We know the ultra-conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, came up with the idea.

We know that GOP frontrunner employed it in RomneyCare and declared it a “fundamentally conservative” idea.

We know Newt Gingrich also advocated for it.

And now. . . Rick Santorum. Per a 1994 Pennsylvania news article:

Santorum and Watkins would require individuals to buy health insurance rather than forcing employers to pay for employee benefits. Both oppose abortion services and support limits on malpractice awards. Santorum says non-economic damages should not exceed $250,000, adjusted annually for inflation, and lawyers’ contingency fees should be capped at 25 percent.

I still ask how Alabama GOPers support these guys after their rhetoric through the years:

So how do Mike Hubbard and Mike Rogers overlook this “push toward a socialistic-leaning government in this country” with RomneyCare and its “socialist” mandates which “will dampen too many employers’ ability to hire and expand” and “threaten job creation and stability across East Alabama” and “which force citizens to purchase something they do not wish to purchase, a mandate which has never been previously demanded of the populace.

 

Mitt Romney stated today:

“What we did was right for the people of Massachusetts,” he said on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning. “It is fundamentally a conservative principle to insist that people take personal responsibility as opposed to turning to government for giving out free care.”

A more full video can be found here which also includes Newt admitting that he supported an individual mandate but has now changed his mind.

I cannot wait until Romney’s Alabama campaign chairpersons Speaker Mike Hubbard, Cong. Mike Rogers, and Lt.Gov. Kay Ivey publicly agree that the primary plank of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate, is “fundamentally a conservative principle.” I’m on pins & needles.

 

Last Thursday, Alabama State Sen. Cam Ward announced his support for Mitt Romney. Speaker Mike Hubbard had already announced his support while Congressman Mike Rogers and Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey share the chair of the Alabama for Romney campaign.

Considering the rhetoric of this crowd, how can they jump on the Romney wagon so enthusiastically? Over the past couple of years now, they have consistently beat the drum against President Obama’s “liberal” policies. Most prominently, they have fought his “socialized healthcare programs” even making opposition to any healthcare mandates a key plank of the now infamous ALGOP “Handshake with Alabama

So how do Hubbard and Rogers overlook “push toward a socialistic-leaning government in this country” with RomneyCare and its “socialist” mandates which “will dampen too many employers’ ability to hire and expand” and “threaten job creation and stability across East Alabama” and “which force citizens to purchase something they do not wish to purchase, a mandate which has never been previously demanded of the populace.

Perhaps a healthcare mandate is a “conservative” policy position if a Republican says it:

or if the very conservative Heritage Foundation and Newt Gingrich actually created the idea.

Herman Cain’s incredible muddle on Piers Morgan about abortion is really bad news for Mitt Romney because it will only renew discussion and highlight Mitt Romney’s post-2002 flip-flop on abortion. In this 2002 debate, he delivers an unabashed, and thought-out, pro-choice position.



UPDATE
: This clip also includes a debate in between Romney and Ted Kennedy wherein Romney delivers another defense of his pro-choice positions.

Interesting side note is the Mormon Church’s official position on abortion:

Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion. Those who face such circumstances should consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer.

Chris Matthews has been on a tear about the Perry campaign’s attack on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism. Bill Bennett called it religious bigotry.

I agree that Romney’s Mormonism should not be a disqualifying factor formally or practically. After all, even Martin Luther expressed that “I’d rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.” However, I think Chris Matthews proves too much and too far.

Abraham Kuyper wrote in 1879:

. . . every developed and maturing people ought to have its politics derived from its firm principles which do not float in the air as so many abstractions but which have deep roots in the soil of national life. Our thinking mind, after all, is not some kind of hutch with drawers and cubbyholes in which we have a separate compartment for politics and another for social affairs and a third for spiritual questions. Everything in our minds is interconnected, and our deepest life-principle is nothing but the root from which the fullness of our thoughts shoot up, to spread themselves over the many areas of life. Your political ideas are connected with your social insights; your social insights with your thoughts on marriage and family; those thoughts with your views about the church; your views about the church with your spiritual convictions; and your spiritual convictions with the relation of your heart to God.

This is why the modern presidential “debates” are not very helpful. Rarely do we delve into a candidate’s core principles and presuppositions;  we are content with conclusory sound-bites.  Perry disclosed many of his basic principles in Fed Up; knowledge of those presuppositions powerfully overwhelmed his campaign’s talking-points.

