Excited About Romney, Despite Myself

So that’s it: The Republican nomination process is finally over. (Gingrich might still be kicking around, but once Nate Silver calls it, the thinking has been done.)

Ever since Romney first announced his candidacy in the last election, I’ve been very conflicted about Romney, and about the idea of a Mormon candidate, and about Romney as that Mormon candidate. To be blunt, he has uncanny valley issues of seeming almost-but-not-quite-human—I’m not even sure he would pass the Turing Test. The NY Times hilariously describes him as “the first quantum politician.”

And it’s way too early to say whether a Mormon candidate/president is going to make things easier or harder for the church. But we at least know that there will be an increasing level of scrutiny and curiosity about Mormonism, and there’s a chance that it will lead to increased bigotry. (To know the church isn’t necessarily to like the church.)

But despite the obvious flaws with the first Mormon presidential candidate, and despite the potential for it to blow up in our faces, my heart leapt when I first read the rumors on Twitter this morning: “Breaking: Washington Post says Rick Santorum will suspend presidential campaign.”

Whoa. The Republican candidate for president is a Mormon. A former stake president. That’s so effing cool! 

Now that we’ve all had a few hours to reflect, share your thoughts below. My contribution is this: I was way too hasty when I named 2011 “The Year of the Mormon”…I assumed the buzz about Mormonism wouldn’t get any louder. Just wait.

Comments

  1. As a Republican I haven’t been overly enthused about Mitt Romney. but as a Mormon I do find his candidacy exciting. I didn’t realize I was excited until just recently. I find that I’m actually looking forward to all the increased scrutiny. I hope all the wacky crap becomes such a big deal that my not-Mormon friends can’t help but ask me what I think about it. Nobody ever asks me what I think about anything.

  2. As a Mormon and a Democrat (more or less – if we had a truly nanny-state socialist party, that’s probably what I’d join), I have mixed feelings. I’m not going to vote for him, but I hope he swerves away from the hard-right and doesn’t make us all look too crazy.

  3. I really hope he swings more moderate before November. Then I might consider voting for him, though at the moment it’s pretty unlikely.

  4. Barry Soetoro and Willard M. Romney will not be getting my vote. I will be voting for the Constitution Party person, whomever is selected. Barry and Willard are too Socialistic. Truly Satan deceives, even the very elect.

  5. The ‘buzz’ about Mormonism is all bad. Romeny trys to run away from it as fast as he can. Why do Church members want to keep trying to put that ball and chain on him when he clearly doesn’t want it or need it?

  6. #2 CRW there is the Socialist Party of America. They are not a part of a persistently failing duopoly but they are definitely there.

    I agree with Bob on 5. Mitt is trying to distance himself. He is okay with publicly being culturally Mormon but does not want to discuss The Church at all it seems.

    I’m just as glad. I am the only member in my family, I do not need Robo-Mitt making my life harder for the next 7 months. My sister asked me one time whether I secretly wanted Romney to win because he was Mormon, I unabashedly and unequivocally immediately answered no. I don’t feel that religion and politics should mix, so unless I thought he was a good candidate I would not want him to win. I don’t, so I don’t. Had he not been so concerned with courting ultra-conservatives and just stuck to his record it may have gone okay for him (I still would not have voted for him…nor Obama btw) but at least he would have his integrity and more people may have voted for him. Instead he decided to flip flop around like a fish out of water so rightfully so he catches alot of flak for that.

  7. Kyle, the real sadness here is that you have needed to amend your prophecy.

  8. To care about Mitt only because he’s Mormon is like rooting for Shawn Bradley to succeed in the NBA.

  9. While there are obviously seven months and a lot of hard road before Romney until the election, I continue to believe that, despite the marginally improving economy, the odds are in his favor come November. When the Supreme Court hands down their party-line, 5-4 unconstitutional verdict on the Affordable Care Act (which is what I think is the most likely decision), they’ll give Romney a huge stick to beat the president with, and he has plenty of other sticks already. Sure, there are lots of ways Romney and his people could mess things up, lots of variables at work at home and abroad, lots of ways Obama and his people can make their case; I’m not putting any money down here. But I’ve been trying to come to peace with the likelihood of President Romney for a while now, and I don’t yet see any definite reason to change my mind.

