Cain Suspends Campaign

Sunday, December 4, AD 2011

Herman Cain’s candidacy is effectively over.

“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” said Cain to boos of disappointment. “I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family. Not because we are not fighters.”

Cain said he would endorse a Republican candidate soon, and announced his own “plan B” for public service, a policy web site called “The Cain Solutions.”

In the short term, I would imagine that most of Cain’s support will trickle to Gingrich.  Then again, considering that Cain’s support is made up of anti-establishment types, it very well could go to a less popular candidate, say Santorum or, sigh, Bachmann.  Either way, this hurts Romney as it eliminates a non-Romney with significant support.  The fewer viable candidates, the less chance for Romney to eek out the nomination.

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22 Responses to Cain Suspends Campaign

  • Obama and the libs have three advantages here.

    1. The women are disinclined to come forward. It would hinder the agenda.

    2. The women are disincented to make the accusation. They are quietly paid off, or promised jobs.

    3. The accusers are eliminated.

  • “3. The accusers are eliminated.”

    That is pretty far fetched even by your standards T. Shaw. Bill Clinton had plenty of females who came forward to make accusations against him and none of them were “eliminated”. He had two advantages over his Republican opponents: a base that largely could care less about marital fidelity except as a club against Republican candidates and a media that played defense for him.

  • Cain is a striking example of the hubris that is the hallmark of so many people running for office. Cain had to know that this type of baggage was out there, and he either didn’t care or he thought he was invulnerable. I feel a great deal of sympathy for his wife of 43 years who certainly didn’t volunteer for the fact that she is married to a philanderer to become public knowledge. Far better for this to come out now for the GOP than for it to come out when Cain was the nominee, or, more likely, after he was placed on the ticket as the Veep nominee.

  • You nailed it, Don.

  • Bingo, Don. And this is great news for President Obama, as it makes it more likely Gingrich is the nominee and will subject the party to a defeat we haven’t seen since ’64.

  • Don, Had to throw in a third . . .

    It’s like the other side uses “9/11 was an inside job.”

    RL: If Obama gets re-elected it won’t be because the GOP candidate was Gingrich. It will be because the majority of voters (the living and the dead) decided the government and the 1% can provide for them. That will close the book on the Republic and our way of life.

    Why does the desperately vital salvation for the great and dire health care crisis become destructive in 2013? Answer: It’s after the 2012 election.

  • I feel a great deal of sympathy for his wife of 46 years who certainly didn’t volunteer for the fact that she is married to a philanderer to become public knowledge.

    “Fact”? When did accusations, however useful they are to the media, become “fact”? It hasn’t been news that large organizations pay off for lawsuits if the one suing will take less than a fight would cost for decades, as much as that sucks and has contributed to current problems.

  • Let’s see now Foxfier. A woman comes forward and says that she is his mistress for 13 years. Cain denies the affair, but admits giving her money and not telling his wife about it. She has supplied cell phone records showing numerous recent conversations with Cain. Now he suspends his campaign. That is a strong prima facie case that the guy is a married skirt chaser, even leaving to one side the other women who have come forward.

  • “A strong case” is NOT fact.

    Heaven knows I can see innocent reasons for those facts we have, and as someone who’s been accused of similar behavior for simply socializing, I’m really tired of accusers getting unwarranted weight. Incidentally, the only call between them that I’ve heard of was a single, six-minute one. The other “contacts” are text messages, mostly her contacting him and him replying.
    By this standard, there’s a “strong case” that I had an affair with a former shipmate- because he’s a dumb kid who has horrible taste in women, and I tried to help him through that. (Heck, I even “initiated contact” a couple of times– because I’d read something he wrote on facebook, or get an email, or hear that his psycho ex was back in his world.) I seem to remember I gave him money a couple of times, too, and our finances are NOT in the area of the Cain’s!

    RL: If Obama gets re-elected it won’t be because the GOP candidate was Gingrich. It will be because the majority of voters (the living and the dead) decided the government and the 1% can provide for them. That will close the book on the Republic and our way of life.

    Another option: enough votes were cast that Obama won. If my governor can win with the dead and double-votes, why not him?

  • Noted Romney-booster Ann Coulter (“we’ll attack him *after* he takes office”) , has some more things to say about Cain’s accusers this week:

    “And now we have Ginger White stepping forward to claim that she had a 13-year affair with Cain….[Much like his other two accusers…] She’s another financially troubled, twice-divorced, unemployed single mother, who has claimed sexual harassment in the past, declared bankruptcy once, was accused of stalking and had a libel judgment entered against her just this year. So far in 2011, she’s had nine liens put on her property….

    White’s proof that she had a 13-year affair is that she has two of Cain’s books signed by him — one with the incriminating inscription, “Friends are forever! Everything else is a bonus,” and the other, “Miss G, you have already made a ‘big difference!’ Stay focused as you pursue your next destination.”….Also, White produced evidence that Cain had texted or called her cell phone 61 times during four non-consecutive months — but did not reveal what those texts said. (“Would you please return my lawn mower?”)

    ….This is the sort of evidence you get with an actual sexual predator: Bill Clinton’s accusers had gifts, taped phone conversations with him and a semen-stained dress…
    Ginger White claims she had a 13-year affair with Cain — and all she has are two books with inscriptions that could have been written to an auto mechanic who waited in line at a Cain book signing. Even her business partner during the alleged affair says White never mentioned Cain’s name.

    These women are like triple-A ball players with the stats being: number of bankruptcies, smallest bank account, number of liens, most false claims, number of children out of wedlock, degrees of separation from David Axelrod, total trips to human resources and so on.

    That wouldn’t be dispositive — except for the fact that their only evidence is their word….Most people say, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.’ I say, ‘Where there’s smoke around a conservative, there are journalists furiously rubbing two sticks together.'”

    anncoulter.com

  • One can come up with innocent explanations for anything Foxfier, but the weight of the evidence is against Mr. Cain. My guess is that it was the text messages that got him to drop out.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/From-the-Wires/2011/1129/Ginger-White-Her-phone-bill-has-61-calls-or-texts-from-Herman-Cain-video

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/President/2011/1201/Herman-Cain-admits-payments-to-Ginger-White-edges-toward-quitting

    He obviously thinks the evidence is against him and so he is dropping out.

    I love this statement from Cain’s mouthpiece:

    “No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life,” Lin Wood, Cain’s attorney, wrote. “The public’s right to know and the media’s right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one’s bedroom door. Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media.”

    That is pretty weasel worded even for a member of my profession. I certainly do want to know if a candidate is an adulterer. It speaks volumes about their trust-worthiness, their penchant for reckless behavior and their willingness to betray someone they purportedly love. This idea that someone’s private life is off limits in the area of adultery when they are running for the most important elected position in this country I find completely risible.

  • And still, that is not an establishment of fact.
    Given that this is the latest in a long line of low-on-substance accusations from dubious sources, I think he just figured out that they’ll keep slinging until something sticks. Clearly, that tactic worked in some cases– just yesterday I heard a talk radio guy talk about how it was clear that he was guilty, since he’d been accused “so much.”

  • A bit more detail for the “61 calls or texts” thing:
    In a one-month period, Ginger White sent 52 texts to Herman Cain’s phone. There were 17 texts from Cain’s phone to White’s, most appear to be responses to her text messages.

    The only phone call they mention is back in January. (And yes, I know that 52+17=/= 61. Maybe that’s why she’s got financial trouble.)

  • It would be more than enough for me to convince a Judge in a dissolution case Foxfier, under a standard of more probable than not, and unlike a court of law in the real world there is no presumption of innocence. People have a duty to themselves not to throw away their reputation through stupid actions and that is precisely what Cain has done. It strains credulity to give Cain the benefit of the doubt when he has already admitted giving money to this woman, somehow the sums that he gave her slipping his mind, and forgetting to tell his wife all about it, all the while carrying on an extensive cell phone and texting contact with the gal. Oh and the money was always in cash according to Ginger White. Almost as if Cain didn’t want someher to find out about it. When Cain was asked about the amount of cash he gave White he responded that on advice of counsel he couldn’t answer that. Yeah, I can understand that.

  • Why is there not even a sniff of sexual scandal with Obama, the most evil man yet to occupy the Oval Office?

  • And this is great news for President Obama, as it makes it more likely Gingrich is the nominee and will subject the party to a defeat we haven’t seen since ’64.

    I guess one might say never say never, but you do posit here a sequence of events – given the state of the economy and given the observed level of public disapproval of the President – that has no historical precedent.

  • It strains credulity to give Cain the benefit of the doubt when he has already admitted giving money to this woman, somehow the sums that he gave her slipping his mind, and forgetting to tell his wife all about it, all the while carrying on an extensive cell phone and texting contact with the gal.

    Except that is exactly what you do when someone you’re trying to help is having financial trouble and the amount of money involved isn’t a big deal to you. As HA’s laundry list of issues demonstrates, “financial trouble” is a mild way of putting it.
    That she sent three times as many texts as he did, and almost all of his were in direct response to her texts, supports the image of someone who’s got a sucker on the hook. (I can only imagine what his response-text at just before 5AM consisted of… oh, wait, I don’t have to imagine much, I’ve been there, although mine arrived at 2AM. Hopefully, his spelling was better than mine.)
    My cynical personal experience suggests that he’d finally figured out that he wasn’t doing any good and had stopped helping. Usually results in a lashing out, especially if that lashing will get whatever it was they were gaining before.

  • PWP: That is so because all the Cain detractors are NOT racists. You see, Herman Cain is a conservative. He isn’t a black man. Ergo, he is responsible for his actions.

    In accounting we have standards for loss/gain contingency recognition. The contingency, say charge off a loan, needs to “probable” = more likely than not, as in 51+%.

    I think “probable” works in civil legal matters. Criminal would require a “beyond reasonable doubt” determination, I think.

  • I have been married for 29 years Foxfier. I would never in my wildest dreams give a younger woman not related to me cash on a regular basis to “help her out”. I would give her a check, specify on the check that it was to help her out, and I would make certain that my wife knew all about it. As a matter of fact, I would have my wife write out the check. My cynical attorney experience of 29 years indicates to me that Cain might wish to retain a very good divorce attorney in the near future, especially when more details comes out in the book his mistress is no doubt planning to sell the rights to.

    “Why is there not even a sniff of sexual scandal with Obama, the most evil man yet to occupy the Oval Office?”

    Unlike movies and novels Paul, people can often be good in certain aspects of their life and evil in others. Franco was a devoted family man for example, and killed off some 100 K of his fellow Spaniards after the Spanish Civil War.

    “I think “probable” works in civil legal matters. Criminal would require a “beyond reasonable doubt” determination, I think.”

    Correct T.Shaw. A dissolution is, ironically, a “civil” proceeding!

  • .. My cycnical attorney experience of 29 years ….

    Is largely what I attribute your position to, actually… Folks tend to see what they expect in a situation where there’s insufficient information. Part of why I didn’t go the glib route– though it’s oh so tempting!– and make cracks about how next we’ll hear he’s been dining with tax collectors, and is rumored to have spoken to a woman of ill repute at a well.
    Your theoretical actions are based on your experience of what can be reasonably construed as suspicious; a seventy-something, married, conservative businessman and preacher who still automatically calls some women “hon” (iirc– it was some once-standard and now big news term) is going to have different assumptions. This is why I keep pointing out he’s not a politician.
    (Now that I think about it, considering how many pols are lawyers, that may have changed the political landscape rather starkly. The assumptions are all funky. Pure theory, though.)

  • Cain is a terrible liar. When Hannity suggested that the matter could be easily resolved by comparing travel records for the times White claimed to have met Cain in hotels, Cain responded, “let’s not play detective.”

  • I like Andrew Klavan’s take on this from a few weeks back. We take the charges seriously and investigate them because we’re the good guys. We expect a higher standard of conduct from our own candidates than others do of theirs. We don’t slander the women or circle the wagons, because we really care about getting to the truth more than about protecting our own. Of course it isn’t fair. A battle between the good guy and the bad guy is never fair.

    Klavan doesn’t add, but I believe, that over the long haul decency is a viable political strategy.

Minute Sixteen and Counting (Updated)

Wednesday, November 2, AD 2011

I wasn’t going to blog anymore about Herman Cain, but I cannot let this go without comment:

Mark Block, chief of staff for the Cain campaign, laid the blame for the leaks about the allegations about Cain squarely at the Perry campaign’s feet in an interview today.

“The actions of the Perry campaign are despicable,” Block told Fox News tonight. “Rick Perry and his campaign owe Herman Cain and his family an apology. Both the Rick Perry campaign andPolitico did the wrong thing by reporting something that wasn’t true from anonymous sources. Like I said, they owe Herman Cain and his family an apology.”

Asked if he had any evidence, Block mentioned the fact that Cain had told Curt Anderson (who now works for Perry) about the accusations during his 2004 senate run. Cain accused Anderson earlier today; Anderson denied that he was.

