1. Sorry to have been silent for a while. I’ll say stuff about the status of the Science of Virtues and all that soon. Meanwhile, you do need to pray for Jean Elshtain. She suffered a “silent” heart attack that did her heart significant damage. She’s in good spirits and did a fine job leading the meeting, but she’s also weak and confined to a wheelchair.
2. I sure would like to comment on Carl’s fine posts on THE CRAMPS (about whom I know nothing [insert sexist joke here]) and Ralph Ellison. I find I’m a bit more pro-Hippie (although not for musical reasons) that Carl, and I certainly agree that there’s an African-American dimension of America’s Christian unwritten constitution.
3. Pete is clearly the best commentator in the whole country on the strengths and weaknesses of Santorum. If you read carefully, he makes the strengths far more attractive than the weaknesses, although the latter will be fatal for his candidacy. The hostility of the responsible Republican establishment to Santorum is understandable, as is his inability to master the complexities of the delegate selection process in a very short period of time. Nonetheless, it’s easy to see how it wouldn’t be that hard for Santorum to be more prudent, more attentive to detail, and more cogently eloquent.
4. As far as I can tell, the race is over. Romney is up 15 in Illinois. He needs a victory of that size, didn’t get it in Michigan or Ohio, but will get it now.
5. Once again, Santorum would win the big, non-southern state if he just carries the Catholics. I’ve gotten several emails asking me to explain why Catholics aren’t voting for him. It is true, as John explains in the thread below, that the campaign against and especially the organized hostility to Santorum is based on some anti-Catholic prejudice. The prejudice, to be more precise, is against an orthodox Catholic who trumpets his beliefs. You would think that the “identity politics” of the situation would cause Catholics to vote for Rick—even if they have reasonable doubts that he would be a good president. The chances of him actually getting nominated, after all, are exceedingly slim.
6. The religious dynamic is very complicated here: Conservative Catholics aren’t creeped out by Mormons in public life, and so they think Romney will protect their “values” without excess baggage. Conservative evangelicals are no longer creeped out by Catholics, but they are sometimes by Mormons. Plus the latter are much more likely than even conservative Catholics to demand that the candidate offer a clear choice against Obama on healthcare. Conservative Catholics tend not to be radically opposed to the welfare state and not to go to Tea Parties. In those respects, after all, they follow Catholic social teaching.
7. Even a lot of traditionalist Catholics disown Rick because of what they regard as his bellicose foreign policy. The hatred of “neocons” among these folks is often borderline deranged.
Here are some big thoughts on “boomerang kids.”