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I am so thrilled after all these months about Sarah Palin. I have gained SOME new respect for John McCain. I have a very difficult time trusting him, but I can pledge my allegiance to Sarah Palin. I really was part of the dejected Republic.

Despite all this excitement, I can’t help but mourn over the loss of Mitt Romney. And this is my prevailing thought: “If only it was Romney-Palin”.

I have to say that one of the absolutely funniest moments was afterwards when on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell became buried in a very large pile of balloons from a balloon drop. Tom Brokaw started calling her “Andrea Boom Boom Mitchell”. And the sad (or actually hilarious) thing is, with all their clueless elitism, neither one were incapable of smiling over the matter.

Okay – so maybe there is reason to blog again. It’s going to take a great deal more to rouse this napping tiger. The exception, of course, is following Sarah Palan.

So maybe I’ll be seeing you again and maybe I won’t.

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Okay, I’ve taken the better part of the week off to get my mind wrapped around the events of this week. Governor Romney dropping out of the Presidential bid – quickly endorsing his arch-rival and the end of the conservative GOP movement. I have to agree with a 90 year old reader of mine who says:

I am 90 years old, and a proud USNavy veteran of War 2, and have voted in EVERY election since I first became eligible even via absentee ballot from overseas. With the Romney decision, this will be the first ever election I have missed and miss it I will.

At first I thought that I would vote for McCain only to block the Dems. With the knowledge of McCain’s relationship with that Hernandez scoundrel, I’m staying home.

Another reader chimed in with this comment author of the blog at American Federalist:

It wasn’t Reagan’s time in 1976, if like me, you’re looking for hope.

For the record, I am not ready to jump on the bandwagon for John McCain. I realize Gov. Romney and his followers at MyManMitt are quite quick to do so, but I’d have to say, I am not.

Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but the smarts of a very scathing fight don’t just “kiss and make up”. They take some time for me. I have to agree with Glenn Beck, that just jumping onto this RINO’s back is a giant “enabling” job this country has seen for a long time.

Here are just a few little summaries of how deep this anti-Mormon rift is:

TABERNACLE ON TRIAL
Mormons Dismayed by Harsh Spotlight

By SUZANNE SATALINE
February 8, 2008; Page A1

Mitt Romney’s campaign for the presidency brought more attention to the Mormon Church than it has had in years. What the church discovered was not heartening.

Critics of its doctrines and culture launched frequent public attacks. Polling data showed that far more Americans say they’d never vote for a Mormon than those who admitted they wouldn’t choose a woman or an African-American.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in late January revealed that 50% of Americans said they would have reservations or be “very uncomfortable” about a Mormon as president. That same poll found that 81% would be “enthusiastic” or “comfortable” with an African-American and 76% with a woman.

The Mormon religion “was the silent factor in a lot of the decision making by evangelicals and others,” says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the poll. The Romney campaign ran into “a religious bias head wind,” Mr. Hart and his Republican polling partner, Bill McInurff, wrote late last month.

“I don’t think that any of us had any idea how much anti-Mormon stuff was out there,” said Armand Mauss, a Mormon sociologist who has written extensively about church culture, in an interview last week. “The Romney campaign has given the church a wake-up call. There is the equivalent of anti-Semitism still out there”

“The vast majority of Americans recognize that one of our strengths as a nation is our tolerance for religions that are different than our own,” says Mr. Fehrnstrom, the campaign spokesman. “Sadly, not every person thinks that way, but there’s nothing that can be said or done to change their small minds.”

For Mormons, Mr. O’Donnell’s comments were a rallying cry. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught not to argue with outsiders over faith. But as criticism of their church rose to new heights during the campaign, they took on their antagonists like never before, in a wave of activism encouraged by church leadership.

Mormon leaders and church members say they were initially unprepared for the intensity of attacks, which many say were unprecedented in modern times. The attacks, they say, are a sign that their long struggle for wide acceptance in America is far from over, despite global church expansion and prosperity.

On the Internet, the Romney bid prompted an outpouring of broadsides against Mormonism from both the secular and religious worlds. Evangelical Christian speakers who consider it their mission to criticize Mormon beliefs lectured to church congregations across the country. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the Catholic journal First Things, wrote that a Mormon presidency would threaten Christian faiths. Atheist author Christopher Hitchens called Mormonism “a mad cult” on Slate.com, and Bill Keller, a former convict who runs an online ministry in Florida, told a national radio audience that a vote for Mr. Romney was a vote for Satan.

“It seems like it’s been open season on Mormons,” says Marvin Perkins, a Los Angeles Mormon Church member who lectures about the history of blacks in the church

That same month, M. Russell Ballard, one of the church’s 12 apostles, or governors, urged students at a graduation at Church-owned Brigham Young University to use the Internet and “new media” to defend the faith. At least 150 new Mormon sites were created and registered with the site mormon-blogs.com. “People were haranguing us on the Internet,” Mr. Ballard said in an interview. “I just felt we needed to unleash our own people.”

Normally insular church leaders, with help from Washington-based consultant Apco Worldwide, began a public-relations campaign last fall, visiting 11 editorial boards of newspapers across the country. In another first, the church posted a series of videos, some featuring Mr. Ballard, on YouTube to counter a wave of anti-Mormon footage on the site

Soon, the Mormon Church began posting its videos on YouTube — 22 so far. One clip, for example, showed Mr. Ballard, the church apostle, answering the question “Are Mormons Christian?”

It has drawn 26,000 views. By contrast, a cartoon clip from “The God Makers,” a 1980s film that mocks Mormon beliefs, has been viewed 945,000 times.

