18 December 2007

How my faith affects my support for Romney

A anonymous commenter posed a few questions regarding my support of Mitt Romney after my latest post on Mitt.

I think they are fair questions that deserve a fair response, so here we go:

I'm interested to know if you would have the same positive feelings towards Romney if you two didn't share a religion. Would he still have all the answers? Would he still be your (apparent) favorite?

It's difficult to say for certainty whether I would or not, since the question is hypothetical.

But I believe I would support Romney if he were Lutheran. It's his policies that attract me to him, not his faith.

Harry Reid is a card-carrying member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I can't stand the guy or his policies. The fact that we both believe The Book of Mormon is scripture doesn't endear him to me at all.

You've mentioned how it is unfair for Huckabee supporters to base their opinions on Romney based on his religion; how many LDS voters automatically think Mitt is that much of a better candidate because he is also LDS?

A valid point. I'm sure there are plenty of LDS voters who have Mitt bumper stickers just because "he's one of us." How many of this kind of people are there? I have no idea. How many Catholics voted for JFK, Jr. in 1960? How many people from Arkansas voted for President Clinton because he was from their state? How many voters will choose Hillary because she's a woman? Who supports Obama only because he's black?

Voters often check the box next to the name of the guy they identify with most. It's not the best aspect of democracy, but it's something we have to live with.

If we're taking religion out of the race out of fairness, doesn't it work both ways?

Yes, it does work both ways. People should be able to put aside their bias for Mitt because he's a Mormon just as people should be able to put aside their bias against Mitt because he's a Mormon.

And if it's impossible to TOTALLY distance your feelings from Mitt because of mutual religious persuasions, how can you expect the other side to forget their possible biases against Mormons and vote for Romney anyway?

This is the most difficult of the questions you pose.

My first response is that I don't expect anyone to vote for Romney. What I expect is for people to give him a fair look, just like I expect the other candidates to get a fair shake.

Also, the goal is not to be able to completely distance myself from bias for Mitt because we have the same faith. The goal is to be able to distance myself enough that I can objectively choose whether to support him or not.

I can't ask someone to overcome years of anti-Mormon feelings in a couple months. What I can do is ask them to ask themselves if these feelings are rational or not, and if not, to put them aside enough to objectively accept or reject Romney based on his political qualifications.

I don't even know if Romney will make it out of Iowa. There's a great chance he won't get the Republican nomination come next September. But from all I've read, both supporting and criticizing him, I believe Romney is the best-qualified person to be president.

If you disagree, I'm fine with that. But if I can get you to see eye-to-eye with me even a little, that's fine, too. :)


Jimmy said...

Most Mormons I know over here on the East Coast don't support Romney because they don't want the Church getting blamed for every decision he makes.

Aliese Fry said...

Interesting...I, myself, definitely a Mormon, am still struggling to decide where my vote will go. However, this web site helped me a bit! Link: http://www.wqad.com/Global/link.asp?L=259460

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. Thanks for answering my questions, Brandon. It's slightly comforting that there are a few people supporting his platform who aren't doing so out of reflex alone.

Aliese--I've seen that website, too, and apparently it thinks I'm Libertarian. I think I'd rather just stick to my research on the candidates and decide on my own, especially given that those sites are, well, innaccurate in my mind.

Aliese Fry said...

That's completely fair. Like I said, it's helped me a BIT...It's not like I've made my solid deciscion! And, "anonymous," if it makes you feel any better, I'm about as Mormon as they come and believe me--I won't even CONSIDER voting for Mit Romney unless he changes his views on the voucher system for education. He supports the voucher system and I'm a teacher in a public school! I will admit, I ultimately vote where I can somehow see the benefit. I go pro-ed. all the way if I can help it.

Anonymous said...

One thing that just occured to me: agreeing or disagreeing with him aside, do you trust Romney because he's LDS?

Brandon said...

Anon.- No way. There are tons of Mormons I know that I don't trust as far as I can throw them.

Anonymous said...

Heh, me too. Good answer.