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."

  • Candidate, Books, and Elections – The Game Is Afoot

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 03:47 am, September 27th 2010     &mdash      2 Comments »

    Mid-term elections are officially upon us and with them comes a level of political discussion elevated and then elevated again.  The commonly conceived of division in the Republican party between social conservatives (people of faith, the Value Voters Summit crowd) and fiscal conservatives (Tea Party people) has the chattering class in a virtual frenzy of discussion about religion and politics.  When you combine that with the fact that three books on religion and politics have been recently released and widely touted, then you have got to believe there is a lot to talk about.   Let’s start with…

    …The Books

    We mentioned Damon Linker’s new book last weekRamesh Ponnuru wisecracked and in so doing revealed the ultimate problem with Linker’s argument – he assumes religion is applied and used by people in a  dogmatic and exacting fashion.  Something that any person that has ever bothered with religion at all knows simply is not true.  That does not; however, keep Al Mohler from being dogmatic about the whole thing.

    Godblogger and Christian publisher Justin Taylor introduces us to a new book by Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner in three posts.  My copy is preordered, should be interesting.

    Hugh Hewitt then introduces us to Wayne Grudem’s new book, “Politics According To The Bible.”   My copy arrived moments before I sat down to write and I am staring at it as I write.  Needless to say since all I have done is rifle through it and read the Table of Contents, any comment I would make is preliminary, but heck – here I go.  I don’t like the title because there is so much the Bible does NOT say about politics – principles yes, but details not at all.  So for example, the Bible does seem to work hard to allow and promote private property and private property rights.  But from that principle to write a section called “What is the best cure for recession” strikes me as stretching a point just a bit.  Indeed that principle should guide our thoughts on ending recession.  But in order to adapt that private property principle to our current situation means looking at a lot of stuff in addition to the Bible.  Therefore can Grudem’s conclusion on the best way to deal with recession really be called “biblical?”

    From what I have seen to date I agree with Grudem on almost every conclusion he draws, but it strikes me that there is far more room to maneuver in reading the Bible than Grudem allows for, and by being as conclusive as he is, I think he may end up inflaming religious passions and adding to the already red hot political fires.  Particularly when one considers that if you really do think that every conservative position is “biblical,” would that not mean that conservatism is indeed a form of “theocracy?”  Would I like a country like Grudem seems to describe?  Probably, but I would want it becasue everyone in it agreed – not because the Bible said so.  Now that I have argued with it, I supposed I should read the book.

    The Tea Party vs. The Value Voters Summit

    Make no mistake, the divide that everyone is talking about exists, it’s like a hairline crack in  the cement – who cares?  THE LIBERAL PRESS, that’s who.  They are trying to drive a wedge in it and pry it as wide as possible – it’s the only shot they got this time around.

    And so, some say “GLENN BECK TRYING TO PUT TOO MUCH GOD INTO THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT?” (HT: Instapundit)  (Some think it is not just Beck)  Some are saying not really enough.  Some think social conservatives are our only hope.  Some are clearly trying to distance themselves from a genuine run in 2012.  Some are trying to drive agendas from left field.

    The most interesting comment may be that Romney was the “real” winner at the VVS. He certainly does seem to stand as the best bridge between the two movements.

    Bottom line is this – Even moderate Republicans are better than the bunch in power now, and most people on both sides of this minuscule divide understand that.   Any disagreements on emphasis can wait until we have power.  If we allow them to divide us before we have power the only thing we will have is the fight.

    Obama and Religion

    Even is f the scurrilous rumors that he is Muslim are dying down, lots of people seem to want to talk about his faith.  He did fail to mention the Creator when citing the Declaration of Independence.  This. of course, means he could be…secularist.  Or is it Catholic?  (I know some protestants that might claim there is no difference!)  But I think Mitt Romney nailed it best:

    Romney still sees an opening: “I think, however, that the American people have established a perspective on the President which is going to be lasting — that he has not understood the nature of America, in some respects, that the values I’ve described of love of liberty, of freedom, of opportunity, of small government — that those values he doesn’t share.”

    Our values have a lot of sources – religion among them.  But as I said earlier, there are many values religion does not address, or the application of which is far beyond religion.  It is also possible for people to arrive at the same values through different paths and religions.  What matters is the values and how an individual governs.  In the end the rest of it is just speculation about motive.

