“All Major Political Parties”

The hot church-related news of the week involves this year’s variant on the traditional statement on political parties. In addition to the standard instructions about not using church buildings for political purposes and participating in the democratic process, this year’s statement contains something new. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the statement says:

Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of all major political parties.

Most discussion, in blogs and in the media, has focused on the implications of this statement for the Democratic party in Utah. However, the way the statement is worded suggests that it is intended for more general application — even that its primary audience is outside the United States. After all, the United States has only two major political parties, and has had the same two major parties since the days of the Civil War. So the phrase “all major political parties” is somewhat bizarre in the U.S. context! It would be far more grammatical to have simply said, “both major political parties.”

Thus, the statement seems to have a global intent and application; both the Democratic and the Republican parties reflect some “principles compatible with the gospel,” but so also do the PRI, PAN, and PRD in Mexico, Hugo Chavez’s MVR party in Venezuela (as well as the opposition movements there), the Socialist Party, Christian Democratic Party, and UDI Party in Chile, the Scandinavian Socialists, and so forth. In other words, from a U.S. perspective, the statement reads as a simple nod to church connections with the Democratic party (not in itself a trivial matter in a year when a Republican president has approval ratings of about 35% and a Republican Congress has even lower ratings). But from an international perspective, the statement may be even more valuable because it ends long-running debates about which of these many parties the church supports.

Countries where a Socialist party is among the major parties have had a particularly long-standing and divisive version of this debate. Throughout the Cold War, church leaders occasionally made statements about the incompatibility of Socialism with the gospel. Ezra Taft Benson during the 1960s was especially vigorous in such proclamations, on various occasions announcing that no Latter-day Saint could, in good conscience, vote for a Socialist candidate.

Of course, such statements are innocuous enough in the U.S., where few Socialists of any kind have ever received more than marginal electoral support. However, there are Mormons in Scandinavian countries, where, from about the 1930s until the 1970s, working class individuals voted Socialist as a matter of course. Since a great many Mormons in Europe have been working class, it is difficult to imagine that there weren’t Mormons supporting Scandinavian Socialists during the Cold War period. While the conflict of loyalties created by Benson’s statements is somewhat hypothetical, I see no reason to think that it would be anything but a severe dilemma. Under the newly-announced political party policy, Scandinavian Mormon Socialists can retire that identity conflict and vote their consciences.

In one case, I don’t have to speculate about the conflict that the lack of a clear position on political parties created for the church. As most readers probably know, the current president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has been a remarkably conflictual and divisive leader. The middle and upper classes (with cooperation from unionized labor) have organized multiple national general strikes against him, have signed various petitions asking him to resign, and have forced an (unsuccessful) recall referendum. Some of the same people also supported a coup d’etat that briefly removed Chavez from power and replaced him with a dictator, Pedro Carmona.

During the peak of these tensions, my wife and I were living in Caracas, Venezuela. The ward we attended was seemingly split down the middle in political terms. This division was by no means a matter of guess-work on our part; members used every fast-and-testimony meeting and many regular sacrament meeting talks to debate the issue — focusing specifically on whether the church was pro- or anti-Chavez. The major pro-Chavez arguments were: 1) that the church tells us to support and honor the government, whatever it might be, and 2) that, during the temple Endowment ceremony, the prayer always specifically asks that Chavez be given the wisdom necessary to govern the country. There was only one important anti-Chavez argument: the church is from the U.S., and Chavez opposes the U.S., so Chavez and the church are natural enemies.

Our ward was evenly divided because it included poor members and middle- and upper-class members. When we visited wards in poorer areas, no real division was evident: everyone supported Chavez. But for those wards with some social diversity, the political conflict over Chavez became an important religious conflict, as well. If the new political parties statement is indeed intended for worldwide use, then the impact in Venezuela will be dramatic. The large contingents of Chavista and anti-Chavista Mormons will have to accept that both groups reflect “principles compatible with the gospel.”

Comments

  1. JNS,you beat me to the topic, and I’m glad you did. I didn’t think of this at all in an international context. In the places I’ve lived, church members have never really been too tied up with politics.

