A New Kind of Right-Wing Politics

This phenomenon just slays me.

Enterprising conservatives scour the net for more crazy Obama supporters. Clearly, they have no leg to stand on when it comes to real issues. Activist bishops are going to push all the abortion fence-sitters into the Democratic camp … as if an immoral and kid-stubborn war wouldn’t have done it already.

Everybody’s picking on Chicago priest Michael Pfleger this week: the crunchy con, the anchoress (in two locales) and no doubt lots of other lesser bloggers.

It says a lot of things about Catholics, politics, and blogging in general, and in no particular order:

The American political system really breaks down when the decisions aren’t final in January. Imagine hosting a party at which your guests stay hours after they’re supposed to have left. Sober and well-rested, your friends are great friends and fine party guests. But if you let a little pickling and a few loony party games take over, I’m sure you’ll find a YouTube moment or two. Big deal; it’s the human condition.

I feel badly for Catholic conservatives. They’re really in a tough spot. The Iraq War and the brazen incompetence and immorality of the W administration makes it likely Senator Obama is going to sweep into the White House. So much for the best-laid plans of one-issue politics. Otherwise respectable and sensible bloggers are spreading YouTube gossip far and wide in some vain hope that some unconscious senator will be found curled up in a corner of your rec room passed out next to an ashtray of cigarette butts and empty shot glasses.

Rather than put the presidential race to a merciful end and vote next week, we’ll have five more months of a curious little game. Let’s scour the internet for the craziest political supporter we can unearth and declare that person’s candidate a loser. Heck of a lot more fun than democracy. Or a house party without booze.

Catholic Republicans may find the task of gotcha! rather fun compared to real politics these days. I confess I can’t keep my eyes off this bloggerosion.

I’m not going to be coy about calling it. It’s pretty embarrassing for the bloggers. Just be thankful relatively few others recognize if this were print media, you’d be on the style/gossip page.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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14 Responses to A New Kind of Right-Wing Politics

  1. Hans says:

    Oh yes, I’ve been in many battles with them here even though I’ve only been on-board for a couple weeks now. I tend to attack fire with fire when need be, even though I have to lower myself to their level. But sometimes I can call them out on higher levels

    I’m sure Obambi blogger is preparing his next round of attacks, so i’ll have to ready myself :)

  2. Todd:

    So, are you saying that Obama’s associations are en banc irrelevant? Obama himself doesn’t say that; nor does McCain about his own associations with Hagee and Parsley; and since when has that ever been true in our politics?

    This isn’t just about religious associations. Are McCain’s associations with various lobbyists an issue, or not? If Obama hung out with hard lefties before he stepped into the national limelight, that means nothing? I seem to recall the same question came up with Huckabee, both from people to the left of him, and to the right.

    If this is your assertion, it seems rather conveniently arbitrary; I think it’s more reasonable to say that sometimes they matter, depending on circumstances and how egregious they are.

    Pfleger is, perhaps, a sideshow; except he serves to remind everyone of Rev. Wright; and at after awhile, you start to wonder, how many fruitcakes has Obama cast his lot with over the years?

    I don’t agree Wright himself is not legitimately an issue; or are you saying ones religious beliefs really have no connection, no bearing, on who someone is? That would be a pretty devastating admission for someone like you to make, would it not?

    No, we don’t like mucking around in these areas, but how we approach religion and politics in this country is more complicated.

    We have mostly unstated assumptions about the religious values we expect in our candidates, and over the years, we’ve gradually expanded our categories or reduced our stipulations; Catholics are pretty much OK now, but they didn’t used to be; the jury is still out on Mormons; Jews are “in” for most offices, but we’ve yet to settle the question for the presidency (but is there evidence Lieberman’s faith cost him or his ticket in 2000?).

    Is this “progression” progress? Yes and no. Yes, insofar as it breaks down misunderstandings, but not so good when it is part of a breakdown in the shared values a cohesive society needs. A society that considers religious practice irrelevant to who we are is not one I wish to live in.

    It isn’t just Christian v. non-Christian; we want our Christian candidates to be the “right” sort: Huckabee’s approach energized some, repelled others, and the same is clearly true with Bush.

    Well, Obama and Clinton themselves have brought their faith into the picture, so…

    Beyond that, I really don’t get you saying, “Clearly, they [i.e., conservatives] have no leg to stand on when it comes to real issues.”

    What, there’s no persuasive criticism to be made, either on substance or on moral grounds, by Catholic and conservatives, on:

    - taxes
    - size and role of government
    - how to address economic growth
    - how to deal with energy issues
    - how to remedy chronic problems of education, health and environment
    - how to deal prudently with a world at large with all its perils…

    …not to mention issues where options for “prudential” judgments become vanishingly narrow, including abortion, baby-destroying “research,” euthanasia, and what marriage is?

    Conservatives “don’t have a leg to stand on” in critiquing Obama on any of these issues? Or do you deny that any of these are “real issues”?

  3. Gavin says:

    I have yet to see a legitimate attack on McCain. There’s many legitimate attacks on Republicans, W, people who like McCain, but it says little about him. It seems his being a Republican (sort of) is enough for him to lose an election, which is quite unfortunate.

