Romney, JFK, FDR, and Al Smith
As Yogi Berra might say, the coming election is déjà vu all over again. Those who were alive and paying attention during the 1960 election may remember that two issues dominated the on-the-street political discussions -- the same issues that overpaid news anchors and Democratic operatives are trying to use to get Barak Hussein Obama re-elected.
One issue in 1960 was John Kennedy's religion. You see, we'd never had a Catholic president before, although the Democrats did nominate Al Smith, a Roman Catholic, as their candidate against Herbert Hoover in the 1928 presidential election. A lot of people worried that the pope would dictate policy to a President Al Smith if he won. The New York Times noted the reaction to a simple publicity picture of Smith shaking hands with a man at the Holland Tunnel: "The people thousands of miles away who received copies of the picture were given a decidedly different explanation: Smith planned to extend the tunnel under the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Vatican so he could take secret orders from the pope." Fortunately for them, Al received only 87 electoral votes against Hoover's 444 and never became president.
JFK was another matter. A young, good-looking war hero (Navy and Marine Corps medal and Purple Heart medal as PT-109 commander in the Pacific in World War II), he was also a Roman Catholic, a fact that caused consternation 32 years after Al Smith faced the same issue. Again, some worried that Kennedy would be beholden to Pope John XXIII and set U.S. policy based on Vatican policies and interests. (No one expected JFK to extend the Holland Tunnel to the Vatican, however.) Now, Pope John was a nice guy, but Americans don't want lobbyists or special interests dictating policy, let alone a foreigner across the ocean. Anyway, unlike poor Al, JFK was elected.
There is no evidence that JFK's religion ever played any part in any of his decisions or policies. There is also no evidence that devout Baptist Jimmy Carter based his policies on orders from Baptist leaders. So in the present day, it strains the imagination that Mitt Romney will let his religion interfere with making effective decisions and policies.
The next issue was money. JFK and his family had lots of it -- tens of millions, maybe even a few hundred million. JFK didn't earn much of it, except the relatively paltry salary he earned in the military and as a congressman and senator. It now seems strange that people then were saying that they looked on the Kennedy wealth as a positive. "He has enough money already, so he won't have to steal any." It seems strange because the media types and Democratic supporters are trying to make it a negative for Romney, saying he has so much money, he's out of touch with us ordinary people. Few people would have considered JFK one of us ordinary people. They would hardly have been surprised that he was out of touch with the average working stiff. John was raised from birth in a life of privilege and wealth, a life far from Main Street, USA. Mitt Romney at least earned the bulk of his fortune in the working world.
John Kerry was also both a rich Democrat and Roman Catholic when he ran for president in 2004. Of course, he "earned" most of his wealth by marrying wealthy women. In fact, the amount of his wealth ($193 million at last count) may be close to that of Romney's. Democrats didn't seem to worry that Kerry would let his religion interfere with his policies.
Another rich Democrat was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only man elected to the presidency four times, a feat that led to the constitutional amendment limiting presidents to two terms. FDR is a hero of the progressives, who credit him with bringing us closer to a nanny state than any other president before him. He was another of the wealthy who was elected on a populist platform. As The New York Times stated in its learning blog, "The early life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was typical of a member of a family of wealth and assured social position -- an aristocratic family, as aristocracy is measured on this side of the Atlantic."
But Romney is a Mormon and, as Bob Russell, retired minister of the massive Southeast Christian Church, says, a non-Christian who supports biblical values. And minister Bob also lets us know who he feels deserves his vote:
I, personally, will not support candidates who are pro-abortion and pro gay marriage regardless of their stance on economic matters and regardless of their stated religious affiliation. When voting for a President, if we must choose between a non-Christian who pledges fidelity to the right to life, Biblical marriage and the freedom of the church and someone who calls himself a Christian but who undermines those critical values, it's certainly not an ideal choice...but it's not really a difficult one for me to make.
All of the discussion of money and religion misses some key points. Obama has worshiped at the altar of progressivism for much of his adult life. It has influenced his decisions and policies. He will succeed in remaking our nation into his vision of a Marxist society -- or at least he will if he is re-elected. As he told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev just a few months ago, he'll have more flexibility after he is re-elected. Flexibility? There will be nothing to stop him.
And that's why we must consider whoever runs against Obama as our last hope to restore our nation to the America we knew and loved. You can call it a vote for the best man or one for the lesser of two evils. Take your choice. Just remember: there really is such a thing as the lesser of two evils. And it is mathematically certain that if you fail to vote in November, it's equivalent to casting a vote for the other guy. So hang in there and vote. As Yogi Berra said: "It ain't over 'til it's over."
Allan C. Stover is a published author of books, columns, and articles. Visit his website at www.ALLANcStover.com.