Campaign questions remain unasked

The media has missed a few crucial details in the presidential election

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2008

Question 1: Why is it that every time a pundit points out former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has no real foreign policy experience, the obvious second part of that observation - that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also has no foreign policy experience - never comes up? Furthermore, why is that anyone expects a state governor to have "foreign policy experience"?

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Is it not true that most all our presidents in modern times have been former governors or vice presidents? I don't recall the lack of foreign policy experience being a deterrent for voters in those elections. A governor - pardon me for stating the obvious - governs. A senator or congressman (typically, a lawyer), on the other hand, makes legislation, with which governors and presidents then have to deal - or govern.

Question 2: Why is it that everyone who has expounded on Romney's "wonderful" and "historic" religious speech conveniently omits references to what I believe are aberrant beliefs in the faith of Romney's "fathers"? Former Mormons have written entire books about eerie temple rituals and blood oaths that make "National Treasure" look tame by comparison. But we who question Mormon "doctrine" or the vast chasm that separates it from orthodox Christianity are bigots with no First Amendment right to intellectual curiosity.

Americans tend to like their presidents' feet planted on terra firma, in other words, the planet of the free world they will be asked to lead, rather than the celestial star they aspire to rule as gods. True, our founding fathers made no religious litmus test for our leaders. But they at least presumed sanity.

Question 3: Why is Huckabee vilified - even by evangelicals - while Mitt gets a free ride on his politically expedient flip-flops on questions that, surely, a man whose faith has always informed his governing would have long ago settled (such as abortion or gay marriage)? Does anyone seriously doubt that Romney, as president, would form his policies around the winds of public opinion? If so, you might need a come-to-Jesus - or is it the devil's brother? - meeting to get straightened out.

I particularly love the pundit references to Huckabee's "nanny-state" policies while the political news establishment is really the biggest nanny of them all. Problem is, the people who really do have brains - that's most of us - resent those "analyses" about whom they should vote for. Let's not forget the democratic side of the circus. Hillary Clinton, following in the footsteps of Barack Obama last year, was keynote speaker at Rick and Kay Warren's World AIDS Summit at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., recently. Trying to out-evangelize the evangelicals, she waxed on about this Scripture passage and that, with her political climax coming in this statement: "Jesus never asked why someone was sick!"

By all means, keep those gay contributions rolling in. Don't ask, don't tell and don't change behavior that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say accounts for 70 percent of all new HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S. Rick Warren had the gall to give Hillary high fives for that "home run" in the very place where Celebrate Recovery was born. Its most popular groups? Those for people struggling with same-sex attraction. There are too many unasked questions here to sort out.

Then we have the Oprah/Obama traveling revival show, starring two Americans who would have been locked out of the racist Mormon Church until 1978. Interestingly, only 8 percent of registered voters say they'd be more likely to vote for a candidate who has Oprah's support, according to a USA Today poll.

Meanwhile, 10 percent say they'd be more likely to vote against someone with her endorsement. So, Oprah turns out to be the "whatever" factor? Kudos to USA Today for raising the question. Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to get more and more ridiculous as the next 10 months unfold.

• Debbie Thurman is an award-winning columnist and author who writes from Monroe, Va.

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