Editor’s Note: Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, The Observer will sit down with Notre Dame experts to break down the election and its importance to students. In this 11th installment, Associate News Editor Rachel O’Grady asks former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, current member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board and 1980 alumnus Bill McGurn about the significance of American Catholics in this election. Rachel O’Grady: Starting off a bit on rhetoric, as a former speechwriter for President Bush, what are you noticing about speeches and rhetoric in this election?Bill McGurn: On rhetoric, I recommend the Lincoln-Douglas debates — remember, Lincoln lost that election. The speeches are long and vivid. It’s not likely they would succeed in the age of the televised sound-bite. In our day, few campaign speeches are remembered past Election Day. Whichever your party, in office you have it harder because you can no longer simply paint a flowery vision of your proposals or a dark picture of your opponent’s. Once president, your choices have real consequences and trade-offs. A great speech deals with these realities and transcends them, whether it’s the Gettysburg Address or [Lyndon B. Johnson’s Voting Rights Act] speech.ROG: What is the significance about Catholicism and, obviously, particularly American Catholicism in this election? Beyond that, what’s the impact and/or significance of the VP picks for both candidates?BMG: Tim Kaine embodies a decades-long effort, prominently encouraged by institutions such as Notre Dame, to make a safe space for pro-choice Catholic Democrats. Mr. Kaine is what you get: an affable man who treats as sacred a Supreme Court decision (Roe v. Wade) that a) outrageously short-circuited the democratic process and b) ushered in the killing of tens of millions of the most defenseless members of our society. Too often abortion is treated as a single issue. In fact, it has proved the beachhead for an entire ethic that is hostile to life, hostile to marriage and, as we see from the contraceptive mandate, increasingly hostile to religion, religious Americans and religious institutions. So rather than leaven the American experiment, liberal American Catholicism has spent the last four decades accommodating itself to the secular zeitgeist, largely because of their surrender on abortion. When you point this out, the answer is almost never to defend their position but to raise phony claims of moral equivalence that Republicans are “just as bad.” It’s all very sad.ROG: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are arguably (and polls have agreed) the two most disliked presidential candidates in history. What’s the significance of that? BMG: Absolutely. Hillary Clinton’s negatives are sky-high. But Donald Trump’s are higher still. November’s election may well be decided by who turns off more rather than who attracts more. Meanwhile, Americans will watch the presidential debates the way they watched a Mike Tyson fight: to see if someone’s going to bite off the other side’s ear.ROG: Terrorism, and in particular ISIS, has been a major talking point in this election. With your experience under President Bush, what is your take on the importance of terrorism and war in this election?BMG: Barack Obama entered office with the view that the fight against terrorism is an issue of law enforcement, not war, and Mrs. Clinton supports that. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump each talk tough on ISIS, but each has also campaigned against the “unnecessary” Bush wars in the Middle East. Mr. Trump talks tougher and will speak of [Islamic] terror, but thus far he has not offered a foreign policy that draws sharp and substantial distinctions with Mrs. Clinton’s, especially in the Middle East.ROG: Turning it back to students and campus here, what do you think is the most important issue for students? What is gong to impact students the most, post election?BMG: Students share the general interest in a safe and prosperous and hopeful America. But because students are young and starting out, they have a greater stake in a dynamic economy that gives people at the bottom hope and gives all citizens the confidence that they can make a better life for themselves and their families. Except for those who are already wealthy and well connected, you won’t get this with 1.1 percent economic growth we now have.Tags: 2016 Election Observer, Bill McGurn, Donald Trump, hillary clinton, Tim Kaine, Wall Street Journal
The pigeons were the first group to arrive of about 80 birds that were released from Peace River, Alta., at about 9:30 that morning during the fourth and final race of a circuit that is hosted every year by the Rotary Clubs of Dawson Creek.The pigeons are raised by Lance Jones, who has been involved in pigeon races for over 30 years and has raised both provincial and national champions. Each bird is tagged and the first to arrive back inside the coop is declared the winner.Of those birds participating in the final race, 21 had been auctioned off on Sept. 9 during the Rotary’s Sixth Annual Pigeon Race Sponsor Auction Banquet. Participants bid on the racing rights for those birds for the chance to win a percentage of the total raised if their bird finished in the top three in the race on Sunday.- Advertisement -“It was the best year yet for that auction. People were just bidding up like crazy, and it was a lot of fun,” said Sally Schilds, past president of the Rotary Noon Club.She said one bidder spent $1,600 on a bird, while another spent nearly $3,000 for the racing rights to three birds. She said in total, over $15,000 just on the live auction alone.Schilds said unlike the other birds that they sell the racing rights for before the races begin, the ones that were auctioned off on Friday were pre-named by the organizers of the event with names like Soggy Farmer and Money Matters, designed to correspond with the professions of some of the bidders.Advertisement “They try to pick themes that the bidders are going to be excited about,” she said.”A poor little bird called ‘Cream Puff’ didn’t go for very much. I guess there were no bakers there!” she added with a laugh.The evening also included a silent auction featuring about 50 items donated by Rotarians and their friends. There was also a Calcutta auction, an auction for framed prints donated by Rotarian Don Bourassa with Ducks Unlimited, a 50-50 draw, and a raffle for two quilts made by Jackie Reschny that raised over $1,000.”All of the money raised goes towards our projects – big and small,” said Schilds.Advertisement She said those projects may include installing a new bridge over the Dawson Creek where it intersects with the Rotary Walking Trail behind the Dawson Mall, or continuing to support the Mizpah Transition House by donating starter kits for woman fleeing abusive relationships. The Rotary Clubs also hot two community dinners and an Old Fashioned Christmas over the winter months.Schilds said a special thanks goes to the two organizers of this year`s races, Don Bourassa and Jay Luu, to the staff at the George Dawson Inn for the buffet during the banquet, and to the professional auctioneers who volunteered their time to run the live auction – Gary Bratt, and Jeff and Lorne Weaver.