of children just prior to their birth. That I just can’t laugh at the idea of a pro-life Catholic supporting a politician who regrets that he didn’t do more to help Terri Schiavo die earlier. A politician that would not even draw the line at children already born. A politician who supports cloning and all forms of ESCR so that more souls can be slaughtered in the lab. Sorry if I don’t find any of this funny.
All these pro-death politicians who say that “they would rather eliminate abortion by other means than passing laws against it” are the same ones who go out and actively push and vote for legislation against crisis pregnancy centers, parental notification laws, and many other things that would help prevent abortions.
“It was by political means that abortion became mainstream in the first place. First the Supreme Courts making up of a right …”
Wrong on the “first” of history, there. 1973 didn’t usher in the age of abortion. It was Republicans interested in a decriminalized profit for doctors who got it rolling in the first place, state by state.
Too much hope is being put in the political process, when the issue has largely become a cultural and economic one.
So I guess by your reasoning we can vote for anybody even if they support intrinsic evil. That they can work to slaughter more innocents and it really doesn’t matter since politics doesn’t much matter in this regard.
I guess you can tell that the the people who were not aborted due do the partial birth abortion ban since this came about by political means. I guess Catholics can just ignore what the Magisterium has said on this subject, but then again you don’t care much for the Magisterium considering your support of women’s ordination.
“In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to “take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it”. — Gospel of Life
Barack Obama is not working to make “a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.” He is actively working and has voted to prevent any restriction from abortion, cloning, ESCR, euthanasia. I guess people can ignore this when their conscience stops seeing the horror of murdering the innocent and finds excuses to support those who do in this “Grave new world.”
As true members of the modern day einsatzgruppen, maybe they could find a way to funnel the exhaust of the bus back into the cab.
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but didn’t Casey’s Rick Santorum (who gets a lot of love on this side of the blogosphere) endorse and campaign for fellow Republican Arlen Specter in 2004?
Specter’s record on life issues is suspect to say the least. Whilst he indeed voted to torpedo partial-birth abortion, he supported destructive embryonic stem cell research. In fact, when that bill came to the Senate, Bob Casey’s ‘no’ vote neutralised Specter’s ‘yes.’
Furthermore, Specter voted against parental notification on for minors traveling interstate for abortions, against maintaining the ban on abortions in US Defence bases; against, against, against.
When he came up for re-election in 2004, a thoroughly conservative alternative in Pat Toomey showed up, challenging Specter’s record on life issues. Santorum, like almost every other Republican, fell in behind Specter.
Unlike Casey, Santorum had a viable, pro-life alternative in front of him. And he rejected it.
This isn’t a championing of Obama by any means. Just a comparison between the two from a young Australian with (in the interests of full disclosure) a very soft spot for Casey Sr.
“So I guess by your reasoning we can vote for anybody even if they support intrinsic evil. That they can work to slaughter more innocents and it really doesn’t matter since politics doesn’t much matter in this regard.”
That would be a wrong guess, my friend.
The original point I picked at on this thread had to do with your criticism of the seamless garment approach, which I think is misinformed and ignorant. Support for the seamless garment approach does not guarantee a ballot checked for Obama. I think your pigeon-holing of seamless garment supporters is misinformed.
That you’ve chosen to further sidetrack the discussion by raising the issue of women’s ordination leads me to believe you’re in a desperate scramble to keep your head above water in this discussion. It would be uncharitable of me to trouble you any further on that score.
I think there’s a lot of good work to do in the trenches, supporting Birthright and similar local initiatives. I see thirty-five years of Republican-dominant politics on the national level, and even if the SCOTUS overturned Roe, there’s no guarantee the states would immediately line up with abortion restrictions. Too many pro-lifers would expend energy and charity-capital trying to legislate morality rather than creating attractive and intriguing alternatives.
I may not vote for Obama, but I know I won’t vote Republican in this presidential cycle. They have their hands on the trigger. It’s no praise for the Dems to be handing over the gun to someone else’s trigger finger. But the R’s have too much moral baggage to be a consideration.
