To No One’s Shock…

…the Plastic Android in the service of monied interests that the GOP leadership decided we would all nominate, despite our vociferous protests and desperate attempts to find an alternative, is now the de facto nominee as Santorum bows out.

It really does make me wonder in what sense we live in a democracy when we all know ahead of time who the party elite have chosen and are perfectly aware that all attempts to defy that elite will result in defeat.

I had the same sensation in 2000. That sensation only increased when, a few years later, I had a conversation with Dale Ahlquist (who used to be a lobbyist in DC) and he recounted sitting in a bar on K Street shortly after Dole’s defeat and a some GOP mucky muck came in and said, “It’s settled. It’s going to be George W. Bush in 2000”.

Your illusion of actual choices in our political process is strikingly out of sync with how things actually are, I fear.

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  • Will

    Four years ago it was the “news” media, including the NYT, hardly Republican “party elite”, who kept LYING that “all of McCain’s opponents have withdrawn”. We can expect a repetition of this “Ron Paul does not exist” policy.

  • If an individual’s vote, or even a coalition’s, truly can’t effect the outcome of an election, then the moral value contained within a vote must be very close to zero, on par with deciding who will be the next “American Idol.” Wouldn’t that therefore mean that all the angst expressed in this space about whom to vote for was an exercise in futility?

    • SecretAgentMan

      Very insightful comment. I wonder if a lot of the back-and-forthing you refer to is actually just a means of denial.

    • ds

      Considering Mark’s concept that the effect of voting on the voter is in some ways more important than that effect on the outcome of the election, then no it isn’t futile.

      I would however agree that a bit the the angst expressed in this space is a bit overwrought.

  • Linda C.

    As I understand it, Romney was promised the nomination in return forMcCain getting it last time. Dog-and-pony show.

  • Jon S.


    How is it that John McCain was the opponent of the elite in 2000, but was the elite by 2008? And there is no way the Democrat establishment favored Obama over Clinton. Must I remind folks that Ronald Reagan was not exactly “establishment” and the non-establishment Gary Hart almost beat Walter Mondale in 1984. And did the “establishment” tell Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Mitch Daniels, John Thune, Haley Barbour and Paul Ryan not to run this year? Really? And are we surpised that Ron Paul is a niche candiate. Ron paul who will be 77 years old this August and whose views, whatever else you think of them, are not very popular with most Americans (just wait until he ran on “I’ll cut $1 trillion the first year” in the fall election). Ron Paul, whose stupid management (or lack thereof) of his newsletter caused racist items to be printed there. That’s an election killer.

    Listen, elections are won by those who show up. The idea that the “establishment” controls the nomination process went out in about 1968. Just ask those Republican insurgents who LOST elections in Delaware, Colorado, Alaska and Nevada last year. The party would never have nominated them, and then the fall election showed why. The party’s job, especially with presidential races, is to win, and that means nominating candidates who are closer to the American middle. I love this blog and politically I suspect we have quite a bit in common, but let’s be honest, the American middle we ain’t.

    I recall listening to George McGovern talk after his party was creamed in 2004. His response to a young man who was disaffected with his party’s “establishment” that nominated John Kerry was that the young man should get active and change the party. If you do not like the Democrats or the Republicans, my suggestion is to stop complaining about the “establishment” and get active and change one of those parties. This is not an apology for said “establishment,” but to chide those who’d rather sit on the sidelines and hold their breath till their face turns blue as opposed to actually engaging in the process.

    • Michael

      >The idea that the “establishment” controls the nomination process went out in about 1968.

      Uh, no it didn’t. The mechanism for control might have changed but there has not been a Republican contest that has not been decided before hand since Ronald Reagan won the nomination in 1980. The national conventions have been entirely scripted television shows since 1996 after Buchanan’s culture war speech in ’92 offended the Republican party establishment.

      If Santorum had stayed in this could have been the first real political convention in over 3 decades. He was pressured heavily to withdraw to keep that from happening. The script is already written for us.

    • Thomas R

      Although I think “the establishment”, and money, did choose this time I think he does have an exaggerated view of the power of “The Ruling Class” or whatever.

