Should voters consider candidates’ religious beliefs?

Don’t get me wrong: I think religious literacy, as in knowing the history and beliefs of various religions including one’s own, is important for every citizen.  And in answer to the question of whether voters should consider candidates’ religious beliefs, I should have added that people need to understand what each of the candidates’ religious beliefs are so as to understand better how that individual might govern. Beyond that…well, read on and let me know what you think. Continue reading “Should voters consider candidates’ religious beliefs?”

Is Rick Perry dumb?

When you have Kinky Friedman, shame on him, lauding Rick Perry’s charms, you must believe with perfect faith that the Politico Arena question of the day can only be answered one way. Read on please and tell me what your answer would have been. Continue reading “Is Rick Perry dumb?”

POLITICO Arena: Bachmann’s victory

It’s hard to believe the next presidential election is still almost 16 months away. If you were Michelle Bachmann’s advisor, what strategy would you propose she take to sustain her momentum and end up as the Republican standard bearer? (Ouch, I have a headache…)

Politico TheArena logo

Arena Asks: Michele Bachmann was named the winner of the Iowa straw poll tonight, taking 4,823 votes out of nearly 17,000 cast. Ron Paul was a close runner-up, taking 4,671 votes. In a distant third place was former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who took 2,293 votes after investing heavily in the event. What does this victory say about Bachmann’s future in the presidential race? And is this the end of the line for Tim Pawlenty?

My Answer: Pawlenty’s third place was actually better than his numbers would have predicted going in, so he’s lived to fight at least one more day. Cain, Santorum, Huntsman, and Gingrich can go home now.

That Bachmann and Paul, the two wackiest of the major candidates, together scooped up over 56% of the vote ought to be enough to send chills down the spines of every Democrat and Independent, along with a few moderate Republicans–and joy into the Obama and Romney camps.

Perry’s entry timing was masterfully orchestrated. It drew the glow off Bachmann’s victory. I grew up the buckle of the Texas Bible Belt and I see three big problems for Bachmann with Perry in the race. First, do not underestimate that Texas good ol’ boy charm and the arrogant sense of entitlement that underlies it. Second, Perry will play very dirty with an engaging smile on his face and an unctuous prayer on his lips masking his two-step like the politician in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” And third, given a choice between a male and a female candidate from their own ranks, the fundamentalist (and fundamentally patriarchal) Christian base will choose the man. Perry will flank Bachmann on the right within a few weeks.

Meanwhile, though, it’s Bachmann’s moment, and much will depend on her ability to sustain her momentum given that the other candidates may well aid Perry by gunning straight for her.