Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More On Romney’s Mormon Strategy Impact

Recently I questioned Mitt’s Mormon church consultation strategy and it’s impact on his Presidential bid (Does Romney’s Mormon Faith Hinder Presidential Bid? – October 20 post). Since that posting there are lots of commentaries about this very issue. The problem now for Romney is that it is going beyond the religious issue.

Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh talks about this issue and how the Romney team tried to make political consultant Don Stirling the fall guy for the meeting. Scot’s comment on that excuse was “But that attempt to dismiss an obviously well-coordinated effort -- one that included Romney's brother and one of his sons -- raises real questions about the Romney operation's honesty.”

So now, Romney is faced with concerns that he is bringing his faith into the election, as well as concerns about his honesty. I repeat my prior observation that this issue will be an important one to follow as the primary campaigns move into active gear.

Friday, October 20, 2006

McCain Restates Position on Marriage Protection Amendment

To those of you who might question Senator McCain’s conservative underpinnings, you might want to take a look at his recent statement on the Marriage Protection Amendment. The Senator does not support a Constitutional amendment at this time. He wants to leave the current discourse up to the voters in the fifty states. He did clearly articulate, however, that he “believe(s) that the institution of marriage can serve its public purposes only when it is understood as being a union between one man and one woman.”

The Senator’s statement makes it clear that when the people get to decide this issues that they are overwhelmingly supporting the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. I like the fact that the Senator is letting the political process work to resolve this issue. What I like even more is that the Senator is clear that the people should decide this issue and not activist judges. He was clear that should activist judges start over-ruling the people that “then, and only then, would the problem justify Congress making the momentous decision to amend the most enduring and successful political compact in human history as the only recourse means to restore the public’s right to define, according to the values and concerns of our communities, a critically important foundation of our society.”

Does Romney’s Mormon Faith Hinder Presidential Bid?

As you can tell from previous posts, I am not a Romney fan. In fact, I fear that his geographical closeness to NH may negatively impact Senator McCain’s vote totals in the NH primary. My concern with Romney is definitely not religious. I am a firm believer that one’s religious background should not come into play as to their qualifications to be President.

That being said, however, those of you who are old enough to remember what John Kennedy went through running for President as a Catholic, can certainly see why many people may have concerns about Romney’s Mormon faith. Kennedy handled it well, keeping a clear dividing line between his politics and the Catholic Church.

So why isn’t Romney following the same process? A recent article on has disclosed that “Governor Mitt Romney's political team has quietly consulted with leaders of the Mormon Church to map out plans for a nationwide network of Mormon supporters to help Romney capture the presidency in 2008.” While Romney’s Mormon faith doesn’t concern me, this decision does. If he doesn’t see the risk in involving Mormon Church leaders in his Presidential run, how might he deal with even more critical risks as President? This campaign approach will be an interesting one to follow.

Friday, October 13, 2006

McCain Supports Plan for Success in Iraq

Yesterday, Senator McCain released a statement that he support s General Peter Schoomaker’s announcement on the Army’s long-term plans for Iraq to keep the current level of soldiers in Iraq through 2010. McCain said he “believes we must increase troop strength if we are to win this war.”

What is most comforting to me about this announced support is John’s commitment to success and not political expediency. I think John’s steady (and correct) position on Iraq will help him in his presidential run.

A recent NH poll had McCain and Hillary the leading contenders for their party’s primary in NH. This Iraq position will do well for John, both with NH republicans, but against a possible Hillary challenge as well.

Friday, October 06, 2006

More Support for McCain in Iowa

Straight Talk America announced that thirteen state legislators have joined together forming the Iowa Legislative Advisory Team for Senator McCain’s PAC. These legislators will advise Straight Talk America on matters relating to the Iowa Legislature and their efforts to gain and maintain Republican control of the Iowa Senate and House.

Even more interesting was Caucus Cooler’s reprint of an AP statement that "The lawmakers who have signed on with McCain run the philosophical gamut from moderate to sharply conservative and represent rural and urban legislative districts.”

McCain continues to demonstrate his ability to be perhaps the only candidate that can pull conservatives and moderates together.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

How Does Romney Win the GOP Base?

If Romney will be one of Senator McCain’s biggest rivals in the NH primary, it is interesting to watch the reactions to his appointment of NH’s own Tom Rath as a senior advisor. I’m sure this appointment was specifically targeted at the NH primary. But the question that must be asked is how does he win the GOP base?

E. J. Dionne, Jr., in a Washington Post op-ed piece, questions whether Rath’s appointment signals a run against the President. The article points out that Rath acknowledges that Iraq has taken a large toll on Bush and the rationale for his support for Romney “is surprisingly similar to the explanations that Democrats give for the popularity of governors such as Lynch or Sebelius: Voters are in a mood for less "doctrinaire" politicians who can fix things.” Roth is further quoted on the federal government that “"There's a feeling that this great big thing doesn't work very well." He said Republicans need to win back voters who feel they gave "the keys to the car" to their party only to have it driven "into the back of the garage."

If these comments portend the advice Rath is giving Romney, how does Romney win the GOP base that is still supportive of the President? Time will tell if this strategy plays out.

Monday, October 02, 2006

NH Politics Tidbits – McCain and Romney

There is an interesting article on the GraniteGrok blog that discusses their view of the top three presidential republican candidates. They give it to McCain, Romney and Giuliani. I happen to agree. McCain has always been strong in New Hampshire, having won the state in the 2000 primary. (Now we just need the rest of the country to follow suit.) Romney, because he is from neighboring Massachusetts, can be viewed as an almost native son. And Giuliani, who continues to ride his positive performance in handling the NYC 9/11 event.

From a NH primary perspective, I worry most about Romney. Too many Mass residents, who have moved up to NH and still think of Ted Kennedy as their senator, might just take the same position on Romney.

An article on the American Spectator discusses the signing of Tom Rath, a long-time NH political activist, as a senior advisor to Romney’s campaign staff. Apparently many devout Catholics are pushing Romney. This article points out that Rath has been behind a couple of lobbying efforts that don’t appear to be favorable to pro-life causes. A second article on discusses Romney’s “uncomfortable balancing act …. in crafting a socially-conservative national profile”. Very interesting discussion on Romney’s actions when the MA Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage.

As the primary gets into full speed next year, we need to make sure that NH voters are informed of each candidate’s track record, and not what they might be running on.