    Polls

    Is religion losing its influence?  Organized religion is losing it fast, but people remain “religious” in some non-institutional, not affiliated sense so the values remain largely the same.  Shift? – yeah; Lose? – not so much.

    Do the majority of Americans really support gay marriage?  Not so much – the question is about Federal recognition of gay marriage.  The federal government does not recognize opposite sex marriages yet – only the states.  Lousy questions lead to lousy answers – first rule of polling.

    So NOW We Get To The Candidates?

    Well, yeah, the cycle does not start until after the midterms – we’re not there yet, but it is looking more and more like it.

    Sarah PalinK-Lo is now willing to bet she will runAllahpundit agreesPolitico thinks she’s leaving the door open.  As does Greg Sargent at WaPo.  The Economist thinks the odds are good for her when she does run.  Then there is this religious shot that is pure liberalism in religious disguise.  But before we analyze this, let’s turn our attention to…

    Haley Barbour – Concerning Barbour, Time magazine asks, “GOP Kingmaker or Candidate?”

    Reasonable question that brings us back to Palin.  What she is, definitively at the moment, is a, opinionshaper and leader.   And she has proven quite successful in the role.   A role which among other things is making her far more money than she could hope to make in actual office.  And sometimes, like Barbour, to maintain that role, one has to appear to want another.  Anybody can talk, but a candidate for the presidency, well when she talks, people listen.  Just bear that in mind.

    John Thune – has finally admitted publicly what we knew for quite a while.  He’s likely to run.  Reports – PoliticoFirst ThingsTaegan Goddard, and Instapundit makes a pun.  Think 2012 (or beyond) dry run here.

    Tim Pawlentyout polls Obama in Minnesota.  At the moment I think my cat might be able to.

    Mike Pencenot anytime soon.

    Mitt Romney – is really starting to act like a presidential candidate.  He is giving the right speeches at the right places, saying the right things.  Not to mention, the left is shooting at him with little tiny pebbles of pretentious rhetoric because they have no genuine ammo.  The game is most definitely afoot.

    A Final Word…

    from Jim Geraghty:

    Facebook friends, blog hits, Twitter followers, web videos, and e-mail lists are all useful, but they’re all tools to the ultimate goal: votes.

    If you volunteer for a candidate, the campaign may ask you to knock on doors, stuff envelopes, work phone banks, put out yard signs, and other traditional activities. And all of these acts have their place. But it’s commonly said that the average American sees 3,000 ads per day. By October, our mailboxes are full of mailers, our e-mailbox is full of spam, every commercial break is full of attack ads, and the sides of roads are cluttered with candidate signs. If you knock on my door, and I don’t know you, why should I listen to you? If you call out of the blue, why should I take time out of my day to listen?

    If you’re reading this site or volunteering on a campaign, you are, by definition, not an average American. You’re much more knowledgeable and much more passionate about political issues. But we political junkies know lots of people who aren’t political junkies, who only begin thinking about politics in the fall of even-numbered years. I would urge conservative grassroots activists to focus less on attempting to persuade strangers — knocking on doors, handing out flyers, etc. — and instead focus on persuading people who know them already.

    If you are not busy – get so – there is a lot at stake this fall and in 2012!

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    Shift, Revival, Civil War? – Tea Parties, Value Voters Summits – All That and more

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:47 am, September 20th 2010     &mdash      4 Comments »

    Last week was one of those weeks that we should have been posting nearly daily, but both of us suffer from having “real” jobs and sometimes we do have to pay the bills.  But that said, let’s dive in, and all pray that as the 2010 election season comes to a head, Lowell and I can make adjustments to go back into POTUS election season mode.

    Judging The Game From Batting Practice

    The meme of the week was that the GOP is in full Civil War, and some were trying to figure out how it will play in 2012.  But mostly they are on the left and trying to make as much trouble as they can.  Some are looking through the very skewed lens that is Iowa.  There is one bit of wisdom from this later link though:

    …Republicans are heavily focused on maximizing their possible gains in the November midterm elections.

    Yeah, I think that explains it.  2012 talk is a bit early don’t ya know.  Yes we are keeping an eye on the possibles, but it is way too early to determine trends or actions.  For one thing saying there are a lot of GOP contenders is silly.  Thinking and talking about running are very different than actually running.  Obama’s utter failure in office is chum in the water – it’s drawing everybody out of the woodwork because they see an opportunity.  But at this point in the game the precise opportunity has yet to be determined – for some of the names in consideration, even many, “power broker” and “media presence” is what they are looking for.

