Category Archives: Candidates

Ruh-Roh Obama

This should throw yet another red-flag for everyone who supports Obama. I recognize that Obama’s preacher’s views are not necessarily his own, and I was a Romney guy so I am inclined to allow Religion to go by the way-side, but considering Obama has attended this particular congregation for twenty years and the preacher speaking in the video below married he and his wife. Watch and consider, let me know what you think.

There is some pretty crazy stuff in there. Now I don’t think that Obama believe much if any of what his preacher said in that video, but if he does, that should concern everyone.  Another thing that I know is that if a White candidate had a white preacher who said such things about both America and switched the White comments in the video for Black, there would massive outrage and indignation.  That candidate would either be laughed off the stage or forcibly removed due to shame.  The double-standard in our society is ridiculous, but I suppose that that is the way it is.

Anyway, I would highly encourage all of you who support Obama, but don’t really know much about what he stands for, to research and consider his stances.  They are not good, they are far more socialist than Hillary’s and are dangerous for our country.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Candidates, Election 2008, Hillary Clinton, Politics, Uncategorized

Oh Please, Oh Please Go to Convention

Last night was a great night for American politics.  Over the last month, all we have been hearing is that Barack has it all but locked up and Hillary should drop out, despite the fact that results in Ohio and Texas looked positive for her and win in each of those could sway momentum massively.   Indeed, that is what occurred;  in one night the Democratic race went from blow-out to a neck and neck race, and this is great for we Americans.  Especially for people like me who like to witness historical events and new things that I may never get to experience again.

Last year in the NFL season I rooted for the Pats to win the Super Bowl just so that I could witness a team go undefeated, I cheered as Bonds hit number 756 because it was historical (partially because I am a die hard Giants fan), and I was enthralled with Kosovo declaring independence.   These events and many like it captivated me because of the historical nature both of the event and, in some instances, the circumstances surrounding it.  

In this same way I am praying that the Democratic race go to convention without a candidate.  I would love to witness a convention being played out in the way they are intended to, in a chess game of strategy and smoke-filled back room deals.  Sure, those kinds of things are shady and unfortunate, but the sheer excitement and historical nature of the whole idea of a brokered convention would be great entertainment and fun to watch. 

Sure, many of you will say, “Swint, this is serious stuff, Politics is not for your own personal entertainment”.  I agree with you, however, as long as Hillary or Barack come out of the convention with the nomination, the Democrats will have a legitimate nominee who is capable and has the support a solid chunk of the American electorate.  In other words, “no harm, no foul”.  On the other hand, the worst thing that could occur is if someone other than those two came out of the convention with the nomination, this would be devastating and unfortunate.  However there is no chance that will happen.  So why not enjoy this political season for the historical nature that it is?  Let’s keep it going.  The only way this could be better is if the GOP went to convention and Mitt came out on top, but that possibility dead, so I must settle on the hope that the Democratic voters will continue to split their vote. 

Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership will likely never allow this to go all the way to convention. The convention is just too close to the general election.  So sometime in June after all the states have voted and if no one candidate has secured the nom, a back-room deal will be hashed out.  (And let me say, if it get’s to that, Hillary will be the nominee based upon the age of Barack.  Barack will be told that no matter what he will have the backing of the Party in the next go around).  That will be disappointing, but what can we do?  Anyway, here’s to hoping that we get to witness some history this Summer; besides the only way I spend more than thirty seconds caring about the Democratic convention is if it is brokered. 

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Filed under Barack Obama, Candidates, Democracy, Democrats, Election 2008, Hillary Clinton, Politics

Hillary’s Not Dead Yet

At the beginning of this election campaign back in early 2007 the general consensus was that since there was no V.P. running on the GOP ticket, the natural incumbent candidate would naturally be Hillary Clinton.  As a result, it was thought that she would have an easy time through the Democratic primary; easily casting aside a young, inexperienced, one-term senator and a washed-up, old hat (John Edwards).  While it would be the Republicans in an all out brawl taking their race to the convention.

Well, it turns out that conventional wisdom was off, way off.    The GOP resolved itself fairly quickly and bloodless (despite whatever ridiculous reason Huck has for staying in), a result I largely attribute to Rudy Giuliani’s worst run campaign in the history of Earth.    

