Boy is he on the money! Kmiec is no fuddy-duddy pinko or pulseless neo-con. He is a Catholic politico who sees the true motives in the Catholic vote. Put simply, Catholics vote based upon the candidate's ability to inspire. Catholics, on the whole, are NOT issue voters. Instead, they vote with a sense of sacramentality: outward decency that reveals inward virtue.
But now that Romney's out, whom might Catholics turn to? Since I served at one time as Reagan's constitutional lawyer, it would be natural for me to fall in line behind John McCain. Don't worry about his conservative lapses, says President Bush, the foremost expert on lapsed conservativism. There is no gainsaying that McCain is a military hero deserving of salute. But McCain seems fixated on just taking the next hill in Iraq. His Iraqi military objective is laudable, but it assumes good reasons to be there in the first place. It also ignores that Catholics are looking to bless the peacemakers.
Now, don't think me daft, but when Obama gave his victory remarks in Iowa calling upon America to "choose hope over fear and to choose unity over division," he was standing squarely in the shoes of the "Great Communicator." Notwithstanding all of Bill Clinton's self-possessed heckling to the contrary, Obama was right—Reagan was a "transformative" president. Reagan liked to tell us he was proudest of his ability to make America feel good about itself. He did. Catholic sensibility tells me Obama wants it to deserve that feeling.
Is this a good way to vote? Probably not. Are Catholics assumptions about the decency of politicians well-founded? Not really. But the larger point remains. Catholics love Reagan and will love Obama because of each man's ability to use political language to reveal something good about America: in our neighborhoods, churches and political processes.