Could it be any more obvious that Democrats hate Mormons?

I largely agree with the general theme of Bruce N’s post below, which is that there is (some) anti-Mormon sentiment in the endless attempt for Republican voters to find “anybody by Mitt Romney.”  Ideology is an issue, but it is clear that for many evangelical Republicans Mormons are not acceptable.

There is substantially more empirical evidence, however, that Democrats are less likely than Republicans to vote for a Mormon.  It should be self-evident and noncontroversial to say that Democrats hate Mormons even more than Republicans hate Mormons.

Let’s start with the polling.  Gallup has asked voters the question, and 27 percent of Democrats say they would not vote for a Mormon president, while only 18 percent of Republicans make the same statement.  Independents are at 19 percent, closer to the Republican position, so clearly anti-Mormon sentiment is stronger among Democrats than anybody else.

The obvious retort is that most Mormons are Republicans, so clearly Democrats don’t agree with them.  This is certainly true.  Pro-life, pro-free market and pro-traditional marriage are not positions that modern-day Democrats are likely to embrace, so we must grant that some of the Democratic hatred of Mormons is simply about political ideology.

But while evangelical pastors have been saying nasty things about Mormons, the leaders of the secular left have been equally vociferous (if not worse).  We can of course start with Laurence O’Donnell’s obscene rant on public television where he called the religion demented, crazy, etc, etc.  Then we can move on to Democrat Jacob Weisberg’s prominent article in Slate magazine saying that there should be a religious test for the office of president, and any Mormon fails that test.

More recently, we find the disgusting sight of Bill Maher inviting Mormon-hating right-wing pastor Robert Jeffress onto his show so they could have a lot of fun bashing Mormonism.  Maher is a famous left-winger and Jeffress is a right-winger, but they both agree that they should put aside their differences so they can right the real enemy, a church and its hateful members.

But it gets worse.  Left-winger Harold Bloom actually had some good things to say about the LDS religion a few years back, but now that there is a possible Republican president out there who is an active Mormon, Bloom has completely gone off the deep end.  His nonsensical essay wanders around trying to find a point, but finally comes to the conclusion that Mormons are Bad with a capital B.

The New York Times and New Republic and a few other newspapers and journals form the nexus of left-wing politics.  So it should be no surprise that the New Republic has an entire section of its web site devoted to articles and blog posts attacking Mormon politicians.  The Church has a “race problem” and all Republican Mormons are right-wing extremists, etc, etc, etc.  Meanwhile, the New York Times was absolutely obsessed with Romney’s dog and other issues crucial to choosing a good president.  Editorial page editor Gail Collins has mentioned it at least 19 times in print.

What about the top Democrat, the president?  Empathetic as he is with suffering from bigotry, he couldn’t possibly be bigoted, could he?  Well, the evidence shows that President Obama will not let anything get in the way of another four years of presiding over America’s economic decline.  So, his surrogates, at least a dozen of them, told reporters that they will be out to “kill” Romney by concentrating on the fact that he is “weird,” ie Mormon.   Obama’s principal strategist said recently that Romney has “no core.

The narrative is clear:  Romney is weird because he is Mormon.  His church is racist and homophobic.  Romney has no core because he is Mormon.  He straps his dog to the roof of his car because he is Mormon.  And, of course, his church is demented, crazy, etc.

More than 11 years ago, Al Gore chose Jewish Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate.  It was clear to anybody who read the mainstream press that Lieberman never suffered anything close to the kind of bigoted attacks for his religion that Romney has had to suffer.  This is partially because Lieberman was a Democrat, but is is also because it is politically correct to attack Mormons but it is not politically correct to attack Jews.  The double standard should be obvious to anybody watching the national scene.

Evangelical anti-Mormon Republicans say Mormonism is a cult and imply that Mormons should not be in office because, among other things, we think Lucifer and Jehovah are brothers.  But left-wingers are much nastier and much less likely to vote for somebody simply because they are Mormons.  As I have said before, this is just the beginning:  the professional left will be launching an unremitting attack on Romney and his religion int he days and weeks ahead.  I hope all good people will join together to condemn the hatred, whether it comes from Democrats or Republicans or anybody else.

 

 

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

56 thoughts on “Could it be any more obvious that Democrats hate Mormons?

  1. Romney has no core because he’s been all over the map on the issues. It’s got nothing to do with his being a Mormon.

    On top of that, Romney has done a lousy job of explaining the changes in his positions. Maybe his handlers think that explanations won’t do any good, or that Romney should simply ignore those issues and he’ll win the nomination anyway, leaving him more flexibility in the general election.

    Gail Collins is obviously obsessed with the dog on the roof–you can be certain that she’s never driven down the highway in her Ford F-350 with the dog in the back, its face in the wind and loving every minute of it. Maybe she should try it herself. (Any ambiguity may be resolved anyway you want.)

    But, your post and the previous one do remind me of the old whine:

    Nobody loves me. Everybody hates me. I’m gonna go eat worms.

    Get over it. You’re not that important, and nobody cares if everybody hates you.

  2. Hmmm, Democrats hate Mormons more? I’m not buying it. I’m not rejecting it just yet either, but I’m not buying it.

    First, you point out a very good alternate explanation for the Democrat reluctance to vote for a Mormon: it’s political, nothing more. What I’d like to see is polling data asking if Democrats would vote for an Evangelical—another group known as social conservatives and therefore politically problematic for Democrats. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that opposition also hovering around 27%.

    Second, about 1 in 3 Evangelicals voted Democrat, at least in 2004 (http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1555024,00.html). How many of the Democrats in the 27 percent were Evangelical?

    Third, your evidence against Obama is pretty thin. Romney is weird—he’s stiff, robotic, laughs awkwardly sometimes. That’s not a statement about his faith or family or anything but him. He seems distant. He’s the kind of guy I’d love to has as a neighbor but I’d feel uncomfortable hanging out with him. And unless I missed something entirely, the accusation that Romney has no core was in the context of his political principles and lacking the support of 78% of his party; i.e., nothing to do with his religion.

  3. BrianJ, if somebody said Joe Lieberman was weird in 2000, how would you have responded? (Remember, Joe Lieberman is famous for observing the Sabbath and a lot of other Jewish customs).

  4. I would have asked what they thought was weird about him.

    Personally, I think his voice is a little weird—not quite squeaky, but something like that.

  5. BrianJ, read the Politico story I linked. The Obama reelection campaign is all about calling Romney weird. Everybody is weird in one way or another. What makes Romney weird? Must be the Mormon thing.

  6. I read it before I commented. And I didn’t find anything that tied Romney’s weirdness to his religion. Rather, I found this:

    “Democrats also plan to amplify what Obama strategists described as the “weirdness” quotient, the sum of awkward public encounters and famous off-kilter anecdotes, first among them the tale of Romney having strapped his dog to the roof of his car. None of the Obama advisers interviewed made any suggestion that Romney’s personal qualities would be connected to his minority Mormon faith, but the step from casting Romney as a bit off to raising questions about religion may not be a large step for some of the incumbent’s supporters.”

    If Romney were running in Utah against another Mormon, his opponents would probably still say he is weird. It doesn’t have to be the Mormon thing.

    You say “everyone is weird,” but not everyone has religion. But in Romney’s case, it just must be his religion?

  7. BrianJ, the point is the context. There are certain themes that you adopt if you want to draw attention to somebody’s religion in a bigoted way. As I say, calling Joe Lieberman weird when he was the first major party Jewish person to run would have come across as bigoted. Calling Obama or Hillary or Geraldine Ferraro weird would have been treated the same way. This is how political rhetoric is used: you draw attention to certain characteristics in political opponents without being obvious about it. Are you OK with the proposition below that Republicans hate Mormons (based on a few comments from a few evangelical pastors) but somehow have a problem with the proposition Democrats hate Mormons based on actual empirical evidence (that I linked above)?

  8. I don’t know, just because a certain number of people, who in this case you point out, are Left Wingers (?) attacking Romney due to he’s mormon faith, doesn’t really represent the idea that Democrats wouldn’t vote for a Mormon. If for example Harry Reid would run for president against say, Sarah Palin, I really doubt Democrats would not vote for Harry Reid due to he’s religion.. that make sense?
    As far as I know, you could dig an equal amount of research and find equal amount of anti-mormon commentary from the right wing. ( The pastors for example!? )
    Now about Bill Maher, that guy is a tool, yes an Atheist Left winger, one who would joke and attack any religion. Just so happens that he makes it a point to talk to Anti-Mormons to fuel he’s ideas.

    Now I happen to have a good number of friends that consider themselves “liberals” and from what I’ve gather is that they are not in line with the idiology’s of the LDS church, and hearing Mitt Romney speak just makes it the more reason for them to not vote for him, just like the same reasoning why they wouldn’t vote for Palin due to their immense disagreement with her. My point been is, it’s more the political then the religion.

    As far as the media goes, you will find an interesting amount of debate about why Mitt Romney shouldn’t be judged by he’s religion, after all, the Liberals are the ones that push for Tolerance the most ( ex. the whole Mosque, muslim topic ) and they would equally support a mormon in that sense. A good example of that is Chris Matthews talking on paster Robert Jeffress. Unlike Bill Maher, Chris was actually telling the Pastor he was wrong.
    Now has anyone mentioned the Vice Presiden’ts Joe Biden’s comments!? ” (Reuters) Vice President Joe Biden defended Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his Mormon faith on Friday, saying it was “outrageous” for anyone to suggest he should not be president because of his religion.”