Mr. Ballard’s call for more new-media activism inspired dozens of new Web sites. On Politicalds.com, several Mormons of different political views write about the presidential race. Founder Mike Rogan, of Chandler, Ariz., says he started the blog “to combat some specific misconceptions about Mormons,” including that all Mormons are “conservatives with a mindless ‘sheep’ mentality…”

Although Mr. Romney’s withdrawal from the race is likely to quiet the controversy for now, many church members believe the turmoil of the past year will have lasting effects.

“There will be a long-term consequence in the Mormon church,” says Mr. Mauss, the Mormon sociologist. “I think there is going to be a wholesale reconsideration with how Mormons should deal with the latent and overt anti-Mormon propaganda. I don’t think the Mormons are ever again going to sorrowfully turn away and close the door and just keep out of the fray.”

Read the full article here.

I have to wholeheartedly agree. The feeling I get from my blogs to my friends is that this anti-Mormon racism is real and deep. This is more than political “whining” or taking the role of “victim”. For many this has been that rallying cry to take up verbal arms. LDS blogs are swamping the cybersphere in unprecedented ways. Those who comprehend Article VI of the constitution understand that there is no religious test.

Here is some more about this from the Denver Post:

A stranglehold on the GOP By David Harsanyi, Denver Post

Article Last Updated: 02/07/2008 09:41:16 PM MST

Campaigns can be unpredictable. Success hinges on the vagaries of history, the tide of the country and the whims of voters.

Then again, Mitt Romney’s exit from the presidential race was inevitable the moment evangelical voters heard he was a Mormon.

Evangelicals have shown us they now have a stranglehold on the Republican Party. It isn’t that many evangelicals are social conservatives; it’s that they’re only social conservatives. The entire party now caters to their quirks.

In 2006, Dr. James Dobson — whose wife excluded Mormons from participation in the National Day of Prayer that she chaired in 2004 — explained, “I don’t believe that conservative Christians in large numbers will vote for a Mormon . . . .”

But conservatives did vote for Romney, state after state, in caucuses and primaries across the country. I assume most of these voters were “Christians.” Perhaps they just weren’t the right kind of Christians.

In a New York Times profile before the Iowa caucus, Mike Huckabee, R-Kingdom of Heaven, praised fellow candidates like John McCain and Rudolph W. Giuliani but not Romney.

When asked if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion, Huckabee answered, “I think it’s a religion. I really don’t know much about it … . Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”

Golly, gee, ya think? (All this time I thought the Dark Lord Xenu was Satan’s brother.)

It seems perfectly reasonable to vote against a candidate based on faith, if the candidate’s beliefs conflict and/or pose a theocratic threat to the Constitution.

An example of this latent danger might be seen in an aspiring presidential candidate declaring his supporters to be members of “God’s Army” or “soldiers for Christ.” A candidate like Huckabee.

Now, if Mormon elected officials begin arguing that we should take the country back for Brigham Young, let’s worry. As it stands now, Mormons in Washington are just as ineffectual and compromised as your commonplace Christian or Jew. It’s evangelicals who often seem confused about the role of state and faith.

In Iowa, 6 in 10 Republican voters claimed they were born again or evangelical Christians, and a large majority of them supported Huckabee. Once Romney lost Iowa, he was finished.

With the chilling prospect of a McCain presidency looming, Old Testament-style panic set in. Dobson, the day before Super Tuesday, rattled off a number of non-ideologically reasons why McCain won’t do, claiming, “I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience.”

When asked about Romney, Dobson went out of his way to explain, “My theology is very, very different, obviously, and I would not find myself in agreement with the ways he sees scripture and, of course, their own interpretation and extension of scripture.”

What in the name of Joseph Smith Jr. does a candidate’s view on scripture have to do with policy decisions? For evangelicals: everything.

Yet, so indigestible is the thought of a McCain presidency that Dobson claimed he could, gulp, “deal” with Romney in a polling booth. Dobson should have thought about that before sending his coded anti-Mormon messages to the flock. It’s too late now.

George W. Bush was one of them. Dobson and Ted Haggard (before being sent away to reform school for gays) could pick up the phone and call the White House and get answers. Those days are over.

Issues such as abortion and gay marriage are political issues because, in this country, we prescribe policy to deal with them. Social conservatives, then, should remain major players in the political debate. But for ordinary conservatives, there are a multitude of other issues, as well.

Mormonism certainly shouldn’t be one.

Reach columnist David Harsanyi at 303-954-1255 or dharsanyi@denverpost.com.

And finally, from Maurine Proctor of Meridian Magazine:

Religious Bias and Mitt Romney
Super Tuesday is behind us, and watching Mitt Romney’s inability to penetrate the South — he consistently came in third place after McCain and Huckabee — raises the question that has haunted his campaign from the beginning. Is this hum-drum showing in the Bible Belt a reflection of religious bias? Or is it merely identity politics, because evangelical voters like to vote for somebody who just looks like them and Mike Huckabee was there to fill the bill?

The question matters because the prospects of any conservative winning the presidency without carrying the largely Evangelical South are small. Should Latter-day Saints, then, who are mostly conservative, not tell their children what every other American does, “You, too, can grow up and be president”?

On the one hand, according to the Boston Globe, “nationally Huckabee, Romney and Senator John McCain roughly split the evangelical vote, exit polls showed yesterday. But in the South, the vote among Christian conservatives was significant, and Huckabee drew the largest percentage of them by far.”

