The Documentary Mitt opens online tomorrow on Netflix. I am planning on watching it.
I disagree with him politically. However, I see no reason or justification for having any negative feelings towards him. I especially feel this way since he lost. Anything he said or did during the campaign didn’t work when it came to his goal of winning the presidency. We can and need to move on.
I am drawn to this documentary for two reasons.
The War Room
First, I am interested in campaign documentaries both as a political junky and as a political scientist with interests in political behavior.
One of my all time favorite films, not just one of my favorite documentaries, is The War Room. That documentary looked as the campaign machine behind the successful 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. It starts with the New Hampshire primary and ends on election day, touching on scandals, conventions, debates, and the ups and downs of a major presidential campaign along the way.
I tortured many students at Brigham Young University-Idaho and Casper College with my VHS copy of The War Room that I found in the clearance pile at the Olney, Maryland blockbuster when I was an undergrad.
From what I have read, The War Room differs from Mitt in focus. The main focus of The War Room was political professional James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. Mitt focuses on Mitt Romney and his family.
Mitt Romney and Mormonism
Mormonism is a large reason why I am interested in watching Mitt. I was never attracted to Mitt Romney as a candidate, but as an observer of Mormon culture, as well as a practicing Mormon, I am very much interested in learning a bit more about the person who is the most significant Mormon figure thus far in the 21st century.
While not all Mormons are like Mitt Romney, he represents much of the hopes and desires of mainstream Mormonism in the 21st century. We want to be successful in the realm of business and we want to be accepted and embraced for it.
Mitt Romney, despite reaching some of the highest levels of American business and American politics, still seemed uncomfortable with the world around him. There is just something very Mormon about that tension.
In the trailer below, it starts with a Romney family in shock. They cannot believe that they lost. Many Mormons had that same hope. They really believed in Mitt Romney and they believed he would win.
I never saw Mitt Romney winning the Electoral College. The numbers and the map was never in their favor. In 2012, I was regularly telling my fellow Democrats that they had not reason to panic (but red state Democrats are almost always in a state of hysteria).
When I see that heart break on the faces of Romney himself, Anne Romney, and their children, I feel for them. I was not disappointed that they lost, but I can relate to that sense of loss. No, not from when I lost my campaign (that was not a surprise), but when I lost my job. It is an emotional, physical, and spiritual punch to the gut.
I love that Mitt laughs and makes some silly comments in an attempt break the tension of that moment.
Many Mormons are still reeling from Romney’s loss. This collective sense of loss tells us a lot about Mormonism. I am not sure exactly what, yet. So I will be watching.
Will you be watching Mitt?
Check out the trailer: