Why You Shouldn’t Vote For Mitt Romney Or Herman Cain

The election is still over a year away, and yet “news” stories intended to bring down leading Republican contenders are appearing on pretty much a daily basis. I’m not sure I will be able to stand it for another 12 months.

The Associated Press’s story of the day on Herman Cain relies on battlefield preparation that has been done over the last year by the far left: “Long ties to Koch brothers key to Cain’s campaign.” This is one of those wink-wink pieces; you wouldn’t really get the point unless you are aware of the left’s over-the-top campaign against Charles and David Koch, two of the very few seriously rich people who support conservative causes:

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has cast himself as the outsider, the pizza magnate with real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation’s capital. But Cain’s economic ideas, support and organization have close ties to two billionaire brothers who bankroll right-leaning causes through their group Americans for Prosperity.

Note two things. First, the “but.” How in the world does the fact that Cain is respected by the Kochs and others associated with Americans For Prosperity undercut or contradict the fact that he is an “outsider” with “real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation’s capital”? It doesn’t. Second, the reference to AFP as “their group.” One or both of the Koch brothers has supported AFP in the past and likely continues to do so, but it is absurd to refer to AFP as “their group.” Americans For Prosperity is a genuine grass roots organization: 1.8 million Americans have participated in AFP activities, and 90,000 Americans have contributed financially to the organization or its sister AFP Foundation.

Cain does indeed have close ties to AFP, and some ties, at least, to Charles and David Koch. The first time I ever saw him speak was at one of the semi-annual Koch seminars in Aspen. But so what? The AP accords credibility to a goofy far-left activist:

To some liberals, Cain’s rise with the help of AFP shows the incredible influence that outside groups controlled by super-wealthy individuals with specific agendas can have on the political process.

“Herman Cain is the first presidential corporate spokes-candidate,” said Scot Ross, a liberal activist who leads One Wisconsin Now, which has often mocked AFP as a front group for corporate interests.

Actually, Cain’s rise shows that a candidate who demonstrates in debates that he is an effective spokesman for conservative ideas can command support among conservatives. This is something the left (including the news media) can never quite grasp: conservatism is not a conspiracy. There are no secret handshakes or “dog whistles.” Conservatives, unlike liberals, actually say what we think. We advocate conservative principles and policies because they are fairest to everyone, work best, and produce desirable outcomes like prosperity and security. It is really that simple. Nevertheless, if Cain continues to be a factor in the race–let alone if he is the GOP nominee–you can count on hearing more about his relationship with AFP.

Today’s story on Romney was in the New York Times: “For Romney, a Role of Faith and Authority.” The Times piece focuses on Romney’s role as a leader in the Mormon church in the 1980s and 1990s. LDS doesn’t have a professional priesthood and is mostly run by lay members, so a natural leader like Romney became a bishop in the Boston area, where he lived. His church duties were on top of a more than full time job in business. A sympathetic observer might contrast this with Barack Obama, who, even though he never had a demanding job, apparently did nothing in his church other than occasionally occupy a pew.

Try as it might, the Times is not able to put Romney in a particularly bad light. On the contrary, it appears clear that he was an unusually effective leader in this aspect of his life, as in all others. But the Times has a purpose: it wants to rally potential Obama voters who are appalled by the economic performance of the Obama administration, by letting them know that Romney is a man of deep religious conviction. This, to many readers of the NY Times, is weird. The Times hopes that the idea of Romney’s religious faith will horrify some voters even more than Obama’s policy failures. And, as to some liberal and atheist voters, it probably will.

Get used to it. Pretty much every day between now and November 2012, we will see similar attacks on GOP candidates and the GOP nominee.

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