  10. I’m mostly happy about how the US government is now a 19th Century WASP male’s worst nightmare: A black man in the White House. A Mormon as his presidential opponent. And the whole Supreme Court is made up of Jews and Catholics, some of whom are women.

  11. I am a very introverted Mormon with one foot in the closet. Romney is outing me. If he wins, I’m going to go live under a rock somewhere where I don’t have to ever hear about my magic panties that will get me my own planet again.

  12. I don’t think Romney will win the general election. He is definitely the best hope that the GOP has, but that does not translate to a win in the general election. He may win, but I would be extremely surprised. Hopefully if he does, he at least doesn’t blow it by continuing to cowtow to the lowest common denominators of his party.

  13. Eve FTW.

  14. I’ve had family express concerns over the coming barrage of anti-Mormon coverage. Not me; I can deal with scorn from the left and mistrust from the Christian right. What’s really going to be annoying is the escalation of minor errors and mischaracterizations by sloppy reporters and uninformed pundits. An offhand comment that Romney was “senior Mormon official” annoys me more than barbs about doctrine.

  15. My mother is voting for Romney so now she fancies herself some sort of scholar on Mormon culture and doctrine. It is actually quite funny. Remember when Bill O’Reilly said that the story about JS was “offensive to 150 Million Mormons?” That was so hilarious. I had a 15 minute heated conversation with her trying to explain that not only are there not that many, even the 14 million and change that we do count are certainly not all active and would not be offended.

  16. Shouldn’t the title have been “Excited About Romney, Despite Himself”?

    As to Lawrence O’Donnell–what he said was offensive but it’s easy to avoid being offended by the rantings of someone who is so completely ignorant. Pity, it seems, is the appropriate reaction.

  17. 8.queuno: “like rooting for Shawn Bradley to succeed in the NBA”
    Love it!
    10.Michael H.: “a 19th Century WASP male’s worst nightmare”
    Love that, too!

    9.Russell Arben Fox: “When the Supreme Court hands down their party-line, 5-4 unconstitutional verdict on the Affordable Care Act … they’ll give Romney a huge stick to beat the president with”
    You may or may not be right on what the Court will do, but if you are, does that really help Romney? After all, a huge majority of the electorate likes some parts of the ACA, and so far the Republicans, Romney included, have not articulated any comprehensive alternative, much less one that retains the generally lauded parts of the bill. Won’t voters be expecting a real alternative?

  18. To care about Mitt only because he’s Mormon is like rooting for Shawn Bradley to succeed in the NBA.

    Haha, that’s true. Of course, if Harry Reid were running for president, I don’t think I’d be at all excited. I wouldn’t be all that worried either, though.

  19. Chris Gordon says:

    Loved SNL’s Seth Myers’ line on the subject: “So Republicans have finally decided that it’s better to marry someone you don’t love than to risk dying alone.”

  20. Chris (19) alot of Americans feel that way. That’s where all this nonsense talk of “lesser of 2 evils” and “spoiler candidate” comes from.

  21. “To care about Mitt only because he’s Mormon is like rooting for Shawn Bradley to succeed in the NBA.”

    Although this is humorous, the more accurate comparison should be: To care about Mitt only because he’s Mormon is like rooting for Obama to win because he is Black. That is the main reason many people I know (or heard in the media) say they voted for Obama in 2008 – but I really hope Mormons don’t make the same mistake of voting for Romney just because he’s Mormon. Luckily the Church encourages members to make thoughtful, educated decisions in voting.

  22. I agree with you on the metaphor, Rebecca. (And besides, Shawn Bradley? Surely we have more contemporary mormon athletes to root for on the basis of religion!)

  23. I think the scrutiny the church will receive will be a net positive for us even though some of it will inevitably be unfair and hackish. It will act to “unstick” us a bit and maybe move forward on some things that have festered. That said I fear for implications that it will have on our Mormon communities. My reading is that politics has already seeped too far into the social and institutional fabric of the church to the point that the tail might be wagging the dog in some instances. Clearly, we as a people have followed the “worldy trend” that has polarized politics in the US and created an alignment between religion and a particular party and ideology.

    This election is going to be negative, personal and nasty just because all the macro circumstances are driving the incentives for both sides that way. Obama has to run into the headwinds of a persistently high unemployment rate and slow economic recovery. Romney is stuck with a conservative base that isn’t motivated by love for him but by hate of Obama. The new SuperPACS are a wild card that could easily fuel the negativity. I think it will be a big test of each of us and individuals as wards and as a church if we show that we are Mormons first and political animals second. As a person that will be highly involved and invested in the coming campaign due to my deep convictions about public policies, when push to comes to shove I worry about this for myself. I think we as community need to worry about it as well.

