On Halloween night six days before we choose our next president, I must confess that I realized inside me there resides a real fear of what would happen if Obama won next Tuesday. In the spirit of Halloween I decided to give in to that fear, like going to a horror movie, and allow myself to be really, really frightened by the specter of an Obama re-election. So here’s my Halloween Nightmare: Obama II, the sequel.
Like in a horror movie, things may look fine on the surface, but then the ominous music starts playing and you know something’s just not right. This close to the election I feel like I’m watching the American public in the role of that poor teenager, innocently wandering in the dark alley by himself, not knowing the danger right around the corner. The entire audience knows it’s there, and it seems anyone with half a brain would know as well. Yet the teenager doesn’t see it. And so the drama builds…will the hapless teenager keep moving toward danger, or will he turn at the last moment? The suspense is killing me.
But unlike those horror movies, where the fear is contrived and you can calmly go home afterward, my fear is real. The threats to our economy and freedoms are real, and there may be no going home afterward. Obama II may be a nightmare we don’t wake up from. Why am I so worried? What is this ominous music I’m hearing? Tonight I give in to the fear and try and give it a voice. Tonight I try and give a name to what lurks in the dark corners of my mind:
Maybe I’m worried that the next four years will be like the last four. I sat and watched from my position as an attorney for startup companies and venture capitalists as the economy slowed, investment ran dry, and people just didn’t get jobs back, even after reports of an improving economy.
Maybe it’s the fact so many people gave up looking for work. They don’t count in that 7.8% unemployment number anymore but they’re still unemployed.
Maybe it’s the passage of Obamacare, with its thousands of pages, new taxes and failure to reduce costs. When it seemed our economy needed an energy boost, the president was sucking more blood from it.
Maybe it’s the statements I hear from founders of large and small companies that if Obama is re-elected they’ll move those companies, either out of my state or out of the country.
Maybe it’s my dismay at Obamacare’s constitutionally-questionable mandate that some employers do things against their conscience and pay for their employees’ contraception.
Maybe it’s the use of constitutionally-questionable executive orders to do an end-run around Congress on immigration law.
Maybe it’s President Obama’s convenient conversion on same sex marriage.
Maybe it’s my worry about the fiscal cliff, and that President Obama has shown no ability to work with Congress in the bipartisan manner we’ll need to avoid the real horror movie of that un-natural disaster.
Maybe I’m horrified by all those rounds of golf President Obama played. Not that I object to a guy taking a break, but when I saw what happened in the first debate, I saw a pattern. President Obama only shows up when it really suits him, like when his job’s on the line. Maybe I’m worried nothing will motivate him if he’s re-elected and has no accountability. And maybe I’m not only worried about what President Obama won’t do, but what he will do without accountability to the voters.
Maybe I’m worried with no attention being paid, and no real admission of culpability, there’ll be a Benghazi II. How do you avoid repeating a problem you don’t take responsibility for?
Maybe I’m worried about what Supreme Court justices a 2d term President Obama would appoint. Would they interpret the constitution as it was intended, or would they fall in line with the other liberal justices on the court to act like a new legislature rather than limiting Federal power.
I realize I’m letting things get away from me. Mitt’s still neck and neck with President Obama, and maybe we won’t be forced to live through Obama II. There’s a good chance, given the polling data, Mitt even wins in a landslide. But tonight, on Halloween, I’m letting myself be terrified. I’m just sick that this nightmare has any chance of really coming true.
If you’re like me you may have missed a story a couple weeks ago that has broader ramifications than you may have originally thought.
You may recall that “sequestration” is the collection of automatic budget cuts proposed by the White House and agreed to under duress by Congress as part of the debt ceiling negotiations. The cuts go into effect on January 2 unless Congress and the President act. Kind of like a spending cut time bomb: the White House extracted this concession in exchange for its agreement to increase the debt ceiling, with the hope it could get Congress to accept other less terrible cuts and tax increases later. That plan has backfired, however, and we’re left with the real possibility of the president’s sequestration time bomb going off. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said these cuts would have a “catastrophic” effect on national security, “like shooting ourselves in the head.”
As a result, businesses, especially defense contractors, are now preparing to lay off up to one million workers. A friend I spoke with yesterday told me at his company no one knows if they’ll have a job come January 2. Usually these workers would not have to wait until the day the layoffs occur to know their fate. Under a Federal law called the “WARN Act,” companies with 100 or more employees must give workers 60 days notice before a layoff of the lesser of 1/3 or 500 people. Failure to provide the notice can result in significant exposure to employee lawsuits. To avoid these costs, companies would need to notify workers of a pending layoff by November 2, 2012.
