Friday, September 12, 2008

More on Palin

Ok, I'm going to hit on two different things.

First, I was rather underwhelmed with Palin's interview last night. Much of what she said came across as scripted and rehearsed. Putting the issues aside, her appeal lies in her down-to-earth, hockey-mom, just-one-of-us nature. Last night she seemed awkward, and very politician-like in the way she dodged questions. I'm not sure how much of this was the result of Charlie Gibson's distasteful interview tactics? He acted more like an attack dog than an interviewer. I've seen Gibson act this way in debates, and his style works well when questioning multiple candidates. The setting of last nights interview, however, was more intimate. It was a conversation, not a debate, and yet he treated her like a guilty criminal on the stand. Excuses aside, however, it was disappointing to see her be so stiff.

Second, a friend sent me this LA Times article today, Canadian Doctor Warns Sarah Palin's Decision to have Down baby Could Reduce Abortions. It is OUTRAGEOUS!
But a senior Canadian doctor is now expressing concerns that such a prominent public role model as the governor of Alaska and potential vice president of the United States completing a Down syndrome pregnancy may prompt other women to make the same decision against abortion because of that genetic abnormality. And thereby reduce the number of abortions...

...Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Ottawa, worries that Palin's now renowned decision may cause abortions in Canada to decline as other women there and elsewhere opt to follow suit...

...Lalonde says his primary concern is that women have the.... ...choice of abortion and that greater public awareness of women making choices like Palin to complete a pregnancy and give birth to their genetically-abnormal baby could be detrimental and confusing to the women and their families.

It really isn't about choice is it? It is only about the choice of abortion. Nine out of every ten women abort these precious babies. But that isn't enough. Dr. Lalonde and all those crazy pro-aborts will not be happy until every single one of us chooses death. Mothers who love their babies, love them unconditionally, no matter the disease or genetic "abnormality," make them uncomfortable. And that is why I love Gov. Palin.

**Update**
On a lighter note, I wonder what Garth Brooks would think about all this? (Warning-it is a bit cheezy)

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I, too, was underwhelmed by Palin's interviews (at least those I've seen so far). While I agree that the tone of the interviews came off as more pointed or antagonistic than your average Barbara Walters celebrity interview, I think this is primarily attributable to two factors:
1) Palin rarely answered any of Gibson's questions directly, so he had to follow up rather aggressively, and
2) Because Palin (or the McCain campaign) have refused to speak with reporters thus far, Gibson was really forced to use this opportunity to ask all of the important questions in one sitting. Whatever you think of their positions on the issues, I admire the fact that the Obama and Biden have been willing to speak to reporters of all ilk almost anytime, anywhere. While speaking freely certainly opens them up to verbal missteps like those we've seen over the past couple of days, I think it reflects a true commitment to debate the issues - one that I wish McCain and Palin would similarly display.

As far as Red's second point - while I hear what you are saying, personally, I think the larger set of issues at stake in this campaign (the failing economy, education and health care, our relationship with the rest of the world) are just too big and too important to decide my vote based on one issue alone (such as the legality of abortion). I hope that everyone is considering *all* of these factors when voting in November.

B-Mama said...

I've missed the interviews, so I definitely need to get caught up. What I'm really anticipating, though, are the debates. It will be here where we can size up the candidates in a common arena. My hope is that Palin will really shine when given the opportunity to be direct and frank (and hopefully down-to-earth as you mentioned, Red.)

Also, I am going to pray for Dr. Lalonde and his infuriating ideas. I have to believe that somewhere in his mind these thoughts make sense to him. Maybe he needs to be struck down with blindness like Saul to truly "see the light" of his amoral vision.

uncertain said...

Dr. Lalonde might be onto something here--though his judgment that it is a worrisome trend is, yes, a sign of blindness. But if abortions are indeed reduced, what's the problem?!
I am going to take this opportunity to ask a few honest questions for you cathedral-builders and I am asking because I truly do not know and I am looking for answers.
First, for those who are trained in law: what is legally at stake with a pro-life vs. a pro-choice vote? Is it the possibility of reversing Roe v. Wade or just putting justices on the bench who might at some future date decide to reconsider roe v. wade?
Or is it "minor" legislation about partial-birth bans? What, if any, certainties are there when it comes to actual legal decisions to protect unborn human life? And what are the certainties with a pro-choice administration?
Second: aren't the Dems. making more concrete promises to address issues that reflect our Catholic values? I am thinking of their promises to address the needs of the poor: to confront the economic crisis that is causing many to lose their livelihoods, to fight for the uninsured whose very lives are at stake because their conditions remain undiagnosed until it is too late, and so on. And also to seek relief for those suffering (born and unborn) in Darfur, and so on. Aren't we supposed to be voting not only for what our leaders can do for us, but how we (who have much) can serve our neighbors, even those in even faraway places?
These seem to be morally relevant and if there is a probable good that might result, isn't this a reasonable way to vote? So what is the probable good of a "pro-life" vote?

