Mitt’s Mormon Problem (Not What You Think)

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“…The job traditionally is filled by political insiders who enjoy the trust of the candidate … and the selection always says something about the man aspiring to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave….”

I am sick and tired of Mitt Romney’s religion.

No, I am not sick and tired of the Mormon church, I’m sick and tired of Mitt Romney’s conservative supporters trying to ram his religion down our throats.  I’m tired of the line that his religion makes him better than those of us who drink, smoke a cigar, and live on caffeine.  His religious prohibitions against certain “sinful” items does not make him better, healthier, or more perfect that the rest of us.

I’m sick and tired of Mitt Romney’s religion the way I was sick and tired of Jimmy Carter’s religion.  To put a caveat on that statement, I was a member of the same church in Atlanta, Second Ponce De Leon Baptist, as was Cyrus Vance, Bert Lance, numerous Carter Administration officials, and where Jimmy himself went, when he was in Atlanta.

Many of Jimmy Carter’s political insiders were left-overs from his years as governor.   A preponderance of them all went to the same church.  They all had the same associates.  Huge contracts went to people who were in official positions in the church. It was a social club and almost a cult.  If you were not part of the important crowd, you were pond scum. My sister, roommate and I went there because, it was like the old Connie Francis song, Where the Boys Are.

The Pink Flamingo has it, from an excellent source, that the inner workings of the Romney campaign are all members of his church.  The arrogant Mr. Romney is already measuring for the drapes, by putting another Mormon, Mike Leavitt, in charge of his transition team, even though he hasn’t been officially crowned as the nominee.

“…The job traditionally is filled by political insiders who enjoy the trust of the candidate — Bush picked prep school friend and gubernatorial Chief of Staff Clay Johnson while Obama chose former CAP chief and former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta — and the selection always says something about the man aspiring to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

In the case of Romney, he’s tapped somebody a lot like himself. Leavitt is Mitt Romney’s Mitt Romney.

The Utahn, 61, hails from an old Mormon family, has run a business, leans right politically, but is no ideologue, and is as passionate about whiteboards as Romney is about PowerPoint. Both are steady, prudent men. There is one important area in their backgrounds where they differ, however. Though it’s little known even in the political class, Leavitt has deep experience as a campaign operative. He worked in Utah campaigns in the ’70s and ’80s and for legendary pollster Richard Wirthlin in Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection.

Since installing Romney to take over the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Leavitt and the GOP nominee have become close. They’re contemporaries, share a circle of high-powered intimates in politics and business and their wives are friends.

“We’ve spent a fair amount of time together since the Olympics,” said Leavitt, who served in the Bush administration until January of 2009. “And when we were together, we’d talk about where the country was headed, whether Mitt should run, family — just the kinds of things friends talk about.”…”

Politico

The number of Mormons in Romney’s inner circle is staggering.

“...Also heavily involved are White, Romney’s former Bain Capital hire and close friend who has worked with him in his past races and at the Salt Lake City Olympics. White has Romney’s trust as much as anyone internally, and his influence can’t be overstated, though he is nowhere near as visible as Fehrnstrom, the cable-TV presence, or Stevens, who is also well-known.

There are other tiers of input. There is Ron Kaufman, who became close with Romney as a key Massachusetts GOP political figure, and who frequently travels with the candidate. Rich Beeson, the political director, has a clear mandate, as do deputy campaign manager Katie Packer Gage, lawyer Ben Ginsberg (who has served as a liaison with other campaigns) and pollster Neil Newhouse. So does policy director Lahnee Chen. Advisers Brian Jones and Kevin Madden playing roles in media and in bridging the campaign to Washington .

And there are still others who, outside the Rhoades-Stevens-Fehrnstrom-Myers-White nexus, have deep ties to Romney.

Zwick, the head of the governor’s fundraising operation, has become as close to Romney as almost anyone in his political operation. Zwick is, like Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is known for a no-drama approach to raising money.

There are others who share Romney’s faith or are longtime friends, and who play supportive roles in the campaign.

One example is Bill Marriott, who is more at the edge of the campaign but is something of a cheerleader. Another is former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, an LDS member who is playing a more active role and has emerged as a central player in planning Romney’s potential presidential transition….”

The Pink Flamingo has it from an excellent course that most of the members of the inner circle are members of Romney’s church.

Politico

The Pink Flamingo is well aware of how John F. Kennedy was treated by the anti-Catholics when he was running for POTUS.  My complaints about Mitt Romney are not about his religion.  As I’ve repeatedly stated, there are members of the LDS religion about whom I care, very much.

My concern about Mitt Romney is that he is too insular with his religion and his campaign insiders.  From everything I can find, almost all those on the inside of his campaign are of the same faith. First, it just doesn’t look good to outsiders. It also leads me to ask a very nasty question.  Does Mitt Romney only trust and value the opinion of those inner circle members who are also LDS?  (We know what happened with Jimmy Carter, and his Baptist inner circle.  That went well, didn’t it?)

I would ask this question of anyone.  I ask it about Michele Bachmann.  There is something deeply disturbing about a national candidate who appears to have absolute confidence in only those people who are part of his religion, club, nationality, etc.  To me, it says how he will govern.  We’ve seen how Barack Obama has a tight inner circle of trusted liberals.  We saw how Jimmy Carter had his Georgia Mafia. Richard Nixon had his special little group, of which almost all went to prison. It does not speak well of a person’s judgement or his/her ability to seek out diverse opinions and be willing to listen and think about something other than what they already believe.

 

There is only one reason Mitt Romney is “perfect”.  He has spent his entire life planning for this moment – the nomination.  It is rather sad to see him hide behind and manipulate one of the great religions.  I suspect, if I were a member of his church, I would be livid, the way I am livid over the nastiness the break-away Anglican churches have created within the ECUSA.  They make us look bad.

Mitt makes Mormons look bad.  Let’s face unpleasant facts here.  From now until who knows when, he is the face of the Mormon religion, for good or bad.  It’s the same way a certain former bishop became the face of the Episcopal church.

I happen to think that a person who is obsessed with something should never be allowed to have it, simply because they cannot think properly and clearly because of the obsession.  We’re starting to this repeatedly, with Mitt Romney.  It’s really quite tragic for everyone.

There is a bottom line here.  We have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.  There is only one recourse:  John 3:16.

Then again, there is the elephant in the room.

USA Today

It is just plain old idiotic for conservative pundits and talk show hosts to constantly opine about Mormon perfection.  They are ignoring the “family” strife that is almost threatening to split the LDS faith.  That is sad.  We Episcopalians are quite good at airing our dirty laundry in public.  It is simply quite pathetic that, in order to keep up this idiotic and abjectly silly farce that the Romneys are a perfect family, just absolutely perfect, they are missing the rest of the story.  But, not to worry, we Episcopalians are still the root of all evil.

 

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