Non-LDS Support for Mitt Romney

May 23, 2006 | 42 comments
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An email from a reader, Jeff Fuller.*

I thought Times and Seasons might be interested in drawing attention to the growing appeal that Romney is having among non-LDS lately.

A few interesting points and links:

I draw attention at my blogsite Iowans for Romney to another blog called Catholics for Romney

The man who is running Americans for Mitt (Nathan Burd–highlighted in a BYUNewsNet article) is an Evangelical Christian from Ohio as is Nancy French (who runs Tennesseeans for Mitt and helped organize support in TN that helped in Romneys’ good showing in the SRLC in Memphis)

Also, an interesting new blogsite Article6blog is devoted to discussing “the Religious Test prohibition” in the Constitution. This site had it’s inception at the request of Hugh Hewitt and is run by an Evangelical Christian and a Mormon.

I was personally able to go to a House Party hosted by the Iowa Christian Alliance where Mitt Romney was the guest. I detailed my experience there at this blog entry.

Mitt Romney has not yet earned the valuable Times and Seasons endorsement (we’re still waiting to hear his position on beards at church) but we’re all interested in his candicacy’s Mormon angle. Its good to hear that righteous gentiles are coming to his defense. May their tribe increase.

*If you email me something for posting like Jeff Fuller, will I post it? Probably not. Will it be because you’re a bad writer or because I don’t like you? Probably not, but you never know.

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42 Responses to Non-LDS Support for Mitt Romney

  1. Jeff Fuller on May 24, 2006 at 12:06 am

    Thanks for posting this Adam.

    I’m sure Romney is OK for facial hair as long as it is as neatly groomed as his hair.

    Since the Issue of Romney/presidency is now brought up on Times and Seasons I would also be interested in what people think about the potential role (for good or for ill) that high-profile LDS folks like Steve Young, Napoleon Dynamite (http://iowansforromney.blogspot.com/2006/05/secret-weapon-napoleon-dynamite.html#links for story), Johnny Miller, Gladys Knight, Andy Reid, Harry Reid . . . OK scratch that last one . . . might play (could/should/shouldn’t) in Romney’s run for the White house.

  2. Jeff Fuller on May 24, 2006 at 12:23 am

    The link for the BYU Newsnet story was an incorrect link. The correct link is http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/58467

  3. Kimball L. Hunt on May 24, 2006 at 12:25 am

    Rolling-ly laughing!

  4. Mark B. on May 24, 2006 at 8:35 am

    Actually, if Mitt wants to win, he’ll need the support of a whole lot of unrighteous Gentiles, and of unrighteous non-Gentiles as well.

  5. Adam Greenwood on May 24, 2006 at 8:42 am

    I think Steve Young, Napoleon Dynamite, Johnny Miller (whoever that may be), Gladys Knight, Andy Reid, and Harry Reid, especially Harry Reid, should take steps to rebut any anti-Mormon prejudice and so on that his campaign generates. I think they should support his candidacy only to the degree they think he’s the best candidate and that actively supporting him is a good use of their time and celebrity. Mitt Romney is a Mormon candidate, but he’s not the candidate of Mormonism.

  6. Adam Greenwood on May 24, 2006 at 8:45 am

    Jeff Fuller,
    link fixed. Thank you.

  7. Dan on May 24, 2006 at 9:33 am

    I’m curious just how much support Mr. Romney will get from Southern Christians, such as Baptists. do they really want to see a Mormon in charge of the country? methinks that a Mormon will have a better chance at the presidency as a Democrat than as a Republican.

  8. Heather Bigley on May 24, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    Yeah, I don’t see anybody in the bible belt electing a member of a “cult” to the American presidency.

    I sincerely hope Romney doesn’t run because I don’t want to face all the media speculation about blacks and the priesthood, women and the priesthood, funny underwear, kolob, polygamists, reproductive rights hooey coming our way. Let’s just wait another fifty years before we mormons attack national politicas…Then one of my daughters can win the candidacy.

  9. Blake on May 24, 2006 at 1:01 pm

    Romney’s candidacy has exposed the ugly fact that Southern Baptists and liberals alike as a general rule won’t vote for a Mormon no matter what his/her politics. The beastial underbelly of the sheer bigotry and prejudice that would not be tolerated for any other group are still snickered at by both Baptists and liberals alike when it comes to Mormons. They are not, in gerneral, friends of ours.

  10. APJ on May 24, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    Adam, I hope that the point you are making is made by the media. I mean, I hope Romney’s Mormonism doesn’t become such a topic in the elections that Reid, Steve Young, et al., feel that it’s necessary to come forward and try to clarify (because I think if it becomes that big of an issue, then Romney’s already dead). I hope that objective journalists and the media in general are successful in making the point though. I just worry that if the ‘famous mormons’ are too aggressive in an effort to ‘down-grade’ the importance of their religion in public life, it may look like Mormons have something to hide, or that they’re making too big an issue of something that is only marginally important. So, public opinion will partially dictate how this goes.

  11. APJ on May 24, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    woops, comment 10 refers to comment 5, not to the original post

  12. Jeff Fuller on May 24, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    I think it goes without saying that no LDS celebrity should feel compelled to support Romney because he is LDS. Though I think Romney’s support by LDS will be overwhelming . . . each person must evaluate the candidates/their messages/their vision etc. . .

    I think you’ll be surprised at the support Romney might get out of the south. I don’t think he’ll win those states if Huckabee, Frist, Allen etc . . . are viable options at that time. I’ve spent 8 of the last 9 years of my life in the south and there are quite a few hard core Baptists who have told me that they could support someone like Romney (if the issues matched up). I’m sure there will be some preachers who do the whole Mormon/cult thing . . . but I think that will be the exception and not the rule.

    Again, Romney and supporters should continue to try to DIFFUSE rather than MAGNIFY the religion issue. Defending Mormonism when people are attacking Romney shifts the argument to the election being a referrendum on Mormonism when, in fact, it is simply choosing the best candidate.

  13. Bonjo on May 24, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    This raises an interesting thought… What would life be like for a Mormon president? Does he go to church on Sunday? Does that mean that everyone who goes to his ward has to be wanded and walk through a magnetometer? Does that mean the bread will be provided by the Secret Service (at least for Air Force One, food is randomly purchased from several regular grocery stores by plain clothes officers who do not disclose for what purpose it is being purchased).

    Imagine the 2-hour wait just to get into Stake Conference… And we thought airports were bad!

    Temple attendance? Would he have his own “private hours” at the temple? All the temple-recommend holding Secret Service agents would surely be put on that security detail. The DC temple grounds have a nice area where the twin-prop Marine One helicopter could land.

    Would he get home teachers? Admitedly, DC has enough members who hold security clearances. Would he home teach? Imagine, your home teacher sitting on your sofa, while a helicopter hovers overhead, a limo, 5 black SUVs, a dozen motorcycles, plus another dozen Crown Victorias wait with their engines idling and lights flashing, parked outside, guys in body armor stalking through your flower beds, while he delivers, “And President Monson’s counsel for us this month is…”

    I jest, of course. But it would be an interesting dynamic, for a church so accustomed to being very open yet discreet.

  14. Drew on May 24, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    I love how we LDSers enjoy speculating on whether the evangelical wacko-right will impose an unconstitutional religious test for the presidency and therefore think that Romney shouldn’t run. I think we feel there is a lot more deep-seeded anti-Mormonism than there really is because it is pointed at us!

    Saying that Romney shouldn’t run because it will bring up media speculation about the Church is absurd. Every one of those issues has been raised in papers since the church started (think of the temple spreads in British tabloids) both truthfully and not-so-truthfully. How can we possibly shrink away from the public eye because we may or may not be criticized? “Let’s just wait another fifty years”??? I really hope that was a joke.

    My friends in and out of Washington say that the biggest opponents/naysayers of a Romney run are MORMONS not Evangelicals. We second guess entirely too much and if we don’t get behind Romney (which, of course, we are not obligated to do because he is LDS), how can we possibly expect him to overcome religious-test obstacles (which do exist), whether they be mountains or mole-hills?

  15. Bryan Warnick on May 24, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    Blake: “liberals…as a general rule won’t vote for a Mormon no matter what his/her politics.” I seem to recall a guy named Harry Reid who does fairly well among liberals in Nevada. Your claim also seems to go against my experience with liberal friends. I wonder what evidence you have to support this position.

  16. smb on May 24, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    as a card carrying liberal, I didn’t (and wouldn’t vote) for romney on basis of his politics not his religion.

  17. Adam Greenwood on May 24, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    “Romney’s candidacy has exposed the ugly fact that Southern Baptists and liberals alike as a general rule won’t vote for a Mormon no matter what his/her politics.”

    That’s odd, because Romney hasn’t even declared his candidacy yet. What Romney’s *potential* candidacy has exposed is that lots of Mormons are preemptive victims.

  18. Seth R. on May 24, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    Well Adam,

    The evangelicals couldn’t have a better opportunity to prove all the Mormon pessimists wrong, could they?

    Here’s hoping …

  19. gst on May 24, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    Re comment #14: Baptists refusing to vote for Romney on religious grounds is not unconstitutional.

  20. Jeff Fuller on May 24, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    Re #19: Any person of official political authority cannot apply or suggest a religious test. Any voter can do what they like . . . however, they would be violating the spirit of the law (Article 6) though not the letter.

  21. Adam Greenwood on May 24, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    Seth R.,

    If you follow the links conveniently scattered throughout the original post, you’ll see that some evangelicals already have.

