Mitt Romney hasn’t yet publicly stated his view on the witch hunt against Muslim-Americans in the Obama administration supported by Michele Bachmann. But today his foreign policy adviser, former Bush administration official John Bolton, defended Bachmann and her allies in an appearance on anti-Muslim, anti-Obama conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney’s radio show. Bolton told Gaffney, a birther who helped stoke the witch hunt, that he was “mystified” by the criticism of Bachmann and that she was “simply raising the question.” Bachmann, for her part, is beyond raising questions: last week she declared that “there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Gaffney: John Bolton, one of the hot house issues in Washington at the moment that speaks to this point you just made about American decline and aiding and abetting our enemies under the Obama administration involves the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s not just that we’ve helped bring them to power in Egypt and are otherwise emboldening them, you mentioned that they are a likely successor to Bashar Assad in Syria. But here at home as well, five congresspeople including Michele Bachmann have been pressing for investigations into the extent to which some of these policies that we’ve been adopting, both abroad and here, might have something to do with influence operations aimed at and actually successfully inside the wire in our government. What do you make of this controversy and particularly the criticisms, the vicious criticisms, that have been mounted against these folks for their warnings from within their own ranks?
Bolton: I’ve been subject to how many security clearance procedures and I must say as irritating as some people may find them I think they are absolutely essential to making sure that people who work in sensitive positions in the national security field in our government are entirely loyal to the United States. I just think that’s an absolute, fundamental prerequisite. Now people find them intrusive, they find them inconvenient, my response is, that’s just too bad. What I think these members of Congress have done is simply raise the question, to a variety of inspectors general in key agencies, are your departments following their own security clearance guidelines, are they adhering to the standards that presumably everybody who seeks a security clearance should have to go through, are they making special exemptions? What is wrong with raising the question? Why is even asking whether we are living up to our standards a legitimate area of congressional oversight, why has that generated this criticism? I’m just mystified by it.
Gaffney: I think it has a lot to do with both shooting the messenger and trying to deflect attention from what is a huge, yawning and very serious vulnerability of this president, especially now as this election gets down to the clinches.
This leaves Bolton opposed to Republicans including John McCain, Marco Rubio, Scott Brown, John Boehner, Mike Rogers, Jim Sensenbrenner, and even Bachmann’s former campaign manager, all of whom have spoken out against Bachmann’s McCarthyism.
Earlier in the program, Bolton suggested that Obama’s speeches that have been “patriotic and laudatory of our troops” are only a campaign tactic. The president, he says, is “comfortable with the decline of American influence in the world.”
Bolton: He’s realized he is in the middle of a very closely fought election campaign and suddenly the rhetoric is patriotic and laudatory of our troops. But the fact is his policies have cost the United States around the world, he has withdrawn combat forces from Iraq, he plans to do it from Afghanistan, the rest of the world sees an American retreat, the budget sequestration mechanism on top of the nearly a trillion dollars of cuts and defense spending that Obama himself imposed, I think even his own defense secretary said would cripple our military. We are in very grave shape and yet the president, as he has done consistently on economic or foreign policy, talks about doing the exact opposite of what his policies are and of course the media give him a free pass on it. Nobody should be under any illusions, this is a president comfortable with the decline of American influence in the world and he is watching it happen.
Gaffney: Well, I would argue he is accelerating it at every turn.
A POLITICO article out today reaffirms that the 2012 election is of “Supreme importance” to the future of the nation’s highest court.
The piece takes note of the critical role the court will play in the upcoming elections and reminds readers that the next presidential term will be particularly important in determining the composition of the court for decades to come.
Four Supreme Court justices enter the next term in their 70s, and any changes during the next presidential term could tip the balance of the court on some of the nation’s hottest social issues, including same-sex marriage, civil rights and abortion.
There’s also the often-overlooked aspect that the president nominates judges to fill the nation’s appellate and district courts, which produce some of the country’s most lasting decisions.
POLITICO also notes that due to widespread GOP efforts at voter suppression, there is a possibility that the court may have a hand in determining the outcome of the presidential race.