    Now, if we talk about Atheist or those against religion institutions, whom would most likely vote for a democrat than a Republican, than yes that is a true observation, but it is not that they would single handedly point to Romney and not vote for him purely by he’s religion, but like I said, more so the Political Ideologies. In my personal experience, I’ve heard more Anti-mormon sentiment from conservatives than the liberals (besides of course, Bill Maher).. but than again, it’s one of those things where anti-mormons can find a ground of agreement.

  9. Phill, the vast majority of Republicans will vote for Romney over Obama, including the vast, vast majority of evangelicals. I would venture to guess that Romney will get pretty much the same percentage of the evangelical vote as Bush, and Bush was considered “born again” and beloved by evangelicals. Romney may even get a higher percentage than McCain.

    But of course you and most Mormon blog commenters have no problem with the proposition that Republicans hate Mormons because of the comments of a few evangelical pastors.

  10. Geoff,

    Just in case it isn’t clear. I do agree with you that Democrats hate Mormons too, if for different reasons and in different ways.

    I honestly don’t know which ‘hates us’ more.

    Of course, as with Republicans, it’s not everyone or all Democrats. Probably its not even a majority.

    But, also as with Republicans, there is enough sympathy amongst the ones that don’t hate us towards those that do that nothing is ever done about about, like speaking out against prejudice.

  11. “This is partially because Lieberman was a Democrat, but is is also because it is politically correct to attack Mormons but it is not politically correct to attack Jews. The double standard should be obvious to anybody watching the national scene.”

    I’ve thought about this for a while. I think it’s obvious that certain religions are a ‘protected category’ and others are not. More specifically, ‘Jews’ are a protected category because they aren’t just a religion, they are also a race. Once you factor out protections for religion that can be traced to race, I think protection of religions starts to fall off precipitiously.

    That is not to say that there isn’t some level of discomfort twoards religious bigotry. But it is far far less than for race.

  12. Phil,

    I think you are right in a sense. Liberals hate Mormons because they don’t belong to the ‘one true church of liberalism.’ (That last is not intended literally.)

    If a Mormon is a liberal Mormon with the ‘liberal’ being perceived first and the ‘Mormon’ being perceived as second, I don’t believe liberals have any issues with such a Mormon. They just don’t care what our beliefs are unless they can be used as a weapon against ‘our politics.’

    Somehow, this doesn’t make me feel like I at all disagree with Geoff’s point, however. In fact, it largely seems worse to me in a sense because at least the Evagelicals actually hate us and aren’t just using religious bigotry for the sake of politics.

  13. Geoff B, 8: “Are you OK with the proposition below that Republicans hate Mormons but somehow have a problem with the proposition that Democrats hate Mormons?”

    I’d ask you to re-read what I wrote, especially the first words of my first comment: “Hmmm, Democrats hate Mormons more?” I like how Bruce Nielson put it in #11.

  14. Mormons are weird and Romney doesn’t have a core, but that lack of a core has nothing to do with being a Mormon (unless he decides to play his Mormonism down to appeal to Evangelicals, which I wouldn’t put past him). And I wouldn’t consider a single person you mentioned “leaders of the secular left”, especially Bill Maher who is some weird combination of Libertarian/Green Party/Democrat. And I’d love to know how many of your so-called leaders attacked Mormons before Prop 8. I have a feeling karma sure came back to bite us with this one, that’s been my experience with “secular-leftists” in my person life. Before Prop 8 we were just another Christian religion with a few strange beliefs, now we’re the weirdos that value taking away gay people’s freedom to marry over anything else.

    But left-wingers are much nastier and much less likely to vote for somebody simply because they are Mormons.

    Like I said in the other thread, the only place I saw this come up in Harry Reid’s last race was from the Republican side

    I hope all good people will join together to condemn the hatred, whether it comes from Democrats or Republicans or anybody else.

    I hope all good people will not attempt to brush discussion of their preferred party’s foibles aside by saying “but look, the other side will do the same thing. THEY’RE JUST AS BAD AS US!”. Maybe we wait until Obama is actually doing what you claim he will do before we have this discussion?

    I would love to see the exact same polling you cite if the eventual frontrunner for the Democratic party was Mormon. I’d bet my next paycheck that those numbers would go down to almost nothing. The Mormon people know right now is Mitt Romney. I would love to see a poll that asked, which Mormon would you be more likely to vote for? Do you think the numbers on Huntsman would be better than Romney for Democrats?

  15. And Geoff, why didn’t you quote this part of the article

    None of the Obama advisers interviewed made any suggestion that Romney’s personal qualities would be connected to his minority Mormon faith,

    , instead implying that Obama himself was eager to start calling out Romney’s weird religion? You really are trying to put words in the President’s mouth, aren’t you?

    It’s obvious a large part of the GOP is doing their darndest to pick anyone but Mitt. Whether it’s his religion or something else, the GOP is the the group that has a major problem with him now, not the President.

  16. jjohnsen, I think it’s hilarious how many excuses you come up with for people who agree with you politically. Obama could start executing Mormons on the White House lawn and you would find a reason for him to do it (probably because Mormons are homophobes).