Well, that’s terribly inconvenient timing for the president. Friday November 2 is the Friday before the election. It’d be a real bummer for a million voters to get pink slips four days before voting. Not wanting to let a good law get in the way of re-election, the Obama administration on July 30, through Jane Oates, assistant secretary in the Labor Department, issued “guidance” advising companies they need not comply with the WARN Act if they’re contemplating sequestration layoffs. Effectively the administration advised defense contractors to not tell employees they’re about to get fired. Never mind the reason behind the Act that employees should be given a fair heads’ up. According to Obama, that law “shouldn’t” apply if the Department of Labor says it doesn’t.
But it gets worse. Many companies saw the advice from the Department of Labor and said they were going to provide the notices anyway, since ultimately whether they violated the law, and had to pay related penalties, would be determined not by the Department of Labor, but the courts. These companies’ exposure was estimated to be as much as $4 billion, plus inestimable other expenses (see below). So, having not been convincing enough, on September 28, on the letterhead of the “Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget” the Obama administration went even further and agreed to pick up the tab for these companies’ failing to comply with the law. In other words, if these companies rely on the DOL’s advice, fail to timely provide WARN Act notices, and lay off employees with no warning whatsoever on January 2, Obama has volunteered to pay, at taxpayer expense, all resulting costs, including penalties, judgements and legal fees. Did I say this was at taxpayer expense? (more…)
Last month, President Obama directed all law enforcement officers to stand down and to not enforce existing laws governing policies of illegal immigrants detained in the United States. He bypassed all established legislative procedures and processes and simply used executive order to eviscerate existing statutes requiring deportation of illegal immigrants.
Agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency filed suit in federal court this week against the Obama Administration charging it illegally directed ICE agents to break the law. As you will see in this short video clip, the backers of this lawsuit say there is no question President Obama, by executive order, has instituted unconstitutional policies and procedures:
President Obama, when sworn in on the Capitol steps, vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. There is a reason our founders established that changes like these, under the Constitution, are to be made in the legislative branch. President Obama clearly thinks he can make monarch-like decrees by fiat when it suits him politically or even if he wishes to change the national debate.
What other executive orders from President Obama can we expect between today and election day in November? President Obama obviously considers himself exempt from constitutional checks and balances requiring that laws be changed in the legislative branch of government.
American Values: “In God We Trust” — “Liberty” — “E Pluribus Unum”
Twitter Follow: @VicLundquist— Dedicated to all members of The United States military and their families
Update – Mitt Romney today made the following statement on Passover:
“This Friday night, Jews around the world will join with their families and friends to observe the holiday of Passover. This ancient celebration of freedom reminds us that free people everywhere have a stake in ending oppression. Ann joins me in wishing everyone sitting down for a Passover Seder a joyous time with family and friends.”
April 6, 2012…
It’s an important religious day for Jews and Christians.
Christians in America and across the world are reflecting on the atonement and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Those of the Jewish faith in America and across the world are observing the first day of Passover.
Today also serves as a bold reminder of the gift of the United States Constitution – wherein religious issues are addressed.
The First Amendment guarantees Americans the freedom of religion. Article VI prohibits the imposition of religious tests as a condition for holding public office. These are our rights. This is the law. Untold treasure and lives have been sacrificed to make it so. Responsible, decent, patriotic American citizens cherish these laws.
Warty political tentacles – whether from the left or the right – are stretching and flexing to selectively choke and kill these guarantees for those with whom they disagree. Yes, as despicable as it is, fellow Americans are actively working to blunt these rights for other Americans.
It’s Un-American. Anti-constitutional. It’s the equivalent of spitting and trampling on the graves of all who have given their lives in the name of freedom.
America – the great religious melting pot of the earth – enables us to celebrate our own religious beliefs while recognizing others are free to do the same. Those living here, enjoying the benefits of our democracy, who seek to deprive the rights of others based on their religious affiliation – whether overtly or covertly – deserve to be shrouded in shame.
I intend to reflect and rejoice on this religious day and I celebrate the opportunity it provides to speak up. Without going in the weeds, I’ve held my thoughts on religious bigotry thus far in this presidential primary, but feel those days have ended. Speakers of religious hate and particularly bigots against Governor Romney’s faith will be outed in Hall of Shame posts. For today, I refer readers to the latest on Article VI blog. They’ve got it covered – but their topics deserve more coverage. Evangelicals for Mitt is another great source. They both have a friend in me.
A final thought before sharing a remembrance for the the day… Those seeking to become United States citizens are REQUIRED to take an Oath of Allegiance:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . . “
Are natural born citizens exempt from the same standard?
Maybe religious bigots don’t consider themselves domestic enemies of the Constitution… but, they are. Yes, in the future, I’ll be naming names. It’s that simple – name names and induct them into the Wyatt Hall of Shame. Here are the first two: Lawrence O’Donnell and Santorum endorser Reverend Huey Mills.
