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"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."

All-n-All A Dull Week

Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:01 am, December 13th 2010     —    3 Comments »

Maybe it is because I was on the road all week last week, but I found the news when it comes to POTUS ’12 kinda dull.  There was a brief flare when some thought they could talk Palin into running for RNC chair, but she said “No.”  Palin really does continue to dominate the talk, despite the fact that the best political mind of this time says, “There is no front-runner in Iowa; there’s no front-runner in America.

Yet the press has to chatter, and they so desperately want whoever they think Obama can most easily beat; therefore, they remain focused on Palin…Palin…Palin.   “Time” wondered what she wants, saying:

“While other Republicans followed predictable and even plodding paths toward the White House this year, Palin has moved along two parallel tracks, one befitting a candidate, the other designed for a celebrity. It is often hard to tell where one stops and the other begins, and that is by design. A presidential candidate used to need a central headquarters and satellite offices in all the early primary states; now all a contender like Palin needs is a cable modem. Working largely from her lakeside house in Wasilla, Alaska, Palin raised millions of dollars, produced three viral Internet videos and endorsed more than seven dozen Republican candidates (most of whom prevailed).”

I am not sure how designed it is.  She can certainly do what she is hoping now that way, but when it comes time to you know, actually throw her hat in the ring, I think she is going to need all that “stuff.”  But if there is anything interesting going on, it’s that everyone notices the natural competitive placements of Palin and Huckabee which is causing the ‘Ol Huckster to whine a little:

“Whether I do it or not, the fact is that if one looks at the overall body of information that’s available, nobody would be in a better position to take it all the way to November.”…

Come on Mike, that’s just petulant – you may have invented this game, (is he media or is he candidate? – but really that could be Pat Robertson or Pat Buchanan) but like many innovators there is usually somebody that comes along that can commodify it much much better than you can.  The smart innovator negotiates their royalties and sits back and watches the show.  Sadly, there are no royalties to negotiate here, which is why he did the interview that started all this to begin with.  (BTW, there is some serious analysis of all this.)  The Huckster does have his supporters.  But when you see things like this you have to think he is not running.

But all of this has the feeling of a sideshow – you know the tent full of oddities you visit before you go to the real show in the big tent.  You do not need a media empire to be president.

There were some serious notes with Palin this week, though none with the Huckster.  Her book continues to create some controversy.  She also had a polling problem.  That said, she was well defended by some people we like, and is doing some very good things.  But for the first time I was very disturbed over something she was doing.

Being on the road, I watched far more TV than typical and saw the promo spots for the appearance of Kate Gosselin on Palin’s TLC show more times than I can count.  Now Palin came out of the deal looking pretty good compared to Gosselin, but the whole thing just stinks to me.  The Gosslein’s and their much publicized divorce, despite their overwhelming appeal to Evangelicals, is the sort of thing that has really hurt Christianity in recent decades.  Divorce happens, don’t get me wrong, but the childish, selfish, philandering divorce that was the Gosselins is the sort of thing Christian people should be better than.  Palin’s family carries with it any number of mistakes, but they have been handled with a bit more aplomb than the Gosselins.

Regardless, I am just not sure the kind of message a candidate that wants to rely on the Evangelical vote should be sending out is one that reinforces this kind of garbage.  The aplomb with which they have handled Bristol’s poor judgment has allowed most to overlook that incident, but to aid the media career of Kate Gosselin makes me wonder how much of that aplomb was real and how much of it was posturing for political purposes.  This is, in my book, Palin’s first major misstep.

So, What About the Rest of The Possibles?

They are “watching and waiting.”  Even though Chris Cillizza keeps pushing.  My personal opinion is they are waiting on Palin.  She will suck virtually all of the air out of the room for anyone not already firmly planted in the public’s mind, and her presence will radically alter the strategy of those that do get in, but that is just my educated guess.  They are also doing the traditional stuff.  So what’s happening to the individuals?

Mitt Romney is making some very smart stops.

John Thune is talking to some very smart people.

Mitch Daniels was well profiled, but continues to have some issues.

When it comes to Chris Christie and Haley Barbour, Chris Matthews made me laugh.  (Probably the first and last time)

Newt Gingrich insists he’s serious.

Tim Pawlenty, well he was profiled evangelically – got Powerline into and argument with Politicodid not poll well at home, and looks to have some of the same issues as Mike Huckabee (and George Dukakis.)

See what I mean, you forget the sideshow and it’s a really dull week.

Meanwhile in Religion and Politics Generally…

We cannot come to this:

Home Secretary Theresa May has said she will be “actively looking at” whether to ban a controversial US pastor from entering the UK.

Terry Jones attracted condemnation when he threatened to burn copies of the Koran on this year’s 9/11 anniversary.

He has been invited to the UK to share his views on Islam with activists.

The strength of our republic is its ability to absorb differing views and come away in good fashion.  The first time I went to Hong Kong before the handover, but the handover was much under discussion, someone said to me, “This place will change the mainland more than the mainland changes us.”  It made a lot of sense then, because it is how American has done so well.  People come with their differing views, we take the best of what they offer and then we change the rest.  Terry Jones is a silly, silly man – but he does not advocate violence, just stupidity.  Keeping him out of the UK would reinforce his stupidity, adn demonstrate that the UK has no faith in the freedoms it offers.

This blog has competition.  Lord I wish Lowell and I had time to write a book.  I have read the books this guy is plugging in the guise of an op-ed – we could do a lot better.

Uh-Oh.

This is unbelievable.  Anti-gay rhetoric = anti-Mormon rhetoric?  Uh, no.  One’s a moral ethical problem and one is a religion.

Things are changing.

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