    And speaking of batting practice…

    …the Values Voters Summit, 2010 edition…

    …was this past weekend – and there was little news.  That did not keep the left from trying to make trouble out of it however.  Some tried to stir it up beforehandsome got toughsome got ugly – and some got downright mean.

    Mike Pence!? won the straw poll, which for some created another opportunity for mischief.

    But the real issue, from my perspective seems to be that the whole thing was just petulant.

    In the midst of an election year dominated by fiscal issues, a group of social conservative activists and politicians gathered in Washington to send an unmistakable message to both the media and their own party: we won’t take a back seat.

    Politco does not make the case quite as convincingly as they claim in their lede, but they do capture a mood that seems present among many in the social conservative movement.  I have come to think that Evangelicals have really missed the boat when it comes to political activity – particularly in a time like we are in now.  First of all single issue or small sub-set of issues is no path to genuine influence in Republican circles.  The Democrat party is essentially a coalition of special interests, but the GOP tends to be the responsible adults that look at the bigger picture.

    So how do we bring our faith to that bigger picture?  The issues we are active on do not reflect either the big picture of governance or the big picture of our faith.

    If one could put their finger on the single biggest difference between those of faith in politics and those without it, it would be the difference between public service and levering the public to serve themselves.  Those with a higher power (to borrow a phrase from Bill W) come to politics and governance to serve the greater good.  Those without one come to the same to serve themselves or their cause.

    It seems to me that when we define our political action solely by issues we fall in this later camp instead of the former where we belong.  Food for thought and perhaps an essay unto itself at another time.

    That same Politico piece ends with a most interesting quote:

    Perkins, in a bit of candor that some conservative leaders don’t always voice, called Palin “a great spokesman” and added that “she says what a lot of people think.”

    “But you know a lot of people sometimes realize we shouldn’t say everything we think,” he continued. “Maybe it is that she is more of a cheerleader and one who rallies conservatives together as opposed maybe to being their top choice for president.”

    Which brings us to our discussion of…

    …The Field

    Sarah Palin -Between last week’s “Tea Party” wins and her trip to Iowa, some are proclaiming Palin the new GOP frontrunner.  The most interesting interchange on the subject was a back-and-forth between Paul Mirengoff and Ramesh Ponnuru and back to Mirengoff with a side comment by Ross Douthat.

    I am changing my mind on this – at this point, I do think she is going to run.  I also think she will be quite formidable, but I think the Perkins quote above says volumes.  That said, what I most expect is for her to have more class, far more, than her Evangelical doppleganger Huckabee.  When her energy is spent, I expect her to serve the party, not herself.

    Mitt Romneyone analyst thought he “won” in last Tuesday’s Primaries.  He did appear at the VVS but spent most of his time on the big picture.  Insiders know he is the real frontrunner so leftie commentators used this as yet another opportunity to criticize.   (The first of those links is heavy on the Mormon stuff, but it has the feel of a dead horse being beaten.  Hmmm….)

    There is something quite interesting in the fact that virtually all of the VVS coverage is from the left and using it as fodder for nasty commentary.

    Mike Huckabee – If take my comments above on the VVS and Palin and then look at Mike Huckabee he pretty much embodies everything that is currently misguided with how Evangelicals have been approaching politics.   But that does not keep some people from thinking he has a real shot at the nomination.

    Mitch Daniels – I guess he really is in this thing – both  Taegan Goddard and Politico are reporting that he is making serious moves instead of just spreading rumors.  This is going to get interesting.  As we pointed out last week, he seems to be going out of his way to make comments designed to alienate the entire Republican base, but given the timing that could be a move designed to test the strength of his core support.  What’s most interesting is that most (but not all) of the Daniels buzz I am hearing comes from the more thoughtful side of the Evangelical spectrum.  (Well, and a number of my Hoosier friends.)  Note to Huckabee, Palin, Daniels – the Evangelical pie really cannot be sliced up much and help anybody – including themselves.

    Tim PawlentyNow this is interesting.

    Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been removed from the list of Republicans included in this weekend’s Values Voter Summit 2012 presidential straw poll.

    Pawlenty denies that such signals he is giving up on the idea of a run, blaming instead a trip to China that he will be on.  Which leads me to…

    Slow POTUS Start?

