Monday, November 10, 2008

The bishops flinch

The Catholic vote this past election was a mess, as usual. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship was twisted and abused to excuse voting for a rabidly pro-choice presidential candidate, to the point that a few bishops actually felt compelled to do their jobs for once and set their parishoners straight.

This (the bishops doing their jobs) being a radical new concept, it engendered confusion among the faithful, and the USCCB decided in September to take action. They would finally address the problem of pro-choice Catholics, come to a firm answer, and speak the answer to their flock with one voice.

Sure, they were going to wait until after the election to actually do something about it--but they were finally going to do something about it!

-Two months later-

...Um, hey. About that "finally addressing the problem" thing?


They chickened out. Big time.

Why am I not surprised?


(H/T: Catholic Culture)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A tiny sliver of hope on the Fairness Doctrine

It's not much, but Carl Cannon, in his post-mortem on the election, puts forth the first plausible case I've seen for Barack Obama to not acquiesce to the demands of his base and reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine:

“Money is the mother’s milk of politics,” legendary California Democrat (and Reagan adversary) Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh was fond of saying. Well, nobody in Sacramento politics, including Reagan himself, ever saw anything like the Obama fundraising machine of 2008. This is a campaign that raised more than $600 million—more than it needed, more than it could spend—which allowed it to campaign and to air ads in every part of Ohio, to run high-dollar get-out-the-vote drives in traditionally Republican states, to stage first-class outdoor events catering to hundreds of thousands of people, to emerge flush even in the wake of the most expensive primary campaign in history, to eschew federal matching money (breaking a campaign promise in the process), to outspend McCain in every swing state, and to buy half-hour infomercials on the major networks in prime time less than a week before the election.

Democrats, Obama included, have threatened to restore the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” a dubious governmental regulation that supposedly supplied equal access to the nation’s airwaves. Bringing it back would be an appalling government intrustion into the marketplace of ideas, but now that Obama has won, I suspect the president-elect will recalibrate his stance on that—just as he did on accepting federal campaign finance limitations when it became clear he could shatter all existing fundraising records. Why do I say that? Because if a “Fairness Doctrine” had been in place, the networks would have had to provide McCain equal time on television—even though he didn’t have the money to pay for it. Obama had a huge advantage, which he exploited ruthlessly and effectively.

Not much, as I said--but it's the first time I've seen an argument that it would be in Obama's best interest not to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine.

And that's about the only way it doesn't get reinstituted.


Election post-mortem

About the only good news out of last night was that Democrats didn't get the filibuster-proof Senate they were looking for...I think. That should (hopefully) keep nightmare scenarios like the Freedom of Choice Act at bay for at least the next two years.

Other than that, though, the night was pretty much an unmitigated disaster.

In a concession speech filled with high-minded calls for Republicans to unilaterally disarm and bend over, John McCain did manage one moment of blunt honesty:

"The failure is mine."

Was it ever.

In a political environment that should have been insurmountable--but wasn't--McCain shot himself in the head. The moments where it was clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that he just did not get it were there in abundance, but it went far beyond that.

"Incoherence" was the watchword of this campaign. It started with the man at the top, and infected pretty much everyone--yes, everyone--on down the line.

There was never a consistent message. Brand new themes (Celebrity, The One, Experience, Judgment, Maverick, Liberal, Socialist, etc.) were picked up almost every week and discarded nearly as quickly.

Ten thousand attacks were ten thousand mosquito bites; never in the same place, never for very long, and as a result never doing much damage...if any at all.

If there is a defining moment for the futility of McCain's attacks, it was during the third debate, where he simply repeated the phrase "spread the wealth" over and over. He never linked it to Obama's policies. He never linked it to the real-life consequences of the philosophy behind it. He never even seemed to have any real grasp of why it was such a blunder for Obama in the first place.

He simply repeated the phrase, again and again, as if it were a mantra that would somehow magically unleash the voters' inner selves and cause them to transcend to a Republican plane of consciousness. (I readily recall McCain acting in much the same way when he brought up William Ayers and Obama's record on earmarks.)

The same thing happened during the financial crisis, and that pretty much sealed McCain's fate. He pinballed from trumpeting the soundness of the economy to denouncing Wall Street greed to publicly leaving the campaign trail (only to backtrack a few days later) to...well, to "spread the wealth."

Meanwhile, Obama and his allies were consistently hammering home the Big Lie that the Bush Administration and deregulation were to blame for the crisis. They told it loud enough, they told it often enough--and people believed it.

Even the one bright spot in the campaign--the national introduction of Sarah Palin--ended up a disaster. I'm not talking here about the politically manufactured scandals; I'm talking about her inability--one I strongly suspect was inherited/adapted from McCain--to respond to a direct question with anything other than a rambling, pre-emptive stump speech only theoretically related to what she was supposed to be answering.

For all the good her brilliant speeches at her unveiling and the RNC did her, her later performances undid that progress...and then some. Palin's reputation has been destroyed. She is the new Dan Quayle. Her political career on the national stage is effectively over; one of the GOP's brightest rising stars has been extinguished.

Where do we go from here? Nowhere fast.

Looking to the future, it's a near-certainty that we'll see the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, leading to the squelching of talk radio (and the economic ruin of the stations that signed personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to long, pricey contracts--an object lesson for the radio companies, in case some future Republican administration should ever rescind the Doctrine again) and leaving conservatives without any mass media presence whatsoever. Card check will revitalize the unions, key Democratic supporters.

FOCA is not likely (pray to God) to get past a Republican filibuster--but if it does, on top of everything else, that's effectively the end of the pro-life movement as a political force. The GOP's most dependable and committed group of supporters goes up in smoke.

Obama may well be a one-term president. But in that one term, he will very likely set the stage for Democratic domination for at least the next generation...assuming the country lasts that long.


A Farewell to Poker

I had a fairly lengthy post-mortem of the election almost ready to go when my computer crashed, forcing me to start over from scratch. I'll hopefully have that up soon.

In the meantime, though, I note that Texas Hold 'Em Blogger, one of the more...unrestrained...members of the right-wing blogosphere, has been deleted.

It is unclear whether the "authors" noted in the deletion message refers to Peter--who on two different post-election entries displayed an upside-down American flag--or to Wordpress admins.

In either case, though, I doubt the blog will return.

The immortal words of Davy Crockett would seem to sum up Peter's reaction best:

"You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas."


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Planned Parenthood: Pro-Infanticide

Students for Life of America went undercover, and got the kind of brazen inhumanity we should be used to getting from Planned Parenthood by now:

The money quote:

"It's an actual delivery, but it wouldn't be able to survive on its own--so eventually, the baby does die."

Infanticide by exposure, ladies and gentlemen. Planned Parenthood's routine "safety net," so to speak, in case the abortion results in a live birth--which the PP rep freely admits "does happen."

SFLA is calling on Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood.

Given the track record of the likely President-elect and his followers, smart money is on Congress investigating SFLA, instead.


(H/T: Catholic News Agency, via