Mitt’s Mormon base

romney moneyThe Washington Post‘s Alec MacGillis wants you to know that Mormons support the Mitt Romney for President campaign. Mormons support him so much that they give him money — lots of money — and that may turn some non-Mormons off to Romney.

In an extensive article, MacGillis details the extensive giving that shocked nearly everyone over the weekend when it was announced that Romney had raised a whopping $21 million, partially on the pocketbooks of his fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

(As a side note, Dick Cheney wants you to know that Romney’s religion isn’t a problem for his presidential chances.)

MacGillis suggests that for Romney, the large sums of money are part blessing, part curse. The problem with the story’s thesis — as outlined in the headline “Mormon Base a Mixed Blessing for Romney” — is that the curse part of it is never really thoroughly explored:

As he vies for a place in the top tier of contenders for the Republican nomination, Romney is reaping enormous benefits from being part of a growing religion that has traditionally emphasized civic engagement and mutual support. Mormons are fueling his strong fundraising operation, which this week reported raising $21 million, the most of any Republican candidate. And they are laying the foundation for a potent grass-roots network — including a cadre of young church members experienced in door-to-door missions who say they are looking forward to hitting the streets for him.

“When Mormons get mobilized, they’re like dry kindling. You drop a match and get impressive results quickly,” said University of Notre Dame political scientist David Campbell, who is Mormon. “It’s almost a unique group in the way in which it’s organized at the local level and the channels through which mobilization can occur.”

But the intensity of this support has a potential downside as Romney tries to establish an identity separate from a religion still regarded warily by many Americans — a quarter of whom, polls suggest, do not want a Mormon president.

We know that many Americans do not want a Mormon president, and by golly if they wouldn’t want a Mormon president, then they certainly don’t want a bunch of them mobilizing like “dry kindling.” But why would his base add to that opposition? Is it because a presidential candidate’s base typically ends up in his administration in one form or another? Are Americans concerned that Washington will become saturated with Mormons?

The article rightly goes through the many signs that Romney has an extensive base of Mormon supporters, but the second half of the article’s premise — that this is something that will hurt Romney — is never fully explored. Perhaps we’re dealing with a false premise, or is it one that’s too touchy to explore?

As National Public Radio’s Brian Unger would say, it is one thing to say that “some people” are concerned about Romney’s Mormon base, but it’s another thing to find people who will say it.

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  • Martha

    This is truly startling news! “Rich bloke knows lots of other rich blokes he can hit up for funding!” was quite the eye-opener for me, but when it came to “Supporters of fellow they like give fellow they like their support!”, well, you could have knocked me down with a feather!

    Maybe I’m wrong, but it looks to me as though the media (or at least some of them) are bound and determined that ‘Romney’s Mormonism will be a problem’ and if the plain people of America aren’t riled up about it now, by jingo, they’ll do their level best to see the plain people get riled up about it.

    Honestly, I thought this kind of scare story about ‘paymasters of secret cult lurking in the shadows to take over and do away with all we hold dear enable their puppet to achieve high office by throwing money at his campaign’ stuff had been laid to bed when the electorate got over the shock of having Jews/Catholics/whomever in elected office, but it doesn’t look that way, does it?

    What next? The International Jewish Conspiracy? The Vatican and the Jesuits? The Freemasons? The Illuminati?

  • Lizzie Nelson

    …And Blacks have given money to Obama—-gee, imagine that.

    I’m LDS and I have never heard of any group banding together for Mitt. In fact, when I bring up his name among my LDS friends, they haven’t even been following him.

    Point is, this is lying pretty low in the LDS church. I suspect folks who are politically inclined, are the only ones on the early boat out.

    I’ve never seen so much bigotry in the press. It’s truly disgusting.

  • Branden

    Look at Romney’s staff as gov. Not exactly swimming w/ Mormons. Even if there were lots of Mormons in Washington -heaven forbid a dramatic reduction in corruption and an unprecedented increase in fiscal responsibility!

