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Religion, yes; political religion, no

A few thoughts on the Michigan primary:

Predictions at the top of the race are more likely to be accurate than predictions at the bottom. At least that was the case for me. I overestimated Romney’s performance by 9 percent (not bad for an amateur who didn’t carefully follow the polls), and things got more inaccurate after that, to the point where I underestimated Gingrich’s support by 40 percent.

The Santorum robocalls were appalling, even in the world of politics. It wasn’t the tactic (asking Democrats to vote for him) as the fact that the allegedly more conservative candidate in the race was encouraging people demand yet more government intervention in the economy.

Turnout was abysmally low. Less than 20 percent? Even considering that there was no contest on the Democratic side, that suggests that Republican voters are not that motivated. Frank Beckman says that voter turnout was the third-highest in state history. Perhaps. But if a second Obama Administration is as big a great to the future of the country as Republicans tend to argue, shouldn’t turnout be much higher?

“Nearly 6 in 10 Michigan voters said it was important that they share religious beliefs with their candidate.” Really? Say you’re a Christian, the single largest religious group in the country. Christian doctrine has been used as a part of the justification of socialism, libertarianism, and I suppose even fascism. Aren’t you going to look at economic, legal, or other politically related concerns before voting for the “most Christian” (whatever that means to you) candidate?

As a social commentator, Rick Santorum is not always wrong, or at least not out to lunch. His comments on contraception, for example, are grounded in his understanding of teachings of Pope John Paul II (no intellectual slouch) and other leaders of Santorum’s church. The widespread development of illegitimacy and the attendant problem of growing childhood poverty suggests that people of all faiths or no faiths should consider the possible downsides of contraception. (See, for example, a recent commentary by James Taranto.)

But is the president of the United States the person to launch the prod people into thinking about such things? Granted, the Bully Pulpit is a powerful platform. But the president who uses his office to prod what an ethical and ultimately discussion is risking all sorts of trouble.

Besides, government can perhaps “assist” in social decline, however you wish to define the term “social decline.” But given its track record on everything else, can it really be expected to lead a moral revival?

First published by the Michigan View.


  1. Bill Roehl wrote:

    But given its track record on everything else, can it really be expected to lead a moral revival?

    Sure but only a hypocritical one.

    Monday, April 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
  2. policyguy wrote:

    Good point!

    Monday, April 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink