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.”

20 responses

  1. Extremely eye opening research on Mitt. I knew that he had waffled quite a bit on issues, but not in the detailed and extreme manners you expose here.

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    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by! And thanks for the kind words. I like surfing the net and trying to tie together little pieces of info I find. I don’t know if my conclusions are 100% valid, but they do give me a bit of pause.

      Personally I think there is a lot to like about the man. But I’m concerned about his fair weather shifts. And, on the issues that I’m now very confident he is completely secure, we’re far apart. So I’d find it hard to find a way to vote for him.

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      1. I just find it curious that George W Bush just went after Kerry for “waffling” yet no one seems to care, so far, for Mitt’s waffling. Perhaps he just hasn’t had much of a challenger. I have a feeling this time around, the waffling might end his aspiration. If you think you are worthy of becoming President, you should at least stand for “something”.

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  2. It’s WOTW (War of the Wacked.) The aliens have landed and are making their presence known.

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    1. Well, it’s about time! It’s rude to blend in that long.

      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make dinner and snort a Bloody Maria. Mmm, tequila…

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  3. Bonus Mitt factoids:

    * Mitt’s first name of “Willard” was in honor of hotel magnate J. Willard Marriott (his dad’s best friend) who founded the Marriott Corporation

    * The middle name of “Mitt” comes from his father’s cousin, Milton Romney, who was nicknamed “Mitt” and played for the Chicago Bears as quarterback from 1925 to 1929

    * Mitt’s dad is George W. Romney, who ran for the Republican nomination for President back in 1968 and initially led Richard Nixon but then fell behind after backtracking on his support for the Vietnam War, claiming he’d been “brainwashed” by U.S. military and diplomatic officials in Vietnam

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    1. Mitt’s father was born in Mexico, which provoked discussion of whether George (aka Chihuahua George) was an American citizen when he ran for president. It was determined that he was, and Mitt says it doesn’t matter where Obama was born because his mother was a U.S. citizen. John McCain also was born out of the country — in Panama on a military installation while his father was in the service. You probably already saw this article in your internet travels.
      http://blogs.forbes.com/danielfreedman/2011/04/12/romney-to-trump-obama-doesnt-need-a-birth-certificate/
      John Huntsman, who recently resigned as the U.S. ambassador to China, is also a Mormon and is considering running for president. He’s fluent in Mandarin Chinese, which he mastered while a Mormon missionary in China as a young man. Huntsman wouldn’t be the first U.S. president to speak Mandarin Chinese. Herbert Hoover was fluent in Mandarin.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_who_knew_a_language_other_than_English

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      1. The writers of the Constitution of the United States must have been devious folk. They left us in so many quandaries.

        For example, they say that one must be “natural born” to be eligible to be POTUS. They could have said “born on United States soil” but they didn’t.

        Yes, I’ve read about Chihuahua George and that’s a big part of why Mitt Romney now says the Birthers are on the wrong track. He can only afford to flip flop on so many issues. And he may really be sincere about it, too, but on his personal experience and the research done on the issue for his father.

        I respect Romney for not trying to score cheap political points via the Birther route. Unlike The Donald.

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  4. When I first read your headline I could have sworn I saw “Mitt the Moron.” ….. if the shoe fits……

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    1. LOL! That’s your eyes seeing what they expected to see. 🙂

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  5. I’m stuck on a detail.

    How about…
    “xx % would not vote for a DUMB@**. ”

    Sorry. It irks me. I wouldn’t answer in a poll like that, no matter how it’s set up.

    I let my kid answer the phone during campaign season. He’s 17. He plays the game called mindf*ck 20.11, and he does a much better job than me.

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    1. I think that means the you and the kid fall into the great people known simply as “margin of error.” Personally I always wanted to be one, too!

      No need to apologize!

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  6. I first read that as Mitt the Moron. I don’t think he’s a moron but that’s what my brain decoded. I think he’s a middle-of-the-road GOPer who is as likely to hold up to one cause as a fart in a stiff wind.

    He likes power–can’t have it without a forked tongue.

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    1. That seems to be a somewhat common decoding.

      Personally I think Mitt is going to have a tough row to hoe, whether he is one of the front runners or not.

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  7. How about Nativity for your N Post? You’ve probably already written your N post, and the birther issue is already covered. But Nativity just seemed irresistible to me.

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    1. It is already written. I just put the finishing touches on it. It may very well be my pièce de résistance.

      Then again, maybe not.

      I bet you can never guess what it will be about. Not in a million years! 🙂

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  8. Thanks for the good info. Personally, I try to leave a person’s religious beliefs out of my consideration. Although should it be a consideration? You’ll remember with Kennedy, the big flap about whether or not he would answer to the Pope because he was Catholic.

    I don’t think his religious beliefs should keep him from being a candidate, and I hope they don’t, but there are a lot of people out there with this bias. Frankly, despite their oddities of their religion, I find the Mormons to be reliable people. In general, they’re trustworthy and honest. I like their values. I’ve had them as neighbors more in more than one house I’ve lived in, and they’ve always been easy to deal with. Now, in regards to politics, I’d expect them to be pretty conservative. That is their reputation.

    Waffling on issues is no uprise. It may hurt him though, you’re right about that. It would be very good for this country to get the whole abortion issue out of the way, but that’s never going to happen is it? I can’t see how it could. Even if Roe v Wade was repealed, it would just shift the majority of the fight to the other side and it would continue unabated.

    Anyway, good write-up.

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    1. I do remember the flap about JFK being a Catholic. It’s a weird world we live in. Now we have people being denied communion because of their political opinions.

      As an atheist, I have no choice but to leave religion out of my vote. Otherwise I wouldn’t get to vote. Too bad the BYU study didn’t ask about atheism. That probably would have scored even higher than Mormonism.

      I’ve had a lot of good experiences with Mormons and that probably skews my opinion. Some new acquaintances of mine are chipping away at that, though. All good things must come to an end.

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  9. […] via Mitt the Mormon « Shouts from the Abyss. […]

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  10. […] think about Mormonism? Why now? I think, mostly, the answer to that is Mitt Romney. He’s a serious candidate for president and, like every candidate before him, his religious […]

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