Elena said...

As one of your Canadian readers, I must admit that I am ashamed by Dr. Lalonde's words. However, they are indicative of the society which he heads. As well, Canada has absolutely no limits on abortion and any attempt to address this in parliament is squelched. The Order of Canada (prestigious civilian award) was recently awarded to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, an abortionist who fought and won tax-funded abortion etc. In reference to the pro-life vote issue here is an excellent article about the formation of conscience and the responsibility of the Catholic vote: http://www.madonnahouse.org/restoration/2008/04/formation_of_conscience_and_th.html

Elena said...

Sorry, here's the full url:
http://www.madonnahouse.org/restoration/2008/04/formation_of_conscience_and_th.html

kathleenob said...

Dr. Lalonde ought to take a lesson from Thomas Vander Woude who drowned in sewage saving is 20 year old Son who had Down Syndrome. A witness for the dignity of every human life. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/09/AR2008090903691.html?nav=emailpage

Carol Kennedy said...

To anonymous:
I must disagree that Obama/Biden have been willing to speak to anyone...Obama has refused to do townhall meetings with John McCain in which he would speak directly to the American people. His willingness to speak to most reporters is unremarkable since they are almost all in his camp. His interview with Bill O'Reilly was a rarity. And, who, may I ask, is interviewing Biden?
On the other hand, Sarah Palin has about a week from being asked to join John McCain, during which she and her family are repeatedly attacked by left wing blogs and the mainstream media who read them. And we are surprised the McCain campaign is reluctant to throw her to the wolves too quickly? It has been little more than A WEEK!! I think she did just fine, considering she had an intimidating figure looking down his nose, over his glasses, and trying to catch her in a gaffe so they can rake her over the coals again. I think if the McCain campaign made any mistake it was to allow CBS to edit the interview. It should have been stipulated that it would be uncut!

To Uncertain:
You say "Is it the possibility of reversing Roe v. Wade or just putting justices on the bench who might at some future date decide to reconsider roe v. wade?" There is NO way to overturn Roe v Wade without a pro-life supreme court. JUST putting strict constructionist justices on the bench is CRUCIAL for ending/limiting abortion. Also, I would not consider partial birth abortion legislation "minor". It is crucial for keeping abortion rights activists from pursuing infanticide (as Obama did in Illinois!)
And as for the Dems "concrete" plan to help the poor...Dems have been making such promises for several generations now and where has it gotten the poor? And the economy: check it out, the worst state economies in the country are democrat run states...Michigan being a prime example. No, the Dems do not have better plans for the economy or the poor.
And who is seeking relief for the unborn in Darfur?

This year our vote is not about "probable good"...it is about the intrinsic evil of abortion (don't forget that Obama takes the "right to abortion" to the point of outlawing giving medical care to the living baby whose abortion was botched!!). There is no other moral choice here.

Kate E. said...

I am going to limit my comments on political issues since, as I have noted in the past, I am not Catholic and therefore my initial stance on how I view political issues is probably quite different from all the builders. It is pretty clear that none of you are going to be voting for Obama considering most of the comments that have been made here and I am ok with that...this is a democracy and what a wonderful thing it is.

However I will throw out one of my basic political tenets that can be applied to this election, future elections, local elections, etc.

I don't want to vote for someone who is "just like one of us", I don't want to vote for my hockey mom neighbor or the dude watering his lawn this morning in his boxer shorts. I don't want to vote for my husband, or quite frankly myself. I want someone governing our country who is WAY smarter then me, way, way, way. It's a big job and quite frankly at the end of the day I can barely make heads or tails of "Lost" much less foreign policy. I want someone who can (again not claiming that is any of the candidates...just my political dream).

Carol Kennedy said...

