Here's Ross Douthat in Sunday's <em>New York Times</em>, engaging in some typical "both sides do it" nonsense <a href="">about the Catholic vote.
February 18, 2013

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Here's Ross Douthat in Sunday's New York Times, engaging in some typical "both sides do it" nonsense about the Catholic vote.

The collapse in the church’s reputation has coincided with a substantial loss of Catholic influence in American political debates. Whereas eight years ago, a Catholic view of economics and culture represented a center that both parties hoped to claim, today’s Republicans are more likely to channel Ayn Rand than Thomas Aquinas, and a strident social liberalism holds the whip hand in the Democratic Party.

Indeed, between Mitt Romney’s comments about the mooching 47 percent and the White House’s cynical decision to energize its base by picking fights over abortion and contraception, both parties spent 2012 effectively running against Catholic ideas about the common good.

First, how did Barack Obama manage to win the Catholic vote by "running against Catholic ideas about the common good"? (Oh, and by the way, he also won the Catholic vote in 2008 as well -- as did Al Gore in 2000.)

Kind of a glaring omission that Douthat doesn't mention, you know, how Catholics actually voted in the election, isn't it?

Also, Republicans in Washington and around the country spent a great deal of time and energy in the two years before the election obsessing about transvaginal ultrasounds and Planned Parenthood. Douthat doesn't find that the slightest bit cynical, apparently.

The problem for authoritarian conservatives like Douthat is that the GOP is wildly out of step with the US Catholic Bishops and the Vatican on just about every economic issue: wealth inequality, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unions, universal health care -- even global warming (not to mention the death penalty and immigration).

The other problem he has is that American Catholics overwhelmingly reject the bishops' stance on the sex stuff the GOP obsesses about and a whopping 60% of them want the Church's leadership to focus on social justice issues -- which are of course anathema to the Republican Party.

And that's why Republicans keep losing the Catholic vote. The GOP with their emphasis on cutting taxes for rich people and gutting the social safety net and demonizing immigrants and gays and obsessing about unapproved sexytime simply doesn't represent the majority of American Catholics' values. And they're voting accordingly.

That's a bitter pill for right-wingers like Douthat to accept, but that's the reason -- not because the "Catholic moment in America has passed" -- whatever the hell that means.

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