Romney’s grace after defeat may mitigate pain for many LDS supporters

(To see Cal Grondahl’s cartoon that goes with this post, click here.) Mitt Romney’s concession speech (here) was gracious, generous and conciliatory. It even impressed MSNBC talker Chris Matthews, who has spent the better part of a year accusing the Republican presidential candidate of being a racist. I urge Romney supporters to watch the concession speech. It shows a decent, good, honest man handling defeat with class and wishing his opponent, after a hard-fought battle, the best of luck during his second term.

There’s no doubt that a huge majority of of active Mormons were invested heavily in seeing Mitt Romney become president of the United States. And the fact that he would have been the first LDS president was no doubt a huge factor. Instead, Mitt Romney has become the Mormon version of Al Smith, the first Catholic to be nominated for president by a major party. Smith, in 1928, lost badly to Herbert Hoover.

I’m only a second-generation Mormon, but within the LDS Church, activity is more important than pedigree. You become “grafted” into the traditional history of the church, and feel the same kinship to the faith’s early leaders and pioneers that longtime members do. I’d wager that to many of his disappointed Mormon supporters, and I count myself among that group, Romney represented more than just a candidate. He looks like an LDS general authority, (he was a regional representative, one step down), or a stake president, (he was one), or a bishop, (which he also was), or other positions he has held, such as home teacher or high priest group leader. I’m not saying that LDS supporters expected him to be an advocate of his religion in the White House. Rather they saw him as one whose qualifications to be president included his tenure through the many roles and responsibilities of the LDS Church.

However, Romney’s candidacy turned off some active liberal Mormons who saw Romney’s conservatism as a negative portrayal to their faith. A local political leader, and Mormon leader who is a Democrat related to me how ashamed he was that Mitt Romney, a man he regarded as a poor role model, was the campaign representation of the LDS Church. A colleague of mine, a liberal very devout Mormon, said, as a Mormon, he was ashamed of Romney’s campaign.

I noticed liberal LDS writer Joanna Brooks, enthused after Obama’ re-election, talk about a Jon Huntsman candidacy in 2016. She described it as a “jack Mormon” campaign. That may have been tongue in cheek, but the idea of Huntsman as the “right” Mormon candidate is a popular one among Mormon liberals. Both my above friends, as well as others hostile to Romney, describe him as the perfect Mormon candidate with the same wistfulness that many Romney supporters have. But that’s a pleasant myth. Huntsman went to great lengths to avoid being tagged as a Mormon. His campaign failed because he was supercilious and arrogant at debates and on the stump, and turned off voters.

When it comes to politics, the party most often rules; when it comes to religion, it’s between the individual and God. There will not be another “Mormon” candidate who represents the mainstream of the LDS Church and so easily fit the figure of authority as Romney did. For that reason, it was an historic election.


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28 Responses to Romney’s grace after defeat may mitigate pain for many LDS supporters

  1. Charon Vandersteen says:

    I am a jack Mormon and all I can say is: I guess GOD just did not want a LIAR and a man who is NOT a devote Mormon, to be OUR president!

    • D. Michael Martindale says:

      Funny, Jack Mormon Charon. I would have expected a sentiment like that to come from religious people.

    • Disappointed in Massachusetts says:

      I don’t completely understand your post. You seem to assert by the double negative that God *did* want someone who *is* a devout Mormon to be our president. However, Obama’s not a Mormon, let alone a devout one. What were you trying to say? Please educate us.

      And/or, maybe we have different definitions of “devout”? I consider Romney devout in that he serves faithfully in the positions that he’s called to, he attends Church, and he pays his tithing. Would that all members of the Church did that! You may disagree with his political philosophies, and you may disagree with some of the… ahem… “Clintonian” things he said on the campaign trail, but calling him a liar is certainly not very conciliatory (or very nice).

  2. Midwinter says:

    1) I thought Romney’s speech was really perfect. I was also very happy to see that the crowd was respectful, unlike during McCain’s concession speech.

    2) I didn’t read Huntsman’s campaign as a failure. Of course, I didn’t read him as actually running for election in 2012. I read him as running for 2016, and that meant he needed name recognition. If the GOP moderates itself after this and moves back to the center, as many of us hope, Huntsman could potentially get the nomination.

    • Erick says:

      “2) I didn’t read Huntsman’s campaign as a failure. Of course, I didn’t read him as actually running for election in 2012. I read him as running for 2016, and that meant he needed name recognition. If the GOP moderates itself after this and moves back to the center, as many of us hope, Huntsman could potentially get the nomination.”

      That’s my take on it too.

  3. D. Michael Martindale says:

    Every presidential loser has been graceful about it. Except Al Gore, of course.

  4. Neal Humphrey says:

    We Presbyterians are prepared to elect Mitt as the next LDS prophet, seer, and revelator.

    • Hardbark says:

      Oh you silly heathen gentile. We’re praying for you too.

    • Decider says:

      I would like to see a Presbyterian of either party get elected to the Utah Legislature without having to be “certified” by the LDS Prophet — Neal, it’s up to you. You have MY vote.
      I am sure that Mitt would be interested in a little Quid Pro Quo after you succede with making him Prophet !

  5. Mike Johnson says:

    It’s not the same LDS Church that gave this nation Jack Anderson.

  6. Pingback: 7 November 2012 | MormonVoices

  7. Decider says:

    I love seeing Romney being “gracious in defeat” — I can’t get enough!

  8. rls says:

    – had romney’s campaign been run with the same graciousness that inspired his concession speech, he might have won the election — of course, he never would have made it through the tea party republican primaries, but that’s another story –

  9. Tom says:

    “It shows a decent, good, honest man handling defeat…”
    I have to disagree with that one Doug! Had Romney in fact shown himself to be a decent, good and honest man he most likely would have won the big enchilada.
    He showed just the opposite and got his hat handed to him.
    I think the saddest result of the Romney candidacy is that tens of millions of people around the world will judge Mormons from their impressions of Romney. They will mistakenly believe that all Mormons are liars, manipulators and arrogant disrespecters of the poor and downtrodden. Just the opposite of what the vast majority of faithful Mormons are and what the Church teaches.

  10. @UtahMormonDemoGuy says:

    You are operating under the assumption that Al Gore actually lost the election. ;-)

  11. liar? says:

    The problem with Mitt was not his integrity. It was that he was more a business man than a politician. He would have worked hard and well to get this economy back together. I hope Obama can make wise decisions in that regard but most of us people had more faith in Romney in that regard.

    • Decider says:

      Please clarify “most of us people had more faith in Romney.” —
      “us people”, must be “mormon code” for Mormons.
      In Utah, whenever anyone speaks of religion Mormons glibley assert that “The Church” has done this or that, and then are highly offended when someone might ask, “which church” ?
      This is simply passive/aggressive arrogance expressing the encoded assumption that, for them, there exists NO OTHER church even worthy of the word, and also that you are definitely ‘ignernt’ and rude.

  12. Kimmee says:

    A gracious exit does not negate a despicable campaign. As inauthentic and duplicitous a candidate as I have ever seen. Good riddance, may Romney forever stay off the national stage.

  13. Patriot-Utahian says:

    Well.. My personal take is the presidents campaign team did an awesome job painting Mitt as a disconnected lieing shmuck, and this gave him a real advantage in getting re-elected as 51% of the US populous bought it.. The reality is Mitt is an honest, hard working, compassionate leader who would have led as a Moderate which is exactly the right formula for success in this country.. We need open / free dialogue and concessions that allow this country to move forward. Not the stalemate we have today, not the hard line to the right, or the hard line to the left.. We need a leader that will LEAD, representing the people (his constituents, no matter which side of the aisle) and get this country back on track. Social issues need to be removed, the focus has to be on the business of running the nation, on getting the economy on track, securing our interests both foreign and domestic, and enabling ALL American’s to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

    • Decider says:

      A Utahian is a Borg clone from Planet Utah.
      YES . . . I thought I had read my last campaign speech for Romney, but Utahian has ALREADY made me nostalgic for those good old days of 1965 . . . .

    • rls says:

      – he would have led as a moderate?? — he ran as a rigid tea party conservative — ok, then he sprained his neck making a u-turn back toward the center after the primaries — his history shows that he would not have led as a moderate, he would have led as whatever he thought he needed to lead as to get people’s votes next time around — and that’s why he lost –

  14. Carolyn Johnson says:

    Mitt started his campaign as a liar and left his campaign as a liar so I hope he finds peace within his soul while bringing his money back to the United States — the country he loves soooo much that his money never thought the same thing!! LOL

  15. Joe says:

    You can stop the articles/blogs/columns about Mormons. Romney has lost! No one cares about Mormons anymore except other Mormons. Give the space to true religions.

    • Pat says:

      You are sick, Joe…..if you check, Mormons use and follow the real Bible (King James version) …they are more “real” than so-called evangelists who think by standing and clapping their hands and singing is some kind of “praise” to the Lord. It is some kind of worship arrangement for showing up. It is a show to get people there to pay money within the worship hall ….what is sacred or solemn about all that anyway? No class. They have no real doctrine, but a self-proclaimed minister created himself a career. Some evangelist churches I’ve been to (non-denominational)do not even have a sacrament or communion and maybe once a month put something in the back of the room. Remember the Last Supper…well, Mormons take that very seriously and do a real good job of that sacred part of their “worship”. Gosh, I could go on,but don’t have time.

  16. Pat says:

    I’m a jack Mormon too and he is not a liar, but a exemplary guy who seems too clean cut for you.

  17. Pat says:

    Yeah, and what kind of candy and ice cream do you think you are getting from Obama? It’s all some kind of personal “gift” to you dems…what is he going to do for me, not the country as a whole. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly become a part time worker so your employer doesn’t have to pay your insurance, bud.

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