Tag Archives: republican debates

What to do Wednesday: Debate or Baseball? Let’s go O’s!

Nate McLouth hits a lead off Home Run to lead the Orioles to victory over the Red Sox to clinch a Wild Card Berth 

There are three days remaining before the first Presidential debate and the end of the regular Major League Baseball season.

On Wednesday Barak Obama and Mitt Romney will go head to head in the first televised debate of the 2012 general election but as important as this event is in the political debate of 2012 I really couldn’t give a shit because I know how it is going to turn out. Romney is going to say really bad things about Obama, make himself look like an ass in the process and even if he does reasonably well in the debate will still end up looking like a pompous ass.  Obama is not going to say a whole lot except look nicer and more presidential than Romney and that will be it. Both sides will spin the results and make sound bites that fire up their base but I really don’t expect the debates to change the race that much. Obama will have to implode and Romney will have to actually come across as a human being that has a real plan that respects all Americans in order to win.

No matter what the profession soothsayers of political punditry say that is the real deal. Most people’s minds are pretty much made up and unfortunately Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan. If it attempts to “zing” President Obama it will make him look like Wile E Romney, or perhaps George Costanza of Seinfeld when he tried to get the one line zinger in at work.  Romney’s supporters talk about how well he did in the GOP primary debates when supposedly his “back was against the wall” he is facing Barak Obama, not Rick Perry, Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich.

So since I already know how that will go down there are just three games left in the regular season. The Orioles and Yankees are tied atop the AL East with both teams clinching a wild card berth with the A’s still hanging on. With three games left the Orioles travel to Tampa to play the Rays and the Yankees will play at home against their traditional blood rivals the Boston Red Sox.

The Orioles I think are the better bet. The Red Sox have sucked this season by I expect that they wouldn’t mind torpedoing the Yankees in the last series of the season. The Rays expected more this year but I think that the O’s will take two of three in Tampa.

Wednesday will matter more for baseball than for either the Romney or Obama campaigns.  The electorate is so helplessly divided that no-one is going to listen to what the opposing candidate says anyway. Peoples minds are made up and unless Obama actually admits to being a White Supremacist and comes out as a member of the KKK or Romney admits that he is a Gay Kenyan Socialist who masturbates to music the 1980s British Punk Rock group the Sex Pistols nothing is going to change much.  And even if they did their partisans would look for a way to exploit their candidate’s gaff to their advantage.

However baseball is another matter.  No matter if it is the AL East, AL West or the NL Wild Card race Wednesday will matter.  The Orioles, Yankees, Rays, Rangers, Athletics, Cardinals, Angels, Tigers, White Sox and Dodgers are still in the playoff mix. That is a lot of America, probably more than the voters that are still supposedly undecided.

So on Wednesday if the debate is still going when the Orioles are done playing I might tune in. But I know what really matters. Baseball will be here a lot longer than either Mitt Romney or Barak Obama.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Flip-Flops in Florida: Who was Before it Before they were Against it Before they said that They Weren’t? I Sure the Hell Don’t Know

We are done with debates for a month and not a moment too soon especially for Newt Gingrich who got his ass handed to him tonight. Unlike in South Carolina where Gingrich was the clear winner Newt seemed to be flat footed in his answers to questions posed by Wolf Blitzer and audience members and in his responses to Romney. Romney seemed much more comfortable attacking Newt tonight. However I think that he was hurt by Rick Santorum who I think won the debate.

Despite beating Gingrich Romney certainly did not help himself for the general election should he be the nominee. Newt’s campaign as well as all of his huge Mitt-stakes over the past month have taken their toll. Even Rupert Murdoch thinks that Romney’s tax issue alone could keep him from winning in November.  Romney is certainly a shrewd businessman and as he calls himself a “winner.”  However he comes across as both arrogant and unprincipled, a flip-flopper of the worst kind as does Gingrich.

These debates and the campaign since Iowa have been a bloodbath in which Romney and Gingrich have done everything that they can do the ensure that neither of them becomes President. These guys are doing the best that they can to destroy each other every hour of the day and then claim ignorance. I am amazed with the alacrity with which they misrepresented each other and themselves.

I know that people wear flip-flops on Florida’s beaches but these guys put the flip in flop.    Both were for it before they were against it before someone pointed out that they were for it and they had to defend being for what they are now against or really are for but can’t admit it and get the nomination.

