Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is there a Republican for whom you would not vote?

So, is everybody all fired up about the Republican presidential debate tonight?

Nah, me neither.

Rod Dreher was refreshingly honest about it all yesterday:

What do y’all think about the 2012 race? I find it depressing as hell.

I didn’t vote for Obama, and, unsurprisingly, haven’t been pleased with his governance. The two things I hoped for from him — serious Wall Street reform, and a non-Bushian foreign policy — he’s whiffed on. (Then again, if you’re a Democrat who is going to treat foreign policy and financial elites like a Republican, you shouldn’t be surprised when people prefer the real thing.) Like I said, though, I never expected much from Obama, and he’s delivered. Still, he hasn’t been a disaster, and if the economy were in better shape, I could reconcile myself to a second Obama term. But it’s not, and I can’t get the line “Jimmy Carter is alive and well and living in the White House” out of my head.

But the Republicans? Good grief. The ideological recklessness with which the GOP treated the debt ceiling issue made me fearful of what they would do if they captured the White House again. Plus, I had foolishly hoped that the loss to Obama would compel the GOP to take a hard look at its ideology in light of conservative first principles, and make some changes. Instead, they seem to have doubled down on Bushism. It’s hard for me to see what significant differences there are between Bush’s policies and those proposed by the leading GOP candidates, Romney and Perry. Sure, they may well make the usual Tea Party arguments about how Bush was a big-spending fool (and he was), but they’re not going to make any significant moves against popular programs. And they certainly aren’t going to raise taxes, not even on billionaires, who can well afford it — not even if raising taxes in a limited way is a prudential move for the stability of the economy. [...]

I see both parties, and think of them as ghosts who keep performing the same rituals, because they don’t know what else to do. The WaPo was out with a poll today showing that people are sick and tired of Congress, and have little faith in the president’s leadership. Well, yeah! But where are the alternatives? Ron Paul is an alternative. I’m not really a Paul-ite, but at least he’s saying things outside of the Republican Party playbook. But he can’t break through. Most Americans seem to be in the same time warp as our leaders.

I like the line about ghosts who keep performing the same rituals--it's evocative and accurate, I think. But I know there are some GOP die-hards who read this blog who probably disagree strongly, and think that the Republicans are the fine, noble warriors poised to deliver our nation from all threats within and without, while the Democrats are ghoulishly feasting on unborn babies and economic misery.

In the middle between dq3 (doomed quixotic third-party) voters like myself and the GOP die-hards are a lot of troubled Catholic voters. Hating abortion and Obama's stance on it, fearful of our decaying culture's increased pace of rot, worried about terrorism yet not wishing us to wage such indiscriminate foreign wars, concerned about the economy and perhaps personally impacted by the massive loss of jobs we've seen, these voters do hope to vote for a Republican as a means of getting Obama and the Democrats out of power.

But that brings me to this question: is there a Republican appearing in the debate tonight whom you, the troubled Catholic voter, would absolutely not vote for if he or she were the nominee? We can take it for granted that I, the dq3 voter mad about Republican betrayals on gay marriage and other issues, won't vote for any of the present candidates, and that the GOP die-hards would vote for Ronald McDonald if he were to win the nomination--but you are neither a dq3 nor a die-hard. So, is there any candidate appearing in tonight's debate for whom you would absolutely not vote? Who is it, and why would you choose not to vote for him/her?

Let's keep the comment box civil. Lively, but civil. :)


Kimberly Margosein said...

Ron Paul is saying different things, yes. Some of them, like bringing back the gold standard, are nuts and people know it.

How about John Huntsman? He believes in evolution, which is outside the Republican playbook.

How about that guy in New Jersey who was married to Tony Soprano's sister on the Sopranos?

Deirdre Mundy said...

I would vote for a drunken monkey if doing so would get Obama out of the white house at this point. There's no one I'm thrilled about, but so far they all seem to fall under the heading of "Lesser Evil" ... and that's the best we can hope for when dealing with politicians.

Red Cardigan said...

Well, after tonight's debate, I'd vote for a drunken monkey before I'd vote for Rick Perry...

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I'm neither Catholic nor Republican (nor Democratic, although I mostly vote for them) -- I can say that Huntsman is the only Republican running who seems to have both intelligence and compassion. His priorities are not exactly mine, but then, neither are President Obama's. I could live with him, if not actually vote for him.

scotch meg said...

I couldn't vote for Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich. Otherwise, if it meant good-bye to Obama, I could hold my nose and vote for any of them. I actually had Perry hopes (except for the warning from you!), but he managed to destroy any potential for enthusiasm in just one debate.

Oh well. Maybe next time some of the junior GOP people will have grown up - I'm thinking of Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan... None of whom is old enough or experienced enough to run this year.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Erin, if you "pledge by your faith...never, ever to vote for a Republican again, as long as (you) live," then who really cares what you think about Republicans? The whole exercise is intellectually dishonest.

