Trunkline 2012: Saturday Political News in Review and Cinema Politico Movie of the Week for 10/8/11


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Brought to you by White house 2012 & Hulu.com, The Good Pope is a poignant retelling of the story of Pope John XXIII.  He was Pope for only 4 years, seven months and six days when he died of stomach cancer on the 3rd June 1963.  His lived during a period of profound change, and a time which produced some of the most significant events of the 20th Century and once he became Pope, he also  produced some of the most significant events in the contemporary history of the Catholic Church.

Bob Hoskins stars as The Good Pope.

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Rick Perry’s Jeremiah Wright Moment

Bookmark and Share On Friday afternoon, at a meeting of the annual Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C.,  Texas Governor Rick Perry found himself involved in a controversy not of his own doing.  Instead it was the man who introduced him to the evangelical audience that brought the controversy on  to Rick Perry.

At around 2:30 in the afternoon, in his introduction of Perry, Southern Baptist Convention leader Robert Jeffress, who recently endorsed the Governor, described Perry as “the most pro-life governor in the United States of America.” He also touched upon the gaffes made by Perry in the last debate by saying, “do we want a candidate whois skilled in rhetoric, or one who is skilled in leadership?”.  He went on to call him “a committed follower of Christ.”

But 45 minutes later, when speaking to reporters, Jeffress told reporters that Mormonism is a “cult” and that voting for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would “give credibility to a cult”.  He also stated that he endorsed Perry only as an individual, and that he would not tell his church members how to vote. But he further stated that he is planning to give a sermon this Sunday in which he talks about “how a  Christian should vote.” Jeffress added that among the criteria is that the person they vote for be a Christian.

According to a live blogger at the summit reporting for the Washington Post, Jeffress also told reporters that many evangelicals were afraid to talk about Mormonism but would have a hard time voting for a Mormon candidate.

At the same time Jeffress also confessed that as a pastor he was “not nearly as concerned about a candidate’s record on fiscal issues or immigration issues” as he is with their social conservative bona fides.

That however is a view which contradicts the political realities of the 2012 election. And as demonstrated by the highly motivated TEA movement, is not the most important aspect that they are seeking in a candidate.  In fact for many of them, it is just the opposite.  They are looking more for a Republican candidate who while having moral values, will stay out of people’s personal lives.

That fact was not missed by Governor Perry.  For he delivered a speech that focused less on faith and more on his record of job creation.

Despite the fact that the group he was addressing was gathered together to celebrate the fundamentals of the Christian faith and socially conservative values, Perry chose to make the point that he was running on a message of economic recovery.  Such was most likely a tactical campaign decision based on an attempt to not allow rivals to paint him as a religious fanatic who would take the same priorities as Jeffress, to
Washington in 2013.

Ironically though, the remarks made by Jeffress did little to help his endorsed presidential candidate.  In fact, Jeffress only did more to hurt Perry.

Evangelicals have no problem with Rick Perry.  They know all that Jeffress tried to convey to them about Perry at the Values Voters Summit.  However, Perry will have a problem with voters who are leery of having a President focused more on social issues than the economic and foreign affairs issues that the office of President was designed to addressed and which are in desperate need of being addressed properly.  For those people, Jeffress did little to win over any converts to Perry.   And at the same time, he pushed a very sensitive button regarding religious tolerance and bigotry.

But Jeffress is probably less concerned with getting Rick Perry elected than he is with selling a new book that he has coming out.

For his part, after Jeffress made his off the cuff remarks, Rick Perry had his campaign distanced the him from Jeffress.  They noted that it was the organizers of Values Voters Summit that chose Jeffress to introduce the Texas governor, not the campaign. However it was later confirmed that Perry approved of having Jeffress introduce him.  Based upon Jeffress’ longstanding and well publicized history of religious intolerance, Rick Perry should never have allowed Jeffress to have the opportunity to be an representative of Perry’s supporters.  Allowing Jeffress to introdcue him was indeed a big mistake.  Either that or Perry does not see much wrong with Jeffress’ intolernace and bigotry.

