Monday, June 16, 2008

For whom can I vote? (part 5)

One more thought, and maybe I'll stop worrying this bone...

After posting this, I found this article by Mickey Kaus, at Slate, linked by Instapundit:

McCain Wobbles?Alito and Scalia vs. Breyer and Ginsburg

Suckers! Part XVIII*: John McCain met privately with some Clinton supporters in the diehard group Party Unity My Ass, and tried to wobble his way into their hearts:

"He stayed for a good almost half hour afterwards shaking hands, listening to our concerns, talking to us," said PUMA founder Will Bower, who said he thought many of the people there would vote for McCain.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina stayed to mingle with the crowd, whose members also included Clinton backer Harriet Christian, made momentarily famous on YouTube for getting ejected from the Rules & Bylaws press area.

Bower said he'd liked McCain's answer on judges, in which he "pointed out that he supported Bill Clinton with both Ginsberg [sic] and Breyer." [E.A.]

...when deciding between a "more prolife" candidate and a less prolife candidate, what significance should a morally serious Catholic voter give to the credibility the "more prolife" candidate's promises? Just when does the morally serious Catholic voter get to say, "I don't believe you on prolife, anymore than I would if you said you were Napoleon IV."'s not permission to vote for Obama, but it seems to me a morally serious reason not to vote for McCain. Of course, others will decide the matter differently. But this business of the "you have to" already wearing thin--and it's June.

* Kaus has written a few posts about how McCain is already backing away from the promises that got him the nomination; this is the second that I've read.


Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Father, I'm totally sympathetic.

McCain is, to be generous, an unsatisfactory candidate. Yes, there will be Baldwin from the Constitution Party and Barr (is he still pro-life) from the Libertarian Party. Then there'll be Obama.

My reasoning is trending this way:

Obama is wholly unacceptable. I cannot in conscience vote for Obama.

Barr and Baldwin, depending on how pro-life they are (Baldwin is pretty good on the issue, I know) will not win, no matter how much I might wish otherwise.

McCain gives good reasons for mistrust, but his voting record on abortion is mostly pro-life. Brownback supports him. The National RTL Committee supports him.

I'm thinking that my conscience requires me to vote for the best hope for improved abortion law, McCain. Not that I would have wished for this selection.

But that can't be the end of it; as with Bush (who has mostly been pretty good on abortion) with Harriett Meiers, we'll need to watch McCain like hawks, and hold his feet to the fire to keep his promises.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I don't follow the same line of thought but--I don't have any problem with you doing so.

The title of my series should have been, "Am I a bad Catholic if I vote for ___?" -- because that's really what I'm getting at.

I don't consider you a bad Catholic for voting for McCain; I don't consider myself a bad Catholic for refraining from voting for him. I have a hard time rationalizing how someone can vote for Obama, but -- the reasoning that says one cannot do so also makes it hard to justify a vote for McCain, given his support of embryonic stem-cell "research," not to mention serious questions about whether he even is any good on abortion (the article cited above, plus his talk a year or more ago about not overturning Roe v. Wade, and his attack on Bush in 2000 for being too prolife).

Anonymous said...

I have questions too about his seriousness of his promises to put proper judges in any appointments. I wonder how long it is before he flip-flops and puts in a Souter instead of someone of integrity.

I have to suspect it'll be the moment any serious pressure is put on him by the Democrat congress, if not long sooner.

Father, would one be a bad Catholic if his decision is to leave the Presidential slot blank? Or if we do have to have the candidate with the least amount of harm, we're stuck with McCain.

Unfortunately, the powers that be know it, and feel free to play us as chumps.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating series on what's shaping up to be the "Alien versus Predator" election.

(slogan being, "Whoever wins...we lose!")

Anonymous said...


Thanks for putting into clear thinking what dh and I have been feeling for many months now. It's the race of the less of two evils. (When did we stop having GOOD candidates?!)

I submit that you should run for president, or since you haven't been in congress yet, we could write you in!