Mitt Romney’s top judicial adviser, the far-right former judge Robert Bork, weighed in as well:
Few see the Supreme Court actually becoming a prominent attack line when the candidates are speaking to the general public. “It should be, but the economic issues will far outweigh other questions,” Robert Bork, the former Reagan Supreme Court nominee now serving as a top Romney legal adviser, wrote in an email to POLITICO.
As the decision in Citizens United and other cases clearly demonstrates, the current Supreme Court is one of the most conservative in American history. It’s hard to imagine a court even further to the right, and yet that is exactly what a Romney presidency would ensure.
Justice Antonin Scalia gave a TV interview last night on CNN in which he reminded Americans of his right-wing ideology. Since Mitt Romney has said he would nominate Supreme Court Justices like Scalia if elected president, the interview also served as a warning to Americans of what's at stake this November. Talking Points Memo summarizes some of the interview's highlights:
Scalia defended Citizens United, which took elections from the people and handed them to often-secretive powerful interests that drown out the voices of non-millionaires. He added, however, that people are "entitled" to know who is financing the messages they are bombarded with.
In an era when Roe v. Wade has already been watered down, Scalia repeated his belief that women have no constitutional right to abortion at all. "[M]y only point is the Constitution does not say anything about it. It leaves it up to democratic choice." (That would be news to those who adopted the Ninth Amendment specifically to counter future assertions that the rights specifically mentioned in the Constitution are a ceiling, not a floor.)
Scalia also stated his opinion that torturing an innocent person taken from a battlefield isn't cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. "I don't think the Constitution addressed torture, it addressed … punishment for crimes."
CNN adds another highlight:
When asked if he had ever broken the law, the justice said, "I've had a few speeding tickets, though none recently."
Let's hope for his sake that the traffic stop didn't lead to an unwarranted and humiliating strip search, as occurred to Albert Florence. When Florence challenged the strip search as unconstitutional, Scalia was part of the conservative 5-4 majority that denied his claim.
Do we really want a president who looks to Antonin Scalia as a model to emulate?
The following originally appeared at Huffington Post.
Yesterday, Senate Republicans voted, for a second time in two days, to continue their filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would simply require outside groups spending money on elections to tell the public where their money comes from. At the same time, not surprisingly, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in hot water for failing to disclose more than the minimum of personal tax returns and lying about his history at the company that made his fortune -- all while we know that a portion of his wealth was hidden in infamously secretive Swiss bank accounts.
Senate Republicans and Romney are spending a lot of time and energy this week to keep their financial histories secret. It's only natural to ask: What do they have to hide?
You would think the DISCLOSE Act would be an easy bill to pass. In fact, many Republican Senators were "for it before they were against it". What it does is simple: it requires any organization -- corporation, union, super PAC or non-profit -- that spends money influencing elections to report within a day any election-related expenditure of $10,000 or more. It also requires that these organizations make public the names of the individuals and corporations contributing $10,000 or more to fund this election spending. In short, all those front groups that have been pouring money into elections since Citizens United will have to disclose who their major donors are. Voters would know who was trying to tell them what.
This is not a partisan issue. Disclosure requirements, like those in the DISCLOSE Act, were endorsed as constitutional by the Supreme Court majority that handed down Citizens United. Even the conservative justices who saw no problem with more money in politics assumed that disclosure would be a check on the integrity of the election process.
But Republicans in Congress have been fighting tooth and nail to keep DISCLOSE from the books. Why? The fact that they might not want to publicize the motives of some of these super donors, and the fact that the new flood of outside political spending overwhelmingly favors conservatives, might have something to do with it.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is having disclosure problems of his own. It's standard practice for presidential candidates to release their past tax returns -- President Obama has made public his returns from the past dozen years. Even Romney called on his gubernatorial opponents in Massachusetts to release their returns. (In a classic Romney flip-flop, when he was later asked to hold himself to the same standard, he said his original demands had been wrong).
The only conclusion to draw from Romney's tax-return reticence is that there's something he doesn't want us to see. The recent revelations that Romney has told conflicting stories about when he left his job at Bain Capital might give us a taste of what he's kept hidden. And hiding part of his fortune in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and in Swiss bank accounts that have for centuries epitomized financial secrecy doesn't help.
The issue of financial disclosure isn't a sideshow to this election -- it's a big part of what this election is about. How can we trust senators who spend more time covering up the sources of election spending on their behalf than they do legislating? How can we trust a candidate who won't be open and honest with voters about the source of his personal fortune and the taxes he has paid?
