There is an amazing amount of news given that it is not even the end of the first year of the current president’s term, but also that it is just days until a huge holiday. That said, there is so much it is tough to decide what to lead with, but we cannot resist the temptation . . .
Huck v Palin
Remember last week when we brought up a press release from one of the right-to-life groups assailing Palin’s pro-life bona fides? Well, a blogger has identified the RTL group as Huck hawks. And, when questioned, he got more evidence. Prior to press time here, a debate over this question had broken out at another site - examples here and here.
There is a bottom line to all this – there may be no direct connection between Huckabee and those bad actors, or there may be, I have no idea – but Huckabee has relied upon and encouraged through a lack of admonition the tactics, slanders and viciousness of these groups. As is pointed out above, his website links to them. Like the comments on his old campaign site, it is what Huckabee does not do that is at issue here.
Consider this: Our current president has no direct ties to the Code Pink, Daily Kos wacko wing of the left. But, during the campaign, he never chided them and their over-the-top antics either – he talked about bridges and “reaching out.” Now he governs like he is from them, almost directly.
Huckabee needs to repudiate these kinds of tactics if they are done on his behalf. It is a matter of simple decency.
The Left Cannot Take A Joke
Admittedly, it is a joke that is in less than good taste, even if it does produce an initial chortle, but people like this really need to relax a little. In case you don’t know what I am referring to, look up Psalm 109:8 and think Obama. What is truly bothersome is that the left used rhetoric regarding Bush that was far more pointed and “threatening” than what they are all exercised about here.
Political rhetoric has gotten out of hand, and civility is called for, but the left is clearly setting up for censorship here. They really need to get over themselves.
Giuliani . . .
. . . Looks like he is going to run for Senate, not Governor of NY. That’s great news, it puts the Dems in Congress on notice that they are making themselves vulnerable with their current actions, not to mention Rudy would make a fine Senator.
However, this has led to a bunch of speculation that:
Giuliani could use a Senate seat as a stepping stone to run for President in 2012 – rather than run for re-election to the Senate.
Nah! He blew it too badly last time. Not to mention it was a self-inflicted wound. Voters don’t usually give a second chance after something like that.
But Really, It Has Continued To Be All Palin All The Time
CNN looks at the question of whether she is after office or just making money. That’s the right question to ask, but for the record, there is nothing wrong with making money – unless she sucks all the air out of the room for the serious politicians. No danger of that yet, it’s too early.
Politico reports on the fact that the Republican Governor’s Association is in a bit of a quandary about what she’s up to and how to react to her. CNN looked at the same thing, with a tighter focus on the recent gubernatorial races.
Chris Cillizza did the number of Palin’s book tours. He points out that even if she is just after a career, she is doing reasonable politics.
Of course, people also used the Palin blitz as an excuse to look even deeper. Cal Thomas thinks she needs to study up a little, but that she has some formidable skills, and wonders what those skills portend for the future of the GOP.
And Rod Dreher thinks most of us just do not get it – Palin or anyone else. But then that is Dreher, and a significant bunch of younger religious conservatives.
And before we leave the 2012 hopefuls completely behind us, our favorite wrote a great op-ed last week.
But Speaking Of The Future Of The GOP:
. . . most Republicans would rather see candidates who would have a poor chance of winning election as long as they agree with them on issues.
That’s a huge problem if it holds. One cannot build a coalition that way, and coalitions are how we win; how either party wins. I am ashamed to say this, but much of the blame for that lies with Evangelicals. In our community, as this blog’s audience knows, doctrine defines faith, doctrine defines what it means to be “a Christian.” Therefore, doctrine must define politics as well – at least that’s how the thinking goes. When you combine that with the fear that as Christians we are being victimized (see Cal Thomas above for more on this – it’s good stuff) and you can see the desire for a sort of political martyrdom to emerge.
What’s sad is that such fails to realize that in America there is no need for martyrdom. In America, our political process allows us to change things without such drastic measures. It can be hard, hard work, but we can do it. And as people of faith, we have a secret weapon – our faith is the best instrument available to change people’s minds if only we will use it as such. You want to eliminate abortion – don’t worry about the law, worry about evangelism. You convert enough people, and in America, the law will take care of itself.
And speaking of serious politics, consider this from CNN:
Representatives from some of the top 2008 GOP presidential campaigns gathered in Washington, D.C. Thursday to urge the Republican National Committee to lock in a 2012 primary calendar as early as possible to avoid the confusion that dogged the early stages of last year’s nomination contest. One campaign manager took his recommendations a step further and suggested ending the traditional first-in-the-nation statuses of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
An RNC panel headed by party chairman Michael Steele invited the campaigns to share their views as it considers numerous possible changes to the process the party will use to nominate a candidate to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.
