Category Archives: Media

Addressing War, National Interest, and Iraq-Part 1

On a previous post that I wrote, oddly enough one about Josh Romney possibly running for congress, a debate has broken out in the comments section about war and President Bush.  Anytime this is discussed between me and someone who wants us to withdraw immediately from Iraq, a few of the same arguments are made, two of which are stated in comment below, given to us by SLCondensed:

I guess my problem is I can’t honestly justify attacking a country for its oil when there are so many worse countries and regimes around the world. The situation in Darfur is much worse than it ever was in Iraq, and we don’t do something about it why?

I posted a fairly brief response to this comment, but feel that there is so much more involved with this comment that it justified a whole post here.  The first comment SLCondensed writes comes down an issue of national interest and this is what will be addressed in Part 1 (the comment about Darfur will be addressed in Part 2).  After reading that sentence there are a few questions that need to be asked: 

1. Why did we go to war in Iraq?
2. Did we go to war in Iraq for Oil?
3. Were there worse regimes and countries than Iraq?
4. Considering how much conflict there is in the world, what responsibility does the U.S. have to intervene?  What is the threshold for such an intervention? How should the U.S., being the industrialized world’s security provider, determine when military intervention is acceptable?
5. Does the reason we went to Iraq in the first place even matter to the situation today?

Regarding why we went to war in Iraq, there was not one single reason.  Sure, the Bush administration sold us that there were WMDs and that was really the only reason given, but it was so much more than that.  First, I need to remind the reader that EVERYONE believed Iraq had WMDs before we invaded, everyone (except Saddam).  The question wasn’t, “Does Iraq have WMDs?”, it was, “how much of a threat are those WMDs?”  So I don’t want to hear anything about Bush lied, what a crock.

Anyway, here is the list of reasons why I think we went to Iraq: 1. WMDs (9/11 was still fresh on our minds), 2. Surround Iran with U.S. forces 3. Oil and Gas, 4. Send a message to other despotic regimes (which worked magically, just about 9 months after Iraq started Libya gave up it’s WMD program, perhaps Bush’s greatest acheivement and solidified my vote for him in ’04), 5. Revenge against Saddam for trying to assassinate Bush ’41, 6. To provide freedom to the Iraqi people, 6. To finally force people to take Western threats seriously (I mean, how many times can you say, “you better do this or else” and never follow through-lookin’ at you U.N.), 7. To fight terrorists somewhere not named the United States.

Some of those reasons are more honorable than others, some are more realistic than others, some are childish, but ultimately I believe all of those things were considered by the Bush administration during the decision making process.  Of course, the Administration could not come out and say all those things, it would have been political suicide. No President, whether GOP or Dem, would be that stupid. 

Question 2 was answered in question one, of course the need for oil played a part in our decision to go to war in Iraq.  So what?  The need for energy and fuel is essential to any society, the whole reason we have any interest in the Middle-East at all is because of energy.  If they didn’t have oil or gas we would view them and treat them the way we do Mali and Sudan.

Question 3, certainly there were worse regimes in the world, but not many.  North Korea, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Somalia, and Haiti to name a few.   But this brings us back to national interest and it’s role in our decision making process, which I will discuss in full in Part II.

Question 4,  these questions have no cut and dry answer.  But I will certainly share my opinion.  The way I view the current world is I see the U.S as the world’s only superpower and essentially, as the military for Canada, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand.   Each of these geographies, whether we or they like or not, rely on the U.S. predominantly for their security.  The reason they can get away with having such miniscule military forces is because they know the U.S. is there to back them up and we will so long as the reason is just.  This is a good scenario for both parties, it allows us to maintain our place in the world and grow and expand our economic interests.  It allows them to focus their more limited resources on providing for the people socially and economically.  The fact the U.S. acts in this role is precisely why the developed world blossomed.  Now these realities may upset you or you may like them, but the fact remains that this is the reality of the world in which we now live.

So, with the U.S. having such a large role in the world, both economically and militarily, it puts us in a place of responsibility.  How to use that responsibility is a question of great debate and the cause of much frustration and animosity, both on the part of America and the rest of the world.  The fact is, despite our current position as the world’s hegemon, we still have limited resources, we can’t do all things and we can’t be involved in everthing; nor should we.   Thus, all decisions are usually to be made based upon national interest.  Every country in the history of the world operates this way.

With the U.S. in such a unique and powerful position, we also have to show restraint.  Just because we have freedom and democracy does not mean that we have to force every other country to institute the same.  Forcing democracy seems like an oxymoron.  At the same time, the spread of democracy is in our national interests so we encourage democracy and try to demonstrate the value of it. 