As with every other aspect of his campaign, Herman Cain has been unable to address this situation in anything resembling a coherent manner.  I could let that pass, but instead of addressing the issue – or even not addressing it – the Cain camp decides to avert attention away from this mess by hurling unsubstantiated claims against one of his Republican rivals.  Could the Perry camp have leaked the information?  It’s certainly possible, but it just as likely could have been the Romney camp.  Or, and here’s a wild guess, someone did a little digging and came across a publicly available story.

Look, I don’t know if there’s anything more to the original story than that it was a misunderstanding.  But Cain is doing himself no favors by reacting as wildly as he is.  First he played the race card.  If he had been a Democrat conservatives would have collectively rolled their eyes, and yet some conservatives, including one that I highly respect, are willing to indulge this fantasy.  And now this.

What’s sickening is not just the man’s basic ineptitude, it’s that he is inspiring the same kind of blind loyalty to a cult of personality that we mock Democrats for with regards to Barack Obama.  And for what?  A candidate who has nothing to offer except a silly campaign slogan that is, for the record, politically unworkable.  A candidate who couldn’t even win a Senate primary in Georgia, of all states.  Ah, but he sounds so authentic.

And therein lies the problem with the conservative movement.  Mitt Romney is the establishment candidate, and we hate the establishment.  So our counter-reaction to the establishment is to rally around the guy who mouths the most platitudes, all the while ignoring the substance.  It’s like watching the Hot Air blog come to life.  The main contributors are a collection of mealy-mouthed wimps who fear the rise of genuinely conservative candidates.  On the other hand, the commenters are a  collection of raving “THIS GOES TO 11!!!!!!!!” “purists” who make the Free Republic look like a haven of logical thought.  It’s something behold, but it’s also a sad reflection on the conservative movement as we seem constantly to have to choose between raving psychosis and stultifying boredom.

What’s even funnier about the Cain dead-enders is envisioning their reaction when he drops out and turns around to endorse Mitt Romney.  But at least we would have beaten the guy who said “heartless” in a debate that one time.  Good job.  Look what happens when the search for purity leads to the nomination of the most impure candidate.

Then again, not everyone is turning a blind eye to Cain’s collapsing campaign.  Even his biggest booster in the blogosphereis starting to sound a little worried.

The fact that Chris Wilson works for a firm that has been associated with Rick Perry’s campaign may confirm widespread suspicions about the origin of Sunday’s Politico story, but as matters now stand, such speculation is irrelevant to whether Cain can survive this. Whatever the motives of the Politico sources, Cain’s fate depends on the specifics of the accusation and the credibility of his accuser.

Then again, knowing the spitefulness that guides certain people, he’ll only ascend in the polls.

Update:  FWIW, here is Eric Erickson’s interview with Perry, in which he firmly denies having anything to do with leaking the story.  Notice that despite the umms and ahhs, it doesn’t take a team of detectives to figure out what Perry is saying.

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22 Responses to Minute Sixteen and Counting (Updated)

  • Can’t agree more.

  • That’s exactly how I feel about Republican support for Sarah Palin. Glad to see some more people realize that there’s a nutty wing in the GOP. My hope is that with a moderate Republican in the White House, the GOP nuts will stand down.

  • My hope is that with a moderate Republican in the White House, the GOP nuts will stand down.

    In case my post wasn’t clear on this point, I’d be no more content with Romney than with someone like Cain. Romney and Cain are equally distasteful candidates, though for opposite reasons. And my beef with the more strident conservatives has more to do with tone than substance.

    Unlike many, I do think there are several acceptable, conservative candidates. Let’s go with one of them, please.

  • Paul- What is your beef with Cain? Every time he is mentioned your reaction is similar to the Palin syndrome on the left.

    With conservatives like you, who needs left-wing, government loving statists like RR around?

  • My beef with Cain is that he is a substance free, incompetent candidate who can’t even speak without retracting or clarifying his statement at some future point. I honestly tried giving him a chance and liked him after the first few debates, but at some point you just have to stop giving guys the benefit of the doubt,

    As I said, there are several qualified, competent conservatives running. So my question to you is why the blind loyalty to this man when there are actually good candidates running?

  • “we seem constantly to have to choose between raving psychosis and stultifying boredom.”

    If that’s the case I will vote for boredom every time. The last thing this country needs is another exciting, charismatic candidate who lets all that fame go to his/her head and begins believing and acting as if they really are some kind of anointed political savior.

  • This is a game of attrition at this point. I don’t want Romney to be the last man standing and attacking Cain only serves to achieve this unintended consequence. For a liberal this is understandable but for a conservative it’s appalling.

    I’d love to see a guy like Santorum be President but it ain’t in the cards so you play the hand you are dealt. Do you see any truly viable conservative candidates at this stage in the game?

  • Do you see any truly viable conservative candidates at this stage in the game?

    I’ve said so twice. Either of the Ricks and Newt as well are all far preferable, and I believe that any of them would win in the general. Santorum is a long shot, but I’d much rather support him than Cain.

    By the way, if Cain is destroyed as a candidate I don’t see how that benefits Mitt. He absolutely needs a divided conservative field. If Cain falters, it’s probably down to just Newt and Perry as the anti-Romneys. Romney most likely needs at least three semi-viable conservative opponents, so unless Bachmann resuscitates her campaign he’d be in trouble.

  • By the way judging from this thread, Red State – hardly a bastion of establishment sympathy – is just about done with Cain as well.

  • Well we disagree on our political calculations in such case.

    Newt is a known quantity by the electorate and this electorate is not in the mood for political retreads no matter how high their IQ. Capturing the heart of this nation for a presidential bid is not a likely scenario for him.

    Rick Perry does not appear to be capable of withstanding the rigors of the debates. My greatest fear is that Obama would run rings around him. I don’t think he can win. I could be wrong.

    Regardless, were it Santorum, Perry, Bachmann or Newt currently neck and neck with Romney for pole position conservatives should be rallying around that individual in common cause. Watching Cain receive “friendly fire” from conservatives while he is under attack with what appear to be charges that are lacking any weight or seriousness is unbecoming of conservatives. That’s my concern irrespective of who it happens to be on the receiving end of a political hit-job, Cain or not.

  • “As with every other aspect of his campaign, Herman Cain has been unable to address this situation in anything resembling a coherent manner.”

    Bingo. I find his explanations of all this inherently unbelievable and incoherent. He had to know this was waiting in the wings, and he and his campaign act as if they are stunned ducks when it was revealed. Cain, although he has accomplished much in his life, was totally unprepared for a Presidential run, has attempted to wing the whole thing, and would be an absolute disaster in a general election campaign with the Obama lapdog media tearing into every aspect of his life. Next!

  • Jay Cost sums up the Cain campaign well:

    “What of Herman Cain’s response to this? In a word, it stinks. His campaign couldn’t get its stories straight, the final version does not square very well with the known facts, and worse Team Cain had known about this for more than a week, so it should have been prepared. This isn’t the first time I’d used a word like “stink” to describe the Cain operation, either. His tongue-tied answers on abortion and Guantanamo Bay stunk. His infrastructure in the early states stinks. His fundraising to date has stunk. You get the idea.” Politics isn’t a game, it is hard work and Cain and his staffers have shown no inclination to do the hard work necessary to win the nomination and the general election.

  • Cain doth protest too much. Or, to use another bromide, where there’s smoke there’s fire.
    Face it, Cain is not Able.

  • I think Ann Coulter put it best:

    “It is beyond insane that Herman Cain would have considered running for president if he had the tiniest skeleton in his closet. To be an out-of-the-closet black Republican, you had better be a combination rocket scientist/Baptist preacher.”

    to see AC following the MSM’s lead is sickening. Use to have respect for this blog, not anymore. You’re way to full of yourselves.

  • to see AC following the MSM’s lead is sickening. Use to have respect for this blog, not anymore. You’re way to full of yourselves.

    I wrote this blogpost because Herman Cain accused a fellow candidate of being the leaker without any evidence, and as a way to draw attention away from himself. This has nothing to do with putting credence in the allegations, but rather in the Cain camp’s reaction to the story. You Cainiacs are so invested in this guy that you are willing to overlook every stupid thing he does. So a little less sanctimony and a little more reflection, okay?

  • Oh give it a break Jasper! It is not following the mainstream media lead to conclude that Herman Cain’s campaign consists of winging it and making it up as he goes along. He had to know that the issue of sexual harassment would come up, and he obviously had no plan to deal with it. Rather than heap bile on the messenger your scorn is better directed at an obviously clueless candidate. TAC looks at facts straight on, whether the facts are good, bad or indifferent, and draws opinions and conclusions from the facts. We will not trim our analysis because someone is on “our side”.

  • OK, stipulating that Cain is finished as a viable candidate, Perry is being bashed left and right and none of the other candidates have much traction, who emerges as the front-runner? There’s a leadership void and someone must step up. If Gingrich steps up, it will take the media less than a news cycle to dredge up the since-discredited story about him visiting his cancer-striken ex-wife in the hospital and demanding a divorce.

    Is there anyone out there without baggage?

    Chime in, folks.

  • Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the GOP presidential nominating convention borrowed from history and actually showed some drama and uncertainty>
    Before the 1960s, the quadrennial gatherings were actually decision-making forums where the delegates met for four days to promote party unity, establish the party platform, vote for a presidential nominee, and then a vice presidential nominee.
    Many times delegates could not find consensus on candidates or platform. In 1924, Democrats cast 103 ballots before nominating John W. Davis, and in 1860 Stephen Douglas was finally selected after 59 ballots (and two conventions). Deadlock at the 1844 Democratic convention resulted in the selection of “dark horse” candidate James K. Polk, who was chosen on the ninth ballot, even though he wasn’t nominated until the eighth.
    The Democrats were bitterly divided in 1860 over the slavery issue. When delegates adopted Stephen Douglas’ plank that supported nonintervention with slavery in the territories, several delegates from the South bolted from the Charleston, South Carolina, convention in protest.
    While the early conventions often required more than one ballot, there have been only a handful of times in the past five decades that the conventions were nail-biters. In 1952, Adlai Stevenson triumphed over a “Stop Stevenson” campaign and won the nomination in three ballots. Stevenson created even more drama at the 1956 convention, when he declined to appoint a running mate, and the delegates chose Sen. Estes Kefauver over Sen. John F. Kennedy in two ballots. One of the closest races in recent history saw Gerald Ford edge out Ronald Reagan, 1187–1070.
    However, what with pollsters everywhere and the media mainly in charge of steering the dumb masses toward to lesser of several evils, I’m betting that by July/August of 2012 the GOP nominating decision will be preordained and someone will have it locked up.

  • Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the GOP presidential nominating convention borrowed from history and actually showed some drama and uncertainty>

    As a political junkie it would be exciting. But if the GOP doesn’t have a nominee by the time the primaries are done, it would be a disaster of epic proportions for the party.

  • Paul, why so? Reagan and Ford fought it out, as did Rockefeller and Goldwater, and the party not only survived but flourished. Of course, I can understand that the media likely would spin it as a sharply divided party, etc., but clear-thinking voters (I hope there are still some left) would look at a vibrant show of honest differences and in the end unity would prevail.

  • Divided conventions Joe usually presage defeat in November for a party in modern times. The last exception to that rule I can think of was when Eisenhower defeated Taft in 1952 at the Republican convention. Sometimes intra-party battles do strengthen a party long term: I certainly think that was true with Goldwater beating Rockefeller and Reagan beating Ford, but four more years of Obama would be too high a price to pay.

  • Joe, the party has been involved in intense bickering for months – just look at this thread! Imagine six extra months of this. Obama would love it.

    Furthermore, that’s six fewer months of fundraising for the eventual nominee, putting him at a tremendous disadvantage.

Herman Cain’s Muddled Abortion Logic (Updated)

Thursday, October 20, AD 2011

Presidential candidate Herman Cain appeared on the Piers Morgan show last night, and the conversation turned to the topic of abortion.  It’s a fascinating read because at first Cain appears to be giving an absolutist pro-life position – opposition to abortion in all circumstances.  Yet Cain then gives a response that seems to suggest that while he’s personally pro-life, well, you know how this ends:

MORGAN: By expressing the view that you expressed, you are effectively — you might be president. You can’t hide behind now the mask, if you don’t mind me saying, of being the pizza guy. You might be the president of United States of America. So your views on these things become exponentially massively more important. They become a directive to the nation.

CAIN: No they don’t. I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation. The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to social decisions that they need to make.

Hmmmm.  In the interests of fairness, here is the entire abortion discussion in context:

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56 Responses to Herman Cain’s Muddled Abortion Logic (Updated)

  • The man is making it up as he goes along and is definitely not ready for prime time.

  • I agree, Don. It is very difficult to read that transcript without concluding that Cain is passionately pro-life, but believes that government should not enact or enforce laws prohibiting abortion. That is a pro-choice position akin to saying I think slavery is horribly immoral and I could never own one, but it is not the government’s business if my neighbor wants to own one. Sadly, I’m not sure Cain is sophisticated enough to appreciate that this position is pro-choice.

  • I don’t understand the logic that the government should stay out of social decisions. By definition, social decisions are those that affect society. If the government is not for protecting and promoting the good of society, what the h*ll is it for? Perhaps this was a slip and he meant personal decisions. But even personal decisions can affect society.