I am really getting confused and I know it’s not just my Mad Cow causing this. I don’t think that either man actually believes a word that they that they say even before they denied that they believed it.  Both Gingrich and Romney came across as absolutely disingenuous and consumed with destroying each other on the way to getting the nomination.

In my opinion it was Rick Santorum that was the most effective debater tonight and was very impressive. He was much more impressive than either Romnich or Gingney and I think Santorum cleaned Romney’s clock. Unfortunately for him it is probably too little too late regarding the getting the nomination but anything is possible now. Ron Paul made some points but did not have the impact tonight as did Santorum. Santorum hurt Romney on “Romneycare” and taxation aligning himself with none other than Ronald Reagan on the upper bracket tax rates.  He was also the only candidate that spoke directly about the industrial base and the workers that were the Reagan Democrats and recognized that President Obama had made that point in the State of the Union.

While anything is possible in this race I think that it is pretty certain that Romney will now win Florida. I thought that Gingrich might steal it but he didn’t help himself at all tonight. He was way off his game and he needed to reprise what he did in South Carolina in order to win Florida.  He now has to work doubly hard to try to win this or run a close second.

However this race has show that nothing is what it was even four years ago. I think that it will drag on and that anti-Romney forces will ensure that it does. I think that all things being equal that Romney probably wins the nomination but like I have been saying since Iowa that he will be so damaged that he will not be able to win in November.  He may have the support of the GOP elites but he certainly is not winning the hearts of people that he will need to support him in November.

A recent poll said that 33% of Republicans wished that there was another candidate in the race. Likewise President Obama’s positive numbers which were dismal are going up even as Romney’s favorable ratings collapse. I say this only to show just how volatile the electorate is this year and how dissatisfied most Americans seem to be with the status quo and the people running for the nation’s highest office.

This is not like anything that I have ever seen. So many things can happen between now and next week when Florida votes and the the General Election on November 6th that could influence the election it boggles the mind. I know that my mind is boggled. I feel like I am watching the two Republican front-runners do their best to ensure that their party cannot win in November. What do you think?

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Republican Versus Republican: The South Carolina Showdown

 

Charleston Debate (CNN Photo)

The Republican campaign for the nomination is getting nasty.  These men do not like each other and for one man in particular, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich the battle is personal. Campaign ads, particularly those run by the various Super-PACS have been brutal on all sides because they have all mixed truth and fiction and quite often impugned the character of their opponents in addition to attacking policy differences.

The fact that our political climate is so volatile and filled with passion and emotion mean that the campaign will become filled with even more vitriol.  This week two more Republicans dropped out of the race after pledging in New Hampshire to see it through. John Huntsman dropped out followed unexpectedly today by Texas Governor by Rick Perry.  Neither had the support to do much in South Carolina nor the finances to go on. Huntsman endorsed Romney while Perry, Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin have  all endorsed Gingrich which was probably more important.

Perry saw the writing on the wall when a sizable number of Evangelicals and conservative Catholics through their support behind for Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum who was certified as the winner of the Iowa Caucus after Governor Romney and the media declared Romney the winner.  Romney “won” by 8 votes with a total number less than he received in the same state in 2008.  However when Santorum was certified as the winner by 34 votes Republican Party officials in the state called it a draw with no clear winner.  So if Romney wins by 8 votes it is a “win” but if Santorum wins by 34 votes it is a “tie.”  Romney called his wins “historic” history has been revised.  I thought that Romney made a huge mistake when he made the claim and now he looks foolish for doing so.

Since New Hampshire the three factions of the Republican Party have fractured. Romney was anointed by the party elite as the “one that could beat Obama.” However after New Hampshire the fissures in the party between the Republican establishment represented by Romney, social conservatives championed by Gingrich and Santorum and Libertarians led by Ron Paul have opened wide. All claim that getting rid of Obama is the main priority but their personal dislike of the candidates for one another and their sometimes competing agendas have led to a deepening divide in the party.

Gingrich seems to have survived comments by his second wife regarding their divorce and his alleged desire to remain married by have an “open marriage” with the support of major hitters like Rush Limbaugh.  When asked about it by debate moderator John King Gingrich blasted King and attacked the media in an incredibly effective manner that ended the line of questioning.  Gingrich knew that the question would be asked and clobbered it like a power hitter slamming a hanging curve ball.