Funny how you think Obama does not have enough moral bandage with his support for letting a baby die after being born, for abortion in all forms, for ESCR, cloning, euthanasia, homosexual marriage – all intrinsic evils.
But I guess that doesn’t matter compared to an issue that Catholics can actually prudently disagree on. And as you probably know I was not for the war in Iraq but believe that pulling out now will lead to even more deaths. Again as Catholics we can disagree on this, but on the other matters we may not.
I can understand someone chucking both McCain and Obama and voting for someone else, I can’t understand though how a Catholic could possibly support Obama and I thought the same considering Giuliani.
And as for the actual seamless garment argument I do not have a problem with how it was originally articulated by Cardinal Bernadene who also specifically mentioned the proper ordering within this argument where all issues were not of the same weight.
My problems is that almost every time I hear the argument used now it is to justify supporting someone who supports intrinsic evil. I never hear it used to support doing more to eliminate abortion, euthanasia, cloning, and ESCR.
Thanks for responding, Jeff.
In your original post, you were the one who “was sure” Senator Casey would appeal to the seamless garment. Perhaps he has–I haven’t seen it.
Even if he did, I would likely agree that it was a misuse of the principle. A person can use a hammer to bang a screw out of a machine, and it might even work. But I wouldn’t condemn the hammer as a tool just because someone didn’t use it properly.
There are politicians who might favor abortion that I could see voting for in theory: a sheriff, a mayor, some public official who held the pro-choice view, but wouldn’t be able to do any actual damage with it. An extremist? Probably not, on general principle.
Obama is a tough one. I don’t think the office of president will have that much effect, SCOTUS or not, on abortions in this country. The president does serve as a leader on issues he does not have a constitutional role in deciding. Republican presidents have demurred from providing that role publicly and substantially for the pro-life movement.
I’d be more inclined to look for moral leadership from lay people, not bishops, who would be able to sway public opinion over the long haul, and on the local level, where I think American politics still has a pulse.
Indirectly, a better economy is the best chance for helping more women dodge unwanted pregnancy, and I’m inclined to think the Democrats offer some hope in that regard.
The War in Iraq however, has been muddled with sin through and through: lies, deceit, torture, false witness, catastrophic civilian casualties, and more. It may well be that the pullout of the US military, whenever that does happen, will lead to more innocent lives taken. Frankly, I don’t believe the US is in any moral position to remain there. Certainly, the Republicans have been directly involved in the Culture of Death through the chain of command down to personnel who have committed atrocities and war crimes. That’s a far more serious taint than the admittedly wussy stance of “personally opposed, but …”
There is no prudential wiggle room on the Iraq War: the Republicans are unfit for national leadership, except for Ron Paul and any others who have explicitly condemned the war and its prosecution. Theoretically, a war may be deemed just in the Catholic view. Practically, this war meets no such standard. Lacking any repudiation and expression of culpability from Senator McCain, I believe voting for him would be gravely sinful. I acknowledge my assessment of sinfulness begins and ends with me. But I’ve already considered the Magisterium in my views on war: they inform a discernment already made. They do not alter it once it’s been so formed.
The only way abortion is going to end is for the changing of hearts of society FIRST, then through legilative ation. (I.e. Live out TOB)
I assure you that we “pro-life Democrats” are quite a bit more real than unicorns.
Look… The fact is that the two parties are broad umbrellas of greatly different views that make uncomfortable alliances to remain in positions of power. Perhaps the two-party system is best, but it masks the different positions of the great variety of social, economic, and political views in our Republic.
In other words, Republicans should get off their damn high horses and address the fact that they are just as inclined to pull the lever for a straight ticket, without any idea as to the views of the lower candidates on the ticket as Dems.
As for voting for Obama or Clinton… Please give me an alternative.
Pennsylvania is a closed primary state. For those of us who don’t know what that is, it means that Dems can only vote in the Democratic primary and Republicans can only vote in the GOP primary.
So… Since we Casey Dems live in a world without unicorns or other fictions like the freedom to choose a pro-life candidate, who should we vote for… or should we simply remain silent?
“As for voting for Obama or Clinton… Please give me an alternative.”
