Which Party Is Best for a Faithful Catholic?

The word “politics” is derived from the word “poly,” meaning “many,” and the word “ticks,” meaning “blood sucking parasites.”
– Larry Hardiman

What’s a peaceful, freedom-loving, family-oriented, hard-working Catholic guy to do with the current state of U.S. politics?

For decades, now, it’s been obvious that even a moderately faithful Catholic cannot feel at home in any of the major, or even the minor, U.S. political parties.

We are given the choice between an increasingly jingoistic, even bellicose Republican Party that goes out of its way to ignore civil liberties and enthusiastically endorses torture, illegal surveillance of ordinary citizens and the death penalty… and the morally tone-deaf party of slavery (both literally and figuratively), the Democrats, who have never seen an authoritarian Big Government program they didn’t like and whose only economic policy prescription is to “Tax the Rich” (the “rich” being defined as anyone who holds a non-government job) and whose embrace of “abortion rights” is so extreme that it even includes outright infanticide.

Not a very appealing choice. The Party of Death versus, well, the Party of More Death.

The truth is, Catholics are odd ducks in American politics.

The ones who actually go to church and believe the central tenets of their Faith (as opposed to the “I was raised” Catholic variety who skew polling data) are, by and large, fairly conservative on social issues (abortion, marriage and embryo research), moderate on economic issues and occasionally downright liberal on environmental, peace and justice issues. (Polls now show that most church-going Catholics, for example, now accept Pope John Paul II’s teaching that the death penalty is illegitimate in most modern societies.)

Part of this odd political schizophrenia stems directly from Catholic social teaching as enunciated in papal encyclicals such as Rerum Novarum (1891), Quadragesimo Anno (1931), Mater et Magistra (1961), Populorum Progressio (1967) and Solicitudo Rei Socialis (1987) and Centesimus Annus (1991). As the popes have explained for the past 200 years, the dominant principles underlying Christian teaching on both social and economic issues are what are called the Principle of Subsidiarity and the Principle of Solidarity.

The Principle of Subsidiarity means that, for both practical and philosophical reasons, matters ought to be handled by “the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority.” That means that Catholics believe in local, de-centralized, “small is better” forms of government. You don’t have the Federal government setting education policy, for example, when education is done on a local neighborhood level. In practical terms, the principle of subsidiarity favors regional solutions to problems over diktats from distant and unaccountable authority. On this score, Catholics would gravitate more towards a free market or Republican approach to economic matters. The Catholic political sensibility favors federalism, local control, regionalism, non-empire building. Small is beautiful indeed.

But the principle of subsidiarity must also be balanced by the Principle of Solidarity or a commitment to the common good. As Pope John Paul II explained it in his encyclical Solicitudo Rei Socialis, “Solidarity… is a virtue directed par excellence to the common good, and is found in ‘a commitment to the good of one’s neighbor with the readiness, in the Gospel sense, to ‘ lose oneself’ for the sake of the other instead of exploiting him, and to ‘serve him’ instead of oppressing him for one’s own advantage ([cf.] Mt 10:40-42, 20-25;Mk 10:42-45; Lk 22:25-27).”

Thus, while Catholics believe in the liberty-based ideals of a free market and de-centralized authority, these ideals are not absolute: They must be balanced with a “commitment to the good of one’s neighbor.” For that reason, most faithful Catholics are not libertarian purists:  They do not object to, say, zoning regulations that prohibit strip clubs from opening near schools… or environmental protection laws that forbid dumping toxic waste directly in the ocean. The principle of solidarity is also why Catholics oppose abortion on principle: A woman’s freedom of choice ends precisely where another human life is involved.

For me personally, the only U.S. politician who even comes close to living up to these ideals is the “unelectable” and “crazy” Dr. Ron Paul. Ron Paul is a radical libertarian on economic matters (more libertarian than Church teaching), opposed to the death penalty, opposed to America waging undeclared and unending wars overseas, opposed to the illegal and immoral use of torture, opposed to violations of civil liberties through the U.S. Patriot Act. Because he was a true physician and O.B. and delivered thousands of babies, Dr. Paul is also pro-life, which, to me, shows a willingness to concede that his libertarian principles are not absolute. I thus voted for Dr. Paul in 2008 and again in 2012 even though he had no chance of winning. He is the only Republican candidate who even pretends to adhere to any fixed principles.