Romney didn’t make any great mistakes in the debate tonight but he muffed the question of releasing his tax returns in Monday’s debate on Fox News and tonight’s on CNN. He seems be unable to connect with people that don’t believe that over $300,000 in speaking fees is “not very much money.” It seems to me that he cannot connect with the populist parts of the Republican Party represented by the Tea Party. He is portrayed as a flip-flopper by conservatives and believe me there are many Evangelicals and others that will not support him or only give lukewarm support should he become the nominee because he is Mormon.  Frankly their trust of him deserved or not is only slightly better than the distrust that they have for President Obama.

I believe that Gingrich will win South Carolina and that both Santorum and Ron Paul will do better than expected. Santorum actually in my view handled the debate better and challenged Gingrich and Romney in ways that were effective and that I did not think him capable of sustaining. He could surprise especially with the endorsement of major Evangelicals but he is not a southerner and that counts for something in South Carolina.

From South Carolina the campaign goes to Florida and could continue throughout the spring as the factions of the party go all in for their candidates. It shall be interesting.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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I Don’t Like Bullies: The Troubling Trend in Conservative Politics

I don’t like bullies. I didn’t like them as a child and I certainly don’t like them any better now.  Unfortunately the bullying that I address is not the simple schoolyard type, but a kind that has infected our politics and religion to such an extent that I fear the worst for our country.

Last night there was a most troubling moment during the Republican debate.  Fox news anchor Megan Kelly aired a video from a soldier inIraqasking what candidates would do regarding the recent repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy.   What followed was shocking. First a number of people in the audience booed the soldier. Second, former Senator Rick Santorum answered Kelly’s question about DADT saying that he would reinstate the policy which he called “social experimentation” which was “detrimental” to gays and lesbians.

Sanorum also mischaracterized the repeal saying that that “I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. The fact they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to, and removing don’t ask don’t tell. I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military’s job is to do one thing: to defend our country….”  The repeal didn’t give gays a special privilege but merely allows them to serve as others in the military do without fear of being thrown out if someone discovered that they were gay.

Santorum also showed his ignorance by ending his comments with this “sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself whether you are heterosexual or homosexual.” Well that is the policy that was enacted, except we don’t throw people out because they are homosexual.  The military is built on discipline and professionalism, if heterosexual military personnel cannot do something the same applies to homosexuals. The policy actually makes the case that sexuality is not an issue. It was under DADT and it put honorable men and women that wanted to serve their country under a rule that no-one else in the military had to live with. That policy emphasized that they were different and made their sexual orientation the issue so that they could be prosecuted at any time should a person turn them in or they make any statement that they were gay.

The repeal was voted by congress and DADT has been found unconstitutional by a number of Federal Courts.  It was going to go away one way or another and the way it was done the military had a chance to get ready for it.  Because of this nothing changed on September 20th. The military still continues to do its job without any disruption, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen are being professional and perhaps the one shock will have is when they find out that men and women that they admire and that they have served in close quarters or in combat with are gay. They will adjust and realize that all the hyperbole put out by people like Santorum was politically and sometimes religiously motivated bigotry.  The same happened in 1948 when President Truman integrated the military. Military personnel adjusted over time and now compared to most of society the military stands as a beacon to the rest of the nation.

When Santorum finished his answer he was greeted with thunderous applause and not one candidate stopped during the debate to call out the people that launched the chorus of boos.  A few notably John Huntsman and a spokesman for Rick Perry commented after the debate about how “unfortunate” the incident was, later on Friday candidate Gary Johnson condemned the action. Unfortunately most of the other candidates by their silence showed that they either agreed with the hecklers or that they are too afraid of political retribution to speak out against such behavior.

I was told by a Christian friend whose opinion I value that he thought that I was over-reacting to the actions of a few people.  God how I wish it was just a few knuckleheads doing this.  However I have seen many bloggers and quite a few allegedly “conservative alternative media” sites and “Christian” ministries blasting the same message ever since Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen announced that the military was moving toward the repeal.

The fact that others in the crowd did not challenge the boo-birds and Santorum didn’t censure them was scary. Later Santorum said that he didn’t hear the people that booed but they were loud and I have a hard time believing him. In light of his many other statements on this subject.

