The Catholic Thing
HOME        ARCHIVES        IN THE NEWS        COMMENTARY        NOTABLE        DONATE
Life Issues and the Mid-Term Elections Print E-mail
By George J. Marlin   
Tuesday, 05 October 2010

This year, plenty of American voters are angry. They’re unhappy about the sad state of the economy, the anemic job market, and the “big brother knows best” policies emanating from the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress on everything from health care to climate change.

This anger has sparked such anti-incumbent enthusiasm that pollsters have trouble believing their public opinion poll findings. The voter intensity of Tea Party and Republican supporters registering in polls is contrary to average off-year election weighted vote formulas. This explains why various poll results in a host of gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, and Congressional races may seem to conflict with one another. Some pollsters are sticking to their traditional methodology, which modifies anti-incumbent turnout, while other pollsters are calling the results as their findings dictate. This means that Republican challengers, particularly in tight contests, may be further ahead of their opponents than conventional poll results indicate.

In the final month of the fall campaign, the voting group to watch is the baby boomers. They are the most bummed-out group because the dreams of early and prosperous retirement for many of them have been shattered. Their diminished 401(k)s can no longer throw off the income needed to support the lifestyle to which they believe they are entitled. They are bitter because they have been hit by a triple whammy. They got clobbered when the tech bubble burst in 2000; then the equity in their homes significantly declined; and then their clocks were cleaned in the 2008-2009 stock market meltdown.

Congressional candidates who support social issues that matter to Catholics could benefit from all this pent-up baby boomer anger. Unlike 2004, when moral and cultural issues were the most important factor in the voters’ decision-making process, this year these issues are at the bottom of the list of concerns. Hence, polls are indicating that many baby boomer anti-incumbent voters who are socially progressive, will vote for fiscally conservative challengers, even though those candidates may be pro-life.

This is good news for house races in states like New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana that went for Obama in 2008. In my home state of New York, Republican and Conservative Party-endorsed Congressional candidates (most of whom oppose abortion) could pick up as many as six seats. Even former Congressman Joe DioGuardi, an unabashed social conservative, has a shot at knocking off our unelected junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. Also, it looks like New York’s GOP will regain majority control of the state senate which means same-sex marriage proposals will be blocked.

Likewise, in the very blue state of California, pro-lifer Carly Fiorina is in a dead heat in her race against Senator Barbara Boxer. And in Pennsylvania, Republican senatorial candidate Pat Toomey has a safe lead over pro-abortion opponent Congressman Joe Sestak.

There’s more positive news: The sellout on the abortion provisions in Obamacare legislation by Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak and Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey, Jr. – in return for a lame executive order supposedly banning Federal funds for abortion – put an end to the argument that they can be a moderating influence on their party’s social issues agenda. Because the Democratic leadership has rejected Hillary Clinton’s 2005 call to be more tolerant of the beliefs of those who oppose abortion and ruthlessly crushed their tiny pro-life caucus, expect old-time Democrats of the Governor Bob Casey, Sr. type, to align themselves with like-minded Republicans. A recent poll of all baptized Catholics indicates they are trending Republican. Republicans have a twelve- point lead with Church-going Catholics. This is a significant shift from 2008, when 54 percent of baptized Catholics sided with Obama and practicing/church-going Catholics gave McCain 55 percent of their vote.

The GOP’s “Pledge to America” manifesto calls for a repeal of the abortion provision in the health care law and for a continued ban on tax-funded abortions. Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, an up and coming GOP star and respected health care expert, has declared, “the cause of life can’t be severed from the cause of freedom.” “All conservatives,” he wrote in a recent column, “should find it easy to agree that government must uphold every person’s right to make choices regarding their lives and that every person’s right to live must be secured before he or she can exercise that right of choice.”

Meanwhile, Washington Democrats, who are afraid to alienate organizations like NARAL and EMILY’s List who have deep financial pockets, continue to wave their battle flag. In a recent press conference, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer insisted that pro-abortion Democratic congressional candidates were experiencing a “resurgence.” The delusional Congressman denied “there’s a death knell.” “I think,” he said, “there’s a resurgence of Democrats throughout the country.”

If the anti-Obama, anti-incumbent fervor holds up for twenty-six more days, pro-lifers should expect to be pleased with the November 2 results.

 
George J. Marlin is an editor of The Quotable Fulton Sheen and the author of. The American Catholic Voter.

(c) 2010 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info at thecatholicthing dot org

The Catholic Thing
is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own

Rules for Commenting

The Catholic Thing welcomes comments, which should reflect a sense of brevity and a spirit of Christian civility, and which, as discretion indicates, we reserve the right to publish or not. And, please, do not include links to other websites; we simply haven't time to check them all.

