Saturday, January 1, 2011

Which Mormon Will Run In 2012?

Newsweek Magazine has article about Mormon politician who may or may not be considering a presidential run in 2012. No, it is not Mitt Romney. Its  John Hunstman Jr., the current U.S. Ambassador to China and former governor of Utah. Whether he will run or not is up for debate. However, the Newsweek article suggests that he might actually run: 
The winking response—about as close to a hat-in-ring announcement as you’ll get from a sitting member of the incumbent’s administration—could just be a hollow cry for attention. But sources close to Huntsman (who requested anonymity to speak freely without his permission) say that during his December trip to the U.S., he met with several former political advisers in Washington and Salt Lake City to discuss a potential campaign. “I’m not saying he’s running,” says one supporter who has worked with him in the past. “But we’re a fire squad; if he says the word, we can get things going fast.”
The idea of having another Mormon besides Mitt Romney running in 2012 would certainly make the upcoming Presidential election more interesting, especially if  these two candidates battle each other as they attempt to secure the Republican nomination. 
There's a good reasons to expect tension between these two men. Jon Huntsman Jr. chose to endorse John McCain rather than Mitt Romney in the 2008 election. While both might be members of the same faith and are seen by some as "moderate" Republicans, they don't necessarily see eye to eye on the same issues. If Romney and Huntsman Jr. do run in 2012, it would be interesting to see them debate each other in the Republican primary debates. However, the biggest fight between them will probably occur as they court  the same movers and shakers for political and financial support, especially among Mormons who have cash to give. 
One obstacle for both of them will be the fact that they are both members of the LDS Church, natch. However, they both have different approaches in how they plan to  explain their faith to the American voter. 
"There are just some people for whom it will not be settled," Romney recently told the Boston Globe. "That's just the nature of who we are as a people. A lot of people have differing views."
Huntsman, seen as a less-likely candidate after his appointment by Democratic President Barack Obama last year, appears to be taking a different tack.
In a recent Fortune magazine interview that appeared on, his Mormon credentials were described as "soft," unlike his more devout family. His father, Jon Huntsman Sr., is an Area Seventy in the LDS Church.
The former governor noted in the interview that his children attend Catholic schools, and his adopted daughters come from different religious cultures, one Buddhist, the other Hindu.
"I can't say I am overly religious," Huntsman is quoted as saying in the interview, which refers to his consideration of a 2012 run. "I get satisfaction from many different types of religions and philosophies."
It disappoints me that a candidate's faith is such a hot button issue with many voters, especially as the 2012 election starts to heat up. People should realize by now that a candidate's religious affiliation is secondary to a candidate’s qualifications, political positions and vision for America.
Mitt Romney has already addressed this issue before since he gave a well received speech about his faith at the George Bush Presidential Library during the 2008 election. I don't think he should have to explain his faith to people again. Neither should Jon Huntsman Jr. The fact that any candidate would have to explain his faith is so is so bothersome to me. 
JFK had to give a speech about his Catholic faith at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960.In that speech, he gives warning to those who would seek to make a candidate's faith a political issue in a campaign: 
"For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew--or a Quaker--or a Unitarian--or a Baptist...Today I may be the victim--but tomorrow it may be you--until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril."
What JFK essentially saying is that the Golden Rule applies to politics too. If Evangelicals, Jews, Muslims, Bhuddists, Mormons or members of a certain faith don't like having their faith being made into an issue, then they shouldn't do it to others because one day their faith will be made an issue too. And while a candidate's faith, say like being an Evangelical, may not be a concern for Americans now, it might very well be an issue in the future.
The idea that someone's faith is a political issue runs against everything America stands for.
Our country was founded on religious diversity. Many of the early colonies were created as havens for various religious faiths. Virginia was created as a legal colony whose official state religion was the Church of England while Maryland was created as a place for Catholics come to when they immigrated to America.   William Penn created Pennsylvania as a  haven for Quakers. Massachusetts was founded by the Puritans. 
Our Founding Fathers came from various different religious backgrounds and when they were in the process of creating this nation, they specifically wanted religion to play a role in public life but they also wanted to prevent the federal government from endorsing a specific denomination or sect. As intelligent and observant students of history, they were quite aware of the consequences of religious conflicts in Europe. As a result, inserted article six into the Constitution which banned the use of religious tests for political office. Shortly thereafter, the founding fathers created the Bill of Rights which contains the well known 1st Amendment. Although, the federal Constitution originally applied to the federal government, many states were free to endorse a religion in their own state constitutions.
In deciding who is the best candidate, its values that matter, not theology that matters. This is an important fact for everyone to remember, especially the religious right. For example, Harry Reid is Mormon, but I would never vote for him since he doesn't reflect my values. On the other hand, I could support Romney or Huntsman Jr., not because they are of my faith but because of their values.
The Founding Fathers understood that values was more important than theology in politics. Despite the fact that the Founding Fathers came from a variety of different religious backgrounds; they all shared the same  values even though they may have had disagreements over theological issues with one another.
In the end, I really don’t care if a Conservative candidate is Jewish, Buddhist, LDS, Catholic, Zoroastrians, Protestant, Hindu, Evangelical, or of some other faith. I care more about their qualifications, political positions and their plan for our country’s future.And you should too.


