Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Ponnuru weighs in: National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru takes issue with colleague Byron York's (and by extension my own) view that it is inaccurate to tar Senate judiciary committee Democrats as "anti-Catholic." However, Ponnuru acknowledges the vaildity of many of the points made by York and myself:
So Republican rhetoric about the Democrats' having adopted a "religious test for office" is not true. It is true, however, that the Democrats have adopted the next best thing. They have a viewpoint test for office that has the effect of screening out all Catholics faithful to their church's teachings on abortion. The fact that the test screens out a lot of Protestants, too, makes the problem worse, not better. It really is true that faithful Catholics "need not apply" as far as most Democrats are concerned. A Catholic can win their support only by ceasing, on the decisive issue, to be Catholic — by breaking from his church's teaching, as Senator Durbin has done. (It is rather disgraceful for a man who went in six years from supporting the Human Life Amendment to supporting partial-birth abortion to keep carrying on about the extremism of people whose beliefs have been less supple.)
Ponnuru, as usual, makes some good points, but I think his argument as a little of a "I say to-may-toe, you say to-mah-to feeling to it.
I did, however, also want to highlight this point that Ponnuru makes, which really gets to the crux of the issue:
The Democrats are not prepared openly to say that their litmus test excludes Catholics and evangelical Protestants. That's why they will continue to squeal even if Republicans make the argument in the most precise, rhetorically clean way possible. And why Republicans should not flag in doing exactly that.
This is probably the last you'll here of this issue until Congress is back in session next month. I don't think this issue will be much of a winner for the Democrats come 2004.