It's difficult for me to picture 'neocon' George Weigel, just war scholar, theologian and Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, as a Democrat.
But in A Catholic Votes for George W. Bush"America Vol. 191, no. 8 (Sept. 27, 2004), he reveals his past history, his break from his former party, "the maturation of Catholic social doctrine" under the pontificate of John Paul II, and why he'll cast his vote for George W. Bush in November:
The Republican Party is not a perfect home for Catholics. Its libertarian wing is a cause for concern on the life issues; its corporate wing seems too frequently interested in federal protection and too infrequently attentive to worker re-training. But no political party is ever really "home" to those who take Catholic social doctrine seriously. And the fact of the matter is that, for Catholics like me, the party of Lincoln is a far more comfortable place today than could be imagined forty years ago; moreover, it is an immeasurably more comfortable platform from which to work on the great issues of the day than Michael Moore's party.
Republicans now have a real chance of fashioning a long-term governing majority, built in part on the "new ecumenism" of Catholics and evangelical Protestants. Catholic social doctrine - including those priority life issues - could become an even more important factor in shaping the political philosophy of that new majority than it already is in a Bush White House where staffers and speechwriters already take Catholic social thought seriously. There is no chance of doing this in today's Democratic Party, because the party's leadership and the overwhelmingly majority of its activists are unalterably committed to the pro-abortion agenda, to embryo research (which Senator Kerry has tried to demagogue in a singularly ill-informed and cynical way), and to the utterly un-Catholic concepts of human dignity and freedom that the abortion license and embryo research exemplify.
Catholics struggling today with their "genetic" Democratic political loyalties should remember this: Americans don't just elect a president; we elect a party and its people, who will fill the federal government for years - and the appellate bench for decades. A second Bush Administration will give Catholics an unprecedented opportunity to help create a new governing majority informed by the riches of Catholic social doctrine. That can't be done in the Democratic Party. And that's yet another reason to vote for a good, decent, and brave man, George W. Bush, the Methodist who gets the Catholic vision more than his Catholic opponent.
I can already predict the skeptical response of certain Catholic factions -- Catholic Workers, for example -- to Weigel's claims about the compatibility of the economic and foreign policies of the Bush administration with Catholic social doctrine.
And yet, it is impossible to contest Weigel's chief point: so long as the Democratic Party remains formally committed to the enforcement of abortion-on-demand, advancing embroyo stem-cell research, suppressing recognition of the humanity of the unborn, and endorsing a platform that enthrones the autonomous "right" of an individual to murder a child in the womb, its promise to be a party "to all Americans who seek a better future for themselves, for their loved ones, and for our country" is severely compromised. It is no wonder, then, that many Catholics see better hope in working with the Republican party to establish the "culture of life."