June 25, 2007

"It's becoming ever more clear that Rudy Giuliani suffers from John Kerry syndrome."

While Obama is speaking to religious groups that presumably already agree with him and using his religion to reinforce his politics, Giuliani has to explain to social conservatives why his religion and his politics don't match up.
Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark said: “I think he’s being illogical, as are all of those who take the stand that ‘I’m personally opposed to abortion but this is my public responsibility to permit it.’ To violate human life is always and everywhere wrong. In fact, we don’t think it’s a matter of church teaching, but a matter of the way God made the world, and it applies to everyone.”

The presidential campaign of John Kerry, a Democrat, suffered in 2004 when about a dozen of the nation’s more than 200 bishops declared that they would deny him communion because of his abortion stance....

“It’s becoming ever more clear that Rudy Giuliani suffers from John Kerry syndrome,” said Joseph Cella, president of Fidelis, a Catholic advocacy group in Chelsea, Mich. “It’s just a matter of time before more bishops step up, because he shares the identical position on abortion as John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.”
There's far more support out there for the merger of politics and religion than the separation of politics and religion. And yet, Giuliani is popular. So was Kerry (up to a point). What's different about Giuliani is that the disjunct between his religion and his politics is also a disjunct between his politics and his political party.

34 comments:

peter hoh said...

As I see it, Giuliani mirrors his party pretty well on this. They say they believe one thing, but they don't act with enough conviction to make it come to pass, so the overall effect is that the GOP says that abortion is wrong, but in terms of public policy, they allow the status quo to remain. Oh yeah, and blame the Democrats and "activist" judges all the while.

hdhouse said...

ann said: "There's far more support out there for the merger of politics and religion than the separation of politics and religion"

really? where is that statistic? which religion? catholics and baptists unit? 7th day and jews? lutherans and scientology?

where did you get that? if it is true and supportable i'll believe it...won't like it...but believe it...but if it comes from Pat Robertson and the 700 club or from Karl seig heil Rove, then nuts.

George said...

Hard to see how the GOP can nominate a Northerner.

Rudy has to battle for the northeast. Even worse, he has to battle for the south and west, turf that would ordinarily go Red.

Also, 9/11 is getting to be along time ago. Has he done anything since then, any TV shows or anything?

MadisonMan said...

Has he done anything since then

Well, he's given lots of speeches saying how much he did on 9/11. To the exclusion of other important things, apparently.

steve simels said...

What -- no vegetable porn this morning?

# 56 said...

If Rudy has a Kerry Syndrome the illness, while accurate, is incorrectly defined. Kerry banked his credibility on his weeks in Vietnam, and found the tables turned. Rudy is relying on his 9/11 street cred; the opposition is mounting. Whether it's non issues like location of the emergency bunker, real issues like equiping the NYFD, or potential bombshells like health threat coverups on the pile and the surroundings; they are coming for him. And unlike Kerry, Rudy will have few allies in the media. Watch the Whitman coverage for a clue how this gets spun.

Bissage said...

I know gongeda about politics. I thought "John Kerry Syndrome" meant Rudi Giuliani now craves Swiss Cheese on his South Philly cheese steak.

NTTAWWT!

steve simels said...

Seriously -- the masses are clamoring for more vegetable porn.

Those onion rings and carrot sticks won't just procreate by themselves, people!!!!

jane said...

If Guiliani has John Kerry Syndrome, at least his magic hat is less imaginary.

Wade Garrett said...

John Kerry was more than merely "popular up to a point." In fact, George W. Bush defeated John Kerry by a single state - Ohio. To say that Kerry was popular "up to a point" is a gross understatement. George W. Bush is currently "popular up to a point," and that point is less than 30% of the country.

I'm nominally Roman Catholic, though I've more or less completely disassociated myself from the Church over the years, in part because of santimonious bishops who publicly refuse to offer politicians communion. Some of those assholes refused to offer Kerry communion because of his stance on abortion and gay marriage, while TOTALLY ignoring the grounds on which George W. Bush differed from Catholic dogma, for instance his support for the death penalty, his belief in a seven-day creation myth, and his views on any number of social justice issues. The Catholic Church didn't support Bush over Kerry; it was just a handful of loudmouth asshole bishops who claimed that their personal politics were representative of their church's politics. I can only hope that they hold Rudy Giuliani to, er, the same high standard of moral conduct.

