Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Criticizing Republican Candidates Frank and Emotional Disclosures is Difficult – but It Has to be Done

The U. S. is Electing a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) for the Country, Not a CEO (Chief Evangelical Officer) of a Particular Religion

When the Founding Fathers produced the great nation of freedom known as the United States of America, they did so knowing that centuries of religious strife had produced nations that engaged in horrific practices with regard to religion.  They founded a secular nation, where freedom of religion was guaranteed and religion and government were separate.

A recent conclave of some of the Republican candidates for President illustrates how fragile this freedom is.  In Iowa something called  

the Family Leader, an influential Iowa-based evangelical Christian advocacy group, wanted the unconventional event to elicit personal answers that revealed each candidate's character - with none of the timers and buzzers of typical presidential debates.

And it is their right to do so, and to invite candidates to participate.  It is also the right of candidates to refuse to participate in an event described like this

The two-hour Family Leader event felt at times more like a Christian prayer meeting . . . Some 2,500 conservatives, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and U.S. Rep. Steve King, listened from pews at First Federated Church in Des Moines.

With the presidential hopefuls gathered around a Thanksgiving-themed table facing the audience, the imagery was one of the Last Supper setup

as Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, to their credit, did exercise their right to refuse to attend.. 

Even with a session like this the hypocrisy of men and women who profess deeply religious values yet campaign on a platform of denying many Americans the help they need from government to lead normal and decent lives stands out.  Here is Rick Santorum exploiting the health of his youngest child for political purposes.

Santorum's youngest daughter is 3 years old today, but still struggles.

One reason he is running for president, he said, is a desire to overturn the health care reforms known as "Obamacare" and assure sick children have access to necessary care.

And of course he does not explain how Obamacare, which for all its faults, brings more health care to sick children is harming health care or how eliminating it will not reduce health care for those children.  Mr. Santorum fails to mention that the health care he and his family receive is government funded, coming from his years as a public employee.  And Mr. Santorum's main focus in his political life is to use government power to deny basic civil rights and liberties to a group of people whose private lives are lead in ways that Mr. Santorum disagrees with.  Why anyone who calls himself or herself a "values" voter would support Mr. Santorum is a mystery that must be left for future generations to unravel.

Not to be outdone Newt Gingrich also falsely puts forth cause of children’s health for his agenda

Gingrich, too, wiped away tears talking about a boy born with a rare heart condition and brain tumors.

His conclusion: "Do I want some bureaucracy deciding that on a percentage basis this is not worth the investment or do I want a country that cares about every life? THAT is what next year's all about," he said to whoops and applause.

No Mr. Gingrich, under the Republican program some private insurance company, concerned only with the bottom line will be the decider.

Michele Bachmann exploited her parent’s divorce for political points

Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota, shared the story about the financial hardship her family suffered when her parents divorced when she was 12.

"My dad left and I didn't see him again for six years. And when that happened, we lost virtually everything overnight. We lost our home, and I remember my mom took all … the pretty dishes out of the dining room and the wedding gifts and everything, and she put them on card tables out in the garage, and we just watched everything sold and sent away."

Her mother told Bachmann and her three brothers that even though it was hard, they would get through it.

And that is terribly unfortunate, but what it has to do with public policy or being President of the United States was apparently unsaid.  Millions of people today are the products of a broken family; that does not qualify them to be President.

A rare bit of truth though came from Texas Gov. Rick Perry

"Being the president of the United States has got to be the hardest job in the world and the idea that one of us sitting round this table could do it with our own human intellect, our capability, is beyond any of us," Perry said

Yes, the idea that any those people have the intellect and capability to be President is indeed beyond any of us.

As noted, Mitt Romney rose to the occasion by his absence

After the event, Family Leader President Bob Vander Plaats, who has said Mitt Romney "dissed" Iowa by skipping this event, said he thought the six candidates who did come "did America a very real service today."

But Mr. Vander Plaats is correct when he said that the six candidates who did participate did America a service.  They did, they showed once again why none of them is qualified for the Presidency.

And as for Mr. Vander Plaats himself, there is this about the group he heads that sponsored the Revival that passed for political dialogue.  The group

called on presidential candidates to sign a petition against gay marriage. But the document also claimed that black children born under slavery were more likely to have two-parent families than those born under the nation's first black president — a statement widely interpreted as saying that black children were better off under slavery. It was sharply criticized by mainstream conservatives and was removed after the flare-up.

In response to the petition, Republican Jeff Kaufmann, speaker pro tem of the Iowa House of Representatives, emailed Vander Plaats and others who lead the organization: "Guys your integrity is in question and your political credibility is waning to the point of no impact."

And Mr. Vander Plaats has done quite well for himself despite being a political loser.

he never sought a city council, school board or legislative seat. Instead, he went straight for governor, failing in 2002, 2006 and 2010. After the last primary loss, against Gov. Terry Branstad, he became the president of the Family Leader, a coalition of antiabortion and anti-gay-marriage groups in Iowa aimed at increasing their influence in the 2012 caucuses. He reportedly makes a six-figure income.

Well it’s nice that not only does he have his convictions, but he makes a nice buck off of them also.

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