This November will be the sixth time I have voted for President. And while I have followed the primaries and final elections with different degrees of interest over the years, am I wrong in thinking that this is working up to be the most contested election on both Republican and Democrat sides? Or it could be that I remember the present more than the past? If that’s the case, I’ll soon be looking for my teeth and shaking my cane at the damn kids on my lawn.

The Republican race has narrowed to Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney. Of the two, I prefer Romney. Not that either one makes me all that excited. I would have liked to hear more from Sen. Thompson, but I didn’t think he had the executive experience to be a good President. Besides, with his dropping out of the race, I can’t vote for him this November.

I’m hoping Romney will get enough delegates to get the Republican nod, but I won’t do what Ann Coulter has threatened to do if McCain wins. Coulter claims she will campaign for Sen. Clinton if McCain gets the Republican nomination. Huh? How is that smart? When it comes down to the election in November, I will vote for the Republican, even if it is McCain. (I won’t. I don’t believe McCain has the temperament to be President; he scares the crap out of me. Come back, Fred! –TPK) While I disagree with much of what he has done, I disagree less with McCain than I do with Senators Clinton and Obama.

I want a President that I can agree with 100%, but I know that I won’t get that. So when it comes down to actually electing a President, I would rather vote for someone who is “good enough” than register a “protest vote” for someone else. Besides, it is the primaries where we get to vote for the candidate who best fits our principles. Then when the actual Presidential election comes around, we vote for the party that best fits our principles. Sound strange? But consider this — if you don’t vote because you are annoyed at who ended up being on the ticket, you can’t really complain. And if you voted for the Democrat candidate as a protest vote, you will either succeed in putting a Socialist in office at worst, or lose your voice with a victorious Republican President at best.

But when the dust settles after the voting in November, we will have elected a new President who will be sworn in this time next year, despite what some nay-sayers believe. Many millions of dollars will have been spent on both sides, acres of print will be published, and probably half the nation upset that their candidate wasn’t elected. But that is the nature of selecting a President of the United States.

Unbeknownst to many people in the U.S., there was another kind of new president announced this week. With the death of President Gordon B. Hinckley on Sunday, the 27th of January, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was left temporarily without a leader. But yesterday his successor was announced. In a press conference in Salt Lake City today, President Thomas S. Monson was announced as the 16th president and prophet of the Church. Unlike the presidential campaigning going on now across the U.S., there is no campaigning to determine who will be the Church president. At the death of the president of the Church, the longest-serving apostle is selected as the next president. And unlike the office of President of the United States, there is no question of Pres. Monson’s qualifications or capability to lead, since he has proven himself many times over in over four decades of service as an apostle.

But that’s the difference between the President of the Church and the President of the nation.

So Sen. McCain won all 57 delegates from Florida by finishing with 100,000 more votes than Gov. Romney. Michelle Malkin points out an interesting aspect of the Florida vote, but I’m going to go with an honest win for McCain since I’m no Al Gore.

Since McCain’s victory, I’ve read and heard many reports gushing about how McCain is a juggernaut and can’t be stopped. But here’s something to consider about the recent Republican primary in Florida: people in the media are claiming that McCain is the obvious and proper Republican candidate now that he has 28 more delegate votes than his closest competition, Romney. But no one was anointing Romney as the obvious Republican candidate last week, when he was 29 points over his closest competition, McCain.

Why? Well, knowing the bias of the mainstream media, it’s no wonder that they like the more liberal McCain over Romney. And I, for one, don’t take my political cues from the leftist media.

When my brothers and I were kids, we once had a conversation shortly before Christmas that ran somewhat like following:

“I’m not going to tell you that I’m getting you a fire truck for Christmas.”

“Well, I’m not going to tell you that I’m getting you a Batmobile for Christmas.”

Funny thing, when Christmas came around, we weren’t all that surprised at the toys we got, but that’s the sort of immature logic you get with little kids. That is why I was surprised to see this same silly logic used by a Presidential candidate, former governor Mike Huckabee.

The television spot, which calls Republican rival Mitt Romney “dishonest” for airing ads that distort Huckabee’s record, ran in the afternoon in Davenport, at dinnertime in Cedar Rapids and during a 9 p.m. newscast in Davenport, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

The on-again, off-again ad has been at the center of one of the oddest events in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses. After days of withering attacks by Romney, a former Masachusetts [sic] governor, Huckabee took a day off the campaign trail Sunday to fly to Arkansas and film a 30-second counterattack ad, which was prepared for release in Iowa the next day.

