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Monday, December 10, 2007
posted by Anne | 8:49 AM | permalink
(crossposted yesterday at BackyardConservative)
GOP Univision debate in Miami tonight at 6 pm central. In English, with Spanish simulcast. WSJ outlines Huckabee's johnny-come-lately flip on immigration from liberal to tough guy, and offers this nugget:
In the three early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, immigration ranks as a greater issue of concern for Republican voters than Democrats, according to a Pew Research Center poll released last week. Likely Republican Iowa caucus goers cited immigration as their No. 1 concern over terrorism.
So this debate is critical for more than one constituency.
Interestingly, Governor Romney has made the most overtures to Hispanics, in Florida:
In a memo sent out on Wednesday, Al Cardenas--Mitt Romney's point-man on Hispanic outreach--outlined his strategy this way: "Romney will be able to make clear what he believes and has campaigned on - that legal immigration is a great source of strength for America, but it cannot remain so if we as a nation do not stop illegal immigration. On Sunday, Mitt Romney will leave no doubt that he is not anti-immigrant."
And on radio. This adds to his common sense approach as evidenced in the debate last week, and in a follow-up.

More reaction to Romney's speech from Peggy Noonan, President Reagan's speechwriter:
He had nothing to prove to me regarding his faith or his church, which apparently makes me your basic Catholic. Catholics are not his problem. His problem, a Romney aide told me, had more to do with a particular fundamentalist strain within evangelical Protestantism. Bill Buckley once said he'd rather be governed by the first thousand names in the Boston phone book than the Harvard faculty. I'd rather be governed by Donny and Marie than the Washington establishment. Mormons have been, in American history, hardworking, family-loving citizens whose civic impulses have tended toward the constructive. Good enough for me. He's running for president, not pastor. In any case his faith is one thing about Mr. Romney I haven't questioned.
And this on how he did:
Very, very well. He made himself some history. The words he said will likely have a real and positive impact on his fortunes. The speech's main and immediate achievement is that foes of his faith will now have to defend their thinking, in public. [snip]

...the speech was marked by the simplicity that accompanies intellectual confidence.
It is true, as Noonan notes, that Mitt did not make an obvious appeal to non-believers. I think it is fine that he didn't include the obligatory Dem laundry list of interest groups, skin-tones, or in this case religious denominations. His religion is minority enough for him to understand the sensitive position of religious minorities in any society.

And he did give a nod to the secularists, those not opposed to religion in the public square anyway--those who understand the founders' founding vision. It's the excerpt I quoted in my first post on the speech:
"In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me.
Romney was elected governor in heavily Catholic, and heavily secular, Massachusetts. He's no theocrat, though the NY Times tries again to stoke the fires of fear of religion, using evangelicals opposed to the Mormon faith. This time they can't go to James Dobson, who said it was a magnificent speech, or Pat Robertson, who has endorsed Rudy, which the liberals still can't get their heads around.

I haven't committed to a candidate yet, but I like Mitt's common sense on a range of issues, and he has the track record, in both the private and public sector, to back it up.

UPDATE: Terry Eastland, Weekly Standard, has more analysis.
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