Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci joined me this morning to talk about the race to succeed Governor John Kasich in the Buckeye State –where holding the statehouse in ’18 will be crucial to holding the White House in ’20:
HH: And I am now joined by Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci from the 16th Congressional district, begins at the lake, heads south and comes very close to Trumbull county, but he’s not yet been honored by representing Trumbull County. Congressman Renacci, how are you? Good to talk to you again.
JR: Good, Hugh, how are you this morning?
HH: Good. The first question I want to ask you, you’re on Ways and Means and on Budget, so we’ll get to the repeal and replace in a moment. Are you running for governor in Ohio?
JR: Well, that’s a question a lot of people have been asking. I’ve had a lot of donors asking me to step up and be willing to do it. And I’m going to make that decision real soon.
HH: Well, how soon is soon? Is it like this week or next week?
JR: It’s soon.
HH: Now give us a headline here, Congressman. By the end of the month?
JR: Well, it’ll be soon. That’s all I can tell you, Hugh.
HH: What factors go into that calculation, other than being able to win, because you’ve got Mike DeWine and Jon Husted, and you’ve got Mary Taylor. I mean, it’s like a parade running for governor in Ohio. I may come back there and run for governor.
JR: Well, look, there are a lot of good people running, but what I bring to the table, of course, is 30 years of business experience versus almost 70 years of political experience combined with the three of those individuals, so I’m looking for a way, Hugh, when I came here 34 years ago as a young guy, Ohio was the place to raise a family and grow a business, and good wages, and manufacturing in the tire industry and all those kinds of things. And look, I think we need to be better here. We need to make Ohio similar to what it was 34 years ago, and so that’s why I’m strongly considering it. Continue Reading
It is fair to say that the election of Donald Trump represented a huge victory for conservatism, but not so much for Christian conservatism. Christian influence in the nation is on a steep decline. In my opinion there are two things at the heart of the matter.
The first one is a deep and mistaken conflation, pervasive across the nation, of cultural influence and political influence. Those two things are partially intersecting circles on a Venn diagram, but they are distinctly different things – you can have one without the other. Rick Warren with his oft-repeated, for more than a decade now, declaration that “Culture is upstream of politics,” makes the distinction plain. I have tried to make this distinction numerous times since I joined this blog. (Not that my voice is anywhere near as influential as the others discussed in this piece.) In recent years no one has tried to make this distinction more often or more loudly than Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. I think he made his case most succinctly in the 2016 Erasmus Lecture, reprinted this January past in First Things.
Moore and I came down on different sides on the question of how a Christian was supposed to honor that distinction, and more importantly the intersection of the two things, in the election just past, but we most certainly agree on the essential point – as does pretty much everybody else in the discussion. But apparently the conflation is so pervasive that it has landed Moore in some pretty hot water within his convention. In the week just past things seemed to have reached a head and are now, hopefully, quieting down. This is a discussion in which every serious Christian should participate on some level and I have struggled all week to find my own voice on the matter. The public voices are largely Roman Catholic and the Protestants really need to be heard from.
. . . one might also think of the Benedict Option not as an absolute demand – to the monastery, go! – but as an invitation to sort of religious ratchet, in which people start from wherever they are and then take one step toward a greater rigor and coherence in the way they marry faith and life.
If every Catholic high school or college were one degree less secularized and worldly; if every Protestant megachurch were one degree more liturgical and theological; if not every Catholic but more Catholics became priests and nuns; if not every Christian family but more Christian families decided to have a third child or a fourth or fifth; if not every young Christian but more young Christians looked at working-class neighborhoods as an important mission field; if Catholics and Protestants alike could imitate even part of Mormonism’s dense networking … all this would be a form of the Benedict Option in action, and both the churches and the common culture would be better for it.
…dovetailed well with something I wrote this week for one of my churches’ Lenten blog. Before I get too deeply into that I should note, as does Douthat before me, that Dreher’s book should be read in conjunction with Archbishop Chaput’s book (widely discussed on the show) And Anthony Esolen’s “Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture.”
Here’s my Washington Post column on the scramble to amend and save the AHCA, and how to do just that. Read and send on to family, friends and like-minded reformers, especially if they are members of Congress.
The GOP simply cannot afford to fail on this issue. To do so is to derail the first two years and the Trump presidency, as failure to deliver “repeal and replace” will mean voters repealing the GOP House and Senate majoritiies in November, 2018.