Wednesday, February 27, 2008

With No Nearby Jews to Attack, Gaza Islamists Turn Their Attention To Christians

It was probably inevitable. Once the "Saturday people" had left Gaza, it was only a matter of time before extremist Islamists turned their attention to the "Sunday people." As reported at, on February 15, Islamists firebombed a YMCA library, and destroyed 10,000 books. Last fall, kidnappers killed a Christian bookstore owner and the shop was blown up twice. In August last year, vandals damaged a Catholic church and school.

We await the heated reaction of the the Vatican, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)to these outrages against their Christian co-religionists. No, bad thought--they will just blame it all on the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Israel, the first nation in the world that is expected to supply an actively attacking enemy with electricity, gasoline, food, water and medical supplies.

McCain Can Win This Thing!

Maybe Medved was right! McCain can win this election! Much to my surprise, a front page story in today's Los Angeles Times trumpted, "McCain has edge over Democrats." The story reports that a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll shows Senator McCain beating either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama in a head-to-head contest.

The Democratic in-fighting is taking its toll. The public seems to be tiring both of Clintonian nasty political tactics and the love affair between Obama and the mainstream media. The latter phenomenon even was the subject of a hilarious Saturday Night Live skit this past weekend. (Of course, the SNL objective was to promote Senator Clinton's fortunes, not John McCain's.)

Even a liberal icon of the caliber of Leon Wieselthier expresses concern over the emptiness of Senator Obama's rhetoric. In the February 27, 2008 edition of The New Republic, he wrote:
The question of whether Barack Obama will make a fine commander-in-chief finally depends on your view of the direction of history in the coming years. I cannot escape the foreboding that we are heading into an era of conflict, not an era of conciliation. I do not mean that there will be many wars, though I cannot imagine that the threat to American security from Al Qaeda and its many associates can be met without a massive and sustained military operation in western Pakistan, and I cannot imagine any Pakistani government ordering such an operation. It is not "the politics of fear" to remind Obama's legions of the blissful that, while they are watching Scarlett Johansson sway to the beat, somewhere deep inside a quasi independent territory we might call Islamistan people are making plans to blow them to bits. (Yes, they can.)

Now that's a putdown worthy of the late William F. Buckley, Jr., may he rest in peace.

Radical Leftist Hatred of Israel Knows No Rational Bounds, Even Among Israelis

Amnon Rubenstein (photo left) is a gray eminence on the Israeli Zionist Left (as opposed to the Israeli anti-Zionist Left--the distinction will become clear shortly). He is a professor of law at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, a former minister of education and Member of the Knesset, and the recipient of the 2006 Israel Prize in Law. In a column in today's Jerusalem Post," he describes himself to be "a professed and impassioned secular Jew." He writes:

My Judaism is national and cultural. I believe that my approach is in no way inferior to the Orthodox or haredi one. It contains neither temptations of paradise, the punishment of hell, nor the revival of the dead. It is filled with a rich, multifaceted and wondrous Jewish-Hebrew culture. I also believe that secular humanism is the right answer for us as individuals and as a nation."

Last year Rubenstein was a guest professor of law at Columbia University, when Columbia shamefully invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at the University. Invited to speak at a demonstration against the Ahmadinejad invitation, Rubenstein was shocked to find that nearly all of the students who attended the protest were local Orthodox Jewish students. He writes, "The number of secular Israeli students could be counted on the fingers of one hand - with fingers to spare."

Worse still, he learned of a secular Israeli Columbia student who was inside the lecture hall, applauding Ahmadinejad's rabid anti-Israeli rhetoric. Rubenstein recounts:

I asked another Israeli who witnessed this behavior to tell me about her. I asked: How can she applaud someone that wants to exterminate her?
His matter of fact reply: "She's known to be a leftist."
In other words, "leftists" applaud a tyrant, a Nazi, a persecutor of minorities, oppressor of women, stoner of "adulterers," and executioner of homosexuals. If he protests the oppression of the Palestinians, then he must clearly be a member of the "left" and should therefore be cheered.
Later, I encountered other Israeli academicians at Columbia who added more fuel to the fire of hatred against Israel - all belonged to what is known as the radical Left.

After describing his secular bona fides, Rubenstein notes, "But if I had to choose between the kipa-wearing Jews at Columbia and the representatives of what is known in Israel as the radical Left - I know where my heart is."

