Catholic Obamacon

What to make of this … and this … and this.


  1. Quin Finnegan says

    Sure, he’s Catholic, and he’s welcome to call himself a conservative, but this reasoning strikes me as just plain sloppy.

    we must voice our concerns for the well-being of our nation without partisanship

    Is he so sure that this choice is being made completely devoid of partisan ship? I’m not.

    Our president has involved our nation in a military engagement without sufficient justification or a clear objective.

    Wrong. The clear objective of the military engagement was to eliminate WMD and the grave threat posed by Iraq under Saddam Hussein. That justification was sufficient to convince 70 senators. That we later learned that the WMD had been destroyed or removed, and whether or not Hussein really was a threat is another argument.

    In so doing, he has incurred both tragic loss of life and extraordinary debt jeopardizing the economy and the well-being of the average American citizen.

    Yes, but that there would have been an even more tragic loss of life was the basis of the decision at the time, and the lives lost because of the war can’t change that. We’ll never really know which loss of life is or would have been more tragic, because life happens once and it’s impossible to extrapolate consequences according to alternate versions of history.

    That the economy has suffered may well be true, but what is exactly meant by “jeopardized”? As to whether the economy was considered in the original decision – only as a much lesser consideration because of the perception of a threat far graver than that of economic suffering.

    In pursuit of these fatally flawed purposes, the office of the presidency, which it was once my privilege to defend in public office formally, has been distorted beyond its constitutional assignment.

    I agree, but of the three branches of government, is the executive branch the one that has accrued powers disproportionate to original balance, as conceived by the founders? Very good arguments have been made that it is the courts that have overgrown their proportionate share of power, as originally conceived by the framers of the constitution.

    Sen. Obama needs to address this extremist movement with the same clarity and honesty with which he has addressed the topic of race in America. Effective criticism of the incumbent for diverting us from this task is a good start, but it is incomplete without a forthright outline of a commitment to undertake, with international partners, the formation of a worldwide entity that will track, detain, prosecute, convict, punish, and thereby stem radical Islam’s threat to civil order. I await Sen. Obama’s more extended thinking upon this vital subject as he accepts the nomination of his party and engages Sen. McCain in the general campaign discussion to come.

    Look, I really don’t like carrying water for Bush or McCain. I think they have been and are wrong on a good number of issues. But “with international partners” and “the formation of a worldwide entity” seem to take us back to the arguments of 2004 and how much the U.N. should be involved, how much the U.S. should heed the will of France, Germany, Russia, China, etc.

    And what exactly does “Obama’s more extended thinking” mean?

    The thinking by Obama that we’ve seen since late March is fairly troubling. What’s he thinking now? How does it compare with McCain’s thinking? Where’s the wisdom in waiting? What does this have to do with race?

  2. Anonymous says

    Thank God for fair thinking Catholics (and people of other faiths) who don’t just spout the old rhetoric, but actually strategize the solutions to “sticky” issues without being blinded by emotionalism and pseudo patriotism.
    As to Mr. Finnegan’s response—we’re right back to the the status quo.
    I read Mr. F’s response at least 3 times and find it to be a “ditto head” repeating of the hackneyed phrases and logic of the current administration.
    For example: “The clear objective of the military engagement was to eliminate WMD and the grave threat posed……..”
    In my view, there certainly was no clear objective or sufficient justification for this “military engagement”. If we’re using Iraq as a clear example of why we should go to war, why then have we not waged war with N Korea, and a host of other countries? (By the way, the fact that 70 senators voted for the war does not impress me one whit!)
    Simplistic arguments don’t cut it here, Mr. Finnegan, especially in response to a man who offers an insightful and thoughtful commentary on some of the complex “gut wrenching” issues facing us today.

  3. Rufus McCain says

    Quin: I don’t think the reasoning is that sloppy. You may disagree with his premises but the logic is consistent. His basic premise is that the Bush presidency has been a catastrophe for the country. It follows that what we need is a corrective. Obama offers the clearest corrective. Around that logical framework, or as an addendum to it, he gives reasons why he believes Obama will — in addition to being a much-needed corrective — also be a good and genuine leader who will be open to different points of view and not just respond to issues in a knee-jerk partisan way. I think the reasoning is fairly compelling.

    Anonymous (a close elder relative of mine, methinks): I don’t think it’s fair to write Quin off as a dittohead just because he’s calling into question some of Kmiec’s assertions about Iraq, etc. Let’s not resort to name calling here, please.

  4. Anonymous says

    I apologize to Mr. Finnegan for calling him a “ditto head.” I was operating under the misconception that “dittoheads” considered it an honored to be called such.