Stay home or write in the name of another candidate if that is an option in your state. Do not support pro-abort politicians. Being pro-life should at the very least mean that.
Pres. Bush has squandered several opportunities to position the GOP as the preeminent party in the US. In Pennsylvania, GOP registration numbers are lower than Dems for the first time in a century.
IF McCain wins, it will be a squeeker.
On our side of the house, this means that conservative and libertarian-minded Dems must take this primary seriously. There is a good chance that the winner of our primary will be President.
You advise that the only legitimate position in this race is for us to opt out. Ostensibly, if we care for the unborn, there can be no “best candidate.”
This is myopic.
I would like to see an end to the death penalty. I would like to see free meals to every child in school and the school-day extended so that the working poor can earn a fair wage. I would like to see fewer prisons and more counseling. I would like to see protection for the privileged position of churches in America. I would like to see protection for the civil institution of marriage. I would like to see liability protection for the Boy Scouts from discrimination suits. I would like to see expanded adoption programs and adequate foster-care. I would like to see a fair tax-code that makes the wealthy pay their fair share of the burden. I would like to see an outlawing of self-satisfied trusts and regulation of the credit industry to reinstate usury laws nationally.
There is so much that I think is important and… dare I say it… of Christian concern.
I am under no illusion that any candidate, GOP or Dem can or is likely to want to take on even a few of these issues. The decision to opt-out though is fundamentally un-American and irresponsible. It sets aside the broader good for the particular satisfaction of not being a party to evil. Frankly, if we applied that logic to all politics, there are precious few politicians that a Catholic could vote for.
You advocate a position on political engagement rejected by the Church. You pretend that this is the only legitimate response to the provocation of Modernity. You are wrong and saddle us with a burden that few are willing to carry.
I don’t know you so I don’t have any idea whether you bear this burden yourself or not. To find out, ask yourself whether you have ever voted for a candidate whose political positions were not known to you or whose positions on some of your concerns were opposing. If not… lucky you. If so, welcome to the world the rest of us live in.
Now stop throwing stones at us.
“Now stop throwing stones at us.”
When you stop supporting candidates who support as holy writ legal abortion. Until you do please have the basic honesty not to claim to be pro-life. It is obviously very low on your list of priorities.
Additionally you and other pro-life Democrats need to organize and become a power in your party. Granted it is an up-hill climb, but it can be done. When pro-lifers began to organize in the Republican party in the 70’s, they also confronted a fair amount of hostility from within their own party. The thing can be done, but it will never be done while Democrats who oppose abortion continue to vote for candidates who are fanatic advocates of it.
The life of the unborn is as high a priority for me as the life of born children should be to Republicans. Too bad the GOP has done everything within its power to impoverish them. Even worse that the Dems have facilitated it.
Look, you have failed to answer my underlying claim: that neither party is a fair representative of the broad collection of interests. Were our system more like the Europeans, we might both be in the same party. (By the by, I am not saying that our two-party system SHOULD be replaced by theirs. God knows the Italians haven’t derived any great benefit from their splintered approach.)
The GOP is no great champion of Christian, much less Catholic, values. When at the helm both “political” branches of government and with a majority Conservative Supreme Court, the most important legislation that the GOP could advance was bankruptcy reform and legislation addressing the great “unfairness” in the inheritance tax.
Yep… Thank God the GOP was there to defend those who could not care for themselves.
No retraining for displaced workers due to NAFTA. No free lunches for poor children. No new homeless shelters. No marriage amendment. No national health-care for children.
Yep… Champions of Christian values all.
I am sorry for beating up on the GOP. God knows the Dems have done as bad or worse.
My point is that neither party has anything to crow about.
As for changing our party… We did… Gov. Casey. It cost us our place at the Dem. Party Convention. Now we elected his son, Sen. Casey.
Not bad for an opposition group and I assure you those advances will not continue if we do as you suggest and opt out.
