December 30, 2011, 12:39 am
Four years ago, in 2007, we faith-and-values pundits were pondering Mitt Romney’s coupling of secularism and radical jihadism in a memorable December speech. We were trying to figure out why John McCain, of all people, was invoking “Christian nation” rhetoric.
We were assessing presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s many references to youthful Bible study and Sunday School taught by her mom. As for that junior senator, Barack Obama, we marveled at the newcomer’s God-talk skills. He was too green, obviously; maybe 2016 would be his time.
Nor were we really focused on those who would soon become faith-and-values Persons of Interest in 2008. Mike Huckabee only flitted across the radar late in 2007. Outside of the initiated, no one knew who the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was. And few, if any, on the religion beat had ever heard of Sarah Palin.
Which is my way of saying…
December 16, 2011, 12:20 am
Tonight’s at-points-intriguing Fox GOP debate featured a few exchanges of interest to those of us who study Faith and Values politicking.
Rick Perry Tebows Himself: The Governor of Texas paralleled himself to the Denver Broncos’ Conservative Christian quarterback and fourth-quarter messiah, Tim Tebow: “There were a lot of folks who said Tim Tebow wasn’t going to be a very good NFL quarterback . . I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa Caucus.”
Perry, who looked positively ebullient all night long–he kept reminding me of beloved Hollywood Square Paul Lynde for some reason–was so pleased with the comparison that he seemed ready to ask Michele Bachmann to strap on a helmet and go run an out pattern.
Depicting himself as the Evangelical Comeback Kid–a pretty canny bit of re-branding that was.
Gingrich Assails the Judiciary: Radical Atheists Help Him Make That Point: Many of…
October 11, 2011, 11:28 pm
Tonight’s GOP debate in New Hampshire focused almost exclusively on domestic economic issues. Not a word of Faith and Values was spoken.
Perhaps that was a good thing, sparing us the discomfort of having: 1) Rick Perry offer us his theological assessment of Mormonism, 2) Herman Cain share his insights on Islam, and, 3) Michele Bachmann rap her talking points to the accompaniment of a fetal heartbeat.
Still, I continue to wonder if these “secular” debates are appropriate, logical, or informative with GOP candidates whose tendency is to shoot through all of their policy positions with references to God and faith (not to mention a Republican electorate that is similarly locked and loaded in this regard). Why so many media outlets want to treat the 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls as if they were the 1988 Democratic aspirants for the White House is above my pay grade….
September 7, 2011, 11:17 pm
Tonight’s MSNBC/Politico debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library was a major disappointment. Do not blame the candidates who came ready to scrum. Blame the journos. For reasons I still can’t fathom the two news organizations configured the debate to intentionally avoid all social issues.
This may be sour grapes from a person whose expertise is in Faith and Values politicking and is now deprived of source material. But permit me to adduce at least four reasons why permitting Brian Williams and John Harris to not pose a single question about abortion, gays, the role of religion in public life, and so forth, was a journalistic misstep.
First, GOP voters in Iowa and South Carolina are, I think it is safe to say, interested in those very issues. Second, newcomer Rick Perry has–as he often does with everything–doubled down on Faith and Values themes with his…
August 12, 2011, 1:01 am
The eight candidates at tonight’s GOP debate were willing to get into one another’s grills or, failing that, into the grills of the four journalists who subjected them to fair, hard-hitting and well-organized questions (this was some of the best moderator work I can recall in a recent presidential debate).
Oddly, things were much more lively before and after the dirge-like “social issues” segment. Those issues were relegated to a brief 10-minute interlude. For whatever reasons, the air seemed to have been sucked out of the room as the candidates were put through their paces on gay marriage, abortion, and Islam. Here are some bleary-eyed observations.
Disaffected Democrats and Independents—Is Jon Huntsman Your Man?: A very solid performance by the former governor of Utah. True, he raised his hand in lock step with his seven colleagues agreeing to not accept a budget deal in…
June 22, 2011, 3:10 pm
Tonight, President Obama will deliver a speech about the war in Afghanistan. According to The Washington Post, the President is expected to tell us that the war in Afghanistan is not over and the U.S. needs to keep fighting it, even though it is the country’s longest war and costing about $10-BILLION a month at a time when the lingering Great Recession is destroying any hope for a secure economic future.
Today Senator Patrick Leahy (a Vermont Democrat) wrote an op-ed in the Burlington Free Press comparing Afghanistan to Vietnam. According to Senatory Leahy,
The war in Afghanistan will be 10 years old this November. Osama bin Laden, the perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks, is dead. So what do we do now?
I asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen that question at a defense budget hearing last week. Both of them answered that we…