Thanks for your thoughts,
Tracy (the blogger formerly of the Woodland Word)

gramps said...

I will vote for McCain because I will never vote for a democrat as long at the entire party is pro baby murder and Obama is way left of most democrats supporting the murder of a baby that happens to survive the murder attempt of abortion.
That leaves only the choice of McCain. sorry, but see this as a no brainer. A vote or non vote of any pro life voter for someone else is defacto a vote for Obama. There is only two teams in the game. That is simply a fact. A vote for Perot was a vote for Clinton and we had 8 years of Clinton as a result. If McCain wins, we will have to continue to hold him to each committment much the same way we have to any politician. I would like to see a better candidate, but the choice is clear between the two that we are left to vote for.

stangreer said...

Martin, old pal, this is not meant as a defense of voting for John McCain, but I am pretty sure that Mickey Kaus is "spinning," for the sake of his own anti-immigration agenda, McCain's comments in order to raise conservative ire. Kaus is pro-abortion, and has no real problem with Breyer and Ginsburg. But he hates McCain because he sees him as a pro-immigration zealot. Hence he will use any weapon to attack him, even if the attack really makes no sense.

In all probability, McCain was simply reiterating the standard GOP line that, because he and other GOP senators overwhelmingly voted to confirm Breyer and Ginsberg, Democratic senators should similarly vote to confirm GOP nominees.

This may not be philosophically sound, and it may be stupid politics, but it is not in any way a statement that McCain thinks Breyer and Ginsburg are good judges and we would appoint judges like that if elected President.

Martin, I think good Catholics can take a pro- or anti-position on McCain, but charity requires that we not jump to hostile conclusions about politicians just because we oppose them. And I think you are jumping a long way here.

Stan Greer
Fairfax, VA

Fr Martin Fox said...


Maybe, but I don't trust McCain, both on general principles, and for what I think are very sound reasons in his case specifically. I.e., if we were talking about Brownback, I would give this report far less credence.

Second, this serves to illustrate how extremely slender are the hopes and expectations on which prolifers are told, by McCain backers, that they should bet on him.

If he is elected, I certainly hope--and will insist to the extent I can--that he nominate sound justices.

But as you and I both know, a great many people are banking on promises and expectations that have no cash value, and for which we have almost no leverage, with which to hold him accountable.

Finally, in any case, "raising conservative ire" is useful--the more skeptical conservatives are at this point, and the more insistent they are with McCain, that can only positive effects: either to nail down McCain (to the small extent that can be done) further, or if Kaus is right, to flush him out into the open so prolifers aren't misled.

McCain and his folks can always respond to Kaus, as they should.

TerryC said...

I've read something recently which states that, in light of the many advances in using adult stem cells in medical research, that McCain now opposes using currently-existing IVF embryos in destructive research. He had alwasy opposed using new embryos.
Is this waffling or a principled change of position based on emerging facts? I really don't know, but has me hopeful that he may be a candidate I can vote for.
I need more information to determine if this is really true.

Fr Martin Fox said...


This is why I said McCain is for baby-destroying "research." You can hear him defend it in this audio at You Tube.

Also, I just checked McCain's site, and he still has the artfully crafted language (scroll down) that deftly avoids clarifying this issue. He gives the impression he's against all embryonic stem-cell research, but read it very carefully, and note:
"For this reason, John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. To that end, Senator McCain voted to ban the practice of 'fetal farming,' making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes."

Now, if Senator McCain wanted to say he's against ALL research that destroys embryonic humans...all he has to do is say that. Instead, his language is so carefully crafted that his past support for destroying "surplus" embryos is not contradicted by this statement! A study in artful evasion.

Since I linked McCain's campaign site, I should mention this: there, he claims to support overturning Roe v. Wade. That's good, but just google "McCain Roe v. Wade" and you'll see some wavering on this over the years; and go here to see a tape at ABC where McCain, running against Bush in 2000, said some things about abortion, Roe, and the GOP platform that aren't reassuring.

gramps said...

