Lot’s of good news tonight for Romney and his supporters. First off, Ken Starr (most notably known for the Clinton/Lewinsky case, but a man who is a true legal scholar and current President of Baylor University) has penned an Op-ed entitled “Can I Vote for a Mormon?” While it’s not an endorsement, and doesn’t even mention Romney by name, it is a great historical and constitutional argument why he/we could definitely vote for a Mormon.
I strongly encourage Americans who would ask this question ["Can I vote for a Mormon?] of themselves to consider and weigh thoughtfully our nation’s constitutional traditions. At their best, those are traditions of welcoming religious forbearance.
To support this proposition, I return to the founding of our constitutional republic — boasting as we rightly do the oldest Constitution in the history of the planet. Only 27 amendments have been ratified to that basic document over our 222 years as a representative democracy. In fashioning this remarkably enduring document, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia made it absolutely clear that no religious test should ever be imposed to hold office. The Founders also made clear that religious dissenters (such as the Quakers) should not be compelled to take an oath if doing so would be a violation of conscience. Building on those twin pillars of tolerance, the Supreme Court at its finest moments has likewise vigorously defended the right of all persons to participate in the democratic process, including holding office, without the burden of religious tests or qualifications.
According to the American political tradition, there are essential questions by which all office seekers are qualified, regardless of their faith journey or history. The first is: Does the candidate subscribe completely to our constitutional structure, including freedom of conscience for persons of all faiths — or no faith? A second question for the thoughtful voter is related to and flows from the first: Will the candidate subscribe, without any “mental hesitation or purpose of evasion,” to the oath to protect and defend America’s Constitution? If the answers to those closely connected questions are yes, then voters should proceed to cast their ballot on the basis of the candidate’s qualifications, platform and policy positions — not the candidate’s membership (or lack thereof) in a particular faith community. …
In my own life, I have drawn great strength from my religious practices and, according to the teachings of my faith tradition, I intend to continue to keep in prayer those who are chosen to lead our nation. That said, the litmus for our elected leaders must not be the church they attend but the Constitution they defend. …
America should stand — in an intolerant world characterized all too frequently by religious persecution — as a stirring example of welcoming hospitality for highly qualified men and women of good will seeking the nation’s highest office. Life experience, personal qualities and policy views are the pivotal points to guide Americans as they go to the polls in 2012.
I realize that most American’s already agree with Mr. Starr on this point, but for those that may feel that voting for Romney is an endorsement of Mormonism, the strong case that is presented above may open some hearts and minds to supporting the best choice and best chance to replace President Obama … Mitt Romney!
********And in a relatively raw video clip, BreitbartTV interviewed MSNBC’s Larry O’Donnell at a Bar in New Hampshire where he admits that Romney is the GOP candidate most feared by Obama.
Money quote: ”Romney is the one they don’t want. They know they can beat anybody else. Romney, they think they can beat, but it’s a harder road.” Watching the whole 6 minute video shows this to be a candid and honest exchange, not a liberal plant or talking point (We saw that in the immediate post-debate analysis on ABC last night when Democratic Strategist Donna Brazelle stated to the panel and audience that they want to run against Romney because he’s the weakest candidate … she was met with laughs and jeers from the rest of the panel and the audience for that obvious lie)
Some other interesting tidbits from the video: O’Donnell’s perplexed by Newt’s attack on Romney’s career at Bain saying it should have no effect in a GOP primary, but that those attacks may have some effect with some voters in a general election. He also doesn’t think the GOP VP choice will matter much, though the interviewer mentioned my favorite choice, Marco Rubio, being able to take Florida off the map for Obama.