Full disclosure should be a no-brainer in honest politics. The public knows that. Even the Supreme Court knows that. The only people who seem to be missing the message are the politicians who are desperately trying to win elections without telling voters who might be buying them.
Add this to the good news/bad news mix from the Supreme Court's healthcare decision: Because of the good news (Chief Justice Roberts voted to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act), we get the bad news that his standing among the nation's Democrats has significantly increased. This collective amnesia about who John Roberts is and what he has done is disturbing, especially since the direction of the Court is one of the most important issues upon which Democrats should be voting in November.
A new Gallup Poll shows wild fluctuations in Democrats and Republicans' assessment of Chief Justice John Roberts since their last poll in 2005, a change Gallup attributes to his role in upholding the Affordable Care Act. Roberts' approval rating among Republicans has plummeted 40 percentage points from 2005, falling from 67% to 27%. In contrast, his favorability among Democrats has risen from 35% to 54%. That the healthcare decision is a catalyst of this change is supported by a PEW Research Center poll last week showing that between April and July, approval of the Supreme Court dropped 18 points among Republicans and rose 12% among Democrats.
Yes, John Roberts upheld the ACA, but only as a tax. At the same time, he agreed with his four far right compatriots that it fell outside the authority granted Congress by the Commerce Clause, leaving many observers concerned that he has set traps designed to let the Court later strike down congressional legislation that should in no way be considered constitutionally suspect. He also joined the majority that restricted Congress's constitutional authority under the Spending Clause to define the contours of state programs financed with federal funds.
Just as importantly, Roberts's upholding the ACA does not erase the past seven years, during which he has repeatedly been part of thin conservative majority decisions bending the law beyond recognition in order to achieve a right wing political result. John Roberts cast the deciding vote in a number of disastrous decisions, including those that:
Oh, and then there's that little 5-4 Citizens United opinion that has upended our nation's electoral system and put our government up to sale to the highest bidder.
With a rap sheet like that – and this is hardly a complete a list – no one should be under the illusion that John Roberts is anything but a right-wing ideologue using the Supreme Court to cement his favorite right-wing policies into law.
Next term, Roberts is expected to lead the judicial front of the Republican Party's war against affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act. Whether he succeeds may depend on whether it is Mitt Romney or Barack Obama who fills the next vacancy on the Supreme Court.
Although he voted to block the Senate from considering the DISCLOSE Act yesterday, Senator John McCain is usually a supporter of campaign finance reform. In an interview on PBS Newshour, McCain said that the astronomical contributions of Mitt Romney’s major financier, casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, are particularly problematic because those contributions amount to foreign money influencing U.S. elections:
MCCAIN: Mr. Adeleson [sic], who gave large amounts of money to the Gingrich campaign and much of Mr. Adeleson’s casino profits, that go to him, come from this casino in Macau.
WOODRUFF: Which says what?
MCCAIN: This which says that obviously, maybe in a round-about way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign, political campaigns.
Regardless of where Adelson acquired his billions, a new report by ProPublica and PBS reveals that Adelson’s business dealings may have been improper or even illegal under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, complete with shady dealings with the Chinese mob and crooked politicians. As Think Progress summarizes, Adelson’s operation in Macau may have been made possible because of payments to Chinese organized crime figures:
Among the junket companies under scrutiny is a concern that records show was financed by Cheung Chi Tai, a Hong Kong businessman.
Cheung was named in a 1992 U.S. Senate report as a leader of a Chinese organized crime gang, or triad. A casino in Macau owned by Las Vegas Sands granted tens of millions of dollars in credit to a junket backed by Cheung, documents show.
Cheung did not respond to requests for comment.
Another document says that a Las Vegas Sands subsidiary did business with Charles Heung, a well-known Hong Kong film producer who was identified as an office holder in the Sun Yee On triad in the same 1992 Senate report. Heung, who has repeatedly denied any involvement in organized crime, did not return phone calls.
Because Nevada gambling authorities forbid doing any business with organized crime, Sands’s Las Vegas gambling licenses could hang in the balance. (Adelson and his company refused to comment for the PBS story.) But Adelson has other issues with his China operations.
