Casey to get prime-time slot in Denver to appease Catholics

posted at 8:41 am on August 7, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

According to the New York Times, the Obama campaign wants to find a way to reach out to Catholics at the Democratic convention in Denver.  Obama has lost 26 points among Catholics in the last month, and now trails by 15 after getting trounced by Hillary Clinton in this demographic in the later primaries.  In order to appease Catholics, Obama wants Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) to get a prime-time slot in Denver to show his inclusiveness — but Obama’s radical record on abortion will not get cover so easily:

Sixteen years ago, the Democratic Party refused to allow Robert P. Casey Sr., then the governor of Pennsylvania, to speak at its national convention because his anti-abortion views, stemming from his Roman Catholic faith, clashed with the party’s platform and powerful constituencies. Many Catholics, once a reliable Democratic voting bloc, never forgot what they considered a slight.

This year, the party is considering giving a speaking slot at the convention to Mr. Casey’s son, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who like his late father is a Roman Catholic who opposes abortion rights. …

Mr. Casey’s appearance would be an important signal to Catholics, especially those who follow church teachings and oppose abortion. Mr. Obama could also use his choice of a vice-presidential running mate to reassure Roman Catholics. Among those that his campaign is vetting is Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia, a Roman Catholic whose faith has been part of his political identity. At least three other Catholics have also been mentioned as possible running mates: Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.

Although abortion is central to the political crosscurrents around Catholics — Ms. Sebelius has vetoed a number of bills that would restrict abortion rights in Kansas, prompting the archbishop of Kansas City to suggest that she stop receiving communion — part of Mr. Obama’s strategy is to emphasize that there are other issues on which they can base their votes. It would be a way to address the perception that Mr. Obama has a “Catholic problem.” 

Quite obviously, the problem exists; it’s not just a perception.  Obama lost the Catholic vote by 40 points to Clinton — which can be attributed to her targeting of working-class and suburban/rural voters in the Rust Belt — and has dropped dramatically this summer.  Catholics used to comprise a healthy portion of the Democratic Party until the 1980s, when the party demanded lock-step support for abortion from all of its candidates.  The snub of Casey Sr didn’t start the problem; it merely made it obvious to Catholics that their pro-life views were no longer welcome in the party.

Yet a significant number of Catholics continue to support Democrats, even pro-abortion candidates.  I meet them in the parish and in my circle of friends.  Most of them operate from the same kind of denial shown by Douglas Kmiec, who now supports Barack Obama after supporting Mitt Romney in the primaries.   Kmiec makes his case to the Times:

Mr. Kmiec, a Republican who served in the Justice Department under President Ronald Reagan, said he was supporting Mr. Obama because his platform met the standard of justice and concern for the poor the church has always defended. This year, Mr. Kmiec was denied communion by a priest at a gathering of Catholic business people because of his support for Mr. Obama. Mr. Kmiec said, “The proper question for Catholics to ask is not ‘Can I vote for him?’ but ‘Why shouldn’t I vote for the candidate who feels more passionately and speaks more credibly about economic fairness for the average family, who will be a true steward of the environment, and who will treat the immigrant family with respect?’ ”

Catholics who read the catechism already know the answer to that question.  While the Church does teach that we should help the poor, respect the immigrant, and be good stewards of the environment, those are not core teachings of the Church.  The protection of life, on the other hand, is a core teaching, and the catechism makes clear the absolute nature of that teaching:

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law …

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,” “by the very commission of the offense,” and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

2322 From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a “criminal” practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life.

The Church does not impose excommunication for disrespecting immigrants or a failure to pursue “economic justice” (a phrase which never appears in the catechism).  These could be sins and require confession and penance, but they do not rise to the level of excommunication.  And note that the catechism teaches that any kind of “formal cooperation” of abortion incurs this penalty, which includes performing, acquiring, or facilitating abortion.

Where does Obama fall within this argument?  He has fought limits on abortion, including — in one instance — a bill that would have required abortionists to save the life of fetuses born alive:

That is a tough standard for Mr. Obama, or any supporter of abortion rights, to meet. Republicans are gearing up campaigns to depict Mr. Obama as a radical on the question of abortion, because as a state senator in Illinois he opposed a ban on the killing of fetuses born alive.

Mr. Obama has said he had opposed the bill because it was poorly drafted and would have threatened the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that established abortion as a constitutional right. He said he would have voted for a similar bill that passed the United States Senate because it did not have the same constitutional flaw as the Illinois bill. Mr. Obama has opposed the federal ban on so-called partial-birth abortions for similar legal and constitutional reasons.

