Article VI Blog

"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

United States Constitution — Article VI:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

  • Today’s Reading List – November 1, 2007

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 09:33 pm, October 31st 2007     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    A Clarification…

    We received several emails yesterday concerning the  Richard Land quote that concluded the Bloomberg piece we discussed.

    Richard Land, a leader of the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention, disagrees. Romney, he says, has a lot more explaining to do. "When he goes around and says Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior, he ticks off at least half the evangelicals,'' Land said. "He's picking a fight he's going to lose.''

    To my Mormon friends, that is not as offensive as it appears at first blush.  I think we can agree we have different very different understandings of both salvation and the Godhead.  SBC people like Land think theologically to begin with, and especially when they are in a position like Land's.  My guess is Land is being lifted somewhat out of context here and he is making more of a theological statement than anything quite as visceral as some of our email indicated they took it.

    This is indeed thoughtless and insensitive, but it is not the worst thing ever said as some of the email has indicated. 

    Lowell gripes just a wee bit:   Land's comment is silly, and I think such statements are being perceived as sillier all the time.  Look, I am a Mormon, and like all believing Mormons, I consider Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.  If someone has a problem with that, too bad.  Neither Land nor anyone else can expect any Mormon to say otherwise; to do so would be to deny our faith.  My guess is that people will get wearier and wearier of hearing such theologically arcane attacks, which, whatever their underlying intent, are in effect cheap shots.  Over time people like Land are simply going to be marginalized.

    More Endorsements…

    Bill Wichterman – this one is important both because it is another conservative creedal Christian, but also because it is a "get" from the Thompson camp.

    Well, well…

    From the Religion News Service:

    Though thousands of evangelicals flocked to Washington for the recent Values Voter Summit, more than two-thirds of Americans think presidential candidates should not use their religious beliefs to sway voters, a new poll shows.

    Now this absolutely begs a question – who is using their religion?  Romney? or perhaps Huckabee, who said: “it’s important that the language of Zion is a mother tongue and not a recently acquired second language”? – Don't know about you, but I'm going with the latter.

    Religion and Conservatism…

    We have talked about the two broad wings of the Republican party – fiscal and social.  Just for insight, there was an interesting discussion at The Corner yesterday regarding Michael Gerson's forthcoming book.  It is a view more from the fiscal wing than the social wing, but it does illustrate the divide to some extent:

    The charitable impulse is religious in nature.  Which is why religious political influence can tend to liberalize.  But the religious influence is also the source of freedom which demands that the source of charity NOT be governmental in nature.

    Anyway, this is just some interesting insight into the religion/politics mix that I thought some of our readers might enjoy. 

    Meanwhile, over at The O'Reilly Factor, Mike Huckablee is talking.  Lowell comments:

    The interview, which took place on October 31, is fascinating in its own way.  A transcript should be up soon here.  [Update:  At 2:15 p.m. Pacific time today, still no transcript.]  At one point O'Reilly pressed Huckabee on his religious beliefs, asking, "Do you believe only those who believe in Jesus will go to heaven?"  (A silly question to ask a presidential candidate.)  Huckabee properly avoided a direct answer, saying only that he believed that for him, faith in Jesus Christ is the only path. In his view, Huckabee stated, the most important thing was for candidates to "be honest about" their faith.  At first I wondered what he meant by that, but he later clarified that he's talking about living up to one's Christian beliefs, rather than professing Christianity but living a lesser standard. 

    In short, in his deflection of religions-based questions, Huckabee sounded a lot like Romney. I wonder if dialogues like this one aren't actually helpful by putting the issue in perspective and taking pressure off Romney.  It's worth noting that Romney's not the only very religious conservative running in 2008 – and that the questions Huckabee is starting to get are just as irrelevant to his candidacy as they are to Romney's.

    John adds briefly:  It also worthy of note that just yesterday we passed on and seconded Jim Geraghty's concern, in response to Ramesh Ponnuru's "pragmatism," that :

    I realize Mike Huckabee has only been in the top tier for a short time, but I wonder if we soon hear questions about "the Baptist preacher factor" in his bid.

