Friday, April 27, 2012

Mormons running for President--Mitt and Mo

So I guess a Mormon is running for President or something.  Who knew? 
This isn't the first time, nor will it be the last.  If Mitt loses (a consummation devoutly to be wished) Jon Huntsman is angling for his shot in 2016, trying to attract the 'non-crazy Republican' vote, which means he's doomed.  Joseph Smith was running for President when the state of Illinois collectively shot him, and George Romney looked to have a chance to win the nomination, until he got caught telling the truth about Vietnam. 
Then there's Mo Udall.  I was on a mission when he ran, in '76.  A Mormon, positioning himself as the further left alternative to Jimmy Carter.  Yep--that wasn't a typo.
Mo was tall and funny and had one glass eye and was a good basketball player, and was liberal in all the important ways.  Pro-environment.  He added half of Alaska to the National Park system, and fought to increase their funding.  He was pro-Indians, figuring apparently that, having stolen their land, we could at least let 'em fleece us in casinos. 
Best of all, he was funny.  After losing another primary in '76, he said he felt like the missionary sent to convert a tribe of cannibals.  "They listened intently to every word he had to say.  And then they ate him."  He loved to joke about his eye--said he was collecting one-eyed man jokes. I recommend his book Too funny to be President. It's still in print, I think. 
And yes, he was a Mormon.  Up to a point--spoke out strongly against the LDS position on blacks and priesthood, despised Vietnam and challenged those in the Church who supported it. 
Thing about Mo is, he knew what he believed, and he stood up for it.  He was a liberal who won race after race in conservative Arizona because people knew he was a straight shooter--he'd tell 'em directly what he was for and against, and they appreciated that.  His son Mark, who is now in the Senate, is the same way. 
Mitt Romney stands for . . . not sure.  Lower taxes for millionaires.  Um . . . something something restore confidence in America.  He likes America, apparently.  And Michigan's trees, because they're just the right height. And motherhood--in fact, that's been a thing; some idiot on TV dissed Moms on TV, and now that's supposedly the official policy of the Obama administration, or something equally Fox-y. 
Here's the thing: I remember with great pride the Salt Lake Olympics.  It was the coolest thing to ever happen in our state, and we took the kids up to Olympic Park and to a couple of the cheaper events and it was amazing.  And for awhile, the Olympics were in scandal-ridden trouble.  Mitt took over, and ran a very good Olympics.  I feel some warm fuzzies over that achievement.
Mitt Romney's a successful businessman, with no real ideological attachments politically.  He has zero political instincts.  He's gaffe-prone.  He's running for President, so he'll say anything, because I think he thinks that policy positions don't matter--what matters is problem-solving. This might even be true sometimes.  But politics right now is defined by the tea party right.  And they're crazy.  They have to be stood up to, because their ideas would be catastrophic. 
If Mitt'd won the nomination in 2008, he might have made an okay president then.  Following a terrible President, a non-ideological problem-solver might have been what we needed.  Right now, it's not.  He's the worst possible candidate for this moment in history. Not a bad guy, but not the right choice today.    

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