    The fact that you only recognize bigotry from people you disagree with should give you some pause. Remember, I am the one who condemned bigotry from both groups, but you only condemn it from Republicans.

  17. RE: Obama’s campaign against Romney: innocent until proven guilty. I’m sure that it’s going to get ugly, and that if not Obama’s campaign, certainly Obama supporters will try and make Romney’s Mormonism a liability. But you’re hanging you’re argument against the president on thin rope–so far, all I’ve seen is Joe Biden stand up for Romney when other GOP candidates wouldn’t.

    And a sincere question: what would a non-hating critique of Mormonism by the media look like? You mentioned the New Republic–I thought Max Mueller’s piece on race to be accurate and nuanced. Is that the New Republic hating Mormons? If someone pointed out that men can still be sealed to more than one women in temples, but not vice versa, would that be a sign that they hate Mormons?

  18. DLewis, I would expect the New Republic and all publications to treat Romney just like they treated Lieberman in 2000, ie, his religion is completely irrelevant to the discussion except as part of his personality. All we learned about Lieberman’s religion in 2000 was that he was a devout Jew and took the Sabbath seriously. There were no discussions of the controversial elements of Judaism. It was mostly a celebration of how the country had progressed because we have gone from anti-Semitism to embracing a Jewish candidate. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the New York Times celebrating what a great thing it is in the US that we have gone from an extermination order of Mormons to seriously considering Mormon candidates.

    What if the Las Vegas newspaper had written a long series of stories on black and the priesthood and other controversial elements of Mormonism when Harry Reid ran for reelection? Would progressives find the moral center to criticize bigotry then? I certainly would.

  19. I agree with Geoff’s post, and I think it is a good counter balance to Bruce’s post. Mormons aren’t feeling the love from either side right now.

    I’m liberal, but I have to say, I think it will be extremely positive for the church from a missionary perspective, if Romney becomes the nominee, and gets lots of hate from the left. It seems to me that most all converts to the church come from the right, not the left. So potential conservative church converts will see their enemies on the left attack the Mormons, so they will want to rally around the Mormons, and take a closer look at their religion.

    I really think a lot of the prejudice from the right will melt away once Romney becomes the nominee. In fact, I think it will represent a huge breakthrough in Mormon/Evangelical Christian relations, which may continue to reverberate through the rest of the century. I’m excited to see what happens.

  20. Nate, thanks again for being one of the few reasonable left-wingers out there. As you may have gathered, this post was mostly intended to be a counterweight to Bruce’s post. Most Mormon left-wingers see Republican bigotry (and I certainly do, and I indicated in the comments here and on Bruce’s post), but are blind to left-wing bigotry. There will be a concerted effort on the part of the Obama campaign, using surrogates and supporters, to use bigotry against Mormons if Romney is the candidate. If people cannot recognize the symptoms, they cannot treat the disease. As a liberty caucus Republican, I am doing what I can to change the many, many elements of the party I do not like. Left-wingers should recognize the bigotry on the left toward Mormons and work to change the Democratic party.

  21. I find it amazing that everyone has already found Obama guilty of anti-Mormon bigotry even though he hasn’t said a word about Romney (or the church) that I know of while Romney has been attacking Obama on every possible front for months. This tells me more about those doing the complaining that it does about either Romney or Obama. Considering the unbelievably ugly things about Obama I have been sent by my good LDS friends and relatives in Utah over the past three years, I think we need to be careful about throwing stones in our gigantic glass house.

  22. Geoff,
    Maybe the problem is that because we are more used to seeing the Republican party work from a limited number of talking points that appear to have been passed around that those few evangelical preachers speaking have more impact than a few people on the left having stupid opinions, because we are used to a diversity of opinion existing there. Of course there are talking points on the left and there is diversity on the right, but that’s the prime narrative and it alters our perception.

    Thank you for making clear what is frustrating for you with the narrative.

    That said, I grew up in an Evangelical hotbed. Noting that just a “few” Evangelicals despise Mormonism goes contrary to my personal anecdotal history. I don’t think the Evangelicals will vote for Obama, but I doubt they’ll vote for Romney in droves. I think the most likely outcome is they’ll stay home. Of course, I also think they might suddenly decide to find common ground with the Protestant in Chief (stranger things). But I will never be surprised by the bigotry of the Southern Evangelical.

    As to the Left in general, my interactions with leftists regarding the church have generally gone like this. “Wow, you guys believe weird things. How can you possibly believe that stuff?” And then I explain. It is equally condescending as what Southern Evangelicals send my way, but at least they aren’t condemning me to hell for all eternity (I take what I can get).