Kate e,

I don't think your principle is any way contrary to Catholic thinking. We all desire wisdom and capability in our leaders. But intellectual prowess and wisdom don't always go hand in hand. Wisdom is directed at truth, capability at doing the right thing. Intellect is often about going to the right schools and getting the right degrees. But great intellects don't always make great leaders!

CA Catholic said...

Interesting discussion! Carol Kennedy, do you feel that Palin has displayed wisdom in her interviews so far?

I agree that wisdom, as opposed to raw intellect, is a very important characteristic of a good leader. However, in my mind, wisdom has everything to do with thoughtfulness and a deep, nuanced consideration of the issues - looking at pro and con, as well as the many different perspectives and interests that might be affected. A wise man (or woman!) listens to, and learns from a wide range of different people, perspectives, and experiences, and changes his/her view over time as more is learned. This is HARD work. Certainly, the questions Palin was being asked were HARD questions.

What worries me is that I thought that Palin very much did not display this kind of wisdom - rather, she displayed a very black-and-white, doctrinaire approach to the issues, with her frequent references to "the mission," and really not seeming to recognize the complexity of the issues.

With our country being so divided, and our relationship with the rest of the world so strained, I want a leader who does NOT have a preconceived idea of what is "right" or "wrong," but rather is able to take the information at hand, and make a thoughtful judgment about what is best given the current situation. (And feels comfortable changing his/her mind later on if the circumstances change.)

I am very scared that Palin (like our current president) may not have the ability to do this, because she appears so driven by a predetermined sense of morality. Thoughts?

Jennifer in MN said...

Issues may be complex, but that doesn't mean we check our morality at the political door. Our morality should inform our policy. I also don't think that 1 slanted interview is enough to get a sense of Palin. I think that the debates will do that and I'm hoping there will be more interviews. Let's face it, neither party is great, but the Bishop's have stated over and over that the sanctity of life is a priority issue and one we can't ignore
http://www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/loripamphlet.pdf

Kate E. said...

Carol:
I certainly didn't mean to imply my principle was out of step with Catholic thinking...that was why I mentioned it here...it is that some of my other principles probably are so that was the appropriate one to mention here.

And I certainly agree with your distinction between wisdom and intellect...My point was simply that I am wary of falling into the trap of trying to find a leader who think seems "just like one of us". As was often stated about Bush, "he was the kind of guy I could go have a beer with", etc. My feeling is that I want my president to NOT be the kind of guy/gal I could go have a beer with, I want someone with charisma, intellect, wisdom...someone who when you are with them you get the sense that they are at a level above so to speak.

Mary Alice said...

As to undecided, I am not one of the lawyers, but since I have only recently come around to being a single issue voter on Abortion, I thought that I would share a few things that have influenced me on that:

First, there is the sheer numbers, 1.3 million abortions in the US each year. If you truly believe that these are innocent human lives being taken, that number is a big wake up call. I think that about 6000 people were murdered on September 11, for example, and that was a day of shock and horror in our country, and we continue to mourn nationally on it's anniversary. The people who died on September 11 are mourned as daughters, husbands, fathers, and also as fire fighters, professionals, etc, but is that where there value lies? Do their deaths matter because they loved someone, or because someone loved them? Do their deaths matter because of what they had to contribute to society?

Now, in this country, the issue of when life begins is a matter of debate, but here is what the bishops have to say:

"Any human being, regardless of his faith, his religious practice or having no faith, any human being can reason to the fact that human life from conception unto natural death is sacred," Bishop Morlino argued. "Biology, not faith, not philosophy, not any kind of theology - Biology tells us, science [says], that at the moment of conception there exists a unique individual of the human species."

"It's not a matter of what I might believe. What my faith might teach me," he said. "Sen. Biden has an obligation to know that. And he doesn't know it."

(http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/sep/08090905.html)


Okay, so point 1 is that abortion is murder and it should not be legal.

Point 2 is that I have heard some really educated speakers speak on the future issues that the culture of death will lead to, including embryonic cloning for research/medical purposes, selective abortions for medical conditions (already being done) -- which is eugenics, and takes us to a whole, new, evil place.

Abortion in the case of accidental pregnancy was one sort of evil in our society, and as Obama and Palin have both said, we do need to do more as a country to reduce these abortions by creating support networks for women. However, with the new testing available, healthy married women are aborting children with minor abnormalities, as well as selective reductions of multiples, etc. This points to a serious misunderstanding of the value of human life in our society.

Point 3 is that it is pretty clear to many legal scholars that Roe v. Wade is just not a good decision, that the right to an abortion is not a constitutional right and that this should be an issue that is left to the legislation. If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, abortion would not be legal or illegal across the land, there would be state by state laws, and perhaps there would be movement for a constitutional ammendment. I am in favor of judges who will strictly interpret the constitution.

Like you, I agree with the democrats on many social justice issues, I think that many Catholics do and that is why the Catholics mostly voted dem before abortion became a litmus test issue for politicians. I think that we as a country can do more to educate our people, to help people out of poverty, to work towards equal rights. I think that the federal government does have a role to play in that, beyond just reducing constraints on businesses to grow the economy (the trickle down theory supported by the GOP).

I am also against the war in Iraq, although as I have said previously now that we are there I am not sure that immediate troop withdrawl is the best solution, so I am a bit undecided on this issue.

I do support a sort of global citizen approach to the problems around the world, AIDS, darfur, etc, which I think is more in line with the Democrats.

But, as I have said, I have made abortion the deciding factor for me, because really, if it is okay to kill babies then what kind of a people are we? I think that this matters whether or not there is a real chance of appointing the judges in this administration to overturn the decision, it matters to stand up and say, with our vote, I do not believe that we have a legal right to in-utero murder.

Lastly, I just want to throw out a cheap dig, that USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-09-12-biden-financial_N.htm) reports that Senator Biden gives an average of $369 a year to charity.

This should be a wake up call to Catholics. Perhaps you believe that abortion is wrong, but that it is constitutionally protected, so who are you to say? This is Biden's approach. If this is the case, please do what you can to prevent abortion in this country by helping Life Centers!

Jennifer in MN said...

Just quick comment about the Palin/Gibson interview. Apparently ABC edited out many of Palin's answers. Here's a link to the full transcript:
http://marklevinshow.com/gibson-interview/

I'm getting so tired of the media....

Carol Kennedy said...

ca catholic:

You said: However, in my mind, wisdom has everything to do with thoughtfulness and a deep, nuanced consideration of the issues - looking at pro and con, as well as the many different perspectives and interests that might be affected. A wise man (or woman!) listens to, and learns from a wide range of different people, perspectives, and experiences,...

And I say: exactly...then they make a decision and stick with it. If you want someone who is going to change their mind every time the wind shifts, vote for Obama...that is his latest greatest talent.

If you want someone who is not going to blink in the face of serious national security threats: vote for McCain Palin...both of the strength to stand firm in their convictions and do what they know to be right.

Note: "a predetermined sense of moarlity" ...do you mean as in all killing of innocent babies in the womb is wrong? Most moral issues are more black and white than people would like to think. Very few are grey and "nuanced".

Kate e: I don't want a leader "just like me", but I do want a leader who understands what the average American is up against in life. Don't you? I mean you don't want someone "out of touch".

Molly said...

Just comments on comments:

1) Jennifer in MN, I saw those parts of the interview that the web page you give says is edited out, so maybe it's just confusion about which parts were shown on what broadcasts?

2) Mary Alice, perhaps the Bidens should get a bit more benefit of the doubt...check out the interesting discussion of their charity on the National Review's blog: http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YjFiZGQ2N2Y5ZmFiOWM0MDc3MmQ0ZGU5MTBhODQwMDg=

Kate E. said...

Since I mentioned this to Alice last night I will throw it out here since I know you are all intelligent folks and would appreciate this site.

I recommend www.factcheck.org as a nice place to get some actual research on most of the rumors that are going around on both sides. As a librarian it has really lovely source citing!

texas mommy said...

I have really enjoyed reading these thoughts on wisdom in our leaders. I remember being very surprised at Princeton at the things that came out of our esteemed professors mouths. They were trashing natural law and teaching economic propaganda. And these are supposed to be some of the smartest people around.

The first congressman that I worked for was very idealistic. He is in politics for the right reasons, to make things better, because he loves this country and the freedom it stands for, because he loves God and sees it his duty to make the world a better place. He was smart as well, but not politically savvy. He has been in congress since I worked for him, but I doubt anyone outside his district has ever heard of him. Not that name recognition is the goal, but it can help get things accomplished.

The reality is that being in politics takes a certain skill. I'm not saying that morals should be compromised in any way (in fact, my gut reaction to Palin's speech at the RNC was similar to Phillip Lorish's...I thought the sarcasm was over the top and lowered the tone of political discourse).

