‘Mitt,’ the Netflix documentary

I just watched “Mitt,” the Netflix documentary. This is a very personal look at Mitt Romney and his family as he suffers through the 2008 and 2012 election losses. A few quick impressions for an LDS audience:

–You get to see Mitt praying with his family and by himself several times. I was truly touched by the faith he and his family displayed. I think LDS families will feel very at home during these moments.
–At least in this documentary, you do not see Mitt surrounded by groups of handlers and advisers. His primary advisers seem to be his sons, his wife and his brother. I found this startling.
–The Romney family is simply a good group of people. They are sincere people who really wanted to help the country.
–You have to be either 1)crazy 2)a complete megalomaniac or 3)a sincere person who deeply wants to help the country to run for president. If Mitt runs again, I am going to have to consider that he is crazy, because the garbage figuratively thrown at him during both campaigns was simply not worth it.
–Regardless of your political persuasion, I recommend taking a look at this documentary simply to see another side of the often stiff LDS politician. You will likely come away seeing a much more human side to him.

I voted for Mitt in 2012, but not enthusiastically. I disagreed with his foreign policy, and I didn’t believe he would go nearly far enough in handling our fiscal crisis. Would the country be better if Romney had been elected? In some ways, yes, and perhaps in other ways, no. The economy would be better; Obamacare would hopefully be less harmful; but we might have ended up getting involved in Syria, which would have been a disaster. So, overall, I am not a Romney cheerleader.

But I do think this documentary showed Mitt as a good, honorable man and a loving husband and father and grandfather. Take a look if you have a chance and share your impressions here.

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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.

11 thoughts on “‘Mitt,’ the Netflix documentary

  1. Though I don’t know Mitt Romney personally, I know people who are close to him and his family. I’m not surprised that he’s a genuinely nice and sincere person.

    I know at least one person who believes that Mormons would have been targeted by angry people had Mr. Obama not won. While I’m not sure this individual’s fear were justified, it’s a sure thing no Mormon or Republican was going to resort to mob violence in retaliation for the election outcome (as I don’t consider what Congress did with respect to sequestration and furloughs to be classifiable as mob violence).

    I think I recall hearing the Romney’s indicate they felt they’d been prompted to run, but also indicated there was never a promise that running meant winning.

  2. One thing you can say for Romney — he had enough sense not to pick Chris Christie for his running mate.

  3. Bill, good point.

    Meg, I think Mitt winning would have had both positive and negative effects on the Church.

  4. I watched the documentary last Sunday afternoon. I think most politicians, including President Obama, or more human than we give credit. As a Saint, it was nice to have an insight into the Romney lives. You don’t get to be governor of a state like MA because you’re incapable. I wish the rest of the country had given him a chance last election.

  5. Geoff,

    I’d like to hear more about why you think Mitt winning had potential negative effects on the church. I think I agree with you, but have my own reasons.

    The 2002 Olympics had both positive and negative effects on the church and Utah in general. Like the 2012 election, the Olympics focused media attention on Utah and Mormonism like never before. I worked on the games in several capacities over the years and was very cognizant of both the media portrayal of Utah culture and Utah’s’ reaction to it. On the positive side, Utah Mormons came off in the media (and to visitors) as sophisticated, genuinely charitable, organized, and certifiably normal. We were shown to be the polar opposite of how pop culture has portrayed us in the past. Even our harshest critics couldn’t argue.

    On the negative side, however, this media focus drummed up a desire for Utahns– especially Utah LDS– to be seen as mainstream and culturally benign. We very much wanted to fit in with the rest of the country. This is somewhat understandable, having been portrayed as radical, idiot whack jobs for 150 years prior. Now were were running the show, the world was watching, and by all accounts it liked what it saw. “The world is welcome here!” was our catch-phrase, which was almost as important as its unspoken corollary: “And by the way, we’re just like you!”

    Unfortunately, in our zealous attempt to appear mainstream and shed our unflattering caricature, we became somewhat ashamed of our heritage and inherent cultural uniqueness. In the years after the games, we purposefully began abandoning everything that made us who we were. While it may be argued that this trend was inevitable, given outside issues like economic factors and demographic shift (due in no small part to an influx of illegal immigration and Utah’s/the Church’s full-on embrace of it), I truly believe that the Olympics greatly accelerated the process. I’d be really interested to get the thoughts of non-Utahns’ experiences here then vs. now.

    I think the 2012 election had the same effect. Mormonism was again under the microscope, and (unless MSNBC is your gospel) the world liked what it saw. Good media for the Church, but underlying it all was a collective effort to appear mainstream, the effect of which was to further marginalize our heritage.

  6. Tossman, interesting perspective above. I generally agree that trying to appear “mainstream” has many possible problems, including those you mention.

    I was especially concerned about Mitt’s opposition to gay marriage and the possible protests/vandalism of our temples because of it. I was concerned that there would be more pressure in the secular world to make fun of the sacred, especially in the temple. I could imagine all kinds of horrific scenarios where Mormons were persecuted more because we have a Mormon prez. But even such persecution has value in refining people, so perhaps I shouldn’t have worried about it.

    In any case, I voted for Mitt and hoped he would win, but I definitely had mixed feelings.

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