Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Romney’s Strategery

Without going over all the information and opinons on Mitt available today, let me say, once again, that he shouldn’t be in the business of driving Huck’s numbers down through attacking him in various ways. Isn’t it clearer every day that Romney’s strength is as the moderate alternative to Huckabee, and his primary appeal should be made to Giuliani voters? The same advice goes, probably, for Thompson and McCain. The lesson, again: Both Huckabee and Giuliani are both too extreme to have much chance of winning in November.

Discussions - 20 Comments

Mitt Romney refused to disavow or condemn racism in the past of the LDS church. Simply embarassing, but on an even larger point, this is just one more reason why he is wholly unelectable. Any Republican who wants no chance next November need only vote for Mitt.

Clint,

Should Huckabee disavow every non-politically correct position ever taken by the Southern Baptist Convention?

Lawler, you are right on. Just to add to the point, Huck has fewer supporters to take! Why rob the guy with less to give when he needs to rob the one with lots of votes! Besides that, when he attacks Huck, as an evangelical, it feels like he is attacking me. I was not off the Mitt train completely until he started bashing a candidate that I identify with more than him. Had he kept his focus on his message I might still be willing to vote for him in November.

Huckabee and Giuliani are "extreme"?Ooohhh-kaaayyy ...

Joe, isn't there a difference between politically incorrect and racism? Are you seriously suggesting that racism is the equivilant to Huckabee's supporting the Southern Baptist definition of marriage. A good story about the difference of the two: When Huckabee took over one of his churches is was by tradition an all white church in Pine Bluff, AR. Huckabee brought invited a black man to church, made the people accept him and integrated that church. Now that is principle, that is standing up for what is right. Romney is the man who always looks for the path of least resistance, while Huckabee is not afraid of taking the hard path. Why haven't you (and the media/establishment) found any of the amazing things that Huckabee did?

I think the other big story that everyone is neglecting is that Ron Paul pulled in $17M (I think, at least) this quarter. So what's he going to do with it? Paul has run a somewhat frugal campaign so far. He will be out of the race in 1-3 months as a Republican. If he runs as a libertarian this year with ~$20M in the bank and the hardcore support of 3M people or so, he could kill the Republican nominee regardless of who it is. All the major candidates have either condescended to Paul or used him for attacks. I think if Romney, Giuliani, or Huckabee is the nominee, Paul will run independent. When he jumps in, Bloomberg will, too. This election could be a real mess. A perfect storm and the Republicans could end up with 30% of the popular vote in this thing.

Luke is right: I was talking about a Republican moderate who whould hold the coalition together. And of course I didn't mean to endorse Romney, who still has a long way to go on the character front. Especially if his opponent is Hillary, it's not the alleged (but completely unreal in this day and age) racism of the Mormons that will hurt Romney in November, it's their (real) patriarchy. Two things that repulse me right now (to ramble on): 1. The stupid prejudice against Mormons among some evangelicals. 2. The stupid prejudice among some Republicans writing in the mainstraem conservative media that produces the conclusion that all the support for Huckabee is the product of evangelical prejudice.

Peter, if one believes that Mormonism is a crazy cult, why are evangelicals stupid for being cautious? People seem to have bought the myth that all faith is equal. If someone's faith is exactly contrary or in "competition" (note Mitt's interview on The View) with yours, why would you blindly jump on their "faith" band wagon?

Brutus,

I'm electing a president and supporting the programs I think he'll pursue over his term, not calling a preacher. The presidency is indeed a bully pulpit, but I wouldn't vote for someone who used it to promote his theological views, for such a person wouldn't seem to understand the difference between religion and politics.

Clint,

My point was that neither Romney nor Huckabee should be expected to answer to a secular tribunal for the theological judgments of their denominations. That point is made particularly well here. Look at their records in office; look at how they conduct their lives. If you, or anyone else, can't support someone because of his or her religious beliefs (or lack thereof), you're entitled to do so, but I would strongly urge you to consider that political life is largely an arena in which gifts God has given to everyone can be displayed, not an arena for the enactment of a special revelation that is the preserve only of a few. By this I don't mean to say that everyone is equally politically adept or has equally good political judgment, but only that political skill and judgment isn't distributed only to God's chosen few.

Joe,

I never said I was electing a preacher. What I said was, if someone comes to the table with views that are hostile to yours on any issue (faith, taxes, racism, interpretations of the constitution) why on earth would you give them a free pass on that issue? It seems that that issue should be foremost on your mind. Besides, if one has faith then it IS going to affect your political actions. If one really has faith in God, then it seems that they would look to His divine revelation for guidance on every issue! To say that they have faith but it wont affect them politically brings out a contradiction. By saying they believe in God (assuming this God knows all) and then saying they will not look to that all knowing God in an area of their life, then I have to wonder just how much a candidate really believes. Is God all knowing except when it comes to how to rule a country?

Were I not still thoroughly miserable by the play of the Dallas Cowboys earlier this afternoon, I would be roused to respond to this objectionable post by Peter.