For a while, I was tempted by some of what the Green Parties say. I am, after all, pro-life. I was raised in a vast forest. I’ve always liked the Greens and agree with a lot of the Global Greens Charter adopted in Canberra in 2001. The global Green Platform includes many very Catholic statements of principle in regards to nonviolence, social justice, participatory democracy, economic and ecological sustainability, de-centralized decision-making, human rights, and so on. Were it not for abortion, I would probably even sign up! The Greens oppose capital punishment and torture, as do I. They support regional farming and small business, as do I. Their champion for a long time was Ralph Nader, whom I have always liked even when I disagree with him on some economic questions and despite the fact that he is a lawyer.

Unfortunately, however, in the U.S. the Greens, like Amnesty International, have been taken over by extremist pro-abortion fanatics for whom the right to kill infants in the womb is “non-negotiable.” In Europe, some of the Green Parties insisted that “questions implying life and death are sensitive ones indeed and let it be clear that the European Green Party has never advocated unrestricted abortion rights.” The European Greens, especially in Germany, have had painful experience with what happens when societies endorse medical killing…. and are thus much less enthusiastic when it comes to abortion and euthanasia than are liberals in the U.S. The Global Green Party platform in 2008 didn’t even mention abortion except to denounce forced abortions in China.  But for U.S. liberals, abortion trumps all else. How a party that claims to be “green” can celebrate the surgical dismemberment of an infant in the womb… or think that chemically poisoning such a child through saline solution or RU486 is somehow a “life-enhancing” act… is beyond me. Here is what the platform of the Green Party in the USA states on abortion:

Women’s right to control their bodies is non-negotiable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains available. The “morning-after” pill must be affordable and easily accessible without a prescription, together with a government-sponsored public relations campaign to educate women about this form of contraception. Clinics must be accessible & must offer advice on contraception; consultation about abortion and the performance of abortions. (Source: 2008 Green Party Platform from 2008 Chicago Convention Jul 13, 2008)

Well, that crosses the Greens off of the list for Catholics, at least the Greens in the U.S.!  (In the past few years, the European Greens have also become increasingly pro-abortion… to the point that the European Green Party Congress, held in Paris in 2011, declared that while “access to safe and legal abortion remains a controversial issue in European countries… the right to have an abortion in good psychological, sanitary or economic conditions must be re-asserted as an indispensable condition to the evolution of countries.”)

What about the Phillip Blond’s Red Tories? They are consciously drawing upon Distributist ideals. Distributism is the name given to the political aspirations of G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc and Fr. Vincent McNabb, OP, in the early 20th century. Opposed to both Big Government liberals and Big Business conservatives, the Distributists favored small, locally owned farms and businesses and sought to put into practice the Corporal Works of Mercy. Dorothy Day and her Catholic Worker movement were an example of early Distributist thought. Certainly, neo-Distributism has many attractions for Catholics… and much of what the Red Tories say appeal to us. Yet among their many attractions, numbers isn’t one of them – meaning, both Distributism and the Red Tories are more of a philosophical objection than a real-life movement.

If I was really pressed, however, I would have to say that the political movement that comes closest to authentic Catholic ideals and my own temperament would have to be The Idler movement founded by UK writer and general layabout Tom Hodgkinson.

In a very real way, Tom comes far closer to living out the ideals of Distributism, and thus of Catholic social teaching, than any of the more “serious” political parties we’ve been discussing. In a very real sense, The Idler movement is apolitical. Like G.K. Chesterton and the Distributists, Tom thinks that the most important things in life have nothing whatsoever to do with politics — things like raising children, dancing with your wife, river racing, drinking with friends — and that we should, by and large, ignore both politics and politicians. For example, Tom does not vote… and, the more I see of U.S. politics, the more I understand why he takes this stance. How can a person with principles stand with either the Party of Slavery (the Democrats) or with the Party of Torture (the Republicans)?

While I can’t quite bring myself (yet) to go that far, clearly the world needs a political and economic alternative. The obsolete ideas and ideals of Big Government collectivism … and the equally bankrupt ideas and ideals of Big Business collectivism… have run their course. Now all that is left, in most developed countries, is a political stalemate that is increasingly acrimonious, even dangerous.

The only sane alternative for fair-minded humanists everywhere is to abandon the siren song of politics altogether… to flee the plantation of government rules and regulations… and channel their energies into social and economic projects that lie outside the realm of politics.

What sorts of projects?  Anything that is based on voluntary cooperation, not force. Any individual initiative or social effort that invites participation, not demands or forces it. That would include new businesses, voluntary organizations, neighborhood groups, food and medical co-ops, charities, churches and temples, social outreach enterprises.

