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Monday, July 16, 2007
posted by jason | 12:28 AM | permalink
After a lot of begging, Gamecock agreed to guest post for us here. Thanks Gamecock! Now back to my two week family vacation...

The main reasons I choose to support any candidate for any political office are their positions on the issues they will have the power to address in the office they seek. Mitt Romney agrees with me and the war hawk-social conservative-fiscal conservative base on as many or more of the issues the base care about than any of the other candidates.


Additionally, Mitt has been successful in every position he has held in the business and political world. He is man of great character with no skeletons in the closet or walking around. He has exhibited courage in his willingness to take chances in business; forego profits to turn his company into a posse to find an employee’s missing daughter; and to risk his reputation to take on a rescue effort to save the Olympic Games and secure them from terrorist attacks. Finally, he stood up for traditional family values in the bluest state in the nation. He is a proven leader.


I am not bothered by the changes in his positions on political issues over the years, mainly due to his character, but also because after 1992 any republican nominee knows that the base will punish Presidents that break promises. I believe his epiphany on abortion and fetal stem cell research policy is real.


But an important secondary reason I have chosen to defend Mitt Romney relates to the slanders of some in the press, the Democratic Party, and not to few in the Republican Party that slander the South in general and Evangelical Christians of all regions in particular in suggesting that Mitt has no chance to win a significant percentage of our votes. Those that say this assume religious bigotry on our part, when in fact; many of them are exhibiting regional and religious bigotry themselves.


I’ll never forget a C-Span Road to the White House segment last year that quoted a Baptist Minister that had just heard Romney speak in South Carolina that echoed sentiments I have often stated to near unanimous agreement among fellow Baptists:


“He [Mitt Romney] is a better Baptist than most Baptists!”


There is a deep and abiding respect for the behavior, work ethic and personal conduct of Mormons in the South, and especially among devout Christians. We especially admire how well behaved their children are. Southerners are quite capable of discerning vote seeking Baptist church attendees that would advance policies that work against their values and non-Baptists that would advance their shared values agenda.


The same bigotry was levied against Dixie in 1960. Back then, not an insubstantial number of Protestants questioned the legitimacy of the Catholic Church. Yet, JFK carried a majority Southern electoral votes. Today, many suggest that evangelicals will not support Romney since many consider his church to be a cult. Most of those that make this charge do not understand the varying meanings of the word “cult.” They associate it with the Jim Jones mass suicide and Waco’s David Koresh, as if violence is the defining characteristic of what a cult is.


The fact is that violence has nothing to do with whether a particular religious group is properly defined as a cult.


Churches of many faiths often spawn sects and/or cults from their larger body. Whether or not such a spawned body is one or the other is defined by the larger body. Sects are defined as sharing the most basic and fundamental beliefs. Cults are defined as making major deviations from the canon, i.e. The Bible, with most, adding books to the closed canon. By that technical definition, I consider the LDS church to be a cult.


And it matters not a whit, just as it matters not a whit that Jews exclude the New Testament, when it comes to politics. Moreover, one complicating factor is that Romney calls Jesus Christ his “Savior.” That Romney uses this term is quite compelling, for most elected Christians never use that term, probably because their huge egos and sin of pride won’t let them admit they need a savior in public.


I said all that to say this: My people will like Mitt and many will support him. Given the importance of the war issue among us, and given other candidates that are nearly as good as Mitt, I can’t say that I think Mitt will win more votes in the South. But if he doesn’t, it will have very little to do with his religion, no matter what spin the media uses. Yes, they can find anyone to say anything, and their are a few leaders that have come out against Mitt. But many evangelical leaders have also echoed my sentiments. In any event, Southerners aren’t famous for following MSM TV appointed leaders.


I was an activist democrat party member, delegate, campaign worker, and county official for 20 years prior to what I call my “conservative epiphany” in 2000. I am part of the social conservative base. I was always a war hawk even as a Democrat (and yes, I suffered to be surrounded by wimps). I know that what religious bigotry exists in the South, finds its primary repository in the same party where one finds other group bigotries, i.e. The Democratic Party that is hostile to people of faith and treats Blacks like disabled children so as to maintain a victim-dependent voter base.


I know that Mitt Romney can win over Southern evangelicals when his name recognition reaches levels close to that of America’s mayor and a Hollywood star. That’s what campaigns do. Mitt gets received well every time he appears below the Mason-Dixon Line. I predict he will finish no lower than second in the South Carolina primary, which will vindicate both the candidate and the region I love.


Mike DeVine

Op-Ed Columnist – The Charlotte Observer

http://www.charlotte.com/409/story/191237.html

Blogs as Gamecock at www.redstate.com, and

www.race42008.com and is Legal Editor for

http://theminorityreportblog.blogspot.com and

http://thehinzsightreport.com/.

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
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3 Comments:


Nice commentary. Although I am a Mormon, I have been saying this same thing for nearly two years. Evangelicals are the MOST sophisticated and fair voters out there and regardless of what the MSM says they would give Mitt a fair shot with all things being equal.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 16, 2007 at 1:14 AM  


Gamecock, great post. I sure hope your right about Southern Baptists supporting Mitt despite theological differences.



I am greatly impressed with this article. Thank you Jason, for doing whatever you did you get it here. And Thanks Mike DeVine for writing such a compelling piece. I appreciate his honesty, his realistic point of view, and his willingness to see the man, not the costumes opponents like to put him in. Everyone in South Carolina, and the rest of the Bible Belt needs to read this. Thanks again!




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