Speaking of good – Governor Romney tweeted this today:
Praying for a quick recovery for Bella. Ann and I are keeping Rick, Karen and the entire Santorum family in our thoughts.
My prayers are for little Bella and the Santorums at this time, as well.
On my way home from work tonight I heard the following exchange between Hannity and Ann Coulter, with Ms. Coulter arguing in part what I state below: judicial activism is not a court finding a law unconstitutional, but finding new rights or failing to enforce existing constitutional rights. Often she’s a bit extreme to be taken completely at face value, but I think she’s right to point out the judicial activism that concerns the right is not what apparently concerns the left:
If you thought the open mic comment to new Russian President Medvedev was pretty bad, President Obama has created some competition for himself in the gaffe department. Or was it another window to his soul?
You may have heard that Monday President Obama appeared to warn the Supreme Court regarding its pending decision on Obamacare. His comments were as follows:
I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress. And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.
Yahoo called the remark a “challenge” to the Court. Others weren’t so kind. Among other problems with the President’s statement, you may recall that whether Obamacare was passed by a “strong majority” can be called into question. It was a purely party-line vote. But I digress.
I’m willing to assume President Obama, as a constitutional scholar, understands the concept of judicial review, and that courts overturning unconstitutional laws is not “unprecedented.” As a liberal, he may even be among the first to re-affirm that Marbury v. Madison is still good law. But the tone and chosen wording of the President’s comments caused the White House to have to defend itself from some of those “unkind” remarks yesterday. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (the guy distributing the Obama Kool-Aid) tried to make the case the President was “clearly” referring only to commerce clause cases, and with respect to those only those of the past 80 years. Neither qualification, of course, was actually included in the President’s initial comments. When pushed as to whether the president was clarifying his remarks, Carney said “Only because a handful of people didn’t understand what he was referring to.”
Here’s a link to the video should you care to watch. Today he added that the President had been speaking in “short-hand.” I hope that flexibility is accorded both sides in campaign season. We’ll see.
The president’s statement caused Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post to write:
Obama’s assault on “an unelected group of people” stopped me cold. Because, as the former constitutional law professor certainly understands, it is the essence of our governmental system to vest in the court the ultimate power to decide the meaning of the constitution. Even if, as the president said, it means overturning “a duly constituted and passed law.”
And she makes clear she’s on his side otherwise. (more…)
Get him in front of a crowd and he coughs up class warfare “Mitt Romney is trying to buy the presidency… people power beats money power every time.” Yes, he’s criticizing Romney for being organized, planning ahead, and convincing Americans that he’s the best candidate to lead America… enough so that they’ve given him their money. (Newt is all about DEFLECTION; remember that leisurely Greek Isle cruise he took right after announcing his candidacy when he could have been working/organizing/seeking financial backing for his presidential run?)
Don’t forget Gingrich’s “right-wing social engineering” en garde against Paul Ryan’s medicare reform plan (see video below).
Now, Gingrich is sticking the SEIU sword into Romney’s conservative solution for illegal immigration. And, Newt doesn’t care that in his flip-flop about-face flailing, he’s stabbing himself:
“Newt Gingrich borrowed talking points from Barack Obama and the SEIU on illegal immigration and used them to attack Mitt Romney’s conservative approach. He was rebuked by Marco Rubio for doing it, and had to retreat. Then he attacked his own position on immigration. This is who Newt Gingrich is: an unreliable leader who undermines conservatives, hurts our party, and emboldens President Obama and his liberal allies.” –Albert Martinez, Romney for President spokesman
Gingrich opposes an immigration position he supported:
This morning in Miami, Newt Gingrich came out against self-deportation. “‘How close were to breaking out and laughing out loud about this fantasy?’ Newt said mockingly while discussing Mitt Romney’s idea of ‘self deportation’ during his interview with Univision this morning.” (Charlie Spiering, “Gingrich Mocks Romney’s Wealth; Self-Deportation,” The Washington Examiner, 12/25/12)
But, just two months ago, Gingrich’s spokesman, speaking about Newt’s immigration plan, said this: “It’s likely the vast majority of them would self-deport.” “On the Gingrich campaign website, the top item in the ‘solutions’ section presents a 10-step plan for addressing illegal immigration. … A spokesman for Gingrich said only a small percentage of current illegal immigrants would likely be allowed to stay. ‘It’s likely the vast majority of them would self-deport,’ said spokesman R. C. Hammond.” (The Concord Monitor, 11/29/11)
