Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Better Know a Mormon -- Intro

One re-occurring topic I hope to get to will be titled "Better Know a Mormon" and will be similar to Stephen Colbert's "Better Know a District". The hope is that people will get to know Mormons better, and indeed that they will realize that they already know and maybe even like some Mormons already. What does this have to do with Mitt Romney? Not sure. We'll see how it goes. There is the familiarity factor: many people might be hesitant to vote for Romney because they don't know any Mormons and aren't sure they're "normal." Law Students For Romney to the rescue, right...

There's been a ton of Romney news the last two weeks, but school is heating up and it's been hard to make time for blogging. For information on what's been happening lately, check out every other Romney themed blog on the Internet.

George Will wrote an excellent column on Wednesday titled Allen's Fumbles, Romney's Gain. It's less about Romney than it is about Allen and McCain, but Will has some interesting analysis. I highly recommend reading it.

Also be sure to check out Radio West's "Churches and Candidates." It addresses the Boston Globe's recent article that revealed Pro-Romney supporter's emails to Mitt's church leaders.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Ghosts of the Republican Party Past

Mitt, the rising star, catches Thatcher vote

What's the next best thing to getting an endorsement from Ronald Reagan himself? Getting an endorsement from Margaret Thatcher, of course. Alas, the headline of this article is a bit presumptuous at this point -- as indicated by this line: "If not quite an official anointing, the handshake and chat with so venerable a figure was an unmistakable sign to conservatives that he was “one of us” -- but it's still good news. It makes me wonder how much, if at all, Thatcher has ever gotten involved in American electoral politics.


In the second paragraph of his post Andrew Sullivan describes my own frustrations with the Republican Party fairly accurately.

People also vote Republican because they want representatives able to say no to government spending. The current Bush GOP says: YES, MORE PLEASE. The two most significant facts about the current crew in power is that they have increased the debt overhang facing the next generation from $20 trillion to $43 trillion in five years. The new Medicare entitlement was putting fiscal gasoline on a raging fire of debt. No one who voted for it can even be faintly described as conservative. Then there's simple pork and corruption. The last transportation bill had over 6,000 earmarks in it. Reagan vetoed a bill because it had 150 earmarks in it. That was when the GOP was conservative. What Bush-DeLay-Hastert-Frist are about is not fiscal conservatism in any recognizable form. They are about borrowing vast amounts of money from Asian banks, spending more liberally than any Democratic Congress since FDR, and using it to bribe voters in gerry-mandered districts to keep themselves in power.

He also writes what he believes will be the theme of this November's election: "To paraphrase Mr Carville, it's losing the war, stupid."

Friday, October 13, 2006

A model for universal health care?

This link is to a story on American Public Media's Marketplace program. It discusses the structure and implications of Commonwealth Care, Massachusetts' new health care initiative. Governor Romney has touted it as a success and the great result of compromise from all players in health care. One of the more important points that this story makes is that Mr. Romney's support and role in creating this initiative greatly changes the health care debate for Republicans. One of the major Republican sticking points is the perception that requiring small businesses with more than ten employees will greatly harm them. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Romney uses this in his campaign and how other primary candidates will counter.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tuesday's News

Two highly interesting articles today (Hat tip to Marc.)

Romney gets boost in S.C.
Basically Romney has solidified himself as the alternative to McCain in South Carolina. Not bad this far away from '08.

It's the agenda, stupid
I've been looking for a slogan that will capture the '08 elections, something like "It's the economy, stupid". This article reminded me of that. I haven't come up with the slogan yet, but I'd like "stupid" to be in there somewhere, and maybe something about religious bigotry. I'm sure Cyndi Mosteller will be glad to offer assistance -- she seems to know a lot about stupid and religious bigotry.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Western Conservatives/Southern Conservatives

George Will's most recent column uses the Mark Foley scandal to highlight the tenuous fusion between "two flavors of conservatism -- Western and Southern."
[Western conservatism] is largely libertarian, holding that pruning big government will allow civil society -- and virtues nourished by it and by the responsibilities of freedom -- to flourish. The Southern, essentially religious, strand of conservatism is explained by Ryan Sager in his new book, "The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party":

"Whereas conservative Christian parents once thought it was inappropriate for public schools to teach their kids about sex, now they want the schools to preach abstinence to children. Whereas conservative Christians used to be unhappy with evolution being taught in public schools, now they want Intelligent Design taught instead (or at least in addition). Whereas conservative Christians used to want the federal government to leave them alone, now they demand that more and more federal funds be directed to local churches and religious groups through Bush's faith-based initiatives program."

This makes me wonder: what kind of conservative is Mitt Romney? The Republican party is much more diverse than those two categories suggest, but as George Will points out, this does seem to be the major dichotomy in the Republican party right now. As it turns out, the Southern conservatives and the Southern conservative agenda are dominating the Republican party, but it wasn't always so -- George W. Bush and Barry Goldwater are nearly polar opposites. There was a time when abortion wasn't even on the radar of the Republican party.

Romney appears to me at his core to be a Western conservative. In order to get elected, though, he will have to appeal to a wider array of Republicans, and since the current Republican power structure is in the hands of the Southern conservatives (and, perhaps relatedly, because the primary system favors the South) he is emphasizing Southern conservative values.

It's impossible to know truly what kind of president any candidate will be until they get into office (remember how we thought Bush was going to have a "humble" foreign policy and that he didn't believe in nation building [said he, "...I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course."]) It will become evident largely in what kinds of people he surrounds himself with.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wednesday's Complete News

So Law Students For Romney finally made the news. The Salt Lake Tribune did a story about grassroots bloggers supporting Romney. They didn't get our name quite right, but it was close enough.

Elsewhere in the news...

Former Rep. Mark Foley admits he's gay.

He's already said he has an alcohol problem, but I'm still waiting for a statement from Foley admitting that he has a grammar and punctuation problem. For example, as quoted in the Sun Sentinel, the released portions of his emails contain the following lines:

"he's such a nice guy," Foley wrote about the other boy. "acts much older than his age...and hes in really great shape...i am just finished riding my bike on a 25 mile journey now heading to the gym...whats school like for you this year?"

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Few Must-Reads

A recent column from The Economist ends with this line: "But for the moment at least it seems that conservative Republicans have found their man for 2008."

From The Times Online: Mormon with a JFK touch is right on McCain's tail

From Politicsnh.com: For McCain and Romney, the gloves are still on -- but so is the fight

From SiouxCityJournal.com: Rants backs Romney

From the Salt Lake Tribune: Mitt gains ground in the blogosphere; This article mentions this blog specifically despite incrorrectly naming it.

One thing is becoming clear, I think -- Romney has solidified himself as one of the top two options for 2008. I think even Cyndi Mosteller would agree. I also think it's interesting that Romney's religion is not an issue anywhere but the South. The only time I hear about his Mormonism from outlets in Midwest or Northeast states or even Britain is when they mention that it's a big deal to Southern voters.