    So we are clear, you are violently misreading the TNR piece and (based on a quick skim) the bulk of the attached articles. The Washington Post (another liberal rag) has producing quite a bit of positive Church stuff (along with the negative). Many in the mainstream media got in Rev. Jeffres’s face about his comments on Mormons (Anderson Cooper comes to mind, along with the Daily Show). But again, it is easy to see a diversity of opinion on the left. On the right (where the message is so tightly controlled), the basic message is “He’s a weird Mormon, but he’s all we’ve got.” For every Ross Douthat you’ve got, you’ve got a David Brooks (who considers Mormonism some sort of kid’s religion).

    I’d say that, on the whole, there are more people in the left saying lay off the Mormons than there are on the right. That probably doesn’t indicate that they respect us any more (I doubt it does), but it may indicate (as McKay Coppins suggests in the latest BCC zeitcast) that anti-Mormonism is becoming no longer PC on the left. On the right, we have Christopher Hitchens and pastors being invited to lunch with the candidates.

  23. I do not accept that Christopher Hitchens is “on the right.” He is generally pro-war, but so was Woodrow Wilson. He has said many times that he is a socialist, and last time I heard that was not a right-wing position.

    “More people on the left saying lay off the Mormons than there are on the right.” This simply shows that you don’t listen to the main opinion-makers on the right. O’Reilly, Hannity, Ingraham, Rush, Bennett, Levin, Michael Medved and on an on have all condemned Jeffress — meanwhile Maher and O’Donnell have cheered him on and as far as I can see Maddow and Olbermann are preparing their temple garment jokes and have remained silent on anti-Mormonism. The evidence is against you — the main opinion-makers on the right are protesting anti-Mormonism while the main opinion-makers on the left are either cheering it on or remaining conveniently silent.

    I will agree with you that there are SOME people on the left (and perhaps even a majority) condemning anti-Mormonism. I maintain a lot of friendships with people on the left from my youth, and many, many of my personal friends don’t like the intolerance. They recognize that intolerance for Mormons is really no different than intolerance for Jews and Muslims, and they send me personal notes condemning what they see out there. We need a lot more of that and a lot less of protecting the people who agree with us politically when they are bigots.

  24. Yeah, count me as one who is somewhat perplexed as your labeling the TNR article as anti-Mormon. (Both in this post and in your sidebar.) I’m a faithful, committed saint, but I found the article well-reasoned, nuanced, and sympathetic. There certainly are left-wing attacks on Mormonism out there (Bill Maher being the most obvious idiotic example), and there definitely will be in the future (especially after Romney gets the nomination), but to include Max’s article on your list of examples sets the standard so low that it weakens your overall argument.

    Full disclosure: I am good friends with Max, and I can promise his sympathetic approach. He’s a PhD student at Harvard, currently in Salt Lake on a Mormon Studies fellowship with UofU. He spends a lot of time with the Church History employees at the Church History Library, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got feedback on both the article in particular and his overall project in general from those scholars and employees we all look up to at the CHL. I think he asked important questions in his TNR article, and I look forward to his future work.

    There is certainly enough evidence out there to support your overall point–you don’t have to misread and misrepresent sympathetic articles to do so.

  25. Don, regarding your #22, this point is so obvious that I don’t know why I even need to write it, but I will try once more. Obama is NEVER going to come out and say, “Mitt Romney is a Mormon and you shouldn’t vote for him.” He may even come out and condemn anti-Mormonism like Biden did. Such talk is meaningless. Smart politicians know that people don’t like bigotry. They send out their surrogates to do the dirty work. So, when Maher and O’Donnell make anti-Mormon statements, they are acting for the candidate they want to win so Obama never has to make the bigoted statements. If you watch the way that Plouffe and Axelrod talk about Romney, there is a clear message here: he is “weird,” he has “no core,” he is not like anybody else, he is an outlier, somebody different, somebody tricky who believes in a weird, twisted religion. Watch the words of the surrogates, not Obama and Biden’s words.

    How did Rick Perry get his anti-Mormon message out? He didn’t say anything himself. He sent Jeffress, and then Perry said he didn’t believe Mormonism is a cult. Perry comes across as reasonable. But is there any doubt that he sent his surrogate to do the dirty work? This is politics 101, folks.

  26. My mistake: you used it as a representation of TNR “attacking Mormon politicians.” The sidebar describes it as a “liberal attack on the Church.” I’ll take the blame of jumping that to “anti-Mormon.”

  27. Reading the New Republic article, I got the feeling that the writer had taken up the standard position of many “liberals” in the church. Racism is an issue in the past (implying the church leadership was racist, but not directly saying it so they can stay above making overtly inflammatory remarks) and then working its way to the conclusion that the church “needs” to revisit the issue and make some clarifications about past statements.

    Someone should actually look up all the positive things said about the church. For every throw away sentence like, “they are hard workers and know how to organize” you get more analysis and depth into various negative things. Even looking at welfare programs, it’s often (not always) through a particular lens that makes us sound less Christ-like and more an insular people who “take care of their own”. Even the positive articles take up a similar position to the negative press, but they just approach the issues of the negative articles (corporatist, racist, conformist) with a positive spin (hard working, take care of their own). There is never really anything new brought to the table. Never any real consideration of our faith as being a serious faith with doctrines and practices that can change lives and bring much good in the world.

