Mitt Romney

After The Caucus: Googling Santorum

Photo illustration: The Funhouse Effect and Santorum
Photo illustration: The Funhouse Effect and Santorum

The results of the Iowa Caucus are in. Romney edged it out with 8 votes over Santorum. Ron Paul came in third and then Gingrich, Perry and Bachmann came in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

It’s a stretch, but remember when Bachmann was the candidate to beat? How about Perry? Cain? Gingrich was just a few weeks ago. Ron Paul was at the top of the polls for a moment Iowa.

Santorum has now shot up in prominence with his close second finish but some observers are arguing that the only reason why he is up is that he hasn’t been vetted yet. (On Wednesday, "Rick Santorum" was the second-most popular search on Google after "Iowa caucus.")

Why all of the ups and downs?

When Faith is Attacked

Religious prejudice has become a major campaign issue during the Republican primaries this fall. Not surprisingly, it’s the “M” word. Surprisingly, the M word in question is not “Muslim.” While Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain have both made remarks about the alleged dangers of sharia law in American courts, the M word making the most waves is “Mormon.” The issue is this: Will a key Republican voting bloc—conservative evangelical Christians—refuse to support the likely front-runner, Mitt Romney, a Mormon?

The biggest wave thus far was caused by Robert Jeffress, who introduced presidential hopeful Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in October and then made the rounds of reporters declaring Mitt Romney’s religion a “cult” and saying “born-again followers of Christ should always prefer [a] competent Christian to a competent non-Christian like Mitt Romney.”

Watching the news coverage of this incident, I’ve been struck by two things. One, for the most part, the tone that the media appears to be taking regarding an issue of blatant religious prejudice is what I would call “descriptive/inquisitive.”

Cable news anchors ask questions such as, “Do you think Romney’s religion is going to cost him the election?” Replace the term “religion” with “economic plan,” and the tone would be the same. Now imagine if we replace Romney’s “religion” with Romney’s “race” or “gender.” The tone changes—it goes from descriptive/inquisitive to offended and outraged—and it should. That’s because our society has, again for the most part, recognized that counting someone’s race against her in a political election is an act of prejudice, and it’s bad. So why is counting someone’s religion against him any less an act of prejudice? Why has our media become enlightened enough to call out racism or sexism in political races, but when it comes to religious prejudice, the tone is, “Gee, look at that. Wonder how that faith is going to play?”

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The Morning News: Monday, Dec. 19, 2011

North Korean Leader’s Nukes, Threats Stoked World Fears; Extension of Tax Cut Stalls in House as GOP Objects; Christian Group Recalls Pink Bible; For Times Such As These: The Radical Christian Witness of the New Monastics; ‘People’s year’ gives hope that the tide is turning; Speaker targets immigration law; Vaclav Havel, Czech’s Velvet Revolution Leader, Dead at 75; Paul Leads Iowa, Gingrich drops to 3; Mitt Romney’s Dream World: Cutting Billions Out of Medicaid Will Not 'Hurt the Poor'.

The Friday News: Dec. 16, 2011

Nikki Haley Endorses Mitt Romney For President; Lawmakers Agree on Spending Bill, Avoid Shutdown; Omaha Tri-Faith Initiative Has Unique Approach To Interfaith Relations; Christopher Hitchens Has Died; Did Bachmann Just Save Romney?; Wikileak suspect wants recusal; Health Care Experts Warn That Wyden/Rayn Plan Will End Guaranteed Access To Care For Seniors; New Evangelicals, Old News.

Mitt Romney Uses KKK Catchphrase

The Washington Post reports:

Someone didn’t do his research.

On Tuesday, political commenters reported that GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney has been using a catchphrase in his stump speeches that the Ku Klux Klan favored in the 1920s.

When the white supremacist group used “Keep America American,” it was to rally people against blacks American, gay people, Catholics and Jews. When Romney’s used it, as he did in this Los Angeles Times piece, it was to promise that as president he would “keep America American with the principles that made us the greatest nation on Earth.”

Romney’s isn’t the first campaign mishap that came out of a borrowed slogan. While a candidate’s political slogan can be key to an effective campaign — as President Obama’s “Yes We Can” slogan was — many politicians have shown by example how precarious slogans can be if you don’t do your research.

The Afternoon News: Monday, Dec. 12, 2011

What Are You Getting Baby Jesus For The Holidays? (OPINION); Math Fail: Fox News Says 8.6 Percent Unemployment Is Greater Than 8.8 And Equal To 9; Guardian: What The Top 1 Percent Really Owns; Romney’s $10,000 Wager Dominates Post-Debate Buzz; Ben & Jerry Explain Why They Support Occupy Wall Street; Limbaugh Calls Poor Children Receiving Free School Meals "Wanton Little Waifs And Serfs Dependent On The State."

The Afternoon News: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011

From Judgment To Hope (OPINION); Obama Administration To Consider Gay Rights When Allocating Foreign Aid: Source; Coming Soon To The Southwest: The Age Of Thirst; Iowa Republicans Side With Newt Gingrich Over Mitt Romney On Immigration; Occupy Wall Street Protesters To Occupy Foreclosed Homes The Amazing Rise Of Anna Hazare, India's Gandhi-Like Protest Leader; Arnold Schwarzenegger Urges Candidates To Champion Green Energy; The Bomb Buried In Obamacare Explodes Today-Hallelujah!

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