As if. But the whole thing fascinates me. My conservative friends in the States are daily bemoaning the lack of a real choice – a fiscal and social conservative who isn’t a loon or a serial adulterer.

  • Romney – a centrist moderate if ever there was one. The Republican hierarchy might like him but the footsoldiers aren’t convinced.
  • Gingrich – a man that cheated on and dumped not one, but two wives. I mean, seriously?
  • Ron Paul – more a libertarian than a republican. Most think he’s in for entertainment value.

Which leaves one guy. Santorum. I’d be voting for him. Yes, he’s a Roman Catholic but he makes no bones about it, unlike Romney who fudges the big questions (oh, how good would it be for an interviewer who knew his stuff to press him on Mormon doctrine).

And when he talks “family values” you know he means it. There’s a glaring hypocrisy in Gingrich’s scathing attacks on Bill Clinton while he, himself, was conducting an extra-marital affair. I don’t know how you get past that in terms of establishing integrity – not once, but twice.

What also strikes me is the question of who really is the conservative front-runner. Consider these comments from Santorum at today’s CNN debate,

 

Of course the reality is that Santorum may not last until Super Tuesday. But I’d hope he will – because there’s a growing sense that Gingrich is a loose canon. At some point he’s going to explode and then Santorum will be clear. And once it’s Santorum vs Romney then surely he’ll be home and dry. Unless, of course, Ron Paul has money to throw down the drain.

 

7 comments on “In Which I Swing the Republican Nomination Race

  1. I assure you Ron is not in it for “Entertainment”.  He, and the many who support him are dead serious and for good reason. 

    I find it unconscionable personally that anyone who calls themselves a Christian could support the likes of Newt OR of Santorum.  Not because of their Catholicism, or even necessarily because of their personal lives.  But simply because of their complete lack of ability to let their yes be yes and their no be no.

    Neither of them have an ounce of real principle.  Both are politicians, not statesmen.  Neither understands the real historical and economic issues at play – they’re just puppets repeating statements prepared for them by their handlers in any issue of real substance.  They make grandiose promises with no regard for whether they can actually deliver – because after all – presidents are expected to lie to constituents about all the great things they’ll do and then fall through in actually doing them.  They promise everything in years off when they’ll no longer be around to be held accountable.

    Meanwhile, Ron labors daily in a real fight for what is good and right.  He consistently responds the same day after day.  He knows what he believes and is firmly convinced of it by extensive study.  He is not blown here and there by every new idea and every whiff of voter discontent.  Whether you support him or not, this is what he believes and that’s all there is to it.  *That* is real principle.

    Most of all, he is the ONLY person in the running (including Obama) who recognizes the horrible error of wantonly involving ourselves in affairs that are not our own.  Engaging in continual warfare with other nations with no regard to just war principles at all.  No attempt to follow the wisdom of the founders in forcing those in the federal government who must most directly answer to the people to specifically approve of military action (the house of representatives) seeking wisdom in a multitude of counselors. 

    He alone on the stage, consistently across all issues upholds the rule of law.  He does not consider himself or the presidency above any of it, but seeks to submit everything to its authority.

    The rest, including Santorum, love to grandstand about their “prolife” position.  Their insistence on waging a political war at the national level as if *anything* can be changed there w/out a heart change by the people.  They have no interest in ending abortion, because once the battle is over they have no means to hold hostage the “evangelical” vote.  Meanwhile, states which would long ago have outlawed abortion if they’d just listened to Ron and rightly returned the authority to the states continue to murder millions of children every year. 

    No, this is not entertainment, it’s serious—dead serious.

  2. hi Mark, thanks for taking the time to write a detailed reply. Just to clarify, I intended to communicate that others find Paul “entertainment”. I have no doubt that he himself is utterly sincere. For one thing, I admire his utter consistency.

    I think, however, you are a little unfair. To state that Santorum has “no principle” or that he has “no interest in ending abortion” is not, I would suggest sustainable. Would you not credit the notion that he has his own principles?

    To speak of “their complete lack of ability to let their yes be yes and their no be no”
    is quite harsh. But more than that, to make this an issue of Christian orthopraxis “I find it unconscionable personally that anyone who calls themselves a Christian could support the likes of Newt OR of Santorum” is surely too much.

    I think, personally, that Paul’s relegation of the abortion below that of the state/federal issue (ie that he did not vote for pro-life matters at a federal level because of the principle of the state/federal divide) is the unconscionable act. Surely you can argue for that divide but also step up when the issue is brought before federal legislature?

    Maybe we could tone down the rhetoric a little? I’m quite convinced that Christians can, in good conscience, support a number of candidates. I also think they’d be mistaken to support some of those same candidates. But let’s be a little gracious in how we’re stating the case.

