National Review: Losing the War for Women

Women today are not reliably liberal on social issues. 

It was a deft trick by the Left’s culture warriors over the last two election cycles: Persuade rich Republicans donors that social issues were the GOP’s core problem, especially with women.

Take high-end investor Mark Cuban’s word for it: “If I was going to give guidance to the Republican Party, . . . I’d say, ‘Stay completely out of social issues,’” Cuban said on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Elections are where political wisdom can be tested and, if you are paying attention, falsified. And if you pay close attention, this is the election cycle that is going to definitively falsify the idea that social issues are what hurts Republicans and elects Democrats.

The AP/GFK poll released last week shows a strong movement of women toward the GOP. Asked whether they favor a Democratic- or Republican-controlled Congress, female likely voters have moved in one month from favoring Democrats 47 percent to 40 percent to preferring Republicans 44 percent to 42 percent.

Take note: Democrats are massively shedding support by women, just as they have poured massive amounts of messaging on contraception and abortion to the front and center of their campaigns.

USA Today reported that “Democrats in this trio of states [Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa] have focused heavily on abortion rights, contraception access and other female-targeted wedge issues.” It’s not working.

Read the Full Article at the National Review Online

Your Incompetent Host

When I created a Disqus account I misspelled my own name.  Commenters asked me to verify that is me, it is.  I will now cease commenting until I”m competent enough to fix my Disqus. 

-Maggie

NRO: The Church’s Crises of the Faith, and Mine

Nothing has changed, they tell us.

But something has changed. Pope Francis, by hand-selecting these six men to issue an unprecedented public report on a discussion in mid-process, is sending a strong if indirect signal about how Catholics and our institutions should respond, practically, to the triumph of the sexual revolution, including its latest phase, gay marriage. The synod report, if adopted by the bishops, will change Catholic witness and teaching either on marriage, or on the Eucharist, or both.

{…}Look, I am a nobody in the broader scheme of things, and I do not relate my personal troubles as if they should be of interest to anyone else, except insofar as they may inform the fathers of my Church what, pastorally, they are doing now in Rome.

The priests who martyred themselves rather than permit powerful men to remake marriage need a public apology and possibly restitution. “We should replace the feast day of St. Thomas More with the feast of St. Henry the VIII,” one wag told me privately. After all, a desire for a child is one of the very good authentic “family values” he displayed.

The faith of millions will be put at risk, and among those millions are the ones who are sustaining the Church, as even Crux noticed. (Crux urges Pope Francis to make some kind of generous gesture to the orthodox Catholic community, as if we are children seeking a pat on the head instead of those whose steadfast faith rests in the belief the Church stands for the unbroken teachings of Christ.)

I hope Cardinal Kasper is wrong. I hope he is delusional, so that I need not fear for my church or his faith, or mine.

But the combined public comments of Cardinals Burke and Kasper make the “nothing has changed, no worries” position of Catholic commenters untenable and disconnected from the truth very publicly now on display.

There is a crisis of faith taking place in public, in real time, in Rome.

When the final synod report comes out over the weekend, we will have a first glimpse of how serious and sustained that crisis is.

Read the Full Article Here

NRO: 3 Things I Will Not Fear… And 3 Things I Still Do

We live in a world where we are urged to be in a constant state of fear. Through the Internet we are bombarded with horror stories, most of which are true, but most of which we and our loved ones will also never face. Some people want us to be afraid of this or that because they want to use our fear to elect the politicians they prefer. Managing fear rationally may be the cognitive and spiritual challenge of our times.

So for now, I’ve decided on four things about which I am not going to worry:

One: Unlike 46 percent of Americans, I am not very afraid of a terrorist attack on Americans on American soil. Yes, it could happen, and in fact has, whether it was September 11 or a lone Oklahoma beheader or a jihadist attack on Fort Hood. But I am personally tired of being afraid of a bunch of ugly fanatics gripped by a culture of death whose greatest weapon to date was the use of razor blades to turn our jets into bombs to be used against us. I fly a lot, and I may go down with a plane someday, but I do not choose to worry about this. Plain and simple: I refuse to be terrorized by this kind of stupid, low-tech, hateful, temporary, small, ugly triumph. Yes, we need to take terrorism seriously, but we also need to realize that this is just not the same level of threat as a worldwide Communist empire pointing massive armies and nuclear weapons at the West. Refuse to be terrorized.

Two: Unlike 36 percent of Americans, I am not very worried that someone is going to take away your daughters’ contraceptives. (I personally gave up the use of artificial contraception in favor of natural family planning when I married in the Catholic faith; but fear not, the worldwide Catholic Church has no plans to invade your bedrooms and prevent you from using contraceptives if you choose.) And don’t worry that your employer is going to take away your contraceptives either. Worst-case scenario from the Hobby Lobby case, if you work for a small, privately owned family firm whose owners object to funding abortion pills, they may tell the government they object to paying for such insurance coverage. The government will inform the insurance company, which will then provide the coverage for free, because paying for birth control and/or abortifacients is cheaper than paying for babies. Don’t worry, anxious moms, you can sleep easy at night about this one.

Read the Full Article at National Review Online

The Forgotten Freedom: Freedom of Association

Following a new ruling in California, religious clubs on campus cannot require their leaders to be religious. 

would prefer to be turning my gaze to a new subject, but reality keeps yanking me back.

