Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Washington D.C. political fight december 2011

WASHINGTON -- Newt Gingrich's long political record and Washington ties are coming back to haunt him four weeks before Iowa's leadoff Republican presidential caucuses.
The former House speaker was pressed Tuesday in a radio interview to explain his past support of health care mandates, his belief in human-caused climate change, and his advocacy for a certain level of government regulation - positions that irk many conservatives - just as rival Ron Paul rolled out a hard-hitting TV ad in Iowa that uses Gingrich's own words to accuse him of "serial hypocrisy."
"If you want to put people in jail, let's look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment," Gingrich is shown saying in the ad. It casts him as a Washington insider who espoused conservative principles as House speaker only to profit from special interests when he became a high-dollar consultant.
Chief opponent Mitt Romney weighed in, too, telling Fox News Channel: "If the American people believe that what we need is someone who has spent the last 40 years or so in Washington, D.C., working as an insider, why, he's the right guy."
And Romney added: "America needs a leader, not someone who's an insider."
It's just the start of what could end up being a deluge of criticism as rivals look to curb Gingrich's rise in polls between now and the Jan. 3 caucuses. Opponents are mining his lengthy Washington career - he was an elected official and then a sought-after consultant - for ammunition as they try woo an electorate that views experience in Washington as unsavory.
Such criticism comes as a Washington Post/ ABC News poll shows Gingrich with 33 percent support in Iowa, with Paul and Romney at 18 percent. It's similar to other polls in Iowa and elsewhere that show Gingrich with a lead.


What is needed in campaign 2012 is a discussion of whether there can be such a thing as "good" government. Clearly, from the tenor of the interview, Glenn Beck seems to think not - while Newt Gingrich disagrees. After Beck's interview of Newt Gingrich he interviewed Michelle Bachmann who called Gingrich a "frugal socialist". Though that comment will garner sound bites in the press, it was inaccurate.


We need a discussion of the social ordering principle of subsidiarity. Many Catholics do not even know that there is such a principle within the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. Instead they join in the charged rhetoric from both the political left and the political right concerning the role of government. They too often end up adopting it as their own - instead of offering the Nation an alternative which includes the principle of subsidiarity.


The current administration is rapidly expanding the role of the Federal Government in the United States. The most recent example was the passage of what is wrongly called "health care reform". In addition to obvious dangers within the legislation which threaten human life in the womb - and its failure to respect conscience and religious freedom - the federalized approach to health care delivery itself raises important questions concerning the nature, size and role of government.


Yes, we should acknowledge our obligation to one another in solidarity - we are our brother/sister's keeper. However, we should then ask, is the centralizing of the delivery of needed health care services through a federalized bureaucracy the best response to that obligation? Or is it a violation of the principle of subsidiarity?


It is time for Catholics to propose an alternative to the "government is always bad" notion which is prevalent in some conservative circles as well as the collectivism model of governing being called "progressive" by the left these days. We should propose a model of good government; an alternative to the mistakes of both the left and the right.


To view government as a "problem"- in and of itself - is at odds with the insights which are summarized in the Catholic Catechism concerning the human person, the family and human society:


"All men are called to the same end: God himself. There is a certain resemblance between the union of the divine persons and the fraternity that men are to establish among themselves in truth and love. Love of neighbor is inseparable from love for God. The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation.


"A society is a group of persons bound together organically by a principle of unity that goes beyond each one of them. As an assembly that is at once visible and spiritual, a society endures through time: it gathers up the past and prepares for the future. By means of society, each man is established as an "heir" and receives certain "talents" that enrich his identity and whose fruits he must develop. He rightly owes loyalty to the communities of which he is part and respect to those in authority who have charge of the common good.


"Each community is defined by its purpose and consequently obeys specific rules; but "the human person . . . is and ought to be the principle, the subject and the end of all social institutions. Certain societies, such as the family and the state, correspond more directly to the nature of man; they are necessary to him. To promote the participation of the greatest number in the life of a society, the creation of voluntary associations and institutions must be encouraged "on both national and international levels, which relate to economic and social goals, to cultural and recreational activities, to sport, to various professions, and to political affairs.

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