The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

This Is One of Those Days I’m Glad I’m Not a Catholic Democrat


Fallout from the Edwards bloggers:

“We’re completely invisible to this debate,” said Eduardo Penalver, a Cornell University law professor who writes for the liberal Catholic journal Commonweal. He said he was dissatisfied with the Edwards campaign’s response. “As a constituency, the Christian left isn’t taken all that seriously,” Penalver said…

“We have gone so far to rebuild that coalition [between Democrats and religious Christians] and something like this sets it back,” said Brian O’Dwyer, a New York lawyer and Irish-American leader who chairs the National Democratic Ethnic Leadership Council, a Democratic Party group. O’Dwyer said Edwards should have fired the bloggers. “It’s not only wrong morally – it’s stupid politically.”

O’Dwyer e-mailed a statement to reporters saying: “Senator Edwards is condoning bigotry by keeping the two bloggers on his staff. Playing to the cheap seats with anti-Catholic bigotry has no place in the Democratic Party.”

In a comment that several Catholic Democrats told The Politico they found particularly offensive, Edwards aide Amanda Marcotte asked, in a posting to her personal blog, ”What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?”

…And so religious liberals find themselves in a quandary. They have no interest in associating with the likes of William Donohue, the Catholic League president who is closely aligned with the GOP and led the charge against Edwards’ aides. Donohue said Thursday he would take out newspaper advertisements attacking Edwards as anti-Catholic. But religious liberals also think Edwards’ aides merit more than a slap on the wrist.

“I thought his explanation was not satisfying,” said Cornell’s Penalver. “It’s obvious that they did mean to give offense.”

“You imagine a similar kind of comment directed at the Jewish community or at the gay community – something at this level of intentional offensiveness — and I have a hard time believing it gets resolved in the same way,” he said.

I feel for these Catholic Democrats, I really do. For one reason or another, they don’t feel at home in the Republican party, and would prefer to stay in (I’ll bet) the party of their fathers and grandfathers, the party of the first Catholic president, the party that used to be dominated by hard-drinking Irishmen like Tip O’Neill, the party that put Geraldine Ferraro on the ticket.

And now it’s the party where the cost/benefit analysis of whether having a Mary-semen joker is worth keeping on staff concludes that it’s risker to fire them than to keep them on. It’s not enough that the party’s policies on gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, school vouchers, etc. probably rankle on these Catholic Dems. Now they’ve got to warmly embrace those who wouldn’t hesitate to call them “Christofascist”, and then pretend that “no offense was intended.” (See, this is where I have trouble with the whole, “turn the other cheek” teaching.)

It’s not just that they have to share a party with people who loathe their faith; they have to play along and pretend that these two “didn’t mean to give offense.”

Me? I couldn’t do it. But talk to me when somebody on the GOP side is speaking at Bob Jones University.

UPDATE: An unnamed adviser to a rival campaign, on Slate: “Apparently they’re more afraid of the bloggers than they are of the Catholics.” Do you smell a future attack ad brewing?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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