Not only does that put Obama on the radical Left on this issue, it puts him to the Left of his own party.  Several Democrats supported the ban on partial-birth abortions, and thus far it has not been overturned for legal or constitutional reasons.  Obama once famously called babies “a punishment“, and his track record on abortion earned him the endorsement of NARAL while Hillary Clinton still remained in the race.

Catholics can vote for whomever they want, of course.  Many of them will vote for Obama, but in order to do so, they have to reject the catechism and ignore the Church’s teachings on abortion.  A Bob Casey speech won’t convince Catholics who follow those teachings and understand the core nature of the need to protect human life.  Obama would do better by arguing that abortion is more or less irrelevant to the presidency, but given his ability to appoint pro-choice judges who will work to find more emanations from penumbras to justify the “right” to abortion, that’s almost as bad of an argument in this race.


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Comments

Pandermania.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on August 7, 2008 at 8:56 AM

Bob Casey is NOT pro-life.

Casey voted to end the “Mexico City Policy,” which keeps federal funds from going to organizations offering abortions overseas.

Overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t up to Congress, but legislation such as the “Mexico City Policy” is.

Casey supports NARAL’s golden boy, Barack Obama for President, over pro-life John McCain.

Casey isn’t pro-life and by his actions, Casey is NOT a Roman Catholic.

Casey is a Democrat. You can’t be Roman Catholic, if you are a Democrat.

NoDonkey on August 7, 2008 at 8:59 AM

I have never understood why Catholics are overwhelmingly Democrat. Yet the blame is on ‘evangelicals’ for the possible failure of the Republican party. Go figure. ‘Evangelicals’ will point to abortion in a second as to why they are Republican – it’s not even in a ‘catechism’ that ‘threatens’ ex-communication *GASP. Why do Catholics have such a hard time with the distinction of whether abortion is right or wrong? Should I ask Kerry? Or Kennedy?

ThackerAgency on August 7, 2008 at 9:00 AM

maybe Giuliani

ThackerAgency on August 7, 2008 at 9:01 AM

I’ve read the Bible through, several times, and while it does say that we should help the poor, there is absolutely nothing in it that supports the notion that we should be using other people’s money to fulfill that obligation.

MarkTheGreat on August 7, 2008 at 9:01 AM

Using Casy as a tool is standard practice for democrats. Since they feel that those who believe in God are intellectually inept, religion is just something that has to be dealt with. Anyone who lets a lying politician move their faith just proves they may be right to some degree.

volsense on August 7, 2008 at 9:02 AM

But, but, but….

Obama is All Things To All People, …

…isn’t he?

hillbillyjim on August 7, 2008 at 9:03 AM

There’s another problem Obama has with Catholics. They practice a faith that declares, “You shall have no other Gods before me”.

fogw on August 7, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Here is the problem with this, Catholics as a rule don’t go to the public schools. The Dems support Public Schools no vouchers, at any cost, in any condition. Failed school to bad for you, ask the Kartrina folks, who came out of the Delta. I am in Texas and they tell us storys about what it was like pre Katrina What they would do to get their kids educated, they were sending them to Catholic school….so peddling this I love Catholics schtick, the people listening, were educated in Parochial school. Not nearly dumbed down enough, for this Sad Campaign of, I am, who we want me to be, you can hope, I won’t change again by tomorrow. The Obamas don’t want to see women, burden by children “pro choice” that isn’t exactly meshing with Catholism. This is choppy not enough java but you get my point. Catholics not nearly dumb enough to fall for this dog and pony show.

Dr Evil on August 7, 2008 at 9:10 AM

“Why do Catholics have such a hard time with the distinction of whether abortion is right or wrong?”

Because most of them aren’t practicing Catholics. They haven’t gone to church in years. Or they go on Christmas and Easter.

When the pollster acts what religion they are, they don’t want to say “atheist”. Because they may have some belief in God. But they have no real belief in the church.

If a survey was done only asking Catholics who attend Mass at least once per week, regularly attend confession, etc., the number of them who are Democrats would be infinitesimal.

NoDonkey on August 7, 2008 at 9:12 AM

Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who like his late father is a Roman Catholic who opposes abortion rights.\ killing unborn children …

Fixed.
It’s more accurate to say we support rights (of children).

jgapinoy on August 7, 2008 at 9:14 AM

What was wrong with Father Pfleger? I’m sure he would be happy to speak at the convention.

