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The "FOCA Trap"?

Very interesting post from Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's fine blog. I have no opinion on it but pass it on FYI.

Comments (4)

Well, my own opinion is that the correct approach to things the President can do entirely on his own authority (like repealing Mexico City) is to point to it, talk about it, make a loud noise about it, and keep a record, but not to hope actually to influence him, because he's pretty much un-influencible. But FOCA has to pass Congress, and that, combined with its radical nature, is a good reason to make a loud noise about it ahead of time. If the staffer quoted in the post has specific ideas about other things that have to pass Congress, that are farther ahead than FOCA, and about which we should be lobbying Congress now, I'm all ears.

FOCA provided an easy demonstration of the extremism of Obama, so we heard a lot about it in the presidential campaign. (It is also a blot on the reputation of FOCA co-sponsor Sen. Lieberman)

I too was concerned that too much emphasis was being placed on FOCA and not its provisions and other proposals which may be included in other legislation.

However, before the latest Congressional session opened, these other proposals were not obviously on the agenda. Therefore interest likely concentrated upon FOCA by necessity.

More attention could have been focused on the Mexico City Policy, which was an obvious threat. While its reversal would have been ordered regardless of the opposition, more probably could have been done to argue against it.

A Republican letter recently used the term "the FOCA Agenda," which I think nicely captures both the FOCA problems and the wider issues FOCA represents.

The mistake this whole "FOCA trap" theory suffers from is a common one these days. It simply takes for granted the fruits of tremendous labor, and advises everyone to cease that labor so more pressing things could be attended to.

Exactly why is FOCA such an unrealistic possibility, politically speaking? More to the point, how is it that the Democratic establishment knows it to be a political impossibility (assuming, for a moment, that's what they think)? It's very important that Washington be reminded, and that Obama be reminded, that people do in fact pay attention to what they say, and that they take such threats seriously. We don't want to find ourselves in a position of having to actually fight that fight, with a real chance of losing it. The stakes are too high.

And besides, the whole FOCA trap theory assumes that our resources are way more limited than what they are. What does it really mean to "lose focus" on the smaller fights, if all that's required is to invest some effort in inoculating against much bigger ones? IT seems to me that keeping FOCA at bay is precisely necessary in order to be able to expend valuable time and resources on the smaller battles.

I agree, Sage. I think that it would be useful for anyone who has this "FOCA trap" theory to get specific and to tell us what he thinks we should be doing that we aren't doing. I'm sure we'd be happy to listen to additional suggestions.

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