Archive for March, 2012

It Will Be Over Only When It’s Over

I’ve let a day pass since the primary elections on Tuesday. It provided time to reflect on the results. Listening to the talking political heads on TV, there are certain themes that have emerged, some I agree with, some I don’t. In no particular order, they are:

  • Santorum’s victories in Alabama and Mississippi took almost everyone by surprise. Only one Alabama poll had him leading, and that was only by a single point. No Mississippi polls showed him ahead. Yet I followed the returns minute by minute, and except for the very early returns, Santorum led throughout the night. Some attribute this to the high evangelical turnout in those states. That certainly was helpful. But only a few voices keyed in on one of Santorum’s clear strengths: his likeability when one meets him in person and the genuineness of his character. He doesn’t come across as a phony politician saying what he thinks you want to hear. Those who characterize him as strident miss the essence of the man.
  • Gingrich lost big time. His only real shot—and it was a true longshot—was to capture both of those states in an area, the South, where he should have been strongest. Almost everyone thinks he has no chance of getting the nomination after these losses, and they believe he should exit the race as gracefully as possible. I couldn’t agree more. He is finished. The only thing his continued candidacy will accomplish is to divide the conservative vote with Santorum, who is the clear consensus choice of the conservative electorate. If he really doesn’t want Romney to get the nomination, he should bow out now. He has declared, though, that he’s going all the way to the convention in Tampa. Will he be forced to rethink that position? When funding dries up, he may have to face the inevitable. It’s a shame he won’t do so now.
  • Strange as it seems, Romney came out ahead with new delegates despite his third-place finish in Alabama and Mississippi. He won Hawaii and American Samoa [with all of 70 votes being cast there]. With the proportional division of delegates, that put him 5 0r 6 delegates ahead of Santorum for the evening. For the Romney campaign, it’s all about the math. They continue to say his nomination is a done deal.
  • My view: his nomination is no way a done deal. Yes, he still has the inside track, but there is a distinct lack of enthusiasm in the Republican electorate for someone who has to try to convince people he really is a conservative. Santorum, meanwhile, is picking up that lost enthusiasm. I’m fully aware that enthusiasm by itself doesn’t equal victory, but it is an essential ingredient for anyone who eventually gets the win. The last thing the Republican party needs is a nominee who doesn’t generate any real excitement.
  • There’s also a lot of talk about the final choice of a candidate not being made until the convention. While I would like to see this settled before the convention, I’m not as dismayed as many seem to be by that prospect. I also question the belief that a prolonged primary season is bad for the Republicans. A thorough vetting of the two candidates who are left is very important. We shouldn’t just jump on a bandwagon of inevitability and then face buyer’s remorse later. A vibrant convention that actually chooses the party’s nominee might inspire enthusiasm when all is said and done. Who knows? Political analysts and professional campaign staff have been wrong innumerable times before.

Sometimes, it takes time for a candidate to grab the attention of the voters. And once he gets that attention, it takes time to fund a complete campaign staff. That’s what is happening with Santorum, and it would be a travesty to allow the early primary and caucus states to determine the nominee before a good number of the other states get their say. Illinois and Louisiana are next on the docket. Romney currently leads in Illinois, but there’s no telling how Santorum’s latest victories may change that. Louisiana polling shows Santorum on top at present. If he takes both of those, can anyone justifiably say this race is over?

It will be over only when it’s over.

Reagan & Chambers on the Liberty Fund Blog

The names Ronald Reagan and Whittaker Chambers show up frequently in this blog. I was asked to contribute a piece on them at the Liberty Fund blog. It ran yesterday. So in lieu of my usual blog today, I’m linking to Liberty Fund so you can enjoy [hopefully] that piece. Just go to

http://libertylawsite.org/post/ronald-reagan-whittaker-chambers-and-the-dialogue-of-liberty/

Chambers was pessimistic about the West’s survival; he didn’t think we still have the moral underpinnings to combat evil. Reagan was more optimistic; he believed freedom was the wave of the future. Which conservative icon was closer to the truth? I attempt to answer that in this article.

I will return tomorrow with an analysis of the results of last night’s primaries.

