Ben Johnson

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Why Romney lost

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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BOSTON, November 9, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – With the tortured analyses, memoranda, and bluster about why Mitt Romney failed to win the presidency this Tuesday, it may be easier to analyze the reasons he did not lose the election.

Mitt Romney did not lose the election on Tuesday because he’s a bad man, an incapable campaigner, or too “severely conservative” on abortion or immigration (or virtually anything else).

By all accounts, Romney is a warm and affable person who takes his faith seriously and lives out works of charity. The odd caricature of him as a tax-dodging felon whose policies killed an employee’s wife bordered on sci-fi fantasy.

Nor was he a bad speaker, at least by Republican standards. John McCain, both Bushes, and Bob Dole could have benefited from his discipline, delivery, and work ethic. When he said he and Paul Ryan had “left everything on the field,” he meant it.

In fact, that was the problem. His all wasn’t good enough.

Mitt Romney lost the presidency for the same reason Republicans always lose presidential elections: Because they deserve to.

Wishing Social Issues Away

Some in the GOP say the election is a repudiation of the pro-life movement. To be competitive, Republicans must downplay “divisive” social issues like abortion or marriage and embrace “centrist” proposals. That is the same formula that led to nine moderate Republican defeats, from Herbert Hoover to John McCain.

Social issues are “divisive” no matter which side plays them. In this election, an incompetent president divided his way into a second term.

Barack Obama centered his entire presidential campaign around abortion-on-demand. He stoked the unfounded fears of single women by turning the election into a straw man referendum on banning contraception.

During presidential debates, Obama name-checked Planned Parenthood like an abortionist with Tourette Syndrome.

A compliant media magnified and, in some cases, invented GOP gaffes on abortion to paint the party as a collection of chauvinistic extremists obsessed with rape and “lady parts.”

Romney ran a monochromatic campaign, speaking in a drab economic monotone. When polls showed Obama’s ads stressing what the Democrats call “women’s issues” had gained traction in swing states, the Romney campaign responded that they were a “distraction.”

A wise businessman knows, when the customer has a concern, it is unwise to ignore it.

Mitt actually began his willful aversion to abortion during the primaries, when he refused to sign the pro-life pledge, skipped pro-life debates, and generally took social voters for granted.

He finally addressed the issue by running an ad saying “abortion should be an option” for women in some cases. The ad failed to outbid Obama for pro-abortion voters but confused and demoralized his base.

In short, Romney ran exactly the kind of campaign the GOP Establishment prescribed, like John McCain before him. Now their talking heads are tripling down, advising more of the same in 2016.

Republicans need to understand abortion is not going to recede as an issue. Rather than wishing social issues away, they need to address them in a responsible and accurate way without apology, equivocation, or undue defensiveness.

They need to offer a counter-narrative to the dominant media-Democratic consensus – a scientifically correct view increasingly embraced by younger voters.

Romney was ill-equipped for this. An Ohio reporter exposed his lack of familiarity with pro-life or religious liberty issues.

Bill Clinton once told Flavia Colgan that he appealed to evangelicals, because he could win some of their votes if he made the appeal and none if he did not. Romney did not contest the issue, and Obama routed him from the vacated field of battle.

Romney was too safe

Quick: Name one memorable moment from Romney’s campaign other than the first debate. That’s what I thought.

Romney turned in a masterful performance in the first debate, dominating Obama on every issue they addressed, appearing presidential, and attacking every facet of the president’s four-year record of failure.

After that, he ran the safest campaign since Thomas Dewey in 1948.

That is not to say Romney did not campaign hard; he did. But he assumed he could win on economics alone without nailing down his base in the primaries, addressing abortion, attacking on Benghazi, exposing Obama’s radicalism, defending religious liberty, investigating Operation Fast and Furious, or making a concrete case about why Americans should vote for him.

