Skip to comments.Why do Catholics prefer Clinton to Obama?
Posted on 05/07/2008 4:39:21 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
At first blush, theres no obvious reason to explain why Barack Obama is, according to exit polls, struggling with Catholic voters. Hes opposed the war in Iraq; hes presented an ambitious plan to combat global warming; hes taken a progressive attitude on capital punishment and immigration, emphasizes social justice, and while hes pro-choice, Obama has talked at some length about the kind of policies that could reduce the number of abortions. Pepperdines Doug Kmiec, a conservative Catholic, endorsed Obama in February, saying hes a natural for the Catholic vote.
Except, it clearly hasnt worked out that way. The white Catholic vote has been backing Hillary Clinton strongly and fairly consistently: [Clinton] has won the group by double-digits in 16 of the 22 states where data were available. In Pennsylvania, Clinton won 70 percent of all Catholics. The margin was even more one-sided among white Catholic voters who attend mass at least once a week.
If Obamas a natural for the Catholic vote, why is Clinton beating him so easily among Catholic voters? Melinda Henneberger explored the issue in an interesting piece for Slate.
A priest I know in central Pennsylvania, the Rev. John Chaplin, sees race as an issue. At my little church, some of what I heard was racial, and some of it was people believing that stuff about Obama being a Muslim, said Chaplin. Parishioners seemed to find video clips of Obamas former preacher, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, particularly shocking in contrast to the formality of the Catholic Mass and our high-church fondness for services so decorous that one really neednt exchange a word with another soul. (We dont carry on like that in our church is how one woman in Chaplins diocese, the 67-year-old wife of a retired cop, described her reaction to Wright to me.)
You know that Catholic thing about propriety, Chaplin said, that you penalize people for speaking out and never penalize them for keeping quiet? Thats part of it, and the Catholic notion of patriotism, which is heavily nationalistic, hurts him, too. This isnt a group predisposed to voting for Hillary when she can get the votes away from you, you know people have got it in for you because this is not a hotbed of feminism. But the racial thing was already there .
OK, so theres some racial animus driving the Catholic vote away from Obama. But there has to be more to it, right?
I would assume so, but Henneberger didnt seem to find much else. She noted that Clinton, at least rhetorically, has been slightly less supportive of abortion rights she said a few years ago that every abortion is a tragedy but its unlikely that has made too big a difference. After all, most U.S. Catholics disagree with the church about reproductive rights (and the number goes up among U.S. Catholics who identify themselves as Democrats.)
Henneberger also had this outside-the-box theory:
Though Saturday Night Live wouldnt seem to be in the vanguard of Catholic thought, Tina Fey may have been onto something with her Bitch Is the New Black comparison of Hillary to a cranky but proficient old nun: Bitches get stuff done; thats why Catholic schools use nuns as teachers and not priests. Theyre mean and they sleep on cots, and theyre allowed to hit you. And at the end of the school year, you hated those bitches. But you knew the capitol of Vermont.I dont find this is especially compelling.
The 04 Casey voter says nun-run Catholic schools turned out a lot of good feminists: Older Catholics with exposure to nuns in school may be more comfortable with women in positions of authority.
But what else is there? Why is Obama struggling to connect with Catholic voters? Race certainly has something to do with it, but is that the only factor? And if so, would racial animus drive Catholics to McCain in November?
Im just throwing this out there for some discussion.
I think the better question is the one asked in the title:
Why do Catholics prefer Clinton to Obama?
This Catholic prefers neither.
It doesn't take much of listening to Wright to realize that Obama's church has nothing to do with Christianity.
Clinton makes some hollow claims to having faith, but she's managed to keep them from becoming too controversial.
I don’t know. Why do Evangelicals prefer Clinton (or Obama)? There certainly has been enough articles this year indicating that Evangelicals are moving to the Demoncrat party so I am sure they are supporting one or the other.
The better question would be....why would ANYBODY support either of them?
The better question is why do catholics prefer democrats?
"Democrats for the workin' man."
I think on evangelicals, knowing a bunch of them who lean left, it is that the republicans don’t stress enough being active in social areas. What I mean is, republicans do stress personal responsibility and small government, etc., but they aren’t perceived as then going out and trying to help people who really do need it. If we (R’s) could show at the same time that government is not the answer, but that people doing things to help others VOLUNTARILY is - we’d overtake the dems in a heartbeat.
Another for instance, my wife is pro choice, but she always says it is because you can’t just stop abortions without addressing the other societal problems. So on one hand, yeah, the argument that they are wrong should work, but realistically, people don’t think like that. It would have to be this 1) abortions are wrong and should be illegal; and 2) we (NOT GOV’T) should do something to help people not be in a position where they feel like they need to have one. R’s (myself included) tend to pretty much just stop at 1, because that is logical. But we have to convince people’s touchy feely parts too.
You could actually say the same thing for Catholics...exactly the same thing.
Talk about "the kind of policies that could reduce the number of abortions" is a smoke screen. It means more welfare.
Also, there's a class angle. Obama gets those Ned Lamont trust-fund types, so working-class Democrats figure that Hillary has to be better.
I wonder how big the difference is and whether Hillary's massive popularity among older women who vote Democratic may not have a lot to do with her lead among Catholics in Democrat primaries.
Another thing I would point out is that the more “churched” one is the more likely they’ll be conservative. I know that Catholics who support demoncrat candidates (and I would bet Evangelicals too) are much less likely to be regular Mass attendees and much less likely to be involved with their faith.
This Catholic prefers “none of the above” to Clinton, Obama, and pretty much every other national Democratic pol.
I can’t understand how any Catholic can vote for any one in the rat party actually. I did see a segment this morning very early that showed that Obama was picking up more Catholics of late.
The Republicans have religiously fought for pro-life measures, for a seat for people of faith at the table, for traditional marriage, for law and order, for peace in the world, etc.
- all causes that the RC church SHOULD recognize as their causes.
Are they that calloused??
Obama and Clinton fail the grade in each and every point.
Scant attention was paid to spelling, evidently.
Historically, Ethnic Catholic Voters such as those Americans of Italian/Sicilian ancestry (like my family), Irish, Polish (like my wife’s family), German-Bavarians, etc were loyal Democrats. For example, JFK, an Irish-Catholic received 80% of the Catholic vote in the 1960 election. Fourty-four years later in 2004, John Kerry, also an Irish-Catholic from MA recieved 47% of the Catholic vote. So, what has happened is a gradual shift towards more conservative politics over the time period since 1960.
Why Catholic voters in Midwest states, who tend to be old line Union Catholic voters support CLinton over Obama is an interesting question for this Dem primary. However, a more interesting question is where do Catholic voters go for the General? I think in a McCain vs. Obama, McCain picks up at least what Bush did in 2004 (53%) and perhaps more.
Fixed it for you, Alex!
Catholics don’t buy into guilt politics. They are born with original sin, so they have more experience with handling guilt.
Well if Catholics are born “with original sin”, the proper terminology, and since Catholics are human persons (at least I think we are still recognized as such as the Supreme Court has not taken that away from us), is it not accurate to say that all humanity is born into orginal sin, and not just Catholics.
The problem is most are at most Easter and Christmas Christians here in the US (and not just Catholics).
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.