Thursday, January 03, 2008

Fred Thompson for President

Since all the Republican candidates for president have been pestering me for months for an endorsement (somehow the Democrats have ignored me), I hereby make my endorsement--on the eve of the first state caucus:

Fred Thompson for president.

Why?

He is strong on national defense, traditional moral values (a 100% voting pro-life voting record as awarded by National Right to Life), and consistently conservative on civil government and taxes. He supports educational vouchers, which de-monopolizes public education. He understands that securing borders and dealing seriously with illegal immigration is a top priority. See for yourself.

Moreover, he seems more humble and less driven than others. He set his own rules by declaring late and by not having a gigantic money machine (as does Romney, Rudy, etc).

Why not the others?

1. Rudy: good on national defense, but not a social conservative and has a very bad personal moral life.
2. Romney: has not been consistently conservative for years. Moreover, a Mormon in the White House would legitimize Mormonism (an unbiblical and irrational group with a terrible history) as never before.
3. Huckabay: he is probably not a principled conservative on economic issues and is not electable (because of being a preacher).
4. McCain: good on national defense, but weak on immigration and campaign reform.

I realize that I have not defended my political views, but simply stated them. By the way, nobody has asked me for a recommendation!

Here are a few books on Christianity and politics I recommend:

1. Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto
2. Richard John Neuhaus, The Naked Public Square
3. Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction
4. Stephen Carter, God's Name in Vain.

And one not specifically about Christianity that helped change my mind nearly thirty years ago:

William F. Buckley, Up From Liberalism.

43 comments:

Jeff Burton said...

With respect to Romney, Christians are doing too much "this world" tactical kind of thinking, in my opinion. I have seen very, very few treatments of supporting a Mormon for president from a big-picture, Kingdom perspective. I've even heard one well-known Christian apologist label any Christian who would oppose Romney for his Mormonism as "bigoted." Am I wrong to think that having a Mormon as most powerful man in the world would energize an anti-Christ religion both here and abroad?

The Gyrovague said...

I have a big sticker on my laptop that says "I BLOG FOR FRED" and a matching cup to go with it.

I have been a little concerned about his projecting a persona that is very low energy and low key, but that does not mean he can not get it done.

Another actor in the White House? Sure, why not!

Abu Daoud said...

I would like to also point out how bad a Mormon president would be for relations with Muslims. Mormonism is, at the end of the day a form of polytheism or paganism. Christians are inferior to Muslims of course in the sharia, but they can be permitted to live among Muslims, as can Jews. Pagans and polytheists can not live in a Muslims land. They must become Muslim, leave the land, or die.

Which makes me wonder, will we have have an Eastern Orthodox president? That would be interesting...

Daniel said...

Unfortunately, by not having that "gigantic money machine" as do the likes of Rudy, Clinton, and Obama, Thompson won't get past the primaries. In the land of American politics the golden rule takes a horrible twist--- whoever has the gold rules.

MTR said...

Fred's my second choice ... a distant second.

The supposed savior of this year's Republican slate ended up being about one third as exciting as the anticipation of his joining the race.

He's not bad on the issues, but at the same time, he doesn't have any executive experience ... and legislators aren't a natural fit for leadership in the White House. In fact that's one area where Republicans could trump Democrats, if the R's put up a nominee who has executive experience, since all the top D's only have experience in the legislative branch.

Furthermore (and I concede that this is shallow ... but so is the American elecorate), his wife looks like she could be his grand-daughter, and he's got twenty-something grandkids, whose aunt and uncle are 2 and 4. This is not and "American-esque" family, and superficial as it is, this will affect his electability.

Who to support, then? I say Huckabee. Anyone I know who stands against him, does so because of the misrepresentation put out against his record by Romney and Club for Growth. Do the research for yourself, and you'll find the only thing more impeccable than his record is his character and integrity.

8 hours until I get to cast my vote in the Iowa Caucus!

HUCKABEE IN '08!!

MTR said...

Daniel -

Rudy's toast, I don't care how much gold he has.

David Strunk said...

