Some Additional Thoughts on the Evangelical Anti-Romney Candidates

Ginger White’s Story and Herman Cain

First, read this article here. It’s enough to make me want to weep for the children of men.

It wasn’t long ago that we all talked about rating the candidates. At that point I had already decided that, based on the available evidence, that Herman Cain was probably guilty of sexual harassment so I couldn’t vote for him in good conscience.

A lot of new information has come out since then, all of it bad news for Cain. I’m honestly curious what Rameumpton thinks that this point given the new evidence to evaluate. (If he still believes in Cain, that’s cool. This isn’t a challenge, just a question.)

Me personally? I’ve gone from believing Cain ‘probably’ did it to feeling that if I was in a court of law and I was a juror that I’d have no issue (at least given the current state of the evidence) convicting him as guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Of course new evidence could easily change my mind. But I have my doubts counter evidence is on the way.

Ginger White’s testimony, when bolstered by the other four women accusing Cain of sexual harassment plus the fact that his wife didn’t even know he was financially supporting Ginger White, is certainly enough to convince me beyond reasonable doubt that Herman Cain is a bona-fide monster.

I think one of the things that makes White’s testimony so convincing is actually the very thing that others will find problematic – she doesn’t excuse herself and admits to just how badly behaved she was.

I am enraged at what happened to Ginger White. It makes me boil with anger that she was taken advantage of by male bosses because she was in a difficult financial position. But she refuses to stop there. She goes on to basically admit that what started as desperation went on to become a game to her. In short, she basically stops short of admitting that she was a prostitute for these men, including Herman Cain.

I honestly see no motive for her to admit something like this other than she is coming clean. I guess you could argue that she is so desperate for the limelight that she is making this all up. But the level of detail in her story and the messy emotion and self incrimination seems to run against this hypothesis. I think she is basically telling us the truth. The outside evidence to go with it (mentioned previously) is enough to convict in my opinion. In any case, we all have to make up our minds about Herman Cain for ourselves. For me I am past reasonable doubt that he’s guilty.

And, for those that were holding out a story of “well, that was in the past and maybe he’s repented”, they must now contend with the fact that Cain still had a, um… mistress… on his payroll until a couple of weeks ago.

I remember only a few months ago seeing sounds bites of Cain professing his faith in Jesus Christ. I remember thinking in my mind “that’s so sincere.” I’m a duped fool and I admit it. And the republicans almost sent this man to the white house because he wasn’t a Mormon.

I haven’t felt this strong of negative feelings about a candidate since – well since Bill Clinton and… well… Newt Gingrich.

Actually, strike that. That’s an insult to Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. I have my doubts that either Clinton or Gingrich had actually legally committed sexual harassment. It sounds like Cain did. So he’s a whole new league of monster.

I can’t help but feel chilled over the story of how White and Cain met. If her story is true (and I currently believe it is baring new evidence) he apparently has the power to walk into a room and within an hour or two be able to tell which woman is desperate enough to go back to his hotel room with him in exchange for favors. Except that that’s not really true either. After all, his sexual harassment cases suggest that his powers sometimes misfired and did so more than once.

I’m glad that the Evangelicals did the right thing and dumped Cain once the evidence became overwhelming.

The Rise of Newt Gingrich

I’ve written in the past about how bigotry against Romney because he’s a Mormons is the true underlying cause for the rise of Newt Gingrich.

I wanted to talk about this a bit more. Let’s admit that there will always be some room for other interpretations. Heck, there is still some room for interpreting Cain as a victim instead of a monster. So certainly there is always going to be some room for doubt about just how much Romney’s Mormonism really played in the rise of Newt Gingrich as the Evangelical’s chosen candidate.

For those that feel I’m assuming too much here on religion playing such a decisive role, this article is worth a read. Here are some relevant quotes.

Bob Vander Plaats, the head of the Family Leader, an influential Iowa social-conservative organization, says groups like his are taking a hard look at Gingrich and have come away impressed. After a forum last month at which candidates discussed their faith, Vander Plaats, in consultation with his organization’s board, whittled the list of candidates the Family Leader may support to four: Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Gingrich.

He is articulating a very Christian-historical worldview. People are seeing he’s had a life transformation,” Vander Plaats says of Gingrich. “The second thing he’s got going for him is some people believe Newt is the best prepared to lead. And three is that he looks like the one with the best shot at being the alternative to Romney and defeating Romney. Believe me, conservatives want an alternative to Romney. They don’t trust him.”