Part of the problem is that I am a historian and my focus was on Weimar Germany and the Nazi era. I have studied that period since I was an undergraduate as well as in seminary and for my second Masters in Military History. I talk about this with my German friends and they see parallels to their history. It unnerves them to see it happening here.

The tactics being employed by these “few” are eerily reminiscent of what the Brownshirts did to their opponents. If I “over react” as my friend said it was because acts like this do breed discrimination and violence.  Those that take power after having used or tolerated such behavior from their followers tend to become tyrants and oppressors in their own right, especially religious people.  Simply look at history to see how badly these events turn out.

But this is bigger than the repeal of DADT and gays.  Last week in another debate, the same type of crowd people shouted “let them die” in relation to a debate question about an uninsured man.  The week at another Republican debate people cheered the use of the death penalty even in cases where reasonable doubt was obvious. And then Pat Robertson told a caller that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease was justified. It is about the lack of outcry from Christians or even the willing participation of Christians in brutal behavior. These are scary things and it is the totally of them that brings my reaction.  This has happened in other countries and I fear that we are going down the same path.

We have a great number of very angry people including many Evangelical Christians that feel that the left has marginalized and persecuted them.  To some extent there has been some of that.  But the answer cannot be found in vengeance.  From what I read on many “conservative” or “Christian” websites the issue is revenge.   The revenge is in that they intend to take over by the ballot and if need be by the bullet to “take dominion” over every arena of public life and rid us of those that do not agree with them or strip them of any influence in society.

The people in the “Dominionist” movement and those that preach the “7 Mountains Theology”  have said that they are intent on establishing a theocracy in this country and others. In their new society people that disagree with them are the enemy, not only of them but of God, even other Christians. Rick Joyner, one of the leaders of this movement and one of the players in Rick Perry’s “The Response” said: “On February 23rd of this year I was shown for the third time that the church was headed for a spiritual civil war … the definition of a complete victory in this war would be the complete overthrow of the accuser of the brethens’ strongholds in the church … this will in fact be one of the most cruel battles the church has ever faced. Like every civil war brother will turn against brother like we have never witnessed in the church before … this battle must be fought. It is an opportunity to drive the accuser out of the church and for the church then to come into unity that would otherwise be impossible … what is coming will be dark. At times Christians almost universally will be loath to even call themselves Christians. Believers and unbelievers alike will think it is the end of Christianity as we know it and it will be through this the very definition of Christianity will be changed for the better.”

Others of this theological bent advocate chilling police state type methods in dealing with opponents and those that dissent and justify themselves by say that they are “doing God’s work” or “ushering in the Kingdom.

So this is not just about the gays, it is about protecting the weak and those that dare to dissent from a party line. It is about the use of  Brownshirt type tactics to intimidate and silence opposition.  The combination of radial politics and radical religion never produces anything good.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from a Nazi Prison:

“Radicalism always springs from a conscious or unconscious hatred of what is established. Christian radicalism, no matter whether it consists in withdrawing from the world or in improving the world, arises from the hatred of creation. The radical cannot forgive God his creation. He has fallen out with the created world, the Ivan Karamazov, who at the same time makes the figure of the radical Jesus in the image of the Grand Inquisitor. When evil becomes powerful in the world, it infects the Christian, too, with the poison of radicalism. It is Christ’s gift to the Christian that he should be reconciled with the world as it is, but now this reconciliation is accounted to be a betrayal and denial of Christ. It is replaced by bitterness, suspicion and contempt for men and the world. In place of the love that believes all and hopes all, in the place of the love which loves the world in its very wickedness with the love of God (John 3:16), there is now the pharisaical denial of love to evil, and the restriction of love to the closed circle of the devout. Instead of the open Church of Jesus Christ which serves the world till the end, there is now some allegedly primitive Christian ideal of a Church, which in its turn confuses the ideal of the living Jesus Christ with the realization of a Christian ideal. Thus a world which is evil succeeds in making the Christians become evil too. It is the same germ that disintegrates the world and that makes the Christians become radical. In both cases it is hatred towards the world, no matter whether the haters are the ungodly or the godly. On both sides it is a refusal of faith in the creation. But devils are not cast out through Beelzebub.” (Letters and Papers from Prison p.386)

It is time that we recognize this before it is too late because the train has left the station.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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