I finally took the time to watch the (now somewhat famous) video of Mitt Romney doing a talk radio interview in Iowa that turned confrontational. I had to be cajoled into it because Mitt Romney’s campaign is so over, his presumed lead in Iowa notwithstanding (anyone who spends 10 million dollars a month should be leading in more than a state or two. Reagan Dunn could be leading in Iowa if he spent that kind of money (and he probably will get around to it)).
Anyway, it is well worth watching if, like me, you happen to be interested in either religion or politics. I think you can watch it in a number of places online. Hot Air has it.
Some anti-Mitt friends said Romney came off as frustrated and angry. The pro-Mitt pragmatists, though, thought he made the host look like a fool. A lot of buzz has centered on Jan Mickelson’s heavy-handed attempt to prove that Mitt is a bad Mormon because he was a pro-abortion-choice politician. But who cares how the host came off? Mickelson is not running for anything. I watched to see if it tells us anything about Romney.
It says a lot. But you have to shake the Romney pixie-dust off your eyelids to see it. As I’ve said before, Mitt Romney is the Republican Bill Clinton.
Mitt presented two defenses of the “Mormon Abortion” charges that, on close examination, are quite astounding:
First, that he wasn’t pro-abortion-choice. I’m not kidding. Romney said, although he pledged to be reliably pro-abortion-choice, during both his campaigns, losing to Kennedy for the Senate and winning the Massachusetts Governorship, that he governed, in violation of his pledge, as pro-life. (I’m not exactly sure, now that he’s campaigning as “reliably pro-life” how that should make us feel comfortable.)
But we’re just getting to the juicy part.
Mitt’s second argument was that it doesn’t matter if he WAS pro-abortion-choice because, politically, the Mormon Church IS pro-abortion-choice.
Yup. Mitt explained that although the church discourages its members from having abortions (and Mitt has never had one), there is no reason they can’t campaign and vote to make or keep abortion legal. And he was very clear on this. He illustrated the point by reference to the Church’s prohibition on alcohol. It is only a prohibition on its members; he pointed out, and shouldn’t be made civil law. Sort of like when the Bushes each became President: neither of them tried to force Americans to wear Skull and Bones T-shirts. That’s tolerance.
If that is true, the Mormon Church IS pro-choice. Because it is not your personal feelings about abortion or whether or not you would personally have an abortion or even if you would have one in church. (Once again, in all fairness, we must point out that Mitt has never had one and can, therefore, honestly claim to be personally pro-life just like Giuliani.)
The issue that determines if you are pro-life is your position on the legal right of human beings to be protected from murder. And that is a standard by which we can measure the Mormon, or any other Church.
If Mitt is correct, it would seem his Church has no interest in politics at all, no political positions at all, the behavior of those outside its walls being something outside its interests.
Now, let me say, I have no particular axe to grind with an organization that takes no political positions at all. I would not require all the members of a car pool, for instance, to agree with me politically before joining. Further, while I do not agree (obviously) with Jehovah’s Witnesses when they assert it is wrong to be involved in politics, I hold toward them no animosity. There is a certain internal logic to the Witnesses. I know they hold those views.
But the Romney vision of the Mormon position is hard to understand since many Mormons, like Romney and Harry Reid are politicians. Do they really think there is no morality with regard to Secular law? There is no right or wrong? No higher principles to restrain the darkest urges of the State?
We need some Mormons to step forward with some answers, here, folks. Is Mitt right?