  3. I don’t disagree that Christians can support a range of candidates in various elections.  And, I don’t exactly disfellowship people for choosing otherwise than me – even in the election we’re discussing here.

    However, given the statements made by these men even on this stage do not leave a lot of room for support.  One cannot be “pro-life” and see their bloodthirsty warmongering as acceptable.  We oppose abortion (or should) on the grounds that all people are created in the image of God, and therefore taking the life of a person is a serious matter.  These men exhibit no such caution or restraint.  People in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan are all made in the image of God – to so blithely engage in rhetoric about killing tens if not hundreds of thousands of them is despicable.  Endorsing such things is something I cannot conscience, and do not believe any one who names the name of Christ should.

    Santorum has even been recorded on video stating that he has heard of *scientists* working for countries like Iran in their various nuclear programs that have been found dead.  He stated that he *hopes* that the United States is behind that.  It is to him, perfectly reasonable for a nation to assassinate the scientists of another nation that are working on projects they disagree with.  Is this an idea you find to be compatible with a “pro-life” position?  Somehow I doubt it.

    I should have been more clear.  “They have no interest in ending abortion” was a general statement regarding the GOP politicians at large.  I have no doubt that there are some who at some level really do want to oppose and end it – but who simply lack the wisdom to understand how to go about it.  Having been deeply involved in this party for a number of years now (and I do mean deeply) I am well aware of the reality though that this is an issue that is used to work up the base and get them to vote for the GOP candidates of choice, and the convictions of many a politician that runs on that platform runs no deeper than it has to in order to get elected.  Not because they are particularly pro-choice, but because in reality they don’t care.  This isn’t about principles or what is right, but about gaining power, wealth, and influence.

    No, it would not be right for Ron to support the legislation which came before him at a federal level.  In fact, some of it, far from making abortion illegal actually made the problem WORSE, but yet was praised by the ignorant who failed to actually read the bill and understand the contents had nothing in common with what it was named.

    It may seem wrong to vote against abortion bills because of what seems to you as a ‘state/federal’ divide.  However, in all kindness, that is because you fail to understand what is at stake.  History has demonstrated the results of those sorts of bills and they are not positive.  Those actions would lead to an absolute disaster in this fight.

    The unfortunate reality of most politicians, and sadly many evangelicals, is that they never bother to look down the road to see the real long-term consequences of a choice.  They think only of the here and now, and thus they make choices that seem good to them, but in reality are shortsighted, foolish and costly – and in the end net them exactly the opposite of what they desire.

    Secondly, how is it a demonstration of integrity to claim to be in favor of the rule of law, to be governed by the laws of the country whom you are elected to uphold, and then go contrary to them when it is convenient to you and for a principle you like?  How is that reflective of the command to let our yes be yes and our no be no? 

    Finally, I understand you may feel my statements to be harsh.  However, if you actually look at Santorum’s record you will find that what he claims to be in favor of, what he claims to support has often run afoul of the way he has voted.  I stand by my statements, which are not rhetoric, but simply observations of fact.  If you wish I can begin to detail those.

    I can give a lot of grace on a lot of things, but the abuse of our military and the violation of Christian principles in the governing of a nation and how it behaves towards other nations is not one of those.

    All that being said, I appreciate the distinction you are making.  I don’t know how many really see him as Entertainment over here though.  Frankly, most in the GOP are frightened of his candidacy, and they should be.  The GOP has gone far astray over the last 16 years, and the base is finally waking up to the fact.  If it continues a lot of people will be out on their ear, and we’ll all be better off for it. grin

  4. Thanks Mark. I’m going to engage a few of the things that you wrote:

    Endorsing such things is something I cannot conscience, and do not believe any one who names the name of Christ should.

    It is to him, perfectly reasonable for a nation to assassinate the scientists of another nation that are working on projects they disagree with.  Is this an idea you find to be compatible with a “pro-life” position?  Somehow I doubt it.

    Yes, I do. Allow me to explain. A Christian pro-life position is based, as I understand it, upon the Scripture’s statements about the God-given and therefore image-bearing value of all life. But if that is the case then we are to accept all of the Scripture’s conclusions on that matter. So I find Gen. 9:5-6 very challenging for it concludes from our image-bearing that capital punishment is the appropriate response to murder. Further, the state is also an agent of God’s wrath (Rom. 13) so what we may not do as individuals is a role that the state may take upon itself. As for war itself, I’m sure you’re well-versed in the arguments surrounding Just War Theory. I’m not saying that I subscribe to all of it but it’s simply not right to claim that a pro-life position necessarily excludes some other positions.

    from there we could remark that being in favour of the invasion of Iraq is not the same as being in favour of atrocities. In terms of the recent attacks on Iranian scientists, if they are part of the current Iranian attempt to procure nuclear weapons (which one assumes is the motivation for the assassinations) then I tend to agree that it falls under the Romans 13 category. FWIW, I think Mossad is a far more likely candidate.

