Party of Personal Responsibility Leader…

…blames looters, moochers, and takers for his failure to win against “worst President in history”. The GOP leadership seems to be digging in on this narrative as it plunges deeper into the bubble of unreality it has created for itself.

Romney, being an adult Mormon, is already deeply used to accepting unreality at a profound level, so one can hardly expect him to suddenly cease constructing unreal narrative now. But there is no reason Catholics have to emulate that. Prudence says that we should treat with reality, including the reality that the Randian vision of class warfare that is the subtext of Romney’s self-serving blame-shifting is unwise for anybody who wants to actually listen to Catholic social teaching, not to mention anybody who hopes to avoid a repeat drubbing.

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  • “The GOP leadership seems to be digging in on this narrative as it plunges deeper into the bubble of unreality it has created for itself.”

    I’m not so sure. Some might be, but others are clearly distancing themselves from this statement. As my oldest boy said, the election seems to have allowed people in the GOP to come out and say what they really thought of Romney.

    • Interesting that people admittedly didn’t feel free to speak their minds honestly about the man until after the election. What does that tell us about the process?

      • Could be a tribal mentality, or a team player mentality. One’s opinion of the process will probably determine which way it’s interpreted.

        • There’s a saying:
          “During election season, Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line.”

          And I’ve actually heard it more often from republicans.

    • Mark Shea

      In other words, before the election, the GOP was actively fostering a cult of unreality. I will give him that. And yeah, some GOP leaders like Jindal are saying, “Stop lying to yourselves”. But it remain unclear (though love believeth all things) that they are saying this in sincerity, because they want to treat with reailty, or if they simply recognize that there is a political advantage in being first out of the gate to distance themselves from the disastrous stances the party has taken in order to position for 2016 without looking like complete idiots. Only time will answer that questtion. I’m hopeful however, that a lot of conservatives are learning a few lessons. But the real issue is whether Christians and Catholics will put the gospel first or political loyalties first.

      • Cult of unreality perhaps, but it’s like being in sports, or in the military or anything we might be part of that’s involved in trying to win something. I had in mind that episode of Band of Brothers (they had a marathon on Veterans Day). At one point, the troops are grumbling because they don’t like their new commander (he turns out to be a bad leader). One of the sergeants comes around and tries to lift the lieutenant up, giving him the benefit of a few doubts while telling the soldiers to back off. He then admits he didn’t really know if he believed what he said or not, but it was for the good of the outfit. Same with sports. Or same here. Now we can take a more cynical view, and that probably depends on our view of the process in general. But it could just be they were trying their best for the good of the election to put the best face on Romney possible.

      • TMLutas

        The american system since Adams was elected is that the various party subgroups duke it out and get a nominee, uniting behind him even though he is inevitably not who many of them wanted. Both parties do this every presidential year. That this perfectly ordinary process is now called a “cult of unreality” says less about the GOP and more about the author.

        The GOP does need change and improvement. Concern trolling does not help.

      • Deb

        “But the real issue is whether Christians and Catholics will put the gospel first or political loyalties first.”
        Just based on what I have observed in my archdiocese this election, the political loyalties will be first. In his homilies this election season, our pastor was doing everything but naming the candidate to vote for. The archbishop had to send warning letters out to the pastors and Catholic groups because some of them were trying to bring politics into the pulpit so to speak.
        Now after the election, the pastor through the associate pastor is threatening to shut down the parish school if the HHS mandate isn’t changed because the parish school may not be exempt from the mandate.

  • Dan C

    There were two independent strains of thought that developed immediately after the 47% comment became public. One strain went on to use that comment as a conversation-starter for a rejection of what conservatives consider the entitlement society. That line of thought, though I think it is incorrect, was at least honest that such thinking is the routine discussion in many conservative circles, like AEI, Acton, First Things, and the Heritage Foundation.

    Another group made attempts to say that what we heard isn’t really what he meant. That such commentary was “taken out of context” or manipulated. That line of thinking was dishonest.

    This campaign post-mortem assessment by the candidate himself leads one to clearly identify that Mitt Romney fully embraced all the implications of his “47%” comment. He is strongly in the camp of identifying the country as makers and takers.

    We are to be reminded that the “takers” are our neighbors.

    • Anne B.

      “We are to be reminded that the “takers” are our neighbors.”

      Right. In our neighborhood the takers tend to be shoplifters and smash-and-grab types; there is also an extended Gypsy family which devotes its considerable energy to scamming every charity or welfare outfit within reach. Our local St. Vincent de Paul group gets a LOT of calls from them, and many of their stories would have got them a slot on “Queen for a Day” back in the olden times. Giving them stuff only emboldens them to try for more next time, so we try to keep contact (and donations) to a minimum.

      It might be easier to be generous if we weren’t ringed about with so many damn frauds. It might help in the teaching of discernment, but it’s still a nuisance.

  • Dan C

    This battle will rage within our faith too.

    Too many Catholics believe this. It will rage at within our episcopate, and such a battle may have already been engaged. From Acton and its managing editor, to George Weigel, to many of the venerated pro-life leaders, this is a common theme.

  • Dan C

    Others have claimed that the American Catholic internecine battle of the future will be defined by a schism over sex. I have said such is nonsense and predict that we will see the American Catholic Church split over the consequences of a globalized work force and its impact on the American worker which will drive down the standard of living. There will be members of the Church who will side with the economically oppressed. But much like El Salvador in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the productive, pious, sexually disciplined members of the Church will side against the poor and the struggling. That is when the new martyrs will come. Much as it did in Central America.

    More energy has been spent in Catholic discussion on hating the looters, than saving the babies. More energy is focused on such matters and money and power always motivates populations more than saving a life.

    Contrary to other predictions, the American Catholic internecine battle of the future will look just like El Salvador in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

    • Jeremy Dobbs

      Wow, that’s a very good point. Its disturbing that I’ve seen more of this attitude coming from Catholics (the makers vs. the takers). Part of this is what many conservatives listen to. The “conservative” media has a lot to answer for (Fox, talk radio, etc). Its also disturbing that some of these attitudes go back to race. Its not overt but there is a tinge to it.

      • rachel

        LOL, I was on my husband’s name: Wow, that’s a very good point. Its disturbing that I’ve seen more of this attitude coming from Catholics (the makers vs. the takers). Part of this is what many conservatives listen to. The “conservative” media has a lot to answer for (Fox, talk radio, etc). Its also disturbing that some of these attitudes go back to race. Its not overt but there is a tinge to it.

    • Jeremy Dobbs

      I don’t know if El Salvador is the best example as the Communists were on the forefront of the opor there. Also, it’s not as if the Dems are any less shills for the elite ruling class. I see it more as the perennial Publican/Pharisee battle. The Left is the unrepentant Publican who insists you have to love the sin while the Right is rapidly becoming the pompous Pharisee who hates the sinner. I do agree that there will be a split in the Church over this, and we have to stand on the Rock of Peter, wherever we find him, and choose to be neither sinners nor stonethrowers.

    • TMLutas

      You may wish to reconsider your position as it elevates rich american workers over much poorer workers in the developing world. By about 2015 the only wage differential left between the US and China will be due to US worker productivity being greater. That, from a catholic perspective, is just. We are already seeing manufacturing work coming back to the US.

      Can you give any sort of religious justification that less well off foreign workers should be denied work so that we can earn more? I just do not see it.

      • Adam L

        Thank you for bringing this up. When discussing economics there is all too often a tendency to regress to nationalistic tribalism and speak of those in other countries (typically China) as though they were non-persons.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    There has been some very good and very health self-examination going on in some circles of the GOP. But in other circles (especially talk radio and other right wing media pundits) … sheesh, it’s scary. They remind me of serial spouse abusers: “Why do you make me beat you? This is all your fault! It’s your fault I’m this way!”

    Over the past 15 years, much of American conservatism has devolved into a radical social Darwinism whose sole core value seems to be: “Every man for himself!” That’s not just wrong, it’s downright evil.

    All too often, I feel like a hobbit wondering who is going to win: Saruman or Sauron? Either way, hobbits won’t fare well in that world.

    • Dan C

      The GOP elites once functioned out of a sense of noblesse oblige. The Gingrich/Limbaugh revolution changed this culture. Much of the meme that has survived that “welfare creates dependency” came out of slipshod research from the politically-motivated libertarian, Charles Murray. He gave a veneer of sophistication to the constant desire to give the poor less.

  • TMLutas

    As a matter of tradition, the leader of the party after they lose a run for the White House is the highest elected official of that party. In this case that would be Speaker Boehnor. The losing candidate, if they are smart, shuts up for a bit, gets perspective, and hits the speaker circuit or writes a book, maybe both.

    Romney does not appear to be following the traditional course. That is regrettable.

    I am unaware of any political theory that denies that giving benefits to a group is going to influence that group positively. It is something that seems to be basic common sense. Perhaps somebody could enlighten me what that theory is.

  • Observer

    You have to know the difference between giving thieves license to steal compartively to those who are in need by the defense and protection of the genuine zeal of charity.

    What you have, instead, is a total mis-conception of charity – in the case of libs, being clearly presented as taking away and giving, which is thievery. Whereas, with unfortunately poor attempts of the cons, you have the need of charity to be defended, and yet at the same time, being attacked – as it is a person’s freedom to give without being forced by circumstances, and getting lesser and lesser a real freedom. If people are not obliged by a good sound system of govt, by the defense of charity (which includes defense of life and the proper role and manner of marriage), then govt will have to enforce charity. Thus, as it has been historically, all your despotic situations have been the routine occurence and result of a selfish culture. And sadly, you have a culture which has to change. Or, the govt will have to force the change for us. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Republic, if you can keep it.” And that requires a society of charity. People have to be willing to keep a republic as a charitable concern for their neihbors, the loved one’s, and themselves. You have that when you defend and protect one’s conscience, life, and the proper role of marriage for defense of the family.

  • Peggy R

    Strawman alert! Not all the GOP or conservative movement signs on to this theory. Read conservative media to find out what a variety of discussion has been occurring.

    So, if the various factions: feminists, unions, college students, the dependent class, blacks, Latinos, atheists/anti-religious,– didn’t vote for a payoff, why did each vote for him?
    They sure didn’t care about dead babies or a dead ambassador. Trumka says there’s no fiscal cliff.
    —Both Trumka and Jesse Jackson have publicly made clear their intent to collect on the debt from O. Jackson had a presser on this the same day it was revealed his son would go to jail…not a word about his own flesh and blood.