Perry spokesman Robert Black did released a statement that read “The governor does not believe Mormonism is a cult. He is not in the business of judging people. That’s God’s job.”

Whether that is true or not, no one can’t know for sure.  All we can do is take Perry at his word.  But interestingly enough the words that Jeffress speak do happen to be suspiciously scripted.

According to CBS, during Jeffress’ post Perry speech comments, he claimed “I did not talk about my Mormon views” with Perry, and added, “I’m not insinuating that the governor shares those at all — he may not.” described himself as only an acquaintance of Perry’s.  “I did not talk about my Mormon views” with Perry.   He continued, “I’m not insinuating that the governor shares those at all — he may not.”

Jeffress then said the following words which rang some alarm bells with me;

 “I haven’t gone coyote hunting with him,”.

They were the very same seemingly unrehearsed words he spoke in an MSNBC interview  on August 14th  [see the interview below] .  Personally, it sounds to me as though there is a lot more coordination between Jeffress and Perry’s campaign than some are willing to admit.

In another interview, this one on Fox News Live, back in June of this year, Jeffress expressed his disappointment in Mike Huckabee’s decision not to run for President.  He also stated that without Huckabee in the race, Chrsitians may be faced with having to hold their noses and vote for the lesser of two evils.  Jeffress then claimed  to being non-partisan and then professed that he is  only concerned with “the next President being committed to eliminating the tide of un-Godliness and evil that is sweeping our country”.  He even admits  “while Romney may make a good President”,  but adds, “we better understand that if we vote for Mitt Romney we are not voting for a Christian”. 

Observe the video for yourself.  I believe you will find this religious leader to be preaching a level bigotry that is so obvious, that is actually offensive.  I can only say that thank God most true Chrsitians are not as ignorant, bigotted, and intolerant as Robert Jeffress is.  And when I write “intolerant”, I do not mean it in the politically correct sense which is to deny the truth.  I mean it in the sense of trying to defy logic and closing doors based upon perceptions, not actual facts.

 The only way for Rick Perry to really nip this in the bud is to do more than distance himself from Jefresss.  In many ways this could be Rick Perry’s Jeremiah Wright moment.  That is why Perry needs to denounce Jeffress for his prejudices and defend Mitt Romney for having what may be religious differences but are most certainly Christian values.  If he does do not do so, Mitt Romney could turn what initially seems to be a relatively minor verbal hiccups, into a major issue that he could turn around to his advantage.

In this day and age, for Americans to hold prejudices against a political leader because of their faith, is nothing other than an example of backwards thinking and a contradiction to the very constitutional principles that the G.O.P. is trying to stress the need for our nation to return to.

As for Robert Jeffress, I am sorry to say this, but he is an ass.

I say so not neccessarily because of his beliefs but because of his obvious insincerity and the mixed messages that he as a religious leader, sends.  Personally, I think he is more concerned with selling his new book than he is with either whom our next President is, or Jesus.

But how does Mitt Romney feel about it all?  We may get the chance to find that out on Saturday, when Mitt is scheduled to address the Values Voters Summit himself.  His approach to the evangelicals gathered there will be quite interesting, especially in light of the assault made upon him and his faith by Perry supporter Robert Jeffries.

Who Wants Palin To Run?

The TEA party loves Sarah Palin.  She can still draw a crowd, and undoubtedly has been instrumental in driving voters to the polls in Republican primaries.  As a result, conservative TEA party Republicans fill races across this country.  Her success continues to fuel talk of a Presidential run among…the leftwing media?

The most recent news outlet to run major speculation on Palin’s Presidential bid is US News and World Report, who took her recent meeting with Republican leaders at the conservative Newsmax.com as a sure sign that she will run.  Along with the story, they ran two slideshows.  One was 10 reasons Palin would be a good President, the other was 10 reasons she would be a bad President.  They are already framing the talking points for us.

Newsmax.com on the other hand ran a story about the meeting headlined: Palin Warns of ‘Armageddon’, ‘Third World War’ In Exclusive Newsmax Broadcast. While many conservatives might agree with her premise, when Palin says the word Armageddon most know she is not speaking figuratively.  It is not exactly the sort of headline a Presidential candidate might have hoped for, especially when the Armageddon reference was only a portion of what she spoke about and was in reference to Iran getting a nuclear weapon.

Palin did speak at length about a Presidential bid and what her Presidency would look like.  So why is US News the excited media outlet here?  It may be that Democrats are counting on a Palin Presidential run, and most conservatives don’t really want it.  Democrats and establishment Republicans have constantly underestimated TEA party candidates, and Dems have seen them as easy targets.  In a year that Obama and his Congress have nothing positive to run on, Obama made a special trip to Delaware, where Christine O’Donnell trails by double digits just to take a few shots at her.  Yes Mr. President, we all acknowledge that you are big and bad compared to O’Donnell, now get back to work.

On the other hand, when Sarah Palin, a devout Protestant Christian, was contending for the Family Research Council’s straw poll at their Values Voter Summit, she did not do well.  FRC is a Protestant, conservative, family values organization.  She should have come in second or third easily.  Instead, she came in fifth behind a Mormon and a divorced and remarried Catholic.

Palin will most likely run, and she will draw crowds with tens of thousands of people.  Out of those crowds, thousands will likely vote for her in the primary.  At this point, I do not see her taking the nomination.

Romney Sticks It To Dems at Values Voters Summit

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney

 

Bookmark and Share  At the annual Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., Mitt Romney csme out swinging and never stopped.  He opened up with a series of sharp quips that ranged from claiming that “Harry Reid’s, Nancy Pelosi’s and President Obama’s “numbers were going down faster than a Jet Blue flight attendents” to a fitting shot at President Obama’s new love affair with golfing and how “America is better off when he takes advice from caddy rather than his economic advisors.

What Values Voters really got a chance to see and hear though was a glimpse at a more relaxed, more fluid, confidentand hardline Romney than we saw in 2008.

In his speech, Romney called these fiorst two years of the Obama Administration, an abject failure.  He backed the claim up by listing a litany of things done by the Administration which have failed the American people in the area of the economy;

“Raising taxes on small businesses — hurt.  Hiking some taxes on investment by almost as much as 200% — hurt.  Pushing Cap-and-Trade — hurt.  Stalling agreements to expand trade witrh other nations — hurt.  Sharply slanting the playing field in favor of union C.E.O’s — hurt.  Handing GM to the U.A.W. — hurt.  The federal takeover of healthcare — hurt.   Trillions of dollars of new debt — hurt.  And the scapegoating and demonizing of the very people who we need to invest in people and jobs also hurt.” 

Romney added that we have  seen the most “anti-growth, anti-investment, anti-jobs measures in our lifetime.”

One of the most powerful lines caqme when Romney stated;

“We have seen the federal government decalre wars on drugs and we have seen them decalre war on poverty but this is the first time we have seen the federal government decalre war on free enterprise” 

The Romney speech was the work of a man who has seemingly become an experienced butcher and each of his points sliced into the Obama, Pelosi, Reid regime like a machete.  It was alos the work of a man whom you can tell is going to go after President Obama on the economy, which is Romney’s strong suit, unmercifully.

But Romney’s speech before a group of voters more interested in family values than economics, did not foucus only on the economy.  It simply demonstrated Romney’s ability to all the issues together as segued from the economy to human values and morality after pointing out that Barack went from being the man of “yes we can” to the man of “no he didn’t” and mentioned how “the man who said he would unite the country, turned out to be the most divisive in history”.