As I posted elsewhere, I would like to have someone point out a single position in the area of abortion or embryonic stem cells that Obama supports life more than McCain. Two people running, one will win. Which one kills more babies? Hands down if Obama gets in, more babies will die be they embryo or in the womb. I will wait to see anyone post proof this is not true. Sorry, voting for Bob Barr by a pro life person is giving the vote to Obama, that is simple logic and fact.

Anonymous said...

I agree that "raising conservative ire" can be good. I want McCain to repeat publicly again and again that he "will appoint Justices in the mold of Scalia". The more times he is forced to say it the more likely he will do it.

With the internet, youtube etc. he would be beatdown over and over again if he threw up a nominee that did not fit the mold. That could be as troublesome as having a nominne rejected. I also think that maybe his support for President clinton's nominations could help him get his nominee approved.

Conservative outcry is what got President Bush to dump Harriet Mier for Alito.

Tim Lang

JBourne said...

As of yet, I have not decided on who I am going to vote for. I consider myself a pro-life person, and intend to vote that way. My wife's cousin put it to me this way:

"When we die, and go for judgment before God, He is not going to look at who you tried to keep out of office when you vote. He is going to look at who you voted for, and that is the only thing that matters - that you vote for what you believe to be righteous."

Taking this into consideration, I cannot vote for Obama, and I cannot vote for McCain. As I said, I am still looking for the best pro-life candidate, and when I find him or her, that is who I will vote for. Even if it is a 'defacto' vote for Obama, at least I will have voted my conscious, and the more that vote that way, the more we can move from the biased two-party system.

gramps said...

Moving away from a two party system is a dream that will never bear fruit. The closest we ever had was Perot who got 19% and gave us Clinton, not a third party. Anything that puts Obama in office is a vote for the death of more children be they embryo or in the womb and that is the fact of life that many do not seem to want to face. Of course it will also lead to a lot of other ills such as gay marriage gaining strength and an increase in crime as liberal judges tend to be just that in regard to crime, more liberal.

So for all the talk about conscience, it needs to be a well formed conscience that says what you do will have consequences and anything that puts Obama in office will lead to more dead kids. If your hissy fit over some issue with McCain needs to be fed by putting Obama in office, just agree that this is the price for your hissy fit.

Fr Martin Fox said...


My objection to McCain favoring killing unborn children and grinding up their bodies for "research" (i.e., that's what "embryonic stem-cell research" means) is hardly a "hissy fit"--for that matter, it's not "my" "hissy fit," it's the Church's, because it is God's.

You may think that's a minor matter, but God does not, and the Church does not.

Your argument, it seems to me, is that one is morally obliged to endorse a scoundrel, when he is opposed by a worse scoundrel.

Sorry, the Church disagrees: one can never be morally obliged to give endorsement to a candidate who advocates evil.

Feel free to show where Church teaching supports this idea of being morally obliged to support an advocate of evil.

gramps said...