So three days before Thanksgiving, a group of evangelical leaders met privately in a Des Moines office building to discuss throwing their support en masse to a single candidate. No decision was made, but the participants stressed the importance of coalescing around an alternative to Romney.

Of course quotes like this don’t specifically say it’s Romney’s religion that is the deciding factor. That would be bigoted and thus inappropriate, so I would have expected that. And, yes, Romney is far less than a perfect candidate. I don’t really feel that comfortable with him either. So why do I keep assuming religion is the deciding factor that caused the rise of each anti-Romney candidate and now Newt Gingrich?

But here is the thing I think people that ask that question are missing. First, can you honestly name a Republican candidate since Reagan that you were really excited about during the primaries? Can you even name one during the general election that you didn’t feel like you had to hold your nose a bit?

This is sort of how things go, especially during the primaries. We never like the candidates all the way because they are never what we really want. Truth be told, part of the reason that is true is because we all want different things. It’s not possible to please “us” in that sense. (Imagine trying to find a conservative candidate that pleased both Geoff and myself. It’s not possible!)

But honestly, it goes further than that. We’ve not had a strongly charismatic candidate since Reagan.

So I have to ask everyone to be honest with themselves about this. Is it really true that Romney is worse than: Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, George H.W. Bush (as perceived during his two elections anyhow – he is a one term president after all)? I really don’t think so. Romney is “no worse” than any of those candidates. None of them were rock stars that fit what we really wanted in a candidate.

Am I the only one that remembers Bob Dole claiming that tobacco wasn’t addictive because he was getting campaign money from the industry? Am I the only one that remembers that both Bush and McCain weren’t perceived as very conservative?

Yet in none of these cases did we ever see coalitions of people — specifically Christians — forming for the explicit purpose of making sure one candidate failed to get the nomination.

Besides, each of those candidates ended up coalescing into some decent level of support once it was clear that they were better than the alternatives. Romney is the only counter example to this. Why?

You can’t just point to Romney’s problems and expect a thinking person to think your seriously. Yes, Romney has flip flopped.

You mean Gingrich hasn’t just as much?

Yes, Romney’s not entirely conservative.

Gingrich?

Yes, Romney’s too much of an insider.

Gingrich?

Yes, Romney comes across like he’s running for president because his ego demands it.

Gingrich! Gingrich! Gingrich! (Hmm… sounds like Grinch.)

Add to this the fact that Pew studies do find a significant anti-Mormon bias that is affecting Romney. This is a case of it being as obvious as things get in politics.

The simple truth is this: Romney has no faults that Gingrich doesn’t do worse in save one area: He’s not Mormon.

Anti-Mormon Bigotry

I started thinking about what this all means. I suspect my wife is a pretty good example of mainstream Mormonism. I have to tell you that I have often seen her get excited when she hears some famous person or politician profess Christ.

My wife is typical of Mormons. She loves Christians. She doesn’t merely tolerate them nor think they are ‘as good as everyone else.’ She thinks of them as above the pack and better than the rest. That’s the honest truth.

We’re talking about a woman that served a mission, so she is no stranger to anti-Mormon bigotry either. But she honestly believes that this group of bigots within Christendom is a very small group. She had no idea, prior to this election, that this group of bigots is large enough to guarantee that Mormon can’t get the nomination even when all alternatives are nothing short of abysmal.

Nor did she had any idea that even those Evangelicals that aren’t in the 1/3 bigoted group had just enough sympathy to the bigot’s point of view as to not speak up and say something. She honestly did not realize that her positive feelings for Evangelicals in the public arena were not returned. I feel heart broken over this.

Of course Mormons and Evangelicals are competitors in the religious arena. It could not have been otherwise. It’s precisely because we’re so close religiously that we are the most direct competitors to each other. But this is precisely why Mormons have such positive feelings towards Evangelicals.

Now I have no doubt that Mormons have issues with with Evangelical doctrines. For example, you can go to a LDS Church and hear a Mormon speak out against the Trinity doctrine as taught by the creeds. And, yes, you can probably find Mormons that have real issues with Christian doctrines to the point of it being ‘prejudice.’ Prejudice is widespread amongst the human race.

But I have noticed a few things. First, Mormons police their own on this. Try to go to a Mormon church and talk about how Christians are bad or scary people, for example. Or even just speak ill of their doctrines in a mocking way. You’ll immediately raise the hackles of the other Mormons who do not find this to be acceptable behavior. In fact, in most cases you’ll be silenced. This is nothing like what happens in Evangelical anti-Mormon classes where Mormon doctrines are mocked and derided.

And this, I think, is the real difference. The fact is that Mormons are distrustful of Evangelical doctrines, but they are not distrustful of Evangelicals. Mormons have no issue with voting for Evangelicals, putting them into positions of power, nor working with them in common causes. In fact, they want to do these things because they are more comfortable with fellow Christians that live their beliefs.

The Evangelicals have not made this transition that Mormons have. They are still teaching about Mormons and Mormonism in such a way that people that leave their anti-Mormon classes don’t merely come away disagreeing with Mormons doctrinally – they come away with bad feelings towards Mormons as human beings. This is the essence of bigotry.

This is the real reason why many Evangelicals can’t vote for Romney now. In their view it isn’t that he is just a ‘less than ideal candidate’ (though heads and shoulders about the rest of the pack). No, in their view, he’s not really entirely sane given what they believe he believes.

Here Comes Newt

I have wondered if maybe more Mormons will see this and if it will cause more Mormons to be like me by choosing to vote Democrat as a protest vote as a way of sending a message to the Republican party to reform their bigotry.

So I asked my boss at work what she thought about the Republican primaries. She is a devote Mormon and, I knew, not that politically interested. How does this all come across to the average mainstream Mormon that isn’t watching closely. Here were my questions:

Q: Have you been watching the primaries?

A: No, not really?

Q: Do you know who the front runner is?

A: Seems like a few weeks ago I heard it was Mitt Romney. Is it still him?

(After catching her up about Gingrich surging. I even mentioned the anti-Mormon bias towards him. She basically accepted this at face value.)

Q: What do you think of Gingrich? Could you vote for him?

A: He seems pretty bright, I don’t see why not. I’ll have to study more about him though before the election.

I should just face reality. Newt is the Republican’s man. Yes, I know it’s unthinkable. When he gets the nomination it will go against every last ounce of conventional wisdom about how politics works. But unless we see some alternative out of the blue, Newt will get the nomination. I sure hope I’m wrong, but I’m probably not.

In the mean time. I think I’m done. I may just have to go join the Democrat party. Hey, in Utah, all the Democratic candidates are moderate or conservative anyhow. And at least they don’t hold weekly anti-Mormon for the sake of creating unfriendly stereotypes about others.

51 thoughts on “Some Additional Thoughts on the Evangelical Anti-Romney Candidates

  1. I think you are over-reacting a bit. Actually Gingrich is really a great, inspiring candidate, that had been heretofore overlooked. Romney’s insincerity, opportunism, and lack of empathy could be much more of factor in this than his religion.

    Of course Gingrich is just as much the insincere, flip-flopping opportunist, but he hides it better. That is the sign of a great politician. He is the best dancer. It seems he even believes his own propaganda. He sincerely has repented of his adulterous past. You believe that when you hear him. You can hear it in his voice, and see it in his eyes. But you don’t believe Romney when he speaks of his conversion to the pro-life movement. It’s too convenient. Voters don’t want a pragmatic, shifty businessman. They want poetry. They want emotion.

    Maybe a Mormon won’t get to be president this time. But a repentant adulterer will! I’d say that’s progress none the less.

  2. Roy Roemer never said anything more true than “Mitt Romney represents the 1% and Newt Gingrich is their lobbyist.”

  3. How exactly does a so-called evangelical repent? Convert to Catholicism? It has none of the pain or life changing expectation that is involved in LDS repentance. Newt is playing you. He was the biggest critic of Clinton’s lifestyle, all the while carrying on with his staffer. You want a prize for hypocrisy, that’s it.

  4. Except for George W. Bush, none of those previous Republican candidates had been annointed nominee-apparent before a single ballot had been cast. Oh, how I detest primaries in January, February and March.

  5. Bruce, the last few days have actually shown that Ron Paul is catching fire a bit. Remember, the Iowa event is a caucus, not a primary. This means you have to show up for at least an hour and perhaps four hours to support your candidate. On Jan. 3. When it is cold. Gingrich will NOT win Iowa. Ron Paul will. You can take that to the bank.

    The other thing to consider is that Ron Paul’s support is very strong among independents and Democrats, and many of them have not been polled. So, polls that show “all voters” are rare. When you factor in Dems and Independents switching registration to vote for Ron Paul, he gets a few extra percentage points in the polls that are not showing up now.

    What happens in NH a week later? Another strong showing for Ron Paul. Depending on what happens to Gingrich, you could see a result like 25 percent Romney, 21 percent Gingrich and 20 percent Ron Paul.

    So then we go to SC and Florida. Ron Paul does not look good there now. But who knows what happens after a surge in the first two states?

    So, I think it is premature to say that Gingrich will win. His is literally the flavor of the month. And he will be getting a lot more negative attention in the days ahead.

    Here are some polls. Notice that Ron Paul is surging. Gingrich is surging, but you need to remember that Iowa is a caucus, not a primary.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/ia/iowa_republican_presidential_primary-1588.html

    Here is NH:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/nh/new_hampshire_republican_presidential_primary-1581.html

  6. To sum up my predictions so I don’t leave the wrong impression:

    1)Ron Paul will win Iowa. Take this to the bank.
    2)Ron Paul will be close to the leaders in NH (within a few points), and nobody will win by a landslide in NH.
    3)I have no idea what will happen in SC and Florida. My prediction is that somebody will catch fire and become the default candidate. It could be either of the three (Romney, Gingrich or Ron Paul).
    4)We should not assume Gingrich will win. He does not have this sewn up.

  7. I think the money quote regarding Romney is the line, “They don’t trust him.”

    I realize there are plenty of reasons not to trust someone. But I just don’t understand how it’s likely you have a group of tens of thousands of people who for decades preach that Mormons are liars, can’t be trusted, God doesn’t hear their prayers, etc. and then you see Romney up there and “he can’t be trusted” is labeled right onto every action he does. Now certainly, some of that is really just good (bad) politics, some of it is real concern by conservatives hypocrites who have voted for big government conservative backed programs because those conservatives were smooth talkers, but the problem as I see it is very few are willing to give Romney’s smooth talking any benefit of the doubt. That lack of a benefit of the doubt, in my thinking, for a lot of people is connected to the “you can’t trust a Mormon factor”.

    With all the lying for the Lord, Mormons are deceitful, they hide their history, they pretend to be Christian to get you in, etc. etc. that labelling has to stick and create a lens over Romney’s actions for tens of thousands. So you don’t need to say you can’t trust him because he’s a Mormon, but rather the fact that he’s a Mormon adds a bit of unspoken weight to the fact that you can’t trust him. Combine that with the evidence that most people tend to have bad impressions of Mormons, and you’ve got a huge obstacle to overcome. I think it would be a miracle if Romney gets the nomination, but it also seems likely sense I can’t imagine anyone else having “the organization” to make it happen.

  8. I don’t think there’s any real sense in which Newt is an evangelical.

    Remember that tribalism is a two-edged sword. While evangelicals are going to be tribalistic, prejudiced, etc., Mormons are also. Distrust your own judgment, especially when your rhetoric and your sense of conspiracy outruns the provable evidence.

  9. Geoff,

    I actually hope Ron Paul wins. As much as I disagree with several of his policies, the fact of the matter is I disagree with every candidates policies. I think Paul doesn’t get a fair shake because he really does stick to his principles. I’d rather have someone who I disagree with from time to time in office, but who wants to empower Americans to look back at their constitution and organize their government under constitutional principles, than someone who just goes with the political flow (generally) and the only difference is how fast or how slow they go with that flow.

    For all Ron Paul’s faults, he’s really for the Constitution in a way none of the other candidates are. And if you disagree with any of his positions, all you have to do is follow the constitution to accomplish your policy and enact amendments which grant Congress specific powers and then Congress can then craft legislation subject to modification, etc. through the will of the people (through voted representatives).

    So I don’t think it makes much sense to vote against Ron Paul based on opposition to his policies (of course, the voters just don’t make sense anyway), but rather being opposed to Ron Paul means you oppose granting more power to the people and respect to the constitution — as opposed to power to the legislators.

  10. Bruce, as one who judges people frequently for crimes committed/charged, I would have to say that for Herman Cain, the evidence is mounting against him. In a court of law, he is still innocent until proven guilty. But I think the court of public opinion is driving properly after these new insights or claims to his infidelities and actions. I agree that he should step down from the process of running for president.

    That said, I find many of these anti-Romney groups are hypocrites. They ran away from Herman Cain for sexual indiscretions (or strong claims regarding it), but have totally and completely ignored Newt Gingrich’s actual and proven record of infidelity. Now on wife #3, he has admitted being unfaithful to his first and second wives. In fact, his first wife was in the hospital fighting cancer when he told her he was divorcing her and leaving for another woman! Many other men have lost the nomination for much less (such as Herman Cain).

    Being a philanderer in marriage, in religion (switched from Protestant to Catholic when he married his current wife), and with Fannie Mae, shows that he cannot be trusted in covenant relationships or in public office. He was sanctioned as House Speaker and fined $300K, losing his position. He now claims not to be in the pocket of Fannie Mae, when the $1.6 million he’s made from them shows just the opposite.

    While Barack Obama shows himself to be an incompetent leftist in office; I fear Newt Gingrich is a smoother talker that would use the White House to promote his own agenda and power.

    And again, those who want anyone but Mitt are showing themselves to be hypocrites.

  11. These comments have me thinking for the first time that Ron Paul has a chance. Romney would likely be a good, competent president, but Ron Paul would be something so different, the possibility of seeing what he could manage is the most enticing campaign since Paul Tsongas lost.

  12. Although, realistically, I wonder if a constitutional approach just changes the dynamic… take abortion and a hypothetical law against abortion.

    Judge1: You can’t pass a law against abortion, there’s nothing in the constitution granting you that power!
    Judge2: You can’t prohibit the people from passing a law against abortion, there’s nothing in the constitution granting you that power!

    So we just argue over the same end point, but I suppose with a different focus. It would then become a scenario of amending the constitution to grant specific powers to be legislated by Congress. The only benefit I suppose, which is perhaps what the founders partially intended, is the amendment process would be slow moving and we wouldn’t rushing to pass bills to find out what’s in them (which is not true to be honest, I’m not sure if any of us know what’s in the 10k page bill, and even if you read it, what’s “in” it is subject to more regulatory discretion and uncertainty than the commerce clause itself!)

  13. JM,
    Ron Paul has no chance in the primary because he has no chance in the general election. But he’ still an attractive candidate in that (1) even though his Constitutional interpretation is loopy in some ways, he is the only candidate who appears to take the Constitution seriously and (2) he is the only candidate who appears to take our debt, deficit, and spending problems seriously as a crisis.

  14. Nice point, Chris. I think there are many potential issues for Constitutional Amendments (like Congressional term limits). Of course, there are more things that if we followed the Constitution we currently have, would force the Feds to move many things back to the states (like abortion). So, perhaps an amendment to tell the feds they have to follow the Constitution????

    As for Ron Paul, I think he would have a chance against Barak Obama. I do not think he would have a chance in the Republican primaries, however. The Republican party has become so divided between moderates, conservatives and neo-cons that it does not really know what it wants anymore.

    Ron Paul has many brilliant ideas, and a few bad ones. He would return us back to a generally sane Constitutional policy. His ideas would definitely end the fiscal crisis we are in. It would reign in, not only Congress, but the Federal Reserve (which secretly spent an additional $7.7 Trillion on bailing out banks).

  15. #10 He now claims not to be in the pocket of Fannie Mae, when the $1.6 million he’s made from them shows just the opposite.

    It’s Freddie Mac, but who’s counting.

    #15 Card is Democrat

    And the last Democrat he actually voted for was…?

  16. …the fact that his wife didn’t even know he was financially supporting Ginger White,

    Bingo, that was the clincher for me.

    I honestly wonder how people like Cain and Clinton think they are going to be examined by thousands in the press and millions of voters without infidelity being discovered.

    of course, Card is Democrat, but his reasons clearly aren’t anti-Mormon.

    Card is a Democrat? I’ve thought of him as an Independent for a while now, he doesn’t embrace much of either party. Reading his column for years makes me wonder what I’m missing, because I can’t think of much that he agrees with Democrats on. Your talking about a guy that thought bringing the troops home from Iraq was the worst mistake America could make. And from that column he seems to have fallen for Newts version of Newt.

    Anyway, can you really trust someone that thinks Robert Zemeckis is a better director than Martin Scorsese?

  17. Oh, and he was wishing and hoping that Bush would go to war with Iran. Everything Card writes leads me to neo-con, not Democrat.

  18. I have no dog in the OSC discussion, but I will point out that up to a year or so ago he was describing himself as a Democrat. So, perhaps we could describe him as a “Joe Lieberman Democrat.” Anyway, his endorsement of Gingrich and his neo con tendencies make him unappealing to me overall, but he has written and said some interesting things over the years. He may just be one of those “independent thinkers” who likes to upset people.

  19. I’d like to point out I am really enjoying complimentary comments from Chris, JM and Adam G on Ron Paul. Really warms my cockles and all that.

  20. I liked OSC’s reasons for supporting Gingrich. It was Gingrich who made Clinton into a budget balancer. I think there is some truth to that. Gingrich’s facility in handling Congress may be just what we need in this time of total political gridlock.

  21. Card still calls himself a Democrat – he thinks the Republican party is too racist, and he has a rather firm stance on gun control (he’s mostly for it). He also thinks capitalism needs to be heavily regulated. The attempts to claim he’s not really a Democrat are more about ideological purity than any attempt to describe reality.

    However, my only point about him being a Democrat was that he’s not really they type of person either Romney or Gingrich are concerned about in the primaries.

  22. LBJ had similar credentials and powers as Gingrich, and he was able to pass a lot of legislation as president.

    I don’t care so much what any candidate says. But if they have a proven record of political power-brokering, that means a lot to me. I want a president who can get stuff done, Republican or Democrat, adulterer or Mormon. It seems to me, slimy Gingrich would be more effective at greasing the political wheels than Romney, who nobody likes, in or out of Washington. Gingrich doesnt get much love from the left, but I do think he has their respect, as a seasoned and effective political warrior.

  23. I’d like to point out I am really enjoying complimentary comments from Chris, JM and Adam G on Ron Paul. Really warms my cockles and all that.

    Right now Ron Paul’s biggest roadblock is Fox News, GOP elite and Rush Limbaugh. Ron Paul gets more play on The Daily Show then he does on Fox News, where his name seems to always be accompanied by “who doesn’t have a chance”. I admit I only see a couple of hours of Fox News a week, but that’s the impression I get from those two hours along with the impression my father-in-law gets from his hours of Rush and Fox.

    I don’t know what the Republican media has against him, but they sure don’t like him at all. Why is that?

    Card still calls himself a Democrat – he thinks the Republican party is too racist, and he has a rather firm stance on gun control (he’s mostly for it). He also thinks capitalism needs to be heavily regulated. The attempts to claim he’s not really a Democrat are more about ideological purity than any attempt to describe reality.

    Yes, I think we’ve had this discussion before, probably when he went on one of his anti-gay marriage tirades. He does still call himself a Democrat, but the views he expresses doesn’t really match up with that at all. Over the past two or three years of reading the column (the only thing interesting he’s written in about ten years), gun control is about the only thing I can remember him sounding like a Democrat about.

    Like I said though, I’m pretty sure we’ve had this discussion before. There’s no need to re-hash it.

  24. I want a president who can get stuff done, Republican or Democrat, adulterer or Mormon. It seems to me, slimy Gingrich would be more effective at greasing the political wheels than Romney, who nobody likes, in or out of Washington.

    If the person you’ve described wins, is that a signal that the power of the Tea Party is completely gone? They did what Republicans wanted them to do in 2010, and now they have no more use for them? Gingrich seems as far away from what the Tea Party has been screaming about for the past few years as you can get (other than President Obama).

  25. The same thing makes me nervous about Ron Paul as made me nervous about Obama.

    I’m trying to imagine what they have in common.

  26. Nate, the difference between you and many others with government seems to be that a lot of us want a government that will get less stuff done and seek to do less stuff. While others are perpetually hopeful that if they trust government (or this politician) one more time they can get it right and “get stuff done”. The fact of the matter is, getting stuff done is a completely inaccurate way to think about our government because its impossible to look at our ever increasing budget and think we’ve EVER had a president in the last 50 years who was poor at getting stuff done. For 50 years, our government is continuing its march of getting more and more done to the exclusion of the private sector. It’s doing a whole lot, and increasing greatly in that.

    I suppose it could be said by some that government is doing a whole lot so incredibly inefficiently, and we can’t just get it done right for lack of an effective leader. I question the premise, because the hope for alternative seems to be getting lucky and happening to find “the one” who can “get it done” within 4-8 years is so unlikely, it’s impossible. In fact, the only way to get change we can appreciate seems to be scaling back and getting less done, which would enable individuals and companies to do more for themselves.

    Because even getting lucky, and finding the one who would setup the perfect program within every department of government, it should be clear to all he will not be crowned king for life, and even then, he’d die some day, and someone else who is not “the one” will come in and muck up the programs again. I’d also point out that Europe is mired in this mess as well, so apparently all of those nations in their past 30+ years have also not been able to find someone who get “get it done” and keep them on the right track. Could it be that a government which does more to “get it done” is the problem and not the solution?

    In short, I think it’s a fallacy to hope for the one who can craft a perfect program when any government program that subsidizes consumption will by its very nature be inefficient. And at best, you’re hoping for someone who doesn’t bungle things up so much as to maximize their relative inefficiency (and then justify that inefficiency on moral grounds). I think there is definitely a valid debate about the efficiency of government programs with infrastructure, investment, etc. But a huge part of what our government currently does is subsidize consumption.

    But I honestly feel that if someone is concerned about sustainability, and helping people, and lifting up the poor and the needy, or making sure the environment is taken care of, etc. we need to look for further vision and see that policies which do not rely on individual empowerment and self reliance, but instead rely on regulation (impediments to growth) or subsidization actively work against those things that sincere people of goodwill are hoping for.

  27. I want a govt that will do almost nothing, so Gingrich is definitely not my man.

    Jjohnsen, you are 100 percent correct about Fox News and Ron Paul. Just to cite one example, I listen to Fox News Sunday via podcast. I just listened to Sunday’s show today. So, here we have Ron Paul in the top three in the two first states, and THEY NEVER MENTIONED HIS NAME THE ENTIRE SHOW. 44 minutes of politics without even mentioned one of the top candidates (the podcast is 44 mins long because they cut out the commercials). Now, to be fair, I also listen to the NBC, ABC and CBS shows, and they also mentioned him very little. But Rick Santorum, who is not going anywhere, got more mentions than Ron Paul. CNN and MSNBC are much fairer toward Ron Paul than Fox News. The fairest network of all toward Ron Paul, however, is Fox Business, where he appears on almost all the shows on a regular basis.

  28. If you haven’t followed Gingritch’s career he’s very likable. He also is passionate. Romney frankly just isn’t very likable and he comes off as the opposite of passionate. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand Gingritch. And it says something that everyone who has worked with him really can’t stand him.

    It’s been a horrible set of candidates this year. Honestly Huntsman is the only one I can like but he’s run the worst campaign imaginable – attacking the very people he needed to be appealing to.

    Paul isn’t a really serious candidate.

    We’ll probably have an extended season between Gingritch and Romney with Romney eventually winning. But as I’ve said, if Gingritch wins it might be entertaining but we’ll have an other 4 years of Obama.

  29. BTW – the main problem with Paul is what will happen to international relations. I’m not a fan of an activist US. But Paul will basically have us pull out of everything. Things will fall apart fast if he became President. Further I can’t imagine how he’d run the executive office. It’s one thing to be against most programs but the biggest failing of Republicans has been an unwillingness to become competent at running the things that do need run. I have zero faith Paul could do that. It’d result in a worse set back for Republicans than Bush was. (I actually think a Gingrich Presidency would result in a worse setback for Republicans than Bush too)

  30. Chris and Geoff, you want less government. But to get less government, you still need someone slimy and effective like Gingrich, who can dismantle it in the dirty political way that only seasoned political insider can. When I say I want a politician who can “get things done” I don’t mean someone who can add more government (although it could be that too). To get anything done, whether it is dismantling, reorganizing, or augmenting government, you need some really great political dancers. Gingrich is a proven one.

    Ron Paul, even if he were elected, wouldn’t stand a chance of getting anything done. He wouldn’t be able to cut taxes by a single percent. Why? Because he is a political anomaly, a naysayer, a contrarian. He serves a good purpose in congress, where he provides a lone voice and single vote for the libertarian cause. He is one of many voices, and his influence is exactly one vote out of hundreds.

    But Gingrich’s power transcends his single vote in congress. He can influence the votes of hundreds of others, and leverage that power to turn the tides on important legislation. As nasty, hypocritical, and corrupt as he might have been in the 90s, his power struggle with Clinton was an essential part of taming Clinton’s liberalism and balancing the budget.

    We need to balance the budget again. It doesn’t matter how, we just need to do it. We have to do it or we are headed for disaster. Gingrich would be committed to that, and he’s been there. Why not give him a shot at it? Could Ron Paul seriously do better than Gingrich at balancing the budget? He is powerless, and would be as president because of his ideological purity.

    Politics is power. Go for the power first, then the ideals and morals second. It’s no good having ideas or morals if you have no power or influence. If Gingrich can sell Puritan America on himself, the thrice married, lying, adulterous hypocrite, that means he’s someone you can trust to sell smaller government to Washington.

  31. “of course, Card is Democrat, but his reasons clearly aren’t anti-Mormon.”

    Not true exactly, or at least part of the story. His reasons are because enough people are anti-Mormon that he is unelectable in the Republican Primary and if by a miracle wins the nomination, probably not electable for the same reason in the general. So, more accurately, his reasons are because of anti-Mormonism. He is so hated by both the left and the right because of his Mormonism that he wouldn’t be able to get anything done.

    I’m not saying I agree with OSC that it will make him less effective, but I do agree with his main reasoning for difficulties in getting elected. I just with it was anyone other than Gingrich who is the anti-Romney choice. Ron Paul would do nicely even if I’m not enthused about his isolationism.

  32. Gingrich just announced that he was a Theodore Roosevelt Republican. His desire to cut government is not at all evident. Roosevelt was not government minimalist, that’s for sure. And Gingrich is backing it up. He’s distinguishing himself from other GOP candidates by doing more to preserve Medicare, e.g. He’s been in favor of a carbon trading credit scheme, etc.

    Granted, I think some of Gingrich’s big government ideas are a good idea. His plans for a Mars Prize are excellent. But he’s a big government type guy, he just wants government directed towards more conservative or Republican ends. Which is all right, but at this moment in history doesn’t warm the cockles of my heart.

  33. It is interesting that both Gingrich and Pres Obama are both channeling Teddy Roosevelt. The only difference is which way he is channeled, I suppose. Do you increase government for Republican or Democratic cherished goals?

  34. 1. Obama is going to win, obviously. Whoever gets the nod this year will be wasting it. This is why it’s probably preferable to run someone like Perry, who doesn’t actually want to be president, in incumbent cycles.

    2. Gingrich is far and away the best politician in the Republican field. His answers are appealing and he knows very well how to handle the mind games of the media. Gingrich is extremely evil, though, and while Gingrich-Obama debates will be interesting displays of rhetorical skill, Gingrich is going to lose. It’s really hard to break incumbent inertia, especially in a position as prominent as POTUS — they have to have done something that the people believe (or have been manipulated to believe) is really distasteful (like Ford pardoning Nixon) or have a major spoiler a la Bush/Perot.

    3. Romney may still get the nomination but the Republicans are desperately avoiding it because they don’t want the Evangelical base to sit the election out. I think we all know this already. Is there a point in repeating it every couple of days on Millennial Star?

  35. I agree. Pres Obama has been this generation’s Jimmy Carter. People were mad at Nixon and Ford, so elected a likeable Democrat instead. But Carter ended up really messing up our foreign and domestic policy. Interest rates sky rocketed, and Carter essentially told us to get used to the idea of no longer being a first rate nation. Pres Obama sounds much like Jimmy Carter, who did not get a second term as president.

  36. Jeff, why do you think Obama will win? With unemployment above 8% and the Euro meltdown about to happen I think it’s very debatable whether Obama would win against Romney. Admittedly against someone with bigger negatives like Gingrich he’d probably win – but even there it’s hardly a sure thing.

    Regarding Romney, I think his Mormonism is against him. However I said it once and I’ll say it again. His biggest problem is that he seems “empty” and without a core. On top of that he’s just not likable. He doesn’t connect with voters. It’s like the worst aspects of Kerry and Gore are combined in Romney. Had Romney any charisma and an ability to connect with voters the election would already be decided.

    Heck, George Bush was hardly an ideal candidate (and this before seeing the mess of things he made). But at least he connected with people even if it was in a bit of an act as a guy you’d just want to hang out with. (And fortunately for him he was running against Gore)

    Nate, I see no evidence that Gingrich is effective. Indeed he has enough enemies just on the Republican side of the house that I think he’d have a tough time. But Democrats still loath him over events during Clinton’s impeachment.

  37. I actually think Ron Paul and Romney and Huntsman would be fun to hang out with also. Santorum and Bachmann and Perry, not so much.

  38. Too bad being a Moderate is such a terrible rap for today’s Republican’s.. I really like Huntsman. And although I find some of Ron Paul’s policies hard to come through (like literally shutting down all agencies of gov’t).. I like him. I like he’s ideas, especially those of Isolationism and big spending’s on war’s. He’s honest and, legit.

  39. The only thing moderate about Huntsman is on a few social issues and his inexplicable strategy of attacking the very voters he is supposed to be courting. National Review had a great article on this today. Honestly, I just can’t fathom what on earth Huntsman was thinking the past eight months. Compared to either Gingrich or Romney Huntsman is far more conservative. I recognize he won’t be enough for some who will quickly play the RINO label. But honestly, outside of a bunch of quacks, who is more conservative?

    BTW – I’ve had friends who’ve hung out with Hunstman and they say he was great to hang out with.

  40. Adam,

    Every time I bring up Romney and Gingrich, you make a comment about not liking Romney. I’m glad to see you don’t like Gingrich either. ;)

    I’m curious, though. Given a run between Romney and Gingrich, who would you choose and how close would it be for you?

  41. Honestly, I just can’t fathom what on earth Huntsman was thinking the past eight months. Compared to either Gingrich or Romney Huntsman is far more conservative. I recognize he won’t be enough for some who will quickly play the RINO label. But honestly, outside of a bunch of quacks, who is more conservative?

    What you’re describing is why I think he has the best chance at stealing moderates away from President Obama. I don’t know if it’s a good trade-off if ultra-conservatives stay home on election day though.

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