Even ObamaCare, which remains deeply unpopular, barely rated a mention outside the first debate. There was little talk of doctors leaving the profession, impending rationing, the huge and inevitable transition of somewhere between three and 20 million Americans from private insurance to Medicaid, or the individual mandate.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

The president’s scandalous cover-up of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi died as an issue during the second debate, when moderator Candy Crowley wrongly slapped down Romney and defended the president.

Bob Schieffer gave Romney what so few politicians ever receive – a bogey – in the opening question of the third debate, and Romney squandered it, rambling on other topics and complimenting his rival.

In part, this is a result of Romney’s own weaknesses. He could have reminded Americans that Obama put Libya’s al-Qaeda radicals into power with his war-by-decree. However, he could not because many of the GOP foreign policy “wise men” supported more delusionally hawkish policies in the region.

Instead, Romney focused everything on economic conditions which, while abysmal, are marginally better on paper than they were the day Obama was inaugurated. As a result nearly as many Americans trusted Obama to handle the economy as Romney. Coincidentally, half of all Americans do not pay taxes, and 47 percent of Americans (and rising) receive some portion of their livelihood from government programs.

If only he had run his campaign as a wise investor: in other words, he should have diversified his portfolio.

The GOP Establishment warred on conservatives, again

Some conservatives have called the GOP a “circular firing squad.” That erroneously assumes the GOP Establishment is on the same side as its pro-life base.

In reality, the GOP Establishment is part of the Beltway elite attracted to the perks of office and influence, with no higher goal than keeping them.

Anyone who reeks too much of mainstream American values is frozen out as completely as possible.

Four years ago, Nichole Wallace and the party Brahmins blamed John McCain’s loss on Sarah Palin. In 2010, Karl Rove smirked at Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell. This year, the GOP pulled its funding from Todd Akin and stepped away from Richard Mourdock—both engaged in winnable races – because they recoiled from those candidates’ views.

Telling a whole wing of the party it is dispensable is bad enough, and many voters did not show up at the polls on Tuesday. Telling values voters to go away is suicidal.

Demographics is Destiny

As I pointed out nearly 10 years ago, the 1965 Immigration Act radically altered American society and culture.

The British Labour Party deliberately changed the demographics of the United Kingdom for political ends.

Barack Obama was a community organizer, and he ran his campaign like one. He assembled a coalition of Democratic voters that included unmarried women, homosexuals, abortionists, the young, Hispanics, blacks, and labor unions (as well as, one assumes, felons, illegals, and the dead).

Pollster Scott Rasmussen noted the role of changing demographics, namely the “share of white vote falling to 72 percent.”

The share of the U.S. electorate made up of white Catholics has continually dwindled since 2000, while the percentage of Hispanic Catholics and irreligious has increased, according to Pew Forum.

Hispanics voted 71 percent for Obama, an increase in both share and percentage over 2008.

SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer and honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America Eliseo Medina unveiled the Left’s plans for this fast-growing group in 2010.

Medina, who was also a member of Barack Obama’s National Latino Advisory Committee, said if liberals can “reform the immigration laws, it puts 12 million people on the path to citizenship and eventually voters. Can you imagine if you had even the same ratio, two out of three, if we get eight million new voters that care about our issue and will be voting, we will create a governing coalition for the long-term, not just for an election cycle.”


(This story continues following video.)

With this admission on the table, it’s disconcerting to hear House Speaker John Boehner – egged on by Charles Krauthammer and other talking heads – say the first item on his agenda is passing a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants, which in Washington is called “a comprehensive approach.”

Where Do We Go Now?

Boehner’s backpedaling is a sign that traditionalists cannot put their trust in either party’s leadership.

Pro-lifers have two simultaneous tasks. First, they must go back to fight to influence the hearts and minds of the American people within the culture. By presenting biological facts, health statistics, and post-abortion testimonies, we must make abortion an unthinkable and detested alternative.

We must also fight the uphill battle to make an obvious and irrefutable case: that marriage is the fundamental building block of society, the most successful forum for raising children, and it ought not be subject to the malleable changes of passing fancy.

