So is Romney not conservative either?

Movement conservatives are rallying behind Mitt Romney as the conservative alternative to John McCain. But here are reasons to think that Romney is alsonot really a conservative.

Huckabee has been accused of departing from the true political faith based largely on some things he did as governor, such as raising taxes. But what Romney did as governor–on abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, gun restrictions, and a health care plan virtually identical to Hillary Clinton’s–does not get that kind of conservative scrutiny. Surely Huckabee was a far more conservative governor than Romney ever was.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Bror Erickson

    I really don’t know how this guy ended up claiming the Reagan mantle, or why the conservative talk show hosts became so enamoured with him so quickly. I don’t think he would have been able to do this if Reagan were still alive. This man defames the name of Reagan by trying to claim Reagan’s mantle.

  • Bror Erickson

    I really don’t know how this guy ended up claiming the Reagan mantle, or why the conservative talk show hosts became so enamoured with him so quickly. I don’t think he would have been able to do this if Reagan were still alive. This man defames the name of Reagan by trying to claim Reagan’s mantle.

  • Don S

    There is no question that Romney is not a classical movement conservative. I’m not sure I agree that Huckabee governed in a more conservative manner than Romney, particularly taking into account the respective constituencies they were governing (MA is much more liberal than AR, particularly on social issues and 2nd Amendment issues, even though it is probably the southern state most dominated by the democrat party). Sadly, there are no movement conservatives left standing to choose from. Conservatives are supporting Romney because, at least, he is willing to speak to them and claim their values, though there is little doubt in my mind that he would move substantially leftward once in office.

  • Don S

    There is no question that Romney is not a classical movement conservative. I’m not sure I agree that Huckabee governed in a more conservative manner than Romney, particularly taking into account the respective constituencies they were governing (MA is much more liberal than AR, particularly on social issues and 2nd Amendment issues, even though it is probably the southern state most dominated by the democrat party). Sadly, there are no movement conservatives left standing to choose from. Conservatives are supporting Romney because, at least, he is willing to speak to them and claim their values, though there is little doubt in my mind that he would move substantially leftward once in office.

  • kerner

    Of course Romney is not a conservative. Conservatives should not only look at what he said, but how he governed as governor of Massachusettes. One point alone should establish that. As governor, Romney signed into law a bill that:

    1.) Created a socialized medicine health care plan, that

    2.) Pays for abortions at tax payer expense, and

    3.) makes Planned Parenthood part of the “payment policy advisory board. Source below:

    http://massresistance.org/docs/marriage/romney/health_ins/

    He did this in 2006! Neither Huckaby nor McCain nor any Republican I know of has ever done anything this anti-conservative or anti-life.

  • kerner

    Of course Romney is not a conservative. Conservatives should not only look at what he said, but how he governed as governor of Massachusettes. One point alone should establish that. As governor, Romney signed into law a bill that:

    1.) Created a socialized medicine health care plan, that

    2.) Pays for abortions at tax payer expense, and

    3.) makes Planned Parenthood part of the “payment policy advisory board. Source below:

    http://massresistance.org/docs/marriage/romney/health_ins/

    He did this in 2006! Neither Huckaby nor McCain nor any Republican I know of has ever done anything this anti-conservative or anti-life.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    And Romney sponsored, along with Senator Kerry, a Pride parade. I like what Romney’s saying NOW, but it’s too much at variance with what he said as governor for me to support him.

    And then I liked Huckabee a lot until he started proposing new programs for the federal government….sigh….

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    And Romney sponsored, along with Senator Kerry, a Pride parade. I like what Romney’s saying NOW, but it’s too much at variance with what he said as governor for me to support him.

    And then I liked Huckabee a lot until he started proposing new programs for the federal government….sigh….

  • kerner

    Dr Veith:

    A while back you asked us who you should vote for in your state’s upcoming primary. I didn’t directly respond respond then, because I was still struggling with the complexities of this race and the alternatives. But now, I have a rather long answer.

    Like all movements, the American conservative movement relies on different kinds of people to advance. Christianity does too, as Corinthians 12 informs us. But for simplicity’s sake, I would like to divide the conservative movement in to three kind of people.

    First, there must be great thinkers. A great movement must rely on great ideas. Modern conservatism has had many great thinkers, such as Adam Smith, the American Founding Fathers, John Locke; more recently Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, William F. Buckley, and most recently the fellows in the various conservative institutions like the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the Manhattan Institute and the Cato Institute. These men and women develop and apply the theories on which our culture has been built.

    Christianity has many such great thinkers of its own, and some of these are ancient and, literally, inspired. Others, like Martin Luther, called a straying World back to eternal principles. Without great thinkers, there would be nothing on which a great movement could be based.

    The second group I’m going to call heroes, by which I mean doers of great deeds. Men of courage and resolve who have what it takes to advance the great ideas of the thinkers in the face of discouraging obsticles and often at great personal risk. Heroes are often not great thinkers themselves, but this is not to say that they are unintelligent. Rather, their thinking (often very nimble and insightful thinking) is directed toward the obsticles and how to overcome them; to concrete victory rather than abstract theory. In the United States we can point ot numerous such men and women who have risked, and often given, everything for their country and the values that make it great. We can do that in Christianity, too. Where would Luther have been without the very practical Frederick the Wise? Later there would be Gustavus Adolphus. These were not deep philosophical thinkers, but they knew great ideas when they encountered them, and they fought and won (and sometimes died) for those ideas.

