Is Mitt Romney a legitimate candidate?
In the crowded world of Pre-Primary Presidential Contenders, Mitt Romney's name has surfaced early and often as a possible GOP candidate. (The GOP front runners are Rudy Giuliani and John McCain; the "conservative" voice of the GOP has problems with both of them.)
Since I'm an active "Mormon," as is Mr. Romney, I'm following this story rather closely.
Romney certainly looks presidential - in fact, his movie-star looks could win over some of the soccer moms who might otherwise vote for Hillary Clinton just because she's a woman. (It's unfair to make light of voters, and the reasons they vote... but people lay down their votes for some pretty odd reasons, and many are "too busy" to study the issues, and the positions of the candidates on those issues. And it's easy to get cynical and dismiss the whole thing, since many of the candidates seem to state their viewpoints based on the audience they are speaking to. But it's probably always been that way.)
Some of the pundits are saying Romney could never be elected because he's a Mormon. Here is a link to an article that appeared in the New York Times, reprinted in the Deseret News, about that very issue.
I'm giving the voters more credit than that. (But I could be wrong.)
First of all - Romney was governor of Massachusetts, for crying out loud! Massachusetts - the state that brought you Edward Kennedy, Barney Frank, and Jon Carry! (Maybe that discredits the voters of Massachusetts - hahaha! And others will argue that the liberals of MA voted for the Mormon so they can feel good about how tolerant they are... and he wouldn't get that same favor from the evangelical Christians in Iowa, or North Carolina.) Also, if Ms. Clinton ended up being the Democrat candidate, the Reverend Jerry Falwell said, "... Nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton," and added that conservative Christians would vote for Lucifer himself over Hillary Clinton.
What concerns me more about Mr. Romney is his apparent "political posturing," and his apparent lack of strong views on issues that are of critical importance to me.
As mentioned earlier, he was elected governor of Massachusetts. When he was running, he was VERY clear about supporting the "right" of a woman to abort her unborn baby. He said it over and over again, because he was asked about it, over and over again. Same thing with gay rights. He once sided with the gay coalition, and against the Boy Scouts. Same thing with guns. He was on the record as favoring more restrictive gun laws. He's also been both for and against the Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire in 2010.
Some people might not vote for a Mormon. I won't automatically vote for a Mormon. I'm waiting for Mr. Romney to explain his apparent flip-flopping (now that he's painting himself as the most "conservative" choice of the GOP candidates).
Of course... if I walk into the voting booth on that November Tuesday, and the names on the ballot are Hillary Clinton and Lucifer Beelzebub... I'll have to hold my nose and vote for that Beelzebub guy, even if I don't know his position on babies and gun control!