    One other charitable interpretation may be that he was referring to the decision to raise the child as opposed to give him up for adoption. The question to which he responded was “would you honestly want her to bring that baby up as her own?” That would suggest he was responding to the decision whether or not to put up for adoption (the family/mother’s choice), not whether or not to have an abortion.

  • In fact, Cain’s comment that the questioner was “mixing two things” makes it more likely Cain was referring to the decision regarding adoption. The questioner indeed seemed to be mixing to things (1) whether they should ahve a choise to abort (which Cain appears to be against) and (2) whether the mother/family should be forced to raise the child – which Cain states is a choice for the mother/family to make, not the President or government.

  • Morning typing is really not my forte.

  • That would suggest he was responding to the decision whether or not to put up for adoption (the family/mother’s choice), not whether or not to have an abortion.

    It’s possible, but if you look at his entire answer to the question it seems pretty clear he’s talking about the gamut of options available, presumably including abortion.

    In fact, the more I look at that response, the more convinced I am he’s not just talking about the decision to adopt.

  • The man is making it up as he goes along and is definitely not ready for prime time.

    That seems obvious to me, but I’m puzzled by the polls showing him in the lead. Are these people not watching the debates, or are they watching them but not understanding the issues?

  • Agree with Donald. Herman Cain doesn’t seem to have thought much about abortion-related policy and what, as president, he would do regarding it. His positions are incoherent and detached from any reference to what the policy currently is and what it should be.

  • Donald is correct – Herman Cain is making things up as he goes along. Nevertheless, if it comes down to a choice between imperfect Herman Cain and the man of sin currently in the Oval Office, I shall proudly vote for Herman Cain.

  • Are these people not watching the debates, or are they watching them but not understanding the issues?

    One of the problems with these debates is that it seems people are so focused on the style, or how candidates answer the questions that they’re ignoring the substance of what is being said. It drives me batty.

  • “Are these people not watching the debates, or are they watching them but not understanding the issues?”

    The conservative base of the Republican party do not want Romney as the nominee which is why he can’t get above 25%. They rally around the name of the month in order to attempt to come up with a viable alternative. Hence the boomlets for Bachmann, Perry and now Cain. Next month I predict Santorum or Gingrich will have a moment in the sun.

  • “I’m puzzled by the polls showing him in the lead. Are these people not watching the debates, or are they watching them but not understanding the issues?”

    I doubt most of the people who watched the last debate knew what the VAT candidates were referring to is. Most Americans cannot begin to comprehend tax policy. They just know they don’t like taxes. So they hear what sounds like a pizza special and like it. This goes for other issues too. Simple-sounding solutions well presented, however stupid, can get a good deal of support.

  • Herman Cain tweets:

    “I’m 100% pro-life. End of story.”

    Well that certainly settles that. Good to know that Cain is really working to clarify his positions in such fine detail.

    Here’s a challenge for the Cain campaign: try to make it through a week without making a statement that you have to later backtrack from.

  • The reason Cain has as much traction as he does is simple: he’s the Not-Romney of the Month. If the putative front-runner didn’t cause hives in the base, Cain would be a footnote figure on the same polling level of Santorum or Bachmann.

    And I heartily concur with the not-ready-for-primetime assessment. Hell, I don’t know if he’s ready for public access. A cringe-inducing trainwreck in motion.

  • Excuse me, but those of you who are Republicans, tell me something. (I’m not a Democrat either, by the way.)

    How can the Republican Party field a candidate, in this cycle of all cycles, that alienates the base!? The old saw is that the Republican party caters to their base while the Democratic party abhors theirs, but my sense is that there is a split between elites (for Romney?) and the base (Cain?), and Donald and others seem to agree. Don’t you people have better candidates? Really?! I mean, does it really come down to Romney or some unprepared wacko who doesn’t know what he/she thinks about major issues?

  • Huh?

    In context, it seems very clear that he’s clarifying the “mixing two things” part– he already answered the point where the kid’s a kid from conception, and is saying that it’s not the gov’ts place to comment on ” If one of your female children, grand children was raped, you would honestly want her to bring up that baby as her own?”

    He’s not a politician. He hasn’t had anyone beat into his head the “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them” thing. (Part of why I can’t stand to listen to most pols, actually….) He explained his position, the guy tried to say that it had a secondary requirement–raising the child– and he objected, pointing out that the host’s assumption was none of the gov’ts business.

    Why isn’t anyone throwing a fit about the host talking about “as if” the baby was the woman’s? The child is her own– even if his father is a horrible person. My ex-brother-in-law is a horrible person, but I still love my nephew.

  • Sorry Foxfier, but I strongly disagree with your assessment. In context it’s clear he’s talking about the general role of government when it comes to the whole range of options. Especially look at the last part of this exchange – they’re no longer talking about just rape/incest and adoption. Morgan had broadened the question to one about abortion in general, and Cain made the comment about government not interfering in social issues.

    He’s not a politician.

    This is a weak excuse, and I keep hearing it from Cain defenders. I’m not a politician either, but I’m pretty sure that if I were in Cain’s place nobody would be confused as to where I stood. Again, this is a repeated pattern of the man simply not being clear.

    And as to him not being a politician, the man was a radio talk show host for years. He should be familiar enough with the issues for him not to sound like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about anytime he’s taken out of his comfort zone (economics). This is also not his first rodeo, and he’s run for public office before. He is woefully unprepared.

  • I mean, does it really come down to Romney or some unprepared wacko who doesn’t know what he/she thinks about major issues?

    I’m afraid it does. As someone who supports the GOP only in that I find them less rotten and wrongheaded as the Democrats, I find their inablity to put forth someone of true character, ability, and electability disheartening. Santorum is the only one who has the type of world view that I would trust to make sound and moral judgments, but I’m afraid he lacks in ability and electability.

    On the flip side, it’s not like the Dems have much of track record putting forth someone of ability, let alone of sound and moral judgment (the later being the antithesis to their platform and base).

  • Cain was more than ready for primetime in the 90’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WP5dYfBBzU

    The lesson I take from that is that just because you’re good at one thing (e.g., running a business) does not mean you’re good at everything (e.g., tax policy, foreign policy, social policy).

    I see parallels to Sarah Palin. By most accounts, she was a good governor but she proved to know absolutely nothing about most things. Maybe, like Palin, Cain should start playing the victim and blaming the media.

  • From Donald: “Next month I predict Santorum or Gingrich will have a moment in the sun.”

    I think that Gingrich is primed for his move up the polls. My dad and little brother – independent of each other – both told me that they were very impressed with Gingrich after the debate. This is after they both went gung-ho on Cain.

    I don’t agree with them on Gingrich for a couple of reasons.

    As for Santorum, he’s still my preference at this point – but not a strong preference. On the issues, I like almost everything. I’ve got a bit of an isolationist streak, so his foreign policy is just a little off for me.

    As for demeanor, he comes off as too intense, too eager. He needs to look more relaxed and secure.

  • “Don’t you people have better candidates?”

    Yes. Off the top of my head we have Bob McConnell, Governor of Virginia, Marco Rubio, Senator from Florida, Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, Jim Demint, Senator from South Carolina, and quite a few others, none of whom have given the slightest inclination to run for the Presidency. A conservative dark horse who got into the race could have a huge groundswell of support, but the last time the Republican Party nominated a dark horse was in 1940 with Wendell Wilkie. I would not discount the possibility this time however.

  • . I’m not a politician either, but I’m pretty sure that if I were in Cain’s place nobody would be confused as to where I stood.

    Of course they would– you’re a blogger! You expect some folks to be busily twisting your words. (I suspect that, even without being a blogger, few would doubt where you stand. Just a guess, though.)

    And Cain supporters keep pointing out he’s not a politician because folks keep acting as if they think he is– someone’s actions come across differently if you assume he’s use to selling his image, as opposed to selling a product as opposed to just doing something. (probably more aspects that don’t come to mind instantly)

  • The problem with Gingrich and Santorum is that they aren’t personable. You need to meet some minimum threshold of likeability to get above 5%.

  • (Is anyone else not getting any email updates? I checked my spam file– it’s not there….)

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  • Nope, haven’t been getting email updates for a while.

  • Here is another recent Cain interview on the subject of abortion where he says the same sorts of things. I’m not sure that any of your charitable interpretations work with this one.

  • I don’t need to be charitable on that one:
    “No, abortion should not be legal.”
    “If it’s her choice, that means it should be legal.”
    “I do not believe in abortion in ANY instance.”
    “What about rape and incest?”
    “There are other options.”

    He doesn’t seem to be using “choice” the way most politicians do– to mean “ability to kill the inconvenient human.” If he hadn’t flat out said “Abortion should not be legal,” I’d think he’s more of the standard double-speak politician than I’ve been assuming; since he flatly said “abortion should not be legal,” then I must assume he’s either using “choice” in a way other than the usual life-rights jargon one, or he’s not in his right mind. Lacking any other evidence that he’s not in his right mind, and looking at the other instances where he simply doesn’t know the jargon, I’m going with “he’s not even a political junkie, let alone a politician.”

  • I will miss Herman Cain when he withdraws from the race. I expect though that he will resurface with his own show shortly after the election.

  • For comparison’s sake, I just called my mom, a young boomer who doesn’t do politics but is familiar enough with being anti-abortion to be able to have a conversation about embryonic vs adult stem cells; she didn’t know what the right of return was, had never heard of “neoconservative,” and defined “pro-choice” as “right to kill your baby.”

    To my mind, this supports the impression that jargon is getting in the way.

  • Shorter Herman Cain: I am pro-life but it’s a woman’s choice if she’s raped but I don’t think it should be legal to abort but I don’t think the government should tell her what to do.

    Yeah, how can anyone possibly be confused by such clear, concise thinking?

    Sorry, this isn’t about him being confused by “jargon,” this is a man being confused by the English language.

  • Sorry, this isn’t about him being confused by “jargon,” this is a man being confused by the English language.

    Given that he’s had amazing success in three different careers, I don’t think the assumption that he doesn’t understand English very well makes much sense. So, the old rule of “what I’m hearing may not be what he’s saying” comes in.

    Going off the Lifenews story, it looks like he draws a distinction between laws and “telling someone what to do.” A sensible thing to do, now that I see it, seeing as how the gov’t issues a LOT of non-binding instructions.
    He’s also aware of the limitations of the position he’s running for, which is dang near a selling point for me.

  • I don’t like the fact that he had to issue a clarification on his abortion views, but it’s good enough to assuage my concerns as a pro-life voter.

    Per NRO:

    UPDATE: Here is a statement Cain issued today that clarifies a little more what he meant:

    “Yesterday in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, I was asked questions about abortion policy and the role of the President.

    I understood the thrust of the question to ask whether that I, as president, would simply “order” people to not seek an abortion.

    My answer was focused on the role of the President. The President has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone. That was the point I was trying to convey.

    As to my political policy view on abortion, I am 100 percent pro-life. End of story.

    I will appoint judges who understand the original intent of the Constitution. Judges who are committed to the rule of law know that the Constitution contains no right to take the life of unborn children.

    I will oppose government funding of abortion. I will veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood. I will do everything that a President can do, consistent with his constitutional role, to advance the culture of life.”

  • I will veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood.

    …How the blazes did I not notice THAT line before?!?!

  • So, the old rule of “what I’m hearing may not be what he’s saying” comes in.

    Again, the fact that the man can’t even make a statement about something as important as abortion with clarifying it later is a concern, as is this repeated pattern of making confusing statements about practically everything. Heck, he can’t even get the details of his own signature plan correct. This is not a selling point for me.

  • Going off the Lifenews story, it looks like he draws a distinction between laws and “telling someone what to do.”

    Q: Any cases where [abortion] should be legal?

    Cain: I don’t think government should make that decision.

  • Blackadder-
    and when asked to explain, he says there’s no case where it should be legal. Makes sense if he’s saying gov’t shouldn’t be able to say “OK, this medical method to kill those people is illegal” or if he misheard the question.

  • I don’t think Cain knows what his own position is. Ellis Henican’s react is great.

  • Herman Cain can’t “hold a candle to” the glib, policy genius presiding over America’s ruin . . .

    All I need to know: President Cain will veto guv $$$ for abortion and Planned Parenthood. Only other pledge wanted: to nominate solid, pro-life fed judges and fight for them in the face of dem/abort senate filibusters.

    Having built a grand career in the private sector, Mr. Cain probably has never seen his words twisted by evil people to make a trap for hate-filled people.

  • Perhaps, ladies and gentlemen, I am reflecting my own desires onto Mr. Cain, I’ll admit of that.

    But it seems to me that we are doing to Mr. Cain what has been done to every candidate, ever (with the exception, perhaps, of the incumbent, who can speak no wrong and do no evil). What is the foundation of Mr. Cain’s approach to governance? Following the Constitution. Why do we have the ubiquitous evil of abortion plaguing every state in our nation? a Lack Of Attention To The Tenth Amendment, and a federal government that wants to insinuate itself into every aspect of every person’s life, with no boundaries.

