The Catholic Right's Dislike of Joe Biden.
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 09:35:17 AM EST
The Catholic Right, Part Sixty-seven
Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama choice of Delaware Senator Joe Biden has set off a barrage of invective from the Catholic Right. Why is that?

It effectively exposes the Astorturf nature of their movement.

Joe Biden, the Senior U.S. Senator from Delaware and Democratic Party nominee for Vice President, is a Catholic who attends Mass every Sunday. He is a public servant whose faith informs and influences his politics. He is pro-labor and supportive of the role of government in addressing economic inequities that result from the arbitrary use of power. By and large, he is a liberal whose policy positions generally echo Catholic principles of distributive justice.

Regarding universal healthcare, like the overwhelming majority American Catholics Senator Biden wants the federal government to guarantee health insurance for all Americans. And like the majority of his co-religionists, he is pro-choice and supports the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Time and time again, he has shown that he understands the importance of keeping Church and state separate.

But for these same reasons Obama's choice of Biden has sent the Catholic Right into a tizzy. Fidelis, unsurprisingly, already has its spin machine going into overdrive. As usual it is trying to use abortion to frame Biden as a heretic while describing McCain veep pick Sarah Palin  as "a natural choice for Catholics"; a rather curious thing to say in light of her recent libertarian-tinged economic comments made to conservative cable television hosts Laurence Kudlow and Glenn Beck.

Is anyone surprised that  abortion is the litmus test. once again?  Economic issues remain unimportant because in their eyes, what happens to the already born is of lesser consequence.

Many on the Catholic Right cite Thomas Aquinas's definition of liberty, as "being able to do what one ought to do." Apparently doing what one ought to do has nothing to do with fair wages, stewardship of the earth or providing basic healthcare; only to abortion and a handful of other biological issues.

Senator Biden presents a danger to the Catholic Right. He better reflects the worldview of most American Catholics than they do. Because that is so, they view him as a one-man referendum on the legitimacy of their movement.

If he is successful, he exposes the reality of the Catholic Right and debunks the idea that a small group of neo and paleoconservative operatives speak for sixty-plus members of the Church in America, funded not by ordinary citizens, but by a variety foundations whose goal is to make the world safe for buccaneer-style capitalism.  Their edifice is built upon the false foundation that sixty-million of the faithful are something close to being a monolithic voting bloc, seeing all major issues of the day in a lock-step vision.

Nothing could be further from the truth. And Senator Joe Biden just may become living proof of that point.  

The Catholic Right is going to bad mouth and trash talk any Catholic candidate who strays from their standard of Catholic orthodoxy, and certain members of the hierarchy (and we know who they are) will stand behind that talk. We've already seen this with Douglas Kmiec being denied communion. This is just a foretaste of things to come. Hopefully, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be more politically skilled in dealing with the trash than was John Kerry.

I think McCain is obviously trying to capture the female vote with the politically inexperienced Sarah Palin. Regardless, the next administration is going to have a huge mess to clean up, and I think it's honestly more than one administration can deal with. The problems have been festering for a long time.

In any event, you are right to call the Catholic Right on the astroturf nature of their support. I think they would thoroughly reject single payer health care both because the denizens of the Catholic Right are economically opposed to it, and because I think they would hold any health care reform hostage to anti-abortion and anti-contraception politics.

by khughes1963 on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 09:49:47 PM EST

...and polling can show that it was any sort of combination of Obama's economics and Biden appeal to American Catholics, that must repeatedly be used to refute the CR's contention that it is the true representative of sixty-million plus citizens.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 09:33:17 AM EST
We should shout it from the rooftops if Obama/Biden win. I still think we'll hear from Screamin' Bill and his political-religious allies on the superiority of McCain and his VP pick, Sarah Palin....and we've not heard the last of Deal Hudson either.

by khughes1963 on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 10:47:08 PM EST

followers will be tested, unfortunately, if(when) more banks fail, foreclosures increase, and lending becomes a rarity to the middle class. Only when it starts to affect them will they see how they've been used.

by trog69 on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 02:28:04 PM EST
We don't want it to get to that, but I fear very much that we might see severe economic problems continue, especially as we burn money in Iraq....

by khughes1963 on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 04:07:19 PM EST

The Catholic Right has found allies with the Calvanists who are ardent in their desire to turn us into some kind of theocratic hive of corporate militarism. What bothers me is that they seem to be succeeding. I wonder if these right-wing Catholics like the present Pope, who is quite conservative himself, and where he is taking the church? What of Opus Dei? A holy partnership between Protestants and Catholics to achieve dominance in the 'secular' world? Not the best way to heal the rift between them in my estimation. They literally believe that if anyone is doing something they don't approve of it is bad for them with their God. Despite what our Constitution says we do have a religious 'litmus' test. I think it has become even stricter and more strident in these latter days. I find such a trend to be dangerous for our waining democratic-republic I see being toppled by those who wish to create a Chrisitian Nation where none existed before. [The tend to wax nostalgic for the mini-theocracies of the 17th century over promoting a ficticious Christian basis for the Constitution. I prefer live and let live. We would be better off as a species.

by Nightgaunt on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 03:05:36 PM EST

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