anathema in our system -- to probe people's individual religious consciences. American journalists quite legitimately ask candidates about policy issues -- say, abortion -- that might be influenced by their religious or philosophical convictions. We do not and should not ask them about those convictions themselves. It's nobody's business whether a candidate believes in the virgin birth, whether God gave an oral Torah to Moses at Sinai, whether the Buddha escaped the round of birth and rebirth or whether an angel appeared to Joseph Smith.
I dunno. I tend to think when columnists throw around assertions that some things are "legitimately" done while others "we do not" do, they should maybe offer some actual arguments for why "we do not" do them other than Tim Rutten's vast authority on all matters. I'm quite interested in candidates' "individual religious consciences." They all say religion informs their behavior, so let's find out about it. See, generally, Jacob Weisberg's essay on the relevance of Romney's faith. ...
Backfill.: Rasmussen reports that immigration is the #1 issue in the Iowa race:
Twenty-five percent (25%) of likely caucus participants identified immigration as the most important voting issue. Twenty-one percent (21%) named national security as their top issue while 18% said the economy was most important and 14% ranked the War in Iraq as the top issue- ...
1) Does the DNC stripping Michigan and Florida of their delegates (to punish them for too-early primaries) make a brokered, or at least contested, convention more possible by creating a large overhanging pool of uncommitted delegates that might conceivably be counted later? ... Between them, Michigan and Florida would seem to have almost 15% of the delegates a candidate would need to win the nomination. ... [Thanks to alert non-reader D.J.P.]
2) Obama and Huckabee lead their respective races in Iowa. Suppose those two actually win their parties' nominations. Wouldn't an Obama vs. Huckabee race be so quirky it would have a good chance of attracting potential third-party or independent candidates? Candidates more experienced and less of a semi-revolutionary "stretch" than Obama, less "socially" conservative than Huckabee, more fiscally conservative than either of them, and maybe less filled with Broderesque compassion for illegal immigrants? Candidates who are more boring? ... P.S.: Suddenly, Unity '08 doesn't look irrelevant. ...
12:39 A.M. link
Sunday, December 2, 2007