RELIGION: David Waldman of Daily Kos: Know-Nothing Bigot

It’s time for Democratic politicians like Elizabeth Warren who are courting Catholic voters, or who – like Senator Bob Casey – profess the Catholic faith themselves, to distance themselves from Daily Kos over the anti-Catholic Know-Nothing bigotry of Contributing Editor David Waldman.

Waldman, @KagroX on Twitter, is one of the leading figures at Daily Kos, the largest left-wing blog; a former Hotline staffer, he’s a contributing editor and front-page writer, runs the affiliated site Congress Matters, and his tweets are frequently quoted and retweeted by Markos Moulitsas. In an angry, profanity-laden tirade last night on Twitter over a flap between a local Virginia church and the Girl Scouts, Waldman unloaded his hatred of the Church, grasping for every anti-Catholic trope he could reach (examples: “Catholic Church: the ones we don’t rape, we’ll alienate by calling them communist b****es” or “Catholics are the next Shakers. No one under 35 will ever stay in this church”) and complaining that there are too many Catholics on the Supreme Court (“Oh that’s right. Six Catholics. Fantastic.”) Waldman’s vicious rant would have been right at home with the anti-popery screeds of the Klan in its heyday, the Know-Nothings of the 1840s or the “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion” trope that cost James G. Blaine the 1884 presidential election.

Waldman’s full outburst, in reverse chronological order, is below the fold; warning, it includes language I do not ordinarily use on this website):

This Klan manifesto from 1923 – see Points 6-8 – seems positively restrained by comparison:

Politics ain’t beanbag, and Twitter is often not a place for the most thought-out opinions. But by any stretch, this is far over the line to simple hatemongering. It may not surprise us, but it should still offend us. And it should offend and embarrass Democratic officials that this is a loud voice in their coalition.
It may seem unfair to ask public officials to anticipate that stoking the fires of anti-Catholicism will be seized upon by extremists like Waldman, but they can certainly denounce it – unless it’s precisely what they aim to accomplish. There is a long and dolorous history of anti-Catholicism in this country. The Know-Nothings’ anti-Catholicism and hatred of new Catholic immigrants were intertwined. Then House Speaker Blaine sponsored the anti-Catholic 1875 Blaine Amendment to the Constitution (defeated in the Senate but enacted in many states and still used as a sword by the public school teachers’ unions to this day) and lost the 1884 presidential election when he stood by as one of his surrogates branded the Democrats as the party of “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”. The Klan was the leading voice against the Church in the 1920s, and as late as 1960, John F. Kennedy was forced to defend his faith against conspiratorial charges of papal control of the federal government. Catholicism has been the faith of many waves of immigrants to this country and strivers for upward social mobility – Irish and Italians and Poles, Filipinos and Hatians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans. There have always been those who find our faith threatening and seek to control it.

And the Catholic Church has been in the Democrats’ crosshairs in this election season, moreso than in any election since at least 1960. It’s not hard to see why. The four remaining GOP presidential candidates include Rick Santorum, an outspokenly traditional Catholic who has faced questioning on such uncontroversial Catholic beliefs as the existence of Satan, and Newt Gingrich, a late-in-life Catholic convert. Catholics are prominent and rising in GOP ranks, including John Boehner, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush (a convert), Bob McDonnell, Pat Toomey, Rudy Giuliani, Kelly Ayotte, Susan Collins, John Hoeven, Sam Brownback, Tom Corbett, Susanna Martinez, and Luis Fortuno. The six Catholics on the Supreme Court include all five Republican appointees: Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito. (The sixth is the first Hispanic Justice, Sonia Sotomayor).