Superdad said...

"There's far more support out there for the merger of politics and religion than the separation of politics and religion."

I love these kinds of statements. They make so little since yet everyone goes well yeah that's true. Religion has always been a part of politics. Religious belief (be it Catholic, Lutheran, Hindu, Buddist, secular huminist) informs, defines and sets an indivuduals value system and our gov't is made up of individuals so do the math.

The only way a politician could vote in a way that contradicts his own religous beleifs is if really doesn't beleive it.

Mindsteps said...

Ann wrote:

"What's different about Giuliani is that the disjunct between his religion and his politics is also a disjunct between his politics and his political party."

Applying Althousian theory (discussed in an earlier post) to this state of affairs would suggest that Giuliani is being rejected by some of his Right Wing party for his right wing 'behavior', i.e. Giuliani by diverging from Right Wing Orthodoxy will be punished for behaving in a fashion that emobodies, according to Althousian theory, right-wing values (the pursuit of independence and autonomy). Another way to put it is that the many in the Right Wing party are behaving very left wing (emphasizing commonality and disouraging autonomy) in their reactions to some of Rudy's positions.

Simon said...

"Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark said: 'I think he’s being illogical, as are all of those who take the stand that "I’m personally opposed to abortion but this is my public responsibility to permit it." To violate human life is always and everywhere wrong.[']"

Quite. Although it's often portrayed as a "moderate" position, I think it's right and appropriate that those who claim that there position is (a) abortion is murder but (b) we shouldn't do anything about it and so (c) apparently belive that abortion is mass slaughter and they're just fine with that - the so-called "personally pro-life politically pro-choice" position. It's also perfectly valid, I think, to say to a politician "you say you're a Roman Catholic, but you say A and the Roman Catholic Church says B. Why is that?"

laurence haughton said...

The NY Times article says "about a dozen of the nation’s bishops declared that they would deny him [Kerry] communion because of his abortion stance." Who are the 12 who said they would deny him communion because of his abortion stance? Is the author sure that the suggested "denial of communion" had nothing to do with Kerry's divorce and remarriage?

Simon said...

peter hoh said...
"the GOP says that abortion is wrong, but in terms of public policy, they allow the status quo to remain."

Really? Well, I'll tell you what. You get all the various pro-choice groups to agree not to litigate any state legislation on abortion for five years - not a single lawsuit, thus totally removing the courts from the field of play - and you see what happens. I promise you the landscape in five years will look different, for better or worse.

Simon said...

Sorry, my 8:58 comment meant to say that it's appropriate that such people are scrutinized fairly closely. When you adopt an absurd (that is, internally incoherent) position, particularly if you're a Catholic and your purported position clashes with the teachings of the church, you ought to be pushed to explain why.

No one is saying that Catholics have to follow the Catholic church's teachings. Indeed, there's a group noun for Christians who don't accept those teachings: protestants. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Jerry would say.

Too many jims said...

Simon said . . . (b) we shouldn't do anything about it

I don't know anyone who holds the personally pro-life position who believes that we shouldn't do anything about abortion. Can you please point me to someone who holds that view and believes we shouldn't do anything about it? (Saying that there should not be criminal penalties for women and their doctors is different than saying we shouldn't do anything.)

MPH said...

Rudy will not be elected by Catholic priests.

Abortion was not John Kerry's problem. It was his false display piety (the Irish alter boy who still attends mass to this day - give me a break). Giuliani isn't putting himself out there in such a way, so the comparison is moot.

duthieon.com said...

I'm nominally Roman Catholic, though I've more or less completely disassociated myself from the Church over the years, in part because of santimonious bishops who publicly refuse to offer politicians communion. Some of those assholes refused to offer Kerry communion because of his stance on abortion and gay marriage, while TOTALLY ignoring the grounds on which George W. Bush differed from Catholic dogma, for instance his support for the death penalty, his belief in a seven-day creation myth, and his views on any number of social justice issues.

Wait just a sec here, you're kinda stealing a base.

That a group of Catholic bishops refused to offer communion to John Kerry based on his persistent refusal to abide by the church's teachings is not a question of whether or not they support(ed) his presidential bid. It's a matter of their obligation to his immortal soul.

