Posts Tagged ‘mormons’
On January 25th the astroturf flak-claque fraud-blog laughably titled Evangelicals for Mitt touted the newly released Focus on the Family video voters guide in a blog burst titled FOCUS ON THE FAMILY’S ASSESSMENT
Charles Mitchell, the author, cites Time’s account of the voters guide and emphasizes how the voters guide is said to criticizes Gov. Huckabee. Mitchell also quotes, but allows to pass without comment, this particular claim:
[...] “Mitt Romney has acknowledged that Mormonism is not a Christian faith,” Minnery adds. “But on the social issues we are so similar” [...]
About Time’s account of the Focus on the Family voters guide, Mitchell issues this strange disclaimer: “I’m not saying the TIME story is right—and Minnery denies that it is.”
Precisely what Minnery denies Mitchell leaves unspecified. But could it have something to do with Minnery’s preposterous claim that Romney had, at any time, acknowledged that he is not a Christian?
“Last week, the political arm of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family released an online video voter guide to help Christians sort through the “pro-family” records of the presidential candidate,” writes Michael Scherer for http://www.time-blog.com’s Swampland in a blog burst titled Focus on the Family Voter Guide Wrong About Romney
The guide offers largely negative appraisals of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mike Huckabee, and a far more glowing description of Mitt Romney.
But not everything the voter guide says about Romney is true. In one key part, Tom Minnery, a public policy expert at Focus on the Family, says the following:
Mitt Romney has acknowledged that Mormonism is not a Christian faith, and I appreciate his acknowledging that.
On Saturday, I read this quote to Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s traveling press secretary. He did not hesitate or mince his words. “The governor has not made that acknowledgment,” Fehrnstrom told me. “He has said that his belief is not the same as others. But there is no doubt that Jesus Christ is at the center of the LDS church’s worship.”
In fact, the Church of Latter Day Saints, also know as the Mormon church, holds as a central belief that it is a Christian faith. This belief is a concern for some evangelical Christians, who see Mormonism as a competing religion. On the campaign trail, Romney has avoided discussing his faith in depth, and he has acknowledged that there are differences between his faith and others. But he has not been quoted saying Mormonism is not a Christian faith [...]
Romney’s own claims on this issue have been vexed and misleading. See:
Romney retreats from “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind” blur-the-distinctions line, falls back to weaker, compromising, pragmatic, “different faiths, same values” line delivered through screen of Evangelical surrogates—conclusion: Romney’s “speech” failed completely
Dr. Dobson’s publicly articulated—or often disarticulated—attitude toward Romney has also been vexed and varied:
[...] “Just as surely as Obama’s campaign has surged since his Iowa speech, Romney’s has suffered since he failed to say what needed to be said in Texas a month ago,” writes the estimable and insightful Tim Rutten in an LA Times article titled A tale of two speeches
From the start, the former Massachusetts governor has had to cope with the problem of religious bigotry. One in four Americans say they’re reluctant to vote for a Mormon. That antipathy runs even higher among evangelical Protestants, who make up most of the GOP’s social-conservative wing.
In December, Romney attempted to emulate — in an attenuated fashion — John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 appearance before a group of Protestant ministers hostile to the notion of a Catholic president. Kennedy hit the issue head on, mentioning his Catholicism 14 times, forthrightly embracing separation of church and state and promising to resist any attempt by the church hierarchy to dictate his conduct as an elected official.
Instead of addressing the issue forthrightly, as Kennedy had, Romney temporized and attempted to placate the religious right by soft-pedaling his own faith — which he mentioned only once — and by attacking secular humanism and proclaiming his own belief in Jesus Christ.
It wasn’t simply pandering, it was oddly bloodless. How, for example, could a Mormon candidate for the Republican presidential nomination fail to mention that his party’s very first national platform was built on two planks — the abolition of slavery and the elimination of Mormonism, both of which those first Republicans deemed “barbarous?” How could he not take the opportunity to remind his handpicked Republican audience that, as recently as the 1890s, thousands of Mormon men were arrested and imprisoned by the United States Army or that the U.S. Senate refused to seat a lawfully elected member from Utah because he was a Mormon?
Rather than do those things, he attempted to ingratiate himself to that very sector of popular opinion in which anti-Mormon prejudice remains most intact. In the process, he helped legitimize fundamentalist preacher-turned-pol Mike Huckabee’s naked appeals to Christian voters in Iowa. It’s a pitch Romney — and America — are likely to hear a lot more of in South Carolina and beyond, where the evangelical vote is even stronger [...]