As a Christian, I think it important to at least attempt nuanced views of government. My lens for politics is biblical, but I'm generally conservative politically.

So, I suppose my self-governed lens is a candidate (in his platform and voting record) who represents a blend of both biblical righteousness and justice. By perception, the democrats have historically been the party of justice (minimum wage, social security, healthcare, etc.) and the republican party has been the party of righteousness (right to life, gay issues, etc.). So, typically I like to vote for a candidate who typifies both, which generally means someone who exemplifies a propensity and courage to move away from the party line. Thus, I like McCain and Huckabee.

I realize this is simplistic and that one may cast any issue in a variety of ways (immigration as righteousness or justice), but this is one small way that helps me.

At this point, I'd vote for McCain.

Daniel said...

mtr,

I don't like Rudy either, that's just an example to prove the point of the comment.

Doug Groothuis said...

Maybe the Dems were into justice in the 1960 to some extent (when my Father was one), but it is not the case now. They are the party of statism, multiculturalism (relativism), and internationalism (All hail the UN).

Soulcraft - East of Eden said...

Doug,

Per you suggestion, I read Fred Thompson's website rather carefully and concur with you. He is, in my opinion, the best of the pack. McCain would be my second choice, followed by Huckabee who, as you noted, doesn't really stand a chance.

Certainly, we should all be much in prayer that God's will be done in this matter.

Tom said...

Doug, et. al.,

Why do you think Huckabee doesn't stand a chance in the general election? Speaking as a pro-life Democrat, he's about the only candidate of the GOP I could see myself voting for. He actually believes that the government should be in the business of helping the less fortunate even after they exit the womb. As for Thompson, his reputation as a somewhat-lazy-but-convinced-of-his-position Republican makes him sound rather like the current Prez. And (for lots of us) that's not a good thing.

BJ the Tornado said...

Dr. G,

I am saddened that one of your main reasons for not going with a candidate is because he "is not electable." I'm pretty sure J.C. would not be electable either. Shouldn't we stand behind the candidate who we think best represents our positions, beliefs, and views? Shouldn't we support whom, in our opinion, is the best overall candidate? I can't stand it when people bring in the "elect-abilty" litmus. That is incredibly unlike you to bow to the popularity-contest-whims of this world. I am honestly shocked that you would use it as ANY part of any measure of which candidate you will support.

BTW, it is BECAUSE people bow to the line "he/she can't win, so I won't support him/her" that those people "can't" win!!

PS:
I would have this same frustration if you used that line on ANY candidate -- it has nothing to do with Huckabee.

BJ the Tornado said...

Dr. G,

Noting that not too long ago on this blog you boldly proclaimed your deontology and virtue ethics positions as opposed to consequentialist or utilitarian ethics. Keep that in mind with what follows...

Thompson's position on torture:

Thompson: "I’m telling you, as President, if the lives of a bunch of American citizens were at stake and I thought that there was a good chance that an individual had information and could impart information that would help save those lives, I’m just saying, that I would do whatever is necessary to get that information from that person. I would authorize that. Whatever is necessary to save a number of American lives."

... ."Whatever is necessary..."

And that's the light, nice polished version he gave on the Charlie Rose show. In other places he has been quoted as blatantly saying that he would gladly endorse various forms of torture if American interests & lives were at stake. He has also mocked the likes of McCain and others who (*gasp*) suggest that we need to maintain the moral high-ground and if we begin doing the things our enemies do, then there's no point in fighting for we've already lost. Thompson has implied that people who hold such positions are "wimps" and "soft" on fighting terrorism.

How do you deal with this incredibly troubling aspect of your favorite candidate, Dr. G?

Soulcraft - East of Eden said...

Tom,Speaking for myself alone, I believe Huckabee does not stand a chance for the following two basic combined reasons:

1)  He is an ex-pastor, making him, in the eyes of many of the religiously disaffected, too conservatively religious and therefore a threat. It matters little if this is an unfair evaluation.  It does speak to the fact that many have felt religiously abused by the clergy (Protestant and Catholic),hence he is percieved as untrustworthy and therefore unelectable. 
2) From what I understand about him, he does not have the money, nor sufficient political machinery behind his campaign to do much more than take Iowa as he did tonight.  