For thousands of years, this was how people served the common good: voluntarily.

Someone saw a need that wasn’t being met, thought of a way that need could be met, and then either created a solution that could be sold, or, alternatively, persuaded neighbors and friends to join in a collective effort to provide a solution. Thus, Benjamin Franklin and the early American colonists created the first fire departments and libraries. Politics had little to do with it. Everything was done on a voluntary basis, by subscription.

Increasingly, Catholics and other people of faith will be forced to Just Say No – no to politicians and their increasingly authoritarian schemes, no to never-ending war, no to political coercion of any kind.  In the U.S., unfortunately, it increasingly means saying no to party politics.  It means voting your conscience instead of for a party.  Sometimes it even means voting for idealistic losers.

Robert Hutchinson

By

Robert Hutchinson studied philosophy as an undergraduate, moved to Israel to study Hebrew and earned an M.A. degree in Biblical studies. He is the author, most recently, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible. He blogs at RobertHutchinson.com.

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  • James Stagg

    So……………………….what is your conclusion?

  • JMC

    This “political schizophrenia” is precisely why I completely abstained from voting for so many years. The Democratic party my parents so ardently supported had morphed, by the 1980s, into something completely and obviously (to me) controlled by the very communistic rabble-rousers of the 1960s that turned our country upside down. Problem was, their influence was also clearly visible in the Republican party, and in every other party on the political landscape. Every candidate on every side espoused several issues that I found objectionable. It’s still the case now; one simply has to decide which is the least evil. But even at that, I still feel that voting for any of them is violating some of my beliefs. The idea of voting for the Romney/Ryan team is the most comfortable one for me in a very long time, and they’re far from perfect. While I’ve come to trust Ryan, as much as one can trust a politician, since he very vocally objected to Obamacare before it became law – being the only Congressman who actually READ the monstrosity before it came to a vote – I have serious reservations about Romney. Truth to tell, I have serious reservations about anyone, of any faith, who says his church’s teachings end where government begins, because it means, to my mind at least, that he will abandon moral principles for mere political expediency. That’s not the way to run a country.

  • JMC

    Who is the artist responsible for that wonderful rendering of the temptation of Christ that heads up this article?

  • Francine

    The author states: the “Republican Party that goes out of its way to ignore civil liberties” – do you mean like ignoring unborn babies’ civil right to live? Wrong. Or does the author mean ignoring the civil right to own property or keep money we earned without over taxation? Wrong. What about ignoring the right of religious liberty? Wrong. Ignoring the civil right to protect our country from invasion and terrorism? Wrong.
    The Republican party, though not perfect, has done far more and supports civil rights than any other party that has the potential to win. I believe it’s articles like this and other so-called conservative writers and speakers who are helping to keep Obama in office for another term. We have enough confused Catholics and other moderates who will use artilces like this to justify their voting for Obama. The lesser of two evils is Romney. Lets not forget all his charitible works and not be jealous of his wealth. Lets keep in mind his more traditonal values as compared to Obama. Shockingly, this comment comes from a “rare” Hispanic, former Democrat, lower-to-middle-class, no-war-on-me woman.
    I, too, wonder where is your conclusion?

  • Poppiexno

    This is one of the more confusing and confused articles that I have read on Catholic Exchange. At least it is thought-provoking. First, let me say that in all modesty I consider myself to be more than a moderately faithful Catholic. And I do feel at home in the Republican Party despite the aspersions cast by the author. Perhaps I’m missing something but it is not clear to me why the terms “jingoistic” and “bellicose” should be applied to the Republican Party, especially when it is contrasted with the policies of the Obama administration.
    The author states that the principle of solidarity is why Catholics oppose abortion “on principle.” I fail to see the connection between the principle of solidarity and the murder of an unborn human being – but then I may be theologically challenged.
    The author also states he was attracted to the Green party. My view of the Green party is that it consists in people who are extreme environmentalists to the detriment of humanity. We are certainly charged to be good stewards of the planet. But the “Greens” have taken this charge to the extreme and do not deserve serious consideration for membership by Catholics regardless of the Greens position on abortion.