I just think that in addition to true wisdom and intellect, there also needs to be skill and even cunning to be a successful leader in politics.

Matthew 10:16 says, "Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves."

Carolyn in TX said...

More comments on the comments:

Carol, you wrote:

"If you want someone who is not going to blink in the face of serious national security threats: vote for McCain Palin...both of the strength to stand firm in their convictions and do what they know to be right."

My question is, what if McCain and Palin are wrong? The sense I get from their interviews, esp. Palin's, is that each person thinks he/she is right because he/she "believes it to be so." The problem is that Palin doesn't seem to understand the national security threats.

For instance, the Republicans have long declared their unwillingness to "meet with terrorist regimes" and their moral duty to spread democracy throughout the world--both concepts with which Palin agrees. The problem is that these concepts, which are derived from the "democratic peace theory" (based on the writings of 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant), are actually misinterpretations of the original texts. But if Palin and McCain truly believe themselves to be in the right, how is it good for our nation if they "stand firm in their convictions" when their convictions may be leading us down a path of destruction?

Re: your comment "...I do want a leader who understands what the average American is up against in life. Don't you? I mean you don't want someone "out of touch", I would respond: how are McCain and Palin more in touch with the "average American"?

For instance, McCain has been married to a millionaire heiress for 28 years and is the 7th richest senator according to net worth; according to his disclosure documents, he and his wife are worth *at a minimum* $27.5 million.

But that's superficial, I admit. Just because you have money doesn't necessarily mean you're out of touch. But just because you are highly educated and come from a varied background shouldn't mean you're out of touch either.

The larger question is, who is an average American? Many "average Americans" are the children of immigrants who came to this country with nothing and worked hard so that they could give their sons and daughters a better life. Many "average Americans" live in overcrowded urban areas, can't afford health insurance, and desperately need social welfare programs. How can one say that John McCain are any more in touch with these constituents than is Obama? Or what about the 60,000 people at Merrill Lynch and the 20,000 people at Lehman Brothers who most likely are losing their jobs? Can you argue that Sarah Palin is more in touch with their plight?

Speaking of the economy, I would add that financial experts such as Alan Greenspan (who McCain often cites) have attributed the cause of the housing crisis and the credit crunch to lax regulation and have called for government bailouts and greater regulation and oversight. Yet McCain and Palin call for less regulation, and Republicans have said, as recently as last week, that "the economy isn't so bad."

So while I applaud McCain and Palin for their morals and values, I can't ignore the fact that their approach to economic policy is severely out of touch with reality. The lives and livelihoods of millions of people, and thus their children's welfare, are at stake. I'm not sure that we can afford to be single-issue voters right now.

Carol Kennedy said...

On the economy:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/12/AR2008091202415.html

Carol Kennedy said...

Why I am voting for McCain/Palin:
The short answer: I am pro-life and Barack Obama is the scariest pro-abortion politician to come along in a long time. Even if I agreed with him on anything else (which I don’t), I could not in good conscience let him take office.
The long answer: I am a conservative. That means I want small government, a strong military, a truly free market economy, and strict constructionist judges. I believe in American exceptionalism. Which means that I believe that this is the best country in the world, that our form of government is the best possible form of government. And that our founders were exceptional (not perfect) in their wisdom and vision. I believe that all life, from conception to natural death, should be protected. Which means that I don’t even believe that abortion should be allowed in the case of incest or rape….those babies are human too! I believe in the principle of subsidiarity: that government (local, state, federal) should only do what can’t possible be done at a lower level. Which means I think government ought to encourage, and get out of the way of, private organizations (churches, charitable groups, etc) to take care of the poor, help the unemployed, help the uninsured.
While John McCain and Sarah Palin might not agree with me on all of the above, as republicans and conservative leaning politicians, they agree on most. Therefore, they get my vote.

Kevin said...

As Catholics we are obliged to turn to our bishops for guidance. Here is a clarification and guidance from our bishops on selecting candidates that have not pledged themselves and their campaigns to perptuating grave evil. We must be single position voters in the face of evil.
http://www.catholicexchange.com/2008/09/15/113755/

CA Catholic said...

