LAST NIGHT I once against asked the question about why Mormonism isn’t being examined, with Mr. Romney being asked about different aspects of his faith. At the same time Jeffrey Goldberg was doing the same thing. An excerpt:
The only Jew to ever get close to the White House was Senator Joseph Lieberman, who isn’t merely Jew-ish (as the saying goes), but a full-blown Orthodox Jew. When he was picked to be Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, the newspapers were filled with tales of his religious practices.
A New York Times reporter, Laurie Goodstein, detailed Lieberman’s exotic rites at length, in the manner of an anthropologist explaining a previously unknown Amazon tribe: “Many of Mr. Lieberman’s most basic religious rituals are intimate acts,” the article said. At morning prayer, “the senator lays on tefillin, the small leather boxes that contain four biblical passages written on parchment, binding the boxes to one arm and his forehead with leather straps.”
So what does the Romney camp find so frightening? […] The great fear is not that Americans will see a Mormon politician as too sinister to lead the country (the way that some Baptist leaders once saw the Catholic John F. Kennedy) but that Americans will see a Mormon as too bizarre to be president.
Goldberg discusses, and I quote, the “‘sacred underwear,’ the derisive term for undergarments worn by some Mormons to remind themselves of their religious responsibilities.” It’s okay for him, I assume, because he’s a conservative.
As Goldberg reminds readers, when Joe Lieberman was chosen as Al Gore’s vice presidential nominee, there were deeply detailed written articles on his Orthodox Jewish practices.
But for some reason reporters and traditional media outlets, new media as well, won’t do the same for Mormonism.
Faith is obviously important to Mitt Romney, to the tune of tithing millions and millions of dollars to his church, plus being a leader in the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church was also a principle booster to Prop 8 in California. From the New York Times in 2008, “Mormons Tipped the Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage”:
“We’re going to lose this campaign if we don’t get more money,” the strategist, Frank Schubert, recalled telling leaders of Protect Marriage, the main group behind the ban.
The campaign issued an urgent appeal, and in a matter of days, it raised more than $5 million, including a $1 million donation from Alan C. Ashton, the grandson of a former president of the Mormon Church. The money allowed the drive to intensify a sharp-elbowed advertising campaign, and support for the measure was catapulted ahead; it ultimately won with 52 percent of the vote.
A recent quote from Mitt Romney in a comfortable and safe setting had him once again declaring children are better off if they don’t have gay or lesbian as parents.
“This is what he’s been saying forever,” Mr. Williams said. “He’s always said that the ideal setting to raise a child is with the mom and the dad.”
Though Mr. Romney believes states should be allowed to give gay couples the right to adopt children, he has said in multiple interviews that he believes a heterosexual marriage is the “ideal setting” for children to grow up in. He opposes granting either marriages or civil unions to gay couples.
Americans need to know all of Mr. Romney’s beliefs and how they would impact this country, just as voters need to know about Pres. Obama’s policies and what he’s done in his first term in full light.
I do differ with Goldberg on one aspect of his post for Bloomberg.
Goldberg writes about “their ineffable niceness.” My husband’s children certainly are all reminiscent of that description, however, my interaction with the Romney camp is quite the opposite.
As I’ve written before, I’ve attempted innumerable times to be included in press releases from Mitt Romney’s campaign organization, same with the GOP. The latter included me until I dared to ask a serious question about death baptismal, tweeting his campaign. This morning, I tried yet again, with the following email sent:
Hello again. One last try to get on the press list, after several attempts. I’m a liberal political writer, yes, but I’m fair & tough on both presidential candidates.
I will not be voting in November in order to cover the race as best as I can.
Recently quoted in the New York Times on Ann Romney, I assure you that truth and facts are my compass. Here’s the link:
I’d appreciate the same courtesy you’d give any other political writer. Emails & basic reporter access. So far that’s gone unanswered, but I hope it will change.
Political analyst & author
It doesn’t need to be said that if I were from the Washington Post, Mitt Romney’s team would include me and have to bear whatever I’d write. They don’t have to reach out to me, but it remains the right thing to do. It takes no energy to add my email to a massive press list.
I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that soon after I tweeted a sincere question about Mormonism I was cut off from the GOP, though I have never been afforded basic, generic press access to the Romney campaign emails, which go out to reporters and political writers across the country, no matter the level.
Only a few have been as relentlessly tough on Pres. Obama as I have, but his campaign team continues outreach no matter what I write. They know I’m a liberal, that I have a boutique audience of whip smart readers concentrated with women, too, and they also know they need every single vote they can muster in November.
Inaccessibility to elite politicians is as American as the Super PAC today. When you’re an independent writer that goes double. But knowing the stories of candidates and being able to write about them is part of the political process that is the foundation of our democratic republic.
On Mitt Romney’s presidential site there isn’t even an easy to find phone number to call for press inquiries. I can call colleagues and get a number, but that’s not really the point, now is it? Who you know to gain basic access to press releases and other Romney campaign events? There is a Chicago number to call well advertised if you want to reach Team Obama.
This might not seem like much, but it’s indicative of what Mitt Romney would do as president. Pres. Obama doesn’t always like the press, the questions or the intrusions, but even in his rarefied remoteness as the most powerful person in the world, Team Obama is reachable.
At this point, I’m just not sure whether Mitt Romney would be a president for all the people or just those with whom he can curry favor, while freezing out even honest critics in an attempt to marginalize their voice.