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."

  • Decision or Desperation – Is The Gingrich Surge The Surge With A Difference?

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:36 pm, November 30th 2011     &mdash      5 Comments »

    One must wonder, Gingrich is pretty damaged goods and yet, here we are.

    Gingrich may be reaching out to South Carolina Christians, but Richard Land points out he has a big issue with Evangelical women.  He is waaaay behind on the ground game curve.  Jim Geraghty points out that his past is full of statements that are far from “conservative.“  All this makes him look like just another not-Romney surge.

    But when you focus on Iowa, things get a bit more interesting.  There was a meeting of Iowa social conservatives designed specifically to STOP ROMNEY.  But they cannot seem to find someone to stand behind.  So, the usual suspects do not appear to be behind this surge.  But then it seems to be a new game in Iowa.

    Then there is the fact that FOXNews says Romney may be in for the fight of his life.  And then there was that “testy” interview Romney did with Brett Baier of Fox yesterday.  And now, I think we are figuring out where this surge feels different than the last three (Bachmann-Perry-Cain).  Gingrich has spent the last many years as a “Fox News Contributor.”   And when you listen to Hugh Hewitt’s interview with Gingrich from yesterday, he sounds like he is still a media guy, counting heads (counting gate?!) at appearances and plugging his wife’s book at every possible turn.  Is it just me, or does it seem like Fox wants “their” guy to succeed.  Therein lies the difference with this surge.  That and timing.  Voting is barely a month away, there is no more time for another surge – this one dies, it’s over.

    So the confluence of forces behind this surge are a bit different than the last three, (even though the NYTimes cannot seem to figure it out) but there is one constant…

    The Mormon Factor

    Make no mistake, this issue is far from dead.  As Richard Salsman points out at Forbes:

    Yet most GOP conservatives, especially the more religious ones, despise Mr. Romney and actively oppose him – and thus bolster Obama’s re-election chances.

    Clearly religion is playing in this whole surge-after-surge phenomena somewhere.  Nobody wants to be pinned with the religious bigot label, so post-Jeffress they are playing their cards close to their chest, but there remains just enough buzz about the issue to know that it is in play.  Gingrich danced around, if not directly with, the “Mormons lie” thing.  Efforts to turn the Mormon card to the race card continue.  The Washington Post even notes it is an issue.  But most interesting to me was this little tidbit:

    A group of 73 evangelicals and counting have joined together in a shared declaration stating that when it comes to the three persons of God, it’s one-for-all and all-for one.

    Titled “An Evangelical Statement on the Trinity,” the document was posted in early November on TrinityStatement.com and affirms that God is one being comprised of three aspects that are co-equal and co-eternal. It was a necessary move, signees say, given the lingering debate over Trinity doctrine in the Christian community.

    Now, there is no word on who is behind this, but I find it highly suspicious.  The doctrine of the Trinity is the most fundamental difference between Mormons and traditional Christians.  It is also not a doctrine that, within the bounds of traditional Christianity, is in any particular need of reinforcement or clarification.  There is no information about who is behind this effort, but when this shows up roughly the same time there is a STOP ROMNEY meeting in Iowa (see above), and sounding threatening,  one has to catch a little anti-Mormon odor.

    What’s really sad is that some Mormon sources are just not helping.  In light of the “Mormon lie” meme, accusing Romney – any Mormon for that matter – of “bearing false witness” is a non-starter.  And pointing out that if his presidential run fails, Romney could take a position high in the CJCLDS is a bit like waving a red cape in front of a bull.

    Romney, and his faith, are getting some good defense from people like Walter Russell Mead, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and Joseph Knippenberg.  But in the new media age, such serious and thoughtful reason seems a whisper in a mighty wind.  It’s funny how the media is all over the negative stuff and the positive stuff has to be ferreted out.  Good thing internet bloodhounds are cheap and easy.

    Next Morning Postscript: In his newsletter this morning (subscribe here, it is well worth it), Jim Geraghty follows up on his post (linked above) on some of Gingrich’s less than stellar past utterances, by piling on some more and then concludes this way:

    If you prefer Gingrich to Romney or any other candidate, fine. But don’t tell me you’re choosing Gingrich over Romney because the latter is an inconsistent, unreliable, fair-weather conservative, and the former isn’t.

    And therein lies the crux of all of this.  This really is another not-Romney surge, one fraught with desperation as  time runs out.  The key question is what motivates the anti-Romney sentiment?  There are a lot of factors ranging from adolescent-like rebellion against “the establishment” to simple ignorance.  Nonetheless, given the latest choice in the not-Romney candidate, one must assume that simple hatred plays a role.  From whence the hatred?  Well, we know that in one very vocal, but not majoratarian, group it is animated by religious prejudice.  Their public rhetoric in Robert Jeffress, and Mike Huckabee before him, and their whisper campaigns may have been more effective than we suspect.

    In light of such, I think it would behoove this latest  not-Romney to publicly denounce such sentiment.  Yes, Gingrich denounced Jeffress, but more is called for.  He needs to make it publicly plain that there is no room in his camp for anti-Mormon whispers, as Romney should make it plain there is no room for anti-Catholic whispers.  (BTW, why Gingrich and not Santorum?  Could it be that with his two divorces, Gingrich is only “kinda Catholic”?)  Gingrich needs to make it plain that he only wants to be president on his own merits – not on the back of religious distaste for another.  And now back to the original post.

    In Closing…

    Tim Tebow is bringing out the worst in the religion haters.

    Margarita A. Mooney talks JFK’s famous religion speech.

    Religion generally continues under heavy fire.

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    When Ya Got Nothing, You Make Something Up!

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 03:00 am, November 28th 2011     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    Well, that or you beat a dead horse, or you just get silly.  And that statement, set of statements actually, is true if you are the press or a Democrat/Obama operative.  (Is there a difference?)

    In The Silly Department!

    Vanity Fair looks at Romney’s musical taste:

    Juli: Oh! I have an answer. Per The Boston Globe: “Brandon Flowers, the lead singer of The Killers, is a fellow Mormon. Romney had lunch with him earlier this year in Las Vegas, and it’s not a stretch to imagine him singing at campaign rallies next year should Romney win the G.O.P. nomination.”

    Please, music to ring the Mormon bell?!  Does not such a connection, I am sure in accordance with some verses in the Book of Mormon require a mention of Donny and Marie?  I mean really.

    This too.  Should have just taken the long weekend.

    And About That Dead Horse

    That would be  the endlessly analyzed Pew Poll that we looked at briefly just before the holiday.  You know the one that said Romney has a Mormon problem in the primary, but not the general.  The Catholics talked about itCNN talked about itThe IBT talked about itABC used it as permission to drive the wedgeTmatt @ GetReligion got it exactly wrong when he said:

    By now, pretty much everyone knows where the white evangelicals stand on Romney and Obama. This new Pew poll only updates the old normal. In the online summary, what jumped out at me was that only 43 percent of the Democrats polled knew that Romney was a Mormon. The poll also didn’t single out voters that identified themselves as independents/swing voters.

    That’s where the action is going to be in the very near future. At some point, the attention of the mainstream press (including Comedy Central) will swing from focusing on all of the strange reasons that evangelicals clash with Mormonism and will begin focusing on all of the totally logical reasons that normal people — like independents and ethnic Democrats — think Mormonism is rather strange, irrational or simply hilarious.

    I think not, I think this reporter in Des Moines got it right when he quoted a Drake professor:

    “That faction of the Republican Party has a very narrow view of what America looks like, and Mormons don’t fit that view,” said Dennis Goldford, Drake University professor of political science.

    Yep, that’s right, they are going to use this as evidence to demonstrate that Republicans generally are close minded.  Tmatt sorta has it right when you consider this.  Ethnic groups, primarily Latinos, are who will decide this election.  African-Americans will overwhelmingly vote for Obama, though indications are that his super-majority inside that ethnicity is decreasing.  Whites will overwhelmingly vote for the Republican nominee – they always do.  The object of the coverage, whether by Tmatt’s description, or that Drake numbskull, is to drive a wedge between those on whom the election will swing and the Republican party.

    People of faith generally are held in contempt by the left (read here for one example – or here for that matter [It's the Bishops that are over-the-top?!  Give me a break there E.J.!])  and that contempt drips from just about everything they write and do.  And they are already starting to widen the wedge by describing the Republican party generally as less than enthusiastic about Romney as the likely nominee.

    There is a small but very loud group of people that are deeply opposed to Romney, based largely on faith, and they are playing right into the left’s hands.  All points of view are welcome in the party, but I really get a bad taste in my mouth when some of those POV’s do more damage than help.

    And In The Category Of Making It Up

    Oh, Let’s just go to the pullquote:

    Democratic strategist Tad Devine, an adviser to the Al Gore and John Kerry presidential campaigns, accused Mitt Romney’s campaign of invoking the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright in a recent ad.

    Devine said Wednesday that he was “shocked” to see what he believed was imagery of an African-American church in an ad released Tuesday by Romney’s campaign team and airing in New Hampshire. The ad, Romney’s first of the campaign, is “clearly an attempt to bring back Rev. Wright and race,” Devine tweeted.

    [...]

    “It appears to be a congregation of African-American people,” Devine told The Hill. “In the first scene there are no white people at all, in the second … it is all African Americans except possibly one person, [whose race] you can’t really tell.”

    Devine said he believes these images were selected intentionally to invoke race and the controversy involving Wright, the president’s former pastor.

    Now, the ad in question has generated all kinds of heat because supposedly the ad “lies.” Now, of course, that line of criticism is not designed to play on prejudice at all (Sarcasm meter pegged and perhaps broken.)  So, couple the plucking of the “Mormons lie” meme (well documented around these parts) with the accusation of playing the race card and you can see that for the first time, our prediction that the Mormon card would be turned to the race card in the general is seeing action not from the press, but the Obama campaign.

    Dear friends, I am growing truly frightened.  When you add to this level of incitement of bigotry to the fact that we have nasty, dirty, criminal protesters in the streets for the first time in decades, you have an extraordinarily volatile mix on your hands.  Our nation has been down this sort of path once in my lifetime.  I know some remember it with a romantic glow, I am not among them.  I did encounter an angry, identity based mob this summer past in Israel.  It is not something I would care to experience again.

    As Bette Davis said, “Fasten your seatbelts—it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!”

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    Just A Bit More To Consider Before The Holiday

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:13 am, November 23rd 2011     &mdash      1 Comment »

    A lot of people thought Newt Gingrich won last night’s debate.  But I was struck by how professorial he seems to be.  He is smart, and unlike Obama, he is eloquent, but is he an organizational leader?  Is he an executive?  Mastery of the fact Gingrich most certainly has.  And the more I have listened, the more he has the consulting/management patois down to a tee.  But giving good advice to people that run organizations, and actually running them are two very different things.  I look at Newt and I see too many signs of academic paralysis – committees, studies, research – all good stuff, but when you are in the hot seat – decisions, and the ability to line up the organization behind them, are what matter.  This I have not seen from Newt.

    But he is certainly the not-Romney of the moment.  They are lining up to stop Mitt.  The usual suspects claim to not even be giving Romney a thought.  What bothers me is that the impetus behind all this is from overtly religious sources, who may protest that their objections are not faith based, but their own raison d’etre is faith.  So it is kind of hard to exclude religion from their motivations.

    And while we are on the subject, David Brody’s snarkiness in re: Romney is growing downright unbecoming.  He has always been a reporter with a obvious point-of-view, but could be relied upon for some level of objectivity, but that seems to have taken a hike this go around.  The reason that bothers me is that as my faith-based brethren sink more-and-more into the “never Romney” zone, as opposed to reasonable opposition, they also sink themselves into he Evangelical ghetto.  It’s a shame.

    And yet a lot of well-known Christians like Romney.  And the polling!  His religion is a problem.  His religion is not a problem.  The latter claim regards the general, NOT the primary.  Obama would be foolish to play the religion card overtly and directly, particularly with Jeremiah Wright in his background, but as we have been chronicling, it will be played indirectly by surrogates (Ben Smith should just hang a sign around his neck at this point that reads “Obama Thrall”) – count on it.

    Michael Medved has an interesting piece in the WSJ today:

    Conservative resistance to Mitt Romney’s nomination increasingly emphasizes electability as much as ideology, concentrating on his perceived weaknesses as a candidate along with an inconsistent approach to the issues. In headlining a typical blog post, Erick Erickson of RedState.com laments: “Mitt Romney as the Nominee: Conservatism Dies and Barack Obama Wins.”

    Such projections of doom portray Mr. Romney as the dreary second coming of John McCain—a hapless moderate foisted on the disillusioned rank and file by the GOP’s country-club establishment, with no real chance to rally the conservative base or draw clear distinctions with Barack Obama.

    This analysis, endlessly recycled on the right, relies on groundless assumptions about recent political history.

    Here’s my problem, given how truly groundless the analysis Medved refers to is, I am having a hard time telling how much of it is genuine analysis and how much of it is tilted-up to give cover to religious suspicion and/or bigotry.  I find THAT just as troubling as those that accuse Romney of duplicitness find his presumed prevarications.

    The best way through this mess is to be honest with ourselves and each others.

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    Some Quick Pre-Thanksgiving Reads

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:27 am, November 22nd 2011     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    Remember yesterday when I said public tears over personal foibles was unbecoming a candidate for the presidency?  Let the ridicule begin.

    This whole sobbing-in-public thing is a tactic to reach a specific religious group.  They are the group that would be most suspicious of Romney on religious grounds, but which has learned, post Jeffress, that direct religious attacks will backfire.  Which brings me to this Jennifer Rubin piece:

    Conservatives who can’t bring themselves to support Romney are entirely entitled to their view. But they should be honest…

    And this Politco piece:

    In interviews, campaign emails and out on the trail, the Republican candidates aren’t shy about attacking the former Massachusetts governor. They hit him for flip-flopping, for the state health care reforms he signed, his business record and everything else they can find. At the 10 debates he’s done since kicking off his candidacy, though, they’ve taken a different approach: They rarely even mention him by name, let alone touch him.

    That’s a rare thing in any race, especially one led by a candidate with so many vulnerabilities. But except for skimming attacks on his record on health care and creating jobs as governor, they’ve instead attacked each other, scrambling like crabs in a bucket for the second spot.

    Heading into Tuesday night’s debate, they face the same conundrum: how to land a punch without alienating the audience or flubbing it, as the few people who’ve tried to attack Romney to date have done.
    But time is running out to try taking Romney down on the public stage and get into the conversation. After Tuesday, there are only three debates and six weeks left until the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.

    This is why, on the right, I think “anti-Romney” has become impotent.  The fact of the matter is, anti-Romney on the right is rooted in religious suspicion.  Little else can explain the vitriol reserved for the man.  The energy in it is too strong to be simple political opposition, it’s vituperous and vitriolic.  And very little of it holds credibility – especially now, as Rubin points out, that it centers on Gingrich.  It is surrounded by the odor of religious bigotry and people can catch the whiffs.  Direct attack on stage turns that odor into a full-on stink.  Heck even anti-Romney standard bearer Mike Huckabee has gotten the message.  But then, there is money to be made, so look for people to keep surfing this wave for a while yet.

    I will pay good money for the CNN Belief Blog to go one whole non-holiday week without mentioning that Mitt Romney is a Mormon.

    We have predicted that the Mormon Card would be turned to the race card in the general and the drum beats continue.  And now we get our introduction to turning it into the gender card as well.  I know so many Mormon women of enormous achievement that I thought this was beyond reach of even the fevered left, but I guess not.

    And now, back to the Thanksgiving preparations.

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    Thanksgiving Week – Let’s Pray for Quiet

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 03:00 am, November 21st 2011     &mdash      6 Comments »

    Last week was anything but quiet as we saw the press lining up attacks for Obama in a presumed contest against Mitt Romney.  Two of the shots came from the NYTimes, one on religion generally, and one looking at  Romney’s religious charity.  Then The New Republic chimed in with the first major attempt to turn the Mormon card into the race card.

    However, as the Gingrich bubble began to expand (will it burst?  Even a cat runs out of lives eventually and Newt has used a bunch) there was some other religion news.  The Daily Caller had a couple of entries into a series about what the White House would be like with a Mormon president.  In the second piece, Hugh Hewitt is quoted:

    “Do you want to know what the most interesting thing I discovered writing ‘A Mormon in the White House?’” he asked. “When George Romney ran … nobody cared. I read everything from that campaign. Nobody cared.

    “So the difference between 1966 and 2006 was incredible, mostly because of the yellow-sheet media, and modern controversialists looking for something to write about.”

    Heck, the idea of writing about what would happen in the White House is extraordinary in and of itself.  When one considers all that has gone on there over a couple of centuries, religious practice of any sort seems tame.  What does it say about our culture when a potential president’s religious practice is considered so “tantalizing” when the licentious trysts of say John Kennedy were considered off limits.  Not only have we stooped to discussion of Monica Lewinsky’s stained dress, but now we consider religious practice as the same sort of thrilling oddity as such filth?!

    James Fallows at The Atlantic said something pretty smart:

    I can imagine Mormon candidates — or Muslim, Baptist, Jewish, Christian Scientist, etc. ones — who were so fundamentalist in applying their faith that to vote for them would be to vote in their religion.

    And he keeps reprinting some of the anti-Mormon mail he receives.   There are two things of note in this continuing series by Fallows.  The first is that regardless of the protestation, his obvious distaste for Romney makes his efforts to say it is not based on religion somewhat blunted.  Secondly, the mail he is getting is really ugly in that nice sort of reasonable way – which saddens me more than anything else — ignorance and prejudice dressed up in nice clothes is still ignorance and prejudice.

    Unbecoming the Presidency…

    There was this debate-like thing in Iowa over the weekend:

    A gathering of religious conservatives in Iowa Saturday night turned into one of the most emotional moments of the 2012 primary season when two presidential candidates — Herman Cain and Rick Santorum — both fought back tears while telling personal stories about the most challenging moments in their lives.

    The Christian Post headline read like something out of the “Guide to Evangelical Grammar and Phraseology”:

    GOP Candidates Give Tearful Confessions at Iowa Family Forum

    Friends, this is not easy for me to write about.  As an Evangelical myself, this stuff tugs at my heart.  I identify with these candidates and their struggles.  In this fashion they are far more like me than Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman.  This establishes a bond between myself and those that “shared” in this fashion that I cannot have with others.  I want to like these people for it.

    But that is simply inappropriate in a candidate for the presidency.  How much time have we spent berating the current president because he makes the nation look weak?  From bows to policy, this guy is making us out to be wimps.  Well folks, crying in public, especially about personal matters, does not help things one bit.

    Yeah, we’ve seen presidents well up at the Tomb of the Unknown (when they bother to show up on time) or in salute to the flag or other patriotic situations, but we have not seen them cry over personal loss and difficulty, even though they have all had it.  If you are Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and you see the president crying at the tomb of his nation’s war dead, you think he is going to come away perhaps a bit angry at those that kill his citizens, and you may fear him a tad.  But if you see a president cry over this kind of stuff, you see weakness, same as if the president bows.

    Not to mention this all came in the context of these candidates discussing their personal foibles.  In the modern political age, confession of such matters is important, but emotional outbursts over them are inappropriate.  Yeah, Newt Gingrich has taken a lot of heat over whether his professed confessions of his infidelities are “genuine,” and tears make them appear so, but at what cost?  If the tears are genuine they give an enemy a place to strike the Commander in Chief in psychological warfare – plain and simple.  Heck, even in trade negotiations, such hot buttons can be pressed.

    Yes, I want to be in a “small group” with Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich – I want to minister to them and share with them.  But do I want them leading the free world?  Not if this sort of public display is to become the norm.  The stuff of nations is bigger and more important than our personal problems, our leaders HAVE to reflect that.

    Important reading…

    Obama’s policies are targeting Catholics.  So say Michael Gerson and Russell Shaw.  There is much talk of keeping religion out of politics, but the reason the religious voice has become so vociferous is because politics keeps getting into religion’s business.  There is a lesson there.  What religion has traditionally attempted to accomplish by developing character, our political opponents wish to accomplish by political force.  The first option acts in freedom, the second in oppression.

    Only an organ edited by Alexander Cockburn could turn a good argument about religious bigotry into a far left screed against conservative policies.  Key sentence:

    The fact that religious bigotry plays any role at all is because of the extremely conservative nature of the Republican base.

    And there you have it – BACKFIRE!

    And this from Israel:

    For most Jews, [ed. note: this really applies to virtually all non-Christians] especially the Orthodox, Christians and Mormons are virtually identical….

    That is extremely important.  It does not just make us natural political allies, but it also bolsters my point what harms one of us harms the other.  Every time we shoot at each other, from the perspective of anyone but us, the result is a self-inflicted wound.  We become the army that could not shoot straight.

    And Now Snarkiness…

    Couldn’t happen to nicer people.

    He should know.

    “Dumb” is inadequate.

    Why do libertarians think they are funnier, cuter and smarter than the rest of us?  It blunts good points when they have them.

    Michael Kinsley is accelerating the rapid decline of the LATimes.

    The NYTimes:

    And yet, the church’s campaign could prove to be a pivotal factor in the race for the presidency.

    and yet – “Pro-Mormon Ads Specifically Skirt Primary States.”  There’s an oops.

    I’m sure the entire Romney campaign staff are quaking in their boots.