    Such was very much O'Reilly's tone with the interview.  When he went to commercial and when he came back, he promoted the interview with the question, "Can a deeply religious person be elected president of the United States?"

    We have been saying just about forever on this blog that attacks on religion, are just that, attacks on religion.   Huckabee's continued appeals to being "one of us" and the whole "second language" crack from above are backfiring – easily foreseeable.  It was interesting to watch Huckabee become entirely dismissive and duck the question, and the comparison to Romney when O'Reilly tried to press it.

    Huckabee seems to want it both ways – a lot.  Consider this from Hugh Hewitt's interview with him yesterday:

    Several months in advance of that, I’d indicated that I might, that I did indicate I would commute his sentence. But after reviewing his case and deciding that he wouldn’t have supervision, I decided against it and denied the commutation. 

    Does that remind you of anybody?  This is getting more political than we usually get here, but his veiled references to Romney's religion on one hand, and in front of one audience, and his denial of it being an issue in another is just below the belt.  My comparisons to Jesse Jackson are seeming more and more apropos.

    LowellWell, I am starting to think that the comparison is more apt when made to that other former Arkansas governor who also was "A Man from Hope" and was pretty slick with weasel-words.   


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    Today’s Reading List – October 31, 2007

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:37 am, October 31st 2007     &mdash      1 Comment »

    Ohh, That's scary…

    (Hey, give me a break – it's Halloween.) Bye

    Bloomberg leads an otherwise completely unoriginal piece on The Question with this bit of quoted misspeak...

    As Mitt Romney scours the South for endorsements from evangelical leaders, he is getting some unusual advice on how to explain his Mormon faith: Don't try to be one of us.


    "I told him, you cannot equate Mormonism with Christianity; you cannot say, `I am a Christian just like you,''' said Representative Bob Inglis of South Carolina, which is scheduled to hold the first primary among the Southern states. "If he does that, every Baptist preacher in the South is going to have to go to the pulpit on Sunday and explain the differences.''

    Uh, Congressman Inglis, that's just tacky. No Mormon I have ever met wants to be anything "just like us."  They are quite proud of their distinctives.  I wonder if it has ever dawned on the Congressman that if they were "just like us" they probably would not have needed to start a different religion to begin with?

    What Governor Romney has and should continue to emphasize is that Mormons and creedal Christians do have much in common, including reverence of Jesus Christ Himself.

    Jim Geraghty calls the Congressman's statement "very poor word choice."  Gee, ya think? 

    Lowell thinks this is an opportune moment for these observations:

    This NRO post by Ramesh Ponnuru may be the most disturbing I have read in months. Ponnuru's thesis is that Romney's Mormonism is a liability and therefore disqualifies him as the GOP nominee:

    . . . I would like to be wrong. It may be that Romney's social conservatism would win him evangelical votes against Clinton, and that the anti-Mormon Democrats aren't people whom any Republican could reach. But let's say I'm right: that Mormonism is a general-election liability in a year Republicans can't afford unnecessary liabilities. I would agree with this reader in considering this situation unfair—and I think his suggestion that NR run an editorial on this point is an excellent one.


    But I can't sign on to the proposition that we should never take account of popular attitudes we find irrational or even hateful. Fighting anti-black bigotry was more important for the country in 1960 than fighting anti-Mormon bigotry (and fighting misunderstandings of Mormons) today. It does not follow that the Democrats should have nominated a black candidate for president in 1960. Getting a presidential nomination isn't all about fairness.

    Why is this so disturbing?  There are many reasons, but here's the big one, in my mind:  A serious, respected conservative thinker, in perhaps the leading conservative journal, is making an argument for the GOP's taking religious bigotry into account in deciding whom to nominate. Many will find his argument persuasive; after all, it is logical, or at least pragmatic.  

    And yet . . . and yet . . . Ponnuru is arguing for pragmatism over principle:  "The country's not  ready for a Mormon president; it shouldn't be that way, but it is, so let's just acquiesce to that prejudice."