    Finally, there is the field of public relations, or communications, or promotion. You could call it marketing, I suppose, but I’m going to call it advocasy. These people don’t necessarily think great thoughts or do great deeds, but they promote the ideas and deeds of the first two groups. These people take great ideas from the ivory towers of the thinkers and explain them to the average person. In Christianity, the great preacher (or radio or televangelist) typifies the advocate. He may not be the great theologian in the seminary, but he explains and expounds God’s truth to people with skill and many understand it and receive it. In modern American politics, I think the best example of the great advocate is talk radio, which is an institution that has done a lot to articulate conservative principles to the American public in an easily understandable and convincing way. Another example of a great advocate was Ronald Reagan, he was unequalled at simply convincing people that he was right.

    So how does all this apply to who you should vote for?
    (cont.)

  • kerner

    Dr Veith:

    A while back you asked us who you should vote for in your state’s upcoming primary. I didn’t directly respond respond then, because I was still struggling with the complexities of this race and the alternatives. But now, I have a rather long answer.

    Like all movements, the American conservative movement relies on different kinds of people to advance. Christianity does too, as Corinthians 12 informs us. But for simplicity’s sake, I would like to divide the conservative movement in to three kind of people.

    First, there must be great thinkers. A great movement must rely on great ideas. Modern conservatism has had many great thinkers, such as Adam Smith, the American Founding Fathers, John Locke; more recently Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, William F. Buckley, and most recently the fellows in the various conservative institutions like the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the Manhattan Institute and the Cato Institute. These men and women develop and apply the theories on which our culture has been built.

    Christianity has many such great thinkers of its own, and some of these are ancient and, literally, inspired. Others, like Martin Luther, called a straying World back to eternal principles. Without great thinkers, there would be nothing on which a great movement could be based.

    The second group I’m going to call heroes, by which I mean doers of great deeds. Men of courage and resolve who have what it takes to advance the great ideas of the thinkers in the face of discouraging obsticles and often at great personal risk. Heroes are often not great thinkers themselves, but this is not to say that they are unintelligent. Rather, their thinking (often very nimble and insightful thinking) is directed toward the obsticles and how to overcome them; to concrete victory rather than abstract theory. In the United States we can point ot numerous such men and women who have risked, and often given, everything for their country and the values that make it great. We can do that in Christianity, too. Where would Luther have been without the very practical Frederick the Wise? Later there would be Gustavus Adolphus. These were not deep philosophical thinkers, but they knew great ideas when they encountered them, and they fought and won (and sometimes died) for those ideas.

    Finally, there is the field of public relations, or communications, or promotion. You could call it marketing, I suppose, but I’m going to call it advocasy. These people don’t necessarily think great thoughts or do great deeds, but they promote the ideas and deeds of the first two groups. These people take great ideas from the ivory towers of the thinkers and explain them to the average person. In Christianity, the great preacher (or radio or televangelist) typifies the advocate. He may not be the great theologian in the seminary, but he explains and expounds God’s truth to people with skill and many understand it and receive it. In modern American politics, I think the best example of the great advocate is talk radio, which is an institution that has done a lot to articulate conservative principles to the American public in an easily understandable and convincing way. Another example of a great advocate was Ronald Reagan, he was unequalled at simply convincing people that he was right.

    So how does all this apply to who you should vote for?
    (cont.)

  • kerner

    Well, I believe that the current conflict in the Republican party is less a function of liberal vs. conservative, but rather conflict between the three groups. Everybody seems to agree that John McCain is an American hero, and by my definition, so he is. He has fought our battles, faced our enemies alone and remained steadfast, suffered torture, and risked his very life numerous times. He has fought for what he believes in the political arena in the face of opposition from each party. Sometimes steadfastness can be called stubbornness, and righteousness can seem like self-righteousness, but these are simply the positive and negative sides of the same character trait. McCain is a doer of great deeds alright, but when McCain disappoints, it is usually because he is making some great mistake. Doing some great deed that violates one of the great principles that drive the conservative movement (or that people think does so).

    The conflict is mostly between McCain and the advocates. To often they have put all their advocasy skills to promote a certain purpose or result, only to have McCain contradict them. This is partly because McCain is not a great thinker and because McCain sometimes perceives a personal principle (sometimes called a virtue) as more important than what appears to him to be an abstract ideological principle. But there’s another reason.

    In my opinion Talk Radio, the advocates, have begun to think of themselves as the great thinkers, which they are not. One has only to listen to Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a “faggot”, or to watch her melt down into an embarrassing tantrum as a liberal raises her arm in victory (on national television, no less) to realize that these are not thinkers of great thoughts. This is not to disparage the vocation of advocasy. Abstract ideas have no value if they remain in the abstract, and great deeds will never be done if heroes are not convinced that they are worth doing. Nor is it to say that there is not at least some overlap between the three vocations. Each individual has some degree of abstract intellegence, communication skills, and courage/practical application skills. There are many conservatives who have a high degree of two, or even all three, of these. But in general, I believe that the major talk radio hosts have decided that they, and only they, can determine what a conservative is. I believe they have themselves often misapplied or misunderstood conservative principles in taking the positions they sometimes take most ardently, but they don’t see it, and therefore it is talk radio that needs to be taken down a peg. You will notice that I don’t think they need to be destroyed. Reining in is not destruction. Anyway, this is what I think you, and all conservatives, should do.

