A Time for Prayer

We, the contributing authors of MittRomneyCentral, the Article 6 Blog and Evangelicals for Mitt have come together in a common purpose today. Many of us consider ourselves religious, but not all of us are comfortable being open about that. While religion and faith in God are an important part of all of our lives, we do not take the following requests lightly. But we have come together at this time, despite any personal discomfort we may have, with the following request:

We believe this is a time for prayer.

First and foremost, hurricane-strength Isaac is bearing down on the United States’ gulf coast. New Orleans, a city hard hit by hurricane Katrina seven years ago, appears likely to be affected once again. We believe it is appropriate for all Americans to pray on behalf of those in the storm’s path.

In addition, in the next two days, tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people across the globe will be tuning in to hear Ann and Mitt Romney speak. Many more will see the speeches on YouTube or by other electronic means. Ann and Mitt are right now putting the finishing touches on those speeches and practicing their delivery.

Among those that will be watching, many will never have heard Ann or Mitt speak before. Many will be looking to form an opinion, wondering in the tumult of words by both sides who they can believe, who can be trusted. Others may have pre-dispositions to discount what Ann and Mitt say as a result of whatever personal biases they may have, whether they be political, religious or other. But the significance of Ann and Mitt’s message, both spoken and unspoken, must come through and touch the hearts of those listening. So we think it’s a time for prayer. People will then vote for the person they believe in good conscience represents the right direction for this country. But we all believe that decision should be made on the basis of a firm understanding of the truth.

All the authors of these contributing sites feel strongly about the importance of this election. Not just because of the state of the economy or of the many issues that face our country, but because of the state of religious freedom. Never have we, in our collectively long lives, seen the kinds of disdain and bitterness directed at religion and people of faith. By way of example, and not political demagoguery, we do not take it lightly that under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) religiously-affiliated institutions are now required to violate their own conscience to comply with the law. We do not take it lightly that the current administration tried to limit a church from terminating its own ministers. We think there are legitimate reasons people of all faiths should be concerned about what we’re seeing. If it’s not your faith that’s threatened by legislation or popular culture today, it may be tomorrow.

Ann and Mitt are not professional politicians. While both are trying their hardest to convey why Mitt is the right person to be president, they, like all of us, are limited by their human capacities of speech and intellect. As humans we don’t always think of the right things to say. Sometimes we make mistakes in the words we choose. Sometimes the message we intend to convey is lost in our words, despite the sincerity and intensity of our efforts.

But being people of faith, we collectively believe in miracles. We can say we’ve seen a few. Some involve the power of prayer, and even the power of many people coming together in prayer. We have faith that there is a God, and that he hears and answers prayers. Ann said in April of this year that “the kindest and sweetest of all” things she hears on the campaign trail are women who “tell me how much they care for me and how much they’re praying for me,” and that “I do need everyone’s prayers.”

So whatever form of God you believe in, Christians, Jews, Muslims, all, will you join us? Ann Romney speaks at 10 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time today. Mitt speaks at the same time Thursday. We invite all who read this post to request the blessings of God on Ann and Mitt as they prepare. We invite all to pray that those hearing them speak will do so with an open mind, and be willing to hear their message. We invite all to take an attitude of prayer throughout the convention, but in particular, at the commencement of each of Ann’s and Mitt’s speeches, at 10 p.m. today and Thursday, to offer a silent prayer in their behalf, and to continue with a prayer in your heart for them and their audience throughout their delivery.

We don’t ask for a miracle in the form some would expect we might. While many of us will be privately praying the election goes the way we would like, today we ask that all unite in a prayer that God extend his grace to those in the path of hurricane Isaac, for the protection and safety of our troops, that he attend Ann and Mitt, that they will be strengthened beyond their usual limits, and that they and their audience receive the help of God that Ann and Mitt’s message will be understood.

Please join us.

MittRomneyCentral, Article 6 and Evangelicals for Mitt authors

Prejudice and Romney’s Health Care Speech

This piece was cross-posted with permission of the wonderful folks at the Article VI Blog. Feel free to check out their site if you want to learn more about them.

Prejudice and Romney’s Health Care Speech

Mitt Romney most decidedly does not have a health care problem – he has a problem of prejudice.

Today he gave a speech on what he did as governor of Massachusetts and what he would do as POTUS. It was a good speech, it looked the issues hard in the face and it dealt with them. Romney did a fine job of explaining what he did and how it contrasts with Obamacare. But the reaction has been almost universal criticism – and virtually all of it fails to engage with Romney and what he said. In other words, it is not criticism, it’s attack.

The Wall Street Journal cast the die for this response even before the speech was given. Rather than wait for the man to speak, and react to what he said, they simply savaged him. Isn’t that “prejudice” down to its Latin roots, pre-judging? The speech was followed by an equally savage, and even less substantive, reaction on the front page of National Review Online. It should be noted that National Review officially endorsed Romney in the last primary cycle and Massachusetts health care was in place then. Where was the invective at that time? Some go so far as to declare Romney’s candidacy over before it has even begun. Then of course there were the countless blog posts and reaction pieces, virtually all of which were savage, but without any response to what was actually said.