JeffC_95 on August 7, 2008 at 9:15 AM

Hussein voted against the Born Alive Infant Act, ensuring that babies born alive after attempted abortions can be stuffed -alive- into the garbage disposal. So even voting for this monster should be considered an offense against God and man.

Akzed on August 7, 2008 at 9:15 AM

Obama lost the Catholic vote by 40 points to Clinton

That’s Hillary Clinton, Methodist Priestess of Abortion on Demand Using Taxpayer Funds. When you lose anything by 40 points to Hillary Clinton, and it is suggested that the reason is abortion, then it’s hard to believe he wasn’t actually performing abortions himself.

Obama definitely has a Catholic Problem, Douglas “I’m a Self-Loathing Imbecile” Kmiec notwithstanding.

Jaibones on August 7, 2008 at 9:16 AM

What was wrong with Father Pfleger? I’m sure he would be happy to speak at the convention.

JeffC_95 on August 7, 2008 at 9:15 AM

Heh.

He’s a Catholic Priest in good standing, and I can almost guarantee that he’s free that weekend.

Jaibones on August 7, 2008 at 9:18 AM

The only reason Casey ever got elected is because people thought he’d be a moderate, independent-minded individual. Instead, he’s marched in lock-step with the left-wing of his party at every move. He has proven on every major issue that he is nothing close to moderate or independent-minded. Hopefully my home state realizes this come re-election time.

matthewbit07 on August 7, 2008 at 9:18 AM

Btw, nice write-up, Ed.

Jaibones on August 7, 2008 at 9:19 AM

in Illinois he opposed a ban on the killing of fetuses born alive.

“fetuses born alive” are typically called babies.

AZCoyote on August 7, 2008 at 9:21 AM

“he’s marched in lock-step with the left-wing of his party at every move.”

Exactly, and “pro-life Democrats” (as if such an animal exists), can rail against Roe v. Wade, because it will never come up for a vote in Congress.

Meanwhile, when a so-called “pro-life Democrat” has a chance to extol legislation such as the Mexico City Policy, he votes exactly as NARAL darling Nancy Pelosi (another sham of a “Catholic”), tells him.

NoDonkey on August 7, 2008 at 9:22 AM

Casey is an absolute nonentity. Apart from funneling money to ACORN I can’t think of a single damned thing he’s done.

DrSteve on August 7, 2008 at 9:22 AM

This column by Archbishop Chaput explains it well:

“Archbishop Chaput wrote that Catholics could support a politician who supported abortion only if they had a “compelling proportionate reason” to justify it. “What is a ‘proportionate’ reason when it comes to the abortion issue?” the archbishop wrote. “It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life — which we most certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/07/us/politics/07catholics.html?_r=1&ref=politics&oref=slogin

The Democrat Party is the abortion uber alles party.

NoDonkey on August 7, 2008 at 9:30 AM

I’ve read the Bible through, several times, and while it does say that we should help the poor, there is absolutely nothing in it that supports the notion that we should be using other people’s money to fulfill that obligation.

MarkTheGreat on August 7, 2008 at 9:01 AM

Not exactly true..the israeli “welfare” system was essentially: you are only allowed to harvest through your fields once. You could get a lot more out of your field if you went through it twice or three times, but you are only allowed to go through it once…the poor and (yes even poor foreigners) were allowed to go through the fields and harvest all the remainder and procure enough food for themselves for the winter etc..

SaintOlaf on August 7, 2008 at 9:31 AM

How about a Catholic Hall of Shame, Ed?

We could make a list of the politicians who continue to – somehow – claim to be practicing Catholics, despite pushing public policy and social policy that is in stark opposition to Catholic theology. The Dem Party of Death has a treasure trove:

My own Senator Dick “the Weenie” Durbin
John Effing Kerry
Sibelius
Biden
Kennedy
Mike Madigan and his socialist spawn Lisa

(You could almost stop there and still have enough to make the very concept of Catholic theology irrelevent)

Jaibones on August 7, 2008 at 9:32 AM

Btw, nice write-up, Ed.

Jaibones on August 7, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Yes, it was. My mother-in-law thinks it is absolutely necessary to be a Democrat because only Democrats work for the poor and down-trodden (in her mind). She is appalled by the idea that Obama supported infanticide, but my husband and I cannot seem to convince her that teaching a man to fish is a healthier societal view.

