New on American Thinker – There’s No Reason Libertarians and Gay Conservatives Can’t Support Michele Bachmann

My latest American Thinker post:
Whenever conservative candidates demonstrate their electoral viability, sensationalistic denunciations of said conservatives as beyond the pale are sure to follow. Last weekend, Michael Smerconish declared that Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) has “lost a young conservative” named Ben Haney by signing the Iowa Family Leader’s Marriage Vow, which suggests homosexuality is a choice. And that’s not all:
In 2004, at the National Education Leadership Conference, you said of the gay lifestyle: “It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It’s anything but gay.”
Then there’s your husband, Marcus, who obtained his Ph.D. by virtue of a correspondence course. He runs a mental-health clinic but, according to Politico, is not registered with any of the three state boards that certify mental health practitioners. (Minnesota is one of the only states in which you can practice mental health without a license.) Last year, when asked during a radio interview about parenting homosexual children, he said:
“We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps. . .”
Marcus Bachmann has denied that his clinic engages in attempts to “pray away the gay,” but ABC’s Nightline recently aired an interview with a man who said that, at age 17, he sought help from Bachmann & Associates and: ” path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, pray to God that I would no longer be gay.”
First, some fact checking: According to the Minneapolis StarTribune, both Marcus Bachmann and interviewer Penna Dexter say the “barbarian” quote referred to children, not gays: “We believe that children are born with a nature that inclines them to challenge and break rules, and that it is thus the parents’ responsibility to guide their children along good and productive paths.” Further, Dr. Bachmann hasn’t denied that he advises gays to pray for sexual conversions; he simply clarifies that it’s “not a special interest of the business and would only be attempted at the client’s request.” However foolish or distasteful gays find such services, let’s keep in mind that they don’t affect anyone who doesn’t choose to utilize them.
As for the “is homosexuality a choice?” debate, I’ve mostly ignored it since it’s irrelevant to public policy—gay Americans would still deserve equal protection of their natural and political rights even if homosexuality was 100% optional, and there would still be powerful reasons to resist the redefinition of marriage even if everyone agreed that sexual orientation was set in stone from conception onward. That said, I suspect homosexuality is substantially predetermined because, as Haney says, “If you could simply choose who you were sexually attracted to, wouldn’t you choose the path of least resistance?”

Massachusetts Tested, Conservative Approved

As if National Review, Robert Bork, Tom Tancredo, and the founder of National Right to Life weren’t enough right-wing bona fides, now Mitt Romney receives the Ann Coulter endorsement:

Unluckily for McCain, snowstorms in Michigan suppressed the turnout among Democratic “Independents” who planned to screw up the Republican primary by voting for our worst candidate. Democrats are notoriously unreliable voters in bad weather. Instead of putting on galoshes and going to the polls, they sit on their porches waiting for FEMA to rescue them.

In contrast to Michigan’s foul weather, New Hampshire was balmy on primary day, allowing McCain’s base — Democrats — to come out and vote for him.

Assuming any actual Republicans are voting for McCain — or for liberals’ new favorite candidate for us, Mike Huckabee — this column is for you.

I’ve been casually taking swipes at Mitt Romney for the past year based on the assumption that, in the end, Republicans would choose him as our nominee. My thinking was that Romney would be our nominee because he is manifestly the best candidate.

I had no idea that Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire planned to do absolutely zero research on the candidates and vote on the basis of random impulses. Dear Republicans: Please do one-tenth as much research before casting a vote in a presidential election as you do before buying a new car.

One clue that Romney is our strongest candidate is the fact that Democrats keep viciously attacking him while expressing their deep respect for Mike Huckabee and John McCain.

This point was already extensively covered in Chapter 1 of “How To Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)”: Never take advice from your political enemies.

Turn on any cable news show right now, and you will see Democratic pundits attacking Romney, calling him a “flip-flopper,” and heaping praise on McCain and Huckleberry — almost as if they were reading some sort of “talking points.”

Doesn’t that raise the tiniest suspicions in any of you? Are you too busy boning up on Consumer Reports’ reviews of microwave ovens to spend one day thinking about who should be the next leader of the free world? Are you familiar with our “no exchange/no return” policy on presidential candidates? Voting for McCain because he was a POW a quarter-century ago or Huckabee because he was a Baptist preacher is like buying a new car because you like the color.