    It’s too bad. I guess I can’t expect much serious consideration, because if people seriously considered us they’d either be on the path to conversion or accused of such. They have to approach us from a “misguided but nice” or “misguided and terrible” position, neither of which really does us any favors.

  28. John C says I am “violently misreading” the TNR piece when I don’t even refer to it in my post. Again, people, go read what I wrote, which is: “New Republic has an entire section of its web site devoted to articles and blog posts attacking Mormon politicians. The Church has a “race problem” and all Republican Mormons are right-wing extremists, etc, etc, etc.” And then go visit the link. I was discussing the entire liberal attack on the Church, which is a concerted effort by the liberal media. There are several articles there, not just that one piece. I understand your desire to circle the wagons for a friend whom you admire, but you are fighting phantoms here.

  29. I would like to make an observation that I hope readers will find edifying. We published two posts, one calling out Republicans and one calling out Democrats when it came to the Mormon issue. We probably have more Republican readers than Democrat. Yet not one nasty comment was left by a single Republican. More than a dozen nasty, vile comments (which have been deleted) were left by Democrats. This is hardly a scientific result, but it may show which side is more tolerant than the other. And I say this as somebody who consistently criticizes Republicans on a wide variety of issues. Criticize a Republican, receive polite disagreement. Criticize a Democrat, you get vile, nasty, hate-filled comments.

  30. Geoff B:

    I thought your “reading comprehension problem” attack (comment #27) was ironic given that it followed my comment #14 :)

    I’m not sure what to make of your #21 “few reasonable left-wingers” remark. But the real thing that worries me in that comment is your charge that “If people cannot recognize the symptoms, they cannot treat the disease.” My argument against you here is that you’ve misdiagnosed the disease and therefore will have trouble treating it.

    Please answer a question for me regarding your comment, #26:

    “this point is so obvious that I don’t know why I even need to write it, but I will try once more. Obama is NEVER going to come out and say, “Mitt Romney is a Mormon and you shouldn’t vote for him”…. They send out their surrogates to do the dirty work…. there is a clear message here: he is “weird,” he has “no core,” he is not like anybody else, he is an outlier, somebody different, somebody tricky who believes in a weird, twisted religion.”

    I think Romney is weird. There is also a 99% chance I will vote for him. And, obviously, I am Mormon. So it’d be awfully strange to say that I’m anti-Mormon or anti-Romney or that I think it’s Romney’s crazy beliefs that make him weird. And yet, I still think he is weird. So, how should I go about saying that he is weird without—according to politics 101—becoming inherently anti-Mormon (and therefore, anti-myself)? And how should people who oppose Romney go about pointing out the very same weirdness that I, a Romney supporter, feel?

  31. “I still think he is weird”

    I think this is the lens that Romney’s opponents want to get others to view Romney’s actions through. So it’s not surprising it shows up in those who will end up supporting Romney.

    I fail to see how if you watch the debates, that Romney comes across as the “wierd” one on stage. We can certainly disagree with what he says, but he seems like he’s got a pretty good head on his shoulders and is the kind of “normal” we’d want out of a President.

    Yes, you can pull some random thing he does and say, “Look, it’s weird!!!” but again, if you take the weird lens and hold it up to Romney you’ll see everything through that lens as being weird. Whether it’s his religion, his dress, his hair, or that awkward moment in the coffee shop.

    Now, hold the “Socialist!!!” lens up to Obama and you can start to see the same things. Does this mean Obama is a Socialist? Well, he might have some policy preferences that tend that way, but it’s clear he his more of a hybrid of things. But the lens some on the right want everyone to hold up to Obama is that he’s a socialist so we’ll analyze his actions that way.

    In this light, if “weird” is the best lens they can come up with against Romney, he’s going to win. Opportunistic flip-flopper will hurt a lot more, but it’s increasingly hard to charge that when you listen to the sincerity and pragmatism of his arguments (for right or wrong).

  32. Guy, you are correct. The fact that Mormons have no problem with criticizing Republicans but do have a problem criticizing Democrats is a real problem. I am glad you recognize it.

  33. And you too must be correct, Geoff. I am a Democrat–therefore I must hate Mormons, and that is why I showed up on this thread? I’ll just leave it at that. Hope you and your family have a nice weekend and good Thanksgiving . . .

  34. Guy, read the link I refer to in the first paragraph of this post. Do you have any problems with the statement that Republicans hate Mormons? Apparently not. I didn’t see you complaining about that post. My point, once again, is that both political groups have problems with the Church but for different reasons.