    Having grown up in Utah, this certainly hit me as funny. This is probably the only time you’ll hear faithful members of the church (Republicans) tell newspaper reporters not to read too much into it…it being a message from the First Presidency. (See Deseret News link on right side of screen.)

  2. Karen: Oops! I didn’t mean to steal your thunder! Sorry about that…

    I really did love to see the Republicans downplaying the importance of the statement. There was a moment in the late 1990s when one of the Seventy made a big public statement about how important he thought it was for the Utah Democratic party to be rebuilt. But clearly nothing came of that, either… (Indeed, I can’t even remember who it was.)

  3. I got the idea that the letter was only read in Utah. Which would be a blow to the theory that it was supposed to apply to Scandinavian Socialists. Anyone know how widely the letter was circulated?

  4. My impression was that the letter was read in Utah because political caucuses are being held there in the immediate future. The church only sends the “elections” letter just before elections. So the fact that it’s only been read in Utah so far doesn’t really tell us that much.

    Also, the “all major political parties” clause is strange in Utah, which has 1 1/2 major parties…

  5. It wasn’t read in my ward. But we also have a different sacrament prayer from everyone else.

  6. “But we also have a different sacrament prayer from everyone else.”

    LOL! Man, I think that filled my humor quota for the weekend!

  7. Aaron Brown says:

    As a Republican (gasp!), I welcome this development, particularly if it is interpreted to mean that Churchmembers should stop defining the Republican Party as God’s Political arm. There’s nothing that takes all the fun and interest out of political discussions more quickly than having them turn into bouts of pious testimony bearing. If this development forces even a handful of LDS to start thinking more carefully about the Gospel implications of this or that policy, rather than lazily assuming that GOD = GOP, then it will have been worthwhile.

    None of which is to say that I hope this impacts anyone’s vote. :)

    Aaron B

  8. Aaron Brown says:

    A comment excerpted from an email list that I frequent:

    “Call me cynical but I always thought the real reason the church’s official statements read in sacrament meetings during the political campaign seasons counseling the saints that “the Church does not endorse political parties or candidates nor are the church facilities to be used for political purposes” was strictly so the Church could be tax-exempt and and not be viewed as a lobbying entity.”

    Discuss.

    Aaron B

  9. The first time I actually ever heard politics being discussed in Church was on my mission in East Germany. Stationed in Schwerin, we travelled periodically to the Hanseatic City of Wismar where there was a small group meeting in an apartment (a decade ago). The group was extremely small, literally only a few members. The Group Leader was a great guy and fun to speak with. Apparently, elections were coming up and he went off on a tangent before a sacrament meeting lambasting the Christian Democrat Party and advocating the Social Democrats. I still remember his very words to this day because he was so passionate about it: “bloß nicht die CDU, bloß nicht die CDU” (“anything but the CDU”).

    I wasn’t really aware of any current in the Church that you couldn’t be a Mormon and Democrat or anything like that. Maybe I was just oblivious. So it sounded so foreign to me to hear a Latter-day Saint talking about any political party at all in Church.

  10. “rather than lazily assuming that GOD = GOP”

    Are you saying the “GOP” does not stand for “God’s Own Party”?

  11. “The large contingents of Chavista and anti-Chavista Mormons will have to accept that both groups reflect “principles compatible with the gospel.””

    Are you cherry picking your First Presidency statements, here? :) Do you, for example, feel the same way about what members “will have to accept” from the First Presidency message on a same-sex marriage amendment? Just curious.

    More broadly, the FP statement says there exist principles compatible with the gospel in all major parties, but I am still inclined to think that even with the existence of such compatibility in some of the principles, one would be better off not rushing out to join the Baathists. To put it another way, Hugo Chavez could still be 94% bad news and that FP statement would be true.

  12. Political Labels: Up or Down v. Right or Left.

    I don’t view political parties by the standard labels of “right” or “left”, “conservative” or “liberal.” These tired, old, wornout terms are loaded with biases, prejudices, preconceptions and baggage, with all good, bad and ugly that implies. Each passing day these labels become less and less meaningful, serving as a pejorative to hurl at ones opposition more than a anything else. So I’ve drawn up a different map to reference and created a different compass that I use to navigate the political battlefield and its minefields.