In contrast to the prior post, there *is* still significant debate in the church about whether or not Catholics should be "single issue" voters. I thought folks might be interested in two recent articles about the relationship between the Catholic church and the (current) political parties:

From the New Yorker:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/09/08/080908fa_fact_boyer

From today's Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/17/us/politics/17catholics.html?pagewanted=1&hp

What's most disturbing to me is how this is consistently used as a wedge issue to manipulate Catholic voters for the purpose of political gain. I wish I could believe that this wasn't the primary reason behind McCain's VP selection. (Unfortunately, I think it was, given all of his prior statements on the issue.)

catholic girl in PA said...

This has been a really interesting dialogue.

I'd like to contribute this article, written by David Brooks, a respected conservative commentator and journalist.

Why Experience Matters

By DAVID BROOKS
Published: September 15, 2008

Philosophical debates arise at the oddest times, and in the heat of this election season, one is now rising in Republican ranks. The narrow question is this: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be vice president? Most conservatives say yes, on the grounds that something that feels so good could not possibly be wrong. But a few commentators, like George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum and Ross Douthat demur, suggesting in different ways that she is unready.

The issue starts with an evaluation of Palin, but does not end there. This argument also is over what qualities the country needs in a leader and what are the ultimate sources of wisdom.

There was a time when conservatives did not argue about this. Conservatism was once a frankly elitist movement. Conservatives stood against radical egalitarianism and the destruction of rigorous standards. They stood up for classical education, hard-earned knowledge, experience and prudence. Wisdom was acquired through immersion in the best that has been thought and said.

But, especially in America, there has always been a separate, populist, strain. For those in this school, book knowledge is suspect but practical knowledge is respected. The city is corrupting and the universities are kindergartens for overeducated fools.

The elitists favor sophistication, but the common-sense folk favor simplicity. The elitists favor deliberation, but the populists favor instinct.

This populist tendency produced the term-limits movement based on the belief that time in government destroys character but contact with grass-roots America gives one grounding in real life. And now it has produced Sarah Palin.

Palin is the ultimate small-town renegade rising from the frontier to do battle with the corrupt establishment. Her followers take pride in the way she has aroused fear, hatred and panic in the minds of the liberal elite. The feminists declare that she’s not a real woman because she doesn’t hew to their rigid categories. People who’ve never been in a Wal-Mart think she is parochial because she has never summered in Tuscany.

Look at the condescension and snobbery oozing from elite quarters, her backers say. Look at the endless string of vicious, one-sided attacks in the news media. This is what elites produce. This is why regular people need to take control.

And there’s a serious argument here. In the current Weekly Standard, Steven Hayward argues that the nation’s founders wanted uncertified citizens to hold the highest offices in the land. They did not believe in a separate class of professional executives. They wanted rough and rooted people like Palin.

I would have more sympathy for this view if I hadn’t just lived through the last eight years. For if the Bush administration was anything, it was the anti-establishment attitude put into executive practice.

And the problem with this attitude is that, especially in his first term, it made Bush inept at governance. It turns out that governance, the creation and execution of policy, is hard. It requires acquired skills. Most of all, it requires prudence.

What is prudence? It is the ability to grasp the unique pattern of a specific situation. It is the ability to absorb the vast flow of information and still discern the essential current of events — the things that go together and the things that will never go together. It is the ability to engage in complex deliberations and feel which arguments have the most weight.

How is prudence acquired? Through experience. The prudent leader possesses a repertoire of events, through personal involvement or the study of history, and can apply those models to current circumstances to judge what is important and what is not, who can be persuaded and who can’t, what has worked and what hasn’t.

Experienced leaders can certainly blunder if their minds have rigidified (see: Rumsfeld, Donald), but the records of leaders without long experience and prudence is not good. As George Will pointed out, the founders used the word “experience” 91 times in the Federalist Papers. Democracy is not average people selecting average leaders. It is average people with the wisdom to select the best prepared.

Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.

The idea that “the people” will take on and destroy “the establishment” is a utopian fantasy that corrupted the left before it corrupted the right. Surely the response to the current crisis of authority is not to throw away standards of experience and prudence, but to select leaders who have those qualities but not the smug condescension that has so marked the reaction to the Palin nomination in the first place.

Carol Kennedy said...

Ca Catholic:

I am sorry, David Brooks is NOT a conservative. And magazines like the new yorker and the nyt do NOT speak for the Catholic Church.

catholic girl in PA said...

Carol:

Two things: first, David Brooks is a respected conservative among many conservatives, and does a lot of work with the think tank AEI, which is on the far right (Bork, John Bolton, and others are scholars there). He may not be a conservative relative to where your beliefs fall on the spectrum, but I would avoid making blanket statements about him regardless.