Whereas the Democrats are embroiled in a big mess of a fight that to many appears to be clearing up with Barack Obama the apparent front runner.   There are many pundits and bloggers out there today, following another big Obama win in Wisconsin, who are saying that Obama has it all but locked up and the Clinton’s are done.  Those statements may be a bit premature.

We now have two weeks before the next set of primaries occur when Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont vote.  There is a lot than can happen between now and then.  First off, if there is one thing we all have learned is to never say the Clinton’s are dead, until they are dead.  Second, three of the states appear to favor Hillary over Barack, one of them is a push.

The RCP averages for Texas and Ohio, the two big prizes, have Hillary with a fairly comfortable lead in Ohio and a small lead in Texas.   Considering the momentum Barack has had for the last month and the near god-like following he has, it is amazing Hillary continues to do as well as she has.  These next two weeks are huge for her and if she manages them right and keeps Bill on a leash she may come out March 4th alive and well. 

Certainly the two smaller states, Vermont and Rhode Island, would logically be Hillary states.  While this is far from guaranteed (Barack won Connecticut), those would be two nice wins, but Hillary desperately needs at least a split in the big two.  Both Texas and Ohio seem like a more natural Hillary fit.   My impression of Ohio is that it is a good cross-section of America with people of all backgrounds and a pretty educated populace.  My guess is that Ohio voters are more apt to vote on issues and pragmatism than on emotion.  If this is the case, Hillary would be the choice due to her (seemingly) more moderate positions and her somewhat (though questionable) better qualifications, not to mention the Clinton machine behind her. 

Texas is harder to judge.   I could see this being a very friendly Obama state, especially in east Texas where there are more black voters.  However, it seems that hispanics are breaking for Hillary and if they break in a large section towards her, it could give her the election.  Ultimately, east Texas will go for Barack, west Texas for Hillary (including San Antonio) with Houston and Dallas largely split, but I thing (as of now) Houston will go for Barack and Dallas too close to call. 

The wildcard is this two week break.  The Clinton’s will be ruthless.  They will throw everything at Barack to try to bring him down.  If Barack bites and tries to get into a mud war with Hillary, it could be to his demise.   Barack has created this scary and troubling god-like following by appearing to rise above the traditional rancor and backbiting common in campaigns.  No person in the history of American politics (I’m exaggerating) has gone further while saying nothing than Barack Obama.  His support is almost purely an emotional support and emotions are fickle and change with the wind.  If he gets himself muddy and stoops to the Clinton’s level, he could lose that fire and his bubble may burst.  

The things that undecided voters need to consider as they decide between the two are electability, who will be the best for the country, and can you imagine what their Presidency will amount to. 

I am not a Democrat and will not vote for either in the general election, so allow me as a Republican to answer these questions from my perspective.  First, Hillary is going to have the toughest time being elected.  Not only is she despised by half of the population from the get-go, if she ends up pulling out the nomination, she will have done it in some manner that will deeply alienate many true Obama supporters.  I would not be the least bit surprised if many of those voters, just to spite Hillary, voted for McCain; many democrats view him as a strong moderate Republican that they can live with.

The question of who will best for the country is difficult, but I would argue that Hillary would be.  She is more moderate on the War than Obama, understands economics better, and is generally more qualified.  I also think that both Obama and Hillary would do decent jobs representing the U.S. to the world.

As for imagining them as President and analyzing what kind of President they would be, I strongly give Obama the edge here (this may seem contradictory with the previous paragraph).  Hillary is a bad person, her husband is a bad person.  She treats people poorly and is enamored with power; she has no moral compass whatsoever.  Despite her more acceptable policy stances and experience, a Hillary presidency would be one term and mediocre.  She would ultimately compare with Bush-41 in the Presidential rankings.   Obama on the otherhand seems to be an honorable and honest person.  I think he respects the office of the Presidency and would not do anything to shame it.  He has a lot of potential.  His presidency will either be a big success, putting him in the top 15 all time or a huge disaster.  If I were a Democrat I would take the risk with Obama.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Candidates, Democrats, Election 2008, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Politics

Should Iowa really have this much control?

Perhaps the real question is do they really have any at all?

Reading the coverage today I was reminded of one of the posters hanging on our wall at work. You know the kind, where they are supposed to have some sort of trite phrase that affects the employee’s morale and motivation? Anyway, you can see the particular poster I’m reminded of here.