But Huckabee changed his mind Monday morning and announced at a noon news conference — which was scheduled to launch the spot — that he would not air it because he did not want to run a negative campaign and risk alienating Iowa voters.

“I pulled the ad,” Huckabee said at the news conference. “I do not want it to be run at all.”

But no sooner did he make the pledge than he proceeded to show the spot to reporters while cameras rolled, ensuring that it would be aired in news reports and spread across the Internet.

The move drew criticism, as Huckabee was accused of trying to backhandedly attack Romney and claim to take the high road.

OK, so he isn’t talking about toys, but he’s claiming the moral high-ground by not showing the commercial, but in the same soapbox press conference he used to pat himself on the back, Huckabee airs to the press the very same commercial he won’t show. And that guaranteed that it would be shown by the press. When Huckabee told the press that he was going to show them the very commercial he was pulling, the press recognized this as a silly stunt and laughed. But that didn’t stop them from participating in this stunt and airing the commercial.

I was either six or seven when I “didn’t” tell my brothers exactly what they were getting for Christmas. And in our defense, we learned not to do that again. But this is not what I expect in an adult.

I won’t tell you that I’m not voting for Huckabee in the upcoming primary.

I don’t base my choice of political candidates based on a quiz on the Internet, but sometimes they are fun to take. I saw a link to a political quiz on Instapundit.com, and I decided to go along. Here are my results.

Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Your Result: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts, where he was known as a centrist. He reformed the state healthcare system, and would pursue reforms at the national level as well. Romney supports oil drilling in Alaska, but also alternative energy sources. He claims to be conservative on issues like abortion and gay civil unions, and he supports the Iraq war. Romney supports fair trade, as well as a greater focus on math and science in our schools.

Ron Paul
John McCain
Rudy Guiliani
John Edwards
Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
Dennis Kucinich
Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Take More Quizzes

It just so happens that at this point, I’m leaning more towards Mitt Romney because of his positions and comments than any of the others, but I’m still not completely won over by anyone. I did noticed that Fred Thompson is not in the list, and I have no idea how the questions are measured, so this is far from scientific. I file it along with other “gee whiz” type of activities. Feel free to take it, too. I do find it funny that I have no matching positions with the four Democrat candidates.

Since anyone can create a quiz without showing the logic behind the score, the quality of the quizzes do varies. I took several quizzes for fun. You can try these three:

In order, I got 100%, the West, and 100%, not that the scores are all that important. But the American accent test appears to have mapped nicely to another one I took.

The Washington Post has a video of Republican Presidencial candidate Mitt Romney visiting a diner and talking to the people there. The video focuses one of the people who works there at the diner, Michele Griffin, and what she would ask Mitt Romney when he arrives.

I ask all the candidates: What are you going to do for me? My family? You know. My husband works two jobs. I just came back to work. I was disabled for two years. My hands were really bad. We had a rough time making it.

Later when Romney was talking about reaching out to other nations with our medical technology, Griffin shouted out, “Excuse me, how about our nation? How about the USA? Come on!” Romney answered her by explaining the private health care insurance plan put in place in Massachusetts while he was governor of that state. You can watch the six minute video if you like, but you should be able to understand Griffin’s point of view from what I’ve already quoted.

The thing I found very telling about Griffin’s attitude is how self-centered it is. “What are you going to do for me?” She wants to know what the federal government is going to do to take care of her and her family. But how is it the responsibility of the federal government to do so? I’ve heard people quote the Preamble of the Constitution that says, “promote the general welfare” and extract from that the concept that the federal government should take care of everyone. But notice that is says “promote” not “provide.”

It’s sad that Griffin has such high medical bills and a family that has so many medical problems. But when she says, “What are you going to do for me?” she’s not just asking that of the candidates. She is asking that of you, John and Jane Public. What are you going to do for her? More specifically, how much are you going to pull out of your wallet to take care of her problems? Because if the government pays for her medical bills, the money is coming from your wallet.

When I hear people ask the government, “what are you going to do for me?” I hear the voice of self-centered greed. And that’s not pretty. In all fairness, Griffin may not be demanding a hand-out from John and Jane Public, but I am pretty confident that she doesn’t understand that government has no money that it hasn’t first taken from someone else.

Since former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is running for President, more attention is being paid to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members, commonly called Mormons. Recently PBS broadcast two two-hour shows about Mormons, and people are using Romney’s religion to bash him.

I guess it’s time I wrote about polygamy and the Church, since it’s in the news again. At this point, I need to point out the obvious to the people in the back who are not paying attention — these are my opinions. I don’t presume to speak officially for the Church in the same way that I don’t speak officially for the company I work for. Now that the legalistic CYA is done–curse this litigious society–it’s on to our story. Drudge is reporting some quotes from a recent interview of Romney by Mike Wallace that will be broadcasted on 60 MINUTES this weekend. Here’s one paragraph from Drudge’s flash.

