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.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I actually hope that Romney does not get the Republican nomination, if only because he is the only reasonable contender who is not crazy enough to drive away swing voters.  

    On the other hand, I best not underestimate the right’s resentment of Obama, lest it be serious enough that one of those crazies actually gets elected.  

  • Anonymous

    Any sympathy I have for Romney ends when instead of standing up for religious pluralism and separation of church and sate he promises in yet another speech to hate the poor, and atheists, and gays as much as the Religious Right does. Bah. 

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    On the other hand, I find myself kind of hoping Romney does get the nomination…because if there’s even the slightest chance in hell at one of these loonies actually winning the Presidency, I’d rather it be the least crazy of the bunch.

    Edit: Which, after rereading your post, I see that you essentially said that :)

  • Lori

     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.  

    I think the applause lines were always necessary, but no sufficient and that it’s not the flip-flopping that’s killing Mitt with the Religious Right, it’s the religion. Flip floppers have gotten a free pass from the RR in the past and will again in the future. Folks we Aren’t Our Kind Dear? Not so much. The fact that Mitt is sorely lacking is charisma and can’t place down-home folksiness convincingly is also a major problem. Religious Right voters love that stuff and its to generate enthusiasm among them without it. 

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Ah Multiple-Choice Mitt, the “inevitable” nominee. I wasn’t opposed to Hillary being the nominee in ’08, but I wasn’t excited by the feeling of inevitability about it either.

    I have a question for Richard Land: Where the heck were you from 2000 to 2008? You know, when the president was “one of you” in religious terms, and was a Texan* to boot? Love him or hate him, “W” was ready to work at realistic immigration reform. Somehow, I don’t recall the strong support of the SBC being behind the president and his immigration reform plan back then.

    *Whatever else you could say about Texans, they understand how a porous border benefits folks on both sides, and how utterly absurd building fences as policy is.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I dunno, I figure the Romney Factor is “the Mormon thing.”  You can hate all the right kinds of people for the “religious” right, but when you are part of an unpopular “heresy,” it sort of doesn’t count.  Oh, they’ll take your money to fight against equality, sure, but come on– he’s not a “REAL” Christian!

  • Anonymous

    “I wasn’t opposed to Hillary being the nominee in ’08, but I wasn’t excited by the feeling of inevitability about it either.”

    True story, when Hiliary tried to play herself as an inevitability, I knew that Obama was going to get the nod. Something about telling Americans “This is going to happen whether you like it or note” can make them prove you wrong.

  • Anonymous

    I was worried for a moment that you were going to forget to point out what a flaming asshole Richard Land is.

  • Anonymous

    I’m fascinated by Christian voters who would refuse to vote for a Mormon candidate on principle, but who would seem to find a Jewish candidate (e.g. Eric Cantor) at least acceptable.  Trying to put myself in their shoes: at least Mormons accept the New Testament and Jesus Christ as the son of God.  By contrast, we Jews reject the authority and divine origin of the New Testament.  And we consider Jesus to be a false god and messianic failure.*

    A couple of months ago on another blog, a commenter declared that he could never vote for a Mormon because they believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers.  I responded by asking him if he would refuse to consider a Jew based on the traditional Jewish view of Satan (which is shocking to most Christians — and many Jews.)  Alas, I did not receive a response.

    * Most Jews will put it less bluntly and more diplomatically.

  • Anonymous

    You know I voted for BO in 2008 – and basically got Massachusetts Governor Era Mitt Romney.  In my weirder moments, I think “I wonder if it’s like a Freaky Friday kinda scenario and I could vote for Mitt Romney and get Illinois Senator Barack Obama.”

    Probably not.

  • Anonymous

    On the other hand, I best not underestimate the right’s resentment of Obama, lest it be serious enough that one of those crazies actually gets elected.

    If I were you I would be less concerned with conservative resentment … and more concerned with independents’ resentment.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    If I were you I would be less concerned with conservative resentment … and more concerned with independents’ resentment.

    Valid.  It does bring to mind though a report I saw on some polling, about how, in the next election between Barack Obama and a hypothetical, unnamed Republican, Obama loses.  But in an election between Barack Obama and any of the named, existing possible Republican candidates, Obama wins the poll.  I think it is telling that, as much as independents might resent Obama, he is still seen as a better choice among them than the current crop of Republican contenders (at the present time.)  I suspect that the shifting of the Overton Window rightward in the Republican party these last few years might be putting a wedge between them and the critical independent voting block.