Something has to break here. The ideological tendencies we just discussed are regionalized, and changing the primary schedule would reduce some of the regional influence and allow us to better build the coalition we need, regardless of who the candidate is.
Religion at “War”
More than 150 leaders across a spectrum of conservative Christianity on Friday released a 4,700-word document vowing civil disobedience if they are forced to take part in “anti-life acts” or bless gay marriages.
Called the “Manhattan Declaration,” the six-page, single-spaced document was drafted by Prison Fellowship founder Charles Colson, an evangelical, and Princeton University professor Robert P. George, a Roman Catholic, and included a bevy of Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox bishops, archbishops and cardinals as signatories along with dozens of clergy and laity.
Archbishop of Washington Donald W. Wuerl is one of the signatories.
“Throughout the centuries, Christianity has taught that civil disobedience is not only permitted, but sometimes required,” says the document which cited civil rights icon Martin Luther King and his willingness to go to jail for his beliefs.
This is to be applauded – this is not lying down and accepting martyrdom, like we looked at in the preceding section – this is using an effective political tool to change American politics. It is also a particularly effective tool in this instance given the citation of its originator in the U.S. and our current President. Note that it is also very specific. This tactic has to be carefully targeted to be useful.
“War” In Religion
“War” on Religion
Australia and Scientology. I have always thought Scientology was a business hiding behind religious tax exemption laws, but that is easy to say and very difficult to parse legally. I find the belief/behavior distinction in this piece a great place to start, and it is one Mormons should be more than passingly familiar with.
Finally, more on “Christians caused the crash.“ Thankfully, I have not seen the story get much traction.
Some added thoughts from Lowell . . .
Well, Huck does seem to have a problem repudiating the unsavory acts and statements of his backers, which says much about both the man and many of his people. About Huck, it says that he is . . . well, cowardly. About his core followers, Huck’s “repudiation problem” shows that they are an unforgiving lot and he must toe the line or risk losing their ardent support. It doesn’t make the man seem very secure in his position at the head of that pack, does it? Then again, few politicians are.
As for Rudy, I think he’s a better executive than a legislator, but having him in the Senate means one less Democrat there, which is important when they have a 60-vote majority.
Sarah Palin: What are we going to do with Governor Palin? I think Dreher nails it:
[S]he is so far from being capable of being president of the United States it’s not even funny. I know, I know, this isn’t news, but you’d think that if there was anything more to her in terms of intellectual seriousness and judgment than we saw last fall, she’d have brought it out in a memoir she had most of a year to write with the help of a professional writer. But there’s no there there. I’m not saying she’s a bad person — I don’t believe she’s a bad person at all — but I am saying she’s not a credible national political leader.
I don’t mean to pile on. Gov. Palin is an exciting, admirable and likable conservative politician. The Left’s and the MSM’s reaction to her is primarily because of that, not because of faults in Palin. She’s just not quite ready for prime time and probably won’t be. As a Romney fan, I do hope he develops at least some of Palin’s ability to connect with an audience.
John links above to a Deseret News article about Noah Feldman’s speech at BYU last week. I found these paragraphs, about how Romney’s religious challenge was different from John Kennedy’s in 1960, compelling:
. . . Feldman said Romney also had to address the issue of religion; however, because Romney wanted to appeal to values-based voters, he couldn’t, like JFK, say that religion was irrelevant in his public life.
Romney declared his belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God but declined to discuss his LDS religion further, saying it would be a violation of the Constitution, which prohibits a religious test for public service eligibility.
“The question (is) what alternatives (are there), either for Mitt Romney or for other politicians in the future who find themselves in a similar position of believing … that religion does matter in the public sphere?” Feldman asked.
One answer is to increase awareness and religious understanding by engaging in the study of comparative religion, Feldman said. Such study requires members of a religion to momentarily set aside their beliefs and look for common, uniting bonds among belief systems.
Although there may be some not ready or willing to do that, BYU and universities in general constitute an “unbelievable resource for generating conversation, and therefore generating certain kinds of change,” Feldman said. “People talking is crucial. So don’t wait. If you wait, it won’t happen.”
(Emphasis added.) The bolded language above summarizes exactly what this humble blog has been trying to do for over 3.5 years. We’ll keep at it. And yes, there is an interview with Noah Feldman in our future.