It is also the case that Romney won a few endorsements from Evangelical leaders such as Traditional Values Coalition leader, Lou Sheldon, but many more, whose values line up with Romney’s just wrung their hands and said they couldn’t find their candidate. Romney was invisible to them — not an option.

Last night pundits at The Corner, the blog at National Review, thought the Mormon question was significant. John O’Sullivan said, “My southern belle wife always warned me that many evangelicals would vote for anyone but a Mormon.”

Mark Steyn said, “There was an explicit anti-Romney vote in the South. A mere month ago, in the wake of Iowa and New Hampshire, I received a ton of emails from southern readers saying these pansy northern states weren’t the ‘real’ conservative heartland, and things would look different once the contest moved to the South. Well, the heartland spoke last night and about the only message it sent was that, no matter what the talk radio guys say, they’re not voting for a Mormon, no way, no how.”

Some of the bias is anything but fuzzy. At Pastors4Huckabee, the effort is to make a biblical claim against voting for a Mormon for president and claim that Christians who support Romney are actually violating scripture.

A Cover for Bias

Still, bias takes many forms, and though the outright Mormon blasting settled down after Romney’s talk on religion at the Bush library, the attitude is still there, but masked. Vanderbilt political scientist John Geer recently said that one of the reasons that the tag “flip-flopper” stuck with Romney but not his Republican opponents who have also changed their minds on critical issues lies in Romney’s Mormon beliefs.

Geer and his colleagues, including Brett Benson, designed an Internet survey to assess bias against Mormons and its potential impact on the nomination process and general election campaign.

Benson said, “We find that of those who accuse Romney of flip-flopping, many admit it is Romney’s Mormonism and not his flip-flopping that is the real issue. Our survey shows that 26% of those who accuse Romney of flip-flopping also indicate that Mormonism, not flip-flopping is their problem with Romney.” Benson noted that the pattern is especially strong for conservative Evangelicals. According to the poll, 57 percent of them have a bias against Mormons.

Religious bias hides behind not only the charge of “flip-flopping” but perhaps also behind the charge of being “too perfect.” Unbelievably, Romney has been criticized because he mentioned that he had not had a serious fight with his wife in their marriage. I’ve heard people in Washington complain that they were overwhelmed and disdainful because at one event, he filled the stage with his children and grandchildren — “all those people who look just alike,” as if it were not a plus.

I think Latter-day Saints have assumed that as the nation got more exposure to Romney, religious bias would melt away — the real person taking the place of the negative stereotype. I would be hard-pressed to say that that has happened as widely as we might have hoped.

As Romney’s candidacy continues, it is undeniable that religious bias will continue to play a dominant, though sometimes hidden role.

Something More at Play

Yet more is at play than the presidency for Latter-day Saints. We have learned something unhappy in the last year of presidential politicking that we never had supposed, and it comes as a surprise in this country touted for its diversity and generosity of spirit.

We have been bewildered, disappointed and quite frankly surprised, as we have seen our faith excoriated and blasted both from the left and the right in the press. It would be laughable if it weren’t so marginalizing when we see the press and pundits call our faith everything from “wacky” to “spooky” to a “racket” to much worse, like Jacob Weisberg’s caustic essay in Slate, “A Mormon President, No Way.”

Just rephrase that to say, “A Jewish President, No Way” or “A Black President, No Way” to see how offensive it is.

For a season of this campaign such prejudice was our daily fare in the press. Until last year, we thought we were mainstream, and why not? We are the fourth largest denomination in the United States, one of the fastest growing Christian faiths in the world with a new chapel going up every day somewhere in the world, and our members are founders and heads of major companies, federal judges, members of Congress, and international leaders in medicine, business, academia, and communications.

Studies show us to be among the healthiest and best educated people in the world.

It is not that before this campaign we didn’t run into occasional pockets of bigotry. Most of us have had the experience of telling someone we were a Mormon to see them suddenly stiffen in disapproval. We have assumed that occasional person was an uneducated throwback to some earlier, less sophisticated time when in small lives people were wary of differences.

To see the name calling and suspicions whipped up by the press and some people toward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not only disheartening, but it has also been alarming. Latter-day Saints have no anti-defamation league to protect them from prejudice.

As Christians, Latter-day Saints are taught to be slow to take offense, but we cannot pretend that real people’s lives are not diminished by bigotry when a nation is taught to disdain them. As citizens of the United States, Latter-day Saints are experiencing more soft bigotry toward us this year than at any time in recent history. For us, this widespread response is new.

What has been so disappointing is that very few have stood up and said to cease and desist. Where are the champions of tolerance in the press or in the pulpits who have stood up and said, “Enough”? Where are all these advocates of diversity, who find Mormonism does not deserve the same respect as other groups in society that are handled with kid gloves?

About the best we get are those who say that Romney’s faith shouldn’t be a problem in considering him for President. The impression that is left is, “Because he is so eminently well-qualified, can we hold our nose and vote for him.”

When Mitt Romney’s father George Romney ran for President in 1968, his Mormon faith was not a question. Have we lost ground in finding that distant, shining shore where people of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds are appreciated and accepted?

Harvard law professor Noah Feldman at that same conference said that if the liberal press had said that Romney’s religion was irrelevant, it would largely have been considered irrelevant.

That didn’t happen, so Mitt apparently has had a political handicap, and not incidentally it has reverberated back to affect all Latter-day Saints.

I would have to wonder that the signing-off of Gov. Mitt Romney is an attempt to make peace on more than many levels. Yes, it concedes that he, the suspiciously expedient Conservative, is paying his dues. At CPAC, finally, many were ready to rally and finally call him the Conservative’s Conservative. A little too much a little too late. But is it to acquiesce to the 21st masters of Mormon slavery? At the very least, it is turning the other cheek. But let’s just say this, it will be a long time before I can call my fellow Evangelicals “brother” or “sister” in the cause.