So this means that if you realize that by an action you take, a far greater number of babies are killed, you can simply say you did the right thing knowing that your act created the additional killing?
What is the church position on war? Can support for war be justified? I think it can on the basis that by killing the worse enemy, you ultimately save lives. Is this not true? By your standards, we could never support war because people will be killed. We could never support the death penalty because people will be killed even though they are bad people who have done things worthy of death. As I understand the church teaching as it stands now, we can still support the death penalty and war. We can support the death penalty but it seems like JPII had a point that in today's world, we should be able to put them in prison and thus make sure they will kill no more innocent people. However, as far as I know, it is still OK to support the death penalty and be a good Catholic. I am in favor of the death penalty until I can be assured that the one convicted will never see the light of day again set free by some liberal judge someone like Obama would appoint.
So my point is that the church support the lesser of evils that result in death in case of war and also over the years with the death penalty. You know that by denying McCain the vote, you will in effect have more embryo and babies killed. Is that not a fact? I do not think you have ever answered that question. You have a history in politics so you know the answer. What positive benefit do you bring to the embryo's and babies in the womb by that action of bringing Obama to office which the act of denying McCain the vote does? Yes, we do have to sometime support lesser evil. It seems like I have made the point you asked me to. Please adress for the first time my point. Will your act of denying and advertising that fact publically your support of McCain help Obama get in office and will it result in more death as we would have seen if we had not gone to war in WWII? Of course maybe you are one that does not believe in any war not matter the cause and would not have supported WWII or going into Afghanistan but left the terrorist sit and operate freely to attack us over and over. I could almost see your point then in the McCain situation. You do not support killing in any way for any purpose even in the face of greater evil such as the Nazi Death Camps or Pearl Harbor. If Iran gets a Nuclear Weapon and eliminates NYC or Israel, we would not do anything to them because to kill them is evil and no form of evil can be supported on the basis of stopping a worse evil.
Dr Fox, I am not trying to be a smart ass and I have respect for you as a person and as a priest. I am honestly trying to understand the point some are making about McCain when faced with Obama.

gramps said...

Father, Not sure if you are aware of the Obama pledgue to sign this into law and if as expected we see more dems elected in congress, I expect he will get the opportunity to do so. You might read it and the comments below the link. This is not simply a choice between one person who does some evil and someone that does a little more. This is a choice that has a gap as wide as the grand canyon.

This is the law Obama has passionately sworn to sign into law will do:

Under current law, Medicaid funding for abortion is prohibited except in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. Under FOCA, Medicaid funding for abortion would be required. That’s not the status quo.

Under current law, abortions are not performed in many hospitals. Under FOCA, abortionists would be able to set up shop in any hospital, and any state or federal law or regulation to the contrary would be voided. That’s not the status quo.

Under current law, states can (and many have) pass informed consent law and/or waiting periods for women seeking abortions. Under FOCA, such laws would all be voided. That’s not the status quo.

Under current law, abortions are not performed on military bases. Under FOCA, they would be. That’s not the status quo.

FOCA does enshrine the right to an abortion in statutory law, making it that much more difficult to stop abortion even if Roe is overturned. That’s bad enough. But FOCA does far more than that. It would, in one fell swoop, wipe out most of the legal gains made by the pro-life movement in the last 30 years.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I keep saying it: if you believe voting for McCain is the best choice, that is an exercise of prudence on your part, I don't agree with it, but I don't accuse you of doing wrong--because I assume you are supporting McCain despite his support for the destruction of tiny human beings for research.

But in no way can it be obligatory to support him, as you keep insisting.

One flaw in your reasoning, it seems to me, is that you forget to leave something to God. God does not make us responsible for the end of all evil; that's his job. (Yet something he has chosen not to do.)

Rather, he makes us responsible for choosing the good, the true and the beautiful. We are sent to make the world a better place, but only through choosing the good.

The reason the Church does not dictate every "prudential" choice is precisely because the Church doesn't know all the answers, doesn't claim to, and neither should we.

Instead, the Church offers us sound principles by which to make good choices, and the Church stops there. That's where I'm stopping, which is why, once again, I decline in joining you in saying it is a moral imperative to vote for McCain.

BTW, I don't have a doctorate.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Obama could pledge to repeal the Bill of Rights, that doesn't mean he'll get the opportunity.

I can't predict, nor can you, what legislation will reach his desk, but many people get far too worried about legislation passing, merely because of who gets elected President.

But the fact remains, I choose not to endorse McCain's evil agenda, because Obama's is worse. Others think differently. That's fine. I don't have to live with your conscience, but I do live with mine.

gramps said...

I take it from your responses that you will not acknowledge that a President Obama would result in the death of more embryo's and children in the womb.

I also take it you refuse to agree that pro life people who do not vote or throw their vote to a third party with no choice to win is not defacto giving support to the obama election.

I understand your point that as a result of your action if more babies die it still makes moral sense to you rather than support someone whose election might result in 10% of the total of the Obama. Is this a correct interpretation?