Similarly, both because of national interest/limited resources and because we need to allow countries to largely work out their own issues, we just can’t and shouldn’t get involved everywhere.  Sometimes it is justified, but determining that justification is difficult.  I will address this much more in Part II.  Ultimately, though, the U.S. needs to make decisions based upon what is best for the U.S.

Question 5, ultimately SLCondensed’s comment basically was saying that we need to leave Iraq because we never should have been there in the first place.  Whether that reasoning is true or not, it has absolutely no relevance on the current situation.  The anti-Iraq people’s favorite argument against Iraq is this reason we are there thing and it is utterly ridiculous. The fact is, we are in Iraq, we destroyed their government, and we decided that we were going to help rebuild it and to provide freedom.  Essentially, we broke so we are going to fix it.

Why we went to Iraq in the first place does not change the fact that we are there.  Pulling out all of our troops and causing an even worse humanitarian crisis because you disagree of our original justification for the interaction is ridiculous, ignorant, and naieve.   Further, we are now winning.  Why are we going to pull out when victory and success is in our sights?

But you may say, what determine’s victory in Iraq? I would argue that victory is a country that is relatively stable, can provide for the basic needs of the people, and has a semblance of democracy.  We don’t need Iraq to be like the U.S. or even like Turkey right away, we need Iraq to just be able to largely support itself, defend its people from radicals, and provide an environment for continued economic development.

This leads me to briefly discuss U.S. history in war.  The United States has a large history of doing terrible in wars at the beginning but pulling out the victory in the end.  Let’s run down that history.  The U.S. had no business winning the revolutionary war.  We lost battle after battle and very nearly lost the war in the first year.  The war lasted about 8 years, in 1776 things were awful, yet by 1783 and ’84 we had come back and won. 

The War of 1812 was near disaster as well.  Our Navy was terrible and we lost many battles early on, but managed to pull it out in the end.  The Civil War is the perfect example.  From 1860 to 1863 the Union army was terrible, many people criticized the war and wanted us out.  had we listened to them the United States would be two countries. Fortunately we had a President that had resolve and refused to cower to public pressure.  Eventually, we won some big battles and won the war. 

In WWII the German military had the upperhand for the first year or two of our involvement, but again, American determination resulted in victory.  This takes us to Vietnam.  The reality in Vietnam is that when we gave up, we were on our way to winning, things were looking up.  The only reason we lost the War was because our politicians back home caved to public pressure.   We would have been outright victorious a short time later had we seen it through.

The only two wars that we haven’t been behind in were WWI, because we came in late and gave the Brits and French the boost they needed to break the stalemate with the Germans, and Iraq I, we faced a ridiculously weak military and only required Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait.  (By the way, that was a War that was solely for oil, I wonder where all you were then?).

Today, we are going through a similar pattern to what we SHOULD be used to, except for the fact our people are historically ignorant.  The first 3 years of the “war” (I don’t even consider it a war, it more a peacekeeping and stability mission, we won the war when the Iraqi Army collapsed and Baghdad fell) were disasterous.  We made a lot of mistakes, just like the Lincoln administration did in the 1860’s, but year four has been a resounding success and year 5 is starting out much the same; even the Political situation is starting to stablize.  Yet so many of you still want us to throw in the towel.  It makes no sense!

As a result, the only conclusion I can come to as to why you want us to give up actually has nothing to do with Iraq or the realities there, it is that you hate and despise President Bush and want whatever it takes to bring him down to occur (short of assassination of course).   I am confident that had Kerry won in 2004 and followed the exact same path that Bush has taken in this second term, today you would be loving Kerry.  The reality is that so many of you are so blinded by your vitriol for Bush that you fail to recognize that the fastest way for us to get out of Iraq and the best way to ensure that a humanitarian crisis will be averted is by finishing the job there.  It reminds me of a common phrase our training instructors told us in Air Force Basic Training, “the fastest way out of here is to graduate.”   Things are going well in Iraq, sure they aren’t perfect, but they are still going well (you can tell that by the limited coverage Iraq gets in the media).  Give it a chance and try to look at the situation realistically.

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Filed under 9/11, Air Force, Anti-War, Army, Congress, Conservative, Democracy, Democrats, Election 2008, Genocide, History, International Affairs, Iraq, Liberal, Liberalism, Marines, Media, Military, Myanmar, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Senate, Terror, terrorism

Can’t Bush Be Given at Least a Little Credit?