Ok, the real thing we need to look at is both Sen.Obama’s and Sen.Casey’s track records. From what I’ve seen Obama has never even been close to being pro-life and whatever Casey thinks Obama means by, “we shouldn’t be deaf to the voices of the next generation.” doesn’t include the vast majority of young pro-lifers. With Casey it is a bit more difficult because he has been obviously pro-life his entire career, but has suddenly decided to put blind faith in a man who has been obviously pro-choice through out his short career. So instead of trying to fix the country by changing the party system as some have suggested why don’t we just try explaining to the more gullible(I usually like Casey so I am not trying to insult him as a person) politicians what the demo-craps(my own personnel nickname for them) actually mean when they say that “we shouldn’t be deaf to the voices of the next generation.”
You’ll need to account for growing number as myself who have no real use for the republicans either. For years, it has been pick the lesser of two evils for president…it will be the same this year. I can tell you this…in the 60’s I would’ve voted civil rights first, regardless of the letter behind the candidate’s name. I will vote for the guy more likely not to expand (heavens forfend who willa ctaully end) abortion.. In my mind’s eye, and the mind’s eye of many others, it is the civil rights debate of our era. While we play our continued games, millions more will die. Inasfar as the reps doing their best to impoverish the poor, that is a debate. I really think that either party could give a rat’s patootie about the poor, the dems pay lip service to it my creating huge entitlment programs that ensure the poor stay poor. I have worked in inner city neighborhoods and have seen the hell the Great Society has wreaked on them. Enabling poor choices does not equate helping the poor. The dems answer is to throw more money at the problem. It has never worked. We need new solutions that press for personal responsibility and accountability…then again those that run the show, regardless of what letter is behind their name are just as without responsibility and accountability and the people the enable so as to keep their voter base.
I am with you across the board.
Programs that fail to encourage personal responsibility are doomed to failure. I think that the general and broadly-felt success of welfare reform lends great credibility to this view.
I suppose my great frustration with the GOP is that the elected officials didn’t even try.
Again, both houses of the legislature and the Executive in GOP control with a 3-2-4/5-1-3 split in the Supreme Court and the lion’s share of lower court judgeships and the GOP didn’t even try to push an agenda that honored the GOP platform. It is this reality that makes the claim that all Dems are bad and all Republicans good so offensive.
If the GOP had tried and failed, I would be silent.
You are right in your analysis of the shared fault in the failure to protect those who cannot help themselves. The Dems had the reigns of the Legislature for a huge amount of the last century and did no better.
So, where do we go?
I propose that we continue to choose the best candidate that we can from among those presented to us. This must include those lower positions in local elections because it is from here that candidates for the higher offices come.
The last thing we should be doing is voting straight-ticket.
And the first thing we need is voting as Catholics and not party hacks willing to compromise their faith and not to be trusting in princes as the Psalms says.
Pro-lifers in both party who don’t stand up publicly and complain when their parties support evil contribute to the problem by willing to compromise on issues that can’t compromise on.
“Too bad the GOP has done everything within its power to impoverish them.”
Partisan cant. The poor are better off materially now than they were in 1980. The idea that the Republicans have slashed assistance to the poor is a myth.
“When at the helm both “political” branches of government and with a majority Conservative Supreme Court, the most important legislation that the GOP could advance was bankruptcy reform and legislation addressing the great “unfairness” in the inheritance tax.”
Actually bankruptcy reform and abolishing the ghoulish death tax both received broad bi-partisan support as typified by the fact that the Democrats haven’t attempted to pass any legislation in these areas since 2006. I actually do quite a bit of consumer bankruptcy work for debtors and think the reforms made a lot of sense and closed up gaping abuses. Gee, you didn’t list the partial birth abortion ban that the Republicans passed over strenuous Democrat opposition. I wonder why?
“As for changing our party… We did… Gov. Casey. It cost us our place at the Dem. Party Convention. Now we elected his son, Sen. Casey.”
Bob Casey was a hero and a Democrat I could respect. If he had been running out in Illinois I probably would have voted for him over some of the RINOs that have caused the Republican party in Illinois to be virtually comatose. Junior thus far hasn’t shown a tenth of his Old Man’s fortitude and adherence to the pro-life cause.