Rubenstein writes that he waits in astonishment for the radical anti-Zionist Left of Israel, which there as here is firmly entrenched on university campuses, to go so absurdly far in their attacks on their country that they are disgraced in the eyes of the academic community. But, he concedes, he waits in vain. He recounts the case, previously noted on this blog, of Hebrew University graduate student Tal Nitzan, whose thesis asked the question, "How is it that, contrary to the accepted practice among other occupation armies, the Zionist occupation army does not rape [Arab women]?" Her answers, incredibly, were that Israeli soldiers bear such racial hatred against Arabs that (1) they dehumanize the Arab women and therefore do not find them sexually attractive, and (2) they do not want to augment the Arab population by risking impregnating the Arab women. Hence the refusal to rape Arab women is presented as further evidence of Zionist racism. Rubenstein comments:

The significant aspect is not this surreal research project. It is not unusual. Incitement against Israel can be found on the lowest level in some of the social science departments in Israel's universities. A well-known philosopher in Tel Aviv University called Israel the dustbin of Europe - and students, as we know, are influenced by their teachers, even when the latter are seized by a frenzy of hatred toward the state that provides their livelihood, and at the expense of which, thanks to their attacks on it, they make their names.

The interesting thing is that this "research" project won a prize from a sociology association, with a number of distinguished professors voting in favor of granting the researcher a prize.

Isn't it nice to know that should a radical Leftist scholar from an elite American university find himself, despite his desire to boycott Israel, on an Israeli university campus, he will feel right at home?

Hamas Rocket Kills Man In Sderot

JTA is reporting that a rocket launched from Gaza, one of a salvo of 20 launched at the Israeli town since Wednesday morning, has killed a student at Sapir College in the town. Another man was wounded in the leg by the rocket. Hamas has claimed "credit" for the rocket attack.

Will this be the incident that finally compels the Olmert government to invade Gaza?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Should Israel Respond to the Palestinian Rocket Attacks on Sderot?

In the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens (the former editor of the Jerusalem Post) thoughtfully addresses the world community's demands on Israel to limit its self-defense measures to a "proportionate" response.

Krauthammer: Obama Sells Empty Hope

The messianism surrounding Senator Barack Obama is beginning to creep people out. Charles Krauthammer writes about it in the Chicago Tribune.

Obama is essentially a demagogue in the American populist tradition. When such persons achieve political power, they inevitably disappoint, because they have so unreasonably raised public expectations. Krauthammer sagely observes:
"Obama has an astonishingly empty paper trail. He's going around issuing promissory notes on the future that he can't possibly redeem. Promises to heal the world with negotiations with the likes of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Promises to transcend the conundrums of entitlement reform that require real and painful trade-offs. Promises to fund his other promises by a rapid withdrawal from an unpopular war -- with the hope, I suppose, that the (presumed) resulting increase in American prestige would compensate for the chaos to follow.
"Democrats are worried that the Obama spell will break between the time of his nomination and the time of the election, and deny them the White House. My guess is that he can maintain the spell just past Inauguration Day. After which will come the awakening. It will be rude."

Traditionally, demagogues in that position have looked around for scapegoats to blame for their failures. One of their favorites, of course, has been the Jews. That is one more reason for Jews to be careful about a candidate who sells hope, and little more.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Promises, Promises

Another tried-and-true Kosher Hedgehog technique for a quickie post is to grab something off the Dry Bones Blog. In this cartoon, Kirschen follows the continuing disgrace of the failure of the government of Israel to adequately protect the citizens of Sderot, the unfortunate town in the Negev that has for so many months been the artillery and missile range of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Right now Tijuana is a chaotic locale, with running gun battles between rival narco-gangs, police and troops a frequent occurrence in its streets. Imagine if one of those factions started lobbing mortar shells and rockets at Chula Vista, California. How long would it be before U.S. troops entered to stop the outrage?

Well, since the Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in mid-June 2007 until the end of January 2008, 697 missiles (of which 241 in January alone) and 822 mortar bombs have been fired at Sderot and the western Negev. Not that Sderot fared any better under the PA-administration of Sderot. From the departure of the last Israeli from Gaza in August 2005 through the end of 2006, 1916 missiles were fired at Sderot and the Western Negev from Gaza.

