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A cult favorite. Well-fed Republicans. Year of the migraine. Time's up. Plus more.

1.3.08

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ABOUT THOSE HORNS
Re: Carrie Sheffield's Evangelicals Against Mitt:

Thanks to Carrie Sheffield for the excellent article about Mitt and the potential growth of the LDS church.
-- Jay Price

I am a Catholic who has been pleased to serve and work with people of every religious persuasion, including Mormons and Muslims.

The dozens of Mormons I have called friends have several character traits in common. They don't drink, they are fine husbands and wives, instill values of fidelity, honesty, service, and manners in their children. Then they reinforce those values by living them.

A Clinton Protestant or a Mormon? Let's see, lies versus truth; adultery versus fidelity; self aggrandizement versus service?

I'll take one Mormon, please.
-- Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina

We should look at Morality, not theology!

God knows, I won't be backing Mitt Romney, but not because of his LDS membership. His John Kerry like shifting-of-positions does not instill much faith in character; much more an opportunist than a real guy. He's not to be trusted.

And Mike Huckabee and his supporters are even worse than nauseating -- those quotes from Erickson and Keller illustrate how totally warped the evangelicals are.

All this "my God is better than your God" nonsense can cause one to completely turn off any/all GOP musings. And, no, no way I'll vote for any of those clowns on the Democrat side -- never!

Yet, even sharing breathing space with the likes of those sanctimonious evangelicals like Mr. Keller is most repugnant. I detest people like him, Ms. Erickson, James Dobson, and all those preachers with the audacity to tell their flocks how to vote. Their tax deductions should be yanked, as should Al Sharpton's, Jesse Jackson's and those on the left. Yesterday!

As an independent Independent and Deist, I shake my head in wonderment that such garbage continues to persist -- and that people actually listen to/follow these appalling creatures. I may sit this one out; the lesser of evils, or the evil of lessers sucks.
-- Jack Frost

In my opinion, Ms. Sheffield's conclusion would not be the case at all. She thinks evangelicals might be worried that Mitt Romney in the White House would demonstrate that "Mormons don't have horns." She describes the "common worry among evangelicals" as that Mitt's presidency "would give legitimacy to a religion they believe is a cult."

However, this conflates two different issues. Mormons certainly don't have horns if this is meant in a personal sense. Most Mormons I know are nice and unthreatening, and even conservative. There's nothing about them at all to suggest they are a robotic, brainwashed cult-like fans of Hannah Montana. I would even vote for Mitt over Mike, heeding the sage advice, albeit twisted up a bit, that it's better to be governed by a foolish Turk than a foolish Christian.

The complaints of the evangelicals have more to do with theological issues, and the term "cult"-probably over the top to use the term nowadays-has to do with truth in advertising. Evangelicals think Mormonism is a religion that likes to advertise itself as Christian while covering up its departures from historic Christianity.

There isn't any real "moral equivalency" between Christianity and Mormonism, i.e., no basis for a tu quoque, as in "what about Christian beliefs?" Christians are usually right up front about what they believe, and seldom hide their beliefs, even though no doubt atheists like Christopher Hitchens wish they would.

For Christians, Mormon teaching is really quite strange, and even puzzling. From an "epistemological" point of view, evangelicals are right to fear that Mormons wear horns, pretty long ones too, bigger than those of a Yukon moose.

A Romney presidency would have the opposite effect from what Ms. Sheffield concludes. Rather than reassuring everyone about Mormonism, it would, in fact, invite an enormous amount of critical scrutiny, from conservatives and liberals alike. Mormons put a smiley-face on their religion when it's for public consumption, and have even been known to deny some of their more egregious teachings, but they would not be able to do this for long when the Democrat attack dogs are set loose on a Romney administration.

Are Mormons really prepared for a Romney presidency? I don't think so.
-- C. V. Crisler
Gilbert, Arizona

Ms. Sheffield, like most apologists for the Mormon faith, likes to play the pity card, though she does so with a more deft touch than most. She writes: "Perhaps the only real worry for evangelicals is that, if elected, the former Massachusetts governor will demonstrate to Americans that Mormons don't have horns."