  • ziggy

    If it were the old Republican party, I would agree with you. The Patriot Act is still one of the largest violations of the rights of American citizens, not counting Roe v. Wade. Keep in mind, Obama also signed NDAA last year, which allows the detainment of US Citizens for an indeterminate amount of time without due process, so he is equally culpable. What the author is trying to do here is persuade Catholics to actually think about their decision. The author is encouraging us to not look to the Republican party as being perfect, since they also support the death penalty, torture, unconstitutional surveillance, environmental de-regulation, and the cutting of many programs that help the impoverished and disenfranchised. I am a Catholic who always struggles with this decision, and I have voted for multiple parties, sometimes to my own disappoint. The key is that we need to realize that neither of the big parties are going to be fully on our side, and we should use reason and be critical of both in order to form an educated decision.

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    The usage of the expression ” political schizophrenia ” debases the situation with a rude juxatopostion of the meaning of the term for a type of mental illness “schizophrenia with “political” platforms(Democrat/Republican). Neither “party” addresses the complete spectrum of social issues within their platforms which can be deemed the best for the general public, the US citizens in toto.
    What’s a (practicing and adjures to The Magisterium’s teachings) Catholic to do ? Stay faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church or excercise our “duty” as US citizens to vote for either candidate which both have “objectionable propositions” to many Americans? Voting for “The lesser of two evils” as stated by JMC earlier touches on a very important conumdrum when one is a true believer in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
    The “real” evil here is the party which condones the “Culture of Death”. Although I disagree with the Republican’s stance on some “social justice” issues,ie Social Security, Medicare, the Republican party is still the the platform which espouses the sanctity of Life. “Render unto Caeser that which is Caeser’s.” Money comes and goes but LIFE itself MUST be preserved at ALL costs!
    Being a mentally ill citizen on SSDI/Survivors Benefits, I would glady have my meager income reduced even further(although I am considered at extreme poverty level now by government statistics) if I knew that innocent future citizens(humans in utero) would be protected and allowed their inherant God given right to live.
    I will vote for Romney/Ryan because the Republicans are not evil. My conscience will be clear as a cast my vote for hope for this country that is “on the slippery slope leading to Hell”,to be led by men/women who still have a conscience, a soul.

  • http://twitter.com/Servant_Charity Servant of Charity

    I appreciate the author’s desire for a truly Catholic party. It’s true that we need to be devoted to God and not a political party, and we will likely not find any party perfectly aligned with our values, but I think the author makes some unfair statements. That the Republican party “goes out of its way to ignore civil liberties” I think is plain false and should not be stated matter-of-factly. And certainly there are diverse opinions on issues such as the death penalty and water boarding, etc. You can’t paint the whole party with a broad brush. it is also not legitimate to connect the death penalty with abortion, as though they have equal weight, which isn’t necessarliy what the author was doing. But unfortunately, in the Democrat party, there has not really been room for opinions challenging the Culture of Death for years now.
    John
    servantofcharity.blogspot.com

  • MaryK

    Well, just so i don’t misunderstand words the author used, i looked up “jingoistic” and bellicose” in the online dictionary. It turns out that “jingoistic” means one who is bellicose, and one who is “bellicose” is also jingoistic. hmmmmm! Well, i get the point that both mean people that are intractible, hostile, loud, eager to fight, aggessively hostile and beligerant. That describes both the elephants and the donkeys to a tee.
    Until this week, i had decided to hold my nose and vote for Romney bc of his right to life stand (in spite of the fact that no Republican president has ever paid more than lip service to ending RVW) and his opposition to the HHS mandate. But, i listened this week to Romney’s jingoistic and bellicose opposition to much of which i hold dear, and his penchant for saying in private to his trusted[?] cronies what he won’t say in public, and his futile attempts at trying to put white frosting on a mud cake.
    So – i’m back to the consideration of a write-in vote for the dogcatcher instead of voting for the candidate of either party. It doesn’t, however, make much difference. The State i live in hasn’t voted for an elephant POTUS in over 20 years – in popular or electoral votes. That makes my vote rather meaningless, except perhaps to show that i am sometimes bellicose and jingoistic..

  • pete

    You have got to be kidding with the quandary on which
    political party is most accommodating to Catholics. Here is a list to
    help solve the confusion:

    Abortion: Arguably the most pressing issue and most CLEAR teaching of the
    church. There is absolutely no doubt which party is most aligned with the
    Church. The Republican Party has championed the cause of overturning Roe
    vs. Wade or at the very least limiting abortion on demand. Supposedly 30%
    of democrats are pro-life; however, the party of inclusion seems to take great
    pains to mute their views in the candidates that are vying for office as well
    as their platform. Speaking of platforms … notice that the Republican
    Party’s stance on abortion as pointed out in their 2012 platform, “We,
    however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human
    life.” Now take note of the Democrats’ stance as taken from
    their platform, “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports
    Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy,
    including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose
    any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” Please note
    that in the past Democrats used to trumpet “safe, legal and rare” …
    now it’s “safe and legal”!