Rick Richman at Jewish Current Issues has been all over the Sderot story, but, after a deadly attack on Saturday, February 9th, which seriously wounded 8-year old Osher Twito and his 19-year old brother Rami, requiring the amputation of both of Osher's legs, Rick could only write in frustration, "If only there were a Jewish state to protect these people." Maybe someday, Rick, maybe someday.

Operation Gratitude in Iraq: 319,852 Care Packages and Counting

As Lowell is fond of saying, the practice of law has been unduly interfering with my blogging of late. I may have to resort to Glen Reynolds "hit and run" style quips with hyperlinks. My first is to a post by Kyle-Anne Shriver at American Thinker regarding Carol Blashek, and her all-volunteer group Operation Gratitude, which since its founding in 2003 has sent over 319,000 care packages to our troops in Iraq. For more information on Operation Gratitude, please see the links at Jewish Current Issues. Better yet, go to the Operations Gratitude website and volunteer or make a donation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Canterbury Tale: Daniel Pipes Puts Archbishop's Sharia Remarks In Context

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Daniel Pipes puts the recent remarks of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, regarding the incorporation of Sharia into the British legal system, in their proper context--just one more milestone on the road to European surrender to Islam.

Murderer of U.S. Marines in Beirut Finally Faces Judgment

Having just celebrated the life of a tzadik, a saint, we now, l'havdil (to separate), celebrate the death of a rasha, a wicked person. In this case, we celebrate the demise of Hezbollah senior commander Imad Mughniyeh, who AP reports was killed in a car bombing in Syria Tuesday. Mughniyeh, may his name be erased, was the suspected master mind of the April 1983 car bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut that killed 63 people, including 17 Americans, and the simultaneous truck bombings of the U.S. Marine barracks and French military base in Beirut, killing 58 French soldiers and 241 Marines. He was indicted in the United States for the 1985 TWA hijacking in which Shiite militants seized the 747 and flew it back and forth between Beirut and Algiers demanding the release of Lebanese Shiites captured by Israel. During the hijacking, the body of U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem, a passenger on the plane, was dumped on the tarmac of Beirut airport. During Lebanon's civil war, Mughniyeh was also believed to have directed a string of kidnappings of Americans and other foreigners, including former Associated Press chief Mideast correspondent Terry Anderson — who was held for six years until his release in 1991 — and CIA station chief William Buckley, who was killed in 1985. He was on the FBI wanted list, with a $5 million bounty on his head.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack stated, "The world is a better place without this man in it. One way or the other he was brought to justice."

Hezbollah blamed Israel for the assasination of Mughniyeh. I would prefer to think that the United States finally avenged the deaths of Robert Stethem, William Buckley, the 241 Marines, our diplomats and the other American citizens murdered by this thug. But if Israel did the deed, I would also be proud. And if it was the French, they deserve praise as well.

The Marines who died in the Beirut bombing were not sent there to conquer or occupy Lebanon, but rather to try to give that tortured nation an opportunity for peace and democracy after years of civil war. In closing, I honor their memory.

Tom Lantos, Zicharon Tzadik L'veracha

"Zicharon Tzadik L'veracha" means "remembrance of a saint for a blessing." It is the Hebrew expression of highest regard for someone who has died. In the case of Holocaust survivor and 14-term member of Congress Tom Lantos, the description is totally warranted. Although Mr. Lantos' obituaries described him as a member of Congress and a Holocaust survivor, as noted by Frank Mankiewicz, in an appreciation that appeared in yesterday's Washington Post, "If Tom had written it, the order would have been reversed, for everything else in his life derived from that hard fact: Holocaust survivor."

Mr. Lantos saw a world die, the world of Eastern European Jewry. He survived to rebuild a new life for himself in the United States, and his gratitude and love for our country for giving him the opportunity for that new life never faltered. He determined to show his gratitude to God for his survival and to the United States for its refuge through public service, and particularly public service in the defense of human rights and the prevention of genocide.

In that fight, especially during the last 14 months as Chairperson of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, he was never parochial or politically correct. Mankiewicz writes, "[He] was an intense American patriot and supported every effort against tyranny, whether in Iraq or Sudan." His New York Times obituary notes:

"Mr. Lantos ... once said his entire life had served as preparation for the chairmanship of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Though he held the post for little more than a year, the committee took a number of bold steps in that time, demanding, for instance, that the government of Japan apologize for wartime sex slavery by its military and declaring Turkey’s mass killing of Armenians in World War I an act of genocide, a move that angered the Bush administration and nearly provoked a confrontation with the Turkish government.

