E. J. Dionne has a good point this morning (to an extent), but I think it is one we have expressed here. On the Kerry/Catholic/Abortion issue: I don’t think this is or should be a strategy for the Republican party. This is not something an Ed Gillespie or Karen Hughes, etc., should be calling for (they’re not): Archbishop O’Malley of Boston to make the “New Age” (was in one of those initial New York Times stories) Paulists refuse Kerry communion or himself condemn him, etc. Those of us harping on the issue in these parts—I think I can safely say—are doing so not because it’s a winning strategy for Bush. To the contrary. I have no idea how voters who happen to be Catholic respond to such things—and the “danger of a backlash” that Rev. Joseph Komonchak (former professor to both myself and my Dad before me) is, real, I think, politically, if it is perceived that the Republican party or the Bush camp is pushing a Kerry-is-not-Catholic-enough-strategy. I want bishops to speak out because it is the right thing. The litmus test is not a political one but a moral one, and moral leaders—Kerry’s shepherds and mine—are responsible for setting us on the right path on this essential issue (the dignity of human life at its most innocent and vulnerable). Contrary to Joe Conason, I’d want that if Tom Ridge (perish the thought!) were running for president, or Rudy Guiliani, etc. (Even if that hurt their candidacies? Yeah. But I don’t think it would—and I don’t think it will hurt Kerry’s necessarily, either.)
Is that an anti-Democratic-party position? I dunno. Right now it is, I guess. But could Catholic moral leadership trickle down to the political as a dose of civility into a debate that often seems to have very little? Could it effect a softening of the Democratic party’s position on abortion? That’s not a reason for bishops to lead, but it would be a positive effect, and, I think, a real possibility. It’s a day pro-life Dem Bob Casey from Pa. would have loved to have lived to see. A pro-life Dem for veep? Not this year. Maybe Hillary would consider.
Nah, after Jeb’s four years.