    I was slightly disappointed in that this past conference didn’t have a single talk which addressed what is coming, even in an abstract sense. If all we get from our leaders is the basic letter read over the pulpit and PR statement on the church website I will feel sad. It is something that I will struggle with spiritually and I think many others in the next 6 months. I would appreciate some apostolic help on this.

  24. Turin Turambar says:

    As a moderate, I am trying to get excited about Mitt. I just wish he could act like the moderate he actually is; unfortunately, that is politically impossible.

  25. RE #21 — I didn’t vote for Obama but I did feel a sense of pride for America as a whole when he won. While the reason to vote for him just because he was black didn’t outweigh other issues I personally have with his ideology I do think its a valid reason for some to have voted for him. Racism is a big deal. Religious tolerance matters. There are other issues to be sure but if you feel like voting for Obama because he was black was going to move reduce racism or provide a good role model for other black Americans that sounds reasonable to me. Likewise to vote for Mitt because you think it would help America politics face its regiligous intolerance for other non-evangelical religions like Mormonism then I think that valid too. There isn’t just one set of issues that everyone has to agree on in order to be considered a thoughful educated voter.

  26. One more fairly random thought: I think both candidates should be required to choose Ron Paul as their running mate. Not that I’m fond of the guy, but the entertainment factor would be through the roof. It would also ecourage the victor to be extra careful about his health/safety and make Senate deadlocks pretty fun.

  27. The ‘buzz’ about Mormonism is all bad. Romeny trys to run away from it as fast as he can. Why do Church members want to keep trying to put that ball and chain on him when he clearly doesn’t want it or need it?

    That’s because your average Mormon doesn’t realize how thorny our history and doctrine are – and doesn’t understand why the rest of the world can’t see it as miraculous or inspired. I’m with ZD Eve – I was content with obcurity. Now I get to explain the historical merits of polygamy to my co-workers. yipee….

  28. Rah #23, “I was slightly disappointed in that this past conference didn’t have a single talk which addressed what is coming…I would appreciate some apostolic help on this.”

    There was a talk that Elder Scott gave that sheds some light on your dilemna:

    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/how-to-obtain-revelation-and-inspiration-for-your-personal-life?lang=eng

    I also think this one by Elder Holland is particularly relevant:

    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-laborers-in-the-vineyard?lang=eng

  29. The gist of an NPR report this morning was that Obama and Romney will have a difficult time convincing voters that there is much to differentiate between them. With this in mind, one of my primary criteria will be what kind of advisors do they each choose. That judgment was the death nell for McCain when he chose Sarah Palin.

    I empathize with rah’s dilemma of deciding whether one’s actions reflect a political or a gospel orientation. Thanks. rah, for the thoughtful analysis.

  30. First Mormon presidential candidate? You might be forgetting that other one who ran in 1844. It did not end well.

  31. I don’t mind people asking me about my beliefs as long as they do it respectfully. If they don’t, I just won’t answer. I respect everyone’s right to their belief structure, and I will be a witch digger’s brass monkey if they are not going to extend the same courtesy to me.

  32. #28

    Fast, pray, read your scriptures and go to church! Excellent. Maybe we should read a letter reminding people that the Church is politically neutral and not to use ward lists or resources for political purposes. That ought to take care of it. Look, I wasn’t bagging on conference, in fact this was my favorite one in a quite awhile. I guess what I would have liked is an explicit admission of what our community is facing and some thoughtful, applied advice and guidelines for the community on how to weather the storm. Maybe this will come later. Maybe they want to address it but it would have been inappropriate until Mitt officially won the nomination. I just hope they understand the stress this is going to put on many wards or individuals within wards some of who already feel marginalized for daring to you know be a Democrat. I love me some basic gospel talks. It would be nice though to have our leaders actually engage with what will be one of the most pivotal moments in modern Mormon history. I was also a bit sad that they didn’t spend at least a paragraph or two and put the final nails in the race coffin by giving the official PR statement the full legitimacy of over the pulpit treatment. It seems these days that if we are going to address actual current issues we have to look to the Church PR department. I just find that a little disappointing is all.