"He was frequently critical of China, citing its record on human rights, and was arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington in 2006 during a protest against the mass killings in Darfur."

May his memory and legacy be a blessing for us all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hamas Kids Show Rabbit Says "I will Finish Off the Jews and Eat Them"

Is there any more evil organization in the world than Hamas? And is there any more blatant and despicable manifestation of Jew hatred than the Hamas children's television program, Pioneers of Tomorrow?

This was, after all, the show that brought Palestinian children Farfur the Mouse, a Mickey Mouse look-alike, who would lead songs about shooting Jews with his AK-47. Farfur, you may recall, was stabbed to death by an Israeli interrogator when he refused to turn over the key to his family's home, stolen in 1948 by the Jews, in the mythical Tel-Al-Rabi, which Hamas claims is the Arab town now "occupied" by the City of Tel Aviv. The well-documented fact that Jewish pioneers developed the city of Tel Aviv on vacant sand dunes between 1908 and 1910 somehow did not make into the Hamas narrative.

Then there was Farfur's replacement, Nahoul the honeybee, killed off in another episode when the Israelis would not let Nahoul leave Gaza for needed medical treatment. Perhaps the Israelis thought that Nahoul might follow the example of Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, a 21-year old Palestinian woman, who lived in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza strip. In January 2005 she suffered burns in a cooking accident in her home. She was admitted for treatment to the Soroka hospital in the Israeli town of Beer Sheva. She became an outpatient and was issued by the Israeli authorities with a special pass entitling her to cross into Israel to receive medical treatment. On 21 June 2005 she was arrested at the Erez crossing point, on her way out of Gaza and to Soroka, wearing 10 kgs of explosives in her underwear. On Israeli TV she admitted that she had planned to explode the bomb in the hospital where she was being treated. She stated that she had been recruited by the Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, and added that she had wanted to target as many children as possible. (Fatah and its Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade run a close second to Hamas in the "most evil organization" competition.)

Now Hamas brings us Assoud the Rabbit. On the "Pioneers of Tomorrow" segment, the following dialogue takes place between Assoud [Arabic for "lion"] and the young girl who serves as the shows hostess:

Girl: "Why is your name Assoud, since you are a rabbit?"

Assoud: "A rabbit is a [term] for a bad person and coward. And I, Assoud, will finish off the Jews and eat them."

Girl: "Allah Willing!"

What a delightful religiously inspired message of brotherhood! You can see this abominable obscenity of a children's program for yourself, at LGF here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dry Bones Comments on Olmert's Staying Power

Olmert Government Secretly Talks with Palestinians Over Splitting Jerusalem

In Israel, the Olmert government managed to survive the publication on January 30 of the final Winograd Report on the 2006 Lebanon War, because Defense Minister and Labor Party head Ehud Barak decided to keep the Labor Party in the Kadima-led coalition, reneging on an earlier pledge to resign if the final report were critical of the conduct of the war, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert nonetheless did not himself resign. Olmert announced he would stay in office, and so did Barak.

However, Olmert's government now faces a new coalition crisis, triggered by a report in the Jerusalem Post that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is conducting secret talks with the Palestinian Authority ["the PA"] over the division of Jerusalem. The Shas Party, a right-wing Sefardic religious party, whose Knesset votes are needed to preserve the governing coalition, had promised that it would not sit in a government that negotiated Jerusalem's fate. Now right-wing opposition parties are demanding that Shas live up to its promise. So far, Shas has reacted only by stating that it expects to be updated by Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni regarding any ongoing discussions over Jerusalem.

The Post reported:
The PA confirmed Sunday that Jerusalem was being discussed with Israel. Nimer Hammad, political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said the PA had sensed readiness on Israel's part to talk about the future of Jerusalem.
"The negotiations [with Israel] are not easy," [former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei, who heads the PA negotiating team,] said Sunday. "The topics which we're negotiating about are also not simple. These are the most difficult issues, and they include Jerusalem, the refugees, the borders and the settlements."
A senior PA official added that "Jerusalem was of course on the table" and that "there is almost full understanding with Israel" regarding the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

In a separate story, the Post quoted an unnamed senior Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah as saying, "The main progress has been achieved during the secret talks, particularly on the issue of Jerusalem. Today we can say that Israel is prepared to withdraw from almost all the Arab neighborhoods and villages in Jerusalem. Israel is prepared to redivide Jerusalem and this is a positive development."