    P0litico:

    For decades, it has been a truism that presidential campaigns keep starting earlier and earlier. The 2012 Republican contest is hitting the brakes on that historic trend.
    I don’t think so!  Dig deeper in the same piece:
    …as the 2010 election enters the homestretch, top-tier Republican presidential contenders are hesitant to set foot in the states that kick off the presidential campaign process, let alone issue press releases touting their latest gets there.
    Let’s see, a major contender punting the VVS – most of the players staying out of Iowa and New Hampshire at this stage – sounds more like shifting political ground to me than a late start.  Last cycle Iowa turned from game setter to spoiler and Evangelicals bickered themselves into ineffectiveness.  In other words the traditional path did not work.  Therefore it seems only natural that the players would forge a new course.
    The problem is, I think, the political reporters don’t know what the path will end up being and will therefore have to work for a living this cycle instead of just sit in a coffee shop in Des Moines and watch the fireworks.  I think it is going to be interesting!

    Background Reading

    There was a lot of interesting stuff on religion in the public realm to read this week past and we simply do not have time to comment on it, so here it is in bullet form:
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    A Week Filled With Religion…

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:45 am, September 13th 2010     &mdash      4 Comments »

    …And Most Of It In A Silly Fashion

    We purposefully stayed mostly quiet last week as between echoes of the Beck rally, the GZM discussion and the Koran burning controversy, religion filled the airwaves, the Internet, and even print (if you bothered).  We stayed silent because the whole thing struck us stunts on top of media-whoring and little of it seemed to benefit the public or faith.

    There was a serious constitutional question raised in Hartford, CT which was well covered by Hugh Hewitt’s “Smart Guys” (subscription required).

    In the wake of the battle over a mosque at Ground Zero, a move by the Hartford City Council is sure to have its critics.

    The Council announced Tuesday that it has invited local imams to perform Islamic invocations at the beginning of the Council meetings in September.

    By law, as interpreted by the SCOTUS, prayers offered at public meetings of this sort must be non-sectarian.  From the appearance of this story, the prayers to be offered are NOT non-sectarian, but are rather, specifically Islamic.  This move is symptomatic of what appears to be at the heart of the GZM discussion – the idea that if one appeases and does not provoke “the bully,” in this case Islam, one avoids the problems.  Of course, anyone that has had to deal with a bully knows this never works.  One either must steer clear of the bully (impossible in this case) or bully back.  But enough of that.

    There were far more religious overtones to this past weekends 9-11 remembrances than there have been at previous ones.  I am going to place the blame for that squarely on the shoulders of POTUS, Barack Obama.  The man promotes his agenda through divisiveness, a standard Alinsky ploy.  His economic policies are disastrous and his foreign policy is steeped in appeasement, but it is his political practice based on divisiveness that could irreparably harm the nation.  We don’t cover the 2010 mid-terms here much, not our portfolio, but they matter hugely and this is why.

    These events have caused all sorts of people to write about religion and politics.  Christopher Hitchens used it as an excuse for one of his entirely predictable diatribes against religion.  Hitchens personal tragedies notwithstanding, I grow tired of repeated citations of the problems of religion.  Yes, religions have done bad things, but to assume that without religion bad things would cease to happen is simply ridiculous.  It’s like saying that if you live in an under-insulated house that overheats when it is incredibly hot outside, removing the inadequate insulation will allow the heat in the house to escape.  Nonsense – all it will do is allow the house to get AS hot as it is outside instead of only hotter than it should be.

    Some are worried that too much focus on the civil religion will dilute and harm one’s deeply held faith.  Others share the concern.  The concern is real, the problem is where to deal with it – more on that in a moment.

    And some, predictably, are pushing things just a bit too far.  In spite, there are some good people that remind us Mormons are excellent political allies.

    The bottom line is this, things can compliment each other without mixing – and that is how religion and politics have worked in America.  There have been conflicts – the Mormon practice of polygamy, until 9-11, being the preeminent example.  In these cases the practice of religion (as opposed to the beliefs of a religion) has violated the civil good – governance and politics had no choice but to push back.  If Islam, at least many aspects of it, does not reform, we may be forced to violate the typical complimentary balance.

