Posts Tagged ‘Mark DeMoss’

“Locked in a potentially fateful battle for evangelical Iowa caucus goers with Mike Huckabee, God-o-Meter has learned that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has enlisted prominent evangelical publicist Mark DeMoss to tape ads on his behalf for broadcast on Iowa Christian radio,” writes preposterously monikered G-d-o-Meter in a G-d-o-Meter post titled Romney Taps Top Evangelicals for New Ads

DeMoss tells God-o-Meter that he taped roughly a half-dozen such spots after landing in Iowa on Monday evening and that well-know evangelical legal advocate Jay Sekulow and pro-life activist James Bopp. Jr. have been tapped to record similar spots.

“I spoke as an evangelical southern Baptist as to why I had chosen to support Mitt Romney,” DeMoss said in an interview Monday night, noting that he penned three of the spots himself and also worked from three or four other scripts that the Romney campaign had developed. “[The ads] speak to both his values and his competence.”

DeMoss did not know which of his spots would be aired or when, but he expected Iowa Christian radio stations to begin carrying some this week. A Romney spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A former chief of staff to the Moral Majority’s Jerry Falwell, DeMoss is founder of The DeMoss Group, a top Christian PR firm. His clients have included Billy Graham, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Promise Keepers. He has never previously appeared in an ad for a candidate for office, even for Romney. DeMoss said he’ll remain in Iowa through this Wednesday, spending time addressing pastors on Romney’s behalf.

“I’m trying to persuade pastors that it’s important that candidates share our values and that if there is more than one than one that shares our values, then I want to pick the most competent and most experienced,” DeMoss said.

“I believe there are lots of people who are supporting Governor Huckabee merely because of his faith, without regard for anything else. I’ll ask them what they know about [Huckabee] and the answer I get is that he stands up for Christ.”

“We don’t apply that standard in selecting a doctor or somebody to build our house,” DeMoss continued, “So why would we apply it to picking a president?”

DeMoss began helping Romney last year, when he suspected that a Mormon presidential candidate would meet resistance in the evangelical community. Describing one of the radio spots he taped on Monday, he said, “As a conservative evangelical Southern Baptist, I’m supporting Mitt Romney because while we worship differently on Sundays, we share common values” … etc.


(1) Are the Romneys obsessed with religion?—i.e. other peoples’ religions?—or: is this Romney raging against the limit of Romney’s method of co-opting the support of rivals, opponents, or adversaries, i.e. to transform himself into the person of his rival, opponent, or adversary. Examples:

Romney transformed himself into a conservative to identify himself with the same wing of his party that doomed his father’s chances at the presidency.

Romney the self-described pro-choice, social progressive transforming himself into a conservative in advance of a national election.

And: Romney has largely gotten away with it. He always has. How can you argue against someone who suddenly agrees with you, and further claims to have always agreed with you? Answer: you can’t. OTOH, you tend to regard that person with deep suspicion.

But the Evangelical movement confronts Romney with a social and political formation that—at least at the ground level, if not among the more easily suborned elites—flatly refuses to accept Romney’s attempts to identify himself as one of their own without paying in full the price for admission that they would demand of anyone who claimed to be an Evangelical: a conversion, complete with a testimony—a real conversion this time.

(2) In Romney’s “speech” Romney identified the Mormon confession with Protestant and Catholic confessions on grounds of the name and person of Jesu Christo—the testimony of the Apostles, the creeds and canons etc., got omitted, and rightly so, but even with the omission Romney had issued a theological claim as David Kuo argues:

… But it was also a profoundly spiritual speech. He said he was going to stand up for his faith and that he wasn’t going to get into the business of theology. Then he did just that. In the middle of the speech was this:

There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.

In that single paragraph he blew his chance to slam the door on the pastor-in-chief idea because he was, consciously or not, making the theological argument that Mormonism was basically a part of historic Christianity. And it is, in the judgment of most liberal and conservative Christian theologians, not a part of historic Christianity. The fact that we will now be debating this is evidence of the one paragraph gaffe … etc.

This we argue is—or, at least was—the “larger project” of Romney’s “speech”. Now apparently the Romneys want to forget “the speech” and move on.

(3) Romney has wisely abandoned (2) and reverted to a far less controversial and ambitious different faiths, same values line. It issues into arguments as bland, bloodless, and non-compelling as these:

“We don’t apply [the] standard [of faith] in selecting a doctor or somebody to build our house,” DeMoss continued, “So why would we apply it to picking a president?”

Romney as a “competent” mechanic? Is this the expansive vision that an aspirant to our highest office should retail? Answer: probably not.

Question: What if your mechanic represented himself or herself to you as someone, or some thing, that they were not?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.


Kevin McCullough reacts to Mark DeMoss’s letter, in an Evangelicals for Mitt post titled, without a trace of irony, “GREATER MORAL CLARITY”

However, having said that should the choice come down to it as a contest of Mitt v. Rudy – responsible Christians HAVE to vote Mitt. Simply because he has greater moral clarity than Rudy. And while Rudy may in fact be willing to bomb Iran if the need arises, I believe Mitt would too – but with a greater moral code in place – Mitt’s basis for such a decision would be with less question than a man who has had less than absolute integrity in his marriage(S), on the issue of innocent life, on the issue of marriage, and whether or not we even have the right to own guns to defend ourselvesmore

Charles Mitchell correctly describes the McCullough excerpt as a “reaction”—it certainly isn’t a reflection or an instance of reason.