    Since when is that conservative thinking?  I remember during the early days of the Reagan Revolution, when Republicans who wanted to compromise on principle were labeled "prags" (short for "pragmatist").  As John has argued for months now on this blog, once conservatives — especially religious conservative like Ponnuru– start to accept such morally lame reasoning, we open the door to the same reasoning being used against other religious candidates.

    Let's play my favorite religious-bias game with the Ponnuru pull-quote above:  Imagine we are in a time when anti-Catholic or even anti-Evangelical bias is running high.  Then replace the word "Mormon" in the quote with "Catholic" or "Evangelical."  How does that feel?  

    Thought so. 

    Jim Geraghty, responding to Ponnuru, seems to agree:

    I realize Mike Huckabee has only been in the top tier for a short time, but I wonder if we soon hear questions about "the Baptist preacher factor" in his bid.

    Once we start accepting this kind of thinking, fellow conservatives, we cannot know where it will end.

    Back to John:  Doesn't Huckabee need a whole lot bigger war chest to be in the actual
    top tier?

    Sarcasm aside, is not the whole Huckabee boomlet about principle over pragmatism anyway?  Simply put, Huckabee, regardless of how great a guy he is and how qualified he may be, does not have the horsepower to win.  He has only a slightly better chance of being president than I do.

    Seems voters have some genuine dilemmas here.  Pragmatism over principle as represented by McCain, or Guiliani.  Principle over pragmatism as represented by Huckabee.  Or, pragmatism AND principle as represented by Romney.  Does not seem like a hard choice to me.

    Sometimes The Question cuts the other way…

    Things really are getting silly, I am growing increasingly astonished at things like this from the Arizona State U school paper:

    Mitt Romney is Mormon, but don't assume the more than 2,000 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints students at ASU will automatically vote for the presidential candidate.

    Wait!? You mean Mormons are not all brainwashed (with apologies to the current Romney candidate's father) robotic sycophants doing the bidding of their fearless leader?

    And sometimes, people try to make it look like it doesn't cut at all…

    Out of Philly:

    The faith of the Mr. Romney, therefore, does not appear to be an insurmountable obstacle, but his track record on the issues could become a mountain he cannot climb.

    In other words, it is not religion, it is flip-flop.  I am getting pretty tired of this.  One must ask why the flip-flop charge has traction.  Candidates positions evolve, they always have, they always will.  With the exception of John Kerry, who managed to flip-flop in the course of a single sentence, therefore revealing himself as a bulb short of a four-pack, changing one's mind is not a problem.  Except, of course, if people are looking for an excuse not to vote for someone when their real reason for not doing so would appear illegitimate.

    This effect is particularly powerful when you think that person's religion is somehow deceptive.  Note to my evangelical brethren:  "Wrong" is not "deceptive." 

    They are still talking about Huckabee…

    Some are late to the party;

    And some are wondering if he is not the answer to the third party risk.

    But I think William Murchison probably has it most correct:

    You have to hand it to the evangelicals: They got the country's attention. At the same time, they created for themselves expectations too high to meet — namely, that the elevation to office of people who seemed to believe all the right things would cleanse America of pornography, false understandings of marriage, etc. Any Bible-reading evangelical ought to know something about a human encumbrance called sin, which chains human nature to modes of performance redeemable only by — surprise! — religion.


    The evangelical miscalculation, in my judgment, wasn't getting into politics. It was expecting that the practitioners of politics — yea, from George W. Bush on down — had the power to scourge the devil from his fortification in the human heart. For the harder task of cultural transformation and the spreading of Truth many evangelicals have shown scant appetite. They'd rather sign petitions and pass out campaign literature.


    Sorry. The Good Book contradicts that notion. Hearken, brethren, to Psalm 146: "O put not your trust in princes, nor in any child of man; for there is no help in them. Blessed is the God of Jacob for his help; and whose hope is in the Lord his God."

    The appeal of a Huckabee is understandable, but unrealistic both politically and in terms of the social agenda.  Politically, the first job of an candidate is to organize a campaign and raise money.  That is, in fact, a test of the organizational skill necessary for the job being sought – it is not merely "a game."  Huckabee is not passing that test.  Oh, he is getting maximal bang for his buck, that is for sure, but that is a test of personal magnetism, not organizational savvy.  The latter is the foremost skill needed in a president.

