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Four months earlier...

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Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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"creativity and intellectual vitality"Didn't say he brings veracity!"proud to call him a friend"I think that meaans, "Some of my best friends are l...s."

I believe most can agree there is something familiar and sad about watching yet another fellow push his idea of perfection to its inevitable end. While inevitable I still welcomed the outcome. Seems now he is trying to find humor again. Good for him and us.

Looks like Mitts this November!

Now we can brace ourselves for some spring/summer Mormon-bashing from the Left . . . In California I have already heard a local (Dem) radio talk show host crack wise and tee hee about "Bring 'em Young University".Ugh -

Perhaps Romney would be advantaged by referencing Mormon issues, perhaspnot... The blogs will happen and I may be very naive, but I hope that I'm right as far as any other groups. I hope Obama and others shut down off-track Dem partisans on that.

Mormon bashing from the left? Where Ken? Or do you mean more bashing of Romney for hypocrisy and Bs?

Wasn't Newt suppose to be a "Catholic voice" in this election? While he was no Sanctorum, Newt seemed to have some much sympatico with Catholic hierarchs. What could have gone wrong?

@Ken (5/2, 4:59 pm) I'm sure there will be some "Mormon-bashing from the Left". In fact, as you note, there's already been some (including from Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer). However, it seems to me that, overall, there's more that comes from the Right---including the "summit" in Texas a couple of months ago by Evangelical and Catholic conservatives trying to unite behind a single candidate to stop Romney from getting the nomination. Would you agree?

What's interesting is that politics seems to be like kindergarten. A good nap, and a good juice box, and all is forgiven.

If you don't like Romney and/or Gingrich, this makes for a good chuckle. The more serious political lesson on display here is, to paraphrase Lord Palmerston, "no permanent allies, no permanent enemies, just permanent interests."(If you don't like Barack Obama and/or Hillary Clinton, you could probably find similar exchanges from 2007-08.)

@Cathleen: I've known politicians. I've known kindergartners. Believe me, kindergartners are far better behaved.

jbruns,And even when kindergartners act very badly, people usually don't die from it.

Cathleen Kaveny raises a question (as does the behavior of Gingrich and to a lesser extent almost all pols) as to how one can be a good Christian and a good politician? Yes, I know being in the world requires constant compromises. But being in politics requires huge bald-faced compromises, as well as requiring you to attack and tear down your opponent. And yet we Americans demand that our politicians be more Christian than anyone else. How does this sort of rationalization work? Are there spiritual guides in history (besides Machiavelli, or maybe including Machiavelli) to aid the Christian politician? That is, the Christian politician who actually hopes to be elected...

Among many other examples in our country's history: Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, George Washington, Bill Clinton, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt.All were good men. All did great things for our country, at great personal sacrifice. All kept their religious beliefs and practices private, yet all were public in their respect for other religions. They did not "attack and tear down" their opponents, although all were attacked by their opponents. All would serve as good guides for today's politicians (and bishops).

What I can't understand is how Card. Law has retained his power. I'm convinced that Benedict was honestly appalled by what happened in Boston, and maybe C. Law was quite remorseful. But being repentant doesn't turn you into a wise man. His judgment was rotten pre-2002, why trust it now? Or is Benedict himself just a terrible judge of human nature? Or maybe he thinks Holy Orders turns you into an Angel-god, so the laws of human nature don't apply? Special charisms trump all?

Politics is like warfare and as Sun Tzu said, all war is based on deception. That does not mean the politician or tactician needs to not have any virtue. In fact, as Sun Tzu wrote, the commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, and courage. However, as a strategic matter, even a virtuous person must be prepared to deceive in order to gain victory. Deception is part of the tactic and strategy. Politicians, if they wish to win, must be prepared to deceive.

Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

Or....simply as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

@George D (5/4, 11:48 pm) This probably belongs in an entirely separate thread, but there's a strong argument to be made (British military historian John Keegan is one who makes it) that politics and war are more dissimilar than they are similar---that war, rather than being "the continuation of politics by other means", is what happens when politics fails.

Luke:If that is the case, then why are political operations where strategies are developed referred to as "war rooms".Campaign people are called operatives.Surveying the landscape is referred to as "on the ground".States are referrred to as "battlegrounds".Going after specific demographics is referred to as "targetting".They certainly use the language of war, including psy ops, disinformation, and propoganda.

Nice linguistic analysis there, George D. :-)

@George D (5/5, 11:20 am) All true. (I agree with Ann Olivier, nice linguistic analysis.)If I recall Keegan's analysis correctly, he was speaking of politics in the broader Aristotelian sense---not merely to elections (which is where the militarized language you cite is most commonly used). Keegan takes issue with Metternich's famous formulation---"War is the continuation of politics by other means". Keegan argues (in his "A History of Warfare"?) that war is more accurately considered the continuation of *culture* by other means. In other words, societies will wage war in ways that are consistent with their culture. Also, Keegan argues, war is what happens when politics breaks down or fails. Politics is characterized by the peaceful resolution of competing interests and values. War is characterized by the violent resolution of competing interests and values.

Oops. It's Clausewitz, not Metternich, from whom "war is the continuation of politics by other means" comes. (Displaying once again my ignorance of central European history. Sorry for any confusion caused.)

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