Is Mitt Romney honest? An LDS perspective.

I just discovered that my blog posting from last Friday, titled, The Mormon Case Against Romney, was picked up and published in its entirety by The Free Republic blog. And was commented on in a lively discussion, with comments such as:
“This guy nailed Bishop Romney to a tee.”
“This article should be bookmarked and presented as rebuttal to every clown who argues that a man’s faith is not important in determining his qualifications for public office.”
“Kudos to this man for having the guts to be honest about the liberal Romney.”

I like the idea of getting traction with my opinions. But I feel a little unusual about my position here and was reflecting on what I wrote, the reaction to it, and how I feel about it now. And added into the mix is a report I heard that was read by Rush Limbaugh today on his show. One of Mitt’s Massachusetts strategists, Mike Murphy, was quoted as saying, that, in his Massachusetts campaign, Mitt was “a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly.” Rush then went on to quote from a New York Times story which claimed that, “By 2005, with Mr. Romney eyeing a possible presidential bid, he began to distance himself from his abortion rights platform. ‘My political philosophy is pro-life,’ he told National Review, a conservative magazine, in an article that June.”

Here’s my problem. As a boy, one of my childhood heroes was the boy in Hans Christian Andersen’s famous story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” As being apparently close to my age, I identified with him and admired his naive courage, and wanted to be like that when I grew up. And I’ve been like that, which has sometimes gotten me in trouble because courage like that isn’t always appreciated. There is a good reason most people don’t say things like that – it does get you into trouble sometimes. And in the spirit of that story, let me go a step beyond what I said last Friday and declare to you LDS folk: There is a great disconnect between how you view Mitt Romney and how the rest of the people view him. A lot of my  LDS friends may not be able to go there. Mitt is a good, active, LDS man with a temple recommend. Well, the trouble is my hero, that boy who saw the emperor in his underwear, and if I want to be like him I need to call them like I see them. As I read material written by non-LDS conservatives, that is the impression they have.

I think a lot of LDS people should take a deep breath and look at this situation as dispassionately as you can. You want to think there is anti-Mormon bigotry at play here, and that is why he can’t get above 30% of the vote. Reall?? You think 70% of Republicans are anti-Mormon bigots? You have to know that can’t be true. Yes, there is some of that. But there is a hard core of people that hate anyone in the public eye. They all have dirt spread around about them, and there’s a certain percentage of unfavorable that any candidate has to deal with.

If you’re having trouble with this, read those comments on The Free Republic and read what some others are saying about Romney. There are jokes going around about Romney’s insincerity. One, told at CPAC, goes like this:

“A liberal, a moderate, and a conservative walk into the bar, and the bartender says, ‘Hi Mitt.'”

When I first read this joke, it actually took me a couple of minutes to get it. I thought the ending was left off. No, that is the whole joke. It was told by one of the speakers, not one of the candidates, at CPAC. And it was repeated last night by political consultant Dick Morris as he was interviewed by Sean Hannity. Like it or not that is a very common perception. Not among LDS people, but among the rest of the country.

In 2008, when he was interviewed by Tim Russert, Tim brought out a pair of flip-flops and asked Romney to explain his reputation as a flip-flopper. “Unfair,” you say. As a Latter-day Saint, you understand him, forgive him for any past mistakes, or however you view it. But you need to face up to the fact that this is his reputation.

On his pro-life stance: One of his strategists in Massachusetts said he was “faking it” as a pro-choice governor, and only converted to pro-life as he contemplated a run for the presidency. As a Latter-day Saint, you can’t believe that – it was a sincere conversion, just as he said.

Others are accusing him of fostering vicious attacks against his opponents through his political action committees and they want him to speak up and ask those friends of his to stop. He won’t do that simple act. You accept his explanation that there is nothing he can do about what his friends do. Others don’t accept that and think it would be a simple thing for him to make a public statement asking them to stop.

Others attack Romneycare as an awful, government-centric health care mistake and they can see little difference between Romneycare and Obamacare. One is on a state level. The other is on a federal level. To many that’s a minor difference. To the faithful LDS person, to quote one who spoke to me about it, “That’s Huge!!” Okay, to you it may be. Others can’t see the huge difference.

Others say that his campaign is fundamentally deceptive. A typical politician, they see, who grooms his position to fit his audience. He’s really a moderate, but he tries to pass himself off as the most conservative candidate in the race. He’s the establishment favorite, but to listen to his speeches, he’s an outsider. You don’t see it that way. You understand he’s doing what he has to do, and you believe he is truly honest and upright. Others think he’s just a typical politician.

So think about this, you LDS faithful. Is this the face you want on the first Mormon chosen as the nominee of a major political party for President? We have Harry Reid, who, as far as I know, is also a temple-recommend-holding faithful member. And then, from the other side of the aisle, Mitt. Would that be good for the Church, to have that reputation dogging another prominent Mormon? There is a great disconnect between how you perceive him and how the rest of the country perceives him. Can you at least feel a little queasy about him having that kind of reputation? A flip-flopper? A fundamentally deceptive campaigner? A typical politician? And we could add, ruthless? Think it through. Think it through really carefully. The stakes are high.

Click here to visit the Liberty Musings conservative politics home page.

About mesasmiles

By Dr. David Hall. Dr. Hall runs Infinity Dental Web, a small company that does Internet marketing for dentists. He has had a long-standing interest in politics and as a college student toyed with the idea of a political career.
This entry was posted in Republican Presidential Candidates and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Is Mitt Romney honest? An LDS perspective.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *