Tag Archives: Republican primaries

Oh, There Was Another Debate Today

Perhaps as an indication of the degree of debate fatigue I have, I wasn’t even aware that the Republicans were debating in Iowa today.

Here’s a cursory roundup of information I’ve been able to glean on short notice:

Michelle Malkin is liveblogging.

The Des Moines Register’s Carolyn Washburn (a.k.a. Schoolmarm) is the moderator of the debate. She’s no plant, but she sure is a stick in the mud. Her line of the debate so far: “A little snappier, gentlemen!” An hour into the debate, there’s no pile-on on Huckabee. There’s no time for one. Schoolmarm won’t allow it! She did, however, find time to show time-wasting videos of the candidates answering questions from Register reporters–even though the candidates are standing in front of her on the stage.

Congratulations, Schoolmarm: Washburn managed to suck all the life and color out of one of the most contested, exciting, unpredictable campaign fields in recent history. She stamped out any attempts between the candidates to engage each other. Not a single question on immigration.

I think, quite frankly, I preferred the plants!

Over at The Corner a consensus is developing that Romney and Thompson did well, but McCain and Giuliani didn’t get much in because Ron Paul and Alan Keyes were so disruptive.

Hot Air has video highlights, including Alan Keyes as his usual unhinged self.

The following video, from Hot Air, is great. I now wish I would have watched the whole thing.

Yikes. Malkin was right about the moderator, and BRAVO to Thompson for saying NO to yet another stupid “show of hands” question.

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Romney, Huckabee, and Religion

Much discussion has swirled recently about the role of religion in politics, particularly in the race for the Republican nomination. Of course the main focus has been on Romney and his Mormonism, but what of the religious beliefs of Huckabee? In 1998 he was party to this:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A full-page ad in USA Today Aug. 26 voiced the affirmation of 131 evangelicals to the Southern Baptist Convention that “you are right!” in holding forth the Bible’s teachings on marriage.
“At a time when divorce is destroying the fabric of our society, you have taken a bold stand for the biblical principles of marriage and family life. We thank you for your courage,” the ad stated. The ad also appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of WORLD, an evangelical magazine based in Asheville, N.C.

[…]

The SBC article describes marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” It also notes, “The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. … A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. … A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.

(emphasis mine)

How does such a religious belief, specifically as it relates to women, compare to the beliefs of Mormons? Huckabee is a Southern Baptist who believes in Creationism, has declared homosexuality sinful, and made some controversial statements about AIDS patients in the past.

Also, mention has been made of how his foreign policy thinking is informed by his religious beliefs:

This is the kernel of Huckabee’s foreign policy. He wants to anthropomorphize (sic) international relations and bring a Christian commitment to the Golden Rule to our affairs with other nations. As he told the Des Moines Register the other day, “You treat others the way you’d like to be treated. That’s to me the fundamental issue that has to be re-established in our dealings with other countries.”

I’m bringing all this up mainly to illustrate that a candidates religious beliefs have an impact on how he or she can be expected to govern. Plenty of people are put off enough by Huckabee’s beliefs that they’d refrain from voting for him.

Compare this to the reasons often given for not voting for Mitt Romney, based on his religious beliefs:

1)It’s a cult, 2) “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”, 3)Mormons are not Christians.

In my post from the other day about how I was offended because Romney felt obliged to give a speech to reassure people that his Mormonism shouldn’t be a disqualifier, an interesting comment thread developed around my assertion that it’s silly for voters to write Romney off simply because he’s Mormon. It was suggested I’m arguing that his religion doesn’t matter, or that a candidates religious beliefs in general shouldn’t be part of the calculus in deciding for whom to vote.

Well, I have big problems with Mike Huckabee’s religious beliefs and how they have and presumably will inform his policies in office. Naturally, if anyone else voiced the same objections to Huckabee based on his religious beliefs I wouldn’t disagree.

