The Real Mitt Romney

I’ve recently come across a very fascinating video of Mitt Romney. It shows him in a much more genuine and authentic light than anything else I’ve come across.

This video takes place during the summer of 2007. It’s August, and Romney is sitting down for an interview with Jan Mickelson. Mickelson is the host of WHO 1040, a conservative Iowa radio station. (And Mickelson is conservative; if the Supreme Court doesn’t overturn Roe v. Wade, Mickelson wants the president to “tell the Supreme Court when it leaves its constitutional boundaries to go take a flying leap…because that’s what this country is crying for”.)

What’s most interesting, however, is what happens during the commercial break. This starts around 10:35. Romney, not knowing that he’s being filmed, has a heated discussion with Mickelson. He says a lot of things that he wouldn’t say in public. Take a look:

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what this video shows about Mitt Romney. Two things stand out. Both involve Mormonism.

1) Romney is very devoted to his church. It’s clear from the video that Christianity plays an enormous role Romney’s life. When Mickelson apparently gets wrong theological points that the Mormon Church holds, Romney seems to take personal offense. The way that he does so makes it apparent that Romney has a very deep knowledge of scripture and that he tries to spend his life living it as best he can. A person who is not deeply religious would not be offended at Mickelson the way that Romney was.

2) Romney has suffered because of this. Let me show two very revealing quotes. Here is Mickelson:

 “[There are] people who will reject your Mormonism on a theological basis.”

And here is Romney, a bit later.

“And so what should I do? And so tell me what I should do.”

It’s a question to which there isn’t a very good answer.

But I want to touch upon something deeper here. This is the way that Romney reacts to talking about Mormonism. He doesn’t want to talk about it; he wants to pretend that the subject doesn’t exist and forget about it.

This type of reaction doesn’t occur naturally. It is a response to bigotry.

In fact, Romney’s response evokes something very personal in me. It reminds me of the way that ethnic minorities try very hard to downplay their race in white-dominated institutions. It reminds me of the way that Mexican Americans in my college almost never go to the Spanish language tables. Or the way that Chinese international students at my college never use chopsticks in the cafeterias, even when the cafeteria serves Chinese food.

I won’t vote for Mitt Romney. Until now, I’ve dismissed him as a man who’s never suffered from bigotry, who’s been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and never experienced the troubles that normal people do. But I’m wrong. Romney has definitely suffered because of his religion.

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5 Responses to The Real Mitt Romney

  1. Ed says:

    One correction. Christianity indeed may have played an important part in Romney’s life, but not as his faith, since Mormons aren’t Christians.

    This assertion isn’t bigotry. Every Christian denomination requires a Mormon who wants to join their church to be baptized. This isn’t required for converts from other Christian denomination. And once you understand the theology, its obvious that Mormonism is a completely separate religion.

    Mormons play this down, probably since their religion is the only one to have been actively persecuted in the United States. But in terms of religious beliefs Romney’s becoming president would be as novel as if Joe Lieberman became president.

    As it happens, the Constitution specifically bans religious tests for public office. And the tendency of many Americans to try to elect as president someone like them is not a good idea; all politicians capable of running a national campaign are weirdos in one way or another. But reluctance from a Christian fundamentalist to vote for a non-Christian candidate is no more bigoted than reluctance from an atheist or agnostic voter to vote for a Christian fundamentalist candidate.

    • inoljt says:

      With all respect, I strongly strongly disagree with you. If somebody says that he’s a Christian, then he’s a Christian. One hundred years ago Protestants said that Catholics weren’t Christian. In one hundred years I hope that Mormonism is just as accepted in America as Catholicism is.

      • Anonymous says:

        All real Christians have one thing in common as to their Christian beliefs whether they be Catholic, Protestant, Greek/Russian Orthodox or what have you. It is the Nicene Creed which is the defining statement of what makes a Christian a Christian. Mormons do not subscribe to this creed which is the heart and soul of Christianity. In fact the Mormon founders Joseph Smith and Bring’em Young denounced mainstream Christianity as null, void and phony. This from the known con artist Joseph Smith and Bring’em Young. Mormonism is a strange cult created by these two hucksters who profanes the Jesus Christ they claim as their own. That is why they were bounced out of every town and place they tried to infect with their religion of self dealing and polygamy.

  2. linhta7 says:

    This is really interesting perspective to see that while people see Romney as the hater of minorities, (women’s rights and illegal immigration as an example) this shows that even as a prominent upper-class white male, he is still discriminated. Not saying that I approve of his work, just that him being Mormon has proved a set back with some conservative voters.

    • inoljt says:

      Yeah, I thought of him like that for a while. But I’m definitely thinking of him a bit differently after seeing this video.

      Also I like your blog. ;)

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