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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) — During the 1928 presidential campaign, nutty right-wing Protestants claimed that Al Smith, the first Catholic nominated for president by a major party, was planning to extend New York’s Holland Tunnel all the way to the Vatican.

Today’s tunnel would run from the Vatican to a suburban Pentecostal megachurch.

We learned this week that U.S. Catholics support President Barack Obama’s Feb. 10 compromise on contraception in almost identical numbers to the population as a whole. Many of those sticking with the Catholic bishops in opposition are evangelical Protestants.

Historians are rubbing their eyes in wonder that the spiritual and political descendants of Protestants who founded the Know Nothing Party in the 1850s on anti-Papist ideas — who hassled not just Al Smith but also John F. Kennedy for supposed ties to Rome — are now embracing Catholics. Rick Santorum was recently greeted at Oral Roberts University by an enthusiastic crowd of 4,000.

Yes, politics makes strange bedfellows, and in this case, the Republicans, by throwing in their lot with the bishops, are using no protection. Like the controversy over the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation withdrawing support from Planned Parenthood over its provision of abortion services, this struggle leaves Republicans politically exposed.

At first, the Komen case looked like just another example of anti-abortion activists flexing their muscles against hapless women’s health advocates. Then came a furious, highly effective counterassault fueled by liberal social media, a new counterweight to conservative talk radio in defining the terms of debate. The outcome of that flap, in which the Komen foundation reversed itself and apologized, shows that bashing Planned Parenthood may work in Republican primaries but will be poison in the general election.

  • Downhearted Patriot

    As the author notes, the right just can’t help itself. It just doesn’t know when to stop. The Santorum quote came AFTER the Susan Koman fiasco and the governments misadventure.

  • Howz 1

    Since Nixon the Republican party has pursued a southern strategy that is far more religious than the traditional William F Buckley type party. Fiscially conservative but not getting hung up on social issues, with guns being as far as they would go to the right.
    After Rowe/Wade things changed and the right now had an issue to unify the base and the slogan Right to Life became the mantra. It was coupled with a law and order mood after the demonstrations of the 60’s and a personal freedom movement 2nd amendment philosophy out of the west, personified by Goldwater. The Evangelical movement was added and now we have the formula that would become the Republican winning position in every election. This drove women into the Democratic Party ranks in large numbers, and their issues: Choice, and Contraception became part of the platform.

    So now we have a very conservative Republican party, very angry, very religious and very white. The leadership of the Republican thought they would nominate a moderate on social issues(Romney) and with business credentials for the economy. Ths base is uncomfortable with this and want a very conservative canidate. Now the contraception issue emerges and the elected Republicans see an oppurtunity to unify the religious right and the freedom elements together and light a fire under the base, since if they don’t get them excited the General election, because of the improving economy will be lost. This is a very cynical strategy by those in congress to create an issue that they can run on too.

    In the end this will drive women further away and scare independents, and crearte more of an up hill climb for a partty that is bankrupt of new ideas

  • TWFlash

    In my view, the best entertainment on TV can be found on the news channels. I just can’t wait to get home and find out what those zany Republicans got up to on any given day. What a bunch of clowns, huh? It’s just a damn shame that so many people in this country have to suffer as a consequence of their partisan foolishness. Oh well, we’ll sort that out in November, won’t we?

  • Sleipnir

    The real losers over the republicans alliance with the religious zealots is a loss of faith in religion. More and more people are becoming atheists because they see the hypocrisy of both groups. The republicans say we want to get government out of your personal lives then pass laws trampling on women’s rights. The evangelicals want government tax breaks and federal subsidies but don’t want to stay out of politics. The nation is facing high unemployment, an economy struggling to recover, war in Afghanistan, Iran threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz leading to higher gas prices which will hurt our economy, the trade imbalance with China, drug cartels, high healthcare costs, etc. but instead of focusing on those problems all the republicans and religious zealots care about is abortion and birth control. So glad they have their priorities straight.

  • gotnotruck

    I read along in total agreement, then hit a sports metaphor. Please, restrain yourselves. Like more Americans than you would think are atheists, I included, more Americans could care less about sports. And don’t get sports metaphors. Tune out. I know it’s hard to learn to be creative, but didn’t you learn at least some in journalism school?

  • gotnotruck

    If you think all racist nuts are in the south, check out The Southern Poverty’s Hate Map. I grew up in NC, when the coastal plane was KKK. Now there’s one KKK spot on the Va border. Tons of KKK in Michigan, which also features the country’s most segregated city: Detroit. Followed by Milwaukee then New York City. I live in New York, and though I’m white, and, like many white southerners you’ll never hear about, was in the civil rights movement in the south, I see racism all around me. It’s called “lack of diversity”, “discrimination”, or at worst, “racial discrimination.” If Giuliani had been a white southern mayor whose well named “street crimes unit” was killing an unarmed African or African American every few weeks, the rest of the country would’ve frothed at the mouth using the race word. The NY Times called “Jim Crow, Racist” a bill proposed by the GOP, in SC or GA, to restrict voting of non whites, the poor, young, and elderly. When it moved to Wisconsin, no such adjectives. Then NY State. Have yet to hear what happened. Then there’s the reverse migration. The reason? I asked two white New Yawk accented policemen what a “furtive movement” looked like. The reason for Stop and Frisks for blacks and hispanics here. Is that unreasonable search and seizure? I would certainly think so, since the answer was “This is nice neighborhood.” I.e white, though it wasn’t when I moved here in ’79; nicely integrated. “He’s standing in a door looking side to side.” I: “Perhaps he’s waiting for someone to pick him up.” We talked a little more. I told them of my work in the movement. One shook my hand when I offered it. The other said he had something in his mouth so he couldn’t. Spit, I guess. Imagine if i’d been black.