While I understand Mitt Romney shares many opinions with Huckabee and Southern Baptists in general (some would say belatedly and conveniently), these aren’t derived uniquely from him Mormonism. To the extent Romney holds the same beliefs Huckabee does on the various issues outlined above, I disagree with him as well, but that’s an entirely different argument from that made by those opposed to Romney simply because his religion is different.

In my view, to argue effectively that Romney’s religion should disqualify him from the office of President, one would have to explain how his beliefs would impact his policies and decisions from a Mormon point of view that’s unique in comparison with other religious traditions.

So far the only reasons I’ve seen given are those I’ve listed above. Given that, I’ll state once again that it’s silly and, in my opinion, un-American to write Romney off simply because he’s a Mormon. I don’t think this is a relativistic point of view, and I don’t believe what I’m arguing is that religion shouldn’t matter, because it obviously does matter.

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National Review Endorses Romney

There’s dispute about how much influence NR really has these days with the Republican base, but I think this is an important endorsement. Key paragraphs:

Uniting the conservative coalition is not enough to win a presidential election, but it is a prerequisite for building on that coalition. Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of New York and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country.

Two other major candidates would be able to keep the coalition together, but have drawbacks of their own. John McCain is not as conservative as Romney. He sponsored and still champions a campaign-finance law that impinged on fundamental rights of political speech; he voted against the Bush tax cuts; he supported this year’s amnesty bill, although he now says he understands the need to control the border before doing anything else.

Despite all that and more, he is a hero with a record that is far more good than bad. He has been a strong and farsighted supporter of the Iraq War, and, in a trying political season for him, he has preserved and even enhanced his reputation for dignity and seriousness. There would be worse nominees for the GOP (see above). But McCain ran an ineffectual campaign for most of the year and is still paying for it.

Fred Thompson is as conservative as Romney, and has distinguished himself with serious proposals on Social Security, immigration, and defense. But Thompson has never run any large enterprise — and he has not run his campaign well, either. Conservatives were excited this spring to hear that he might enter the race, but have been disappointed by the reality. He has been fading in crucial early states. He has not yet passed the threshold test of establishing for voters that he truly wants to be president.

[…]

For some people, Romney’s Mormonism is still a barrier. But we are not electing a pastor. The notion that he will somehow be controlled by Salt Lake City or engaged in evangelism for his church is outlandish. He deserves to be judged on his considerable merits as a potential president. As he argued in his College Station speech, his faith informs his values, which he has demonstrated in both the private and public sectors. In none of these cases have any specific doctrines of his church affected the quality of his leadership. Romney is an exemplary family man and a patriot whose character matches the high office to which he aspires.

(emphasis mine)

I’m glad they confronted the anti-Mormon stuff head on. I still think Giuliani is the best bet, but Romney is more acceptable to me than either Huckabee or McCain.

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Romney’s Mormonism Is Only A Problem For Other People

Via Allahpundit: Polls: 80% say they’d vote for a Mormon — but only 45% say most people they know would

In other words, bias against Mormons is real — but it’s nowhere near as prevalent as people think it is. Just look at the spread as of June, before the sharp uptick in the Times poll. It’s an almost 50-point swing between people’s willingness to vote for a Mormon and their confidence in whether others are similarly willing. Any other explanation here besides the media blowing the Mormon issue out of all proportion?

I put in my two cents on the supposed controversy surrounding Romney’s religion a few days ago. I was offended that he felt the need to reassure people that’s it’s okay to vote for a Mormon, although I later heard that part of his speech was dedicated to assuring religious voters that he disdains atheists and secularists as much as they do, which I thought was counterproductive. Speaking of atheists – according to the polling Allah highlights most people wouldn’t vote for one. Oh, well. As for the media’s role in hyping Romney’s religion, may I suggest it’s the beginning of an availability cascade?