  33. Steve G. says:

    #30 don’t forget 1992 presidential candidate for the populist party Bo Gritz….on 2nd thought, go ahead and forget it.

  34. American Eagle says:

    The net result of Romney’s candidacy will be positive for the Church. On the East Coast and in Europe, many people have never even met a Mormon, and some even confuse us with Amish people who don’t use electricity. Romney’s intense visibility will educate these people. If he becomes president, the world will be even better educated about Mormonism and how we are very similar to average Americans.

  35. #32 – There was a mormon moment talk.

    I was just saying I think the Apostles would rather teach principles and let us apply those principles to our lives and receive the revelation. I’m not really that excited to hear a strategy session about how we should act or what we should do, etc.

    As Elder Scott said, “When we are acting as instruments in behalf of others, we are more easily inspired than when we think only of ourselves…. Communication with our Father in Heaven is not a trivial matter….We receive help from our Father in Heaven in response to our faith, obedience, and the proper use of agency.”

    Faith, obedience, and the proper use of agency. I think that can speak to every situation we encounter and not just the tactics of how to deal with the mormon political moment. If you and I really want to know “what” to do in this particular social and political environment we can find out by applying these principles. If we want a statement we can point to in order to tell others how to be obedient and how to use their agency for them, then we can ask for more talks telling us what to do in response to certain circumstances.

    Not being adversarial here, hope it doesn’t come across that way. I actually didn’t get a lot out of conference the first time around, but in listening to it a second time a lot has jumped out at me.

  36. Glaurung says:

    You’re a moderate, too, Turin??? That’s incredible.

  37. #28

    You seem overly positive about the fact that this will educate Europe etc.

    It is a fact [over here] and it has been for a while now, that the US presidents are war loving clowns, who’ll never miss an opportunity to slaughter another group of defenseless civilians, while at the same time profess themselves to be devout and passionate Christians.

    Romney would certainly not change this one bit. In fact, He would inevitably put the hypocracy in full light for those that may find an added interest in the church.

  38. #34!

    You seem overly positive about the fact that this will educate Europe etc.

    It is a fact [over here] and it has been for a while now, that the US presidents are war loving clowns, who’ll never miss an opportunity to slaughter another group of defenseless civilians, while at the same time profess themselves to be devout and passionate Christians.

    Romney would certainly not change this one bit. In fact, He would inevitably put the hypocracy in full light for those that may find an added interest in the church.

  39. American Eagle says:

    Moderates always win. Clinton, Bush, and Obama have all been more or less moderate presidents. Romney would be a moderate president if he wins.

    Any Mormon who has ran for president before Romney never got very far, so Romney’s ascendancy to the Republican nomination is historic.

    There will never be a statement in General Conference saying that it’s okay to be a Democrat, largely because of abortion.

  40. American Eagle says:

    @ Carl

    The President of the United States is the most well-known person in the world. If Romney becomes president, it will have a drastic effect on the way Europeans in general view Mormonism.

  41. @ American Eagle

    Yes, I’m with you on that.

    And last 40 years of Warfare, and Romneys potential and most probable dealings in the Middle East (referring to his own words on how he’ll deal with this area of the world, and the “advisers” he’s surrounded himself with) will force the Europeans to even more fully marvel with fear and amazement at the incompatibility of his actions and his faith.

  42. “There will never be a statement in General Conference saying that it’s okay to be a Democrat, largely because of abortion.”

    Or perhaps because the church is an international, and not an American church. A message just to Americans wouldn’t be appropriate for a setting like General Conference.

    Heck, the First Presidency just recruited a Democratic Obama nominee for a General Authority position. It’s okay to be a Democrat and Mormon. Seriously.

  43. it's a series of tubes says:

    #36 FTW. Handle of the week.

  44. American Eagle says:

    @ Tim

    True, the Church is not 100% American, but it’s still mostly American in every sense: headquarters, active members, temples, General Authorities, tithing dollars, and General Conference language.

    I think it’s fine to be a Mormon Democrat. But I think on most issues both Republicans and Democrats veer towards moderate positions. Abortion on demand (and all the lifestyle issues connected to it) is one of the few wedge issues that differentiate Republicans and Democrats. And we know which party has a more Mormon viewpoint on abortion.

  45. This is a can of worms, but since I didn’t open it I am certainly going to explore it. American Eagle what abortions do you consider to be “on demand” and what lifestyle issues connected to it? I would just like for us all to be on the same page here.

  46. #39

    American Eagle. That isn’t apparent to me at all. Most the Republicans keep pushing abortion laws that have no exceptions in them – not for rape or health of the mother. In my mind, those policies are just as out of touch with the Church position as are more liberal Democrat positions. I don’t want or expect a direct quote about being a Democrat. A broader talk on civic engagement, respect in political discourse, on what they consider appropriate or inappropriate in Church meetings that would speak mostly to all the Saints regardless of country would be nice. Just a nice quote from the pulpit in GC that said simply “Our meeting should be centered on Christ and the Gospel. It is not the place to push political beliefs or agendas. Some people forget this and with the coming political season we may be more tempted than ever. Christ said render under Caesar what is Caesar’s, but our sacred meetings are not Caesar’s they are the Lords”. And don’t tell me this isn’t a problem. It happens every Sunday, regularly all over our meetings. In some places worse than others I grant you. I actually live in one of the few US wards where a straw vote of the members might actually be competitive between Romney and Obama.

    And Tim I don’t consider having a token Democrat in the 70 doesn’t undo the damage of 50 years of grassroots effort by some church officials to bring right wing politics into the church. I mean I will take what I can get, but this is like promoting one female manager so you can claim “See we don’t have a diversity problem!” LIke I said I think we have made some strides to restoring political neutrality and pluralism to the Church. We are way better off than in the late 80s and 90s. I just worry that this whole Romney nomination and the incredibly negative campaign that will engulf Mormonism as collateral damage risks setting us back. I worry that in many places in California and the West the political operatives will get their hooks into local ward social structures and use them for their purposes. You know they have all the donor rolls and lists created during the Prop 8 campaign for example. Many of those lists were created with great help from local ward leaders who were asked to mobilize for the cause. I hope I am wrong and I hope our leaders help create a bulwark. Yet I can’t help be skeptical when one of our leaders unintentionally (and I do believe it was completely unintentional) ends up calling Obama “Osama” in media interviews with major news outlets and the Deseret News is publishing transparently politically motivated personal hit pieces in its “Faith” section.

  47. No More oligarchy says:

    “The Republican candidate for president is a Mormon. A former stake president. That’s so effing cool! ”

    Here is a better way to look at it: Romney brings are the greed and unethical parctices of M&A guy, with all the croneyism of a state office holder. These things cast doubt on his integrity as a SP. And we can guess who will take the hit if he gets the chance to “fix” the economy.

  48. Midwest Mormon says:

    Is there any reason to think Romney will be any less loved than his dad was when he served as governor of Michigan? If you’re worried about Mitt getting extreme, read his book, “No Apology,” and take comfort in this revealing slip by his aide, Eric Fehrnstrom, on the coming pivot to the middle of the spectrum: “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.”

  49. American Eagle, you should check out this presentation on mormon political profiling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdkzegd5NRE

    The presentation was given at the Mormons and Politics conference at Columbia a couple months ago, and was based on extensive surveying of all religious groups, not just mormons. I think 15 or 20 minutes in, David Campbell makes the point that Mormons are much more pragmatic about abortion than evangelicals.

  50. (not to say we don’t tend to align more with conservatives on the issue…we obviously do)

  51. Midwest Mormon, the Etch-A-Sketch comment is actually one of the most frightening things about him. It says in no uncertain terms that he will tell people what they want to hear as long as it gets him elected. I don’t know about anyone else, but to me that indicates a credibility factor of absolute zero. What his aide does not understand is that it is NOT like an Etch-A-Sketch–those voting in the general election still heard what he said in his primary campaigning. It isn’t as if it was behind the closed doors of a board-room. If he thinks every single thing he said in the primaries will not be held against him in the general election then he sincerely does not know a thing about politics, or he merely thinks Americans are so stupid that they will simply ignore it.

  52. “These things cast doubt on his integrity as a SP.”

    #47 – You don’t know the man. I do, and that is a gross stereotype and a horrible distortion of who he really is.

  53. #51

    Thanks for the link! “Mormons are like dry kindling” – great analogy and represents a lot of what I as a member of Zion worry about. All the effort we collectively put together in building Zion can be co-opted for political causes (and multi-level marketing schemes). I kind of feel like doing so is a violation of the trust we all put into building Zion. It is a real resource and as Campbell points out a powerful very valuable resource for political organizers. We are a tempting target.

