This is one of those stories that could have shown up with a "Got news?" notice in a GetReligion headline. It's rather amazing that this Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog item -- it's hard to tell if it was given serious news treatment -- did not receive more attention from the national press.
It's a classic example of a "mirror image" story. Try to imagine the coverage if a liberal Catholic or a traditional Muslim had been the target of this kind of ad.
Here's the top of the PI report:
A website erected by local Democratic activists mocked the Catholic faith of Republican state Senate candidate Mark Miloscia, showing a cartoon of Miloscia waring a bishop’s mitre and holding a rosary and claiming that Miloscia represents “the Vatican.”
Democratic opponent Shari Song asked that the posting be taken down. It was, but has been replaced by an equally crude posting entitled “Pope Francis vs. Mark Miloscia,” which appears to argue that Miloscia is opposing the pope by being pro-life and upholding church teaching on same-sex marriage.
Miloscia is a former Democratic state representative, who switched to the Republican side earlier this year arguing that the Democratic Party no longer tolerated his socially conservative views. ...
“It is not any part of my campaign and nobody in my campaign had any part in it,” Song said on Monday morning. The website was “a little bit misguided,” she added, saying of the authors: “I don’t believe they are anti-Catholic or intended it in that way.”
The former pro-life Democrat ended up winning at the polls as a Republican, providing yet another example of how the role of religious and moral and issues blurs many familiar labels in contemporary politics in our tense political culture.
If you are interested in the history of these trends, especially how they have affected endangered pro-life progressives, you need to know about the work of former GetReligionista Mark Stricherz, formerly of The New Republic. He is the author of a must-own political history entitled "Why the Democrats are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People's Party."
Stricherz recently interviewed Miloscia for the Aleteia website and the results offer quite a bit of food for thought, for those who cover religion and especially who are interested in the views of public leaders whose views are often assigned simplistic labels. A sample, from the overture for the short Q&A interview:
Miloscia, 56, is an atypical Republican lawmaker.
Although he is a Mississippi native, his family moved to New York City when he was six years old. He went to the Bronx High School of Science for one year and graduated from Francis Lewis High School in Queens. His father worked two jobs, as an insurance and shoe salesman; his mother stayed at home to rear five children.
After graduating at 17, he enrolled in the Air Force Academy and served in the Air Force for 14 years. As a state lawmaker in Washington State, he earned a voting record of 92 percent from a state labor union. He cited John and Robert F. Kennedy as well as the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as his political heroes. He cast presidential votes for Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, and Barack Obama in 2008.
Interesting. Read it all.