Will Shas prove as craven as Labor, and cling to power instead of principle, or is this [finally] the beginning of the end of the Olmert government?

Friday, February 08, 2008

This Really Did Happen In The United States of America (and Berkeley is still part of the USA)

This video of a Berkeley City Council meeting comes from Senator Jim DeMint's office:

I'll just note that Sen. DeMint was an early Mitt Romney supporter.

Mitt Romney Didn't Lose Because He is a Mormon. He May Have Lost Because He is Too Perfect.

Gosh, it hurts to compliment the Los Angeles Times, but I think they got it right today in a news analysis by staff writer Janet Hook, who explains that Mitt Romney did not lose because of prejudice against his Mormon faith, but rather because he was perceived as inauthentic by the electorate. Now, that's a very harsh judgment (especially to Governor Romney or one of his family). Indeed, the defeat of his Presidential campaign might be easier to take if he could blame it on religious prejudice. But that just would not be the truth; and the nation is better off because that is not the truth. Mitt Romney was defeated by his own campaign problems, not by rank prejudice. (Or, at least not rank anti-Mormon prejudice--as I explain below there was a different type of prejudice at work.)

In mitigation, I emphatically insist that the problem certainly was not that Mitt Romney actually is inauthentic, or lacks character. However, abetted by a few gaffes and sincere changes in political positions, the public perception arose that he is inauthentic, and he was never able to shake it. His policy positions seemed too well-honed to a model conservative political agenda prepared by McKinsey-trained consultants. He was too good looking and dressed too well.

Indeed, ironically, Governor Romney was handicapped by having led a life to date that is so full of success and achievement and so perfect that it inspires jealousy and envy rather than pure admiration. As Mike Huckabee put it following his defeat of Romney in Iowa, the voters went for the candidate who looks like the guy working next to them in the assembly line, instead of the one who looks like the guy who layed them off. The voters [usually] unspoken emotions of jealousy and envy fed the fault-finding and gave rise to the charges of inauthenticy.

So the answer to the question in the title of Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign biography, "Why Not the Best?", may turn out be, "Because the Best Won't Get the Most Votes."

Why Are West Coast Bagels So Anemic?

I have just arrived back into town after 5 days in New York City. I went into the office to check the mail but am dodging the clients, as I still consider myself on vacation. Consider my trip an excursion deep behind enemy lines, into Hillaryland.

One thought troubles me even more than the necessity of returning to work. Why are New York City bagels so robust? And why in contrast are West Coast bagels so anemic?

As a strictly kosher consumer who spends his New York sojourning mostly in Manhattan, my favorite bagel purveyors are H&H Bagels and Bagels & Co. The former is the best source for take-out bagels by the bag for the office breakfast or Sunday brunch at home. The latter is the best bet for in-premises dining, as they have an assortment of bagel sandwiches, to say nothing of delicious pizza, quiche, pastries, even poached salmon.

By contrast, the foremost bagel baker in Los Angeles is Western Bagel, which is very good, if you can't get a bagel from New York. Reader, please compare the photo of the robust H&H bagels above with the picture of Western Bagels below. In fairness to Western Bagel, please disregard that its photo portrays a plain bagel, while the photo of H&H bagels show an assortment. Believe me, the contrast is just as great between the respective plain bagel offerings of these two bakers.
It is not merely a matter of size, although here surely size counts. Once one bites into the bagel, the New York City variety offers more resistance, more character, more chewiness, more of what you eat a bagel for.

If you don't believe me, try this test. Order some H&H Bagels online--they ship nearly anywhere. Buy the same variety of Western Bagels fresh from their main Van Nuys bakery or one of their store locations. Compare the two. Tell me I'm wrong, if you dare.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bridge-Building: A Mormon View of Religion and Romney on Super Tuesday

[Note: The following are excerpts from my post today at Article VI Blog, which is devoted to exploring the intersection between faith and politics in the 2008 presidential election.]

This is just one Mormon's view. I want to write about the "damaged relations between Mormons and Evangelicals" to which John refers. . . . I'll look at this from three perspectives.

