Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

The Catholic Imagery of Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden’s Son

George W. Bush was always brilliant at dropping in religious references in ways that seemed genuine, appropriate and not forced. Joe Biden had a different, but equally effective style. This was not language of poetic evangelicalism, but colloquial faith talk of working class Catholics:
“How in God’s name”
“God sends no cross that you cannot bear”
“Live your faith, treasure your family.”
“May God protect our Troops”
In more subtle ways, he also used resonant Catholic language, especially when he talked about the “dignity” of work. “Work is more than a paycheck. It’s dignity. It’s respect. It’s about whether you cna look your children in the eye and say: we’re going to be ok.” Whether consciously or unconsciously, this evokes the papal encyclicals, Rerum novarum — about the dignity of work — and the seven basic teachings of social teaching from the U.S. Catholic Bishops: “Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation.”
More important, he used the imagery of the working class Irish Catholic neighborhood. Who needs a Catholic electoral strategy when you have the image of that sweet little old lady with the most Irish name I’ve ever heard —– Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden — telling her stuttering son Joey to bloody the nose of the bullies who picked on him.

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Charles Cosimano

posted August 28, 2008 at 1:28 am

Oh, I have the perfect one liner response to Biden’s upbringing.
“And his parents made him bathe every month whether he needed to or not!’
I can just see my Protestant grandparents, if they were alive, turning off the television and my union official grandfather voting for the second Republican in his life.
Do these folks understand how incredibly offensive this stuff is to the bulk of Americans?

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Paul, seeking...

posted August 28, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Does Charles mean fat, overindulging back room Republicans when he says “Bulk” of Americans?
The Majority of Americans who grew up in working class families identify with Biden. “Just Joe” is a hero to what was once the Middle Class Working America whose fathers lived as the Great Generation. WE want a return to the greatness we once know; Pride, Honor and Faith in God and Country. We the Children of the Great Generation fought for civil rights, equal pay and dignity for all. What has the Republicans given us the last eight years? Fear, War and suspension of Human Dignity.

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posted August 28, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Genuine, appropriate and not forced? What about this quote?
The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.
Nobody who prays the rosary would talk like this.

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posted August 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Cosimano is probably one of those fat overindulging backroom republicans.
Most bulk americans will appreciate the Biden family. They are so american and probably the few left in the middle class.

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posted September 10, 2008 at 12:25 pm

I’d like to abide by what Obama and Biden are trying to accomplish. Rather than being frightened and intolerant of oneanother…let’s embrace our differences.
I would hope that every human being had something lovely from childhood that he or she could keep in times of needed inspiration or comfort.

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posted September 10, 2008 at 12:30 pm

About the rosary quote…i never heard that, but if he said it … I’m sure he said it like an Irishmen who felt a bit pushed. We’re all human beings, whether we prayer the rosarie or not.

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