Casting Stones

Casting Stones

Steven Waldman on What Moves Catholic Democrats

Steven makes a bold statement that Catholicism has nothing to do with the Catholic Vote in Democratic primaries. That’s a bit extreme, although with the non-negotiable life issues of the Catholic church taken off the table among Democrats they do often seem Catholic-lite.
Let’s remember, however, that Catholicism is a worldview before it is a list of moral teachings or policy positions. If a candidate can create in the Catholic voter an awareness that “he sees the world the way I do,” he doesn’t have to be “right” on every issue. I think that kind of awareness, call it a common vision, is at play when you raise the question about Obama having the same policy positions as Clinton on health care, children, and families. That being the case, you ask why Obama wouldn’t be able to attract the Catholic vote “over time.” In our January article on Obama and the Catholic vote, Steve Wagner and I argued that Obama, unlike Clinton, had yet to create a social justice persona in the eyes of Catholic voters, and would be unlikely to get it done before November.
But, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say Obama will succeed in creating a visible social justice message in time for the general election. Then he has a different problem, that problem is the above-mentioned worldview — he will have a hard time making his social justice package into a family issue, as the Clintons have done so successfully. Obama, especially with Rev. Wright’s shadow hanging over him, will continue to appear more interested in appealing to political classes, in the McGovern tradition, than to American families worried about the problems of raising children and grandchildren in a hostile culture.
The core of the Catholic vote does not share the political left’s principle concern for repairing inequities suffered by the poor, minorities, homosexuals, and women. What primarily concerns them are those institutions influencing family well-being and accepted norms of public morality — schools, media, entertainment, the impact of the Internet. The central finding of the Crisis Catholic Voter Project (1998-2000) remains a key factor — active Catholic voters want political leaders who oppose moral decay and seek social renewal.
Allow me to make one qualification. In this election cycle, it remains to be seen how the Iraq War will affect the Catholic vote. Many Catholics view the Vatican as “opposed” to the war; some think there is an official Catholic position that the war is unjust. Benedict XVI could have given a big gift to the Democrats by emphasizing his disagreement with President Bush and the GOP on this issue. He didn’t, and I think that was deliberate; he did not want to undercut a president who often expresses his concern for building a “culture of life.”
If McCain does not make his case on the war to Catholics in terms they understand, it could be the deciding factor of the election.

Comments read comments(2)
post a comment
Carlos Caso-Rosendi

posted April 29, 2008 at 11:05 pm

“If McCain does not make his case on the war to Catholics in terms they understand, it could be the deciding factor of the election.”
May be my friends are too conservative and not representing of a large cross-section of Catholic voters. Having said that, my perception is that many Catholics see Obama as McGovern redivivus. Essentially Obama’s Coalition is the McGovern Coalition with a twist here and there.
Sen. Obama has mentioned his intention of taking the war to Pakistan. The Catholics I know find that intention disturbing.
McCain won’t have to court the Catholic vote too much. To be honest, I believe that if he can avoid making serious mistakes, the White House is his for the next four years.
Congrats on the blog.
God Bless

report abuse

Pingback: Catholics as political orphans - Benedictions: The Pope in America

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Casting Stones. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Reading!!! ...

posted 9:07:21am Jul. 10, 2012 | read full post »

Same-Sex Marriage: Are the People Sovereign, or is it to be the Courts?
On Nov. 4, 2008, the people of California, Florida and Arizona joined the ranks of the nearly 40 of the United States that have outlawed same-sex marriage either by amending their respective state constitutions or by passing appropriate ...

posted 4:11:30pm Nov. 14, 2008 | read full post »

Traditional Marriage Wins Big
Social conservatives and defenders of traditional marriage won tremendous strategic victories in ballot initiatives on Nov. 4. First and foremost, the defenders of traditional marriage overturned the California Supreme Court's legalization last ...

posted 11:35:03am Nov. 07, 2008 | read full post »

America: Fulfilling her promises
All Americans should take great pride and satisfaction in the election of an African-American as president of the United States. Given our nation's tragic racial history, it says something noble and fine about America that Barack Obama, both a ...

posted 2:03:21pm Nov. 06, 2008 | read full post »

The Party Platforms: Instructive Guides to Informed Voting - Part 3
Every year (beginning in 1988) the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has published a comparison of the two major party platforms to assist Southern Baptists and other people of faith as they seek guidance in the decision ...

posted 1:44:04pm Oct. 31, 2008 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.