:Again, both houses of the legislature and the Executive in GOP control with a 3-2-4/5-1-3 split in the Supreme Court and the lion’s share of lower court judgeships and the GOP didn’t even try to push an agenda that honored the GOP platform.”
Rubbish. If you want to know what the Republicans have done and have attempted to do just google “Republican anti-choice legislation” and you will receive endless information from pro-abort groups and groups supporting the Democrat party.
I changed parties on the day I heard Obama and Hillary’s responses to the partial birth abortion ban. Prior to that time, I had used some of the same arguments (though not nearly as eloquently) as you do now and had hopes for sanity within the Democratic party. Working towards pro-life Democratic representation is important. But it’s time (and past time) to acknowledge that the Democrats are no longer about civil rights and social justice–they’re about latte and self-indulgence, for the most part. Only they call it peace.
As long as we allow ourselves to be diverted from the non-negotiable dignity of the human person from the moment of conception, the party will take the easy way out. If you talk life, they will change the subject to peace. When you present them with the facts of women and men who have suffered from abortion, they will talk hunger. And on, and on.
I’m with Jeff (and the Church :))on the final importance of choosing life over one’s loyalty to a political party and one’s preference for particular ways and means to justice. It took me a long time to get here. God was patient with my justifications for 33 years before He showed me, through a loved one who was threatened by abortion, just how real the slaughter of the unborn is, and how much damage abortion does to those who are involved in it and to our society as a whole.
In addition to everything I’ve learned and witnessed regarding abortion in this past year, I have noticed that Truth is invariably simple, whereas falsehood can present its face with seemingly endless reasons for being. I’m praying on this Divine Mercy Sunday that the Lord shows even more mercy to those who are still blind to the non-negotiable truth and essential importance of the Gospel of Life than He bestowed on me while I was blind. I’m also praying that we in the United States will find the courage SOON to stand up and protect the unborn and help their parents overcome unreadiness, poverty, and every sort of injustice.
I acknowledge that I opened Pandora’s box by broadening the discussion to the failure of both parties to address broader issues of justice and care for the least of our brothers and sisters.
The post was about abortion.
On that score alone it is patently obvious that the Dems have done less than the GOP to preserve the lives on the unborn. Contrary to Mr. McClarey’s suggestion above, I didn’t omit a discussion of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban for any other reason than that it struck me as an half-hearted effort. Without a doubt, both Clinton’s and Obama’s irrational support for unrestricted abortion have given me pause. More particularly, the retention of the NOW/NARAL policies in the Democratic Platform are a serious concern.
I have not argued and do not believe that the Democratic party has made even token efforts to limit abortions. “Safe, Legal, and Rare” is a misrepresentation of policy.
By the same token, I do not agree that the GOP has made more than a token effort to rescind abortion-on-demand. I am not alone in this belief.
Many of our Evangelical brothers and sisters are sitting out this election cycle out of a sense of betrayal. That no true champion of Christian values could make it to Super Tuesday should give GOP pro-life forces much to think about.
In short, party leadership in both parties have made an uncomfortable peace that has betrayed the causes the the rank-and-file of the parties joined to advocate. To suggest that this cooperation is other than bought-and-paid-for by special interest is naive.
Finally, with all due respect to Mr. McClarey, to suggest that our society and governments at any level are caring for our children cannot be squared with reality. Yes, there is more money in the hands of the working poor, but there are also more of them and a greater percentage of them than there has been at any period prior to World War II.
Christianity absolutely requires that we care for the welfare of our brothers and sisters before and after they have left the womb. If the GOP were a lion for Christian or even Humanistic advocacy, I would re-register immediately. I do not believe that the national party leadership of either party cares a hoot for the general welfare of our nation… whatever the rank-and-file may feel.
One last… Bankruptcy reform is an unmitigated success… It pushes people towards Chapter 13 and away from the fresh-start provided in Chapter 7. If it had been accompanied by reform of finance law, including usury laws that bar the 35% interest routinely charged to the working poor and the up to 80% being charged on “pay-day” loans, I would not be arguing.
As it is, creditors got what they wanted from both parties. Yeah us!!! The GOP and the Dem were able to cooperate on legislation that favored the wealthy over the poor!!! We should be so proud of such bipartisanship.
