Calling A Foul In Presidential Politics

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Phillips Arena got a bit heated as the Hawks played Miami in Atlanta Thursday night. Two tough teams ground out a close game that took three overtime periods before the Heat emerged victorious. Atlanta’s competitiveness against the NBA’s Eastern Conference leaders was questionable before the game, and Hawks coach Larry Drew was demonstrating intensity standing courtside.

During the game, a foul occurred directly in front of the Hawks bench. The call appeared to be against the Hawks, despite Miami’s player being the clear violator. Drew was in position to get in the refs face, and the hand gestures and verbal response from the ref demonstrated Drew didn’t understand the call. It took drew a moment to calm down as he resumed coaching duties.

What he did next is something I can’t recall seeing in my limited NBA fan experience. Drew got the attention of the ref whom had just turned his attention to the opposite side of the court. When the ref turned, drew made gestures indicating he was sorry, mouthing “my bad”. The ref gave a bit of a smile with a “no problem” response as play resumed, tempers in check.

It’s unfortunately rare to see a blunt and clear apology these days. All of us make mistakes in judgment on a regular basis, yet admitting it is difficult. Expressing it is harder still. Apologizing to the wronged individual isn’t easy, but as Drew was well aware, he didn’t need the ref holding any hard feelings for his mistaken perceptions.

We’ve had a similar incident this week in Georgia’s corner of Presidential politics. Cobb County Representative Judy Manning gave an interview with the Marietta Daily Journal about volunteering in Iowa on behalf of Newt Gingrich. Regarding Mitt Romney, she said this:

“I think Mitt Romney is a nice man, but I’m afraid of his Mormon faith…It’s better than a Muslim. Of course, every time you look at the TV these days you find an ad on there telling us how normal they are. So why do they have to put ads on the TV just to convince us that they’re normal if they are normal?”

This statement is even more interesting when juxtaposed against her defense of Gingrich’s past personal failures, of which she said “But I think we’ve got so many people that are too interested in the personal lives of all of our elected officials that we can’t get past that to the point of who can do the job, and who can make the decisions, and who knows the politics involved, and who better than someone who has the experience.”

The thought process involved here is simply amazing. Manning doesn’t believe Gingrich should be penalized for his past personal life. On this we happen to agree. Yet Romney should be penalized for adhering to Religious beliefs which he has demonstrated by remaining committed to one wife, not smoking or drinking (except for that scandalous half of a beer he admits to have consumed once for Pete’s sake), and being an active and committed father. Punctuating her comments by adding that at least Romney isn’t a Muslim ensures followers of an entirely separate religion could be offended at no additional charge.

Manning was quick to apologize, taking to Facebook to say “I have made a terrible mistake with my reckless words.” That much is true. It was good to quickly acknowledge this. But then she chose to blame a seasoned reporter for manipulating her words and using “verbal judo” to make her choice for President to “appear to be motivated by Religion.” I also believe that she would be a Gingrich supporter regardless, as he formerly represented her County in Congress.

But her ranking of Mormons as somewhat below that of a reformed adulterer but above Muslims remains troublesome. Though she ended her statement with “I sincerely apologize to Mitt Romney and for offending people of Mormon faith”, Manning’s statement as a whole still seems to rely on the fault lying with a reporter. Muslims also remained starkly absent from her apology.

The game now continues, with the voting referees hopefully turning their attention to the election and the actual issues that are being addressed. For those social conservatives who want to harbor inner suspicions about Romney’s religion, they should probably hope values voters don’t score the candidates based on demonstrated merit. If they do, Romney would be the logical choice providing they could get over their prejudices or ignorance of Mormonism.


  1. Three Jack says:

    Judy Manning should do the right thing and resign. First she makes the asinine statements about Mormons then follows that up with an even more asinine pass the blame ‘apology’. If she doesn’t resign, she should definitely have primary opposition so that voters can put a forced resignation on her.

  2. John Konop says:

    I am in shock that it so called conservative rallying around Santorum to fight a Romney nomination. The word conservative most no longer have anything to do with fiscal issues or less government in your private life.

    Santorum voted ( Newt Supported) for the increase in deficits we are facing today ie Medicare Part D, 2 wars…………While Santorum was ruining up the future credit card bill Romney ran a balanced budget as governor of Mass.

    Santorum/Newt voted for the failed unfunded mandate No Child Left Behind which created massive growth of administrative cost at the expense of students, teachers, parents and tax payers. While Romney ran an end around NCLB and created numerous alternative tracks for kids over the failed one size fit all teach to the system Santorum voted for.

    Santorum wants to let states even ban birth control, create policemen in the bedrooms……..and this is what makes him more conservative?

    Please help me understand why any fiscal conservative would support Santorum/Newt over Romney? I am not saying Romney is the perfect candidate, but compared to Santorum/Newt this is a no brainer. I think the comments by Judy Manning demonstrates this is more about religion and social issues than fiscal policy.

