Daily Archives: April 15th, 2011

Mitt the Mormon

Image source: Wikipedia

“What is Mitt short for?” I wondered. Mitchell? Nope. It turns out that Mitt is his middle name. He was born Willard Mitt Romney. Mitt isn’t short for anything.

I admit I didn’t know much about Romney. He popped up on my radar when I learned that he wants to be president. Pretty bad, I guess. And he’s seen as a contender for the Republican nomination in 2012.

I also heard he’s a Mormon. Since I’ve been exploring Mormonism a bit in the last few months, I decided to research Romney a bit further, too.

I have to admit, some of what I have learned surprised me.

Romney, 1994, in Massachusetts: “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.” (Debate comments while running for Senate against Ted Kennedy.)

Romney, 2001, in Utah: “I do not wish to be labeled pro-choice.” (Letter to the Editor, Salt Lake Tribune, July 11, 2001, while considering a run for office in Utah.)

Romney, 2002, in Massachusetts: “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.” (October 2002, while campaigning for governor of Massachusetts.)

Today, Romney describes himself as “pro-life” and, according to Wikipedia, his web site calls for the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Interestingly, the link cited by Wikipedia now goes to a “Not Found, Error 404” on the official Romney “Believe in America” web site. Trying to hide something or just a site reorganization? A Google search shows the entire web site currently consists of only 10 pages or less.

To me, the above facts paint a somewhat disturbing picture. When swimming in liberal waters, he said the things the constituency needed to hear in order for him to get elected. Flirting with Utah, he changed his tune. Then, when he wanted to be governor, the brief pro-life diversion was forgotten. But now he’s firmly committed to being only pro-life, which, come to think of it, has consistently been his position ever since he wanted to be our president. I find that all to be interesting.

Romney even referred to himself as pro-choice:

Over the last multiple years, as you know, I have been effectively pro-choice, I never called myself that as a label but I was effectively pro-choice and that followed a personal experience in my extended family that led to that conclusion.
-Mitt Romney, January 29, 2007, during a visit to South Carolina

The fact that Romney is a Mormon is irrelevant and I only mentioned it because this is my “M” post in the A-Z Blogger Challenge. As an atheist I don’t vote based on the religious beliefs of candidates, nor do I view Mormonism as better or worse than any other religion.

According to Wikipedia, there are approx. 5.5 million Mormons in the United States and about 14 million total worldwide.

It is interesting to note, however, that there is a bias against Mormonism in this country. A study conducted by the Brigham Young University Department of Political Science contained some surprising findings from 2008.

Poll question: “If you thought he or she was otherwise well qualified, would you vote for any of the following who was running for President of the United States?”

14% said they would not vote for a “black person.”
15% said they would not vote for a “Baptist.”
16% said they would not vote for a “woman.”
31% said they would not vote for a “Mormon.”

In 2004, George W. Bush wanted something. It was re-election. And to get his way, his tactics basically boiled down to one single thing: name calling. He wanted the world to know that John Kerry was a “waffler.” I’ll never forget the waffle hoopla. And as much as I predicted that Bush couldn’t be re-elected, I was wrong. The personal attack and name calling strategy from the President of the United States worked. It was effective.

And yet, what Kerry did was essentially just a slip of the tongue. He made a self-serving comment about changing his mind and did so in a way that was easy to ridicule. It was a ridiculous statement. But, I submit, it had nothing on waffles compared to Romney’s fair weather position changes on abortion. If waffles are to be served, I think they were sent to the wrong table.

One thing seems certain: If Romney is the eventual nominee of the Republican party, it will make for a very interesting race against Obama. Can Romney survive the criticism of his evolving positions on the issues (abortion and others) and can he overcome an ingrained bias against Mormons? I guess time will tell.

The following video has some information about Romney and also quite dramatically shows that Ann Coulter doesn’t much care for her beliefs being questioned. Hissy fits!

This is my “M” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”