Romney limping towards victory

In Super Tuesday results, Romney won 6 states (Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, Idaho, Alaska, and the big prize of Ohio); Santorum won 3 (Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Tennessee), and Gingrich won 1 (his home state of Georgia).

In terms of delegates, with some states awarding them proportionally and others “winner-take-all,” Romney picked up 212, Santorum 84, Gingrich 72, and Paul 22.   So Romney got 54%.

Altogether at this point in the campaign, Romney has 415 delegates, Santorum 176, Gingrich 105, and Paul 47.  Winning the Republican nomination takes 1,144.   So Romney has twice as many as his closest competitor and is just short of being halfway to the nomination.

(I would like to report that in the two-man race in Virginia, where I voted, Ron Paul took 40% of the vote, far more than anyone expected.)

So what now for the Republicans?  Should the other nominees drop out and let the coronation proceed for Romney.  Is it now time for all good men to come to the aid of their party?  Stop bashing each other and unite against the Democratic incumbent?  Or are the stakes so high and electoral doom so inevitable that the competing candidates should just fight for their principles?


via News from The Associated Press.

Only churches can be religious

How to restrict religion given the Bill of Right’s protection of the “free exercise” of religion?  Easy, the secularists in power are finding:  Define religion as only what goes on behind the walls of churches.

That’s what the administration has done in its abortion pill/contraceptive mandate in exempting only church congregations, while requiring church-run hospitals and other ministries to provide that coverage free of charge even when they violate their religious convictions.

Now colleges are using the same strategy, as Greg Forster reports:

The Supreme Court declared in 2010 that public universities must permit religious student clubs to select leaders who share their faith. UNC-Greensboro is now getting around this by declaring that a Christian student club isn’t really religious.

On what grounds? It isn’t affiliated with a church.

Other schools are apparently pursuing this strategy as well. Expect to hear more about it.

via An Arm of the North Carolina State Government Says Christianity Isn’t a Religion » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

The next step, as in the former Soviet Union:  Religion is restricted to what goes on inside of your head.



Today politics “is about nearly everything”

Political scientist James Q. Wilson has died.  Among his many contributions was an article on “Broken Windows”–observing that if a broken window in a building doesn’t get fixed, soon all the windows will be broken, an example of how social order must be established in small things so as to create social order in big things–a theory that led to new methods of police work that, famously, caused the crime rate in New York City to drop dramatically.

George Will sums up some of his other insights:

New Deal liberalism, Wilson said, was concerned with who got what, when, where and how; since the 1960s, liberalism has been concerned with who thinks what, who acts when, who lives where and who feels how: “Once politics was about only a few things; today, it is about nearly everything.” Until the 1960s, “the chief issue in any congressional argument over new policies was whether it was legitimate for the federal government to do something at all.” But since the “legitimacy barrier” fell, “no program is any longer ‘new’ — it is seen, rather, as an extension, a modification, or an enlargement of something the government is already doing.”

The normal dynamic of politics, Wilson warned, is a process of addition, candidates promising to add to government’s menu of benefits. Hence today’s problem of collective choice: Can Washington, acknowledging no limit to its scope and responding to clamorous factions that proliferate because of its hyperactivity, make difficult choices? With government no longer constrained by either the old constitutional understanding of its limits or by the old stigma against deficit spending, hard choices can be deferred, and are.

Try, he wrote, to think “of a human want or difficulty that is not now defined as a ‘public policy problem.’ ” The defining is done by elites to whose ideas the political system has become so open that changes of policy often result not from changes of public opinion but from changes in the way elites think. Liberal elites define problems as amenable to government engineering of new social structures. Conservative elites emphasize the cultural roots of many problems and hence their intractability.

America, Wilson said, increasingly faces “problems that do not seem to respond, or to respond enough, to changes in incentives.” This is because culture is often determinative, is harder to change than incentives and impedes individuals’ abilities to respond to incentives. . . .

Wilson warned that we should be careful about what we think we are, lest we become that. Human nature, he said, is not infinitely plastic; we cannot be socialized to accept anything. We do not recoil from Auschwitz only because our culture has so disposed us. Children, Wilson thought, are intuitive moralists, but instincts founded in nature must be nurtured in families. The fact that much of modern life, from family disintegration to scabrous entertainment, is shocking is evidence for, not against, the moral sense, which is what is shocked. And the highest purpose of politics is to encourage the flourishing of a culture that nurtures rather than weakens the promptings of the moral sense.

via James Q. Wilson: America’s prophet – The Washington Post.