    I take all that has gone before as prelude when I hear him talk about abortion. I won’t parse his words. Frankly, it should not MATTER to us where a President stands on the issue of abortion, if he is a Constitutionalist (as opposed to a Constitutional Law Professor), and wants to return the power to determine policy on things like, oh ABORTION, to the States where it belongs, and where we can effectively fight for legislation to eventually outlaw it.

    It is no more Constitutionally correct for the Federal Government to legislate abortion as illegal than it is for the Federal judiciary to have ruled it LEGAL, without exception.

    So, when a man who believes that teh Tenth Amendment actually limits the authority of the Federal government says what was said here, I am not sure it concerns me. He’s committed to appoint judges in the style of Clarence Thomas (check!); he’s committed to defund Planned Parenthood (Check!); and most importantly, he has agreed to make the Federal Government play by Constitutional rules! Voila! We get teh Federal government out of abortion completely, and then Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, New York, Califormnia, and the rest of the States can determine the law for themselves! I likes that!

  • As much as I agree on your other points– including wondering if I’m projecting on Mr. Cain!– on this:
    It is no more Constitutionally correct for the Federal Government to legislate abortion as illegal than it is for the Federal judiciary to have ruled it LEGAL, without exception.

    I have to disagree; the Constitution touched on who was fully human (going off of what rights they had) when it was written, and since then it’s been understood to apply to some basic things– just try making a law that men are not fully human and thus can be killed by their wives or mothers. Won’t work, same way that a 10th amendment attempt to bring back slavery, or impose Sharia, won’t work.

  • The problem with Gingrich and Santorum is that they aren’t personable. You need to meet some minimum threshold of likeability to get above 5%.

    I guess the careers of Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Gary Hart, Michael Dukakis, Albert Gore, Jr., and Sprio Agnew, Spiro Agnew, Spiro Agnew were all just collective hallucinations.

  • Musn’t forget Robert Dole, either.

  • Good list Art, except for Goldwater who came across pretty avuncular. As for the rest, that truly would be the dinner party from Hell!

  • Art, your list kind of proves my point. Nixon and Carter were the only ones who won. Nixon after losing once before and Carter was a one-termer. Gore won the Democratic nomination virtually unopposed, Hart never won the nomination, and Agnew never ran. Surprised you didn’t include John Kerry which would’ve been the best case against my theory. But Kerry was a bore, not unlikeable. Gingrich and Santorum are running on anger and they make people cringe.

  • And Carter was pretty likeable, especially when facing Ford. Dole too.

  • And Carter was pretty likeable, especially when facing Ford. Dole too.

    Ya think? I doubt anyone found Ford inspiring, but I have the impression most people found him reasonably likable and generally a decent human being, even in spite of the Nixon thing.

  • “And Carter was pretty likeable”

    Thanks for the laugh RR. Naw, Carter always came across as a mean-spirited little twerp with a phony smile pasted on his mug, which is why he blew a thirty-four point lead against Ford in 1976, just barely winning a race by a hair that any Democrat, after the Nixon fiasco, should have won going away. (I think Ford would have won if Ford hadn’t claimed that Poland wasn’t under Soviet domination in a debate, and then was too proud, and foolish, to admit for several days that he had mispoke.) Here is a video of a truly likeable politician:

  • Art, your list kind of proves my point.

    If you recall, your point was that someone had to have a baseline of ‘likability’ to garner more than 5% of the primary and caucus vote. Everyone on that list garnered the nomination bar Messrs. Agnew and Hart. Agnew most assuredly would have been a contender had his sideline of shaking down contractors not come to the attention of the U.S. Attorney. As for Hart, fully 38% of those attending caucuses and voting in primaries cast a ballot for him. 38% > 5%.

    Chaqu’un a son gout. Sen. Goldwater was given to bouts of tactlessness. Would not bother me, but a large portion of the electorate seems to recoil from that for whatever reason. As for Mr. Carter, there is a reason his preferred recreations (tennis, fly fishing, running, and hunting swamp rabbits) involve a minimum of conversation and teamwork. Ditto John Kerry, another ‘likable’ nominee.

  • “Muddled” more fits the activities of current office holders, but Mr. Morgan isn’t muddling around with them, although, in so doing, he would be ever so able to increase his ratings.

  • Mr. Cain was just on Fox explaining that he mis-spoke. He said the reporter was trying to pigeon hole him on what if it was your child, life and death etc. He said what he responding to was, that at that point, no family is thinking about what the law says, they are thinking about their own child, family member, the baby etc. He said, there is no debate for him, he is pro-life. Life begins at conception thru natural death. He also said, he would strengthen laws that keep the govt out of supporting or paying for abortion and push for new ones to keep the govt out of it altogether.

    I for one, prefer a man who will say, I mis-spoke or I made a mistake than some others who are arrogant in their ‘conservatism’ or downright prejudice (Catholics aren’t Christian…see his pastor’s remarks about we Catholics) or who flip on the subject and you really do not know if it is sincere or not. While Mormons espouse and many fight for the prolife movement, in practice, abortion for all kinds of reasons are sanctioned.

    Herman Cain is being attacked because he is Black and ahead in the polls, that’s it. The MSM is afraid of him. Whether he could win the national election is questionable, the majority of independents are not ultra conservative.

    The question is, are people so fed up with Obama they will vote for whomever runs against him? While I hope so, I do not want to shoot ourselves in the foot by rushing in the the MSM to attack a solid human being like Cain.

  • Sorry the arrogant conservative is Perry and I am not so certain how conservative he is. I like Romney but he has flip flopped on abortion and while minds and hearts can change, we don’t know if it is a real metanoia or not do we. Would I vote for him as the Republican candidate in national election? You bet I would.

    I am quite happy that Perry slid in the polls. I would have to vote for him if he were the candidate but I would be so unhappy putting someone who puts his pastor up as his shill…that is not a man who deserves the presidency either.

    We need to pray daily for this country and for a leader we can trust to steer us through what looks to be some very tough times ahead.

  • but I would be so unhappy putting someone who puts his pastor up as his shill…

    If you’re going to bash Perry, then at least have your facts straight, as I assume you are referring to the Jeffress situation. He is not Perry’s pastor, and Perry didn’t even ask him to speak.

    Herman Cain is being attacked because he is Black and ahead in the polls, that’s it.

    Congrats, conservatives, we’ve allowed ourselves to become Democrats. Any critique of Herman Cain is now to be chalked up to racism. Let’s not actually examine the candidate or demand that he be mildly coherent when responding to straightforward, if hostile questions.

  • Cain’s being attacked because he’s conservative (or Republican) and ahead in the polls– thus becoming a threat. *shrug* Doesn’t much matter, the best defense is to focus on the objection.

    Amusingly, the “middle of the road” talk show I listen to was bashing him for being “against women’s healthcare rights.” They think he’s pro-life!

  • “There are several charitable interpretations available for Cain’s remark.” Paul Zummo

    I don’t think “charity” is needed here.

    Cain’s answers to Stossel in the video clip cleared it up for me. I thought I understood Cain’s answer in the back and forth with Piers Morgan who started this being talked about by his peppering Cain with questions, not letting him complete a thought. See below:

    MORGAN: Are you honestly saying — again, it’s a tricky question, I know.

    CAIN: Ask the tricky question.

    MORGAN: But you’ve had children, grandchildren. If one of your female children, grand children was raped, you would honestly want her to bring up that baby as her own?

    CAIN: You’re mixing two things here, Piers?

    Cain’s answer was to the specific question, “…you would honestly want her to bring up that baby as her own?” To which he then said to Morgan, “You’re mixing two things here, Piers.” Morgan had been talking about rape, incest, pregnancy and abortrion.

    Cain was right, Morgan was “mixing two things, having an abortion or be forced to “raise that baby.” Cain was saying government should not be telling the girl she has to “raise that baby.”

    His comments towards the end of the Stossel clip clarified for certain what Cain was saying when he said to Stossel about that situation, “there are other options.” That’s what Cain meant when he told Morgan you’re “mixing two things.” He was saying to Morgan, it isn’t a matter of having an abortion OR being forced to raise that baby…there is having the baby and giving the baby up for adoption (and I would add, as Steve Jobs was).

    Now as far as Cain’s following comments: “So what I’m saying is it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make.

    “Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.” Again the issue was the question, and the question dealt with being “forced” to raise a baby from rape or incest.

    Cain’s position here, and please forgive me if this sounds a bit presumptive, doesn’t seem to be much different than that of God’s; He allows them to make a decision they will have to live with. That is also similar to the U.S. bishops’ position as far as what can be done to make someone do what the Church wants them to do. In that sense, it’s not much different than how the bishops deal with Catholic politicians who vote pro-abortion and present themselves for Communion.

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The Constitution Isn’t A Suicide Pact

Monday, July 18, AD 2011

But it is a document that ensures a pesky little thing called religious freedom, something that Herman Cain has seemingly missed.

Herman Cain, a Republican presidential candidate, says Americans have the right to ban Muslims from building mosques.

“They have the right to do that,” Cain said on Fox News Sunday, expressing his concerns with Sharia law. “I’m willing to take a harder look at people that might be terrorists.”

Cain’s comments were in reference to a Tennessee town that is attempting to ban a mosque in its community. “That’s not discriminating based upon their particular religion,” he said. “There is an aspect of them building that mosque that doesn’t get talked about. And the people in the community know what it is and they’re talking about it.”

“Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state,” Cain said. “Islam combines church and state. They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people in the community do not like it.”

I’m the last person to deny the perniciousness of many elements within Islam, but this is nonsense on stilts.  The most deliciously ironic aspect of this comment is Cain’s relying on the “separation of church and state trope.”  So Cain doesn’t seem to think that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, which it in fact does, but he does think it guarantees a separation of church and state, which it in fact does not.  And I especially have to laugh at Cain saying “They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community and the people in the community do not like it.”  First of all,  the church part of our First Amendment?  What?  Second, does anyone doubt that if an atheist or hardened leftist (I know, I’m being redundant) had said something like this he would have been excoriated by most conservatives.  Evidently only pre-approved religious viewpoints are allowed to influence people in a given community.  Perhaps Herman Cain would like to share with us which viewpoints are acceptable, this way we can be all clear in the future.

Naturally this has provided an opportunity for people to beat their chests and play “more righteously angry and conservative than thou.”  Because only a hippy could possibly think that it is a dangerous thing to start prohibiting certain religions from constructing places of worship.  This selective application of the first amendment could never be applied to Catholics, right?  No one could possibly fathom using the same precise rationale that Cain has advanced here in order justify blocking the construction of a Roman Catholic Church.

I thought the construction of the Islamic cultural center at Ground Zero was a terrible idea, but that had to do with the symbolic import of the location.  Even then, I thought the way to oppose it was through social pressure, not by the strong arm of the state intervening and prohibiting construction.  The people of the local community can certainly express their displeasure, but once we allow the state to intervene we have destroyed the concept of religious freedom.

And yes, I know that many adherents of Islam do not even believe in the concept of religious freedom.  Certainly there is a political element within Islam that makes it as much an ideology as a religion,  at least in certain quarters.  But are we willing to completely write off all Muslims as deranged fanatics unworthy of constitutional protections?  If you think as Herman Cain does, then that’s implicitly what you are saying.

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90 Responses to The Constitution Isn’t A Suicide Pact

  • Great post! I understand the reservations about building the mosque, but what he and his fellow TN citizens out to do is set up inter-religious dialogue. He might be surprised that Islam and Christianity (which is what I assume he is based on his location) share a lot of morals (family being important, God, modesty, etc). And I highly doubt that the mosque being built is interested in hate-mongering. Most Muslims are very peaceful; it’s the militant few that give Islam such a bad rap.

  • Cain is worse than Palin. That people actually supported him is an argument against universal suffrage.

  • Now that’s a juicy post, ripe for the pickin’! 🙂 I plan to respond after some sleep……and some time out with my daughter tomorrow. Blessings!

  • Herman Cain is a successful businessman who is trying to enter a line of business, politics, he is ill-suited for. He reminds me of Ross Perot in that regard. He said what he said because he is ignorant of the First Amendment and he was too proud to back down when challenged.

    He is right of course that Islam, at least as traditionally practiced in the Middle East, goes well beyond what Westerners understand as a religion. It establishes a code of law and behavior that is all-ecompassing and makes certain that non Muslims, de facto if not de jure, are treated as fifth class citizens in societies where Muslims are a majority. All of this produces a challenge for a society such as ours where Muslim immigration, due to our absurd immigration laws, is on the rise. However, dealing with this problem does not require tossing either the Constitution, or our common sense, out the window.

  • I learned everything I need to learn about Islam on 9/11/2001. I had taken a three credit theology course (got an A) and I was familiar with the orientalist, America/West hating (ignore 1,300 years of invasions, mass murders, and rapine) stuff concerning the murder cult, already.

    That militant “few” numbers several millions world-wide. The terror sympathizers, like Imam Ralph in NYC – “You must understand America deserves it.” number hundreds of millions.

    Cain is better than Obama in every respect. He would not daily incite class hatred. He would set policies that would create jobs and get us out of the poverty and desperation Obama is imposing on the people.

  • Cain should stick to making pizza dough.

  • Good post, I’m very much in agreement.

  • The concept of religious freedom under the Constitution requires the government not to establish a religion as the state religion. Islam demands to be established as the state religion at the point of a sword. Islam is a violent political system, IMHO, disguised as a “religion”. To allow it and it’s followers the freedom to “worship” (?), to build mosques that are centers for subversion and terrorism, that get subsidy monies from Saudi Arabia, is the height of insanity. The people of this country need to stop the building of any mosque anywhere in this country. We also need to deport every last forneign-born Muslim back to their country of origin. Any native-born American who was stupid enough to convert to Islam ought to be forced to register as an agent of a forneign power. Herman Cain, more power to you!

  • Cain is better than Obama in every respect.

    T Shaw, the same could be said for a ham sandwich. But we can do better than a ham sandwich.

    The people of this country need to stop the building of any mosque anywhere in this country. We also need to deport every last forneign-born Muslim back to their country of origin. Any native-born American who was stupid enough to convert to Islam ought to be forced to register as an agent of a forneign power.

    That’s nice, Stephen. I prefer to live in a free country.

  • Before the Constitution, some states had an official religion. During the antebellum years, the states gradually dropped religions from their constitutions. According to the incorporation doctrine, the Supreme Court has applied portions of the Bill of Rights to the states. It is assumed that state churches are unconstitutional.

    Is that right, though? I don’t see anything in the Constitution preventing state churches, and the incorporation of the Bill of Rights through the 14th Amendment has been haphazard and always struck me as kind of shady. I’m sure you’ll find zero support for state churches today, including from me, but I can’t quite puzzle out why they’re held to be illegal.

  • You’re right, Pinky. Up until the 1930’s the establishment clause was not considered to be applicable to the states. A series of decisions over the course of about 30 years changed all that. I think the arguments for incorporation are of dubious merit at best, but aside from Clarence Thomas no sitting Supreme Court justice and perhaps a handful of legal theorists actively seek to do away with it. So unless there is a radical change on the Court, it’s something that is here to stay.

  • I read the quotes above of Cain’s comments and I still can’t find where he said he believes or thinks Muslims, terrorist or not, shouldn’t be allowed to build a place of worship to their god here in the USA.
    I did get it that he seems to know and tried to state WHY the people in that TN. community did want a mosque there.
    Best be careful with putting words in his mouth or we’ll be eating the race card again.

  • Enough about Cain already. The guy ran a big pizza parlor. His claim to fame is that he became a multi-millionaire hawking pepperoni and sausage. Sheesh, does this qualify him to be POTUS? Yeah, I know, Obama didn’t have any cred or gravitas either, which is we’re in the mess we’re in. I got a dynamite ticket for the GOP: Perry-Rubio. Locks up the South and Latin vote and highly electable. Thoughts?

  • Anything short of Ron Paul is basically more of the same, with slightly different octane ratings. Perry-Rubio does nothing for me. Paul-Christie would be interesting.

    Back to main topic: I can’t see how you could prevent the building of a mosque under the Con; I can see how you could shut one down if it contributed to terrorist activities.

  • Perry-Rubio would be an excellent ticket Joe, and something I think likely if Palin decides not to enter the race. Whover the Republican nominee is, I suspect Rubio will be the nominee for veep if he is willing to do it.

    During the Civil War a Union general shut down a church on the grounds that the minister had been preaching treason. Lincoln instantly reversed him.

  • I read the quotes above of Cain’s comments and I still can’t find where he said he believes or thinks Muslims, terrorist or not, shouldn’t be allowed to build a place of worship to their god here in the USA.

    In the first paragraph he clearly states, in response to a question, that Americans should be able to prohibit Muslims from building mosques. If you want a link to the video of the interview, here it is, and you can fast forward to the 3:00 mark where he responds affirmatively to Wallace’s inquiry about any community being able to block the development of a mosque. That sounds like a pretty thorough rebuke of the concept of freedom of religion to me.

    Best be careful with putting words in his mouth or we’ll be eating the race card again.

    Excuse me, but let’s not become like the left where any criticism of a black man is categorized as hate speech.

  • Joe,

    As usual, you are the voice of reason.

    As eminence grise hearabouts, can you help me to understand why Aztec human sacrifice pyramids may not be erected in TN?

    Or, why a National Socialist Party and a Communist Party (that advocate the overthrow of the government) may not be instigated here?

    I think [klaxons sounding] to the the extent Islam advocates the overthrow of the government, the extirpation of other religions and the destruction of our way of life it ought not enjoy First Amendment protections.

    PS: Being from NY and all: that stuff Cain hawked really ain’t pizza.

    PPS/PZ: Do you have a mouse in your pocket?

  • Mr. Shaw…I believe that if Aztec memorials were established in TN, heads might roll.
    As for the NSP and CP, see no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed. A little revolution every now and then is justified. “When in the course of human events, etc….)
    Inasmuch as the Obama regime and others have supported or facilitated the overthrow of foreign despots and governments deemed hostile to U.S. interests, it would seem that turnabout is fair play.
    As for pizza, yes, I merely extended a courtesy to Cain in the interest of civility and generosity. Since leaving NY, I have yet to find a pizza worthy of the name. I once went to an Italian Festival in Milwaukee and it was like eating Chef Boy-ar-dee.
    Finally, my mouse is ever ready to help ply wisdom around the world.
    😆

  • Excellent, Joe!

    Keep the faith.

  • Paul:

    I know I’m not your cup of tea, but I just wanted to say thank you for this refreshingly sane piece.

  • Time to rethink the entire piece Paul! 🙂

  • Oh no, there goes my street cred. 🙂

    In all seriousness, I appreciate that.

  • Folks,
    Now that we have all gotten our feel good talk out of the way, let’s all get back down to reality.

    In EVERY country that is Islamic, Christians (and all other religions for that matter) are persecuted, discriminated against and severely limited in how they can worship. Examples not limited to Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, etc…

    In EVERY country that has a sizable Islamic population they show no signs of peacefully coexisting or blending into the greater society. In fact every effort is made by Islamic communities to be a separate entity, establish sharia law and enforce that on everyone else. See France, Denmark and England.

    Other even more sizable minorities resort to outright guerilla warfare (see Thailand, Philippines, Russia, Macedonia, Nigeria and Serbia proper)

    In our own country you need only look as far as Dearborn, Mi where Christian had to go to court after being arrested to preach the gospel on a street corner at an (Arabic- read Islamic festival).

    You cannot name one example where Muslims and Christians peacefully coexist where the majority population is Muslim (no, Malaysia and Indonesia both discriminate against Christians)

    So while we all appreciate the freedom of religion, let’s not be naive. I wish things were different. I wish we could welcome with open arms Muslims like we do Buddhist, Sikhs, Hindus and every other religion, but Islam IS DIFFERENT.

    Sure, many individual Muslims are good people, but taken as a whole, let’s not live in the land of OZ regarding the belief system. We have NO examples of sizable populations of Muslims peacefully coexisting with non-Muslims of any type, NONE.

    Last note, if you lived close the Murfreesboro (I do) The Mosque will also contain enormous living facilities and sports complex, etc.

    The size and scope of this “mosque” is MUCH greater than what the press is leading on to and the needs of the present Muslim community.

    It’s not like they are building a small Mosque comparable to a Church. Within months it will attract hundreds of Muslim families from overseas, who will have no interest in becoming part of culture of the US or Murfreesboro.

    Maybe none of you thought of this or just believe the press, but they are not against a Mosque…. They are against the enormous living structure and facility being built (that happens to also have a Mosque) which will bring in hundreds of Muslim families from overseas and completely and entirely change the landscape.

    They are not a bunch of racist rednecks burning crosses who hate Muslims….
    You just are not getting an accurate picture of the SIZE and SCOPE of this project, which happens to also include a Mosque…..

  • Chris, sounds like you’re making a NIMBY argument more than anything else, which is fine.

  • The reason why an Aztec pyramid for offering human sacrifices cannot be legally erected in TN is that human sacrifice is illegal, regardless of one’s motivation. If a variant Aztec sect wants to erect a pyramid and sacrifice tofu hearts to the sun, there wouldn’t be a problem.

    The scary thing is that many of the excuses for banning Islam used to be trotted out by Know Nothings against Catholics: Loyalty to a foreign potentate, incapable of authentically belonging to a democracy, etc.

    Certainly, we know that Catholicism is true and Islam is false, but one would think that the fact that these accusations get so baldly recycled would serve as a warning that banning religions is simply a business that we do not want to get into.

  • Chris,

    – It’s laughable to suggest that the US is somehow going to become a majority Muslim country and then find itself put under Sharia. It is quite simply not going to happen, and those who try to hold this up as some boogie man only make themselves and the conservative movement they claim to be members of look silly. There is no reason to compromise our American principles in order to stem the alleged thread posed by such a tiny minority on the claim that soon they will out number us and overthrow the republic.

    – Forgive me if the idea that a new mosque might bring in “hundreds” of foreigners fails to scare me. I mean, seriously, my parish has 5,000 families, and that’s in a moderate size town which is not, to my knowledge, majority Catholic.

    What next, this?
    Muslims coming ashore?

  • I do live in this neck of the woods and I honestly have mixed feelings about the mosque.

    It does make me uncomfortable to have such a large complex that could be a magnet for people who do not wish us well. I would hope that police and neighbors would keep an eye and ear open for anything unusual. How far can they go without crossing the line into harassment? I don’t know. I sure wouldn’t want to drive someone on the edge of extremism over the cliff.

    On the other hand, I hear a lot of arguments from opponents about how they are not trying to ban a religion but enforce zoning laws. Frankly I just am not buying that argument. Objectively speaking I’m not sure how this complex will be any different than the local Baptist megachurches.

    I think the fact that this mosque was announced in the middle of the controversy around the Ground Zero mosque connected the two projects in the minds of a lot of people.

    And finally if we give local authorities the ability to ban the building of facilities for religions they don’t like, Catholics aren’t far down that list in these parts.

  • One would wish that so many of the adherents of Islam were not doing their level best around the globe to live down to the worst that critics in this country say about the members of that creed. The Constitution is quite clear that members of Islam enjoy the same religious freedom that the rest of us do in this country. That fact however does not make me happy to see growing numbers of the adherents of that faith in this country since Islam has historically had no concept of living with other faiths on the basis of equality.

    What has been happening in Dearborn, Michigan, with one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, does not make me sanguine as to the treatment that local governments will accord non-Muslims when Muslims begin to wield political power. For now, we have appellate courts to reverse local authorities when they act to infringe on the Constitutional rights of those who do not share the views of their Muslim constituents.

    http://www.thomasmore.org/qry/page.taf?id=19&_function=detail&sbtblct_uid1=910&_nc=a418d5afb14c8f813cb0ca97c4c0520d

  • Jenny makes a good point. There are many cases where religion interests clash with zoning laws, which is why the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) was enacted about 10 years ago. In my neck of the woods three brothers who are Protestant Evangelicals have been trying to build a Bible camp on their property in northern Wisconsin only to be stymied by county zoning regs. The brothers are suing the county in federal court on RLUIPA and constitutional grounds while the county is arguing it has the right to enforce zoning laws that restrict projects on aforementioned property to single-family or recreational only.

    A mountain of briefs have been filed in the past five years. For those not familiar with RLUIPA, here is a link:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Land_Use_and_Institutionalized_Persons_Act

    There are many interesting cases on record cutting both ways. I saw one where a fortune teller won on religious grounds.

  • I think the picture is an interesting bit of Americana . . . ohh those bad papal alligators (or are they crocodiles). In the background, the adults have children by the scruff of the neck. My question is “Are they feeding the children to the alligators or pulling them away?”

  • Paul, as a descendant of Turkish and Arab Muslims, I want to live in a free country too. That’s why I don’t want them and their mosques in America. Their sharia law teaches them that we are infidels who should b e converted or killed if we reject Islam. We don’t need the headaches that the European countries have because they foolishly allowed Muslims to immigrate in mass. I say, when Christians are allowed to worship freely in Muslim countries without being persecuted or killed because they are Christians, only then should we consider mosque building in a favorable light.

  • This is an interesting debate. If one believes in “perfect freedom,” then it is assumed that one is supposed to support the freedom of Muslims and Nazis to set up their infrastructure (mosque and party headquarters respectively) to spread their murderous hate. (By the way, has anyone noticed that BOTH of those groups hate the Jews?) Let us never mind the fact that supporting the freedom of these groups to spread their hate automatically results in eventual conditions (Sharia Law or political dictatorship) that denies everyone else freedom.

    I have worked with Muslims more and more over the past 11 years. I always wonder why they want to go into high technology fields like nuclear energy or aerospace. It’s true that none of the ones with whom I worked were anything other than gentlemen (and coincidentally there were NO Muslim ladies with whom I worked in nuclear energy – now why is that?). But I don’t trust them and I was relieved when a Muslim who worked beside me recently resigned.

    I don’t like them. I don’t like their religion. I don’t like their Sharia Law and the way they treat women. And I darn sure don’t trust them. They are not all bad, but nevertheless….

    P.S., I don’t trust Nazis or Commies either, and all for the same reasons: their religion of hate.

  • OK, Here’s a test for all of us. Which of the following would you be LEAST comfortable as President of the United States? You can only pick one.
    Here are the choices: (I’m omitting Catholic for obvious reasons)

    1. A mainstream Protestant.
    2. A Mormon
    3. A Jehovah’s Witness.
    4. A Muslim
    5. A Jew.
    6. An atheist or agnostic.
    7. An open homosexual
    8. A multiple-divorced person.

    Comments/explanations welcomed.

  • In order from least to most comfortable:

    Muslim
    Atheist / agnostic
    Homosexual
    Jehovah Witness (non-issue – they don’t participate in politics)
    Mormon
    Multiple-divorced person
    Jew
    Mainstream Protestant

    Chances are, however, that a candidate will possess more than one characteristic, e.g., a homosexual Jew, an atheist homosexual, a divorced Protestant.

    John Jay, first chief justice of SCOTUS, said in his correspondence, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers…Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab [‘Shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?’ 2 Chronicles 19:2] affords a salutary lesson.

    North Carolina Governor Samuel Johnston wrote, “It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans (Muslims), pagans, etc., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President or other high office, [unless] first the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves.”

    I don’t agree with his objection against Jews, but I do agree with his objection against Muslims.

  • I’ll bite.

    I would have to say a Muslim because a traditional Muslim world view is quite different than a Western outlook.

    While I would not be comfortable with an atheist president, most atheists are awash in a Christian world view whether they acknowledge it or not.

    An open homosexual might be fine politically, but how would I explain it to my children?

  • It’s laughable to suggest that the US is somehow going to become a majority Muslim country and then find itself put under Sharia. It is quite simply not going to happen, and those who try to hold this up as some boogie man only make themselves and the conservative movement they claim to be members of look silly.

    That’s a bit condescending, but I forgive. Unfortunately the reality, and we have real life examples, is the opposite. Every Islamic country is either fully Sharia or Sharia based. In fact in Syria the Christian communities are supporting Assad because they know any Islamic government that would come into power would persecute them relentlessly. In Egypt the Coptics are already feeling the effects of the Islamic based Muslim Brotherhood.

    “There is no reason to compromise our American principles in order to stem the alleged thread posed by such a tiny minority on the claim that soon they will out number us and overthrow the republic.

    Please stop this. No one wants to “ban” Islam, ban Muslims and other such things. However Sharia law is INCOMPATABLE with American principles.

    Forgive me if the idea that a new mosque might bring in “hundreds” of foreigners fails to scare me. I mean, seriously, my parish has 5,000 families, and that’s in a moderate size town which is not, to my knowledge, majority Catholic.

    Please, stop it again…. Using the term foreigners implies “were scared of those brown people” or something similar. We’re not a bunch of red necks burning crosses in our back yards…..

    If this was a Hindu temple nobody would care, nobody would say a thing. Pick any other race/ religion you wish. It wouldn’t be an issue. So please don’t imply the “were scared of anyone but us….”

    As a side note, your post was incredibly condescending. Posting that picture, implying anyone who opposes this as racist, scared, bigoted, etc. The only thing that was missing was calling me an islamaphobe.

    I love Muslims, but I completely and totally reject Islam and its implementation via Sharia.

    I would only point out that you should try and get involved in Christians in Islamic Countries. The stories I have heard, notably in Egypt, Iraq and the Palestinian territories are heartbreaking. All the theoretical talk about how we “hope” Muslims may behave as a whole goes out the window when you reality. Next time a Christian Arab comes to your Church to sell goods from Jerusalem. Pull them aside and ask them what its really like. You have to do it privately; the stories will send chills up your spine….

  • Hmm…Muslims in the lead so far. For me it would be a homosexual. I could not abide that.

  • Multiple-divorced person. That tells me that they can’t keep personal commitments. I don’t think I’d mind any of the others.

  • “Muslim
    Atheist / agnostic
    Homosexual
    Jehovah Witness (non-issue – they don’t participate in politics)
    Mormon
    Multiple-divorced person
    Jew
    Mainstream Protestant”

    Left handed lesbian micronesian communist anglicans have always been at the bottom of my list. 🙂

  • C’mon, Don. Make a pick. :mrgreen:

  • I don’t think Don liked it that I actually made a list from most undesireable to simply undesireable.

    “Left handed lesbian micronesian communist anglicans”

    Left handed, Micronesian and Anglican are irrelevant criteria.

    Lesbian and communist are not and should be disqualifiers for public office.

    But I am simply another right wing nut case. 😀

    As long as Obama and his Democrat are defeated, I don’t care. That’s what is important in 2012. Yes, I would vote for a Republican homosexual if it meant that that was the only way to defeat Obama. I would hold my nose and vote accordingly.

  • I realize it’s simplistic to use one piece of info as a litmus test; however, these are significant pieces of information and one can draw some inferences. If the homosexual, for example, were conservative in all other views (not likely but just imagine) and the agnostic was liberal, who would you vote for? In other words, do political and economic views trump all other considerations?

  • “If the homosexual, for example, were conservative in all other views (not likely but just imagine)…”

    Wrong.

    Log Cabin Republicans:

    http://www.logcabin.org/site/c.nsKSL7PMLpF/b.5468093/k.BE4C/Home.htm

    I don’t agree with their homosexuality, but….defeat Obama in 2012.

  • Point taken, Paul; however, I’d still have a hard time voting gay. I think a homosexual president would be a HUGE distraction for the nation. The jokes would never end.

  • Me, too, Joe. That’s a last resort vote.

  • I wouldn’t vote gay either, if you mean something terrible happening in the voting booth.

  • I’d vote for the person who I think will best advance the policy positions I hold. Everything else is trivial.

    A gay Republican president would be less of a distraction than Santorum.

    Let’s reword the question. Who would you vote for?

    1. Jimmy Carter, a mainstream Protestant
    2. Mitt Romney, a Mormon
    3. Dwight Eisenhower, a Jehovah’s Witness
    4. Bush adviser Suhail Khan, a Muslim
    5. Anthony Weiner, a Jew
    6. George Will, an agnostic
    7. Liz Cheney, an open homosexual
    8. Newt Gingrich, a multiple-divorced person

  • Ike with Will as his running mate

  • “I’d vote for the person who I think will best advance the policy positions I hold. Everything else is trivial.”

    Not quite. Character and leadership ability are not unimportant, along with drive. It does little good to elect someone to office with the right policy positions, if they are untrustworthy, couldn’t lead a group of sailors on leave to a bar and have the fighting spirit of a dead gerbil.

  • In answer to RR’s proposals:

    1. Jimmy Carter, a mainstream Protestant

    No. Never. Liberal Democrat nit wit. And an anit-nuke kook to boot.

    2. Mitt Romney, a Mormon

    Maybe.

    3. Dwight Eisenhower, a Jehovah’s Witness

    Yes. Didn’t know he was a JW – I always thought they wouldn’t serve in the military or involve themselves in politics. Wikipedia says he was Presbyterian, described himself as non-denominational, and never joined the predecessor to the JWs: the International Bible Students Association (but he studied under them).

    4. Bush adviser Suhail Khan, a Muslim

    Probably not. Don’t trust Muslims, period.

    5. Anthony Weiner, a Jew

    Nope, he’s a Democrat and a pervert. Facebook photos of his genitals – Heaven preserve us!

    6. George Will, an agnostic

    Well, supposedly he helped Reagan back in 1980 and there was a big controversy over that, but I tend to distrust journalists even more than politicians. So probably not.

    7. Liz Cheney, an open homosexual

    Possibly. She supported Fred Thompson who dropped out of the 08 race, and then Mitt Romney.

    8. Newt Gingrich, a multiple-divorced person

    Possibly.

    None of these choices are ideal. I say Palin – Bachmann 2012! Let’s put the Democrats into fits of apoplexy! 😀

  • Sorry, meant “anti” when referring to Carter as an anti-nuke kook. -10 pts for bad spelling.

  • Don, I include drive and ability in how I evaluate who best can advance my policy positions. I think character is a criterion of limited usefulness. All serious candidates for president are good liars. They wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t.

  • If I recall correctly, Eisenhower was a JW, but converted shortly before running for office. Ironically, he was a big supporter of adding “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • Eisenhower was raise a JW. From what I can gather, he stopped practicing any religion as an adult. He considered himself non-denominational by the time he ran for office. The fact that he wasn’t properly baptized became an issue during the election. He was baptized at a Presbyterian church after he was elected.

  • Eisenhower’s religious history from Wikipedia – RR seems partly correct; the difference being the Eisenhower himself never joined the predecessor to the JWs:

    When Eisenhower was a child, his mother Ida Elizabeth Stover Eisenhower, previously a member of the River Brethren sect of the Mennonites, joined the International Bible Students Assocation, which would evolve into what is now known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Eisenhower home served as the local meeting hall from 1896 to 1915 but Eisenhower never joined the International Bible Students. His decision to attend West Point saddened his mother, who felt that warfare was “rather wicked,” but she did not overrule him. Eisenhower was baptized in the Presbyterian Church in 1953. In 1948, he had called himself “one of the most deeply religious men I know” though unattached to any “sect or organization”.

  • “I think character is a criterion of limited usefulness. All serious candidates for president are good liars. They wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t.”

    What an ahistorical thing to say. Some of our presidents have been quite truthful men. I would include in that category George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. Some people would prefer to be ruled by an effective blackguard than an honest weak leader, but I would say either path tends to end badly for a nation. If we fail to ask for character in our Presidents, rest assured we will have none. Or as Saint Thomas More so memorably put it in the play A Man For All Seasons: “When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”

  • Vote for whom the MSM hates the most. Go Bachman/Santorem.

    No doubt, the Bishops will have another confusing voting guide and Obama will get > 50% of the Catholic vote again. And Mark Shea will convince many Catholics not to vote for Republicans because they’re for pouting water of terrorists heads.

  • Liz Cheney, an open homosexual

    I think you have confused her with her sister Mary Cheney.

  • “This selective application of the first amendment could never be applied to Catholics, right?”

    Of course it could. Just wait until someone manages to get Catholics labeled as a hate group because of their opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

  • Chris,

    That’s a bit condescending, but I forgive. Unfortunately the reality, and we have real life examples, is the opposite. Every Islamic country is either fully Sharia or Sharia based. In fact in Syria the Christian communities are supporting Assad because they know any Islamic government that would come into power would persecute them relentlessly. In Egypt the Coptics are already feeling the effects of the Islamic based Muslim Brotherhood.

    Arguing that if the US became a majority-Muslim country, it might well use some form of Sharia doesn’t get us anywhere because it is totally unimaginable that the US would become majority Muslim in the first place. We’re talking about a religious minority which currently makes up 1-2% of the US population.

    There’s no point in discussion how to deal with Muslims and mosque construction in the US in any other way than how the vast majority will treat a tiny (and not well liked) minority. My contention is simply that it is un-American (as in, contrary to our principles) to respond to such a situation by seeking to prevent them from building mosques and generally behave as they wish so long as they remain law abiding residents or citizens. If they break the law — there’s a very simple process we can follow: enforce the law.

    I’m sorry if it seems condescending to compare some of these sentiments to the ones which led turn of the century Protestants to portray us as alligators, but frankly, I’m not seeing a whole lot of difference.

  • Dulce Machometis inexpertis.

    Some people are distracted by PC elitist bed-wetting and blinded to the facts.

    Fact: The NYC powers that be (abortionist/elitist bed-wetting/statist yellow dogs, e.g. Mayor Midget Mike, et al) refuse to permit the rebuild of Greek Orthodox St. Paul’s Church at Ground Zero.

    But, it’s a First Amendment Crisis/human wrongs issue if the filthy pagans can’t put up a terrorist recruiting center a block away, or in TN.

    DC: You’re correct. In the Nineteenth Century, no American Catholic committed mass murder, terror or savagery in the name of the Pope. Catholic conspirators were not daily proving Catholics could not be both good Catholics and good Americans.

    Call it what you like. This is the truth. Muslims almost daily do what Catholics were slandered for. Islam is the only “recognized” (so-called) religion with doctrine, theology and legal system that mandate endless war against everybody else.

    It is not difficult to understand, unless you’re a PC liberal nitwit with a slew of useless credentials from some Ivy or ND (Repreated myself three times again).

  • In the Nineteenth Century, no American Catholic committed mass murder, terror or savagery in the name of the Pope. Catholic conspirators were not daily proving Catholics could not be both good Catholics and good Americans.

    Call it what you like. This is the truth. Muslims almost daily do what Catholics were slandered for. Islam is the only “recognized” (so-called) religion with doctrine, theology and legal system that mandate endless war against everybody else.

    Bullshit. The number of real terror plots that have been busted in the last ten years on US soils is pretty small. Of the couple million Muslims in the US, the vast, vast majority are simply ordinary folks who work jobs, pray a few times a day, etc.

    This attempt to turn a religion with a billion adherents into one vast Muslim Peril is both false and bad for all concerned.

    And for the record, there actually were small but noticeable minorities of 19th century Catholics involved in all sorts of nasty doing on US soil — the Mafia, for example. Not to mention the Democratic Party. 🙂

  • Then Darwin, you go work with them in the reactor protection racks or in the containment building at a nuclear power plant. See how safe you feel.

    I don’t trust Islamist because their very own Koran says they can lie to Christians and Jews, and they can subjugate or kill them (i.e., us, you and me) with impunity.

    But I do agree with your comment about the Catholics in the Democratic Party. Their collusion with the murder of 60 million babies since Roe v Wade makes them no better than the worst Islamic terrorist.

  • If they break the law — there’s a very simple process we can follow: enforce the law.

    The propensity of institutions to enforce the law is going to be crucially influenced by elite attitudes, and elite attitudes can be in opposition to popular preference. The example of civil rights law in its effective application is instructive here. Reading news stories about the dynamic between Canadian muslims and their critics as adjudicated by administrative tribunals up north can also be instructive. As long as we have the regime class we do, I do not think conflicts like the one under discussion are going to end well as a matter of course.

  • “Bullshit.”

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

    Weekly Jihad Report
    Jul 09 – Jul. 15 Jihad Attacks: 35

    Allah Akbars: 5

    Dead Bodies: 101

    Critically Injured: 264

  • Of the couple million Muslims in the US, the vast, vast majority are simply ordinary folks who work jobs, pray a few times a day, etc.

    This echoes my experience in commercial aviation. Intelligent, amiable people with a shared experience with me. The discussion is beginning to remind me of this blog entry by Jen from three years ago.

  • I agree with what Jasper said.

    “This echoes my experience in commercial aviation. Intelligent, amiable people with a shared experience with me.”

    This is the same with me in nuclear power. The Muslims are always amiable and nice to your face, but their own Koran allows – even encourages – them to lie to the non-Muslim. I sure as heck was glad when the only Muslim working in the office of my current employer resigned a few months ago. They are amiable and likeable until they commit that terrorist act which their Koran demands that they commit.

    Of all the religions in the world – Hindu, Taoist, Shintoist, Judaism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, etc. – it is Islam alone that demands subjugation of the non-Muslim into Dhimmitude. Muslims have been fighting against the rest of the world ever since Mohammed first set across the sands of Arabia from Medina to Mecca. They invaded all the way up to Tours France before they were turned back in the early 700s, and they several times almost took Vienna. It was only by the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary that they were turned back at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 (I think).

    Right now we have the invasion of peace by immigration. As non-Muslims continue to use contraception and abortion, the Muslims will out-populate us and erect Sharia Law by default since they will be more numerous. It’s happening in Germany, France and England right now.

    Yeah, people will now say I am hallucinating. People said that about those who forewarned them when Hitler first got into the Reichtstag: “Oh, he won’t be a dictator”, “He won’t kill Jews”, “He won’t start a World War.” Yes he will, and yes he did.

    How can anyone tolerate Islam knowing full well its anti-Jewish fervor and hatred – the same as Nazi hatred? Muslims will do everything their Koran tells them to do, and that means enslave or murder us.

  • First of all, let me say that I appreciate the discussion here as it it’s been relatively non-acrimonious, so thanks for that,

    I think we’re replaying a bit of a debate that we have had here in previous posts, here, here, and here (as well as I think a few more). It’s the fundamental question that lies at the heart of all this: are the most radical elements of Islam truly representative of the mainstream of Islam? Another way of putting it: is the very term radical Islam a redundancy? For those answering in the affirmative to either query, it naturally follows that we should restrict the ability of Muslims to practice their religion because it is actively hostile to our way of life. And if every Muslim was, as a matter of faith, a terrorist sympathizing jihadi bent on destroying America from within, then calls to halt the spread of Islam by government coercion in our country would be justified.

    But I don’t think you have to be some Ivy League, pc-indoctrinated squish to think that Darwin’s observations are right. Yes, as Jasper helpfully points out, the violent element within Islam is very real, and for many they are living out their faith as they believe it is meant to be lived. But there are over one billion Muslims in the world, and several million in the US. The ones living here especially seem to reject terrorism.

    Now, even some of those who reject violence don’t necessarily disagree with the primary goal of those who engage in terrorism, even if they disagree with the means. But acknowledging these concerns shouldn’t entail backing a rather blanket ban on the practice of a faith in this country.

  • As non-Muslims continue to use contraception and abortion, the Muslims will out-populate us and erect Sharia Law by default since they will be more numerous. It’s happening in Germany, France and England right now.

    Catholics are 25% of the population. Even if only 5% of this number is not contracepting, that means that there are about as many non-contracepting Catholics in this country as there are Muslims. There is absolutely no data to suggest that Muslims will approach a majority or even a plurality in this country anytime in our lifetimes, our children’s lifetimes, or frankly the lifetime of any person born in the next three centuries. Even in the European countries, trends show that immigrant Muslim groups tend to be barely more fecund than the native population.

  • Paul Z.,

    The dialogue and text in this You Tube video differs with your statement:

  • I don’t really think any of that is the crux of the debate. I don’t really like the idea of squelching mosque-building projects, but whenever one comes up people talk about the nation’s founding as it relates to religious freedom, but nobody seems to care that what the founders were really TRULY motivated by was not religious freedom but the right of self governance. What rights does a local community, prejudicial or pig-headed as they may be, to determine what they will and will not allow within their community?

  • are the most radical elements of Islam truly representative of the mainstream of Islam? Another way of putting it: is the very term radical Islam a redundancy?

    I would answer in the negative. One such example, Darwin provided on his own blog.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-1JUcKpHro

    Interesting, if nothing else. 😛

  • Paul, the video doesn’t counter the main thrust of what I said – namely that there is absolutely nothing to suggest that the Islamic population in this country is going to outstrip the rest of population anytime soon. Europe is a different matter, and I do worry about the future there. But even in Europe Islamic immigrants are not as fecund as Muslims in other parts of the world, if I recall the statistics correctly. I admit I could be mistaken about that.

    I’d also add that just because some fringe group thinks there will be 50 million Muslims in America in 30 years doesn’t necessarily mean that it would happen.

  • I’m not seduced by the “some of my best friends are Muslims” argument in cutting Islam one bit of slack. I suggest you read ‘The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America’ by Andrew McCarthy, which opens with a chapter on Barack Hussein Obama infamously bowing to the Saudi king.

    Non-Moslems are disdainfully viewed as ‘unclean, untouchable pagans’ in the Koran, which all Muslims see as their ultimate guide. McCarthy’s book is a well-documented, eye-opening hard look at how Islam, aided by the left, has but one goal: to use ‘any means’ including jihad, which means ‘armed struggle,’ to achieve its nefarious ends: world domination and subjugation of the infidels.

    Herewith summed up by their mantra:

    Allah is our objective.
    The Prophet is our leader.
    The Koran is our law.
    Jihad is our way.
    Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
    Allahu-Akbar! Allahu-Akbar!

  • Thanks for the reply, Paul Z. I don’t even know where to look to get valid statistics of population demographics and birth rates by religious persuasion in European countries. So I wouldn’t know where to begin to validate your supposition or that contained in the You Tube video. But what I do know is that the Koran commands Allah’s subjects to reproduce and subjugate the rest of us (or murder us). Maybe people are right that most Muslims aren’t that way and wouldn’t do that. But such false hopes over Hitler and his Nazis proved misguided at best.

    Perhaps I am too much of a pessimist. 🙁 But anytime fanatics got power (like the Nazis or the Communists), persecution, death, and destruction have been the result. So the question becomes: is someone who is an Islamist by defintion a fanatic? Many here would say no, but the Koran demands otherwise. No other religious book is perhaps as full of hatred as that one is (except maybe Mein Kampf).

  • Here’s an interesting article from Brookings about Islam in France, which notes that the birth rate gap between Muslim immigrants and natives closes pretty quickly. Also note the low rate of mosque attendance.

    http://www.brookings.edu/testimony/2006/0112france_vaisse.aspx

  • None of this would be an issue if we were converting people. Are we even trying anymore? Since when did we give up on that?

  • Now, even some of those who reject violence don’t necessarily disagree with the primary goal of those who engage in terrorism, even if they disagree with the means. …………………. But acknowledging these concerns shouldn’t entail backing a rather blanket ban on the practice of a faith in this country.

    STOP… Go back to the beginning. Did you just say that Herman Cain has said that HE wants or is in favor of a ban on Muslim worship in this country? If yes, you are dead wrong and need to apologize.

  • No Bill. I am speaking more broadly than that.

  • Paul,
    Then in the future when you wish to broadly proclaim your opinions try not to launch on the back of someone’s remarks you simply don’t agree with.

  • The Muslims are always amiable and nice to your face, but their own Koran allows – even encourages – them to lie to the non-Muslim.

    This is all starting to sound way too much like what Charles Kingsley had to say to John Henry Newman.

  • Bill, this thread is some 90+ comments deep. We stopped addressing Cain’s remarks specifically about 70 comments ago.

  • “Mark Shea will convince many Catholics not to vote for Republicans because they’re for pouting water of terrorists heads.”

    My power is limitless! I am invincible! From my Dark Throne I control the Catholic vote in America, making and breaking presidents at my capricious leisure! Even your own Paul Zummo is falling under my Svengali-like seductive sway and you are powerless to stop it! Has ever a blogger so dominated the world as I do? My being crackles with Force Lightning and I hunger to increase my iron grip on the Catholic Church and its shuffling lackeys who do exactly as I command! Mwahahahahaha!

  • “the Koran commands Allah’s subjects to reproduce and subjugate the rest of us (or murder us).”

    Well, we Catholics of all people should know that what a religious body or its authorities “officially” teach or have written in their scriptures doesn’t always comport with what the majority of its followers do in practice. If it did, the Catholic divorce rate would be a lot lower and the birth rate would be a lot higher!

    Does this mean that the only “good” (i.e. non-subversive) Muslims are “bad” (i.e. incompletely observant) Muslims? I don’t know that I’d go that far. Islam is not a monolithic religion with one recognized head similar to the pope or the Dalai Lama. There are many different sects and traditions with their own interpretations of the Quran.

    I’m not an expert on Islam or international terrorism by any means, and I agree that radical Islam is a real and present danger to our national security. Still, to assume that “all” Muslims are itching to become suicide bombers seems to me about as realistic as assuming that all pro-lifers are itching to bomb abortion clinics.

  • ok.

    But, next time one of AG Holder’s ATF-supplied assault weapons kills somebody in America, it’s only fair you twits defend the NRA and 100,000,000 of law-abiding, taxpaying Americans the same way you defend Islam and its 1,500,000 law-abiding . . .

    So much for the free exchange of ideas . . .

  • 👿 Censor this.

  • T Shaw,

    If you can’t comment without malicious personal attacks or insults, you’re going back on moderation. You want to freely exchange ideas, then express ideas, not ad hominems.

  • Hey Shea,

    You did your small part to give us Kagan and Sotomeyer, and Roe for a long time to come. Give yourself a pat on the back.

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The Perfect Messiah

Tuesday, December 21, AD 2010

I have zero tolerance for people who attempt to turn Jesus into some sort of secular political leader in order to further their own political agenda.  It’s reprehensible when done by social justice types on the religious left, and equally reprehensible when done by social conservatives.  So it saddened me to see this blog journal on Red State written by presidential aspirant Herman Cain titled “The Perfect Conservative.”  I’ll give you three guesses as to who he is talking about, and the first two don’t count.  Here’s a taste of his post:

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22 Responses to The Perfect Messiah

  • Jesus was infinitely above our mundane political battles as he demonstrated by not saying a word about the Roman occupation of Judeae, the “hotbutton” issue of His day. Attempts to put Jesus in a political box are always wrong-headed if not blapshemous.

  • Agree, Paul, that the commentator’s narrow, secular view woefully misses the point of our Blessed Lord’s divinity, which no human can adequate capture in words.
    There is so much to take issue with, but why bother debating such points, consider the source — a politician simply trying to exploit “the greatest story ever told” for his own selfish purposes.

    Bishop Sheen, in his excellent “Life of Christ,” sums up what Christ means by True Freedom:
    1. Political freedom from Caesar was not primary.
    2. True Freedom was spiritual and meant liberation from sin.
    3. To acquire this Freedom for everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, He would submit Himself voluntarily as a ransom for sin.

    Jesus said no one took His life; rather He laid it down voluntarily.

    I also agree with Mr. McClarey’s salient point that “attempts to put Jesus into a political box” are doomed to failure, as are descriptions of His human and divine nature, which eternally remain a mystery. Which is one more books have been written about Christ than anyone in history.

    As Christmas nears, I hereby post a poem by Anderson M. Scruggs on its True Meaning:

    CHRISTMAS TODAY

    How can they honor Him — the humble lad
    Whose feet struck paths of beauty through the earth —
    With all the drunken revelry, the mad
    Barter of goods that marks His day of Birth?

    How can they honor Him with flame and din,
    Whose soul was peaceful as a moon-swept sea,
    Whose thoughts were someber with the world’s great sin
    Even while He trod the hill to Calvary?

    I think if Jesus should return and see
    This hollow blasphemy, this day of horror,
    The heart that languished in Gethsemane
    Would know again as great and deep a sorrow,
    And He who charmed the troubled waves to sleep
    With deathless words — would kneel and weep.