On the political front, we must take back our party – or join another one.

Either way, we must tune out the engineers of defeat who brought the GOP to this position.

Richard Viguerie, who has more than 50 years of political activism inside the Republican Party, greeted the election results by saying: “In any logical universe, establishment Republican consultants such as Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, Romney campaign senior advisor Stewart Stevens, and pollster Neil Newhouse would never be hired to run or consult on a national campaign again – and no one would give a dime to their ineffective Super PACs, such as American Crossroads.” 

We must also change the channel whenever the Fox News “all-stars,” whose advice of increased spending and wars without end destroyed the GOP brand under George W. Bush, begin giving advice. Barack Obama was right about one thing: if you drove the car into a ditch, you shouldn’t do a lot of talking.

They will not go easy into that good night. The Republican Party Establishment, laden with “moderates” and neoconservatives, would rather lose an election that give up its grasp on the party

But their influence has now cost the party two presidential elections in a row, led by two lackluster candidates. It is past time for the party to clean its stables or close shop.

Cross-posted at TheRightsWriter.com.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Growing ‘Women Against Feminism’ movement draws fury

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By Hilary White
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Critics of feminism have long said that it is entering the final stages of its long career, with more of its assertions about the nature of human sexual and social relations being contradicted by the evidence and fewer young people following its dictates every decade. But in the last few weeks, it seems that feminism’s last gasp is being used to direct insults at young women who are lining up to publicly reject and ridicule it.

The Tumblr site Women Against Feminism has started a social networking trend in which thousands of young women photograph themselves holding signs bluntly denouncing feminism, giving a sharp indication that the feminist brand has become poison to young, hip, and internet-savvy women.

Mainstream and journalistic feminists have lashed out at the site and its followers, entering into an online spat over the increasingly popular photos. The signs say, “I am not a victim,” and “This is what an anti-feminist looks like.”

They continue: “I am an adult who is capable of taking responsibility for myself and my actions. I define myself and derive my value by my own standards. I don’t need to be ‘empowered’. I am not a target for violence and there is no war against me. I respect me and I refuse to demonize them and blame them for my problems.”

The messages held by the women pinpoint with pithy and acerbic precision exactly the reasons given by many critics that the movement has lost favour with young people. They call it a creed of double standards that promotes victimhood and endorses bullying of anyone who critiques it.

The site’s explanatory page, which was taken down for unknown reasons in the last two days, said, “Feminists are the only people who lose their minds with rage when you tell them that women already have the same exact rights as men. That’s not good enough. They want more. They desperately want to be victims. They want a privileged social position.”

The author goes on to accuse feminism in general of systematic censorship, discrimination, elitism and “policing other women” who do not toe the line – as well as baseline misandry. The anonymous creator denounced feminism’s adoption of “abortion as ‘empowerment’”:

This opinion is unpopular, but I don’t agree that I need to have my baby scraped out of my uterus in order to feel empowered. But the abortion industry (i.e. Planned Parenthood) makes a ton of money off this perversion of empowerment. ‘Abortion as empowerment’ teaches women to see their wombs as nothing but garbage bins full of disposable waste.

One of the contributors wrote, “I don’t need feminism because my self-worth is not directly tied to my victim complex. As a woman in the western world I am not oppressed, and neither are you,” says one. Another: “I don’t need feminism because I don’t need to bully someone to share my opinions with others.”

Some come right out and say that feminism promotes exactly the evils it purports to fight against: “I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlements and supremacy.”

Although the site and its contentious photos have been running around the internet for many months, arguments among journalism’s feminists started breaking out this week after a mocking Buzzfeed feature helped the site gain momentum on social media outlets.

Some feminist journalists simply flung insults. Lillian Kalish sniffed on Ryot, “These Women Who Think They Don’t Need Feminism Don’t Know What Feminism Is.” “Did these posters ever think to look up the actual definition of feminism?”