    But in general, the civil good is served by religion that makes civil people, which in turn makes civil governance works.  In other words, religion makes better people who make freer and better government.  That means religion has a very specific role to play – making better people.  Many of the problems we see in religion and politics today are because religion, and especially Evangelicalism, has been reduced to something that is only about belief, and often nothing more than pious entertainment.  Religion must reclaim its role as a builder of good people for the delicate balance to survive.  If you are worried about the civil religion corrupting the true religion, then get busy building people of sufficient character that they know the difference and will stand firmly on the true religion.  Doing away with the civil religion, or trying to make the civil religion exactly like your true religion will only inflame the conflict.

    POTUS 2012

    Oh yeah, that’s what we usually talk about here.  Paul Bedard says there are 17 players on the field for the Republican nomination.  That’s stretching things a bit – rumors and talk do not put someone “on the field;”  If they did, I’d be a college basketball coach.

    One of Bedard’s “major players” is Mitch Daniels.  You’ll recall we said early on that it looked like someone was trying to back Daniels into running and that he was not particularly interested.   Then he did the Weekly Standard profile which made us think he might be serious, but he did sort of fail that audition with his comments on social issues.  Then he told the Louisville Courier-Journal that he had no interest in the job, it was, as we suspected, others trying to talk him into it.  And yet, the rumors persist.  Now, Taegan Goddard quotes him from Newsweek:

    “At some stage there could well be a tax increase. They say we can’t have grown-up conversations anymore. I think we can.”

    This guy DOES NOT want to run for president!  At every opportunity he is saying things to get out of it.  He seems to have purposefully set out to anger both social and fiscal conservatives.  It is time for people to let the man be.

    I was pleased to see Romney say the smart thing about the abandoned Koran burning, and absolutely dumbfounded at the ignorance of Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison:

    I think that yes it will be and it is being an issue and will be debated, but I don’t think that the purveyors of this … anti-Islamic wave are going to benefit the way they think they will. I mean some of them tried to defeat President Obama by claiming that he was a Muslim. Of course, they were resoundingly defeated themselves.

    When I ran, I had opponents who were doing things similar, and I won my election. Andre Carson won his election. He’s a Muslim, so my point is that Americans are generally tolerant. Americans are generally tolerant, and so I don’t think arguments about religious beliefs are going to cut much ice. I mean Mitt Romney, a leading Republican candidate, Mormon, nobody cares.

    Nobody Cares?!  More “ink” was spilled on Romney’s Mormonism than Ellison’s Islamic faith can dream of.  Nobody Cares?!  Beck is being bashed for being Mormon while everybody is rushing to protect the rights of the builders of the GZM.  Nobody Cares?!  The case can be made that Romney’s faith is why he is not president right now.

    Ellison must live under a rock.  That may be the most ignorant comment to come from a congressman since that guy thought an island was going to tip over.

    It’s gonna be a long couple of years.

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    Some Official Commentary on Mormons, Glenn Beck, Politics, and the Public Square

    Posted by: Lowell Brown at 11:18 am, September 7th 2010     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    As a perfect follow-up to John’s post just below, Michael Otterson, head of worldwide public affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Church( and a former journalist and newspaper editor, comments at some length at Newsweek’s On Faith.  He asks:

    To be sure, Glenn Beck was accompanied by an impressive array of interfaith leaders – Catholics, Jews and evangelicals who, despite theological differences – appeared on the same stage as Beck because his message of restoring honor and returning to faith in God struck such a strong chord with them.

    But leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were not officially represented at the Lincoln Memorial event, however. Why not – especially since the Church respects the right of all faiths to raise their voice in the public square?

    Otterson’s entire post is a must-read, but some other excerpts show the general thrust:

    The fact that Beck has a huge megaphone doesn’t change the principle [that Church members are urged to study issues and use their vote for whichever party most closely aligns with their ideas of good government].  Mormons obviously are free to express whatever views of good government that they care to espouse, and many of them do. Their views may of course be influenced by their faith and values, but they speak as individuals, not as Church spokesmen. They may also disagree with each other. Since the same church embraces Senator Harry Reid, Governor Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck – all active members – that shouldn’t even need saying.

    This is old stuff for long-time readers of Article VI Blog, but it’s worth repeating.  Now and then (actually, more often than that) pundits and critics suggest that a Mormon president would take direction from Church leaders in Salt Lake City.  I am not reluctant to assert that there is no evidence to support that fear – none whatsoever – and plenty of evidence that it is groundless.  It remains to be seen whether that part of the anti-Romney meme will live on, or die out as nothing more than a rumor.