  • itsadogslife

    These people will carry their agenda with them to the grave. They believe that in the name of God it is alright to lie, cheat, and do what ever it takes to make sure that their “God’s” will becomes the law of the land. They have little care or respect for what anyone else believes or values. I say let them keep talking, they are not the majority even amongst their own. They are so driven and blinded by what they think is right – that they can not even begin to believe it is hurting them or that they may be helping to get Obama elected again. They are radical religious zealots whether they are “born again” Christian, Taliban, or any other faith.

  • Gwen Davis

    There is no brighter journalist on the scene than Jonathan Alter, who has kept me musing and smiling(his wit is subtle but ominpresent) since the days before Keith Olbermann became too obnoxious to watch anymore. I am so grateful that he has this forum nd we have him.

  • terango.lf

    Koodoo’s to the President puting out a policy that was a Church vs. State argument and yet hold back the fix that independant states have used for at least a few years. Like the Administration didn’t know of this precedent? And would further speculate that there have already been actual court cases where the Church has lost.
    So he saved the “Fix” to use as a political blunt instrament to clober the Republicans with, when the went for the bait, which ended up to be a shit sandwich!!
    In my uneducated opinion, it’s a labor issue. The Republicans always cry about minimum wage, but there are a few other “mandated” objects that go with being in buisness…workmans comp, liabilty insurance, ect.ect..ect. Oh… I forgot these latter objects are the regulations that kill jobs! Touchay Mr. President

  • jcurtis595

    The great Republican hypocrisy becomes more and more evident. They cry “freedom” from big government and its intrusion in American’s lives, but the hypocrites want to control the most intimate aspect of your lives, birth control, abortion, forcing a vaginal probe as a device to dissuade a woman from having an abortion. Soon the Burka will be their new agenda (opps, no, they don’t believe in true freedom of religion, just their own religion “freely” shoved down the throats of all of us). Their hypocrisy is now becoming so evident, even the most uninformed and disinterested among us see it clearly, and that’s a good thing because what we need is to sweep congress clean of all the right wing extremist would be dictators of our lives. Obama will be reelected, but to what end if congress is still composed of these monsters. Daryl Issa and his ilk if still there will block all the good Obama wants to achieve for us (just as the Republicans have for the last 3+ yesrs).

    The Republicans scream that Obama has been a failure. Yes, he hasn’t achieved his goals. Why? Guess why? The Republicans tied his hands and feet and shouted “Run Forest Run,” and when he could not, they scream “What a failure ! We need a change.” And the are oh so right. We need a change. We need to sweep out these bigots, hypocrites, these extremists who put their power grab before the interest of the country. Time for a change, a change in Congress, not the White House.

    Jay Curtis (author of THE CODE)

  • jimackermann

    I am not a “religious zealot”. Just a simple common sense kind of guy. I see the left prospering by promoting the notion that abortion is a form of birth control. Tell that to the dead child. I see you crying at abused dogs and cats while funding the death of humans. Shame on you. The euphemism “Planned Parenthood” is silly. They are aborting UNPLANNED” children. Government, get out of our lives. I was raised a Lutheran. Today, I am a Lutheran, a Catholic and a Jew. I will support all e of faith, even if our President won’t. Think before you spend money to kill a child.

  • jimackermann

    And today, “Planned Parenthood” is nothing better than a cheap abortion clinic in Mexico.

  • dlgreen

    This is a secular state. If churches want to dabble in the business world, then they should play by the rules of the majority. In Michigan, zoning limits competition for hospitals, and granting a protected territory to a Catholic hospital is allowing one religion to dictate care in that territory in violation of the First Amendment. I have a right to protection from you inflicting your stupid superstitions on me, whether it is papal rules for use of my genitals, sacred cows or fetuses or sharia law. If the church doesn’t like the rules, they can sell the hospital to a secular company. The abortion controversy is just mass hysteria whipped up by church recruiters and political opportunists. The frenzied mob is ignorant of the fact that their own bible in Exodus 21:22 addresses an accidental abortion treating the fetus as property damage compensable with a fine but demanding an eye for an eye if the woman is harmed (your have to read an honest translation, not the intentionally obfuscatory King James, to see this clearly). Consciousness is what makes us human, and the lack thereof is brain death. The logic should be commutative – until it has a brain to support consciousness, it’s a collection of organs with a cash value like cattle, and even the bible agrees.

  • All the classic Republican crap is becoming increasingly toxic on the political landscape??? Yes, please, more of that.
    When all of their Conservative garbage becomes a NIMBY, America will be a stronger, better nation.
    Lets make that happen!