Christiane Amanpour and her CNN cohorts released a report about North Korea’s nuclear program on Monday.  They were given a tour of a known nuclear powerplant that North Korea admits they were using to build a nuclear bomb.  Today that plant is empty and desolate but Amanpour rather than giving any credit to the Bush administration and their handling of the situation, simply decided to make fun of the President. Consider the following paragraph:

For a nation President Bush labeled as part of the “axis of evil,” it was not an impressive sight: a dilapidated concrete hulk, built with few resources back in the early ’80s.

Basically, we are supposed to laugh and say, “ha, ha, Bush is an idiot.  He claims they are evil and dangerous but their nuclear plant is empty.  Moron.”

Nevermind the fact that the very next paragraph in the article she acknowldeges this:

But it did produce plutonium, enough to make a few bombs and to test-fire a nuclear weapon 18 months ago.

Hmmm, so 18 months ago that same plant was fully operational and was making bombs, but Bush and his policy get no credit?  So what happened then. Did Kim Jong Il just decide to become a benevolent dicatator and lose his ambition for a nuke for the good of the world?

I doubt it.  In fact Amanpour continues to tell us why North Korea did it:

For all of this, North Korea expected a million tons of heavy fuel oil, a lifting of sanctions and removal from the U.S. list of terrorist sponsors. This has not happened yet, so North Korea has slowed down the disabling process at Yongbyon.

The United States says Pyongyang hasn’t yet fully accounted for its past nuclear activities. However, both sides seem determined to overcome this stumbling block and reach out in other ways, too.

So basically, North Korea decided to dismantle it’s nuclear program because the U.S. and other countries offered benefits.  That sounds an awful lot like it is due to U.S. policy dictated by the Bush administration. 

I find it quite telling that CNN and Amanpour would fail to give Bush any credit for such a turn of events.  I also find it outrageous that every other news source is ignoring this North Korea story, instead they are talking about the NY Philharmonic Orchestra playing in Pyongyang.  This is a major story and a major victory, not just for Bush, but for the U.S. and the world as a whole.  The sad thing is, Clinton’s agreement with NK was a complete failure, but if it were as successful as Bush’s it would have lauded and praised, but simply because it is Bush it is ignored and cast aside.  What a sad state for our society and media. 

As a side note, purely discussing the NK nuclear program, I am still quite skeptical that they have dismanteled their nuclear program.  I am not saying they haven’t, but I would not be the least surprised to find out that they have a secret plant elsewhere.  Also, it is quite possible that now that they have their multiple nukes, they are content and decided to appease the U.S.   I mean, how many nukes do you need to destroy Seoul.  All we have heard about is a plant being dismantled, not about bombs.

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Filed under Election 2008, International Affairs, Media, Military, Nuclear, Politics

A Frigid Winter and Militant Global Warmists

Anyone who his living through this winter knows that it has been one of the coldest winters in memory.  Across the United States and Canada it is has been frigidly cold and a considerable amount of snow (although where I live in southern PA the snow has been minimal, but it has been cold).   It seems apparent to me that such a winter is contrary to the claims of activists dedicated to the cause of global warming, haven’t they been saying that global warming will first cause the globe to warm?  So where has the warming been? 

In the National Post there is a fascinating article titled, “Forget Global Warming, Welcome to the New Ice Age.”  The author, Lorne Gunter, makes some great and relevant observations, both about the science of climatology and the culture of global warming activists.

To start, let’s look at this past winter.  Gunter points out that the January 2008 temperature average was .3 degrees colder than the average of the last century (1901-2000).   He adds that China is suffering its “most brutal” winter in memory and Toronto broke it’s February snowfall record, set back in the ’50s, in the first two weeks of February.  Additionally, a friend who lives in Salt Lake said that the Utah was at 120% of the snowfall average for the entire winter season, and that was in the first week of February (I should note that I have not validated that claim). 

So, so what?  One season does not a trend make! Amen to that.  But it is indicative that things are not as bad or dire as some may want us to believe, but let’s move on to other points made in this article.  One of the favorite fearmongering threats we here is that the polar ice caps are melting and are likely never to come to back.  I will not argue that the caps have been melting and that glaciers are in serious decline, but this winter has cured much of that.

And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its “lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

The ice is back.

Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.

But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter’s weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.

Two points here, the obvious is that the polar ice is in nowhere near as much trouble as we thought, the second is that though this is anecdotal evidence, that is essentially all global warmists use.  I love the last paragraph from the quote above.

The science mentioned in the article is very fascinating, but I will omit that information here as my post is getting too long and people don’t like to read that stuff much anyway (unfortunately) and I will address that info in future posts.  But there are some other points to be made about the environmentalists who have been ratcheting up the fear mongering and how their actions automatically caused me to question the validity of their claims. 

