Ideal Catholic Candidate?

John Allen at the Reporter says he has avoided wading into election issues, but now realizes he must. In doing so he describes what the perfect Catholic candidate would be like, in his view.

He speaks for “Catholics alienated from both parties, who aren’t undecided but rather disenfranchised.”

“Most analyses of the ‘Catholic vote’ presume there are three basic camps: pro-Obama Catholics, pro-McCain Catholics, and the undecided,” he writes. “For purposes of electoral handicapping, that’s a natural way of slicing the pie, but it neglects another important constituency. This block has no candidate, no network of think-tanks and advocacy groups, and it only registers indirectly in the polls.”

He quotes a “bright young Catholic theologian” who told him “I can’t help thinking that both parties are addicted to preemptive strikes, whether it’s in the womb or on the battlefield.”

He cites John Carr, a veteran policy expert for the U.S. bishops, saying that Catholics who take the church’s social teaching seriously wind up “politically homeless” in America.

“Here’s a thought exercise,” writes Allen. “In the abstract, what would the political fortunes be in America of a candidate who actually embodied the full range of Catholic social concerns? What would happen if a serious candidate came along who’s pro-life, pro-family, anti-war, pro-immigrant, anti-death penalty, pro-sustainable development, and a multi-lateralist in foreign policy concerned with religious freedom and a robust role for believers in public life?”

He thinks the chances for his ideal Catholic candidate would be pretty good. But “the machinery of both major parties, however, appears almost designed to prevent such a person from ever being nominated.”

— Tom Hoopes