I don't think that CA Catholic implied that the New York and the NYT spoke for the Catholic Church, because that would be absurd. I assume CA Catholic merely meant to point to evidence of dissension within the church; likewise, I cited the Brooks article to bring in another point of view.

I was impressed by the civility of the dialogue here and the flow of ideas, which is why I thought I'd contribute, but your recent posts have been absolute statements that seem to reflect a hostility toward anyone who doesn't agree with you. As such, I'll withdraw from the conversation.

CA catholic said...

Of course the New Yorker and the New York Times do not speak for the Catholic church! - I never stated that they did. I simply thought the two articles referenced provided some interesting historical background about how the church has interacted with the political parties over time, as well as about shifts in the church's own stance towards political issues. I hope folks will actually read the articles before making any judgement about the content!

Like catholic girl in PA pointed out, I also did want to emphasize that there is still debate in the church about these issues. As a member of a quote-unquote liberal parish in CA that is probably best characterized as ascribing to a consistent ethic of life, I would like to think that my beliefs (and those of my fellow parishoners) are still welcome within the broader body of the Catholic church. Not feeling too welcome on the site today, but I too hope that civil dialogue can continue. (I won't give up just yet!)

Carol Kennedy said...

I am sorry if I sounded abrupt, I didn't have much time. Admittedly, I was also quite angry with that New Yorker article, which I stopped reading after it began dragging Deal Hudson's reputation through the mud, yet again, by bringing up past sins which have nothing to do with anything.
Dissent with in the Church is as old as the Church herself, yet the Church's teachings, on abortion and many many other things, remain unchanged and are quite clear. You must make your decision....I for one cannot in good conscience vote for a man that is so pro-abortion he won't even save the baby who survives the gruesome procedure.

As for David Brooks, he really isn't much of a Conservative, though he likes to think he is. His article would not change my mind on McCain, nor do I think it indicates his intention to vote for Obama.

Mary Alice said...

At the risk of turning anyone off, I feel I need to clarify this issue of "debate within the church." There is a distinction between something that is open for discussion and has not been clarified and a matter which has a clear teaching from the hierarchy with which some people disagree. That is dissent, and as someone said there has always been dissent, but it does not mean that issues are "open to debate."

When life begins is not a matter of debate, the church has clearly taught that it is a matter of natural law that life begins at conception. Abortion takes a life. There is no room for debate on this issue.

The Church does not have teachings on such issues as what defines a conservative on the spectrum of American politics, this certainly is open to debate among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and I am sure that if you asked any number of bishops for their private opinion, it would differ. I, for one, get confused by the concept of Neo-con, and I also know some arch conservatives who would think of Ron Paul as the only candidate to consider at this point. I think it is all a matter of degrees, and also what issues you are using as your litmus test.

There are clear Church teachings that define a Just War. I think that the war in Iraq does not qualify.

I suppose that how one weighs these two issues (abortion and the war, just two among many), from a voting perspective, would be another thing that could be "open for debate," but here we do have guidance from the bishops, so that should be thoroughly taken into account when making an informed decision of conscience.

There is church teaching (papal encyclicals) on social justice including labor laws, right to unionize, etc. There is even Church teaching on care of the environment. So, there is a lot to balance out, but I still think that the moral issue of abortion comes out as most important, and that is in line with the teachings of the bishops.

uncertain said...

Mary Alice, I did not know if you were still reading comments on this post, but since you are I want to say thank you for the time you took to answer my questions. It seems you clearly understood what I was asking--as unclearly as I may have stated it.
I am now thinking in terms of the "very probable evil" that will result from one vote, rather than a vote for a "probable good." I am not familiar enough with the intricacies of our legal-judicial system to know how likely it is that Roe v. Wade will be overturned although I do understand that it does not necessarily mean that abortions are made illegal. So that is a very distant "if."
However, you made a good point in mentioning those who point out that further legislation to allow the culling the weakest of our race, the unborn, will lead to legislation that allows even more horror. It's hard for me now to think about a vote that would lead the country in that direction, as much as I hate to say it.
Like you said, as Catholics we really cannot justify the war in Iraq, or ignoring the plight of the poor, in our country or abroad (we certainly aren't supposed to blame them for being poor!).
So lots of reasons not to vote one way, but not a whole lot to vote the other way, either. I'm pretty discouraged.