    As to the social agenda, Murchison's point is we need a president that makes sure we have the room to operate, the president himself cannot carry the ball, nor score the touchdown.  That is our job.  Being president is a different skill set – one that Mitt Romney has in spades.


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    Today’s Reading List – October 30, 2007

    Posted by: Lowell Brown at 05:43 am, October 30th 2007     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    Fred Siegel is all excited about Mike Huckabee's speech at the Values Voters Summit, and ties that performance in to Mitt Romney:

    Taking a shot at Mitt Romney, he drew cheers when, speaking in the cadences of a man at the pulpit, he insisted “it’s important that the language of Zion is a mother tongue and not a recently acquired second language.” The argument took. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council concluded that Huckabee “comes out of here clearly as a favorite.” The rank and file attendees concurred. In an event where all the major candidates spoke, Huckabee was the runaway winner with 50 percent support (with Romney a distant second at 10 percent).

    This is potentially a very troubling statement.  Is Huckabee's biblical allusion to "Zion" and "language" limited to Romney's supposed conversion to a pro-life position?  Or is it a sly reference to Romney not being a "real" member of the creedal Christian "club?"  And for which reason does Siegel like it?  It's one thing for Huckabee to make a questionable statement; it's another for Seigel to seize on it gleefully.

    John Responds:  There is little doubt Huckabee was attractive at the Values Voters Summit.  There is little doubt in my mind that he designed his presentation to be so appealing.  He has made constant reference to "being one of you," or something to that affect.   That Huckabee is reaching out, effectively, to at least a certain segment of Evangelicals cannot be denied.

    Frankly, that's politics.  The critical question is does it rise to the level of bigotry?  I'm not sure, but it sure is close enough to smell it.  The best analogy I can think of is Jesse Jackson's various runs.  What Jackson did, effectively, was corner the black vote in an effort to gain personal influence. I am beginning to wonder if Huckabee does not have something similar in mind?  He knows he cannot win, but he could broker a deal, or at least thinks he could.

    Were Jackson's actions bigotry?  I am not sure, but they did not help blacks advance in the mainstream of political activity.  Segregating oneself as a voting bloc removes political manuvuering capability, which reduces effectiveness.

    Even a reasonable Democrat seems to wonder what is going on

    Lowell muses:  I want to be fair and avoid over-reacting.  But I am compelled to wonder:  Imagine that Huckabee the Baptist is running for governor of Utah against Romney.  Got that?  Now imagine a report like this about Romney speaking to an audience in Salt Lake City's Mormon Tabernacle:

    Taking a shot at Mike Huckabee, Romney drew cheers when, speaking in the cadences of an LDS leader, he insisted “it’s important that the language of Zion is a mother tongue and not a recently acquired second language.” The argument took. Joseph Kimball of the Utah Conservative League concluded that Huckabee “comes out of here clearly as a favorite.” The rank and file attendees concurred. In an event where all the major candidates spoke, Romney was the runaway winner with 50 percent support (with Huckabee a distant second at 10 percent).

    Could Romney ever get away with that?   

    And John Continues…

    The MSM continues to wish for the end of the Religious Right.  It remains too early to know for sure.  Call me when the general is over.  And here is a bit of food for thought in that vein.

    In South Carolina can hard work overcome the presumed religious bias

    “If I ever ran for the president of the United States, I’d want to do it like Mitt Romney,” said Samuel Harms, chairman of the Republican Party in Greenville County, a conservative stronghold that Mr. Romney first visited early last year. “It’s my impression that he’s outworking everybody else.”

    You know, Mormons have been in presidential politics a lot more than just now

    Best Op-Ed Headline in a While…

    …from a black man no less:

    Mitt Romney is a Mormon and I am a Baptist: Get Over It!

    The Largest Stretch In Journalistic History…

    … courtesy of a reader.  The NYTimes writes about auditions for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and works in a Romney mention.  These things are starting to get extremely silly. 