The truth of the matter is that Christians have legitimate theological concerns about Mormonism. Mormons, after all, consider Christianity -- what they refer to as "traditional Christianity" -- to be an apostate religion. In theological terms, it's hard to condemn a church more strongly than that. And it's not surprising they teach that, considering the very real theological gulf between the two faiths. Honest, I'm not offended. But it stands to reason that Mormons have lost the right to be taken seriously when they complain that "traditional Christians" say horrible things about their own religion. What, there is a huge difference, but only Mormons are allowed to see it?

So long as any criticism is aimed at theological issues, to me it seems fair. Religions are defined by their theology, after all. Maybe Christians do need to be a bit less harsh regarding our differences, but Mormons could be a bit more forthright about them.
-- Lee Dise
Virginia Beach, Virginia

REPUBLICANS HAVE JOBS
Re: Philip Klein's Hungry Democrats:

Seeing more visible turnout, excitement, activity, and participation from Democrats in Iowa (and elsewhere in the country) as compared to Republicans could have something to do with the demographics of the situation.

I personally know of no Republicans/conservatives who have the time to attend bogus political circus acts and speeches or who can take significant time from work during the day (or even after business hours) to do anything except get ready for the next day.

Plenty of Republicans/conservatives will turnout and get involved when it's important they do so...but most of us have to actually work and produce something for a living and have to set priorities accordingly.
-- Dave Schallert

Mr. Klein's article is a reminder that self-identified "conservatives" who wanted to punish Republicans in 2006 and/or thought throwing away an election or two was a brilliant strategy have damaged the GOP far more than the Democrats whose purposes they so mindlessly served. If insurgent Democrats (seems fitting considering their unwavering support for the terrorist insurgents in Iraq) do seize the White House this year then they, corrupt labor unions, homosexual activists, abortionists, pseudo-scientists, billionaire "vulture" capitalists, lobbyists and other beneficiary's of government pork, proponents of tax increases, MS-13, the government of Mexico, Putin, oil producing states, Islamic extremists, the world's dictators and the run of the mill American coward longing for a pre-9/11 delusion owes these so-called "conservatives" a big thank you for not only the Democrat's victory, but killing the Reagan coalition and short circuiting the Bush/Rove political realignment that seemed a possibility in 2004.

Still their is a silver lining to every political commentators dark cloud -- the GOP can bash the surrender monkey's of the DNC with victory in Iraq, that John Conyers and Congressional Democrats are advocating not only an increase in the income tax and capital gains but also an increase in the Federal gasoline tax of 50 cents, despite the credit crunch the stock market has expanded more than at any time in history, an economy despite Democrat efforts to talk it into recession is still stronger than Clinton's anemic "boom," a strong pro-life record of accomplishments, a Supreme Court moving in the right direction and the failures of the incompetent and embarrassing Reid/Pelosi Democrat Congress as an illustration of Democrat change.

Historically, Republicans go into the Presidential election with forecasts of defeat based on polling and predictions of massive Democrat turnout. That hasn't happened. Even Democrat "star" Bill Clinton was a minority President winning by a plurality of the vote in two elections thanks to Ross Perot siphoning off Republican voters. This year I'm hoping Michael Bloomberg throws his hat in the ring as an independent alternative to the two parties. That can only be good news for the GOP and ultimately the nation if it helps thwart a Democrat seizure of the Presidency.

The GOP's unspoken motto in 2008 should be "Let Democrats starve!" Remember: politics is civil war without the bloodshed, and defeat is never victory.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

First, let me state my disclaimer. I grew up in Iowa. There are many fine people who live there, BUT...

To my everlasting bafflement, who made this tiny state important? The population of Iowa is a little less than, oh say, metro Phoenix. Now. Ten percent of these people will haul themselves to their precincts to kick off the election for President of the United States. What kind of madness is this?

Don't even start with New Hampshire -- their demographics are even worse!

Just to make this all more interesting and relevant, I think it would be a good idea to have a rotating roster of all the states to kick off the primary season of the general election.
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

Gee whiz, thanks Phil Klein, my glass isn't even half full like I've been trying to convince myself. This is just swell. Maybe if the Republicans lowered expectations as well we could finally see how highly qualified each and every Republican running really is?
-- Roger Ross

YEAR OF THE MIGRAINE
Re: Shawn Macomber's Rudy in Trouble and Quin Hillyer's Angry Old Man:

You folks carried several interesting columns this Iowa caucus day. Quin Hillyer had an interesting take on Sen. McCain. It has been a mystery to me for some time how folks do not seem to take a persons demeanor into account when considering a candidate for President. Our President commands the most efficient and lethal military in the world, yet we do not seem to concern ourselves with his temperament. We make a huge deal of the temperament of candidates for the office of a judge at all levels of the judicial system, yet they they do not have their finger on the nuclear button - so to speak. I look back at LBJ and his massive and volatile temper, and I don't want to see that type person in the Oval Office again. Nixon's temper was huge, albeit not as overt and volatile as that of LBJ. The stories of Hillary Clinton's temper are both legion and legend, yet the Dems have made her their designated betting favorite. John McCain's temper is every bit as vicious and volatile as Hillary Clinton's. Shouldn't that be one of the prime considerations for a person asking us to install him/her in the Oval Office?

In a similar vein, we have Mike Huckabee who has demonstrated an extremely thin skin for someone that wants to be elected to the top political job in the world. Sometimes I think that George Bush is simply oblivious to everything being said to and about him, to the detriment of his administration, Huckabee demonstrates a complete opposite trait. The Clintons with their war room operation demonstrated an extreme thin skin threshold also. Maybe it is something in the water systems in Arkansas. I know that it doesn't make me want to vote for Mr. Huckabee.

Shawn Macomber does a creditable job of discussing Mayor Rudy's journey to becoming a one- trick pony. Really, Shawn, should we be that surprised? If the mayor was running in the Dem race, he would not be so in need of his single issue, national security, campaign. I don't know, but it seems that the fact that he, as a New Yorker, is so out of tune with the main stream of the GOP on a national basis might have something to do with the situation. He is out of touch with the Repub majority on abortion, on gay rights issues, on immigration, on the 2nd Amendment and gun control issues, on the kinds of judges that he nominated to the bench in New York, etc. He could expand a little to encompass crime control, but gee he is not really in step with the party voters, except the so-called "moderates," which are really liberals. The mayor seems to have more in common with Christie Todd Whitman than Ronald Reagan.

Finally, we have the column by Carrie Sheffield. I would only like to add one piece of information to her column. She writes that some percentage of Evangelicals and other protestant groups insist that the LDS church is a "cult," and Romney, therefore, a cultist. I have a bad habit of consulting dictionaries for the meaning of words and concepts in dispute. I find that the word "cult" has at least three meanings. The first meaning is; "a system of religious worship." That would mean that Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Catholic, Islamists, Jews, Buddists, Evangelicals, and more are all cultists. The second meaining is; "devoted attachment to a person, principle, etc." That would make anyone that is devoted to the candidacy of Mike Huckabee, or Barack Obama, or Ron Paul a cultist, along with the more dedicated fans of all the other candidates. This would also mean that anyone dedicated to the principle of "Conservatism" is a cultist also. I confess. That makes me a cultist, along with many others that appear here regularly as either writers or commenters. On the other side, all the believers in liberalism are also cultists. The third meaning is; "a sect." I won't pursue that, except to say that there are more "sects" in American society than one can keep track of with an abacus. The bottom line would seem to be that a huge percentage of folks in our great country are cultists, including virtually all the ones hurling the charge around about Mr. Romney. I find that particularly disheartening from the standpoint of the lessons and instructions that I find in my Christian Bible, and from the standpoint of the principles and instructions that come with, or at least used to come with, citizenship in America.

An interesting group of articles.
-- Ken Shreve

Many thanks to Messrs. Macomber and Hillyer for making me feel that 2008 will be one big migraine. Is that light at the end of the tunnel really the Hillary Express with Bill frolicking in the caboose? I'm still a Rudy guy, as I believe he's what's needed in these dangerous times, but I cannot deny some of what Mr. Macomber has written.

Thompson is a very attractive 2nd choice. McCain, ah yes, McCain, well, to be charitable, he's just the opposite side of the same coin with Hillary; arrogant, insular and elitist. If you were offended at what McCain said to Senator Cornyn during the immigration debate, just wait till "el presidente" addresses the entire country. Jimmy Carter in a cardigan, he ain't gonna be. Huckabee is a complete and total train wreak for the conservative movement. So, as I sit here at my computer, I'm thinking the only guy who really makes sense is TAS's own Michael Tomlinson. I like Mike!! Who's with me?
-- A. DiPentima

Shawn Macomber is baffled about Rudy's strategy.

