The Democrats have run a pretty smooth convention. Yes, they ran into trouble over the platform’s omission of God and Jerusalem, but that story will die quickly because it was corrected. But, they made one scheduling mistake last night. Sr. Simone Campbell’s talk came before the 10 o’clock prime hour, and Sandra Fluke’s was moved to come within the 10 o’clock hour. It was heartwarming to witness the great reception Sr. Simone received. Fluke’s speech seemed to fall flat, both in the hall and across the airwaves. Why?
Last night, the Democrats brought out the Big Dog from Arkansas to make their case, and, Lord, did he make it! No one has mastered the art of weaving together so much policy detail with so much folksiness in the history of modern campaign as Bill Clinton. And, I use the verb “mastered” advisedly. He did not always have that gift. Those who remember his rambling convention speech in 1988, or watched a still young Clinton on the stump in New Hampshire in 1992, will tell you that there was a time when he lacked this gift. He has it now. In abundance.
There were a couple of ironies in Clinton’s nominating speech. Bill Clinton knows something about divisive political environments. How quickly we forget, watching him bask in the role of elder statesman, with approval ratings through the roof, that the Republicans impeached this man! Ironic, too, that the man who was responsible for creating the New Democrat brand was brought into to bolster a president widely perceived as more traditionally liberal.
Our friends at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good have launched a new blog for Millennial Catholics. Full Disclosure: Robert Christian, the blog's editor, is a colleague of mine at Catholic University's Institute for Policy Research and I happily encouraged this project! You can check it out here.
Morna Murray, who has served previously in a variety of positions, including Special Counsel to Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Executive Director of catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, has a post up at her Facebook page that explains why the Romney campaign ads on welfare are not complexly wrong, but simply wrong. With her permission, I publish her post in full here.
There are two types of Church observers in the world, the casual observer and the serious observer. And if you are a serious observer, you begin your morning one way and one way only, with a visit to the website Whispers in the Loggia. Rocco Palmo has been off the grid for a few weeks: His grandmother grew gravely ill and then went to her eternal reward. He has a beautiful tribute to her on the mainpage. Now, his "page three" links are back and running. Welcome back Rocco. Blessings upon and prayers for your family and for the repose of the soul of "The Boss."
Over at Commonweal, Notre Dame law professor Rick Garnett has an article that is mostly bipartisan in its criticism of politicians in both parties for their willingness to do end-runs around the cumbersome legislative process. Instead of picking on Newt Gingrich, Garnett might have considered the Bush administration's penchant for signing statements. But, nonetheless, Garnett does an admirable job reclaiming an important point from the rantings of the Tea Partyers and the ambitions of executive branch officials: Our constitutional system was designed to be cumbersome.
Democrats for Life of America may not have gotten a coveted primetime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention, but they generated a lot of media coverage with their panel yesterday in Charlotte. This article in the LA Times tells the story.
The nation is engaged in a great debate about who can best be trusted to run the country for the next four years, President Obama or Governor Romney. But, comparing the first night of both conventions, there is no doubt which party runs a smoother convention: The Democrats.
Last week, at the GOP convention in Tampa, speaker after speaker mentioned their nominee in passing or as an after-thought. Perhaps it is unsurprising that the next generation of GOP leaders, who are rising in Tea Party Times, would celebrate the culture of “I’ve got mine!” but one had the suspicion in Tampa that the paramedics would need to be called in for all those strained shoulders and elbows resulting from so much patting of one’s own back.
If you want to know why the Obama administration decided to pick a fight with the Catholic Church, read the New York Times' profile of Valerie Jarrett. I confess I took an almost instant disliking to Jarrett the first time I heard her interviewed. Her comments reminded me of a visit I paid to the southside of Chicago and some of the faux intellectuals I met there, the kind of people who will chase any intellectual theory provided it is novel. It was the one and only time in my life I heard someone defend Stalin. It was unfair of me to conflate that experience with my first impression of Jarrett, to be sure, but if the Times article is to be believed, it was prescient too.
Michelle Boorstein has a great profile of John Carr as he concluded his twenty-five years of service at the USCCB. Carr has been a consistent voice, perhaps the most consistent voice, for the voiceless in this town for those twenty-five years. Also, one of the most effective. Also, one of the most thoroughly Catholic - no cafeteria for him, as opposed to some of his critics.
To say that he will be missed at the conference is to state the obvious. To note that he will bring an unparalled stature to Catholic University is to state another obvious point. Less obvious, but well explained in Boorstein's piece, is the positive influence one man committed to the Church can make in the life of the nation, especially on behalf of the poor. That is not so easy to do in this hyper-consumerist, spread-eagle-capitalist, acquisitive, brutish culture of modernity, but Carr has done it.