Bishops Tap Veteran of Islamophobic, Homophobic Legal Shop as Top Flack
Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times. -- Niccolo Machiavelli
At a gathering of Catholics in his archdiocese last year, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, uttered a strategic point that would have done Machiavelli proud. The bishops, he said, are perhaps not the church's best messengers.
"In the public square, I hate to tell you, the days of fat, balding Irish bishops are over," he told his flock, according to the New York Times, at a diocesan convocation on public policy. Reporting for the Times, Tim Stelloh and Andy Newman wrote of an example he gave the crowd, an apparent reference to the hiring of Helen Alvaré by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1990:
[Dolan] told a story about bishops hiring an "attractive, articulate, intelligent" laywoman to speak against abortion and said it was "the best thing we ever did..."
Dolan, as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), decided this week to operationalize his assessment by hiring Kim Daniels, a former operative for Sarah Palin's political action committee, as his spokesperson -- a new position with a much broader mission than that covered by Alvaré in the 1990s.
An attorney and youthful mother of six who echoes the bishops' disdain for contraception and abortion, Daniels is a smart cookie with an appealing personality. In other words, an "attractive, articulate, intelligent" laywoman.
When the USCCB announced Daniels's appointment, the thing that grabbed reporters' attention was her work in 2010 as an operative for Sarah Palin's political action committee, SarahPAC -- a résumé entry conveniently omitted from the bishops' announcement about their new hire. If there was any doubt remaining of the bishops' total alignment with the most right-wing part of the Republican Party, that data point should lay it to rest. But the rest of Daniels' career is far more interesting -- and troubling.