Romney acknowledges that voters may have a problem with his religion’s history of polygamy. “That’s part of the history of the church’s past that I understand is troubling to people,” he says. The practice, outlawed before 1900, is equally troubling to him. “I have a great-great grandfather. They were trying to build a generation out there in the desert and so he took additional wives as he was told to do. And I must admit, I can’t image [sic] anything more awful than polygamy,” he tells Wallace.

I don’t have a problem imagining something more awful than polygamy. Slavery is worse. Hutus and Tutsis machetteing each other is worse. A planet-killer asteroid wiping out all life on Earth would be worse. And I imagine being nibbled to death by ducks would be a real bummer, too.

But is there something intrinsically wrong with polygamy? I’d have to say no since the Bible records many people who were polygamists, and these weren’t bad people, either. Both Abraham and Jacob had multiple wives, and the Bible records them as being godly men. King David also had multiple wives, and when the prophet Nathan confronted David, he confirmed that the wives were given to David by God. It was in the killing of Uriah the Hittite and taking his wife where David sinned.

So if God gave these men multiple wives, how can it be wrong? The key is recognizing the difference between participating in polygamy because God commands it, and doing so because you want to. In the Book of Mormon, Jacob chastised the people because they were taking multiple wives and using the fact that David did so as their excuse.

Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none… For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

So marriage is defined as one man and one woman, unless God commands otherwise. It took a revelation from God to instruct Joseph Smith to start polygamy, and it took a revelation from God to finish it. That revelation came to Wilford Woodruff, the fourth president and prophet of the Church. And since the command to practice polygamy was rescinded at the end of the 19th century, the LDS Church has officially stopped supporting polygamy. Any member of the Church who advocates for or practices polygamy will be excommunicated from the Church. The Church even issued a press release back in 2005 about linking active polygamists with the Church.

Recent news reports regarding various issues related to the practice of polygamy, especially focusing on groups in Southern Utah, Arizona and Texas, have used terms such as “fundamentalist Mormons,” “Mormon sect” and “polygamous Mormons” to refer to those who practice polygamy.

There is no such thing as a “polygamous” Mormon. Mormon is a common name for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church discontinued polygamy more than a century ago. No members of the Church today can enter into polygamy without being excommunicated. Polygamist groups in Utah, Arizona or Texas have nothing whatsoever to do with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Since it has been over a century since the practice of polygamy was stopped in the Church, why bring it up now? Every time someone in the a U.S. Army gets interviewed, are they asked about the Wounded Knee Massacre? Do reporters bring up the USS Maine explosion when Spain is mentioned? Is Jack the Ripper an issue discussed when London is in the news? The answer to these three examples is no, there is no need to bring up these events from a century past unless the subject is germane to the discussion. So why is polygamy a germane subject for Mitt Romney now? The simple answer is that the media doesn’t like Republicans in general and Romney in particular, so anything that could be brought up to tar him with past events is allowed.

What would be the response if President Bush were to claim, publicly, that Jews don’t believe in God? What would be the response if Rush Limbaugh stated on his show that Catholics don’t believe in God? In both cases, the media and liberal pundits would pitch a regular hissy-fit over the insensitivity, ignorance and religious bigotry reflected in the statement.

Enter Al Sharpton.

“And as for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyways. So don’t worry about that. That’s a temporary… that’s a temporary… uh… situation.”

Reads pretty cut-and-dried to me. Sharpton has tried to backpedal, but he’s just making it worse: “A Mormon, by definition, believes in God. They don’t believe in God the way I do, but by definition, they believe in God.” Then who are the people who really believe in God? According to what Sharpton said, they ain’t Mormons.

Interestingly enough, many of the sites that have quoted Sharpton are cleaning up his language. The actual quote is”those that really believe in God will defeat him anyways”, not “those who really believe in God will defeat him anyway.” And they clear up his stutter at the end. Just a minor nitpick.

Hugh Hewitt sums up the tin ear some people have displayed when it comes to Mormon bigotry:

I argue on a recent Stand To Reason radio broadcast that the American ear has been trained to hear and the American mind trained to condemn racial bigotry, and that that was a very good thing for a civil society to learn.

We have also been trained to hear and condemn anti-Semitism and, to a lesser extent, anti-Catholic bigotry. Again, very good things.

We are in the process of learning to distinguish between anti-Muslim rants and anti-jihadist commentary, and to rebuke the former and welcome the latter as any pluralistic society must.

