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Schneck on Euthanasia and Medicaid

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Over at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Steve Schneck looks at the different ways the human dignity of the elderly is threatened in our society.

Here is a nightmare scenario: We create a culture in which we put tax cuts for the rich above sustaining Medicaid, as sound conservative libertarian doctrine insists. Seniors and their families then face horrible financial burdens. Then the libertarians of the left come along with a quick fix: euthansia. That, my friends, is the culture of death and the fact that its source is libertarian in both instances tells us all we need to know about why Catholics must resist the libertarian sensibilities whenever and wherever they show themselves.

You will recall the GOP debate last winter when people applauded at the prospect of a person being left to die because he had no health insurance. That was an anecdote. We can't let it become a governing philosophy.

Scheiber on Ryan's Drag on The Ticket

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Also over at The New Republic, Noam Scheiber shows how the Ryan selection has been a drag on the GOP ticket. The simple reason: His Medicare proposals have so scared seniors that they are turning to Obama. Seniors have always been the toughest demographic for Obama, but he is now leading or running even with them in key swing states. Romney needs to rack up huge majorities among seniors to offset Obama's lead among young voters. This, more than anything, explains why the election is fast slipping out of Romney's grasp.

There is one other aspect to this that warrants attention and makes Romney's climb even steeper. He can run ads, he can go on the stump and say that he will not change Medicare for seniors. But, on Medicare, seniors trust the AARP more than they do a political ad or a stump speech. And, seniors are not selfish - they like their own Medicare but they want their kids to have it too.

Sullivan Calls Out Ryan & His Episcopal Defenders

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Over at The New Republic, Amy Sullivan raises a slightly different challenge to Paul Ryan and his episcopal defenders than the ones Ihave been raising. She agrees that the moral obligation to help the poor can be achieved in different ways and that reasonable people could disagree about which ways are more effective. But, as she points out, Mr. Ryan has never suggested what those other ways might be! Just give tax cuts to the rich and hope?

+Dolan & +DiMarzio on Poverty

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It is not surprise to any regular readers that I am a big fan of New York's Cardinal-Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Some of those reasons are personal: Dolan, like myself, studied under Msgr. John Tracy Ellis, who was the most cultured man I have known, literate in the extreme (and cultural literacy is one area where being extreme is a good thing!), and a very fine priest. Ellis imparted to all his students, the future-cardinal included, a sympathy with the human condition that comes from the study of history, and a certain modesty about our own roles. Msgr. was also attuned to the workings of the Spirit in history and often quoted the words from the Gospel about the Spirit being like the wind, we see the leaves of the trees rustle, but we know not whence the wind came nor whither it goest.

Swamp Yankees & the Religio-Political Faultlines

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Over at Religion & Politics, the still fairly new online journal of the Danforth Center, my friend Mark Silk looks at how an earlier religio-political divide in my home state of Connecticut was healed, that between the Yankees and the Catholics. At the center of the story is a "swamp yankee," Wilbur Cross, so called because he came from east of the Connecticut River. I am a swamp Catholic, also coming from east of the Connecticut River.

The tale shows all the usual suspects in sramas set along the fault line between religion and politics - there is prejudice, there is a politican's wiliness, there is the vanity of the clergy and the politicians, etc. But, there is something else too, the hope that, sometimes, not very often, but sometimes, divisions that seem carved in stone suddenly give way.

Romney's Problem

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Fareed Zakaria has a good op-ed up in the Washington Post thing morning as he tries to explain why Romney's campaign has not caught on. He notes the current GOP orthodoxy against raising taxes ever and against any common sense solution to immigration has twisted Romney in knots. He can't explain in detail how he will address either problem because fixing either problem will require the kind of deal that violates the orthodoxy. All that is undoubtedly true.

A Story No Campaign Wants

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Roger Simon, at Politico, on the tensions between Team Romney and Team Ryan. The problem with picking an up-and-coming star as a running mate is that when the campaign hits the skids, and the newest polling data is shockingly bad for Romney, the up-and-comer concludes that the better part of wisdom resides in distancing him or herself from the top of the ticket. Campaign operatives being chatty by nature, this leads to endless stories of campaign in-fighting. The media LOVING such stories, more days pass with the candidate unable to get his message out.

I will only add that this story came out the day after "Game Change" won four Emmy's. Is it too early to start taking bets on who will play Paul Ryan in the movie version?

+Cupich on Same-Sex Marriage Referendum

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Bishop Blase Cupich has an op-ed in the Spokane Statesman on the upcoming referendum in Washington State regarding same-sex marriage. I had earlier called attention to the bishop's pastoral letters on the subject.

Bishop Cupich does not demean those who disagree with the Church's teaching. He does not mischaracterize his opponents' positions nor question their motives. Instead, he makes a thoughtful case about some of the downsides that can attend a redefinition of marriage, even while forcefully defending the rights of same sex couples to equal rights before the law. Some will find him persuasive, some won't, but I think everyone can detect the voice of a pastor in his words.

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