12/02/2007

Why Romney will not be president

Very simply, because he is running a bushesque campaign and he is a mormon. Bush was elected twice because he appealed to the uber conservative core of the religious right. He won the general election because those people turned out in record numbers. Romney appears to be running the same type of campaign. He talks of guantanamo as if it were the greatest thing our country had ever done. He talks of immigration reform as if it were a capital offense to come to this country illegally (more on this potentially later). I do not know if he actually believes what he is saying, but it is very appealing to those people who ushered bush in. If those people get excited enough about a candidate, I believe that they have the ability to get almost anyone elected.

Now the problem. There are a number of those people who in the primaries are talking of voting for Romney because he is the lesser of evils. They cannot get over the fact that he is mormon. They seem to think that being mormon is evil. I wish a fundy christian read my blog so they could tell me why being mormon is so evil, but I doubt it. Anyway, the point is that Romney cannot get these people excited enough to come out in enormous numbers to get him elected. And the positions he is taking are so contrary to what most of the country believes that he has no hope of winning the swing vote. (though I still dont believe there is a swing vote in this country) The long and the short of it is, his religion will keep him out of the white house because: 1) the groups he is trying to appeal to are intollerant to others, 2) he is taking positions that are also intollerant of others, and 3) if he wins the nomination, those intollerant people he is appealing to fail to support him enough because of their intollerance of his religion to get him elected.

As an update, I had my staples out and it was good. didnt hurt at all.

8 comments:

Fishfrog said...

Nell and I were having a similar conversation about Mitt this morning. She took a similar position to you (fundies really don't like mormons).

After thinking about it some, it occurred to me that it could go the other way. If fundies actually became aware of what mormons believe, it seems like they might actually convert.

Fundies are, among other things, fervently nationalistic (e.g. "God bless America", "We are a christian country", etc.). Now if a fundy were to write a new, additional book to the bible, what would that book say? It seems to me that it would probably say that god loved america so much that he sent jesus over here after he was done in the Middle East.

So what happens when they find out that someone has already written this book? Maybe the fundies throw their support behind Mitt and become mormons.

But this is just random speculation. After all, fundies do tend to really dislike LDS, for some reason. I have no idea why this is, other than being an outgrowth of fundies' hatred of anyone who believes differently. So I agree that Mitt might have some real problems if he follows his current strategy of trying to appeal to people who may never be willing to support him.

Scarlet Panda said...

Interesting discussion. I've been thinking about this issue lately too, and I agree with arfanser. As a religious minority and a Republican seeking the votes of the religious right, Romney is in a nearly impossible position.

An argument for religious tolerance might work on Democrats or swing voters, but Romney has basically given up on those groups. He needs the Republican base--voters who DO believe it’s legitimate to choose their candidates on the basis of religion.

Romney’s current strategy seems to be trying to claim full membership in the christian right by emphasizing the commonalities and downplaying the theological differences between mormonism and other forms of christianity. That’s fine, but it won’t work on these voters over the long term. The fact is that there are significant differences between LDS theology and that of other forms of Christianity, and those differences will come to light as Romney gets more and more scrutiny. Liberal Christians and religiously tolerant people won’t care. But the fundamentalist, Bible-and-nothing-else Christians, whose people whose votes Romney needs, will care.

Unlike some, I don’t necessarily think this bias can be educated away. The anti-mormon bias that stems from misunderstandings and misinformation could maybe be dealt with. But the basic fact that religious conservatives won’t vote for someone whose theology doesn’t match theirs, and that mormon theology probably isn’t a close enough match to satisfy them, won’t change with more information.

This is the plea Romney has to make, and it’s not convincing: “Hey, you know how having a super-Christian candidate is the most important thing to you? Look, I’m really, really super-Christian! That’s really super important! But it’s not legitimate to ask me any specifics about my version of Christianity. Any differences between my Christianity and your Christianity are not important to you. Don’t worry about them.”

permathreeseat said...

I think there's also the problem that some of Romney's campaign strategists might think that too much information about LDS would be bad. Right now, he's facing largely the "it's different and therefore scary" problem. But people working on his campaign may think that if he explains too much about Mormonism, then voters will be able to find something to upset them, whether or not that would be upsetting to a rational person. After all, in 1960 people were hysterical that if a Catholic got elected, all policy decisions would be dictated by Rome, even though that clearly would not have been (and wasn't in real life) the case. So, if the far right picked up on some feature of LDS that they could make into an issue, like with Kennedy, that could hurt Romney even more than his religion just being mysterious and other.

Scarlet Panda said...

Everyone seems anxious to compare Romney's upcoming speech to JFK's extremely effective "why it doesn't matter that I'm a Catholic" speech. But can you imagine a Republican candidate in 2008 saying anything remotely resembing the following?

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute--where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote--where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference--and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him." --JFK, Sept 12, 1960.

Scarlet Panda said...

Just to clarify, when I said "Everyone seems anxious to compare," I meant everyone in the online media, not perma.

permathreeseat said...

I wasn't actually comparing to the speech per se. Kennedy's just the best example since he was the only successful candidate for president who wasn't a mainline protestant. There was a massive anti-Catholic campaign when Alfred Smith ran for president, and it played a large part in costing him the election. With Kerry, there was already the precedent of Kennedy, so it got brought up less.

I also remember in '88 with Dukakis, because his wife was Jewish, people were all up in arms that if he got elected, she (Mrs. Dukakis) would make sure that there was no White House Christmas tree - because that's the most important part of being a Christian. I don't really remember there being any big to do over Lieberman being Jewish, but that might be due in part to the fact that I was in Connecticut at the time, so there was almost no election coverage then about the issues, let alone paranoid ramblings about the international Jewish conspiracy.

But I agree that no Republican running these days would come out with a strong stand for a separation of church and state. It would upset their base too much to have to actually acknowledge that American culture includes more than just born-again Christians.

arfanser said...

To fish: you may be right, but on the other hand the super patriotic feelings tend to be european usa patriotic feelings, and Jesus did visit the ancestors of the native americans, so that is working against the LDS.

The odd thing about the Kennedy speach, there is a letter from the prophet of our church that is read in sacrament meeting (equivalent of our mass) every october before an election. Basically it says, we don't endorse candidates. Learn about the issues and vote as your conscience dictates.

I am attaching the official statement of the church on political elections.

Political Neutrality
The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.

The Church does not:

Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.
Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.
The Church does:

Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.
Expect its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.
Request candidates for office not to imply that their candidacy or platforms are endorsed by the Church.
Reserve the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.
In the United States, where nearly half of the world’s Latter-day Saints live, it is customary for the Church at each national election to issue a letter to be read to all congregations encouraging its members to vote, but emphasizing the Church’s neutrality in partisan political matters.

Relationships With Government

Elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated Church position. While the Church may communicate its views to them, as it may to any other elected official, it recognizes that these officials still must make their own choices based on their best judgment and with consideration of the constituencies whom they were elected to represent.

Modern scriptural references to the role of government: Doctrine and Covenants, Section 134

Scarlet Panda said...

Thanks for posting that, arfanser. To the extent that people's fear of a Catholic president (will he take orders from Rome?) is similar to their fear of a Mormon president (will he take orders from Salt Lake?), publicizing that sort of thing would be helpful.

Just to be clear, I didn't mean to imply that a Mormon politician wouldn't believe in and practice separation of church and state, but that it would be a nearly impossible position for a conservative Republican to take in the current political climate. Hence Romney's problem.