      Granted I’m really mad about this too and will likely join Shea in being quixotic, but I’d concede part of it is that none of the non-establishment candidates were all that good and Romney was not totally intolerable. Much of “The Establishment” wanted Romney in 2008. According to “The Hill” he lead McCain in Congressional endorsements as of November 2007. The National Review favored him. But people were unimpressed with him and McCain was a longtime Senator/War-Hero who some felt was “cheated” in 2000. This time he had

      Michelle Bachmann – A Congresswoman who became known by saying some outlandish things.
      Cain – A guy largely known for Pizza.
      Gingrich – A Speaker of the House who left office as a pariah and had a weird personal history.
      Huntsman – A popular Pro-Life Governor, unlike Romney was, but who worked for the Obama administration and was weak on some issues.
      Paul – Non-interventionist paleo-libertarianism has its die-hard followers, but not enough to win a major party.
      Pawlenty – Not bad rival on paper, but maybe more bland than Romney.
      Perry – Again not bad on paper, but poor in delivery and maybe “too soon” for another Texas governor.
      Santorum – Guy who lost re-election.

      If someone better could have come along the establishment would have lost again, but I concede that didn’t happen. Still I think some of the Establishment were still smarting from the fact that they failed to get him to beat McCain in 2008 so went the extra-mile this time. Their stronger motivation also helped.

  • It is sad indeed. Here’s to hoping Ron Paul can pull it out via the delegates. I’m convinced, though, that our society has not been truly free for decades.

  • Karl Keating

    The parties’ leaders have their favorites, and they have a certain clout, but nominations are still won by getting the most votes. Don’t blame the leaders, among whom there are only a few thousand votes. Blame Americans in general. Already millions of them have voted in primaries, and the results are showing their preferences. I don’t care what some guy in a bar said in 1996. If the Republican voters in general hadn’t wanted W in 2000, he wouldn’t have been nominated, no matter what party leaders preferred. There is no need to talk in terms of conspiracies or even smoke-filled rooms. It is enough to talk about the imbecility of most people who exercise the franchise.

    • Ted Seeber

      I no longer believe this for an instant. The last 8 elections have proven to me that crony corporatists are the only ones who can get elected- that the vote is rigged and fixed to the point that democracy in the United States is a joke at best and a disaster at worst.

      I can’t think of a single election in my life that my vote has counted for squat.

  • Jayjay

    Um…really? I think about five different candidates held the position of “front-runner” during the course of this utterly unpredictable roller coaster of a campaign. The fact that all of them imploded due to poor debate performances, scandals, media gaffes, financing problems, and organizational ineptitude is hardly proof of a pre-crowned candidate in some smoke-filled room.

    Do you think maybe Santorum dropped out because he did the delegate math and said, “nope, ain’t gonna happen this year; we’re just wasting time and money at this point”? Herman Cain didn’t drop out because of Romney, did he? Rick Perry became front runner the second he announced and then blew it once he opened his mouth. Newt Gingrich’s ego and vitriol might have something to do with his fall from front-runner status. And Romney, of course, fell out of favour each time one of the others caught his 15 minutes of primary fame. And then each time one of the other flashes in the pan fizzled, he started to look better again, by comparison.

    All politics is local and voters will vote how they vote. Look at the dismal turnout in the Southern states this year during the primaries. That would have been where a Santorum or a Gingrich or a Perry might have shined…if their supporters had bothered to come to the polls. But they didn’t. That doesn’t bode well for the GOP in the General, incidentally.

    If Romney becomes the GOP nominee in 2012, it’s only because his competition wasn’t all that competitive. Let’s face it: it isn’t as if Romney has been running against George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh, the Statue of Liberty and Superman in this campaign. He’s been running against a really flawed pack of not ready for prime time players, all of whom majorly flubbed up at one point or another, whereas Romney’s bumps here and there have been comparatively minor.

    I just don’t see any evidence of a coronation, here.

    • James Isabella

      Yeah, I find it rather difficult to believe that someone could look at this year’s Republican primary season (or the Democratic primary season of 2008 that nominated Prs. Obama) and think its all fixed.

      If anything, the fact that Obama is president and there were at least 5 different frontrunners for the Republican nomination this year proves just the opposite.

      It looks to me like Republicans were desperately looking for someone *other* than Romney to nominate.

      • Ted Seeber

        Obama is a puppet of Wall Street, has been since before the Democratic Primary, and was the obvious pick.

        • Jayjay


          Even if that made sense, there aren’t enough votes on Wall Street to win anybody an election.

          • Ted Seeber

            Wall Street don’t need votes as long as they own the mass media.