Here is McCullough’s argument:

[grounds] Because he has greater moral clarity than Rudy

[qualifier] should the choice come down to a contest of Mitt v. Rudy –

[conclusion] responsible Christians HAVE to vote Mitt

McCullough bases his conclusion on a distinction that, strangely, results in no practical difference:

  1. Rudy may in fact be willing to bomb Iran if the need arises,
  2. I believe Mitt would too – but with a greater moral code in place –
  3. Mitt’s basis for such a decision would be with less question than a man who has had less than
  • absolute integrity in his marriage(S),
  • on the issue of innocent life,
  • on the issue of marriage,
  • and whether or not we even have the right to own guns to defend ourselves.

So: both Romney and Rudy would, presumably, bomb Iran—there is no practical difference in result. But Romney would bomb Iran with “greater moral clarity.”

That make sense, right?—yeah, well, um, no—The withering “Well, so what!?” question springs to mind—does ordnance released with “greater moral clarity” leave deeper smoking craters?—but even if we were to accept this risible non-argument on its face, the sad fact is that Romney has demonstrated absolutely no clarity on the issue of Iraq, moral or otherwise. See:

Nor has Romney demonstrated “absolute integrity”—whatever that is—on the issues of marriage, innocent life, or guns.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“A prominent evangelical supporter of Mitt Romney has written a memorandum to 150 conservative Christian leaders, warning of the prospect of Rudolph W. Giuliani or Hillary Rodham Clinton in the White House and making the case to rally around Mr. Romney,” writes Michael Luo in an NYT transmission titled Letter Urges Conservative Christians to Support Romney

The writer, Mark DeMoss, a publicity agent whose clients include the Rev. Franklin Graham, wrote the five-page letter, urging the recipients to “galvanize support around Mitt Romney, so Mr. Giuliani isn’t the unintended beneficiary of our divided support among several candidates.”

Or, “worse yet,” Mr. DeMoss added, “so we don’t abdicate the presidency (and the future of the Supreme Court) over to Hillary Clinton”more

Some poor befuddled soul named Hugh Hewitt—nice internal rhyme—reproduces the DeMoss communique in a post titled Memo to Evangelicals. Here is an excerpt from the DeMoss memo—a riff on the CEO trope the Romney’s prate upon:

The President of the United States is the CEO of the largest enterprise on planet earth, presiding over a nearly $3 trillion budget and some 2 million employees (the size of the workforces of General Motors, General Electric, Citigroup, Ford, Hewlett-Packard and AT&T combined). Mitt Romney has already been the chief executive of one of the most successful investment management firms in the world—Bain Capital, with nearly $6 billion under management; a Winter Olympic Games (Salt Lake City, 2002), where he turned a $379 million operating deficit into one of the most profitable Games ever; and the state of Massachusetts, where he eliminated a $3 billion deficit without raising taxes or borrowing moneymore

Question: Does this seem like an argument that would inspire an Evangelical?—or, more broadly, a religious conservative?—i.e. us, as we are observant Jews, not Christians. Think about it: The president is a CEO?—really?—are we really America INC.?—from whence comes our moral authority, may we ask?—DeMoss’s reasoning is sad to the point of tears.

Consider David Brook’s rejoinder to the claims of the Evangelical movement.

“Over the past decade, religious conservatives within the G.O.P. have argued that social policies should be guided by the eternal truths of natural law and that questions about stem cell research and euthanasia should reflect the immutable sacredness of human life,” writes David Brooks in a tedious and strangely organized but sometimes insightful op-ed titled The Republican Collapse.

But temperamental conservatives are suspicious of the idea of settling issues on the basis of abstract truth. These kinds of conservatives hold that moral laws emerge through deliberation and practice and that if legislation is going to be passed that slows medical progress, it shouldn’t be on the basis of abstract theological orthodoxymore

We tend to agree with Brook’s description of the contradiction between valuing a tradition of deliberation and the notion abstract first principles whether derived from supernatural or other sources. Brook’s contradiction reaches its furthest extreme in the person of Willard Milton Romney himself. Regard: Willard Milton Romney negates on its face the Evangelical notion of political leadership that derives its legitimacy from a community’s interpretation of a sacred text or texts: he holds to different texts, but more importantly he held to different values. Now, in advance of a national election, he claims to have changed his mind such that he holds to the same or at least similar values, e.g. life, family. So in a sense he is a convert, but not a convert to what an Evangelical would consider a normative tradition; he is a convert in the ideological abstract, a contradiction in himself: a civic Evangelical, a secular or cultural Christian.

On what grounds can an Evangelical consider Willard Milton Romney? On pragmatic grounds? Hardly. On pragmatic grounds the other GOP candidates offer far more impressive biographies and resumes—and they are all at least consistent with themselves. The only real grounds that a DeMoss, Perkins, or a Bauer can consider a figure like Willard Milton Romney are mercenary grounds: only Romney has stooped, and consistently stooped, to kiss their rings, to put it gently, and he has been kind enough to morph himself into whatever form they desire. Hence, for the Evangelical movement to even consider the person of Willard Milton Romney signals their departure from relevance on the political or cultural scene—they have squandered their inheritance, their only real inheritance: their integrity to an historical tradition that values character, i.e. character derived from devotion to something higher than oneself.

Put more simply: Their absurd desire to be king-makers has called forth the most absurd of kings.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.