  • kerner

    Well, I believe that the current conflict in the Republican party is less a function of liberal vs. conservative, but rather conflict between the three groups. Everybody seems to agree that John McCain is an American hero, and by my definition, so he is. He has fought our battles, faced our enemies alone and remained steadfast, suffered torture, and risked his very life numerous times. He has fought for what he believes in the political arena in the face of opposition from each party. Sometimes steadfastness can be called stubbornness, and righteousness can seem like self-righteousness, but these are simply the positive and negative sides of the same character trait. McCain is a doer of great deeds alright, but when McCain disappoints, it is usually because he is making some great mistake. Doing some great deed that violates one of the great principles that drive the conservative movement (or that people think does so).

    The conflict is mostly between McCain and the advocates. To often they have put all their advocasy skills to promote a certain purpose or result, only to have McCain contradict them. This is partly because McCain is not a great thinker and because McCain sometimes perceives a personal principle (sometimes called a virtue) as more important than what appears to him to be an abstract ideological principle. But there’s another reason.

    In my opinion Talk Radio, the advocates, have begun to think of themselves as the great thinkers, which they are not. One has only to listen to Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a “faggot”, or to watch her melt down into an embarrassing tantrum as a liberal raises her arm in victory (on national television, no less) to realize that these are not thinkers of great thoughts. This is not to disparage the vocation of advocasy. Abstract ideas have no value if they remain in the abstract, and great deeds will never be done if heroes are not convinced that they are worth doing. Nor is it to say that there is not at least some overlap between the three vocations. Each individual has some degree of abstract intellegence, communication skills, and courage/practical application skills. There are many conservatives who have a high degree of two, or even all three, of these. But in general, I believe that the major talk radio hosts have decided that they, and only they, can determine what a conservative is. I believe they have themselves often misapplied or misunderstood conservative principles in taking the positions they sometimes take most ardently, but they don’t see it, and therefore it is talk radio that needs to be taken down a peg. You will notice that I don’t think they need to be destroyed. Reining in is not destruction. Anyway, this is what I think you, and all conservatives, should do.

  • kerner

    If I may, I direct your attention to the Biblical hero, David. David, even as a very young man, exhibited extraordinary courage and resolve in the face of great odds and great danger. Sometimes he refused to utterly destroy his enemies when he could have (as when he came upon the sleeping Saul), and he was no doubt criticized for this. While David was capable of doing remarkable great deeds in the Lord’s name, he was also capable of making great mistakes. Some of those mistakes are famous, and I don’t think that it is accidental that the only book of the Bible attributed to David is the Psalms, which is largely David’s rather abject expression of his desire to repent and receive the forgiveness and protection of the God he served. God’s response to David’s sins was not to abandon him, but to send David the prophet, Nathan, who counseled David when he was right, but rebuked him when he was wrong.

    Among the three remaining candidates, John McCain reminds me of David. Huckabee seems like a good man with a lot to learn, and Romney is a pandering mediocrity

    (I know Romney has been brilliantly successful in business, but business is serving oneself. Business is an honorable vocation and all, but it is not devotion to a cause greater than oneself. Romney has shown no devotion to any principle that would not advance him personally. This is not heroism.)

    These are dangerous times and great deeds are called for from our next president. The person most likely to have the personal courage and resolve, as well as the love of country and devotion to duty, required to do great things for the United States as its next president is John McCain. He also has the potential to make great mistakes, and this concerns me. But I think the solution is not to abandon McCain, but to embrace him. What conservatives, as well as Christians should be doing is trying to put as many conservative and Christian Nathans (the great thinkers, if you will) as close to McCain as can be. By supporting McCain and gaining his trust these latter day Nathans will be able to counsel and encourage McCain in the right direction politically (and even spiritually), and be there to rebuke him when he is wrong. If they are successful, McCain will do great things for the conservative movement, and will do little damage. Meanwhile, Talk radio should butt out and get back to its very necessary vocation of advocacy. Sean Hannity can turn back on the “Stop Hillary Express” (or Stop Obama, if that’s how it turns out), and let the great thinkers and heroes do their jobs.

    It is interesting to note that many conservatives that could be considered to be pretty great thinkers are already doing this. Phil Gramm, Jack Kemp, Steve Forbes, Tom Coburn (fiscal conservatives), and Dr. Carolyn Gerster (co-founder of National Right to Life), Tom Coburn (again), Tony Perkins (family Research Council), and Dr. Richard Land (Southern Babtist Convention), all pro-life social conservatives, are all supporting McCain; probably for the reasons I am recommending to you.

    Dr. Veith, I consider YOU a great Christian thinker (at least you are a lot greater than I am), and you probably have the ear and the trust of many other great Christian and conservative thinkers who could do much to be “Nathans” to McCain’s David, if they chose to try.

    Therefore, I urge you to not only vote for Senator McCain, but to do everything you can to direct as much Christian and conservative influence towards him that you can. This means supproting him when he needs you.

    (I apologize for any spelling and typographical errors in these posts. Spelling and grammar were never my strengths.)

  • kerner

    If I may, I direct your attention to the Biblical hero, David. David, even as a very young man, exhibited extraordinary courage and resolve in the face of great odds and great danger. Sometimes he refused to utterly destroy his enemies when he could have (as when he came upon the sleeping Saul), and he was no doubt criticized for this. While David was capable of doing remarkable great deeds in the Lord’s name, he was also capable of making great mistakes. Some of those mistakes are famous, and I don’t think that it is accidental that the only book of the Bible attributed to David is the Psalms, which is largely David’s rather abject expression of his desire to repent and receive the forgiveness and protection of the God he served. God’s response to David’s sins was not to abandon him, but to send David the prophet, Nathan, who counseled David when he was right, but rebuked him when he was wrong.