            Voting is just a sham; a circus to fool the public- a choice between option A, which the crony capitalists want, and option B, which the crony capitalists want, both of which avoid option C, which is what would actually grant the people power.

            • Insane Sanity

              But the mass media was against Romney. Where did they support him?

              Your argument fails.

    • Ted Seeber

      I think Santorum dropped out because somebody whispered in his ear that Bella won’t get the meds she needs to survive if he continues.

      • ds

        Ok now that comment has to be some kind of sick joke.

        • Ted Seeber

          It fits the timing and is just about the way that crony capitalism works, however. Bella has a bout of pnumonia, suddenly Rick, who up until now was gaining in the polls, drops out of the race. Doesn’t hurt one bit that his biggest opponent is for more profit for the drug companies.

          Ok, so it is a silly conspiracy theory- but it is one that fits how the crony capitalists operate, using money and a total disregard for human life to gain power and profit.

  • Kirt Higdon

    I don’t doubt that Romney was and is the preferred candidate of the GOP establishment (note the endorsements he has received compared to any of the others) but in truth all of the candidates other than Ron Paul were acceptable to the establishment. The establishment is mainly interested in domination of the US and world economy in the interests of the financial oligarchy, increasing micro-management of the lives of citizens, and an aggressive foreign policy to impose “our values” on the rest of the world. Obama of course is committed to these same goals, as were Bush and McCain. The only debate permitted is on how to achieve them. Ron Paul was and is unacceptable to the establishment due to his opposition to the Fed, the chief control mechanism of the financial oligarchy, and his opposition to the Patriot Act and other government regulations, and his opposition to permanent foreign war.

  • Tominellay

    Not so fast…
    Paul is drawing crowds in the thousands, and quite a few contests haven’t taken place…

    • Ted Seeber

      If Ron Paul comes close to winning, he’ll end up in the same place Robert F. Kennedy did.

      • Jayjay

        On the floor of the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel?

        I don’t think we need to worry about him coming close to winning.

        • Ted Seeber

          Only temporarily there- eventually in a coffin six feet under.

    • Richard Johnson

      Drawing crowds in the thousands…and still not winning delegate votes for the convention. Ron Paul may well be a fine statesman and a great potential President, but until and unless he finds ways to get delegates on the floor at the convention he will lose. Period.

      And if he decides to run as a third party candidate he will lose. Period. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have given up control of the ballot in enough states to give Paul or any other third party candidate a ghost of a chance of getting on the ballot, let alone winning any electoral votes.

      Nope, from the beginning it was decided who would win this fall’s Presidential elections, and now it is becoming evident. The only winners will be the corporations and those they bless with their money. The rest of us will lose, once again, and will remain in large part ignorant of the fact.

  • Rich

    Did you see that Paul Ryan actually talked about the principle of subsidiarity?
    I find this exciting. I’ve been hoping someone like him could talk about this beautiful principle. The principle is much like the limited small government idea found in American conservatism and particularly in Federalism, but fleshed out, and Ryan makes the link. I’m hoping he’s Romney’s VP.

    From the article:
    “To me, the principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society … where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that’s how we advance the common good,” Ryan said.

    • Ted Seeber

      My problem is that with many right-wing Catholics, the principle of subsidiarity overwhelms the principle of solidarity to the point that anybody outside one’s own household deserves no consideration.

      • Rich

        Subsidiarity supports solidarity! By not saying, oh the federal govnt is keeping care of the poor, the problem is brought closer to my responsibility. By the problem being engaged on a local level, through my church, civic organization, city and county government, with involvement of local business, the problem is closer to me; I can be involved in these associations and through them with the poor, much easier than I can be involved with my federal government.

        Subsidiarity and solidarity are NOT two opposite poles that we must take great care to balance. If you increase subsidiarity, you will increase opportunity of solidarity. Likewise, if there is an increase in people’s true reaching for solidarity, it will most likely find its outlet through subsidiarity’s methods because people recognize that’s the way to engage the poor.

        My uncle in Canada is a member of a civic organization that tireless raised money for hospitals. The government took over healthcare and that took the wind out of the organization’s efforts in that arena. They are no longer so involved in that. Kind of sad.

    • Mark Shea

      Ryan always (and only) talks about subsidiarity. It’s the only part of Catholic social teaching he and other libertarian (read: heretical) Catholics care about.

