It looks as though Catholic opinion, as the American presidential elections approach, is more or less evenly split between Governor Romney and the incumbent president, despite the hostility among Catholics to the Obama regime’s Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) which, as The New York Times explained “requires coverage of the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Among the drugs and devices that must be covered are emergency [abortifacient] contraceptives …. The rule also requires coverage of sterilization procedures for women without co-payments or deductibles.
“The administration rejected a request from the Roman Catholic Church for a broad exemption for insurance provided to employees of Catholic hospitals, colleges and charities, although it said it would give such church-affiliated organizations one additional year …. Catholic bishops issued a statement saying they would fight the “edict” from the government. ‘In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,’ said Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”
Catholics tend to vote Democratic, so to split the vote 50-50 represents a very definite pro-Romney swing. All the same, a disconcerting number of Catholics still support not only Obama’s Act, but even abortion itself. The fact is that the so-called “spirit of Vatican II” (not of course the Council itself) has ravaged the American Catholic Church, and split it from top to bottom, between the faithful on the one hand and the deeply secularised on the other: “The Catholic vote is highly complex,” according to a recent survey, which found (surprise, surprise)
“strong differences” between the group labeled “traditionalist Catholics,” who believe that the church should preserve its traditional beliefs and practices, and “adaptive Catholics,” those who believe it should adjust or alter traditional beliefs and practices in light of contemporary culture.
As you might expect, the National Catholic Reporter is generally supportive of Obama: what Father Z calls “the fishwrap” is written by and for what I have seen amazingly described as “pro-choice Catholics” (and if you don’t mind, when I refer to them henceforth, I’ll keep the quotation marks firmly around that particular oxymoron) the archetype of whom is Vice-President Joe Biden.
And of course, these “adaptive Catholics” (good description) are sometimes fanatically anti-Romney, to the point of almost instinctively distorting what he says and does, and uncritically accepting every pro-Obama spin, factually defensible or not. The morning after the second residential debate, one Michael Sean Winters wrote in the fishwrap what simply wasn’t the case, despite the fact that within minutes of the debate’s conclusion, the fact checkers had confirmed that Romney had been right, the President wrong, at one crucial point when the debate’s moderator had extremely disconcertingly for him told Romney that he was factually incorrect over a major accusation.
“Last night”, Winters insisted, [Romney] argued small and, consequently, he looked small. He did not confront the president with a broad indictment, except once, but instead seemed to be looking for gotcha moments. One of these backfired terribly: Instead of keeping the focus on the administration’s slow response to the attacks in Libya, he sensed an opening when Obama said that he had called the attack an act of terrorism the day after it occurred. Romney called out the president, suggesting he had just lied. But, moderator Candy Crowley, [ital] who had clearly done her homework,[end ital] (my italics) backed the president up. So does the videotape, which was airing on MSNBC within minutes of the debate’s conclusion. I do not watch morning television, but I am betting that exchange is the most-aired clip of the debate. (It was, but not for the reason Winters supposes)
“There are two problems with the clip for Romney”, he continues, “one of which will hurt him immediately and the other which should be of greater concern but won’t be. First, people think that if someone will lie about a small thing, he is likely to lie about big things. If you have ever been on a jury, you know that in assessing a witness’s credibility, it is often the little lies or inaccuracies that make you decide how much weight to give to a person’s testimony. Romney can get away with a big lie anytime. He purports his economic plan will create 12 million new jobs. Moody’s predicts that the U.S. economy will create 12 million new jobs no matter who wins. But, little lies will get you every time. Tactically, Romney’s gaffe also keeps him from talking about unemployment for a few more days, crucial days at that.”
Well, it didn’t, and Romney’s credibility, though it reeled for a moment until almost everyone realised he had been correct in his accusation, was not in any way weakened, since it was the President who emerged as having been deceitful. Candy Crowley had not, it turned out, done her homework: indeed, she ended up looking very like a partisan, who had been briefed with the President’s version of events beforehand (I’m not saying that that did happen, but that a cynic might suppose it). The fact is that the President did not say that the Benghazi massacre was an act of terror in the rose garden the day afterwards. His first public assertion about it was that what had happened was as a result of the notorious video insulting Islam (which nobody seems to have seen), which he was at pains to repudiate: “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths, he said. “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”
Well sure: but we know now (and most people in a position to know realised from the beginning) that the Benghazi attack had nothing to do with the video but had been carefully planned to coincide with 9/11.
President Obama then went on to talk at some length about the original 9/11 atrocity: and it is quite clear from the context that it was to that, and not to Benghazi, that he was referring when he spoke of terrorists acts. Get the transcript, he said, during the debate. Well, read it here and you will see. The operative passage is this:
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourn with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
As Americans let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those, both civilian and military, who represent us around the globe.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.
The President’s spinmeisters, with relief, fished out that last paragraph, and took it out of context to refer uniquely to Benghazi. There’s one giveaway about THAT, though. For, if it did refer to Benghazi, why did the White House, for the next two weeks, insist that Benghazis was a demonstration against the video that got out of hand and definitely not a terrorist attack?
The fact is that Wright’s article is yet another illustration of his (and the fishwrap’s) wilful wishful thinking: they really want Obama to win. “The race is likely to remain close”, says Winters “and Election Night may be a long night. But, I doubt it ….Obama is a better stump speaker by a long shot.… what we watched last night was President Obama taking a big step towards a convincing victory in three weeks.”
Well, now it’s two weeks, I wonder. Romney is doing well. I don’t have a vote in this election, but I have been following the campaign closely; and, given the still powerful international influence of the US (one which is in my view, on the whole entirely benign, though under Obama it has been at times disconcertingly destabilising) the election result concerns us almost as much as it does the American public. And I have to say, as a non-adaptive Catholic, that I just don’t see how anyone claiming to BE a Catholic can vote for the present incumbent. As I write, according to some polls, Romney has drawn level in Ohio, the “bell-weather” state. I have my fingers crossed.