Sunday, August 12, 2007


When You Dislike the Collective Judgment of Voters…in Iowa - CNN Political Ticker: "Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the Iowa Republican straw poll Saturday and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had a surprise second place showing, giving both presidential candidates a boost six months before the state holds its first-in-the-nation caucuses. Romney received 4,516 votes to Huckabee's 2,587, while Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback came in third place with 2,192 votes of the 14,302 ballots cast."

In other elections when people were upset by the outcome, I was always a bit taken aback by the sound of superiority. What were those people thinking? How could they be so stupid? I knew, though that complaining about the way they sounded may come back to bite me since there would no doubt be outcomes in the future that I would dislike. Here is one. I am now forced to tone down my distaste, but I still feel uncomfortable with this outcome.
I liked Romney okay when he dealt with the Salt Lake Olympics, but that is not the Presidency. His present day image, and I suppose his image then, is stiff, superficial and too conservative. Really, he just doesn’t come off as an intellectual. I fear problems that he can’t possibly think through. That sounded a bit harsh, but it really will be difficult for a person of faith to look at all sides of an issue. Many sides of the important social arguments are thrown away in religious context. This just further alienates many of the citizens for which he has sworn to work.
Another trap I find myself in is thinking how stupid it was for people to dismiss JFK for his Catholicism, yet now feeling quite comfortable with dismissing Romney for his Mormonism. I am doing it from a different stance as they were Protestants who disliked Catholics, where I am an antitheist entirely. Unfortunately, the trap is still there as I attempt the high-wire act of trying to stay consistent. As just an ordinary citizen, it really doesn’t mean much for me to be inconsistent, but I do want to take into account the lessons that I once felt I was learning.
But can Romney be the JFK-like inspirational leader to the vast majority of the country? Is it possible when social issues are so important to all of us? Will, for example, abortion rights folks be able to take Romney seriously? Will lesbians and gay men be able to see him as their leader? Will antitheists be collectively shut out of the political process? Really, I suppose the question is who can be broadly inspirational?
We also know that leaders select teams that are similar to them. No, that is not just a 43 issue. That is a company down the street and company in China issue. People hire people that are like them and that they can deal with easily. But who are Romney’s sort of people? With whom does this man identify?
Then there is Huckabee. It seems so, so wrong that Mike Huckabee could win anything over Giuliani, anything at all. I am indeed missing something here, something big. I cannot find anything attractive about his delivery or what he is saying that would explain more than two random Iowa widowers taking pity on this political traveler.
The other problem with this outcome is that I think national security should again be the main issue. Neither of these gentlemen have national security bona fides. I can understand folks wanting to think about other issues, but the desire to focus on other things does not lessen the likely danger of once again being hit by those that are indeed promising to hit us. Romney and Huckabee both seem like the kinds of guys that would have “Brownies” in their cabinets, but we really need Keriks.
I guess this problem is not for me to solve, but I certainly hope that moderate Republicans can and soon. It seems that the last thing this country needs is another less than stellar thinker in the White House.

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