In December 2010, Gingrich agreed with radio host Laura Ingraham that self-deportation was the right choice. LAURA INGRAHAM: “We have to enforce this law. We have to do that first. No work, self deportation. Come back. We can figure out our immigration system after we enforce this border. You’re not going to get the support of the people unless we really see that border enforced.” GINGRICH: “I agree with you. I’m against comprehensive reform.” (“The Laura Ingraham Show,” 12/3/10)
In 2008, Gingrich’s American Solutions website declared: “Anything Less Than Requiring Those Who Are Here Illegally To Return Home To Apply For Legal Status Is Amnesty, Plain And Simple.” “Everyone currently working in the United States illegally must return to their home country to apply for the worker visa program. Anything less than requiring those who are here illegally to return home to apply for legal status is amnesty, plain and simple.” (American Solutions Website, www.americansolutions.com, Archived 10/22/08)
Gingrich was forced to pull down his false anti-Romney attack ad:
Senator Marco Rubio Demanded That Gingrich Pull Down His “Inaccurate, Inflammatory” Anti-Romney Ad. “‘Sen. Marco Rubio scolded Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign over a Spanish-language radio ad that accuses rival Mitt Romney of being ‘anti-immigrant’ ‘This kind of language is more than just unfortunate. It’s inaccurate, inflammatory, and doesn’t belong in this campaign,’ Rubio told The Miami Herald when asked about the ad.” (“Rubio Scolds Gingrich Camp, Says Ad Bashing ‘Anti-Immigrant’ Romney Is ‘Inaccurate, Inflammatory’,” The Miami Herald, 1/25/12)
“In the wake of Sen. Marco Rubio’s denunciation of Newt Gingrich’s ad calling Mitt Romney ‘anti-immigrant,’ the Romney campaign’s Hispanic leadership team – headlined by former Sen. Mel Martinez – is demanding that Gingrich pull down the radio spot. But Gingrich already plans to do it. ‘We respect the senator’s wishes,’ said Gingrich’s campaign chairman.” (“Romney’s Hispanic Leadership Team: Newt, Pull Down Your Ad. Gingrich: I Will,” The Miami Herald, 1/25/12)-equity
Today, Hispanic leaders united to write an open letter to Newt Gingrich asking him to pull down the offensive Spanish language radio advertisement running in the Miami market:
It’s all downhill from here for Newt … I’m predicting right here and now that Gingrich has hit his high point and is about to whither under the forthcoming information about his last 15 years spent in lobbying/influence-peddling activities. The following will make for a beautiful montage using the disgraced and ousted former Speaker’s own words … and the timing and subject are perfect for anyone who doesn’t want Newt as the nominee. Why? Because it’s Fannie and Freddie and Florida folks! Florida took a hit second only to Nevada in the housing crisis and these GSEs (Government Sponsored Entities) were at the root of the problem. This is the perfect storm. The script will play out perfectly.
Remember when Newt said on Fox News “I do no lobbying of any kind. I never have. A very important point to make. I have never done lobbying of any kind.”
How about his ludicrous initial claim back in the November CNBC debate that he was paid by them to be a “historian” who told them how “insane” they were?
Sure Newt. At least we now know that he was lying through his teeth. He released one year of this contract yesterday and there was no mention of him being a “historian” but rather he was hired as a “consultant” by and to the chief lobbyist of Freddie Mac. Well, as it turns out, “consultant” was just a euphemism for “lobbyist” and Newt’s whole story doesn’t pass the smell test.
Over a month ago, Mitt challenged Newt on this claim calling Newt “the highest paid historian in history”
a spokeswoman for [Gingrich’s] firm said it was unable to find an earlier contract dating to 1999 and renewed until 2002. The spokeswoman, Susan Meyers, also could not say whether Gingrich or any of its employees produced any written reports for Freddie Mac as part of the nearly $1.8 million in consulting fees it was paid.
Well, today’s news from Politico is especially damning to Newt and proves that he was involved in hard core lobbying efforts for the controversial and beleaguered GSE:
New details from Newt Gingrich’s contracts worth $1.6 million with Freddie Mac show that the Republican hopeful wasn’t just a boardroom consultant, but served as a high-profile booster for the beleaguered organization. He even gave a rallying speech to dozens of the group’s political action committee donors in the spring of 2007.
Shortly after the “rah, rah” speech, as one source described it, Gingrich gave an interview for the Freddie Mac website, where he supported the group’s model at length. The interview is no longer on Freddie’s site.
Gingrich said in the interview that Freddie has “made an important contribution to home ownership and the housing finance system,” even though many Republicans revile it.
On April 3, 2007, Gingrich gave a presentation to employee donors of Freddie Mac’s political action committee, according to several sources familiar with the presentation. It was the “rah, rah” speech described by a source who worked closely with Freddie at the time. Newt spoke about what was going on in the country and he offered his view of the issues.
That same day, Gingrich spoke to a larger Freddie Mac employee cabal where he explained his vision for transforming bureaucratic government into a “21st century organization” — a signature talking point for Gingrich who focused on technology in government early on.
