The Romney Factor

The Atlantic’s Molly Ball reports, “Religious Right Still Lacking a Champion in 2012 Field.”

Ball attended a public discussion between Sojourners’ Jim Wallis, a standard-bearer for progressive evangelicals, and Richard Land, the conservative head of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

It’s somewhat encouraging to hear Land criticizing the Republican primary field for their one-upmanship in scapegoating Sooners:

Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said the GOP candidates’ tough talk on illegal immigration, as well as their anti-government fervor, are alienating Christian voters. …

Land insists evangelicals will be motivated to vote for the Republican nominee, whoever it is, by their antipathy toward President Obama and his policies. But in a panel at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Land’s criticisms of some of the rhetoric and positions that have become commonplace in today’s GOP were striking.

Asked whether the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush has fallen by the wayside, Land said, “It existed, and it exists. One reason there’s a lot of frustration on the part of evangelicals is we don’t see anyone who’s running who fits that model.”

He added, “I am more of a Bushie than a Reagan or Perry on these issues. Reaganism believed that government is a necessary evil and we should have as little of it as possible. I happen to think government can be used as a way of empowering people to make good, positive decisions for themselves.”

Land cited the post-World War II G.I. Bill as an example as well as a robust commitment to foreign aid. In addition, he bemoaned the demonizing of illegal immigrants.

“There has been shameless politicking on this issue from both sides of the aisle,” he said. In their cynical jockeying for political advantage, he said, “One side has ginned up nativism, while the other side has ginned up fear in the Hispanic community.” Meanwhile, the majority of Americans support some kind of comprehensive immigration reform.

I think Land overstates the case for “compassionate conservatism,” which seemed more slogan than substance — and was confirmed by John DiIulio, David Kuo and others as all-slogan and no substance. Land’s “both sides do it” false equivalence on immigration is also just silly. But still it’s good to see his Huntsman-esque refusal to cater to the pressure to take ever-more extreme stances to please the tea party base of his Republican constituency.

As for the lack of a “champion” for the religious right referred to in Ball’s headline, I think there’s a bit of a Mitt Romney effect happening, and I think that explains part of what Land tells Ball about why “conservative evangelicals are frustrated with their choices in the Republican presidential field.”

The key to winning over such conservative evangelical Republicans used to be saying all the right things about their key social issues. Any candidate who could recite the proper formulation expressing opposition to abortion and homosexuality could be deemed acceptable.

Yet here is Mitt Romney saying all the things that they want to hear in precisely the formulation of those sentiments that they prefer. But they still don’t trust him. They don’t believe him because they remember that, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney used to say all the things that liberals wanted to hear too.

Romney thus serves as a constant reminder that just because a candidate says he or she supports all the litmus-test issues that matter preeminently for conservative evangelical voters it doesn’t mean that candidate is really on their side. Their suspicion of Romney reminds them of the possibility of viewing Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain with a similar suspicion.

And because of that, just parroting the right applause lines is no longer enough to make a candidate a “champion” who can rally the religious right.

That may create a bit of an enthusiasm problem, but as Richard Land notes, it won’t change how these partisans will be voting next year due to their “antipathy toward President Obama and his policies.” That antipathy isn’t generally based on reality, but it remains firm due to having been carefully, studiously cultivated by people like Richard Land, who despite his more reasonable comments above, also displays an ugly willingness to tell bald-faced lies.

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  • Apocalypse Review

    Yeah, but on top of arrears on his child support he’s ALSO behind on car insurance payments, probably his car payments too, and God only knows what else he’s behind on. That’s taking not paying your bills to a new extreme, and is evidence of some really purposeful deep-seated money mismanagement (as I said in my original post too).

  • Lori

    I think the car insurance thing may also be a matter of choice/”principle”. It’s required by the state and the state shouldn’t be regulating his life that way, so he’s “rebelling” by refusing to pay. 

    He clearly has multiple money issues, but they seem to be less about mismanagement per se than they are a consequence of other issues. I admit that I may be reversing the chicken and that egg though and his principles are just excuses for his lack of money management. 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    This must be that ‘fiscal responsibility’ Republicans are always telling me Republicans are famous for.

  • Anonymous

    Fair enough. I only became aware of the phrase during the 2000 elections, but then I was still in high school and only vaguely aware of why I should be voting.