  35. Geoff B, 36: I dunno. If you’re going to continue to be condescending toward me, I’m not sure I want you to answer my question. Look, I’m subscribed to this thread so I saw in my email several comments that you deleted. I’d guess there were even more that I never saw because they were caught in moderation/filters. I can understand why you might feel “riled up” on this thread (none of which has been “edifying” for me), but I haven’t engaged in any of that so I don’t deserve to be treated like a child, ignoramus, or enemy.

    chris, 37: “I think this is the lens that Romney’s opponents want to get others to view Romney’s actions through. So it’s not surprising it shows up in those who will end up supporting Romney.” Sigh. I’ve thought Romney was weird since I first “met” him—which was 10 years ago when he came to Utah and saved the Olympics. The fact that he’s surrounded on stage with a bunch of other weirdos doesn’t make me view him as any less weird. (I’ve also felt that he’s the consummate opportunistic double-talker; I “met” this side of him in the last election cycle when I wanted so badly to support him.)

    I agree that his “weirdness” is hardly a handicap. I think his supporters should actually play it up: “Heck yeah he’s weird, but who cares? You want a competent president, not a cool one—and it’s not like you’re ever going to ‘hang out’ with the president anyway!”

  36. BrianJ, I will apologize to you. I definitely did not intend that to be condescending, but I can see how you interpret it that way. Sorry.

    Let’s just leave it at this. I don’t see Romney as weird, but I disagree with him politically. In fact, he strikes me as exceedingly normal, but you think he’s weird. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I see the campaign to call him “weird” as a deliberate campaign to highlight his religion, which is the single defining characteristic that makes him different than the other candidates. This is a deliberate campaign being carried out by Obama’s surrogates, and anti-Mormonism is the deliberate strategy. You don’t see it that way. That’s cool.

  37. General Election

    Can Mitt Romney win?

    It depends on two things.

    The MAIN and MOST IMPORTANT factor:

    The ECONOMY. If unemployment stays over 8%, not the actual number which is near 20%, and the outlook stays gloomy Romney wins.

    Everything Romney does will need to focus, focus, and more focus on the ecomony.

    If, and it is a big IF, he can keep focus on the economy then he can WIN. Religion, immigration, and other social issues will mean nothing next to the ECONOMY.

    Now it will be really hard for Obama to actually improve the economy. If he could do it, he would have already.

    Obama can’t, his policies, beliefs, and his “core” will not allow anything to help “producers” (i.e. millionaires and billionaires).

    So a focus on the ECONOMY is the ticket for Romney to win the General Election.

    That brings us to the second part.

    The narrative that Romney is a weirdo is already out there in his fight to win the Primary. Everything the LEFT, MSM and the opposition to Romney can do is FEAR.

    FEAR

    This factor will not win Obama the General Election.

    It won’t work. The FEAR they (the LEFT, MSM, and opposition) will need to generate will have to become HATE. Obama has to distract Romney with social issues (entitlements is Obama’s best bet).

    First tactic:

    FEAR of a Theocracy run by MORMONS.

    That really will not work, even a little. Not that will stop them from trying it.

    FEAR of entitlement reform. Obama’s best bet.

    With Romney that is a non-factor who has taken a stance that has gotten him in trouble in the Primary, but would not be an issue in the General Election.

    FEAR of the unknown.

    Deregulation fears, unknown qualities of leadership, etc.

    Ok, so that is why FEAR will not work unless Romney takes the bait. The General Election will come down to just one choice.

    Who will improve the economy?

    Obama or Romney

    The choice is obvious today and if Romney can stay focused on the ECONOMY he will WIN.

    If for one second Romney get distracted by anything else (entitlements) he will lose.

    ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT! 2012!

  38. BrianJ, to answer your #33, I would say this: concentrate on the specific personality issues you have with Romney. I still don’t know what you mean by “weird.” Is he “aloof?” Does he say weird, unexpected things? Does he make weird jokes (remember when Huntsman made the Kurt Cobain joke during the debates? That was definitely weird.)? Does he seem pompous? Being a flip-flopper doesn’t make you weird, it makes you fit right in with all politicians. Bush ran for a humble foreign policy and then ended up being a warmonger intent on nation-building. Obama ran on literally scores of things he has since abandoned or back-tracked on. Romney is definitely a flip-flopper, but I don’t see why he is weird.

  39. In my first comment I said that “Romney is weird—–he’s stiff, robotic, laughs awkwardly sometimes. He seems distant. He’s the kind of guy I’d love to has as a neighbor but I’d feel uncomfortable hanging out with him.” I’ll add that he tells some odd anecdotes and jokes at times too. But the most troubling, politically, is when I said that he seems distant. I don’t know if he really is distant, and as a probable supporter of his I hope that he is not. See, I don’t care if my president is a geek or stud or bookworm or athlete, but I do care if he cares about others—if he has empathy. I assume that he does and that it’s just a quirk of his personality that he comes across as a HAL 9000.

