Those who focus on Mitt Romney as a Mormon may be misled. Romney is not a polygamous hard-core Utah Mormon. In the following piece, a commentator says that Romney's religion is more correctly described as Americanism:
"From where I sit, it looks like Romney's 'own' faith is faith in America. Americans needn't worry about Romney's Mormonism because, at the end of the day, the faith that trumps all others is 'Americanism.'
"Don't get me wrong: this religion has a long and illustrious history (documented in David Gelertner's recent book, AMERICANISM: THE FOURTH GREAT WESTERN RELIGION). It is a noble faith that feeds off the blood of its martyrs - in particular 'the greatest generation' to which Romney first appeals -- who made the greatest sacrifice for the sake of the religion's highest value: freedom (understood, I should note, in largely negative terms as freedom of choice). Indeed, 'freedom' and 'liberty' are the mantras of this faith, and Romney's speech invokes these shibboleths no less than thirty times (God or 'the Creator' or 'divine author' comes in at a close second with 21 references). And Romney doesn't fail to allude to the great artifacts of this religion. Americanism has its own sacred documents (the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution), its own saints (the Founding Fathers), and has even birthed its own cathedrals and grottos (just stroll the National Mall).
The article is at: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/...
For those who want to look up Gelertner, first look at his Wikipedia biography, which notes that he was a Unabomber casualty, a fellow at conservative American Enterprise Institute, and a neocon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Gelernt... . Here's his Americanism book: http://www.amazon.com/Americanism-Fourth-G... . I'm buying a used copy. Gelertner seems to be an adherent of religious Americanism, not an objective analyst.
The comments by locals to a story in a suburban Boston newspaper about Mitt Romney building his election team around the Shawmut Group (see below) are revealing.
"Romney has been lusting after the Presidency since he ran against Teddy Kennedy. a generation ago. EVERYTHING he has done since has been to polish up his Dudley DoRight image," said one. "However his cornfed Middle-America image barely conceals his 'Children of the Corn' agenda."
'Children of the Corn' is a horror movie based on a Steven King novel about "a cult that worships a malevolent force in the corn fields."
Another commenter says "Mr. Romney is easy to represent. He has plenty of money (through PACs and his own) and he'll take any position you tell him to that panders to the polls of the day. Having lived with him in Massachusetts for many years, I can't tell you what, exactly, he stands for, except self promotion. He has no bottom."
One commenter wondered whether the new Tea-Party Republican Party would accept Romney: "Will your party give him the chance? The party of Bush, McCain-Palin rejected him. Why would they reject a reasonable, intelligent, decent man? Because the party of hyper-pseudo religiosity is so intolerant of anyone who deviates only slightly from whatever their religious litmus test demands. Poor Mr. Romney actually has to pander to this with the usual amorphous baby talk about being a Christian, etc. etc."
The article also discusses how Romney is working with Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.)
The Belmont Citizen-Record article is at: http://www.wickedlocal.com/belmont/feature... .
(Spelling & punctuation have been fixed for readability. Also, meant to post this in General Discussion Presidency forum.)
A fawning boston.com story ("Romney sought to present a more nuanced side of himself during what his staff described as an important listening and learning tour"), said that Romney told young Afghans that "It is my desire and my political party’s desire to support the people of Afghanistan and not to leave." Reporters were not allowed at the discussion between Romney & young Afghan leaders, but the reporter talked to a participant and viewed videotape of the discussion.
In other news on Romney's mideast tour, Romney had dinner with the Afghan Finance Minister. The Finance Minister said that "Many of Romney’s questions focused on how to ensure the best relations between the two countries, as if he were a head of state." Romney also is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad.
Article: http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/arti... /)
Mitt Romney arrived yesterday (Sunday) on a weeklong trip to "the frontlines of the U.S. war zone and to the Middle East," according to a press release from Romney's Free & Strong America PAC.
Romney is scheduled to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, U.S. General David Petraeus, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Jordan's King Abdullah. According to the AP, Romney and Netanyahu worked together early in their careers at the Boston Consulting Group.