  22. Seth R. on May 24, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    Oh great, make me work will ya?!

  23. claire on May 24, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    Although a registered Democrat, I have been entertaining the notion of voting for Romney if the opportunity arose. Some misplaced sense of loyalty I suppose, and the vain hope that me might be immune to some of the “politics as usual.” A recent article has made reconsider:

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/05/20/romney_overhauls_panel_that_backed_ban_on_baby_formula_giveaways/

    BOSTON –Gov. Mitt Romney has removed members of the state’s Public Health Council who wanted to ban the giving away of infant formula at maternity wards, according to a published report Saturday.

  24. gst on May 24, 2006 at 4:38 pm

    Re. Jeff Fuller (#20):

    Yeah, that’s another way of saying that it’s not unconstitutional.

  25. Kirk Larsen on May 24, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    For what it is worth, Orrin Hatch has cited 1999 poll data that indicates that “17 percent of Americans wouldn’t vote for a Mormon for president under any circumstances.” Source here. Whether people actually vote they way they answer poll questions is, obviously, a somewhat murky matter.

  26. Greg B. on May 24, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    Jeff Fuller,

    In comment #12, you mention a belief that LDS support for Romney–should he run–will be “overwhelming” and later that “defending Mormonism when people are attacking Romney shifts the argument to the election being a referendum on Mormonism when, in fact, it is simply choosing the best candidate.”

    Are LDS are especially adept at choosing the “best” and more politically wise than non-LDS? Wouldn’t overwhelming LDS support cause us to wonder if Mormons support Romney because he is Mormon–especially if the candidate fails to generate wide support from the Republicans and if Mormon Democrats are willing to vote for a true blue Republican because they share his faith? Maybe the potential candidacy is not a referendum on Mormonism for non-LDS. But, the way you describe it, a Romney run would be a “Mormonism referendumâ€? for the Saints.

  27. Adam Greenwood on May 24, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    “Wouldn’t overwhelming LDS support cause us to wonder if Mormons support Romney because he is Mormon”

    No need to wonder any more, friend. Romney will receive overwhelming LDS support, and it will be in large part because he’s a Mormon (and Republican, of course). That’s the kind of soft tribalism you’ll get rid of never.

  28. Seth R. on May 24, 2006 at 6:39 pm

    Harry Reid, were he running, would’ve tested the “tribal unity” though, I think.

  29. Kimball L. Hunt on May 24, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    I’m a little disappointed in T&S’s giving such short shrift to things of the truest importance re the (apostrophe) aught eight campaign.

    Such as — Lenore’s hair! In that apparently official pic of her? uh, as on her official 1st lady site’s — it’s just oh so, um too loose and free for my taste: Not “serious” lookin hair! You know, Steve Young had an obsession with non-serious hair too; what is this! This is Massechussettes, man! — y’know, Plymouth Rock!? What would a few news-caster tricks with dippety doo and the blow dryer or even some hair pins hurt! Or, if she wants to attract So Bapts, she could get just a touch of a Marlo Thomas flip. For you younguns: its the style worn by that red-haired chick on Desparate Housewives. Chick? When I was a kid, our school janitor and, just in general, people with tatoos or who subscribed to topless girly magazines called em broads.) But see, I’m old enough that I remember my older, high school sister’s — and she DOES have red hair — in the 60s having Marlo’s flip. That is, before they started ironing their hair straight, like that chick on Mod Squad style. However, my older sis ended up with Felicity-type, natural, almost fro while she was at the Y and when 1969/1970 finally rolled aroung: Y’know, Woodstock. But, what do I know for style? — one of my only TV crushes, ever, was Lilith! Y’know? Frazier’s wife, on Cheers? Well, Susan Anton was kinda hot. Anyway, all jokes aside, I’ve read in an article from the Globe lately their belief that Lenore’s truly’s Mitt’s secret weapon! Makes me wonder about her opinions about China. And flatware. Smirks.

  30. Dan on May 25, 2006 at 9:50 am

    I would not vote for Mr. Romney because I disagree with his politics. If Mr. Reid were to run for president I would vote for him because of his politics. Mormons have had a problem in the past with block voting that had them kicked out of the states of Illinois and Missouri. I’m glad the GAs come out every election year with a statement reminding the saints that the church takes no position in regards to any candidates, and that each member should vote for whom they feel best meets their beliefs.

    I’m not going to simply help a Mormon onto the presidency stage simply to get a Mormon as president, especially if I disagree with his or her policies.

    And I also stand by my belief that the South will turn against a Mormon. Remember who is actually funding anti-Mormon literature. Publishers linked to Southern Baptists and Pentecostals, etc. They shake our right hand while stabbing us in the back with their left.