The candidate Republicans should be clamoring for is the one liberals are feverishly denouncing. That is Mitt Romney by a landslide.

New York Times columnist Frank Rich says Romney “is trying to sell himself as a leader,” but he “is actually a follower and a panderer, as confirmed by his flip-flops on nearly every issue.”

But Rich is in a swoon over Huckabee. I haven’t seen Rich this excited since they announced “Hairspray” was coming to Broadway.

Rich has continued to hyperventilate over “populist” charmer Huckabee even after it came to light that Huckabee had called homosexuality an “abomination.” Normally, any aspersions on sodomy or any favorable mentions of Christianity would lead to at least a dozen hysterical columns by Frank Rich.

Rich treated Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” as if it were a Leni Riefenstahl Nazi propaganda film. (On a whim, I checked to see if Rich had actually compared Gibson to Riefenstahl in one of his many “Passion” reviews and yes, of course he had.)

Curiously, however, Huckabee’s Christianity doesn’t bother Rich. In column after column, Rich hails Huckabee as the only legitimate leader of the Republican Party. This is like a girl in high school who hates you telling you your hair looks great.

Liberals claim to be enraged at Romney for being a “flip-flopper.” I’ve looked and looked, and the only issue I can find that Romney has “flipped” on is abortion. When running for office in Massachusetts — or, for short, “the Soviet Union” — Romney said that Massachusetts was a pro-choice state and that he would not seek to change laws on abortion.

Romney’s first race was against Sen. Teddy Kennedy — whom he came closer to beating than any Republican ever had. If Romney needed to quote “The Communist Manifesto” to take out that corpulent drunk, all men of good will would owe him a debt of gratitude.

Even when Romney was claiming to support Roe v. Wade, he won the endorsement of Massachusetts Citizens for Life — a group I trust more than the editorial board of The New York Times. Romney’s Democratic opponents always won the endorsements of the very same pro-choice groups now attacking him as a “flip-flopper.”

After his term as governor, NARAL Pro-Choice America assailed Romney, saying: “(A)s governor he initially expressed pro-choice beliefs but had a generally anti-choice record. His position on choice has changed. His position is now anti-choice.”

Pro-abortion groups like the Republican Majority for Choice — the evil doppelganger to my own group, Democratic Majority for Life — are now running videos attacking Romney for “flip-flopping” on abortion.

Of all the Republican candidates for president, Romney and Rudy Giuliani are the only ones who had to be elected in pro-choice districts. Romney governed as a pro-lifer and has been viciously attacked by pro-abortion groups.

By contrast, Giuliani cleverly avoids the heinous “flip-flopper” label by continuing to embrace baby-killing. (Rudy flip-flops only on trivial matters like illegal immigration and his own marital vows.)

And, of course, Romney is a Mormon. Even a loser Mormon like Sen. Harry Reid claims to be pro-life. So having a candidate with a wacky religion isn’t all bad.

At worst, Romney will turn out to be a moderate Republican — a high-IQ, articulate, moral, wildly successful, moderate Republican. Of the top five Republican candidates for president, Romney is the only one who hasn’t dumped his first wife (as well as the second, in the case of Giuliani) — except Huckabee. And unlike Huckabee, Romney doesn’t have a son who hanged a dog at summer camp. So there won’t be any intern issues and there won’t be any Billy Carter issues.

It’s also possible that Romney will turn out to be a conservative Republican — at least more conservative than he was as governor of Massachusetts. Whatever problems Romney’s Mormonism gives voters, remember: Bill Clinton came in third in heavily Mormon Utah in 1992.