    I vision a flagpole on which Old Glory is raised. The flag symbolizes to me the ideals and principles of liberty contained within the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the gospel, the ideal balance between government and religion. Thus, I view political parties, platforms, policies, etc., as either moving Up towards the ideal or moving Down away from the ideal.

    I apply the idiom “run (something) up the flagpole” to test the idea, measure, party, policy, etc., and create my response or opinion from a principle based standard as opposed to a party line. Using that metaphor I can more easily judge all political matters from a non-partisan vantage point & analysis, and decide whether it’s moving us either Up the flagpole towards the ideal or Down the flagpole away from the ideal.

    Using the 80/20 rule, I believe the Republican party is Up 80% of the time, whereas the Democrat party is Down 80% of the time.

  13. I believe the FP is being very careful to protect the reputation of the Church.

    For example, the Church, though very anti-abortion, belongs to no anti-abortion group, though representatives attend some conferences and give moral support where they can. Why? Because if we were to join, we would be seen as endorsing every principle of that organization.

    Likewise, the Church cannot endorse the republican or democratic platforms because they both contain flaws as well as good principles.

    I remember my first copy of Mormon Doctrine, and it was a _first copy_. And there in black and white stood the one sentence: “Church of the Devil – see Catholic Church”. A simplistic view of the evils the Catholic church had done, and thereby lumped all the good the Catholic Church had done into the dung heap. As you know, McKay had the book recalled and that line removed.

    The Democratic Party has problems for sure, but they certainly haven’t earned the “Church of the Devil” title yet, even from me a rather conservative fellow. I personally wish the Democrats would become a viable party, and help move the country forward. What I see right now is just that they are against everything the republican party is trying to do. It reminds me of a certain son of mine when he was in his late teens. I am sure that will change once they have an anointed presidential candidate.

    What we really need is to have more LDS as government office holders where our ideals and principles of honesty would push out the corruption. Could you imagine the effective of government if the same consideration in the use of funds were applied as is to tithing?

    Running for office in Utah won’t improve the count. You have to go into the the world and be chosen to represent the non-believers. And why not run as a Democrat? In one town I lived in, the unions helped the democratic party control the town. So a very efficient businessman won the democratic primary and kicked out the old corrupt mayor. The new mayor turned the town around, and even though a democrat, used the principles often associated with republicans, and everyone cheered. Better roads, more responsive police, lower sanitation costs (fired the boss and let the department manage itself with the mayor’s oversight), lower insurance costs, mayor’s sons go to jail if they break the law, etc. etc.

  14. Tom Manney says:

    The high priests of the church spake and there was heard in all the land a voice, as one, crying, “huh?”

  15. Elisabeth says:

    Excellent post, RT.

    I’d wager that many people in Utah vote on “issues” rather than with a particular political party. Unless the pro-choice, pro-marriage rights, pro-social programs section of the Republican party continues to make inroads into the Republican platform, I don’t think Utahns are going to be switching their political affiliation any time soon.

    I’m surprised the Utah Republican party would consider this official statement to be a threat to their almost complete domination of Utah politics.

  16. Ebenezer Robinson says:

    JNS (#2), the Seventy you refer to was Marlin Jensen, who has occasionally been fairly outspoken on social issues — notably at a conference in the Holladay Stake in (I think) 2000. When my wife and I sought him out to express our delight at his talk, he said, “What do you expect of a Democrat?” (or words to that effect).

    The interview that he gave to the Tribune in 1998 was front-page news and was picked up by the DesNews and KSL, I believe. Sounded great at the time, but there was no discernible change in attitudes either inside or outside the Church by the time we left the state. As others have pointed out.

  17. jjohnsen says:

    I had a Sunday School teacher that said she thought there was a possibility some calling were from necessity instead of revelation because of Marlin K. Jensen. She refused to believe God would call a Democrat to such an important position.

    So many good times in that crazy class.

  18. John, your experience in Wismar is pretty funny. It appears that most European Mormons are lefties (2:1). I would be interested in Ronan’s report about England.

    The fact is that conservatives are much harder to convert. Why would a member of the establishment accept a tiny religious group from America? You gotta be open minded to do that.

    In the words of one of my friends from the English Midlands, the LDS Church was a breath of fresh air.