    Secondly, how is it a demonstration of integrity to claim to be in favor of the rule of law, to be governed by the laws of the country whom you are elected to uphold, and then go contrary to them when it is convenient to you and for a principle you like?
    But that’s not what I’m actually arguing. It’s not illegal per se (as I understand it) for the Federal legislature to legislate on these matters. It’s just that a man like Paul believes that it’s not the Fed.‘s role. So be it. But no-one’s asking him to break the law. As I argued before, it’s a matter of which principle you value more highly. Personally, I’d say the pro-life agenda is paramount (your arguments about the effectiveness of that legislation notwithstanding).

    Finally, I understand you may feel my statements to be harsh.  However, if you actually look at Santorum’s record you will find that what he claims to be in favor of, what he claims to support has often run afoul of the way he has voted.  I stand by my statements, which are not rhetoric, but simply observations of fact.  If you wish I can begin to detail those.
    I think I’d find that helpful to understand the argument more. Do you have your own blog you can post it up on or a reference to an already existing claim?

    Frankly, most in the GOP are frightened of his candidacy, and they should be.  The GOP has gone far astray over the last 16 years, and the base is finally waking up to the fact.
    Don’t get me wrong – I understand all that. I have conservative friends in the US who daily bemoan the state of the GOP. It’s just that Paul doesn’t look credible. Now that could just be me judging by appearances, in which case I should repent (and that quickly). But I’ve got to say, I was struck in the debate that he argued that the principle of fed/state distinction was a higher one that pro-life (unless I heard him completely wrong). At least that was the practical outworking of his position. I guess for me the pro-life thing is paramount.

  5. Yes, I do. Allow me to explain. A Christian pro-life position is based, as I understand it, upon the Scripture’s statements about the God-given and therefore image-bearing value of all life…capital punishment is the appropriate response to murder. Further, the state is also an agent of God’s wrath (Rom. 13) so what we may not do as individuals is a role that the state may take upon itself.

    None of that contradicts my point.  I absolutely agree that there is a clear and serious punishment laid out by God for those who commit murder.  Capital Punishment itself, rightly administered, is not murder and neither is war when conducted justly.  I agree fully with the components of Just War theory as I believe they accurately represent the teaching and example of Scripture.

    I am also inclined to believe it is not the US that is murdering those scientists.  That is not the issue.  The issue is that for Rick Santorum, this is a thing to be praised.  Yes, there is accusation that they are working on nuclear weapons, but thus far there has been absolutely no proof of that, only rhetoric.  People have pointed to various reports, but when you read the reports they don’t actually support the claims being made.  There is zero evidence that they are developing Nuclear weapons.  Just as there was zero evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and indeed we found none.

    Even if Iraq were doing so, these are scientists.  They are not combatants.  If you have a scriptural justification for why it is okay for one nation to murder the citizens of another nation for suspicion (however unfounded) that they may be working on something that may or may not be used against that nation I’m all ears. 

    When Rick, and others in this field, talk about such things what I hear is a Isa 59:7: “Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways.”


    As for war itself, I’m sure you’re well-versed in the arguments surrounding Just War Theory. I’m not saying that I subscribe to all of it but it’s simply not right to claim that a pro-life position necessarily excludes some other positions.

    I didn’t say pro-life means you have to exclude war as an option.  I do not, and it would be absolutely wrong to take such a position. However, I *do* believe that war is a serious business that should only be undertaken under specific circumstances and that most somberly with a due understanding of the cost.  Not only in direct human life, but in the impact it has to spouses and children and communities of those who are lost.

    To speak so eagerly of going to war and wreaking havoc and destruction on yet another nation in that region, practically with JOY considering the death of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands is NOT in keeping with a mentality that values life.


    But that’s not what I’m actually arguing. It’s not illegal per se (as I understand it) for the Federal legislature to legislate on these matters.

    Yes, actually, it is illegal for them to legislate on these matters.  For generations now our federal government has scorned its legal limits, and done what it pleases without regard for whether they have authority under the law to do it.  Our last speaker even had the temerity to mock the very idea that they had to care whether the law allowed them to engage in a type of legislation.

    The fact that the law has been mocked and ignored doesn’t excuse continuing to ignore it when it happens to suit us and our ideals.


    As I argued before, it’s a matter of which principle you value more highly.

    This is again, an issue where good men disagree.  I understand why people desire to just end it across the nation in one fell swoop.  However, it seems like at some point you should take a step back and ask if that’s the right approach?