      • Rich

        Congratulation’s on your son’s engagement! What joyful pictures.
        Yes, I’m thrilled to find that has been Rep. Ryan talking subsidiarity for some time, as in his letter last year to Cardinal Dolan. However, I heartily disagree with your suggestion that he only talks subsidiarity as a way to hide his neglect of other Catholic social teachings. In the letter discussiing his budget proposal he says:
        “The proposal is consistent with the preferential option for the poor, providing more support for low income groups and the sick, and slows the growth
        of support for the wealthiest Americans with less need.”
        He also discusses the well-being of the family and human dignity. These and the care of the poor are, of course, completely consistent with subsidiarity.

      • P Fennelly

        You’re a cynical, bitter jerk.

        • Mark Shea

          God bless you.

  • David K. Monroe

    This is unnecessarily pessimistic. Romney, being the once-upon-a-time “conservative alternative” to John McCain (Remember that? I do.), was the clear frontrunner from the beginning. If you keep running for President and you’re not completely insane and/or incompetent, you’ll have advantages of familiarity to the public and skill in running a campaign, and that will help you get the nomination if you’re persistent. Also, do people forget that we just had a bunch of primary elections here, were everyday schlubs like me actually got to cast ballots? If The People gave Mitt Romney such a plurality of delegates that it doesn’t make sense for other candidates to stay in the race, then that’s reality and you can’t blame the “Republican Establishment” for foisting him on us. The attitude that election results are somehow illegitimate if they don’t satisfy me personally (whoever “me” may be) is ignoble and needs to be avoided. That way lies madness.

    • Ted Seeber

      I’m in Oregon. By the time primaries get around to us, the winner is already decided and it’s no longer worth the time to vote.

      • David K. Monroe

        Well, that problem would exist no matter who the prospective nominee is.

        • Richard Johnson

          I would not exist if we changed the system by which primaries are conducted. Let’s say we had a national primary, with all states participating over the same 2 day period (a Friday and Saturday, perhaps).

          Of course, that would require the two beneficiaries of our current system consenting to the change, and we know when that will happen.

    • Thomas R

      Romney in 2008 was popular as a “Conservative Alternative” with conservative journalists and Congresspeople, but I seem to recall the actual conservative voters going as much or more for Huckabee. Something that likely made some of the “Conservative Establishment” apoplectic as it seemed to indicate many of their voters cared more about social conservatism and religion than fiscal conservatism or (to be fair) electability.

      I don’t have the breakdown of the 2008 primaries though, but the conservatives I knew weren’t enthusiastic about the idea Romney was “The Conservative Alternative” despite it being bandied about.

  • Rich

    I agree with Mr. Monroe that Mr. Shea is overly pessimistic. In addition, his habit of calling Gov. Romney an android is obviously dehumanizing. This guy is not only a human being, but one who seems fatherly (some, making use of shared cultural references, say he reminds them of 1950’s sitcom dad). There’s a great quality to have, one to be admired.

    I think Romney’s career as an investor suggests qualities that would be good in a national leader. An investor must be prudent, not rashly throwing others’ money into doubtful endeavors, yet an investor must be willing to take a risk. These virtues of prudence and courage are ones to be admired.

    I’m sure Romney also has his faults (human ones, as opposed to android code defects). Why not just refer to these faults instead of dehumanizing him?

    • ds

      You cannot prove that he is an actual human being.

      • Jayjay

        LOL! Well, if he truly is a humanoid, that only serves to underscore any points made concerning the inadequacies of his GOP opponents.

        • ds

          Where’s a Voight-Kampff machine when you need one.

    • Thomas R

      Actually I agree with you on the android thing in a way. I mean I could see it as just humor, but for me Shea does use dehumanizing terms too much. This is what turned me off from his blog, because it seems to run counter to the idea I get from the blog’s title. To me if you’re enjoying being Catholic you’re probably not this level of angry. Not saying righteous rage has no place, obviously it does, but if it’s done too much I think there’s a risk of going to bad places and I think he goes there too much.

      Anyway it might be better to say Romney’s Android-like or just call him what he actually is. “Unpopular ex-Governor” or “Mansion Man” or something.

    • Richard Johnson

      As Governor of Massachusetts Romney was pro-choice, pro-same-sex-marriage, and pro-insurance mandate. As a GOP President Candidate he has been pro-life, anti-same-sex-marriage, and anti-insurance mandate.

      Like my Android phone, Romney can be reprogrammed to fit whatever situation he faces.

  • Ted Seeber

    I now join you in officially saying I will be voting third party. Most likely Constitution because despite my disagreements with the American Constitution as currently written and interpreted, they’re the only party I can count on to make the Right to Life a priority (I have some question as to how large a priority, but most Constitutional Candidates oppose the Death Penalty and support Personhood for the Unborn, so that’s a start at least).

    • Jayjay

      So you’ll be voting for Obama, then, really. Good for you; that’ll help the pro-life cause.

      • Mark Shea

        Not voting for Romney is not “voting for Obama”. To vote for Obama, you have to vote for Obama. When you vote for a third party, you vote for a third party.

        And, in any case, your vote makes as much difference to the election as the movement of an air molecule makes to the outcome of a train wreck.

        • Jayjay

          If you deny your vote to Obama’s principal opponent, you might as well be voting for Obama; the effect is the same.

          Votes add up, Mr. Shea, and if enough voters waste their votes on various third party candidates who have no hope of winning, then one or the other of the candidates of the two major political parties suffers as a result. Conservative votes thrown away on no-name also rans benefit the Democratic candidate; it’s that simple.

          • Mark Shea

            No it’s not. I live in blue state Washington. If I vote third party, I am denying Obama a vote if I am denying anyone a vote. But in reality, there’s no such thing as a vote “against” somebody. You can only vote for somebody, or not vote.

            • Jayjay

              Oh, Washington. Okay. Let me try it this way.

              If yet another Starbucks opens across the street from a Second Cup, and I decide to go to the new little independent family owned non-chain coffee shop on the other side of town, instead of going to Second Cup, Starbucks wins.


              • Chris M

                until enough people decide that both Starbucks and Second Cup are serving crappy coffee and start going to places that serve GOOD coffee, I’ll keep going to the place that has good coffee.

              • Let’s break this down into simple numbers for you. Let’s say my friend will definitely vote for Obama, whereas I will not. Here are the possibilities:

                1st outcome (me voting Romney)
                Obama – 1
                Romney – 1

                2nd outcome (me not voting Romney)
                Obama – 1
                Romney – 0
                Random other candidate – 1

                Do you see the numbers there? Obama’s total didn’t increase just because I didn’t vote for Romney. Substitute coffee chains if you like, but voting and buying coffee are positive actions, not negative ones. You can’t take votes from somebody. You can only add them. “Not voting for Obama” cannot in any way be considered “voting for Obama.”

                • Jayjay

                  No, but it will have the effect of aiding his victory.

                  All of those customers that never would have gone to Starbucks WOULD have gone to Second Cup, instead, if those little independent shops weren’t around.

                  Now, not one of those little shops has any chance of taking down Starbucks, whereas the Second Cup chain would have had a real chance, had its customer base not dispersed amongst the little independent shops.

                  • Chris M

                    You’re assuming those customers would have gone to Second Cup. But what if they refused to drink crappy coffee? Period?

                    • Richard Johnson

                      No..No!! You must drink the kool-aid…er, coffee!!

              • Thomas R

                As the independent gets the money in this case aren’t they the one that wins? I know it’s a joke, but still…

                I don’t like “marginalizing myself” by doing write-in or Third Party, but I like even less feeling that a political party owns me. If you look back in the archives I argued pretty strongly against what Shea said about going Third Party or write-in because I felt and feel his standard for a candidate is unreasonable. I am open to voting for the Republican candidate and on a Presidential level I usually do so. But there are limits. There kind of has to be or I’m just left feeling bought.

          • RUs

            In the current state of things, voting for Obama’s biggest opponent is voting for the continuation of the inadequate and evil program that 1) will perpetuate the ineptitudes and failures that allow the Left to keep coming back*, 2) will fail to substantially turn back the damage being done by the Left**, and 3) will keep damaging the moral credibility of traditional values by attaching it to a platform carrying evil.

            Only a blind man does not see that we are on a continuous vector toward Leftism, and the so-called “Right” will only work sufficiently to halt the Left’s progress when they realize there are not enough dupes out there to vote for them. There are many reasons not to vote for these pretenders to “conservatism,” but one very practical and strategic reason is that every vote for them *weakens* conservatism and traditional values, and leaving them with insufficient votes will force them to either win back the traditional voters, or die as a party.

            But, alas, there are too many dupes.

