The Rocky Shore

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Do We Really Want Romney???

There has been quite a bit of buzz around the bloggernackle about a Romney presidency. Over at The Messenger and Advocate and especially at The Millennial Star they seem fairly excited about the prospect. Mitt Romney is the conservative Mormon Massachusetts governor. I would just like to ask the question: is a Mormon president in the best interest of the Church?

There are two reasons I raise the question. The first one has to do with the state of American politics. If Romney is given the Republican nomination, he will be attacked and derided in any way that will give Democrats an advantage. This will include the dredging up of anything weird and Mormon, that in any way might hurt his chances for the presidency. It seems the Church’s main desire, is to present the Church and its members in the most 'all-American' light possible. "We Are Mainstream" is the message I hear every time Pres. Hinckley does an interview. Shining the light of the mainstream media on Romney and his religious beliefs seems dangerous.

The second reason I raise the question is due to the fear that a Romney run for the presidency will further the link between Mormonism and American Conservative Politics. If Romney wins the presidency, the Church will rally behind him. American Conservatives have some decent ideas, but like all political groups they have a lot of potential for corruption and scandal. Do we want the Church pulled closer to any political scene?

I mean, it seems to me that Mormonism will become much more political if a Romney run becomes a reality. Is this good for Mormonism???

11 Comments:

  • Depends on your perception of what is "good" for Mormonism. What is our ultimate goal as a church?

    I would proffer that it is to bring people to the Lord.

    Sure there will be some bad publicity but I think the reason Mitt has the support of so many members already is that we/they actually believe he can do a good job. In the end, his performance (for good or bad) will brightly outshine the voice of the critics. If I thought he wasn't capable then I would likely agree with your stance that his failures combined with the negative press would be a nightmare for missionary efforts. But I do think he has the skills to pull off a successful and historic presidency

    By Blogger Ryan, at Wednesday, August 02, 2006 11:20:00 PM  

  • I happen to be quite conservative politically, and an active member of the church. One concern I have personally is if Mitt is conservative enough. I have to confess that I don't know him very well. Is a republican from Massachussetes more liberal than a democrat from Utah?

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at Thursday, August 03, 2006 11:46:00 AM  

  • eric,

    From what I have seen of him, I'd say he is conservative enough for anyone. I remember watching the debates between him and Kennedy, when they ran against each other for Kennedy's senate seat, he seemed plenty conservative to me.

    By Blogger Jared E., at Thursday, August 03, 2006 12:40:00 PM  

  • Jared,

    I believe the better question is whether Mitt Romney will be good for the Country. The answer is, I believe, yes. The Church is directed and guided by Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. They receive direct revelation from God--so the Church is is pretty good shape. The United States, however, is in dire straights. We need a true leader now, more than at any time in our history. I believe Mitt Romney has an opportunity to be that leader. Frankly he's more politically conservtive than I usually like--but that is outweighed by what I think he brings to the table for the USA>

    By Blogger Guy Murray, at Friday, August 04, 2006 8:33:00 AM  

  • Guy,
    I have a hard time with your comment "the better question is whether Mitt Romney will be good for the Country" and that whether or not he runs is irrelevant to the Church because it is "guided by Prophets, Seers, and Revelators...so the Church is in pretty good shape."

    Our actions, especially those of prominent Mormons, have a great effect upon how the Church is perceived. To dismiss the consequences a Romney presidency could have upon the Church in favor of anything positive he could do politically is short sighted.

    Yes there are problems with the country, and maybe Romney would do it some good. But is harm done to the Church's image in favor of those political gains worth it?

    There are many incongruities within Mormon history which could be exploited to cast dispersions upon Romney's political positions. The trumpeting of such incongruities could do a lot of harm to the Church's image.

    It seems to me that a lot of unintended consequences could arise from Romney’s political ambitions. These possible unintended consequences should be considered, and the immediate political needs of the country should not trump the long-term goals of the Church.

    By Blogger Jared E., at Friday, August 04, 2006 2:26:00 PM  

  • Sorry Jared, I still believe mine is the better question. Ask not what is good for the Church (from an American political standpoint); but, what is good for the Country. :-)

    There are prominent LDS members already in politics, not the least of which is the Senate minority leader, who will very likely be the Senate Majority leader after November. I see no backlash against the Church just because there are prominent LDS members in Congress, including Orrin Hatch. If anything, I think Orrin Hatch has always been embarrassing to the Church. In fact, Orrin Hatch has already run for the Presidency, and none of the parade of horribles you anticipate ever surfaced in his run.

    Mitt Romney is almost the antithesis of Senator Hatch. He is likable, smart, good looking, very talented, and not overly dogmatic. He's about as good a potential candidate (Mormon or otherwise) that a political party could want. He also brings an outsider's quality to Washington, something McCain and Hillary are unable to do.

