Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Brownback Doing a Great Job Bring Catholics to McCain- Really?

Updated Below-

I noticed Catholic politico Deal Hudson had a post up today. let me post the whole thing? Go to the EXCELLENT BLOG Pro Ecclesia for the link.

Deal Hudson: "Don't Bet on a McCain-Huckabee Ticket"
Deal Hudson writes at InsideCatholic:
Mark, regarding the likelihood of a McCain-Huckabee ticket, I think you are overlooking the great help that Sen. Sam Brownback has been to the McCain campaign. Brownback has been leading a very successful Catholic Outreach for McCain, one that led to winning the Catholic vote in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida.This is not to say I am prediciting a McCain-Brownback ticket but only to point out if the goal is to attract more religious conservatives to McCain there are choices other than Huckabee, whose popularity is on the decline.Brownback surprised people with his support of McCain after pulling out of the race, support he explained in his interview with me last week.

Brownback's view that McCain is more electable in a national race is being corroborated by the primary results.I don't think Mark is right about his argument that McCain can be greatly hurt by his support for federally-funded research on embryonic stem cells. As McCain explained in his interview with me, he thinks recent discoveries about turning skin tissue into stem cells will make the issue "academic."Mark's argument in his article in the National Catholic Register about McCain on the pro-life issue is off the mark, in my opinion (and no pun intended). McCain has been very forthright on his support for unborn life and his intention to appoint judges who will defend the right to life.But I predict the next few days will see wave upon wave of attacks on McCain for not being a "conservative" or even a "Republican." It is deeply ironic, in my opinion, that that Romney whose conservatism is only a few years old is being seen as the herald of the conservative cause in the GOP.

I am extremely doubtful. First let me say I love Senator Brownback. I love that the McCain campaign has a Catholics for McCain outreach. Especially if he is our nominee. I will be on it. However it is time to look at reality.

The Catholic vote is not being really engaged by anyone. Let us look at the Catholics for McCain. First their official web site. Wait there is none!!! At least that I can find!!! All we have is a page that is on the McCain web sites that has a statement and a list of leaders. Those leaders are

Catholics For McCain National
Senator Sam Brownback,

Governor Frank Keating, former Governor of Oklahoma

Catholics For McCain National Leadership Committee
Former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Hon. Alexander Haig, Former Secretary of State
Congressman Ray LaHood (R-IL)
Congressman Dan Lungren (R-CA)

Catholics For McCain National Steering Committee

Andresen Blom of Hawaii, former Executive Director, Hawaii Right to Life

Professor Gerard Bradley of Indiana, University of Notre Dame Law School

Mary Brunette Cannon of Virginia, former Executive Director, the Bioethics Project

Denis Coleman of Florida, former Chairman of Covenant House and Current Chairman of

Martin Dannenfelser of Virginia, former Vice-President for Govt. Affairs, Family Research Council

Robert Reilly of Virginia, Former Director, Voice of America

Warren Sweeney of New Jersey, former Executive Director, National Right to Life Committee

Eugene J. Zurlo of South Carolina, Chairman of the Zurlo Investment Trust and Former President of the Catholic Radio Association

Catholics For McCain State Chairmen

Iowa: Dana Phillips, Former Catholics for Brownback Co-Chairman and Brownback for President Marion County

Chairman New Hampshire: Hon. Maureen Mooney, NH State Representative (R-Merrimack) and former state director of Catholics for Bush/Cheney 2004

Michigan: Chuck Yob, Republican National Committeeman for the State of Michigan

South Carolina: Jim Corbett, Esq., Former

State Director, Brownback for PresidentFlorida:

Laurence Alvarado, Managing Director of Bearing Point and Contributor to InsideCatholic.comCatholic Students For McCain National Chairman

Billy Valentine of Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH, former National Chairman of Students for Brownback

For a outreach group I have to wonder what they are doing. Are they sending out direct mail? Are they doing ads? What did they do in New Hamsphire and South Carolina, and Florida to do outreach?

Now no doubt some of these people have been active. The law professor from Notre dame is a prime example. However how much of their actions influenced the average Catholics in the pews?

What proof is there that Senator Brownback brought Catholics over to McCain in New Hampshire? Is it not more likely that the Catholics McCain had in New Hampshire were already with him? In fact is that not one reason why Senator Brownback dropped out!!

In South Carolina according to exit polls Catholics thought the military issues were the most important and led all groups in that regard. Abortion and Social issues were 4 percent!!! among Catholics. Did Senator Brownback and Catholic for McCain engage Catholics on "Catholic issues"? If they did it must have been really really underground. What did Jim Corbett who was chairman of the South Carolina Catholics for McCain do? Perhaps a lot? I am not sure

What about Florida? If the Mass Going Catholic vote was being engaged so well why did Rudy have such high numbers just a couple of weeks ago. Could it be that as Rudy started falling McCain's stances on immigration reform and Cuba among Catholic Latinos were the real cause of his good Catholic numbers? In fact we learned that the Catholic for McCain FLorida division was just launched a few days ago.

In fact we see this from Vox Nova today- The white Catholic vote was 21 percent of the GOP vote. McCain polled strongly among Catholics that don't go to Mass. Hardly a group that I think cares what the Catholics for McCain group or Senator Brownback had much influence with. In fact as pointed out McCain had no significant advantage over Romney in this group overall.

Now the purpose of this is not to bash this group or for heavens sake Senator Brownback. I am more concerned that a we all see reality here. That is for large part IMHO the Catholic vote has not been actively engaged. Part of that is funding. Trust me as a Huckabee supporter I know all about that. The McCain campaign had money problems of it own. If and I mean IF McCain gets the nomination this organization will be the foundation for the National Outreach for the General. We need to make sure that we do not delude ourselves with the Catholic outreach that is occurring or that it has even been a factor so far.

Missouri will be a real interesting test. John McCain to say the least is the weakest on the stem cell issue. Will this be a factor? As a Huckabee supporter I hope so. However I will be looking at the exits and news coverage of Missouri to see how this issue is played as well as what outreach is done.

The most disturbing thing is this. How much of the Catholic vote did Republicans lose to pro choice people like Hillary, Obama, and Edwards in places like New Hampshire and South Carolina where Independents could vote?

I got a comment as you can see and I better yet try to clarify this post. I am not bashing McCain or the very devout Catholics that think he best represents Catholic interest. I think they can make a good case. I suspect many are working hard in the ways they can. As to Mike Huckabee, I have said that the lack of funding to go and to really engage the Catholic vote has been a problem. So I am not saying look at us we are doing it better for goodness sake.

I do stand by that among regular Catholics I engage on the net or in person are not exactly looking at this election or John McCain through a special Catholic political lens and all that entails. I have pointed out on here that no doubt Catholics and Evangelical supporting McCain have largely done a good job of making John McCain viewed as pro-life" as others. That is a way is a success. For instance in South Carolina Huckabee was only 2 points ahead of him as to people that view that as to pro lifers. That is indeed a success.

However the assertion that there has been a major effort by Senator Brownback or an organization that all for practical purposes is just 30 days old is pretty absurd!!!

Does that not mean he or others will not be an critical part of the campaign in the future? Of course not. However I can detect no Catholic aimed buzz coming out of these early primary states. Like I said I suspect that might be different in Missouri well I expect McCain knows that a massive push to get Catholic voters in his camp will be needed. Take what I am saying as constructive criticism. I very well could be in your ranks after Super Tuesday if Huckabee does not perform as to reasonable expectations and he has to withdraw.


Anonymous said...

Its funny you say that because McCain actually won the Catholic vote in FL last night. And don't say its Catholics in name only because he won weekly Catholic church goers. So do you actually do any Catholic outreach for Huckabee besides just sit on your computer and blog? Huckabee got less then 5% of the weekly church going Catholics in FL. Ouch!!!

James H said...

Anonoymous, let me be clearer and I hope I made this clear by the tenor of my post. My main thing is how much Catholic ideas and Catholic outreach is actually occuring.

TO answer your question yes. I go out and do all I can got Catholics to support Huckabee.NOt just on a blog.

I have blogged and written letters on how the lack of Catholic outreach by the Huckabee campaign has been not a good thing. As I also alluded in my post I recognize that is a funding problem. I suspect that McCain has the same problem in some degree.

My objection is not to bash McCain. In fact I have been quite open that I will be supporting him if he drops out.

However in the most Catholic of the SOuthern States where I live, that is Louisiana, I saw very little Catholic outreach voters from McCain or anything else. NOt one email, no grassroots etc. Why was that?

Also if you noticed in my past posts I have never said that McCain is getting Catholics in Name Only.In SOuth Carolina we saw McCain getting a good percentage of that. IN FLorida the returns are a tad less great especially when you take the Latino vote out that has immigration and Foreign policy issues. My main concern is why Romney is getting so much.

My assertion and I stand by it is that a lot of Catholic issues have not been engaged. I also think that assertion of that article tht Senator Brownback is bringing in massive Catholic vote at this point is pretty groundless

I have more to life than blogging. But I noticed that when When I am blogging and interacting on Catholic blogs or in person with Catholics that are rational immigration reform I have to ask them why are they on the sidelines. WHy are they not supporting McCain. McCain risked his entire career on the topic of immigration reform. YEt I see nothing and I mean hardly nothing that targets Catholics reminding them of that.

THat is a prime example of targeting I am talking about. In fact for goodness sake in FLorida McCain was tied with Huckabee with Latino voters in Florida that many no doubt were Catholic and supported it.

Anonymous said...

The truth is you have to be on the ground to see the effect of the Catholics for McCain outreach. There is a good chance that is based on a grassroots level. If you remember in the 2004 election and the Catholic Outreached based it was all done on the grassroots level. The staff reached out to Catholics basically on a parish by parish level. Senator Brownback's impact comes in handy when speaking to devout Catholic who know the name and his ability to talk to McCain leadership to make sure that Catholic outreach is a priority and well funded

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess when your candidate becomes irrelevant this kind of "stories" is all you have left to blog about.

Anonymous said...

Catholics who say McCain best represents them make a good case? How is that? Where can I read about how he is better than Huckabee?