For my money, abortion is not one of the criteria I use to consider a presidential candidate, and I oppose abortion on demand. Let's be honest; if the churches (especially *the* Church) spent as much time giving young people the moral and ethical skills to deal with their emerging desires, to resist being sexualized early and to stand alone from their peers, if necessary, as they do (and it does) issuing rhetorical proclamations (even from Rome), the abortion problem would be far less severe than it is today...and abortion in the United States has been declining over the past few years.

Instead of looking to the government to provide moral solutions, Catholics and other Christians should look to themselves. This critique from America Magazine is an example of what I mean:

Year after year I've listened to the local bishop and priests tell Catholics that abortion is the most important moral issue facing the country and that it must be the primary factor in deciding how to cast our votes in elections. Yet in the 13 years I attended Mass at the local Cathedral, there was not a single special collection devoted to crisis pregnancy centers - not a diaper or jar of baby food was collected. This supposed "priority" also merited no mention in the yearly pleas for contributions to the bishop's Lenten appeal. Moreover, when our bishop decided to undertake a special fundraising effort, it was not to support crisis pregnancy services, but to build himself a fancy mansion to live in next to the Cathedral. What was that moral priority again?...

Red Cardigan said...

Joseph, I don't hide my "dq3" leanings at all. Does that mean I'm not allowed to have opinions re: Republicans? I have opinions about Democrats, and I've never voted for one.

Chris-2-4 said...

I could enthusiastically vote for Santorum, only.

I could hold my nose and vote for Gingrich, Perry or Bachmann, knowing none of them is perfect, but would be preferable to the horrible Obama.

I would not vote for Romney or Paul and probably not for Huntsman or Cain, but I don't know much about them.

Chris-2-4 said...


"but I don't know much about them"

That referred to Huntsman and Cain. I know enough about Romney and Paul to say I would not vote for them.

Chris-2-4 said...

Professionally, I really like Gingrich and I believe he would probably be a great president. But his personal life and decisions have been a mess and turn me off.

Barbara C. said...

So, Joseph, only Catholics get abortions? If the Catholic Church just did better at educating about chastity abortion rates would drop like flies? Seriously??

I agree that most Catholic schools, CCD programs, and parents could do a better job of teaching what the Church says about chastity and artificial birth control (which encourages a lack of chastity), offering skills to avoid occasions of sin, and not leaving their teens in the way of temptation (like co-ed sleepovers). But how is that going to help the little babies being murdered by non-Catholics??

Not to mention that the mere fact that abortion is so easily accessible allow for a lot of women who know better to choose abortion when they are feeling desperate and vulnerable.

And I don't know where/if the American Magazine writer goes to Mass, but both of the parishes in my town have Project Gabriel programs that help pregnant women of any religion or denomination avoid abortion by assisting with medical treatment, financial support (housing, money, baby supplies), physical support (transportation and child care), and emotional support. There is a collection envelope for Project Gabriel in every pack of donation envelopes as well as a special monetary and supply donation drive.

My diocese also regularly offers Project Rachel retreats and counseling for post-abortive women and men to find forgiveness and healing.

"Instead of looking to the government to provide moral solutions" I guess ALL of the murder laws should be repealed instead of trying to expand the murder laws to include the unborn.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Barbara, I'm not going to take up space here repeating the long version, but at this time a majority of your fellow citizens see a significant difference between a woman removing what is growing inside her, and any person, including a mother, killing a live delivered baby.

I know you don't see any difference, but until you convince the rest of us, that is going to be two different questions legally.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Barbara C., re-read my post. I never cited the Catholic Church exclusively but all churches. It's excellent that your parishes have Project Gabriel and Project Rachel. But the fact that two parishes in your area have those programs doesn't negate what the commenter in America said...nor does it negate the bishops' absolutely flaccid approach to the issue.

Your sarcastic suggestion to repeal all murder laws misses an important point. Criminal law can only legislate morality in a reactive fashion. IOW, laws against murder, theft and rape don't necessarily stop murder, theft and rape; they only delineate punishment for those crimes. Given your stance, are you willing to send women who have abortions to jail, let alone the doctors who perform them?

My whole point is this: Law is a poor substitute for individual moral conscience. Christians as a whole (let alone Catholics) should place far greater effort on developing the latter.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

One other thing: Voting for the "lesser of two evils" isn't necessarily evil. In real life, not the esoteric ivory tower, people have to make real choices between real alternatives, not the alternatives we wish we had. If you don't like the political alternatives, then get your hands dirty, get involved in your local central committee and fight for what you believe. That's called exercising moral responsibility, people.

Pauli said...

Joe writes: One other thing: Voting for the "lesser of two evils" isn't necessarily evil. In real life, not the esoteric ivory tower, people have to make real choices between real alternatives, not the alternatives we wish we had....

Joe is 100% correct about this.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Pauli, thanks very much! :)