    The incongruities within Mormon history as you phrase it, are exploited every day on the Internet mostly--take a look around at some of the blogs, particularly within the disaffected or former Mormon community. There isn't anything there that is going to be new in an election.

    Furthermore, there didn't seem to be that dredging up of the "incongruities" of Church history when Mitt ran for Massachusetts governor. I think too much emphasis on Mitt's religion and the Church by opponents in an election is going to backfire "big time" as Dick Cheney would say.

    There is nothing any earthly (or non earthly for that matter) power can do to stop the success of the Church and Kingdom as it progresses forward in this last dispensation. I would argue that there are likely to be as many good and positive results for the Church as there are likely to be negative ones.

    As the Prophet Joseph once declared:

    “[N]o unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).

    That's pretty much what I mean when I say the Church is in pretty good shape. It's Destiny is already sealed.

    By Blogger Guy Murray, at Friday, August 04, 2006 10:04:00 PM  

  • Guy,
    I too share your distaste for Senator Hatch. I think he is just generally an embarrassing individual, but I don't see him as embarrassing the church as much as embarrassing himself. And yes, he did run for the nomination. And yes, there are other prominent Mormons in politics, including Mitt Romney. I concede that, thus far, there have not been any virulent attacks against the Church, aimed at debunking Mormon politicians.

    I don't see how the fact that Mormon historical incongruities are exploited on the internet has anything to do with Mitt running for President. I also did follow Mitt's run for Senator against Kennedy, and yes there were no flagrant attacks based upon religion.

    Having acknowledged the above, I must state that no Mormon has ever really run for President. By really I mean, no Mormon has ever received the nomination for their respective party, and then went on to face an opponent from the opposite party; it is only after the capture of the respective nominations that true presidential politics become vicious while the entire country watches. (Yes primary elections are vicious, for example: Gore's attacks on Bradley and Bush's on McCain in 2000 election, both of which were entirely unethical and totally mean spirited. But these took place out of the media limelight.)

    Perhaps you are right, and I am paranoid (I hope so), but I think contingencies should be looked at in case I am not wrong. Just because "there is nothing any earthly (or non earthly for that matter) power can do to stop the success of the Church and Kingdom", does not mean we should conduct ourselves without considering how out behavior may impact how the Church is viewed.

    By Blogger Jared E., at Saturday, August 05, 2006 2:49:00 PM  

  • Jared: Just because "there is nothing any earthly (or non earthly for that matter) power can do to stop the success of the Church and Kingdom", does not mean we should conduct ourselves without considering how out behavior may impact how the Church is viewed.

    I would agree if what you are talking about is some type of activity that might bring one's conduct (and by extension the Church) into question, i.e. breaking commandments or covenants--but running for President at one time was a very noble endeavor.

    It seems pretty unfair to Mitt Romney to hold him to some standard other candidates are not held to. Bottom line--I'm becoming a Romney supporter. I like what I see. I think he is light years ahead of George Bush. I wish him well. I'm sure you do as well--I guess I just don't share the same concern you have described is all.

    By Blogger Guy Murray, at Sunday, August 06, 2006 8:22:00 PM  

  • Mitt Romney, perhaps in a different time and under different circumstances, would be an ideal Mormon candidate, but as the world presently sits, I don't believe now is that time.

    By Blogger Jay, at Monday, August 14, 2006 10:21:00 AM  

  • Poor Senator Hatch…..I met him and his wife once many, many years ago. We were eating at the same restaurant in Provo. My husband was but a poor, lowly BYU political science student and Senator Hatch was….well, already a Senator.
    He seemed like a very nice person. Just a chance meeting, but he was kind and approachable.
    I think anybody willing to go into politics has to have a lot of nerve. My gosh, to put yourself and your family and your pets up for the kind of inspection and criticism that we put people through when they are in office is mind boggling to me. The first time anybody said in the newspaper that one of my kids was ugly I would KILL myself!
    I just can’t imagine anyone WANTING to go into politics. Life is too short.
    I’m sure grateful that there are people who want to, and are willing to run for office. If it were left up to me we wouldn’t have anybody in Washington running the country.

    But than I can’t imagine anybody WANTING to be a dentist (yuck) or a doctor (super-yucky) or a police detective ( yuck-yuck-yuck) or how ‘bout the guy who sucks out the port-a-potties (stinky & yucky)?!

    By Anonymous ladyinthehat, at Monday, August 14, 2006 7:48:00 PM  

  • I am so excited about Mitt Romney hopefully running for office. The first I heard of him was his interview with Bill O'Reilly. I have been reading up on him and I feel confident that he is going to be our best choice for president. I finally have some hope for our country's future. I like Pres. Bush, but with so many BUSH haters out there, it seems impossible for the president to do anything without so much criticism. Mitt Romney will be a great change.

    By Anonymous Diane, at Friday, October 27, 2006 9:30:00 AM  

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