Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Ah, religion and politics, my favorite.
At first blush, the decision by President Obama not to offer Timothy Cardinal Dolan an invitation to offer a benediction at the Democrat National Convention seems like bad politics. After all, the Catholic Vote (if there is such a thing) is crucial to the President's re-election hopes. The President has had a tough year with Catholics, what with all that destroying religious freedom thing.
So why wouldn't the President who has already agreed to appear with the Cardinal at the Al Smith dinner have a willing Cardinal Dolan offer a benediction at the DNC? Why wouldn't he have the Cardinal there when that could easily give the impression that the President is still friendly toward the Catholic Church?
"“The Catholic vote is the most critical vote. They’re the wild card,” Donohue told The Post. “So, why wouldn’t you ingratiate yourself to the pope of America and send a wink and a nod to Catholics? That’s just good politics.”
Like I said, at first blush it seems like bad politics. Its not. Its all about who does the inviting.
The President is comfortable attending the Al Smith dinner because he will likely get what he wants from it with low downside political risk. After all, Cardinal Dolan invited him to this lighthearted affair. It would thus be very rude for His Eminence to use the occasion to publicly lecture the President. He knows that Cardinal Dolan will not do that. The President will get his photo op and come away unscathed.
However, if President Obama invited Cardinal Dolan to the convention which is purported to be shaping up as an abortion love-fest, one could easily picture Dolan making reference in his benediction to using politics to protect the most vulnerable among us including the unborn. They knew what he believes before they invited him, they couldn't complain. Conversely, Cardinal Dolan would be hailed as speaking truth to power in the center of the coliseum surrounded by lions. And that would be the story.
They cannot have that be the story. And if they tried to control Cardinal Dolan's remarks, that would be the story. They cannot have that be the story.
There is just too much political downside to such a scenario. That is why they declined to invite Cardinal Dolan.
Now all this, of course, begs the question. Why is Cardinal Dolan inviting the virulently anti-life and anti-Catholic President fighting for his political life to a dinner which has only political upside?