  • Russ

    Way to pull bits and pieces of articles all over the web to match your twisted views. You stated in one sentence, “Mormons are fueling his strong fundraising operation, which this week reported raising $21 million, the most of any Republican candidate.” Do you honestly believe that mormons came up with the $21 million themselves? Last I heard, 15% of his donations came from Utah, which most dubitably were not all mormon. Even Gov. John Hunstman Jr. a mormon, is supporting mccain. Even if you take away 15% of his donations, that leaves him with $17.51 million still putting him in first place among republican candidates.
    Mr dpulliam are you a journalist or a radical religionist?

  • dpulliam


    Did you read my post? Your comment is asking for deletion because you clearly did not grasp the point of my post.

  • Russ

    Mr. dpulliam,
    You asked if I read your post. So of course, I read it again to see if I missed something. And I did find a discrepancy in one of my statements, and I apoligize for saying that you stated a quote that was apparently said by MacGillis.
    However, in your first paragraph which I’m assuming is your thesis of this article states, “Mormons support him so much that they give him money — lots of money — and that may turn some non-Mormons off to Romney.” My post simply retorts this accusation. Did you not read my post?
    My question of whether your a journalist or a radical religionist, is because I don’t see how support by mormons should be an issue. Sure people should be concerned with radical religions, but has mormons ever been a threat to the American public? Does the mormon values contradict American values? You do not state that they are a threat or contradict the American values, but you propose the idea by quoting Mr. Alec MacGillis and giving your similar thoughts.

  • dpulliam


    My statement merely suggest the fact that some non-Mormons may not be thrilled with the fact that Mormons support Romney. Now read the rest of the post then try to discern for yourself whether I am a journalist or a “radical religionist.”

  • Chris Bolinger

    Daniel, do us all a favor and delete his posts along with your responses (and this one, while you’re at it).

  • dpulliam

    Maybe we should vote on it…I’ll give him one more chance.

  • Hans

    Does the mormon values contradict American values?

    I am an American and know many Mormons. While we may have some contradictory values, I can say that my LDS friends and I do share one value: our opposition to incorrectly conjugated verbs and unnecessary usage of the definite article.

  • Brian

    I agree with Hans. I am LDS and I feel strongly against incorrectly conjugated verbs.

  • K Wood

    The way I read Daniel’s opening paragraph is that it is a summary of MacGillis’ thesis. The criticism then follows that MacGillis doesn’t describe the negatives inferred from Mormon-dominant campaign contributions.

    Romney’s membership in the LDS church is an important area to explore, but I’d rather see connections between his faith and his stand on social, economic, security and other issues. Only then can people begin to decide if his Mormonism is a reason to support him or not. Just ’cause he can raise big bucks doesn’t qualify him as best person for the job (at least to me).

    Making connections between a president or president-wanna-be and his/her religious affiliation is a valid journalistic effort. But I haven’t seen enough good articles that make connections intelligently. Who would’ve known that President Bush was a United Methodist before certain faculty members at Southern Methodist University got inflamed over the possibility of a Bush Presidential Library there? How many know that Senator Clinton is also a United Methodist? Who knew that two such politically divergent people could be of the same denominational background? (Now that sounds like a good story idea. Any political/religious reporters out there want to tackle it?)

  • Federalist Publishing

    I am ever offended, by this article. And I could care less if you think people will be uneasy if mormons are donating money to a mormon candidate. Like the first gentlemen said, it is like if black people made up a majority of obama’s campaign. Why dont you switch the word “mormon” to “black” and see what we come up with.

    The Washington Post’s Alec MacGillis wants you to know that Blacks support the Barack Obama for President campaign. Blacks support him so much that they give him money — lots of money — and that may turn some whites off to Obama.


  • Federalist Publishing

    We know that many Americans do not want a Black president, and by golly if they wouldn’t want a Black president, then they certainly don’t want a bunch of them mobilizing like “dry kindling.” But why would his base add to that opposition? Is it because a presidential candidate’s base typically ends up in his administration in one form or another? Are Americans concerned that Washington will become saturated with Blacks?

