Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Mormons

This is a brief overview of the 2012 presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, Jr. I'm curious to know--and I still don't--why Utah Mormons favor Mitt Romney over Huntsman so overwhelmingly. Sort of gives me secondary embarrassment. (By the way, I make no secret that I'm supporting Huntsman in 2012.)

Jon Huntsman, Jr.

"One of the Governor's first priorities after taking office was to meet with Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman to discuss the removal of the radioactive mill tailings. The tailings pose a leaching threat to the Colorado River, and possible contamination to water users downstream."


Climate change: Huntsman backed a program by Western states to limit greenhouse gases considered responsible for climate change through a cap-and-trade plan. While he is a progressive on environmental issues, he opposes the Cap and Trade Bill, based on the premise that the economy can't take it. (USA Today)

Civil unions: Huntsman backs civil unions for gay couples, calling it a fairness issue...Huntsman told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that he believed in "traditional marriage" but that supporting civil unions was a "fairness issue." (USA Today)

Wilderness Issues: On wilderness issues, such as the roadless rule, he seems to walk right down the middle, where he wants wilderness preserved, but wants all potential stakeholders involved in the process. (On this, I'm likely to disagree, since often the only stakeholders that matter are the ones who have the most money.) But I give him credit for taking a moderate approach, rather than a pro-energy approach above all. (Just today, the UT legislature met with the BLM to talk about future approaches to land management and wilderness designation; unfortunately, I think it's headed for WAY less federal input and more immediate local input. On many issues, I think the decisions should be left up to the most local government. But, The Grand Staircase, for instance, is not just Southern Utah's land; it belongs to everyone.) Mostly, my bias be exposed, I'm worried for the few beautiful places left; that they're all too often eyed by the all-mighty dollar and the all-mighty oil/gas industry. Come on, Huntsman! Be a champion on this issue!

Crossing political lines: Well, most obviously, Huntsman, Jr. accepted the position as Ambassador to China, under Pres. Obama...that's enough proof for me that he puts service above party. Also, of late, he's made several public slams about the Republicans in Washington. Prove me wrong if I am but, I haven't heard Romney do the same, ever.

Abortion: Huntsman, Jr. is pro-life and signed into a law a parental consent requirement for pregnant teens to obtain an abortion. He also answered in an ABC interview that he would support a Right to Life Amendment, meaning, making abortion illegal, except in the cases of rape or incest, or to protect the life of the mother. He and his wife have both biological and adopted children. I'm respectful of a pro-life stance, as long as it doesn't entirely take away a woman's ultimate right to choose.

Immigration: He focused a lot on immigration, due to pressure from Utahns. He pressured the Western Governors' Association to work on immigration reforms. As far as I can tell, he was for a pathway to citizenship for all who wanted it, meaning a green card as a right to work, a work visa as a pathway toward citizenship. As with nearly everything, he approaches the issues with sensibility; he's very cerebral about things, always wanting to ignore emotion and rhetoric...and party.

Gun ownership: Recently said in an ABC interview that he would NOT veto an assault weapons ban. (Actually, this was a gaffe; he called the interviewer back soon and said he'd misunderstood the way the question was phrased and said he WOULD veto an assault weapons ban and pointed to his record on 2nd Amendment rights in Utah). Utah has THE most lax rules and laws as it pertains to gun ownership and gun rights.

Personal: Married, father of at least 6 kids (2006 bio), Member of the LDS Church though maybe not what Utah Mormons would consider "orthodox." Grandfather was a Mormon apostle, father is a Seventy. Dropped out of high school, later to obtain his GED. Served Mormon Mission in Taiwan. Graduated from U of Penn in Business.

Mitt Romney

The former Massachusetts governor has stood on each side of the cap-and-trade issue; he has gone from staunch advocate for taking on global warming to a climate change skeptic. He does think humans do contribute to climate change, to some unknown extent, but he seems always to fall to the side of let's not legislate anything based on it, especially if it might slow the economy. (I'm no fan of total deregulation; I believe Romney will undo any and all regulation of oil/gas drilling, as well as the banks.) He once claimed he was a lifelong hunter, then said anyone who called him a hunter had “mischaracterized” him. He supports clean energy, just not in the form of wind turbines off the coast of Cape Cod. (Eco-Nomics)

Gay Marriage/Civil Unions: First and foremost, he's still willing, if pushed by his party, to repeal the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, which kills him on this issue, in my opinion. Welcome to 2011 America, Mitt. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9086489/ns/msnbc_tv-hardball_with_chris_matthews/t/romney-plays-hardball-gay-marriage/from/toolbar)

Mitt Romney's gay rights flip-flop: When running for senate in 1994, Mitt Romney wrote a letter promising a gay Republican group he would be a stronger advocate for gay rights than Kennedy. Romney was trying to get an endorsement from the Log Cabin Republicans. The letter said, "...as we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent." Romney has recently made it clear that he opposes gay marriage and he is trying to position himself as the most conservative candidate for U.S. president, opposing most rights for gays and lesbians.