    Please – just please.

    Amy Sullivan of TIME Magazine writes that the religious right is struggling to find their candidate and barring a come-from-behind boomlet by an unconventional candidate, the religious right will likely be left without a viable candidate.

    – I’ve been saying that for about, oh, six years now.

    John Mark adds . . .

    I am a card-carrying member of the religious right and I have a candidate: Mitt Romney. Why not? He shares my values and convictions. He is certainly religious.

    Does a man have to go to my particular church to be “my candidate?”

    Sigh.

    Lowell adds . . .

    What really matters, anyway?

    John Mark’s post reminds me of a somewhat risky point I have been meaning to make here. It touches on theology and religious doctrine, topics we rarely explore in depth.

    One of our readers, an Evangelical, recently commented, with apparent deep conviction, that he could not vote for Romney because the Governor did not believe in the Biblical Jesus. My immediate reaction was to think to myself, “Who cares? I don’t think you believe in the Biblical Jesus, but that has nothing to do with whether or not I’d vote for you if you ran for office.”  (John wisecracks: No risk to me – I KNOW I’m right ;-) )

    This conflict of views brings into sharp relief the issue this blog seeks to address. Religious views will vary among us all. Believers of all stripes have always disagreed among themselves over the nature of God, the need for and mode of baptism, and a thousand other points of doctrine. It will ever be thus. But those disagreements are simply irrelevant to any candidate’s qualifications for office.

    Richard Mouw sounds off again

    Richard J. Mouw is the president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, the largest evangelical graduate theological school in the world.  For some years now Mouw has been a champion of improved Mormon-Evangelical understanding.  In Sunday’s L.A. Times his op-ed, “Mormonism: Not a cult, not a problem,” makes Mouw’s latest statement, this time in a Romney context.  He concludes:

    We evangelicals should cast aside old suspicions and hostilities and listen carefully during this campaign. I believe we should make our voting decisions on the basis of what a Mormon candidate — or any candidate — actually has to say about the values and issues we all care about as citizens.

    Nothing new there, but the op-ed is well-timed.  Amid all the MSM winds blowing the other direction (the most recent of which John reports above), it’s nice to feel one countervailing and refreshing breeze.

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    Romney: Conservative

    Posted by: JMReynolds at 10:09 pm, November 20th 2011     &mdash      3 Comments »

    Mitt Romney is a conservative.

    Four years ago Romney ran as a conservative and pulled out of the race with a dignified and eloquent defense of the conservative worldview. He has spent the last four years working hard for conservative candidates and ideas.

    To read some conservatives, this successful businessman is a closet socialist. This pious  family man is hiding secret desires for a more libertine America. The guy who saved an Olympics when failure, a real possibility, would have tarnished his career evidently is a “weather vane.”

    As a resident of Massachusetts, he remained in the GOP because he wanted to win. Somehow Romney thought being a RINO in a Democratic state was a great idea, instead of joining the natural ruling party of the Commonwealth. He knew which way the voters were going and managed to convince them to modify their views.

    Perhaps he is a weather vane in the sense that a weather vane correctly points the way the wind is blowing without changing itself. It does the job it was designed to do successfully.

    Romney does what can be done successfully.

    To some puritans recognizing and reporting changing times and circumstances change is bad. Doing what is possible instead of ranting about impossible dreams is not delusional to these Quixotic men, because they need only talk and not act in the arena of politics.

    Conservatives know that the leader, the man in the arena, must act.

    Doubts about his conservatism are not reasonable if one understands what it is to be a conservative. Fears from conservatives about Romney partly are due to his flaws, but are more due to a policy check list view of conservatism that is at odds with reason and sound government.

    It is also at odds with conservatism. If a group can send out an unchanged check list of “right positions” every four years, they are ideologues and not conservatives. Times change. The tolerable tariff policy of 1896 would have been disaster in 1996.

    Of course, on a moral issue the moral does not change, but what the public will tolerate might. At some times, the best the moral can hope is to be left alone by the dominant wicked. In better times, the moral can press, in some cases, to have the law encourage good behavior. At all times, conservatives hope for a leader who can use his leadership role to promote the unchanging laws of Nature and Nature’s God to Americans through persuasion.

    Not everything evil should be illegal, but conservatives wish for leaders who do not promote evil as good.

    There are four  ideas a man must hold to be an American conservative in the lineage of Burke, Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan. (more…)

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