Actually, it’s Dowd’s peculiar version of No True Scotsman
Where to begin?
Dowd doesn’t define which conservative leaders, which leads us—or at least me—to believe he means either all or at least representative conservative leaders.
It’s like he’s saying, “When I hear the term ‘conservative leader,’ these are the people I think of.”
What does he mean by conservative?
More importantly, what does he mean by leader?
Is a leader a politician?
A Republican party official?
A member of a conservative think tank?
When I look over the list of conservative politicians and pundits I take seriously, Catholics are a distinct minority. Likely because I’m not Catholic myself, so my circle doesn’t skew in that direction.
Yes, it’s Twitter and we all have only 144 characters in which to tell our story.
Still, I think this is a pretty revelatory tweet.
And it’s consistence with opinions Dowd has expressed for some time.
Laying aside the cherry-picking, there’s something more serious at work here.
In two parts:
- Dowd has set himself up as an umpire of Catholic Church doctrine. In his thinking—at least as expresses in this tweet and in other channels—he is representative of the True Catholic. His interpretation, his memory of Church teaching is authoritative. He would likely deny this, as would any sensible person. But his pronouncements contradict his humility.What he’s saying in tweets like this is that No true Catholic believes other than what I (Dowd) am stating right now.
- In not distinguishing between Catholic conservatives and non-Catholic conservatives, Dowd is misrepresenting conservatives in general and accusing them of inconsistency.I don’t think this is acceptable.Do you?
I am not Catholic and do not believe the Pope is infallible on any topic whatever.
I think he may be right sometimes and wrong at other times.
Similarly, I have quoted Martin Luther King on some topics and railed against him on others.
I have praised Ted Cruz in one piece and ridiculed him in others.
That does not make me inconsistent.
What it makes me is a person with opinions talking about the ideas of other people with opinions.
Just like Matthew Dowd.