Nienstedt = Genius

More Freud than friar?

Roman Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt is a genius. Stay with me here.

I’ve been struggling to reconcile the Archbishop’s fervent support of the Marriage Amendment and his intolerance of any form of dissent from his flock including the priestly shepherds that tend his parishes, with the catholic teachings of Jesus Christ I received in Catholic grade school.

My unsuccessful attempts to do so were wearing on me until a recent jog around Lake Harriet took me past the occasional “another catholic voting no” yard sign.  Then it hit me. This guy is a freakin’ genius. Think about it. What is the easiest way to get a Catholic to do something? Tell him he can’t. So what does the Archbishop do? He tells his flock not to oppose the Marriage Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. Brilliant. Tell me adultery is a sin and I want to adult all over the place. I must keep holy the Sabbath? Now you can’t keep me from raking those leaves on Sunday.

But this may not be enough. Catholics aren’t easily roused from their Sunday morning sleepwalk to and from church. So this human behavioral savant goes even further. He tells you that if you are a good Catholic, you will not dissent. You will keep your mouth shut and do as you’re told, or risk eternal damnation. Very clever. We should put this guy on the childhood obesity problem. We’d be losing kids down sewer grates they’d be so skinny.

Of course, you can lead a Catholic to communion, but you can’t make him drink (the wine). We’re going to need more of the Archbishop’s reverse psychology. Or would it be reverse theology? Regardless, this man of God knows he needs to stoke more indignation in these sacramental somnambulists. So he drafts condescending letters read at masses throughout the Archdiocese by priests, some of whom may even secretly oppose the amendment. Genius. Do or say what you will to me, but silence my beloved priest and make him take part in these kabuki sermons and I am just about ready to go out and buy a lawn sign.

Not enough? You’re right. Plant a priest and a married couple in high school auditoriums to address the topic with high school seniors eligible to vote in November. Then, secretly instruct the couple to equate homosexuality with bestiality. See what he’s doing here? If you can’t light a fire under these people, go after their kids. That’ll make them “oppose you.” (wink, wink) And just to be safe, point a reporter in the direction of a two-year-old response to a woman with a gay son and highlight the passage where the Archbishop mentions her eternal salvation is in jeopardy. Wow.

Is this the result of reverse theology at work?

Do you get it now? He is obviously using Jesuit jujitsu to get the Catholic faithful to oppose the amendment. The alternative is just too soulless to even consider.  I realize that by uncovering the Archbishop’s genius, I hazard curtailing his plan’s effectiveness. But I’ve heard so many fellow Catholics wrestling with this, I think it’s worth the risk to give them some peace between now and November. So fear not Minnesota Catholics, Archbishop Nienstedt has a plan, and it’s working. Just maybe not the way most people think.


Dear Barack: Follow the Money.

Barack Obama has been getting plenty of advice since that debate in Denver. Here’s mine, prior to tomorrow on Long Island. “Follow the money”. It’s an old maxim of journalism and it rarely leads you wrong.

Most basically, this is a variation on the adage that “if you’re not playing offense, you’re playing defense.” By zeroing in on money — who makes it now, who doesn’t, and where and how the Romney-Ryan money “plan” (sic) shifts any of those equations — is unquestionably the best line of attack on the Republicans’ central thesis. Which is: that they are better stewards of the economy than any liberal at any time and especially Barack Obama.

Definitive studies long ago proved otherwise. And otherwise. And otherwise. And so on.

While Joe Biden played offense better than the boss, in his debate with Paul Ryan, it was still exasperating to watch Ryan’s treadworn assertion that he was bringing “new ideas” to the table pass without a well-deserved smile, guffaw or spit-take. While moderator Martha Raddatz did at least press Ryan on whether he “actually had a plan”, the better response for Biden, and Obama tomorrow is to slap down the gauzy wall of “technic-y” sounding econo-babble, serious-sounding but vacuous noise designed to impress and amaze everyone who needs a graph to calculate their savings at a 50% off sale. The reality is that Ryan-speak is eye-rolling, used car lot chicanery to everyone who finally wised up to the reality that the Bush tax cuts, themselves a repeat of deficit-busting Reaganomics, did nothing for job creation or the wealth enhancement of the middle class.

And the Reagan-W* economic “miracle” (god help you if you’re not a hedge fund partner)  is all the Romney-Ryan (or Ryan-to-Romney) money scheme is, buffed up by a P90X work-out and no shortage of narcissistic delusion.

Point being, there is nothing older than a strategy to control government built around guarding the access and assets of the already enfranchised.

Obama is also encouraged to display exasperation with the patently and demonstrably false assertions that:

“The stimulus failed.”

“Obamacare will add trillions to the deficit“.

“Green pork [renewable energy] is a worse bet than established energy conglomerates with more lobbying power.”

“Eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the top-tier is harmful (primarily) to small businesses.”

Bain Capital created jobs and is therefore a model for the economy as a whole.”

… and on and on, with particular, disdainful emphasis reserved for the biggest canard of all, namely that the Bush tax cuts created jobs the last time we tried this same, very old idea.

Philosophically — the tone Obama enjoys most — the argument can be reduced to this:

“Despite all their hyperventilating about government spending and debt, neither the Governor or his running mate, who is supposed to be the braintrust of their economic thinking, can actually show how this grand scheme of their’s either reduces debt, most which was created after the Bush tax cuts of 2003, or avoids further penalizing the middle class. If they could don’t you think they’d take advantage of a TV audience of 70 million to make certain everyone understood what they were selling? But they can’t because what they’re selling has no intellectual basis other than as a sales pitch for your vote.

“And you know, I was very impressed with the Governor’s famous “47%” speech to those wealthy donors down in Florida. I thought it was remarkably candid of him, and I congratulate him for that refreshing breath of honesty. But what he should have reminded those millionaires and billionaires is that they too are “dependent on government” in that so much of their wealth is built on controlling how government responds to their needs, how it does or doesn’t tax them, how they gain unique access to government for lucrative contracts and so on. The Governor’s friends very much depend on government to keep them as wealthy as the are.

“Fundamentally every election, especially presidential elections, come down to who government is going to serve most — who is gets to be most “dependent”on government decisions. My argument is that the economy will fare best if the middle-class, the “customer class” has wealth restored that has drained away in the past generation. More customers will create more jobs faster than more tax cuts for a leverage buy out partner already living like king thanks to a 15% tax rate.”

It really is that simple.