  • OTOH: One day conservatives/lebertarians may come to understand that “eating our children” is not a winning strategy. Maybe when we’re squatting over a trash fire trying to keep warm while we starve . . .

    The forces of evil do not “eat their children.” That’s how we came to have Obama wreck our country . . .

  • While Jesus is no liberal or conservative, he was, and is, certainly political. It is a mistake — a mistake that caused the disaster of secular humanism — to separate the body from the soul, the person from the community, and mercy from justice. Salvation does not occur to individuals, but to persons living in communion — a communion marked by not only love, but justice.

    Salvation, then, must include the political and social realms. And these realms were addressed with wisdom and force by Jesus in the Gospels. The most revolutionary of these teachings, what Pope Benedict called “the nucleus of the Christian revolution” is his teaching on the real nature of love — “Love your enemies”.

    By making love something private, spiritual, and merely devotional, by stripping love of its political force — a force that moves not merely mountains, but Empires and Civilizations — we turn Jesus into a figment of our own imaginations.

    Indeed, putting the Gospel into political action is a hard problem. Thank God for the Church and its Social Doctrine. I suggest every purchase and read (twice) a copy of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, as well as reading Pope Benedict’s Spe Salvi a few times.

    Peace and blessings to you all as we head into Christmas!

  • How is the restoration of the King’s rightful authority anything other but conservative? How is an ethic which leads naturally to people working with their hands to earn their daily bread anything but conservative? Large parts of our faith have been hijacked by people who would, if they were given their way, actually kill off the human species and bring an un-redeemed end to as many people as possible. Perhaps it was in poor taste for Cain to do this, but it wasn’t wrong in matters of fact.

  • Nate, where in this do you see the suggestion that we privatize the Gospels? Or the idea that we ought to “separate the body from the soul, the person from the community, and mercy from justice”?

  • What a silly post. I mean the original one being quoted here. “The liberal court”? Really?

    There’s a great deal of validity to the argument that a Christian society should have a minimal state, and that left-wing social engineering destroys the soul and the Christian faith. But that doesn’t make Christianity automatically “conservative” either. Conservatism is for us fallen and flawed humans. It’s not a divine institution.

  • Zach,

    When we say, as Paul did, that “our religious faith should inform our political choices,” then we’re going in the direction of eventually saying, as Donald did, that “Jesus was infinitely above our mundane political battles” — this is a narrowing of the Gospel to saving individuals rather than redeeming the person who can only exist in community.

    Pope Benedict in Spe Salvi describes this situation well:

    “16. How could the idea have developed that Jesus’s message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the “salvation of the soul” as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others?”

    On separating the body from the soul, it is an old gnostic tendency — to degrade creation itself as fatally flawed, as even the creation of an evil deity, and to propose liberation from the body as the key to salvation. In such a scenario, earthly politics is a diversion and red-herring, if not an outright obstacle to salvation. And so mercy becomes an individual route to salvation, rather than the key to justice on earth.

  • I don’t see how my comments even remotely come close to “narrowing the Gospel.” It’s a twisting of words to transform them into some abstract definition so that Nate can come in and say I’m contradicting the Pope, when clearly I am not. There is nothing “individualistic” in suggesting that our religious faith should inform our political choices – in fact it’s quite the opposite. If we are truly inspired by Christ’s ministry then we can make our polity conform to the heavenly ideal. All I’ve said in this post is that transforming Christ into some kind of ideological leftist or rightist, and especially using modern conceptions of the terms, is itself narrowing and, as has been suggested by others, fairly blasphemous.

  • Paul, I didn’t say that you contradicted the Pope, only that your words were “going in the direction” of narrowing the Gospel. For example, do you believe that forgiving “seventy times seven” has any place in a criminal justice system?

  • For example, do you believe that forgiving “seventy times seven” has any place in a criminal justice system?

    No.

  • The liberal court found Him guilty of false offences and sentenced Him to death

    I thought “liberal” courts were against the death penalty?

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  • Paul? I’m assuming that your response will be similar to Art’s, but I might be wrong, and if so, please take no offense.

    Forgiving seventy times seven has a place at the heart of any system of justice, for as the Church teaches, there is “no justice without forgiveness” and without forgiveness, justice “betrays itself” (see JPII’s ‘Rich in Mercy’ and his many World Day of Peace messages). The grave injustices inflicting our world will continue until Christ is put at the center of the social institutions that are responsible for addressing injustice.

    Restorative Justice, as a political proposal, comes closest (although with many secular problems) to the type of politics that flows from the Gospel:

    http://www.restorejustice.com/index.php
    http://web.usfca.edu/uploadedFiles/Destinations/Institutes_and_Centers/Lane/Publications/Denk2.29.08.pdf
    http://www.nccbuscc.org/sdwp/criminal.shtml

    If the mercy of Christ is excluded from governance, and limited to individual action rather than social relationships, then the Gospel has been narrowed.

  • Nate, have you considered that perhaps the way towards mercy and establishing the love of Christ in the world is at least partially through retributive justice?

  • Paul, I have given it a fair deal of thought. I’m interested in how you would define retributive justice, both in principle and in practice. Some thoughts:

    Cardinal Dulles wrote about the Death Penalty in First Things, and presented a good definition of retributive justice, I think: “Just retribution . . . seeks to establish the right order of things,” which is actually simply a restatement of the definition of justice itself — the right order of things. It seems to me that ‘retributive’ justice is not really a category of justice, but a proposed way of arriving at justice — through a tit-for-tat, an eye for an eye, a balancing of the scales.

    It is quite interesting, however, that Cardinal Dulles offers this explanation for retributive justice: “guilt calls for punishment . . . sin calls for the deprivation of some good.” What is strange, however, is that while St. Paul speaks of the death as the “wages” of sin — sin as being inherently itself a deprivation or disorder of good — retributive justice seems to assume that sin does not automatically or inherently cause a deprivation of good. Rather, an external act must ensure that an eye is taken for an eye, that death follows sin. And so Cardinal Dulles notes: “Retribution by the State can only be a symbolic anticipation of God’s perfect justice.”

    This is quite a statement! We live in a world where evil seems, contrary to our theology and contrary to our scripture, to flourish without consequence. The wages of sin is death, but murderers and mass-murderers live to a ripe old age while the innocent die in their cribs (if not wombs). So where is God’s justice? Surely sin deserves death! But where is death? And so men go one step further and say not only that sin causes death, but that sin ‘calls’ for death. And so in an effort to fulfill this ‘call’, humans ‘symbolically’ enact God’s justice through their laws, courts, prisons, and executions.

    And yet injustice continues, grows, and the scales do not balance, but become worse.

    Is it possible that sin does not ‘call’ for death, but that sin is death itself?

    My conclusion, and I believe it is the Church’s conclusion, is that the punishment for sin is sin itself, for sin does not exist — sin itself is a disorder, a deprivation. The punishment, for example, of homosexuality is . . . homosexuality itself. The punishment of murder is . . . being a murderer. With homosexuality and murder comes broken relationships, hatreds, psychosis, and all kinds of evils. Justice does not require more evils to be heaped upon homosexuals and murderers. Justice, if the form of Christ, does the opposite — it seeks out the lost, corrects them, forgives them, heals them, and lifts the burden of evil from their shoulders.

    So then, the modern Church teaches that punishment serves two purposes: defending society and correcting the sinner. It no longer mentions retribution, and if it does (as in Cardinal Dulles’ case), it only does so by mentioning its ‘symbolic’ nature.

  • Nate, a concrete example. Several years ago I was involved in a custody fight between a mother and a father regarding a little girl and an infant boy. The parents had never been married. After two years of court hearings the mother was awarded custody and the father was granted liberal visitation. Over Thanksgiving visitation in 2002, the father shot to death the little girl who was 6 and the little boy who was three. It was his way of reversing the custody decision. For good measure he also shot to death his live in girl friend. He dumped the bodies of the little children in a river. A nation-wide man hunt ensued. After he was apprehended he refused to say where the children were, other than that “they are in a better place.” The mother spent an agonizing three weeks suspended between hope and despair before the body of her son was recovered by a fisherman. The next day, after a massive search, her daughter’s body was also found in the river. The father was sentenced to life imprisonment. As you view Christ’s admonition to forgive seventy times seven, what impact, if any, should that statement have on the penalty assessed by the law for this triple murder?

  • That is quite horrific, Donald, and very evil. I don’t think I’m well qualified, or informed enough, to give concrete . . . what would it even be? Advice? Suggestions? But some thoughts?

    In this case, I think the man poses a clear danger to others, and society needs to be protected from him until he finds redemption and healing — a process that may not be finished on earth, especially considering that his time in the American criminal justice system may not be conducive to conversion and penance.

    The impact that Christ’s admonition would, or should, have, is in making the American criminal justice system conducive to conversion, penance, and mutual forgiveness — leading eventually to a ‘new man’ capable of living in community.

  • Forgiving seventy times seven has a place at the heart of any system of justice, for as the Church teaches, there is “no justice without forgiveness” and without forgiveness, justice “betrays itself” (see JPII’s ‘Rich in Mercy’ and his many World Day of Peace messages).

    Forgiving ‘seventy times seven’ has a place in human relations generally. However, when you are making public policy, you have to ask whether the procedure you follow is ‘scalable’. With regard to what is done to practice mercy – which is to say the refinement of justice to adapt to very particular circumstances – it is likely not. You add a great deal of discretionary authority to the practice of criminal justice and you will not get mercy, you will get California ca. 1977. Court systems are cleavers, not scalpels.

  • “The impact that Christ’s admonition would, or should, have, is in making the American criminal justice system conducive to conversion, penance, and mutual forgiveness — leading eventually to a ‘new man’ capable of living in community.”

    Rehabilitation is enshrined in most of the penal codes of most states Nate, along with punishment. Rehabilitation in my experience works rather well for people who commit misdemeanors. For most people a one time experience with the criminal justice system, not to mention paying the fee of their defense attorney, is all they need to be on the straight and narrow. The question is more difficult for people convicted of serious crimes, felonies. Often times these people are enmeshed in a life where criminal activity is fairly constant. Efforts are undertaken to rehabilitate them, however. The female prison in my village of Dwight has a wonderful program with the inmates training guide dogs that has had good results. The ministerial association here is active in helping the inmates in the prison and reminding them that they are not forgotten. However, my experience does indicate that with some criminals the best that be hoped for is that they are locked up securely so that they cannot hurt others. It is hard to strike a balance between justice and mercy but the law does try, usually with the type of mixed results that all efforts of fallen man tend to produce.

  • Everybody (except ignorant, knuckle-dragging neanderthals like Sarah Palin and me) knows the perfect messiah is Barracks Obama.

  • The ministerial association here is active in helping the inmates in the prison and reminding them that they are not forgotten.

    Appropriate for a charitable fellowship whose particular concern is straightening out convicts. Rather more problematic when conducted by state employees on salary. Also problematic is state employees (e.g. parole boards) offering benefits to convicts (e.g. early release) based on speculative judgments (about their inner life or about what they are likely to do in the future). Might suggest that the task of prison and jail wardens is to be one component of a chain of practices which render the relationship between acts and consequences as predictable as possible, and the task of the Church and the congregations to persuade convicts to behave better.

White Tea Party Racist to Run for 2012 US Presidency

Friday, September 24, AD 2010

[Update:  There is already a Draft Cain 2012 website up!]

Oh wait, the picture doesn’t follow the mainstream meme does it!

I guess Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann’s running narrative of extremists running the Tea Party doesn’t quite fit the pic.

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7 Responses to White Tea Party Racist to Run for 2012 US Presidency

  • Token… or Uncle Tom?

  • Neither.

    He’s the real deal.

    Alex V.,

    That’s a bit of a borderline racist comment there. Be careful, we don’t tolerate that here at TAC.

    We’ll let it slide this one time in case you weren’t aware of how your comment could be read.

  • After reading this post, about a man I had never heard of, I simply had to click the link to his website, which you put in your post.

    I read the following and simply must comment that what I am posting is a quote from Mr. Cain himself, which made me laugh for the content/comment in the final line of this quote and the joy it brought to me for his having said it and the relief of having not said it myself, although I wish I did.

    He said:

    “Keep one thing in mind as we get into 2011. There are a lot of people that may be interested in seeking the Republican nomination, but I want you to remember one thing, there might also be a dark horse candidate that you don’t know about.”
    Herman Cain

    Mr Cain. Thank you. Tito, thanks to you too. I love this guy’s sense of humor.

  • Maybe it’s time again to elect someone who’s not a career politician. Couldn’t do any worse than the one we’ve got.

  • Sounds like a good man with alot of common sense. Thats exactly what we need.

  • I voted for this class act in the primary in 2004. While Isakson has been much better than expected, we really missed our chance to send a great conservative to the Senate. Herman is the real deal.

  • if you elect a career politician… you get a career politician. if you elect someone who isn’t a career politician… eveyone complains because they aren’t experienced enough.

    I’m beginning to see a slight difference with the crowd the tea party is gathering. there is a faint “so what” when someone in the media tries to make the “not enough experience” argument.