Duffy wrote a post about Biden, Pelosi and abortion that bears some further comment. I posted a response saying that, although the selection of Biden was no doubt done to reach out to Catholic voters, it will likely hurt more than help since it forces the Bishops to respond and a significant number of Catholics still listen to the Bishops.
It goes beyond that though as I reflect more on the issue. This post at The Corner deals with some of the other issues that come with a Catholic pro-choicer (this was written in response to the idea of Tom Ridge as McCain’s running mate):
A pro-choice Catholic is always the very worst kind of pro-choicer to put on a national ticket. Kerry and Ferraro demonstrated why: The actions (or even the inactions) of the hierarchy always generate lots of talk. It is inescapable. The candidate is in an untenable position — e.g., I recognize that I am not in good standing with my Church and therefore refrain from receiving communion. That doesn’t look too good. The alternative: I do receive communion, even if it is in defiance of the rules. That looks even worse. There is no way to win with a pro-choice Catholic. And, of course, the candidate always has to make sure to duck trying to receive in any diocese headed by a courageous bishop! Ridge being denied communion would be a great photo-op — for Democrats.
But there’s still another issue: the appearance of honesty and trustworthiness. As the candidate is confronted about the disparity between the faith they claim to profess and their public actions, that disparity becomes more and more apparent to voters. After all, there might be one or two people in the country who don’t know that the Catholic Church is pro-life, but that’s about it. The more they hear a Catholic politician claiming to be in union with the Church’s teaching despite their pro-abortion stance, the more they have to think about the following questions:
1) Is he lying to us?
2) If so, what else is he lying to us about?
3) If he’s not lying to us, is he lying to himself?
4) If so, what other facts does he not grasp? Or how tight a grip on reality does he really have?
5) Who’s he kidding?
6) If he can cast aside opinions he claims to deeply hold, what else will cast aside when it’s convenient? What promises that he’s making now will he forget about later?
This is especially likely to be a problem for Biden, who seems fairly combative by nature. He claimed in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor that “My views are totally consistent with Catholic social doctrine.” He’s going to be called on that again and again and likely dig himself a deeper and deeper hole. He won’t be able to help himself and it will only hurt his chances of being Vice-President.
So after thinking more about it, my comment over on Duffy’s blog was incomplete. It’s not just going to hurt him among Catholics, but among all voters. They’ll see a glaring inconsistency that will be attempted to be rationalized and excused but those will ultimately fail.
Bad pick by Obama.