Signs and Wonders 07.16
No good deed goes unpunished. Last month I noted here the results of a study by University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus saying children raised by parents in same-sex relationships have more negative outcomes than those raised by married mothers and fathers. A peer-reviewed journal, Social Science Research, published the data, and the study itself contained one of the largest data sets ever amassed for such a study. Nonetheless, UT is in the early stages of pulling together a board of inquiry to investigate allegations of academic misconduct-brought not by a fellow academic, but by a gay-activist blogger. Scott Rosensweig, who writes for The New Civil Rights Movement, complained in a letter to UT-Austin President Bill Powers on June 21 that Regnerus' study was "designed to make gay people look bad, through means plainly fraudulent and defamatory." He complained that the $750,000 grant Regnerus won from the Witherspoon Institute and Bradley Foundation to conduct the study was taken "from an anti-gay political organization." He called for the school to release all of Regnerus' research material, sources, and communications related to the study. Fortunately, Regnerus has defenders in the academic community, among them Dr. Byron Johnson at Baylor and co-director for the Institute for Studies of Religion, who said, "Typically, when [academics] disagree with research, we do our own. Let's do this in an academic way, not a witch hunt-led by the blogosphere and people who have no credentials."
Condi Rice for veep? Reports abound that that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is at the top of Mitt Romney's list of possible vice presidential running mates. It was the lead item on the Drudge Report last week, and Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard reported that Rice is a favorite of Ann Romney. Activist and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer called it a "Condi Boom-Let," and said, "It is easy to see why Condi would be considered. She has an incredible 66 percent-24 percent approval/disapproval rating. She would appeal to suburban independents. She is smart, articulate, and likeable. Like Cheney with Bush and Biden with Obama, she would bring foreign policy experience to the ticket. And I suspect Vice President Biden is probably hyperventilating right now. Imagine a debate between Biden and Rice. It would be 'baloney' going to the grinder!" But Rice has also said that she is pro-abortion, so picking her would be a disaster for Romney, who has vowed to pick a running mate who is strongly pro-life. Social conservatives would abandon him in droves. That's why Richard Viguerie called picking Rice a "face-slap" to conservatives. Bauer concluded, "The establishment loves her, but Romney already has the establishment. His challenge is the conservative base that continues to be lukewarm."
A nasty week on the campaign trail. Romney's tenure at Bain Capital continues to be troublesome for him. An Obama aide said Romney made false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission about his tenure there, and that such filings could be a felony. Romney's camp said the charge was irresponsible, but President Obama himself weighed in and said he will not apologize to Romney for the aide's comment. "No. We will not apologize," Obama said in an interview with WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Va. "Mr. Romney claims he's Mr. Fix-it for the economy because of his business experience, so I think voters entirely legitimately want to know what is exactly his business experience." Calls for Romney to release his tax returns are also increasing in volume. Alabama's Republican Gov. Robert Bentley told the Associated Press that Romney should release his tax returns. "If you have things to hide," Bentley said, "then maybe you're doing things wrong. … I think you ought to be willing to release everything to the American people." He later retreated from the comments, saying he was not talking about Romney in particular. "I release my tax returns every year and I just think that everyone should do that," he said. "You know, I did not call on him to do that. I just said that's what I do. I just think it gets an issue behind you when you go ahead and do it."
Read his lips, no new promises. President George H.W. Bush criticized anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist and his Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The simple, one-sentence pledge, signed by 238 representatives and 41 senators, says the signers will not vote for a tax increase. Bush famously could not honor his own simple, one-sentence pledge: "Read my lips, no new taxes." Bush's inability to keep his word on this issue likely cost him a second term as president. Bush said that such pledges do not allow elected officials to respond to changing situations. Norquist and his supporters maintain that the government already has more money than it needs-by a factor of two or three-to do everything the Constitution requires it to do. For a surprisingly balanced account of Norquist and the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, check out this 60 Minutes profile that ran last November.
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