Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mitt Romney Is No John F. Kennedy

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's attempt to deliver a speech at the George H.W. Bush presidential library in Texas to address his Mormonism as John F. Kennedy successfully addressed his Catholicism nearly 50 years ago in Texas flopped badly. Other than the fact that the purpose of his speech was intended to allay concerns about his personal religion, there is no similarity in what Romney did today to what Kennedy did a half-century ago.

The purpose of Kennedy's speech, first and foremost, was to de-emphasize a candidate's religion in the presidential campaign. Kennedy stood before his audience 50 years ago to make it clear he spoke as an American running for president, not as a Catholic running for president. By comparison, Romney insists on injecting religion into American politics. As one commentator described it, "Romney used the speech to rail against 'the religion of secularism' and 'the elimination of religion from the public square.'' NBC political analyst Tim Russert jumped on Romney's use of the words "freedom is religion", suggesting the two were inseparable. Does this mean a non-believer does not desire a truly free society?

Although earlier in his political career Romney embraced many ideas which were anathema to the religious right, he has completely reversed his position on social issues like abortion, immigration and gay rights to rally religious right voters to his side. People are less-concerned about his Mormonism than his position on the issues. Many within the religious right don't trust him because he flip-flopped on so many critical issues, and they fear he will abandon them once he is elected. Moderates and liberals don't trust him because he abandoned positions that drew them to him when he first ran for political office. The voters of Massachusetts thought they elected a Republican in the mold of former Gov. William Weld or New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani. Instead, they wound up with a George W. Bush wannabe.

Romney proclaimed today, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind." This is a message intended to assure the religious right he is "real Christian." Newsweek's Jon Meacham hits the nail on the head. "[H]is definition of religious liberty seemed limited to the right of religious people to choose a faith or a denomination when American tradition has always, at its best, protected the rights of those who choose not to believe." Mitt Romney is no John F. Kennedy.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I listened to Romney's speech today--well most of it, until my stomach curdled and the puke was half way up my throat.

He rewrote history to some degree. He recited reasons our forefathers fled Europe, and then why some of them fled west, in a veiled attempt to justify the Mormon gestalt. It was kind of like a John Jakes historical novel...interwoven with fact, diced up with fiction and hoped-for-truths. Frankly, for a potential president, it was a frightening combo.

Did you see GWHB and Babs on stage with Mitt afterward? My TV set is lucky I was brickless. It was also kinda creepy. Herman Munster kind of creepy.

While I admire the overall message--that religion should not matter--it was heavily overridden by the dominant theme: ONLY Jesus Christ is an acceptable religious icon.

The neocons beleive this mantra, and my God weeps.

The arrogance is overwhelming.

Didn't Pat Robertson endorse this guy? That ought to be all you need to know.

Anonymous said...

It almost seemed like he had something to hide about his Mormonism. I dont care if he is or not....that is not an issue....

Anonymous said...

I'm with anon 756. I don't care what your race or religion are, it comes down to CAN YOU DO THE JOB? For me locally, it is AM I BEING REPRESENTED?

Fort Wayne Democrat said...

Hey, quit implying that Herman Munster is somehow like the Bushes! That's just mean - to Herman.

But otherwise I'm with you, Anon 7:52.

Zappatista said...

I have been railed before for saying this, but what are beliefs anyways...... FREEDOM FROM RELIGION! IF YOU HAVE IT, GRAND, BUT DON'T DEHUMANIZE PEOPLE FOR NOT HAVING IT! Or, not having the one that you admire.....

probably does not resinate with the people of this fair city...

G_Roberts said...

Other ways in which he is unlike Kennedy are his lack of ties to the mafia, absence of extramarital infidelity and a history of getting elected without buying votes. Other than that, they are similar in many respects; attractive, charismatic and dynamic.

Advance Indiana said...

"Other ways in which he is unlike Kennedy are his lack of ties to the mafia, absence of extramarital infidelity and a history of getting elected without buying votes."

You might want to check out the buying votes part of it. As Romney prepared his run for president, the former pro choice candidate began lavishing large contributions on a variety of right to life groups and other organizations with ties to the religious right. One of those groups has used Jim Bopp in a lot of its litigation. No surprise when Bopp and these groups were the first to convince religious right followers that Romney was the real deal.

Anonymous said...

1. JFK had beliefs that he formed and kept.

2. JFK did not attempt to force his religion on others.

3. JFK did not believe that you had to be "Christian" to be a true believer.

Lance said...

"I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind.......but He still plays second fiddle to some dude from upstate New York who dug up a book that only he could read with magic X-ray specs." Jeez, that ought to make Christians feel so much better.

Anonymous said...

Since we did not know of Kennedy's extramarital activities until a couple of decades after his death, who knows what lurks in background or Romney?

Anonymous said...

anon 420, unlike Bill Clinton who was well known for his extra marital activities.

Anonymous said...

Mitt's efforts in Indiana need CPR...campaign staff have had problems collecting enough signatures for the 2008 primary....

Romney Campaign Staff have traveled to the 8th & 6th congressional districts to collect enough signatures...

Mitt may be feeling a backlash from Indiana's typically conservative voters and their reluctance to support a candidate who continues to morph on his values.

Hoosier Conservative said...

I thought the speech was very uplifting and positive. It's nice to hear a candidate talking in detail about the founders in a good way.

I am leaning toward Romney because he's smart and pragmatic. I don't see where's he's ever flip-flopped. There are a couple of issues where his position has "evolved" and he has explained the reasons. These could be characterized as "flips", but a flip-flop would require a subsequent move back to the original position. So if Romney suddenly became pro-choice again, then he would be a flip-flopper.

He is a very impressive and thoughtful leader. We'd be lucky to finally have one of those as president.

Anonymous said...

Hoosier Conservative:
Bravo from one conservative to another! I feel that once our economy is back on track, we can focus on re-establishing respect in the world. Romney's our guy to do this. Who better to run a nation that was established on free enterprise and capitalism than a successful businessman! McCain has walked a rough line and survived, but has been in the Washington circle too long. I respect him for the most part, but he'l give us more of the same. Guiliani was an interesting candidate who I listened to quite attentively at first... but he's just not suited for a GOP President.