Thursday, November 06, 2014

Catholic didn't always mean Democrat

Mike: Did you hear that Pat's quit the Democrats and become a Republican?
Sean: No! It can't be. I saw him at Mass last Sunday!

M.E.: Hey, my family got off the boat from Sicily and we're still good enough Catholics to vote Republican! LOL
There are neat longstanding exceptions. Joe McCarthy. Pat Buchanan's family (correction: originally Al Smith Democrats). Where I live, Delaware County, Pa., there's an Irish-American Republican tradition, and there have been Italian-American Republican enclaves in reaction against Irish control of the local Democrats. But remember, before the Sixties, the Republicans weren't necessarily "conservative" (it started as a "progressive" party and the rich liberal elite were at home in it) and there were conservative Democrats, both Southerners and ethnic Northerners (Catholics). That didn't change until the Sixties radicalized the Dems, turning them against their old base, and Nixon's Silent Majority/Southern Strategy and the Reagan Democrats; the GOP became the refuge of the religious and of the old America. Trouble was, it was often still the old rich liberals like the Romneys. The Taft/Goldwater libertarian strain was completely foreign to the labor-union/ward-boss/machine/la Famiglia/social-democrat Catholics, and some still accuse it of being heretical to Catholic social teaching and anti-Catholic. Duly noted but I still think it can work. It's what made the old America work for Catholics and just about everybody else.

1 comment:

  1. Buchanan's parent's were originally Al Smith Democrats, if I recall correctly from his autobiography, though I think most of the kids wound up GOPers.

    Upstate New York always had a pretty substantial population of Republican Catholics, mostly because the area was a Republican stronghold when they first showed up. Of course, the long stretch of territory from about Worcester, MA to Buffalo, NY is one of the few areas of the country where there are very large numbers of small-town and rural Irish-Americans (in the rest of the country, it's a mostly urban or suburban population). Burchard's famous "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion" line probably cost James Blaine the election precisely because it alienated large numbers of Republican Catholics in New York State.

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