And Brutus, so long as someone says he's "of faith," {whatever the hell that empty banality means} politically correct and intellectually sloppy America feels, not thinks mind you, but FEELS they can't possibly pass "judgement" upon that "faith."

Don't you know, Romney just wrote one and all of us a "love poem" in that recent speech of his, which celebrated sloppiness, incoherence and syncretism.

But even the nonsense from the Romney campaign isn't enough to rouse me from my GLOOM about the play of Tony Romo today.

I propose as the theme song for Republican hopes in '08 that old war time staple: "Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer," sung by Anne Shelton.

"One of our planes was missing, two hours overdue, ... one of our planes was missing, ... with all its gallant crew..., though there's one engine gone we can still carry on...."

But just as an aside, our boy Romney was at it again on Meet the Press. He actually claimed that back in the day, he enjoyed "support" from the NRA.

Of course that's news to the National Rifle Association, which has mucho problemo with old Romney, and his touchy feely understanding of the 2d Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Our boy Romney just can't help himself.

And Brutus, dealing with strawmen raised by Joe K. is going to be par for the course when discussing the issue. It's much easier to impute to you positions and sentiments you never entertained, then actually dealing with this open ended pluralism that Romney proposed in his "love poem" to America, a pluralism without any limiting principle within. It's easier to project on to you all kinds of phantasms and religious visions, than actually engage on the merits.

How much of the Lawlerian "extremism" of MH and RG is a matter of perception, and how much has each of them contributed or not contributed to it? In the general election, what are the relative chances of each to unify the party and win against a very unknown liberal quantity in Obama, or a very known and perhaps less fearful one in Hill?

Peter, the stupidity of many evangelical's "stupid prejudice" against Romney's Mormonism is a political stupidity or misjudgment. I support Romney for president, but I am not happy about the fact that he is Mormon, or that Mormonism is so widespread.

Nor do I think, contary to Joe's Powerline link, that the tenets of Mormonism should be entirely off the table. The no-religious-test clause prohibits religious-test LAWS. We're all going to have to do a lot more thinking about what is the morally and civically right path for Americans to cleave to in terms of discussing candidates' religious beliefs. First, there's the question of Muslims. Second, many on the liberal side, including, if you recall, our liberal-ed defending friend John Seery, have been espousing the position that, hey, if you right-wingers are going to win points for your candidates by highlighting their religious faith, then it's perfectly okay for us to ask the tough questions--you know, "Mr. Senator, how many of the ten plagues of Egypt do you think are historical fact, and why is it that you ignore the findings of scholar x on this topic?" or "Do think so-and-so standing to your left is going to suffer in hell forever, given your stated belief in..., etc.?" Well, I mock Seery's position, but in point of fact what he would want is not all that different.

Eastern-Orthodox convert Rod Dreher has a good essay on some of this linked over at Real Clear Politics.

Joe, if you think as your link says that a candidate should be unanswerable for the theology of his religion, you are badly mistaken. None of the Founders would probably have gone that far, even guys like Jefferson.

I worship trees and my religion tells me that nature is good and man bad. According to the religion of the trees, which I practice and adhere to, people who injure trees should be killed. This issue is completely off the table in my Presidential bid. Do not question my morality or what I believe and why when I run.

Carl displays a certain robust common sense.

And Clint again makes the perfectly accurate observation that the founders would have been appalled at the suggestion that a person's religious belief, or lack thereof, was somehow off the table when considering that person for the highest office in the land.

It's a sad commentary when so many Conservatives, EDUCATED CONSERVATIVES TOO, blur the distinction between what is legally prohibited, and what is culturally and thus politically appropriate.

And Carl and Clint, did you notice your observations didn't get any response.... A silence that speaks volumes.

They offer no answer, because there is NO answer for them to offer, and what's more, they know it.

Dan, good observation. Often those who start the blog rarely dig into the discussion of the real idea. They just cast a trashy story or idea before us and ignore its problems.

The only way that I can explain the downfall of "educated conservatives" is that from the NRO to the bottom they are in bed with the establishment. Education lost its sway as a separate and distinct field in America many years ago. In order to keep power, professors on up the line to the "think tanks" and writers had to cozy up to big business and DC politics. By ingratiating themselves to these interests they kept power for themselves, but this is why they heap their "intellectual" scorn so readily on any candidate who does not listen to the establishment.

Joe and Peter's silence doesn't speak volumes to me, Dan, since they're probably grading papers like I should be doing right now! And what else is there to say, really? I'm with Joe in not wanting much political talk about Mormonism, even if I do point out that many, particularly on the left, are going make such talk, often for low reasons, and it isn't sufficient to quote the no religious test clause to them, or to pretend that American discourse is above this, especially these days. There is some sort of balance to be struck here, and a need to argue for it, but really, it isn't healthy for conservatives of the Hugh Hewitt(whom I respect a lot, BTW) or Michael Gerson stamp to be crying out "bigotry!" every time some commentator or figure goes at Romney's Mormonism. Oh, and thanks for the compliment.

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