Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Mormon in the White House: It'll Be Close, But No Cigar

I've been trying to draft up an update on the current state of the Republican field for President 2012. But it's been by fits and starts. It's been especially difficult, with the crazy Bachmann win in the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll, Pawlenty dropping out for being less than boring, and Governor Rick "Anti-Mitt" Perry fresh off his latest Evangelical Prayer Crusade now announced for the race.

I am ready to go out on a limb, even if a limb with an option. It's will be either Perry/Huntsman or Romney/Bachmann.  That's my limb, there will be a Mormon on the ticket. And I'm not promoting this either as both of those tickets would have serious problems not likely to get my support. My preference for Huntsman is well stated. But Perry is beyond the pale.

Here's how I think it will work. Bachmann, in spite of stealing the Palin crowd, will not be able to pull it out to be on the top of the ticket in the end. It's not the gender, except that part of it is as the antithesis of fascinating womanhood. (Her husband actually buys her shoes to match her outfits. He's the same guy who claims he can cure "gay" so I'm just not sure what to make of all that.) Bachmann is still very gaffe-prone. If Chris Matthews could trip her up and drawing her to national attention with her McCarthyist/Nixonian comment that members of Congress should be investigated for "anti-American" activities, I think she will continue with such. That won't matter much to her base (formerly Palin's) because they love that kind of thing. But it will bother the Republicans powers-that-be who find even Perry more solid and substantive because of his ability to be governor (Secessionist as he may be -bringing us to the question, if he is President, would it be OK then for Massachusetts to secede?).

But Bachman's tenacious and will last a while, perhaps all the way to the end. And she will gain quite a few delegates, so she will be a force and as a real candidate unlike the imaginary candidate Palin. Bachmann will need to be acknowledged and respected by the party as a V.P. nominee. It even gets them off the hook with Palin and her crowd even if Bachmann is only a little more substantive. If Romney pulls it out, which actually is a better chance now if Bachmann and Perry neutralize each other as anti-establishment (Romney) and Evangelical, culture warriors who don't tolerate Mormons (Romney), or even anti-Health Care Reform (Romney). But Romney will more easily be able to add her to the ticket than he would with Perry because that's going to get ugly (remember Huck?) Bachmann will hold back on Romney with Perry in the race.

Romney could still do it. He still has all the alleged advantages, as well as the well-known disadvantages. He has been playing it cool somewhat above the fray with an aura of inevitable front-runner status (even if Hillary demonstrated last time how that can be easily blown).

The oddest thing of all is that the Republican Establishment seems to be splitting between Romney and Huntsman. I read that former Governor Jeb, the Bush bro who should have been President, has endorsed Huntsman. There are other Republican establishment-types (i.e., anybody not lost in Munchkinland) who are backing Romney because of his business background and governing experience (as opposed to Lollipop fantasies).

And Perry could certainly do it. He has the "Christian" cred for the culture war battles, the  Munchkin cred for his anti-Emerald City secessionism, and "legitimate" government cred as Governor of the state that was brought into the Union, not with the authority to secede, but to be made into several more states (Austinland with its capitol of San Antonio could potentially be sane). But to win the general, he's going to need to be tempered. Not necessarily with a Mormon, and it certainly won't be Romney (see above), but it could be a credible, more moderate, yet capable and solid Republican - Jon Huntsman being the only one in the field. (Of course they could try one of those other governors who were too afraid to run. It worked out so well last time to choose a popular guv to balance the ticket.)

Yet, I'm still hopeful as everybody keeps counting out our current president, that he is still going to win re-election. Not just because the opposition will be so bad, whoever it is, but because I still think he's the best president we've had since Eisenhower. (I know that sounds weird, but read some back postings here).

As I've said before, I really like Jon Huntsman if only for the idea of drawing a contrast with fellow Mormon Romney and breaking the Mormon cultural (not solidly religious based) mythology of a Mormon "white horse" to ride in to save the Constitution. Of course, Romney, trying to shift as right as he tried in 2008 to appeal to the Munchkin crowd, isn't exactly a Skousenite/Beckian like our Senator Lee and pre-Munchkin Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Then I had this flash of inspiration during Sunday dinner with family. It's not just Huntsman.

