Bart Stupak: Senate Bill Dead on Arrival

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

A number of years ago, Gov. Robert Casey warned that health care reform legislation that included public financing of abortion would be “dead on arrival” to Congress. For that very reason as well as several others, the attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system went down in flames.

After the election of now Senator-elect Scott Brown, the Democrats are scrambling to figure out what to do about health care reform and they might have another  pro-life Democrat problem, a Democrat with the spirit of Casey.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) told CNSNews.com “if they expect the House to accept the Senate bill, it’s going to go down in flames.”

CNSNews.com asked Stupak: “Are you prepared to vote for a bill that looks more like the Senate bill – and Senator Nelson’s language on abortion – than the House bill, with your language?” He replied, “No, absolutely not.”

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The Contradiction of Religious Freedom

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

Perhaps one of the most cherished freedoms of liberal democracy (in the sense of classical liberalism, not modern progressivism) is the freedom of religion. Much though I admire many elements of Western Civilization prior to the modern era, I cannot help thinking that the end of the formal confessional state has generally been a good thing not only for the state, but even more so for the Church. It has given the Church, no longer tied down by the need to support explicitly Catholic regimes, the freedom to speak more openly and forcefully on the demands that Christ’s message puts upon us in the public and economic realms.

That said, it seems to me that there is a built in contradiction in the place of religious freedom in classical liberalism: While religious freedom is a central element of classical liberalism, the ability of a state to function as a liberal democracy will collapse if a large majority of the population do not share a common basic moral and philosophical (and thus by implication theological) worldview. Thus, while religious freedom is a foundational element of classical liberalism, only a certain degree of religious conformity makes it possible.
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Scott Brown: Good News for Obama 2012?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

At first glance, it would appear that Scott Brown’s unlikely victory is bad news for President Obama’s long-term political future. Senator-elect Brown explicitly ran against the current health care reform bill, favoring federalist experimentation rather than a one-size-fits-all national approach. As health care reform was the central focus of President Obama’s first year in office, and Massachusettes is one of the most liberal states in the country, Brown’s victory there is a clear repudiation of the leadership of President Obama and Congressional Democrats during the past year. Nevertheless, I think a case could be made that Scott Brown’s victory will help the President in the long run. There are three main reasons:

1) Brown’s victory was too stunning to ignore. No one would have predicted it even a month ago, and I was still skeptical yesterday that Massachusetts was going to elect a Republican senator for the first time since 1972 – and to replace Ted Kennedy, of all people. Congressional Democratic leadership and the Administration will no longer be able to convince Blue Dog Democrats they know best and that Obama will be able to leverage his popularity to preserve their seats. That card has been played – not only in Massachusetts, but also in Virginia and New Jersey – and it wasn’t  a winner. This means that the Administration and the Congressional leadership will have to adjust their strategy, and pay more attention to voter sentiment. It’s probably too late at this point for this to help the Democrats much in November; they will take a well-deserved beating in this election. Nevertheless, it’s a lesson the Obama Administration will keep in mind going forward, just as the Clinton Administration pivoted after the Hillarycare debacle. President Obama will be forced to govern more like the moderate, fiscally responsible Democrat he campaigned as. And that is likely to increase his odds of re-election.

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Hitler Reacts to the Massachusetts Election

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

Ah, the Downfall movie, endless source of parodies!


The Massachusetts Miracle: What Does It Mean?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

Well Massachusetts has elected a Republican US Senator for the first time in 37 years.  What does this political upset of the century mean?

1.   ObamaCare is dead.  Not only because the Democrats now lack 60 votes to invoke cloture in the Senate, but because opposition to ObamaCare was the signature feature of Scott Brown’s campaign and the results of this race in bluest Massachusetts will send chills down the spine of too many Democrats.

2.   We now have further evidence that the Democrats are looking at a political storm of the first magnitude in the Fall.  If a US Senate seat in Massachusetts isn’t safe for the Democrats, it is hard to imagine what seat in Congress outside of urban centers they can take for granted in November.

3.   The fundraising success of Scott Brown over the internet was astounding.  A demonstration that the internet fundraising effort of the Democrats in 2008 now has a GOP counterpart.

4.   Look for a wave of Democrat retirements in Congress as more Democrats decide that ending their political careers with a voluntary retirement is preferable to defeat.

5.   More Blue Dog Democrats in Congress will follow the example of Congressman Parker Griffith and announce that they are switching to the Republican Party.

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The Politics of Hatred

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts tonight prompted an acquaintance of mine to remind me of my prediction that the GOP was a doomed party. “So much for that prediction”, I was told.

Not so fast. My analysis, which I was toying with a year ago before and after Obama’s victory, was that demographic factors were threatening the long-term survival of the GOP. In spite of tonight’s spectacular victory for the GOP, I’m not quite ready to toss my analysis out the window just yet. The main reason is that I am not convinced that what I call “the politics of hate” can sustain either party.

What are the politics of hate? By that I do not mean that the platform of either party is based in a hateful ideology, though I’m sure many would find aspects of either that they would describe that way. What I mean is that I see what was once a tendency in politics becoming the obsessive, dominating factor – visceral hatred for the incumbent, regardless of the party he or she belongs to, and regardless of the party affiliation of the voters.

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The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

Throughout the last few years and specifically the last decade or so, the voluminous number of kooky quotes and statements coming from religious believers (heterodox Catholics included) and non believers alike is mind boggling. It can’t but help push the reasonable minded into the Catholic Church. Most casual observers are familiar with the number of high profile converts and reverts to the Catholic Church in the last 25 years or so. They range from theological luminaries like Dr Scott Hahn and Dr Francis Beckwith to political figures like Deal Hudson, Laura Ingraham and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Many like them have come to the Church after years of study and reason, but many also have come to the Church after years of seeing their particular religious denomination become unrecognizable.

The latest world calamity has given us two examples of sheer kookery coming from a religious leader and a secular voice. After the horrific earthquake that left the western world’s most impoverished nation in tatters, the Reverend Pat Robertson chimed in with a quote that was not only tragically insensitive but historically inaccurate. The onetime presidential candidate (who actually came in second in the 1988 GOP Iowa Caucus) and a leading voice of the Evangelical world blamed the earthquake on Voodoo, a cult that sadly far too many people practice in Haiti.  Robertson voiced his opinion on his popular 700 Club television program. Robertson repeated the fundamentalist canard that in the early 1800s the leaders of a slave revolt fighting against French colonial forces forged a pact with the Satan to thrown off the chains of their oppressors.

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