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The Catholic GOP

Wednesday, December 5, 2012  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

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St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

The Capitol

Did you miss Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio at the Kemp Foundation and on CSPAN last night? Twitter declared them both terrific. First time either of them has spoken at length in public since the election and it is very telling that they chose an inside-the-Beltway forum at which to declare that they are both in the hunt for “leader of the GOP” laurels. That is fine –if both men take the show on the road.

Truth is they and a handful of others don’t have to work very hard. The overwhelming desire among conservatives is to go young and go fast, a desire made even more urgent by the rallying to Hillary in 2016 that is underway, and according to The New Yorker’s David Remnick, her acquiescence. Talk about a coronation. Dust off John Podhoretz’s old book which was, it turns out, not wrong but merely very early. A decade early. (Not unlike my 2007 look at Mitt Romney, which came five years before his nomination The curse of far-far sightedness.)

And not just young, but Catholic. Both Rubio and Ryan are Catholic as are the third and fourth leading contenders for leading man, Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie. As is Senator Kelly Ayotte.

This is the natural consequence of the GOP’s attachment to the life issue and the marriage issue, but it means a great deal for the party’s immigration stance as well, as among others Philadelphia Archbishop Charlkes Chaput has spoken extensively on the subject as a prod to conservatives and liberals alike.

In addition to immigration reform, this Catholic log jam also suggests an emphasis on religious liberty, and not just in the U.S. but abroad and especially in places like Egypt where the emerging Islamist domination calls for the U.S. to insist on the protection of religious minorities as a condition of aid.

Mitt Romney did not win the Catholic vote in November, a consequence of the loss of three out of every four Latino Catholic votes.

Review Marco Rubio’s “fact sheet” for his speech last night. (Very wise to make this available online, btw. Good practice pointer for future conservative speech makers.) This is not a “social gospel” per se, but it is close to being a legislative expression of the theological values embedded in much of Catholic social teaching.

The Democrats have become fully and completely the party of big and very secular government, the GOP the party of individuals and religious faith, protected from that state. The good news is that the GOP as the young superstars. The bad news is the Demcorats have the purse strings.

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