  • Anonymous

    The incumbent’s superior showing against a named opponent compared to an unnamed opponent is similar to this period before the 2004 election.

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/11/10/elec04.poll.bush/index.html
    Nov 10, 2003

    A poll released Saturday finds that more registered voters want to see President Bush voted out than kept in office in the next election, but his job approval rating has remained constant.

    In the Newsweek poll, 50 percent of registered voters who were queried said they do not want to see Bush re-elected, while 44 percent said they do.

    Bear in mind that Bush’s approval rating was 52% at the time.  I remember thinking that the Democrats’ adoption of the slogan “Anybody but Bush” was a strategic mistake.  Because in the end, somebody has to be the challenger — and that candidate will present a target that the incumbent can say, “For those of you don’t like the job I’ve done … things would be worse if he were in charge.”

  • Lori

     and more concerned withindependents’ resentment.  

    People are pissed these days and that is always going to show up in polls about approval rating and possible votes for the incumbent. That isn’t translating to independents getting interested in the GOP’s possible candidates. Especially once the GOP hopefuls start talking. 

    Obama is not a shoe-in by any means and I’m not saying that he is, but bad poll numbers more than a year out aren’t telling us much if anything about what will happen in the next election. 

      I remember thinking that the Democrats’ adoption of the slogan “Anybody but Bush” was a strategic mistake.  Because in the end,somebody has to be the challenger — and that candidate will present a target that the incumbent can say, “For those of you don’t like the job I’ve done … things would be worse if he were in charge.”  

    The Democrats did not adopt “Anybody But Bush” as a slogan. It was a thing some Liberals said and put on T-shirts and coffee mugs and what not, but it was hardly the Dem strategy. The outcome of the 2004 election had more to do with an incumbent running during an active war than it did with slogans.

  • Lori

      I suspect that the shifting of the Overton Window rightward in the Republican party these last few years might be putting a wedge between them and the critical independent voting block.  

     

    The independent voter is mostly a myth. The majority of people who actually vote are pretty consistent in their voting patterns. Not that they vote straight ticket in every election, but that most of their votes consistently go to one part over the other. Most of the folks that call themselves “independents” are just the far ends of the bell curve of either the GOP or the Dems. They’re not registered Repub or Dem, but they vote like them most of the time. 

    http://bearmarketnews.blogspot.com/2011/02/there-is-no-such-thing-as-independent.html

    What the massive Rightward shift of the GOP is doing is making the left edge of the party unhappy (and possibly persuading them not to vote). Pretty much the same way that the left edge of the Dems has been unhappy for years now.  

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    The outcome of the 2004 election had more to do with an incumbent running during an active war than it did with slogans.

    You left “possible election fraud” out of the above sentence.  >:(

  • Lori

    Yeah, that too. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You left “possible election fraud” out of the above sentence.  >:(

    To be fair to Bush, his administration did run a brilliant campaign.  Swiftboating and fear-mongering proved decidedly effective rhetorical tactics in convincing sections of the population to vote for him.  

    They were not exactly the “high road” of political stratagems, but they were undoubtedly effective.  

  • Lori

    And yet the results in a couple of key states still looked a bit iffy and the GOP engaged in major vote suppression. That would tend to indicate that the GOP didn’t feel confident that even with the dirty tactics the Bush campaign strategy would be enough. 

    The same thing is happening for 2012. The GOP flacks are everywhere talking about how weak Obama is and how the bad economy dooms him and doing the whole “We’re #1″ dance and yet the place where they’re really pushing hard is gerrymandering and voter suppression. 

    Edited to fix a Freudian slip.

  • Matri

    and yet the place where they’re really pushing hard is gerrymandering and voter suppression.

    Are you honestly surprised?

  • Anonymous

    Last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live had a sketch titled, “Mitt Romney: He’s All You Got.”

    http://abc.go.com/watch/jimmy-kimmel-live/SH559060/VD55151469/jimmy-kimmel-live-112

    (Starts at 5:09)

  • Lori

     Are you honestly surprised?  

    Not at all. The Right has proven that they aren’t big fans of democracy and see no reason to trust the whims of the unwashed masses unless they’re very certain the election is in the bad. 

    My point was that there’s no reason for anyone to seriously buy into their constant harping on the idea that Obama is doomed to certain defeat because of the economy or polls showing discontent among supposed independents or whatever hoo-ha Fox is selling this week. If they believed their own hype they wouldn’t be working so hard to set up another cheat. 

