Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cattle Show

There have been some running debates in the Christian blogosphere over the current crop of possible, prospective, or actual GOP candidates for president, so I might as well add my 2¢, adjusted for inflation.

1.Rudy Giuliani

Rudy’s strength is also his weakness. The upside is that he has the blunt, gregarious, non-nonsense, in-your-face demeanor of the stereotypical NY Italian-American.

He has the right temperament to be a wartime president. An alpha-dog in a kennel of omega dogs.

The downside is that he also exemplifies NY values. And it isn’t limited to his abortion advocacy. He’s a militant, impenitent social liberal across the board:

His social liberalism also undercuts his strong points. He’s generally tough on crime, but his policies on gun control disarm law-abiding citizens, which leaves them defenseless in the face of criminals who, by definition, flout gun-control laws.

Likewise, he’s generally strong on counterterrorism, but his lax immigration policies may have contributed to 9/11:

And even now he supports amnesty.

A major problem with Rudy is that he might be too successful. One can easily see him redefining the GOP so that it ceases to be a vehicle for the religious right to sway public policy.

2.Mitt Romney

In my opinion, Romney would make an outstanding president—class president, that is. He’s out of central casting for Harvard class president.

There are two basic problems with Romney:

i) He’s Mormon.

We can debate whether or not this should be a deal breaker, but for evangelical voters, this should at least be a consideration. Electing him would instantly mainstream a religious cult. If Romney were a Moonie rather than a Mormon, I wonder if Richard Land would be coaching him on how to palm himself off as a Christian.

ii) He’s not a credible conservative.

To judge by his gubernatorial performance, Romney has a track-record which Barney Frank or Ted Kennedy would envy:

3.John McCain

McCain’s basic problem is that he has no guiding ideology.

Mark Levin, among others, has documented his many contra-conservative positions on amnesty, taxation, global warming, the right to bear arms, censorship of political speech, and civil rights for terrorists:

He’s also a very superstitious man.

Despite his bellicose rhetoric, he would be weak on counterterrorism:

He also has a very checkered record on abortion:

As well as gun-control:

McCain has the advantage of being a soldier at a time when only a small percentage of the populace has served in the armed forces.

This means that many voters feel intimidated, self-conscious, or guilty in the presence of a soldier. Who are we, pampered civilians, to criticize a war hero?

But if the electorate consisted of the WWII generation, he’d be a dime a dozen. A midget among the Pattons and MacArthurs.

4.Ron Paul

At one level, there’s no point discussing Ron Paul since he’ll never been the nominee.

In contrast to McCain, Ron Paul has all the strengths and weaknesses of a bona fide ideologue. His positions are only as good or bad as his libertarian outlook.

I’ve been over to his website:

There’s much that I agree with. He strikes me as a thoughtful, principled, intelligent man. I appreciate the fact that he doesn’t talk down to his audience.

His supporters respect his candor, although there’s a sense in which he can afford to be candid. With a safe Congressional seat, and no prospect of either becoming the nominee or his Veep, Ron Paul has nothing to lose.

His main weakness is on the crucial question of counterterrorism, where he’s a graduate of the Noam Chomsky school of foreign policy. Jonah Goldberg wrote a fine little article exposing some of the fatal flaws in his outlook:

Another problem is that, for all his limited gov’t rhetoric, the only branch he wants to limit is the executive. He’s a big fan of judicial oversight. But who oversees the judiciary? A runaway court system has done more damage to our country than any other institution.

5. Tom Tancredo

I like Tancredo on immigration. Unfortunately, he comes across as a one-trick pony.

6.Fred Thompson

He’s touted as the conservative alternative to the three frontrunners or top tier candidates.

But his philosophy on social issues seems to be very sketchy. So I haven’t formed a considered opinion of Thompson.

As a towering character actor, he commands an imposing stage presence, but at the moment he appears to be playing the role of Hamlet. Will he or won’t he?

7. Mike Huckabee

Huckabee is one of the two candidates I could easily vote for. A solid social conservative and a fine public speaker.

8. Newt Gingrich

Gingrich is the other candidate I could easily vote for. He’s morally flawed, as we all know. But he’s a solid conservative ideologue with a long paper trail and track-record.

He says what he means and means what he says. He’s extreme bright and highly articulate. He knows gov’t inside and out. Given a choice, I’m less concerned with what he is than what he does.

One can also get into a legitimate debate over the lesser of two evils. Wouldn’t Hillary or Obama, or Edwards or Gore be worse than any of the three frontrunners?

My immediate point is not to answer that question, but to clarify the respective evils. We already know what is wrong with the donkeys. But there has been a concerted effort on the part of the three GOP frontrunners and their supporters to whitewash their records and make them out to be more center-right (or even far right) than they really are. Let's not mistake a RINO with an elephant.

9. Duncan Hunter

I like his stated views and military experience. He also has two sons in the military. But the question is whether he can break out of the pack.


  1. Janet Folger has a new "must read" article about Mitt Romney over at Christian Worldview Network.

  2. From what I've read of Ron Paul's essays, I don't think Jonah Goldberg understands Ron Paul's approach to dealing with terrorists or his approach to foreign policy.

