A SUPER TUESDAY ROUND-UP
What a political season! What a difference a month makes. I have looked over the field, and to be honest, I feel I have to pick the lesser of evils, but I earnestly am hoping that someone on a white horse will gallop into the race and grab my heart so we can live happily ever after. Keep in mind that it is critical to support the right people in congress as well – the President does not have unlimited power and can rarely do all that is promised. We need to also know that the President appoints Supreme Court justices – this makes a huge difference in many ways and must be considered. My Takes...
John McCain - 72 years old, but hey, another President not long ago was a senior citizen and one of our best. The word is that McCain intends only a single term, so the VP selection would be more critical than normally. McCain is an enigma - he fought against Bush during the war, probably resulting in it continuing longer than it needed to. He supported the surge, which was a no-brainer that proved successful. He claims a pro-life mantle, but has been a clone of Governor Arnold on the left coast in terms of embryonic stem cell research which is unnecessary and which harvests human embryos. Science has better options. His moderation on this issue during the primaries, like any candidate's morphing to gain votes, must be taken with a grain of salt. He claims fiscal responsibility, but was one of only two Republicans who voted against the Bush tax cuts that have certainly softened our landing toward a recession and provided an employment rate about half that of Europe's. McCain-Feingold was a self-serving law if there ever was one. McCain is a darling of the mainstream media, and he knew that this would help him in a Presidential Race. Foxy guy. This has proven true. When is the last time you knew a front-runner who couldn't raise money? McCain is idolized in the press, never criticized, while others have to pay millions to say anything and they are demonized in the press. This was an assault on the first amendment. How can we vote into office to defend the constitution of the United States someone who doesn't believe wholeheartedly in the first amendment himself??? The McCain-Kennedy Immigration bill is another harbinger of his proclivity to "work with the democrats" with the end result sponsoring legislation that has 95% of the footprints of the liberals and only 5% of the footprints of the conservatives. I am personally convinced that McCain would unduly bow to the Democrats in terms of Supreme Court nominations, which troubles me. I am 100% for reasonable legal immigration, but want it fairly distributed. Christians persecuted in Pakistan have to wait 6 to 10 years - Mexican criminals, the time it takes to get a coyote to get them over the border. Our infrastructure is being strained, our future uncertain if we allow any one country to monopolize the immigration system, particularly with the bent to make our nation bi-cultural with two official language and unreleased loyalties to Mexico. McCain has Juan Hernandez, a foreign advisor with ties to Vicente Fox in the cadre of his confidantes. Not reassuring. McCain was an Episcopal, but now attends a Southern Baptist church, but has the temper of Harry Truman and LBJ. The F-word is reputed to be a staple in his vocabulary, and even a close friend in the Senate says he doesn't have the temperament to be President. Many Christians including myself have an innate distrust of the man - he simply doesn't seem to add up to the sum of his parts.
Mike Huckabee grabbed my attention in the beginning. A Southern Baptist belongs to a broad group of people who have historically stood for the Bible in theory if not in practice. The toleration of slavery and its heritage for so long is anathema to African Americans. While repudiated a few years ago, the divide has not been fully bridged. The same is true to probably as great a degree in the historically Black and historically White Pentecostal denominations. Huckabee was a mega-church pastor who had been a staffer with James Robison. He entertained some by his impersonations - Billy Graham was a favorite. He was a stalwart for Biblical inerrancy and the Biblical account of creation, showing backbone where so many compromise, and though some thought him soft on theological liberalism in his denomination, he admirably pressured the all white Immanuel Baptist Church to accept blacks in the 1980's. He became governor in 1996, and proclaimed 1997 as a year for racial reconciliation by saying "Let every one of us make it our priority to bring reconciliation, not so much that we can force it or legislate it, because we cannot, but that we begin in each of our own lives to purpose in our hearts that we will not harbor anger, hostility, prejudice, bigotry and racism toward any person." I believe this is a genuine sentiment, not a political expediency. As governor he had a controversial record on taxes, immigration and campaign gifts, but in 1998 was rated second only to John Ashcroft by the Christian coalition. He is likely to make good appointments to the Supreme Court. He opposed John McCain's immigration bill, but angered some by being loose (or compassionate depending on how you look at it) with those here illegally. He believed his attitude toward the alien to be Biblical, and that view is worthy of consideration. He built a surplus, and was moderate on taxes, I reject the criticism of the CATO institute, as governing a state requires significant compromise, also true of Romney who was a Republican governor of a democratic state. Many like his down-home style, but have been disappointed in his campaign rhetoric and in his side preaching ventures which have given opportunity to his critics. On paper, he should be the man. For many Christians, the jury is still out. Mike's "Fair Tax" seems anything but. It would tax those who saved (often older responsible Americans) 30% on their purchases, INCLUDING HEALTH CARE! That is double taxation and not fair. Those with high itemized deductions who contribute a lot to church and/or charity, those who have invested in homes which is universally considered a positive, and those who live in high tax states would be treated the same as Uncle Scrooge's living in low tax states. While no one really likes the IRS, there have been tweaks made over the years to accommodate differences and make it fairer. Mike's proposals would be catastrophic for small businessmen like myself. The rich can buy their Mercedes in Germany and ship it here, getting a free European luxury vacation with the money they "save". They also have more financial vehicles at their disposal, and will invent more if the need arises to get around ANY tax system. I am always amazed by Republicans AND Democrats who think they can outsmart the rich. The Dems always promote taxing the oil companies and big corporations - that is silly - they just pass those taxes on in the form of higher prices so these proposals really just raise taxes on the little guy. Mike's tax proposal is hostile to Christians, and while it would never pass in Congress, the truth is that it has not been well thought out. I would prefer one who thinks on more levels in this area. Mike is not off my list due to his strengths, but I am still looking.