Later that month, Gingrich also gave a “feature interview” that appeared on Freddie Mac’s website providing an extensive Q&A where the former Speaker of the House defended the government-sponsored enterprise model, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO.
Gingrich went so far as to say that “I’m convinced that if NASA were a GSE, we probably would be on Mars today.”
Freddie Mac declined to comment. A Gingrich spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The housing GSEs have made an important contribution to homeownership and the housing finance system,” Gingrich said in the interview. “We have a much more liquid an stable housing finance system than we would have without GSEs. So while we need to improve the regulation of the GSEs, I would be very cautious about fundamentally changing their role or the model itself.”
Further Gingrich acknowledged that this is not a viewpoint conservatives normally embrace. “Well, it’s not a point of view libertarians would embrace,” he said in the interview. “But I am more in the Alexander Hamilton-Teddy Roosevelt tradition of conservatism. I recognize that there are times when you need government to help spur private enterprise and economic development.”
Really Newt?!?!? Really People? This is the “conservative alternative” to Mitt?!?! Wow . . . Just wow . . .
These revelations make Newt both a liar and a lobbyist. Sounds like just what Obama would like to run against.
Gingrich — adamant that he wasn’t a lobbyist as he explained why he only released one year of his Freddie Mac contract, which dated to 1999 (he uttered something about going through a confidentiality process) — volunteered that at his firm, they brought in a “lobbying expert” to explain to his team what qualified as lobbying and what didn’t.
That expert “is prepared to testify,” Gingrich said.
Romney didn’t pounce. But why one would hire a “lobbying expert” other than to explain to staff how to walk up to the “bright line” Gingrich described, but not legally cross it, was not clear.
So Newt’s got his lawyer ready to say that Newt never officially lobbied with Fannie/Freddie . . . or at least he was trained/coached as to where that line is. However, what’s that old saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . . ? Newt’s trying to be too cute by half, and it’s the beginning of the end for him!
The American people want a TRUE DC outsider, that man is NOT Newt . . . it’s Mitt!!
The contract specifically excluded lobbying services, stating “nothing herein is or shall be construed as an agreement to provide lobbying services of any kind or engage in lobbying activities.”
The second contract released Tuesday night provides more detail on the work Gingrich was hired to perform, including “serve as advisor to Freddie Mac in the areas of strategic planning and public policy.” It also called on Gingrich, who is mentioned by name in the second contract, to “engage in discussions” with Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist and senior officers “to strategize on approaches to Freddie Mac business opportunities and challenges.” Gingrich, who was hired to help the company reach out to Republicans, also was expected to “contribute to Freddie Mac corporate planning and business goals” and to “meet with major stakeholders of Freddie Mac.”
The contract also states that “neither The Gingrich Group nor Newt Gingrich will provide lobbying services of any kind nor participate in lobbying activities on Freddie Mac’s behalf.”
OK, so the document essentially says that Newt is going to lobby for Freddie Mac, but that no one can call it or construe it as lobbying. That will play really well with folks, eh?
Even MORE revealing is that Newt’s campaign is trying to pull a switch-a-roo / misdirection trick here by releasing these contracts out of chronological order. So the 1999 contract says “no lobbying” but the 2006 contract contains no such phrase. Anyone notice a problem? Everyone knew and realized that Newt was lobbying and they couldn’t keep that terminology in the later contract. He would be more free in his activities advocating and lobbying in behalf of Freddie.
I believe another poster is going to address Newt’s lobbying to Congressmen for Medicare Part D when he was on the payroll as a consultant from several Pharmaceutical companies who would benefit from it’s passage. Kathleen Parker has just put up a column arguing my exact same point. Newt was a lobbyist:
Gingrich’s claim to have been hired as a historian, meanwhile, is a hard sell when no such role exists. It is also a stretch for him to present himself as an anti-establishment, Reagan-conservative rebel when he is raking in money for his association with companies, some of whose interests are anything but conservative.
Yet another mother lode for Gingrich has been the health care industry. Various companies paid Gingrich $55 million between 2001 and 2010, according to Bloomberg News. When asked what the companies received in return, Gingrich told The Post that they got to visit with “a really important guy who really knows a lot and who really has lots of information.” That person would be Gingrich’s Holy Trinity — Me, Myself and I.
He also earned more than a million from drugmaker Novo Nordisk, reportedly to help expand the U.S. market for its diabetes treatment. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this as long as Gingrich was honest about his role with the company. The company’s annual report to shareholders listed Gingrich under “public-policy activities,” which, the company added, “are often referred to as lobbying.”
He also personally urged GOP congressmen to support the $395 billion Medicare prescription drug benefit, according to, among others, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and former congressmen Jeff Bradley (R-N.H.) and Butch Otter (R-Idaho).