Sheldon Adelson has pledged to give up to $100 million to unseat President Obama. But according to one of Adelson’s friends, he could spend far more than that: “We think ‘$100 million, wow!’ But it’s a meaningless amount of money to [Adelson].”
The system we have today allows for single individuals to give as much potentially money – clean or dirty – as they want to buy an election. This isn’t how democracy is supposed to work. Some sunlight is beginning to shine through on how Mitt Romney is benefitting from Sheldon Adelson’s shadowy dealings, but the extent of unaccountable money in our elections runs even deeper. Without a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the people will be unable to stop secret contributions by special interests, no matter where the money comes from.
A New York Times editorial published yesterday takes aim at Mitt Romney’s continued obfuscation regarding his tax returns. Shirking a precedent embraced by previous presidential candidates, including his father, George Romney, the GOP nominee has yet to fully disclose the extent of his foreign investments and tax havens.
“Mr. Romney has resisted all demands for more disclosure, leading to growing criticism from Democrats that he is trying to hide his fortune and his tax schemes from the public. Given the troubling suspicions about his finances, he needs to release many more returns and quickly open his books to full scrutiny.
The 2010 tax return showed that the blind trust held by his wife, Ann, included a $3 million Swiss bank account that had not been properly reported on previous financial disclosure statements. (The account was closed by the trust manager in 2010 who feared it might become embarrassing for the campaign. He was right.) It also showed that Mr. Romney had used a complex offshore tax shelter, known as a blocker corporation, to shield the investments in his I.R.A. from paying an obscure business tax.
The use of that technique by wealthy taxpayers and institutions, long been blasted by Congressional tax experts as abusive, costs the treasury $1 billion a decade.”
Romney’s pattern of dishonesty extends beyond his personal finances. He has yet to fully explain the terms upon which he parted with the Bain Capital, the private equity firm he helped create. Although he claims he left the firm in 1999, just last month “his trust reported receiving a $2 million payment from Bain as part of unpaid earnings from his work there”. (New York Times) Recent reporting by AP and Vanity Fair raise even more questions about the millions that Romney has stashed away in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
President Obama has recently returned from a bus tour under the banner of “Betting on America” – placing trust and reinvesting in American industry. The contrast with Mitt Romney couldn’t be clearer.
Romney’s campaign slogan is “Believe in America”, but an apt subtitle may as well be…”but invest somewhere else.”
Top-dollar donors to Mitt Romney’s campaign gathered last weekend to hobnob with the candidate at three fundraisers in East Hampton, N.Y., including an event at the massive home of billionaire David Koch. With the price of admission around $75,000, the scene near the gates isn’t surprising, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The line of Range Rovers, BMWs, Porsche roadsters and one gleaming cherry red Ferrari began queuing outside of Revlon Chairman Ronald Perelman's estate off Montauk Highway long before Romney arrived, as campaign aides and staffers in white polo shirts emblazoned with the logo of Perelman's property -- the Creeks -- checked off names under tight security.
What is surprising, however, is how out of touch the upper echelon of the 1% is with the economic conditions faced by most Americans and their resistance to policies that will help level the playing field. The attitude of indifference to the plight of working families in favor of perpetuating failed trickle-down economics and maintaining the established order were summed up by a Romney contributor:
"I don't think the common person is getting it," she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits.
"Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.
"We've got the message," she added. "But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies -- everybody who's got the right to vote -- they don't understand what's going on. I just think if you're lower income -- one, you're not as educated, two, they don't understand how it works, they don't understand how the systems work, they don't understand the impact."
There are lots of college kids, baby sitters and nail ladies in America who are probably paying higher tax rates than the woman quoted above. Fortunately, as she said, they have the right to vote.
Mitt Romney raised a lot of money this weekend at a gala fundraiser in the Hamptons, where guests such as the Koch brothers paid up to $50,000 to attend. But according to the Huffington Post, one particular presence that weekend was not on the official guest list: Karl Rove.
Rove was in town to speak at a luncheon promoting his super PAC, American Crossroads, and his affiliated nonprofit group. Because American Crossroads spends its contributors’ unlimited donations on ads supporting Mitt Romney (or attacking President Obama), the Romney campaign and Rove are prohibited by law from “coordinating” with each other.
