Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

Some Other Thoughts about the Presidential Election and Militarism

February 8, 2008

Romney’s “surrender” statement provides us yet another opportunity to reflect on foreign policy and militarism.

Jeff Huber of Pen and Sword, a retired Navy commander, looks at the attitude of the presidential candidates towards war and foreign policy in Blooper Tuesday.

Whatever line may have once demarked American foreign policies from domestic ones has vanished, probably forever. We cannot possibly address our internal woes effectively without some sort of workable solution to the overseas fiasco our Unitary George has created, but I’m somewhat pessimistic that the majority of our leading presidential hopefuls can provide that solution.

John McCain gives the promise of more war, even though war has devolved over the Bush decade into a degenerative tool of foreign policy. All Mitt Romney seems offer is a chance bribe the rest of the world into cooperating with us from his personal fortune, but even his pockets aren’t deep enough to pull off a stunt like that. As best I can tell, the crux of Mike Huckabee’s foreign policy plan involves having Chuck Norris beat up anybody who doesn’t do what we tell them to, and I fear Hillary Clinton will still be explaining how she didn’t really vote for the war in Iraq she voted for even as she explains how she didn’t really promise to get us out of it.

That leaves one viable candidate who might have a chance of hauling us out of the sand trap we’ve hooked our way into. So far, Barack Obama’s taste in foreign policy advisers (like Zbigniew Brzezinski) seems impeccable. Let’s just hope we never hear of him hunkering down with the likes of Bill Kristol and Fred Kagan.

Faithful Progressive looks at the lack of depth in the Conservative agenda revealed in Romney’s statement.

If Mitt Romney is the great hope of the conservative movement, it is a very shallow movement indeed–particularly when it comes to foreign policy and efforts to curb world-wide terrorist groups. Romney offered the American people only cheap and bellicose slogans rather than a coherent strategy to oppose al-Qaida. It is a mildly hopeful sign that even red-meat, rank-and-file Republicans rejected his one-liners and slogans.

…This is the most self-serving and ridiculous statement made by a Presidential candidate this year. Neither Democrat has talked about any such surrender where we have real interests at stake.

…This latest slogan–Democrats are for surrender– comes after his earlier promise to double the size of Guantánamo. How this would help the US national interest is unclear: Romney offered only slogans, not a policy…

…Now that the cheap slogan-eers are out of the race, perhaps Americans can have a real debate on whether or not we remain a Constitutional Republic.

Romney Suspends Presidential Campaign

February 7, 2008

It appears that Mitt Romney has all but thrown in the towel on his presidential aspirations. His campaign never really gathered any steam, despite the copious amounts of personal money he put into the campaign. Was the anti-Mormon bias among much of the mainstream Christian world to strong to overcome? Or is it that he is courting a conservative base which has run out of gas and no longer dominates the Republican party? Regardless, I’m not the least bit bothered by his exit.

While I’m not in any way interested in examining the horserace or making predictions, I do think it has been fascinating watching the ups and downs of the overall primary campaign. Giuliani was strongly favored to win the nomination; now he’s out. McCain was dead in the water several months ago; now he’s virtually guaranteed to be the Republican candidate. Huckabee was a fringe candidate, then a frontrunner, then ignored. And the Democratic race has been virtually a toss-up between the two frontrunners from the get-go. I don’t seem to recall a primary season having been so unpredictable on either side, let alone both sides at once.

In parting, Romney took the time to release one more absurd statement.

If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror (AP).

Like the Cold-Warmongers of old, the Right persists in using blood and fear for political advantage. I wish that Romney understood that proactively promoting peace, is not a surrender to terror; on the contrary, it will undermine the roots of terrorism far more effectively than militarism ever could.

A Look at the Primary Candidates

February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday today. Did you vote? I haven’t talked much about the primary race. The point of my blog is to discuss principles, not politics per se. But today, why not? Here’s my take on the current field.

It should come as no surprise that I am not particularly fond of any of the Republican candidates. I’ve come to the conclusion that Mitt Romney is probably the worst of the bunch. His economic views clearly and unsurprisingly favor the interests of executives over workers. From defending the spurious War on Terror and even the use of torture, to engaging in religious discrimination against Muslims, to blurring the Church-State division in his ballyhooed speech, to his “plague” of illegal immigration, to misrepresenting the doctrine of our faith, I find Mitt’s campaign embarrassing. Some claim he hasn’t truly drunk the conservative kool-aid, but is merely pandering to the base of his party in an effort to win. In my opinion, neither possibility impresses me.

I voted for McCain in the 2000 primaries. At the time, I was impressed by his integrity. He recognized the corruption which tends to become rampant when big money becomes entrenched in electoral politics. He fought against pork from both parties. He understood the need to protect the public from corporate interests. He seemed to take environmental issues seriously. He spoke out against the way the agenda religious right dominated the Republican party. His conduct since 2000 is less admirable. I was disenchanted when he chose to kiss Jerry Falwell’s signet and by his shamelessly grandstanding 2004 Republican convention speech. Absolutely nauseated by the belligerence that has marked the U.S. political landscape since 9/11, I find the strong hawkishness of his foreign policy views very tiresome (however, Bob Scheer strongly insisted on the most recent Left, Right, and Center that McCain had done more than any other individual to tame defense spending and prevent even more rampant militarism over the past few decades). All in all, I’m no longer so convinced of his maverick integrity as I once was.

