Bloggers react to Mitt Romney’s speech on “Faith in America,” ponder Mike Huckabee’s Dukakis moment, and merrily celebrate Repeal Day.
The Stormin’ Mormon: GOP hopeful Mitt Romney delivered a speech Thursday calling for religious tolerance and discussing the role his Mormon faith will play in a possible Romney administration. Romney made the long-awaited speech to address concerns from evangelical Christians and others.
“Simply magnificient,” is how Romney supporter Hugh Hewitt describes it. “The unexpected but brilliant connection of our tradition of religious liberty with our ability to move in the world to save it again and again from evil and to rebuild it without demands for territory or treasure lifted the speech very far above the ordinary campaign speech, and in so doing lifted the Romney candidacy.”
At Beliefnet’s Feiler Faster, Bruce Feiler isn’t convinced. “Romney has clearly been reading up on the history of religion in America,” he writes. “But if he learned anything, perhaps he learned that Americans in times of national anxiety are not particularly inclined to lead with tolerance – as Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Masons, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Muslims, among others, have discovered over the years.”
At the National Review Online’s Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez posts a quick reaction from a reader who “really doesn’t want to have to vote for a Mormon”: “It was a fantastic speech. He said what he needed to-not too much, not too little. At the end, the burden was on the American people-’Will you really keep me from the Presidency because of what I believe… . in a pluralistic society?’ Read more from the Corner.
Self-described “Christian secularist” Andrew Sullivan calls the speech “eloquent in many parts,” but criticizes Romney’s notion of the role of faith in public life. “By insisting on faith - any faith - as the proper criterion for public office, Romney draws the line, oh-so-conveniently, so as to include Mormonism but exclude atheism and agnosticism. And so he side-steps the critical issue in the debates over religion in public life: what if there is no unifying faith for a nation?”
Read more about Romney’s “Faith in America” speech. In Slate, Christopher Hitchens points out that Romney doesn’t know the difference between “deism and theism,” and John Dickerson calls the speech “incomplete.” Read our election blog, “Trailhead.”
Huckabee’s Dukakis moment: Despite a recent surge in the polls, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee suffered a setback Tuesday when Murray Waas at the Huffington Post published evidence that as Arkansas governor, he campaigned successfully for the parole of convicted rapist Wayne Dumond despite letters from his victims urging the contrary. Upon release, Dumond raped and murdered at least one other woman.
Bill Jempty at the right-leaning WizBang Politics tries to put it into perspective. “Let’s clear all the politics out of this. Helping to get a convicted rapist who was sentenced to life in prison a pardon, and that rapist then going out and raping and mudering someone, is one hell of a mistake/error in judgement or whatever you want to call it. Huckabee deserves to take any hits on the Dummond case that comes his way.”
Steve Benen at the liberal Carpetbagger Report analyzes Huckabee’s responses and criticizes the way his campaign handled the situation: “The smart way out of this was to acknowledge the truth, express regret, and promise voters to learn from the mistake. Instead, Huckabee not only pushed to let a violent criminal out of jail for political reasons, he’s lying about it now.
At Captain’s Quarters, Ed Morrissey notes the role “Clinton Derangement Syndrome sufferers” had in pressuring Huckabee for Dumond’s release. He issues a somber warning to “what happens when people let their hatred get ahead of their reason and reject rational thought for conspiracy thinking. Sometimes, it has real-world consequences.” Publius at Obsidian Wings recaps the “Blame Clinton” story.
Repeal Day! While you were busy going about your business Wednesday, bartenders, liquor sellers, and college students everywhere were honoring the 74th anniversary of the passage of the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition in America. Bloggers are uniformly joyous.
Bartender Jacob Grier notes the holiday’s historical significance amid a continuing legacy of Prohibition: “Though we are now mostly free to imbibe, the spirit of the Anti-Saloon League lives on in the continued growth of the nanny state. Just as the teetotalers of the previous century held governments in thrall, so today do various do-gooders persuade city councils and state legislators to interfere with our chosen indulgences.”
Becky C at Just a Girl in Short Shirts is unrepentant, calling Prohibition “the most dumbass tinker with the Constitution ever enacted” and offering a good recap of the 21st Amendment’s legacy. “Besides being an achievement for booze hounds everywhere, the Twenty-first Amendment was the last victory of the states’ rights crowd in modern history. The Amendment essentially said the Federal Government has no business regulating our immoral drinking habits, and left it to the states.”
At Buzzed, Jordan Mackay notes: “Repeal not only legalized drink; it also put the kabosh on a great deal of criminal dealings. We celebrate with a big batch of bathtub gin and a toast to Al Capone.”
Read about the joys of Repeal Day.