Nuala McKeever, in the Belfast Telegraph, called the women posting the photos “silly, ignorant, vacuous wee girls with absolutely no thoughts beyond their own self-absorbed inanities.”

Time Magazine’s Sarah Miller said, “I Really, Truly, Fully Hate ‘Women Against Feminism’—But…” Miller wrote, “[T]he tendency to see sexism everywhere is proof that feminism is healthy and vigilant, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, because misogyny is insidious and rampant… We need feminism.”

But Miller added, “Still, the pain that we experience as women—even physical—does not give us the right to tell people there’s one way to think or feel, or to assume that we have some god-like understanding of everyone’s motivations.”

Cathy Young, however, responded in Time, saying, “Stop Fem-Splaining: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right.” She writes, “The charge that feminism stereotypes men as predators while reducing women to helpless victims certainly doesn’t apply to all feminists—but it’s a reasonably fair description of a large, influential, highly visible segment of modern feminism.”

The site, Young says, “raises valid questions about the state of Western feminism in the 21st Century — questions that must be addressed if we are to continue making progress toward real gender equality.”

Sarah Boesveld wrote in the National Post on Friday that the site shows that feminism has become “complicated” and “sometimes alienating.” She quotes an email sent to the paper by 22 year-old Australian Lisa Sandford, who “believes in equality for the sexes” but firmly rejects feminism as “rude and nasty” and intends to be a stay-at-home mother. 

Sandford wrote, “If feminism really accepted equality, they would not tell me my views are wrong, they would accept it and let me be.”

Browse the 'Women Against Feminism' archives here (warning: occasional strong language).


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Welcome Baby Filipino 100 Million!

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By Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

Population Research Institute welcomes the birth of little Chonalyn Sentino. Baby Chonalyn was born this past Sunday to parents Clemente and Dailin, and was feted in the Philippines as “Baby 100 Million.” PRI welcomes Baby Chonalyn as well, saying that she will be a blessing to her family, her community, and her nation.

The Philippines is one of the largest Catholic countries in the world, and its people value children. For this reason, it has been a target of the population controllers for decades. It was one of the countries singled out by Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council in 1974 for special “attention” and, more recently, has been bullied by the Obama administration into passing its first population control law. 

The bill, which was touted as being all about promoting “reproductive health,” was actually intended to drive down the birth rate. For example, section 15 requires that all couples receive a “Certificate of Compliance” from the local Family Planning Office before becoming eligible for a marriage license.

Some in the Philippines are decrying Chonalyn’s birth, repeating USAID’s talking points about the “dangers” of overpopulation. They welcome Chonalyn as an individual little girl, while simultaneously calling for future little girls and boys to be removed from existence.

The Philippine Star wrote that the birth symbolized a “large population that will put a strain on the country's limited resources.” Another paper cited the executive director of the official Commission on Population who bluntly said “We'd like to push the fertility rate down to two children per (woman's) lifetime.” And the Global Post cited “concerned advocates” who thought the current population was not a “complement with the country's economic growth.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

But many other Filipinos aren’t buying into the anti-people hysteria. Francisco Antonio, a Filipino Chemical Engineering graduate student at Yale, adamantly rebutted the notion that there are too many Filipinos, saying: “I celebrate life because population control is defeatism disguised as pragmatism. And because human creativity holds more potential for protecting this planet and its inhabitants than any other resource I know of.”

A Filipina currently living in California told PRI that she welcomed the transition of her country to 100 million persons: “Filipinos are not a burden to the world population, because we not only care for our own but also for others in the world. One of the greatest and most sought after exports of the Philippines is our skilled, motivated, and exemplary workforce. And these workers tirelessly cultivate their family and community abroad and in the Philippines. We are a very social and civic minded people. We care and share because it is part of our culture and we do it with a smile.”

