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Friday, January 19, 2007

Romney Leads The Right

The race for the White House has barely left the gate, but Governor Mitt Romney is poised to lead the pack among Republican candidates.

First, Romney has charisma that can overpower the media. Romney is not afraid to challenge the liberal premise that underlies most press conferences and interviews. The more media exposure that Romney gets, the more he will be seen as a champion of conservative issues.

Second, he has governed by promoting conservative issues more consistently than any of his contenders. Opponents are trying to dismiss his conservative claims by resurrecting old statements from his more liberal past. Romney says he wasn't always a conservative. Still, Romney ran as a conservative in liberal state – then governed as he ran. Isn't this what Republican voters crave?

Third, regardless of religious affiliation, the moral values by which Mitt Romney lives his life seems above reproach. Christians differ with Mormons on issues of salvation, but not on the morality, the honesty, and the integrity that we desire of our leaders.

Governor Romney's faith will not be the obstacle that many suspect. Republicans, particularly Christian Republicans would be foolish to make it an issue. To do so would cement the perception that Christians seek Republican leaders to import evangelical faith into the laws of the land. And Democrats cannot criticize the Mormon faith without insulting their own Senator Harry Reid.

Ultimately, most Americans are more likely to identify "Mormon" with Donny and Marie than with specifics of the Mormon faith. Somehow, ripping apart the religion of Donny and Marie does not seem to be a winning recipe for political success.


Blogger John Galt said...

G-Man, I'm not interested in "ripping apart" Mormonism or preventing Mormons or any other religious joining the conservative cause. I ripped it apart for my own purposes years ago, and now my point about Mormonism is rather different (although I disagree with you that Americans think of the Osmonds when they hear "Mormon." Rather, they think annoying proselytizers at their door and polygamy.) It is, instead, that I won't vote for someone who has associated with the LDS church because the basis of that church is so demonstrably false that its members' openness to or priority upon truth must be questioned. Unfortunately, Mormons will inevitably feel attacked when they hear this reasoning, but that isn't the real point. It isn't about their religion, but about their commitment to reason and truth. I know all this through long association with close relatives who joined the LDS about 35 years ago.

On a separate but related point, your post has the tone of those desperate folks who are telling us we have to vote for them even though their lack of principles makes us hold our noses, because they can win. Winning is clearly better than losing, in politics, but not at the expense of putting into office someone who either can't see through an elaborate hoax, or doesn't care to--especially not the Presidency.

1/22/2007 12:39 PM  
Blogger G-man said...

I think it dangerous and ill-advised to use Romney's Mormon faith as a reason not to vote for him – and to let someone else win. For the most part, it is better to judge the man's actions against his words than to judge him based on supposed weaknesses of his stated religion – even if the weakness can be proven as such.

1. Pending the degree of devotion, one's faith can be very influential in his or her actions. If one's faith can arguably lead to behavior unbecoming of a President, then there is justification for not voting for the candidate because of his faith. I would not, for example, vote for a candidate who worshiped at bin Laden's church.

2. If, on the other hand, one's faith led one to lead a righteous life, then arguing against him/her based on faith is a weak argument. It would seem reasonable to measure one's judgment based on their interpretation of the same facts compared to your own. However, faith often requires faith. We don't know what is in Romney's heart. We don't know to what degree he accepts every tenet of the Mormon church. But, we do know (mostly) how he has led his life.

[As a Lutheran, I can certainly find another Christian candidate to be endearing because I understand how the motivation of faith in a higher power can drive one to strive toward living a righteous life. From a secular perspective, perhaps this is the most important issue regarding one's religious belief – does it drive one to do good toward others or to do evil?]

3. To protect our religious freedom, our Founding Fathers created a secular government. With rare exception (such as a candidate who shares the faith of bin Laden), I believe it best to argue for or against candidates based on secular reasoning – what are their stances on the issues, do their actions match their words, etc.

4. Arguing against Romney because his religion is "based on lies" opens the door for every non-Christian to argue against a Christian candidate. There are many who would argue that the Bible is lacking in truth and that anyone who believes what it teaches to be demonstrating a weakness of judgment.

1/22/2007 9:35 PM  
Blogger G-man said...

John Galt, I don't see how the "tone" of this post suggest supporting Romney solely because he could win. Right or wrong, I speculated that he might have both the charisma AND the conservative credentials to warrant our support. As Right Hook points out, there are those who disagree on the conservative credentials. We shall see.

On a more general point, elections are about choices. Sadly, many Republican supporters chose not to choose last November and led many elected Republicans to falsely conclude that winning requires more moderation on the issues. This means that we, in the base, have our work cut out for us. We have to motivate the would-be candidates – including Senator Coleman – to practice the fundamentals of conservatism. Further, we have to motivate those who did not vote last year to get back in the game and help us frame the debate on conservative issues.

Regarding the 2008 Presidential bid, if there is a time to choose between who can win versus who is most conservative, we aren't there yet. Now is the time to reinvigorate the conservative debate and to invigorate conservatism in potential candidates – to reward the more conservative candidates with our support.

1/22/2007 10:05 PM  

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