    Among the three remaining candidates, John McCain reminds me of David. Huckabee seems like a good man with a lot to learn, and Romney is a pandering mediocrity

    (I know Romney has been brilliantly successful in business, but business is serving oneself. Business is an honorable vocation and all, but it is not devotion to a cause greater than oneself. Romney has shown no devotion to any principle that would not advance him personally. This is not heroism.)

    These are dangerous times and great deeds are called for from our next president. The person most likely to have the personal courage and resolve, as well as the love of country and devotion to duty, required to do great things for the United States as its next president is John McCain. He also has the potential to make great mistakes, and this concerns me. But I think the solution is not to abandon McCain, but to embrace him. What conservatives, as well as Christians should be doing is trying to put as many conservative and Christian Nathans (the great thinkers, if you will) as close to McCain as can be. By supporting McCain and gaining his trust these latter day Nathans will be able to counsel and encourage McCain in the right direction politically (and even spiritually), and be there to rebuke him when he is wrong. If they are successful, McCain will do great things for the conservative movement, and will do little damage. Meanwhile, Talk radio should butt out and get back to its very necessary vocation of advocacy. Sean Hannity can turn back on the “Stop Hillary Express” (or Stop Obama, if that’s how it turns out), and let the great thinkers and heroes do their jobs.

    It is interesting to note that many conservatives that could be considered to be pretty great thinkers are already doing this. Phil Gramm, Jack Kemp, Steve Forbes, Tom Coburn (fiscal conservatives), and Dr. Carolyn Gerster (co-founder of National Right to Life), Tom Coburn (again), Tony Perkins (family Research Council), and Dr. Richard Land (Southern Babtist Convention), all pro-life social conservatives, are all supporting McCain; probably for the reasons I am recommending to you.

    Dr. Veith, I consider YOU a great Christian thinker (at least you are a lot greater than I am), and you probably have the ear and the trust of many other great Christian and conservative thinkers who could do much to be “Nathans” to McCain’s David, if they chose to try.

    Therefore, I urge you to not only vote for Senator McCain, but to do everything you can to direct as much Christian and conservative influence towards him that you can. This means supproting him when he needs you.

    (I apologize for any spelling and typographical errors in these posts. Spelling and grammar were never my strengths.)

  • Joe

    Kerner – your premise assumes a couple things that I don’t think apply to McCain. First, unlike David, McCain does not seek repentance for his mistakes. Instead, he champions them and believes he is right. He still thinks McCain-Feingold was right, he still thinks that amnesty (okay I know he won’t use that word and he has agreed to build the wall first) is right, he still thinks global warming is one of the greatest threats of all time, he still wants to fund embryonic stem cell research, he still thinks the senate should be able to filibuster judicial nominees, he still thinks private sales of guns should be regulated by the gov’t, etc. Where is the mea culpa and request for the forgiveness of the movement? It is non-existent. (He record is summarized nicely in this piece http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=24785).

    Second, your premise assumes he needs or wants us. McCain’s strategy has always been premised on winning independent voters and counting on the conservative movement to fall in line out of necessity. He does not think he needs the conservatives and thus he is not going to accept the advice of the great thinkers. In contrast look at his endorsements in Florida and California – could you find a longer list of RINO’s?

    But I don’t think McCain is that susceptible to the ideas of the great thinkers. After all he has made is mark as a maverick who routinely turns his back on the movement. Much like you think the advocates misunderstand their intellectual heft, I think McCain believes he is an intellectual heavy weight who will lead the party in the right direction. I also think he will fundamentally change the face of the Republic party for the worse. I think McCain will do for the Republican party as a whole what Arnold has done to California – kill the conservative movement within the party.

    I am not sure who I will end up voting for – it may even be McCain. Some part of me hopes it is over before the Wisconsin primary because I don’t want to have to chose the lesser of two or three evils. There is no true conservative candidate running for the GOP nomination. The only one there was thought he could sleep walk through the primary and is now at home watching.

    McCain may end up being the nominee and I may even vote for him, but I don’t for a second think he can be controlled or advised into anything other than what he is: a Rockefeller Republican with absolutely no loyalty to the conservative movement. He just is who he is.

  • Joe

    Kerner – your premise assumes a couple things that I don’t think apply to McCain. First, unlike David, McCain does not seek repentance for his mistakes. Instead, he champions them and believes he is right. He still thinks McCain-Feingold was right, he still thinks that amnesty (okay I know he won’t use that word and he has agreed to build the wall first) is right, he still thinks global warming is one of the greatest threats of all time, he still wants to fund embryonic stem cell research, he still thinks the senate should be able to filibuster judicial nominees, he still thinks private sales of guns should be regulated by the gov’t, etc. Where is the mea culpa and request for the forgiveness of the movement? It is non-existent. (He record is summarized nicely in this piece http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=24785).

    Second, your premise assumes he needs or wants us. McCain’s strategy has always been premised on winning independent voters and counting on the conservative movement to fall in line out of necessity. He does not think he needs the conservatives and thus he is not going to accept the advice of the great thinkers. In contrast look at his endorsements in Florida and California – could you find a longer list of RINO’s?