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    Today’s Reading List – October 29, 2007

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:46 am, October 29th 2007     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    Rising and Falling…

    The Christian Post has been reliably skeptical of Romney throughout this political season due to his faith.  But lo…

    Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney seems to be gaining ground with the much sought-after evangelical community as he adds more Christian leaders to his growing list of supporters.

    There is your rising.  When you want your falling, John Fund writes about Mike Huckabee:

    Mr. Huckabee attributes his support to the fact he is a "hardworking, consistent conservative with some authenticity about those convictions." He is certainly qualified for national office, having served nearly 11 years as a chief executive. I have known and liked him for years; on the stump he often tells the story of how we first met outside his boarded-up office in the state Capitol, which had been sealed by Arkansas Democrats who refused to accept he had won an upset election for lieutenant governor in 1993. But I also know he is not the "consistent conservative" he now claims to be.

    And Pat Toomey piles on:

    In some quarters, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee appears to be the flavor-of-the-month Republican candidate for president. Given his folksy charm, social conservative credentials, and embrace by the mainstream media, it is not surprising that some are increasingly enamored with him. But this flirtation does a great disservice to the conservative movement if it overlooks Huckabee’s stunning record of big-government liberalism.

    Here endeth that boomlet.  Although, it has produced one of the funniest bits of sarcastic writing I have read to date on this subject, courtesy John Mark Reynolds.  In the interest of fairness, we link to Huckabee's response.

    I spoke on Friday about "like dissolving like." An attraction between Evangelicals and Huckabee is a natural.  It is not unlike the phenomena that Mormons are working for Romney harder than they have worked before.

    It has been analyzed before that there are two primary wings in the Republican party – social conservatives and fiscal conservatives.  For the coalition between the two that is the party to function, we have traditionally nominated candidates that represent the best of both wings, we have engaged in that old political practice of compromise.

    I do not think what we are seeing in the Huckabee boomlet is religious bigotry, at least not yet.  It is attractive in nature not repulsive.  No one is finding Romney wrong because he is Mormon, they are simply more attracted to Huckabee because he looks more like them.  Bias, perhaps, but not bigotry.

    Right now the question is more one of can the traditional compromise withstand these attractive forces?  If it cannot, the party will weaken and bigotry will take root in the void created.   That is dangerous, for if it does social conservatives will be the primary victims, not Romney.

    I share with my Evangelical Brethren their impatience with the slow pace of reform with regards to the social agenda.  But the journey to this point took decades, and teamwork. The journey back requires the same.

    Lowell piles on too:

    I liked this bit from Pat Toomey's piece:

    In frontrunners Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Mitt Romney, the GOP is well on its way to nominating a candidate for president with a strong fiscal record. Each of them would provide a great opportunity for the GOP to reestablish its vitally important brand as the party of pro-growth tax policy and smaller and more affordable government. But no Republican presidential candidate can effectively claim that mantle with Mike Huckabee standing by his side.

    Putting it simply:  I hope the bias John identifies (correctly, I think) does not cause an important slice of the GOP electorate to go chasing after Huckabee just because he's a devout Southern Baptist.  Something tells me that before that happens, reality will pull them back toward either Romney or Giuliani.  And along those lines . . . Hugh Hewitt and Fred Barnes are calling this a 2-man race, and they don't see Huckabee as one of the two.  Barnes' view of Huckabee is particularly bracing for Huck fans.  

    Wishful thinking or bitter reality…

    That's the question about this from the WSJ (subscription may be required)

    Still, evangelicals have clearly lost their enthusiasm for the GOP. A recent poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life paints the picture: "Throughout Bush's first term, party identification among younger white evangelicals remained relatively stable, but since 2005 the group's Republican affiliation has dropped significantly — by 15 percentage points." The study notes, however, that "the shift away from the GOP has not resulted in substantial Democratic gains." In short, evangelicals seem adrift.


    This development does not bode well for Republican turnout during next fall's presidential campaign. And who can place a value on that?

