Remember last week when we talked about how Susan B. Anthony pledge? Romney did a really smart thing and wrote an op-ed pledging to support life. But that did not seem to be enough. Fox gave it some reasonable coverage.
I smell a trap. One must remember “flip-flop” developed into “Mormon” code last cycle and a lot of that centered on Romney’s apparent change of position on abortion. (Of course, it was nothing of the sort, but people needed a reason to call foul. See what I mean.) So, at a time when social conservatives seem to be looking for a savior (I thought they had one?! – it was
Jesus Mike Huckabee last time) this pledge comes out; a pledge that looks almost designed to be unsignable by someone not an absolutist about the issue, and the front runner reasonably does not sign it. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to reignite the discussion and wave the coded flag again, doesn’t it?
Not sure the ploy has worked, the discussion is just about dead already.
Now About That Meme
You know the one I’m talking about – The Mormon Meme. Some tried to approach it gently. Some Mormon sources tried to say coverage was “more fair,” which I presume means it more reasonably represents Mormonism. Perhaps, but properly representing the religion is only part of the problem. It can be properly represented and still used to generate bias and suspicion of a candidate, which is less than ideal in the American system.
Americans appear hesitant to vote for a Mormon as president, a new poll shows, posing a challenge for Republicans Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman.
Although three of four Americans say they would support a presidential candidate who is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Gallup Poll finds that 22% say they would not.
Don’t you just love that – the vast majority of people don’t care, but the lede is those that won’t vote for a Mormon! That does not sound like numbers that make it necessary to launch an image campaign – which some people are writing about as if to say they are sad the issue is not getting as much action as they hoped for. Given that the image campaign is localized in NYC, I’m thinking it’s about the musical, not the campaign. But I will say this, the fact that there are two Mormons in the race should make it possible for the LDS church to be more active in this sort of fashion without appearing to back a specific candidate.
Timothy Dalrymple continued his exquisite argumentation. Some tried to play on the issue wrongly. There were efforts to draw the line between Huntsman and Romney. There was silliness and then there were reasons for out and out laughter. And who reads this stuff? What the H&^% is a “Mormon Primary?“ (An excuse to talk about Mormons – that’s what it is!)
Frankly, the whole thing seems to be an exercise in people that simply have not caught on to the fact that the world has moved on from here. There is a certain air of the pathetic about the whole thing. It is so clearly the left trying to use it as a wedge, but they fail to realize that there really are no groups to wedge apart. Their president has seen to that.
Jon Huntsman Underwhelms
He is not Reaganesque, Un-Repubican, too civil, too moderate, too nice, headed for oblivion and too much like Pete Wilson. But that is what the left is saying about him mostly to make fun of what they perceive as the far right. He does have some real problem - civil unions – polls that fly in the face of his strategy – no traction – bad history, and questionable strategy.
Huntsman is an interesting case in press coverage. I suppose the juxtaposition of this Politico piece and this one, makes for “balanced” coverage? However, in the internet age where placement and feed readers make it increasingly less likely that readers will see both pieces, that seems like a canard. But taken together what they do reveal is that Huntsman is largely a media creation of the left leaners amongst us. He is hot becasue he is closer to Obama than anyone else in the Republican field. Hmmmmm.
And speaking of underwhelming – this is dangerous territory, but then he clearly paid no attention to the last cycle. I have no idea how the LDS church would feel about it (Lowell?) but how a man chooses to practice is faith is between him and the officialdom of that faith. I am sure the left will love it though.
Who Do Evangelicals Love? – Pawlenty, Bachmann, or Perry?
Actually, the first question is really does it matter anymore. A new poll shows that 82% of Evangelical leaders think their influence is declining. I really hate to get all “told you so” here, but precisely how much time did I spend arguing last cycle that if Evangelicals insisted on voting based on identity they would sequester themselves into a powerless Evangelical ghetto? Of course, they are trying to spin it a bit differently than that, but come on, this is not the first move they have made towards the ghetto.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is evangelicals’ choice to win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, according to a new poll conducted by an organization led by his pastor. [Emphasis added]
So everything may not be as rosy as the headlines would indicate. Of course they claim no bias, but really?! There are problems – the campaign appears to be on a financial shoestring (quarterly reports to be out soon):
“This isn’t ‘We’re broke and we can’t afford to pay you,’ ” the aide said. “We’re raising exactly what we said we were going to raise. We’re paying our consultants exactly what they expected to be paid right now.”
That may be so, but they are still not getting paid – which indicates an issue is present. And while he sorta, kinda tries to hit on Romney about healthcare, there is a serious question of what his policy would be.
Meanwhile, ready made Evangelical/Tea Party fusion candidate, Michele Bachmann will announce her candidacy today, Monday. But I thought she cheap tricked her announcement into the debate last week? This woman is definitely dancing to the tune of a different drummer. Remember all that talk about Gingrich and the similarity of aircraft design? Seems applicable here too.
She tied with Romney in a pre-Iowa straw poll poll. Many will focus on how strong that is for her before she has “announced.” I think the opposite. In a state where Romney has noted and proven disadvantages, and where he is not choosing to work too hard this cycle, he is tied in the lead with a candidate that should win going away. Think about it.
Meanwhile, the press’ fascination with the Rick Perry possibility is definitely humorous. At one point during last week, rumors abound that he was in, only to be shot down virtually moments later. He has some really serious issues to think about. But is that what the press is reporting? Oh, of course not. They want to talk about stuff that anybody even maybe slightly thinking about it would do and whether he is “just like W” or not. And while we are talking Perry, it’s official, Rich Lowry is a curmudgeon.
This is quickly going down in history as one of the strangest presidential bids – at least among high profile names who would be taken seriously – of all time.
That about sums it up. He is not doing anything in Iowa, but says he is in until at least the caucuses. And this week just past saw his financial team take the same explosive route his political one did a couple of weeks ago. This has no moved beyond just being a candidate running for reasons other than wanting to be president. I am beginning to seriously worry about the guy on a personal stability level. It’s become humiliating and he is his own worst enemy.
Romney Political News
Polls this early don’t mean much, but Romney is pulling out in California, Florida and has good favorability numbers. The Florida numbers even triggered some Rubio for VP rumors. There is some fascinating financial news. And since the Mormon Meme seems to be getting no traction, the left is trying to drive new wedges because, frankly, they fear Romney a lot more than they let on.
There is something to this. I heard similar comments from a guy on a airplane a couple of weeks ago; he really liked Romney, but commented that it was obvious the guy was so straight that even spin made him feel like he was lying if one read his body language.
Mormons really have become the point of the spear in the religion wars – they are bringing out the atheists in droves. All the more reason to offer support on the political level. Not to mention the fact that I have found this bit of Mormonism to be quite true.
Speaking of Mormons, who is more “cultic”?
For once, Al Mohler has a point.