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Monday, July 31, 2006

The Political Personality Profile

I am Ronald Reagan and a "Strong Republican!" Just took this personality quiz (see link at the bottom of the pictures if you want to take it too) that I found by browsing around Blogosphere reactions to Romney's visit to Iowa (hat tip: Kristine at "Confessions of a Moderate Conservative"--who is actually a "centrist"? ).

That man (Reagan) is one of my idols! I'm sure glad that I didn't end up as the Unibomber, or even worse . . . Hillary!

You are a

Social Conservative
(25% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(78% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Strong Republican

Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Rep. Jim Leach: Religious Intolerance is What We're Fighting . . . Not Who We Are as Republicans and Americans

My title to this blog entry: "Religious Intolerance is What We're Fighting . . . Not Who We Are as Republicans and Americans" is one that I chose to convey the gist of my U.S. Congressman, Jim Leach's speech just before Romney took the stage at the GOP Chairman's Dinner in Cedar Rapids this past Saturday night. His speech focused on the religious tension and strife that dominate world politics and foreign relations. He mentioned the religious strife between Israel and Hezbollah. He also mentioned that in Iraq, much of the problem stems from the strife amongst militant factions of Shiites and Sunnis (despite having Islam as a common base). This was a segue into the final point of his discourse (which he was kind enough to write out for me! Thanks Jim!):
****First off, Rep. Leach was clear that these words were not to be viewed as "an endorsement" of Romney . . . but they sure aren't damning of Romney and his efforts!***********
"In America, no one should be excluded from leadership based on their faith.

"All individuals should be judged on the timber of their convictions, not the nuances of inter- of intra-faith differences. That is the American way. It is why we Republicans respect, for instance, the Democratic Party for putting forth a Catholic who became a great President, John F. Kennedy. It is why we welcome this evening to Cedar Rapids an extraordinary leader, a man of a minority faith.

"I have watched Gov. Romney from afar, and, on several occasions, up close. His is the kind of leadership the country yearns for. I am confidant Iowans will give him respectful consideration and that he will not let the party and, more importantly, the country down."
Representative Leach is a good and smart man. I have had occasion to speak with him rather in depth on four occasions over the last two months. Leach is a self-proclaimed moderate Republican . . . however, he is the kind of congressman we need since he, has proven again and again, that can keep our district Red when it leans heavily to the blue side. Interestingly, Leach was listed as #10 on the "Top 10 RINOs" by Human Events online (BTW, Romney was listed as #8 on that list . . . Leach seemed very surprised that Romney was on that list at all since he realizes that Mitt is much more conservative than he is. We speculated that it may be the fact that he governs in Massachusetts, or that possibly, some people whose real objection to Romney is his religion would feel more comfortable giving him a label like RINO as a reason to not vote for him/consider him.)

Well, on a brighter note, it seems pretty clear that the visible leadership of the Evangelical community will not "blackball" Romney because of his religion. That doesn't surprise me, but recently Jerry Falwell said:
I have no problem voting for a person who is not of my faith as long as he or she stands with me on the moral and social issues. (Massachusetts governor) Mitt Romney may be a candidate for president. He's a Mormon. If he's pro-life, pro-family, I don't think he'll have any problem getting the support of evangelical Christians.
Previously, prominent Evangelical leader, Chuck Colson, said something similar:
Someone willing to go on the record was Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship. Notwithstanding his "fundamental" theological differences with Mormonism, Colson said, "I could in very good conscience support Romney," calling him "a first-rate guy in every respect" and "a social conservative on most of the issues we care about." Colson obviously wasn't declaring for Romney, but simply indicating that he would not in religious principle, so to speak, be opposed to Romney and indeed could find political reasons to support him.
Also, the rather glowing 9 minute profile of Romney on the Pat Robertson run 700 Club News segment for CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) seems to show that there is not inherent opposition to Romney because of his religion.

While I wouldn't expect any of these leaders to go on record as being against Romney because of his faith, at least they are willing to publically say "the right thing" on the issue. I'm apt to believe them on the individual level. However, whether the every-day religious-right voter will feel the same way remains to be seen.

Anyways (and getting back to my first point), I thought Jim Leach made a great point: that the U.S. sacrifices too much time, effort, money, and lives helping to resolve religious conflicts around the world . . . that we, as Republicans, cannot afford to let any similar religious disagreements to potentially divide our party or our country. A great man with a great mind.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Questions (Mine) and Answers (Romney's) Making the News Again

My question to Governor Romney made the headlines of the Boston Globe article covering the event! It was also the main focus of the AP article that ran about Romney's visit to Ames hosted by his Commonwealth PAC. This experience is similar to the comment/question I made to Romney a couple of months ago at the Iowa Christian Alliance House Party which ended up being discussed by David Yepsen in the Des Moines Register and in a seperate article in some no-name journal called the Wall Street Journal (See this blog entry and this one too)

I mentioned that Dick Morris had recently opined that Romney was taking a huge (and unwise) potilical risk in taking over the "Big Dig" (See article here with this comment: “I think he is digging himself into a hole as big as the Big Dig,” said Dick Morris, a former top adviser to President Clinton. “He is now going to be held responsible for every delay, every cost overrun and every construction defect. Some things are best kept at arms length.”) I asked Gov. Romney what he thought of Morris's opinion; the answer he gave was great!
AMES, Iowa -- Nearly three weeks after a ceiling collapse in a Big Dig tunnel killed a Boston woman, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney yesterday portrayed his stewardship of the crisis as a sign that he is ``willing to take action."

Romney, in his first significant out-of-state political trip since the July 10 accident, told 200 people at a Republican lunch yesterday that he had stepped in to oversee the beleaguered $14.6 billion project when others would not.

``The best thing for me to do politically is stay away from the Big Dig -- just get as far away from that tar baby as I possibly can," Romney said, answering an audience question about whether his new responsibility for the project's safety carried political risk. ``But I got elected as governor of Massachusetts. It's part of my job to do what I think is the right thing."

He cast himself as willing to tackle a seemingly intractable problem. ``One thing's for sure, I am sure tired of people who just have nothing but talk and are not willing to take action. I'm willing to take action, and that's what I'm going to do," he said to rousing applause.

Just, for the record, this question was not scripted, or "a plant." I just wanted to know his opinion on the issue and I suspected that he'd give a strong answer. He did not disappoint me!

Over the next couple of days I'll give my commentary on both events (In Ames and in Cedar Rapids) which I attended with friends and family. It was again a great experience to see and speak with Gov. Romney. He seems quite appreciative of the support we, as "Iowans for Romney" are giving to him.

Update 7/31 in the afternoon:
Apparently, "race baiters" are trying to paint Romney as a racist for using the term "tar baby".
A new Iowa Political Blog, RealWorldPolitico, by Kevin Schmidt (who was at the event too) has his take on the comment as well as his own audio file (mp3 link) to the 10 second comment to put it in context.

The comment section in this entry and the preceding one reveal these kind of people for what they are . . . In coordination with The Caucus Cooler, we caught someone from a server in Little Rock, Arkansas who posted under multiple names about how horrible it was for Romney to use the term.

This subject is also being discussed at blog entries of "The Caucus Cooler" and "The Krusty Konservative"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's official . . . Romney IS coming this weekend to Iowa

It's official (link) . . . Romney IS coming this weekend to Iowa! (barring any disasters in his state I'm sure)

This is after the nice opportunity to dine with the Cheney's and Massachusetts historian/author Nathaniel Philbrick tonight.

We sure are looking forward to having him!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Boston Globe Highlights Risks and Rewards of Upcoming Iowa Visit

The Boston Globe recently ran this article about Gov. Mitt Romney's upcoming planned visit to Iowa, and the political ramifications it may have for him:

Romney and his political action committee, the Commonwealth PAC, are scheduled to host a picnic lunch for Republicans in Ames on Saturday afternoon. That night, the governor is due in Cedar Rapids for a high-profile dinner with GOP donors and leaders of county party organizations.

