Rep. Cao’s Defeat

If I said anything about the election in general, I’d probably be wrong. At about 9:17 pm, while everyone else was watching election returns, I was at the hospital, meeting 7 lb. 14.9 oz. little Benedict Denton (Luckily for you, I’m not one of those dads who posts absurd quantities of pictures of his irresistibly adorably cute son). So  I didn’t really give a damn about the election (though I did vote in it), nor did I glean much other than the GOP performed in the mid-range of everyone’s expectations, and that the coming of the Tea Party was overrated. The latter is all that really matters to me, as I expect it will have consequences for the GOP candidate in 2012 (sorry Palin). I’ll leave it to others to craft the results to fit nicely in their gradiose theories about the inevitable victory of their political persuasion.

The only race I did care about was Louisiana’s 2nd district in which La. Rep. Joseph Cao lost to Democrat Cedric Richmond. It was one of the bright spots of the Democrat’s night, but it was entirely expected as Cao only won two years ago b/c most of the Bill Jefferson’s voters didn’t know he hadn’t already won the election. Cao always was an odd-ball, with his significant votes coming in the healthcare debate. A Catholic who cared deeply about the opinion of the bishops, he voted for the healthcare bill with the Stupak language and then, recognizing that without abortion would be funded, changed his vote.

His votes made everyone uncomfortable. The Republicans didn’t like their unanimous front being broken. The Democrats didn’t like the stinging rebuke on their lies about abortion funding in the bill. In heavily Democratic 2nd district, Cao was almost certainly giving up any chance of re-election in order to vote for life.

It was no surprise that Cao received almost no national support, even from some “Catholic” organizations. What may be surprising is who came down hard opposing Cao: Pres. Barack Obama. Two years after promising to change the tone in Washington, Obama campaigned hard for a indisputably corrupt Democrat against the only bi-partisan Republican in Congress. Hope & Change? hardly.

This makes me question whether Americans are telling the truth when they claim they want a less partisan Congress. We say we’re tired of the stupid games, but we don’t support the candidates who fight to change that. I’m not talking here about RINOs or other candidates who lie through their teeth about their true positions. I have no problem giving them the boot. I’m talking about candidates who don’t like up perfectly with their parties but are honest about the differences. Candidates who are willing to work with those outside the party for the good of their constituencies, not those working to get a plug for the New York Times.

So if don’t want Cao, and we claim to not like the status quo, then what do we want?

22 Responses to Rep. Cao’s Defeat

  1. Phillip says:

    Looking at the pictures, he is cute. Good thing he looks like his mom. 😉


  2. c matt says:

    Who says he doesn’t want Cao? I’d have no problem voting for him if he ran in my jurisdiction.

  3. Andy K. says:

    Of all the congressmen/women to lose their seats on Tuesday evening, no one deserved to retain their own more than Joe Cao 😦

    He will be missed.

  4. Chris C. says:

    There should be room for Rep Cao in the GOP. If not perhaps it is time for a distinctly Catholic political movement; one faithful above all to our Magisterium. I don’t even agree with him on the Healthcare bill, questions of abortion notwithstanding, but I have no problem working with any conscientious Catholic whose faithfulness to the principles of Evangelium Vitae and all Catholic teaching is beyond question. Such I believe to be the case of Rep Cao, at least from what I know about his career.

  5. Jay Anderson says:

    I don’t think Cao’s loss reflects an attitude that he isn’t wanted. I think most conservatives and Republicans would love to have Cao still in that Congressional seat. That Cao received so little support is probably more than anything else a reflection of what donors thought of his chances to retain his seat vis-a-vis other more winnable races. Donors weren’t going to contribute to what they saw as a lost cause when other candidates needing money were running in races that seemed within reach.

    But because Cao was so unlikely to retain the seat anyway, that makes Obama’s insertion of himself into the race on behalf of Cao’s opponent all the more despicable. That’s how bipartisanship gets rewarded, I guess.

  6. Cathy says:

    Cao voted for Obamacare. Maybe, the Republicans that voted against him thought that he was not willing to stand up against expanding government and reducing spending. These appear to be the current concerns in the Republican party as I see it.

  7. Art Deco says:

    So if don’t want Cao, and we claim to not like the status quo, then what do we want?

    Which [missing] ‘we’ did you have in mind? Most of ‘we’ do not reside in the 2d district of Louisiana. One account has it that the demographics of the district are as follows:

    30.2% White, 64.1% Black, 2.7% Asian, 3.8% Hispanic, 0.3% Native American, 0.2% other.

    Tough territory for a Republican.

  8. RL says:

    Aww, congratulations!

  9. Dale Price says:

    But because Cao was so unlikely to retain the seat anyway, that makes Obama’s insertion of himself into the race on behalf of Cao’s opponent all the more despicable. That’s how bipartisanship gets rewarded, I guess.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to suspect that the President’s claim that he wants to be a post-partisan leader who heals national divisions is somewhat less than whole-hearted.

  10. Cathy says:

    Dale: I share your suspicisions. According to the President, it’s Obama’s way or the highway.

  11. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Congrats on the son Michael! I assure you that your world will never be the same again based upon my on-going adventure with my kids!

    In regard to Cao I think he has a bright political future if he wants it. He might be a tad liberal on some fiscal policies for many Repbublicans, but he more than makes up for that by his strong devotion to the pro-life cause and the various pokes in the eye that he gave to the North Vietnamese government while in office. He is bright and principled and both qualities show in his life. He should try running for statewide office in Louisiana.

  12. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Dale, I like the dry way in which you wrote your observations about Obama. It reminded me of Burke Breathed’s classic cartoon where Opus is watching professional wrestling and one of the groping gladiators hits his oppponent with a monkey wrench. Opus turns to the reader and says, “You know, I think this might be fixed!”