I'm not. Here's why:

Rudy Julie Annie.

The guy's a Big Government Liberal -- just like they all are. Except Ron Paul.

For a group of people who really liked Ronald Reagan, I'm really surprised that you're so confused.

But then again, maybe you're not -- maybe you're Big Government Liberals masquerading as Conservatives.
-- Vic Sorlie
Bedford, Texas

EVANGELICALS ARE SCARY!
Re: John Tabin's Anything Goes:

"Frankly Scarlet, I don't give-a-hoot." Or words to that effect. John's rundown as to what might happen tonight should be colored with the gross stupidity displayed by the Iowa caucus bunch.

Interviews of the probable voters (as seen on Hannity & Colmes, etc.) in those supercilious "focus groups" illustrated such terminal dumbness it's appalling.

Huckabee a conservative? Give me a break! The interviewer asks about tax hikes and illegal aliens, and the guy answering was totally snowed!

And these people are theoretically among the more knowledgeable? My God!

No, gang, I haven't a clue. The so-called evangelical bunch are scary! So how can even the more astute even speculate what those dingdongs are going to do?

That said, on the Democrat side, my guess is Obama, Edwards and Clinton in that order. And it's strictly a guess; the socialist/Marxist bunch come out of the woodwork not in proportion to their actual numbers.

And, among the GOP, sadly, those "social conservatives" and their misplaced/warped priorities cause teeth-gnashing and terminal warts. Like, how can you be overly concerned with gay crap and anti-choice things if our country is getting overrun by the illegal (NOT "undocumented") aliens and the terrorists. We've gotta survive first!

But, can we?

Those people I saw being interviewed made such a sorry exhibition I wanted to barf -- Mike Huckabee a conservative? Unbelievable.
-- Jack Frost

STOPPED CLOCK
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Crybaby Kerry:

Don't stop the clock! Remember how long it took Hillary to produce the Rose Law Firm billing records? This is how the liberal Dim-ocRats operate: delay, delay, delay, until they think the voters no longer remember or care. Someone needs to hold Kerry accountable for something. If not you, and the Crybaby Kerry Clock, then whom? Let this be the monkey on Kerry's back that rides him into retirement.
-- Bruce Clark
Texas

I suspect it is that we have all been looking for the Navy to release Kerry's records. It is more likely that his records are in the hands of the Veterans' Administration. (Now called the Department of Veterans' Affairs) There used to be several kinds of discharge: Honorable, General, Under Honorable Conditions, Bad Conduct Discharge, Undesirable Discharge and, the ultimate disgrace-- Dishonorable Discharge. Although it is probable that Monsieur Kerry received a General Discharge; he might have gotten a Bad Conduct as he was still an officer in the Naval Reserve when he began to give aid and comfort to the enemy. In view of his record of 3 Purple Heart medals, he likely was chewed out, given a letter of reprimand for the record and booted out with the General, Under Honorable Conditions discharge. (He would have had to consent to this to avoid court martial but the Navy would also have been spared the bad publicity.) The alternative I suspect would have involved a General Court Martial and Bad Conduct Discharge. Either of these discharges would have involved an appeal to the Board For Correction of Naval Records.

This board would have requested his record, reviewed this and any documents showing an unblemished record since service and then, voted to upgrade the discharge. (Election to the Senate may have constituted sufficient rationale for the upgrade. We all know how honorable that bunch is given Surrender Harry Reid and his ilk.) After this and other reviews, the records would have lastly been shipped to the Veteran's Administration. There, they would remain until Traitor Kerry gave written authorization for their release. (For the sake of brevity, I have jumped past some of the reviews and procedures of the Navy bureaucracy and a definition of the various kinds of discharge. For example, an Undesirable would have been used to expel someone with bad habits like habitual drunkenness, failure to keep one's self clean or homosexual behavior.) Of course, this is speculation similar to my suspicion that Kerry made no effort to run for president this time 'cause Billary has his FBI file. It's ironic that this crybaby buffoon has turned Swiftboating into a pejorative term.
-- Dick Lambert
Eagle Rock, Virginia

Thanks for illustrating the on-going farcical bravado of Mr. Kerry by using the ticking clock. There is good news and bad news that comes from this decision. The bad news is: Removing the clock from your Web Site as an act of mercy or a need for the extra space on the page, will be claimed by Mr. Kerry as some sort of "victory for truth."