    Honestly, I think this year’s election will be about who can make the least of a fool out of him/herself. Obama has a nutcase for a “spiritual leader”, McCain brings up for no reason his initial opposition to MLK Jr Day, Hillary… well, enough said. At the end of the day, whomever sabotages himself the least will win.

  4. Todd says:

    “So, are you saying that Obama’s associations are en banc irrelevant?”

    I’m saying others’ associations might well be. But I’m curious: what is the direct connection between Pfleger and Obama?

    “(Y)ou start to wonder, how many fruitcakes has Obama cast his lot with over the years?”

    Maybe, but it might well tie fruitcakes to organized religion much more strongly than it does with political candidates.

    “What, there’s no persuasive criticism to be made, either on substance or on moral grounds, by Catholic and conservatives, on:

    - taxes
    - size and role of government
    - how to address economic growth
    - how to deal with energy issues
    - how to remedy chronic problems of education, health and environment
    - how to deal prudently with a world at large with all its perils…”

    Too bad Republicans as a lot haven’t stood for much of this list. Fr Fox, are you sure you’re in the right party? We have a growing federal bureaucracy, an enormous debtload instead of taxes (real responsibility, there, I’ll grant you), an economy heading south, no energy policy to speak of, not much on education, health, or on the environment, and a more dangerous world thanks to neo-con adventurism in the Middle East.

    The Republicans should be darn glad we do have a two-party system. If we had a viable third or fourth party, they couldn’t rely on a default second place.

  5. Liam says:

    Pfleger is irrelevant to Obama. He’s a matter for his bishop.

    Wright is no more relevant to Obama than the my pastors or confessors have been to me. And I’ve had some pastors whose perspectives were quite looney. One of my confessors (not in my registered parish, which I cannot access at confession time for logistical reasons) is superlative in the confessional, but his homilies on occasion can be stuff of YouTube in their inaccuracies and paranoia. I am glad that Obama has repudiated what was worth repudiating of Wright, but many people can translate what Wright was saying from a literal level to a the real intended level meaning – funny, Catholics should at leasat be better than that than fundamentalists! And, at that level, Wright is hardly the monster people have made him out to be. But American politics is a cheap fundamentalist-literalist game. Catholics who collaborate too much in this game are contributing to the further distancing of the US from a Catholic-type of culture. Go figure. Original sin works in funny ways like that, doesn’t it?

  6. Todd:

    regarding Pfleger, I thought I answered that: “Pfleger is, perhaps, a sideshow; except he serves to remind everyone of Rev. Wright…”

    The “perhaps” was inserted because of reports that Pfleger’s church benefited from earmarked funds; that report suggests there may indeed be more ties.

    As to what party I belong to: to what party do you suppose I belong to? I don’t believe I said.

    I don’t offer much political commentary on my blog anymore, but I think if you looked, you’d see I’m far more scathing toward the GOP than the Democratic Party.

    I’m a conservative with a side of libertarianism. If candidates of such ilk appear in a Democratic primary hereabouts, I’ll vote for them happily, same in November. The last time I voted for a major party candidate for president was 1988, and I learned my lesson.

    Indeed, it is too bad Republicans don’t have a good record on the issues I mentioned; but I wasn’t speaking of Republicans, and your intitial post emphasized conservatives not having anything in their quiver. Who said the terms are interchangeable?

  7. Michael says:

    I have yet to see a legitimate attack on McCain.

    I have yet to see an attack on McCain that wasn’t legitimate.

  8. Sean says:

    “The Republicans should be darn glad we do have a two-party system. If we had a viable third or fourth party, they couldn’t rely on a default second place.”

    -Keep up the good blogging!

  9. http://goesdownbitter.wordpress.com/2008/06/01/clintons-march-to-the-sea/

    I don’t see how you can support your contention that Obama will be the next president. The Democratic Party is imploding and McCain will be swept into office in a landslide.

  10. crystal says:

    I did see this in a news story about the connection between Obama and Pfleger ……

    Friends and advisers, such as the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church in the Auburn- Gresham community on the South Side, who has known Obama for the better part of 20 years, help him keep that compass set, he says.

    “I always have felt in him this consciousness that, at the end of the day, with all of us, you’ve got to face God,” Pfleger says of Obama. “Faith is key to his life, no question about it. It is central to who he is, and not just in his work in the political field, but as a man, as a black man, as a husband, as a father…. I don’t think he could easily divorce his faith from who he is.”

  11. Michael says:

    The Democratic Party is imploding and McCain will be swept into office in a landslide.

    Keep dreaming, and keep ignoring the fundamentally evil nature of the Republican Party and most Republican officials.

  12. Pingback: Catholic Pillow Fight

  13. Hans says:

    @CPF
    you are kidding right? Symbolism over substance?

    i can’t imagine what symbolism handed the republicans the white house the last two elections. it was all substance right?

    Yep, “Jobs & Food” is symbolism while “God & Guns” is substance!?

    you got us lefties, nailed us dead on the head.

    the only symbolism I see is the delusions in your head, but that is just me a lefty seeing symbolism over substance, so don’t let it keep you up at night ok?

    what other symbols are the lefties’ all about again, let me think….

    flag pins
    patriotism
    bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb iran
    “god damn america”
    yellow ribbons on the back of SUVs
    golf as a sacrific for suport of brave soldiers overseas dying

    check your forehead, you might be feverish at the moment

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