  13. Eric Brown says:

    I was very, very disappointed that Cao did not win re-election. He is a sincere, conscientious Catholic. I’ve never heard of a Congressman going to Mass and praying before votes. I would have voted for him without blinking.

  14. Cao continued his oddball antics by siding with the Log Cabin Republicans. I wish he hadn’t.

  15. brettsalkeld says:

    A Republican who seems to be Catholic first, Republican second. One of the only American statesman who doesn’t reinforce my gratitude that I don’t have to vote in your elections. Let us ask God for more such “oddballs.”

  16. Philippus says:

    I get frustrated when people see Rep. Cao as truly pro-life. Being truly pro-life means being able to see beyond abortion. It means being able to understand how easy it is for socialism and communism to be slipped into the fabric of American Culture.

    I certainly did not like our Bishops misleading the Catholics in the US about the Health Care Vote. Simply saying, ” Call your representative to make sure abortion is not in the bill” was not enough. As a matter of fact, I think that position gave the Democrats a sort of blessing to force this health care bill into our livelihood.

    Rep. Cao should not have voted for the bill whether there was funding for abortion in it or not. These are principles we have to have ingrained in our hearts and minds. We should not promote the breakdown of our culture by encouraging the government to provide us with goods and services that majority do not want. That is why we have the Church to provide us with goods and services out of charity. This charity is what gives the world the sanity that it needs to keep going on. Let charity be from the bottom up, not from the top down.

    Unfortunate for Cao because he listened to the US Bishops.

  17. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Phillippus, Cao voted against final passage of Obamacare precisely because of his fear that it opened the door to public funding of abortion. Voting against the center piece of Obama’s legislative agenda was to sign one’s own political death warrant in Cao’s liberal district, but Cao, always a man of principal, cast that vote anyway.

  18. Philippus says:

    Mr. McClarey,

    Perhaps I can say what I mean in other words. Anybody who voted for or supported the bill was doing so even after they knew it was a bill forcing Americans to buy a good and service. Furthermore, there were “death panels” provisions made in the bill that was clear to the supporters of the bill (even though they chose to ignore it because it sounds ridiculous to the common ear). What part of “Catholic” is voting for the bill? In my opinion, it is none.

    If the government wants to provide for people who are needy, ought they not try to work with independent groups such as charitable organizations and Churches to see what they can do from their own sides?

    There is a better approach than forcing the people to take on additional burdens and also ensuring that they don’t have a way out of it.

    I’ve got an idea, how about those people who want to support free health care for all ask the government to take the money out of their paychecks and let those people who truly have a moral problem with perpetuating the idea that the government should provide all, be left alone.

    If the state gives us such goods and services, then we have become the slaves of the state and will no longer seek to call on God for we will have forgotten Him.

    Cao is an honest man, but he was also honestly naive. He calls Obama his friend and was surprised that Obama campaigned for his opponent just before Tuesday’s elections.

  19. Philippus says:

    Oh! I should also add that Health Care for All is as absurd an idea as Education for All.

    We wanted free public education. We have got it. And then now we are fighting a war with the state not to treat us as secular people. We want them to respect our Christian beliefs and not teach us about same-sex attraction as a normal way of life. We rip what we sow.

    In that same vein, when we call for free health care, are we not giving too much power to the state to determine how we want to be cared for when we fall into their hands?

    We burden a civil state with the responsibility of being our teachers, our doctors, our housing provider and our food provider.

  20. Mike Petrik says:

    I agree with much of what you say, but your attempt to make our prudential calculations Catholic orthodoxy is mistaken. There is no reason a good Catholic could not have favored ObamaCare if it had contained appropriate protections against abortion funding. Such support would be very mistaken in my view, but not incompatable with Church teaching as such.

  21. Mike Petrik says:

    I should have made clear that my previous message was directed toward Philippus.
    I am in complete agreement with Don.

  22. Mark Noonan says:

    Cao’s initial vote for ObamaCare put him on the skids, but he was bouncing back a bit until he opined that he wasn’t sure he’d vote for the GOP leader for Speaker – stating that he’d like to see what they’re platforms were before making such a choice. At that moment, he was finished because he opened up the prospect of actually voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. It wasn’t lack of money – candidates with even less chance of winning than Cao took in bags of money (most notably Starr Parker in California who actually outspent her Democrat incumbent and was still blown out of the water) Yes, we want more genuine Catholics in office – but there has to be some political sense in there, some where. Cao simply didn’t have any.

    Unless we Catholics want to form a specifically Catholic political party – which would be suicidal – we’re going to have to adjust ourselves to the fact that the majority of those we work with won’t be Catholic. We still should and can become the largest political force in America and we must work diligently to implement as much of Catholic teaching as possible – but we also have to recognize that we won’t get it all, and that some times non-crucial things will have to take a back seat to the crucial. While some sort of national health care plan has been a desire of the Bishops for ages, the larger issue in ObamaCare wasn’t health care, but government control – including such things as eventually government control over Catholic hospitals, with the implications that they’d be force to provide birth control and abortions.

    We must help the poor; we must give a fair shake to all those illegals we de-facto invited in to the country; we want all sorts of things all sorts of Democrats will claim they are shooting for – but we must recognize the reality of what the Democrats are doing: using high minded principles as a cover for a naked power grab. And not just any, old power grab, but a power grab designed to implement the most anti-family, anti-Christian and anti-American policies imaginable. Given these circumstances, the default position of any Catholic to any Democrat proposal must be opposition and only if it is 100% clear that both intent and actuality are in accordance with Catholic teaching should we back a Democrat proposal.

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