One of Politico's better features is its "5 Things to Look For" posting the day of a primary, which sets some of the expectations' game. I am not sure I agree entirely that a 12 point victory for Romney would constitute a blowout. Gingrich has been outspent six-to-one in the Sunshine State and, besides, Gingrich's back-of-the-pack finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire did not harm him in South Carolina. But, overall, I think Politico has it right, especially about tracking the women's vote. Gingrich's numbers among women have been consistently lower than his numbers among men. These are GOP primaries, so many of those women are evangelical women, and they do not look kindly on Newt's marital history.
With the recent abysmal HHS decision on conscience exemptions, or the lack thereof, much of the focus on religious liberty has been domestic. But, Thursday, Feb. 2, CUA's law school is hosting an event on religious liberty in Iraqi Kurdistan. Featured presenters include His Excellency Rabban Al-Qas, Chaldean Bishop of Amadiyah and Zakho, Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations Kurdistan Regional Government.
The event will be at the CUA law school at 4 p.m. R.s.v.p. Constanta Dedoulis, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week I mentioned that CUA’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies and the Public Religion Research Institute were teaming up for an event at the National Press Club about the role of religion in the 2012 elections. The event was yesterday, and in one of the happiest signs that the mainstream media finally “gets it,” the room was packed with reporters.
Last week, the White House's Faith-Based Office held an event to mark Catholic Schools' Week, celebrating several "Champions of Change" from the Catholic school universe who have improved the lives of students through their tireless, underpaid, and under-noticed work at Catholic schools. Here is the video of the event:
Mark Silk, at his new blog site, looks at some of the recent polling data on the Florida primary which will be held tomorrow. Clearly, the glut of negative ads the Romney campaign has dumped on the Sunshine State is having its desired effect, but I think it is way too premature to count out Gingrich even if he does terribly in Florida. The key dynamic in this race for many months now has been this: The GOP electorate is not thrilled with any of their choices and as soon as someone looks close to winning, they spank the frontrunner at the next primary. This could go on for a very long time.
Silk also notes the persistence of the "Mormon Gap" among white evangelicals.
One of the moral, as opposed to legal and political, issues raised by the HHS decision not to expand conscience exemptions is whether or not providing insurance coverage for treatments the Church considers wrong is whether or not such provision of insurance would constitute cooperation with evil.
In a very smart essay, Dana Dillon, one of the young theologians I have come to truly admire, looks at this issue. Dillon not only carefully reflects on how our Catholic moral framework copes with that question, but she reminds us that this issue is not only about contraception. Among the treatments the new mandate requires are drugs like Ella which are abortifacients.
It must be somewhat unnerving, for the campaign staffs of both President Obama and his would-be opponents, to realize that the fate of November’s election may be determined largely by events over which they have no control. Corporations are recording record profits, but they are hesitant to invest in new plant and equipment and, most especially, in new employees, so the success of the business community is not “trickling down” to the millions of Americans who are out of work or under-employed. No one knows if the government of Greece will be able to negotiate new debt terms with its lenders. Will the economy of Italy respond to the “austerity” plans of the current government, even though austerity has never once worked before to stave off a foreign-debt crisis? What impact will the faltering economies of Greece, Italy and Spain have on the Eurozone and what will be their impact on the US economy?
Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry is hosting an important talk by Rabbi A. James Rudin, where he will discuss his new book, Cushing, Spellman, O'Connor: The Surprising Story of How Three American Cardinals Transformed Catholic-Jewish Relations.
Pro-life leaders are hailing a decision by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to support a resolution banning euthanasia, specifically as regards advance directives and living wills.
This is a fight we can antipiate coming to these shores: Indeed, the fight is on in Massachusetts. I have written before that protecting the elderly is a cause to which all Catholics, from the left or the right, should be willing to sign on to. Whether the assault on the elderly is from misguided euthanasia advocates or from those who wish to slash the social safety net by cutting Medicare, we RCs need to protect the human dignity of the elderly no matter who a=or what the threat.
The NYTimes' Nate Silver argues in a strongly reasoned post this morning that Newt Gingrich, the most well paid historian in the country, failed to take account of recent history in devising his strategy for the debates this week in Florida. Just as Romney, wanting to appear above the fray and presidential after his New Hampshire win, got clobbered by Gingrich in both South Carolina debates, Gingrich was decidedly less aggressive in the two debates this week in Florida.