 

Of Politics & Ivory Towers

You know, I really can’t stand politics. That may be surprising, considering how much I comment on the latest political happenings. What really interests me is a proper understanding of government, Biblically and philosophically. I like to explore the original intent of government as revealed in Scripture, and how it is meant to work. I prefer to focus on character as much as possible, and I seek to find those who display the type of character that is necessary for the government to function the way God intended. Some will say I’m too devoted to theory, and perhaps live in that oft-described “ivory tower” that academics tend to inhabit.

Actually, I don’t think those ivory towers exist; no one can escape the day-to-day realities. Nor should they. I fully realize the practice of politics rarely achieves those Biblical goals. We are inundated with winning strategies, false accusations against political foes, and all the seamy aspects of life that we would like to ignore, if possible. But we can’t. I get tired of it all, as I’m sure many of you do as well.

Yet because we live in this world, and because our lives are affected deeply by what transpires in the political realm, we have to stay vigilant. A Christian, rather than living in a dream world, grasps the truth of man’s sinfulness in a way that others cannot. A real Christian knows firsthand the consequences of sin; he or she has been pulled out of the pit. Gratitude for a second chance in life should be a constant inspiration.

Christians also know that government is not the solution to all of life’s problems. In fact, all too often, government has become the problem. I borrowed that from Ronald Reagan. He knew what he was talking about. Government is not an idol, and it needs to be taken down from its pedestal. Yet it is significant, and God expects us to labor for the best government possible. That’s why I have to continue to comment on the latest developments.

Today there will be three more primaries: Alabama, Mississippi, and Hawaii. Will they determine the future of the Republican party, or will the battles go on after today? One of the candidates, Newt Gingrich, is in a must-win situation, even if he denies it. If he fails to win any of these states, he should hang it up. Another one, Rick Santorum, is seeking to turn this into a two-man race once and for all. To do so, he’s going to have to win at least one of these states, preferably two. The third, Mitt Romney, has already declared that campaigning in a southern state is like being in an “away game.” He has to connect somehow with people who don’t form part of his circle. Can he do it?

May God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Fight On, Politically Incorrect Duck

Occasionally, people comment on my selection of cartoons for this blog. They seem impressed by the ones I use to connect to pressing topics. It’s not really that difficult. First, I just check out the best political cartoons each day to find the ones that are most appropriate. There’s one particular comic strip, though, that is always fresh, and I’m not sure how many are aware of it. It’s one of my favorites—Mallard Fillmore. I find that name especially fitting for an American history professor.

Here’s a blurb about the comic strip that pretty much explains it:

Mallard Fillmore continues to be one of the most highly contentious and celebrated comic strips, providing a unique conservative viewpoint to the comics pages. Mallard Fillmore has been a lightning rod for controversy with the right-leaning duck addressing hot button issues and lampooning liberal politicians, the media, and cultural establishments.

So true. Here are some examples I’ve been storing this month:

An economics lesson that few will ever learn. Yet it’s made quite clear in just one panel. And how about this one ridiculing our fear of profiling?

Lately, he’s been combining  a couple of worthy targets: modern “higher” education and liberal discrimination:

Keep up the good work, duck. Don’t be frightened by political correctness. There are too few voices like yours.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10

I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the Word of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

The Economy & the Great Uniter

The Obama presidency has given the country a new perspective on how the economy works. He’s made it kind of a game. It’s just taking us a while to get used to the new rules:

Perhaps we just need to give him more time to show that his policies will work eventually. After all, what can be accomplished in a mere four years?

Meanwhile, the Great Uniter is back where he’s most comfortable, on the campaign trail, bringing the country together behind his positive vision for the future—unlike those evil Republicans who are always dividing us:

His rhetoric and his actions are in constant conflict. Think enough people will notice in time?

Pervasive Hypocrisy

As I noted earlier this week, progressives have a way of framing a debate to favor their views. They’re really quite adept at changing the entire focus of the debate, shifting it away from the real issues to something phony. In the process, the Constitution, and the religious liberty it protects, are forgotten:

They are aided in their attempt to redirect the discussion by a more-than-willing media. Sometimes, it’s difficult to distinguish any difference between the leftist ideologues and the media itself:

Those who stand for the Constitution and for traditional Judeo-Christian morality, meanwhile, are characterized as extremists. How dare they introduce their religious beliefs into the debate!

The hypocrisy is pervasive.