Monday, December 31, 2007


It's just stupidity. It's like they just don't get it. About Romney, presidential hopeful Romney. For my part, I don't have a strong opinion. He looks the part of president? Please. If you take a look at the toads who have slept in the Lincoln Bedroom, starting with Lincoln, you must understand that looks have nothing to do with it. If it were about looks, I should be Divine Emperor of the Universe. Cuz I'm so gorgeous, you understand. Just lovely. Radiant. Aaaahhh. But it's not about looks. So get over me. Anyway, I'm not running.

As for Romney, here are some of the complaints.
"If you followed only his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, you might imagine Romney as a pragmatic moderate with liberal positions on numerous social issues and an ability to work well with Democrats. If you followed only his campaign for president, you'd swear he was a red-meat conservative, pandering to the religious right, whatever the cost. ...

"As a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1994, he boasted that he would be a stronger advocate of gay rights than his opponent, Ted Kennedy. These days, he makes a point of his opposition to gay marriage and adoption.

"There was a time that he said he wanted to make contraception more available -- and a time that he vetoed a bill to sell it over-the-counter."

"The old Romney assured voters he was pro-choice on abortion. 'You will not see me wavering on that,' he said in 1994.... These days, he describes himself as pro-life."

"There was a time that he supported stem-cell research.... These days, he largely opposes it. As a candidate for governor, Romney dismissed an anti-tax pledge as a gimmick. In this race, he was the first to sign."
But wait! There's more! Romney said he's been a hunter "pretty much all my life," referring to the one time he went hunting as a teen, and then again the only other time he went hunting, last year. Well, yes, there is a way that counts as most of his life. He never received an NRA endorsement as governor, as he claimed on Meet the Press. His father did not march with MLK -- his claim to that effect was only “figuratively”. He claimed to have cracked down on meth labs, but actually the proposals got bogged down in the state legislature.

Gracious. Sounds like sometime within the past decade-and-a-half he's changed his mind on some number of things. Sounds like he has sort of an Al Gore exaggeration slash imagination problem going on. Whatever shall we think?

To complain that a man says he's a hunter when he is not might be missing the point. I've never been hunting. I shot a bird once in my early teens with my grandfather's .22, and felt weird about it, and never did it again. I'm not a hunter, and don't want to be one. But in a society that eats meat, hunting cannot be immoral. It seems to be a right, and I'm fine with that. I'm on the side of the hunters, and not on the side of the ... whatever they'd be called ... the gatherers. In this sense, I'm a hunter. Maybe that's what Romney is as well.

The non-existent NRA endorsement? Embarrassing, but Romney is not a genius. To misstate an easily checked fact is hardly shrewdness. It sounds more like an error of memory, a misremembered conversation. The antecedent was that the NRA phone banked for him, acting, then, for his election and in his interest. Not an explicit endorsement -- an implicit one. Likewise with marching with MLK. His father was active in the civil rights movement. Standing shoulder to shoulder is a sort of marching, don't you suppose?

To complain about changes of position is to lament the fact that Romney was wrong, and now he's right. Unless it is his sincerity that's being questioned. Is Romney then a liar? On what grounds would the charge be made? That he has changed his positions? He did so openly. Where then is the lie? Is it feared that he will be untrue to his current positions? In what way? He will go back to an old position? That would indeed make him, effectively, a liar. We must always be concerned that a politician will betray his promises. But our concern should be rooted in something other than constitutional cynicism. To say that all politicians are such-and-such is to say that all of a certain race are such-and-such. The only safe generalization is that all politicians must make compromises to achieve results. Those who don't would be called either ex-politicians or dictators.

This is America. It doesn't matter what you used to be. What is the American Dream, but that the future will be better than the past? -- and does that not also apply to our character? What sort of a man never changes his mind? We grow. Flip flop doesn't mean to change one's mind; it means to do so for reasons of political expedience. What child is it, who doesn't understand the difference between wavering, and the change of heart that comes after long soul-searching? Who is it that was never wrong? What should we think of a man who never admits an error? It is not a betrayal of principles to broaden one's understanding. Part of intelligence resides in the ability to adapt to new information and circumstances. Adaptability is not a moral failing.

I'd vote for Romney, I suppose. He's just a businessman. I want Giuliani. If Huckabee gets the nomination, I'll vote for Hillary -- it's no more anti-American, and it will be better for the country in the next election, since it would be the Dems rather than the so-called Republicans who are utterly discredited. The long view matters. Huckabee, reportedly, said that illegal immigration gives Americans a chance to make up for slavery. Whatever else this is, it is not conservative. Go, Hillary!

I think Giuliani has the force of character and the international respect to do great things. Flawed? Of course. If we get close enough, we'll always have to hold our noses. But we're hiring someone to get a job done. I don't care how he parts his hair, and I don't care about his core values. His heart and his state of grace is his own affair. I care about what he'll do. Aren't we past the need for perfection? Heroes are not for worshiping.


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