            *As long as we “compromise” and keep electing inept “conservatives,” the Right will lose more and more of its credibility.
            **Did either Bush make any substantial headway against abortion? Have any of them managed to stop this environment where conservatives are more and more depicted as fools and fiends–and the momentum of the program to outlaw our language and force us to do repugnant things? (such as HHS mandate)
            ***As long as they fail even make an effort to morally justify their military efforts, condone and commit torture, and continue a dehumanizing and radical Ayne Rand style economic attitude, is it any wonder their credibility is waning?

            The so-called conservative politicians and media have become so utterly entrenched in the incoherent cacophony of the public discourse, and have been so full of absolute stupidity–not a presidential candidate excepted–there is no chance in hell they are going to improve our lot for the short-term–let alone the long one.

            How long will we choose to be dupes? How long?

            • Mark Shea

              As long as we buy it when (as will happen very soon) the right wing noise machine starts up with “YOU HAVE TO VOTE FOR ROMNEY BECAUSE HE IS THE ONLY HOPE OF THE PROLIFE MOVEMENT AND THINGS TO TERRIBLE TO DESCRIBE WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DON’T VOTE FOR HIM! BE AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID!!!!!!” Look how well it worked for prolife champion Scott Brown.

              • Jayjay

                Okay, well, let’s all of us conscientious Catholics vote for four or five different Joe Nobodys in November and see who wins by a landslide and what sorts of judges he continues to appoint to federal benches, including, most likely, the Supreme Court. We can pat ourselves on the back afterward for our independent refusal to endorse a popular label. Hopefully that will be consolation enough.

                • Mark Shea

                  Has nothing to do with snobbery about popularity. It has to do with unwillingness to support grave intrinsic evils worthy of the fires of hell. For more information, go here.

                  And please, spare me the tired rubbish about how wishing to avoid hell is “perfectionism”. It’s embarrassing to hear Catholics say such rubbish.

                  • Thomas R

                    I’m not voting for him, but voting for Romney isn’t necessarily going to send anyone to a fiery Hell. I know you don’t mean that, but you say rather intemperate things that are easy to misread.

                • RUs

                  No, let’s instead throw our support behind a vacuous candidate and party that will only guarantee that the Left will continue to make headway, with no hope for reversal. We can at least comfort ourselves that we didn’t let principal or morals get in the way of selling our soul to those who pander to us. Perhaps the true love our politicians have for use will console us in the end.

                  • Richard Johnson

                    “No, let’s instead throw our support behind a vacuous candidate and party that will only guarantee that the Left will continue to make headway, with no hope for reversal. ”

                    LOL…and that is exactly the same argument that the Democrats use for insisting that a vote for a Green Party candidate is a vote for a Republican and against Obama.

                    Gee…do you see a pattern here?

      • Ted Seeber

        In my case, living in a blue state where I can guarantee 75% of the vote will go to Obama, it doesn’t matter how I vote at all.

      • Richard Johnson

        Yes, and here we have the fear being raised that to dare question the establishment in the GOP is to support Obama. And, like clockwork, the GOP will trot out the old pictures of dead babies and say, “If you don’t elect us these innocents will continue to die.”

        Tell me, did the number of abortions each year increase or decrease in this nation while President Bush had his GOP majority in both Houses of Congress?

  • David K. Monroe

    Really? You mean to say that the “crony corporatists” wanted Reagan for two terms, then they wanted G.H.W. Bush for only one term, then they wanted Clinton for two terms, then Bush for two terms, them Obama? C’mon, this defies credibility, that there’s some “corporatist” conspiracy that wants to jerk the country back and forth between Republican and Democrat every 4-8 years. And please, don’t try and tell me that Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr. and Obama are all cut from the same cloth. Just seriously consider the vast differences between all of them in policy, political philosophy, temperment, etc.

    Look, I understand that you’re upset and think that you’re vote doesn’t count – maybe you need to move to Iowa or New Hampshire or something – but just imagine what it would be like if your attitude was to become generally held. Basically, it would mean the abandonment of democracy and the de facto institution of the kind of corporate conspiracy that you decry. If one vote isn’t enough for you, you can either cheat or you can work for the abolishment of democracy, or you can actually get politically involved and try to encourage other people to support the candidates and issues that you feel are important. But this conspiracy theorizing and regarding every election as fixed and futile is just crazy-making foolish talk. It solves no problems and only serves to make you feel alienated and powerlessness. That’s no bargain in exchange for the self-satisfaction that you may feel in regarding yourself as hip to the “rigged” system.