    Religious Liberties: Democrats have shoved the HHS mandate down the
    throats of Religious institutions forcing them to provide contraception,
    sterilization and some abortifacient drugs for no co-pay in their employees’
    health insurance. Catholic hospitals, schools and social service agencies are,
    therefore, required to abide by the mandate, even though their religious
    teachings forbid the use of these services. So insulting to the
    basic Constitutional right of freedom of religion, almost every single US Bishop
    along with other faiths have adamantly rejected and are now suing to overturn
    the mandate.

    Defense of Marriage: Republicans have fought to maintain the Defense of
    Marriage Act (DOMA) … the Obama administration has taken the view that it’s
    unconstitutional so it no longer defends the law. A quick reminder, the
    Catholic Church specifies that marriage is between a man and a woman!

    Death Penalty: Yes, many Republicans support the Death Penalty … please
    note that unlike abortion the states can choose not to enact the death
    penalty. In fact, 35 states allow the death penalty but only a handful
    actually utilize it. Although the Church has come out and stated its
    opposition to the death penalty it has not changed the language in the
    Catechism which allows for the death penalty in extreme cases. 2267
    “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been
    fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude
    recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively
    defending human lives against an unjust aggressor.”

    Security: No doubt which party leads in the defense of our nation both at
    home and abroad. Republicans have always called for a strong national defense
    and the delicate balance of ensuring our security while limiting incursions
    into our individual liberties. History has shown us what the policy of
    appeasement/weakness provides … take a look at the current situation in the
    Middle East. Countries that we have aided in their pursuit of democracy
    have been met with vehement demonstrations against the US all because of a
    third rate movie, per the Obama administration!

    Torture: Hard to
    define, but to borrow from the old democrat slogan … safe, legal and rare!

    Social Justice: Here
    lies the great divide between Catholics … this must be the issue that keeps at
    least 47% of the Catholics in the Democratic camp. We as Christians are taught to be generous
    with our time, treasure and talent. The
    difference between the two camps is who is going to be generous with what. Social Justice folks want to see more from
    the government to help the needy (the definition of needy has certainly grown
    over time). This would include the
    possibility of wealth distribution, socialized medicine, etc. etc. Currently Mitt Romney is getting hammered for
    simply speaking the truth about the economic state of America: roughly 47% of Americans don’t pay taxes and
    are dependent on the government. Here’s
    more ammo to back his statement up: 47
    million out of 300 million Americans are on Food Stamps (a new record), 9
    million are on some type of disability (a new record), 106 million receive some
    type of government support. The government
    borrows $3.5 BILLION everyday which has precipitated a debt that now stands at
    $16 Trillion (a new record). Yet with
    all the increased spending from the government we still have more people living
    in poverty than ever before. I ask,
    which party has at least attempted to reduce the growth … is it social justice
    to saddle our future generations with this enormous debt?

    I could go on and on about the clear choice between the two
    dominant parties, but I must at least address the author’s major issue which is
    lack of choice to make your vote/voice count.
    The reality is we have and presumably will always have a two party
    system unlike Europe’s multiparty system which has its own flaws. Third parties do little to impact the
    political process … even Ross Perot, despite receiving 20% of the vote tallied
    0 electoral votes back in 1992. Most third
    parties are extremist in nature and appeal to only the most strident of
    supporters. Bottom Line: You play the hand you’re dealt and pick the
    party which most aligns itself with your particular views. As a humble Catholic when my life on Earth is
    over and I’m hopefully standing before the Big Guy upstairs, I don’t want to
    have to explain why I utilized my precious vote for a party and or candidate
    that supported many issues counter to my faith and the Church Jesus
    established.

  • terrygeorge

    disappointing. no mention of Proportionality, ie same old pretense that death penalty is equivelant to abortion both in numbers of victims and degree of moral obligation (capital punishment is a matter of prudential judgement but abortion is a matter of faith and morals). similarly for the other issues. dissappointing. strongly disagree with author’s judgement of Santorum (implicit). disappointing. left out same-sex marriage and religious freedom but otherwise it was nice to see a widening of thought about politics for american catholics.

  • Cheryl Dickow

    I believe the issue is far more simple than anyone is willing to admit–and far more consequential as well.