I saw a segment on CNN today with Wolf Blitzer where Rep. Flake flat out stated that Gingrich lobbied him hard on voting for Medicare Part D. Also in that piece I found this nugget:
A lobbyist for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae whose tenure overlapped with Gingrich’s told me on background that both signed the same contract. This person immediately registered as a lobbyist and said that Gingrich was clearly exerting his influence, though he may have been able to maintain a legal, if not entirely ethical, distance from the definition of lobbying.
Oh, and let’s not forget that before Newt’s ties to Freddie/Fannie had been revealed, he was the one spouting off the harshest rhetoric of any GOP candidate calling for investigations and even imprisonment of congressmen who had ties to or profits from Freddie/Fannie. Wonder if he’d like to roll back that charge, or if he’s willing to apply his own harsh charges to the man in the mirror.
So, do you take Newt at his word that “I do no lobbying of any kind. I never have. A very important point to make. I have never done lobbying of any kind.” . . . ?
Any way you slice it, Newt is serving up large portions of his own “pious baloney.”
Five years ago, I discovered the amazing resource Article VI Blog, founded by John Schroeder and Lowell Brown. Their reporting and Op-Ed writing, in my opinion, have proved an important contribution to this nation and to the American ideal of freedom. Their tireless research will continue to enlighten Americans who treasure the blessings of diversity.
John and Lowell traveled to the Bush Library in Texas for Governor Romney’s historic Faith in America speech December 6, 2007. It was there we met and discussed their work and our hope of a Romney presidency.
Following is a candid view into John’s childhood, youth, and adulthood that I found most revealing – especially as relates to his arriving to understand Mitt Romney’s tremendous leadership skills and experience. I am grateful to him for this guest contribution to Mitt Romney Central.
From Protecting The Church To Electing A President — This Evangelical’s Story
By: John Schroeder
The story is now old about how Article VI Blog got started. We have grown from the original team of me, an evangelical Presbyterian, and my Mormon partner Lowell Brown to include John Mark Reynolds, notable Greek Orthodox academic and scholar. All three of us have our individual reasons to be there; let’s talk about mine.
When I started, I really did not care much for Mitt Romney, but I also hated bigotry. Frankly, one of Romney’s key talking points for the ’08 election was what has now come to be called “RomneyCare” and I was aghast. When Article VI Blog started I was in the process of losing about 200 pounds. That gave me a unique view of the health care system – the last thing I wanted was to give the government the power to tell me about my weight, and let’s face it, you put someone in charge of your healthcare, and that is where they are going. But again, I hate bigotry.
See, I am a son of the Deep South. I was born in 1957 in Oxford, Mississippi. My father soon finished law school and we left Mississippi, but my mother’s entire extended family was there so rarely a year has gone by in my life that I have not spent some time in the state. I grew up with “Whites Only” signs, and segregated water fountains. Most importantly, I saw the racial prejudices of the Deep South routinely turn some members of my loving and wonderful family suddenly ugly. We could be having the most wonderful evening in a household full of love and good cheer and the topic would come up and well, let’s just say I saw the good cheer leave the room.
So, on that fateful day when Hugh Hewitt introduced me to the idea that Evangelicals would oppose Romney, not because of something like RomneyCare, but because of his faith, I did not want to see the good cheer leave the “evangelical room” and decided to get involved. Right up until the day before Super Tuesday in the 2008 primary campaign, I worked hard to fight the religious bigotry that was so obviously aimed at Romney, but that did not mean he had my vote. He ended up with it, but he had to earn it.
So-called RomneyCare really was the only serious obstacle to his having my vote. John McCain was, well, not a team player with Republicans, and governance is a team game. Rudy Giuliani was waaaay too far left. Fred Thompson was a joke, and Mike Huckabee really did take the good cheer from the evangelical room. But….
In ’08 Romney ended up with my vote largely because as I studied the RomneyCare issue I came to discover that what was passed in Massachusetts was a far cry from what Romney proposed. What Romney proposed was a hybrid system between private enterprise and public health care. Most importantly it offered subsidies for people to get private healthcare; the government never became the provider. Not ideal from my perspective, but enough to make him far more palatable than the alternatives, particularly when you consider that the public, showing a lack of wisdom in my estimation, was demanding something. A reasonable politician has to act when the citizenry demand, even if the result is less than ideal. Those in elected office are, after all, servants of the people, not rulers.