  31. Trent on May 25, 2006 at 10:37 am

    No need to speculate about what would happen if an attractive Mormon candidate (values wise) runs in a predominately Evangelical area, it has already happened. Irnest Istook has been the Representative of northeast Oklahoma for over 10 years now. He has faced anti-Mormon opposition each time, yet still wins. This may not be indicative of all of the south, but Romney doesn’t need to win all of the south in the Primary.

  32. Lowell Brown on May 25, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    Hi, folks, I am the Mormon half of the team running article6blog.com. Come on over and look around. The site’s still young but we hope it will be interesting and useful.

    Lowell

  33. jjohnsen on May 26, 2006 at 8:37 am

    “No need to wonder any more, friend. Romney will receive overwhelming LDS support, and it will be in large part because he’s a Mormon (and Republican, of course). That’s the kind of soft tribalism you’ll get rid of never.”

    Can the Mormon vote make any difference at all in an election? Utahns would vote Republican no matter what the candidate was like, so at least for a while those electoral votes are locked. Unless there is a large enough LDS population outside of Utah to swing some electoral votes, a LDS candidate gains nothing from being Mormon.

  34. Adam Greenwood on May 26, 2006 at 9:10 am

    Interesting point, Trent. Do you happen to know how his first primary went? My guess is that anti-Mormon sentiment will get shoved aside in a general election but could matter in the primaries.

    JJohnsen,
    I think you’re right that the Mormon vote won’t matter much in the general election, since most of us vote Republican anyway, and the ones who don’t usually aren’t going to change their minds. It probably won’t make much difference in the primary elections either, since most Mormon heavy states have late and insignificant primaries. The exception is Arizona, but the Mormon vote there may be counterbalanced by McCain’s favorite son status and by the anti-Mormon vote (not evangelical anti-Mormonism, but the general gentile tribalism and suspicion of Mormon political influence you get in places where Mormons are significant but not overwhelming).

    Where Mormons will help Romney is in fundraising and grass roots volunteering. If his candicacy takes off, expect lots of organizing and work done for him at the ward levels and lots of complaints in the bloggernacle about the association of their local congregation with the campaign, many of which will be justified. The church will work overtime to make sure its officially disassociated from the campaign, however, and Romney will cooperate, because neither want to be seen as working hand in hand.

  35. jjohnsen on May 26, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    “Where Mormons will help Romney is in fundraising and grass roots volunteering. If his candicacy takes off, expect lots of organizing and work done for him at the ward levels and lots of complaints in the bloggernacle about the association of their local congregation with the campaign, many of which will be justified. The church will work overtime to make sure its officially disassociated from the campaign, however, and Romney will cooperate, because neither want to be seen as working hand in hand. ”

    True, I hadn’t thought about the impact members could have other than the actual vote. Still, do you see our small numbers making a difference outside of Utah/Idaho/Arizona, even at a grassroot level? I don’t plan on voting for him, but I can’t imagine a serious candidacy on his part being short of fascinating. I look forward to the information, good and bad, that comes out during his run.

  36. bbell on May 26, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    I cannot imagine organized pro-Romney campaign support fostered in PEC meetings if this is what you guys are talking about. I can see individual members working for him though.

  37. bbell on May 26, 2006 at 12:50 pm

    LDS impact might matter enough in the swing states of Nevada and New Mexico to matter. In 2000 and 2004 these states were tight really really tight between the candidates. It will be the same in 2008

  38. Adam Greenwood on May 26, 2006 at 1:25 pm

    If either Oregon or Washington are in play (unlikely, but possible), Mormon volunteers could make a difference. And remember that money is fungible. UT cash can be spent in OH.

    Still, I doubt the advantages of being Mormon make up for the disadvantages, but they advantages are there.

  39. Ben H on May 29, 2006 at 10:45 am

    Republican-leaning southern evangelicals choosing between, say, Al Gore and Mitt Romney . . . are going to vote for Gore? Uh . . .

  40. Kimball L. Hunt on June 1, 2006 at 8:42 pm

    Re 29, oops, ANN — not Lenore. Who it turns out is MItt’s mom. (Lenore. Who’s said to have married George rather than accept a three year contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayers.)

  41. Cindy Turretin on August 20, 2006 at 7:49 am

    I think it\’s kind of wishful thinking to somehow believe that conservative Evangelicals, who have traditionally opposed the LDS Church are going to now come out in mass droves in support Mitt Romney for the 2008 GOP Presidential Nomination.

    I recently went to a formal academic debate between \”Times and Seasons\” arch nemesis Ed Enochs and a Unitarian speaker named Dan Mages. The word on the street is that Enochs is writing a book on Evangelicals and Mitt Romney.

  42. Kevin on August 22, 2006 at 8:21 am

    There is a website for Mitt Romney run mostly by Evangelicals titled: \”Evangelicals for Mitt\”.

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