Sunday, December 9, 2007

Romneys All the Time

I'm sure the Ron Paul Baba Booeys are upset because of all the Romney hoopla that's been going on this past week. Here are a few examples that I've carefully culled (but neither Juan Valdez nor Ludo Cremers were involved - not that my words are wisdom).

Let's start with David Broder, as quoted in Real Clear Politics, who provides us with a history lesson (and no, I'm not talking about John F. Kennedy):

Forty-two years ago, when he was preparing to run for president, George Romney, the Republican governor of Michigan, told reporter Wallace Turner of the New York Times, "I am completely the product of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."...

I had forgotten that George Romney had also been called on to explain his religion. Back then, the vexing question was racial; the Mormons had not yet dropped their ban on African Americans entering the priesthood, and the elder Romney had to cite his own strong civil rights credentials as a way of rebutting any implication of racism.

Broder's conclusion is interesting:

And the Constitution means what it says: No religious test for public office.

While Broder is very positive on both the Romneys, Steve Chapman (also appearing in Real Clear Politics) is not that hot on the son:

Like John F. Kennedy, who said in 1960 that the presidency should not be "tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group," Romney said there should be no religious test for this office. "A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith," he said.

Rejected because of his faith, no. But rejected for his lack of faith? That's another question. Romney evinces a powerful aversion to skeptics. "We need to have a person of faith lead the country," he said in February, which sounds like a religious test to me.

In case anyone doubts his inhospitable stance toward freethinkers, scoffers and Sunday-morning layabeds, his speech confirmed it. Nowhere did he make the slightest effort to suggest that anyone unsure of the existence of God has anything to contribute to our democratic dialogue. In fact, he went out of his way to denounce decadent European societies "too busy or too 'enlightened' to . . . kneel in prayer."

When he said "we do not insist on a single strain of religion -- rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith," he drew a line that excludes those professing no creed. Zoroastrians and Taoists in, agnostics out.

Chapman goes on to say:

The former Massachusetts governor makes equally imaginative claims about those who champion church-state separation. He believes they "are intent on establishing a new religion in America -- the religion of secularism." Oh? You would look long and hard to find any secularist or civil libertarian who thinks the government should officially espouse atheism or encourage Americans to abandon religion.

Personally, I think Chapman is stretching it a bit here. There are plenty of people who would "encourage Americans to abandon religion" - on the job, in the public square, or especially in public office. The Freedom from Religion Foundation, for example, wants religious faith to remain a private matter, not a public affair:

The implications of CNN-TV's recent presidential forum on "faith and values," ("The Situation Room," June 4, 2007) are deeply dismaying. If this is a sign of the media's pandering to come, the secular values of our nation are in worse trouble than we thought. As the New York Times coverage pointed out, such a faith-infused candidate spectacle would have been unthinkable even two years ago....

CNN signaled that presidential candidates are expected to be answerable to the media and the public about their faith in God, their "prayer life," even what they pray for!...

Katha Pollitt, a columnist for The Nation, has pointed out:

"[Jim] Wallis's God calls on Christians to fight racism, poverty, war and violence--what's wrong with mustering support for these worthy goals by presenting them in the language spoken by so many Americans?"...

The CNN faith forum is a symptom of the deterioration of our nation's respect for its precious heritage of separation between church and state, and its respect for freedom of conscience. These politicians are running for commander in chief, not reverend in chief. It is the qualifications of the candidates, not their private views, that matter. Faith is irrelevant.

Back to Romney. I've talked before about how candidates are hammered for flip-flopping, and Romney is no exception. (Again from Real Clear Politics, which seems to be saying more about the intersection between religion & politics than Red Blue Christian I probably ought to join; since mid-November, only one person has contributed. And, unlike before, I am supposedly succinct now.)

Some observers insist that Romney - the cashmere chameleon - has been trying to fool people ever since he entered politics. While running for governor of Massachusetts, the idea was to impersonate a liberal. In a failed bid for the U.S. Senate, Romney tried, according to political observers in the Bay State, to run to the left of Ted Kennedy.

Now, in the GOP presidential primary, where the main course is red meat, the objective for everyone running is to be the ultimate tough guy. And, over the last several months, Romney has done his best to talk tougher than the rest on illegal immigration....

Well, toughness begins at home. And this week we learned that Romney, amid all his posturing over illegal immigration, had continued to employ a lawn-service company that has illegal immigrants among its work force.

Romney says he fired the company this week - but only after reporters from The Boston Globe contacted him for a response to a story they were working on.

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magyart said...

Tired of illegal immigration ?

Only those Senators & Congressmen willing to co-sponsot the SAVE Act should be given our vote.

The Save Act forces all employers to verify social security numbers. It's an "interior enforcement" bill that this country needs.

Get more details at NumbersUSA and send a free fax to your elected reps. asking them to co-sponsor this revolutionaty new bill.

Contact Congress today. Thanks.

Ontario Emperor said...

I'll grant that I have a particular bias, but while verification of social security numbers may help, it's not a foolproof solution.

By the way, I can't send faxes. A Nobel Peace Prize winner would send me an e-mail condemning me for the practice. He'd probably compose it next to his indoor heated pool.