1. The surprised Mormon.

I am convinced that my own experience, as the Romney candidacy has unfolded, has been shared by most of my fellow Latter-day Saints. We have been genuinely surprised by the reactions to the Governor's run. We did not expect Al Mohler to agonize publicly over whether he could, as "a matter of Christian discipleship," justify voting for a Mormon. We did not see Huckabee's question, "Don't Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers?" coming, and we were stunned when it did. (The outrage came later.) The Iowa outcome caught most of us flat-footed too.

This group saw these developments "in sorrow more than anger." We received an e-mail from a reader that expresses that reaction well:

I am LDS and I wanted to chime in. I remember a time, maybe in the early summer, when the Mormon question was a bigger issue. Huckabee was asked a number of times when he was polling at 1% whether Romney's religion was relevant or not. This was a time, in my opinion, where he could have been a real leader and denounced bigotry in general. Instead he stayed mum and said things like 'of course religion influences me', and so forth. He had an opportunity to bring tolerance and acceptance.

What if he would have said: "We won't compromise our doctrines, but we need each other in this war for values, and we should be proud to work together." [Ed.: For Romney's part, that's what he was saying then and has always said.] Something like this would have strengthened the cause of social conservatism much more than what he chose to do instead: He chose to use religion as a weapon. He used religion and values voters to drive a wedge, and in my opinion set back the conservative values movement a long way.

George Bush won with evangelicals AND Mormons and others of faith and values, and even then only narrowly. Now, there is a divide. I still believe in conservative principles but I will never support a ticket with Huckabee anywhere close to it. I was hoping that this election could have brought about more acceptance and a greater desire to work together. Sadly it didn't happen. . . . Who is going to bring harmony to the values movement? Bush at least paid respect. I am not sad that Romney lost. I am sad that the movement of faith and values lost and it seems like our collective influence has been marginalized.

I can attest that our reader has a lot of company among LDS folk.

2. The offended Mormon.

A good friend of mine is a long-time Republican activist and was a presidential appointee during the current Bush administration. He and I were talking at the time of the "Jesus and Satan are brothers" brouhaha. In exasperation, he said something like this to me, referring to Evangelicals who were either critical of, or hesitant about, Romney based on his Mormonism:

I'm done with these people. Mormons have become the blacks of the Republican party. The religious right is happy to take our money, our volunteer time, and definitely our votes, but they don't want us to have a place at the table. Sure, we can serve in Congress, but we'd better not get uppity enough to run for president. Well, now that I know how they feel, they're getting nothing from me.

I don't share my friend's view, but I certainly understand it. I must say, it's tragic and totally unnecessary that this has occurred, but people are people.

Mormons (including Mitt Romney) did not come into this election looking for a fight. We have always voted for a candidate of another faith; that's just normal life to us. The idea of not voting for a presidential candidate because he's a Baptist or a Methodist or a Catholic is simply foreign to us. (Hence the "surprised Mormons" described above.)

. . .

In fairness to my friend, by "these people" he meant religious conservatives who make an issue of a politician's Mormon faith but still want the political help of the poiltician's co-religionists. He wasn't divorcing himself from Evangelicals.

3. The bridge-building Mormon.

I aspire to membership in this group. My sense is that I have a lot of company. We of this bunch are dismayed at what has happened but, consistent with our faith's general attitude, we seek out people of good will and high moral standards with whom we can make common cause in civic matters.

It's significant, in that regard, that the new president of our church, Thomas S. Monson, said this on the day his selection was announced:

Responding to a reporter’s question about the Church’s openness in working with other churches and groups, President Monson said: “We should not be sequestered in a little cage. We should eliminate the weakness of the one standing alone and substitute it with the strength of working together to make this a better world.”

That's a very, very familiar teaching to me, as a Mormon; I've been hearing it all my life.

There are far too few voters who care about families and marriage and protecting youth from the rot of our continually coarsening and secularizing society. We cannot afford to fragment ourselves.

It would help us all if the candidates would echo that theme. I think Romney has been doing that. John McCain does not care about social issues much, but he could do the Republican Party, and the base whose support he needs, a great service by:

  • Denouncing religious bigotry and the abuse of identity politics.
  • Picking up the phone and calling his ally Huckabee and insisting that Huck do the same thing.
  • If McCain gets the nomination, pointedly involving Romney in his campaign and announcing, before the election, that he will invite both Romney and Huckabee to have a significant role in a McCain administration, and that he expects there to be no sectarian divisions in his team.

