"I just don't think many people know me very well at this stage, and that's to be expected. I'm a governor, and therefore not yet a national figure. I anticipate by the time the primary season rolls around next year that I will be very well known and will either be strongly supported or will be someone people don't want to back." --Mitt Romney
“Romney, thou hast almost convinced me.” --Chip’s Church Chat
This was a good interview. I was surprised Romney is not the first Mormon to run, nor would he be the first big-fish Mormon in the Beltway. Collin Hansen from Christianity Today informs us dear Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Arizona is Mormon. I know that doesn’t help the Mitt case, it’s just to say it has worked—(let’s move on before a rant brews).
Folks know I think Mitt is the electable candidate for '08. He could beat any of the contenders. Though not overtly, he should run as Bush’s successor, and bring comfort to the Republican party that the good years of having all the branches—the Executive, Legislative, and soon the Judiciary are all coming to the GOP (chip pauses singing “What a Wonderful World"). I would feel confident about that message. I have also said, Mitt needs to bring confidence to the Traditional Evangelicals; they have been a force to be reckoned with in past elections.
What about the other candidates? Elephants salivate for Newt, but his name is tarnished; he was once the icon of virtue. Huckabee would be good, but he needs to speak louder and to more people; momentum seems to be absent beyond the straw-blip in Iowa. Fred Thompson seems so much more like Fred Mirtz from the I Love Lucy show. He is listless and gets only a chuckle once in a while. Rudy is good on security but has some moral trouble. I like Romney but he must speak to his Mormonism as it relates to the Presidency before I and many vote for him.
Romney and interviewer Hansen both do a good job with this chat. Christianity Today wanted Mitt to share his “doctrinal differences and common values”. I think they scratched the surface, but hey, I’ll take a scratch any day from a politician. (Link to the article at the end)
Romney cares for issues important to GOP’ers: the local and international economy, the emerging Asian powers, becoming energy independent, jihadist terrorism, abortion, same-sex marriage, and etc. He’s talking our language. That’s all good, but what about his Mormonism? Could Romney separate his religion from politics? Many mainstream “Christians” including me consider his church a cult.
To that, Romney believes people just haven’t gotten to know him yet ("to know me is to love me"). He name drops claiming he had the late moral majority Rev. Jerry Falwell in his home. Mitt’s claims Pastor Jerry said, "Far be it from me to suggest that we don't have the same values and the same objectives." Is that a last will endorsement? Romney believes when he was Governor he worked better with Catholics and Protestants on the Hill (Beacon Hill) better than Catholic and Protestant politicians did. That’s not nothing.
Collins was able to pull this gem of a quote from Romney:
“I don't believe doctrines should figure into the policy of someone leading in a secular position. The fundamental values of all faiths I know well are very consistent, and they have a public purpose. One example would be the Declaration of Independence, guided by a belief in a Creator. The belief that we are all children of the same Creator gives us a desire to care for the poor and the needy. The belief that marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred relationship leads one to protect the sanctity of marriage. These fundamental values are not associated with a doctrine of a faith, but instead are part of the value base of every faith of which I'm aware.”Having said that, I don’t think that’s enough for the paranoid Albert Mohlers and little guys like me. I want to hear him say, “Chip and Al, I’m a Mormon and you are a Baptists. We have more in common than we have differences. My hope is people of faith can practice their faith boldly, but as for politics, let’s make this country great. I will not use my power or bully pulpit to promote my faith, instead I will use it to protect our rights and enjoy the privileges of being an American—public freedom with personal responsibility—that’s why all of all faiths should vote for me.” I liked his analogy of a democrat and republican being in a fox hole together. If he can separate his Mormonism from his political power, I just might campaign for him.
The article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/september/34.74.html