  1. Good post. "In the end, I really don’t care if a Conservative candidate is Jewish, Buddhist, LDS, Catholic, Zoroastrians, Protestant, Hindu, Evangelical, or of some other faith." Is it safe to assume you include Muslims in this list? Seems odd you I wonder you chose not to include adherents to the 2nd largest faith in the world to your comprehensive list.

  2. @ Ken:

    Welcome to my blog. I appreciate your comments. Feel free to become a follower of my blog.

    In response, the omission of the Muslim faith was not intentional. It would be safe to assume that I that I do include Muslims in that list.

    Thanks for pointing out the omission.

  3. Huntsman will not run in 2012 , there is almost certainly an informal agreement between him and Romney which will allow Romney to stand in 2012 and Huntsman to stand in 2016 . Both would be entirely inappropriate to lead the USA - both believe that Jesus is the Devil's bother a truly shocking doctrine .

  4. @ Andrew Price:

    Many religions have bizarre or shocking doctrines. However, that has no relevance or bearing when it comes to a person running for political office.

    Any other politician regardless if they are Jewish, Buddhist, LDS, Catholic, Muslim, Zoroastrians, Protestant, Hindu, Evangelical or any other faith are not running to be Commander in Priest, they're running to be Commander in Chief.

  5. So you will disagree with Romney when he said America needs a man of faith to be its President . Romney also was very quick to pander to the concerns of many Americans when he feigned a slip of the tongue and said Barack Osama .This was a blatant attempt to raise the spectre of Islam . To this day about a fifth of Americans think the President is a closet Muslim .

    Do you agree with the fact that Mitt Romney was involved in secret ceremonies which mocked the Christian Pastor as being in the hire and pay of Satan ? Would you seriously suggest this is of no consequence ?

  6. The Mormon faith is still different enough to most Americans that a Mormon running for our highest office is a novelty. No one is asking "Which Baptist will run?" because two or three Baptists in the race would not be unusual.

    For people who consider any denomination outside their own to be a cult, the issue becomes important. If they feel that voting for a candidate represents endorsing what they see as the evil of the church to which the candidate belongs, they will not vote for a candidate. You and I may think that their attitude is ignorant and shortsighted, but if they believe that God wants them to shun certain churches and the teachings of those churches, they will follow what they believe God is telling them to do.

    The encouraging point is that with more exposure to Mormons who are just everyday folks, people will become comfortable with the idea of electing a man who is a member of the LDS church. The hard core churches won't stop saying bad things, but those bad things will have less impact on how people live their lives. Throughout the 90's, there were still plenty of churches in the South that preached that all Roman Catholics were going to Hell. If you cornered some of those church members and asked them, they'd say that they believed what the church taught. However, that didn't stop them for turning out to support Pat Buchanan.

    Having two Mormons in the race may split some of the Mormon vote in the primaries, and that split could hurt both candidates a little bit. On the other hand, both candidates need to be able to win primaries without relying heavily on support within their churches. Either would be weaker if he got the nomination and people could say, "He only got it because all of the Mormons voted for him in the primary."


  7. @ Andrew:

    I agree with Romney that American needs a man of faith to lead this country. But I personally don't care what faith that leader belongs to.

    A person's personal walk with God is none of my business and it between that person and God. As I said before, it is irrelevant when it comes to electing a politician for office.

    Temple ceremony involving a priest being in the pay of Satan is a practice that has been discontinued.

    Religions have been saying offensive and disrespectful things for many centuries and will continue on for many more.

    Not that I defend it or approve of it, but other churches have said and done pretty offensive things to other churches churches Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and so on.

    I don't like it when my Church does it to others and I certainly don't like it when its done to mine.

    @ Bill (Anonymous):

    Thank you for your very thoughtful post. I agree that it will take time for people to be comfortable with the idea of a Mormon in the White House. (even thou it strikes me as odd that no one has issues with Harry Reid as one of the most powerful men politicians in Washington DC)

    I like the idea of having both Mormons run for President since the novelty of it will wear off and people's objections and fear of a Mormon President will subside.

  8. I too agree that the thought of a mormon President in uncomfortable to some.

    But when I first heard that Huntsman might run, all I could think of is the many reasons I would not support him as a candidate. He is moderate and in 2008 he was active in supporting many RINO causes which I do not support.

    I support Mitt Romney for President. In 2008, he was the more conservative choice in the primary but at that time the republicans wanted a moderate candidate, and nominated John McCain. In 2010, I think it would be hard for a candidate with a moderate platform to win the republican nomination.

    For me it is about the individuals politics, not his religion however I do find comfort in a candidate that has a strong moral compass.

  9. Wonderful post. I have been a member of the LDS faith my whole life and have found it discouraging that people actually think that we are not christians when the name of our church is "The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints."

    As for Romney, I think the Republican Nomination, in 2012, is his to lose. I am one that thinks that some of the blame for Massachusetts health care problems fall to Romney, but I believe that the majority of it does not. The majority of the blame should go to the Democrats in the State House and Senate of Massachusetts for OVERRIDDING Romney's vetos of the things that everyone is complaining about.

    The fact that people are putting the blame on Romney, to me says that they are trying to find something, however small, to claim Romney isnt fit to be president, so that they dont look like bigots.

    However, when the economy still stinks in 2012, which candidate stands out, from either side of the isle, as having any economic experience and savy? Mitt Romney. So, in my opinion, Romney wins the nom in 12 and makes Obama look really bad when the two debate.