    #52 Ray

    Totally agree. One of the ironies of this election is that I don’t think either Obama or Romney are Machiavellian, scheming politicians. I don’t think either actually like or relish negative politicking. However, this is going to be a nasty election despite it. I hope we can remember that when considering both Romney and Obama as people.

  54. I try my best not to take into account what kind of person the candidate is. I wouldn’t do it negatively, so then reason dictates that I don’t do it positively either. I am sure Romney is a nice guy, and great husband, father, grandfather, bishop, stake president, primary leader, cook, etc… This does not tell me he would be a good President. If it were as easy as all that, then I am sure we would have many fine candidates. I go by record both in and out of office, I listen to what they say, I read, I research and then I parallel their views with my own and that is how I come up with a candidate. I have only myself to answer to when I cast my vote so this method is one I stand by wholeheartedly.

  55. #54

    I actually agree with that too. I vote on policies – though of course all else equal I much rather vote for someone with more rather than less integrity etc. The problem is that the political process itself requires compromise by its very nature and usually to win requires moral compromises. For those willing to try and navigate those waters emotionally and spiritually I have great respect because I am not sure I could do it. However, it also means I don’t hold elected officials to crazy standards. I admit I prefer my politicians to keep whatever marital vows they make especially if they campaign overtly on them. But policies and their ability to get policies enacted through the tortuous political process is where I cast my vote. Funny that last one tends to be inversely correlate with lots of honesty or principled inflexible stands on issues.

  56. Rick Santorum, though a Catholic, was tempted into signing on as the official candidate of the most right-wing Evangelical Christians. They used their existing organizations to promote him among their particular narrow constituency, but the problem is that, contrary to their own belief, they are not the majority of the Republican Party, let alone the nation, and what they expected from Santorum was advocacy of their message, which basically amounts to “The rest of you are all sinners so you should bow to our candidate or at least just stay home and not vote”. The faction is so smug in their spiritual superiority that they feel no need to persuade other Republicans, let alone anyone who is not a Republican, to support their views or candidates.

    That faction is explicitly led by pastors of certain denominations, who were explicit in their syllogism (as stated by the head pastor of the Southern Baptist Convention in South Carolina): “(a) Mormons are not Christians, (b) Mormons SAY they are Christians, therefore (c) Mormons lie. Corollary: Romney is a Mormon, therefore (d) Romney lies.” None of the positions Romney has taken as a politician over a period of years is any more variable than the things that Santorum and Gingrich said over similar spans of time. And he certainly was not changing his position from week to week the way John Kerry did. Evangelicals are happy to embrace a former abortion clinic director who saw the light, but they just can’t forgive Romney for being Mormon.

    Evangelical pastors in interviews with Hugh Hewitt and on other occasions have stated their fear that a Mormon as the nominee of the Republican Party would “legitimize Mormonism.” I didn’t know we were illegitimate Americans, but apparently many of those pastors think we are SOBs. Now the fear of those many Evangelical pastors has been realized: Mormons are legitimate! Hoorah!

    But seriously, in light of the sacred syllogism these pastors have been teaching their flocks, their people are going to go through some profound cognitive dissonance. However, they are not going to stay hoome because they have to vote for other state and local Republicans who are more religiously congenial to them, so they will be faced with the showdown between the Mormon and the (alleged) crypto-Muslim who is a proven disaster in their eyes, most will vote for the Mormon.

    Thus it is interesting that Romney’s chances in the general election are enhanced because his opponent is not a typical Christian, but a Kenyan-American son of a polygamous Muslim who lived several years as a child in Indonesia as the step-son of another Muslim. Only in this circumstance could Romney be on the lower side on the Southern Scale of Religious Animosity than the other candidate. In other words, this may be the best window of opportunity for a Mormon to be elected to the presidency in the last 150 years.

  57. There was a conference talk addressing the Romney/Republican take on one issue in this election. Russell Ballard argued (asserted) the following:
    1. the world is increasingly materialistic
    2. as a result marriage and families are crumbling
    3. because families are crumbling there is a growing gap between rich and poor
    4. family values will make us wealthy
    5. and finally we won’t need government with its social security and health insurance
    My spluttering response to the logic (and Romney took the same logic class) here:

    http://goaliesanxiety.blogspot.com/2012/04/gap-between-rich-and-poor-explained.html

  58. Great article Scott. Having grown up a poor child of a mother and father who had no children out of wedlock and committed no crimes this made me angry as well. He spoke nothing of the privilege afforded *certain members* of society even from birth, nor the inequity in the educational systems in this country nor even access to them. It was a complete load of junk.