    Paul is suggesting we insist those in Washington do right, but don't step over the line. Chalmer Johnson's book Blowback enumerated repeated fouls around the world that get folks mad. It is not a matter of appeasment, it has to do with doing right to begin with.

    Paul is strong on using might for defense and this applies to terrorists.

    There is more. I'm ordering Ron Paul's book, a collection of essays on foreign policy. I'll learn more about what he says. So far, his statements indicate that the time will be worth it.

  3. Doesn't Ron Paul follow the racist Rushdoony?

    And I know he is friends with the lying Gary North of Y2K fame; in fact North was his aide some years back.

  4. In terms of legitimate frontrunners, this preseidential election presents the most dismal lot of choices in recent decades.

  5. I wish Paul Manata would run for president.

    His high intelligence, good looks, and 'take no prisoners' attitude would make the US a power again.


  6. Quote: "Doesn't Ron Paul follow the racist Rushdoony?

    "And I know he is friends with the lying Gary North of Y2K fame; in fact North was his aide some years back."

    Can you cite some sources? I've never, ever heard either that Ron Paul was a fan of Rushdoony (who I wouldn't consider racist anyway), or that he'd even met Gary North.

    If North was his aide (and again, you'll need to cite sources for that), then it probably has a lot more to do with their similar beliefs on economics than North's theonomic beliefs.

  7. I had to laugh today with the comment section!

    "I wish Paul Manata would run for president..."

    I hope more for him to be an apologist and theologian with a THD and PHD one day though...

    "His high intelligence, good looks, and 'take no prisoners' attitude would make the US a power again."

    Man, that's pretty funny!


    Paul Manata, if you ever decide to run and in need of an aide, I'm up in UCLA (I should be done with a Bachelor in Political Science by then..)

    Man, triablogue is a place for some good laughs...

  8. The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is often misunderstood . . Some accuse the Church of not believing in Christ and, therefore, not being a Christian religion . . This article helps to clarify such misconceptions

    · Baptism: .

    Early Christian churches, practiced baptism of youth (not infants) by immersion by the father of the family. The local congregation had a lay ministry. An early Christian Church has been re-constructed at the Israel Museum, and the above can be verified.
    The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) continues baptism and a lay ministry as taught by Jesus’ Apostles. . Early Christians were persecuted for keeping their practices sacred, and not allowing non-Christians to witness them

    · The Trinity: .

    A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ , His Son , being separate , divine beings , united in purpose. . To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and Who was speaking to Him and his apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration?

    The Nicene Creed”s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. . The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity , which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. . The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: "There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one."

    Scribes later added "the Father, the Word and the Spirit," and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. . . .He no longer believes in the Nicene Trinity. .

    Scholars agree that Early Christians believed in an embodied God; it was neo-Platonist influences that later turned Him into a disembodied Spirit. . Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans, was also part of Early Christian belief. . The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views the Trinity as three separate divine beings , in accord with the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts.

    · The Cross: .

    The Cross became popular as a Christian symbol in the Fifth Century A.D. . Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) believe the proper Christian symbol is Christ’s resurrection , not his crucifixion on the Cross. Many Mormon chapels feature paintings of the resurrected Christ or His Second Coming.

    · Christ's Atonement: .

    But Mormons don”t term Catholics and Protestants “non-Christian”. . They believe Christ’s atonement in Gethsemane and on the Cross applies to all mankind. . The dictionary definition of a Christian is “of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ”: . All of the above denominations are followers of Christ, and consider him divine, and the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament.

    It”s important to understand the difference between Reformation and Restoration when we consider who might be authentic Christians. If members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) embrace early Christian theology , they are likely more “Christian” than their detractors.

    * * *

    · Christ-Like Lives: . . .The 2005 National Study of Youth and Religion published by UNC-Chapel Hill found that Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) youth (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to exhibit these Christian characteristics than Evangelicals (the next most observant group):
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . LDS Evangelical
    Attend Religious Services weekly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71% . . . . 55%
    Importance of Religious Faith in shaping daily life –
    extremely important .. 52. . . . . . . 28
    Believes in life after death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 . . . . . . 62
    Believes in psychics or fortune-tellers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 . . . . . . 5
    Has taught religious education classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 . . . . . . 28
    Has fasted or denied something as spiritual discipline . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 . . . . . . 22
    Sabbath Observance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 . . . . . . 40
    Shared religious faith with someone not of their faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 . . . . . . 56
    Family talks about God, scriptures, prayer daily . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 . . . . . . 19
    Supportiveness of church for parent in trying to raise teen
    (very supportive) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 . . . . . . 26
    Church congregation has done an excellent job in helping
    Teens better understand their own sexuality and sexual morality . . . . . 84 . . . . . . 35

  9. Anon,

    Spare us your ignorance OK? Repent of your heresy. Mormonism is a cult and under the curse of God. It is in no way "Christian" accept that you use the Name of our Lord (unfortunately)...

  10. Who said Mormonism is christianity?

  11. Mormoni,

    Perhaps this quote from the anonymous commenter will help:

    "Some accuse the Church of not believing in Christ and, therefore, not being a Christian religion . ."

    Therefore the inference is that Mormonism DOES believe in Christ and IS a Christian religion since that is the error he is trying to correct. My comments were in response to his...