The first action that made me question global warming derives from the last paragraph of the quote above, that is that they use anything and everything, no matter how minute to try to install fear into us that we are all doomed because of global warming. 

The other action is the activists actions and attitudes towards anyone who either questions them or suggests that we look at all the science or theories out there.  People who suggest this are immediately and unequivocably cast aside as crazies and industry lackies.  Despite the fact that many of the global warming doubters are MIT, Harvard, and other respected researchers and scientists.  The Wall Street Journal had a must read article about this topic titled, “Chilling Effect: Global Warmists Try to Stifle Debate.” 

All three serious contenders for the Presidency acknowledge that more needs to be done to slow global warming and take care of the environment (I agree with the latter). So, as the article states:

You’d think this would be a rich time for debate on the issue of climate change. But it’s precisely as sweeping change on climate policy is becoming likely that many people have decided the time for debate is over. One writer puts climate change skeptics “in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial,” another envisions “war crimes trials” for the deniers. And during the tour for his film “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore himself belittled “global warming deniers” as unworthy of any attention.

I have noticed that type of response for a while now and it should give everyone pause.  If global warmists were so confident with their science why do they so vehemently stifle debate and criticize anyone who remotely questions them?  It makes no sense. 

Take for example, from the article, Bjorn Lomborg an author and left leaning believer of global warming.  In his recent book, “Cool It”, he simply calls for a reasoned debate on the appropriate responses to stem global warming.  This alone infuriated activists, many of whom considered him a traitor. 

Additionally, there is finally a major conference coming up to discuss the realities of climate change, basically an anti-global warming conference.  Undoubtedly the science presented will be as biased as the science presented at the pro-global warming conferences, but that is not the point.  The point is that the environmental activists are already demeaning the presenters as corporate apologists and that, ” ‘no real scientists’ (will be) present despite an impressive array of speakers such as Patrick Michaels, a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, and Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.” 

I am convinced that global warming as a whole is a sham.  Especially man-made global warming.  I am also convinced that the militant-like global warming activists are only using the issue to push a socialist and communist agenda.  Call me a conspiracy theorist or whatever, but I am just calling it as I see it.  I can come up with no other explanation for the irrational claims, actions, and attitudes of the activist global warming movement.   

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Filed under Climate, Earth, Election 2008, Environment, Liberal, Liberalism, Media, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Science

Global Cooling; Are we headed for a new Ice Age?

The whole topic of global warming is one that I am very interested in, yet have remained very skeptical of.   I think the reason I am so interested in it is because it appears to be difficult to get clear unbiased information. 

It occurred to me early on that there was something fishy about this whole global warming movement.  It just did not fit with the other major real concerns that we face as a planet.  The first red flag that went up was that the theory was accepted as fact from nearly the first time it was announced, despite the fact that 20 years earlier many were fearing global cooling.  

The second red flag was that all of the reports the media released about global warming were supporting the theory.  It appeared (and still does) that any reports questioning the theory or outright disagreeing with it was not only pushed under the rug, but the scientists whom produced the studies were immediately castigated and dismissed as cronies for corporate America and laughed off the stage, while the proponents of global warming were always presented as purer than freshly fallen snow. 

However, my take regarding this issue (after having been bashed over the head with the dangers of global warming) evolved from outright denial that it is actually occurring to accepting the fact that the earth was getting warmer, but that human activity had little to do with it.  Up to that point, I actually did very little research into the issue, so my opinions were questionable at best.

Now, while far from an expert, I am back to a full and outright denial that there is any major change in our climate.  It appears to me that certainly things are different now than 50 years ago, but so what?  The earth throughout its history fluctuates in temperature and climate, and the biggest reason for that fluctuation is activity of the Sun. 

This past week another study was released that is very interesting (of course, I don’t claim it to be the end all be all, science is an evolving study) and I find it important to get it out there if only to try to provide another voice to those whom disagree that man-made global warming is actually occurring.  Some researchers in Canada’s National Research Council have been studying the temperature of the sun and how it correlates to climate on the earth. 

Back in 1991, the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study using data that went back centuries that showed that global temperatures closely tracked solar cycles.

To many, those data were convincing. Now, Canadian scientists are seeking additional funding for more and better “eyes” with which to observe our sun, which has a bigger impact on Earth’s climate than all the tailpipes and smokestacks on our planet combined.

And they’re worried about global cooling, not warming.

There are two initial thoughts I get from these introductory paragraphs in the article: 1. Of course the Sun is going to have a more significant impact than anything else.  2. If journalists and media did not have an agenda, they would promote these findings as much as they do supporting global warming.  Here is more from the article:

Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.

Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.

This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.

Tapping reports no change in the sun’s magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.

Certainly, this one study (though there are many like it) does not disprove or prove anything, it is just one study that happens to be contrary to what the media, many activists, and many scientists want us to believe.  

This current winter that we are in seems to be one of the coldest that I can remember, some family members in Utah reported to me that many of the ski resorts there were already at about 120% snowpack for the entire season, and that was at the end of January; they still have February and March left to go.  Granted, this is all circumstantial and not scientific evidence, but it is telling none the less. 

Now I wonder if eventually the discourse within the environemental movement will move from global warming back to global cooling over the next 25-50 years, here is betting they do.  You see, the environmental movement is only relevant and continues to receive funding when the common man is kept in a state of fear.  The same holds true with many other organizations, we are kept in a similar state of fear from terrorist attacks so that the government can spend more money and keep control; Thus, bringing it back to the environmental movement, environmentalists will do whatever necessary to promote the studies that support what they want to be true.  Does that mean the findings are not true?  No, it just means that the movement is being selective and pushing an agenda.

I would, therefore, argue that a study loses much of its lustre after it has been pushed and promoted too much by the environmentalists (and the same can be said for any study that is overly pushed by anyone).   So my basic point in writing this was to encourage the reader to question the common wisdom and always look for alternative theories.   I used this particular study here to demonstrate that there is conflicting evidence, evidence that I find to be more convincing than claims made by hollywood, but I also recognize that this study is not gospel.  However, it does provide an alternate look into climate change, one that should not be ignored by the media or anyone who honestly is seeking to understand what is really going on as opposed to pushing an agenda.

(May I add an interesting observation?  It seems to me that the environmental movement is already moving away from global warming as the key phrase and are moving to “global climate change.”   Do you see the significance of this change?  Basically, anytime any significant climate event occurs, either in support of warming or cooling, they will be able to claim they were right and, thus, can continue to push their agenda, no matter how radical it may be.   This change also demonstrates that there are cracks in the armor of the warming movement and more and more studies are being released that refute their claim.)

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Filed under Climate, Conservative, Democrats, Earth, Environment, Global Warming, Media, Meteorology, Outdoors, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Republicans, Science

The Strength of Mitt as a Candidate

If one looks at the adversity that Mitt Romney has had to endure up to this point in the campaign, it is really quite astounding that he is doing so well in the GOP race. Consider the following:

1. Every major GOP candidate has been the media darling except Mitt. Giuliani was propped up by the media last summer, Thompson in the early fall, Huckabee in December, and then McCain from January until now. In each of those ‘movements’ the countervailing force was Mitt Romney.

2. The MSM dislikes Mitt and loves McCain. Rarely do we hear any positive news or opinion about Mitt. This following clip from Mornings with Joe on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough calls out the MSM for their treatment of Mitt. Notice a couple of things, first the lady that Joe is interviewing does not deny that there is a media bias. Second, notice that she buys the ‘flip-flopping’ image hook, line, and sinker without pointing out that McCain has been just as ingenuous on immigration and tax reform. Third, Scarborough makes a very compelling case that there is indeed this bias and uses real examples as evidence rather than shallow rhetoric. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. (H/T Race42008)

3. McCain and Huckabee can’t stand Mitt and are in obvious collusion to take him down. Did any of you see the wink that Huck threw McCain during the first of the two New Hampshire debates before the primary? This brings me back to media coverage, we always hear about Mitt “going negative” yet, among the three of them, Mitt is the only one who has not thrown personal attacks and the media conveniently fails to point out that McCain was airing negative ads against Mitt in NH as well. Further, Rudy and Thompson have had a history of attacking Mitt, all the while letting McCain slide by, although their actions have been quite mild.

So it appears to me that Mitt has everyone other than conservative talk radio against him. It is most impressive that he is maintaining his strong position while most of the other candidates and the media are ganging up on him. I am certain that McCain and Huckabee can’t stand Mitt and that is the reason they attack him and I think the reason the MSM is always on the attack against Mitt or simply downplays things that go well for him is because they view him as the toughest general election candidate, despite current poll numbers that mean absolutely nothing. If Mitt can withstand this full frontal assault and win the GOP nomination, it will show tremedous ability and savvy. It will only strengthen Mitt as a candidate and should strike fear in the Democrats. It is always a wise decision for we conservatives to back the candidate that the media despises the most, remember 9 in 10 of them are Dems, so if they are pushing one of our guys, that must not be a good thing.

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Filed under Election 2008, John McCain, Media, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republicans

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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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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