As for Fred Thompson, my take on him is that he is firmly conservative, more consistent with his position on being pro-life (evidenced by his voting record) and is not as power hungry as most of the others. As for being "convinced of his position," this could be more reflective of a matter-of-fact and well-founded thoughtful take on things, rather than being "lazy." He also seems to me, as I've heard him talk, more authentically humble than the others in the current presidential race.

Doug Groothuis said...

BJ:

I don't think there is a deontological principle that says torture is always wrong. If not, consequences play a significant role in determining what to do in extreme military situations. "Do not torture" is a strong generalization, not a universalization, to my mind.

What if the only way to find our where a nuke is in NY City is to torture a terrorist? Is this even a close call?

Fighting terrorism is a new chapter in war for the US. The enemey is vastly different from previous enemies. New methods are needed.

Doug Groothuis said...

BJ:

On electablity:

"Politics is the art of the possible." This is not the church. We don't compromise there because it is a different form or order or assembly. Politics is different.

Example: I want a ban on all abortions except those needed to save the life of the mother. However, I'd support laws that are less restrictive if they have a better chance of passing. Why? Unborn lives would be saved. If I insist on "the morally perfect" bill, it's likely (with todays mores) that it would fail, and no positive steps would be taken.

Further, I don't much like Huckabay, especially given what I've read about him from Ann Coulter and what I have heard elsewhere. Last night, for example, he said he was like Obama. If so, go back to church.

Jeremy said...

DRG

The ticking time bomb exposes one of the most egregious problems with consequentialism, our lack of omniscience. The time bomb thought experiments presume too much, e.g., that we know we've got the terrorist who planted the bomb (or rather one that knows where the bomb is located), that torture will break the terrorist, that the information gleaned from torture is reliable (as opposed to just giving the "interrogators" what they want to hear), that the suspect won't die before useful information can be gathered, etc.

Of course, one could respond that the government would need probable cause to torture an individual. But the problem here is that probable cause is a vague notion. What counts as probable cause depends upon the type of hearing/warrant being held/issued. Preliminary hearings require less probable cause than do criminal trials, and conviction requires an even higher burden of proof. How high a burden of evidence would be required before we inflicted bodily/mental harm on an individual to the extent that he/she might die (remember, we wouldn't even do this stuff to an offender on death row)?

Finally, let's grant your claim about torture prohibitions being generalizations as opposed to universalizations, and let's grant that all the consequentialist stuff works out. You'll still have a problem with virtue. Torturers lose their respect for human dignity; they become hardened. Public awareness and acceptance of torture would seem to do the same thing for society. It seems that we could hardly count such a hardened society as virtuous.

"Well, let's just keep it hidden." This would entail a government giving lip service to rights while deceptively subverting those same rights. That doesn't sound very virtuous.

I don't think there is any way to justify torture apart from hard-core act utilitarianism: secret torture would do a good deal of good if it worked out, and only harm one individual (not counting the damage done to those who do the torturing) if it didn't. That's no problem, but do we really want to be act utilitarians?

Doug White said...

Quite frankly, I work hard to not be entangled with politics or with the masquerades of political words or crafted (and often deceptive) arguments for a vote. Instead, I will continue to faithfully demonstrate and proclaim the truth of the Gospel and patiently wait for the Lord to blow the trumpet. Seeking first the Kingdom of God and not the political kingdom of humanity. And I am praying accordingly...to God be the glory.

GB said...

Well, you've finally drawn this lurker in.

Thompson is no more likely to get the nomination than Ron Paul, and I notice you didn't include a reason for not endorsing him (no need to provide it; the comment is rhetorical). The real question is: who do you endorse among the three front runners, the only Republicans who have a shot at winning the nomination. Deny it for now if you like, but Thompson will not finish the race. He's simply going through the motions.

Here's my analysis regarding the three possible candidates:

Huckabay would not beat either Clinton or Obama. He might have a shot at Edwards, but Edwards is only somewhat likely to be the nominee.

