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Monday, November 17, 2008
posted by My Klob | 11:26 PM | permalink

I was listening to a podcast from the economist and came across this article:

Nov 13th 2008

From The Economist print edition

Political parties die from the head down


JOHN STUART MILL once dismissed the British Conservative Party as the stupid party. Today the Conservative Party is run by Oxford-educated high-fliers who have been busy reinventing conservatism for a new era. As Lexington sees it, the title of the "stupid party" now belongs to the Tories' transatlantic cousins, the Republicans.

There are any number of reasons for the Republican Party's defeat on November 4th. But high on the list is the fact that the party lost the battle for brains. Barack Obama won college graduates by two points, a group that George Bush won by six points four years ago. He won voters with postgraduate degrees by 18 points. And he won voters with a household income of more than $200,000—many of whom will get thumped by his tax increases—by six points. John McCain did best among uneducated voters in Appalachia and the South.

The Republicans lost the battle of ideas even more comprehensively than they lost the battle for educated votes, marching into the election armed with nothing more than slogans. Energy? Just drill, baby, drill. Global warming? Crack a joke about Ozone Al. Immigration? Send the bums home. Torture and Guantánamo? Wear a T-shirt saying you would rather be water-boarding. Ha ha. During the primary debates, three out of ten Republican candidates admitted that they did not believe in evolution (Senator Sam Brownback, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Representative Tom Tancredo said they did not).

(Here is some information from the New York Times).

May 11, 2007, 10:19 AM

Romney Elaborates on Evolution 

Mitt Romney

DES MOINES, May 11 — Mitt Romney expanded on his belief in evolution in an interview earlier this week, staking out a position that could put him at odds with some conservative Christians, a key voting bloc he is courting.

Mr. Romney, a devout Mormon, surprised some observers when he was not among those Republican candidates who raised their hands last week when asked at the Republican presidential debate if they did not believe in evolution. (Senator Sam Brownback, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Representative Tom Tancredo said they did not.)

"I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe," Mr. Romney said in an interview this week. "And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body."

He was asked: Is that intelligent design?

"I'm not exactly sure what is meant by intelligent design," he said. "But I believe God is intelligent and I believe he designed the creation. And I believe he used the process of evolution to create the human body."

While governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney opposed the teaching of intelligent design in science classes.

"In my opinion, the science class is where to teach evolution, or if there are other scientific thoughts that need to be discussed," he said. "If we're going to talk about more philosophical matters, like why it was created, and was there an intelligent designer behind it, that's for the religion class or philosophy class or social studies
class."

Intelligent design is typically defined as the claim that examination of nature points to the work of an intelligent designer, as opposed to the utterly random, naturalistic processes that are taught as part of evolutionary theory. Critics have called intelligent design a thinly disguised version of creationism, which takes a literal approach to the creation account in Genesis, that the earth was created in six days and is less than 10,000 years old.

Mr. Romney said he was asked about his belief in evolution when he was interviewed by faculty members for highest honors designations before his graduation from Brigham Young University.

He told his interviewers that he did not believe there was a "conflict between true science and true religion," he said.

"True science and true religion are on exactly the same page," he said. "they may come from different angles, but they reach the same conclusion. I've never found a conflict between the science of evolution and the belief that God created the universe. He uses scientific tools to do his work."

The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints has no definitive position on evolution, and church leaders have disagreed on the issue over the years.

Mr. Romney said his answer was satisfactory to faculty members. "They teach evolution at B.Y.U.," he said.

(Back to the economist)

The Republican Party's divorce from the intelligentsia has been a while in the making. The born-again Mr Bush preferred listening to his "heart" rather than his "head". He also filled the government with incompetent toadies like Michael "heck-of-a-job" Brown, who bungled the response to Hurricane Katrina. Mr McCain, once the chattering classes' favourite Republican, refused to grapple with the intricacies of the financial meltdown, preferring instead to look for cartoonish villains... (I always thought this was a missed rallying cry for Romney... Bush brought us "compassionate conservatism, and I wanted Romney to bring us competent conservatisms"...

