Skip to main content

"McCain Cannot Win in November Without the Catholic Vote"

"McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote." Romney will not do it. Mitt might lose McCain some more pro-life and pro-family voters.

Fred

McCain and the Pope:

McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote

How is he going to get it?

by Robert R. Reilly

(re-published with permission from insidecatholic.com)

March 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Sen. John McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote, which is around 25 percent of the electorate. How is he going to get it? The worst thing he could assume is that it is going to fall into his lap because Catholics will have nowhere else to go. Some people with nowhere to go simply stay home. Or they may go elsewhere, as it appears they have already been doing.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in "a recent survey of 19 states that have held presidential primaries this year, 63% of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats." That's up from 42 percent in 2005. Not a good augury for McCain.

Senator McCain not only needs Catholics who will vote for him, but who will each find ten other Catholics who will do the same. That is not going to happen unless he galvanizes the Catholic electorate. He has an opportunity to do this when Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States during April 15 to 20.

I was President Ronald Reagan's liaison to the Catholic community from 1983 to 1985. In the 1984 election, President Reagan won the Catholic vote and was the first Republican to do so. Senator McCain might want to take a look at how that happened.

I recall a definitive moment when the Democrats vociferously complained about the ads run by the Reagan campaign in Catholic newspapers. The ads featured a photo of Reagan and John Paul II smiling together. Was this not politicizing the Catholic Church? How dare the Republicans do such a thing?

At that time, Archbishop John Foley was the pope's minister of communications and principal spokesman at the Vatican. When asked, he responded to the complaints by saying that, since these two men shared so many fundamental moral principles in common, it was the most natural thing in the world that they should appear together in a photograph. Not wishing to hear that statement made again, the complaints from the Democrats immediately ceased.

The key here is that Archbishop Foley, who came from a Democratic family in Pennsylvania, did not have to make this up -- it was true. President Reagan had embraced moral positions on the family, on the sanctity of human life, on school prayer, and against pornography that were completely congruent with those of the Catholic Church. And, like John Paul II, he was fighting for them.

Can Senator McCain say the same? If not, a photograph with Benedict XVI is not going to solve his problem. He needs to campaign on these issues just as Reagan did. He cannot simply claim that point of view; he needs to promote it. He needs to articulate it.

In 1983, President Reagan wrote an article titled "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," which appeared in the Human Life Review. That was an extraordinary thing for a sitting president to have done. The fact that he did it convinced many Catholic pro-lifers that Reagan was sincere in his beliefs and was not simply acting for political advantage. They rallied around him.

Later, Reagan showed Bernard Nathanson's film The Silent Scream in the White House. What can Senator McCain do? He can invite his opponents on this issue -- whether it is Clinton or Obama -- to watch The Silent Scream, or its equivalent, with him. Ask them to join him in protecting innocent human life, including the partially born babies, whom both Obama and Clinton think have no right to life.

Senator McCain should draft his version of "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation" and publish it in First Things or a comparable journal. Make it an issue. Proselytize. If Senator McCain does not think that is the role of a presidential candidate, then he does not think like Ronald Reagan.

Of course, this is a risky strategy, but risk conveys conviction, as Senator McCain demonstrated when he courageously risked his political future to promote the surge in Iraq. He needs to build upon that impression of courage by extending it to the social issues Catholics care about most. If he throws as much conviction and energy into these issues as he did into his backing of the surge, Catholics and others will flock to his banner -- and he can win. If he tries to coast on the moral issues, he will not.

So what should Senator McCain do when Benedict XVI visits in April? This is his opportunity to demonstrate that he understands the significance of the pope's thought as it relates to the institution of the family, the sanctity of human life, and the threat of radical Islam.

He needs to appear on EWTN with Raymond Arroyo and speak to that significance. He needs to do interviews in the National Catholic Register and other Catholic journals, and on Sirius radio's Catholic channel, which will cover the pope's visit by the hour. He needs to say that what the pope is expressing goes beyond a sectarian Catholic audience, as it addresses the core issues of Western civilization. He needs to say that Benedict was right at Regensburg in assessing moral relativism as the greatest threat to the West and to the integrity of reason, and that he was right also about the nature of the threat from an unreasoning version of Islam.

If this is the side you are on, Senator McCain -- as I believe it is -- you have this opportunity of letting others know, so they can rally to you.

Robert R. Reilly was a special assistant to President Reagan and served as his liaison to the Catholic Church. He is a frequent contributor to InsideCatholic.com and Crisis magazine.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Exorcist Fr. Ripperger is asking everyone to say this Prayer until the Election is Resolved"

A good friend of the Catholic Monitor got this from a group message. She said "exorcist Fr. Chad Ripperger is asking everyone to say this prayer until the election is resolved": Prayer of Command In His Name and by the power of His Cross and Blood, I ask Jesus to bind any evil spirits, forces and powers of the earth, air, fire, or water, of the netherworld and the satanic forces of nature.  By the power of the Holy Spirit and by His authority, I ask Jesus Christ to break any curses, hexes, or spells and send them back to where they came from, if it be His Holy Will.  I beseech Thee Lord Jesus to protect us by pouring Thy Precious Blood on us (my family, etc.), which Thou hast shed for us and I ask Thee to command that any departing spirits leave quietly, without disturbance, and go straight to Thy Cross to dispose of as Thou sees fit.  I ask Thee to bind any demonic interaction, interplay, or communications.  I place N. (Person, place or thing) under the protectio

High-profile Lawyer Barnes: Amy Coney Barrett would be a Disaster

High-profile trial lawyer Robert Barnes who deals in civil, criminal and constitutional law reported on Twitter that Amy Coney Barrett would be a disaster. The Barnes Twitter report shows that Coney Barrett has " sid[ed] with the government on the lockdowns, on uncompensated takings, on excusing First Amendment infringements & Fourth Amendment violations... [and] exclaimed the benefits of Jacobson, the decision that green-lit forced vaccines & carved out an emergency exception to Constitutional protection in "public health" or "emergency" cases used to justify forced sterilizations & detention camps... [and] hid behind precedent... to prohibit pro-life activists from exercising their free speech ." The Avvo.com lawyer directory reports that attorney "Robert Barnes embraces the challenge to defend the little guy and stand up for what is right. This is why he left the prestigious Yale Law School, whom publicly stated their unwill

If Kamala Harris' Father is part White & part Jamaican African and her Mother is Asian-Indian then is she really Black?

  Is Joe Biden's running mate really Black? If Kamala Harris' father is part white and part Jamaican African and her mother is Asian-Indian then is she really Black? Reason.com tries to figure it out: Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's pick to be the Democratic Party's vice-presidential nominee, is the daughter of an Indian immigrant mother and a Jamaican immigrant father. Her father, as I understand it, has ancestors of both European and African origin. [Welcome new Volokh readers. FYI, I've been working on a book on the American Law of Race, with this forthcoming article the first relevant output. My own opinion is that Ms. Harris should be deemed American, period, but there is no such box on government forms, and if you decline to state your race, someone will decide for you… First things first. There is no multiracial or mixed-race category in American law in any jurisdiction. Nor is there an Indian category. So Harris cannot be legally Indian, nor can she b