This fracturing of our party is a vindictive fracturing of any hope to salvage our conservative issues. Had all Christians united, Mormons and Evangelicals, on all fronts: fiscally, socially, and militarily this GOP would have been the GOP this country needed. I would suggest that the very presence of Mike Huckabee and his followers that are the primary cause of what may now be an irretrievable gasp of the Reagan coalition of a great Republican Party.

My question is, with the growing antagonism towards the religious, including the now marginalized Evangelicals, where will this anti-Mormonism be in 4 years? Huckabee continues to vindictively make his irrelevant case by staying in this campaign. He has gotten there by trumpeting the Evangelical anti-Mormon and populist message. The GOP continues it’s stampede to the left by rushing towards John McCain. I can’t go to either on principle alone.

Rush Limbaugh built a great case this week that if Conservatives ever hope to get anywhere, they had better start getting true Conservative Republicans back into the House and the Senate. The only way to do that is by keeping a close eye on each state’s House and Senate – from thence springs our hope.

Or as Michael Tams sums up other positive steps we can take in his “Conservative Manifesto” at

American Federalist

Push away from your desk and get up from the computer. Call your county or township GOP organization. Attend every monthly meeting; they’re generally once a month and if I can do it given my commitments, anyone can. Volunteer to do things that need to get done: yes, these will likely be quite crappy and may include making phone calls to sell ad space, or volunteering to cover a precinct (and maybe in some cases, two) that aren’t being worked. Get to know local candidates, and when you meet a good one, volunteer to stuff envelopes, bags of literature, and walk around (even in eight inches of snow, even if it’s 20 degrees) distributing information on their behalf. In short, do what you’ve been doing online – building relationships and influencing others – with actual, live, person-to-person interactions.

When elections come, figuratively speaking, put your money where your mouth is. Organize like-minded people to walk precincts and make phone calls on behalf of conservative candidates in non-local contests. Hold meet-up groups where people can come together in support of those candidates. In short, take a look at what Ron Paul’s people have done, get up off of your backside, and work.

And when elections roll around? You don’t have to vote for John McCain; I’ve already said that I won’t. But this won’t keep me home. I’ll be there voting for the conservatives in other races because they need my – and your – support. I’ll be telling this to every single conservative I know who is disillusioned by a McCain candidacy: you still need to get out and vote for Senate, House, and State-wide races. Not liking the guy at the top of the ticket is no excuse for not supporting good people in their races.

In short: if you don’t like the status quo, you have to change it. Not third person “you.” I actually mean you. Assume that no one else will have the nerve, energy, or right ideas. Then, go do it.

When we’ve done everything we can do and the party doesn’t conform to our vision, values and ideals, then we can declare it broken. Then we can assess what our options are. Then we can talk about creating a third party – Lord knows that’s been a topic near and dear to my heart for a long, long time.

You may get sick walking a precinct in January. You may fall down a set of icy stairs on your back; if you’re lucky and careful, probably not. Our Founders were willing to risk it all – everything – in pursuit of their values. If we’re not willing to risk anything other than a couple of hours of free time, and only then sit at our computers and write that fiery prose, we’re going to get more of the same. …let’s see if we can’t get control of our party back.

So, I have put this all together in a way to aggregate what I feel are the hot topics on this anti-Mormon issue. Another excellent post to keep tabs on this is over at Article VI blog titled: “Romney’s Run ‘A Crucible For Mormonism?’ And How Do Evangelicals Feel About It?”.

In “No Break – A Big Mistake In the Wake, Dobson Style

The “faith-baiting” refers to Huckabee’s anti-Mormon “aside” to the NYTimes just before Iowa. There is a lot of truth to that quote. Which means that by endorsing Huck, Dobson has pretty much squandered his endorsement. His conscience may have demanded same, but given that his lack of support for McCain was already well known from his Monday statement, not to mention his very early statements and their context, would not an endorsement of Huckabee been implicit after Romney’s withdrawal? And would have allowing it to stay implicit not have avoided the appearance of a conspiracy?

The possible theory is simple. Dobson’s Monday anti-McCain declaration could be read, and certainly was read by some out of their own anti-Mormon bias, as an encouragement to vote for Huck. It will be interesting to see – I hope someone polls this – how much of an effect Dobson’s Monday declaration had in Huck’s Super Tuesday southern sweep. To come out with this Huck endorsement mere hours after Romney’s withdrawal makes it all appear very strategic. You just know someone is going to try and connect the dots, and with the MSM poised on the religion question, and wanting to simplify things, they may be active participants is such conspiratorial theorizing.

When you also examine the actions of the Dobson-allied FRC, releasing key staffers to the Huckabee campaign just long enough to help with Iowa and rob Romney of momentum, one can construct a very plausible “Stop the Mormon” scenario.

With Mormon disappointment and anger at the levels it is right now, I am surprised the charge has not already been leveled. With so many creedal Christians out there floating outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the Mormons; it is a testament to Mormon patience and forbearing that they have not struck back in a similar fashion.

None Of This Helps Any Of Us…

Now, here is the bottom line. We are fighting liberal, secularist tendencies in the nation. Something Evangelicals, creedal Christians in general and Mormons share in common. Given that common cause, it makes no sense whatsoever to divide the forces – particularly when Romney is out. What possible political good can come from deepening the divide in an already divided political camp? The Mormon vote is significant and important to social conservative causes (see the American Thinker quote above) – driving an additional nail in an already sealed coffin can only serve as a big enormous, “Get out of my face and leave me alone.” And thus we Evangelicals lose potentially 6 million allied Mormon votes; votes we desperately need – particularly in a McCain lead party.