Given that George W. Bush is not a Catholic, and hence not eligible to present himself for communion (not that he would be likely to try), the bishops are in no position to apply the same rules to W as to Kerry. That shouldn't be too hard to grasp, should it?

Whatever impact their stated policy had on the campaign is irrelevant. When a Catholic politician takes a position that is at odds with church teachings, particularly if that position encourages others to sinful behavior, the bishops are well within their rights to deny that politician communion until they bring their behavior in line with that of the church.

All that said, you can certainly disagree with the position of the church, or argue if you like that church teachings are irrelevant to politics. But to argue that the bishops are "sanctimonious" or inconsistent because they did not attempt to deny communion to a non-Catholic suggests that the poster of the above is either: a.) not really Roman Catholic, or b.) possesses a remarkably poor understanding of both church teachings and of the english language.

Joe said...

I think MPH has it exactly right; it wasn't the political position which enraged Catholics about Kerry, it was the hypocrisy and his insistence on receiving Communion.

I've seen no effort by Giuliani to pass himself off as even a practicing (much less orthodox) Roman Catholic. Indeed, I just googled "Does Rudy Giuliani attend Mass" and found an Associated Press story (from amarillo.com) which asked the question "What church does your favorite candidate attend?" and provided the following answer:

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: Catholic. "The mayor's personal relationship with God is private and between him and God."

Which kind of tells me that Rudy is not going to try to leverage any pseudo-Catholicism for political gain. Unlike John Kerry, who oozed insincerity from every pore.

hdhouse said...

I wouldn't worry about the Priest vote...so many are in jail that their numbers have dwindled.

Dewave said...

John Kerry was more than merely "popular up to a point."

He was less popular than Bush, who, we are so often reminded, is the most incompetent and least popular president in history.

Internet Ronin said...

"The mayor's personal relationship with God is private and between him and God."

I'd be very happy indeed if ALL candidates for all public offices answered such a question in this way.

Rebecca said...

Frankly, I expect ALL political candidates to keep their religion out of politics. If the majority of Americans feel abortion should be kept safe and private, then Giuliani has a clear duty to respect that. That's why it's called separation of church and state.

Internet Ronin said...

Unfortunately, Rebecca, most of those running for President at the moment are talking about their religious beliefs.

Thorley Winston said...

All that said, you can certainly disagree with the position of the church, or argue if you like that church teachings are irrelevant to politics. But to argue that the bishops are "sanctimonious" or inconsistent because they did not attempt to deny communion to a non-Catholic suggests that the poster of the above is either: a.) not really Roman Catholic, or b.) possesses a remarkably poor understanding of both church teachings and of the english language.

Given the poster’s blatant mischaracterization of Catholic dogma, I’d say “a)” is likely the correct answer.

duthieon.com said...

If the majority of Americans feel abortion should be kept safe and private, then Giuliani has a clear duty to respect that.

Huh? What "duty" would that be?

What do you people think elections are for? If you object to a candidate expressing their religious beliefs (or vice-versa), or disagree with their position on a given policy issue, then don't vote for them. There's no "duty" for public officials to eschew religion, nor to hew to public opinion polls in their policy views.

That's why it's called separation of church and state.

Re-read the 1st amendment...especially the part that reads: "Congress shall make no law..."

You won't find the words "separation of church and state" in there.

Wade Garrett said...

You're right - obviously George W. Bush is not a Roman Catholic. I mis-spoke. I should have said, Catholics and Catholic politicians who support George W. Bush's views. There are many of them. And they should say it about Guiliani, too.

Fen said...

You won't find the words "separation of church and state" in there.

sshhh! Thats still good for $20 bet whenever I'm dining with my liberal relatives.

Whatever impact their stated policy had on the campaign is irrelevant

Agreed. I shrugged when Kerry had problems with his church. Thats between him and his priests, AFIC.

It was his Viet Nam perversions: exagerating self-inflicted wounds for purple hearts to flee the FEBA, testifying to war crimes under oath, smearing his fellow soldiers as war criminals, etc that killed any chance he had with me.

That, and the fact that he's a fop.

duthieon.com said...