    • Calypso says:

      John, unfortunately since the religious right (Sadie Fields, Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer, Phylis Schafly, American Family Association, etc.) hi-jacked the GOP in the last decade or so, “conservative” has only meant SOCIAL conservative. These small-minded people are generally one-issue voters and your examples above make that clear.

      The sooner the FISCAL conservatives in the GOP marginalize the vocal minority of religious zealots, the sooner this country can begin working on solving its real problems.

      • bgsmallz says:

        Seriously, those small-minded folks who are only concerned about abortion (or is it homosexuality?) That Ralph Reed and his small-minded degree in History from UGA and PHd from Emory. What a small-minded person! I can’t believe he and his small-minded cronies hi-jacked the GOP and helped elect the first GOP led congress in 40 years back in ’94. I also can’t believe he would get behind George W. Bush to help the GOP take back the White House after a very popular 8 years under Clinton. Those jerks! Why would they hi-jack the party like that from the true conservatives….you know, the ones who only vote on FISCAL matters.

        I’m not a Christian Coalition backer, as far as what their role became or what some wanted their role to become in the political sphere. I never have supported the political aspirations of Pat or Jerry, especially as they intermingled the idea that in order to be a Christian, you should vote for ‘X.” However, acting like anyone who is aligned with the ‘religious right’ is or was an idiot or that they didn’t make any real accomplishments on behalf of the GOP really exposes your own ignorance, in my opinion.

        • John Konop says:


          Your point is that social conservative helped elect George W Bush who created the majority of the debt we face today ie Medicare Part D, 2 wars…………And that makes them conservative? Barry Goldwater I would bet is looking down and rolling his eyes.

        • Calypso says:

          Seems like I touched a nerve with you, bgsmallz, and as Shakespeare said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

          You bluster about something in your response without refuting my point.

          I never called them idiots or say they didn’t make any real accomplishments. Re-read my comments. I stand by them.

    • Three Jack says:

      John, Newt was not in congress when NCLB passed.

      Mitt is required by law to submit a balanced budget so that’s not really an accomplishment.

      But I agree with you that the Gospel GOP is still focused on social issues first which inevitably leads to less than desirable candidates more often than not. In the case of president this year, there really isn’t much difference between those who still have a shot at the nomination (I exclude Paul here because there is no way he will gain enough delegates through the primaries to become the nominee). So it will ultimately be decided by the socons yet again with Iowa providing the first example of things to come.

    • bowersville says:

      From today’s HuffPo.

      “Evangelicals Consider pushing Gingrich, Perry to Drop Out” by Jon Ward

      There were several quotes from Richard Land who was described as a well know Southern Baptist leader. In a summation of the article and quotes: If Santorum continues to lead Gingrich and Perry in NH and SC leading Evangelicals may ask Gingrich and Perry to drop out so as not to split the non-Mitt vote. It is believed that a continued split of the vote would lead to a Romney nomination.

      The article at HuffPo provides a link to an article at Politico by Jonathon Martin. Martin is reporting a meeting in Texas next week hosted by James Dobson, Don Wildmon and Gary Bauer to discuss strategy. This group held a meeting with Perry sometime back. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, who is the source of the HuffPo article declined comment on whether he was attending the meeting.

      • Charlie says:

        As is typical, a panic driven knee jerk reaction to rush to someone who hasn’t been vetted.

        This happening would be the quickest path to the nomination for Romney.

        • John Konop says:

          In all due respect, I could see Newt cutting a deal for the ability to lobby, sell books………My friend Bowersville is usually ahead of the curve! not to say you are not, but Bowersville seems to have a good feel for BS………….

      • bowersville says:

        I don’t know Charlie. I don’t think it’s knee jerk. Quite a number of news agencies are now reporting Santorum is headed to Greenville SC tomorrow and it’s reported that Gary Bauer will endorse Santorum in Greenville. They must believe Santorum will out perform Gingrich in NH. Probably 3rd behind Paul 2nd, Romney 1st. Nikki Haley is in NH claiming Romney will win SC and he might, but these guys are serious and believe Santorum can take 2nd if not 1st in SC. Within the last hour ABC is reporting the pro-Santorum super PAC, Red, White and Blue has made a buy for TV ads in SC. Some news sources are reporting more high profile Evangelical endorsements for Santorum are expected over the next ten days. Everything I’m reading is Santorum is going for Romney’s throat at every appearance.

        By all appearances Perry is headed for the exit with a poor performance in SC. With only Gingrich left on their radar after SC I’d take them serious. They’ll make a concerted effort to get Gingrich out before FL. I don’t see that happening with Gingrich currently leading in the RCP poll averages in FL, but they’ll make the case if Santorum comes out ahead of Gingrich-Perry in NH and SC.

        It may be the quickest path for Romney but these guys don’t believe it.

        • Charlie says:

          I agree they don’t believe it. I just believe that Santorum won’t be able to withstand the scrutiny that he’s about to get, and will galvanize a lot of undecided folks, myself included, to be squarely behind Romney.