A comment to this article are a fantastic venting – continue the full read here.

Romney Bid Was a Crucible for Mormons

Mormons Dismayed By Harsh Spotlight

LDS Anger Over Romney’s Treatment

And the list goes on and on and it all makes me sick.

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Today, addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Governor Romney announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign for the sake of Republican unity and the future of our country.  In 2008, Republicans must stand united if we are to prevent Senators Clinton and Obama from taking the White House.  As a nation at war and facing uncertain economic times, the American people cannot afford the Democrats and their agenda for retreat and economic slowdown.  With today’s speech, Governor Romney outlined the significance of this election and the need for the Republican Party to remain strong.  Here’s the link to the video on Mitt TV:

And here’s the speech as prepared for delivery.  On a personal note, it has been great to work with you all.  Thanks so much.

Governor Romney’s Address To CPAC:

http://www.mittromney.com/News/Press-Releases/CPAC_Address

“I want to begin by saying thank you.  It’s great to be with you again.  And I look forward to joining with you many more times in the future.

“Last year, CPAC gave me the sendoff I needed.  I was in single digits in the polls, and I was facing household Republican names.  As of today, more than 4 million people have given me their vote for President, less than Senator McCain’s 4.7 million, but quite a statement nonetheless.  Eleven states have given me their nod, compared to his 13.  Of course, because size does matter, he’s doing quite a bit better with his number of delegates.

“To all of you, thank you for caring enough about the future of America to show up, stand up and speak up for conservative principles.

“As I said to you last year, conservative principles are needed now more than ever.  We face a new generation of challenges, challenges which threaten our prosperity, our security and our future.  I am convinced that unless America changes course, we will become the France of the 21st century – still a great nation, but no longer the leader of the world, no longer the superpower.  And to me, that is unthinkable.  Simon Peres, in a visit to Boston, was asked what he thought about the war in Iraq.  ‘First,’ he said, ‘I must put something in context. America is unique in the history of the world.  In the history of the world, whenever there has been conflict, the nation that wins takes land from the nation that loses. One nation in history, and this during the last century, laid down hundreds of thousands of lives and took no land.  No land from Germany, no land from Japan, no land from Korea.  America is unique in the sacrifice it has made for liberty, for itself and for freedom loving people around the world.’  The best ally peace has ever known, and will ever know, is a strong America.

“And that is why we must rise to the occasion, as we have always done before, to confront the challenges ahead.  Perhaps the most fundamental of these is the attack on the American culture. 

“Over the years, my business has taken me to many countries.  I have been struck by the enormous differences in the wealth and well-being of people of different nations.  I have read a number of scholarly explanations for the disparities.  I found the most convincing was that written by David Landes, a professor emeritus from Harvard University.  I presume he’s a liberal – I guess that’s redundant.  His work traces the coming and going of great civilizations throughout history.  After hundreds of pages of analysis, he concludes with this:

“If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes all the difference.  Culture makes all the difference.

“What is it about American culture that has led us to become the most powerful nation in the history of the world?  We believe in hard work and education.  We love opportunity: almost all of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who came here for opportunity – opportunity is in our DNA.  Americans love God, and those who don’t have faith, typically believe in something greater than themselves – a ‘Purpose Driven Life.’  And we sacrifice everything we have, even our lives, for our families, our freedoms and our country.  The values and beliefs of the free American people are the source of our nation’s strength and they always will be.

“The threat to our culture comes from within.  The 1960’s welfare programs created a culture of poverty.  Some think we won that battle when we reformed welfare, but the liberals haven’t given up.  At every turn, they try to substitute government largesse for individual responsibility.  They fight to strip work requirements from welfare, to put more people on Medicaid, and to remove more and more people from having to pay any income tax whatsoever.  Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is a culture-killing drug.  We have got to fight it like the poison it is.

“The attack on faith and religion is no less relentless.  And tolerance for pornography – even celebration of it – and sexual promiscuity, combined with the twisted incentives of government welfare programs have led to today’s grim realities: 68% of African American children are born out-of-wedlock, 45% of Hispanic children, and 25% of White children.  How much harder it is for these children to succeed in school and in life.  A nation built on the principles of the Founding Fathers cannot long stand when its children are raised without fathers in the home.

“The development of a child is enhanced by having a mother and father.  Such a family is the ideal for the future of the child and for the strength of a nation.  I wonder how it is that unelected judges, like some in my state of Massachusetts, are so unaware of this reality, so oblivious to the millennia of recorded history.  It is time for the people of America to fortify marriage through Constitutional amendment, so that liberal judges cannot continue to attack it.

“Europe is facing a demographic disaster.  That is the inevitable product of weakened faith in the Creator, failed families, disrespect for the sanctity of human life and eroded morality.  Some reason that culture is merely an accessory to America’s vitality; we know that it is the source of our strength.  And we are not dissuaded by the snickers and knowing glances when we stand up for family values, and morality, and culture.  We will always be honored to stand on principle and to stand for principle.

“The attack on our culture is not our sole challenge.  We face economic competition unlike anything we have ever known before.  China and Asia are emerging from centuries of poverty.  Their people are plentiful, innovative and ambitious.  If we do not change course, Asia or China will pass us by as the economic superpower, just as we passed England and France during the last century.  The prosperity and security of our children and grandchildren depend on us.

“Our prosperity and security also depend on finally acting to become energy secure.  Oil producing states like Russia and Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran are siphoning over $400 billion per year from our economy – that’s almost what we spend annually for defense.  It is past time for us to invest in energy technology, nuclear power, clean coal, liquid coal, renewable sources and energy efficiency.   America must never be held hostage by the likes of Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad.

“And our economy is also burdened by the inexorable ramping of government spending.  Don’t focus on the pork alone – even though it is indeed irritating and shameful.  Look at the entitlements.  They make up 60% of federal spending today.  By the end of the next President’s second term, they will total 70%.  Any conservative plan for the future has to include entitlement reform that solves the problem, not just acknowledges it.

“Most politicians don’t seem to understand the connection between our ability to compete and our national wealth, and the wealth of our families.  They act as if money just happens – that it’s just there. But every dollar represents a good or service produced in the private sector.  Depress the private sector and you depress the well-being of Americans.

“That’s exactly what happens with high taxes, over-regulation, tort windfalls, mandates, and overfed, over-spending government.  Did you see that today, government workers make more money than people who work in the private sector?  Can you imagine what happens to an economy where the best opportunities are for bureaucrats?

“It’s high time to lower taxes, including corporate taxes, to take a weed-whacker to government regulations, to reform entitlements, and to stand up to the increasingly voracious appetite of the unions in our government.

“And finally, let’s consider the greatest challenge facing America – and facing the entire civilized world: the threat of violent, radical Jihad. In one wing of the world of Islam, there is a conviction that all governments should be destroyed and replaced by a religious caliphate.  These Jihadists will battle any form of democracy.  To them, democracy is blasphemous for it says that citizens, not God shape the law.  They find the idea of human equality to be offensive.  They hate everything we believe about freedom just as we hate everything they believe about radical Jihad.

“To battle this threat, we have sent the most courageous and brave soldiers in the world.  But their numbers have been depleted by the Clinton years when troops were reduced by 500,000, when 80 ships were retired from the Navy, and when our human intelligence was slashed by 25%.  We were told that we were getting a peace dividend.  We got the dividend, but we didn’t get the peace.  In the face of evil in radical Jihad and given the inevitable military ambitions of China, we must act to rebuild our military might – raise military spending to 4% of our GDP, purchase the most modern armament, re-shape our fighting forces for the asymmetric demands we now face, and give the veterans the care they deserve.

“Soon, the face of liberalism in America will have a new name.  Whether it is Barack or Hillary, the result would be the same if they were to win the Presidency.  The opponents of American culture would push the throttle, devising new justifications for judges to depart from the Constitution.  Economic neophytes would layer heavier and heavier burdens on employers and families, slowing our economy and opening the way for foreign competition to further erode our lead.

“Even though we face an uphill fight, I know that many in this room are fully behind my campaign.  You are with me all the way to the convention.  Fight on, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1976.   But there is an important difference from 1976:  today, we are a nation at war.

“And Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror.  They would retreat and declare defeat.  And the consequence of that would be devastating.  It would mean attacks on America, launched from safe havens that make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child’s play.  About this, I have no doubt.

“I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know.  But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror.  If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win.  And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

“This is not an easy decision for me.  I hate to lose.  My family, my friends and our supporters – many of you right here in this room – have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President.  If this were only about me, I would go on.  But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.

“I will continue to stand for conservative principles.  I will fight alongside you for all the things we believe in.  And one of those things is that we cannot allow the next President of the United States to retreat in the face evil extremism.

“It is the common task of each generation – and the burden of liberty – to preserve this country, expand its freedoms and renew its spirit so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.

“To this task, accepting this burden, we are all dedicated, and I firmly believe, by the providence of the Almighty, that we will succeed beyond our fondest hope.  America must remain, as it has always been, the hope of the Earth.

“Thank you, and God bless America.”

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I actually had a lot of respect for Ron Paul and thought he was above this kind of thing. Now I’m getting two bits of information for West Virginia:

McCain-Huckabee Backroom Deal:

From The Hill:

Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic reported Tuesday that, after the first ballot, McCain’s campaign called his supporters there and urged them to vote in favor of Huckabee.

“Unfortunately, this is what Senator McCain’s inside Washington ways look like: he cut a backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Governor Romney’s campaign of conservative change,” Beth Myers, Romney’s campaign manager, said in a statement.

Huckabee-Paul Backroom Deal:

From Reason Magazine:

I just spoke with a source inside the West Virginia Paul campaign and got some insight into the decision to push their votes to Huckabee. “There are two dynamics in West Virginia,” the source said, “the national dynamic and the local dynamic. The local dynamic is frustration with a GOP establishment that doesn’t believe in freedom and liberty but mouths support for those ideals in order to win elections.” This, he explained, was the common cause between compassionate conservative Huckabee supporters and libertarian Paul supporters.

Both Paul supporters and Huckabee supporters were angry at a convention process that seemed to be rigged for Romney. So after the first balloting, when they were knocked out of the running, Paul delegates met in a room to hear arguments for supporting one of the remaining candidates. Huckabee’s supporters offered a deal: If Huckabee won the convention, three members of his delegate slate would resign. Responsibility for replacing those delegates goes not to the state party or national party but to the winner of the convention. Thus, Huckabee’s campaign would replace the three delegates with three Ron Paul delegates.
“This was a gentlemen’s agreement,” my source said. “We’re going to trust but verify.”

The Official Statement from the Romney camp:

“Unfortunately, this is what Senator McCain’s inside Washington ways look like: he cut a backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Governor Romney’s campaign of conservative change.

