The Catholic Vote

Ken AshfordDemocrats, Election 2006, Godstuff, RepublicansLeave a Comment

Glenn Greenwald notes that part of Rove’s tactics for winning the 2004 election against Kerry was to take the Catholic vote.  Rove did this in part by impugning Kerry’s catholicism, i.e., Kerry wasn’t a "good" Catholic.  Part of the reprehensible tactics included parading Catholic Republicans in front of the microphones to suggest that Kerry shouldn’t receive communion because of his stance on abortion.

And it seemed to work.  Bush (a Methodist) won 52% of the Catholic vote to Kerry’s 47%.

But, as Glenn suggests, there is no earthly reason why such a tactic should work…

…because scores of Republican policies, including their most prominent ones, are plainly contrary to Catholic doctrine and have been vigorously condemned both by John Paul II and by the current Pope. Those policies could not be any more anti-Catholic.

Think about it:  The war in Iraq and the pre-emptive war doctrine?  Vehemently opposed by the Vatican.

The death penalty?  The Catholic church opposes that.

If, as Glenn prediects, the "Catholic strategy" is going to be deployed by Republicans in the 2006 elections, Democrats should be prepared to fight, because it is a fight we can win:

The reality is that Catholicism translates politically into support for liberal views at least as much as it does for conservative views. Large majorities of Catholics support abortion rights generally, stem cell research, and oppose further tax cuts. There are also dormant and lurking religious tensions between evangelicals and Catholics which Bush opponents allow to remain hidden and unexamined, while Republicans exploit every cultural and religious division they can find. There is no virtue in continuing to win policy debates while losing elections due to a ceding of these submerged and ugly battlefields.

Republicans have all sorts of vulnerabilities on these issues. So many of their leading pundits and political figures have personal lives filled with private moral atrocities or activities which so plainly violate the religious and cultural principles they claim to embody. Their flagship policies are squarely prohibited by core Catholic principles and have been condemned as immoral and unjust by the Vatican. How can that same party parade around as the true party of Catholicism?

Exactly.   Maybe the sex scandals within the Catholic Church have cowed many Catholics into silence, or shamed them  into pulling the lever for the "Daddy" party.  But it’s time the raised their voice, and held to principle and returned to the Democratic Party.