Abortion Rights:

In October 2002, campaigning for governorship of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney said he would “preserve and protect” a woman’s right to choose. He now describes himself as opposing abortion. His political positions as governor were pro-choice, although he vetoed different legislation that would have "expanded abortion rights." He's since said if a bill came across his desk as president, to ban all abortions, he'd gladly sign it.
Again, I have respect for the pro-life position, except when it attempts to infringe upon the woman's ultimate freedom to choose. (And tough to tell, really, where Romney stands; seems always to depend on who his audience is.)

Immigration: He had been somewhat compassionate on immigration, not wanting to keep illegal children from receiving aid, such as in-state tuition. He then, in 2007, took a hard-line approach and said no aid, no amnesty, no work for illegals. They'll all have to go home at some point. As well, he authorized MA's police force to arrest illegal immigrants. (ontheissues.org). Again, sort of depends on his audience.

Guns: Said during his governor campaign that he "...is NOT inline with the NRA." In 2006, while still governor, he joined the NRA.

Taxes: Raised over $500M in taxes and fees; fees on marriage licenses and impact fees for building homes, and raised taxes on businesses.

Health care: Created universal healthcare, including a health insurance mandate in MA, after which Obamacare has greatly been modeled. Now, he's really, REALLY against Obamacare.

Personal: 5 kids, married, graduate of BYU and Harvard Biz and Law Schools. Mormon missionary in France. Helped make the '02 SLC Olympics financially successful.

During the most recent Republican debate 2011, Romney's big campaign platform seemed to be " Obama sucks." Nothing really offered from the man himself.

So, what is it, Utah Mormons? What is up with the love affair of Mitt Romney, especially to the point of overwhelming preference over Gov. Huntsman? I don't get it.


Kari said...

I like when people do research for me :) I didn't see the debate, except for random clips, but I'm kinda interested to go back to it. In most of the clips I saw most people seem to change their stance depending on the audience and that really bugs me. It makes it hard to know what their true position is and makes me lean towards believing it would be whoever had the most to give them.

In your comparison I would lean towards Huntsman over Romney, although I don't think Huntsman has a big enough name right now. Personally there isn't enough for me to pick Huntsman over Obama again. But I need to do some more research and see how things play out.

I have heard such good things about what Romney did for health care in his state that it makes me sad that he is trying to distance himself so far from everything going on now. Instead I think he should be giving examples of what worked in their state and encouraging others to follow.

Wade The Rascal said...

Romney is definitely a phony; a politician to the core; plays according to which ever audience is listening.

Huntsman didn't attend that first debate; I think to steer clear of any messes. He's playing it smart; trying to stay above the fray, so to speak. He has committed to keeping it a positive campaign. We'll see.

I like Huntsman for now. If he ends up being true to who he's saying he is, I'll vote for him. If not, I may vote for Obama, or, Mickey Mouse.

ER Dog said...

Really. Do you think either one has a chance to make it out of the primaries? I Don't think the Republicans will allow either one past the first turn. Just saying.

Wade The Rascal said...

That's a good question, Doc. According to most polls and pundits, Romney continues to be the clear front-runner. Though I've also read a piece or two suggesting the entire GOP candidacy leaves their base wanting. Hard to say. I still want Palin to jump into the race. That would be a blood bath during the debates. In a sick sort of way, I really want the other Republicans to make a complete fool of her; sort of come out of the closet and make it clear that they really don't worship the ground she walks on, and that they've known all along how truly and utterly stupid she is ;)

Huntsman is the ONLY GOP candidate I'll entertain supporting, based on his record as Utah governor. He'll have to show me that he'll be true to the values he seemed to embrace during that time.

I am still proud for having elected Obama in '08. I have no regrets about that; I think he was a great choice. But, that he seems to be following Bush II a little bit with foreign policy, and the economy is not doing much better than when he took office, if any, I don't mind giving someone else a chance.

What do you think? I'm always curious to know a doctor's perspective about universal health care in the U.S. as well. That's Obama's baby and, if it can be made into a great thing, I think he'd have more support.

At the end of the day, even if I decide to support Huntsman, my money is on Obama winning a second term.