Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The same group of people who deride President Bush when he speaks of the role of his faith in his life are now headlining Governor Kaine of Virginia speaking about his Catholic faith when he gives the answer to the State of the Union tonight.
Governor Timothy M. Kaine, a devout Catholic who spoke openly about his faith during his election campaign last year, will speak about his work as a Jesuit missionary in Honduras, said Delacey Skinner, a Kaine spokeswoman. Kaine said that experience during his time as a Harvard Law School student inspired him to enter public service.

''Faith is a good guidepost for how you evaluate the world, but it also should be a good guidepost for how you act," Skinner said. ''That's really what his faith teaches -- that the real focus should be doing the work of faith that helps others."

Kaine's address from the governor's mansion in Richmond, a departure from the usual practice of Democratic congressional leaders responding to the president's speech from Capitol Hill, is part of the party's strategy to bring a once-reliable constituency back to their side
The Democrats are worried that Bush got 52% of the Catholic vote in 2004 against John Kerry, a Catholic candidate. They are searching for ways to show that religion provides the foundation for their domestic policies.

Perhaps it is so. I wouldn't want to question any person's faith. However, it is going to be hard to convince Catholics about how important faith is to your decision-making when two prominent Catholic politicians, Kennedy and Kerry, just went to the mattresses to oppose a Catholic nominee to the Supreme Court mainly on the issue of abortion. They can talk about all the other issues that made them oppose Alito, but everyone knows that abortion was the basis for their opposition and some such as Senator Lautenberg and Diane Feinstein made that quite explicit in their reasoning about why they were voting "no" on Alito. I mean, we all know that if Alito was on record supporting abortion rights, they would not have been so adamant in their opposition to Alito and would not have drummed up all these other fake accusations about Alito stopping the "march to progress" that Kennedy went so over-the-top in his speech yesterday.

So, Governor Kaine can talk all he wants about his Catholic values, but as long as the party is dead-set on the crucial importance of abortion rights trumping all other issues, they will have a hard sell for many Catholic voters.