We heartily concur. We argued early on that it was Romney who made Gov. Huckabee’s rise in Iowa even possible. See:
Romney’s “speech” sealed the hapless candidate’s fate in Iowa and the South, and it never had to be that way.
“PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday attributed a big part of his Iowa loss to the fact his main competitor had an established base of evangelical support, which turned out in force,” writes Thomas Burr of the Salt Lake Tribune in an article titled Romney attributes Iowa loss to faith
Romney, who has worked to overcome fears about voters backing him as a Mormon, took only a fifth of evangelical voters who turned out to caucus in the first test of the presidential race. Republican rival Mike Huckabee, a Baptist-preacher-turned-politician, took nearly half of that category of voters, according to entrance polls.
The Romney campaign credited a large turnout by evangelical voters – many of whom see Mormons as heretical – for Huckabee’s victory.
“Mike had a terrific base as a minister – drew on that base, got a great deal of support, it was a wonderful strategy that he pursued effectively,” Romney told reporters Friday in New Hampshire where he was fighting for a victory in that state’s first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday.
Romney said he came into Iowa an unknown governor of Massachusetts, the “bluest of the blue states,” and campaigned hard to educate voters about what he stands for. But that, apparently, wasn’t enough as Huckabee trounced Romney 34 percent to 25 percent.
“Had I been a Baptist minister, I perhaps could have chosen a different path, but that wasn’t the path that’s available to me,” Romney said. “He took one that was available to him, worked it extremely well, turned out people extremely well and I congratulate him on a well-run campaign.” [...]
This self-pitying, “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam“ Romney-rant is beneath comment. Well, almost. In another post we wrote
An emerging “fixed point” now conditioning and organizing the discussion is the notion that voters want “change.” (By “fixed point” we mean a point of convergence or common assumption emerging in the popular account.)
Another emerging fixed point is that Iowa decided for Gov. Huckabee because of anti-Mormon bias etc. This is as wrongheaded as it is condescending. Here would be the counterpoint:
Medved: “[Gov. Huckabee’s] powerful appeal to females, the young and the poor make him a different kind of Republican—[one] who connects with voting blocs the GOP needs to win back—[Gov Huckabee is] hardly the one-dimensional religious candidate of media caricature”
More counterpoint from Patrick Ruffini in a Townhall.com blog burst titled Iowa Shows Passion & Energy Matter:
[...] As I wrote on December 11:
[Huckabee’s] success is not about ideology, but identity. For his voters, he’s a Christian first, and a conservative second. Attacking him on conventional conservative issues won’t undermine his core support because it has nothing to do with being a conservative.
Ruffini’s point on its face supports Romney’s bitter complaint. But Ruffini continues:
Huckabee won women 40-26% (and men just 29-26%). He won voters under $30,000 by about 2 to 1. Cross those two, take away the Republican filter, and you’re talking about a general election constituency that is at least 2-to-1 Democratic. These are not people that conventional primary campaigns are designed to reach. These are the Republican voters the furthest away from National Review, other elite conservative media, and websites like this one. It’s easy to see just how the analysts missed the boat on this one [...]
[...] Conventional organization may matter less in an era of high-stakes, high-turnout elections. Romney’s Iowa chair Doug Gross was quoted as saying that 80,000 was their “magic number” for overall turnout. It’s easy to see why. With 26,000 Romney votes, that would have been good for 32.5% and a win — about the same percentage they got at Ames (where turnout was historically low).
The Romney campaign was an efficient machine that knew who its voters were and turned them out. The problem is that Mike Huckabee’s momentum brought in new voters off the beaten path — more Evangelicals, more women, people lower on the income ladder. Think about this: In the 2000 Caucuses, only 37% described themselves as “religious right.” This year, 60% described themselves as “Evangelical Christians.” That’s an imperfect comparison, but the universe of Evangelical voters almost certainly expanded this year [...]
Conclusion: the fixed point emerging in support of Iowa is the new GOP coalition, a coalition based on a renewed conservative movement that the elite conservative media failed to even register in their opinions and analyses.
Or where they did register it, they either dismissed it or ridiculed it.
Sadly, the new elite liberal media is the old elite conservative media.
P.S. Always remember: effective politicians NEVER, EVER BLAME THE VOTERS.
