Skip to comments.McCain and the Pope: McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote (Reagan re-visited?)
Posted on 03/26/2008 8:47:44 PM PDT by Aussie Dasher
Sen. John McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote, which is around 25 percent of the electorate. How is he going to get it? The worst thing he could assume is that it is going to fall into his lap because Catholics will have nowhere else to go. Some people with nowhere to go simply stay home. Or they may go elsewhere, as it appears they have already been doing.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in "a recent survey of 19 states that have held presidential primaries this year, 63% of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats." That's up from 42 percent in 2005. Not a good augury for McCain.
Senator McCain not only needs Catholics who will vote for him, but who will each find ten other Catholics who will do the same. That is not going to happen unless he galvanizes the Catholic electorate. He has an opportunity to do this when Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States during April 15 to 20.
I was President Ronald Reagan's liaison to the Catholic community from 1983 to 1985. In the 1984 election, President Reagan won the Catholic vote and was the first Republican to do so. Senator McCain might want to take a look at how that happened.
I recall a definitive moment when the Democrats vociferously complained about the ads run by the Reagan campaign in Catholic newspapers. The ads featured a photo of Reagan and John Paul II smiling together. Was this not politicizing the Catholic Church? How dare the Republicans do such a thing?
At that time, Archbishop John Foley was the pope's minister of communications and principal spokesman at the Vatican. When asked, he responded to the complaints by saying that, since these two men shared so many fundamental moral principles in common, it was the most natural thing in the world that they should appear together in a photograph. Not wishing to hear that statement made again, the complaints from the Democrats immediately ceased.
The key here is that Archbishop Foley, who came from a Democratic family in Pennsylvania, did not have to make this up -- it was true. President Reagan had embraced moral positions on the family, on the sanctity of human life, on school prayer, and against pornography that were completely congruent with those of the Catholic Church. And, like John Paul II, he was fighting for them.
Can Senator McCain say the same? If not, a photograph with Benedict XVI is not going to solve his problem. He needs to campaign on these issues just as Reagan did. He cannot simply claim that point of view; he needs to promote it. He needs to articulate it.
In 1983, President Reagan wrote an article titled "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," which appeared in the Human Life Review. That was an extraordinary thing for a sitting president to have done. The fact that he did it convinced many Catholic pro-lifers that Reagan was sincere in his beliefs and was not simply acting for political advantage. They rallied around him.
Later, Reagan showed Bernard Nathanson's film The Silent Scream in the White House. What can Senator McCain do? He can invite his opponents on this issue -- whether it is Clinton or Obama -- to watch The Silent Scream, or its equivalent, with him. Ask them to join him in protecting innocent human life, including the partially born babies, whom both Obama and Clinton think have no right to life.
Senator McCain should draft his version of "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation" and publish it in First Things or a comparable journal. Make it an issue. Proselytize. If Senator McCain does not think that is the role of a presidential candidate, then he does not think like Ronald Reagan.
Of course, this is a risky strategy, but risk conveys conviction, as Senator McCain demonstrated when he courageously risked his political future to promote the surge in Iraq. He needs to build upon that impression of courage by extending it to the social issues Catholics care about most. If he throws as much conviction and energy into these issues as he did into his backing of the surge, Catholics and others will flock to his banner -- and he can win. If he tries to coast on the moral issues, he will not.
So what should Senator McCain do when Benedict XVI visits in April? This is his opportunity to demonstrate that he understands the significance of the pope's thought as it relates to the institution of the family, the sanctity of human life, and the threat of radical Islam.
He needs to appear on EWTN with Raymond Arroyo and speak to that significance. He needs to do interviews in the National Catholic Register and other Catholic journals, and on Sirius radio's Catholic channel, which will cover the pope's visit by the hour. He needs to say that what the pope is expressing goes beyond a sectarian Catholic audience, as it addresses the core issues of Western civilization. He needs to say that Benedict was right at Regensburg in assessing moral relativism as the greatest threat to the West and to the integrity of reason, and that he was right also about the nature of the threat from an unreasoning version of Islam.
If this is the side you are on, Senator McCain -- as I believe it is -- you have this opportunity of letting others know, so they can rally to you.
Robert R. Reilly was a special assistant to President Reagan and served as his liaison to the Catholic Church. He is a frequent contributor to InsideCatholic.com and Crisis magazine.
I personally chalk this piece up to a guy who misses the spotlight trying to grab a minute or two fame.
Anyone who believes genuine Catholics will over look Barack McGovern Obama’s abortion record or his other many flaws merely because he is a Democrat is simply wrong.
So you won't be voting for president in the general election? (I won't be either.)
“Cafeteria Catholics or CINO Catholics-In-Name-Only may vote Democrat...but Catholics faithful to Church doctrine vote Republican or Conservative. TRADITION. FAMILY. PROPERTY.”
I call it the CINOs vs. the Steubenville Catholics
Maybe because the drive-by media still controls to a large extent who and what gets the lion's share of the public's scant attention?
The internet and talk radio have broken the MSM's former monopoly on the "news", but most people who aren't political junkies like most FReepers are still get the main portion of their politically correct "news" via the liberal MSM.
has it even received much coverage on conservative talk radio?
I’ve heard his marxist views get discussed - and his unpatriotic sentiments...but one would think that his belief that an infant should be denied medical assistance would even trump the other important issues.
Bush obviously has no clue about Israel's very prominent role in end-time bible prophecy. He either doesn't know about or doesn't believe in God's curse on nations that do not accept Israel's claim on the land God gave to Israel's Hebrew forefathers or His promise of blessings on nations that support and defend Israel. If he did he wouldn't be constantly sending Condi Rice to play footsie with oil-rich Arab sheiks and Emirs while pressuring Israel into conceding more of it's God-given land to the Pallie terrorists who fire scores of rockets into Israeli towns and neighborhoods every day.
I wouldn't expect a profane man like McCain who doesn't claim to be a believer in Jesus Christ to know any more about bible prophecy than either Obama, Hillary, or Bush know, which apparently is practically nothing. Bush attends a mainstream denomination church every Sunday, and if most of the mainstream denominational churches were not pastored by apostate "ministers" who spiritualize prophecy or dismiss it's predictions as the demented scribblings of ancient mystics he would have learned something by now about Israel's critical role in the rapidly approaching events preceding Jesus Christ's return to Earth.
When God promised to bless people and nations who bless Israel, and to curse people and nations who hate the Jews and work against Israel's best interests he wasn't just making idle chit-chat. If the US turns against Israel to curry favor with rulers of the Islamic ME states we are in deep trouble, and all the nukes, missiles, and stealth planes on the planet won't get us out of that trouble.
If it has I'm not aware of it.
but one would think that his belief that an infant should be denied medical assistance would even trump the other important issues.
If more people knew and cared about his belief it would probably become at least to some extent a factor in their choice of candidates. Of course that supposition assumes that the voters would care enough to make it a factor, and I think that right now many of B. Hussein Obama's rabid, swooning worshipers wouldn't desert him even if he were to call for public execution by hanging for all mildly handicapped adults and all senior citizens who have any kind of physical or mental health problem more serious than a hangnail.
“I dont recall Reagan blathering on with crackpot hate theories about the Catholic Church.”
Irrelevant. It was you, in #16, who was making a direct comparison between Hagee and Reagan.
**McCain and the Pope: McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote (Reagan re-visited?)**
True, voters who are CAtholic can NOT vote for Obama. He is the most liberal abortion voter in the Senate. Don’t commit a serious sin by voting for Obama and excommunicating yourself.