The Iowa trip is the first major political event on Romney's calendar since the Legislature gave him inspection oversight of the Big Dig after the July 10 fatal accident in the Interstate 90 connector tunnel. He has tentative plans for more out-of-state political trips next month, as he tests the waters for a 2008 presidential run.

Yesterday, Romney aides would not say whether he will go to Iowa this weekend, saying he remained focused on his responsibility for the Big Dig. But Republican officials in Iowa are expecting him and say they haven't been told anything different.
The potential ramifications:
On one hand, if Romney leaves the state on a political journey, he opens himself up to criticism at home that he's paying too little attention to the ongoing crisis in his state. But if he stays, he misses out on high-profile opportunities to impress Republican activists and voters across the country. This weekend amounts to the first test.
And later . . .
The dinner Saturday night in Cedar Rapids is one of the Iowa Republican Party's biggest fund-raisers and brings together influential party chairmen from all over the state. Romney is supposed to keynote the event, which will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and is expected to draw 150 to 200 people.

``It's a big deal, and we're honored to have him be there," said Cullen Sheehan, executive director of the Iowa Republican Party, adding that he had no indication Romney wasn't coming. ``It's a great opportunity for him."

We're all excited about Romney coming here in just a couple of days!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Romney coming to Iowa, again, and again, and again!

Romney will be in our great state this Saturday, July 29th, for two events:

First, there will be a free indoor picnic for Romney supporters in Ames from 1-2:30PM (Gateway Hotel, Conference Center). My own "read" on this event, and the timing of it, is that it is about one year in advance of the all important Ames Straw Poll, where many a presidential campaign is made or broken (5 GOP hopefuls dropped out after the 2000 straw poll, which Bush one). Romney supporters should make their plans now to attend this 2007 event to support him in the Ames Straw Poll!

Second, State GOP chair, Ray Hoffman, is hosting the Chairman's Dinner fundraiser with Romney being his "special guest." That event will be a $50/plate dinner in Cedar Rapids with a 6PM Reception and 7PM Dinner (Crowne Plaza Hotel).

Anyone wanting to attend either of these events should email me and I'll get you RSVP'd (click on my profile above to get my email address).

Upcoming Events of Interest (Mark your calendars!):
August 16th: Our next Governor, Jim Nussle is having a Fundraiser Dinner ("Red, White & Blues") in Dubuque (at the Dubuque Masonic Temple) where Romney headlines the event as the "Special Guest."

Friday August 25th: Romney headlines an evening event with Iowa State Senate candidate Barbara Blanchard in Sioux City

Saturday August 26th: Romney headlines a breakfast with Rep. Ralph Watts- (District includes Dallas County, West Des Moines)

Also, the Iowa Christian Alliance is having a GREAT EVENT in just over a month. It would be great if we could get a table of "Iowans for Romney" at this event!

6th Annual Friends of the Family Awards Banquet Featuring Phyllis Schlafly

7 Flags Convention Center, Clive Iowa

Saturday, September 9, 2006

5:00 Reception

6:00 Dinner and Program

$50.00 per ticket or table of 10 for $500.00

Master of Ceremonies for our Family Awards Banquet will be National Rifle Association Executive Director and past President, Kayne Robinson.

Again, contact me if you're interested in attending any of these events.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Are we ready for a Mormon president?

A local pastor in Auburn, Alabama has a recent religious column peice in a Decatur, Alabama newspaper called "Are we ready for a Mormon president?" It has some interesting points and the overall tone is fair and relatively objective.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, is America's own home-grown religion.

Founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, the Mormon movement began by embracing all that was already present in the American religious experience via Christianity.

A little later:

Among other things found in the Book of Mormon is the assertion that Native Americans are descendents of the lost tribes of Israel . . . Of course, DNA evidence has established that Native Americans did not come from the Middle East but from Asia. But that has not deterred the growth of the Mormon Church. With its strong emphasis on family and the church's vigorous mission activity, the Church of Latter-day Saints is one of the fastest growing religions in the world.

Unfortunately, many Christians do not regard Mormons as holding to an authentic faith. Southern Baptists and many evangelical groups regard Mormonism at best as a heresy and at worse a cult. Although the size and scope of the Mormon Church seriously calls into question the continued designation as a cult

Like it or not, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on track to become a major world religion. For some time now, Mormons have been a presence everywhere in the mainstream of American life. They hold significant positions in education and business and as elected officials.

And later he ends his column with:
These days, piety has taken on a distinctly ideological cast. Folks of differing faiths make common cause on a range of social concerns. A new orthodoxy has emerged around issues such as abortion, gay marriage, public display of the Ten Commandments, and so on.

Which brings us to Mitt Romney, governor of Massachusetts. Romney, son of George Romney, is seen by many as a contender for the 2008 Republican Presidential campaign. He has the ideological credentials. Gov. Romney is on the right side of many of the social issues championed by the political and religious right. The fact that he gets to the right side of those issues by means of his Mormon faith may or may not matter.

And it shouldn't matter. The U.S. Constitution mandates that there is no religious test for public office. But outside the law, out in the marketplace of American public opinion, it will be interesting to see how a Romney campaign will be received. Could it be that America is ready for its first Mormon president?

I wrote a letter to the editor and have put that in below:

Dear Decatur Daily,

As a former and future Alabaman, current Iowan, DNA researcher, and "Mormon" I feel I have an interesting perspective to add to Pastor James Evans excellent editorial "Are we ready for a Mormon president?" He gives a fair take on how the hot button issues of politics and religion will combine, for better or for worse, in 2008 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Romney is indeed an adherent of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (nicknamed "Mormons" or "LDS")

Evans brought up the previous and current polls where many express a reluctance to vote for a Mormon. Similar figures were noted for JFK when the question was whether the American people could vote for a Catholic for president. Such polls address hypothetical presidential candidates where the only issue you know about them is their religion. Fortunately, we take many other things into account when choosing a presidential candidate to support.

I have heard Romney speak to an Evangelical Christian crowd here in Iowa and it was clear that once they met him (and he is extremely likable, articulate and charismatic) they cared much more about his common conservative values than about his religious affiliation. I feel that as more and more people are exposed to Mitt Romney, they will come to respect his experience, values, and policies. This is already happening in Iowa as political insiders and journalists are pegging him as a frontrunner to win the Iowa Caucuses.

Also, as a minor point, the editorial brings up DNA research suggesting that native American populations derive from Asian sources supposedly conflicting with Mormon beliefs. Firstly, LDS theology does not claim that all (or even "most") native Americans are directly derived from "the house of Israel." Secondly, that same DNA research also claims that such migrations across the Bering Strait were at least 13,000 years ago, a time frame that may not jive well with many Christians.


Jeff Fuller, M.D.

We'll see if they pick up my letter.

Disclaimer: my undergraduate Honors thesis at BYU dealt with migration tracking of native Americans through mitochondrial DNA sequencing. And we hope to move back to Alabama when done training here in Iowa.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fellow "Iowans for Romney" Making a Difference

Jim Kirkpatrick, "Iowan for Romney" extraordinaire wrote a letter to the editor (published July 21st--the last one on the page, just scroll down to it) in reply to Yepsen's piece last week about how Romney is the most impressive Republican so far.
Here's what his letter says:

Mitt Romney in '08?

I enjoyed reading David Yepsen's July 11 column, "So Far, Romney's Been Most Impressive Republican."
I'm glad to see Yepsen recognize the GOP's rising star.
I've had the privilege of hearing Gov. Mitt Romney speak. He's a charismatic public speaker who has an outstanding track record as an innovator and turnaround specialist.
He rescued the 2002 Olympics from financial ruin and has worked successfully with a Democratic legislature while governing Massachusetts.
I'm no gambler, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Mitt and his family residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. come January 2009.
- James Kirkpatrick, Fayette

Also, Keith Steurer, a fellow Johnson County "Iowan for Romney" and a structural engineer (and native of Madison, Wisconsin) has written a letter to the editor in reply to this opinion piece from Madison, Wisconsin paper The Capital Times that tried to place blame on the "Big Dig" catastrophe and in defense an intial reply in defense of Romney. Here's what Keith has submitted . . . let's hope that they'll have the integrity to run it.