Giuliani is wrong for all the reasons you mention, plus the fact that our rate of decline toward authoritarian dystopia would only accelerate under his administration. Unfortunately, he's one of only two Republican candidates electable against the likely Democrat nominees.

The only remaining choice is ... Romney.

So here's the really real question -- consider it merely philosophical, if you like, but I believe you will be faced with this decision: whether to support Giuliani or Romney, or whether to flock with the heard to a third party, social conservative candidate, thus guaranteeing a democrat president (think Perot), either Hillary or Obama.

If Evangelicals do not begin to seriously discuss this issue, the decision will come before there's time for a consensus to emerge and one will be made by default. Now is the time to begin that discussion and stop hoping -- and praying -- that Thompson will experience both a change of heart and a miracle.

It is Romney or a Democrat at this point.

GB said...

Yikes! I wrote the end of that too fast. Of course it's always good to continue praying, but the discussion I suggest should begin as well.

Prayer is among the few activities that might result in Thompson becoming president. It is going to take divine intervention to get him elected.

Sarah Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Scott said...

To those concerned about either "voting for the nice guy" or who are not concerned at all:

It is important to us to realize that like it or not, "nice" or yes, even *evangelical* doesn't cut it in politics. Sure, it makes us like them, but we are forgetting something: wisdom and political shrewdness doesn't always appear in every "nice guy" or evangelical (or Mormon).

Washington D.C. is corrupt. The Constitution is constantly being threatened by being labeled an "evolving" document. This is dangerous. It would be hugely beneficial to have someone in Washington actually fight to uphold the objectivity in this vital document, without bowing to a relativistic concept of it.

This next president likely will appoint many Supreme Court justices. Think long and hard about whether the candidate you are supporting will be shrewd enough to appoint those who will also be "pit bulls" for the constitution.

How does being a Christian come into play? Well...
1) The Constitution makes it possible for us to proclaim the Gospel (somewhat) freely.
2) If we support someone who is either for the "flexibility" of the constitution (relativistic) OR someone who is "just trying to be a good person" and is oblivious to the harsh realities of what it means to ENFORCE laws-- THEN our rights as Christians will be threatened. Our evangelistic ministries will be severely handicapped.

My meta-conclusion:
While the triune God is in control, that in no way prohibits or excludes our prayerful, informed mobilization into action.

My micro-conclusion:
We have to look beyond merely who we like "as a person". Therefore, Fred Thompson IS the best bet, as well stated by Dr. Groothuis.
Huckabee seems rather clueless about the reality of politics-both domestic and international. However, he seems like a very nice person.

Tom said...

I have to say that I'm surprised by this discussion. I had long thought that those folks who, for Christian reasons, voted for candidates largely because they were social conservatives (i.e., regarding issues like gay marriage and abortion) would be happy to find a candidate like Huckabee who was conservative along these lines but who also showed a sincere concern for the poor, for the "least of these" (if that phrase doesn't apply to the children of immigrants from Mexico and points south, I can't imagine who it applies to). But apparently I was wrong about that. Conservative evangelicals on this blog (the Tornado Man being the exception) really do want a government that gives little aid to the needy and that squeezes even the children of illegal immigrants. I know I'll regret saying this, but have any of y'all read the Gospels? When did Jesus ever side with the powers that be against the downtrodden (even when the downtrodden were without sin)?

Tom said...

A correction: of course I meant to to say that Jesus was on the side of the downtrodden even when they were NOT without sin.

Sorry about that.

Tom

GB said...

Tom,
You make quite a generalization there: "Conservative evangelicals on this blog ... really do want a government that gives little aid to the needy and that squeezes even the children of illegal immigrants." Any chance you want to back that up.

I'll even give you a bit of help. In a perfect world, I wouldn't care one bit what "the government" does for the needy; the Church would be taking care of them. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, one in which the needy are not taken care of and the best candidates are not necessarily elected.

Against that backdrop, we have to choose among the best electable candidates and the best possible outcomes.