Debate Reaction

Didn’t we just do this?
Deja vu aside, I’ve gotta admit that tonight was Fred Thompson’s night. Alert and on target, he stood out from the pack (plus, he gave Huck a much-deserved whuppin’). His performance didn’t by any means overcome his problems on the issues or his disingenuousness, so I still can’t support him in the primary. But the general? We could do far worse.
My man Mitt did well tonight, and his suggestion that Ron Paul stop reading the Tyrant of Tehran’s press releases rocked. But he didn’t stand out, either. I think he’s trying to compete for the change banner a little too much (though, to be fair, it’s not a new thing for him – he’s always framed himself as the Mr. Fix-It candidate). Just show us the Mitt Romney that blew away CPAC 2006 and delivered “Faith in America,” and there’s no contest.
John McCain and Rudy Giuliani gave passable, but unremarkable performances. Rudy’s lucky social issues weren’t on the docket, and McCain rightly noted that we don’t trust DC to solve immigration – leaving out the fact that he’s one of our main reasons, naturally.
The knives were out for Mike Huckabee tonight, and he didn’t handle it well. Did he raise taxes? “What I raised was hope.” Bah. He’s a phony, and on stage he sounded like it. It’s telling that the only time he looked strong was in comparison to Ron Paul (on Israel).
Speaking of Rabid Ron, why was he even invited (aside from his trademark court jester role)? Did he pout too much about the last one? His foreign policy is disastrous, he flirts with anti-America-ism, and he comes across as an unstable coot. Maybe he was just there to artificially raise everyone else’s stature by comparison. Lame.

Post-Debate Analysis

Some reactions to last night’s debate…

The absence of the bottom tier was refreshing (and also
whipped the Paultergeists into a frenzy).

I think Romney, Thompson & Giuliani all had good nights, though Huckabee suffered when Mitt
pinned him to the wall.

We all know John McCain is a genuine war hero, but he seemed to remind us of it more than usual last night. If he’s not careful, he could wind up reminding voters of John Kerry (only without the treason).

There’s a
perception out there that moderator Chris Wallace denied Fred his full share of the airtime. I sure didn’t see it.

The talking point du jour has been “change” lately, and Rudy actually had the best answer to it: that change can be for better or worse, and isn’t a positive in and of itself.

Who Will Brownback Endorse?

Failed presidential hopeful and supposed socon standard bearer Sam Brownback is considering endorsing one of the remaining GOP candidates. Is it Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson, whose conservative credentials have come under fire yet aggressively claim the mantle of life? John McCain? Mike Huckabee?

Nope. Try Rudy Giuliani.

That’s right—during the primary Brownback may throw his support behind the
single greatest foe of his supposedly defining cause. Why?

“I’m going to meet with him and I’m going to talk to him and hear what he is specifically saying now because he’s changed on a number of the abortion issues,” Brownback said in an interview. “He’s changed on partial-birth [abortion] and he … has said he would appoint strict constructionists.”…When asked about Giuliani’s position on allowing women the right to late-term abortions, also known as partial-birth abortions, Brownback said: “He is opposed to it. That’s what I’ve been told indirectly. I want to hear it from him.”

Bulls***. Giuliani’s abortion position is no secret.
It’s all come out during this campaign, and there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that Brownback doesn’t know exactly where Giuliani stands. Are you telling me Mr. Pro-Life never campaigned on the GOP frontrunner’s publicized deficiencies on abortion? No way. My guess is that ol’ Sam is gonna ask Rudy, “If I endorse you, maybe giving your campaign some nice social-conservative window dressing, what’s in it for me?”

Jim Geraghty
guesses Brownback is just being polite, but I’m not convinced:

“While he didn’t endorse the ex-mayor, he praised him as an “excellent leader” and said he was “much more comfortable” with Giuliani’s views on abortion and gay rights issues after the meeting,” according to the Washington Post. Asked by reporters in a brief press conference after the meeting with Giuliani if he could support a “pro-choice” nominee, Brownback said “I don’t know that he described himself…as a pro-choice candidate” and then said he wanted to let Giuliani explains his own view.

Spoken like a true pro-lifer…not. If Scam Brownback ends up endorsing Giuliani in the primary, it means he didn’t really mean it when he talked up the life plank’s centrality is to the Republican platform. He just figured the unborn were a good gimmick.

Another possibility: the Hill quotes a Brownback source as saying “We’ve done some internal polling to see where [Brownback supporters] are going to make sure they’re not flocking to someone we’re not going to endorse.” So you mean to tell me Brownback is going to end up telling his fans who to choose as America’s leader not based on his convictions or his honest assessment, but based on a poll?! If this quote is accurate, then it’s obvious Brownback is a phony.