Richard Weaver wrote Ideas have Consequences in 1948. Certainly, religious ideas have consequences as much as philosophical ones.  Also, Thomas Kuhn proved that presuppositions matter even at the scientific research table; the color of one’s world-view “goggles” affects what the scientist observes.  How much more do a politician’s world-view “goggles” matter for development of public policy?

Theology matters no matter how much Chris Matthews wants to hold his nose. Take the popular support for US foreign policy relating to Israel. As shown from an older article of the Baptist Standard entitled “Evangelical Theology drives American support for Isreal,” theology has consequences:

“No one in the U.S. outdoes fundamentalists in their support of Israel, not even American Jews,” said Tim Weber, a Christian historian and dean at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Illinois. “Since Menachem Begin, all Israeli leaders have seen American fundamentalists as important shapers of American foreign policy toward Israel. What many people do not understand is that most fundamentalists support Israel because they believe it will play a key role in events leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”

While this theological view of the end-times–known as premillennial dispensationalism–is not the majority view among Christians worldwide or even nationwide, it strongly shapes Americans’ views of Israel, Weber said. “The influence of such ideas extends way beyond the tight community that nurtures and studies them. The dispensationalist scenario is imbedded in the fundamentalist subculture, has much greater influence in the more expansive world of American evangelicalism and even reaches into the larger secular population. These ideas matter, and not just for those who believe and understand them.”

For a quite express example see this, read this article entitled “Why stand with Isreal Today?” by Pastor Jack Hayford. I am not making an opinion on the policy, only showing that theology matters and has public consequences.

Romney’s Mormonism may or may not be a source of his basic presuppositions; I don’t know, but we need to explore all the soil, his deepest life-principles, from which his thinking grows. And this is true of each and every candidate.

Over the weekend, the Rick Perry campaign swung an upper-cut at the GOP front-runner Mitt Romney about his Mormonism. I believe this will play well where it matters: in the GOP primary. In the South, a vast majority of Baptists believe that Mormonism is a cult; for decades, such has been a regular topic of apologetic conferences, sermons, Sunday School lessons, and radio talk shows like the Bible Answer Man. It doesn’t matter what Rick Perry claims to believe; the bell has been rung. This map shows the devastating effect of this particular attack; a sizeable part of the red (which denominates Baptist) may not support Romney merely because he is a Mormon. (A poll from June showed that 23% of southerners would not vote for a Mormon, period.) Remember Mike Huckabee stroked this sentiment a little in 2008 with code words: ‘‘Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?’’

I think this only really applies in the primary; Alabama will not flip to Pres. Obama over the issue. However, if even 7-10%  of faithful Republicans in North Carolinian, Virginia, Florida or Georgian just sit it out, it may make an electoral difference.

Per First Read:

*** Why hasn’t Romney caught fire? Both the New York Times and Washington Post today focus on Romney and why he has been unable to excite Republican primary voters so far, despite his improvements on the stump and on the debate stage. Yet here’s one reason both articles don’t really mention: his past positions on issues. While there’s been so much focus on Rick Perry’s record (his support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, the HPV vaccine mandate) just look at Romney’s: Only six years ago, he supported abortion rights; in 1994, he sent a letter saying he’d be a stronger advocate for gay rights than Ted Kennedy; according to a 2006 article, he supported a path to citizenship for law-abiding illegal immigrants; he has said that his Massachusetts health-care law should be a model for other states; and he said back in June that humans have contributed to the world getting warmer — and that it’s important to reduce emissions to combat that. All of those positions are anathema to conservatives. A question: Does this Republican electorate want to “settle,” gravitate behind the most electable? When they’ve “settled” in the past, many conservative leaders have regretted it (see McCain or Dole or Bush 41).

*** Romney addresses the flip-flopper charge: Speaking of Romney and his position on the issues, he yesterday addressed the perception that he’s a flip-flopper, per NBC’s Jo Ling Kent. “In the private sector, if you don’t change your view when the facts change, well you’ll get fired for being stubborn and stupid,” he said in a town hall in New Hampshire. “Winston Churchill said, ‘When the facts change I change too, Madam.’” Of course, it was just last week when Romney suggested he doesn’t change positions. The American people “can tell when people are being phony and are pandering to an audience,” he said, “and you’ll see that in politics. You’re not going to see that in my campaign.”