As far as the law is concerned, however, “coordination” is defined narrowly at best. With the Romney event unable to sponsor Rove’s luncheon, Solamere Capital, a private equity firm founded by Romney’s son Tagg along with Romney’s chief fundraiser Spencer Zwick, footed the bill. Many of the attendees at Rove’s luncheon, scheduled the day before the official retreat weekend, were also at the campaign fundraiser. As one fundraiser who was at the retreat noted, “It was not a coincidence that the Solamere conference took place in the same city just before the retreat began.”
Thanks to Citizens United, corporations and wealthy individuals and special interests can bypass the $2,500 maximum that campaign committees can accept and instead give unlimited amounts to super PACs like American Crossroads, which in turn spent about $300 million this year to support the GOP. Although in its flawed ruling the Court may have intended such outside groups to be independent, the facts just don’t support that notion:
"This kind of activity [by Rove] is the last thing the Supreme Court had in mind when it ruled that spending by an outside group had to be 'totally independent' and 'wholly independent' from a candidate the group is supporting with expenditures," Fred Wertheimer, the president of Democracy 21, said in an interview. "The FEC lives in a pure fantasy world in the way it attempts to define coordinated activities as not being coordinated activities."
Citizens United has left us in quite a campaign finance mess – and a constitutional amendment to overturn that decision and related cases is the only path forward to fairer and more transparent elections.
Back in January, the Huffington Post reported on a $75 million investment made by Bain Capital, Romney’s private equity firm, in a medical waste disposal service company, Stericycle, whose clients included abortion clinics. While the extent of Romney’s involvement in the deal was initially unclear, David Corn of Mother Jones recently obtained SEC documents that “list Romney as an active participant in the investment.” This new information is raising eyebrows at the anti-choice group Bound4Life, where Susan Tyrrell is calling Romney’s involvement “unacceptable” and “a serious issue for pro-lifers who have embraced him as a pro-life candidate”:
This information clearly contradicts what the Romney camp reported publicly in January. That is unacceptable and raises a serious issue for pro-lifers who have embraced him as a pro-life candidate.
There are too many unanswered questions to let this issue be a non-issue in this race. The man running on a pro-life platform actually was the “sole shareholder” in a company that made a $75 million investment in a company that has for an indeterminate amount of time profited directly from from [sic] the shedding of innocent blood. Their work helps polluted the land with bloodshed, putting fetuses in incinerators and waste areas. Stericycle is evasive in its responses to those who question its abortion business, claiming that abortion is only a “small portion” of its business, which is only true on a technicality. There are only a few hundred abortion centers in the nation and many more medical facilities that need waste services; however, Stericycle is the largest provider of disposing of fetal remains.
First, we do not have any evidence that the aborted fetal remains pick-ups began after Romney left the firm. Records like this are not easily available unless one knows what he is seeking exactly. StopStericycle.com has records from 2003, which is after Romney left, but until Stericycle or Romney can provide evidence that Stericycle’s suddenly started its business with fetuses after Romney sold his investment, we can’t conclusively be satisfied that was the case.
Second, Romney claims a pro-life conversion, though he does allows for exceptions in certain cases. He must address his relationship with the abortion profiteer. Even if some evidence exists showing perhaps it was after he sold his investment, Stericycle began this practice, Romney needs to address this to pro-lifers because he is running on a pro-life platform but is tied in some ways to a business linked to abortion since clearly the dates of his involvement were not as he reported.
Seems like Biden has an opinion on a Romney Supreme Court, as reported by CNN Political Ticker:
"Close your eyes and picture what the Supreme Court would look like four years from now under Romney," Biden said to groans from a crowd of supporters at a rally in Dubuque. "Tell me what you think would happen to women's rights in this country, civil rights."
Good to note that we’re not the only ones afraid of a Romney Court. Not worried yet? Check out RomneyCourt.com.
Conservative radio host and Romney-critic Steve Deace has been hosting a number of right-wing activists who have hit Romney, mainly due to his Mormon faith. But his latest guest says that his problem with Romney is not his religion but that he is “more destructive than Barack Obama.” Rev. Bob Enyart of Colorado Right to Life told Deace that after documenting Romney’s many inconsistencies on the issue of abortion rights, he found him to be worse than Obama “because he gets Republicans and conservatives and Christians to justify everything he’s done.” “Romney is worse than Obama; Obama is the lesser of two evils,” he said, “I think if you fear God, you will not because Romney destroys marriage; Romney destroys the family; Romney kills kids, and he’s a socialist.”