    In Germany, the sixties were a boon for the LDS Church. The war generation that had endured so much was replaced by energetic flower power leaders that run great youth programs, saw to it that the kids got educated, and approached the world self-confidently.

    That trend lasted throughout the mid-eigthies. I am not sure what is happening these days in Germany.

    I can report, however, that of my youth group only one of us remains committed to the LDS leadership. We had a great youth program. Many of us went on missions, which turned out to be big let downs.

    The machine aspect of the LDS experience caught up with us and ground our vibrant testimonies to bits. And when we found out about the September Six and New Mormon History, we left one by one. Somehow we never dealt with the disappointment.

    I only found out what had happened to us when I tracked down my friends last year.

  19. HL: I’m sorry to hear that.

  20. Well, with that “all major parties” clause, I guess Green Party guys like myself (with heavy sympathies for the New Party) is out of luck. :)

  21. Marc Bohn says:

    JNS – I guess I read the statement a little differently than you. As I understand it, this particular statement is only being read in wards in the United States. Perhaps Ronan or others can fill us in on what sort of similar statements, if any, may be read abroad near election time. I also see this as encompassing more than simply the Democratic and Republican parties. In my mind it certainly would apply to the Libertarian and even the Green parties.

    Elder Jensen Article – For those interested in seeing the 1998 Salt Lake Tribune Article for which Elder Marlin K. Jensen was interviewed see here (Note- This blog references Elder Jensen as the “late” Elder Marlin Jensen before seguing to the article… why? I don’t know. He’s still alive and kicking as far as I know).

  22. Marc Bohn says:

    If anyone is interested in the full transcript of the interview let me know and I’ll email it to you :)

  23. I do not remember any letters being read about political stuff in England, but I could be wrong. I think most english Mormons are pretty centrist, which in American terms means they are rabid lefties.

  24. jjohnsen says:

    I’d like to see the transcript Marc, can you email my name at gmail.com?

  25. StephanieAP says:

    I think that’s a really awesome statement. I recently ran for the Green Party in the Canadian federal election and I never felt like I was doing anything wrong. In fact, I was surprised by the number of members who enthusiastically told me they voted for me (even if my dad didn’t!). The whole idea that the political right is morally right is absurd. There have been some wonderfully editorials in the local newspapers questioning why so-called Christians would vote for parties that want to take aid away from those who need it the most.

  26. StepanieAP, your statement seems like the kind of thing against which the First Presidency statement would be an injuction. Why can’t real Christians, not “so-called,” vote for these rightist parties? Can principles compatible with the Gospel not be found in their platforms? Can’t one believe in giving to the poor and needy and also believe that such giving should not be compulsory?

    I’m not saying that this is my position on welfare. I’m somewhat conflicted on the issue. But I can certainly believe that true Christians can vote either way.

  27. I think we should not read too much into this letter.

    First, it was the standard letter to remind Church members to attend precinct caucuses and has no application outside of the U.S. or Utah for that matter when you look at that context.

    Second, I do think that if there is to be minor significance attached to the “all major parties” line, it is that that whoever drafted the letter wants to avoid any hubub about only the Dems and Reps being O.K.

    Lastly, as a Democrat (but more as an anti-conventional wisdom gadfly) I find just as many liberals who think God is on their side and that the conservatives are the evil ones as I find the opposite. Its just that conservatives in America (and in some other countries) have been more successful in making this false argument over the past 40 years.

  28. David S (#13)…you made some good comments. The real reason that the Church is encouraging members to show up at both caucuses is not to make anyone feel O.K. about their respective political affiliation, but to try to get apathetic members off their rear ends.

    Most Republicans and Democrats in Utah are LDS (a majority of the former and a plurality if not majority of the latter). The Church wants to see good members get involved in both parties to influence candidate selection and platfrom committees. Afer all, as a certain right-wing Women’s organization has said: the most powerful person in the country is not the President of the U.S., but the ‘precinct committeeman’.

    That’s one time where I’ll have to agree with the Eagle Forum. No matter how many millions of $$$ you have, you can not run for Congress, Governor or Senate without a supermajority of delegate support in both parties. A simple majority means you go to a primary election. Currently the ultra-liberals and ultra-conservatives in both parties make up the delegates. Personally, I think the Church would like to see regular members having a voice and (of course) voicing their moral views when appropriate.

    Caucuses are this Tuesday at 7:00 PM you Utahns. Make sure you show up!

  29. Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of all major political parties.
    There may be some parts of the Democratic platform that are compatible with the gospel, but I’ve yet to see them.
    -Compulsury Charity. I don’t think the scriptures justify helping the poor through compulsion. It has been an expectation of the members and those prophets with political power, like King Benjamin, have encouraged it, but never forced it.
    -Abortion. I don’t think I need add a comment here-though this is generally associated with the Democratic party it obviously is not a mandatory principle of membership and I don’t know if it is part of the platform of the party.
    -Government intervention in general. The role of the government in scripture seems to always be very limited-not something the Democratic Party is known for-but unfortunately the Republicans nowadays are just as bad. National defense was always an essential part of government in the scriptures and protection of rights, but generally political power is portrayed as corrosive, and government intervention not encouraged.

  30. Steve Evans says:

    GMG, I think it’s clear that the Dems have a mandatory abortion policy. Unfortunately this is not a very successful long-term growth strategy.

  31. cj douglass says:

    I’m not joking when I say some “Gods Only Party” members are definitely leaving the church over this letter.

  32. You know, the Church can issue statements about how “all the political parties have their good points” until they’re blue in the face. It won’t make much difference.

    Until they outright tell us what parts of the Republican platform are spawn-of-Satan, we’re not going to see much of a shake-up in Utah.

    Oh yeah, they can condemn the libertarians too while they’re at it.

    But it’s not going to happen.

  33. Steve EM says:

    GMG,
    I’m also against collective compulsory charity, which so many of use as an excuse to ignore the less fortunate. But both major US parties support compulsory charity and have since the New Deal. Yes, they argue about $s and emphasis, by the underlying premises isn’t debated, and it would take the unweaving of a whole body of US Supreme court case law to open that debate up, which isn’t going to happen without a revolution. I might be an iconoclast, but I’m no revolutionary anarchist.

    Seth,
    You’re not hinting the GA’s should tell us how to think?

  34. cj douglass says:

    “I’d wager that many people in Utah vote on “issues” rather than with a particular political party.

    I’m surprised the Utah Republican party would consider this official statement to be a threat to their almost complete domination of Utah politics.”

    I’m sorry but I can’t let this slide. Republican domination in Utah is a result of Utahns NOT voting on the issues. The same could be said for Utah if it was dominated by the Democrats or any party and it is exactly why the FP letter will have no effect on the way individuals vote.

  35. Voltaire says:

    What the Church fails to state is that any political endorsing opens the Church up to violating their tax exempt status. There was a huge story that hit where a Presbyterian church and its minister drew the ire of the IRS by attacking Bush’s policies in Iraq over the pulpit. Obviously the minister was invoking thou shout not kill inferences and what would Jesus do to keep his sermon moral and religiously grounded but the IRS didnt care.

    I know the Church loves America but no so much that its willing to be taxed, even where such church enterprises deserve to be levied. Billions have to made and preserved. So the membership will just have to pretend that the LDS Church have offically sanctioned the GOP so everyone can sleep at night.

  36. Not being a resident of Utah any longer than my mission prep required of me, I can’t speak of those problems. But I would suggest that maybe people are not just voting “for” the GOP but voting against the Democrats in Utah.

    Ever the optimist, I think that the Democrats are best on the church principle of caring for others, and the GOP is better on personal responsibility, the Libertarians are better on free agency, and the greens are better on, hmmm some one might need to help me here hehe.

    As such, members can support ideas of each party. The problems arise when, running for public and especially national office, members are forced to accept the party line. Al Gore as an example ran for state office as anti abortion, but when he had a chance at national importance, switched sides. Joseph Liebermann also showed some signs of caving into the party line when he ran for VP, but I am glad to say he is once again his own man.

    Currently the GOP is more politic in that they choose moderates for their presidential candidates based on who can win. The Democrats pick the more extreme candidates based on who can raise the most money. The GOP seems to have middle class America backing them. I.e. the money for the last election came mostly from middle and upper middle class. The Democrats had a lot of big time donors in the form of the very rich, lawyers, and unions. Their chosen class of the lower middle class and the poor don’t have as much money to give so they have to improvise.

