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Catholic Voters of the Heartland Key Group In Electing John McCain President    By Dave Hartline

When all is said and done in the 2008 Presidential Election,  Catholic voters of the Heartland, primarily Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania will more than likely be the key demographic group that elects Senator John McCain as President. The Heartland, especially Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania has a disproportionate amount of Catholics, who unlike their brethren in the Northeast and West more faithfully adhere to the Church’s teachings, especially as it relates to abortion. In my book, The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism, I detail a turn toward religious orthodoxy among the laity and clergy, especially among the young (laity) and the newly ordained (priests.)

For years Catholics were the key constituency that made up the backbone of the Democratic Party. However, this alliance that was created during the New Deal, ran afoul during the 1970s when the party was taken over by cultural elites who wanted to change the fabric of American society. It became all too clear for many practicing Catholics that traditional values, especially religion, is something these elites tolerate but don’t respect. From a personal perspective in addition to working for the Church, I have also worked on Capitol Hill. In my time on Capitol Hill, I met far too many liberal operatives who had the same idea about religion as I have about Brussels sprouts, I don’t mind if you enjoy them, but I don’t want to smell, hear or see them. This type of anti-religious mindset turns off many Heartland Catholic voters.

Senator Barack Obama’s poor showing in the Democratic Primary states of Ohio and Pennsylvania (Michigan Democratic Primary was not fully contested because of rules violations) showed that many ethnic Democrats never warmed up to Senator Obama because of his associations with less than savory characters like Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, and 1960s Weather Underground terrorist William Ayres. Senator Obama relied on a warm mainstream media reception to his candidacy and the cult of celebrity that seemed to follow and support him. While, members of the mainstream media and the adjoining celebrity culture may be idolized in some states, the key states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania really don’t relish those people and places that make fun of the Heartland and their belief systems.

The most underreported event of the campaign to this point may have been then Illinois State Senator Obama’s controversial vote against an Illinois provision that would have provided medical attention for those babies who survived an abortion.  This vote, especially for pro-life Catholic voters, will be hard to explain since even the pro-abortion group National Abortion Rights Action League took no position on it. Yet, Senator Obama did. He was the lone voice who rose to speak against it on the Illinois State Senate floor. 

Senator Obama has been making a series of campaign errors since he defeated Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic Nomination. None of these tactical errors surpasses his European Victory Lap, which I wrote about in July. Few in the mainstream media spoke of this at the time, but the trip really rubbed many in the Heartland the wrong way. While the trip seemed to please his supporters in other parts of the country, many Heartland voters were really turned off by this European excursion and these same voters are the ones Senator Obama needs.

The perception that Senator Obama gave many Heartland voters, whether correct of not, that he was apologizing to Europe for America and her policies was a tactical mistake of the highest order. One only need listen to local talk radio, as well as coffee shop conversation immediately following the trip to understand this point. These folks may have varying opinions on how to solve the Energy Crisis or whether the Iraq War was necessary. However, Senator Obama’s refusal to admit that the “Surge Strategy” in Iraq was the correct decision coupled with his refusal, or at best a last resort option to allow oil drilling off America’s shores, doesn’t pass muster with Heartland voters, many of which voted twice for both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Senator Obama’s Vice Presidential choice could really seal his fate. Unless he picks a leader with an aura of gravitas such as former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, the Senator from Illinois could further alienate voters, especially Catholic pro-life voters with someone such as Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius or Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Sibelius would be a disaster for traditional minded Catholics in the Heartland.

Governor Sebelius is prevented from receiving Communion from her local bishop for not only her support of abortion but her hob knobbing with the infamous late term abortionist, Dr. George Tiller. The infamous abortion doctor has admitted to having performed abortions on the very day the baby was due to be born. Pictures that emerged of Governor Sebelius and Dr Tiller engaged in warm and friendly banter at a private party honoring the infamous abortion doctor sent chills up and down the spines of many pro-lifers. Picking her to be the nominee would akin to writing off much of the Catholic vote in the Heartland.

