It's Come to This: TNR Calls for (a Catholic) Religious Test for Obama's VEEP Pick

Note from Joshua H: The New Republic -- the ever-so-slightly-Democratic-leaning analog of the National Review -- was once a mighty publication, with a refreshingly diverse group of writers. In the Clinton years, it shifted to the right, and now represents the Lieberman / Lanny Davis wing of the ... whatever party they belong to today. During the Bush years, it cheered the ascent of neoconservative foreign policy to such an extent that it effectively cheered itself into irrelevance, especially in the context of a growing progressive movement weary of belligerent militarism and neoliberal economics. The DLC is a pariah organization, the Clintons' grip on Democratic politics has loosened and most of the mag's erstwhile readers are uninterested in Marty Peretz's exhortations to bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. My pet theory -- take it for what it's worth -- is that TNR's editorial strategy has now boiled down to this: publish the most ganglion-jangling offenses to progressive sensibilities in order to get attention -- negative attention, but attention nonetheless -- from the progressive blogosphere so it can at least remain on people's radars. As such, I believe we should all ignore it and starve it of attention -- let it slip into obscurity. But, this post is good, so I'm throwing it out there -- rules are meant to be broken.


It saddens me to see that it's come to this, but indeed it has: a writer is suggesting -- in a non-Catholic, not 100% wingnut website, no less -- that Barack Obama should choose his running mate based on which candidate is most faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

No, I am not kidding. In a piece for The New Republic, Catholic writer Michael Sean Winters -- who blogs for America, which is the official magazine of the Jesuits in the United States -- urges Barack Obama to choose Tim Kaine rather than Kathleen Sebelius for his vice president. And while he makes some secular arguments for this choice -- he argues that Obama needs the Catholic vote, and that Kaine has more appeal to Catholics -- the secular arguments don't make a lot of sense. Winters argues that Catholics are the key swing group, because if Kerry had done better with Ohio Catholics in 2004, he would have won the election. But in any close election, although you can slice and dice the voters into any number of demographic groups, and claim that some particular group was the one and only decisive swing group, that doesn't mean it's true.

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