    The New York Times joined the chorus with a lengthy piece titled:

    The Evangelical Crackup

    One is tempted to respond with, "It is the primary, silly person!" — We are supposed to do some infighting.  As discussed above, there is much yet to be figured out in all this. And there is much of that going on here.  But that is a tad bit dismissive of some real forces at play.

    The tension between the two primary wings of the Republican party are real and have been for a long time.  That's old news.  The lack of a candidate that, on the surface, can unite the wings is a problem, but only a temporary one.  Romney looks to me like that guy, but he has to overcome the bias and he has to get better known before the natives will quiet down.  Both are things he can do, but they will be hard work.

    Of course, some of this writing is the left trying to drive a wedge into a perceived crack in hopes of shattering the coalition leading to their own victory.  That's normal for any election; they read the tea leaves and predict disaster for the opposition.

    The key question is do Evangelicals want to overcome their natural and understandable bias to unite behind an apparently less than perfect candidate?  The question is not a straightforward one, because many of the forces at play in Evangelicals are spiritual ones, not political ones.  Many are forces that cry, correctly in my opinion, that politics have displaced the proper mission of the church.  Now, if you think about it, such forces winning the day will free the politics of the religious labeling and that will naturally overcome the bias, but that is a hard process, and one that could hurt the political force while restoring the spiritual one.

    It is definitely premature to declare death to the Evangelical political movement, but it is changing.  I believe I commented early on in this blog that the Evangelical political movement had almost everything at stake in this election cycle.  They can grow up into a smart political movement, or they can throw it all away in a fit of pique.  I'm hoping, even praying, for the former. 


    Oh, please….  There is enough real bias against Romney's religion to have to try and cook something up out of vapors.  This is a new low. 

    This is the most laughable headline in the history of this blog:

    Mormon unspoken issue for Romney
    Rarely discussed, faith may affect some voters

     But things only get worse in the lead:

    As major Republican presidential candidates jostle to stay atop the polls, one issue almost never is mentioned by rival campaigns, and rarely even when voters chat among themselves about the contenders:


    Mitt Romney's Mormon faith.

    Clearly, this headline writer and story writer have read NOTHING that has been written about Romney in the last year and one-half.  They are trying to make the point that there is "whispering" going on out there, but in my experience, only when Democrats want to take a shot, or when reporters ask.  Besides, an opposing candidate that tried to make an issue out of it would automatically disqualify themselves, like oh…I don't know…John McCain?

    Ross Douhat goes somewhere no one ought to go in this kind of discussion.  "Who's the better Mormon?" is just not a game for politics any more than "Who's the better Evangelical?"  You know, I think our shared scripture may have some admonition about such talk.

    Lowell:  Scripture aside, one simply has to roll one's eyes at the banality of Douthat's idle speculation about a subject with which he is clearly and woefully unfamiliar.

    Oh look, someone did all the same research a bunch of other someones have done before.  Well at least there are footnotes.

    This, on the other hand, is the least original piece written on the Romney campaign in a couple of months.  But, it must lead with religion, it cannot be a Romney story unless it leads with religion…ARRRRGH!

    Ugly, just ugly. 

    You know, we have a high school intern (Three cheers for Asher the Intern!) that helps us out with this blog.  Thank goodness, he is a lot smarter than this guy.


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    Today’s Reading List – October 26, 2007

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:43 am, October 26th 2007     &mdash      1 Comment »

    Between simple "news fatigue" from last weekend to the overwhelming news of the fires…

    . . . things are a little thin today.  However . . .

    …speaking of the fires…

    Pray for Matt Romney and family

    Meanwhile in the "news"…

    Yada, yada, yada – Oh, how I would love to read something original on this subject, just once. 

    This isn't even a story, it's just an excuse to talk about religion again. 

    Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney embraced his association with Christian conservative Bob Jones III Thursday despite Jones' sharp criticism of the Mormon faith central to Romney's life.

    Oh, get over it!