“Yes, there is more money in the hands of the working poor, but there are also more of them and a greater percentage of them than there has been at any period prior to World War II.”
Simply untrue as to percentage. There are certainly more of the poor in absolute terms since our population has almost tripled since WWII.
“One last… Bankruptcy reform is an unmitigated success… It pushes people towards Chapter 13 and away from the fresh-start provided in Chapter 7.”
One thing I know for sure, in real life you don’t represent people in bankruptcy cases. Chapter 13 was always mandated for people who had much more than $200-$300 left over at the end of the month. They would then be required to pay a percentage of their debts to unsecured creditors over a 36 or 60 month period. Often this percentage could be as low as 10 cents on the dollar. Under the current law if a debtor is over the median income level in his geographic area based on income and family size, then he is required to file a Chapter 13 unless he can establish that he doesn’t have at least $100 a month to pay to unsecured creditors. I have successfully filed Chapter 7s for such debtors where I have been able to show that there was very little income left at the end of the month. In the vast majority of my cases the debtors are below the median income level, so this isn’t an issue. The major features of the Bankruptcy Act that do impact all debtors is the requirement that they receive pre-bankruptcy credit counseling, usually over the phone or on the internet, taking about an hour. The cost to do this is about $55.00 with fees being waived for the indigent. Debtors must also take a debtor eductation course after the bankruptcy is filed. Once again it can be done by phone or online. The cost in my area is $14.95.
Other reforms are that Chapter 7 may be filed only once every eight years instead of once every six years under the old law. Chapter 13s may be filed only once every four years. There was no limit to Chapter 13 filings under the old law with some debtors abusing the system by constantly filing Chapter 13s to evade creditors.
I have found in my practice that the average debtor, who only files bankruptcy once in his lifetime, is not disadvantaged at all by the reforms. Repeat filers, and debtors with above average incomes, do find the system more complicated and sometimes do have to pay a portion of their debts to their creditors, but I do not regard this as a negative. The credit card companies still usually wind up holding worthless, or near worthless debt, which, considering the number of my clients who are besieged with credit card offers shortly after they complete the bankruptcy process, doesn’t break my heart. Irresponsible big lenders should bear the consequences of their folly.
One of the dangers of discussing policy through the internet is that the views of experts may come into play. It is difficult to challenge the assertions of those who claim or demonstrate expert knowledge.
Such is the case here for I assert no such knowledge.
From the tenor of the discussion, I gather that your definitions of “poor” and mine greatly differ. Without a particular discussion on the defining the subject, we are shooting blindly across an expanse.
I remain convinced that the Legislature has, over the last eleven years, done little to aid the working poor. Arguably, Welfare Reform and No Child Left Behind were intended to address some of the ills associated with growing up poor. That they are the highlight of the Legislature’s action should trouble us all.
JP II and Pope Benedict have both challenged the unrestrained free market as a great evil. While acknowledging the global free market as a neutral instrument that can be turned to good, we are cautioned that the welfare of individuals and families must be given equal consideration with the “winners” in a global market.
On a more provincial scale, it is this balance that has not been even striven for, much less reached, by the Legislature.
Bankruptcy reform is one example of this… Where one side of the equation (creditors) gained while the other side (debtors) lost. By allowing absolute usury that now routinely charges 20% or higher on credit and wild speculation in secondary investment, the Legislature has created a financial mess where good people cannot get out from under debt.
Perhaps I should not have limited my comment to “working poor,” the numbers suggest that this situation has a broad impact among those making upwards of $100,000/annum as well.
Again, I think that the broader point, that the Legislature, whether under Dem or GOP control has done little to alleviate the plight of the displaced worker and the working poor, holds true. Neither party has championed reasonable economic policy, much less benevolent policy, for decades now.
This concern MUST have a place at the table when discussing social ills… even grave individual and societal sins such as abortion.
I make no excuses for murder. Unquestionably, the murder of the unborn is a sanctioned crime of great magnitude. It is not, though, an individual crime. It is not the crime solely of the woman or girl that consents to it.
