Scott Brown reconsidered

Now that Scott Brown has taken away the Massachusetts Senate seat from the Democrats, he is being hailed as the savior of the Republican party and his tactics will be imitated across the land. Namely, hit economic responsibility hard, but stay away from social and moral issues. That’s also what Bob McDonnell did to win the governorship in Virginia. But he is at least pro-life. Brown is pro-death, being in favor of legalized abortion. I worry that in the current Republican euphoria, the abortion issue might fade away.

I also suspect that Brown will all of a sudden become the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. But haven’t we already had a state legislator with a single term in the Senate, during most of which time he was running for president? How do Republicans think that turned out?

It has been observed that the qualities that can get a candidate elected are not necessarily the same qualities necessary for effective governing. Americans need to start making that distinction.

At any rate, I’m glad for Senator-elect Brown. His victory will put the Republicans back in the game. Even though he is pro-abortion, the party as a whole is not, so this counts as a good thing for the pro-life movement, since a Senate filibuster can now block anti-life laws. So good on him. But Republicans need to resist the temptation to turn Brown into a template.

Is health care reform dead?

Some on both the left and right are saying, whether in despair or in elation, that the election of Scott Brown to the Senate and the consequent end of the Democrats’ filibuster proof supermajority means that health care reform is dead.

But the Democrats have a bill before them, the House Bill, public option and all. The Democrats could just pass that. They could act before Brown is seated. Better yet, and easier accomplished, the House, which has no filibuster rule, could just pass the Senate bill as is and we’d have a Health Care law.

Sen. Barney Frank is advocating changing the Senate rules so that no filibuster is possible.

Wouldn’t such tactics infuriate voters even more?

Do you think a health reform bill can get through now?

Patrick Henry College wins national championship

Patrick Henry College, which I help run and where I teach, won a national championship. Not in football or basketball, but in moot court, a competition which consists of arguing cases in a simulated appellate court.

For the fourth time in six years, Patrick Henry College has won the ACMA National Moot Court Championship. The team of Rachel Heflin and Jenna Lorence beat a team from Baylor University, giving Heflin back-to-back titles and making her the tournament’s only two-time champion. Heflin won last year’s 2009 ACMA (American Collegiate Moot Court Association) National Championship with partner Aidan Grano.

Last year’s national third-place team of PHC students James Mieding and Robert Kelly also captured 2010’s third place trophy, January 16, at the Florida International University College of Law in Miami, Florida. The duo may have finished even higher had they not had to duel Heflin-Lorence in the semi-finals.

“In their PHC careers, Robert and James have never lost a round in a moot court competition except to a PHC team,” observed an elated Dr. Michael Farris, PHC’s moot court coach, chancellor, and founder. “As it was, we had two teams in the round of eight and advanced more teams at each stage than any other college.

“The competition in Miami was incredibly rigorous, and keeps getting stronger each year,” he added. But, as he told a packed and cheering crowd of students at Monday’s chapel, “This little College in Virginia has amassed a tremendous track record.”

To date, no other college or university has won more than one ACMA national championship. Among the other teams competing in Miami were Harvard and Syracuse University, Holy Cross, the College of Wooster (2008 ACMA Champion), and Fitchburg State College. In all, PHC sent the maximum number of eight teams to the 64-team competition and placed first, third, ninth, 11th, 13th and 17th.

The College also won national Brief Writing titles, as the team of Kelly and Mieding won First Petitioner Brief, while Rachel Blum and Paul Sellers earned First Respondent Brief. PHC had six students qualify as well in the top 20 Individual Speaker Awards, with Kelly placing second and Mieding capturing fifth place, as well as Jenna Lorence (11th place), Levi Swank (12th), Joseph Alm (13th place), and Zachary Enos (19th place).

via Patrick Henry College.

PHC's moot court team

How God is in the world

Longtime Cranach reader and commenter Dan Kempen “got” yesterday’s post Makoto Fujimura on art, paganism, and worship. His reflections are worth considering in themselves:

God is in the world, not merely as the one who has authority over it, but as the one who is creating it. Even in a broken world, everything God creates is a work of art. Everything God creates is a masterpiece. There is a wonder of God in the created world that is both immanent and transcendent. It is not the deification of “nature,” but the perception of the handiwork of God, and, to follow Makoto Fujimura, when your eyes are opened, you can even see the second article woven into the first. You can perceive the Grace of God in the very fabric of his creation.

Granted that, strictly speaking, the grace of God is revealed in His Word rather than creation as such, in what sense is that last sentence true?

Could this be the basis of a Christian environmentalism? How would it be different from regular environmentalism?

Do you see how this relates also to vocation?

Republican victory in Massachusetts

Republican Scott Brown upset the Democrat Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts senate race. This means the Democrats lose their filibuster-proof supermajority, enabling Republicans to block legislation. It also leaves the Democrats traumatized, losing the late Teddy Kennedy’s seat as Brown’s campaign theme of fiscal responsibility against President Obama’s spending won over one of the most liberal states in the nation.

The Democrats’ tragedy of Greek proportions

Liberal pundits are proclaiming doom and apocalypse at the prospect of Kennedy’s seat in the Senate going to a Massachusetts Republican, even before the election and the bitter news. So reports POLITICO.com:

For the pundits on MSNBC and the liberal blogosphere, the prospect of a Scott Brown victory in the Massachusetts Senate race has provoked the kind of doomsday rhetoric not heard since a certain Texan was president.

Liberal talker Ed Schultz recently told radio listeners that if he lived in Massachusetts he’d try to vote 10 times, claiming that he’d “cheat to keep these bastards out.”

Conservatives howled that the MSNBC host was inciting voter fraud, so Schultz apologized on the air Monday — well, sort of.

“I misspoke on Friday. I'm sorry, I'm sorry,” Schultz said. “I meant to say, if I could vote 20 times, that's what I'd do.”

“Let me be very clear,” Schultz said a few minutes later. “I'm not advocating voter fraud, I'm just telling you what I would do. That's how bad I want Scott Brown to lose!”

Atlantic senior editor Andrew Sullivan described the election on his blog as “a nihilist moment, built from a nihilist strategy in order to regain power … to do nothing but wage war against enemies at home and abroad.”

Sullivan, a longtime conservative who announced he was leaving “the right” last month, concluded Monday that “Democrats can stop hoping at this point” and predicted a double-digit victory for Brown.

“What comes next will be a real test for [President Barack] Obama,” Sullivan continued. “I suspect serious health insurance reform is over for yet another generation.”

Other pundits have had their own grand pronouncements on the possibility of Democrat Martha Coakley losing the seat once held by Ted Kennedy: “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos —who once worked for someone dubbed the “Comeback Kid” — wrote on his blog Tuesday that a Brown victory “would certainly be the biggest political upset I have seen in my career.” PBS’s Judy Woodruff, quoting someone from the White House, described the situation on ABC’s “This Week” as “a tragedy of Greek proportions if Ted Kennedy's successor is the one … who was responsible for the death of health care.”

If it’s a Greek tragedy (as my former students should know), it involves a hero with a tragic flaw, generally a type of pride known as hubris, which brings his catastrophe upon himself. Who would be the tragic hero here, what is the tragic flaw, and how was he responsible for the catastrophe?