Senator Kerry while certainly a more experienced hand at military and foreign policy would be seen as someone who snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory in the last presidential election. Additional pictures of the Massachusetts Senator engaged in his favorite past time of wind surfing would not be well received in the economically hard hit, and former Democratic strongholds, of Flint, Michigan, Youngtown, Ohio or Scranton, Pennsylvania.

As evidenced by his paltry showing in parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania, Senator Obama has a long way to go to change the perception of him. It is doubtful that any Vice Presidential candidate can change this equation. To understand this point, one only need look at the historic low numbers Senator Obama received in the Democratic stronghold of Ohio and Pennsylvania, when he basically had the nomination wrapped up. In some Ohio counties Senator Obama only tallied between 10%-20% of the Democractic Primary vote.

Heartland voters, and especially Catholic voters of the region, have by and large made up their minds. Senator Obama will certainly do well in the posh areas of Columbus, Ann Arbor and in the eastern areas of Pennsylvania. He will win the university towns by large margin. Yet, in the crucial small towns and small cities that once made up the back bone of the Democratic Party, Senator Obama will lose not so much because the voters are enthralled with Senator John McCain, but that the voters are far less enthralled with Senator Obama and those who are enthralled by him.

Comments Click Here                   August 13, 2008

The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn

You can buy "The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn" from the link above or directly call the publisher (Aquinas and More) toll free at 1-866-428-2820.

Contact Dave Hartline for any inquiries, questions or to speak to your group by clicking the "speaking links" on the left side of the page directly opposite and above this entry.

Upcoming Appearances
by Dave Hartline

Saint Gabriel Catholic Radio. My Interview With Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life

March 7, 2009
Saint Gabriel Catholic Radio, I Will Be Hosting The Post Game Show Following The Columbus Catholic Men's Conference

February 27, 2009
Brian Patrick's Sonrise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio EWTN

Brian Patrick Sonrise Morning Show Sacred Heart/EWTN Radio

Paul Clemens Show WLCR AM 1040 Louisville

July 7, 2008
Catholic Answers Live With Jerry Usher

June 26, 2008
Brian Patrick Show On Sacred Heart Catholic Radio, Cincinnati

March 4, 2008
St. Peter-Chillicothe, Ohio

February 11, 2008
St Mary's-Marion, Ohio

Signing Books After Mass-St Michael Parish-Worthington, Ohio

Signing Books After Mass-St Joan Of Arc Parish-Powell, Ohio

Relevant Radio The Drew Mariani Show

Relevant Radio The Drew Mariani Show

Marian Center Conference XVI Boyne Mountain, MI

Michigan Catholic Radio

Theology & A Pub Columbus, OH (Columbus Maennerchor) 966 S High Street

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In His Service Catholic Radio, Philadelphia

Radio Maria & Affiliates (Louisiana)

Catholic Marketing Network (Cleveland)

St Gerald Church Farmington, MI (Speaking & Signing Books) Event Begins At The Conclusion Of The 7PM Mass

Paul Clemens Show WLCR AM 1040 Louisville 5PM

Al Kresta Radio Show Ave Maria Radio 5PM EST

St Jane Frances DeChantel Church Sterling Heights, MI (Speaking & Signing Books) Event Begins At 7PM

Teresa Tomeo Show Ave Maria Radio 8AM

St Mary Parish-Marion, Ohio (Briefly Speaking After Masses & Signing Books)

Saint Peter Church-Chillicothe, OH (signing books)

Lino Rulli Show-Sirius Satellite Catholic Radio

Cincinnati Catholic Men's Gathering-Cincinnati, OH (signing books but not speaking)

Maronite Catholic Youth Gathering-New Castle-PA

Catholic Family Theater Productions-Hollywood, CA (Pasta & Prayer Series)

GodSpace Catholic Bookstore-Thousand Oaks, CA

Al Kresta Show-Ave Maria Radio

EWTN Bookmark Program-Birmingham, AL (Taped At The Catholic Marketing Network)

Catholic Marketing Network Gathering-Birmingham, AL

Relevant Radio-The Drew Mariani Show

KVSS Catholic Radio-Omaha, NE (Bruce & Kris McGregor)

The Great Debate
Catholics versus Fundamentalists

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