Yes, none of are indeed as dumb as all of us, CNN tells us this is true. I will applaud the subtlety.

Looking at that page without understanding the English language you’d be forced to see the pictures only. Which candidates seem to have the most appeal for CNN? What would you say about their personality, or suitability as a candidate based on photo alone? It would appear that according their coverage that Rudy, Hillary and Barack are the only viable candidates. Then interestingly enough compare the adjectives in the descriptions of each candidate. Look at the difference between the Edwards and McCain excerpts. Both of whom were unsuccessful in their seeking of the presidential nominations. Interesting.

The real question becomes, do small things like adjectives, photos and the like have so large an effect on us as individual thinkers? The answer is surprisingly, no. The problem is that those little things have a tremendous effect on people as a whole. In an election nobody wants to back the loser, so often times they pick the person who has the highest likelihood of winning. Not the best person for the job. That is what is alarming to me in this presidential race. There are only three people (or so) that I will be able to vote for, in no particular order: Barack, Mitt, Mike (Bloomberg). I’m half joking about Bloomberg, but if it’s a choice between Hillary and Rudy, I will either abstain or be voting some independent third party (if any real ones emerge).

My prediction will be that harnessing the power of Chuck Norris, Mitt will edge Huck by a few points with McCain a distant third, Ron Paul a close fourth.

Let’s hope the all of us are not dumb enough as some of us that buy into the garbage that Huck is presenting during the race.

~RationalZen  – part-time contributer, full-time thinker.

Go Seahawks!

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Filed under Barack Obama, Candidates, Democracy, Election 2008, Hillary Clinton, Iowa, John Edwards, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Race, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani

Pre-Speech Excerpts from “Faith In America”

The Romney campaign released the following excerpts this morning to wet our whistles in preparation for Mitt’s anticipated religion speech this morning.  (Note:  the speech is at 1030 EST, it should be streamed live on mittromney.com if you want to listen to it.)

“There are some who may feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us.  If so, they are at odds with the nation’s founders, for they, when our nation faced its greatest peril, sought the blessings of the Creator.  And further, they discovered the essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom.  In John Adam’s words: ‘We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people.'”

“Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God.  Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.”

Focusing on the founding of our country is an extremely smart path to take.  If there is one things conservatives and most Americans are passionate about, it is the Constitution and our nation’s founding; what better authority to quote than John Adams!  

 Also, it is also wise to stress that religion is an essential component to America and freedom.  This may, however, be a bit risky when facing a Democrat in the general.  Could it be used against him?

“When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God.  If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest.  A President must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States.”

Obviously addressing the concerns regarding Mormonism. This is his Kennedyesque statement, so to speak.

“It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions.  And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it’s usually a sound rule to focus on the latter – on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course.  Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning.  They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God.  Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life.  It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong.“The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation ‘Under God’ and in God, we do indeed trust. “We should acknowledge the Creator as did the founders – in ceremony and word.  He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places.  Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests.  I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from ‘the God who gave us liberty.'”

A couple of thoughts from these quotes.  First, Mitt is being very careful here to not equate Mormonism with Christianity; this is smart, as many evangelicals would be quite upset if he were to equate them.  He then wisely builds from that into the moral standards that religious community shares. 

Diving into the constitution and the interpretation of ‘separation of church and state’ is risky water in the general election. However, for the GOP he nailed it.  He is being very shrewd by talking about the removal of God from our public sphere.  If there is anytime of year that this will resonate, it is Christmas time.  Every year controversies about Christmas trees or even saying “Merry Christmas” stir up the passions of conservatives like me.  This should prove to be an emotional string that he can use to build support. 

“These American values, this great moral heritage, is shared and lived in my religion as it is in yours.  I was taught in my home to honor God and love my neighbor.  I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.  I saw my parents provide compassionate care to others, in personal ways to people nearby, and in just as consequential ways in leading national volunteer movements.”

Wow, tieing in race.  I think this is an obvious semi-preemptive defense regarding race and Mormonism.  However, bringing this up may just create more questions and controversy for him to deal with.

“My faith is grounded on these truths.  You can witness them in Ann and my marriage and in our family.  We are a long way from perfect and we have surely stumbled along the way, but our aspirations, our values, are the self -same as those from the other faiths that stand upon this common foundation. And these convictions will indeed inform my presidency.”