The Obama Administration has played wedge-issue politics against the Church for reasons of both policy and politics, most recently with the rule, enacted by the Department of Health and Human Services, requiring Catholic institutions to provide health care plans including coverage of contraception, in violation of the Church’s own position – a rule condemned by all 180 Catholic Bishops and scores of Catholic institutions, but which Democrats gleefully predict will be an electoral asset against the GOP precisely because defending the Church’s religious freedom is a point of principle on which neither the GOP nor the Church can bend. In Washington State, Democrats are pressing even further, to require all health plans to cover abortions. These moves are all about taking away the Church’s freedom, in its capacity as an employer, to follow its own conscience, and thus eliminating one of the last major institutions in this country not beholden to government. And the DSCC is using the confrontation in fundraising emails:

Will no one rid the Obama Administration of these meddlesome priests? The harder the Administration pushes the Church for political and financial gain and to achieve government dominance over social issues, the more the excitable followers of the Administration work themselves into lathers of Catholic-bashing. This is as good a time as any for Democrats to admit that this tactic has gone too far. (It’s a recurring issue – Evangelical Christians and Mormons have come in for the same treatment before and will again).
Catholics are a majority in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania and over 40% of the population of in Massachusetts; Catholics are the largest religious denomination in 33 states, and in particular the predominant faith of Latinos in this country. We deserve to know that our elected leaders, regardless of party, will not encourage Waldman’s sort of bigotry. Catholic politicians like Bob Casey, Joe Biden, Patty Murray, Jack Reed, Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin – or politicians like Elizabeth Warren who are seeking the votes of Catholic voters – should think long and hard about associating themselves with Daily Kos as long as Waldman is part of it. But moreso, they have an obligation not to encourage the extremist bigots in their midsts.

19 thoughts on “RELIGION: David Waldman of Daily Kos: Know-Nothing Bigot”

  1. My experience has been that when a liberal starts ranting about something Republicans are supposedly doing, it is because they are trying to draw attention away from their actions.

  2. That’s too much work by Waldman.
    Better to let the Catholic Church choose between their conscience and tax dollars. Then point and laugh at the Catholics who thought they would choose the former.

  3. BTW, Crank, you couldn’t be more wrong* regarding employees having their religious beliefs over-ruled by the religious beliefs of their employers.
    *I know, shocking.

  4. While we’re at it, let’s ask Catholic politicians how they feel about the decades-long cover-up of child-rape, at the highest levels of the church. We deserve to know that our elected leaders, regardless of their faith, will not encourage ANY church’s criminality.
    Sorry if this kind of writing hurts your fee-fee, Crank, but the Catholic Church has nobody but THEMSELVES to blame for putting their fortune and standing above those of innocent children.*
    It sometimes amazes me that you still hold the Catholic Church up as some-kind of moral beacon when they blatantly chose the Almighty Dollar over the teachings of Christ. But then I remember the obvious criminality and subsequent crashing of the worlds economy brought on by laissez faire, conservative economic policy, and how you’ve dug in your heels for those same policies. There’s something to be said for passengers willing to go down with the ship.
    *If you respond to this comment, please state your case without substituting the church, Catholics, or yourself as the real victim. It’s repulsive in the face of what those children went through (and in many cases, what they continue to deal with).

  5. Imagine the reaction if Waldman had tweeted the same thing about Jews or Muslims. Completely out of hand.

  6. Berto: You’re basically trying to redirect the point of Crank’s post. We’re all now dumber for your childish taunts. At least Dr. Suess’ made up words are entertaining.

  7. Mark D.,
    No, I’m basically calling “bullshit” on another of Crank’s posts. He’s 100% wrong regarding freedom of religion and contraception coverage. The Bill of Rights is about individual freedoms, but Crank thinks the employers religious freedom trumps those of individuals.
    If he wants to create a post about some people being anti-Catholic, that’s fine with me (even though it comes from an anti-Muslim), but when he starts spouting nonsense he knows nothing about, I’m here to call him out on it.

  8. He’s actually correct, but that’s not what I want to point out. In this case, the employer’s religious freedoms only trump those of their employees if they disallow their employees to use contraception altogether. That’s not the church’s argument. The employers simply want no part in paying for it. A fair and reasonable position that is permissible by the First Amendment.
    Short of anti-Catholicism, which I can’t actually conclude if you are or not, I’m at a loss as to the basis of your argument.