Pro-lifers should have known this man (who, let’s face it, was never going to be president anyway) was a fraud the minute he changed his vote on the amnesty bill within the space of eleven minutes after sticking his finger in the political wind. Fortunately, now that he’s out of the picture, the social-conservative choice for the presidency is becoming
increasingly clear, and hopefully will become more so the more people learn about Thompson and Huckabee. It’s time to follow the lead of National Right to Life Committee co-founder Dr. John Willke and unite behind Mitt Romney.

GOP Debate Reaction

I caught most, but not all (missed the first ten minutes or so), of tonight’s debate. A few thoughts:

Mitt Romney: A good performance. His gay marriage answer was OK, but I’ve heard him deliver it more eloquently. The rest of his answers came off confident and conservative, and his exuberance in response to “Can Hillary be president?” will likely go over well.

Rudy Giuliani: Another strong performance overall, but there was one very interesting tidbit. Hizzonor reiterated that he doesn’t support the Federal Marriage Amendment, but then said if judges did start imposing same-sex marriage on the states, he would support it. He says this has always been his stance, but I’ve never heard it before. But Rudy would never change his positions for political expediency, would he? Of course not.

Fred Thompson: He was awake, and actually had a bit of spark tonight. I think he represented himself well, and his answer about education was especially strong. But his spin on the Planned Parenthood lobbying story was disgraceful. First, he made a distinction between “private practice & public service.” What’s your point—as long as you vote the right way, you’re entitled to make money by helping the bad guys when you’re off the clock? No acknowledgment whatever that what he did was wrong; in fact, he dismissed the whole thing as “Planned Parenthood is now attacking me over this because I’m their worst nightmare.” As some of his thugs
just helped me demonstrate, Thompson’s full of it. He should be ashamed of himself.

John McCain: Good (if futile) performance. I especially thought his line about seeing the letters “KGB” in Vladimir Putin’s eyes was phenomenal. But his claim to be a “consistent conservative”…consistently maverick (read: wrong) on a whole host of oft-cited issues. And his observation about the lack of a GOP majority in Congress; now why do you suppose that is, Amnesty John?

Sam Brownback: GONE. Good riddance.

Mike Huckabee: Very polished, and some good one-liners, as usual (especially about the aging hippies & drugs), but seemed to have a problem with answering questions directly.

Ron Paul: Still demented.

Duncan Hunter: Not as good as his early debates. He too had a bit of a problem with direct answers.

Tom Tancredo: Okay performance, and he had some good conservative reminders for the crowd. Still a waste of airtime, though, as are Hunter, Paul, Huckabee & McCain.

Around the Web

In his latest column, Jonah Goldberg gives the bottom-line reason why no decent or responsible person can support abortion: “I don’t see how you can be that sure, which is why I’m pro-life — not because I’m certain, but because I’m not.”

good news from Iraq, but the bulk of the article is about how decreasing violence is bad for the cemetery business. Cry me a river.

As mayor, Rudy Giuliani formed a coalition to combat “anti-immigrant” legislation—which included George Soros, who “Hizzonor” (dopey nickname) recently lashed out at. Seems to me like a two-in-one flip-flop at least as bad, if not worse, as the charges the
Rudy hacks regularly level at Mitt Romney. Ye hypocrites!

Speaking of the hacks, you know something’s rotten in Denmark when “Republicans”
favorably cite the Associated Press.

The other frontrunners were unsurprisingly peeved last week when Romney claimed to be the candidate representative of the “Republican wing of the Republican Party,” and responded in kind. That’s politics. But, none of the others came close to telling the kind of lie Fred Thompson’s campaign did, by claiming Romney “ran for Senate to the left of Ted Kennedy.” The discrepancies in Romney’s record are a fair issue.
This, however, is a lie – not a matter of casting facts & circumstances in a certain light. I guess ol’ Fred is OK with lying to people to win the presidency. That should give his supporters pause.

New, promising books: there are too many of ‘em!

Dinesh D’Souza (author of
one of the aforementioned books) has an interesting take on miracles, science, and the lack of conflict between the two.