    But I don’t think McCain is that susceptible to the ideas of the great thinkers. After all he has made is mark as a maverick who routinely turns his back on the movement. Much like you think the advocates misunderstand their intellectual heft, I think McCain believes he is an intellectual heavy weight who will lead the party in the right direction. I also think he will fundamentally change the face of the Republic party for the worse. I think McCain will do for the Republican party as a whole what Arnold has done to California – kill the conservative movement within the party.

    I am not sure who I will end up voting for – it may even be McCain. Some part of me hopes it is over before the Wisconsin primary because I don’t want to have to chose the lesser of two or three evils. There is no true conservative candidate running for the GOP nomination. The only one there was thought he could sleep walk through the primary and is now at home watching.

    McCain may end up being the nominee and I may even vote for him, but I don’t for a second think he can be controlled or advised into anything other than what he is: a Rockefeller Republican with absolutely no loyalty to the conservative movement. He just is who he is.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Interesting breakdown, Kerner. You’ve given us a lot to think about and some useful categories to think with.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Interesting breakdown, Kerner. You’ve given us a lot to think about and some useful categories to think with.

  • Carl Vehse

    One has only to listen to Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a “faggot”

    It would be a lie to claim Ann Coulter called John Edwards a “faggot”. You can listen to what she actually said here.

    For those who are PC-oriented or humorously challenged, the point of Ann’s joke was to mock and ridicule the then recent incident in which Grey’s Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington, during a scuffle with another actor on the set, used the word “faggot” to describe an unnamed co-star. Washington then checked into a rehab clinic (and was latter fired by ABC), not for the scuffle, but for using the word “faggot.” Later, Grey’s Anatomy co-star T.R. Knight admitted an orientation that fit the description.

    Ann’s sense of humor is certainly stilleto-sharp; to me it wouldn’t be funny (and mocking a mockery) if it wasn’t. Perhaps others would have seen the humor if Rudy Giuliani had told the joke.

    As for Edwards, he is what he is.

  • Carl Vehse

    One has only to listen to Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a “faggot”

    It would be a lie to claim Ann Coulter called John Edwards a “faggot”. You can listen to what she actually said here.

    For those who are PC-oriented or humorously challenged, the point of Ann’s joke was to mock and ridicule the then recent incident in which Grey’s Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington, during a scuffle with another actor on the set, used the word “faggot” to describe an unnamed co-star. Washington then checked into a rehab clinic (and was latter fired by ABC), not for the scuffle, but for using the word “faggot.” Later, Grey’s Anatomy co-star T.R. Knight admitted an orientation that fit the description.

    Ann’s sense of humor is certainly stilleto-sharp; to me it wouldn’t be funny (and mocking a mockery) if it wasn’t. Perhaps others would have seen the humor if Rudy Giuliani had told the joke.

    As for Edwards, he is what he is.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Carl (@10), it would not be a “lie” at all — in fact, it would be a fairly reasonable conclusion. Yes, she is referencing Isaiah Washington. But she is also clearly implying that John Edwards is a, to use her wonderful, classy word, “faggot”. I mean, come on:

    I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word “faggot”, so … so … I’m kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.

    Either you’re being intentionally obtuse, or you’re hanging your argument precariously on the word “called” (would “referred to” suffice?).

    Or perhaps you enlightened Ann apologists would also find this bon mot hilarious:

    I was going to have a few comments on Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, but it turns out that the PC police will arrest me if I use the word “n*****”, so I guess I can’t talk about him.

    And you stay classy, Ann!

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Carl (@10), it would not be a “lie” at all — in fact, it would be a fairly reasonable conclusion. Yes, she is referencing Isaiah Washington. But she is also clearly implying that John Edwards is a, to use her wonderful, classy word, “faggot”. I mean, come on:

    I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word “faggot”, so … so … I’m kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.

    Either you’re being intentionally obtuse, or you’re hanging your argument precariously on the word “called” (would “referred to” suffice?).

    Or perhaps you enlightened Ann apologists would also find this bon mot hilarious:

    I was going to have a few comments on Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, but it turns out that the PC police will arrest me if I use the word “n*****”, so I guess I can’t talk about him.

    And you stay classy, Ann!

  • Carl Vehse

    Words mean something, toDD. If you want to think Ann implied Edwards was a faggot, that’s your interpreted construction. But it is a lie to claim Ann called Edwards a faggot.

    Meanwhile, keep working on a sense of humor.

  • Carl Vehse

    Words mean something, toDD. If you want to think Ann implied Edwards was a faggot, that’s your interpreted construction. But it is a lie to claim Ann called Edwards a faggot.

    Meanwhile, keep working on a sense of humor.

  • kerner

    Joe:

    I had a really involved response, but I think I’ve been long winded enough for one day. But some of what you say just illustrates my point.

    John McCain is nothing like Nelson Rockefeller, who would not have endured a hangnail for any principle, much less have put himself in a position to be tortured for 5 years. Rockefeller was a man who cared about power and little else, much like Romney.

    McCain is loyal to conservative principles. But he is not loyal to certain people within the “conservative movement” that McCain sees as betraying those principles. It is unfortunately true that McCain brought a lot of the distrust that he is now receiving on himself. Conservative pundits distrust McCain at least in part because McCain first distrusted them. When McCain disagreed (sometimes justifiably, I believe) he could have been a lot more diplomatic about it.

    Notice that the conservatives that are supporting McCain are largely people he knows well and who know him well, personally. They trust him and he trusts them.

