Skip to comments.Latter-day President?
Posted on 12/31/2005 8:23:19 AM PST by monkapotamus
A Mitt Romney candidacy would test the religious right.
BY JAMES TARANTO
Saturday, December 31, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST
BOSTON--Mitt Romney insists he has hardly thought about running for president: "That's a decision you make way down the road." With the 2008 election 1,039 days away, that's fair enough. But I'm guessing he'll run.
I first met Mr. Romney in September at New York's Monday Meeting, a conclave of right-leaning movers and shakers who gather to hear politicians from around the country make pitches for support. This month, after it emerged that the backing Mr. Romney sought was not for re-election as governor of Massachusetts, I visited him at the Statehouse here. "I will accomplish in my term the objectives that I set out to accomplish, or some will be rejected and I wouldn't get them done in the second term anyway," he tells me. "There's no reason to hang around and warm the chair, taking advantage of the perks and fun of office, if the agenda is complete." What he doesn't say is that there's also no reason for a governor to risk defeat if he has his eye on the White House.
The governor's office is equipped with a fireplace, making it a rarity in 21st-century politics: a smoke-filled room. Mr. Romney, a devout Mormon, abjures not only tobacco but also alcohol and coffee. A 58-year-old Detroit native, he is a businessman-turned-politician like his late father, George, who was chairman of American Motors Corp. before serving six years as governor of Michigan. George Romney ran for president in 1968 but famously withdrew after attributing his support for the Vietnam War to "brainwashing" at the hands of U.S. generals.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...
Latter-Day Saint is fine.
Flip-flopping and backpedaling isn't.
boxers or briefs? or?
Romney needs a lesson in HUMILITY if he is going to succeed in national politics.
What "Flip-flopping and backpedaling"?
I don't know much about this guy.
/...Ben Laden groups
I am LDS, so Mr. Romney's religion is not a problem for me. (As I suspect it would not be for most people.) However, I have my doubts about his commitment to conservatism. If Mr. Romney runs as a "moderate" Republican, I will not vote for him.
Romney is, of course, exiting his job as Governor after an unimpressive one term (and is likely expected to move back to Utah). He has been utterly unable, despite modest attempts, to rebuild the destroyed Massachusetts State Republican Party, which was eviscerated, after a modest comeback at the end of the Dukakis era, by the horrid Weld-Cellucci-Swift regimes. The governorship is expected to effortlessly return to the Democrats.
Although it must be noted that Romney was utterly hamstrung on the job, solely because the Governorship (as long as any Republican occupies it) has been largely stripped of any authority (he is, for example, unable even to appoint a temporary successor to the U.S. Senate if Kerry or Kennedy resign or die). Romney can't really point to any credible accomplishments as a result, and really cannot make any argument that he has the "experience" required to serve as President.
His rescue of the Utah Olympics and his accomplishments in Massachusetts will make him a credible candidate.
If we are going to seek perfection, we will simply harm the country and accomplish nothing.
Time to re-bury the Donner Party.
The trouble is that much of today's anti-Mormon sentiment is found on the religious right, a constituency that looms much larger in the GOP now than it did in 1968, or than it ever has in Massachusetts. Ask a conservative Christian what he thinks of Mormonism, and there's a good chance he'll call it a "cult" or say Mormons "aren't Christian."
Yet on the issues, Mr. Romney is largely in tune with the Christian right. "I am pro-life," he says, though he's not an absolutist. He favors a return to the status quo ante Roe v. Wade, when states decided abortion policy. In 2002, recognizing that Massachusetts is an "overwhelmingly pro-choice state," he campaigned only on a promise to veto any legislation changing the state's abortion laws, including a proposal, which Ms. O'Brien endorsed, to reduce the age of parental consent to 16 from 18. The Legislature never passed that measure.
Some question whether he is antiabortion enough to satisfy his party's base. But George W. Bush has made similar nods to political reality--"I'm a realistic enough person to know that America is not ready to ban abortions," he said in 1999--and few dispute the president's pro-life credentials.
Mr. Romney is a scathing critic of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's 2003 decision imposing same-sex marriage: "We've got a liberal activist court . . . and I have now seen firsthand the perils of a court that decides to substitute its values for that of the founders." The governor has backed efforts to undo the ruling by amending the state constitution, most recently through a signature campaign. He also has enforced a 1913 law making it illegal for out-of-state couples to wed in the Bay State if they cannot legally do so back home. "It's basically kept Massachusetts from being a Las Vegas of same-sex marriage."
How would he overcome anti-Mormon prejudice if he seeks the presidency? He doesn't answer directly, but cites his experience in Massachusetts: "As people got to know me . . . they accepted me for who I am, and religious doctrines didn't make much difference to them."
In the end, there's probably not much Mr. Romney can do about the "Mormon problem" other than put his faith in the American tradition of religious pluralism. "I think our nation needs people of faith in public service," he says. "My policies in the public sector are not a mirror image of any church's doctrines. But of course the respect I have for American values flows from the faith that I have." If Mr. Romney runs for president, it may test the proposition that the religious right is an issues-based movement as opposed to a sectarian one.
I tend to agree with this statement. Make no mistake though, "The Mormon Problem" will be a problem for the Left as well. One only need to re-examine their previous attacks on Mitt during his runs for governor and the US Senate. I do believe, however, that most Conservatives are pragmatic enough that they will overcome any such single issue objections far more easily than their Liberal counterparts. Mormon or no, for the Left, the bottom line is: he's not a Democrat. That alone means Mitt is evil incarnate and, as evidenced by what Howard Dean and other leading Democrats have been saying about Republicans, they are not even remotely inclined to overcome that objection.
I couldn't care less if he is LDS. We've had a lot of good LDS politicians over the years. What bothers me is that we really don't know where he stands on the key issues.
Although he was governor, we don't know what he would have done, because the state is so Democratic he couldn't do anything.
Yes, he did a good job with the Olympics. He's smart and able. But where does he stand on the issues? It doesn't matter what position he runs from at this point, we need to see what he does in office, and so far we have nothing to go on.
Interesting though sad story you've got there on Eerdmans' "falling away."
Oh, isn't that appalling? You know, if you came up with a Christianoid Hall of Shame for the year, that'd have to be right up there with Osteen's evasions on Larry King (also somewhere one my blog -- one of the most-accessed essays), and... well, just anything Jimmy Carter says.
RINO isn't too cool either.
Massachusetts can keep this "gay civil unions" loving RINO however. We want a real conservative in '08 but if we get stuck with a RINO why would voters pick this guy over Rudy who has massive national name recognition and appeal?
Romney could have a future in the Whitehouse after '08 but it will be more in the Secretary of Transportation line than as Commander in Chief.
"Mitt Romney insists he has hardly thought about running for president:"
Isn't this like being "hardly pregnant"?
I couldn't care less if he is LDS. We've had a lot of good LDS politicians over the years. What bothers me is that we really don't know where he stands on the key issues.
Although I suspect that there will be some here who do care that he's LDS. Stand by for some nasty flame wars over this.(I hope I'm wrong on this)
WHOEVER gets the nomination, they better bring their bigboy pads as a certian junior Senator from NY is waiting. It's going to get nasty.
It's funny you'd say that you were a Catholic. I had a friend for years and years who I thought was your garden variety "fundamentalist" (in both the good and negative sense)... very vocally Christian, creation science, pro-life and all that... he also thought that most Catholics weren't really Christians (for the same misunderstood reasons--Catholics worshipping saints, etc). He was basically a good Christian all around, he simply lacked a little knowledge, and he always referred to himself as a Christian and evangelized everyone & tried to get them to believe in Jesus.
I thought it was rather odd his Protestant denomination had priests, but I didn't find out for years that he was a Mormon. He thought he was a Christian and that being a member of the LDS church was simply a denomination.
Had to change my views of Mormons after that. (We had a goo dtalk and I found out that just as with Catholics, half the reasons that people use to argue that Mormons aren't Christians are outright false) Also, the Bible says to judge by the fruit from the tree, and personal experience tells me that a much higher percentage of Baptists are horrid than Mormons.
I've adopted a "don't judge" attitude concerning Mormons, just like I do with Christians or any other person. And, yes, I agree with you. A good Mormon would be good for America, but flip-flopping RINO Romney is no Mormon.
I'm disappointed in James Taranto's repeating the liberal spin that Christian conservatives won't vote for Romney because he's a Mormon. No, folks, we won't vote for him (unless the other choice is Hillary, God help us) because he's not a conservative.
Amen. Especially the notes you make in the 10th paragraph of the second link you posted.
There are better other people in the running.
What will DOOM him are the facts that 1) he's a Northeast Liberal and 2) a GUN GRABBER.
Ta-ta Mitt, we hardly knew ye.
ps: take that other NE lib with ya, Ruuuuudy.
So what, the evangelicals are going to vote for Hitlery?
I'm not voting for him, and it's not because of his religion.
Last thing we need is another presidential candidate from Massachusetts.
Aren't there some better options out there?
I wont be voting for this guy come primary time.
First I have no problem at all with it, however I can tell you that in states with large Christian Coalition voting blocks (mostly Southern Baptist) it will be a huge problem. They consider LDS a cult and though they will not vote for HRC they will under vote a race with Romney on the ticket.
If he's LDS then how many 1st ladies will we have?
They're the kind that stay home every election, anyway.
(Uh... give me the first words of that paragraph? Not sure I'm counting the same way you are!)
Concerning "adding to the Bible"
Got it! Thanks.