Pointing Fingers, Still Wrong About Romney
Dear Editor- In response to the July 17th editorial and subsequent rebuttal on Mitt Romney, I feel that you are still wrong about Romney. Romney is not a “promise-breaker”. The BIG DIG is a huge undertaking, and assuring safety of the entire project is a huge task. A task that Romney felt was too big for the Turnpike Authority Chairperson Amorello. Mitt Romney has attempted to take control from him for years, but has repeatedly been challenged by, in his own words, "a culture of obstruction and cover-ups". As a native to Madison, and having worked as a structural engineer in Wisconsin, I have witnessed glimpses of such a culture in Wisconsin. By trying to cut costs or push a project along, bad decisions can compromise safety on every project, and inspectors find it difficult to control. Romney identified these practices on the BIG DIG, and did all he could do to keep his promise. Romney had asked the uncooperative Amorello to step down for years, and in 2005, he turned to the MA Supreme Judicial Court to have him removed, but the Supreme Court refused to address the issue stating that it "did not have legal urgency". He has tried to fix the problem, but has repeatedly been overruled by those above him. Even as governor, some things are out of his control. Like Massachusetts, Wisconsin is no stranger to corner cutting, wasteful spending, and bribery in WisDOT projects, but at least the MA Governor is trying to fix the problem.

Both Jim and Keith were invited to join Governor Romney's Commonwealth PAC Iowa Advisory Board as charter members after signing on board with "Iowans for Romney" and showing dedication and political action like what we've witnessed above. Great job Jim and Keith! We're lucky to have you two on Team Romney and we need more like you!

Romney's Alleged "Job Deficit" Wiped Out By June Job Surge

Over at Massachussetts-based Hub Politics we get an insight into the difficult situation Romney has had trying to deal with an overwhelminly Democratic legislature.

Romney's Alleged "Job Deficit" Wiped Out By June Job Surge

Democratic logic says that when a Democrat is in charge, good news is great news; there is no bad news.

Democratic logic says that when a Republican is in charge, there is no good news.

Case in point, reactions to the news that 4,400 jobs were added to Massachusetts payrolls last month, technically ending the so-called "job deficit" during the Romney administration.

Starting with the official response from the Romney administration...

"State revenues are surging; jobs are up; and people are feeling more confident about the Massachusetts economy," said Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney's spokesman. "This is a dramatic turnaround from the dark days of the economic and fiscal crisis that Governor Romney faced when he took office 3 1/2 years ago."

As Governor, Mitt Romney has not had the luxury of a state legislature that is willing to approve his fiscally conservative policies, highlighted in particular by the legislature's failure, or rather, lack of desire to rollback the income tax.

If the Democrats haven't approved any of Romney's economic stimulus policies, how can they suggest his administration has been lackluster with regards to job creation? . . .

While Romney has been almost virtually powerless during his administration due to the 87% Democratic legislature, one can only wonder how much sooner this so-called "job deficit" would have been wiped out had the Democrats approved Romney's economic policies, let alone the income tax rollback that we citizen voted into law the day we voted Romney into office.

See the whole discussion at the links above.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Romney on Fox and Friends

Gov Romney had a 3 minute interview with "Steve" from Fox and Friends this morning titled the "'Big Dig' Debacle". You should find the thumbnail to link to this video here (under "Above the Fold" section) . . . not sure how long this video will be available.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mass. Adds LOTS of Jobs & Another Review of the Mass Healthcare Plan

Over at Illinoisians for Mitt, Jason Bonhan has linked to a Boston Globe article reviewing the good news on job growth in Mass. This is GREAT NEWS for Romney as he is a strong pro-business politician and could have been knocked if there was a net loss of jobs over his term. He slowed the loss in his first 2 years (they were hemorrhaging jobs before that) and the rebound has been going for two years. Check out his recent blog entries . . . some good stuff.

Also, Paul Schoeney at Coloradans for Romney has a GREAT review of the Mass Healthcare Plan he titled: "MITT'S MASSACHUSETTS MARVEL: Healthcare makeover improves efficiencies, broadens reach." Many of you may know of my interest in Romney's healthcare plan and my desire to help solve the problem of the uninsured. Romney's plan is the most acceptable out there to a conservative physician like myself.

Response to: "Utah governor backs McCain; his dad prefers Romney"

Over at "The Krusty Konservative" a post about Utah Gov. Huntsman signing on with McCain was noted to be a "huge blow to the Romney Kampaign, and a koup for the McCain folks."

Last night, I contested their claim with the following (Most of the way down in the comments):

Seriously, what's the huge deal about Huntsman supporting McCain? It is not a "huge blow" and it WILL negate the argument that Mormons will blindly line up behind Romney just because he's LDS.

Romney will win Utah hands down. It won't even be close (and yes, I've seen the "cold-call" polls where McCain is beating Romney--by the slimmest margin of any state I might add. Most "everyday folks" in Utah still don't realize that Romney's a serious contender). Huntsman's political influence outside of Utah is not great.

Huntsman Jr. won't even be able to direct his billionaire dad's fortune to McCain since he's pretty excited about Romney.

This alliance with McCain is about an understandable "self-interest" on Huntsman's part. McCain's absolutely a top-tier candidate (who I could never support in a primary with the current alternatives)and he has a great chance of becoming POTUS. Notice how in the article Huntsman is posturing in the immigration/foreign policy areas. Huntsman is a former ambassador to Singapore and is fluent in Chinese. He is somewhat of a foreign policy expert on China and Southeast Asia, the next huge forefront of competition to our world dominance. I wouldn't be surprised if Huntsman's been promised a cabinet position by McCain for signing on board.

Well couldn't Romney promise the same kind of thing to Huntsman? People need to remember Romney will be reticent to fill up his cabinet with Mormons. Sec. of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt (former Utah Gov. and a Mormon) is VERY tight with Romney. I see him playing a high ranking cabinet spot if Romney wins so there won't be much room for another Mormon Utah Governor. It's a calculated political risk by Huntsman.

Am I just spinning? Maybe. I would like to have Huntsman Jr. in Romney's camp assuring the locking up of the Huntsman fortune. Also, being endorsed by a governor is always nice. However, this is just a "speed bump" on Romney's road. It is not a "huge blow" and should not be seen as Huntsman rejecting Romney's policies, stances, and candidacy.

This morning, an article just posted in the Deseret News and I commented at Krusty the following (including the quotes from the Deseret News article):

Looks like the Utah reporters read my comments above . . . ;)

Quoting the article that just posted a few minutes ago:

"The governor's father, Jon Huntsman Sr., is one of Romney's biggest supporters. "It was absolutely a surprise," said Kirk Jowers, head of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics and legal counsel to Romney's Commonwealth PACs. "The Huntsman family, including the governor, have been extremely supportive of Gov. Romney."
According to a recent Deseret Morning News analysis, Jon Huntsman Sr. had given Romney's PACs nearly $130,000 and is the Romney committee's national finance co-chairman."

And then:

"It's no secret that McCain has actively courted Gov. Huntsman, presumably because he sees Gov. Romney as his biggest rival if they both get into the race," Jowers said. Still, he said, Romney shouldn't be hurt by not having the support of Utah's governor."

And later:

"This summer, McCain addressed the Utah GOP state convention at Huntsman's request. There, McCain cited Huntsman as a rising star in the Republican party who he expected to do big things on a national, or even international, scale. For Huntsman, that could include serving in a GOP presidential administration. But there's some suggestion a President Romney might be more cautious about appointing a fellow Mormon to a key role."

Anyways, it was sort of vindicating to see my "off the top of my head" comments and ideas show up nearly point for point in the press.

K-Lo "Don't Count Out The Mormon"

Kathryn Jean Lopez (AKA "K-Lo"), the editor of National Review Online and an associate editor at National Review
has some words of wisdom about Romney's "Mormon Issue" in her most recent piece "Don't Count Out The Mormon"

She starts out:

A Washington Post reporter once described evangelical voters as “poor, uneducated, and easy to command.” As we edge closer to the 2008 presidential elections, count on the press being the uneducated ones — easily led by their farcical view of religious Americans.

And later:

In the 2006 poll, self-described “liberal Democrats” were those most likely to oppose a Mormon candidate.

However, these current generic numbers, Green says, “don’t necessarily predict outcomes. The reason is that the candidates are real people with records, skills and programs — all of which can matter more at the ballot box than generalized opinions about religious groups.”

So as the discussion moves from an anonymous Mormon candidate to the real, live Mitt Romney

Near the end, she writes:

The media, naturally, will continue to miss the real story: the fact that Romney’s convictions, as they are translated into politics, might make him more, rather than less, appealing to evangelicals. This isn’t just conservative grousing, either: CNN political analyst Bill Schneider recently remarked, to the L.A. Times, that “the press is one of the most secular institutions in American society. It just doesn’t get religion or any idea that flows from religious conviction.”

So can a Mormon be president? Save that question until Romney announces. And ask it again after people have had some more exposure to him . . .

Once again, K-Lo is right on the money! (maybe she read my blog entry from two weeks ago on the same issue . . .)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Romney's Weak Foreign Policy Credentials?

One knock on Governor Romney as a potential "Leader of the Free World" is his apparently thin record on foreign policy (another source claiming the same thing and another one). The link above shows how he's been "working on it" lately.

Most Governors will always get this critique when going up against Senators in elections for POTUS.

Here are a few sources about Romney's. This Boston Globe article reviews his meetings in Boston with many world leaders.

However, Gov. Romney does have significant international experience. How well this translates into good foreign policy is obviously a matter of debate. Consider the following:

He lived in France for 2 1/2 years continuously as a missionary from age 19-21. Having done similar missionary work myself in Brazil, I can attest that this does help open one's eyes to the fact that the world is more than our country, that great and evil people live in every land, and that we are all brothers of the "human race."

He was CEO of an international company (Bain Capital).

His involvment with the Olympics has obvious international experience. Besides the SLC games, he has since been to Athens in 2004 and Turino earlier this year where he was involved in IOC events and even received an award for his work with the SLOC.

He's travelled to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Gitmo recently (obvious moves to bolster his credibility on the GWOT and foreign policy in general in preparation for his candidacy)

He's in tight with Gov. Leavitt from Utah who is somewhat of an expert on Chinese foreign policy.

Mort Kondracke seems to think that Romney has great potential as far as foreign policy goes (and most policies in general)

In his 1994 campaign vs Kennedy for the Senate seat Foreign Policy was brought up (Take this for what it's worth since it's from a piece called "Kennedy Should be Re-elected"):
"The contrast between Kennedy and Romney is most clear on foreign policy issues. Kennedy supports the approach used by Bush and Clinton; in other words, a multilateral approach designed to foster global cooperation to bring stability and order to the world scene. Romney has announced that he would not support such a policy, and would scale back U.S. involvement in world affairs to the point where we would only act when U.S. lives, territory, or the economy were at stake."
A lot has changed since 1994 of course, but at least Romney has studied the issues in depth and developed "foreign policy" stances previously.

Also, he's VERY strong on the related issue of Homeland Security and is looking strong on Immigration too.

I don't list these things to say that he's the ultimate "foreign policy master", but I think that some people may be selling him a bit short on this issue. I'd love to hear from others what their opinions of whether a Mormon mission, running the Olympics, and/or running an international company are credible "foreign policy" experiences.

Chime in please.

And Romney's Netroots Movement Grows

"Run Mitt Run" is now another member of the Mitt Romney for President in 2008 netroots movement! This is truly amazing to witness.

Mitch Davis is the founder of the site and it is unlike any Romney site out there. They have street interviews with passers-by and a nice format to the site. They also have a nice catalogue of major Romney articles and some videos. It looks like the goal of the site is to become a 527 supporting Romney as they are accepting donations (and they mention this in one of their pages).

The movement is growing by leaps and bounds--Let's all keep it up!

Monday, July 17, 2006

New Romney Sties . . . "Women for Romney" & "Californians for Romney"

Ann Marie Curling has been busily recruiting Romney supporters into the Romney "netroots" community. Recently, they have launched "Women for Romney" & "Californians for Romney"

We look for great things from these sites!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"Romney Report"--Local Coverage of "Big Dig" Issue

The latest local coverage (from a "Pro-Romney" source) can be found at Romney Report . . . a blog based out of Massachusetts with a tag team of bloggers giving their inside dish on Romney's activities.

They've got the Big Dig fiasco covered quite well.

Financial Update

This link confirms that Romney has raised $3.4 million over the last 3 months when you count his Federal Commonwealth PAC and his five state PACs. This is impressive, to say the least.

The Federal Commonwealth PAC alone brought in $1,079,019 during the period according to Political Money Line. You can peruse at that site to see where the money comes from and where it's going (has sent 10,000 toward the Blackwell for Gov. campaign in Ohio.)

However, on the other side, Hillary Clinton raised over $5.7 million during the same time period and a lot of it came from small donors . . . with 6200 new donors during the period. Romney supporters really going to need to step up to the plate and help Romney stay competitive in the political arena . . . both for the GOP primaries and when facing off against the Democratic nominee . . . likely Hillary at this point.

A Pro-Life Perspective on a Mitt Romney Candidacy

This excellent RedState Diary titled "A Pro-Life Perspective on a Mitt Romney Candidacy" by Nathan Burd, an Evangelical Christian and strong "pro-life" activist who also runs "Americans for Mitt" is a must read for anyone who currently supports Romney or who is thinking about supporting Romney, but has misgivings about his so-called "flip-flop" on abortion.

Of course, there will always be those who are more concerned with his 12 year old statements while running against Teddy than with his actual political record as a solid pro-life Governor in the here and now.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Romney to Deal With Minimum Wage Increase Bill on His Desk

The Boston Globe gives their opinion about the minimum wage increase bill that legislators passed recently. Expect Romney to rule on this within the next week or so. I suspect that he'll definitely not go down on record as signing into law the highest minimum wage in the nation--$8.00 is what the legislature passed . . . nice way to drive businesses out of the state. He'll more likely recommend a much lower increase (probably just under $7) and he may or may not recommend indexing the wage increase to economic indicators . . . such as inflation. He was warm to the idea of indexing during his 2002 gubenatorial campaign, and I can see the wisdom of indexing as a way to help take the issue "off the (political) table." If he decides for indexing, then he will probably not recommend a wage increase and ask for a moratorium of a couple of years before the indexing takes place. Just my guesses . . . if he decides against indexing, he could be subject to "flip-flopper" claims.

Would another option be just to flat out veto the bill due to the ultra-high wage and not offer any adjustments?

Thomas Alan at Floridians for Romney has a nice take on this issue as well.

Romney on Hugh Hewitt Show discussing Big Dig, Israel vs. Hezbollah Conflict, and Mass Ammendment for Traditional Marriage

Full text is available here and the audio here.

Some highlight quotes:
". . . there is a tiny slice of people who are bent on playing by entirely different rules. And it's a rule of terror, and this is something which the civilized world has to stand against."

" . . . there's no question but that the Hamas government has not been the kind of democracy and leadership that we'd hoped for.
. . . we've obviously got a real problem with this Hamas government."
And onto the Big Dig issue:
"it's really time for this Turnpike Authority to have new leadership, and to get the team that's there out of the way so an independent, non-political group can take over."

"I've actually been asking him to resign for almost two years now. I made a public request for him to resign, to step aside, to let the state transportation department run this system. He refuses to do that. The Legislature gives him the kind of protection he wants, in part, because he hands out patronage jobs. And so they give him what he wants, and it's really wrong. And I think people are recognizing that when you put people in charge of a major project whose main skill is political rather than engineering and construction, you end up with something which is unsatisfactory."
Also, recently the Mass State Legislature decided to delay their vote on whether or not to allow a public vote for the constitutional ammendment defending traditional marriage and striking down the 2003 SJC decision OK'ing gay marriages. They only needed 50 of the 200 legislators to approve it and knew that it was going to pass through, and so put it off. Romney said of this action:

"Both the major papers in the Boston market (Globe and Herald) called on the legislature to have this go to a vote. And the legislature then saw where the votes were going to fall. They saw that the votes were going to fall in favor of traditional marriage, and so they held off the vote again. They postponed it. And I think...I actually think that there may well be a response from the public as well as from the media condemning a decision to push this off, although there are a lot of progressive elites that want to make sure that gay marriage stays in Massachusetts.

". . . it's very frustrating, but I think they're mistaken if they think that democracy delayed will be democracy denied. Ultimately, the people are going to have the final say on this. It's too important an issue to just go away."

Great stuff again from our Man Mitt!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Iowa Online Update and Other Stuff

A new Iowa 2008 GOP presidential blog has hit the scene: The Caucus Cooler (catchy, eh?) promises to be source of great information for the 2008 presidential raceIn their "The Cooler Line" they have Romney as the odds-on favorite to win the Iowa Caucus at 2-1 odds. They also have an interesting poll (further down on the right) asking who will pull out of the race after their poor showing in Iowa. I voted for Romney a couple of times before I really read the question! . . . so weigh in with who you think will drop out first.

Iowa's most active conservative political blog "The Krusty Konservative" has recently introduced "Krusty's Six Pack" stating:
"Today’s Six Pack is the first of many that will look at who are the Top three Republican 08ers in Iowa. To complete the Six Pack the other is filled with three 08ers we need to keep our eyes on."
And, guess who tops his list too . . . Romney again!

Some other stuff:

Again, McCain reminds us all why he lost the support of the conservative base and subsequently lost in 2000. Looks like he hasn't learned from his past mistakes.

Romney helped raise $70,000 at a fundraiser for Arkansas gubernatorial nominee, Asa Hutchinson, and Giuliani is following suit.

And what would a day be without the obligatory addressing of the Romney/Mormon issue? Hearkening back to the 1960 presidential campaign:
Everyone knew if Kennedy were elected, the Pope would be running the country. If you didn’t know, it was pointed out to you from the pulpit every Sunday. What to do?

The solution for a lot of fundamentalist Christians was not to vote for Kennedy. They voted for Vice President Lyndon Johnson. . . .

It might have been the last election in which the choice of vice-president mattered. Without Johnson on the ticket, Kennedy could not have won. It was also the last election in which the religion of a presidential candidate was an issue. Until now.

I've wondered before: If Romney manages to get the GOP nomination without capturing much of the south would he pick a running mate like Huckabee (or Allen, or Jeb Bush) to help appease fears of southern social conservatives? Could be interesting.

He finishes his article:

The Democrats have learned they can’t win the presidency without the South. Take away southern governors (Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton), the Democrats are 0-7 in presidential elections since 1968.

In 2008 the South will be given a choice. McCain? Not likely. Giuliani? Maybe he’s just a little too liberal. George Allen? Could be the worst presidential candidate since Phil Gramm. That could leave Romney as the last best hope for the Christian Right. If they can get by that Mormon thing.

Interesting take.

For anyone who's into online polls voting for Romney, here's a list of some active ones:

Iowa sites:
The Krusty Konservative
The Caucus Cooler (don't forget to not vote for Romney at this one since that would mean you think he will be the first to drop out after the Iowa Caucuses).
Watersblogged! (may have to scroll down quite a way if you use IE instead of Firefox as your browser)

Citizen Outreach (click on "Survey Says!")
Straw Poll 2008 (with an overall running poll, a daily poll, and a junk poll-unlimited amounts of votes and some Allen supporter went crazy with a couple of weeks back)
The Next Prez

Most of these polls let you vote in them daily.

Let me know if there are other polls out there to which I should call attention.

Romney Again Shows Strong Leadership in Tough Times

I helped contribute to the following post at Elect Romney in 2008 blog (that Ann Marie Curling got going)

It's unfortunate that it took the death of a woman for this finally to be taken seriously. Take a look at the article, and see just how strongly Governor Romney is reacting to this unfortunate situation.

For video at USA Today of Governor Romney's Remarks click this link.

More video from CBS 4 in Boston (you can search the archives and search for the 7/11/06 video called "Web Extra: Romney to Take Legal Action to Remove Amorello" which has the entire press conference . . . see Mitt miffed (and even with a few hairs out of place!)

PRESS RELEASE from Gov. Romney's Website
Additional comment added later:
Gov. Romney has been trying to lead strongly on the Big Dig Fiasco for years now, but had his hands tied by, surprise, that good old Mass Supreme Jucicial Court:
Romney, a Republican considering a run for president in 2008, has long been critical of Chairman Matthew Amorello's management of the Big Dig, the $14.6 billion highway construction project that is the central artery through the city.

Last year, the state's Supreme Judicial Court refused to referee the long-simmering feud between Romney and Amorello. Romney had asked the state Supreme Judicial Court to issue an advisory opinion clarifying the governor's ability to remove the head of authority. The court said it would issue no opinion because the question did not have legal urgency.

Yeah . . . they've been too busy dealing with more URGENT issues, like changing the millenia-old definition of marriage to include gay couples. But I digress . . .
But Romney said the list of management failures has grown and the case against Amorello would be strong enough to sustain his removal. He called Amorello secretive, uncooperative and resistant to oversight.
From a Christian Science Monitor article:
Monday's tragedy comes two years after Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who is rumored to be considering a bid for president in 2008, demanded that Amorello resign his post as director of the Turnpike Authority. Governor Romney was angered by revelations that several turnpike officials knew about leaks in the tunnel's structure preceding an incident in September 2004, when water and construction materials leaked onto the traffic lanes of Interstate 93.
Romney cut short his vacation to come deal with the crisis
At a local liberal rag The Phoenix, a writer incorrectly blamed this tragedy on Romney and had the poor taste to infer that there was blood on Romney's hands. Yeah, let's blame the guy who's been on the right side of this issue from day one, but who the legislative and judicial branches has stymied on each of his attempts to remedy the situation. If you're going to blame anyone in local leadership, why does the democratic legislature and liberal Supreme Court get a pass from this guy? A sorry excuse for journalism.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Yepsen, in Iowa's Des Moines Register: So far, Romney's been most impressive Republican

David Yepsen, long-time and prominent Iowa potitical columnist, wrote a column today in the Des Moines Register titled: "So far, Romney's been most impressive Republican"

Who is Yepsen?
"David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register is generally regarded as one of the two or three most influential political columnists in the nation, given the prominence the Iowa Caucuses have in presidential politics.
Candidates and their staffs joke about having "to go to Iowa and pay homage at Mount Yepsen" if their campaign is going to be successful. When Presidents Bill Clinton and later George W. Bush have visited Iowa, they always check-in with Yepsen."

Of all the 2008 Republican presidential candidates making the rounds in Iowa, none is doing better than Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts.

Romney's made a half-dozen visits to the state, all to good reviews from the locals. He's picked up the endorsement and active support of Doug Gross, the 2002 GOP candidate for governor and one of the smartest people in Iowa politics. Romney's also released the longest list of Iowa supporters, some 50 in all.

But that's all tactical progress. Now Romney's moving on the policy front by offering a 10-point listing of the issues he sees facing the nation. It's a little short on details, but that's OK — for now. This is his big-picture stuff and he titles it the "Ten Issues America Must Address to Remain the Economic and Military Superpower."

The list is here . . . go to the link for detials:

• Raising the bar on education
• Extending health insurance to all Americans
• Stopping runaway spending
• Getting immigration right
•Achieving energy independence
• Simplifying the tax system
•Investing in technology
•Defeating the jihadists
•Competing with Asia
• Affirming America's culture and values

Yepsen finishes off with:

Despite the lack of specificity at times, let's give Romney some credit. Too often, campaigns are just about money and tactics. We need to go back to a time when they also served to educate voters and build consensus for solving problems, and Romney starts to do that.
Obviously, Romney is not your average politician!

Off-stage with Matinee Mitt--One Reporters Opinion

This interesting piece by Kane Webb from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette highlights Gov. Romney's strong personal magnetism and has some interesting vingnettes and points:
Mitt Romney looks pretty good for a guy who died 38 years ago. The Republican governor of Massachusetts is fit, vibrant, articulate, with the perfect amount of gray around the temples of his slicked-back dark hair. Think Ted Danson meets a George Hamilton who uses sun block. It’s bad form to comment on the physical appearance of even a politician. But in the case of a pol nicknamed Matinee Mitt, it’d be almost insulting if you didn’t.

Webb then enters into the confessional:
True confession: I didn’t want to like him. Mainly because everybody else in the press does—excepting, of course, the public prints in his hometown. (Isn’t that always the way ?) Plus, he carries the obvious baggage of the silver-spoon set: a member of the Lucky Sperm Club who sank the triple-bank shot of success in business, politics and even sports—as head of the ’ 02 Olympics in Salt Lake City. What’s not to hate ?

But Romney doesn’t come across as an insufferable patrician-politician forever on the make. When a local TV reporter asked the first- (and last ) term governor of Massachusetts to describe the arc of his political career, he joked, “If I had to describe my political career, I’d say short.”

Unlikely, too. Here’s a Mormon Republican Michigander by way of Utah who’s the conservative governor of... Massachusetts. The bluest of blue states where the ideal pol is considered an Irish Catholic with a last name of Kennedy. Or at least the initials JFK. And here’s Romney without a whiff of a Baw-ston accent. Midwest whitebread all the way.

And then, the obligatory jab at our current POTUS was not to be missed out on:
. . . Huckabee and Romney—a couple of mediumshot contenders for president—on the same stage, side by side, trading acts.

Call it a draw. Both are clintonesque in their ability to work a room full of friendlies. Think George W. Bush; then think the opposite. The GOP presidential primary may not be loaded with familiar names come ’ 08, but at least it promises to be intelligible.

After a quick discussion of the Mass Healthcare reform Webb opines about the plan:
"But even if RomneyCare fails, it’ll make for an interesting experiment. And it’s hard to criticize Matinee Mitt for trying a radical solution to a never-ending problem."

Still later, Webb seems impressed about with Romney's political style:
As for that bit about Romney’s moderate bona fides, I found myself a lot less interested in that question after listening to him go on about health care and schools. He can talk education policy with the best D. C. wonks, and embraces the kind of real reforms that drive unions to sue—like merit pay for teachers. It struck me that Romney may be a social conservative in the way that Huckabee is: Firm in his faithbased beliefs, but not willing to ride them over a cliff.

And no discussion of Romney would be complete without at least a mention of Romney's religion:
Finally, the obvious. Mormon. Massachusetts. Money. Where’s the red-state appeal ? “Conservatives like people who battle the opposition in their home land. And I’m a conservative in a liberal state.” He is that.

The GOP's Looming Battle--E.J. Dionne, Jr.--Washington Post

Prominent political columnist from the Washington Post, E.J. Dinne, Jr. addresses the "sure to be interesting" race for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination in his most recent op/ed piece.
The coming Republican brawl reflects the fact that President Bush will leave office with no obvious heir, and Bushism as a political philosophy has yet to establish itself in the way that Reaganism did.

Moreover, the four top candidates in most polls for the GOP's 2008 presidential nomination -- Sen. John McCain, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and former House speaker Newt Gingrich -- all promise very different styles of leadership.
He addresses each candidate and, of Romney, says:
And Romney, his party's most interesting new voice, could be expected to run in part as a problem-solver who worked with Democrats in Massachusetts for a bipartisan approach to health care. This would mean arguing for a break from the bitter partisanship of the Bush Era.
Sounds a lot like what Mort Kondracke said just last week and like exactly what D.C. and our country as a whole needs!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Which 37% problem would you want?

We've all been making quite a big deal out of the 37% that don't want a Mormon POTUS. However, someone else on the other side of the aisle has a bigger 37% problem than Romney! Whose "problem" would you rather have?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Show me the Money! Romney vs. McCain et al. in the "Big Fish" Race

So, is anyone else baffled by the fact that John McCain is listed as the "strong frontrunner" among GOP 2008 presidential hopefuls? The political pundits all have him as the head honcho (usually followed by Romney and Allen) as evidenced here, here, here, here) and in the most recent National Journal 2008 Republican Insiders Poll (couldn't get link to work . . . so here's an image file of it . . . if it's blurry, click on the image and you should be able to enlarge it)

This was not always so . . . just a few months ago to a year ago Allen was leading in that Insiders Poll (actually, you can look at the figures and find that Romney has been gaining the most, percentage-wise, of any candidate. )

However, most self-proclaimed conservatives have major reservations about McCain. McCain does much better in cold-call phone polls than he does in Convention or Online strawpolls. His recent positions on the wrong side of the immigration bill and Marriage Protection Ammendment will give GOP primaries pause. I feel that McCain looks so strong now because of four things:
1) great name recognition
2) his great relationship with the mainstream media (MSM)
3) his strong polling against Hillary
4) a promise from GW Bush that if McCain sat out in 2004 and campaigned for W, that the favor would be returned in 2008 (Oh, THAT IS WHY HE KEPT CHENEY ON AS VP!) Bush may not be many things, but he is a man of his word.

Many have speculated on this fourth claim before . . . but two recent pieces seem to be putting the picture together pretty clearly now. First, a piece in the Washington Times called "McCain sitting pretty for 2008 race" starts out:
Some top Republicans at odds with Sen. John McCain on core conservative issues say privately that the party's 2008 presidential nomination is "his to lose."
They cite the Arizona senator's head start in fundraising, a primary calendar that is shaping up in his favor and a growing belief that he enjoys the tacit support of President Bush.
It then goes on to discuss former TEXAS Senator Phill Graham's support for McCain, despite not agreeing with him on some issues.
"There are plenty of things I don't agree with John on, but I don't think they are important, compared to things I do agree with him on," the former Texas A&M University economics professor said.
Later . . .
"What I've heard seems plausible to me -- that a deal was cut that if McCain supported Bush in 2004, the Bush team would get behind McCain for 2008," Republican media consultant Tom Edmonds says.
Among those who have signed on with Mr. McCain are Mark McKinnon, Mr. Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaign media strategist, and Terry Nelson, Mr. Bush's 2004 national political director.
A senior Republican senator from a Western state who opposes Mr. McCain says privately, "Look at who he's got in his camp and look at him in the polls -- I'm telling you there's no one out there strong enough to beat him. It's his to lose."
Sounds like a challenge to me!

Further information confirming the McCain-Bush alliance comes from a recent piece titled "Landing Big Campaign Finance Fish" found at Chris Cillizza's Political Blog "The Fix" hosted by the Washington Post.
Bush asked affluent individuals not simply to donate to the campaign but also to round up thousands of dollars in contributions from friends and colleagues. A tiered system was created to reward the most effective of this lot; "Pioneers" raised $100,000, "Rangers" $200,000, and "Super Rangers" $300,000.
It lists who McCain has signed up already from this group of Bush donors:
Wayne Berman, lobbyist (D.C.) RANGER
Fred Malek, Thayer Capital Partners (D.C.)
Carter Pate, PricewaterhouseCoopers (D.C./Texas) RANGER
Bob Mosbacher, Mosbacher Energy Co. (Texas)
Tom Loeffler, lobbyist (Texas) RANGER
Notice anything interesting? They are all from D.C. and/or Texas! The Bush team is obviously strongest in D.C. and Texas. I do not see this as coincidental since, although McCain is oft called a "Maverick", his political record puts him more in line with a northeastern GOP Senator than a Texas-styled GOP Senator.

What is even more interesting is that Romney has already signed on 12 (count them, TWELVE) of these major Bush donors. This group is the largest and most geographically diverse of all, thusfar:
Peter Karmanos, Compuware Corp. (Mich.)
David Fischer, Suburban Collection (Mich.) PIONEER
John Rakolta, Walbridge Aldinger (Mich.) RANGER
Dave Phillips, Phillips Industries (N.C.) RANGER
Tom Tellefsen, Tellefsen Investments (Calif.) PIONEER
Anne Dunsmore, Capital Campaigns (Calif.) RANGER
Hadi Makarechian, Capital Pacific Holdings (Calif.)
Herb Collins, Boston Capital Partners (Mass.) PIONEER
Jim Sims (MA) GEN3Partners (Mass.)
Joe O'Donnell (MA), Boston Culinary Group (Mass.) RANGER
Tom Foley, NTC Corp. (Conn.) PIONEER
Eric Tanenblatt, McKenna Long Aldridge (Ga.) RANGER
Frist has a strong team at 7, but it says:
We hear that Virginia Sen. George Allen and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are huddling regularly with the whales but have yet to sign any of them up.
So, going back to the list of four things that makes McCain the frontrunner now:

1) This will become a non-factor as the campaign wears on
2) Romney's charisma, great interviewing skills/telegenicity, and the controversial Mormon issue may turn him into a favorite among many in the media . . . though the MSM "powers that be" will untimately look to destroy a true conservative like Romney.
3) There are a lot of options to beat Hillary . . . McCain is not the only choice . . . Giuliani and Romney would be able to do this hands down.
4) Although Bush seems to have pointed the closest in his political machine in McCain's direction, it looks like the financial donors are thinking more independently.

This Bush-McCain "back-room deal" of trading support will not sit well with the media or the GOP electorate . . . it may just turn out to be McCain's "back-fire deal."

Evangelicals for Mitt -- New Blog Up and Running

Well, when I saw "Catholics for Romney" hit the scene a couple of months ago, I was pretty sure that a similar Evangelical site would be on the way. I already knew that Nathan Burd, who started "Ohioans for Mitt" and now runs "Americans for Mitt", and Nancy French ("Tennesseans for Mitt") were Evangelical Christians who were early Romney backers.

Now, "Evangelicals for Mitt" has hit the scene, a site comprised of five bloggers thusfar (Charles Mitchell, David French, Dawn Meling, Matt Gabler, and Nancy French--you can click on their names and get a bio on each of them . . . they are an impressive group with strong credentials in the political/media arena).

From the "Why We Support Mitt" page on their site:

Evangelicals for Mitt exists because we want a president who shares our political and moral values and priorities, can win in 2008, and can govern effectively thereafter. We believe that the leader of the free world should not only understand, but also articulate why, a values-based governing strategy will result in a more humane, just, and compassionate society. We believe we have found just a person in Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts. He’s not just a candidate evangelicals can support—he is the best choice for people of faith. It’s not even close.

But…He’s a Mormon.
Yes, Gov. Romney is a Mormon. We are not. According to the liberal media, this is an unbridgeable gap, and evangelicals will never turn out to support a faithful Mormon like Mitt Romney. As usual, the media have it wrong . . .

To be perfectly clear, we believe Gov. Romney is not only acceptable to conservative Christians, but that he is clearly the best choice for people of faith. He is right on all the issues, and he has proven his positions with actions. He is a gifted and persuasive spokesman for our political and moral values.

We are confident Gov. Romney will appoint the kind of pro-life, conservative judges people of faith (and the Constitution) demand. While there’s no perfect candidate in the field on abortion, no serious presidential contender has risked more for the pro-life cause than Mitt Romney.

This important new grassroots support group is representative of a very important demographic that Romney will need to capture at least a decent percentage of in the GOP primaries and the vast majority of in the general election to become our next POTUS!

Just one more example that the support for Gov. Romney continues to grow! The last couple of weeks has seen the additions of three new state Blogsites "Floridians for Romney", "Coloradans for Romney", and "Texans for Mitt" (where new blogger Tim J.S. Heise seems to have joined up with Kevin Davis who's been running the "Texans for Mitt" Website for several months). Great to see all of the supporters catching the vision!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cal Thomas "Troubled" by Recent Religion/Politics Poll

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated conservative columnist and regular political pundit on Fox News. His Wikipedia entry states "He is the most widely syndicated op-ed columnist in America with more than 600 newspapers carrying his twice-weekly column, syndicated by Tribune Media Seervices" and "He also gives a daily radio commentary, which is heard on over 300 stations" . . . in other words, this is a guy you would definitely want on your side in a national political race . . . especially in the GOP primary.

Anyway, Thomas recently weighed in in an op/ed piece titled "Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: 1. He's smart 2. He's conservative 3. He's Mormon; Would you vote for him?" at this source and "Can a Mormon be President?" at (highly recommended to go to Townhall source as you can make comments and "rate" the column highly to increase readership! . . . you have to click on comments at the top of the article to see what people have written . . . they anti-Mormon crowd is out in force this morning . . . )

He starts off by describing four "hypothetical" candidates that might be running for POTUS in 2008. His fourth he describes this way:
"The fourth candidate is a Mormon, who is married to the same woman he started out with, is pro-life, opposes same-sex marriage, wants taxes and government spending cut, would put more conservatives on the Supreme Court and appears consistent in his private and public behavior."
I think we all know who "fits that bill." Thomas continues by weighing in on the recent Poll that has been the "buzz" of the Romney world the last few days (see previous posts here):
"According to a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, if you are a conservative Christian voter, you are more likely to vote for the Protestant, Catholic or Jewish candidate before you would vote for the Mormon, though he is more in line with your political philosophy."
Cal Thomas doesn't pull any punches . . . he's "calling out" those who might throw out the baby (Romney) with the bathwater (Mormonism)

One of his concluding points is an "instant classic" in my mind:
"If an ambulance hits me, I care less where or how the driver worships than I do about his sense of direction to the nearest hospital. It troubles me not that a Mormon might be president."
Glad that Thomas is on the record that he is part of the 63% that have no problem with having a Mormon POTUS.
"It does trouble me a great deal that so many people would think a person's faith - whether one shares it or not - should be the only reason to deny someone the presidency."
Some great stuff, as usual, from Cal Thomas! This will be read by millions of people and bodes well for Romney. These kind of polls may help Romney more than they hurt him!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Comments Back On!

I must have inadvertently turned off comments about a week ago. I was wondering if I was annoying everyone with my frequent posts and so nobody was commenting. Feel free to comment and I'm sorry about the mistake.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Explaining the 37% . . . Religious Bigots? The Uninformed/Uneducated? or Politically Calculating Liberal Democrats?

Yesterday, there were two articles here (Bloomberg) and here (LA Times) reporting on a poll gauging what religions Americans feel least comfortable about in hypothetical presidential candidates. I linked to these articles and gave some opinions on the results a couple of blog entries ago. However, further thought, discussion, and reading on the matter has brought some other interesting findings to the surface.

If there's one thing I know, it's to NOT trust the conclusions (or even impressions) of journalists when they are analyzing data (sure, there are some really bright ones . . . but it's well established that, among educated adults, they aren't the bastion of brains that many would have you believe). Also, I always look at the source of information when gauging it's possible "agenda", and the L.A. Times is well recognized as one of the most liberal news sources in the nation; that they would want to cast doubt on a prominent GOP candidate who stands to draw significant support moderate voters is not surprising.

Also, to reach sound conclusions one must start with sound premises . . . in this case, a poll must ask the right questions and to the right people (I think that the actual questions asked should be made public if they are going to publicly publish the "results.") This poll, unfortunately, probably didn't ask the right questions and it definitely didn't ask the right people; the resulting incorrect conclusions may discourage some potential Romney supporters.

First off, the explanation of how the poll was conducted states " The Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll contacted 1,321 adults nationwide by telephone June 24 through 27. . . . Results were weighted slightly to conform with census figures for sex, race, age, education and region." Conforming with census figures is a bad way to gauge what "likely voters" would do in at the ballot box. The number opposed to a hypothetical Mormon candidate dropped to 35% among registered voters and, I would guess, would drop even more among those that actually would make the effort to get to the polls (AKA "likely voters").
"Support for a Mormon candidate tends to rise with education and income levels, the poll shows. Sixty-six percent of college graduates and 70 percent of those with incomes of more than $100,000 a year say they could vote for a Mormon presidential candidate."

So the number drops to 34 % for college graduates and 30% for high income earners. So, who are these 30% of high income earners that are opposed to a hypothetical LDS presidential candidate? I propose that nearly all of these are Democrats, mostly coming from self-described "liberal Democrats" who, as a political group, are the most intolerant to the idea of a Mormon president at 50%. They know that Mormons are, almost invariably, the antithesis of their pro-choice, pro-gay-rights, socially and fiscally liberal platform and policies. Obviously, this large block of voters won't matter in the GOP primary, and I don't think Romney would be expecting to get their vote in a general election anyways. So I count them as a non-factor.

As the articles describe, there is as much political ideology represented in the 37% figure as possibly, anything else. How else do you explain the following?
" . . . 22 percent of registered voters say they wouldn't support an evangelical Christian . . ."
The same group of liberal Democrats are rearing their heads here. One alternative explanation is that there is a proportion of moderate or fiscally conservative Republicans that are opposed to strongly religious hypothetical candidates (still wary of the sometimes radical "religious Right").

So, in an attempt to exclude these politically calculating liberal Democrats simple subtraction between the "registered voters" opposed to Mormons (35%) and Evangelicals (22%) is only 13% (I will address this remaining 13% below.) These two religious groups are as near to "block voters" for Republicans as any of the other religious designations and so the opposition to them is understandable.
"14 percent wouldn't back a Jewish candidate, and 9 percent say no to a Catholic. Fifty-three percent say they wouldn't vote for a Muslim."
Catholics are definitely more politically diverse as evidenced by prominent politicians on both sided of the aisle; Sam Brownback and Jeb Bush for the Republicans/John Kerry and the Kennedy's for the Democrats. Most people have either already voted for a Catholic for president (Democrats/Independents) or know they would support someone like Jeb Bush.

The Jewish number can be ascribed, in part, to the fact that people are hesitant to fulfill the stereotype of being an anti-Semite. Also, the popularity of Joe Lieberman comes into play . . . again, because nearly all Democrats have recently already voted for a Jew on a presidential ticket. I don't completely buy the conclusion from the articles that Americans are really that much more tolerant of Catholic or Jewish religions than the other religions listed.

This highlights a major point, that we are all creatures of habit and generally fear to tread into the unknown. Who can say that they've already voted for a Mormon for a high office? The percentage has to be somewhere in the low single digits. This is part of the reason that their implication that Mormonism is a major obstacle for Romney is vastly overblown.

So, back to the 13% difference between Mormons and Evangelicals . . . this is the only percentage that I think potentially relates to a religious/doctrinal objection to a hypothetical LDS presidential candidate and the only percentage that would matter in a GOP primary or among the "swing vote" in a general election. This fits pretty closely with the 1998-9 figure from the fledgling Orrin Hatch campaign where 17% of Evangelicals said that they wouldn't vote for a Mormon (I think I'm quoting that one right . . . I've heard it lots, but if anyone could point me to the source I would appreciate it!)

Turning those two figures on their head, we could stretch to say that 83% of Evangelicals would vote for a Mormon and 87% of people from the recent poll do not have a religious/doctrinal objection to a hypothetical LDS candidate. Any viable candidate could work with those numbers!

But wait, there's more! (Is this reading link an "infomercial" yet?). The religious objection will assuredly abate as the campaign wears on. Much of the objection is based on misinformation or lack of information altogether. As people realize that Mormons haven't practiced polygamy for over 100 years, that Mormons believe all that Christ taught and view him as the Savior, and that Mormons are pretty darn normal people in day to day life who usually try to live what they believe, there will be less and less concern about having one as a Chief Executive.

However, the majority of any remaining objection will disappear as people evaluate Romney as a candidate and are impressed with his candor, accomplishments, and policies. In the end, I see the fact that Romney is LDS being the deciding factor for maybe 3-7% in a GOP primary and definitely less than 5% in a general election. This handicap will be offset by the strong grassroots movement and financial support that individual mormons will give to Romney, especially in a swing state like here in Iowa.

History tends to repeat itself . . . the LA Times article says:
Indeed, in a Roper poll from June 1960, 35% of respondents said either that it might be better not to have a Catholic president or that they would be against it. Then-Sen. John F. Kennedy gave a speech on the subject of his religion that September, and he was elected president two months later.
So, the answer to the question in my title about what factor is responsible for the 37% is, not surprisingly, "All of the above."

Romney on Homeland Security: Part One—The Claims and Resume

After studying Mitt Romney’s experience with Homeland Security (HS), I would argue that Romney’s Homeland Security experience and credentials exceed those of any other 2008 presidential hopeful—republican or democrat (rivaled only by the “wild-card” candidate, Rudy Giuliani). His experience is not limited to sitting on committees and being briefed on these issues. He is often the one called upon TO DO the briefing to key committees due to his “on the ground” experience with devising and implementing large-scale security plans. Much of this stems from his great success in leading Salt Lake to a safe and successful Olympic Games in the post-9/11 world as well as subsequent strong disaster management leadership as Gov. of Massachusetts.

Dr. James Carafano a senior research fellow for defense and homeland security at The Heritage Foundation, said in a piece called “Olympic Sized-Security” the following: “The 2002 Salt Lake City, Utah, Winter Olympics featured an unprecedented, integrated security and intelligence apparatus organized by Mitt Romney (now governor of Massachusetts). Salt Lake set the standard.”

Romney’s HS resume is strong and speaks for itself:

He sits on the federal Department Homeland Security’s Advisory Council (a branch of the Executive Branch Cabinet)

He Co-chairs the National Governor’s Association Homeland Security Committee. Two of the letters he co-authored in this role can be found here (to the U.S. House) and here (to the U.S. Senate).

He oversaw and implemented the complex HS plans of the Salt Lake Olympics, both before and after 9/11, carrying off the Games without any major security glitches or events. Details of this experience can be found in Romney's book, "Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games" (two chapters: “Securing the Olympic Games” and “September 11”).

As Governor of Massachusetts:

1) His state recently became one of only 10 states nationwide to receive a the highest grade for disaster preparedness (See CBS story).

2) He proactively led Massachusetts through a recent (May 2006) “State of Emergency” due to their worst flooding in 70+ years. Romney’s leadership through what the Federal government designated a "Major Disaster Emergency" drew rave reviews both locally and nationally (whole separate blog entry to follow).

3) The Massachusetts Avian Flu disaster plan has been held up as a model that the CDC and other officials have praised.

Sentinel HS testimonies/speeches by Romney:

1) Testimony to U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs and Homeland Security Committee on May 13th, 2003 titled “Investing in Homeland Security: Challenges Facing State and Local Governments

2) Testimony to U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security given on June 17, 2003 titled “First Responders: How States, Localities, and the Federal Government Can Strengthen Their Partnership to Make America Safer.”

3) Lectured at The Heritage Foundation (conservative think tank group) on Oct 23rd, 2003 with a talk titled “Grading Progress on Homeland Security: Before and After 9/11

4) Testimony to U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on May 4th, 2004 titled “ titled "Lessons Learned from Security at Past Olympic Games

5) Lectured and answered questions at The Heritage Foundation on September 14, 2005 titled “Homeland Security: Status of Federal, State and Local Efforts” (no text, but can listen to or watch his presentation.)

The above testimonies and speeches obviously contain much overlapping material. In blog entries to come I will distill them down into some of the more points and quotes.

Since today is Independence Day the thought came to my mind that many in our world seek to destroy our freedoms. Romney is the candidate who is most qualified to help prevent such attacks on our nation as well as lead us through any crisis that may occur. He is the man I would want as my President should crisis occur.

Happy Independence Day!!!

What a wonderful country we live in! I am so grateful for the sacrifice of our founding fathers and the continued courage of our nation's leaders and military in protecting our lives of independence. This is truly a day to celebrate! Happy 4th!

Romney believes in Independence . . . both as a political ideology and as part of his consistent effort to support public policy in line with his "personal responsibility principle." In essence, this "personal responsibility principle" is a desire that Romney and many other conservatives have of helping others achieve the satisfaction and freedom that come from being "personally independent" (i.e. not depending on the government or other institutions for permanent "hand outs" etc . . .)

Also, Jason at Illinoisians for Mitt has a nice personal story/opinion piece called "Mitt Romney and Values" that fits nicely with this patriotic holiday. Check it out!