    The Democrats have more party discipline: toe the party line or no special appointments for you. The GOP has several rogue members that still hold their committee chairs.

    So my point was to have more LDS get involved in politics, really in both parties. The loosing party may be more open to giving more significant work to you. And just being a moderate in either party may be closer to the Gospel than what we have now. Sure on single issue things, one party may be better than another.

    I am reminded that when the Nauvoo Saints voted in block for one party or another, we lost all influence with the other party, and the first party took our vote for granted. Our roll of being a light to the world won’t work in that circumstance. We need to influence all the parties, (possibly even the greens,) and get them back on track.

  37. I think it’s great that dissident Mormons finally have as statement from the first presidency that they can take seriously!

  38. This late breaking statement from the Church shows how in touch they are with the Washington scene. The latest rumbling in Washington about the future of our country indicate that the next presidential election may yield something that most politicos never thought could happen…that the next president will be not a woman but a Mormon. Democrats had been carefully plotting Hillary’s ascension to office while Republicans prepare to one up the ‘Crats with their own candidate who is not only female but a minority and unbeknownst to anyone else in the party (and even to herself so far) that she is coming out of the closet. The ‘Publicans (and sinners) hoped to be swearing in President Rice in January of 09.

    But this contest has really become a no-contest since the emergence of two very strong Mormon candidates who are now poised to wage Holy War on one another to gain the presidency of our great country. So long ladies, its time for the apocalypse.

    From the left comes senior senator Harold Reid out of the state with a very high Mormon population in spite of having Sin City as its most populous city, legalized prostitution, loose liquor laws and a growing population of heathen liberals. Senator Reid has become a vocal critic of the Bush administration, of Bush himself and most importantly of Crawford and life on the Bush ranch. (not to be offensive but what if Harry Reid’s son married one of W’s daughters and gave their first born son the first name of grandpa Reid and the last name of grandpa Bush) Harry is the new face of the democratic revolution that is sweeping across not only traditionally liberal states but even into many traditionally republican states especially those with high concentrations of Mormons. Mormons around the globe are being challenged by how such a “devout Mormon” can be such a democrat and can bash the conservative president with so much efficacy. Inner conflict has reached new levels and in fact, most wards in the church have now used a 5th Sunday combined priesthood / relief society lesson to address this specific topic. If the excitement about Reid continues it is expected that the legalization of marijuana, gay marriage and driving without a temple recommend will be approved in Utah and Idaho within the next 5 years.

    On the right political superstar and governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney sits poised to make his own move into the white house. While on the outside this classic Republican candidate and hero of the disgraced Mormon Olympics appears to just be another pretty face with close ties to people with lots of money, inside this former stake president is a brilliant political strategist with a killer instinct and a fondness for fine cheese. As Mitt’s son Matt put it “my dad has more connections than the Internet”. Granted that was stated in 1991 when the internet didn’t have that many connections at all but if we can extrapolate that Mitt’s connections have grown since 1991 in the same way that internet connections have, we know that he has lots of connections and that is important in politics. Mitt has beaten the odds in Massachusetts as a conservative, Mormon governor in a state that already has legalized a bunch of stuff that most people in Utah and Idaho still don’t know even exists, let alone is legal.

    While W. is pissing off America and trying to use big words such as kerfuffle to confuse and impress, these two political gurus are in the background working their way towards the showdown of showdowns. Never before has the Mormon church or the US (or even the entire globe) experienced the type of showdown of power grabbing and religious mudslinging that this upcoming election will provide. Both of these men have defied the odds time and time again and one of them will ultimately come out the victor in the fight for the biggest political prize in the world (unless you count the coveted role as German ambassador to Fiji). It will be an epic battle between the people’s candidate Reid and the ultra-suave Romney.