  9. I returned to the Church in 2005, after 25 years of absence. During that time, no nuns showed up at my door to drag me to Mass. No monks barred me from buying BC at Walgreen’s. I left the Church freely and I chose to return.
    Berto, tell me of ONE thing the Catholic Church can force anybody to do, employee or not. It’s not 1450. It’s not the Church but the government that can force us all to do things against our will and conscience and jail us if we do not comply.
    Sheesh, how rotted and addled a mind must be with hatred and unquestioning acceptance of leftist cliches to believe that not paying for something = oppression.
    Many Jews eat pork. That doesn’t make them anti-semitic. Many non-Jews eat pork. That doesn’t make them anti-semitic either. However, if the government forced Orthodox synagogues to buy ham sandwiches, that would be anti-Semitic. (And gee, just imagine the reaction if the government tried to force MUSLIMS to buy ham sandwiches.) It’s a simple argument, and yet, my, how confused it makes the libs.
    (Gee, and here I only popped by to see if you had written anything about my guy Ryan Braun 🙂

  10. I’m pro-choice too. Let the Catholic bishops choose between paying for women’s healthcare (following their moral conscience) or refusing government dollars.
    With all I know about the Catholic Church (having been raised Catholic, attended Catholic schools, and–the biggest strike against me on this site–having paid attention), they’ll take the ca$h.
    Surprise me bishops, put your money where your mouth$ are.

  11. BTW, Crank knows what they’ll choose too. Hence the criticism of Obama. Crank’s hoping against hope it won’t come down to this choice.
    No worries, Crank, A good little authoritarian like you will toe the Catholic line no matter what choice they make.

  12. My, my berto, still holding a grudge against Sr. Mary Margaret for making you diagram sentences? What a sad and bitter little fellow…

  13. Oh, and sweetie, you didn’t answer this:
    “Berto, tell me of ONE thing the Catholic Church can force anybody to do, employee or not. It’s not 1450. It’s not the Church but the government that can force us all to do things against our will and conscience and jail us if we do not comply”
    You’re pro-choice, Berto? Too bad your mother wasn’t.

  14. Donna, it sounds like the Catholic Church is telling its employees that it must hew to their party line regarding birth control, doesn’t it? And in the end, yes, when you think about it, a function of government is, whether we like it or not, to force compliance with a variety of acts we may or may not agree with, and face jail if we don’t. Henry David Thoreau decided to write a bit on the subject.

  15. Daryl,
    “Donna, it sounds like the Catholic Church is telling its employees that it must hew to their party line regarding birth control, doesn’t it?”
    Um, when you are an employer, you get to tell your employees what to do while on the job. It’s just one of those things. It’s not like there aren’t secular hospitals for alternative employment.
    “a function of government is, whether we like it or not, to force compliance with a variety of acts we may or may not agree with, and face jail if we don’t.”
    Oh, well, in that case, let’s just force the Church to hand out condoms at Mass too. I mean, where are you going to draw the line at interfering with a religion? Unless you are saying that you do not want religions running hospitals, which would put a good number out of business.

  16. Daryl: can you point to any stories during 1/12 about oppressed Catholic institution employees who just couldn’t afford those dreadful payments – $20 per month for the Pill? Was this some big issue before Obama raised it (to take focus away from rising gas prices)?
    Of course not, but that doesn’t prevent little Dem tools like Daryl from rising to the occasion and taking the bait. Obama says: Jump!!
    Daryl says: Master, how high?

  17. MVH: I work at a Catholic hospital. I see poor people (most non-Catholic) who are served by the Church every single day. They are the people who will suffer if the Catholic Churches are forced to close their doors.
    Daryl and berto don’t give one crap about those people. In fact, Daryl and berto don’t give one crap about human beings. Leftism is a deeply anti-humanist, hate-filled philosophy which cloaks itself in phoney “caring.”
    Yeah, sure, you’re caring. Just like Stalin and Mao. I don’t grant the Left one ounce of moral superiority – in fact, I believe they are the most immoral and inhumane people on the planet. We should denounce their ugly immoral corruption and nastiness every chance we get.

  18. Well, that’s going a little too far for me. I don’t like Daryl’s argument, but that’s as far as it goes. As for Berto, he is so off the political spectrum that I stopped reading his posts a while back.

  19. Catholic hospitals business is secular.
    Donna V.,
    The Catholic hospitals aren’t going to close their doors because they have to provide healthcare insurance.
    I’m not naive enough to think they’ll choose conscience over cash, but if you are, more power to you.
    BTW, my mom is pro-choice. She chose to have 11 children. But then again, she doesn’t think women should be 2nd class citizens, so what does she know?

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