His family is one of his greatest strengths in this race.  Highliting them and the way that they have consistently lived their faith should prove valuable.  He is also stressing the similarities between the values and morals of Mormonism and the rest of Christianity.

“The diversity of our cultural expression, and the vibrancy of our religious dialogue, has kept America in the forefront of civilized nations even as others regard religious freedom as something to be destroyed.


“In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be certain of this:  Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion – rather, we welcome our nation’s symphony of faith.”

Optimism, the word that is resonating from all of this.  He is using national pride and the core principles of the conservative movement as the tools from which to base this speech.  From the excerpts here, it looks like he will knock it out of the park. 

However an important factor is how it is delivered.  If he can avoid looking fake and scripted, but instead look genuine and heartfelt, it will go over well.  If not, it will not matter what he says.

It will also be interesting to see what kind of coverage this gets from the media.  Is it highly or sparcely covered?  Is that coverage positive or negative?  The post-speech spin will likely be more important than the speech itself.  Look for supporters of all the candidates (including Mitt) to be actively supporting or criticizing the speech for the next couple of days. 

Well, I know that I am biased. I am reading these excerpts as both a Mormon and Mitt supporter.  I am very interested in what all of you think about them.  Leave comments below!

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Filed under Bible, Book of Mormon, Candidates, Christian, Christianity, Democracy, Democrats, Doctrine, Election 2008, Family, History, Liberal, Liberalism, Media, Mitt Romney, Mormon, Mormonism, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Religion, Republicans, Romney

Is Huckabee’s Rise Hurting Giuliani More?

Many bloggers and commenters of blogs theorized in late November that Giuliani supporters were supporting Mike Huckabee in Iowa in order to stem Mitt Romney’s momentum.  While Huck’s rise has indeed had those inteded consequences, as Huck holds the lead in 2 of the last 4 polls in Iowa, it has also had much more significant unintended consequences at the expense of the Giuliani campaign.

Mike’s rise has provided an alternative to Mitt and Rudy for the religious right.  Since Huck’s apparent rise in Iowa and coming off of his apparently strong debate performance (what debate were they watching?), Huckabee seems to be stealing a lot of those voters where supporting Rudy because they thought he was the most electable and, to a lesser extent, wasn’t Mormon. 

Just look at the latest national polls, Huckabee is now in a solid second place.  Where did that surge come from?  Mostly from Rudy, a little from Mitt.  Rasmussen yesterday had Rudy at 18% and Mike at 18% with Mitt pulling up the rear of the big 5 at 12%.  Whereas in a poll release 3 weeks ago, Rudy was at 29% and Huck was at 11%. 

Now, national polls are largely worthless and I have consistently downplayed their importance.  However in this instance they are significant, in that Rudy’s whole strategy is at a national level.  He is betting on his national support to help him navigate losses in the early states.  Essentially it is a Feb. 5th + Florida strategy.  So here the national numbers are important, they have been what the Rudy camp has relied on. Additionally, Huck may be starting to make a move in South Carolina and Florida.

In the latest SC ARG poll (which I deem to be the least accurate), Huck shot up to 18%; only 5 back of Rudy, 3 back of Mitt.  In the latest Insider Advantage Florida poll, Rudy’s support dropped back to 26% and Huck’s rocketed to 17%.   So while much of this is deemed as bad news for Mitt also, it is worse for Rudy.  

What happens if Iowa finishes Huck, Mitt, Fred, Rudy and New Hampshire finishes Mitt, John, Rudy?  With Rudy finishing 3rd in both, where does momentum take us.  Add to it the likelihood that this momentum gives Mitt wins in Wyoming and Michigan heading into South Carolina and Nevada.   Can Rudy win SC or NV with no Moe?  Doubtful.  So Mitt and Huck end up finishing 1-2 (or 2-1) in SC. 

Now we head to Florida.  By then the whole dichotomy has changed.  Rudy will have finished no better than 3rd in the three traditional states of IA, NH, and SC.  Likely finishes 2nd in MI and NV.  But has no wins under his belt.  My guess is that Florida collapses and goes to Huck or Mitt, with more money on Huck if things play out as I have written above.