You're right - obviously George W. Bush is not a Roman Catholic. I mis-spoke. I should have said, Catholics and Catholic politicians who support George W. Bush's views. There are many of them. And they should say it about Guiliani, too.

Seems to me that some do. I personally would have no issue with the same group of bishops who spoke out on Kerry doing the same for Giuliani.

But FWIW, there's a big difference between abortion and other so-called "social justice" issues that the Catholic church addresses, including capital punishment. See, for example, here.

So the fact that Bush supports capital punishment, or some other politician opposes "living wage" statutes is not comparable to politicians who claim membership in the Roman Catholic church, but who support legal abortion. As such I'm not sure that it's reasonable to argue that those who criticize Kerry and Giuliani's views on abortion, given their professed Catholic faith, should likewise criticize Bush.

I voted for Bush twice, but I would certainly acknowledge that there are plenty of things to criticize about his administration. Inconsistency with critical issues of Catholic faith is not one of them.

Oh, and one last thing...if you're all about "social justice" you should be happy to know that Bush is in absolute agreement with the Catholic church's position on immigration.

John Stodder said...

I refuse to believe John Kerry was ever popular. He was the ultimate "hold your nose" vote. He had a repellent personality, a dearth of any policy creativity, and linguini for a spine. His one and only claim to fame was back in the early 1970s when his activism impacted public support for the Vietnam war profoundly. And then he turns around in 2004 with his "reporting for duty" crap, which was a feeble attempt to invert his own history.

I voted for Kerry because my doubts about the Bush team's competence had reached red alert levels. But oh how I wish I could have voted for some other Democrat. Almost any other Democrat would have beaten Bush in '04. Despite the polls, I knew Kerry was going to lose. He was just about as bad as it could get.

Guiliani might be walking on the same path as Kerry on abortion, but the effect is night-and-day different. Every time Kerry said "I disagree with my church on abortion," he was pandering to the Democratic left, not mollifying the Catholic voters. Guiliani's problem, I suspect, isn't with the Catholics either, since they don't vote in the Republican primaries. It's with the rural evangelical voters. With those voters, it's going to be uphill, but he has a shot at them because of his competition.

blake said...

I think TMJ points out an important sleight-of-hand.

There's no inconsistency in saying, "I think abortion is murder" and then following that up with "but I think it's a point for churches to convince others of, not the government to force on all."

Revenant said...

John Kerry was more than merely "popular up to a point." In fact, George W. Bush defeated John Kerry by a single state - Ohio. To say that Kerry was popular "up to a point" is a gross understatement.

Not even remotely. There was no point at which Kerry was popular. There were brief periods where he was considered slightly preferably to another four years of George Bush, but that's hardly the same thing as being popular.

The number of states won is completely irrelevant, as it is the popular vote that matters when discussing relative popularity. Bush achieved the highest percentage of the popular vote in 16 years -- in fact, his percentage of the popular vote exceeded the percentage of people who thought he was doing a good job. To put that in simpler terms: Kerry's (lack of) popularity was impressive enough to convince people who thought Bush was a bad President to reelect him anyway. Kerry lost to a man the voters didn't even want.

Revenant said...

There's no inconsistency in saying, "I think abortion is murder" and then following that up with "but I think it's a point for churches to convince others of, not the government to force on all."

The only way it is consistent is if you don't think murder should be illegal. If you agree that murder SHOULD be illegal, and agree that abortion is murder, then you should support making abortion illegal. You might -- out of respect for democracy -- decline to force the government to ban abortion in the face of majority opposition to a ban, but there is no justification for not at least *voting* for such a ban and hoping your side wins.

Besides, the whole setup is disingenuous. The courts have ruled that the opinions of the American people on the subject of abortion are completely irrelevant -- abortion is officially not murder, period, end of story, no further debate allowed. The major push of the pro-life movement at this point is to overturn Roe vs. Wade -- i.e., to return democracy to the abortion debate, and allow the legality of abortion to actually BE determined by what people have been convinced of.

To sum up, a person who personally believes abortion is murder (a) should support the overturn of Roe vs. Wade (so the abortion question can be returned to the voters), (b) should be voting to ban abortion, and (c) should be trying to convince other people that abortion is murder and should be banned.

Mandatory disclaimer: I'm pro-choice... but sick to death of people who haven't got the balls to admit to not having a moral problem with abortion.