Monday Morning Politics

Monday, December 03, 2007

Karen Tumulty, Time Magazine national political correspondent, talks about the week in politics, Barak Obama's role as the other democratic contender, and Romney and Huckabee's relationship to religion.


Karen Tumulty

Comments [35]

Simon from Atlanta, GA

Obama has displayed the kind of brinksmanship that is the necessary foundation to effective diplomacy. Hillary strikes me less as a seasoned negotiator and more as a power hungry politician willing to outflank even the Republican right in her quest for the presidency. Her comments in October '02 linking Al Queda to Sadam as well as her vote to classify the Iranian revolutionary guard as a terrorist organization support this viewpoint. Obama, on the other hand, opposed the war from the beginning and has displayed a willingness to meet with leaders from any country, including Iran. I don't see him as inexperienced, as Brian put it, but as a seasoned negotiator based on his work in Chicago's ghettos and effectiveness in that state's legislature. His personal connection to family in the third world is more compelling to me than Hillary's professional travelogue.
It was sad to hear Brian dismiss Obama so categorically this morning, but also motivating. I am determined to fight harder now for Barack who my friends and I see as the new face of the Democratic party. He has the courage and honesty to stand-up to the Republicans in a respectful way that we believe will bring the country together again.

Dec. 03 2007 08:10 PM
M Grew from CT

Response to Nicene Creed:
Just because the mainstream professed-Christian churches endorse or subscribe to the Nicene Creed does not mean it is a statement of true Christian faith. A far better benchmark is whether a church or religian actually believes and lives the teachings in the Bible instead of a creed derived from a church synod long after the New Testament was written. A Christian would be a follower or disciple of Jesus Christ as explained in the Bible and the gospels. Jesus criticized the Pharisees of his day for propogating "traditions of men" (Mark 7:1-13) and the Nicene Creed is a document of tradition not a document of Scripture.

Response to Sue:
Jesus said that to "love your neighbor as yourself" is a commandment. You might want to check Matthew 19:16-19 and Mark 12:28-33.

If someone thinks that belief in the traditional "Holy Trinity" is the criteria for being considered a Christian, it would be good to objectively review the following online document:

Dec. 03 2007 03:26 PM
Naomi Barko from Stamford, CT

Dear Brian: You dismissed too readily this morning the caller who said that Iran had made substantial peace offers to the U.S. You were incredulous that this could have happened under Ahmadinajad (sp?). But if happened before him. I remember reading am astonishing article in The American Prospect in the last year or so about very generous offers Iran had made,even including treatment of Hamas and Hezbollah, which our brilliant administration chose to ignore. I also read about these offers in another publication--although I don't remember which. It could have been the Times, the Nation or the New York Review of Books. Anyhow this is a fascinating story which you ought to follow up.

Best, Naomi Barko

Dec. 03 2007 02:33 PM
Debra from NYC

First, Iran DID make big gestures to try to work with the US before or early in the Iraq war (I have seen this documented, thought don't remember where), and the arrogant, inept Bush administration would not engage them.

And about Hilary Clinton -- I am surprised that such a serious journalist as Brian Lehrer would just buy into the superficial sound bites that Clinton's campaign and the mainstream media are portraying. Among many other things, why does no one question Hilary's claim of extensive "experience"? Yes, she's very smart, but all of her experience is vicarious -- which things would she have done if not for her husband being governor or president? Could she have even come from Arkansas or Illinois to NY and run for US Senate if not for her husband? And she had no real job, no accountability, as first lady. And her claim (to counter Obama's extensive community organizing experience) of "working" for the Children's Defense Fund is quite a stretch -- she apparently did an internship in school, and possibly consulted (part time?) for a few months afterward. AND, she claims her husband was the greatest president, but he had NO national, much less international, experience when he became president (Obama has local, state, national and foreign policy experience). And he was the same age as Obama when he ran. Another way she is trying to have it both ways.

Dec. 03 2007 10:54 AM
jeapes from Manhattan

The last caller about the grand rapproachment is absolutely correct. There was one and it was schemed during not Ahmednijaad but during the previous moderate President Khatami.It was rejected by Bush administration. There is a Frontline documentary about this is episode.

Dec. 03 2007 10:48 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Yes, there was a 40 point offer made by the administration of President khatami, the predecessor of Mr. Ahmadinejad, to discuss all issue between the US and Iran. The offer came after the Iraq invasion and was ignored by the Bush administration.
Your guest is uninformed

Dec. 03 2007 10:47 AM
Ralph Seliger from Manhattan

In response to a caller, Brian asked Karen Tumulty if Ahmadinejad's Iran had made an effort at raprochement. She laughed off the idea, but I think that the caller was really referring to Iran's reported effort to make a deal with the Bush administration in late 2002 or early 2003 (well before Ahmadinejad became president), in the wake of the US victory in Afghanistan.