  59. Midwest Mormon says:

    EQR:
    “A credibility factor of absolute zero.” This may be true for voters who base their decisions a checklist of “loyalty tests” or a comparison of the inevitable contradictions attributed to each candidate. But, many voters will base their decisions on a leader’s competence and track record. Many will perfer a leader who doesn’t limit problem solving to solutions that satisfy a narrow ideology, who identifies the best solutions for the country then comes up with a way to sell them. This is particularly true when people are looking for a way out of a crisis. I think a lot of people are underestimating how impatient the public has become with partisanship and self-serving demands for idealogical purity on both both sides of the spectrum.

  60. Yes, you’re right. Many will prefer a leader who is so out of touch as to say “I am unemployed too.” His “let-them-eat-cake” attitude is as unwelcome as his etch-a-sketch ideology.

  61. annegb5298 says:

    What #11 (ZD) said.

  62. Midwest Mormon says:

    #57
    Elder Ballard was just taking a different approach to reach the same conclusions that were presented in Freakonomics about the impact of “Roe v Wade” on New York crime stats. The only people I remember challenging the case that was made for those conclusions were Rudy Giuliani supporters who wanted to give him credit he did not seem to deserve for the reduction in crime.

    Thanks for posting the blog link because the additional points made there were excellent.

  63. marco442 says:

    I might have missed this above, but why isn’t anyone worried about the impact that Romney’s inability to be honest will have on the view people have of Mormons? I mean even in the ranks of politicians who are known to be unable to tell the truth because they believe their careers depend on being everything to everyone, even though that means they will give contradictory positions every other day, Romney stands out as being supremely (supernally?) unable to tell the truth of this own position, or seemingly remember what it was the day before. And that is being interpreted as nothing more than rank dishonesty. And I, for one, am completely embarrassed that I have to have him as an example of what Mormons are all about – or explain why he is not, over and over again.

    Then throw in all the other things that make him a perfect example of what it means to be fabulously wealthy clueless man in modern America/Western society, someone without a point of reference to what is said about wealth in the OT, NT and Book of Mormon, and why in the world is any Mormon who understands what Christianity is all about excited about him?

    If Mormonism is about a thought process that Ballard expressed, I can imagine the interest in holding him up as an example of what we’re all about. But if you’re interested in seeing Mormonism as the most recent manifestation of the Word of God; or of a code of ethics and behavior that describes and illustrates how we act towards our fellow men, or a way of engaging with the world in a way that improves the world and all the children of God in it; or a way of understanding our relationship to all the people, living things and even inanimate objects that God has created; or as a way to recreate (to the best of our abilities) the environment which led to the City of Enoch – then you have to be repulsed by what Romney stands for, and actively refute that his presentation of what Mormonism is about is valid. It’s simply not.

    Just my two cents…..

  64. Marco442, I could not resist commenting on your post. It is one of derision and ridicule. It is not that difficult to understand the Media’s weapons of smirk and scorn. Mormons believe in being honest. It is a murky river to wade in determining how a persons honesty is being portrayed. For example, is un-enthusiasm for Romney a media-created illusion? Of coarse it is. Do you seriously believe that he is a “Clueless man”? It is not that difficult to see the good and value of Mitt Romneys life? You know there are many successful Latter-day Saints with “fabulous” wealth. “Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. (See 2 Ne. 9:42.) There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up”(Beware of Pride, Ezra T.Benson). Do you despise Mitt Romney for his wealth? I for one am excited about Mitt Romney and his willingness to help our nation. He is even-tempered and competent. He recognizes that it is immoral to borrow 60% of what you are spending. He believes in American exceptionalism and that the Constitution of the USA is inspired. That is what Mitt Romney represents to me. There is no need to feel embarrassed by Mitt Romney. I am far from being repulsed as you suggest. I will be actively watching with enthusiastic interest as this all plays out.

  65. Dan Lunan says:

    Mormon or not, Romney will fix the mess our current novice leader has gotten us into, I’m proud of my LDS faith & glad Mitt’s refered to as a Fix it Man! MORMON OR NOT!

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