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Democrats Heart Huckabee

Me on December 5th:

He’s (Huckabee) been getting a lot of attention in the media lately. My inner cynic leads me to believe that maybe they’re pushing him because they know he’s an easier mark for the Democratic nominee.

Drudge Report today:

Democrat party officials are avoiding any and all criticism of Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee, insiders reveal.

The Democratic National Committee has told staffers to hold all fire, until he secures the party’s nomination.

The directive has come down from the highest levels within the party, according to a top source.

Within the DNC, Huckabee is known as the “glass jaw — and they’re just waiting to break it.”

In the last three weeks since Huckabee’s surge kicked in, the DNC hasn’t released a single press release criticizing his rising candidacy.

The last DNC press release critical of Huckabee appeared back on March 2nd.

Add to that this story from CNN today:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — While presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is surging in new polls of GOP candidates, a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday shows he would lose to all three leading Democratic candidates by double digits in hypothetical contests.

In head-to-head matchups — the first to include Huckabee — the former Arkansas governor loses to Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York by 10 percentage points (54 percent to 44 percent), to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois by 15 points (55 percent to 40 percent) and to former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina by 25 points (60 percent to 35 percent).

The poll comes on the heels of a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday that showed Huckabee doubled his support nationally among likely Republican voters in the last month and is in a statistical dead heat with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Okay, so it wasn’t really that difficult to see what’s going on. We’ll see how this plays out in the media over the coming weeks.

Update: I should note that via Politico the DNC is denying Drudge got his information from them. Allahpundit at Hot Air isn’t all that convinced that Drudge is on the right track either:

I’m skeptical. Granted, he often appears not to know what he’s talking about, and the claim from Drudge’s source that the past week’s fiascos “ain’t even scratching the surface of what we’ve got on him” is all too credible, but he’s got a lock on the south in the general and chumps like me are bound to hold our noses and vote for him, especially if he’s matched up with Hillary.

[…]

Or maybe I’m wrong. Could be; read this. Exit question: When exactly did Drudge become to the anti-Huckabee camp what Hugh Hewitt is to the pro-Romney camp?

Me: It doesn’t matter if Huckabee does well in southern states. I mean, haven’t the Democrats written them off anyway? Huckabee is a dream for the Democrats because he’s got all baggage (Horton moments) as well as his comments about AIDS and homosexuals to use against him in the general election. I agree with Allah that if Huckabee is nominated by the GOP he’d be better than Hillary and I’d hold my nose and vote for him, but I believe Giuliani is the best hope for picking off purplish states.

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Romney’s Religion Speech

“I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.”

That’s from Mitt Romney’s much ballyhooed “Faith in America” address. I’ll just link to the memeorandum page with the bazillion people commenting on it if you want to see what they have to say. I don’t care what the pundits say about the speech because the whole idea that he needs to explain, in this day and age, that he can be President while Mormon just pisses me off. I understand he’s competing with Huckabee for the religious vote, but it galls me even more that he has to pander and try to reassure people who might have a problem with his religious beliefs. Yes, I come from a different vantage point because I’m not a religious person, but what do these people think will happen if a Mormon is president? Do they think he’ll revive polygamy? What is their problem? I read in a couple of places that some folks are upset because supposedly Mormons believe Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. If so, who the heck cares if that’s what they believe? Do they think he’ll force everybody else to believe it, too?

There are other reasons to have qualms with Romney, such as his apparent flip flops on social issues that “values voters” are concerned about, but for crying out loud – the Mormon thing is just stupid.

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Enough of Huckabee

In my last mention of the criticism Huckabee is receiving from Republicans I hinted at the distinct religious flavor of his campaign. Well, he’s finally let it all hang out. Just watch the video. I don’t need to add anything else to it.

As if that isn’t enough, he also has an apparent clemency fetish. In particular he’s being pummeled for the pardon of a convicted murderer rapist who went on to murder; a case that’s being called Huckabee’s Willie Horton moment.

Oh, and he’s falling apart on the immigration issue, too.

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