Friday, December 07, 2007

Mitt Romney is the MAN!

If you have been paying any attention to my feelings on religion and politics at all, you know that I would love to be blogging about Mitt Romney's big faith speech today. Unfortunately, tonight I have yet another kidney stone, and am basically incapable of such thought thanks to the painkillers.

So I'll make this short and sweet. From the perspective of an LDS Republican, I really liked what Mitt said. Do I think it will resonate with everyone everywhere? Of course not. Do I think the speech helped? Absolutely- to those who were open-minded. Of the criticisms I have read thus far (from readers of different news sites), most seemed to have made up their minds about him already.

A few of the quotes I really liked-
"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."
(I personally think this will become one of the quotes that he will always be remembered for. At least, it will always be the quote I will remember him by.)

"In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion - rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith."

"We should acknowledge the Creator as did the founders – in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'"

All in all, I was impressed. I am looking forward to hearing my uncle's point of view. The campaign flew him to Texas for the event today. He got the chance to see Mitt and rub shoulders with several great men I am told.

I'd really love to hear other thoughts on this speech- especially from my politically active LDS friends!!

1 comment:

  1. "From the perspective of an LDS Republican, I really liked what Mitt said."

    From the perspective of an LDS democrat, I really liked what he said as well. I think the speech (fairly or unfairly) gets compared to Kennedy's a bit too much. It wasn't trying to do the exact same thing.

    Yes, there was fear from the party base (and Americans in general, but most importantly with the party base) with both candidates that they would be taking marching orders from a religious leader in some far away city, whether Rome or Salt Lake doesn't really matter.

    But, I think Romney had a much harder task. Kennedy needed to not alienate the Catholic voting bloc if he wanted to win the election- but he few things short of denouncing his religion would have done that. Kennedy was basically needing to sell the argument that "look, it really doesn't matter"

    Romney on the other hand needs to sell to the base that "Yes, my faith influences my policies in all the ways you want it too- someone's faith should matter BUT I'm a person influenced by my faith not a person controlled by my religion and what religion a person is a member of doesn't matter as long as their belief system is positive in its contribution to them as a person"

    All in all, a much more complex argument.

    But really- the speech had to do more than that and I think it did. The complex argument wasn't really going to be believed by the rabidly anti-mormon amongst the base. Romney and his people all understood that, and his speech smartly didn't just go after them. Some from the base felt it was too "shiny, happy, everybody's right" in its attitude- but I think that was just right. While the speech needed to sway the base on the fence more than anything it needed to look like it was swaying the base on the fence without looking too extreme in its statement of social conservativism.

    The reason, I believe, is because the speech was for the media more than anyone else. The media coverage of elections has turned into this weird amalgamation of horserace coverage and entertainment.
    Candidates get classified into easy categories, issues that are easy to harp on get harped on. The media was not going to stop about whether Mitt's Mormonism would be a defining issue, and whether it would be a dealbreaker. Whether or not it would be naturally, if the media kept on it the way they were it likely would have been.
    Having more than an official statement (of which there were already multiple) for the media to refer back to, but a Kennedy-esque speech of somewhat overblown proportions makes sure that the media, if not seeing it as fully answered, has a clear place to refer back to. It comes closer to putting the discussion on Romney's terms instead of the terms of anchors or hacks at Fox, CNN, and MSNBC. (not that all commentators there are hacks)

    OK, that was long and rambling. Sorry for that.
    I'm glad the new medicine is better then the Percocet, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas despite your friend Horatio


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