Friday, December 17, 2004

The Values Voters

There is still a lot of media play on the “values voters” who put George Bush back in the White House. There doesn’t seem to be all that much press focus on the fact that the Republican party has played them for suckers. Every day it seems there is another bit of evidence that the old conservatives and the religious and traditional values voters were conned. The incidents that got the most coverage were the appointment of an apparently anti-life attorney general and the decision of the Republican majority, led by the ostensibly pro-life Orrin Hatch, to allow Arlen Specter to be chairman of the judiciary committee. In the event that Mr. Bush actually appoints pro-life judges that could be of real significance.

And now this:

Rocco Buttiglione, the internationally esteemed Italian philosopher and statesman, visited Washington last week. Doors were opened to this Italian Cabinet member and devout Catholic as a courageous exemplar of conservative Western ideals against the European Union's leftist ruling establishment. But one door was closed to Buttiglione. It was George W. Bush's door.

Displaying arrogance, ignorance or both, the Bush White House refused to grant one of America's best friends in hostile Western Europe an appointment with President Bush or a senior aide. There was no pretense of an overly tight schedule. It was just plain ''no!'' Tim Goeglein, Bush's staff liaison with Catholics, told Buttiglione's entourage there was nothing he could do. Father Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute, based in Grand Rapids, Mich. (sponsoring the visit), informed the White House the snub was ''politically imprudent'' and ''morally revolting.''

While this conduct contradicts Bush's campaign posture, there is no mystery about what is going on. The re-elected president is offering a hand in friendship to ''Old Europe,'' at the cost of alienating the traditional Catholic constituency so avidly courted the past four years. Never having to worry about running again, Bush can give the back of his hand to Buttiglione, just as the leftist-dominated, anti-American EU refused to seat him as a commissioner.

I haven’t even been paying serious attention to the Republican party’s gratitude – or lack thereof – to the values voters. Those are just three incidents that I’ve noticed without really trying. And we haven’t even had Inauguration II yet.

[A fellow parishioner of St. Blog's discussed the Orrin Hatch/Arlen Specter spectacle when it first disgraced the news. I don't remember who it was and now I can't find the post. But the headline was wonderful: "Don't Count Your Hatches Before They've Chickened." Outstanding. Congratulations, whoever you are.]