Thus, heading into Mega-Tuesday, we essentially have a two man race between Huck and Mitt, with Rudy badly damaged but not dead.  He is hoping that New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will stick with him and will be enough to propel him the rest of the way. 

While I think a scenario like this is possible, it is not a given (I give it a 35% chance of playing out like this).  This column is not a prediction, but is simply stating the tight edge that Rudy’s campaign is on.  EVERYTHING hinges on Florida for Rudy (Note: everything hinges on Iowa for Mike).  Mitt, and maybe Huck, can get by without a Florida win.  Thus, Huck’s rise seems to have done more damage to Rudy than to Mitt.

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Filed under Candidates, Democracy, Election 2008, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Mormon, Mormonism, Politics, Republicans, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani

Mitt’s Make or Break Moment

Mitt Romney’s “Mormon Speech” will apparently be given this coming Thursday at Texas A&M University and the George Bush Presidential Library.   This will be a make or break moment for the campaign.   Undoubtedly it will have some sort of effect on the campaign.

The decision to give this speech is undoubtedly due to Mitt believing that they need a shot in the arm and need to try to slow Huckabee’s ascension.   It also is apparent that the campaign does believe that Mormonism is a weight limiting Mitt’s rise, and it needs to be addressed.

Certainly this is a gutsy move.  No other candidate has had or will have such a defining moment that can destroy or complete make a campaign before the first vote is cast.  In a worst case scenario, the speech will come off terrible and give off the perception that Mitt will take orders from Salt Lake City.  This is highly unlikely.

What is likely, is that Mitt gives a great speech that is very clear, however it will fairly ambiguous – not quite embracing Mormonism, while not equating Mormonism with Christianity; he will try to ride the middle of the road.  This is definitely the safest route, but undoubtedly there will large chunks of Christians who will dissatisfied and will look for short sound bites and snippets to take out of context.

At the same time there will be significance criticism from handfuls of Mormons who will think that Mitt did not defend the Church well enough or that he didn’t define the Church as being Christian.

Thus, these are things I am confident will result: 1. There will be no consensus on how Mitt did and if it quelled the Mormon question.   2. This will have zero affect with Christians who have already made up their minds about Mitt and Mormonism.   3. Building off of #2, this will not put to rest the Mormon Question.   4. There will be significant criticisms from a good part of the Mormon community.  5. There will be significant praise from the Mormon community.

So, a positive effect will not be huge.  But is large enough to justify giving the speech.  Mitt doesn’t need 20% of the 25% of those who say they will not vote for a Mormon to change their mind, he doesn’t even need 1% of those to change their mind (at least not yet).  What Mitt needs is for those voters in Iowa who are leaning away from Mitt largely because of his Mormonism, to change their minds.  My wholly unscientific estimation is that about 5-8% of the Iowa voters like Mitt and would otherwise vote for him if not for the whole religion thing, but who still may.  It appears that most of those voters are lining up behind Huckabee, so if Mitt can pull 4% into his camp (about 50-70% of those mentioned) and away from Huck, Mitt can pull out a win in Iowa.

Ultimately, however, this speech can destroy his campaign.  How it plays is all determined by how it plays in the media and on the blogs.  If previous reporting on the campaign is any indication of how things will shake out, Mitt is in for tough ride.  It could be a lose-lose situation.  The media has not given Mitt the benefit of the doubt on anything.  He seems to be the most criticized and attacked of the GOP candidates (at least Giuliani has Fox News to downplay his scandals).   

However this time may be different.  The media likes victims, they like people or groups facing tough odds and opposition.  Thus, there may a bit of sympathy for Mitt and Mormons.  If so the coverage on the MSM may be quite positive and a significant benefit to the campaign.  However, don’t look for the same kind of sympathy on the blogs.   There will be a lot of pro-Mormon vs. anti-Mormon ramblings going on.  There will columnists who will completely trash Mitt and Mormonism and even make stuff up. Likewise there will be columnists who will defend Mitt and Mormonism to illogical levels. 

No matter how it shakes out, this week is going to be abuzz about Mitt Romney; that can’t be a bad thing for the campaign, at least not until Thursday afternoon.

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Filed under Baptist, Bible, Book of Mormon, Candidates, Christian, Christianity, Conservative, Democracy, Democrats, Election 2008, Media, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Mormon, Mormonism, Politics, Religion, Republicans