  5. Quin Finnegan says

    For the record, I can’t stand Rush Limbaugh and absolutely loathe the term “dittohead” – and not actually because so many people use it to associate themselves with Limbaugh (to whom, again, I am unable to listen), but because it’s a declaration of one’s refusal to think for themselves. It seems weird to me that people revel in the nickname.

    How is what I wrote evidence of “emotionalism”?

    How is my patriotism judged to be “pseudo-patriotism”? For that matter, where is the evidence of my patriotism?

    I pointed out what I saw as flaws in the logic of his justifications for endorsing Obama. Hell, I’ve even considered voting for Obama, but I didn’t and wouldn’t try to wrap it up in the sloppy reasoning of Mr. Kmiec.

    Anon, you may not care a whit for the votes of 70 senators, and I myself think almost the entire lot of them are pompous jackasses, but the fact I pointed out was that the justification and objective for the “military engagement” are part of the public record. Yes, there are other arguments to be had – many of them I find persuasive – but to obfuscate or ignore the public record of congressional support for the war is a sure way of creating more confusion around the issues, not less.

    There is indeed such a thing as “hackneyed phrases”, and perhaps I’m guilty of using them, but everybody, Michael Moore and Barack Obama included, is on record for stating that WMD and removing Hussein were the stated objectives for the war. That Moore also claims that an unstated purpose was for Cheney and Haliburton to line their pockets with the spoils of war is an argument worth having; that “Bush lied” in order to promote the war is at least the beginning of an argument, but it doesn’t change the fact that the military engagement was approved for the reasons stated above. And pointing that out might seem hackneyed, but so does repeating “2+2=4” and “Albany is the capital of New York”. It doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

    For the record, I’ve never thought that the case for going to war with Iraq was clear. Rufus should be able to back me up on this, if he will recall sitting on the back porch, smoking cigars with me after the Dylan concert. Asked (something along the lines of) “Do you think it was a good idea to go into Iraq?”, I responded (something along the lines of), “I don’t know, I just don’t know. It seems to me that war is always a bad thing. Whether or not the alternative is worse, I don’t know.”

    The question of why the U.S. (or any country) employs different foreign policies for different countries and how that seems to be inconsistent is a good one. I’ll admit up front that I’m no expert, but it doesn’t automatically seem unreasonable that different countries will require different foreign policies. Which doesn’t mean they’re right, or wrong, or the best, or the worst, or somewhere in the middle. There are hard cases, and there are easy cases, and there are a lot of cases that are somewhere in the middle. But it does seem like we’re up against a lot of hard cases – Iraq being one of them, the looming showdown with Iran being another.

    Anon, I think that if you will reread my response (which, it seems to me, was called for by Rufus’ original post), you’ll notice that much of what I wrote was simply a series of questions: “Non-partisanship”? “Jeopardized”? “Extended thinking”? The last paragraph alone is just a bunch of questions strung together.

    I think you’ll also see that I agree with one of the points he raises. I think you’ll also see that I, too, find it hard to support Bush or Senator McCain.

    Am I really being “simplistic” for pointing what I see as flaws in Kmiec’s reasoning? It would be one thing if I just disagreed with him (in which case, simply disagreeing wouldn’t be at all a bad thing), but for asking questions? Really?

    What about just answering some of these questions? If only to demonstrate insightful and thoughtful commentary, authentic patriotism, refined arguments, and unblinkered rationalism.

    In any case, Anon, thanks for reading; apology (though perhaps not necessary) accepted.

    Rufus, perhaps I have confused premises with reasoning from those premises, and sometimes the line between reasoning and rhetoric gets fairly fuzzy, but I stand by my assertion that in some sentences the author should consult the public record more carefully. And in some of those sentences the author does show more rhetoric than reason.

    For the record, I think refusing Kmiec communion was a bad decision.

    And, hey, I’m all for correctives.

  6. Anonymous says

    Now that’s more like it, QF. What you just wrote makes sense. I tend to get my hackles up when someone who “bucks the tide” is seemingly immediately branded not a good Catholic, or not a good “conservative” (whatever that is), or not a good “liberal” (whatever that means) or not a good citizen, or whatever. Kmiec’s article was a breath of fresh air for me and your first response seemed to be some more of that stale air we’ve been breathing. I obviously misjudged your intentions. Glad to hear you’re not a DH.

  7. Cubeland Mystic says

    Politics is a necessary evil. I no longer read about it as I once did.

    Let me offer a short observation on the war. Like QF, I just don’t know. I just don’t know.

    The observation has no basis in fact just an observation after looking at the chess board. It seems to me that in the big scheme of things, one of the reasons (not the only) was to send a message to the communist Chinese that we will act against aggression. It also puts us in the region in a big way. A weakened Russia, an unstable Pakistan, an unhinged Iran, a muscular masculine China might have been some of the strategy behind the invasion. I offer it as the story behind the story.

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