Republicanism's anti-intellectual turn is devastating for its future. The party's electoral success from 1980 onwards was driven by its ability to link brains with brawn. The conservative intelligentsia not only helped to craft a message that resonated with working-class Democrats, a message that emphasised entrepreneurialism, law and order, and American pride. It also provided the party with a sweeping policy agenda. The party's loss of brains leaves it rudderless, without a compelling agenda.

This is happening at a time when the American population is becoming more educated. More than a quarter of Americans now have university degrees. Twenty per cent of households earn more than $100,000 a year, up from 16% in 1996. Mark Penn, a Democratic pollster, notes that 69% call themselves "professionals". McKinsey, a management consultancy, argues that the number of jobs requiring "tacit" intellectual skills has increased three times as fast as employment in general. The Republican Party's current "redneck strategy" will leave it appealing to a shrinking and backward-looking portion of the electorate.


Why is this happening? One reason is that conservative brawn has lost patience with brains of all kinds, conservative or liberal. Many conservatives—particularly lower-income ones—are consumed with elemental fury...

Another reason is the degeneracy of the conservative intelligentsia itself, a modern-day version of the 1970s liberals it arose to do battle with: trapped in an ideological cocoon, defined by its outer fringes, ruled by dynasties and incapable of adjusting to a changed world. The movement has little to say about today's pressing problems, such as global warming and the debacle in Iraq, and expends too much of its energy on xenophobia, homophobia and opposing stem-cell research.

Romney on Homophobia:

  • "This is a subject about which people have tender emotions in part because it touches individual lives. It also has been misused by some as a means to promote intoleranceand prejudice. This is a time when we must fight hate and bigotry, when we must root out prejudice, when we must learn to accept people who are different from one another. Like me, the great majority of Americans wish both to preserve the traditional definition of marriage and to oppose bias and intolerance directed towards gays and lesbians."
    • Governor Mitt Romney, 06-22-2004 Press Release
  • "Preserving the definition of marriage should not infringe on the right of individuals to live in the manner of their choosing. One person may choose to live as a single, even to have and raise her own child. Others may choose to live in same sex partnerships or civil arrangements. There is an unshakeable majority of opinion in this country that we should cherish and protect individual rights with tolerance and understanding. "
    • Governor Mitt Romney, 06-22-2004 Press Release

Romney on Xenophobia:


"Immigration has been an important part of our nation's success. The current system, however, puts up a concrete wall to the best and brightest, yet those without skill or education are able to walk across the border. We must reform the current immigration laws so we can secure our borders, implement a mandatory biometrically enabled, tamper proof documentation and employment verification system, and increase legal immigration into America."

  • "We need to make America more attractive for legal immigrants -- for citizens -- and less attractive for illegal immigrants. I want to see more immigration in our country, but more legal immigration and less illegal immigration."
    • Governor Romney, AP, June 23, 2006

Romney on Stem Cells:

  • "Human cloning for any purpose — whether for research or reproduction — is ethically wrong. Once cloning occurs, a human life is set in motion."
    • Mitt Romney Source: Letter to the Massachusetts Legislature (May 2005)