Connie on August 7, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Catholics do not support Ubama because he is a monster who supports infanticide…not to mention the fact that Ubama is a fanatic racist and Jesus preached against racism..

SaintOlaf on August 7, 2008 at 9:38 AM

I cant see this as being a good thing for Sen. Casey or Obama…at least not with us bitter, gun-clinging, Bible reading folk in Pa.

I never liked Sen. Casey anyway.

becki51758 on August 7, 2008 at 9:54 AM

Ed, thank you. Your post succinctly and eloquently expressed the teachings of the Roman Catholic magisterium. I am thrilled and edified that Obama has a “Catholic problem.” He duly deserves to be in an even worse pickle with fervent, faithful Catholics. And there is no public figure, lukewarm, cafeteria “Catholic” Obama could possibly utilize (including the sadly deluded Doug Kmiec) that could budge me one inch from following the good sense, loving dictates of my church. Voting for McCain is a no brainer for loyal Catholics.

marybel on August 7, 2008 at 9:57 AM

I’ve read the Bible through, several times, and while it does say that we should help the poor, there is absolutely nothing in it that supports the notion that we should be using other people’s money to fulfill that obligation.

MarkTheGreat on August 7, 2008 at 9:01 AM

Not exactly true..the israeli “welfare” system was essentially: you are only allowed to harvest through your fields once. You could get a lot more out of your field if you went through it twice or three times, but you are only allowed to go through it once…the poor and (yes even poor foreigners) were allowed to go through the fields and harvest all the remainder and procure enough food for themselves for the winter etc..

SaintOlaf on August 7, 2008 at 9:31 AM

But how is that helping the poor w/ other people’s money?

jgapinoy on August 7, 2008 at 9:58 AM

in Illinois he opposed a ban on the killing of fetuses born alive.

“fetuses born alive” are typically called babies.

AZCoyote on August 7, 2008 at 9:21 AM

As a fetus that was born alive, I would like to thank my parents and the medical team on-hand for rescuing me from a possible fate based on the Democratic party’s use of extermination as birth control which is sanctioned by the hypocritical Catholics that hold membership is said party, and no value for the sanctity of human life.

I also call upon my fellow fetuses that experienced being born alive, to join with me in the occasion of voting these proponents of murdering our less fortunate brothers and sisters of the fetus/creation movement out of office.

Hening on August 7, 2008 at 9:59 AM

“…My mother-in-law thinks it is absolutely necessary to be a Democrat because only Democrats work for the poor and down-trodden (in her mind)…”

My sister, and her husband, are likewise swayed by this line of thinking.

They, too, view the Dems as the party of the compassionate.

For all their education, you’d think they could add 2+2…

Party of the compassionate, indeed. Which is why the number of people we have to be compassionate towards keeps growing and growing year after year…still giving the man fish instead of teaching him how to fish.

Conventional Catholic wisdom among older Yuppie Catholics?

Casey…he’s such a nice charming man, a great family man, and didn’t he offer a resolution in Congress welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to America? Too many Catholics think this way. Casey showing up on the rostrum would be enough for a lot of unthinking Catholics to swing to Obama.

Party of the compasionate? Bull! And not a Papal Bull, either.

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Adding any CINO to the ticket won’t have Catholics jumping up and down to vote for an Obama ticket.

Btw, nice write-up, Ed.

Jaibones on August 7, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Very nice write-up, Ed!

IrishGirl17 on August 7, 2008 at 10:08 AM

As a nation we profess a belief in God, although we often seem not to take Him seriously. If Catholics would objectively examine the tenets of their faith, they would come to the ineluctable conclusion that they cannot in good conscience support the Democrat party platform with its callous disregard for human life.

whitetop on August 7, 2008 at 10:09 AM

But how is that helping the poor w/ other people’s money?

jgapinoy on August 7, 2008 at 9:58 AM

If you would have gone through your fields harvesting them two or three times you could have sold your crops = more money.

SaintOlaf on August 7, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Two points: 1. Catholics, like all Christians, should oppose abortion – it is a human rights issue, not a privacy issue. Letting someone speak at a convention who is perceived as arguably pro-life should not sway a voter, when the policies of the candidate being nominated will be unarguably anti-life. 2. “economic fairness” as described by Kmiec, I can only assume means charity. Charity is in the realm of the church, and has been for centuries. It is not the business of government to provide charity; since they began the war on poverty in the 1960s, the government has been pushing churches out of the charity business, to the detriment of the poor. Churches always divided the poor into two groups; the needy (who could not support themselves) and those who could work but didn’t. They cared for the needy, and helped re-train and push back into society those who could work. Once government got into the business, all sense of community involvement and the temporary nature of charity were lost.