Now that would be leadership. Let's see if we get something close to it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

McCain Has Won; Now Let's Not Lose the Republican Party

At hugh today, perhaps the first sign of a surrender to reality. Noting the huge, probably insurmountable delegate lead amassed by Senator John McCain of Arizona, while urging both Governors Romney and Huckabee to stay in the race until the convention, and continue to make their views know, Hugh nonetheless added:

"At the same time, Romney and Huckabee ought to begin to note Senator McCain's lead and urge their followers to recognize that if they cannot come back they and their followers will have to come in and join the party's eventual nominee."

In another post today, Hugh noted how important it was for Ronald Reagan to have stayed in the race for the Republican nomination in 1976 after he fell behind President Gerald Ford. Of course, it was President Ford who received the nomination that year, not Governor Reagan.

All of which I suspect is Hugh's gentle way of saying, "Romney supporters, let's get real, we fought the good fight but it's over and our man lost. Now let's try to see that Hillary (or less likely, Senator Obama) does not win, or that if she does, that we still have a party to challenge her in 2012."

Winning the White House will be a tall order for John McCain if as it appears he is the GOP nominee. As Karl Rove pointed out in his analysis on Fox News last night, the very States that McCain has won to build up his delegate lead are largely ones that he has little hope of winning in November against either Democratic candidate, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California. (Senator Obama has the mirror image problem on the Democratic side; his wins were mostly in Red States.)

The huge win by McCain in a closed Republican primary in California ought to be a wake-up call for the conservatives who have had a stranglehold on the GOP for decades now. There are masses of Republican voters who are more centrist than the Party base. When one fields a candidate who will appeal to those voters, those voters will respond and the candidate can win. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proved that. When the Party nominates a candidate who appeals only to the true-blue social conservatives, the party cannot win a statewide or national office, as has been shown in election after election after election.

UPDATE 2/7/2008:
Apparently, Governor Romney agreed with me regarding the need to unify the Republican Party behind John McCain. Good man, that. Perhaps he reads The Hedgehog Blog.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Mike Huckabee Channels Ross Perot '92

A reporter asked Mike Huckabee, "Governor Huckabee, why are these conservative leaders going to Governor Romney's camp and not Senator McCain's?" The entire exchange is summarized here.

Huckabee's response:
"Some suggest that the fact that Bain Capital owns a major stake in Clear Channel is on Sean's network, that maybe there's a correlation. I don't know."
How innocent. I do wonder, however: Mike says that "some suggest" this "correlation."
I don't who "some" means; do you? Kind of reminds me of "Don't Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers?"

You know, if we weren't talking about a self-described "Christian leader" whose "faith defines him," I'd think Huckabee was engaging in slimy innuendos designed to capture headlines and sow rumors and doubt. But Pastor Mike would never do that.

Would he?

Dog Bites Man, Or: Why Evangelicals Must Preserve Their Political Influence By Voting for . . . The Mormon

My blogging partner at Article VI Blog, John Schroeder, has written an important post about why he, as an Evangelical Christian, has now come out for Mitt Romney. On the eve of Super Tuesday, I hope as many Evangelicals as possible read John's post, "What Is At Stake."

John's thesis:
"The conservative voice in the Republican party is at stake - everybody agrees on that, and Evangelicals are the energy, motivator, and banner carrier for that voice. . . . The current electoral calculus is such that a vote for Mitt Romney is the only way to preserve that voice."
Read the whole thing.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

John McCain Doesn't Like to Be Asked Some Questions

Don't Ask McCain - video powered by Metacafe

(HT: CoMITTed to Romney.)

Thought for the Weekend: Huckabee or Romney?

Hugh Hewitt today:
A Huckabee voter on Tuesday could have a lot of reasons for sticking with Mike, but one of them cannot be protecting the legacy of Reagan or the platform of the GOP as it has existed since 1980.

The choice is very clear, and Republicans have a long weekend to think it over.
Can anyone disagree?

Update: Rassmussen has the national race this way, as of today: Romney 30%, McCain 30%, Huckabee 21%, Paul 5%.
In California, as of Jan. 30 it's McCain 32%, Romney 28%. That looks like a horse race to me.

Another Conservative Breaks to Romney: Liz Cheney

Here's the video:

Friday, February 01, 2008

Rev. Cecil Murray: Who Faces Greater Discrimination: Obama or Romney?

These words from a well-known African-American religious leader may surprise you:

The full transcript of the interview is at Article VI Blog.