Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Catholic Vote and Has Deal Hudson Finally Tipped His Hand!!!!

I enjoy Deal Hudson quite a bit. He is also a very important Catholic politico in that important Conservative Catholic DC crowd.. However for weeks we have had to endure posts(in which get circulated along the net) that Huckabee has troubles with Catholics. No doubt he will have another posting on this tomorrow.

Now as I have pointed out these assertions are all based on flimsy data. It also almost in a universal manner ignores the structural aspects other campaigns that each person is running in each state and the natural advantages that each person has as to a State that have nothing to do with religion.

An example. A lot of Huckabee support has come from Home School folks. There appears to a whole hell of a lot more of them than I ever realized. A poll sampling Evangelical vs Protestant vs Catholic Home school folks would indeed be interesting. However I suspect a creature like that does not exist.

I can't help but note that it appeared a man I very much respect had a huge Catholic problem. That was Catholic Convert Senator Brownback , who is now Co -Chairman of Catholics for McCain, when he was running.

Now to be fair Senator Brownback had a very much voter interest problem as a whole. However, I was sadden a tad, even though I was supporting Huckabee, that a man of such Catholic Faith and a convert generated a big ole yawn from Catholic community. Why was that? Even as a Huckabee supporter I was excited by his campaign. I emailed Catholic bloggers stuff he was saying!!!! Response big yawn. To say the least I don't think it was because of his Catholic beliefs

Yet there is an assertion that Orthodox Mass Going Catholics will be turned off by Huckabee while no one seemed too concerned that Senator Brownback was not setting the world on fire. I guess I am the only one that is noticing this. The tragic fact is that more Evangelical Christians were engaging Senator Brownback than people of his own faith

One side issue here as to Brownback. He should have generated more support or given more of a hearing. In the end, I think he looked too not ready for Prime Time on TV. Sort of Mr Smith Goes to Washington without the Charisma. However he like Huckabee were mirror images of each other on their message

.I guess I believe that Catholics that are serious about their faith had a window of opportunity to truly engage the public square via a Brownback or Huckabee movement. It could have perhaps caught on and been of more of a force early on. If people want Catholics to engage in the political life like their evangelical counterparts in a much more organized way then we shall have to provide the structure to do that and be aggressive with it.

Likewise that provides an opportunity for politicians to engage us. If we build it they shall come. The problem does not lay with politicians but with us.

I assert that as to the Catholic vote and Huckabee it will be difficult to get firm data for a while. The Louisiana primary coming up is a mess and I suspect will not be able to give us much data. If Huckabee campaigns in a aggressive manner in Louisiana I would look at Lafayette Parish. A Parish that is very conservative, Very Catholic, and very Republican. Ditto for Jefferson and other areas to some some degree. However I get the feeling that whoever the establishment backs will be the ones that get the warm bodies to the polls. For many reasons I am not holding out hope of a huge turnout. I also think the folks running will bypass Louisiana, sadly, for Florida. Which I think is a tad of a mistake.

Florida's result will be a tad skewed because many Catholics are Hispanic. How the issues of Cuba, the issue of the immigration fight will have far more importance as to that vote I believe than the issues of faith as the media frames it.

As to South Carolina, unless we start taking exit polls of Catholics as they leave Morning Mass in Charleston and follow them to the polls I do not think we shall get any indication there that can be confirmed by any stats.

In a word I think it is fluid. However I see no indication that Huckabee has a longterm Orthodox Catholic voter problem. No one will say for instance that Huckabee has a Evangelical problem tomorrow because he split the Evangelical vote.

So who does Deal Hudson back if anyone. It appears McCain might be a possibility from this recent post. Even though the article he posts is written by another person. However judging from his past posts I think Fred is in the mix too. We shall see. However be on the outlook for a commentary from Mr Hudson that will point to any clue that Catholics are turned off by Huckabee coming form the Michigan primary. Even though because of many reasons, again time and organization ,he had no real hope of getting that vote in massive numbers.

If Huckabee has a Catholic problem it is similar to Brownback's Catholic problem. That is again an abililty to connect and communicate with that community and for politicians to know they shall moblize for them without holding their hand. TO say the least Evangelical and Pentecostals do not have this worry.

These are questions that should be asked. How do we do that when as a practical matter Bishops are in control of each Diocese and watch organized Catholic political activity within the party structures with a wary eye. There seems to a underlying structural problem that will be difficult to overcome. However we must.

Update-One other observation.
Catholics like many were divided over the immigration issue that has held this country siege now for two years. However advocates of Immigration reform in the Catholic community asked and pleaded with politicans to be brave and "do the right thing".

Now this is one reason McCain is my second choice. Huckabee has gone right on this subject and I am not happy about that. I still think he is trying to get to a position where he can moderate(see the Univision debate). However where are all the Catholic for immigration reform in this campaign? How come I don't see these folks in any numbers out there helping for John McCain. I have not received one email reminding me that McCain was very close to the Bishops on this. Will you be their with your bodies and your money for people like Senator Graham from South Carolina that truly laid it on the line? You were not there in any true mobilizing force for Senator Brownback. If Catholics wish political folks to take tough stands in line with Catholic teaching then they need to show up when these people run for office. Other politicians notice if you put your money and support where your mouth after they vote how you requested. IF you don't show up for these folks then why would politicians pay you any heed?

No comments: