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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"The Mormon Issue" getting plenty of "pub"

"The Mormon Issue" seems to be the Romney topic de jour for the past few days. Time coverage here.

The Dallas Morning News published an abreviated version of Molly Worthen's New Republic essay (subscription required for entire essay).

Also, Slate has a piece that has this quippy but controversial paragraphy:

The best intellectual argument Romney could use isn't available to him, which is that all religions have their odd traditions and beliefs that look highly quirky under close examination. Romney could use my Catholic Church as an example, but in doing so, he'd risk alienating another key constituency. Imagine what fun he could have had with the Charismatics, some of whom speak in tongues or drink snake venom.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hugh Hewitt's Advice to Evangelical Leaders and Theologians RE: Romney

Very interesting read here from the Associated Baptist Press. Hugh Hewitt gives us a preview that his book will be arguing that Evangelicals would be VERY unwise to oppose Romney on religious grouds as they would be shooting themselves in the foot (feet?)

After discussing the importance of blogging and the blogosphere for political influence/opinion driving the coverage turns to Romney:

Hewitt is currently writing a book about Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints and prominent potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Hewitt said he believes evangelicals have the potential to help or hurt themselves in how they react to the possibility of a Mormon in the White House.

As a result of Romney's potential, Hewitt noted, journalists will inevitably begin asking evangelical professors and pastors for their take on a potential Mormon in the White House.

He cautioned against disparaging or inappropriate comments about Romney's faith. Every theological or philosophical argument evangelicals use against a Mormon candidate or Mormon theology will eventually be used against evangelicals, he said.

"Many in this room in the next year to year-and-a-half will be asked by students and the media, 'What do you think about Mitt Romney?'" he said, adding that once "secular absolutists" get them to talk about theology, they open themselves to attack. "If we begin to ask Mitt Romney about which [Morman] practices and doctrines he subscribes to, it cannot be capped. It will not be stopped."

According to Hewitt, most people have three main objections to Romney's presence, should he win the election: that Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City will control the White House, that a Mormon president will energize Mormon missionaries around the globe, and that it's "irrational" to be a Mormon.

All three concerns, Hewitt said, are unfounded.
And if people see evangelicals bashing Mormons for their unique beliefs, the thinking goes, secular leaders will turn their own argument against evangelicals seeking the presidency.

"They do not want us in politics and in the public square because they believe us widely to be irrational," he said. "It would be tragic to me that in the course of rushing off to do battle with Mormon theology, you attract our common opponent," the secular absolutists.

Liberals hate Romney and like McCain . . . Sounds OK to me!

The most annoying member of "The McLaughlin Group"--Eleanor Clift (a devoted and utterly predictable liberal), of Newsweek recently wrote a bash piece on Romney seen here. It's a piece bashing Romney's so-called "gay-bashing". She starts out by showing her communist stripes:

There ought to be a prohibition against opportunistic politicians messing around in state laws to further their presidential ambitions. With his days as governor of Massachusetts nearing an end, Mitt Romney is trying to reopen the issue of same-sex marriage in the only state where it is legal.

Romney's "trying to reopen the issue"???? What about the 170,000 Mass petition signers who are wanting the Legislature to get the issue on the ballot? Romney is speaking for them and supporting their "minority rights" because their elected legislators are ignoring the MA constitution and their oaths of office . . . No, Romney is being a leader when other so-called leaders are hiding under their desks.

She manages to turn her piece into a near "love-fest" with McCain. I'm convinced the liberal "mainstream" media will continue to push for McCain to be the GOP nominee since they realize he's not too far from them on most issue and wouldn't be "too bad" if they happen to lose the POTUS race in 2008.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mark Your Calendars! Ames Straw Poll Set for Aug 11th, 2007

Link here from the Des Moines Register.

The Iowa Republican Party has selected Aug. 11, 2007, as the date for the Ames straw poll - a signature event for GOP presidential candidates running in the state's leadoff nominating caucuses.

. . . The straw poll is a nationally publicized event, noteworthy as the first measure of candidate strength in Iowa.

In August 1999, a record 25,000 Republicans turned out for the straw poll, which was won by George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas.

What the article doesn't say is that after the results of Bush's win in the 1999 straw poll 5 of his competitors dropped out of the race completely and 4 of them ended up endorsing Bush. I've heard many GOP activists here in Iowa stress that this is the day when presidential hopes are made or dashed. I forsee a strong showing for Romney!

Let every potential Romney supporter know that then need to mark their calendars and PLAN TO BE IN AMES, IOWA ON AUGUST 11th, 2007 TO HELP ROMNEY WIN THE STRAW POLL!

Here is the announcement from the Iowa GOP website (RPI).

McCain Will Not Bypass Iowa This Time . . . Fortunately, Iowans Have Long Memories

From Real Clear Politics (In the middle of the piece)

Sen. John McCain's political advisers say it is now certain that he will enter presidential caucuses in Iowa, the state he bypassed in 2000 on his way to nearly taking the Republican nomination from George W. Bush.

The sign that McCain is aiming for Iowa came when his political action committee hired Terry Nelson, political director for Bush's 2004 campaign. An Iowan, Nelson knows the state well. That points to an early showdown in Iowa between McCain and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has built a grass-roots organization there.

This McCain-Romney face-off may not be definitive. Ronald Reagan in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1988 each won the nomination after losing Iowa.

Good analysis of this by Thomas at Elect Romney in 2008

The political handicappers here in Iowa like Romney's chances to win the caucus better than McCain's (or anyone else's at this point for that matter). See the active Cooler Line at Caucus Cooler and The Krusty Konservative's "Six Pack" (from back in July).

I don't see McCain "catching on" here in Iowa. He's only suceeded in states with open primaries where cross-over Dems and Independants helped him out (Michigan and New Hampshire in 2000). Iowa's caucus system is heavily slanted to get the party base's choice to win . . . and I can tell you for sure that McCain is no favorite of the GOP base here in Iowa.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Washington Blogger Declares Support for Romney

A Washington state blogger, Eric Earling, has declared for Romney and details his reasons why in part 1 and part 2.

Great that yet another political activist has seen the merits of Mitt!

Newest: "Would you vote for a Mormon?" poll

Pollsters at "Rasmussen Reports" have just released the latest in the string of many "would you ever vote for a Mormon?" polls. This one puts the figure at 43% and the report plays up the apparent story with the headline "Election 2008: 43% Would Never Vote for Mormon Candidate".

Well, that number is just a tad higher than the 37% figure that was reported by the LA Times/Bloomberg poll a few months back. I blogged about that one here. In a nutshell, these figures in NO WAY translate into the picture (AKA "implied headline") that some people are trying to paint . . . that "43% Would Never Vote for Romney".

Why? Well, first off, this poll was of all likely voters (R's, D's, and I's). . . obviously liberals and those aware of and uncomfortable with the fact that nearly all Mormon's are strong social conservatives would never vote for one.

Also, some great signs for Romney are hidden in this poll:

Among the 41% with no opinion of Romney, just 27% say they would consider voting for a Mormon.

That shows that Romney has lots of room for improved name recognition. But even more to the point of this whole Mormon issue is that only about one quarter of the likely voters surveyed who don't know Romney would vote for a Mormon. That confirms the theory that people are just more uncomfortable with a "different" religion--espeicially when they cannot put a name/face with it.

How do I come to that? Well, since 38% of all respondants said they'd consider voting for a Mormon, if we subtract out the 41% who had no opinion of Romney (along with their 27% "consider voting for a Momron" figure)---that leaves us with 59% of folks who DO have an opinion of Romney (be it good or bad). My quick calculation of these figures shows that nearly 47% of people with ANY opinion of Romney would consider voting for a Mormon. Counting out those with unfavorable views of Romney (many/most of which will be liberals/Democrats who will not vote in the GOP primary) and the figure gets up to nearly 100%.

The article then helps confirm what I've been saying all along: That these polls about Mormonism are not directly translatable to Romney himself.

It is possible, of course, that these perceptions might change as Romney becomes better known and his faith is considered in the context of his campaign. Currently, just 19% of Likely Voters are able to identify Romney as the Mormon candidate from a list of six potential Presidential candidates.

This shows that Romney may have a pretty "open slate" to work with and I'm convinced he'll shine through and dispel any qualms about his religious affiliation.

However, should this following part be worrisome?

Half (53%) of all Evangelical Christians say that they would not consider voting for a Mormon candidate.

Again, I just think that this unmasks a lack of information/education of Mormonism by Evangelicals in general, and how that relates to Romney in specific.

On the brighter side, at least the American populus is more intolerant of some other religions than Mormonism . . .
The response to a theoretical Mormon candidate is far less negative than the response to a Muslim candidate or an atheist. Sixty-one percent (61%) of Likely Voters say they would never consider voting for a Muslim Presidential candidate. Sixty percent (60%) say the same about an atheist.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Romney Video on "The Big Show"--John Gibson

This video is a nice 5 minute conversation of Romney talking with John Gibson on Fox News' "The Big Show". He hits many of his talking points well and mentions that Condi Rice should be considered as a contender for the '08 POTUS race as well.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Job Search Semi-Hiatus

I apologize for neglecting this blog for the past while. I know that excuses only go so far, but it has been a VERY busy time for me with the Oral Boards, the elections, a professional meeting last week, and a recently sort-of-frantic job search (on top of my day-job).

The job search situation is a long story, but I have expanded the search and have been busy talking with potential future partners/practices. It's an exciting time and crucial decisions will be made over the next couple of months.

I will continue to try to post here as time allows . . .

Thanks to all of you who have inquired to make sure everything is OK. Everything is going well and Romney's Rise will continue to strengthen. He's positioned perfectly to take the GOP nomination and the presidency. The exciting times will continue!