“Governor Romney had enough respect for the Republican voters of West Virginia to make an appeal to them about the future of the party based on issues.  This is why he led on today’s first ballot.  Sadly, Senator McCain cut a Washington backroom deal in a way that once again underscores his legacy of working against Republicans who are interested in championing conservative policies and rebuilding the party.”

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In 2008, the Republican Party needs a nominee who can debate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) on the important issues confronting our nation today.  “Very Close” highlights how Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Clinton actually agree on more issues than not.  We need “a full-spectrum conservative” like Governor Mitt Romney who can provide a clear conservative contrast with Sen. Clinton.

Script For “Very Close” (WEB:30):

ANNOUNCER:  “Is John McCain really the heart and soul of the Republican Party?

“Imagine a debate between McCain and Hillary Clinton.

“On amnesty for illegal immigrants, they agree.

“On voting against President Bush’s tax cuts, they agree.

“On imposing an additional 50 cents a gallon cost on gasoline, they agree.

“On blocking conservative judges, they agree.

“Even Bill Clinton says…”

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON:  “‘She and John McCain are very close.'”

ANNOUNCER:  “Don’t we need a leader who agrees with conservatives?”

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: “I’m Mitt Romney and I approved this message.”

AD FACTS For “Very Close” (WEB:30):

ANNOUNCER:  “Is John McCain really the heart and soul of the Republican Party?  Imagine a debate between McCain and Hillary Clinton.  On amnesty for illegal immigrants, they agree.”

  • Sen. McCain And Sen. Clinton Both Voted For The 2006 Senate Amnesty Bill. “Passage of the bill that would overhaul U.S. immigration policies and offer a path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants in the country. It would subdivide illegal immigrants into three groups based on how long they had been in the United States. Illegal immigrants in the country more than five years would be able to stay and earn citizenship; those here between two and five years would have three years to file paperwork for a temporary work visa, after which they would be eligible for permanent legal residency; and those here less than two years would have to return to their native country and go through normal channels if they want to return. It would create a guest worker program that could accommodate an additional 200,000 immigrants a year. It also would authorize increased border security and enforcement provisions, including a requirement for businesses to verify documents of all prospective employees through an electronic system managed by the Department of Homeland Security.” (S. 2611, CQ Vote #157: Passed 62-36: R 23-32; D 38-4; I 1-0, 5/25/06, McCain And Clinton Voted Yea)
  • Sen. Clinton: Immigration Legislation Must Have A “Path To Legalization” For The 12 Million Illegal Immigrants Here. “Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York said she was disappointed that the Senate did not move forward with its immigration bill and that the cornerstone of any future measure must be a ‘path to legalization’ for the 12 million undocumented immigrants already here.” (Eunice Moscoso, “Democrats Promise Immigration Reform,” Cox News Service, 6/30/07)
  • Sen. McCain Still Supports His Immigration Plan For A “Path To Citizenship.” QUESTION: “But fundamentally, I’m wondering, don’t you still have the same plan for a path to citizenship that you fundamentally held months ago?” MCCAIN: “Sure.” (ABC/WMUR, Republican Presidential Candidate Debate, Manchester, NH, 1/5/08; www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LbTSe6uLqI)

ANNOUNCER:  “On voting against President Bush’s tax cuts, they agree.”

  • In 2001, Sen. McCain And Sen. Clinton Both Voted Against The $1.35 Trillion Tax Cut. The bill lowered marginal rates, eliminated the marriage penalty, and doubled the child tax credit. (H.R. 1836, CQ Vote #170: Adopted 58-33: R 46-2; D 12-31; I 0-0, 5/26/01, McCain And Clinton Voted Nay)
  • In 2003, Sen. McCain And Sen. Clinton Each Cast Two Votes Against The $350 Billion Tax Cut. The comprehensive bill lowered taxes by $350 billion over 11 years – including increasing the child tax credit and eliminated the marriage penalty. (H.R. 2, CQ Vote #179: Passed 51-49: R 48-3; D 3-45; I 0-1, 5/15/03, McCain And Clinton Voted Nay; H.R. 2, CQ Vote #196: Adopted 50-50: R 48-3; D 2-46; I 0-1, 5/23/03, McCain And Clinton Voted Nay)

ANNOUNCER:  “On imposing an additional 50 cents a gallon cost on gasoline, they agree.”

  • McCain-Lieberman Would Dramatically Raise Taxes On All Carbon-Based Fuels, Like Gas For Your Car And Home Heating Oil. “What is not widely understood is that [Sen. McCain] is currently sponsoring legislation that, in the name of fighting global warming, would dramatically raise the tax on all carbon-based fuels, including gasoline, home heating oil, coal, and to a lesser extent, natural gas.” (Roy Cordato, “McCain’s Costly Tax On Energy,” National Review, www.nationalreview.com, Posted 1/10/08)
  • American Council For Capital Formation Study: McCain-Lieberman Could Hike Gasoline Prices By 50 Cents Per Gallon.  “A study by an economic research institute, the American Council for Capital Formation, underscored these findings, estimating that under S. 139: … By 2020, gasoline prices would increase 30 to 50 cents per gallon.”  (H. Sterling Burnett, “Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” National Center For Policy Analysis, 11/18/04)
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton Has Co-Sponsored McCain-Lieberman. CLINTON: “And we were debating the McCain-Lieberman Bill, which I’m a proud co-sponsor, to try and do something with CO2.” (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The 17th Annual Energy Efficiency Forum, Washington, DC, 6/14/06)

ANNOUNCER:  “On blocking conservative judges, they agree.”