“DES MOINES, Iowa – More than a few politicos have viewed Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith as a political liability detracting from his fight for the Republican presidential nomination,” writes Dave Levinthal of the Dallas Morning News in a burst of reportage titled Mormons could play role in Romney win
But if Mr. Romney wins today’s Iowa caucuses, he may have members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to thank.
Iowa’s Mormon population is small – more than 22,500 members of all ages, according to church statistics. But they are notably politically active, and many are backing Mr. Romney. That is potentially significant with the tight race in Iowa, as polls indicate Mr. Romney effectively running even with Mike Huckabee for the lead.
A swing of just a couple of thousand votes could determine who places first …
“Two women contacted the Mitt Romney campaign this week, offering their memories of seeing Romney’s father march with Martin Luther King Jr., in Grosse Point Michigan in 1963. Campaign officials were well aware that the women were mistaken,” writes the intrepid, articulate David S. Bernstein in a post titled When A Claim Becomes Offensive available in The Phoenix’s Talking Politics blog.
Yet, they directed those women to tell their stories to a Politico reporter. The motives and memories of the two women are unknown and irrelevant; the motives of the campaign, however, were obvious — to spread information they knew to be untrue, for the good of the candidate.
By getting this story out late on Friday afternoon, heading into the holiday weekend — good luck getting a King historian on the phone before Wednesday — the campaign was pretty well assured that it could keep alive through Christmas their claim that Mitt Romney was mistaken only about “seeing” it, not about it taking place.
Then-governor George Romney did indeed march in Grosse Pointe, on Saturday, June 29, 1963, but Martin Luther King Jr. was not there; he was in New Brunswick, New Jersey, addressing the closing session of the annual New Jersey AFL-CIO labor institute at Rutgers University.
Those facts are indisputable, and quite frankly, the campaign must have known the women’s story would eventually be debunked — few people’s every daily movement has been as closely tracked and documented as King’s. As I write this, I am looking at an article from page E8 of the June 30, 1963 Chicago Tribune, which discusses both events (among other civil-rights actions of the previous day), clearly placing the two men hundreds of miles apart. I also have here the June 30, 1963 San Antonio News, which carries a photo and article about Romney at the Grosse Pointe march; and an AP story about King’s speech in New Jersey …
Note the subtlety, the elegance, and yet the force of Bernstein’s argument:
… Believe me, [the Romneys] know the two men never marched together. This is an attempt to rewrite history. And even if it is a small rewriting, it is offensive.
[The claim that they did march together] is offensive because of people like Russell Peebles.
Peebles is an 88-year-old man, a former resident of Grosse Pointe for 48 years, who was present at both the Grosse Pointe march in 1963, and the MLK speech in Grosse point in 1968 — the event at which the Romney campaign initially insisted Romney and King marched together.
I tried to contact Peebles earlier this week, prior to writing the original article, but we missed each other back-and-forth. Peebles sent me an email today, attesting to the fact that George Romney was at the 1963 march, but not the 1968 speech; and that King was at the 1968 speech, but not the 1963 march.
Peebles, and many others like him, deserve to have the history of what they did told honestly. Changing that history by mistake — which is quite possibly how this began — is unfortunate. Changing that history intentionally — which is what the campaign is doing now — is offensive … etc.
Here is Bernstein’s larger point: The Romneys are undermining the integrity of an historical account—and historical accounts derive from personal accounts, from personal experience, from people, from real, flesh and blood people acting and pursuing their interests in the world. And the integrity of those experiences should matter not just to the Romneys, but to everyone, as we all have a stake in knowing, learning about, and understanding the past.
But wait: Didn’t Romney himself claim that he was speaking “figuratively” when he said that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King Jr.?—how is this exercise anything other than a cynical and pointless act of outrageous vanity on Romney’s part?
… “In 1978, Mitt Romney was a 31-year-old vice president at Bain & Co. and a lifelong devout Mormon,” writes Mr. Jason Riley, a member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board in an opinionjournal.com article titled Church Separation: The Mormons still haven’t settled their race problem
Throughout his current campaign for the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney has declined to distance himself from the repugnant racial teachings of his church.
On “Meet the Press” last Sunday, the candidate was asked by Tim Russert if “it was wrong for your faith to exclude [blacks] as long as it did.” Mr. Romney dodged the question, instead stating: “I told you where I stand. My view is that there–there’s, there’s no discrimination in the eyes of God, and I could not have been more pleased to see the change that occurred.”