In general Romney offered a preview of a presidential candidate who is on message and focussed.  He also demonstrated the keen ability to tie his economic experience to the social issues that willmotivate the Republican base that he will need to inspire if he wants to be the Republican nominee for President in 2012. 

Below you will find the entire Romney speech on video.  Take the time to view it for yourself and I believe that you walk away with the sense that Mitt Romney is both hungry and polished.

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Pence Pounces at Family Research Council’s Values Summit

Mike Pence, member of the United States House ...

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence

Bookmark and ShareThe family Reasearch Councils. annual Values Voters Summit isa gathering of social conservatives dedicated to combating the erosion of family values and this weekend it’s warrior’s have spoken. In a straw taken by the FRC, Values Voters distinguished Indiana Congressman Mike Pencefrom a pack of prominent politicos, even beating out the darling of the group, Mike Huckabee.

Until now Mike Pence has been largely known outside of Indiana mainly forhis fiscal conservatism, but at this year’s Values Voters Summit, he proved that social conservatism and fiscal conservatism are going hand in hand.

In his speech (see video of that speech below)at the summit this past week, Pence pointed out that:

“we must recognize that our current crisis is not only economic and political but moral in nature”

And apparently they ate it up as their straw pollput him ahead of the packwith 24% of the vote, followed by:

  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (22%)
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (13%)
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (10%)
  • Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (7%)
  • Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (5%)
  • Sen. Jim DeMint R-S.C. (5%)
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (2%)
  • Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (2%)
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (2%)
  • Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. (2%)
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell – 1 percent
  • Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (1%)
  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (1%A)
  • Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (1%)
  • Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas (1%)
  • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (less than 1%)

At the front of the pack were the usual suspects, such as Palin, Romney and Gingrich and even theone time favorite of the group, former Governor of Arkansas and Baptist Minsiter , Mike Huckabee.

The results produced two surprises. The first was Huckabee’s second place showing and the second surprise was that Huckabee was edged out not by a more prominent figure like Jim DeMint or Sarah Palin but by a lonely member of the House.

It had previously been pointed out in White House 2012 that on fiscal matters Pence has a loyal Jack Kemp-like following, he is also popular among Christian fundamentalists but now it is clear that Pence has used the times to marry the two together in what can be a most powerful coalition as we move into 2012 and beyond.

Until now, so-called values voters were the key to Mike Huckabee’s success. The loyal Christian fundamentalists whom make up a large part of the Iowa caucus,vote were the ones largely responsible for his underdog victory in 2008. But it would now seem that the support Huckabee received back then was fueled more by a sense of protest against the Republican frontrunners of the time than by great enthusiasm for Huckabee. And now, Huckabee’s support from those same voters has been eclipsed by a Congressman from Indiana,and furthermore will surely be further splintered by a field that will have far more values candidates in 2012 than in ’08. Candidates like Romney will have a better chance to appeal to them and people like Palin, Marco Rubio and Haley Barbour and now evidently Mike Pence, will chip away and splinter that voting bloc.

The results of the Values Voters Summit straw poll does not necessarily prove that Pence is poised to become President in 2012. Far from it, but Mike Pence has been spending the last two years pointedly raising his national profile and it would seemthat it is paying off. And while there is much speculation that Mike Pence is inline for statewideoffice in Indiana, he has made no move to set up a run to replace popular Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and never shown interest in running for the vacancy in the U.S Senate that was created by Evan Bayh‘s retirement. In fact all indications are that he is more interested in national office than state office.

As a result, for what its worth, the Voters Values Summit shows that if Pence could raise substantial enough money to compete against people like Gingrich, Palin, Romney and Barbour, he could be quite viable. And given the fact that Pence has clearly been trying to make sure that he uses his position in Congress to establish more of a national voice for himself than a statewide voice, the possibility of a Pence presidential candidacy is quite likely. But at the moment he is looking more and more like a name that is sure to be found on the eventual Republican presidential nominees short list for Vice President.

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