I am not convinced. My guess is that if a true conservative were running against someone like Hillary Clinton, the Christian Coalition would support the conservative even if he were a Mormon.
I submit: 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002.
I want them to go on national TV and start questioning someone's religion. By doing so those people lose credibility. By doing so they harm the GOP.
Best bet is to shut them up, for the good of the party if nothing else.
Second these people will not go on TV, they will talk among themselves and if Romney is the nominee they will not vote. I do not support their position, though I dislike Romney on political grounds, but I do understand how they will react. Frankly I don't see a problem because the Governor will not get the nomination.
I don't care if he practices Santa Ria, he's NOT getting my vote. His daddy's resume of businesses he helped to fail is enough of an indication. Remember the AMC Pacer? That's Mitt's first cousin.
My point is to avoid having the GOP (or its components) come across as such, whether its in Hawaii or Texas or where ever it may be. It does nothing but fuel and give ammo to those we REALLY don't want.
I don't know a thing about Mitt's politics. He could be a Reid. Who knows. I can't say one way or another.
Reid is a Mormon. I am a Mormon. Would I vote for Reid? Heck no.
My whole point is, at least publicly keep the criticism based on politics...not you personally, but in general I think thats a good rule of thumb. Thats my whole point.
Flip-flopped on the right to bear arms, for one thing. But he's been a rip-roaring good governor for MA. Isn't running again, and we'll sure miss him.
Okay, Romney couldn't walk on water in MA. I'll agree. And the republican party is eviscerated. What the heck's wrong with us? (No guts, no glory.)
Flip-flopped on the right to bear arms, for one thing
A bigot is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from their own.
Intolerance is the lack of ability or willingness to tolerate something.
In a social or political sense, intolerance is the absence of tolerence.
Just because a person doesn't want to vote for somebody who believes in something they consider to be false, does not make that person a bigot. Nor does it make them intolerant. It makes them an individual who is exercising their free will to use their own God given right to decide for themselves.
If someone says, "I won't vote for so and so because he's black/catholic/jewish/etc" whats the difference?
I can't stand Jesse Jackson. He's full of...
That doesn't mean I don't like black people though. It doesn't mean I would not support a good candidate who happens to be black.
With that being said, if someone rules someone out because 'they are Mormon'...odds are they are bigots and intolerant both.
If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck...odds are its a duck.
As far as rights go, they can vote for whomever they want. If they want to rule people out based on religious sect, creed, or color...I have all the right in the world to label the bigot for what he is. So, you see, we both are using our freedoms....
Obviously, most on this thread put their politics first, religion must rate far down the list of importance to them. Having a Mormon using the presidency as a bully pulpit for his Mormon beliefs does not exactly thrill me. The claims of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, et al, are absolutely heretical as far as Christian theology is concerned.
I recently heard a NPR program where they had some Mormon guy on there. NPR was really promoting his Mormon views. The liberal left likes Mormons for some reason. Some kind of new alliance with the left?
"If he's LDS then how many 1st ladies will we have?"
Like all good mormons, he'll have a couple of hidden wives in the basement...
I can joke about it, I'm a mormon, and have been teased all my life about how many mothers I had etc etc..
Recently our local paper interviewed me for an article on the mormons. Here is the link if you want to give it a look...
Some quotes on poligamy from the article...
"When asked about polygamy, many local Mormons vigorously defend the practice in the past as a fact of life across religions throughout Biblical times. "It is not a new concept we invented," Bishop Stan Gordon says.
It served its purpose at the time, they say, providing shelter and support for women and children, and driving up the Mormon population at a time when it was threatened. But it has been condemned by the church since 1890, they stress, and those practicing it today will be excommunicated.
Nonetheless, some say that if divine prophecy called on Mormons to take up the practice again perhaps if there were a war and there were few men left at home they would not reject the notion outright.
"I personally believe polygamy is about taking care of women and children," Jenny Hatch says. "It is more about providing for families than anything else.""
I don't get why modern christians get their panties in a bind over poligamy. Father Jacob had four wives and twelve sons who make up the house of israel.
I've known the Romney family my whole life. I grew up in Detroit, and they were some of the finest people in the world. If Mitt is anything like his father, and I believe he is also a man of integrity and strength, he will do well as president, and I plan to vote for him, and campaign for him.
I have no idea who the nominee will be. I have no favorite, much as I didn't in 2000. I believe either someone will step forward that we don't know, or one of those mentioned as a possibility will reveal himself as a leader that we can trust.
I am not discounting Romney. I am watching all of them for signs that they are able to shoulder the responsibility.
It would be nice if Romney stuck around in MA after his term was over and worked hard to reinvigorate the grass roots, getting more people involved, and more $$. Unfortunately, he probably already has his plane ticket bought and paid for back to SLC as long as it takes him to get from Beacon Hill to Logan after he leaves office a year from now. :-(