Links of the Day
Synapses of the Day
America wants a president who has learned from his mistakes, says Obama campaign adviser Luke N. Glass: "And my boss has made plenty."
Ayatollah Khomeini praises Obama: "Thanks for keeping the Israelis off our back. What can we do to help keep those warmonger Republicans from deposing you?"
Obama signs peacetime martial law order: "We gotta do something about these out-of-control Tea Partiers."
Ted Nugent endorses Romney: "I would prefer a real hunter like Rick Perry, but Governor Romney pledged he will leave my guns alone, so I'm behind him. I will feel a lot better after I take him hunting' so we can whack 'em and stack 'em and kill 'em and grill 'em, but for now I'll be happy if he just sends Obama packin'."
Romney has unfair advantage as Mormon, opponents sayby Belinda S. Eptense
March 17, 2012, Jackson County, MO — Mitt Romney has an unfair advantage as a Mormon in the Republican primary election, according to his chief rivals and other GOP leaders.
Presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum said today that Romney is getting thousands of sympathy votes because the former Massachusetts governor is a member of a minority religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Just as President Obama was elected because many people wanted to prove that they were not racially prejudiced," he said, "so are many Republicans in this year's primary election supporting Mitt because they want to prove they are not religious bigots."
Santorum pointed out that he and fellow Catholic Newt Gingrich have been unable to match Romney's accumulation of delegates except in the Deep South, where he said mistrust and misconceptions of Mormonism are still rampant.
"I don't know anybody east of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon line who would vote for a Mormon," he said. "How can you trust somebody who won't sit down with you and have a beer?"
Rep. Ron Paul said being Mormon used to be a disadvantage, even as recently as 2008, when religious misinformation played a "huge part" in Romney's early withdrawal from the Republican primary contest.
"Some people still thought Mormons had horns, worshipped Satan and believed in magic," he said. "But now with the Internet the Mormons are starting to defend themselves from mischaracterizations, misrepresentations and even blatant falsehoods about their religion. It's gotten to the point that everybody attacks Mitt over his religion he gets more votes, and that's not fair."
Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, who used to hate everything Mormons stood for when he lived in Utah and later converted to the faith, said this week that he doesn't support Romney because he doesn't want his religion to be an issue in the general election.
"Just look at what happened early this week," Beck said. "Santorum's campaign chairman in Florida held a press conference specifically to attack Mormonism, falsely quoting LDS scriptures and claiming the church is racist.
"Most news media merely repeated this guy's lies and didn't give Romney or the church a chance to respond. The same media that totally ignored Obama's anti-white minister of 20 years just repeated this guy's charges as though as though they were fact, and so a lot of people came away thinking Mormons don't like minorities.
"That might get Romney some sympathy votes that he doesn't deserve, but my religion gets bashed in the process. I originally wanted Michelle Bachmann, and then I wanted Herman Cain, who happens to be black, and then I wanted Rick Perry until one of his preachers accused my church of being a non-Christian cult, and now I want Santorum. But whoever comes out of the Republican convention with the nomination will get my support because nobody threatens the future of American freedom like the 'spread the wealth' and 'tax the rich' leftist we have now."
Conservative analyst Karl Rove, who grew up as an agnostic among the Mormons in Utah, said Romney gets votes that he doesn't deserve from most minorities.
"The majority of Mormon men have served two-year missions to places like the Congo, Peru and Japan," he said. "And Mormons spend millions when there are disasters, such as the tsunami in Japan, the earthquake in Haiti, and so forth. So Mormons are well-known among most minority groups, especially on the islands, and so Romney gets credit that he doesn't deserve because many people associate him with people who sacrifice their time and money to serve people of other nations and races.
"That's why he won Hawaii, Samoa, Guam and the Marianas. Even though Mormons in Utah are mostly white because the first members of the church were mostly from Great Britain and Scandinavia, the LDS Church today is one of the most racially and culturally diverse organizations in the world."
MSNBC Religion Reporter Theo Lowe Jenn said anti-Mormon propaganda only helps Romney, especially in places such as California and the Mountain West, where most people know Mormons are Christians and have visited LDS temple visitor centers, which are usually built around a huge statue of Christ.
"Now, anti-Mormon propaganda might get some traction in the South or in Texas, where Baptists until recently spent a great deal of time and money spreading anti-Mormon propaganda," he said, "but that's not going to fly in California or the Mountain West or most places where Mormons have a significant presence. There are actually more Mormons in California than in Utah, and so people know the name of the religion is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and know Mormons personally and are well-acquainted with their beliefs."
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said that as a former history professor, he understands the history of Romney's religion well.
"Look, the history of Mormons in Missouri, where we're holding caucuses today, and in Illinois, where we have a primary on Tuesday, is really interesting," he said. "A lot of citizens feel so bad about how the Mormons were treated 160 years ago that they'll probably vote for Romney. He doesn't deserve those votes."
Gingrich noted that Mormons were so disliked for their growing political and economic power in Missouri that the governor in 1838 signed an extermination order to kill or force all Latter-day Saints from the state.
"A few Mormons were killed before virtually all the remaining LDS fled the state to neighboring Illinois," Gingrich said. "They built the largest city in the state there, but they were persecuted, their farms and homes and church buildings stolen or burned down, and their leader was killed by a mob. Now don't tell me Romney won't win some unfair sympathy votes there. I mean he's currently leading the polls in Illinois.
"It's not fair that Mitt could get more votes than I do just because of his religion," he said. "People should vote for a politician's character and for his behavior, not for his religion. We all subscribe to the Ten Commandments. The question is, 'Which one of us actually does what he believes?
"Except for a few overly publicized events that had to do with my ex-wives and Nancy Pelosi, I believe I do."
Republican campaign specialist Cole D. Schauers said some young voters might vote for a Mormon because they mistakenly think the religion still approves of polygamy.
"They don't realize Mormons rejected polygamy more than 120 years ago," he said. "It's easy to get confused because some polygamists like to call themselves Mormon, and the liberal media loves to perpetuate the confusion to hurt Mitt."
Ty Knotts, who spearheaded efforts to overturn gay marriage in California, said Romney is getting votes he doesn't deserve from people who appreciates the LDS Church's support of heterosexual marriage.
"He gets unfair votes both ways," Knotts said. "People on the side of gay marriage associate him with Massachusetts, where he had to comply with a court decision in favor of gay marriage, and yet he gets votes from people who want to protect the traditional concept of marriage just because he's a Mormon."
The more people talk about Romney's religion the more people recognize his name, according to psychiatrist Dr. A.D. Dee of the Missouri State University Department of Psychology.
"Surveys show that people tend to vote for people whose names they have heard before," he said. "Romney has an unfair advantage over Santorum and Gingrich because he is so often mentioned in connection with his religion. I think Santorum would win if he were Mormon. He's doing a good job of getting in the news lately by talking about condoms and Playboy, but I think it might be a little bit too late."