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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."

A Week Of Tragedy Just Past, And Yet, News

Posted by: John Schroeder at 06:30 am, January 18th 2011     —    2 Comments »

The week just past was to have belonged to Tim Pawlenty.  The sad Tuscon events rightly eclipsed his roll out in many ways, and yet there was a massive amount of press for him – it just ended up being “below the fold.”  That said, discussing Pawlenty amongst the possible seems like the right place to start.

Tim Pawlenty – Where Do Nice Guys Finish?

“The Fix” says it is “go time” for the former governor of Minnesota.  He made the NYTimes and his home town paper said he is finally getting his hair right.  (I am really learning to despise hair references when it comes to POTUS candidates – its just trite at this point.)  His book was reviewed in the right places.  He even floated some unusual ideas.  He was seen in all the right places.

But the roll out was marred a bit with his own actions, not just the events of the week as noted above.  He starts with a bit of charisma deficit.  He argues that he is not “too nice.”  I’m not convinced.  He is, in my personal estimation too approachable.  He makes Huckabee or Bill Clinton look downright aloof.  I think the public is looking for “presidential” this go around.

He also made some Palin comments that he had to spend a lot of time backpedaling from.  Then he made what appeared to be a smart move for the Hispanic vote, only to be non-committal on what to do about immigration.  It’s early and only we geeks are watching, but this is a most inauspicious start.

Mitt Romney – Worst Kept Secret

He’s running.  Remember last week when we talked about the Bachmann trial balloon raining on the formation of the Pawlenty parade?  Well, Romney himself brought a few showers as he went to Afghanistan and Israel.  He also did some hiring that sent clear signals of his intent.  Of course that has been going on for some time now.  It is looking like April for a formal announcement at the moment.

He is polling exceptionally well in Nevada and better than might be expected in Iowa.  The left is rapidly lining up in opposition.  And the Obama administration appears to be focusing on him as their likely opponent.

It continues to look like the Massachusetts health care system will be the biggest opposition meme this time, NOT his faith.  His faith continues to show up in comments all over, but it has not yet emerged as a media meme this cycle.  By this time in 2008 it was all anybody would talk about when it came to Romney.  What is interesting is that the occasional references to his faith that are seen tend to come from he left wing outlets.

Such leaves me wondering about the wisdom of the left flogging that horse just now.  Last time they flogged it to keep Romney out of the general, but this time, if they really think it his “Achilles’s heel” why not let it rest to help clear a path for him to the general where they can wield the weapon with maximal effectiveness?  I can answer my own question by saying they are thinking our side is serious about Palin, or Huckabee – both of whom they can beat going away, so they still want to keep Romney out of the general.  An Obama v Romney general is one they might actually have to work at.

Let’s face it, it is really only an effective weapon with a certain segment of the Republican base, and that segment is pretty well neutralized at the moment.

John Thune – Very Tentative

Amongst the serious possibles John Thune is showing up in all the right places, but it looks to me like he still only has one toe in the water.

Mike Huckabee – Filling the Forming Palin Void?

Is polling best in Iowa – gee, did the sun come up this morning?  Note it is being touted by the lefties.  Speaking of being touted by lefties, “Religion Dispatches” an outlet that I am increasingly thinking was formed purely to push the homosexual agenda against religion, also published a fairly favorable piece (at least on their terms) regarding the ‘Ole Huckster.  Huckabee also sounded just so presidential when he described Jared Loughner as a “whack job nut maggot.”  And yes, I am being sarcastic here.

The most telling story was the Gallup poll that found Huckabee was “most liked.”

Look at this profile – well liked, prone to overstatement – sounds more like a media figure than a candidate.  Which of course is why the left is talking so nice about him,  Like Palin, he is polarizing – good for media, lousy to run for president.  Polarizing will keep Obama in office, no problem.

I hope the MSM keeps touting him.  He gets enough press, he may not have to enter the race to keep his burgeoning media empire going.

Mitch Daniels – Fading?

CPAC was attacked for inviting him to speak at a dinner honoring Reagan.  There was a great deal of pushback.  The attackers toned in down a notch.  But this does point out an essential weakness in a potential Daniels candidacy.  Speculation now runs that he is less likely to run. (HT: Taegan Goddard)

This is a self created weakness based on some of his very early statements.  As I have said, Indiana statehouse rumors have been that his wife is not interested in making a run, and I have wondered all along if some of his very controversial statements early on were designed to quell the growing Daniels movement.  I’m looking to be even smarter than I thought.

Sarah Palin – Faded?

CBN is questioning her seriousness and the left is piling on.  TV show over, bubble burst?

Haley Barbour and Newt Gingrich – Rising?

Well, Haley is being coy and sounding petulant.  Newt not so much.   They are playing the game, but I continue to think they have a different agenda.

Mike Pence – Drafts Never Work…

…but some people just have to try.

Amongst The Silly…

Donald Trump keeps building those “Apprentice” ratings.

Fred Karger is not invited the early Iowa debate.  I am shocked, shocked that such would be the case.  I believe homosexual practice to be a sin, but I also think the nation would seriously look at a homosexual candidate that came to serve the nation rather than promote a specific “homosexual agenda.”  Fred might want to give that some thought.

There is much talk of “dark horses.”  The press may consider their column inches consumed.

Serious Analysis

Chris Cillizza ia wondering if the Tea Party is a movement or a moment?  It’s an excellent question and one that only time can answer.  There are parts of it I hope dearly are retained by the right wing regardless of how it all plays out.

Religion Generally…

Well said.

This is just a crying shame:

Mark DeMoss said he is halting the initiative, called the Civility Project, due to lack of interest.

What?  This essay is clearly designed to stir something up between Mormons and Evangelicals, but I am thinking there are only like 4 people in the nation that have a clue what the guy is talking about.

I can’t tell if this piece is rubbing salt in old wounds, or trying to help.

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