You keep repeating that it is OK for me to vote this way if it makes sense to me and you choose to do what you want which I agree is your right. However, you never seem to answer the question I ask which goes to the heart of real life and that is that seldom do we have a pure moral choice because we are voting for human beings. It would seem like Christ made some sort of judgement to select his apostles and ended up with Judas and others that were far from perfect. I think somehow Paul was chosen after he killed a number of Jesus followers.

You did not respond to the question in regard to the support of war that will take many lives to end evil. You simply say that if McCain supports any killing of embryo's, you cannot vote for him based on moral grounds but refuse to acknowledge that if pro life people do this in any numbers, they will put Obama in office.

Will anyone else be President at this point than McCain or Obama?

It will be refreshing to simply see an answer to these questions without evasion. I think it is important for church leadership which obviously includes its priests to help guide people and that they be honest. You might say that I personnaly chose not to support McCain because I will not vote for anyone who supports any evil and realize that in doing so I am helping to elect Obama. However, I am at peace with having Obama kill 10 times more babies because I can look at my consicence and know that I was pure in my moral reasoning.

However, I suspect that some bishops who protected priests over the years also thought they were doing what was right at the time and innocents suffered. We live in an imperfect and an unfair world where we have to choose to go to war to fight and kill others to end evil and to vote for someone that is not perfect because to not vote for them will bring a far greater evil. During the primary season and after the election, we need to work harder to make sure we have a better choice if possible next time. But now we have only a choice of two and our vote will make a difference for a lot of babies.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I have posed you a yes or no question (in another thread parallel to this) which you have repeatedly evaded.

What you seem not to comprehend is that God and the Church give recognition to the role of a properly informed conscience, and that comes into play in prudential judgments.

No, I will not "acknowledge" that a President Obama will result in the death of more children, because I am not God, I cannot know the future. It is certainly reasonable to expect it, but to say it is certain, is not yours or mine to say.

And yes, Gramps, I have said repeatedly that I do not accept your assertion that a refusal to vote for McCain equals a vote for Obama.

Gramps, you cannot make me responsible for what others do, so when you talk about what other prolifers do "in numbers," well then, at that point, we could indeed elect someone other than McCain and Obama.

But the question is not what others do, but what shall each of us do. I keep telling you, I refuse to embrace an advocate of evil. You can live with that, but that's not good enough, you demand that I do as you do.

As to war, war is not an intrinsic evil, it is sometimes justified, which I addressed in my original post; that's why I didn't address it in these comments. Did you read my original posts? Apparently not.

Gramps, I don't appreciate your tone, your demand that I answer each and every one of your questions -- as if I have not already been generous to you with my time. You have dominated this thread, and attempted to dominate another thread, which isn't very courteous, and I might add, the one question I asked you, requiring a one-word answer (yes or no), you chose not to answer.

I have written a great deal, aiming at answering you. Apparently I failed, so no point in flailing away any longer.

gramps said...

"I have posed you a yes or no question (in another thread parallel to this) which you have repeatedly evaded."
Not sure what the question was or where. would be glad to address it.

"No, I will not "acknowledge" that a President Obama will result in the death of more children, because I am not God, I cannot know the future. It is certainly reasonable to expect it, but to say it is certain, is not yours or mine to say."

We certainly cannot say anything for certain which includes your post on McCain which you seem to list as certainty but only God knows how McCain will ack if elected. We judge the future on what a candidate says and past actions and if we just do that with this election, there is a certainty that more babies will die, embryo and in the womb, if Obama is elected. I would certainly be willing to bet on that with anyone and doubt you would be willing to take that bet. It is as certain as the air we breath which is why I find it puzzling that you do not simply agree with it. He will certainly reverse much of what Bush has done by executive order and that alone will result in more dead babies.

"And yes, Gramps, I have said repeatedly that I do not accept your assertion that a refusal to vote for McCain equals a vote for Obama."

