The last time a Massachusetts Senator of Catholic faith with the initials JFK ran for the presidency, he had to face down some public anxiety that he might not show sufficient independence from the Vatican. This time, the New York Times reports, the apparent problem is that he's not sufficiently deferential:
The National Catholic Reporter reported that that on a visit to the pope this year Mr. Bush asked Vatican officials directly for help in lining up American bishops in support of conservative cultural issues.
The mind reels. It would be nice to imagine those "Vatican officials" brought up any of those other minor issues about war, capital punishment or equitable social policy on which they ostensibly differ from the Bush administration, but I somehow doubt it.
This along with the Sinclair nonsense would seem to comprise the "surprises" Karl Rove promised would be in store for Kerry this month. I have no idea if they'll be sufficient to obscure Bush's disastrous record and the broad doubts about his judgment and leadership that the campaign, especially the debates, have done nothing to dispel. But it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that the last gambit of the right-wingers is to sling mud and attack Kerry rather than offer anything positive in defense of their own standard-bearer.
By the way, Daily Kos and others throughout the left blogosphere have called for a boycott of Sinclair's advertisers. The stock was down on Monday, though I wouldn't yet hazard a guess that this is why. Josh Marshall--who has been about as hot as Carlos Beltran over the last week or so--has several good pieces on this story.