  • Charity Brighton

    Yeah, it always felt like a lot of my friends who call themselves independents tend to be either pretty conservative or pretty liberal. They might be slightly more willing to cross party lines but their votes aren’t truly random.

    (The ones I thought were kind of silly were the people they kept interviewing like a week before the 2008 election who acted as if they genuinely had no idea who they were going to vote for. If after 18 months of nonstop campaigning you really had no idea who John McCain or Barack Obama were, it’s because you don’t WANT to know. That’s not ‘independence’, that’s indifference.)

  • Charity Brighton

    Judaism has been around so long that many Christians tend to view it as just a precursor to their own religion (ie the popular term “Judeo-Christianity”). Mormonism is much newer, so even though its tenets are not especially strange compared to most other religions, more people are comfortable slamming it as being some silly, kooky cult that’s not even a form of Christianity. I don’t think they actually care about what Jews actually believe though.

  • Anonymous

    I’m fascinated by Christian voters who would refuse to vote for a Mormon
    candidate on principle, but who would seem to find a Jewish candidate
    (e.g. Eric Cantor) at least acceptable.

    I think there are several reasons for this.  Most basically, they feel like Mormons are usurping their religion and changing it.  But they’re on the other side of that with Jews, so they don’t feel as threatened by them.

    I also think Mormons are scarier because they know about Protestant Christianity, but they don’t follow it.  Some fundie Christians think that if you just read the Bible, or just learn about Jesus, then you can’t help but be converted.  Mormons threaten that idea by disproving it, but they can just pretend Jews simply haven’t heard the Good News, so their theory can still remain in their minds.

  • Anonymous

    Asked whether the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush has fallen by the wayside, Land said, “It existed, and it exists.

    That last compassionate conservative brought us waterboarding, indefinite detention, Shiite death squads killing people with power tools, the destruction of New Orleans, skyrocketing teen pregnancies, stifled medical research, the dismantling of the American education system and an unprecedented transfer of wealth to the richest parts of society, to name a few things.

    Heaven spare me from any more conservative compassion.

  • Will Hennessy

    Is anyone else thinking of the “Jesus Incident” books by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom, or is that just me?

  • Lori

      If after 18 months of nonstop campaigning you really had no idea who John McCain or Barack Obama were, it’s because you don’t WANT to know. That’s not ‘independence’, that’s indifference.  

     

    I think most of those people were probably what I think of as the John McCain of voters—more invested in a “mavericky” self-image than actually independent. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah, it always felt like a lot of my friends who call themselves
    independents tend to be either pretty conservative or pretty liberal.
    They might be slightly more willing to cross party lines but their votes aren’t truly random.

    Reminds me of the guy who I knew who was basically a Bush fanboy but loved blustering about how anyone else who liked what the Dems had to say was just being “party line”.

    Kind of funny when the self-styled “independent voters” are anything but.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    @Tybult:disqus : Just imagine what will happen if we elect a leader who’s “had enough with all that touchy-feely compassion bullshit.”
    (Seriously. At one point one of our GOP Parade of Unlikely Candidates — don’t remember which one, but they’re mostly interchangeable, came right out and said that in his White House, they weren’t going to waste time with all that sensitive stuff, and would be all Butch and Manly and get rid of empathy and compassion.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I find it hard to take Mormonism seriously when its founder pulled all the standard cons on a gullible sidekick to get it going. Smith hid behind a curtain, “dictating” from alleged gold plates but he never let anyone see the plates (except a select few chosen specifically by him), and when done “dictating” from them, they “disappeared”.

    How anyone can’t see that as the work of a flimflam artist is beyond me.

  • Lori

    The difference between that and the start of mainstream Christianity is not much more than proximity. Mormonism suffers from being new enough that you can still see the strings being pulled. The patina of age has prettied up it’s predecessors. 

  • Dan W

    As far as I’m concerned, the phrase “compassionate conservatism” is an oxymoron.

  • Anonymous

    I vaguely remember something along those lines. 
    I think that they’ve all more or less stated that exact idea, that they’re through with all this empathy bullshit. 
    Remember Ron Paul’s campaign manager dying because he didn’t have health insurance?
    Remember Perry executing an innocent man?
    Remember Bachmann declaring she wants to end the Department of Education?

    Romney declared he would double Guantanamo, but that was back in 2008 and your average wingnut voter could be forgiven for doubting Romney’s commitment to cruelty.