In his ballyhooed speech earlier this month, Mr. Romney said he wouldn’t renounce any of Mormonism’s precepts. He also implied that questions like Mr. Russert’s come too close to a “religious test” for public office that the Constitution explicitly forbids. But in a country with America’s racial past, Mr. Russert’s question isn’t a religious test. It’s due diligence. And for all his claims to the contrary, Mr. Romney has, in fact, been willing to distance himself from past teachings of the church–just not those having to do with its treatment of black people.
“Look, the polygamy, which was outlawed in our church in the 1800s, that’s troubling to me,” he told “60 Minutes” in May. “I must admit, I can’t imagine anything more awful than polygamy.”
Gee, I can … etc.
We can too. And we concur. See:
Romney refuses to acknowledge that his church was wrong to exclude blacks; instead, Romney offers his father’s march with MLK as proof of his progressive values, yet there is no evidence that Romney’s father ever marched with MLK
“I’ve been on the road for a couple of days, but I want to circle back to Mitt Romney’s appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday to make two points,” writes Tom Bevan in a realclearpolitics article titled Romney’s MTP Turn
First, I think Romney made a significant mistake by refusing to acknowledge that his church was wrong to discriminate against blacks up until 1978. This should have been a no-brainer, and his refusal to state the obvious was made even more pronounced by citing his father’s record of marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, his mother’s civil rights record, etc. – all of which was a tacit admission that the church’s policy of discrimination was wrong. So why not just say so? … etc.
Did Romney’s father march with Dr. Martin Luther King?—well, opinions differ.
“In the most-watched speech of his political career, speaking on ‘Faith in America’ at College Station, Texas, earlier this month, Mitt Romney evoked the strongest of all symbolic claims to civil-rights credentials: ‘I saw my father march with Martin Luther King,’” writes the estimable David Bernstein in a Phoenix exclusive titled Was it all a dream? EXCLUSIVE: Mitt Romney claims that his father marched with MLK, but the record says otherwise
He has repeated the claim several times recently, most prominently to Tim Russert on Meet the Press . But, while the late George W. Romney, a four-term governor of Michigan, can lay claim to a strong record on civil rights, the Phoenix can find no evidence that the senior Romney actually marched with King, nor anything in the public record suggesting that he ever claimed to do so.
Nor did Mitt Romney ever previously claim that this took place, until long after his father passed away in 1995 — not even when defending accusations of the Mormon church’s discriminatory past during his 1994 Senate campaign.
Asked about the specifics of George Romney’s march with MLK, Mitt Romney’s campaign told the Phoenix that it took place in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. That jibes with the description proffered by David S. Broder in a Washington Post column written days after Mitt’s College Station speech.
Broder, in that column, references a 1967 book he co-authored on the Republican Party, which included a chapter on George Romney. It includes a one-line statement that the senior Romney “has marched with Martin Luther King through the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb of Detroit.”
But that account is incorrect. King never marched in Grosse Pointe, according to the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, and had not appeared in the town at all at the time the Broder book was published. “I’m quite certain of that,” says Suzy Berschback, curator of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society. (Border was not immediately available for comment.) …
… King had already left the state, and Romney did not participate in the Grosse Pointe walk, according to records from the time.
George Romney would later lead a 10,000-person march through Detroit, but not with King.
Although Broder’s book contained the brief mention, there is nothing in the public record to suggest that George Romney himself ever claimed to have marched with King.
Had George Romney ever marched with Martin Luther King Jr., it almost certainly would have been documented. From the mid-’50s through 1962, Romney was one of the country’s most prominent business leaders — for him to travel South for a civil-rights march would have been remarkable. From January 1963 on, as governor of Michigan and a presumed Presidential candidate, Romney was one of the most visible political figures in the country … etc.
… “the problem, for Romney, is that, to my knowledge at least, he has not said simply that the LDS church was wrong to exclude blacks from the priesthood and top leadership positions before 1978,” writes Byron York in an NRO The Corner post titled Mormonism, Romney, and the Race
Voters don’t mind it – they even like it – when a candidate says something in the past was wrong but that now it is right. But today, on “Meet the Press,” Romney wouldn’t say that.