GOP Round 3: Full Impressions

Now that I’ve had the chance to give the full Republican debate a listen, I’ve got some impressions (I’ll start with the lower tiers just for fun):

Ron Paul: He only seemed sane because he wasn’t asked about the war as much. But I hear
Mike Gravel is looking for a running mate…

Tommy Thompson: Pi-ti-ful.

Mike Huckabee: I’ve been surprised at how well he’s carried himself, and Round 3 was no exception. Not amazing (especially when mixing up Reagan’s birthday & anniversary of death), but a good performance. Too bad it’s all for naught.

Sam Brownback: “Three-state political solution,” “comprehensive reform,” blah blah blah. No thanks.

Tom Tancredo: Blunt talk, but pretty unpolished. His biggest flaw, though, is that he doesn’t get it on Iraq. Congressman, this war is about preventing the jihadists from becoming Iraq’s dominant force, which would have disastrous ramifications beyond her borders—not merely what the Iraqis will make of our sacrifice. But he definitely had the ‘whoa’ moment of the night when he said, as President, he’d have no choice but to ask George W. Bush not to “darken the door” of his White House. No arguments here.

Jim Gilmore: I’m sorry, but who are you again?

Duncan Hunter: Another job well done. If we were to totally throw away the “who can win” factor, Hunter would be my man, hands down (if only Hunter had been the guy to trade DC for Hollywood for a few years!). But he’s gotta be in the running for VP. At 58 years old, he’d be in a pretty darn good position after 8 years of a good conservative White House. (I was disappointed that he didn’t give Scooter Libby’s plight its proper consideration, though.)

John McCain: I liked his answer about the disastrous alternatives to the troop surge, plus his line about making pork spenders “infamous.” Overall, McCain has managed to lock down the tone issue of his past performances—instead of angry & unhinged, he came across as passionate, confident & in control. Too bad this development comes on the heels of Amnestygate.

Rudy Giuliani: An interesting show. Once again his abortion answer was indefensible (I’d think long & hard about that lightning, pal), and while his immigration answer was carefully worded to sound harsh, his only beef is with identification—no concern whatsoever for the fence, for the effects of amnesty, etc. But I have to admit I was surprised at how much his answers about the war impressed me. In none of Rudy’s past speeches, TV appearances, etc., have I seen the fiery leader others are smitten with. Last night was the first time I saw a hint of man who takes this fight seriously. He also gets points for his Libby defense. So can you count me among the smitten? Not by a long shot. I still can’t respect Rudy Giuliani the man, and I still believe Rudy Giuliani the nominee will have devastating effects on the party, movement & nation. Hear me, conservatives: THIS MAN MUST BE STOPPED (by the way, did you notice my Stop Rudy sidebar?). But if worse comes to worse, what about Rudy in a general election? He’ll have to do a lot more than this to show me that his terrorism and free-market answers aren’t just a repeat of his immigration answer: all style, no substance.

Mitt Romney: Well done, but not without a few bumps in the road. What I liked: terror remarks, Libby answer, “I’m not going to apologize for becoming pro-life,” the
perfect answer to the Mormon question, immigration sentiments, the “three-pillared stool” analogy for the Republican coalition (free markets, strong defense, & family values), and lip service to ANWR drilling. Not so hot: I bet some viewers will still be understandably-unsure how his healthcare plan differs from Hillarycare, his answer about oil company profits was unclear (I won’t contest his grasp of where they’d be best spent, but you’re not talking about government forcing them to spend their own money a certain way, are you?), and any 6-year-old could’ve told Team Romney that running Spanish ads would come back to bite ‘em before long.

BONUS CANDIDATE—Fred Thompson: He’s got an appealing demeanor, and I applaud his answer about Libby (even better than Rudy’s & Mitt’s). But did anyone else in the “conservative alternative” crowd notice how weak his abortion answer was? But Fred’s biggest flaw was that his sparring partner was Sean Hannity—not the ten men who, whatever else may be said of them, have dived into the fray and put their reputations on the line in three debates so far. Besides Fred’s other conservative deficiencies (McCain-Feingold, impeachment, etc.), doesn’t anyone else find his lateness in declaring just a bit smarmy? (
Apparently not.)