Mitt Romney served as a mostly conservative governor of Massachusetts. While pro-choice prior, he has a 100% pro-life record as governor. I have no problems with conversions as long as they go the right way. Al Gore used to be pro-life until he saw the writing on the wall. His conversion went the wrong way. Remember the virulent rejection of pro-life democrats such as Robert B. Casey, the former governor of Pennsylvania? I am all for Mitt's conversion on abortion and it is a dead issue for me. Ironically, the Mormon Church is anti-abortion, so one wonders how doctrinaire Mitt has been concerning the other doctrines of his Church. While no one probably supports everything their own church says hook, line, and sinker, and while most members of most churches differ markedly from each other in terms of many issues, and while a comment on Christ I have heard Mitt say does not seem as off as the official church line, we have to assume that he is not a born-again Christian based upon the errant view by Mormons of Jesus Christ. Many evangelicals have warmed up to cooperating with the Catholic Church despite huge doctrinal differences because of the common ground of opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage, the homosexual agenda, and physician-assisted suicide. The same commonalities also exist with Mormonism and also, in areas other than abortion, with Islam (early Islamic theologians allowed abortion up to either day 40 or day 120; the issue of when life begins is still fluid in that faith). Many Christians believe in cooperation to achieve common goals such as the late Moral Majority. Others separate themselves entirely. Mitt proved himself a popular and effective governor against all odds. He parlayed his more apolitical business side, with which there has been no serious argument, to get things done in a Democratic state and put its financial house in much better order. He actually did what Barack Obama is now advocating. The gay marriage situation was beyond his control and serves as an object lesson that it is just as important to vote in a favorable congress as it is a President. Mitt was slow to catch on - perhaps because he has allowed people to criticize him and the fact he is a bit of a conciliatory type of person. His long marriage to one woman and the fact that his children follow him are certainly positives. He is also likely to make good appointments to the Supreme Court. Like many, he considered ways to bring the war to an end - secret timetables agreed to by the US and Iraq are probably in place anyway, so I have no problem with that. He has supported the president more admirably in my opinion than McCain did, and seems to have a temperament well suited to healing our strained relationships with some European countries. If Islamo-Fascism recedes in the months ahead, and the economy becomes even more troubled, Mitt Romney is an attractive candidate. Many of us were disappointed with the free-spending of the Republicans these past years, even though it was less than what the Democrats would have spent if unchecked. A businessman in the White House would be a breath of fresh air. Whether Christians want a man in the White House who is not reconciled to God is the main issue here.
Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure. Many admire her tenacity, others view her as vicious in much the same way many viewed Robert Kennedy before his assassination. Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama has been viewed as a slap in the face by some, while those leaning towards conspiracy theories think Hillary was behind it to cast Obama as a far-left candidate. After all, many believe Teddy Kennedy is a symbol of what is wrong in America. Hillary brings to the table eight years of White House experience - certainly meeting many world leaders, getting to know them, and in some people's eyes, being co-president in terms of policy decisions. Laura Bush has the same experience, and no one has seriously suggested she run for President based upon that. Hillary has been a NY Senator and has had influence, but has no highlight legislation that I am aware of to show leadership in that arena. Some support her simply because she is a woman, and some likely oppose her for the same reason. Certainly, she has less experience running anything than Romney or Huckabee, and by many accounts has a similar volatile temperament to John McCain's. Many believe sticking with Bill through serial adultery was simply a political calculation, others a weakness. Certainly the Clinton record against terrorism was much in line with Hillary's tolerance of Bill, which would not serve us well. While forgiveness is critical, true repentance must be a part of not punishing wrongdoing. The long-celebrated racial sensitivity has been questioned by the harsh treatment of Barack Obama until the recent love fest, as well as by workers in the White House during the Clinton administration which exposed harsh racial attitudes and statements made by the Clintons. I believe that those is favor of racial justice do not assume that they need to be the caretakers forever, and that when an equally qualified person of another race rises up, they are worthy of support. I do not believe that Hillary Clinton speaks more accurately for minorities than Barack Obama, and neither do an increasing number of minority people. Hillary's position on the war has been a yo-yo highly variable based upon where she was speaking. I do not see any credibility in dealing on the world stage. The positions she has taken would result in a massive tax increase which would depress our economy, and the growth of government at the same time would have the financial challenges during the Bush administration seem like child's play. He social policies on abortion and homosexuality are against the Bible and not out of line with many in the modern-day United Methodist Church, which she has been loyal to from the time she was a Sunday School teacher. Hillary has been open about what she believes. I for one believe she is telling the truth about herself on these domestic issues. I also believe that she would follow her husband in making extremely liberal Supreme Court appointments.
Barack Obama is a fresh new face. I love the fact that a bi-racial man has ascended to become a serious candidate. I have two bi-racial sons, and I believe that God has deposited in men such as these a very special way of looking at the world. I believe Tiger Woods is another such example. The secular press and Hillary Clinton of course have tried to make Barack the African-American Candidate and Tiger into the Black golfer, though Barack is 1/2 black and Tiger 1/4 Black. John Edwards to his credit seemed to be much more even while he was still in the race. I really do not understand why Barack does not stress is multi-heritage more. In fact I suggested it to his campaign. It is not a matter of Black vs. White; it is a matter of Black AND white. He has come to terms with it, and so should our nation so we can move on. Although there have been some lapses, I believe Barack has tried to reach out to many people and I admire that. Many believe he is before his time and is simply too inexperienced. His time in the Senate has been less than four years, and he has been low key, much like Clinton and much unlike John McCain. He was a community organizer and certainly has a stellar educational background. We have had other presidents with limited experience, though all things being equal, one would like to see a longer list of accomplishments.
Barack's views of the issues can be found on his website, just like everyone else's. Unlike his fresh approach to politics and his interesting perspectives, many of his positions are doctrinaire far left wing democrat in a close mold with Ted Kennedy. The ADA (Americans for Democratic Action) gave Ted Kennedy a 100% and Obama's senate partner from Illinois, Dick Durban, a 100% rating. Obama received a 95%. He voted "yes" on the US-Oman Free Trade Agreement, which seems in line with his philosophy, which was the sole difference. For parental notification on abortions, for a constitutional amendment on marriage, for confirmation of Justice Alito, for an amendment to prohibit desecration of the flag and for requiring ID to vote (to prevent fraud), he was "NO" on all counts. On budget and tax issues, he was firmly on liberal ground of higher taxes and larger government. I believe that true independence and a new spirit in government would lead to more diversity in these areas. I believe his record would also indicate extremely liberal Supreme Court appointments.
Barack attends the Trinity United Church of Christ (membership has been hard to confirm), which is 8,000 strong and headed by Dr. Jeremiah Wright. His Dad had roots in Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, but became an atheist. Barack has rejected those roots. Dr. Wright is firmly in the “social gospel” segment of Christianity, and has had troubling views on homosexuality and Islam. Barack correctly asserts that he doesn't agree with everything his pastor says, but he obviously feels comfortable enough there to stay. Oprah used to go to that church, but hadn't attended for 12 years until the campaign. Her beliefs are far from orthodox, and are likely even further adrift from the UCC, but that is her background. The United Church of Christ was just about the first to endorse homosexuality as OK for leaders, and has generally been contrary to the Bible on many fronts. There are likely some saved people within the UCC who are truly born again, and Barack's cryptic descriptions of his own conversion leave room for that. If Barack had views more in line with Biblical morality and if he were politically independent of the Kennedy wing of the Democratic Party, I would be proud to support him. I believe that despite all the criticism, he would defend this country if another 9/11 came our way, and I suspect if he does not win this time he will be back.
The vast majority of our presidents have not been born again - only a handful. Most have given God lip service. Some outright did not believe Jesus was God, such as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. God has preserved us through it all, and we must believe that per Romans 12, our government leaders are servants of God regardless of their faith in him. Israel was much blessed by Gentile kings who did the will of God more than their own Jewish kings. God is sovereign and is able to bless us regardless of the spiritual standing of our leaders. I do wish, of course, that there were a Christian Candidate who was able to appeal across the Board. In Iowa, it seemed Mike Huckabee was that person, but now even Christians aren't really sure about him based upon exit polls. By definition, that may not be possible, because the more someone is like Jesus, the more the world will hate them. Perhaps that candidate will emerge or perhaps someone running will have a true conversion experience.
I do pray that you will have the wisdom of God to support the candidate from the choices we have who would best lead us in the direction God has for us. Do not make decisions based upon the flesh, but based upon the Spirit.