  • Anonymous

    I’m usually not in favor of loan shark tactics, but I feel that if the judge were to send over a couple of legitimate business men, with names like “Eddy Fingers” and “Tony Bagels” and “Vinny Carwash,” to discuss the matter, and hopefully resolve it in a way that leaves most of Walsh’s limbs usable….

    I would not lose too much sleep over this, is what I’m saying.

  • Can’t they just take it out of his salary? Congresspeople make a lot of bank, and it’s from the government anyway so it’s not like they would have to even make that many phone calls, right?

  • Lori

    Garnishment has to be court-ordered and is considered a collection tool of last resort. Based on what I’ve read his ex is probably coming to the point where she can ask for garnishment and have the request granted though. 
    AFAIK Congressional salaries aren’t protected, so there’s no reason why the ex couldn’t the legal maximum get 25% of each check. She can also go after his bank accounts which presumably have some money in them since he loaned his own campaign $35k and has collected interest on that loan. 

    Walsh seems to be fighting the child support payments, both in court and in the press, with a combination of BS and avoidance. He hasn’t been showing up in court and he claims that he and his ex had a verbal agreement that he wouldn’t pay child support. AFAIK he hasn’t offered any explanation for why a family values guy would ask to get out of supporting his children when he clearly has the money to do so, why his ex would have agreed to him not supporting his children or why she is taking him to court if his non-payment was really OK with her.* 

    His primary opponent ran a poll asking voters if his financial issues would effect their vote. Walsh’s response was (surprise) to loudly cry foul and say that asking about his non-payment of child support constituted running a dirty campaign. He then said that if his opponent “raises his voice and calls into question who I am as a father, I’ll punch him in the face, figuratively speaking.”

    Um, dude? Who you are as a father is a deadbeat dad. 

    It would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that it involves a grown man with access to funds refusing to pay for his kids.

    *My guess based on other cases I’ve seen is that the ex agree to suspend the payments when Walsh was having financial difficulties but fully expected them to resume when he again had money. 

  • Anonymous

    he claims that he and his ex had a verbal agreement that he wouldn’t pay child support.

    I’m taking a Family Law class right now. (In fact I should be working on my homework for that class instead of talking to y’all.) We just did the child support chapter. And that claim is BULLSHIT. The child has a right to the support payments. Therefore, the parent who’s supposed to be paying the support payments will do so or face punishment.

  • Lori

    Oh definitely. The parents can’t agree that support will never be paid. Walsh is totally full of crap. I have known of couples who informally agreed to a temporary suspension of payments because the paying parent was between jobs or ill or having some other extraordinary financial issues. The agreement was that the total amount would eventually be paid though. I have no idea why Walsh would think that anyone, let alone a judge, would believe that Walsh never had to pay anything because his ex said it was OK. That’s totally whacko. 

    Now get back to that homework :)

  • Anonymous

    I guess, if you want to do things the legal and realistic way.

  • Anonymous

    [Hi Slack…You’re looking at what I ran into on my web machine!]

                 MORMONISM  OKAYS  PORN

                       by Jared Young

    Both Mormon and non-Mormon scholars are aware of a hard-core
    pornographic drawing in the “Book of Abraham” which is Mormon-approved
         The same Book is part of the “Pearl of Great Price”
    which, along with the “Book of Mormon” and the “Doctrine and Covenants,”
    make up the LDS church’s “triple combination” in one volume.
    The porn is found in Fig. 7 of Facsimile 2 in the “Book of Abraham”
    which shows two beings facing each other, which were described by Joseph
    Smith as representing the Holy Ghost and God the Father, the latter
    clearly showing an aroused male sex organ.
         After Smith published
    this sketch in his newspaper in 1842, which offended Mormon
    sensibilities, the phallic portion was whited out for more than a
    century until the “restored” LDS church decided in 1981 to restore what
    had long been censored!
         Equally shocking was the discovery that
    the “Book of Abraham” had nothing to do with Abraham or his God but was
    actually based on ancient Egyptian funeral documents depicting occultic
    obscene practices – and the original sketches showed an erotic phallus
    on both beings including the one Smith blasphemously claimed was the
    Holy Ghost!
         For further information see “Book of Abraham”
    (Wikipedia). Also see Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s “Mormonism – Shadow or
    Reality?” which on 76 pages reproduces the original Egyptian X-rated
    drawings and shows how Smith altered them and created one of his many
    frauds. Highlights of the classic Tanner work can be seen by typing
    “Facts From Mormons” and “What LDS Leaders Say” on Yahoo.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    [citation needed]

  • Who cares? It made me giggle. :P