    Who will win this heated battle? Who will wield the sword of Laban and slay his foe? Both candidates have a lot in common with the last popular president of the US, Bill Clinton. Reid comes from the same party as Bill, is from a small state (politically) and they are both members of the same secret political society that is so secret that I can’t say anything else about it for fear of having my true identity revealed. Mitt is a governor (like Bill was), has a wife that people remember when they meet her, and has the hair and good looks that people want in a president, none of this nerdy, frazzled professor look like Reid, he’s polished, smooth and a “churro” like the Latin girls like to say. In addition, Romney has publicly stated that he knows the truth about Cain’s color which Reid has, to date, not been willing to do. In both cases their political experience and stand on the issues is irrelevant (as it was with Clinton) besides since they are both Mormon they will be perceived to be the same since all Mormons are the same and who cares about issues anyway.

    I’ve taken a straw poll and can tell you that the consensus position is that Romney will win the election. Several key factors will play into this success story. Before the election, Ted Kennedy will convert to Mormonism and endorse Romney because he’s from Massachusetts. Illicit photos of Reid at the Mustang Ranch will surface on the internet and quickly disappear before anyone sees them. He will claim they are the works of an amateur kid with an old version of Kai Power Goo photo editor and provide some nice family photos which will quickly become the least popular downloads ever on the internet. The Red Sox will win the pennant again in 2008 right before the election. Reid will spill the beans about Area 51 and admit that he is actually an alien who landed there in the 70’s but who escaped before the government reached his downed ship. He will ask to borrow his space ship so he can go and visit the family.

    Even if none of these things happen, Romney will win because cyclically its time for us to have another president with a 2 syllable last name. The pattern since 1980 has been – 2 syllables (Reagan), 1 syllable (Bush), 2 syllables (Clinton), 1 syllable (Bush) – next up is anther bisyllabic presidential name…Romney 2008 – window decals are now available
    Romney 2008 “Choose the Right”

    There is still an outside chance that a dark horse candidate could win the election. Rumor has it that Sheri Dew is considering running as a Green Party candidate with Nadar as veep. Sister Dew’s success, unmarried status, diplomacy and cooking skills are seen as key factors that could help her win this election. Will she be able to defy the odds and win the election as she defied the odds to rise to CEO of Deseret Book as a woman? Whatever the outcome, 2008 will surely be a fantastic year for Mormons and politics.

  39. Marc Bohn says:

    GMG – That kind of sweeping rhetoric is, in my mind, the very reason the Church added this line to a statement that already stipulated political neutrality. I could caricature Republicans in the very same way you did the Democrats, but it would simply distort political discourse and do injustice to nuanced issues. I think there is a strong case to be made for a certain level of government social programs that help the least among us, simply labeling it “compulsory charity” does nothing to attack the merits of such programs. The amorphous idea that somehow Democrats are for more “government intervention” is not an argument. Republicans and Democrats both support “government intervention” in all sorts of areas. No Democrat I know argues that simply “more” government intervention is better. The debatable question is what is the most appropriate level of government intervention in each particular area at issue. As for abortion, Steve, there is very clearly NOT a “mandatory abortion policy,” as the leader of the Senate Democrats is pro-life and many within the party are arguing for a toned down party stance on the issue. As Marlin K. Jensen said in the SL Trib interview referenced here earlier, it is in the Church’s interest to have good members actively participating in both parties (mind you this was an interview he was asked by the first presidency to give). I think that the point of the statement, as stated earlier, was to encourage particpation by Mormons in the political process period, whether it be with the Democrats or the Republicans.

  40. otis – Great humor !!!

    Yea, Members will get very excited over the possibilities and think that the millennium will happen just after the next inauguration lol.

    Na, I think that Reed’s and Romney’s roles are to open up the possibilities for more LDS to hold office. I really don’t give either a chance, though I appreciate their contributions to the debate.

    Rice is impressive as a Sec of State. Read between the lines, look at the agreements she has gotten from governments that like to be difficult, the respect other countries have for her, and the difficult problems her boss has caused her. She is very good with foreign countries, and a hard worker who isn’t after the limelight. I believe she is also the cause of some of Bush’s recent policy shifts, and a softening of his attitudes. I don’t know if she practically has a chance, but she would be a good president in my book. She is tough, and I believe she could explain herself better than her boss does. I do hope the GOP becomes desperate enough to run her instead of the usual Bob Dole type. I admit she is under qualified, but I still like her style. And we have had worse.

    We have the same barrier to break though that RFK did with his Catholicism. I hope this election helps us move closer to the trust of the American people.

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