  40. BrianJ, decent points. I would agree with that criticism. He does not seem to have the type of empathy that Clinton, Bush and Obama show at times. If the Obama campaign concentrates on that — the lack of empathy, the emotional distance — I would think that would be fairer and less religiously focused than the deliberate use of the word “weird.”

  41. I can see the Democrat’s points that these voices don’t represent the political majority, but how can I know that when no one speaks out against what they say? You don’t read columns of liberal Democrats condemning and refuting what Bill Maher, Laurence O’Donnell, Jacob Weisberg, Christopher Hitchens who is only Conservative in his own mind and the leftist punditry, and Harold Bloom write and say. Its great that the VP spoke out against anti-Mormonism, but it would have been more powerful to call out names of his own party. Bringing Rev. Jeffres’s on to scold him was an easy target where leftists can still target Republicans. I would have been far more impressed if they brought on the anti-Mormon talking leftist Democrats to scold them. Instead, the best we can do is read Maureen Dowd list all the “vile” and “weird” things Mormons believe with some leftist quotes, and then pin the negativity on . . . “Republicans [who] are the ones who have made faith part of the presidential test. Now we’ll see if Mitt can pass it.”

    If you haven’t read Article Six Blog then I would suggest you do. They have some great articles on how the left (and they hold the right just as much to the fire) are more strategic in their anti-Mormonism to make it look like they aren’t. Of course, they also talk about the left’s more direct attacks. Popular left-wing commentators aside, by assessment of anti-Mormonism in the Democratic party comes from comments of regulars on blogs about Mormons. As I have said before, and will reiterate, pick a Huffpo piece and a Town Hall piece about Romney and Mormons and compare comments. With few exceptions how Mormonism is treated is exactly the same no matter how different the political motivations. Frankly, hearing Mormon Democrats continue to bristle that their party has a religious Mormon problem is for this outside observer who holds no such blinders for my own Republican Partylike a woman who continues to get abused, but defends the man because he must have good reasons or he wouldn’t do it.

  42. As I’ve mentioned before, Weisberg himself apparently did a 180 on the issue; he now believes Romney to be a “sane, intelligent and reasonable man.” I’m guessing his approach towards the LDS church has mellowed since his earlier statements. And I think it incredibly silly to characterize the TNR article as an assault on the church.

    I am disappointed in some of the articles, especially the Harold Bloom one. Not so much that he holds idiotic opinions, but that the New York Times printed such drivel. I do hope someone eventually writes a fair article comparing the political approach of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to that of Romney, specifically on the issue of capitalism.

  43. Tim, I was encouraged by your news of Weisberg’s change of heart. I am wondering how much his being “called out” on his bigotry actually got him to re-examine his views. Anti-Mormonism still is considered OK by way too many people. I hope you will agree with me is that the only way to change that is to shine some light on the bigotry.

  44. Geoff B – “But of course you and most Mormon blog commenters have no problem with the proposition that Republicans hate Mormons because of the comments of a few evangelical pastors.”

    My intention was not to sound as if the few evangelical pastors automatically represent a “more” outcry of hate tours mormons. My point intended was that of that it is not equally necessarily true about a few left wing hosts who would equally trash any other republican candidates ideas, religion is just an added tag for their spinned off comments.

  45. EDIT to my above post ( Submitted by mistake, sorry )
    My intention was not to sound as if the few evangelical pastors automatically represent a “the loud” outcry of hate tours mormons as the voice piece for republicans in general, was just trying to build a correlation to that of the left wing. My point intended was that it is equally true about a few left wing hosts and writers who would equally trash any other republican candidates ideas and not Romney alone, religion just so happens to be a subject that this characters ( Bill Maher and other given atheist leaning writers ) would use as an opportunity to trash talk about. Anyways

  46. Chanson, to be precise, the left is encouraging prejudice against Republican primary voters with this clip. HOWEVER, I will praise the many, many points made by the commentator encouraging leaving the “Mormon issue” alone. The clip was aimed at Republican primary voters. Let’s see if we see similar stuff out of MSNBC four/five months from now when/if Romney is the nominee. If we do, it will be a very, very nice change, and I will be the first to congratulate MSNBC commentators for being consistent.

  47. Chanson, excellent clip. I just used it.

    Geoff, I agree with your counter points as well. There was an underlying attack (in my opinion deserved) on Republican primary voters going on.

  48. I thought it was cool that she talked about her own Mormon heritage and how the Mormon experience is a part of the American story. She even brought up some Mormon history that people might not be familiar with (eg. Governor Boggs and the extermination act).

    My reading of the polls on people’s hesitation to vote for Mormons is that people on the left are more concerned about Mormonism’s association with far-Right politics (Glenn Beck, Cleon Skousen, Proposition 8, etc.), whereas people on the right (especially religious social conservatives) are more worried about their theological disagreement with Mormons. But maybe I’m wrong on this. As you say Geoff B — let’s see what happens after the primaries are over.

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