  3. elfiii says:

    I am more concerned with the fact Romney has only drunk “half a beer” in his life than any of the rest of the dust up. My daddy was a ramblin’ wreck from Georgia Tech and as we all know they drink their whiskey clear down there on North Ave. My daddy was a fine, upright, moral man so I can’t imagine drinking a beer every now and then hurts anybody. Daddy drank beer too. So do I. It tastes good.

    • analogkid says:

      It’s true. At Tech, we drink our whiskey clear and our women pretty. (And our football team good.)

      • Dave Bearse says:

        You’re drinking your women pretty? Is that indicative that you ‘ve had had a few prior to commenting, or that you drink until your women look pretty?

  4. L. Max Lehmann says:


    I had a frank discussion with a neighbor, loyal GOP voter, Southern Baptist, about how Mitt Romney’s faith choice affected his vote. The answer: It doesn’t. He’ll vote Romney, if nominated. I believe most reliable GOP voters will vote for whomever is nominated, so strong is GOP voter sentiment.

    I have seen how effective Peach Pundit can be, and I have also seen how this marvelous little blog can be used to steer conversations in a less efficacious manner.

    As John points out, in so many words, I join in your hope that the media, and the electorate stay on track with what is truly important about the 2012 general election cycle – an unsustainable financial debt so gargantuan, our Department of Defense classifies it a threat to National Security.

    The industrialized World owes $7+ TRILLION in debt service this year, with the US owing $3 TRILLION plus. We cannot ‘grow’ our way out of this problem, nor can we ‘tax’ our way out of the issue. Spending cuts, while sounding great, often mean either lost jobs or lost payments. We did not create the problem overnight, nor will we resolve our financial situation quickly.

    We need a President who is able, and every American energized to force change to our political processes or we will find the alternatives unthinkable.

    • ZazaPachulia says:

      hmm… Those last two paragraphs sound like they could be lifted from an Obama reelection campaign flier (not that I disagree with the sentiment). It sure doesn’t sound like what I’m hearing in the primary debates.

  5. SallyForth says:

    When used in connection with Santorum, “conservative” translates to Catholic. All hail the Pope and his infallible anti-women creed! Back in the day, my PaPaw and other Southern Baptists would NEVER have voted for a Catholic for fear they would put us under the Pope’s control. It’s purty funny that we now have Catholics ganging up on a Mormon. I personally don’t care about his religion; I still think Mitt is the best guy for the nomination.

    And Manning needs to stop sniffing the crazy glue.

  6. saltycracker says:

    Drew unlike Manning didn’t tell the voter referee “my bad” they doctored the instant replay.

    The press can sell more papers focusing on the candidate’s outrageous statements, moral slips from way back, marriages, religion, gay opinions, abortion stances or juicy entertainment appeal than the increasing dull, dry, multi- trillion dollar debt road through jobs by growing government employees & benefits or controlling industries.

    A very high percentage agree with Obama that equal oportunity really means equal outcome.

  7. GaConservative23 says:

    People who choose their candidates based on religion must have forgotten about Jimmy Carter.

  8. gcp says:

    “Afraid of his Mormon faith” …. I am afraid of Romney’s proposal to increase the military by 100,000 troops.

    • L. Max Lehmann says:

      “Romney said he would like non-combat defense spending to rise from 3.8 percent of gross domestic product to 4 percent… commission new ships and aircraft, as well as grow the ranks of active duty personnel by about 100,000.”

      Washington Post – Mitt Romney: Grow military spending, build new ships, planes – Oct 6, 2011

      An increase in defense spending seems counter-intuitive to current US fiscal reality. I am afraid that there are no electable candidates that are willing to do what is needed to restore our fiscal sovereignty.

  9. seenbetrdayz says:

    We’re going to have to start building our ships out of bamboo, ’cause that’s about the only thing the Chinese are going to loan us when they figure out we’ve got no plans to pay back the debt.

    (was supposed to be a reply to Lehmann)

  10. SallyForth says:

    Meanwhile, back at Santorum…. Has anybody noticed that since he left the Senate in 2006 he has been a lobbyist…… hrmph, “consultant” to multiple clients? In ’96 he went to Washington just a “rural Pennsylvania guy” worth $155,000 according to disclosure statements. Per recent disclosure statements, he is now worth about $9 million. And if he were to somehow make it to the White House, he’d never throw any of our tax money and contracts to his clients who’ve made him wealthy, right?

    This guy needs to go to the back of the pack, with his fellow lobbyist Newt.

  11. ConservativeCaucus says:

    Since when has Rep. Manning ever been considered a social conservative, limited government conservative or otherwise???????

  12. saltycracker says:

    To make a change in 2012 it’s about time for an ephiphany and to read the tea leaves on Romney (puns intended), play nice, compromise and work to get someone like Rubio in the V.P. slot…

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