I’m a bit of an expert on what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts and he has already implemented far beyond what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton dream of doing. He has by his own hand implemented homosexual marriage, he implemented tax-funded abortion on demand, late-term, by health care reform with the individual mandate. He’s robbed religious freedom by forcing pro-life hospitals to administer abortion pills. I mean, the record goes on and on. Romney is worse than Obama; Obama is the lesser of two evils.
We can focus on Obama and be afraid of the boogeyman, and if you fear Obama you will probably vote for Romney. But I think if you fear God, you will not because Romney destroys marriage; Romney destroys the family; Romney kills kids, and he’s a socialist. You know how they say Steve, 'well at least RomneyCare was a state run program'? Well the federal government paid for it. Their health care premiums in Massachusetts have skyrocketed, they have lost tens of thousands of jobs because of RomneyCare; we have all that documented on our profile. But once the special exception that Romney negotiated with the federal government, once that comes to an end, their health care premiums are going to skyrocket in Massachusetts. So it’s not a state program. Here in Colorado, my audience in Denver, Colorado through their federal tax dollars are paying for abortions in Massachusetts by RomneyCare. So to say that this is a state program and then Romney gets the federal government, which is already heading towards bankruptcy, to fund his socialist, government takeover of healthcare—I mean, we have nominated somebody who is more destructive than Barack Obama because he gets Republicans and conservatives and Christians to justify everything he’s done.
Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber and his boss Mat Staver were consistent critics of Mitt Romney and endorsed Newt Gingrich in the Republican primary, but now Barber is out with a new column begging the Religious Right to coalesce behind Romney and today spoke to Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice about his new found support for the former governor. Barber ironically began the interview by commenting that the ACLJ, like him, was probably bothered by Romney’s inconsistent record, even though both Jay and Jordan Sekulow vigorously supported Romney both times he ran for president and ACLJ attorney David French founded the group Evangelicals for Romney.
He said he came around to supporting Romney because of his pledge to nominate right-wing judges. “The one word that made the decision for me is judges,” Barber told Sekulow, warning that if Obama can make more appointments to the judiciary then he will create a “radical, secular, socialist, European-style nation.”
Barber went on to claim that he couldn’t “imagine any Christian in good conscience based on Obama’s radical, counter-biblical, anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual activism policies voting for Barack Obama.” Or as Barber puts it in his column, “any Christian who votes for Mr. Obama will get to take that up with God.”
The one word that made the decision for me is judges. Probably the most significant thing that any president can do for better or for worse and this may not be how our Founding Fathers intended it but it is the reality we live in is to appoint judges, particularly United States Supreme Court justices. The next president, either Barack Obama, radical secular socialist, or Mitt Romney, center-right Republican, the next president is going to appoint at least probably two, potentially three United States Supreme Court judges. That will affect law, public policy, our culture at large in perpetuity, for as far out as we can see for decades, it literally will make the difference. This next election I think is the most important election we ever faced in our lifetimes, it will make the difference based on Supreme Court appointments alone between an America that we can recognize, that at least resembles what our Founding Fathers intended, versus a radical, secular, socialist, European-style nation, which is the goal of Barack Obama.
A Christian non-vote is a vote for Barack Obama in that it fails to affirmatively cancel out an Obama vote. I can’t imagine any Christian in good conscience based on Obama’s radical, counter-biblical, anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual activism policies voting for Barack Obama. That leaves a final choice, and that is to get out, vote for Mitt Romney, and get out the vote for Mitt Romney.
Personhood USA president Keith Mason spoke to Janet Mefferd on Monday to cast doubt on Romney’s record on reproductive rights and stem-cell research, addressing Romney’s consistency, or lack thereof, on abortion rights and stem-cell research, role in health care reform in Massachusetts, and views on mandating hospitals to distribute emergency contraceptive pills. “At the end of the day, I don’t believe he is pro-life,” Mason said, arguing that Romney’s move on contraception coverage was no different from the Obama administration’s stance:
Mefferd: When you look at his record back in Massachusetts, he talks about a pro-life conversion but it is very confusing I think for a lot of pro-lifers to look at what he did in Massachusetts and feel totally comfortable with where he actually stands versus what he says. Where do you come down on his pro-life record in Massachusetts and where he stands now?