Comments (10)Add Comment
0
...
written by James Danielson, October 06, 2010
I find little solace in this analysis. It doesn't matter much who sits in which chairs, the central government grows and converts ever more social power into state power. This is the nature of the State. Ronald Reagan was pro-life but did nothing to end abortion. His successor was a cipher. The cipher's son tapped the brakes on federal funding of fetal stem-cell research--but that's about it. The Republicans have held both houses of Congress, and for a while the White House at the same time, but did nothing to change our gruesome abortion "policy." Every election, candidates from both parties fire up the same hackneyed rhetoric in which images of verdant fields of liberty and prosperity soar over a very different reality. Thing One will surrender his chair to Thing Two, and band will resume the same old tune.
0
...
written by Joe, October 06, 2010
I agree with James. It's a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Replace the old corrupt crooks with new ones and you get the same old corrupt government. After 40 years of voting I am convinced that there is not a dime's worth of difference between the two major political parties, both of which are propelled into power by one thing and one thing only: Money. The Golden Rule in America has always been and always will be: He who has the gold rules.
0
...
written by Ray Hunkins, October 06, 2010
Insightful column. No difference between the Republican party and the Democrat party? Henry Hyde would disagree, God rest his soul. Checking out is an abdication of citizen responsibility in a republic. As for me, for the first time since the last election I am embracing "hope and change".
0
Vote
written by Brad Miner, October 06, 2010
I agree with Mr. Hunkins. As George Marlin suggests, this election offers some dramatic choices between pro-choice and pro-life candidates, as it also does between big-government and limited-government advocates. That said, I think we will also be giving the GOP a last chance to serve American principle and the American people and not just self-interest. About that I'm guardedly optimistic. But . . . put not thy faith in princes.
0
...
written by Chris in Maryland, October 06, 2010
Brad & Ray are right. To imitate Christ means we can't permit ourselves to "check out" because politics doesn't pave the way for the City of God. It's a battle to the end...an end way beyond us...Christ expects us to stay in the fight. Mother Teresa once had a skeptic interviewing her, who suggested she was wasting her time in her works of charity, saying she was not succeeding. She cut the knot of the question with a sword: "My job is not to be successful, my job is to be faithful." So - Semper Fi...
0
...
written by Brian English, October 06, 2010
Until Roe, Doe and Casey are overturned, there is not much that can be done legally about abortion beyond placing marginal restrictions on it. People have to focus on who is going to be selecting and voting on the nominees for the Supreme Court over the next few years.

No difference between the GOP and the Democrats? Do you actually believe there is no difference between Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito on the one hand, and Justice Kagan and Justice Sotomayor on the other?
0
...
written by Chris in Maryland, October 06, 2010
Here's something else Pro-Life citizens should propose, in addition to working on the law. Challenge the "Pro-Choice" facade with this: take all the public tax money forced into propping up Planned Parenthood et al, split it into 3 parts, and send 2 parts to Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers, adoption agecies, and similar services for men & women choosing life over abortion, and leave the last 3rd for Planned Parenthood, because, as Pro-Choice advocates have said, "no one is really pro-abortion." Or better yet, work to eliminate all tax funds to either side, and then implement generous tax incentives for charitable support of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice, and watch what happens.
0
...
written by Ray Hunkins, October 06, 2010
Please consider this paraphrase of a famous quote as an additional argument against refusing to participate in the political process:
"All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."
Yes, the political parties are imperfect. After all they are human institutions. Bringing our Catholic beliefs to the public square is a benefit to the political process. See Chaput,"Render unto Ceaser",Image Books.
0
...
written by Roger Stenson, October 10, 2010
Efforts to attenuate the fervor and co-opt the pro-life vote are alive and well. Marlin's is a very good and very important article. Reagan had a Democrat (pro-abortion) Congress. Still, policies like the Hyde Amendment prevailed, and the Mexico City Policy was instituted. He wrote a book, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, while in office; an exercise of moral authority. Bush 41 vetoed five - five - pro-abortion bills, costing him huge political capital, and perhaps reelection. Bush 43 gave us Roberts and Alito, and signed the Ban on Partial-Birth Abortion which Clinton had vetoed twice, and like Reagan and Bush 41, kept federal funds from providing abortions. The number of babies killed skyrockets when federal funds are allocated for it. Elections have consequences.
0
...
written by Theresa Banks, November 06, 2010
I wish that the Catholic Church would just stay out of politics. Period. I can't stand going to mass and being told who to vote for.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

security code
Write the displayed characters


busy
 

Other Articles By This Author

CONTACT US FOR ADVERTISERS ABOUT US
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner