Congressional fence-sitters

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Members of Congress are familiar with that seat, actually. Especially on a range of social and economic issues.

But RealClearPolitics points to a group of them who aren’t supporting a presidential candidate yet, either. They’re worried about their own electability.

Georgia Rep. Jim Marshall, a Democrat and Vietnam veteran who won his last election by about 1,800 votes, said he admires both Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., but feels no obligation to state a preference.

“If it turns out one of them is an ax murderer or something like that I’ll make a choice,” he joked. Otherwise, “I don’t think I need to get involved.”

That’s extreme indecision. Or…decisive moderation.

For most of these fence-sitters — at least 14 as of Wednesday — it boils down to political necessity: They are vulnerable Democrats in conservative-leaning districts who take pains to avoid aligning closely with the national party.… click here to read whole article and make comments



President Bush usually says what he thinks

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But in this rare interview with the British Times Online, he’s unusually candid about thoughts we haven’t heard before.

In an exclusive interview, he expressed regret at the bitter divisions over the war and said that he was troubled about how his country had been misunderstood. “I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.”

Phrases such as “bring them on” or “dead or alive”, he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace”. He said that he found it very painful “to put youngsters in harm’s way”. He added: “I try to meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have an obligation to comfort and console as best as I possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain.”

Bush is on… click here to read whole article and make comments



The more restrained black pastors

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They realize the nation is making history in this election. Most of them admire and support Barack Obama. But they’re exercising the virtue of prudence in speaking publicly.

These pastors understand the need for balance.

The Rev. Jeffrey Bryan has posted campaign signs for “Obama in ‘08″ and displayed snapshots of the presumed Democratic presidential nominee visiting his Newark, N.J., church. At times he wears a T-shirt emblazoned with Barack Obama’s face.

That’s as far as Bryan will go — there will be no sermons peppered with “Vote Obama!”

“It’s a historical time for black people. We cannot ignore what’s going on,” Bryan said. Yet, he added, “you can’t tell people who to vote for.”

He’s right, for multiple reasons, starting with some whip-cracking regulations.

This election year has seen an effort by the IRS and church-state separation watchdog groups to significantly step up their… click here to read whole article and make comments



Mulling over candidates, popularity and war

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There’s a common thread here, as Sen. Obama is very popular no matter what, McCain is quite unpopular no matter what, and the war can’t be called popular by any stretch.

The Weekly Standard has this piece about what the response of these two men may indicate for their potential presidency. Read the whole thing, it’s more revealing than sound-bite campaign speeches or news briefs. Here’s Frederick Kagan’s conclusion:

For any voter trying to choose between the two candidates for commander in chief, there is no better test than this: When American strategy in a critical theater was up for grabs, John McCain proposed a highly unpopular and risky path, which he accurately predicted could lead to success. Barack Obama proposed a popular and politically safe route that would have led to an unnecessary and debilitating American defeat at the hands of al Qaeda.

The two men brought different backgrounds to the test,… click here to read whole article and make comments



Will the Clinton Catholics become Obama Catholics?

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That’s actually not the right question.

The glaringly obvious question is why the media ignore the disconnect of a Catholic supporting a pro-abortion politician, no matter how much they like the candidate and their positions on anything else. The point is, unlike any other issue, abortion is about everything else.

Kathryn Jean Lopez has a good article on this over at NRO.

When the topic was recently a matter of cable talking-heads’ concern, I was asked, repeatedly, in all seriousness, if Catholics can even vote. After all, war is bad. The death penalty is bad. Abortion is bad. John McCain supports the war on terror. He supports capital punishment. He is against abortion. Obama: antiwar, pro-abortion, functionally anti-death penalty. So neither wins. Or Obama wins? “Can Catholics vote for anyone?” readers asked.

There is much confusion out there.

When I’m on the radio or at speaking… click here to read whole article and make comments



In your down time, Sen. McCain…

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….this is a good opportunity to figure out how to show Americans the clear differences between you and Sen. Barack Obama.

Neil Cavuto has some good suggestions for you, starting with just being comfortable with who you are.

Tip one: Embrace your inner fuddy duddy. Face it, you’re not hip or cool, or even a snazzy dresser. But you know what, senator? Neither was bill gates in school. And he did ok.

Tip two: Don’t make your age the issue, make his age the issue. You’re the one with the experience. Tell him he reminds you of the kid who was barely six years old when you got captured by the North Vietnamese and thrown in a prison. Oh, wait, he was! 

Tip three: Don’t hide your temper. Show it. Apparently, when you explode, it’s a beaut. I think it shows your passion. And people respect… click here to read whole article and make comments



Is he sorry for what he said?

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Or sorry that he got caught?

Fr. Michael Pfleger’s fiery sermon in Trinity church in Chicago last week was consistent with his usual style, but this time it had specific political content forbidden by the Catholic Church in endorsing a political candidate (and making vile comments about another). Which is why Cardinal Francis George stepped in and gave Pfleger some time off “to put recent events in some perspective”.

This has played often and prominently in the media, of course, since it was the final event at Trinity that caused Sen. Barack Obama to resign from the church after a lot of other controversy there didn’t. But something I heard briefly reported has disappeared from newer accounts. It was a comment Pfleger reportedly made after his apology for the tirade.

A couple of days ago, one of the cable news shows put up a block quote on the screen that was allegedly said… click here to read whole article and make comments



Image over substance?

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The whole world has been watching the US elections more keenly this time, and not only because the digital media explosion makes that easier to do. It’s mainly been the Obama factor.

For much of the world, Sen. Barack Obama’s victory in the Democratic primaries was a moment to admire the United States, at a time when the nation’s image abroad has been seriously damaged.

How damaged depends on who you talk to, and this WaPo article did a broad sweep.

The primary elections generated unprecedented interest around the world, as people in distant parliament buildings and thatched-roof huts followed the political ups and downs as if they were watching a Hollywood thriller.

It was that, though odd to use the past tense on this race.

Much of the interest simply reflects hunger for change from President Bush, who is deeply unpopular… click here to read whole article and make comments



A new day in America

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The history books are being updated. A black man and a woman have reached new electoral heights in the nation. And an unpopular conservative Republican has grabbed the party’s nomination for president, in spite of the party’s bristling resistance to him.

Where to begin….?

I’ve been in Europe for the past week and a half, and it’s been a good break from these contentious times. Got back just in time for the final primary, pivotal as it turns out, for the Democratic party and the Republican nominee’s chance to distinguish himself. Here are some notes from the dramatic day…

The final days formed ‘the perfect storm’ - after the weekend’s raucous meeting of the DNC leadership trying to find unity in a glaring show of chaos, a black man and a white woman fought vigorously for the fractured Democratic party’s nomination with so much controversy, it derailed the message of what they most represented in ideology.… click here to read whole article and make comments



Look out when the Times gets favourable

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They used to really like John McCain, until he began rising in the Republican party to become (virtually) the presidential candidate. Now, they’re paying attention to Bobby Jindal. They went to Lousiana to check him out, what with all the speculation on his chances to be on the ticket with McCain.

Politicians here say they are certain that Mr. Jindal would balance a McCain ticket, and not just because he is an Indian-American. The Christian right has a new champion in Mr. Jindal, a serious Catholic who has said that “in my faith, you give 100 percent of yourself to God.”

Bumper stickers saying “Jindal for V.P.” are circulating here, with increased velocity after the governor’s stay two weekends ago at Mr. McCain’s Arizona ranch. Mr. McCain’s schedule has him campaigning in Louisiana next week, according to his Web site.

“He has everything McCain is lacking,” said State Representative John LaBruzzo, a Republican,… click here to read whole article and make comments


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Sheila Reports promises a perspective here that you may not be getting in mainstream media and the politically charged blogosphere. Don’t expect political correctness, because politics doesn’t determine what’s correct. This space is grounded in the natural law and moral order. And it expects civility, goodwill and an openness to truth and reason.

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