The good news is: We won't have to see his smiling face over our morning coffee.
-- John Gronke
Indian Head Park, Illinois

This clock thing was a distraction. Kerry should be put on trial for lying to Congress and jailed.

Conservatives need to go on the offensive, not engage in limp-wristed, arid gestures.
-- Douglas Herz
Pleasanton, California

FISHING FOR MEN
Re: Eric Edwards's letter (under "Shreve Tide" ) in Reader Mail's Making Music:

The debate between myself and the other commenters regarding Mr. Graham has been extremely interesting. I am surprised that so many folks can not see that Mr. Graham's work was NOT of this world, but of the next. His work was about what we call "saving souls," not about tax policy, or welfare rights, or civil rights, or a war in Southeast Asia, at least not per se.

I am also surprised that so many folks do not seem to believe in the arts of gentle persuasion. Heaven know I got enough resistance when I dared to confront folks on the issue of religious bigotry against Mr. Romney. Yet now I find that I am wrong to say that perhaps Mr. Graham was right, tactically, in adopting a less than confrontational strategy in his dealings with the movers and shakers of the world. He was not, after all, compromising on the need for a belief in Christ.

There is obviously also a group that says that you must be pure and only minister to thousands, then to be non-confrontational and get the chance to minister to millions. I wonder how many converts have been made by the theologically pure and confrontational preachers compared to Mr. Graham's record. Let us assume that half of those that came forward at his crusades were already practicing Christians, and thus not converts or lost souls. Let us further assume that half of the rest lapsed some length of time later after the crusade commitment. I would submit that the remaining quarter did represent souls brought to Christ by Mr. Graham, and that figure would number in the millions. Can anyone suggest another evangelist that has been as successful as a fisher of men in the last 150 years?

The Christian Bible tells us that Jesus instructed his followers to give unto Caesar those things that were Caesar's and to God those things that were God's. I would suggest that is exactly what Dr. Graham was doing. Dr. Graham was flexible regarding those things that belonged in the realm of Caesar, but I am unaware of any case where he compromised his principles or his mission for the kingdom of Christ. Should Dr. Graham have refused to meet with LBJ because he made crude remarks and took the Lord's name in vain? How would that have helped to try to bring LBJ's soul into communion with Christ. Should Dr. Graham refuse to deal with any Jew? After all, Jews deny the divinity of Jesus. Was Dr. Graham compromising his principles to negotiate with atheistic Communists and Socialists about bringing Christian revival to their countries? Why do you want him to cut off his nose to spite his face? When Dr. Graham is presented to our Lord on His throne, will our Lord chastise him for failing to hew strictly to a Christ like purity, or will he report the number of lost souls saved and say to Dr. Graham; "Well done, my faithful servant"? Purity is a wonderful thing, but when one is dying of thirst, one will take a drink that is not pure so as to last to reach the pure well.
-- Ken Shreve

KEEP ON FREDDING
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Conservative Blackout

I wish that all the primary/caucus voting was done on one day so a few voters would not be picking out next President. I don't want Fred to drop out, I want a chance to vote for him in February.

He is the ONLY candidate that has it all. I have been calling FoxNews the RINO News. When Fred is on one of the shows they are bordering on being rude.
-- Elaine Kyle

PREENING PEACOCK
Re: Shawn Macomber's The Fifth Nag of the Apocalypse:

I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Macomber's hilarious take on Biden's vane stump speech. It's important to remember, however, that Biden's clownishness has a long history, beginning with plagiarism in law school, a badge of self-deceit and blatant fakery which he carried into his 1988 Presidential run, when the Dukakis campaign demonstrated that he had lifted big chunks of his stump speech from the UK's former labor party leader, Neal Kinnock. See: http://www.famousplagiarists.com/politics.htm#biden

The problem with Biden is that his lack of authenticity is on record. There really is no "there" there. A preening peacock, and probably a swell guy, to be sure, but certainly not a viable contender for the office of President.
-- Peter R. McGrath
Winter Park, Florida

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