For non-Mormons, like me, the question seems to focus on the issue of revelation. The LDS church policy was changed in 1978 when the president of the church said he had received a revelation dictating that leadership positions should be open to everyone. At the time, church officials sent out this letter:
In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple, he presented it to his counselors, who accepted it and approved it…
I asked about the revelation several weeks ago, when a few of us in the NR Washington bureau met with Mormon Elders M. Russell Ballard and Quentin L. Cook, who had come to Washington to meet with staffers of several publications. (They were concerned about the image of the church; they did not discuss Romney or his candidacy and offered no opinion on it.) When I asked why the church changed position in 1978, the answer was, if I recall correctly, that they did not know. It wasn’t a flip answer; they were saying that they could not know why God had given that revelation to Kimball at that particular moment. They were not inclined to say that the church had been wrong before. That’s a built-in dilemma of the system; if a church says it is led by revelation, and then says it was wrong, it’s kind of like saying God was wrong …
Um, OK., but what about when Romney flatly denies empirical evidence? Is that based on revelation too? Is it kind of like saying G-d was wrong? Regard:
“Mitt Romney dismissed a picture on the Internet on Tuesday that apparently showed him attending a fundraising reception for Planned Parenthood in 1994 during his Senate campaign,” writes someone, we know not who, in an associated press tory titled Mitt Romney Dismisses Photo Suggesting He Attended Planned Parenthood Even
“I attend a lot of events when I run for office. I don’t recall the specific event,” the former Massachusetts governor said as he campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination. “I think I’ve made it very clear. I was pro-choice, or effectively pro-choice, when I ran in 1994. As governor I’m pro-life and I have a record of being pro-life and I’m firmly pro-life today” …
The formerly conservative NRO—apparently a subsidiary of Bain Capital and another proud Blog for Mitt—overreached when to curry favor with their imperious master, Romney, they savaged Gov. Huckabee. Perversely, the super-geniuses at NRO slimed Gov. Huckabee on grounds of his religion, after arguing strenuously that Romney’s confession was somehow out of bounds.
Yet the backlash continues apace.
“Thus far in the 2008 presidential campaign cycle, ‘religion’ has played a far bigger role than in any recent elections,” writes the estimable Christopher Adamo in a Reality Check post titled Conservative Elites to Christians: Remember Your Place
This does not necessarily translate to actual issues of importance to one religious constituency or another, but rather that the religion of individual candidates themselves is a major topic. And as this pattern continues, a glaring hypocrisy is emerging. In short, all religions are to be beyond criticism or question, with the sole exception of Biblical Christianity.
At the slightest suggestion that a candidate’s religion might call his or her judgment or fitness for office into question, the instant and universal response from across the political spectrum is a chorus of accusations of “religious bigotry” and intolerance. No less an icon of punditry than Robert Novak made essentially that case in his October 4, 2007 column. Unless, of course, the religion in question is Southern Baptist and the principal involved is Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, at which point the preacher becomes fair game … etc.
“Gee, lets think about this,” writes Paul Seale in an Arena of Ideas post titled Dear Rich Lowry … So ya think the Romney advertisements are having an effect, eh?
Romney’s campaign which already spent millions of dollars already in Iowa, dumps a few more million and blitzes the airwaves with negative advertisements against someone with next to no cash flow.
Compound the advertisements with the two plus weeks of intensely negative news in which even a simply Christmas advertisement is labeled as “using religion as a political weapon“ and what do you think the results will be?
Just be forewarned that there will be a backlash.
While I do not agree with much of Huckabee’s substance (looks to me as another “big government” conservative), the constant attacks on someone presenting a positive message a vision by Washington elites will be remembered.
I think Byron York today best put his finger on what is driving Huckabee. I dont mind writing that I agree fundamentally with darned near everything Mike Huckabee is saying with regards to what we should do as individuals to solve problems. The difference for me is that Christ asks for those things to be done on the personal level – not through the government.
Similarly I dont mind telling you that a lot of what Huckabee is saying with regards to how those in the media and Republican establishment ring true with me. I’ve seen the same treatmeant with Fred Thompson.
What do both of these men have in common? They refuse to kiss the rings of you guys in the Beltway. The continued implied labling of someone who is otherwise a good man as lazy or some sort of religious fruit loop by those in Washington and the Romney campaign has burned a mark in me so deep that I will remember it for a very long time.
I know you guys in Washington think that many of us can be brought back on board with just a hot button words, but I promise you that is not the case. We want someone authentic – not some synthetic poll driven individual. Remember, we rejected that in 2004. Or do you think we really are that stupid?
While you might be scorching earth on your way to a win in the primaries, remember those burns are going to last long afterward and leave a bad taste in many mouths come November … etc.
The emphases are ours, all ours.