Da der nu kun er en måned til de første primærvalg afholdes i USA, vil jeg hermed begynde en lille serie af småklip & -kommentarer om løst og fast i den forbindelse.
Vi begynder med min nærmest-elskede Peggy Noonan, som i WSJ’s OpinionJournal skriver om Mitt Romney (R)’s nylige tale om religion, og dét at han selv er mormon, altimens mange af dem han skal have til at støtte sig er evangelske-protestanter af den mere eller mindre bogstavelige karakter. Noonan synes, at det var klogt at gøre, men unødvendigt for hendes eget vedkommende:
“Did Mitt Romney have to give a speech on religion? Yes. When you’re in a race so close you could lose due to one issue, your Mormonism, you must address the issue of your Mormonism.
… 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.”
Det er nogenlunde også min egen personlige vurdering. Men det er ikke godt nok for mig. Jeg tror ikke, at Romney–trods en pengekasse større end Joakim von Ands–er troværdig nok til at få nomineringen, eller til at vinde hvis han fik den. Demokraterne ville elske at købe restlageret af de sandaler, som Republikanerne i 2004 svingede i luften foran John Kerry, mens de i kor råbte “flip-flop, flip-flop …”.
Noonan kunne som sagt godt lide hans tale, men hun har en sjov kritik–sjov i den forstand, at den både er rigtig og spydig:
“At the end, he told a story he had inserted just before Thanksgiving. During the dark days of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, someone suggested the delegates pray. But there were objections: They all held different faiths. “Then Sam Adams rose, and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot. And so together they prayed.” At this point in Mr. Romney’s speech, the roused audience stood and applauded, and the candidate looked moved.
There was one significant mistake in the speech. I do not know why Romney did not include nonbelievers in his moving portrait of the great American family. We were founded by believing Christians, but soon enough Jeremiah Johnson, and the old proud agnostic mountain men, and the village atheist, and the Brahmin doubter, were there, and they too are part of us, part of this wonderful thing we have. Why did Mr. Romney not do the obvious thing and include them? My guess: It would have been reported, and some idiots would have seen it and been offended that this Romney character likes to laud atheists. And he would have lost the idiot vote.
My feeling is we’ve bowed too far to the idiots. This is true in politics, journalism, and just about everything else.”
Min egen elskede Berlingske Tidende har dd. et nærmest savlende portræt af en anden præsidentkandidat, Mike Huckabee (R), der kalder denne en “logisk favorit”, der har et budskab “som selv liberale amerikanere måske endda vil acceptere, når det kommer fra en person, de i bund og grund synes godt om”. Det er skrevet af avisens korrespondent, Karl Erik Stougaard, og det er vel i sig selv grund nok til at være skeptisk. Jeg bliver ihvertfald mindet om, hvordan danske medier ofte både ukritisk og omklamrende bygger enhver “udfordrer” indenfor det Republikanske parti op, for blot derefter–hvis det går vedkommende godt–at skyde vedkommende ned igen af lige præcis de årsager, de ikke nævnte til at begynde med.
Anyway …Det er da heller ikke alle i USA, der er lige begejstrede–altså for Huckabee. Tag f.eks. Wall Street Journals Kimberley Strossel, som under overskriften “Redefining Conservatism: Mike Huckabee is far from being Reagan’s heir” bl.a. skriver:
“DES MOINES, Iowa–Stepping out for a press conference here Monday, Mike Huckabee fielded the ultimate question. Just how conservative are you?
“I’m as conservative as anyone could hope to be, or want to be, or needs to be,” replied the smiling former Arkansas governor, never missing a beat, and following up with a boilerplate summary of his belief in “lower taxes,” the “sanctity of human life” and a “strong military”–before moving ever so swiftly on to the next question.
It was trademark Huckabee: Sounds great, explains little. It’s a strategy that has so far served him well, rocketing his campaign in recent weeks to the top ranks of the Republican presidential field. The question is whether he can continue to pull off that trick …”
Og hvad mener han så mere specifikt?
“A populist at heart, Mr. Huckabee claims he’s “no protectionist,” but over and over this week he complained about the U.S. trade deficit with China and vowed, in the best Democratic tradition, to only sign “fair trade” deals. To bring up big companies is to invite a Huckabee lecture on the “greed” of corporate executives who tower over “average employees.”
Mr. Huckabee likes to say he cut taxes in Arkansas 94 times, and has collected devotees around his promise for sweeping tax reform via the “fair tax.” He promises to abolish the IRS, and along with it all current income, corporate, payroll and other taxes–to be replaced with a 23% national sales, or consumption, tax. He’s also promised repeal of the 16th amendment–which established the income tax–to ensure Americans don’t get double-taxation.
The chances of actually accomplishing this are about as likely as Christmas three times a year. But the benefit of Mr. Huckabee’s dreamy tax proposal is that it has, until now, allowed him to avoid talk of his own checkered tax past in Little Rock. That tenure included sales tax hikes, strong support for Internet taxation, bills raising gas and cigarette taxes, etc. By this week, Mr. Huckabee had been slammed on this tax history so much he was no longer disputing the details. When asked if he didn’t have a “mixed” record, Mr. Huckabee shot back: “Most everyone who has ever governed does,” before insisting that even the great Reagan had raised taxes while at the helm of California.
… Voters are only now beginning to hear some of this, and Mr. Huckabee, with little money or infrastructure in other primary states, is still a long way from the nomination. But if by some chance he keeps up this surge, Republican voters need to understand they are signing up for a whole new brand of “conservatism.”