In the last few weeks, the government of the State of California, acting through the California State University, has announced that Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and any other religious groups now have second-class status at public universities. All campus groups must permit any campus member into the leadership of their organizations. Jewish groups cannot require their leaders to be Jews. Christian groups cannot require that their leaders adhere to Christian beliefs.

The Supreme Court permitted public universities to declare this policy in the narrowly and wrongly decided Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, which is a cancer upon our democracy and a disgrace to our democratic ideals.

Read the full article at the National Review Online

National Review: Pew Reports Gay Marriage Support Falling, Below 50%

The Pew Forum just released a fascinating new poll on religion in public life. Among the headlines: 72 percent of Americans say the influence of religion on politics is declining, and the vast majority of these people say that’s a bad thing. Most Americans do not want churches to endorse candidates for office, though support for the idea is growing, rising from 24 percent in August 2010 to 32 percent today. By a wide margin, Americans are more likely to see the Republican party (47 percent) as friendly to religion than they are the Democrats (29 percent), but it is noteworthy that less than half of Americans see the GOP as religion friendly.

The proportion of Americans who perceive the Obama administration as “unfriendly” to religion has jumped from 17 percent in 2009 to 29 percent today. Among Americans who are Republican or lean Republican, the proportion who now view Obama’s administration as hostile to religion has jumped 22 points, from 32 percent to 54 percent. But even among Democrats there has been a 4-percentage-point increase in those who perceive hostility to religion, and among black Protestants the increase is 7 percentage points.

To me the most surprising news in the poll is that 36 percent of American voters actually list “Birth Control” as among their top concerns. Between a stagnant paycheck, rising debt, and the Islamic State, don’t we have enough things to terrify us without making stuff up?

But the poll was also remarkable for showing a rather dramatic drop in support for gay marriage in one year, after years of uninterrupted rises. Do you favor “allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally” is an imperfect question, but it does allow tracking across time. Overall support for gay marriage dropped from 54 percent to 49 percent.

Read the Full Article Here

NRO: No Wave for the GOP

Republicans need to fire the consultants who urge the party to mute social issues. 

The latest polls suggest the GOP now has only a 50–­50 chance of retaking the Senate.

There needs to be a mass layoff — of highly paid GOP consultants. Otherwise we risk a repeat of 2012, when overconfident Republicans in the middle of the worst economy since the 1970s became convinced that all they had to do to win was not be Obama. And they lost.

Romney’s strategy was simple. On the social issues, avoid, downplay, mute. On the economic issues, sound vague, promise to help job creators, and wait for the other team to self-destruct.

The RNC’s “autopsy” of the 2012 election reinforced the idea that doing more of what didn’t work would be the pathway to victory. If only we add more women and more diverse ethnicities to the GOP ticket while avoiding Akin-esque gaffes, we can win. “Don’t do stupid stuff,” while always good advice, is no more a winning strategy for the GOP than it is a foreign policy for a great nation.

It didn’t work then, and it is not working now.

In the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove acknowledged that despite the horrible environment for Democrats “a GOP senate majority is still in doubt.” Why? The Architect is convinced that his model is sound — donors just need to open their wallets to the consultants to script more TV ads.

While Democrats are out-spending Republicans, and GOP donors should take notice and correct this, the relatively narrow spending gap would not make the difference in a wave election.

Take Monica Wehby’s struggling campaign in Oregon. The state is an outlier for Republicans today, so a Wehby victory there would represent a profound rejection of Democrats. Perhaps that is not to be expected. But she is the perfect test case for the RNC “autopsy” strategy: an attractive professional single mom who is pro-choice, and now pro–gay marriage. The Koch brothers have spent $1.6 million in TV ads, and yet Wehby’s poll numbers show she is losing ground. I think economic ads like this one are part of the reason why:

Read the Full Article Here

National Review: The New Infowars

Last week, Pope Francis became the first pope in history to do a Google Hangout.  He did so, the Vatican explained, because so much of young people’s time is now online that virtual reality becomes their reality.

And it’s not just kids anymore. Man has always been the symbolic animal. We live by and through symbolic representations of reality that create communal identities, direct communal action, and provide communal meaning. No other animal creates a flag, or dies for it. But the newly cheap but profound visual power of video, magnified by the availability of the Internet for mass transmission of cultural productions, is changing power dynamics.

If cultural power is the power to “name reality,” as James Davison Hunter pointed out, bad men are busily learning ways to manipulate our realities. That process, once called “propaganda,” has been amped up into infowars, at a whole new level.

Take Vladimir Putin, just for example. NATO’s chief military commander, General Philip Breedlove, just announced that Russia is waging “the most amazing information warfare blitzkrieg we have ever seen in the history of information warfare.”

…But consider this, as well, when it comes to the new infowars:

With two Internet videos of two evil deeds in a world of evil deeds, the Islamic State has succeeded in getting inside the heads of the vast majority of American people, creating dramatic new fears among Walmart moms who are among the swing voters in the next election. With two murders and two obscene Internet videos, terrorists prompted a prime-time address by a president who clearly prefers publicly to downplay and downgrade the threat that jihadist terror poses to American national security. (Unlike most of my readers, I am not sure he is entirely wrong about that, even though I think the president was wrong to withdraw from Iraq, and to conduct foreign policy by poll, but that’s a topic for another day). In a different era, there is no way that killing two American journalists, however gruesomely, could potentially affect an American election and change American foreign policy.

Read the Full Article at the National Review Online