Sunday, March 18, 2007

a mormon in the white house?

Several people have asked me what I think about Mitt Romney. I have replied that I don't know much about him besides that he's Mormon and running for president. I have said before on this blog that I am often cynical about politics and politicians. I don't want to be that way. I don't think it's an admirable attitude.

Lately I've been wondering if what keeps me from being more politically involved is not that I'm cynical so much as uncommitted or on the fence, I sometimes have a hard time deciding what I really think about issues that everyone else seems so emphatically and passionately decided about like the Iraq War, for example. One day I think, like Hillary Clinton, that we should get the heck out of Dodge. The next day I think we need to send more troops in to make at least some attempt at increasing the stability of that region (now that we've gone in and messed things up). And then I think about the American lives lost and I'm back at square one.

Also, I am ignorant. I often skip the articles on tax reform or health care or... see, I don't even know what the issues are, say nothing about being able to form an informed decision on them.

Hugh Hewitt, writer and political pundit, has written a book on Mitt Romney called A Mormon in the White House? Ten Things Every American Needs to Know About Mitt Romney. I think I'm going to read it. Lowell C. Brown, an active Mormon and political blogger discusses the book and other Romney stuff in this article on Meridian. The big thing that's been thrown out there in the media about Romney has been the big "would an evangelical actually vote for a Mormon" question. I find it absolutely fascinating that Romney is considered unelectable by some because he is a Mormon. Fauna said that she heard Hewitt say on his talk show that if Romney were not a Mormon, there would be no other Republican candidate considered. Brown mentions the following bigoted statement by Jacob Weisberg of Slate magazine: "I wouldn't vote for someone who truly believed in the founding whoppers of Mormonism." He has many more offensive things to say in his article, though I have to say I am not so much offended by Weisberg's bigotry as astounded that he would publicly make such a statement in this day and age.

On Thursday night I saw Mitt Romney and his wife Ann on Larry King.

I was very favorably impressed by Ann Romney, who is certainly no shrinking violet. She is gorgeous, but she doesn't act like a woman who is conscious of her looks. She seems kind of tough, actually. I think she could take on Hillary no problem, and I think Hillary is hard as nails. I don't mean that negatively. I admire strong women. Anyway, Ann is not afraid to talk, and admitted to disagreeing with her husband on some political issues. However, she appropriately (I think) declined to discuss it.

My first impression of her husband is that Romney is a younger, smarter, better-looking version of Ronald Regan when he ran for president. I think our country desperately needs a Ronald Regan right now. I know some of you are gasping for breath at that statement and that's o.k.! Deep breathing. Ronald Regan was unfailingly positive. His powerful personality made good things happen. I think we need to believe again in the uniqueness and greatness of our young country. O.k., I need to believe in it. We have become too cynical. Yes, there is a lot that is wrong, but there is so much that is right. This is still a great country. I'm still proud to be an American. Lately I've been thinking about all of those dire reports about the state of American education. We don't come out as well in standardized tests as much of the rest of the developed world. We are behind in some ways, but why are we focusing so much on that? Wouldn't it be more effective to celebrate and improve what is uniquely right about us rather than trying to ape what other countries do? We've got excellent leadership qualities. We are open and welcoming, generally speaking. We believe in the strength of the family because, after all, this nation was built on the backs of strong pioneer families.

I know I went off on a little tangent there, but I think what I was trying to do is explain what I think it the single most important quality I'm looking for right now in a candidate. The ability to help us believe again in our country--to unify us in our appreciation for what makes the United States of America a great nation. I don't know that I care so much about change and improvement in other areas. Or rather, I think Americans will always be striving to improve anyway no matter who is president--that is a given. Our constant striving is something that defines us. What we need is to believe, and to strengthen families.

I begin to think that Romney, of all the candidates, might have a chance of pulling that off.


ave said...

I agree with what you have said. Isn't it completely weird that people even consider Mit being LDS a negative thing? I mean, when did morality and the golden rule become a negative thing? I also find it bizarre when people say that there will never be a Jewish president. I really liked Lieberman, I would have voted for him. What is wrong with people?

Auntie Lee said...

In order for a democracy to work people need to educate themselves in what is really goint on and they need to participate. Unfortunately every time someone gets news attention because they 'tell it like it is' in America, people call them fundamental or radical. That is why there will be no Mormon or woman or Jew in the white house. Besides after living outside the American press for so many years, I would also NOT want a mormon in the white house. The most successful polititians are the ones who can keep to business, see things like they really are, keep religion out of it, are good at political spinning and are lucky. I will vote for the lucky person long before I vote for a nice looking-go-to-church kind of guy. We have had 'nice' presidents in the past but 'nice' doesn't work in Washington.
People in America are stuck on patriotism so much that the politicians use it as a tool to manipulate the public. That is why it is so important to educate yourself on what is really going on and stop listening to the 'spinners'. The 'spinners' use emotion as a tool to get higher ratings, get more votes or sell more products. Every really good sales person knows this and that is how they make a living. Politicians are no different. The only difference is that when they spin they put people's lives on the line.

athena said...

i just think that whoever becomes the next president will make history in a big way--the president could be a black president, a woman president or a mormon president. :)

Calandria said...

I don't know that spin is wholly negative. Ronald Reagan was certainly a master of spin and maybe that was the best thing about him. The media is very adept at negative or sensational spin, and that wears us down. A president cannot cure all of the nation's ills--we should be working on that as citizens. I wonder if what a president is most useful for is our national psyche.

I actually do try to educate myself about the issues, but I don't believe half of what I read in the paper or see on t.v., so finding out what is "really going on" can be difficult.

Auntie Lee said...

I think finding out what is really going on in America is more difficult than outside. The press all seem to have their own agenda and I find the American press spend more time speculating than reporting. They also don't seem to want to report on a lot of things.....don't know why that is.

By the way. Regan didn't spin that much. He pretty much played the straight and eazy road. I was a college student then and most of my friends couldn't finish school because of his way of doing things. I don't know if you would call that productive.