If anything can be generalized about the people on this blog, it might be that those two points are not being taken into consideration.

And you should regret your "have any of y'all read the Gospels" question; it was smug and condescending. You probably won't have made it if you'd though just a second more before pressing "publish." You were almost there.

If evangelicals don't start supporting Romney, be prepared for a democrat in the White House, or -- only slightly less distasteful -- Giulinai. Neither Huckabee (in the general) nor Thompson (in the primaries) has a shot. Deny this at your peril.

Tom said...

GB,

Thanks for the discussion. You wrote:
"You make quite a generalization there: 'Conservative evangelicals on this blog ... really do want a government that gives little aid to the needy and that squeezes even the children of illegal immigrants.' Any chance you want to back that up."

Sure. The only socially conservative who speaks clearly for our duties to the poor and downtrodden is Huckabee, and yet those supporting candidates on this blog seem to be (mostly) for Thompson with one or two for Romney. Only The Tornado has come out on behalf of Huckabee and it seems clear that Huckabee is the only conservative Republican who is talking about what the government can do for the poor.

I do worry that my comment about whether the conservatives on this blog have read the Gospels was smug. Perhaps I should apologize. Still, when I read the Gospel accounts of Jesus, I can't imagine that he would have the hard-nosed attitude toward the poor and the immigrant that I hear in the rhetoric of most conservatives (Huckabee excluded). Maybe I'm missing something. I honestly hope I am.

Tom said...

GB,

One more thing. I just don't get your confidence that Romney is a better general election candidate than Huckabee. From my perspective, Romney is at least as clearly a politico as Hillary: he'll adopt whatever position is required to get elected. He won't energize the conservative base and he won't appeal to political moderates. Huckabee, on the other hand, has a chance to both energize the conservative base and appeal to moderate Democrats like me who think social justice and a foreign policy that is not based primarily on might is each a good thing.

Sir Fab said...

Sarah:

Since you said that "the Constitution must be protected from Washington is constantly being threatened by being labeled an "evolving" document" and that "[it] would be hugely beneficial to have someone in Washington actually fight to uphold the objectivity in this vital document, without bowing to a relativistic concept of it" I wonder how you feel about the following:
1) The Establishment clause, specifically with regard to the attempts by ID proponents to have equal time in science class to counterpoint the Theory of Evolution.
2) The so called "sanctity of marriage" amendment.
3) This administration's decision to spy on all citizens and residents without authorization, in total disregard of the FISA court (which prior to president Bush's overriding it had only denied something like ten in 15,000 requests--ever!) and in violation of the rights to privacy and illegal search and seizure of all persons.
4) The restriction of First Amendment rights evident in such practices as the establishment of Free Speech Zones around political gatherings, conventions, etc.
5) The constitutionality of faith-based funding, in light of the Establishment clause.

Who, then, among all candidates, represents the ideal defender of the Constitution? Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich?

Thank you.

Sarah Scott said...

SirFab,

In brief (sort-of) regards to your questions:
1) The Establishment clause is one of the most commonly misinterpereted ammendments. It simply asserts that Congress cannot establish a state religion. As for ID vs. Evolution--the issue is that of education reform, not establishing a state religion.
2) America was set up so that The Constitution would ideally be difficult to ammend, but not impossible. One might call your example a "clarification" of what was already assumed.
3)That "administration's decision" went through the entire congressional process, and they are not listenting to junior high boys calling their girlfriends. They are listenting for terrorist activity, and thankfully so.
4) "Free Speech zones" show a mislabeling of free speech. I've said it before, but free speech does not grant immunity to the consequences of stupidity. It merely means you won't get arrested for stating your opinion. You still can't throw a rock at someone or yell bomb threats. That has always been arrest-worthy and stupid.
5) If they fund State School pagan student alliances and Islamic Student Services (which they do), then they HAVE to include "faith based" funding.

The Constitution does not "evolve" in the sense that many dems use it. It is not some vague set of ooey-gooey primordial general guidelines. It is a document meant to be objectively viewed and only (rarely) ammended after a strenuous process.