    Look to the person sitting in the Oval Office since that is the person who is receiving your vote–and to his beliefs, views, platform, agenda. That simple. Even if it is “the lesser of two evils” don’t we want less evil? It it time for Catholics to rise to their call and vote against what Mother Church teaches as “intrinsically evil”.

    Maybe, just maybe, choosing life will have blessings beyond anything what we can imagine.

    http://catholicexchange.com/the-catholic-woman-voter/

  • prickly pear

    Gustav Dore

  • DavyJB

    Probably the best article I’ve seen yet on this website regarding Catholics and political party affiliation. Thank you Mr Hutchinson for your smart and thoughtful commentary. The two party system is, in effect, a one party system.
    Abortions did not decrease when either Reagan or the two presidents Bush held the office. If all (or even most) Catholics in this country were to live as a witness to the teachings of the Church there would be a sea change in American politics. In other words, the government would be secondary to the will of the people and not vice versa.
    Why do so many Catholics buy in to the illusion that true change will be affected through either a Rebulican or Democrat president?

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicolaus.g.wilson Nicolaus Gilbert Wilson

    Great article. Right on the money IMO.

  • Peter Nyikos

    DavyJB, it is fallacious to compare what happens to abortions during an administration whose hands are tied by the Supreme Court, with the stated policy of the Democratic Party. If Obama is re-elected and any of the four justices who aren’t militantly pro-abortion retires or dies, you can bet your bottom dollar that the many small gains we have made (parental consent, informed consent, partial birth, BAIPA, etc.) will be wiped out by yet another “pro-choice litmus test” Obama appointee.

    And you are just plain wrong when you say that abortions did not decrease when the elder Bush was president. Abortions peaked the year after he was elected and declined thereafter. Clinton is widely credited with a steady decline while he was in office, but I strongly believe that it was the 1992 Casey v. Planned Parenthood decision that really helped the decline continue, by making it clear that the laws I have just mentioned were Constitutional.

    I say that even though the Supreme Court overturned a state bill banning partial birth abortion. Justice Kennedy, who had voted with the Casey majority, bitterly attacked the new majority (which included new Clinton appointee Breyer, who had replaced Byron White) saying that it betrayed the principles that had been set down in the Casey decision.

    Justice White had written the stronger of the two dissents from Roe v. Wade, but Republicans meekly went along with Clinton’s appointment of Breyer to replace him. Watch history repeat itself if Obama is re-elected, just as I predicted in my first paragraph.

  • Peter Nyikos

    Choosing life is only part of it. The part that is most likely to resonate with the secular public is the trumping of personal conscience by the Contraception Mandate, and other violations of the First Amendment, such as mayors telling Chick-Fil-A that they are not welcome in their respective cities.

    The Romney campaign soft-pedals these issues, even saying that a comment about the Chick-Fil-A is not part of it. (Or, to use Obama’s words, that the right of a private citizen to voice his religious beliefs “is above Romney’s pay grade”.) It seems to have put all its eggs into the economy basket, and to have conceded all issues about values to the Obama campaign. That is a sure loser, given the sympathies of the press. “It’s the economy, stupid” was a winner for the Democrats in 1992 because they were getting trounced on values; but it will be a loser for Romney if that’s all he talks about.

  • Peter Nyikos

    Hutchinson is irresponsible when he labels the Republican Party “the Party of Torture” and claims it “enthusiastically endorses torture”. What exactly is this based on? The fact that Bush and others refused to label the mildest form of waterboarding “torture”?

    Perhaps Hutchinson has bought into the propaganda that “Japanese who did it got the death penalty after WWII”, the way the otherwise rational Mark Shea did. Actually what those Japanese did was an utterly different and vastly more dangerous form of waterboarding. You can read about both kinds (as well as other forms of torture sometimes lumped in with the US version of waterboarding) in the Wikipedia entry for waterboarding.

    There has been a lot of other propaganda against the Bush administration centered on waterboarding, and I don’t want to take up space detailing and refuting it, so I just recommend that readers look at the following website, which does a fine job of that, including a detailed description of the guidelines used in US waterboarding.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/28/despite-reports-khalid-sheikh-mohammed-waterboarded-times/

  • Peter Nyikos

    You obviously agree with Hutchinson that the Republicans support torture, although you don’t go along with his rhetortic (“enthusiastically embraced torture”… “Party of Torture”). I recommend that you carefully read what I wrote a few minutes ago in direct reply to the article itself, and get back to me if you have any criticism of what I wrote there.

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