Why I vetoed contraception bill
By Mitt Romney | July 26, 2005
YESTERDAY I vetoed a bill that the Legislature forwarded to my desk. Though described by its sponsors as a measure relating to contraception, there is more to it than that. The bill does not involve only the prevention of conception: The drug it authorizes would also terminate life after conception.
Signing such a measure into law would violate the promise I made to the citizens of Massachusetts when I ran for governor. I pledged that I would not change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to facilitate it. What's more, this particular bill does not require parental consent even for young teenagers. It disregards not only the seriousness ofabortion but the importance of parental involvement and so would weaken a protection I am committed to uphold.
I have spoken with medical professionals to determine whether the drug contemplated under the bill would simply prevent conception or whether it would also terminate a living embryo after conception. Once it became clear that the latter was the case, my decision was straightforward. I will honor the commitment I made during my campaign: While I do not favor abortion, I will not change the state's abortion laws.
I understand that my views on laws governing abortion set me in the minority in our Commonwealth. I am prolife. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view. But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.
Because Massachusetts is decidedly prochoice, I have respected the state's democratically held view. I have not attempted to impose my own views on the prochoice majority.
For all the conflicting views on this issue, it speaks well of our country that we recognize abortion as a problem. The law may call it a right, but no one ever called it a good, and, in the quiet of conscience people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America.
You can't be a prolife governor in a prochoice state without understanding that there are heartfelt and thoughtful arguments on both sides of the question. Many women considering abortions face terrible pressures, hurts, and fears; we should come to their aid with all the resourcefulness and empathy we can offer. At the same time, the starting point should be the innocence and vulnerability of the child waiting to be born.
In some respects, these convictions have evolved and deepened during my time as governor. In considering the issue of embryo cloning and embryo farming, I saw where the harsh logic of abortion can lead -- to the view of innocent new life as nothing more than research material or a commodity to be exploited.
I have also observed the bitterness and fierce anger that still linger 32 years after Roe v. Wade. The majority in the US Supreme Court's Casey opinion assured us this would pass away as Americans learned to live with abortion on demand. But this has proved a false hope.
There is much in the abortion controversy that America's founders would not recognize. Above all, those who wrote our Constitution would wonder why the federal courts had peremptorily removed the matter from the authority of the elected branches of government. The federal system left to us by the Constitution allows people of different states to make their own choices on matters of controversy, thus avoiding the bitter battles engendered by ''one size fits all" judicial pronouncements. A federalist approach would allow such disputes to be settled by the citizens and elected representatives of each state, and appropriately defer to democratic governance.
Except on matters of the starkest clarity like the issue of banning partial-birth abortions, there is not now a decisive national consensus on abortion. Some parts of the country have prolife majorities, others have prochoice majorities. People of good faith on both sides of the issue should be able to make and advance their case in democratic forums -- with civility, mutual respect, and confidence that democratic majorities will prevail. We will never have peace on the abortion issue, much less a consensus of conscience, until democracy is allowed to work its way.
Mitt Romney is governor of Massachusetts.

...

Time for reflection

How likely is it that the Republican Party will come to its senses? There are glimmers of hope (MITT ROMNEY!) Business conservatives worry that the party has lost the business vote (MITT ROMNEY 2012!). Moderates complain that the Republicans are becoming the party of "white-trash pride" (MITT ROMNEY 2012). Anonymous McCain aides complain that Mrs Palin was a campaign-destroying "whack job" (MITT ROMNEY 2012!). One of the most encouraging signs is the support for giving the chairmanship of the Republican Party to John Sununu (?), a sensible (?) and clever (?) man who has the added advantage of coming from the north-east (he lost his New Hampshire Senate seat on November 4th). (Just how is John Sununu "Clever"?)

But the odds in favour of an imminent renaissance look long. Many conservatives continue to think they lost because they were not conservative or populist enough—Mr McCain, after all, was an amnesty-loving green who refused to make an issue out of Mr Obama's associations with Jeremiah Wright. Richard Weaver, one of the founders of modern conservatism, once wrote a book entitled "Ideas have Consequences"; unfortunately, too many Republicans are still refusing to acknowledge that idiocy has consequences, too.

Mitt Romney's Education:

Romney graduated from the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills (now Cranbrook Kingswood School). 

Received his B.A. with Highest Honors and as valedictorian from Brigham Young University in 1971. 

In 1975, Romney was awarded an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and was named a Baker scholar. 

In 1975 he also received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. Romney graduated at the top of 3 classes. Valedictorian in English, Cum Laude with an MBA from Harvard Law School, and Baker Scholard (at the top of his class) from Harvard business school. Romney is by far the smartest person to run for the white house in a long time (including Obama). Romney would have helped the republican parties image...

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