The resignation of Ambassador Doug Kmiec from his Malta post is being spun by the Catholic left as a tribute to his Catholic convictions. In point of fact, Kmiec was simply not doing his job, as documented by the State Department audit of the way he spent his time.
It wasn’t the fact that Kmiec was writing about abortion and his Catholic beliefs — he could have just as easily been writing about the upcoming baseball season — but that he was not spending that time doing his job as Ambassador to Malta, which became more important with the influx of refugees from the revolutions in Egypt and other Muslim countries in the region.
Doug Kmiec is a nice man, and quite a brilliant law professor, who for reasons entirely unfathomable to me became Obama’s chief Catholic surrogate during the 2008 election. I suppose resigning from his presidential appointment means he won’t be going on the road in the 2012 campaign, but that remains to be seen since Obama is going to have a lot of trouble convincing Catholics he is worthy of their vote.
Obama won the self-identified Catholic vote by 54% but lost to religiously active Catholics by a narrow margin. Mass attending Catholics were not quite so taken by the charm offensive and Catholic surrogates who talked about the pro-life convictions of a former Illinois state senator who supported infanticide.
Matt Smith and I co-authored an op-ed elaborating this point and others for the American Spectator entitled, “Obama Faces Hard Times with Catholic Voters.”
Much can, and will, happen between now and November 2012, but one thing is certain, the social justice networks of the Catholic Left will try to move heaven and earth to shift the focus from Obama’s unprecedented abortion advocacy to the GOP’s attempt to cut the budget. The Catholic Left will argue the ‘heartless’ GOP cares nothing about the impact of budget cuts on the poor, elderly, and needy. Whether this works or not depends much on the Catholic bishops clarifying the ‘weighting” of life issues versus prudential issues in their upcoming version of Faithful Citizenship.