Since ObamaCare has come to pass, RomneyCare is no longer an issue for me. There are many similarities in the Massachusetts healthcare system and that which ObamaCare shall bring to pass, but in the end there is no comparison. Many legal scholars think ObamaCare is unconstitutional – I am inclined to agree with them. States have a lot of power that the federal government does not. But more importantly to my mind Massachusetts healthcare now has little resemblance to what Mitt Romney originally proposed. He had some vetoes overridden and has been out of office for quite some time now, giving that heavily liberal legislature, and governor, plenty of time to fiddle about. What Mitt Romney wanted, and what Barack Obama shoved down our gullets is radically different. Romney has promised to minimize the impact of ObamaCare as much as the power of the presidency will allow and to make repeal of it a priority in his agenda. That’s all I can ask.
Let’s get back to my youthful sojourns to Mississippi and to bigotry. You cannot be about in Mississippi and not know African-Americans, lots of them. One of the reasons things seemed to turn so ugly in the family gatherings when it came up was because the blacks that I knew in Mississippi were certainly poor and generally undereducated but most of them were decent good people. As an infant, I was cared for by a woman (my mother worked while my father was in law school) who remained in service to the family her entire life, as did several of her children. Now my parents were dirt poor at the time. Mom made a pittance as a production assistant at a Memphis television station and Dad had the GI bill. That they could afford a caretaker for me explains a lot of the poverty in the African-American community of the time. Regardless, I saw that woman (Fannie was her name) on every visit I made to Mississippi until she passed away, which was about the time I graduated high school. She could not read or write, but she was a good woman – having cared not only for me, but for many of my generation. She was a decent person. But the things some of my family members would say when she was out of earshot…. Their words simply did not match the reality I witnessed, and it made some loving, beautiful people look very ugly.
Schroeder & Brown at Faith In America Speech
You cannot live in southern California, one end of the so-called “Jello Belt,” and not know Mormons – lots of them. When I contemplated my evangelical brethren discarding a candidate for POTUS because he was a Mormon, it just looked ugly to me. They were good, decent people. Politically most that I know stand right where I do. They are contributing members of the community, often leading on things that my brethren seemed too pre-occupied to tackle. As the African-Americans of the Mississippi of my youth were poor and under-educated, the Mormons of my adulthood were theologically misguided, but they were good people, even preferable as neighbors. To discard Romney on the basis of theological wrongness reflected very poorly on my evangelical brethren.
I am tempted at this point to go on about the proper relationship of theology and religious affiliation to our citizenship, but that is a scholarly topic, and this is a personal reflection. Besides, it’s getting too long anyway.
I grieve for all those that would discard Romney, or Jon Huntsman for that matter, on the basis of their Mormon faith. To do so, from my perspective, shows little faith in the God who saved me and whom I claim to serve. The New Testament is full of the message that Christ came to free us from the drudgery and ugliness of legalism. Such is not license for debauchery, but rather a reflection of the fact that Christ’s ministry transforms us. We are changed from people who obey the law out of obligation, fear and tenacity to people from whom behavior in compliance with the law flows as a natural consequence of who we are.
If we still operate out of a mindset that demands strict compliance in an obligatory and tenacious manner, then we have yet to experience the deep reality of what Jesus can do for us. Christ, it must be remembered, chose the company of sinners over the religious elite of his day. In plain speak, it is not about theology or membership, but character.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
The years since Article VI Blog started have been very interesting years in my life. Among the more interesting occurrences has been the opportunity to get to know Mitt Romney just a little and some of his extended family quite well. These are people, who when judged by the content of their character, deserve the same shot at the White House, or any other part of the American dream, that the rest of us enjoy.
I do not pretend to know what God thinks of Mormons or Mormon theology – I do not know what will happen to any individual Mormon in eternity, or anyone else for that matter – I am no where near that smart. I know what I believe and what my prayer and study has taught me, and yes, it is quite different than what they believe. But I also know that to deny them their place in our nation, based on that difference, reflects far more poorly on me than it does on them.
All said and done, that is why I started with Article VI Blog. I did not want the prejudices of some in the Evangelical community to reflect poorly on all of us. I wanted anybody that bothered to listen to know that we’re not all that way.
Some six years later the only thing that is different is that Mitt Romney is now unquestionably the best candidate qualified to steer our nation back in the proper direction. Economically, his skill is unrivalled. As an executive, his experience is unmatched. As a politician, his current victories speak for themselves – as does his character. This cycle Mitt Romney has more than earned my vote. I am proud to be behind him – 100%.
[Emphasis added by Lundquist]
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. — C. S. Lewis
Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu (Pinal County) also known as one of America's Top 10 Toughest Immigration Sheriffs, has endorsed Mitt Romney. Oct 13, 2011 (Photo/Jared Platt - Platt Photography)
The endorsement of Mitt Romney by Sheriff Paul Babeu (Pinal County, Arizona) not only speaks to Romney’s tough stance on illegal immigration and securing our borders, it highlights the difference between Romney and Rick Perry on this issue.