That you say it is not the question but how can you explain how a pro life position that says that at least almost certainly more babies will die with Obama than with McCain, but do you also acknowledge that one of the two will be the next president is a high probablility? Do you acknowledge that it takes votes to win in each state? Do you acknowleege that If someone who is pro life does therefore not provide a vote to the most pro life of the two, that the other will more than likely benefit?

I know you are aggravated, but to me it is worth the dialouge when someone of your position takes a stance that somehow not voting is a better position because McCain is not as pure as you would like. I have tried to point out that St Paul had a pro life issue as well and you seem to want to hold McCain up to a standard that says to be elected, you need to be pure on this issue. When a person of faith takes a stance in an election that can influence others based on moral grounds, I think they also need to go into depth to defend that position, especially when it will result in a worse moral outcome with almost certainty.

However, I do not expect any more dialouge on this issue because you have made your point and continue to repeat it without addressing these points. I think when a person is a priest or religious leader, they need to make statements clear and easily defendable and are not afraid to address point by point issues that could effect the conscience or soul of people who are in that religion.

Bender R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender R said...

Sorry that I missed all the fun on this topic, but just a practical point here --

For most of the country, it does not matter if a pro-lifer "bites the bullet" and votes for McCain, or if he refrains from voting at all. Their vote will not affect the outcome. For example, if every pro-lifer in California or New York votes for McCain, he will still lose. Most states simply are not in play. They will definitely go one way or the other.

It is only in the "swing" states that the moral dillema of voting McCain or not really comes into play (whether that "McCain" vote is a vote "for" McCain or "against" Obama). Of course, Ohio is such a swing state. But if the polls the weekend before show a 20-point gap, the votes of pro-lifers are not going to matter one way or the other.


As for who will be worse, Obama or McCain -- McCain is a squish on life issues. He is not a prolife advocate, he has absolutely zero zeal on life issues. At best, he does not care (except to the extent that he wants the votes of prolifers). Add in the fact that he brags about working with the Dems, who will have a solid majority in the Senate no matter who wins, and you can be sure that McCain will NOT fight the nuclear war against Dems that will be necessary to get an anti-Roe justice confirmed.

The prolife cause was set back a generation in February, when it became clear that McCain would get the nomination.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Exactly right. I have been voting for 28 years, and I have yet to cast a vote in any election in which the outcome was tipped by one vote.

To show my sincerity, I would be willing to bet a nice sum of money that that will not be the case this fall, except that I want odds, not even money, and I don't know how to calculate the odds. If anyone wants to propose a bet, let me know.

gramps said...

The old one vote does not matter argument. I fear that in the end many will feel that way this year. In fact, in every election, only a handful actually vote and that is what the politicians count on. It is always how to energize the base and then somehow get the few people who cannot tell a difference or do not care who decide elections. The media puts out polls telling people that their vote does not matter and so large % stay home in a lot of elections. Many never get engaged again. I believe it is important to find things that are important to vote for. Many got engaged on the pro life and anit gay marriage issues but we now see other saying it does not matter any more. The glass is more than half empty. we tried and did not get the ball over the goal line and even if we do, babies will still die. Every organization is filled with these types. They are worn out and tired of fighting some as early as the first round. Tell the vet serving in Iraq that you do not see a difference between McCain or Obama. Tell the families of those killed in the war on terror already that there is no difference and that when Obama surrenders everything won to date there is no difference. If Obama wins, which is a very real possibility, I think this country will suffer as a result for years to come. I also think that slowly people are starting to realize that fact.

Well folks, I think it is about the 14th round and we are close on pro life and pro family issues. God has not given us a perfect candidate so that means we have to work harder, not to surrender as some are suggesting. First we have to elect someone that their is some hope will nominate judges that will protect life and families, and then we need to continue to fight to hold his feet to the fire as we did with Bush. So every blog site out there with someone suggesting we surrender, that your one vote does not matter, say a prayer for them and ask them to continue to fight for life even when it gets hard and God has not provided a warrior to lead us.