    Take Phil Gramm. He may very well be McCain’s Secretary of the Treasury and is one of the staunchest economic conservatives of modern times. He is also 65 years old and a vice president of USB investment Bank (according to wikipedia). He doesn’t need a government job. I have to believe that Gramm is in this because he believes he can execute a conservative economic policy for the United States and that McCain will enable him to do it. He has no other reason to support McCain. This shows that McCain WILL be influenced along conservative lines by conservative people he respects and trusts. It is just too bad that so many talk radio types are not among these, but I still think that (while McCain is not without fault) the talk radio personalities are at least partly responsible for losing McCain’s respect and trust.

  • kerner

    Joe:

    I had a really involved response, but I think I’ve been long winded enough for one day. But some of what you say just illustrates my point.

    John McCain is nothing like Nelson Rockefeller, who would not have endured a hangnail for any principle, much less have put himself in a position to be tortured for 5 years. Rockefeller was a man who cared about power and little else, much like Romney.

    McCain is loyal to conservative principles. But he is not loyal to certain people within the “conservative movement” that McCain sees as betraying those principles. It is unfortunately true that McCain brought a lot of the distrust that he is now receiving on himself. Conservative pundits distrust McCain at least in part because McCain first distrusted them. When McCain disagreed (sometimes justifiably, I believe) he could have been a lot more diplomatic about it.

    Notice that the conservatives that are supporting McCain are largely people he knows well and who know him well, personally. They trust him and he trusts them.

    Take Phil Gramm. He may very well be McCain’s Secretary of the Treasury and is one of the staunchest economic conservatives of modern times. He is also 65 years old and a vice president of USB investment Bank (according to wikipedia). He doesn’t need a government job. I have to believe that Gramm is in this because he believes he can execute a conservative economic policy for the United States and that McCain will enable him to do it. He has no other reason to support McCain. This shows that McCain WILL be influenced along conservative lines by conservative people he respects and trusts. It is just too bad that so many talk radio types are not among these, but I still think that (while McCain is not without fault) the talk radio personalities are at least partly responsible for losing McCain’s respect and trust.

  • kerner

    So Carl, I’m a liar? Is that what you’re saying?

  • kerner

    So Carl, I’m a liar? Is that what you’re saying?

  • Don S

    Thanks, Kerner, for starting a great thread. You crystallized a lot of the issues for me, and I think you are largely right in your characterizations and categories.

    One small nitpick — to my knowledge, Ann Coulter is not a radio talk show host, and we can thank goodness for that! As for the other hosts, they vary in thinking ability. For example, Hannity is a great and enthusiastic advocate, and is able to get great guests because of his audience, but is definitely not a great thinker. Rush is much more a thinker, and Dennis Prager (and, to a lesser extent, Michael Medved) are definitely in the thinker category. They vary in whom they support — I know Medved is a McCain supporter.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Kerner’s conclusions, however, for the reasons Joe so aptly states. I think Kerner’s scenario is an ideal one, if only McCain were open to such a collaborative approach, and willing to sit under the counsel of some of the “Nathans” you mention. it would be even more ideal if he were to select a young, movement conservative to place under his tutelage as Vice President, to run in four years (when McCain decides, at age 76, not to run again).

    Alas, as Joe says, McCain does not have the temperament for such an approach. It would ruin his maverick image. He is intent on going it alone, and doing things his way, and that, I am sure, will be his course in the presidency.

    This is not to say, however, that I do not support him for the nomination, even though I ended up voting for Romney. I can’t shake my distrust of Romney, and am not sure that I want him to win.

  • Don S

    Thanks, Kerner, for starting a great thread. You crystallized a lot of the issues for me, and I think you are largely right in your characterizations and categories.

    One small nitpick — to my knowledge, Ann Coulter is not a radio talk show host, and we can thank goodness for that! As for the other hosts, they vary in thinking ability. For example, Hannity is a great and enthusiastic advocate, and is able to get great guests because of his audience, but is definitely not a great thinker. Rush is much more a thinker, and Dennis Prager (and, to a lesser extent, Michael Medved) are definitely in the thinker category. They vary in whom they support — I know Medved is a McCain supporter.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Kerner’s conclusions, however, for the reasons Joe so aptly states. I think Kerner’s scenario is an ideal one, if only McCain were open to such a collaborative approach, and willing to sit under the counsel of some of the “Nathans” you mention. it would be even more ideal if he were to select a young, movement conservative to place under his tutelage as Vice President, to run in four years (when McCain decides, at age 76, not to run again).

    Alas, as Joe says, McCain does not have the temperament for such an approach. It would ruin his maverick image. He is intent on going it alone, and doing things his way, and that, I am sure, will be his course in the presidency.

    This is not to say, however, that I do not support him for the nomination, even though I ended up voting for Romney. I can’t shake my distrust of Romney, and am not sure that I want him to win.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Wow, Carl (@12), I think you were the last person I expected to resort to relativism. Though one will have to go to extreme lengths to defend Ann Coulter’s schtick.

    “If you want to think Ann implied Edwards was a faggot, that’s your interpreted construction.” With lines like that, there is no need to fear for my sense of humor. I’m still chuckling at that relativist nonsense. “Words mean something,” indeed. And I know you know what Ann’s words mean, too — you’re smarter than you’re acting.

    “Meanwhile, keep working on a sense of humor.” Ah, the old “humor” defense. Taken, I believe, from Luther’s explanation to the 8th commandment, right?

    What does this mean? We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but if someone else refers to him as a faggot, we should tell our neighbor it was all just a joke, insist that he get a real sense of humor, and ask him to lighten up. Sometimes the best construction that can be put on an insult is just to pretend that it didn’t happen.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Wow, Carl (@12), I think you were the last person I expected to resort to relativism. Though one will have to go to extreme lengths to defend Ann Coulter’s schtick.

    “If you want to think Ann implied Edwards was a faggot, that’s your interpreted construction.” With lines like that, there is no need to fear for my sense of humor. I’m still chuckling at that relativist nonsense. “Words mean something,” indeed. And I know you know what Ann’s words mean, too — you’re smarter than you’re acting.

    “Meanwhile, keep working on a sense of humor.” Ah, the old “humor” defense. Taken, I believe, from Luther’s explanation to the 8th commandment, right?

    What does this mean? We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but if someone else refers to him as a faggot, we should tell our neighbor it was all just a joke, insist that he get a real sense of humor, and ask him to lighten up. Sometimes the best construction that can be put on an insult is just to pretend that it didn’t happen.

  • Carl Vehse

    tODD,

    You should examine your attempt to equate a “bon mot” involving a person’s skin color with a joke that mocks political correctness and sexual perversion… then get back to me on “best construction” and the 8th commandment.

    kerner,

    Read what I said.

  • Carl Vehse

    tODD,

    You should examine your attempt to equate a “bon mot” involving a person’s skin color with a joke that mocks political correctness and sexual perversion… then get back to me on “best construction” and the 8th commandment.

    kerner,

    Read what I said.

  • Joe

    Kerner

    I think you and I have fundamentally different views about who McCain is. I may end up voting for the guy because he may be the least worst of the bunch. How sad is that? But you give him way too much credit.

    It is also true that after his defeat of 2000, McCain went to work campaigning for just about every single Republican (conservative, moderate and liberal) up for election in the since then. He also has a network of friends from his lifetime in the Senate. That is why he is getting support for the likes of a conservative (Phil) Graham and moderate like (Lindsey) Graham and a liberal like Arnold Schwartzenkennedy. Politics is a world of favors and friendships. The fact that Phil Graham is advising McCain really doesn’t mean much to me. I have not seen any tangible benefits of such advise and I really doubt I ever will.

    I am really starting to hate this election. I can argue so many valid reasons not to vote for any of the three viable candidates. Yet, I have a very hard time persuading myself to vote for any of them.

  • Joe

    Kerner

    I think you and I have fundamentally different views about who McCain is. I may end up voting for the guy because he may be the least worst of the bunch. How sad is that? But you give him way too much credit.

    It is also true that after his defeat of 2000, McCain went to work campaigning for just about every single Republican (conservative, moderate and liberal) up for election in the since then. He also has a network of friends from his lifetime in the Senate. That is why he is getting support for the likes of a conservative (Phil) Graham and moderate like (Lindsey) Graham and a liberal like Arnold Schwartzenkennedy. Politics is a world of favors and friendships. The fact that Phil Graham is advising McCain really doesn’t mean much to me. I have not seen any tangible benefits of such advise and I really doubt I ever will.

    I am really starting to hate this election. I can argue so many valid reasons not to vote for any of the three viable candidates. Yet, I have a very hard time persuading myself to vote for any of them.

  • Carl Vehse

    I may end up voting for the guy because he may be the least worst of the bunch. How sad is that?

    Like playing Russian Roulette with a fully-loaded pistol.

  • Carl Vehse

    I may end up voting for the guy because he may be the least worst of the bunch. How sad is that?

    Like playing Russian Roulette with a fully-loaded pistol.

  • kerner

    Joe:

    I do take an optimistic view of McCain, and it is not without misgivings. And I agree with you about politics being about friendships to a great extent. (This is , By the way, consistent with the “hero” personality. Respect and trust for comrades in arms is a very big prioity for them)

    But I think this may be a mixed situation. If Gramm and McCain are friends, Gramm feels he can trust McCain to do the conservative things Gramm wants to do, not only because McCain has a conservative fiscal record, but because Gramm knows McCain personally and believes that McCain will not break his word once he gives it. You and I don’t have that assurance because we DON’T know McCain personally. But the fact that Phil Gramm does gives me hope.

    I also think theconverse of your point is at work. I think that a lot of the pundits don’t hate McCain because McCain is so liberal. He is not nearly as liberal as they make him out to be. I guess I have different views about who the pundits are. I think they hate him because he fought them, and they feel he showed them disrespect. The “agents of intollerance” remark was one example of this. I mean, as a Lutheran, I’m not that enthused about some parts of the Moral Majority agenda, myself, because I think some of it confuses the two kingdoms. But I don’t think I would have been as abrupt as that.

    But that was then and this is now and I think that the pundits need to bury the hatchet and give the McCain a chance. As it is, the pundit’s egos, as well as McCain’s, are getting in the way of the common good.

  • kerner

    Joe:

    I do take an optimistic view of McCain, and it is not without misgivings. And I agree with you about politics being about friendships to a great extent. (This is , By the way, consistent with the “hero” personality. Respect and trust for comrades in arms is a very big prioity for them)

    But I think this may be a mixed situation. If Gramm and McCain are friends, Gramm feels he can trust McCain to do the conservative things Gramm wants to do, not only because McCain has a conservative fiscal record, but because Gramm knows McCain personally and believes that McCain will not break his word once he gives it. You and I don’t have that assurance because we DON’T know McCain personally. But the fact that Phil Gramm does gives me hope.

