On Doing the Impossible and Legislating the Unlegislatable

Today, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney announced the “suspension” of his presidential campaign.

No real surprise there.

What I did find interesting was his speech. Here are excerpts of points which caught my attention:

“What is it about America’s culture that’s led us to become the most powerful nation in the history of the world? Well, we believe in hard work and education. We love opportunity. Almost all of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who came here for opportunity. Opportunity’s in our DNA.”

No argument here.

“Americans love God, and those who don’t have faith typically believe in something greater than themself, a purpose-driven life, if you will. And we sacrifice as Americans everything we have, even our lives, for our families, for our freedoms and for our country. These values and beliefs of free American people are the source of the nation’s strength, and they always will be.”

Okay Pretty Mitt, you’re losing me a bit. Not all Americans love God. I have a great long time friend who is an atheist and who has a more finely tuned moral compass than my God-loving friends. Let’s not forget about the separation of church and state. It’s constitutional you know.

“The threat to our culture comes from within.”

Here it goes. My dear not-so-sweet Republicans often talk about a war on, or shall I say, against “American culture” which often sounds like coded language for “white protestant” culture. Nothing against my white protestant brethren but America wouldn’t be what it is today without the numerous contributions of black, brown and Asian people not to mention my people of Jewish ancestry.

“In the 1960s, there were welfare programs that created a culture of poverty in our country. Now, some people think we won that battle when we reformed welfare. But the liberals haven’t given up. At every turn, they tried to substitute government largess for individual responsibility. They fight to strip work requirements from welfare, to put more people on Medicaid, and remove more and more people from having to pay any income tax whatsoever. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is culture killing. It’s a drug. We’ve got to fight it like the poison it is.”

Hold up. Wait a minute. If we are going to talk “welfare programs” let’s keep it real and broaden the definition to mean any unearned government monetary allocation or its equivalent. Under this definition would fall all government bailouts of large corporations. It would also include all FEMA allocations including those which will be dispensed as a result of the recent tornadoes in the mid South. And let us not forget the sure to be forthcoming bailouts for individuals caught up in the mortgage crisis. Talk about a group in desperate need of a “personal responsibility” lecture. Does “Read the find print” or “If it sounds too good to be true, then it is” mean anything to anyone anymore? One person’s “entitlement” is another’s “reparation” is another’s “just due” (the “I pay taxes” defense). At some point, almost every American, for some “good reason”, feels entitled to a handout which they will conveniently position as a hand up.

“….And tolerance for pornography, even celebration of it, and sexual promiscuity, combined with the twisted incentives of government welfare, have led to today’s grim realities: 68 percent of African- American kids born out of wedlock, 45 percent of Hispanic kids, 25 percent of white kids. How much harder it is for these kids to succeed in school and in life. A nation built on the principles of the founding fathers cannot long stand when its children are raised without fathers in the home. The development of a child is enhanced by having a mother and a father. Such a family is the ideal for the future of the child and for the strength of the nation. It’s time for the people of America to fortify marriage through a constitutional amendment, so that liberal judges cannot continue to attack it.”

In deference to Pretty Mitt and his wholesome sensibilities — what the heck? What does a constitutional amendment on marriage have to do with people having children out of wedlock? What kind of short yellow bus thinking is this? Have we not learned that we cannot legislate morality? Once again, can we all say “personal responsibility”? Now that wasn’t so hard. was it?

I implore the Republican Party to this dispense with the culture war gobblygook promoted by social conservatives and take up the mantle of economic reform — something over which they can have real control.

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