The Left has a Mormon problem. Specifically, they were banking on people disliking Romney because of his Mormon faith handing Obama a victory. Since they are Mormon-phobic, these religiously intolerants were convinced evangelical Christians and conservatives would have a knee-jerk reaction against the man’s spiritual beliefs. They used religion against Mitt’s father and believed it worked on George Romney. For fifty years, they have thought if a Republican is Mormon, this is their foolproof weapon. Now their strategy seems to have failed like the rest of their ideas.
While vacationing in Door County Wisconsin, we did some antiquing and I found an old Life magazine from February 9, 1962. In this edition there is a story about George Romney, Mitt’s father, entitled “The Rambler Man.” The story begins with a business history of the elder Romney but quickly changes in its focus to the man’s religion.
“Mormon Minister – A Detroit Mormon and leader of the church in Michigan area. Romney sits behind the pulpit with fellow dignitaries in church in Bloomfield Hills at Sunday services at which he officiates.”
There is nothing wrong with writing about George Romney as a church elder or his religious affiliation. However, there is something bizarre about the amount of time the editors spent detailing Mitt’s father’s religion. Pages 36 and 37 are pictures of George Romney as a baby, at a Mormon colony in Mexico. There is a picture of George in Scottish regalia, while he was a Mormon missionary in Scotland. And this:
“Pious, sturdy legacy from his pioneer Mormon family – They are sturdy and proud folk, the Romneys, with roots in the pioneering and evangelizing Mormon past. George Romney embodies family tradition that would bolster any statesman – enterprise, daring, service to church and community, loyalty to convictions.” The story details George’s grandfather at the age of three years-old was chased to Utah. It is then said Miles, the grandfather, had four wives and 30 children. And this:
“After the U.S. government outlawed plural marriages in 1882, Miles and his wives and children fled into Mexico where they helped establish a Mormon settlement. George was born there in 1907-since his parents were U.S. citizens, he probably still meets the Constitutional requirement that a President be a ‘natural born citizen.’ When he was 5, Mexican bandits chased the colony back across the border and his parents finally settled down in Utah.”
The very next page shows more Romney family photos preaching the Mormon message in England. Fully half the entire article pointedly speaks to George Romney and his Mormon religion. Sandwiched within the Mormon references, we find out George Romney was the successful president of American Motors and loves his family. Otherwise, we are plied with this nugget as the preface to his political stances:
“The deep influence of the emphasis the Mormon church places on fundamental values and individual self-reliance shows in George Romney’s beliefs.”
This is merely one article in one magazine and yet it’s a Mormon extravaganza. George Romney was immortalized by the press at the time as “Mormon” and though he won the governorship of Michigan, his political aspirations ended there. His abbreviated run for president in 1968 fell to pieces, but not because of his faith. But, most historians and political scientists believe it was this: “But as a politician on the national stage, he seemed wooden. He was ridiculed because of a remark in 1967 that he had originally supported the war in Vietnam because he had been "brainwashed" by generals and diplomats during a visit there in 1965.”
I think the Left believed it could count on sideswiping Mitt Romney in the same way. In fact, they believed Mitt lost the nomination in 2008 because of his religion. This is their “Hail Mary” option and have been building on this so-called issue for quite a while, hoping it would divide the Republican base.
The Democratic operatives in the press are gleeful about Romney’s “Mormon problem.” The New York Times giddily predicted this earlier this year, “Mitt Romney has a persisting Mormon problem. Less certain is whether this is limited to the Republican primaries or if it’s a general election worry, too.” They were thrilled that Christian evangelicals would reject Romney due to his religious beliefs. The left prayed for an open schism in the GOP with this, “The exit polls from a plethora of primaries confirm that. Mr. Romney, a deeply devout leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gets clobbered among white evangelicals and those who believe the religious views of a would-be president matter a great deal.”
The lapdog media this spring and early summer tried to make Romney’s Mormonism an issue. Time magazine’s resident psychotic psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank even called Romney a liar because of his religion. The psycho-analyst wingnut wrote:
“Children learn to lie at different times in their development, but almost always by the age of 10. Their lies help establish them as separate from their parents, especially if the parents believe them. And one doesn’t have to be a Mormon to lie — just look at John Edwards or former Nevada Senator John Ensign. But in the Mormon Church, there was a decision to accept authority as true — whether or not evidence supported it. Hence Joseph Smith, the founder of the faith in 1820, claimed he was illiterate and received the Book of Mormon directly from God. But he could read, and read very well.” Frank argues Joseph Smith was a liar and somehow this makes Romney, and ostensibly all Mormons, preternatural liars. You can’t make up the drivel the left spouts to explain things.
Since heavy handed insults haven’t worked, the left tried to more craftily connect Romney to his religion and start a Christian evangelical backlash. Consider this little tidbit:
“The family's devotion to the Mormon faith is a part of Romney's life that the electorate rarely sees. Romney almost never mentions it in public. And his campaign typically bars the media from seeing him participate in a religion that many Americans are unfamiliar with. But it's a part of his life that could help him connect with a public that's just now getting to get to know him — one that includes many church-goers.” AP’s Kasie Hunt first makes Romney’s religious practices seem secretive as “part of Romney’s life that the electorate rarely sees.” Then she suggests media is barred from church services because it’s “a religion many Americans are unfamiliar with.” Hunt may believe such cagy writing will conjure up a fire storm, but it didn’t work.
Pew, the non-partisan Democratic research group, found people were either comfortable with Romney’s religion or didn’t care. That must have been a humiliating kick in the crotch for the leftwing sensibilities. It must have hurt even more when compared to their findings on President Obama. “The new survey on religion and politics finds that nearly four years into his presidency the view that Barack Obama is Muslim persists. Currently, 17% of registered voters say that Obama is Muslim; 49% say he is Christian, while 31% say they do not know Obama’s religion.” Not exactly what the lapdog media had been planning. In fact, Obama is so disliked the National Journal had to admit this:
“A deeper look into those results reveal that white evangelical voters are less likely to be comfortable with Romney’s Mormon faith than any polled subgroup, other than atheists and Democrats. The 23 percent of white evangelicals who say they are uncomfortable with Romney’s Mormonism still support him over Obama by an overwhelming majority, but they characterize their support as not strong.”
What makes the admission even more remarkable is the article is entitled, “Romney-Ryan Means No Protestant on Presidential Ticket for First Time.” Even while trying to cause a ruckus, the non-partisan Democrats in the media reveal their “smear Romney as a weird Mormon” strategy isn’t working. This seems to completely baffle them.
In a piece called, “Evangelical silence on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism is Unexpected,” Puffington Host religion writer Jonathan Merritt remarks:
“More recently, evangelicals have been more than willing to work with Mormons in the fight against gay marriage. The growing Mormon-evangelical political alliance could have real religious (and political) implications: Recent PRRI polls of white evangelicals show that as the group's awareness of Romney's Mormon faith increases, his favorability among the group also rises.
In short, what was once a liability might now be seen as a political asset -- especially in the GOP's crucial base of conservative Christian culture warriors.”
What happened? This wasn’t in the script. The Left’s problem with Mormonism was supposed to spread to Christian conservatives and Romney’s base would be stifled. The Obama camp could then energize their base to make up the difference. Mormonism would hand Obama his reelection through a despondent GOP base. It worked in the 1960’s for Mitt’s father, or so they thought. It should have worked today.
I guess Obama’s socialist agenda trumps Romney’s religion. And maybe the only real religious bigotry in this country resides directly left of center. Just saying…