Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Romney's Miscue

Two responses to Romneys speech on faith from last week, the first from Townhall.
In a December 6-9 Gallup poll, nearly half of the respondents endorsed an even stronger anti-atheist statement, saying they would refuse to vote for "a generally well-qualified person" of their own party "who happened to be an atheist." The corresponding number for a Mormon candidate was 17 percent, about the same as before Romney's speech.

Romney tried to build on this advantage, wrapping together all religions, except for "the religion of secularism," in a warm, fuzzy package. "Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me," he said. "We do not insist on a single strain of religion; rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith."

Americans who have never "knelt in prayer" clearly should not bother auditioning for the "symphony of faith." Romney conspicuously failed to address the question of whether they also are excluded from his circle of friends and allies.
That's by Jacob Sullum, who brings up a pretty obvious question, one which Romney should answer. I mean if he believes that Freedom Requires Religion, what does he think of the non-believer?

The second is from Slactivist, who you should be reading regularly anyway.
Romney's gambit here comes straight from the school yard. As a Mormon, he is an outsider, getting picked on by the bullies of the religious right. Instead of standing up to the bullies, he sucks up to them, trying to prove his loyalty and win their approval by acting like them and picking on the other outcasts and outsiders. "You guys want to pretend that 'secular' and 'profane' are synonyms? I can do that. Look, I'll even beat up this atheist kid for you. See? I'm just like you guys!"

This desperate, canine obsequiousness infuses his sniveling speech with fearfulness and flopsweat. Romney is pleading, begging to be allowed to serve as the bullies' toady. As far as that goes, he has probably succeeded. Eager-to-please toadies can come in handy, so the bullies will probably be willing to accept him in that capacity.

But as useful as they may sometimes be, toadies are never liked, respected or admired by the bullies. Nobody likes or respects or admires an unprincipled coward. And the characteristics of a successful toady don't fit with anybody's notion of the characteristics of a potential president. A toady can't get elected president (the best he can hope for is a Connecticut senate seat).
I don't think he's wrong.

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