Thompson-Brownback: The GOP's '08 Ticket? (The Catholic Right, Thirty-five in a Series)
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 08:56:47 AM EST
It is becoming apparent that prospective GOP presidential contender Fred Thompson is not only making overtures to the Protestant evangelical wing of the Religious Right, but the neo-orthodox Catholic Right as well. Could this portend a possible Thompson-Brownback Republican ticket for 2008?

I believe that is exactly what Tennessee Fred has in mind.

Recently Bill Berkowitz informed me that former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson's campaign staff recently hired the Catholic Right activist Joseph Cella. When Bill asked what I made of this development, I told him the first thing that came into my mind: Thompson will tap U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-Ks.) as his running mate were he to win the 2008 GOP Presidential nomination.

As I have pointed out in Part Thirteen, Part Twenty-three,  Part Twenty-nine and Part Thirty of this series, Mr. Cella is closely linked to Catholic Right sugar-daddy Tom Monaghan. Monaghan, in turn, is a member of Senator Brownback's presidential exploratory committee. All these folks share the common agenda of establishing Chrristian unity based upon neo-orthodox Catholic principles.

There is cause for concern. As Fred Clarkson recently pointed out, Thompson is on record demonizing federal judges as well as misinterpretting church/state separation as being a one-way street that only protects churches from state interference. Brownback, as I reported not only has ties to the authoritarian Opus Dei but is also a member of The Fellowship, two socially-minded conservative groups that share a penchant for secrecy. Paraphrasing Fred Clarkson's recent observation, we can not only see lots of red flags fluttering in the breezes of Thompson's rhetoric but by his actions.

But there well may be opportunity here for the mainstream religious. If my hunch is right, then the Religious Right is telling us they think they need the neo-orthodox Catholic Right to win elections. But as I pointed out recently they don't have the numbers.

The influence of the neo-orthodox Catholic Right is based largely upon the illusion that they speak for most American Catholics. Poll-after-poll on issues such as birth control, stem cell research and married clergy show however -- that nothing could be further from the truth. But when mainstream Catholics stand-up and collectively say "enough," we will no longer have to worry about the possibility of a Thompson-Brownback administration -- or even an influential Religious Right.

The Catholic Right: A Series, by Frank L. Cocozzelli :

Part One  Part Two  Part Three   Part Four  Part Five  Part Six   Intermezzo   Part Eight   Part Nine  Part Ten   Part Eleven   Part Twelve   Part Thirteen   Part Fourteen   Second Intermezzo   Part Sixteen   Part Seventeen   Part Eighteen   Part Eighteen   Part Nineteen   Part Twenty   Part Twenty-one   Part Twenty-two   Part Twenty-three   Part Twenty-four   Part Twenty-five   Part Twenty-six   Part Twenty-seven   Part Twenty-eight   Part Twenty-nine   Part Thirty   Part Thirty-one   Part Thirty-two   Part Thirty-three
  Part Thirty-four

Anything can happen in politics. That is why this prognostication bears watching.

If it comes to pass, it could have grave consequences upon our liberal democracy.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 08:59:12 AM EST

I doubt that Brownback could make it as the top name on a ticket himself, but Thompson might be palatable enough to the Christian Rightists and neo-Orthodox Catholics to win the GOP nomination. Rudy isn't palatable to either of these groups, but I think he appeals to the authoritarians in both groups, and all are rather scary. Interestingly enough, it seems that much of the impetus for Thompson's non-declaring candidacy is coming from Thompson's wife Jeri. She has ambition enough for both of them.


by khughes1963 on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 01:16:29 PM EST

Part of the problem here is that Thompson's (as well as Brownback's) positions and statements are not being reported to the public. Sadly, shallow media personalities like Chris Matthews are more concerned with the smell of his cologne.

It is up to us to change things.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:10:24 PM EST

This would indeed be bad news, but I don't see it happening on any level. Thompson may turn things around, but GOP money is now betting he's a flash in the pan. If, by some miracle, he does make it, Brownback is not his man. Fred's phony as a matter of principle; Brownback is absolutely sincere in his strange beliefs. And the operative word there is "strange." As you know, I spent a lot of time with Brownback, and although I think it's worth tracking his associations, the bottom line is that his is a peculiar mind, influenced by but not limited to any doctrine. He's a right-wing mystic -- he doesn't actually read the texts or tune in for instructions.

But that's theology, and this is politics. What could Brownback possibly bring to the nominee? There was a time when he seemed like the darling of the Christian Right, but boy o boy, is that ever past. Jim Dobson wrote to Rolling Stone a year after my feature to request a "correction" -- he no longer wanted to be on record associated with Sam. Meanwhile, Brownback is absolutely toxic to any voter to the left of Cheney, which, at this point, is the majority of the GOP.

All Sam has, ultimately, is Monaghan, and no nominee needs to bend over backwards for one rich man.
Author of THE FAMILY: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (Harper, May 20)
by Jeff Sharlet on Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 10:23:33 AM EST

Pols pick veeps for a variety of reasons. No one expected Bush I to pick Dan Quayle. No one expected Bush II to pick Cheney who while experienced, has the personality of a toad and could deliver a state that did not need delivery -- Wyoming with a whopping 3 electoral votes.

It is perfectly sensible for a protestant evangelical to pick a conservative Catholic as a running mate -- and I doubt that Dobson would reject a Thompson or any other otherwise acceptable candidate -- over his veep pick. Most of the religious right leaders are pragmatists as much as they are ideologues, and that includes Dobson.

There has not been a Catholic on the national ticket for a long time.  The Christian right would be hard pressed to object to a conservative Catholic with whom they agree on most issues.

What's more, in light of recent statewide races in Kansas, the state may very well trend blue under the right circumstances and so having a Kansan on the ticket might help innoculate the GOP against Democratic incursions in the midwest -- maybe even neighboring Colorado.

We are still a long way from the campaign rubber meeting the road of people paying much attention. But the Catholic demographic is in play this year, and it remains to be seen how much traction Brownback will get between now and then.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 03:28:13 PM EST

It's getting a bit ugly between Brownback and Huckabee.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 06:59:55 PM EST

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