    • David K. Monroe

      Aw, crap, the above was in response to Ted Seeber responding to Karl Keating. It is NOT a general response to Mark’s original posting! Sorry for the goof-up.

    • Ted Seeber

      Really. I’m saying that to the crony capitalists, there was no difference between Ford, Carter, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush, and Obama.

      They ALL served the money machine first at the expense of the human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Every last one of them. And if you want proof- there’s damn good reason not a single one of them lifted a finger to cut back the power of federal government in Roe vs. Wade or Marquette National Bank of Minneapolis vs. First of Omaha Service Corp. (just to pick on two Supreme Court cases that reversed laws that the Catholic Church had previously defined as intrinsic evils, while granting new powers to the Federal Government that both sides have used to tighten the economic grip the East Coast has on the rest of the country).

  • “Ryan always (and only) talks about subsidiarity. It’s the only part of Catholic social teaching he and other libertarian (read: heretical) Catholics care about.”

    Whoa. Ryan is basically interviewed about his budget plans, and hence the discussion – at this point – is usually about budgets. Do we know that this is the only part of Catholic social teaching that he cares about? That’s a mighty claim. And how is being libertarian the same as being heretical when for over four years this blog has praised the name of Ron ‘libertarian’ Paul? I mean, credibility here. Several have posted that the political posts of CAEI are beginning to seem a bit on the extreme side of the debate. Unless there are some pretty darn solid pieces of evidence for calling someone a heretic who holds to views deemed to be too moderate by the one who you have repeatedly and proudly said you would vote for, I’m afraid there are some credibility gaps that cannot be ignored, at least in terms of political discourse.

    • Ted Seeber

      I don’t know about Mark Shea and his blog’s support of Ron Paul, but the reason I consider libertarianism heretical is the same reason I consider Protestantism heretical- because it uses an atheistic argument to deny Apostolic Authority.

      • Does the Church still consider Protestantism a heresy? Just wondering.

        My problem isn’t with calling libertarianism a heresy. By all means, if that’s your opinion. But you cannot swipe a politician aside as a heretic because he’s a libertarian when you have spent the better part of four years singing the praises and proclaiming your willingness to support another man considered one of the foremost proponents of what you just smacked the other politician down for supporting. It just don’t work.

        • Thomas R

          I might be able to as I never liked Paul and still don’t. I’ve never supported anyone I know is a libertarian.

          Although really “heresy” seems a bit off to me. I mean libertarianism contains some heretical notions about what a “good society” means, but it’s not a religion in itself. It’s just a bad idea, IMO, that has no support in reality. There has never really been a libertarian nation and there’s no reason to think one would work. It’s all hypothetical. Same could be said of distributism but

          1) Unlike Shea, if I understand him, I’m not saying I support distributism in the real world.

          2) Distributism is not inherently callous in the way libertarianism seems to be to me. I think it sounds kind of nice, if somewhat unlikely.

          • I don’t think there’s a problem with someone who says they really don’t care for libertarianism (whether or not I would consider it a heresy), and subsequently couldn’t support Ron Paul. That’s consistent. Someone who supports Ron Paul and more or less thinks libertarianism is the way to go, again is consistent. But to smack down Ryan like that. Do we know he cares not a lick for Catholic Social teaching? And to further smack him as part of some heresy called libertarianism, completely dismissing Ryan altogether, while spending over four years proclaiming support and admiration for Ron Paul, who is to many the epitome of the modern libertarian, and who proudly proclaims himself a libertarian, just crosses the line of credibility. That’s like saying “Reality TV sucks and is of the Devil”. Oh yeah, so what’s your favorite TV show then? “Oh, that’s easy. Survivor!”

  • Kirt Higdon

    I may be going for the pessimism championship, but 3rd party prospects are not very good this time around either. Former Congressman Virgil Goode is considered the likely Constitution Party candidate and he was a big supporter of the Iraq War and the Patriot Act – a national security state militarist in other words. Likely Libertarian Party candidate, former governor Gary Johnson, is pro-abortion and (with some reservations) pro-foreign wars. Neither is acceptable from a full spectrum pro-life viewpoint. The Green party and parties of the openly socialist left are always pro-abortion. My choice in the general election may be between casting a symbolic write-in vote or not voting at all. If Ron Paul endorses Romney, maybe I’ll vote for Mark.