    In Iowa…

    The reliable David Yepsen, speaks of "unspoken bias."  Yepsen seems to be discovering the various codes that are going on, such as "flip-flop code" that we alluded to yesterday.  And he points out the obvious:

    Everyone tiptoes around all of this. Whispered comments among Republicans about Mormons most likely benefit candidates like Baptist Mike Huckabee, who is doing well at courting GOP social conservatives.

    Well, there is a Huckabee boomlet going on.  To which my initial response is, "Does anyone remember the Thompson boomlet?"  But sarcasm aside, and recalling my formal education as a chemist, there is an important phrase in Chemistry – "Like dissolves like."  People are going to be attracted to a candidate that is "like" them.  The real question, is at what point does that attraction become bias and/or bigotry?

    In this particular instance, I would argue that crossing the line would come if Romney is nominated, but people refuse to vote for him because…, or if the boomlets continue unabated in the primaries as people vainly seek an "anyone but Romney because…" candidate.  Of course, there will always be some.

    I think we are witnessing a mass psychological acceptance dance of some sort.  It takes a while to step out of the comfort zone on anything, people generally fight it.  I think that is what is happening here.  Only time will tell.

    Lowell:   Meanwhile, my co-blogger at The Hedgehog Blog, Ralph Kostant, has something interesting to say.  Ralph begins with this:

    [L]et us imagine how the so-called Jewish defense organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League, would react if Mitt Romney said the following in a campaign speech:


    “We’re going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth. I want all of you to pray that I can be an instrument of God.”

    Read the whole thing. 


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    Today’s Reading List – October 25, 2007

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:55 am, October 25th 2007     &mdash      2 Comments »

    The Narrative MUST Live…

    Sounds like Dr. Frankenstein discussing his creation, doesn't it?  Says the AP:

    Romney's standing is hardly secure.

    At some point this just gets funny.  Ramesh Ponnuru is holding the narrative in favor of his guy McCain too.

    Romney’s Mormonism and flip-flopping are political liabilities both with Republican primary voters and with the electorate at large.

    Ramesh – after the weekend Romney had, there may be reasons to oppose him, but his faith is not one of them.  If it was going to hurt him, it was then.

    Snarky politcal comment from LowellPonnuru says McCain:

    is solid on almost all of the important issues: the war, judges, entitlements, abortion, trade. . . Even on taxes, he has righted himself. He voted against the Bush tax cuts, but he has never voted to raise income taxes and, this spring, ruled out any such move in an interview with me.

    (Emphasis added.)  The words "lame defense" come to mind.  McCain "solid" on judges?  What?  Has Ramesh ever heard of the Gang of 14?  And the Bush tax cuts have been the key to our current amazing economy; McCain voted against them.  That he pledges never to raise taxes doesn't do much to address that little problem.

    Speaking of which…

    The Mormon/flip-flop connection is becoming a bit of a code, you don't hear one without the other.  But James Bopp points out in an op-ed that did not get picked up nearly enough places that there is  difference between a flip-flop and a conversion, one is political expediency, the other principle.

    Romney now says he was wrong about abortion in those years, that his position has "evolved and deepened" as governor, and that he is "firmly pro-life." As Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe put it: "Romney's very public migration rightward over the last few years is . . . intended not to hide his real views but to liberate them."

    Actions speak louder than words and in this case Romney's actions are solid.  "Flip-flop" may just be the words behind which anti-Mormon bias is hiding . . . .

    Lowell interjects:  Well, Dan Bartlett predicted that.  I think what Bartlett said was stupid, but  he may well be right.  The phenomenon of "when they say 'flip-flop,' it really means 'Mormon" will probably continue through the primary season.  I wonder, however:  If Romney becomes the nominee, or even looks like he will, will people still vote their biases when it actually comes time to pull the lever in the voting booth?

    As for Bopp's point about Romney's true views on life issues being "liberated," I think that's true.  Of course, I am a Romney loyalist.  But Bopp's idea deserves a lot more attention than it's getting.


    The Dallas Morning News reports local concerns that small-minded Evangelicals may hurt the party's chances come next fall.  You know, it is important to remember that a Democratic presidency is a whole lot worse than the current crop of Republicans.  We do need to be smart about these things.

    Lowell:  Sigh.


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