Mason: At the end of the day, I don’t believe he is pro-life. I guess I could be blunt; I could go through a list. We have RomneyCare as a starter, in Romney Care he used his veto powers in eight different ways but he didn’t use those veto powers to veto the $50 co-pay abortions that are within RomneyCare. Then after that even in 2004 we have a bill that he says he had a pro-life conversion so he vetoed a bill against embryonic stem-cell research and then he signed a bill later allowing for stem-cell research by embryos leftover from IVF clinics. That’s not that convincing to me either.
As far as the morning after pill goes, we have a bill that he vetoed, which is part of his pro-life conversion, he used it sort of for his credentials, for expanded access to the morning after pill. But then just three months later he signed a bill that even expanded it even farther than that, than it was being implemented at the time. Then even against his legal team’s advice he signed an executive order mandating that Catholic hospitals distribute the morning-after pill. With all these rallies, which I’ll participated on the 8th with religious freedom sort of to send the message to the Obama administration to not trample on that, the guy that we’re supposed to rally around sort of did the same thing.
As William Saletan points out in a Slate article documenting Romney’s constantly changing story about his “conversion” on the abortion issue, Romney claims to have stopped supporting abortion rights after he was troubled by a meeting regarding the ethics of embryo research, but after coming out against reproductive choice he continued to favor research on surplus IVF embryos. And despite Romney’s assertion that “every time as governor” he “came down on the side of life,” he said in a 2005 interview (after his supposed change of views) that he would veto any bill about abortion, “whether it’s pro-life or pro-choice.”
The Massachusetts-based Catholic Action League criticized Romney for enforcing his private counsel’s opinion mandating that Catholic hospitals distribute emergency contraceptive pills, claiming, “The injury to the conscience rights of Catholic hospitals was not done so much so much by the church’s ideological enemies on the Left but by the Romney administration.” Later, Romney said he personally supported his counsel’s view. During the presidential campaign, however, Romney described the Obama administration’s opposition to exempting health workers from distributing contraceptives as part of “an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen.”
Earlier this week we wrote a post about Jerry Johnson and his role in formulating a document calling on Christian leaders who decide to back Mitt Romney to also make clear that Mormonism is a cult. As Johnson explained, he personally will not be voting for either President Obama or Mitt Romney because that is like having to choose between "voting for the Beast or the False Prophet."
Of course, if there is some Christian activist out there urging Christian voters not to support Mitt Romney because of his Mormon faith, it is only a matter of time before they are invited to make their case on Steve Deace's radio program ... just as Johnson was last night.
Johnson made the case that Christians are misinformed about the true nature of Mormonism, thanks to people like David Barton who is "hugging and kissing all over Glenn Beck," and asked whether Christians would be willing to vote for a member of the First Church of Satan if the candidate supported the conservative agenda, warning that the "anybody but Obama" mindset was going to drive the nation and the church "into the arms of perdition" and prevent God from blessing America:
55% of evangelicals either don't know what Mormonism teaches or they don't know that Christianity teaches. And that is our failure, that is the great calamity that we're facing right now thanks to people like Joel Olsteen and Rick Warren and David Barton, who is hugging and kissing all over Glenn Beck, calling him his brother in Christ.
Suppose you had a real conservative running again Barack Obama ... who was fiscally conservative, he believed in the right to keep and bear arms, all the things that conservatives hold to. But let's say he was a member of the First Church of Satan. Would his religion now make a difference? Would you be out endorsing and campaigning for him if he was a member of the Satanic Church?
Right now the attitude is in the country, or specifically within the Republican Party, anybody but Obama. And this idea, this mindset is going to drive, I believe, this country and even the church into the arms of perdition in many ways.
The issue is the blessings and curse of God. He is the one who is sovereign, dread sovereign, over all the universe. And we are reaping today the curses of God, I believe, in this country. So here's my question, I ask folks: do we really believe that God is going to bless America if we elect a professed polytheist to the highest office of the land?