Dec. 03 2007 10:46 AM
Chad from Brooklyn

Brian, I could be wrong here, but you're coming across as a rabid pro-Clinton advocate here. Such hostility to Obama...!

Dec. 03 2007 10:40 AM
Gaines from Knoxville, TN

Does this guest think that, if she agrees with Brian, her analysis will be discredited?

Lehrer's points are good, and she's making a mistake to deny their validity and/or accuracy. Her analysis is one part of a very large and complex picture that she loses sight of when she denies Lehrer's points. Politics is not simplistic and when this guest tries to argue her simplistic view, she fails at analyzing the situation.

Maybe Time's readership wouldn't be in the tubes if the hired specialists and academics instead of pundits?

Dec. 03 2007 10:39 AM
Eric from B'klyn

A Possible Topic? As the Bali conference convenes, Mr. Bush continues to insist that mandatory standards would hurt the US economy and asserts that a “voluntary agreement” is appropriate. Last week, the CEOs of 150 global companies published the “Bali Communiqué” calling on world leaders to sign a comprehensive, legally binding United Nations framework to tackle climate change. “As business leaders, it is our belief that the benefits of strong, early action on climate change outweigh the costs of not acting… a sufficiently ambitious, international and comprehensive legally-binding United Nations agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will provide business with the certainty it needs to scale up global investment in low-carbon technologies… the shift to a low-carbon economy will create significant business opportunities”.

The business leaders, clearly addressing the US, which is the now the only and largest emitter of greenhouse gases not to have signed Kyoto or pledged to support a new protocol since the newly elected Australian PM stated he will sign, urge policymakers here to move away from a vague voluntary approach on carbon standards to a mandatory standard. The obvious fatal flaw in Bush’s position is that no company will embrace standards voluntarily if its competitors don’t, since it would put them at a disadvantage.

Dec. 03 2007 10:38 AM
Pat from Edison, NJ

To clarify my comment re father, son, holy spirit: Christians believe in the Triune Godhead - 3 persons in one God. I think Mormans believe in Christ's teachings but not in the Triune Godhead.

Dec. 03 2007 10:36 AM
rick from Brooklyn

great, another mainstream reporter who thinks that voters don't care about issues, and that issues don't matter! I wonder why our democracy is in such a sorry state; it's all about the horse race.

Dec. 03 2007 10:35 AM
Millie Magraw from Larchmont, NY

I disagree with your guest. I am concerned about voting for Obama, solely because his healthcare plan is not as inclusive as Edward's and Clinton's. Although he is running a different type of campaign, I am too cynical to believe that in office it will make any significant difference.
thank you

Dec. 03 2007 10:35 AM
antonio from park slope

jeez, can Brian be anymore transparent as what democratic candidate he wants to win?

Dec. 03 2007 10:34 AM
Stephen from Manhattan


if you do a spot on Mormonism, Jan Shipps would be a great guest.

Dec. 03 2007 10:33 AM
Stephen from Manhattan

to amanda: mitt would consider himself a christian, and he has stated so multiple times.

Dec. 03 2007 10:32 AM
John Smith from Pound Ridge

Your discussions on Religious Romney hits a nerve as religion should not be part of government, and government is basically just another extension of power similar to religion by a few self selected elites in this world...

If you have not reviewed it Brian, I would be interested to find out your interpretations of the ZeitGeistMovie at Let me know. Thanks,

Dec. 03 2007 10:23 AM
Chad from Brooklyn

By the way -- the specific reason that mainstream Christians consider Mormonism heretical: the book of Revelations, the last book in the New Testament, ends with a warning that those who add to the word of God after that book are blaspheming, and are false prophets. The Book of Mormon is seen as such an addition.

Dec. 03 2007 10:22 AM
Miguel Jimenez from NYC

Ethics problems with Huckabee that I heard about for this first time on this weekend's On The Media:

Dec. 03 2007 10:22 AM
Pat from Edison, NJ

I'm an Evangelical Christian. My understanding is that although Mormons follow Christ's teaching, they do not believe He is part of the Holy Trinity: father, son and holy spirit.

Dec. 03 2007 10:21 AM
Stephen Frandsen from Manhattan

One other thing: when Harry Reid spoke at BYU last month, he claims he is a Democrat because he is a mormon. Mormonism is directly in line with many of the Democratic values.

Dec. 03 2007 10:21 AM
amanda from harlem

would mitt romney call himself a christian?
was mike huckabee set up with that question?

Dec. 03 2007 10:21 AM
nicene creed from nyc

Nicene Creed, part 2

" We believe in the Holy Spirit, in the uncreated and the perfect; Who spoke through the Law, prophets, and Gospels; Who came down upon the Jordan, preached through the apostles, and lived in the saints.
We believe also in only One, Universal, Apostolic, and [Holy] Church; in one baptism in repentance, for the remission, and forgiveness of sins; and in the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgement of souls and bodies, and the Kingdom of Heaven and in the everlasting life. "
source: Wikipedia

Dec. 03 2007 10:20 AM
nicene creed from nyc

The controversy regarding Mormonism is not pitting one "sect" versus another. They do not subscribe to the fundamental beliefs that mark Christian belief. Adding "Christ", or "Christian" to your organization's name does not mean you subscribe to Christian belief.