The Washington Post says "The expenses for Romney's trip are being paid with a blend of personal funds and contributions from the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the American Israel Education Foundation. (AIEF)"
The AIEF is a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee" or AIPAC. Last month, the AIEF sent Tea Party figure Utah Senator Mike Lee to Israel to meet with Netanyahu.
The IRI has John McCain as chairman. See www.iri.org/learn-more-about-iri/board-dir...
In other Romney news, he made a statement on the Tucson shooting, saying we should "respond with comfort and support because that is the only way we know to show that evil does not triumph over goodness in the world."
EDIT: Removed paragraph saying AP Political Writer Glen Johnson lifted description of Romney from press release. Apparently Johnson wrote it himself. It goes like this: "Romney is a former businessman whose work as a venture capitalist and in turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics gives him great strength on economic issues, an expected 2012 battleground as the country slowly recovers from the Great Recession."
Mitt Romney came out early -- in July -- in opposition to the New Start treaty.
In a response, Slate Magazine's Fred Kaplan said: "In 35 years of following debates over nuclear arms control, I have never seen anything quite as shabby, misleading and —- let's not mince words —- thoroughly ignorant as Mitt Romney's attack on the New START treaty."
Romney replied here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/243...
This is Romney's second position since I started following him. He came out against earmarks, which is fine with me. But this position hurts national security and undercuts Obama's ability to negotiate. Loosely-supervised Soviet nukes are a big problem for world peace.
And look whose side Romney's on: torture memo author John Yoo and who-needs-the-UN John Bolton (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/opinion/... ), long shamed and discredited.
Fox News blog gives some figures at (http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/11/... )
And when it comes to building on foundations, Romney has erected the Chartres Cathedral of between-cycle operations. Romney spent $45 million of his own fortune in 2008 and raised millions more. That provided the framework for a political organization with a major presence in every early primary state and in all the big delegate prizes.
Since 2009, Romney's PAC has doled out more than $1.1 million to candidates and financed his travel to stump for more than 60 candidates in the 2010 cycle. It's the best funded and most generous PAC of any of the potential 2012 contenders, and perhaps more significantly, continues to maintain contacts on the state level that will prove very helpful come caucus and convention time.
Romney's organization has also enabled Romney to keep his all-star team of consultants and advisers mostly intact.
It is, in short, the deluxe model political organization.
Two questions about this Journal. (1) Is General Discussion: Presidency the right location? and (2) can I come back and polish posts months later?
Mitt Romney (http://freestrongamerica.com/news/articles... ) joined five other GOP presidential hopefuls in supporting a ban on Congressional earmarks. According to "The Hill" newspaper, so have Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, and Mike Pence.
The issue split the GOP into pro-earmark "establishment" Republicans and anti-earmark Tea-Partiers. The establishment Republican argue that banning earmarks would increase President Obama's power.
According to a confusing Fox news story, (http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4419051/the... ) Ron Paul and newly-elected Rand Paul take different views.
(Note: I am not sure that "General Discussion: Presidency" is the right forum for Romney Watch.)
I'm going to be keeping a DU journal focused on potential Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He's from my home state and I briefly met him once when we were boys.
I'm watching his PAC, Free Strong America (http://freestrongamerica.com ); that PAC made hefty contributions to Republican candidates around the country in the 2010 election season. He'll be owed a lot of favors by the time the Republican Convention begins in late August 2012.
The largest chunk of Free Strong America PAC contributions went to Nikki Halley, the Tea-Party governor-elect of South Carolina (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikki_Haley ). I'll be keeping an eye on her as a possible VP candidate, a la Sarah Palin: beautiful, exotic, conservative, with outside-Washington credentials.
I'm also reading Romney's books, currently Mitt Romney's "Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games."
I'll also be watching the current crop of Republican hopefuls, currently including Sarah Palin, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and Georgia gadfly New Gingrich,
Generally, I think Romney is a smart, good-looking, ambitious guy, with no known sexual scandals in his past, a lot of money behind him, a well-polished political style, and a justified claim to business expertise. He is definitely part of the old-school Republican party of the Rich; his father was president of an auto company.
(This is the first post of my first attempt to keep a DU journal.)
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