    We’ve been fighting this battle for almost forty years.  That’s more than forty million children murdered.  Now, in the United States, the federal government doesn’t deal with violent crime.  Their role has nothing to do with such violent crime.  As Ron rightly said in the debate, they don’t make or enforce laws against murder, assault, robbery, etc.  Those are ALL handled by the states.

  6. So consider, what if, instead of buying into this idea that we should try to make the federal government step in where it has no legal jurisdiction to do so…what if instead of fighting a battle that is almost certain to lose year after year after year to overturn this SC decision…what if instead we rightly used the legislative power to restore the right of individual states to make this determination?

    Would we still have states with legalized abortion?  Of course.  Would children still be murdered?  Yes.  Some states – especially on the coasts – are filled with people whose hearts are filled with wickedness and who are going to successfully oppose any such effort.

    But a great *many* states will have outlawed it.  A great many have tried repeatedly and been shut down because nobody will take the right stand on this.  Here in Texas, according to the last statistics I saw we average nearly 80,000 abortions a year.  Yet that is concentrated in particular areas, and if we had a hope of the law not being overturned in the SC it would be illegal here immediately.  There would be no hesitation. 

    Would all children be saved?  No, but who honestly believes we will ever see that?  What is the likelihood we will stamp out abortion worldwide ever? Even if one believes that possible (postmils) what are the chances we’ll do it all at the same time in one fell swoop?  No, it must come incrementally.

    I love my many brothers and sisters who take this view, and I know that they find it hard to imagine allowing a single baby to die.  But while they insist on protecting all, they do not see how they allow hundreds of thousands to die who could otherwise be saved—all because of their shortsighted “all-or-nothing” stance. 

    I forgive this in voters, because I understand them.  I understand how they have been taken in by those who see them as a group to be exploited.  Who have never-ending faith even after forty years of failure that someday they’ll do something about it. 

    The politicians though know better.  They live at that level, and they know the corruption of power.  They know what they have done.  They know how they have used confusing language and bill titles, and political procedure and backroom deals inscrutable to most of their constituents to make just enough progress to keep the votes coming but not enough to lose this most important of controls on the “evangelical” vote. 

    I’ll give an example.  Rick Santorum supported the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.  Sounds like a good thing, and I’m sure he’s proud of it.  I’m certain he’s proud of some of the rhetoric he uttered during the debates in the senate.

    But as some (smaller) right to life organizations that are not as corrupted by politics as some of the national ones are have rightly pointed out – this bill does the opposite of what it claims.  In supporting this bill, our politicians ensured that this debate would rage for many more years. 

    See, this bill openly defines a difference between “infanticide” and “abortion”, making it now a part of LAW that an unborn child is not an actual child – that life doesn’t begin at conception.  Second, it actually *authorizes* partial birth abortions, it just defines in what manner they are allowed to be done.  It’s not a ban at all, it’s just a bunch of parameters and legal boundaries within which killing a partially born child is okay, and outside of which it is not. 

    Sadly, Ron himself supported this bill – though with reservation – because it would, in the end, actually save some lives.  I understand that, and would have myself been highly conflicted in how to respond, but I fear that the choice was the wrong one and only made the fight more difficult.  Not only because of the above, but because it further cemented it being a federal issue through a terrible violation of constitutional authority. 

  7. As for your other question, I’m afraid that while I do have a blog it’s presently down.  I had to stop using my prior hosting location and I haven’t had time to get it back online since moving it.  Much work needs to be done to it, and I find I rarely have time to post anyway.

    I’ll be brief.  Santorum has repeatedly touted his “conservative” credentials, yet during his time in congress found no qualms about repeatedly supporting federal government education programs – including the disastrous “No Child Left Behind”.  He claims to regret this now, but this was not an abnormality, but just one of a long string of choices to support nationalized education – which has been a terrible blight on our children. 

    Along those same lines, he was a major part of the push for the prescription drug entitlement program.  He was also a part of the infamous group supporting Sen Steven’s “bridge to nowhere” up in Alaska, and has avidly and continuously supporting Amtrak – when as a conservative he should’ve been promoting private enterprise and competition – especially given the terrible performance and wasteful spending of Amtrak.

    Of course, that sort of thing makes even more sense in light of his open siding with Labor Unions against American Workers in opposing the national right to work act. 

    Santorum is just another big government, tax-and-spend, warmongering neo-con.  He talks a good game on social issues, but rarely does he actually address what it will take to implement some of the things he says.  He doesn’t really point out to people that if he actually followed through on it, few if any people would actually want to live here.

    But then, Santorum is a RC, and as a RC the idea of forcing an external religious veneer on people isn’t all that foreign to him.  Having a strong central power that forces a sort of external morality on people fits rather nicely with RC history and theology.  Doesn’t really fit so well with Scripture though.  (Though admittedly – some of that is my reformed baptist theology coming through.) grin

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