Sheriff Babeu has also been named as a Co-Chair of Romney’s Arizona campaign:
“It is an honor to have the support of Sheriff Babeu,” said Mitt Romney. “His efforts working to protect our border are critical to lowering crime, reducing illegal immigration, and stopping both drug and human trafficking. Sheriff Babeu has been a leader in the call for the federal government to secure the border. As President, I will work with leaders like Sheriff Babeu to protect our Southern border, provide the required assistance from the federal government, and put an end to the magnets that cause illegal immigration.”
Announcing his support, Sheriff Babeu said, “Securing our border is an important part of our national security – Mitt Romney understands this. He also understands that magnets like in-state tuition for illegal immigrants don’t stop illegal immigration, they only make it worse.Of all the candidates, Mitt Romney has shown that he is the most committed to securing the border and I look forward to working with him to do this.”
Background On Sheriff Babeu:
Sheriff Paul Babeu Is The Sheriff Of Pinal County In Arizona. Babeu heads a department of 700 and has worked to cut the budget, reorganize leadership, and reduce the response time from his department. Babeu has been a national leader on the need to secure our border and stop illegal immigration and drug and human trafficking. This year, Sheriff Babeu was named Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriffs’ Association. Sheriff Babeu serves as President of the Arizona Sheriffs’ Association and recently retired from the Army National Guard. As an Army Major, Babeu commanded nearly 700 soldiers in the Yuma Sector and helped reduced illegal entries by 96%.
The Arizona sheriff recently joined with other elected AZ sheriffs calling for a special counsel to investigate the Fast and Furious program; they called for Attorney General Eric Holder to step down or be fired.
Oct 7, 2011 – Arizona Sheriffs Call for Independent Investigation of ‘Fast and Furious’ Gunwalking Scandal
Ten Arizona sheriffs — five Democrat, five Republican — gathered at the Arizona State Capitol on Friday to call for an independent investigation into the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal.
The sheriffs held a news conference in front of the Arizona Peace Officers Memorial, decrying the “bloodshed” caused by the U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau’s poorly conceived operation.
The sheriffs insisted that a special counsel be immediately appointed “to fairly investigate Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice,” according to a written statement from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.
Conservative judge, legal scholar Robert Bork will co-chair Romney's 63 member Justice Advisory Committee. August 2, 2011
The news today from hard-working Mitt Romney and his campaign keeps rolling in and it’s…
Governor Romney has assembled a 63 member advisory team, including illustrious co-chair Robert Bork, to counsel him on a variety of issues. The formation of this stellar new team further underscores Romney’s deep commitment to the rule of law and constitutional governance:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday announced a team of 63 lawyers, co-chaired by conservative legal scholar Robert Bork, that will advise his campaign on constitutional and judicial matters, law enforcement and homeland security, and regulatory issues.
In addition to Bork, a conservative icon whose nomination by President Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court failed in the Senate, Romney’s Justice Advisory Committee will be chaired by Harvard Law School professor Mary Ann Glendon, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican in President George W. Bush’s administration, and Richard Wiley, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is a graduate of Harvard Law School. The choice of chairs and committee members seems designed to solidify his credentials within the conservative legal establishment.
“Mitt Romney deeply understands that the rule of law and the integrity of our courts are essential components of our nation’s strength and must be preserved,” the three chairmen said in a joint statement. “He will nominate judges who faithfully adhere to the Constitution’s text, structure, and history and he will carry out the duties of President as a zealous defender of the Constitution. We fully support Mitt Romney’s campaign and look forward to working with other members of the committee as we advise him on today’s pressing legal issues.”
The committee, which will also provide legal counsel to Romney’s campaign, also includes other prominent figures, including former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, former chancellor to the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware William Allen and former Texas Supreme Court chief justice Thomas Phillips.
“Our democracy depends on a government that respects the Constitution and the rule of law,” Romney said in a statement. “Our nation needs a Congress and an Executive branch that are cognizant of the bounds of their powers and a judiciary that will strictly construe the Constitution and refuse to legislate from the bench. I am proud and honored to have the support of an extraordinary group of attorneys and legal scholars.”
For the names of those on Romney’s new Justice Advisory Committee, continue reading here.
Wow. This announcement, along with the announcement today that Romney’s campaign is shifting into higher gear, further demonstrates the planning, organization, and wisdom Team Romney is known for.
This news even has a bit of an Iowa spin to it, according to the Iowa Independent:
“The formation of the committee could play well among some voters in Iowa, specifically from social and religious Conservatives who feel the Iowa Supreme Court has overstepped its Constitutional boundaries in the last few years, particularly in the 2009 ruling of Varnum v. Brien, which legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa.”
Mitt Romney, in announcing this committee, with members such as these, should go along way to assuage the fears of his critics, who think he’ll appoint “activist” judges, who legislate from the bench.