To be honest, other than my own doomed campaign a few weeks ago, I haven't tracked well with the current crop of wannabes. When there are 20+ horses in the race - and you know that at least 17 will drop dead on the backstretch - you don't want to get too attached.
A few days ago, The Slike asked an interesting question. (Anyone who refers to Stephen Baldwin as S-Bald deserves a goofy nickname to call his own..)
The question was "Would you vote for a Mormon?". I found the question thought-provoking, and in the interest of self-education, ended up listening to the podcast from today's edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, where they interviewed Mitt Romney, Mormon and Presidential Candidate, although apparently not in that order.
In the interest of full disclosure, it is my firm believe that Mormonism is a great deception with a long history of violence, charlatanism, and all around unseemly activity. It is also my firm belief that the LDS church is full of good people who love their kids, pay their taxes and are faithful to their wives, no double entendre.
My point is that there are holes in Mormon theology that one could drive a truck through, blindfolded, with the doors open, but that does not necessarily make them bad people. What I found interesting was that during today's interview, one would have come to think that Mormonism has not made Romney anything at all.
After listening to the interview, I'm convinced that Romney is a consummate politician. Despite being a bishop in the Mormon church and president of the Boston area parishes, when asked about the Mormon doctrine of Jesus returning to the United States to reign for a millennium, at first he sidesteps the question, insisting that, for matters of doctrine, one should consult the LDS church. Then he misrepresents common Mormon doctrine with a more conventional view:
While Mormon's do believe in the role of the land of Israel in the End Times, anyone who would say "It's the same as the other Christian tradition" either has their head in a bucket or is trying very hard to stay away from discussions of the quirks of Mormonism knowing that there is an election to lose.
"Our belief is just as it says in the Bible, that the messiah will come to Jerusalem, stand on the Mount of Olives and that the Mount of Olives will be the place for the great gathering and so forth.... It's the same as the other Christian tradition...."
My initial objection to Romney is not his Mormon faith - although I do have great objections to that faith in general - but rather to the fact that he appears willing to say what needs to be said to get elected. Yes, he's on my side of the life debate....but I'm not convinced why he's there, and I'm fairly convinced he'd switch back if it were to prove politically expedient.
Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer
Better known for his gripping tale of Everest-climb-gone-horrid, Into Thin Air, Krakauer spent significant time investigating a murder by a group of Mormon fundamentalists. To be fair, the fundamentalists had long ago split from Romney's LDS, but Krakauer goes far into Mormon history to reveal the dysfunction that has marked it for years.