Monday, November 16, 2009
Many thanks to Robby for his thoughtful post, and for the heartening reminiscences on Governor Casey, about whom I'd be very happy to hear more. (Did I mention how happy I was when his son announced a run against Santorum earlier this decade?) I think of RC as a great unsung - or at any rate inadequately sung - pioneer in the cause of bringing a consistent ethic of life to the Democratic Party.
On Robby's thoughts concerning the relative faults of the two major parties, I'd like to second the suggestion that a string of tit-for-tat comparisons or finger-pointings would not seem well calculated to bear helpful fruit. I would also say, however, that I'd actually welcome being apprised of unfamiliar problematic positions taken by today's Democratic Party, which I have no partisan interest in defending. I truly think it would be helpful to all of us as responsible Catholic citizens to be apprised of important errors from any political quarter whence they emanate. I no more want to support wrongful Democratic positions than Republican ones. I simply happen to think - and this is an empirical proposition that might well be false, and I tend to believe these days more by dint of my milieu than by dint of actual fact - that the Republicans have recently taken the mantle of most irresponsible party away from the Dems.
One last pair of points here, harkening back to Rick's welcome expression of concern with my 'Pakistan' post late week before last:
The first is that I wish to emphasize again that I do not think any Republicans are anywhere near properly comparable to 'acid-throwers' in their degree of apparent contempt for our pluralistic republican democracy. Rather, I think that the Republican Party has recently failed sufficiently clearly to repudiate 'birther,' 'deather,' 'tea-bagger' and related fringe elements that have even drawn encouragement from some Party members, and that the recent NY 23d district race as well as the new 'RINO-purge' movement now appear to indicate that a 'blowback' could be underway. In other words, the great Party of Lincoln, T Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and folk like Howard Baker might now be coming to suffer at the hands of the fringe a fate not unlike that which the great non-theocratic traditions of Pakistan are now suffering at the hands of a fringe that Pakistan's intelligence services themselves seem once to have enouraged.
The second is that I believe the Democratic Party itself once faced a similar internal dysfunction (and might be poised, post-Stupak, to face it in somewhat attenuated form once again). Were this 1968 in Chicago, or the early 1970s in California (think SLA and the like), for example, I think that much of what I've recently expressed concern about in connection with the RNC could quite aptly have been deplored in connection with the DNC.
Finally in this latter connection, here is another instance of this 'fringe' problem I raise: http://www.wpcva.com/articles/2009/11/13/chatham/news/news35.txt. If you read this, I am tempted to think that, like me, in place of 'Altavista Journal' at the top of the page, you will find yourself reading 'Atavistic Journal.'