Think_b4_speaking on August 7, 2008 at 10:17 AM

whitetop on August 7, 2008 at 10:09 AM —

Yet, when we Catholics do come to that conclusion, we are derided as throwbacks to the Dark Ages. I believe a lot of my fellow Catholics view giving away canned food (they no longer want or is approaching expiry date) to the community food closet somehow absolves them of their going along with the anti-life party.

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Will it mean that Catholic interests will somehow be incorporated into Democratic Party platform and policies …

Hey, look over there! It’s a distraction.

Dusty on August 7, 2008 at 10:34 AM

I, a conservative Catholic non-bitter Republican, voted for his daddy twice, but Bob Casey is no Bob Casey. He’s a dull suit that can’t inspire a flee. Gosh, we miss Santorum.

deedledee on August 7, 2008 at 10:40 AM

“Once government got into the business, all sense of community involvement and the temporary nature of charity were lost.”

Exactly and it isn’t charitable giving when your money is seized from you, under threat of being sent to prison.

NoDonkey on August 7, 2008 at 10:56 AM

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

The junior Bob Casey rode to his current office on the coattails of his dad’s reputation and the Rahm Emmanuel, Move-on machine, defeating a fine, committed, national-security conscious, pro-life supporting conservative, Rick Santorum.

Young Bob Casey is another empty suit now taking up space in the Senate, who is just as ineffectual and empty as he was previously, serving as Lt. Gov. in Pennsylvania. He is a rubber stamp for the Dems, having no prevailing philosophy of his own.

I cannot think that practicing Catholics who are politically aware will be taken in by this ruse.

onlineanalyst on August 7, 2008 at 12:15 PM

I have never understood why Catholics are overwhelmingly Democrat.

In what part of the country is this true? The men’s group at my parish should register as an Elect McCain committee (not that I’m complaining). And I agree with many here. This isn’t going to work, particularly with Casey.

rightwingprof on August 7, 2008 at 1:30 PM

This is kind of funny to me. Bob Casey Jr. is not an especially gifted speaker and if they give him the spot I hope he proves as boring as Bill Clinton did during his first (interminable) convention speech. Rick Santorum had a knack for coming off as an arrogant twerp, but I generally respected him for having the courage of his convictions. I’m pro-choice and nominally in favor of letting gays have civil marriage in exchange for getting rid of domestic partnerships (“marriage-lite”) for straights, but Santorum convinced me that there might be problems restricting marriage to two people if gays got it. Casey, Jr. is a very poor substitute for a principled, national security hawk like Santorum.

Jill1066 on August 7, 2008 at 2:12 PM

Not exactly true..the israeli “welfare” system was essentially: you are only allowed to harvest through your fields once.

Don’t forget that you are talking about a society in which almost everyone was a farmer. So once again, this was not a requirement to take other people’s resources.

MarkTheGreat on August 7, 2008 at 2:16 PM

Right now we live in a society where 10% of the population pays 60% of the taxes.

MarkTheGreat on August 7, 2008 at 2:21 PM

I was part of a pro-life group 10 yrs ago in HS so I know the seriousness of the subject. Yet, I couldn’t contain my laughter at AZCoyote‘s simple statement:

“fetuses born alive” are typically called babies.

Not to mention jgapinoy‘s PC correction…

It’s more accurate to say we support rights (of children).

The fight for our own words is amusing in a sad way. If that makes any sense…

craig on August 7, 2008 at 2:27 PM

Right now we live in a society where 10% of the population pays 60% of the taxes.

MarkTheGreat on August 7, 2008 at 2:21 PM

Barry wants to raise that second number to about 80%.

Rick on August 7, 2008 at 3:27 PM

I`ve watched Casey on t.v. and can`t help but think of a brainless dope. Do I hear a second?

ThePrez on August 7, 2008 at 4:22 PM

Second!

Motion carries. Right?

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 4:47 PM

The fight for our own words is amusing in a sad way. If that makes any sense…

craig on August 7, 2008 at 2:27 PM

+1 – Makes a lot of sense. Sad, but true. A “fetus born alive” makes it so much easier for the leftards to kill than killing a “baby.”

Neocon Peg on August 7, 2008 at 9:06 PM