Worse yet, they fail to address the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dilemma in which Romney finds himself. Nothing short of complete repudiation of the Massachusetts health care system would have satisfied them, but of course, if Romney had done that they would have whipped out the old reliable “flip-flop” meme and the savaging would have continued apace. As Romney himself said, if he repudiated what happened as so many want, he would have to lie. Chris Cillizza seems to stand alone in getting this point.

It is the non-substantive, uncritical, and prejudicial nature of the discussion that I find most disturbing. I have said for a while now, that there are suspicions of Romney looking for a home – “flip-flop,” “Mormon,” whatever. But if this reaction is any measure – it’s not suspicion, it’s animosity. It is inviting to try and find the psychological roots of this animus. Again religion comes to mind, or perhaps projection of anger at Obama, or maybe simply feeling betrayed that he was not able to close the deal last time? Regardless, it would be pure speculation. What is important is to examine the ramifications of this reaction to our party and its hopes for the White House in 2012.

While not addressing in the least what Romney actually said, the attacks are highly ideological and completely ignore the political realities of Romney’s service as governor of an incredibly liberal state. Health care was going to happen in Massachusetts from an overwhelmingly Democrat legislature. He was confronted with a stark challenge – let such a legislature proceed while standing on ideological principle, in which case Massachusetts would have ended up with something much, much worse than what it has, or engage and try to keep things closer to within reason. In fact, Romney chose to get out in front of the legislature, hoping to gain as much negotiating advantage as possible. Much that was and is objectionable about the system was passed by overriding Romney’s veto, and much else that is bad has come to pass since he left office.

To his credit Romney did not attempt to defend himself in this fashion, something that would have been a page right out of Obama’s “Blame Bush handbook.” He stood up and took responsibility for what happened on his watch.

And so we once again seem to be ready, in the name of ideology and “purity,” to eat our own. We wonder why we lose when here it is staring us in the face. The left puts charisma in front of substance and well, the current administration says it all. We put ideology in front of political reality and we end up with John McCain or Bob Dole driving up the middle, which is what opens doors for the Dems and charisma. Ideological purity is really nothing more than our version of the swoon that brought Obama to the fore.

What we need is substance in the face of political reality – something it appeared to me that Romney is offering in spades. What concerns me most is that if we continue down this path, us with our ideologues and they with their crooners, the country will end up in some sort of push me-pull you form of polar chaos.

We are supposed to be the grown-ups in the room – sober and serious – actually doing the job instead of just looking good while we pretend to do the job. Maybe once all this bile has been spilled we can get serious again, but then I am wandering into the psychology I want to avoid. Who knows, if this day is any indication, maybe we deserve Donald Trump.

Lowell adds . . .

I will add only two comments to John’s excellent analysis. First, those who continue to claim that Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare plan is very similar to the Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare) need to read the slides and listen to Romney’s speech, and then stop lying about the matter. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Democratic National Committee Chair, said as much yesterday, and that story and her comments are all over the Internet. Just Google “Wasserman,” “Romney”, and “Massachusetts. That is clearly the message that Romney’s political enemies want to get out, whether its true or not.

Second, Romney himself responded today to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial yesterday, savaging him. I must say, that was one of the nastiest editorials I have ever seen from the Journal, and as John notes, it was issued even before Romney spoke. Does the Journal editorial board have its mind made up already? Do they really want to help the Democrats dynamite the campaign of the GOP front-runner?

Here’s Romney’s very measured response:

I was not surprised to read yet another editorial in the Journal yesterday criticizing the health-care reforms we enacted in Massachusetts (“Obama’s Running Mate,” May 12). I was, however, not expecting the distortions of what we accomplished. Let me deal with some of them.

One, the editorial asserts that people in Massachusetts who wouldn’t buy coverage, even though they could afford it, was not a major fiscal problem. But as a state we were spending almost $1 billion on free care for the uninsured. What we did was convert that money into premium support for those who needed help buying a policy, and require those uninsured who could afford to buy coverage to take personal responsibility for their own health care. Two, while it’s true that insurance premiums in Massachusetts are among the highest in the nation, that was also the case before reform. A truer statement would be that getting everyone insured is not by itself enough to bring down the costs of health care. And finally, it is simply wrong to say that state spending on health care in Massachusetts has skyrocketed. The cost of the health-care plan to the state budget is “relatively modest” and well within projections, according to the independent Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. They conclude that the new state spending on reform has amounted to less than 1% of the state budget each year.

While I have had my disagreements with the Journal’s editorial board, where we find common ground is on the need to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with reforms that empower states to craft their own solutions. A one-size-fits-all plan that raises taxes and ignores the very real differences between states is the wrong course for our nation.

Mitt Romney

Belmont, Mass.

Time will tell whether Romney’s courageous decision to stay the course will pay off. My guess is that it will, despite the cannibalistic tendencies of my fellow conservatives.