Maybe the myth is fulfilled in the simple in obvious fact that as we Mormons are over-represented in the national government, there is a wide variety of Mormon belief and practices represented. And I violate all my principles by trying to recognize such distinctions, but think about it. And maybe thinking about can help break some of the prejudices outside of Mormonism about us and maybe within as well if any think it "most righteous" to be followers of the Beckian/Skousenite Munchkins who have temporarily absconded with Utah State government. (yuck!)

There is the obvious very active and sold LDS Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, the only unorthodoxy anyone could ever allege would be his party affiliation (Bozos!) Then there is solid conservative Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho who is LDS and no Munchkin as he is willing to rely on his Senatorial privileges to actually attempt statesmanship by recognizing there is another side of the aisle. And on that other side along with the majority leader you have Mormon heritage cousins, Mark Udall of Colorado who doesn't claim his heritage and cousin Tom of New Mexico who respectfully does even if he admitted at lunch to his once bishop (me - some other posting, maybe) that he hasn't been active in church since his teenage years. In the Utah delegation you have solid conservative and active Mormon Hatch who, at least before his friend Teddy died, used to work with the other side. Congressman Rob Bishop is old-style Utah Mormon and conservative. And there's Lollipop Guilder Jason Chaffetz who is pretty "Utah-County" on all accounts (Oh, my heck!) And then there's Blue Dog Dem Congressman Matheson who I get the idea may be some kind of N.O.M. like Huntsman. And there are a few other miscellaneous Mormon, generally Munchkin, Congressmen from California, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, etc.,  I can't even keep track of.

So, is my point made? Is there a variety of Mormon types and politics in US national government? The very variety of which is a fulfillment of Constitutional inspiration of people of many types coming together for that more perfect Union? I dunno. Maybe that's how we play our part in preserving this blessed Constitution. And it always helps to have a few more religions, races, cultures, genders, etc. in the mix. Just thinking.


  1. AnonymousD e-mailed me with this which I share with permission:

    "the funny thing is that I always thought of Obama as the front-runner, even when everyone was giving Hillary that status last go around. To me is seemed obvious that he was the nominee. I was right about that one, but more of a gut reaction than anything substantive. It just seemed to me that the dems as much as they say they like Bill Clinton, didn’t want him anywhere near the White House again. To his credit he’s kept his name out of the headlines.

    With the Repubs this year I just can’t get a feel for where they are going to go. I actually think they have some formidable candidates, say what you will about not liking Romney but he is probably the only Repub candidate who can win a general election. I don’t think Perry and Bachmann have a chance if given the nod.

    The Newsweek cover was a cheap shot at Bachmann, I may not like her politics but I hate a cheap shot even more. I have to agree with Jon Stewart, why go out of your way to make her look crazy in a photo when her words do such a good job. Perry is George W Bush II and he may be too crazy even for the tea party who’s first loves are always going to be Bachmann and Palin. Perry just doesn’t have that “come hither” look I guess. His secessionist leanings aside (and one is tempted to use Sam Houston’s words about South Carolina against Perry that Texas “.. is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum. ...” although I doubt there’s a Texan in the house who would agree that Texas is too small for a Republic.) he pegs the crazy meter on several, if not all other categories, from taxes to government regulation, to religious zealotry. God told him to run as he did Bachmann. God apparently wants as many horses in the race as he can get. Both Perry and Bachmann are in the race at the special invitation of the almighty. Of course what can you do in a situation like that but vote for one of them and hope they have the wisdom to pick the other as a running mate. Of course Bachmann would be third on the ticket. Of course with the almighty as a running mate is there any question about who gets top billing?"

    and back to me:

    "God apparently wants as many horses in the race as he can get"

    that is a great line because it's funny, provocative, and also leads to the possibility of being absolutely true. Why wouldn't He want as many horses in the race as he can if He is interested in us practicing our agency and responsibility as we attempt self-governance? (If not just to test us to distiguish the bad ones?)

  2. (Anon/M) Very, very good input by AnonymousD. Bachmann's words are getting worse every time she opens her mouth (Singing "Happy Birthday" to Elvis on the anniversary of his DEATH? Any fact checkers in her entourage?)Perry is getting almost as bad. I don't think God has any horses in that race. Probably has better things to do than playing the ponies.


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