  • Sen. McCain Joined Democrats In The Gang Of 14 And Stopped Sen. Bill Frist From Banning Filibusters. “An effort that started as little more than hallway talk and phone conversations led to a last-minute deal May 23 that stopped Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s plans to engineer a ruling the next day to bar filibusters of judicial nominations. A group that became known as the ‘gang of 14’ – seven Republicans and seven Democrats promised to vote against any such change as long as Democrats swore off future judicial filibusters in all but extraordinary cases. That unified promise had the effect of denying Frist the votes he needed to ban the practice altogether.” (David Nather, “Senate Races Against The Nuclear Clock On Judges,” Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 5/28/05)
  • Sen. Clinton Was “Certainly Supportive” Of The Gang Of 14. CNN’S JUDY WOODRUFF: “Some people have noted that you chose not to be part of the group that announced the compromise, that worked on the compromise. The Gang of 14. Should somebody make anything of that?” CLINTON: “No. I think that this was a process that a couple of my colleagues started, you know, some weeks ago after Senator Reid could not reach any understanding with Senator Frist. And I thought they were pursuing a noble effort. I didn’t know whether they would be successful or not, but I was, you know, certainly supportive of their efforts to try.” (CNN’s “Inside Politics,” 5/26/05)

ANNOUNCER:  “Even Bill Clinton says…”  FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON:  “‘She and John McCain are very close.'”  ANNOUNCER:  “Don’t we need a leader who agrees with conservatives?”  GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: “I’m Mitt Romney and I approved this message.”

  • Former President Clinton: Sens. Clinton And McCain “Are Very Close.” “‘She and John McCain are very close,’ [President Bill] Clinton said. ‘They always laugh that if they wound up being the nominees of their party, it would be the most civilized election in American history, and they’re afraid they’d put the voters to sleep because they like and respect each other.'” (Alexander Mooney, “Bill Clinton: John McCain And Hillary Are ‘Very Close’,” CNN’s Political Ticker, http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com, Posted 1/25/08)

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That’s right. Some big name Conservatives are taking a look at Obama. Mr. Feel Good. What I’m wondering is that he might be considered the alternative to John McCain if, regretfully, McCain becomes the GOP nominee. My guess is that you could have one of the three options: another liberal Clinton; a liberal, grumpy old McCain; or a liberal, upbeat Obama. Hmmm, the option speaks for itself.

Why Republicans Like Obama

By Peter Wehner

Sunday, February 3, 2008; Page B07

Barack Obama is not only popular among Democrats, he’s also an appealing figure to many Republicans. Former GOP House member Joe Scarborough, now a host on MSNBC, reports that after every important Obama speech, he is inundated with e-mails praising the speech — with most of them coming from Republicans. William Bennett, an influential conservative intellectual, has said favorable things about Obama. So have Rich Lowry of National Review and Peggy Noonan. And so have I.

A number of prominent Republicans I know, who would wage a pitched battle against Hillary Clinton, like Obama and would find it hard to generate much enthusiasm in opposing him.

What is at the core of Obama’s appeal?

Read more here.

But here’s the catch: terrorists are watching. They just love the fact that the liberals are fighting over who’s going to pull America out of Iraq. Take a look at what Aaron Klein says:

“The Iraqi resistance is succeeding. Hillary and the Democrats call for withdrawal. Her [Clinton’s] popularity shows that the resistance is winning and that the occupation is losing.”

I hope every candidate comprehends what the terrorists just highlighted. It’s important for our leaders to understand the terrorists are watching. The primary debate in America and our ultimate decision on whom to nominate in each party will likely directly impact the war being waged against us.

Make no mistake about it: The terrorists’ ultimate goal is to spread their brand of Islam around the world. Their short term goals include kicking America out of Iraq and the Middle East, destroying Israel and changing the demography of Europe.

Every time terrorists hear our candidates, largely liberals, say we are losing the war and compete with each other on who would withdraw first from Iraq, it emboldens terrorists to believe they are winning.

Read entire article here.

So we know that Obama spent some time as a child at a terrorist training school.

From “The Raw Story“:

Fox News Channel’s morning program Fox & Friends pointed to a report on Friday that Sen. Barack Obama had attended a Muslim ‘madrasa’ while living in Indonesia as a 6-year-old child.

Host Steve Doocy went on to highlight Obama’s middle name, Hussein, and questioned whether Obama was indoctrinated in extremist Muslim doctrine.

The YouTube of that exchange “is no longer available”. Interesting

The good news is that Mitt Romney is making a come back in California today. Let’s just hope that our voice will be heard loud and clear on Super Tuesday. This country wants Mitt Romney.

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Throughout the state of Maine, people have gathered at their local caucus site over the last two days and cast their vote for conservative change in Washington.   With only a few caucus sites left to report tomorrow, Governor Romney issued the following statement concerning his victory in Maine:

http://www.mittromney.com/News/Press-Releases/Maine_Victory

“Today, the people of Maine joined those from across the nation in casting their vote for conservative change in Washington.  All across the state, men and women gathered to help chart the future course of our country.  Tonight, they have made their voice known and have endorsed our conservative vision for a stronger America.  Like many Americans, the people of Maine are tired of Washington promises made but broken. 

“The need for change in Washington is even more apparent today.  With our economy facing uncertain times, we need a leader who actually understands how the economy works and how jobs are created.  We also need a leader from outside of Washington who is ready to meet the long-term challenges facing our country.  With a career spent working in the economy, creating jobs, turning around faltering institutions and imposing fiscal discipline, I am ready to bring conservative change to Washington.  In this campaign, I am proud to have the support of the people of Maine.” 

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