 Ed, a Filipino accountant, also celebrated the birth of Baby Chonalyn: “The typical Filipino does not associate a baby with ‘cost’ or ‘expense’ but rather as a ‘blessing’ and a ‘gift.’ This is because Filipinos recognize that true happiness does not come from the accumulation of material wealth or prestige, but rather, from true, genuine, and strong relationships with other people. [Filipinos] value life, not because the Church says or the Pope says so, but because they recognize it to be true. And the truth about the value of life, will continue to shine, long after the debates are over.”

It goes without saying that we at the Population Research Institute also welcome Chonalyn’s birth. We need more Filipinos, not fewer. 

Reprinted with permission from Pop.org.


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Two very different ways to respond to Pope Francis’ unrecorded interviews

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By John-Henry Westen

In the last few weeks another series of interviews with Pope Francis surfaced and have again left many Catholics scratching their heads.  Headlines all over the world had the Pope saying that two percent of priests are pedophiles, but is that what he said?  Even though the Vatican spokesman did issue a clarification, that question and others remain unanswered.

Critical reactions to these interviews have been interesting not even so much for their contents as from whom they arise.  These are the observations of some of the most faithful Catholic Church watchers today.  The folks pointing out these concerns are not, as many would assume, ‘“far right-wing-holier-than-the-Pope” types, but mainstream Catholics known for their loyalty to Pope Francis.

Phillip Lawler is the founder of Catholic World News, the first Catholic news service operating on the Internet. In part of his criticism of the most recent interview, he states: “Why was Pope Francis speaking with Scalfari without having first established clear ground rules for the conversation—rules that would certainly include recording and verification of any quotes?”

(To comprehend the situation accurately it is necessary to have an understanding of the man whom the Pope has allowed to interview him.  Eugenio Scalfari is relatively unknown in the West even after the fanfare of his papal interviews. LifeSiteNews has produced this piece to assist that understanding.)

Lawler recalls: “Back in October the Vatican had been embarrassed by an ‘interview’ in which [Scalfari’s] reconstructed quotes caused an uproar, and the Vatican press office was forced to issue an awkward ‘clarification’ which only added to the confusion.”

In addition to that clarification of the October Scalfari interview, the confusion and uproar got so bad that the Vatican removed the interview from their website, where they had it posted in the section containing the Pope’s speeches. Interestingly, that interview resurfaced two weeks ago on the Vatican website only to be removed again after a new round of criticism.

A blogger at the EWTN-owned National Catholic Register offered an observation similar to Lawler’s but with a little more bite. Pat Archbold writes, “The internet is once again abuzz with the second-hand hearsay of an unrecorded Papal interview.” Archbold advises his readers with characteristic sarcasm, “So pay no attention to those crazy and outlandish anti-Catholic headlines tearing up your RSS feed.  Just ignore them and hope they will soon go away, just like unrecorded Papal interviews.”

A second unrecorded conversation with the Pope makes news

Another write-up of an encounter with Pope Francis also caused a stir.  Brian Stiller, an Evangelical leader from Toronto was part of a delegation of Evangelical Christians who met with Pope Francis earlier this month. In his July 9 account, Stiller puts in quotes this statement he attributes to the Pope: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community.  There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s not spend our time on those. Rather, let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.”

That led noted priest-blogger Father Dwight Longenecker to first caution that the quotes are “Brian Stiller’s memory of the conversation.” 

Then with the caveat of not actually knowing the whole conversation, Fr. Longenecker says “it would not be unusual for a Catholic priest of Pope Francis’ generation to feel that way.”  He explains that he has “heard from numerous convert clergy over the years who said when they went to their local Catholic priest and expressed the wish to become Catholic the priest told them it wasn’t necessary and that they could do much more good to Christ’s kingdom and the Catholic church by staying where they were and evangelizing within their own denomination.”

“Now this strikes me as rather troublesome on several levels,” says Longenecker. He notes he had himself once used that line with a Protestant friend, to which his friend replied, “You don’t want to convert me? Why not? I don’t have much respect for your religion if you think so little of it that you don’t want me to share it!”

“He basically called me out on what was a little lie on my part. I wanted to be nice to him [so] I said I didn’t want to convert him. He said our discussion would be much better if I admitted that I did want him to become Catholic. He was right. I did. I still do.”

Inside the Vatican

Vatican journalist Edward Pentin has reported that unnamed “Vatican officials are uneasy and perplexed” about the interview. Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002 and has since covered the pope for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times.

“The officials’ discomfort also extends to the Pope’s spontaneous telephone calls to strangers, a couple of which implied he deviated from Church teaching but, being private and unrecorded conversations, are difficult to verify,” he wrote for Newsmax.

From the outset of the Francis pontificate, there were these unrecorded and yet published interviews – the first was from a meeting with Latin American religious leaders in June 2013.  That was the one that had Pope Francis speaking of the existence of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican and also about being concerned about Catholics who would count rosaries to offer prayer bouquets.

At the time LifeSiteNews published nothing on that first unrecorded interview even though almost all other news services did.  Shortly thereafter I was at the Vatican inquiring about that unrecorded but reported-on encounter and was assured by various Vatican insiders that the communication was not accidental but intended – to me at the time a rather startling revelation.

But that same assessment came later from another Vatican quarter, a man who speaks German as does the pope and also shares the pope’s religious order.  “Francis knows exactly how power is spelled,” said Bernd Hagenkord, a Jesuit who is in charge of German programming for Vatican Radio in a May interview with The Atlantic. “He’s a communicator in the league with Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. They say he’s being unclear, but we know exactly what he means.”

Two different ways to respond

One of the most disturbing outcomes of these ‘interviews’ is that the words and interpretations of what is being said by the Pope, while they may be clear for the German Jesuit, are remarkably unclear for the vast majority of Catholics.  Catholics who know well their faith, its moral teachings, and the reason for them are few and far between. They are able to discern that the Pope cannot mean to undermine Church teaching; that those teachings are unchangeable.

But most people are taken in by the media’s false interpretation that ‘who am I to judge’ involves a new acceptance of homosexuality; the false possibility for legitimately-married Catholics to divorce and remarry outside the Church and still receive Communion; the idea that the Church should quiet down on her teachings on abortion, contraception, and same-sex “marriage.”  All of those false conclusions were drawn from previous Francis interviews.

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There are two ways forward for faithful Catholics in such a situation.  One way – a way that is most tempting - was recently recognized as a growing tendency by blogger Father Ray Blake. “Most Catholics but especially clergy want to be loyal to the Pope in order to maintain the unity of the Church,” he said.  “Today that loyalty is perhaps best expressed through silence.”

In leading up to that observation, Blake noted that in the previous pontificate “there was a solidity and certainty in Benedict's teaching which made discussion possible and stimulated intellectual honesty, one knew where the Church and the Pope stood.”  He added, “Today we are in less certain times, the intellectual life of the Church is thwart with uncertainty.”

However, Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke suggested a different approach recently. According to Burke, who serves as head of the Vatican’s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, the pope has made a strategic decision to focus on making the Church appealing, and thus bishops and priests “are even more compelled to underline these teachings (on life and family) and make them clear for the faithful.”

He told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, “The Holy Father has said on different occasions that he expects that bishops and priests are doing this teaching while he’s trying to draw people closer and not have them use [these doctrines] as their immediate excuse for not coming to the faith.”

Cardinal Burke’s strategy confronts the culture head-on even on the most difficult issues.  He sees that the often-used but failed tactic of avoiding difficult situations, of obfuscating or compromising on moral issues as worse than useless.

When truth is pushed aside for political correctness, to fulfill ideals of civility or to achieve false unity and false peace, the world is harmed by the lack of truth the Church is called to bring to it.

When truth is boldly proclaimed and held to, despite persecution, even the enemies of truth are forced to see that the opponents of their secular or liberal ideologies truly believe their teachings and are willing to suffer for them. This eventually generates a degree of respect from some of the critics and an openness to re-consider their own flawed positions.


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