But we are largely untrained in detecting anti-Mormon slurs like Sharpton’s, even though they are interchangeable with all other ethnic, racial, or religious slurs. See if Sharpton’s bigotry draws any condemnation from within the MSM, or any scrutiny at all.

I’m guessing there will be little to no condemnation coming from the MSM. There will be a few articles, but overall Sharpton will be given a pass by the Left and his comments will go down the memory hole. This is Al “Tawana Brawley” Sharpton, after all.

Why do I expect more from the mainstream press than what they are actually producing? Case in point: the poison pen of Robert Novak. He recently wrote an article trying to tar former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with an event that occurred 150 years ago, the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Hugh Hewitt does a masterful job of taking Novak to task for his hit-piece:

There is no way to deal with religious bigotry that demands answers to questions that are not a candidate’s to answer. Robert Novak’s column today is just amazing in this regard. The estimable Mr. Novak writes a review of a new movie about the Mormon Massacre, and then casually asides:

Mitt Romney surely is not responsible for what kind of man Brigham Young was, but that question hurts his candidacy. Romney has been described by many Republican insiders as the perfect candidate: magnetic, smart and with an excellent record as an executive. His greatest liability has been religious bias against him. He has never seized this issue, thinking it so wrong-headed that it will go away.

Similarly, he has rejected efforts by the producers of September Dawn to reach out to him. I made three attempts without success to get his views of the movie. Neither watching it nor condemning it, he may just hope that Americans will not include this bloody tragedy in their spring and summer viewing.

Has Novak approached Giuliani on Urban VIII’s imprisonment of Galileo? What an incredibly absurd question and line of reasoning. On Monday the New York Times profiled Barack Obama’s relationship with the pastor who brought Senator Obama into his Christian faith, the controversial Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. This is a fascinating and appropriate subject to raise, as the Rev. Wright has many controversial views and is a significant figure in Obama’s life.

But the attempt to pin the Mountain Meadows Massacre on Romney is nothing short of the worst sort of prejudice–the assignment of guilt or at least the responsibility to explain a particular act of 150 years ago onto a candidate for the presidency in 2007? And when Novak writes that Romney has never seized this issue of religious bias against him, the reporter also reveals he hasn’t done much reporting as Romney has done so again and again –at length in my book, but also in profile after profile.

As I see it, Novak seized the chance to bash Romney and his candidacy over an event that Romney has neither any control over nor rightful blame for, but it’s a handy story to bash Mormon Mitt Romney, so on with the show! Of the declared Republican contenders, Romney is one of two with the executive experience that I see as necessary to being a good President. But whether you like Romney or not, Novak’s column reads more like an anti-Mormon hit-piece than like any serious journalism. I have to wonder why Novak sees fit to thump Romney about his Mormon faith when other Mormons serving in Congress are not asked the same question. Oh, heck, I know the answer to that–Romney is a Republican running for President, so it’s time for the media’s anal exam of anything and everything about him, and short of finding anything more recent or applicable, Novak resorts to using a 150-year-old horror to tar Romney. I figure if the media is willing to give Al Sharpton a pass over the Tawana Brawley fiasco, which Sharpton actually took part in, they should be just as forgiving of a piece of history for which Romney bears no blame.

But you and I both know the likelihood of that happening.

Orson Scott Card has weighed in on the Presidential candidacy of fellow Mormon Mitt Romney. Card’s article addresses six fears that are being raised about Romney becoming President. The first four are answered well:

  • Will Salt Lake City Tell Him What To Do As President?
  • Will Mitt Romney As President Make Mormonism Seem More Legitimate?
  • Mormons Aren’t Christians, Are They? Aren’t They a Cult?
  • What About Polygamy?

And then comes the next objection: Only Dumb and Crazy People Believe Those Doctrines! Yeah, I’ve already seen that charge leveled against Romney, and Card does a great job of addressing it. Here’s part of his response:

Ah. Here’s where we come to the ugly part.

This is what that article about Mormon beliefs in The Week was really about — making Mitt Romney seem like an idiot for believing in Mormon doctrine.

In his book, Hugh Hewitt recounts some really offensive, outrageous attempts by opponents of Mitt Romney to try to force him, in press conferences, to answer questions about Mormon belief.

“Do you, personally, really believe in [insert wacko-sounding doctrine here]?”

Sometimes the people asking that question will be evangelical Christians out to “expose” how false and ridiculous Mormon doctrines are.

But when the press picks it up, it’ll be anti-religious people using a man’s religious faith as a reason to ridicule him so he can’t be elected President.

Do you think Mormons are the only people who can be treated that way?

If you’re a Catholic, would you appreciate some reporter asking a Catholic presidential candidate, “Do you really believe that when you take the communion wafer, it literally turns into human flesh in your mouth? Isn’t that cannibalism?”

If you’re a Baptist, would you think it was legitimate for a heckler at a press conference to ask a Baptist presidential candidate, “So you think that when Jesus comes again, you’re going to just rise right up into the air, no airplane, no jet pack, you’ll just fly? Or aren’t you a good enough Baptist to be in the Rapture?”

Everybody’s religious beliefs sound crazy when you talk about them scornfully.

The next time someone brings that complaint up online, I’ll quote that section of Card’s essay as a response and be done with it. Anti-Mormon bigots who choose to mock Mormons for their religious beliefs have already made up their minds, and nothing I could say — or quote — will change that, so I refuse to waste any more time with them.

But it is the final question Card poses that is the crux of the matter: Is Mitt Romney the Best Candidate? Card doesn’t know, and neither do I, but I can easily say that I’d rather have Romney for President than any Democrat I could name, other than Zell Miller.

Now do yourself a favor and go read the whole thing.

Being hypersensitive to insults is a hallmark of immaturity. If you are confident about yourself and your actions, then snide or insulting comments by others are not a big deal. But for some insecure people, the mere mention of a word they don’t like–regardless of its true meaning–is enough to outrage them. This is what happened several years ago when:

… teacher Stephanie Bell said she used the word “niggardly,” which means stingy or miserly, during a discussion about literary characters. But parent Akwana Walker, who is black, protested the use of the word, saying it offended her because it sounds similar to a racial slur.

Walker was not upset because the teacher uttered a racial slur, but because it sounded like a racial slur to her — it’s not the facts, but how she feels that matters.

Tony Snow got in trouble when he said “hug the tar baby” in a press conference, but he’s not the only person to recently say this. While at a fund raiser in Iowa, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney used the term when speaking about the Big Dig ceiling collapse. He defended his taking over the Big Dig project after a woman died in a collapse of the tunnel even though it could be a large political problem for him. He defended his action by pointing out that no action at all on his part would have been even worse. And then he said it — “The best thing politically would be to stay as far away from that tar baby as I can.”

I’ll give you a moment to recover from the shock of it.

Now that you are back on your feet and the tang of smelling salts is fading from the air, I have to ask a fairly simple question: did the Governor use the phrase “tar baby” in a racist way to label a black person, or was he talking about a sticky situation? It’s obvious from the context of his remarks that Gov. Romney was using the latter definition. But that really doesn’t matter. People who dislike Gov. Romney politically are upset by the phrase. Race-baiting poverty pimps are upset by the phrase. And hypersensitive people who see issues of race and prejudice in every action are upset by the phrase.

If someone ever speaks of a tar baby, ask yourself whether the phrase is being used to refer to a person or a sticky situation. Referring to a person that way is not acceptable, but using it to mean a sticky situation that is hard to get out of is not a racist phrase. It may sound like something objectionable, but it is no more racist than the word niggardly is racist, regardless of what it sounds like or how people feel about it.

I find it interesting that many of the same people who are resoundingly criticizing Mel Gibson for his verbal abuse during his drunk driving arrest don’t seem to bat an eye when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad utters his own anti-Jewish remarks while (presumably) stone-cold sober. But that’s neither here nor there. What really caught my eye about this issue with Gov. Romney was the following headline:

Gov. Apologizes for ‘Tar Baby’ Remark

Gov. Mitt Romney has apologized for referring to the troubled Big Dig construction project as a “tar baby” during a fundraiser with Iowa Republicans, saying he didn’t know anyone would be offended by the term some consider a racial epithet….

Black leaders were outraged at his use of the term, which dates to the 19th century Uncle Remus stories, referring to a doll made of tar that traps Br’er Rabbit. It has come to be known as a way of describing a sticky mess, and has also been used as a derogatory term for a black person.

“Tar baby is a totally inappropriate phrase in the 21st century,” said Larry Jones, a black Republican and civil rights activist….

Romney’s spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, said the governor was describing “a sticky situation.”

“He was unaware that some people find the term objectionable and he’s sorry if anyone’s offended,” Fehrnstrom said.

Fehrnstrom produced copies of editorials and columns from Boston newspapers using “tar baby” in a context similar to Romney’s. One example from 2004, a Herald editorial, used the term about the Big Dig itself.

Gov. Romney should have learned the lesson that every conservative must learn: never apologize to the Left. Doing so only encourages them to whine and complain more.