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.

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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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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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