As a left liberal Democrat, it does not really matter who I want to win the Republican primary. However, I am also following this election closely as a student of political behavior and Mormonism.
One of the reasons I am rooting for Mitt is that I strongly feel that the parties should put forward good candidate, if not the best candidate possible. I am not sure if Mitt is the best candidate for the GOP, but he is clearly the best candidate amongst those who jumped into the race this round. Rick Perry initially had the potential to fill such a role. But…well…oops.
A key reason that Romney is the strongest GOP candidate this year is money and organization. He is clearly the Republican contender that has the money and organization to not only win the nomination, but also to wage a vigorous national campaign in the general election. Campaigns and organization matter. McCain learned this the hard way. Romney has spent the last four years preparing to not make the same mistakes that both Romney and McCain made in 2008.
Why would I want a strong candidate on the GOP side? After all, don’t I want Obama to win? Well, yes I do. However, I think that an important function of the parties is to provide good choices for the electorate. Does is always do this? Clearly not. Yet, a strong GOP candidate is good for Obama. It will force him to campaign at his best.
A strong GOP candidate also creates a sense of legitimacy about an electoral victory. Defeating Ron Paul, Santorum, or Newt in a general election would be easy pickings. It would lead to many to say that the only reason for another four years was a weak GOP opponent.
Another major reason I am rooting for Mitt is that he is Mormon.
I root for Mormon athletes. As a kid, in addition to collecting baseball cards of players with connections to my Baltimore Orioles, I collected the baseball cards of Mormon baseball players. I was likely one of the few kids that got excited about a Vance Law card.
I root for Mormons on reality shows. I voted quite a few times for David Archuleta when he was on American Idol and I am a metal-head.
When it comes down to it, I am a sucker for identity politics. Now my affinity might be stronger with somebody like Harry Reid who, like me, is a Mormon Democrat. However, I have a soft spot for other Mormons.
As a freshman at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho), I had a Larry Echohawk for Governor sign in my room. I was also in the College Republicans. However, having grown up in the east, I was excited to support a fellow Mormon for office. Of course, at that time I figured Mormon Democrats couldn’t be evil liberal Democrats.
A decade later, I am one of those evil liberal Democrats. I am still Mormon.
Now, many of my liberal and moderate friends will ask: Why not root for John Huntsman? The reason ultimately is that Huntsman is a non-factor in 2012. He has little support within the GOP. Not only did he serve in the Obama administration, he has regularly poked at the conservative GOP base. I have enjoyed many of those pokes, but Huntsman has no shot in the current climate and his debate performances has done little to change that.
Now, this is not an endorsement of Romney for President. My Obama sticker went on the car a week ago. Heck, the Romney campaign may want to renounce this post. I do not think they are looking for any liberal egalitarian love. I will still be rooting for him.
Good luck, Mitt.
14 Replies to “Rooting for Romney”
For what it’s worth, intrade now has Huntsman with the second best odds at winning the GOP nomination–they’re not great odds, but figured it was worth noting.
Interesting. Statistically, it looks like everyone is just about tied for the distant second spot.
This post by Will Wilkerson does a good job outlining why Huntsman is out. It’s all about in-group and out-group identity politics and not about the content of their politics. Sadly right now Republican voters are more concerned with identity politics than real solutions. The philosophical and workish wings of the party have largely been neglected. Even Paul’s recent rise came by focusing on such issues.
Inexplicably Huntsman did everything he could to work against such identity politics. He’s run the worst campaign I could conceive of. His record is great but he’s alienated the very voters he needs.
[Huntsman] has regularly poked at the conservative GOP base
I just had to lol during last Saturday’s debate when he firmly stated that gay marriage would do nothing to threaten his traditional marriage! You have to hand it to him for that. Audience, baby, audience!! That’s chutzpah.
I think we need to put your post up next to mine. Yours gets us up to the point of finishing the GOP primary (up to which point I agree with you) while mine is concerned about the general election.
Then again, I do not cheer for Mormons in sports, even BYU in football, so maybe I have no credibility.
Come the General election, I will be wishing him luck, but not voting for him. Our household donated to Obama last quarter.
As a Ute, I only root for BYU players once they go pro. 🙂
Thanks for the link! I will take a closer read shortly.
I feel the same way. As an openly proud independent who thinks that both sides have their issues, I find myself getting more and more frustrated with the GOP (especially during the debates), but constantly pulling for Mitt. Part of that is because I want to see a competitive election season, not a drubbing like 2008 (once McCain got the nod, it was “goodnight” to the Republicans).
However, another part of me feels that same pull that you do, Chris. There’s something to be said about one of “your own” out there doing well. We had the same thing with Ty Detmer during his (forgetabble) tenure in Detroit as Quarterback, and before him, Scott Mitchell (who went to a ward that met in the same building after my ward). Though they were embarrassing to our football team, I coudln’t help but stand up for them.
I’ve also felt drawn to Huntsman simply for the fact that many of his speeches, interviews, and debate answers seem to be “fresh” compared to much of the field. He doesn’t toe the party line, he doesn’t dabble in that much “political speak,” and he seems to really speak from what he feels, not what his speechwriters have given him in talking points.
We’ll see in a couple weeks how the field is shaking out, but based on what happens in Florida, I think, will tell if this is going to be a long, drawn out primary, or if Romney’s got it in the bag.
Really? Is is possible to embarrass the Lions? 🙂
I think Huntsman is the best in the GOP. It’s too bad he will not win.
The thought of a cut throat, venture capitalist, who’s actions are “legal” (if not ethical) as the GOP’s man seems fitting, but as a liberal interested in economic and social justice the phrase “President Romney” is no less disturbing than the phrase “President Bachman.”
I do not think that Romney is actually as bad as Bachmann. The main difference being that I do not think that Romney is even close to as ideological as Bachmann. I also think that Romney has a basic level of competency. Bachmann should not have ever been considered a serious candidates…though I could say that about most of the GOP field.
As a social justice guy, I am hoping the Romney loses in November and I think he will.
I don’t think mormons should support Mitt just because he’s LDS. In my view he hasn’t really behaved as a very honest person. In fact Mitt has told some real whoppers to win political points (check out politifact.com). He’s basically a rich, corporate guy hungering for political power. And it appears that he’ll say anything to get it, even moving from moderate to right-wing-nut positions. Ideologically, if elected, he and the GOP in general will continue to push for an economic oligarchy in our country.
He may be the “best” of the GOP candidates but many more in this country will have to move further right for him to win the general election. For the sake of helping regular people let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Yeah, that is why I am rooting for him…but not voting for him.
In the US, in spite of the popular myth, no honest person can become President. I want a real life Gordon Gecko to be at the helm when Babylon falls. Who better than Mitt?