Skip to comments.Why's Romney So Good at Fundraising? Mormonism
Posted on 06/22/2012 12:02:55 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Like a lot of liberals, Im skeptical of the idea that successful businessmen are likely to become successful presidents by virtue of their business experience alone.
But there is one way in which business success seems very likely to benefit a future president: fundraising. Its not just that the businessman knows a lot of affluent people whom he can tap for money, though that helps. And its not just that the former businessman is steeped in the social mores of businesspeople, making him deft at rubbing elbows with those he doesnt know. Its that hes likely to be very skilled in the mechanics of convincing peopleeven perfect strangersto give him money, since thats a huge part of the entrepreneurial game.
It certainly was for Romney, who raised billions of dollars from investors during his 15 years running Bain Capital. As the Times reports today, that skilland it really is a skillhas paid enormous dividends for Romney as a candidate. To take one example:
There are daily and weekly conference calls, many featuring senior campaign members who offer updates [to donors] on strategy and policy, and a software system that encourages friendly competition by allowing donors to monitor giving from friends whom they recruited. Several supporters recalled receiving all-hours phone calls and e-mails from Spencer Zwick, Mr. Romneys fund-raising chief, who has a 24-hour rule: all messages are returned within a day.
Mr. Romney has repeatedly invited top-flight donors to his home on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire for intimate gatherings where he serves cookies baked by his wife, Ann ...
Mr. Scaramucci said he relished his time at Mr. Romneys house in New Hampshire, where the candidate gave a slide show about campaign strategy and spoke with guests on a deck overlooking the lake. People love being able to say they went to Romneys house, Mr. Scaramucci said. Its an attractive magnetron for the campaign.
The Obama campaign is obviously no slouch when it comes to fundraising mechanicsthey (and the Bush campaign) were basically the gold standard prior to this election. But the priority that Romney Inc. places on cultivating donors, as well as the candidates personal involvement, seems pretty unprecedented and clearly emanates from Romney himself.
Having said all that, Id argue that the relevant portions of Romneys background here include more than just his business experience. After all, Romney was actually a fantastic fundraiser long before he entered the business world. Consider this from a great Washington Post piece about his undergraduate days at BYU:
On Page 379 in the 1971 school yearbook, Romney, wearing blazer, tie and slacks, is identified as club president as he kneels with other members in front of a pond on a farm outside Provo. The opposite page reads: What student group would accept the challenge to raise $100,000 in twelve months time? Cougar Club did without hesitation.
In addition to the traditional sale of chrysanthemums for homecoming and pushing records of BYU fight songs and tickets to football games, Romney did things in Cougar Club that had never been done before, according to Clint Hunter, a junior member of the club. Mitt had much grander concepts of how you raise money.
He said, What if we can get the school administration to share with us the contact information of everybody who has ever matriculated through the school. And we set up phone banks and got the students to make these calls as volunteers.
Romney also worked out a deal with a local car dealership so that the Cougar Men, along with their wives or girlfriends, would pick up prospective donors in new, polished cars for a spring day of activities and presentations.
Now some of this savvy was just in the ether around the Romney household circa 1960, given that George was a highly successful businessman himself. But surely a certain amount of it flows from Romneys Mormonism, too. Like successful fundraising, evangelizing requires endless conversations with strangers. The fundraiser, like the evangelizer, must speak without embarrassment about subjects that are normally cause for much embarrassment, and must ultimately persuade the stranger to entrust him with something of great importance (money in the first instance, their eternal soul in the second). Both pursuits are highly transactional and empiricalyou have to officially be baptized into the Mormon faith, a kind of religious analog to signing on a dotted line, and Mormon missions keep close tabs on the numbers of converts theyre attracting. Both activities involve lots of rejection and require incredible resourcefulness and on-the-fly learning. I described a bit of this in a piece about Mormon evangelizing several years back:
Arguably the most important skill they acquire in this regard is how to get in the door, and the [missionary] trainees hone this skill through extensive role-playing. For example, they are taught to search for common ground with potential converts--everything from their taste in cars or pets to their religious worldview. "Take the belief in Jesus Christ," says one of the former missionaries. "We might have different beliefs about Him, but most people do believe in some sort of Supreme Being, they have ideas about that."
[T]here is a strong, if crude, element of demographic targeting involved. Certain neighborhoods develop reputations for being more or less hospitable to proselytizing. In one missionary's recollection, lapsed Catholics tended to be more receptive than lapsed Protestants, because the latter often still belong to a community of coreligionists even if they aren't especially observant.
[O]ne of the former missionaries recalls being encouraged to shovel snow from people's driveways as a way to make a good impression. Etc.
In Romneys case, Id say it was both the general culture of entrepreneurialism that Mormons are steeped in, and his own particular experience trying to save souls in France (possibly the least hospitable place on the planet for such an undertaking), that gave him such a leg up in his future salesmanship.
And so while its no doubt true that Romneys business background helped turn him into a remarkable fundraiser, its probably more accurate to say that Romneys Mormonism made him more successful at both.
IOW, Mormonism taught him how to be a successful conman and professional panderer.
So what’s the news here?
A lot of people want to get rid of The Obammunist.
Five months to go and they're just revving their engines on Mormonphobia. I wonder if Harry Reid, Democrat Mormon - Nevada, will stop his Democrat brethren from going down the path of Religious Bigotry.
I'll take a Mormon over a Godless Commie Bastard like Obama every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Mormonism? How about anger at 0bama and his dismantling of our nation?
And where`s that oh-so-earnest assessment about funding sources as it applies to 0bama`s 2008 campaign? Huge portions of his haul came from foreign donors, so where`s the research, Noam (why any parent would saddle their kid with that God-awful name is beyond me)?
Or has that been rolled into the executive privilege documentation of F&F?
And what did the FASCIST, Neo-Commie, Dear Leader's "Islam/Sharia" teach him?
How to (according to the stated goals of those who he defends, supports and has PERSONALLY recruited as advisers/confidants within his Administration--the MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD) "DESTROY OUR MISERABLE HOUSE FROM WITHIN BY OUR OWN HAND?"
I'll take "pandering" over "TERRORISM" (and promoting/allowing Stealth/Civilization Jihad) any day.
So, what say you???
Nothing more need be read.
That would be a Dog eating Godless Commie Bastard.
I say, those pair of liars deserve each other.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.