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    When Mormons Disagree, Beck Dominates The Discussion, There is an Election – all that and maybe more

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:32 am, September 7th 2010     &mdash      1 Comment »

    Mormons Disagree on GZM…

    Well, at least Orrin Hatch does.  The left keeps trying to make a big deal out of it.   They are trying, once again, to drive a wedge in the conservative coalition.  And some are trying to divide Mormons or make some public Mormons less authentic appearing than others.

    There are a lot of problems here and one of them is Orrin Hatch not holding the party line very well.  But be that as it may, the real problem is people trying to paint religious people as somehow lock-step robotic ideologues.  We’re not – sometimes we disagree.  The key is how we handle those disagreements.  And here is the thing – Hatch’s comments did not attack anyone, but many have latched on to them and used them as attack fodder.

    One of the big mistakes conservatives make is that we assume everyone is as nice as we are – it hurts us every time.  We cannot allow ourselves ever to turn as mean as the opposition, but we do have to protect ourselves against their tactics, and that means learning to manage our messages better.  Hatch is certainly guilty of that sin, but that is about it.  He has a wrong opinion – happens every day, not the issue.

    And speaking of mean, from a source other than Christopher Hitchens, this piece would be one of the most offensive I have read in years, and it is unsurprisingly published in Slate.  However, being from Hitchens it is just more of same.  What baffles me is when such an otherwise reasonable man spits such bile – you can always tell there is something personal at play.

    The Beck Rally…

    …seemed to dominate the political/religious discussion all last week.   We of course had our say, which Hugh Hewitt seemed to like, and which shared a lot in common with Timothy Dalrymple.  But we seemed to hold a minority opinion -  even though the likes of Glenn Reynolds, Maggie Gallagher, John Fund, Jonah Goldberg and James Taranto appear to be in the same ball park with us.  It seems people just cannot understand the difference between a civic religion, an organized religion, a political movement, and a political campaign – or they don’t want to.  Some, of course, wanted to graft a different agenda onto a successful gathering, and the analysts had to analyze even if meant discussing stuff that wasn’t really there.  But no one, it seems wanted to take the thing at face value.

    Some were worried that Beck was a “stalking horse” for Mormonism, some think at least on political level – even if they are suspicious of religion in general (think example of the real enemy here).  Some see religious conspiracy.  Some tired to put that question into a proper context, but everybody is asking if Beck is going to help Romney.

    But the reliably left MSM is really trying to use it as a wedge to divide us as conservatives between faiths and between conservative and liberals inside Mormonism.  (That reporter keeps going hereUber-left Time magazine gets pretty nasty about it.  Even Christianity Today is forced to ask about it.

    Politically, who knows where this thing is going to end up, (as I said last week Beck is likely to blow the momentum he has gained here - he may have started to do so already) but when there are this many people talking about something this defensively, political change is in the wind – in this case maybe a hurricane.

    The Field…

    Tim Pawlenty has some polling problems.   And some people think it’s a big deal.  Actually you will read it about most governors as they leave office.  I don’t put much stock in such polls.  The same was true for Romney and he is still standing.  Pawlenty did make what to this eye seems like one very smart move.  Obamacare is a line in the stand that no Republican that wants the job can afford to cross.  He also is making a mistake too.  The VVS is a mixed bag politically and how to best utilize it is a tough call, but avoiding it is giving away votes.

    Mitch DanielsChris Cilizza says it ain’t over until its over.  Maybe not, but like Pawlenty he is stepping on some toes that matter – they may not be determinative, but they mater.

    Mitt Romney - political comments from children should be taken with a grain of salt.  Of course, the MSM will miss no shot at the GOP frontrunner.

    Religion In the News…

    Now FOXNews has picked up the Mormon ad story as a stalking horse for Romney.  Give it a rest people, the church still has to be the church, they cannot fold up their tents completely just becasue one of their own is running.

    Vanity Fair is using Sarah Palin to make fun of all of us.  I keep telling you – they are after all of us.

    Is Glenn Reynolds making fun of us?  I feared the story line he mocks would catch on, but apparently not – Thankfully.

    Not sure this is a smart argument, but it is compelling.

    Unsurprisingly, religion is everywhere.  But it is only an issue when someone wants to hammer conservatives.

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