Sarah Scott said...

Fab,

By the way, I assumed that when you said "faith based" that you meant Christian. Forgive me if I am wrong.

Sarah

Sir Fab said...

Thanks Sarah for your reply.
Going back to your answers:
1) So I guess you would be in favor of scientists getting equal time in churches to explain why Young Earth Creationism is inconsistent with Scientific Knowledge and why ID is not science? And also for other creeds (Islam, Scientology, etc) to have the chance of presenting their Theory of Origins to students?
2) I would oppose a sanctity of marriage amendment even if it were to include considerations of adultery, sexual abuse of spouses, divorce, and other things which are doubtlessly as detrimental, or more, to the sanctity of marriage as it is. Otherwise I say this is one case in which the constitution is better left alone and our employees' time (congressmen's time) is better spent on more relevant things.
3) I am not aware of what congressional process the administration went through. The abuse of intercepts by the administration was first brought to light, if I am not mistaken, in James Risen's State of War, in December 2005. Also, I am not sure that the intercepts are being used ONLY for anti-terrorism purposes, and in any case the administration decided to override the appropriate court rather than asking congress to change the law. Something stinks to high heaven...
4) Preventing people from throwing rocks and yelling bomb threats is not the main function of free-speech zones, I am afraid. They are used even when authorities have no reason to expect violent behavior from protesters. In any case, there are many other countries in the world that do not feel the need to implement free speech zones in their countries, but do so only when President Bush is within range. I wonder if they had Free Speech Zones in communist Russia or China...
5) There is something inherently wrong, I believe, in defunding social programs to redirect funds to faith-based institutions. What it says to me is: "The government has should not spend money on doing charitable or socially progressive work, but it is okay to spend that money to fund charities that have an evangelical (and I use the adjective in a broad sense) mission. I know recipients of funds for faith-based initiatives are not supposed to proselitize, but it is a very fine line (and they can always "outsource" the proselitizing in order not to be caught). If anything, I believe that many churches should lose their tax-exempt status when, as many do, they are used are recruiting business for political purposes.

Regards,

Fab

GB said...

Tom:

Perhaps my pointing our you generalization as I did was a bit obtuse. Let me be more clear. It is unfair of you to suggest that, if one does not support Huckabee one then wants "a government that gives little aid to the needy and that squeezes even the children of illegal immigrants." In fact, now that I've parsed it down to that leve, I think the comment is actually inflammatory. You really should rethink it. My lack of support for Huckabee has nothing to do with what I want of the government. Your logic does not follow.

I don't support Huckabee because HE WILL LOSE against either of the likely Democrats, even if he manages to stumble his way into the nomination. He's not smart politically, and it's only matter of time before he does something completely stupid that causes him to be dismissed from the contest. He almost did it with appearing on Leno without properly vetting the situation between Leno and the WGA (a minor example. stay tuned for more). He cannot function at the national level of politics.

So my facing reality says more about what I want my government to look like that your support of Huckabee does about what you want. But that's my opinion about how I think the election cycle will go, and I don't extrapolate that into a generalization that you want a pro-choice president, which I believe strongly is the logical end of your support for Huckabee.

My great fear is that evangelicals will take too long to realize that Huckabee (and Thompson) cannot win. I believe the failure to realize this results, at least in part, because evangelicals cannot bring themselves to support a candidate who would "legitimize a false religion," among other things. And when both Huckabee and Thompson are out of the race, the organizations that hold themselves out as speaking for evangelicals (e.g., Focus, ACLJ, etc.) are going to push for a third party candidate rather than coalesce behind the best electable choice. So prepare yourself for either Hillary or Obama.

Grace Baptist Church, Somerset, KY said...

gb, you made the following statement: "And when both Huckabee and Thompson are out of the race, the organizations that hold themselves out as speaking for evangelicals (e.g., Focus, ACLJ, etc.) are going to push for a third party candidate rather than coalesce behind the best electable choice."

It is true that Dobson has made such a statement, but to my knowledge (and I have some fairly close knowledge) no one at the ACLJ has made any such statement.

The argument that electing Romney will give Mormons a greater acceptance is questionable. Did the Jehovah Witnesses get a boost in credibility when one of their own was elected president of the U.S.? I don't think so.

GB said...

Hi Grace,

I have no specific knowledge regarding ACLJ; I intended my comment somewhat as a predication of what I think will happen if, for example, Giuliani wins the nomination -- which is a real possibility if evangelicals don't get behind Romney now. The Huckabee implosion is imminent.

And this comment of yours: "The argument that electing Romney will give Mormons a greater acceptance is questionable," should have been directed to Prof. Groothuis. I was quoting him. It is his reasoning against Romney -- and the logical implications thereof -- that drew me into the discussion initially. Thanks for saying it more directly.

Tom said...

gb,

You're right: my generalization was too broad. Sorry about that. I can easily see how someone would support a candidate that he thought was second best because he thought his first choice unelectable in a general election. But, at least as far as I can recall, that wasn't the sentiment being expressed. I don't remember anyone saying, "Huckabee has the most consistent Christian position on both social and fiscal issues but even so I can't support him because I think he can't win." Maybe I'm being forgetful.

As far as Huckabee's imploding goes, I do think that that's a worry for his campaign. It's funny, though, that Romney and Clinton are often derided for being overly-calculating politicos and Huckabee, who does have ten years experience as governor, is thought of as a loose canon because not everything he does is carefully checked for potential poltical landmines.

GB said...

Tom, my friend, I fear you still don't get my point, evidenced by your continued defense of your comment, your apology notwithstanding. You are generalizing about the character of fellow bloggers based on their support for a particular candidate -- nay, their failure to qualify their non-support of your guy -- going so far as to question their having read the Gospels. I'll give you one more illustration to try to help you understand what I'm saying.

For philosophical discussion purposes I say, "I support Ron Paul. His policies will have the most beneficial effect on the world's poor. They will end this country's practices of exploiting poor people in other countries by cozying up to their ruling classes so that we can enjoy those countrys' resources at bargain prices. At the expense of poor people, we get cheap cloths and merchandise, cheap food, cheap houses, cheap oil, diamonds, and on and on. I'm for Ron Paul, and if you don't agree, you don't care about the poor as much as I do. In fact, I wonder if you've ever been to church."

But look, I didn't enter the discussion to have a pedantic argument about who cares more for the poor. I'm sorry I called you out on your comment.

I was really hoping the good professor would enlighten us by sharing the point at which his intolerance for "legitimizing a false religion" breaks down. Vs. a pro-choice candidate from his preferred party? Vs. an amoral, church-going (true religion) candidate from the other party? Vs. any candidate from the other party?

Perhaps this discussion is best reserved for later, when the field narrows a bit, assuming Prof. Groothuis is willing to maintain the relevance of his endorsement.

Tom said...

gb,

This'll be my last comment on this issue; you may have the last word if you want.

What I regret: giving in to my frustration and asking if "y'all have read the Gospels." Of course, I didn't really think you hadn't. And I can see that it might have been taken to be condescending (it was really only supposed to be inflammatory). But I don't believe I've corned the market on condescension in this particular exchange.

What I stand by: my surprise and disappointment that Huckabee hasn't received more support from those on this blog, and my conviction that Huckebee's view on the way the government should treat the poor is more in keeping with what we, as Christians, should hold.

Sir Fab said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Fab said...

GB, you wrote:

"In a perfect world, I wouldn't care one bit what 'the government' does for the needy; the Church would be taking care of them."

My opinion on this subject is quite different. I do not believe in God, and consequently in organized religion. But, as everybody else, I am a taxpayer. So my take on who should help the needy (not just the poor--you'd be surprised how many people are in need who are not necessarily poor) is that I prefer my hard-earned and contributed dollars to be used for the common good than for wars of choice (like the war in Iraq, but not only). I understand that many churches do plenty of worthwhile work, but in time of need I would much rather be helped by an entity that I have to contribute to, the government (albeit not entirely reluctantly), than by one that I choose not contribute to, on reasoned principle.