Nicene Creed:

" We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the begotten of God the Father, the Only-begotten, that is of the essence of the Father.
God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten and not made; of the very same nature of the Father, by Whom all things came into being, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.
Who for us humanity and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate, was made human, was born perfectly of the holy virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.
By whom He took body, soul, and mind, and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance.
He suffered, was crucified, was buried, rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven with the same body, [and] sat at the right hand of the Father.
He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father, to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there is no end.


source: Wikipedia

Dec. 03 2007 10:20 AM
don noname from divorce rate

Utah has one of the highest divorce rates in the US... they are pressured to marry young; you should do a show on Mormonism...

Dec. 03 2007 10:19 AM
Jenn from South Bound Brook NJ

The whole point of religion should be moot beacause the president should not be professing his/her religious beliefs. It is important to those perhaps that dream of a theocracy but to those of us, not religious, but still "good people" who can have values without religion, it is a complete kook factor that is, frankly, a waste of debate time!

Dec. 03 2007 10:19 AM
P from Madison, NJ

I'm an atheist democrat and have been known to use the term "crazy Christian" (please don't use my full name on air!) but... my mother is Mormon and my experience with Mormons has been nothing but positive. They're very much Christian but keep to them selves, have never tried to push it on me and are about as close to living Christ-like (think of that great quote by Ghandi: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ") than the Catholics I grew up with.

Dec. 03 2007 10:19 AM
Stephen Frandsen from Manhattan


Please do an entire show on Mormonism. I am a Mormon living in Manhattan. The difference in between Mormonism and traditional Christianity is based on the conception of the trinity. Mormon's believe the trinity is made up of three separate beings, while traditional Christianity believes the trinity as something developed by the Nicene Creed, which Mormonism rejects. We believe in Christ and God the Father, and we believe they are separate, physical beings. So, in that sense, we are not traditional Christians.

For me, I am happy to not be affiliated with the christian conservative right. But, I do think most people need to gain a better understanding of Mormonism, and realize that many Mormons do not believe exactly what Mitt Romney believes, and we are not all as conservative as he.

Dec. 03 2007 10:19 AM
Libby from Upper West Side

As a Jewish New Yorker, I am frightened by the idea of Huckabee as our next president. I have received anti-Semitic mail/threats in the past several years and with an evangelical Christian in the White House, this may increase.

Dec. 03 2007 10:18 AM
Chad from Brooklyn


I'm now a liberal secular humanist but I grew up Evangelical. Mormonism was indeed portrayed to us as a semi-sinister cult, and I'm surprised and proud that Romney has come as far as he has without his religion tripping him up.

That said, Huckabee's response was the very best thing he could do in response to the interviewer's baiting the candidate for his religious convictions. Pit fighting Christian sects against one another has nothing to do with politics, and your assertion that Huckabee is somehow pandering to bigotry by playing it safe is quite unfair; he was simply side-stepping an irrelevant question, as I would have done in his place.

Dec. 03 2007 10:16 AM
William Scruggs from New Jersey

Actually the evangelical sect, in truth, is itself a cult of religious fanaticism isn't it?

Dec. 03 2007 10:15 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Are we really surprised by sectarianism here? I mean, conservative Muslims and conservative Christians would find that on the political issues they're much closer aligned than either are with liberals, and yet they are very much against each other simply because of theological issues. So why not Mormons against other Christians even if they fall in line on the politics?

Dec. 03 2007 10:14 AM
Bernie from Brooklyn Carroll Gardens

Christian Conservatives like Mike Huckabee have been instituting religious intolerance for years in the form of anti-gay policy proposals and attacks on reproductive freedom. When it's expedient, they're more than capable and likely to attack their own rather shaky coalition of unlike religions and denominations. Huckabee is solidly in line with this tradition.

Dec. 03 2007 10:11 AM
Sue from North Salem, NY

"Love thy neighbor as thyself" is NOT a commandment. Even I, a reverent agnostic, know that....sheesh.

Dec. 03 2007 10:09 AM
nicene creed from nyc

Mormons are not Christians -- ask any theologian!

"The Nicene Creed, Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed or Icon/Symbol of the Faith, is an ecumenical Christian statement of faith accepted in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Assyrian, the Anglican Communion, Lutheranism, the Reformed churches, Methodism, and many other forms of Protestantism."

"The Nicene Creed has been regarded as a touchstone of true Christian faith..."

"Groups such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Church of the New Jerusalem and Jehovah's Witnesses, while accepting the Christian Scriptures, reject the Nicene Creed as false."

Dec. 03 2007 10:08 AM

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