The political posting in St Blog’s is sure to reach a fever pitch in the next–what is it? thirty-three days? Political posts seem to spike my hit count, but I think this may be my last political post before the election. I’ve finally decided for whom I will be casting my presidential ballot, and as I suggested several weeks ago, maybe it’s time for the decided cadre to step back and let the undecided folk hash it out.

This is more of a blogosphere commentary anyway. I channel-surfed briefly last night to hear Keith Olbermann call the McCain campaign “morons” for agreeing to Gwen Ifill as a debate moderator they now see as “biased.” The whine is picked up by a few of the IC bloggers, including Deal Hudson:

Furthermore, the principal concern isn’t that her upcoming book reveals her as an Obama partisan, but that it gives her a financial stake in his electoral success. If Obama loses the election, then sales for The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama (again, released on Inauguration Day) will be significantly lower than if he had won. This is simply beyond question, and creates the kind of conflict of interest that would lead to a mistrial in law, and an ethics violation in print journalism.

Really? Oops. I’ve written for InsideCatholic. Does that make me a partisan of their skewed worldview? I take a stipend when I write for them. Lots of things we do net us financial gain: does that mean we shouldn’t do them? I for one don’t see the big conflict here. While Senator Obama isn’t debating, his VP nominee is. Can Ms Ifill do her job for PBS the way a moderator should? Catechism 2478 would suggest I consider the possibility.

The real problem is that the McCain campaign was inattentive on this. Maybe the senator from Arizona really can’t handle more than one thing at a time.

Meanwhile, Amy Welborn promotes the notion that straw is everywhere. My take is that it’s literal, left and right. Most problematic is her assertion that:

One of the points that is frequently raised … goes something like this:

You know, the anti-abortion movement just has to get over its fixation with overturning Roe. Instead of obsessing about criminalization, the anti-abortion movement should take the energy it puts into politics and work to find ways to decrease the number of abortion and improve the lives of women, children and families.

What would be more helpful that a self-congratulatory post endorsed by a commentariat of fifty-plus would be an actual discussion of what another pro-life person actually said. This is the era of YouTube and blogs. Surely, somewhere on the net, there’s a real critique of the anti-abortion movement from a pro-life perspective. Why do we settle for addressing the “something like this” argument?

In years past, I’ve butted heads with Amy and others with my suggestions. Instead of bishops disinviting speakers with a phone call and a press release, why not gatecrash the event and say, “So-and-so is a fine person for supporting the Catholic mission in this way and that way, BUT we can all lament that s/he could be supporting unborn life more explicitly.” Why is pro-life PR so focused on keeping the troops happy: protests, and what bishops showed up at protests, and who was denied Communion? Why not delve into PR stories that will sway the fence-sitters? Why not promote what Birthright and others are doing? Nobody serious is denying that women and the unborn aren’t being helped before and after birth. Why does the political arm of the pro-life movement concede the moral high ground so readily?

And as for the internet, why rehash the same stuff over and over? Internet radio, videoblogging, and other formats would permit people to get together and actually discuss real viewpoints rather than invented ones. Funny how some folks never ask the tough questions of themselves others might be lobbing their way. And consider if the strategy and tactics aren’t universally accepted by other pro-lifers, what hope do they have of convincing society at large?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Whine

  1. Liam says:


    I speculate there is a fairly easy explanation for why – hard-contact by its nature attracts much more conversation than soft-engagement. Soft-engagement usually has to be translated into hard-contact to engage large numbers of people. Seems to be human nature. You yourself exemplify this, as do I, in our somewhat different ways. We are no more immune than anyone else.

    For the same reason, people who disagree with, let’s say, the bailout plan, are likely to be far more voluble than people who agree with it. Conflict generates conversation. Like you are trying to generate here.

  2. Tony says:

    The real problem is that the McCain campaign was inattentive on this. Maybe the senator from Arizona really can’t handle more than one thing at a time.

    I don’t think they were inattentive at all. I believe they knew exactly what they were doing. Ifill was forced to be not only fair, but easy on Gov. Palin lest people invalidate the entire debate and mar an otherwise illustrious career.

    The McCain handcuffed Ifill with regard to the debates because everyone would be watching her.

    Master stroke.

  3. Jimmy Mac says:

    By all means, we cannot have bishops meeting face-to-face with folks with whom they agree and having an honest dialog! My goodness, that would put them on the same level as one of the great unwashed. Then they might have to think on their feet without benefit of PR flacks to clean up their boo-boos.

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