So, in other words, when a Republican comes along, like Huckabee (not Huckabay), who thinks that the government has some responsibility towards the least of us, I welcome that appearance as a vision (I can hardly believe what I see). Besides, talk of fiscal responsibility by Republicans is quite an empty refrain, considering that recent Republicans governments have contribued to the largest deficits in the nation's history (under Reagan revenues dropped to one third of expenditures, and under George W. Bush... well, need I add more?). Republicans do not spend less, they just waste money differently (by giving back to those who don't need instead of those who do) and by channeling tons of money towards special interests that would fare quite well without corporate welfare (the military-industrial complex being the clearest example). Democrats, by the way, are guilty of wasting public funds, too, but at least they feel that they should help run the government when in power, instead of helping run the government down, and into the ground.

Regards,

Fab

BJ the Tornado said...

Dr. G,

I literally laughed out loud when I saw that your basis for your dislike of Huckabee is based on information you got from Ann Coulter. That's just flat hilarious. You have gone after her on this very blog (correctly so!) for being outside of the lines of intelligent, respectful discourse. Yet, apparently, you still read her stuff to get info on candidates. I'm sorry, but that just made me laugh.

As for Huckabee,don't get me wrong, I've got my reservations about him as well -- particularly his apparent lack of foreign policy wisdom.
But I am happy to hear that your reasons for not supporting him are something OTHER than his "electability." YES, of course, we have to accept compromise in politics, but these are the primaries! We are down to just a few candidates for each party and at this point (with a couple excpetions) virtually all of them still have a shot to win the nomination! How can you play the electability card at this point! This is the POINT of the primaries. Again, let's get some common sense in here: Support the guy you most closely agree with. Done. Simple. Why is that so complciated?

....How about McCain? You apparently think the compasion he shows to human beings (AKA illegal immigrants) is a reason for not supporting him (you didn't elaborate on what you don't like about his immigration policy). He also is passionately against us ever using torture. So I suppose those two issues confluence is enough for you to not support him. That's too bad. At this point I think he'd be a good choice, all things considered.
I'd love to hear your further thoughts on him.

Doug Groothuis said...

Tornado:

You know I love you, but you can be a pain on this blog!

1. I don't like Coulter's image (Ms. Conservative Cleavage With a "Come Hither" Look) or some of her cruel antics (against the 9/11 widows in her book, "Godless," for example). But that doesn't mean she is wrong on everything she says or that she cannot make savvy comments. She does. I read two or her columns as well as other gathering information, and found Huck wanting.

2. I don't deem a loose policy on our borders as "compassionate." That is knee-jerk liberalism. Rewarding criminals (whose first act on American soil is a crime) or allowing porous borders (over which terrorists can come as well) is simply bad policy. Read Pat Buchanan's "Emergency" for some distressing facts about all this.

GB said...

Fab,
I don't even know how to respond to that. Perhaps, "Thanks for sharing"? You and I come from opposite directions, so there's really nothing for us to discuss. My "in a perfect world" comment is equally valid with "volunteer organizations" in place of "the Church." But it was a comment about realities; who should take care of the poor was only a secondary consideration.

Have a nice day!

But I'm disappointed. Unfortunately, I let myself get my hopes up. I guess I don't understand the rhyme and reason to how Prof. Groothus picks the comments to which he responds. I had hoped he would take a moment to explain a bit more about his selection process for his endorsement. Oh well.

Sir Fab said...

GB: You're welcome.

I just wanted my POV on the record, because I often hear the point made that government should have no role in providing social services and programs to help the needy because those things are best left to the private sector or to churches. That view offends me both as a taxpayer and as a non-believer.
And while I believe that it would be almost impossible for a Democrat to vote for Huckabee based on a number of regressive and illiberal views he holds, he does represent a dramatic and partly welcome departure from the Grover Norquist current that has taken hold of the Republican party in the last thirty years. How refreshing to hear a Republican candidate talk about morality in terms of helping those in need instead of (just) attacking gay sand decrying the alleged lack of morals of half of the country.

Regards,

Fab