Entries in MassPoliticsProfs by Jerold Duquette

Ultimately, Americans may be mired in a “post-truth” political world because in order to discredit the liberals and the liberalism that discredited America’s imagined moral consensus, conservatives have sought to discredit intellectual consensus in America. Liberals ignore the authority of faith, so conservatives have come to deny the authority of reason. If clerics no longer have moral authority in America, then neither should scientists and scholars have intellectual authority. If liberals can relegate moral truths to the status of mere “value judgments,” then conservatives can do the same with facts, reason-based claims, and science. Liberals have to either tolerate the subjectivity of facts or confess that “they started it” and that their use of moral relativism as a political cudgel was equally irrational, destructive, and uncivil.
Patriotism Misunderstood If you are standing with a person holding a sign that reads “America Love It or Leave It,” YOU ARE NOT STANDING UP FOR THE IDEALS REPRESENTED BY THE AMERICAN FLAG!!!
In case you missed it, my piece dismantling Eric Fehrnstrom’s initial support on social media for the Trump campaign’s desperate attempt to label Clinton an “anti-Catholic bigot” can be read here. Comically, Mr. Fehrnstrom went ahead and wrote a Globe column in which he attempts to support this Hail Mary pass by The Donald’s camp (Sorry couldn’t resist). What follows is the debunking Fehrnstrom's latest column so richly deserves.
Fehrnstrom goes lower with Trump-like spin of leaked emails American Catholics, left, right, and center, practice their faith with flexible interpretations of core doctrine that are only made more complicated by the thorough integration of Protestant theological assumptions into American political thought and culture.  American Catholics are “cafeteria Catholics” who confront immorality the way Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously confronted the question of what constitutes pornography. Craven and ham-fisted efforts to twist these popular approaches to the practice of Catholicism into prima facie evidence of hypocrisy or bigotry do a disservice to our national political conversation and contribute mightily to the dumbing down of American politics.
Trump is God's Answer to Christian Right's Prayers...NO!

Donald Trump’s candidacy is (ironically enough) “A DISASTER” for religious conservatives because it exposes their “ends justify the means” morality, though to say that it reveals their hypocrisy is, frankly, both too easy and not particularly useful. What it exposes is their policy rationality. What it exposes is the reason why it has been quite rational of them to use manufactured “character” and personal “values” issues to muddy the public opinion waters in order to advance anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-science public policy proposals. Hardline social/cultural conservatives support policies that have become political poison in American national politics.

Whether you are a benign revolutionary whose heart is in the right place (Sanders), or an ignorant blowhard on a vanity joy ride (Trump), there is no route to success in the Democratic nomination process for those without command of the details because the party faithful know what they want from government and how to get it.

Weighing in on the debate about Hillary Clinton’s “controversial” characterization of Trump supporters, the New York Times editorial board argues that presidential candidates have become too intellectually cozy with their biggest financial supporters; that they have spent too much time with them and been unduly influenced by their worldviews.  This is hardly a controversial thesis, however, the Times’ spin here really should be. 

Trump's Candidacy is "Not Sold in Stores" The reality is that Trump will lose on Election Day because he cannot deliver on any of his claims and promises, which makes it impossible to organize and execute a traditional campaign ground game. He is counting on voters choosing him for the same reason I bought the “Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts” DVDs a few years back; drowsiness and nostalgia.
Clinton is the ONLY Qualified Candidate Left Hillary Clinton’s faith in what she knows to be true may be her most impressive personal quality. Unlike the thinned skinned Trump, Clinton knows the personal attacks against her aren’t true. She knows that she isn’t the caricature popular in the media, and that when push comes to shove the media and the public will figure that out. Her ability to brush off her critics and their criticism actually intensifies the hatred of her critics.  Clinton Derangement Syndrome is a real thing! She knows this, but has enough personal discipline and awareness of the big picture to realize that their hatred is irrational and that as such it will not sink her if she simply stays her course.

This election will be the first one in which candidate-centric rhetoric will be much more than just calculated distraction from substantive policy debate because Donald Trump broke the GOP presidential nominating system. An angry, ignorant demagogue without a clue about the job he seeks successfully hijacked the GOP nomination.  The simple truth is that nobody can predict what Donald Trump would do as president. No one can count on him to champion any coherent policy agenda. His rhetoric is literally insane. His promises and boasts are indistinguishable from what one would expect from a mental patient.

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