    And Herman Cain… it’s pretty clear that Herman Cain just doesn’t give a fuck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ed-Mix/100000574306150 Ed Mix

    Poor Republican candidates.  What do you do when you can’t keep track of which group you are supposed to hate to satisfy which constituency group.  

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    That last compassionate conservative brought us waterboarding, indefinite detention, Shiite death squads killing people with power tools, the destruction of New Orleans, skyrocketing teen pregnancies, stifled medical research, the dismantling of the American education system and an unprecedented transfer of wealth to the richest parts of society, to name a few things.

    Heaven spare me from any more conservative compassion.

    Annnd that’s going right in my quotes file.

    Not that I’m likely to get much chance to use it.  Most of the Conservatrolls I argue with online seem to be downright proud of their Sociopath-American heritage.

  • Joshua

    Is anyone else thinking of the “Jesus Incident” books by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom, or is that just me?

    I’m not sure how many people here have read them, but I have and I don’t see the link. What part relates to Romney?

    IOW, I think it’s just you. :)

  • Joshua

    I’m fascinated by Christian voters who would refuse to vote for a Mormon candidate on principle, but who would seem to find a Jewish candidate (e.g. Eric Cantor) at least acceptable.

    Well I dunno about those particular voters, but if I can speculate about the thought process: Pretty much all major characters in the christian Bible were Jewish, and the First Testament is great, and many Christians don’t really know much about Judaism and how it differs from what Christians draw from the First Testament anyway, so a Jewish candidate is cool. Mormons, however, take the christian Bible and change bits and add to it and proselytize Christians, implying we’re not the same group. And that is not cool.

    I’m speculating that the Jewish candidate gets his or her coolness grandfathered in, basically.

  • Joshua

    The difference between that and the start of mainstream Christianity is not much more than proximity. Mormonism suffers from being new enough that you can still see the strings being pulled. The patina of age has prettied up it’s predecessors.

    Now I don’t think that’s fair. As I read the gospels, Jesus never wanted to start a new religion, he wanted to reform the faith of the people he spoke to, to bring them back to what he saw as a genuine faith. He wasn’t trying to “get [a new religion] going” and therefore had no reason to con people into accepting a new message.

    He certainly staged events to resemble passages from the prophets, such as the entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. If you don’t accept accounts of miracles I guess you may see some of them as being deliberate cons, although many faiths have plenty of e.g. faith healers and I think many of them genuinely believe what they are doing, even if I personally call it the placebo effect.

    Now Paul may be more fairly accused of trying to start a new religion, but even then he just traveled from place to place preaching and writing letters. If you credit his own account, he supported himself with a day job while doing so. Off the top of my head, I don’t recall him making any claims to having performed miracles to back up his message, although the later book of Acts lists some on his behalf. If fraudulent miracles were his thing, you’d think he would mention them, instead of leaving them on the down-low for forty years.

    And of course, both of them and quite a few other founders of Christianity wound up dead, in very predictable and gruesome fashions. If any were con artists, they were stunningly bad at it in the final picture.

  • Lori

    I don’t think we need to have a major debate about this. It was a throw away comment that I probably shouldn’t have made. That said, you’re taking the stories written by Paul at face value rather than looking at the POV of his contemporaries. That makes a difference. (For example, I think it would be very interesting to talk to Alexander the metalworker about why Paul was so POed at him.)

  • Anonymous

    The Democrats did not adopt “Anybody But Bush” as a slogan.

    It was adopted informally by many Democrats.  I remember hearing it hundreds of times during the 2004 winter and spring.  I wasn’t suggesting that it was an official slogan of the Democrat Party.

  • Apocalypse Review

    aunursa: Since I got tweaked about doing this by accident, I will assume you accidentally did it too.

    Please refer to it as the Democratic Party. Republican shills have been pushing the “Democrat” Party thing as a way to own the language and nomenclature in the political arena.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    That last compassionate conservative brought us waterboarding, indefinite detention, Shiite death squads killing people with power tools, the destruction of New Orleans, skyrocketing teen pregnancies, stifled medical research, the dismantling of the American education system and an unprecedented transfer of wealth to the richest parts of society, to name a few things.

    Heaven spare me from any more conservative compassion.

    To be fair, the concept of “compassionate conservatism” predated Bush’s use of the term by many years.  It was begun by people like Land who genuinely believed that things like limited government was a boon to people, and would lead to less restrictions and more help.  I remember reading that the person who originally coined the term felt bad that Bush learned it and turned it into a meaningless campaign slogan rather than actually adopting the principals behind it.  

    Not that I agree with the idea, but I can at least respect the people who try to make compassion part of their core philosophy.  However, Bush was not one of those people, no matter what his slogans said.

  • Daughter

    Most of the folks that call themselves “independents” are just the far ends of the bell curve of either the GOP or the Dems. They’re not registered Repub or Dem, but they vote like them most of the time. 

    True.  I was a registered indepedent until 2007, when I switched to Democrat. But I always voted Democratic. I didn’t register for the party for one reason: abortion.  I made the switch in 2007 for several reasons: I wanted to vote in the presidential primary; my stance on abortion had moderated; and the Republicans had gotten so crazy I didn’t want anyone to think that my independent affiliation meant I sided with them.

  • Lori

     aunursa: Since I got tweaked about doing this by accident, I will assume you accidentally did it too.  

    I highly doubt it was an accident, and this:

    Republican shills have been pushing the “Democrat” Party thing as a way to own the language and nomenclature in the political arena.  

    is exactly why. 

  • Lori

    Going back to the idea that the problem with Romney isn’t the hypocrisy, it’s the Mormonism:

    The Family Research Council (they put on the Values Voter Summit) is honoring Rep. Joe Walsh for voting consistently “to defend faith, family and freedom”.

    Walsh is the Tea Party freshman Rep from Illinois who owes more than $100k in back child support and flatly refuses to pay it in spite of the fact that he’s making a very solid salary in Congress. He has also refused to appear in court on the issue and is trying to use his position as a Rep not to do so. 

    He also turned down the government health care plan “on principle”, which left his current spouse with no insurance when she needed medical care. 

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/11/04/361149/joe-walsh-family-research-council/

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/07/28/281570/rep-joe-walsh-defends-not-paying-117000-in-child-support-this-is-where-real-america-is/

    Way to protect the family and encourage personal responsibility, Joe. You the man!

    Note also that this is not the first time Joe’s behavior and his personal responsibility Tea Party rhetoric have failed to match up. He’s been in trouble multiple times for failing to pay for car insurance. He also had a condo foreclosed on, which as any Tea Partier will gladly tell you is something that happens to Those People because of their gross irresponsibility. 

  • Apocalypse Review

    Jesus Christ, the only way you can so badly mismanage your money like that is if you do it on purpose. And this guy claims he can manage a $4 trillion budget? I wouldn’t trust him to run my neighborhood lemonade stand. He’d end up like that Calvin and Hobbes comic.

    http://nefmq09.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/3141139302_45d5b3b0a6_o1.jpg

  • Charity Brighton

    Romney is such a hypocrite that I actually think it loops around and becomes straightforward honesty. He adjusts his views to perfectly match whoever he’s talking to — so basically, if Romney is talking to you then you can be pretty sure that he believes exactly and only what you believe, at least until the conversation is only. If you’re pro-choice, he’s pro-choice. If you support the war in Afghanistan, he wants to send 800,000 more troops there by the end of the month. The other candidates waffle and backtrack a lot, but it’s rare that you get a candidate who darts from one position to its exact opposite so frequently.

  • Lori

    The fact that he’s $100k in arrears on his child support is not financial mismanagement, it’s a refusal to pay. He apparently has some beef with his ex and his response to that is to refuse to support his children. His “I have no money” excuse making is clearly false.  

    My question is why the ex isn’t garnishing his Congressional salary. I guess that may happen at the next hearing (the one the judge demanded he actually show up for even though his lawyer tried to claim that his status as a Rep meant that he didn’t have to be bothered). 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The fact that he’s $100k in arrears on his child support is not financial mismanagement, it’s a refusal to pay. He apparently has some beef with his ex and his response to that is to refuse to support his children. His “I have no money” excuse making is clearly false.  

    I have run into this kind of situation before.  I have more than one female friend who, years after having children with their husbands, end up leaving the guys because they were too emotionally (and occasionally physically) abusive.  Said guys also tend to have rather well paying jobs, but will refuse to pay child support.  Oh sure, the law can theoretically compel them to pay, but there are a lot of ways to weasel out of it, delay payments, dodge notifications and plausibly deny you ever received them, etc.  And why do they do this?  Because they are emotionally abusive assholes, and it is just another way of extending that emotional abuse even after they get dumped.  They get off on the thought that they can hurt their dependents, especially dependents that dared get fed up with their crap.  It is something they refuse to accept.  

    What always burns me is that the law still protects guys like this from people like me, who would gladly break a few of the asshole’s fingers to remind him that there will be a direct cost to him personally for such douchey behavior.


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