For much of his campaign, Huckabee was probably the least odious of the leading Republicans. He seems to take social justice more seriously than most Republicans. His talk of a more “humble” foreign policy sounds closer to a moral international road. I warmed to his candidacy. Then he had to go all Pat Robertson in his campaign, talking about amending the Constitution to fit God’s standard. Sigh.

For what it’s worth, I could be reasonably happy with Ron Paul. I’m not a libertarian, but I think radical libertarianism would be a lot better than the current corporatism and militarism suffusing the Right. Too bad Paul forgets that libertarianism includes support for the Church-State separation and reduced government interference in social issues.

Then there is the Democratic side. The candidate I truly want is Dennis Kucinich. This is a man who stands for strong liberal principles, and who has a long record of integrity. Alas, he is no longer an option. Watching his vain efforts only reconfirms my belief in the need for multiple parties and my 2000 support for Ralph Nader. Kucinich’s campaigns the past couple elections prove that it is impossible for liberals to get traction in the Democratic party. As long as they work within the party, they will be marginalized and ignored, their perspective unheard. By running outside the two-party system, Nader was able to make a liberal agenda part of the national discussion.

The Democratic race is a historic race, which will end with either our first woman nominee or our first black nominee for president in any major party. But just because either candidate would be historic does not mean that either one would be equally acceptable. I want real change in Washington. Clinton is tightly bound to corporate America. She has proven herself just as willing to play the hawk as any Republican. She never hesitated to believe the lies about Iraq while it was politically expedient to do so, and continues to adopt a conservative tough cop attitude towards Iran. For crying out loud, Ann Coulter has insisted she might endorse Clinton. Does this sound like change to you? Yes, a Clinton administration would be better than what we have now. But let us not kid ourselves—that is not a high bar. With ever escalating world tensions, a precarious economy, and a society increasingly stratified between those who have raked in the rewards of our economic structures and those who are bear the costs, we need something more than a return to the Nineties, a time when the president from the putatively liberal party frequently compromised the public interest for the sake of corporate patronage.

That leaves Obama. I’ve tried to avoid getting caught up in the Obama hype. There has been no doubt since I first heard him speak during the 2004 Democratic Convention that this is a dynamic speaker, a man with incredible charisma. But I’m wary. Bill Clinton was a charmer as well (remember the sax on Arsenio?). It takes more than charm to make a great leader. Do his words mean anything, or are they simply empty promises? Will he stand for the convictions of which he speaks? When he talks about bringing people together, does he truly mean developing a shared vision, or is he talking about polling and triangulating to determine the most politically opportune path? His short political career cuts both ways; we don’t see any real skeletons in his closet, but neither do we see proof of his commitment to principle.

Ultimately, I have to trust my instincts. I get the sense that Obama is sincere, and while his platform is not as liberal as I’d like, he represents the best chance for a move toward a morally sound platform of any of the candidates.

Romney Hides His Light from the World

December 24, 2007

Yesterday at work, a co-worker informed me that Mitt Romney had denied modern revelation to the press. I was skeptical, but later found that she was right.

I found it very ironic to hear the report of this incident the very day on which I was preparing my Gospel Doctrine lesson on Revelations 1-3. Revelations 1 talks about the Church being a candlestick for the Christ and the Gospel, and Revelations 2 includes a rebuke for a Church which has wandered from their “first love” (ie, Christ). The implication of the lesson is that we, the members, should stand tall in representing the Gospel, and not allow worldly pursuits to dissuade us from representing Christ and his Gospel at all times, in all places, and in all things. Yes, many outside of our faith question—even scorn—some of the fundamental doctrines of our faith. And one of those doctrines is the concept of modern revelation and priesthood authority. Romney could have honestly and plainly answered the root question by stating “As President, I would answer only to the Constitution and the public of the United States.” Instead, his flippant answer dodged the question entirely and turned his back on one of the crucial principles of our faith.

I have no problem with the idea that a presidential candidate does not believe in the restored priesthood and modern revelation. Such theological points have no part in the political debate (whether or not a candidate considers him/herself answerable to a particular ecclesiastical body in their role as public servant is relevant to the political discussion). What I do have a problem with is a person, such as Romney, who claims to have a firm conviction of my faith, but who chooses not to acknowledge the principles of that faith when it is not politically expedient to do so.

Some will rationalize this lack of political and religious courage. They might claim he was only making a joke, and that he technically left himself an “out” with his “perhaps some others” clause. Such weaseling is hardly a prime example of standing for something. By making a joke and refusing to give a straight, truthful answer to the question, Romney did not hold his light high, but chose to hide it under a bushel. He makes a mockery of the already questionable speech he gave only days ago.

Others might protest that Romney was only doing what he has to do to be a viable candidate for a nation in which Mormons are not, as Ken Jennings recently noted, as mainstreamed as we might have thought. Romney is toeing the line to placate the Evangelical right. How can this justify his public religious waffling? I do not deny that embracing the doctrines of the Gospel may well be a hindrance in the world to achieving certain worldly goals, such as the Presidency. If that is the price of being either hot or cold, that is the price the Lord expects us to pay.