    I also think theconverse of your point is at work. I think that a lot of the pundits don’t hate McCain because McCain is so liberal. He is not nearly as liberal as they make him out to be. I guess I have different views about who the pundits are. I think they hate him because he fought them, and they feel he showed them disrespect. The “agents of intollerance” remark was one example of this. I mean, as a Lutheran, I’m not that enthused about some parts of the Moral Majority agenda, myself, because I think some of it confuses the two kingdoms. But I don’t think I would have been as abrupt as that.

    But that was then and this is now and I think that the pundits need to bury the hatchet and give the McCain a chance. As it is, the pundit’s egos, as well as McCain’s, are getting in the way of the common good.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Carl (@17), I can’t tell if you’re still being intentionally obtuse, so I will make it clear: I was not equating skin color with sinful activity, I was equating two equally hateful, sinful statements, in the hopes that you might find the latter repulsive and so see how the former was similarly un-Christian.

    And to say that it was merely a joke that “mock[ed] … sexual perversion” … is to assert that your grasp of the English language is not what I thought it was.

    Ann Coulter clearly slandered John Edwards, accusing him of a sin for which there is no evidence. And she did not do this in a loving, reproachful way — she used the most hateful term she could manage, and then packaged it all in a “joke” so as to avoid having to defend herself. It’s cowardly, and it’s wrong.

    I have no idea why you — who I assume to be a Christian — have an interest in defending un-Christian behavior that agrees with your political stripe.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Carl (@17), I can’t tell if you’re still being intentionally obtuse, so I will make it clear: I was not equating skin color with sinful activity, I was equating two equally hateful, sinful statements, in the hopes that you might find the latter repulsive and so see how the former was similarly un-Christian.

    And to say that it was merely a joke that “mock[ed] … sexual perversion” … is to assert that your grasp of the English language is not what I thought it was.

    Ann Coulter clearly slandered John Edwards, accusing him of a sin for which there is no evidence. And she did not do this in a loving, reproachful way — she used the most hateful term she could manage, and then packaged it all in a “joke” so as to avoid having to defend herself. It’s cowardly, and it’s wrong.

    I have no idea why you — who I assume to be a Christian — have an interest in defending un-Christian behavior that agrees with your political stripe.

  • Joe

    Just for the record, while McCain has a lifetime 82% rating from the American Conservative Union, he only got a 65% in 2006 and a 80% in 2005. I can’t find the data but I think there is a trend over his carrier of becoming less conservative.

  • Joe

    Just for the record, while McCain has a lifetime 82% rating from the American Conservative Union, he only got a 65% in 2006 and a 80% in 2005. I can’t find the data but I think there is a trend over his carrier of becoming less conservative.

  • Carl Vehse

    As I stated earlier, Ann has previously explained (as easily found on youtube) the point of her joke. To wrongly accuse her of using hateful terms, slandering, and behaving as a coward, is to put the worst construction on what she said and make unsubstantiated accusations of her motivation.

  • Carl Vehse

    As I stated earlier, Ann has previously explained (as easily found on youtube) the point of her joke. To wrongly accuse her of using hateful terms, slandering, and behaving as a coward, is to put the worst construction on what she said and make unsubstantiated accusations of her motivation.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Carl (@23), you seem to think that the 8th commandment means that we should not label sin as sin, instead pretending that it didn’t happen. I am disappointed that you, who are — at least in some areas — quite able to boldly proclaim what is sin, find yourself unable to do so here. And I have difficulty seeing that your inability to use the law properly here is not motivated by your political views. To use your logic, we could not use the law at all, for to do so would be to imply uncharitably that someone meant to sin, and thus slander him. (“I’m sure Bill Clinton didn’t mean to have sex with Monica Lewinsky — he must have had his eyes closed and assumed it was his wife. How dare you call him an adulterer!”)

    Not so curiously, while you will defend Ann Coulter to the point of absurdity, no such defense is forthcoming for John Edwards. Please do not pretend that your defense of Ann Coulter’s horrid speech has anything to do with the 8th commandment while you let slide her reference to Edwards as a “faggot”.

    And while I have seen the YouTube videos you refer to, they are not explanations of a joke, they are an attempt to deny culpability, to shift blame, to point fingers — precisely the sort of behavior one sees when someone is accused of a sin: “I didn’t mean it!” “Other people do it, too!” “What’s the big deal?”

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Carl (@23), you seem to think that the 8th commandment means that we should not label sin as sin, instead pretending that it didn’t happen. I am disappointed that you, who are — at least in some areas — quite able to boldly proclaim what is sin, find yourself unable to do so here. And I have difficulty seeing that your inability to use the law properly here is not motivated by your political views. To use your logic, we could not use the law at all, for to do so would be to imply uncharitably that someone meant to sin, and thus slander him. (“I’m sure Bill Clinton didn’t mean to have sex with Monica Lewinsky — he must have had his eyes closed and assumed it was his wife. How dare you call him an adulterer!”)

    Not so curiously, while you will defend Ann Coulter to the point of absurdity, no such defense is forthcoming for John Edwards. Please do not pretend that your defense of Ann Coulter’s horrid speech has anything to do with the 8th commandment while you let slide her reference to Edwards as a “faggot”.

    And while I have seen the YouTube videos you refer to, they are not explanations of a joke, they are an attempt to deny culpability, to shift blame, to point fingers — precisely the sort of behavior one sees when someone is accused of a sin: “I didn’t mean it!” “Other people do it, too!” “What’s the big deal?”


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