To my mind, the wide use of abortion by middle and working-class girls suggests that the broader society has much to answer for in our choices. Our children have sex at a younger and younger age. No amount of sex education will sufficiently immunize these children to the dangers of their behavior and it is irrational to assume that placing a condom on a cucumber will cause children to use “protection” in the heat of the moment. This was true when I was a child and it is true now.
Pay attention next Halloween to the number of children dressed in “sexy” costumes. I assure you that the tween didn’t pay for it. Pay attention this summer to the relatively few girls wearing appropriate dresses this summer.
So too, we have our kids out on the street at all hours of the day and night. Groups of kids just wandering about… How could this lead to anything BUT trouble.
WE are to blame for this because the broader society, through market forces, have created a flawed cultural fabric in which these kids are raised. Throw in the displacement of workers, large-scale insolvency, and predatory lending (secured and unsecured) and you have a recipe for disaster.
I don’t expect the Legislature to solve all of these problems. Many of them are social ills that are and should be beyond the power to legislate. Further, many of the powers to regulate these activities, if they exist at all, rest with the States, not the Federal government.
Nonetheless, every effort to accelerate the pressures on the family through market forces has been made by the Legislature over the last twelve years or so.
For the GOP to claim the mantel of Defender of Judeo-Christian beliefs, it needs to be other than a shill for the powerful. As it is, the GOP is no better than the DEM in this regard.
Yes… Stop abortion at any cost… But don’t use the abortion debate as a talking point and reason to vote GOP and then do nothing about it when you (GOP Leadership) attain power. As importantly, don’t stand on the sidelines in the “culture wars” when you have the power to positively impact the market forces that create the doorway to abortion.
I also want abortion outlawed, but this cannot be the extent of our Christian responsibility.
I get a little annoyed when people downplay the EVIL of abortion. Make no mistake, whenever you follow the phrase, “abortion is evil” with the word “but,” you really don’t understand how evil abortion really is.
Where are the pro-life Democrats who are willing to say, “I will vote Republican this year to protest the fact that NONE of the Democratic runners are pro-life”? ONE presidential election where the pro-life democrats helped give a decisive victory to a Republican, and the Democrats might rethink their pro-abortion strategy. As it stands, they know the pro-life democrats can be counted on no matter who they run as a candidate.
You mistakenly assume that voting for Clinton or Obama in the Primary means that Casey Dems will vote Democrat in the General. Voting trends suggest that, like Moderate Republicans, Independents, and Libertarians, conservative Dems split on whether or not to vote for a GOP candidate on social grounds or a Dem candidate on economic ones.
Reagan won by carrying the GOP social agenda into the mainstream and by offering an answer to the social and economic malaise of the Carter years. Slick Willy won by representing the GOP social agenda as “extreme.” He was able to move that middle slightly towards the Democratic side because the GOP failed to articulate an economic solution to the recession of the late 1980s.
My point is this: there is more to winning elections than staking out turf and sticking to it. This is important and, when it comes to abortion, critical if the GOP is to remain distinct from the Dems. However, articulating practical solutions to the nation’s woes is essential to a victory for both parties.
To this end, I expect McCain to push a more robust agenda for a pull-back from the international stage and a financial reorganization of credit as the General approaches. He will probably say little about abortion and almost nothing about the Defense of Marriage Act or other social causes.
He will fear alienating the “Center” over social issues.
Whoever wins on the Dem side has their work cut out for them.
Through this brutal Primary, both candidates have had to move further and further Left. McCain doesn’t really have to move to the Center. The Center is McCains to lose.
The Dems, on the other hand, have to take a hard-right turn and the forces that have pushed them Left won’t like that. I suspect that, however much the Dems would like to minimize the social issues talk, they will have to regularly assure the Left that, as President, they will push a social agenda to NOW and NARAL’s liking.
So… While I have every intention of voting for McCain (is this really the best you guys could offer us?), McCain could lose the Center and the race by tackling the social agenda that persons on this post seem to favor. I share your desire but, with at least two Justices set to retire, the next President will have far more lasting influence than Slick Willy did.