Super Tuesday

Today is Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold their presidential primaries and caucuses all on the same day, delivering over 400 delegates (nearly 18% of them all).

The states and their number of delegates are as follows:  Georgia (76), Idaho (32), Massachusetts (41), North Dakota (28), Ohio (66), Oklahoma (43), Tennessee (58), Vermont (17), and Virginia (49), and Alaska (27).

We will learn at the end of the day whether the Republican contenders will keep slugging it out or if Mitt Romney makes himself inevitable once again.

My impression is that lots of Republicans who aren’t big fans of Romney are wanting these primary competitions to just be over.  The candidates are tearing each other apart, making them all less popular in the general public and making Barack Obama’s re-election campaign all the easier.  As a result, many Republicans are willing to settle.

Then again, Super Tuesday has so many varied states that Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul may pick enough delegates to allow the carnage to continue.  And if Romney continues to be unable to “put it away,” the claim that he is “electable” will lose more and more credibility, perhaps opening the nomination to someone else.

What do you think will happen?

And thanks, by the way, for your counsel on whether I should vote for Romney or Paul, the only two candidates on the ballot here in Virginia.  I think my way is clear.

Rush Limbaugh goes too far

Radio talker Rush Limbaugh has his schtick, but when he targeted a college student who had been agitating for free contraception–calling her a “slut” and a prostitute and telling her to post her sex videos on the internet–he surely crossed a line.  Nine sponsors have cancelled advertising on his show.  Conservative candidates and politicians are distancing themselves from him.  He has since apologized, but the fallout remains.

I’ve heard it said that Rush’s obnoxious behavior towards women may drive them away from conservatism and Republican candidates, thus contributing to the re-election of Barack Obama.

Rush has certainly made conservatism more popular among the masses, but has he become a net liability?

Limbaugh says apology to Georgetown student was sincere, jokes about sponsors abandoning him – The Washington Post.


UPDATE:  Now 27 of his advertisers have pulled out!

Issues, Etc., returns to KFUO

The saga of Issues, Etc., after much drama, is moving to a happy resolution.  The confessional Lutheran radio show  was booted from the LCMS-owned radio station KFUO for its uncompromising theological stands, sparking an uproar that, arguably, contributed to the election of new, more conservative leadership in the church body.  After being killed off, Issues, Etc., hosted by Todd Wilkens and produced by Jeff Schwarz, rose from the dead on the Internet, raising their own money and purchasing some time from another St. Louis station.

But now the program is coming back in triumph to KFUO AM.  (Though the Missouri Synod sold the classical FM station, it still owns the AM facilities.)  But the program will retain its internet presence, its own funding, and its independence.  Paul McCain tells the tale:

It was, to say the least, a horrendously bad decision when Issues, Etc. was removed from KFUO AM. Issues was, by far, the most popular show on KFUO and the only theological programming The LCMS was producing of this depth and substance.

After that most unhappy incident, Issues Etc. went on to establish itself as a strong, independent voice for confessing Lutheranism. I officially learned today that they are returning on March 12 to KFUO AM in syndication which will allow them to retain total control over their content, while giving the St. Louis and KFUO AM listening audience access to two hours of programming, Monday to Friday.

This is great news! Here is the press release.

“Issues, Etc.”, a radio talk show produced by Lutheran Public Radio and hosted by Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Pastor Todd Wilken, will begin broadcasting live Monday, March 12 from 3-5 p.m. CST weekdays on KFUO, 850 AM in St. Louis. “Issues, Etc.” has been broadcasting on KSIV, Bott Radio Network in St. Louis since June 30, 2008. KFUO is owned and operated by the LCMS. The popular radio show aired for more than 15 years on KFUO. However, the LCMS cancelled the program on March 18, 2008.

“By purchasing airtime on KFUO instead of KSIV, we will be able to offer ten hours of live programming each week to St. Louis area listeners instead of five hours of programming. KFUO also provides a stronger signal for our listeners in southern Illinois,” said Jeff Schwarz, general manager of LPR.

“We will not become employees of KFUO or the LCMS,” said Pastor Todd Wilken, host of Issues, Etc. “Lutheran Public Radio and KFUO are totally separate entities. When listeners donate to KFUO, they won’t be supporting LPR and vice versa. It is vitally important for us to have complete editorial control and financial independence from the LCMS.”

via The Boys are Back in Town – Issues, Etc. Returns to KFUO AM Saint Louis | CyberBrethren – A Lutheran Blog.