  • Jerry

    There’s clearly a raw nerve being struck here with Romney’s religion and it’s relationship with his campaign. I wonder if the heat expressed here is reflective of the larger environment? I suspect not. At least from the left, Doonesbury has been skewering him for flip-flopping on any number of issues – which is a very legitimate thing to do.

  • Federalist Publishing

    The article rightly goes through the many signs that Obama has an extensive base of Black supporters, but the second half of the article’s premise — that this is something that will hurt Obama — is never fully explored. Perhaps we’re dealing with a false premise, or is it one that’s too touchy to explore?

    As National Public Radio’s Brian Unger would say, it is one thing to say that “some people” are concerned about Obama’s Black base, but it’s another thing to find people who will say it.

  • David Dustin

    While the article says that Romney’s support cam from Mormons their is no evidence to support the claim. Romney’s best state for contributions was Cal. It appears that the media in general would rather believe that Romney is supported by Mormons than by the huge grass roots network that is helping him.

  • dpulliam

    Federalist Publishing, I think you made you point. The only problem with your analogy is that a large percentage of Democratic voters have yet to come out and say that they won’t vote for Obama because he is black.

    In Romney’s case, a large number of Republican voters have said that they won’t vote for him because he is a Mormon.

    Is that right? Personally, I don’t think so. But it’s a fact that can’t be ignored.

  • David Dustin

    Does it matter that all the evidence for Mormons supporting Romney came before the first quarter. And the numbers were speaking of our first quarter numbers. The Mormon support theory is the Media’s spin against Romney it should not be accepted as truth.

  • Robert

    Really, Mr. Dpulliam do think a large number of Dems would come out and say they wouldn’t vote for a Democrat because he was black? Let’s get serious here. I mean wouldn’t that be unfair, bigoted, and prejudiced? Can you just imagine the outrage?

    Sounds like it is only OK to be that bigoted if it involves a Mormon who actually looks like he might be a viable candidate for the President of the United States.

    Do you include yourself in that “large number” (how many by the way?) that would not vote for Mitt because he is a Mormon. My best guess is probably you do.

  • dpulliam


    Read the post. Read my comment. I never said that I think a large number of Democrats would refuse to vote for a candidate because he or she was black. I was merely comparing the situations.

    Call the lack of conservative-evangelical support for Romney bigoted, wrong-headed, crazy or foolish. I don’t care what you call it. But it exists.

    As for my personal beliefs, I would not refuse to support Romney because of his personal beliefs.

  • Stephen A.

    I suspect some Mormons think of Romney the way I do (and I’m a non-Mormon): They would love to see a Mormon as president. Just not THIS Mormon.

    I’d like to see some reporting that dives deeper into the origin of this boatload of cash he raised, but not because it may be from any supposed ‘Mormon base.’ I suspect, as others have said here, that most if it comes not from Mormons, but largely from his wealthy friends from his Olympic and business days.

    There’s nothing sinister in that, of course, but the implication that a good chunk of it comes from Mormons carries a *bit* of hysteria in it, especially when it seems to be conjecture at this point.

  • ben


    what is off about fed’s analogy? He is right, most in the media see nothing wrong with bigotry, but everything wrong with racism.

    I believe that was his point. No one has said they wouldn’t vote for a Obama as President for fear of being called a racist!

    But the fact some have said no to Romney because he is Mormon is just bigotry.

    If there are anymterial facts that stem from his beliefs and how they relate to his possible position in the White House then let’s hear about it.

  • Quin

    Whenever the Mormonism issue comes up, the press always examines it only as a negative. They are projecting their own attitudes into the news they publish and broadcast, implying that Romney’s Mormonism is a liability only.

    And yet Mormons carry a reputation for being hard-working, God-fearing, country-loving, family-having, book-learning, clean-speaking, healthy-living people. That reputation is supported by statistics examining the Mormon lifestyle.

    But we sure don’t hear about any of that, do we? We are told that the Mormon church could be influencing Washington politics, or Mitt’s bank balance, but of course Romney’s faith couldn’t possibly influence his character and integrity, could it?

    The snide comments alluding to “other people’s” suspicions regarding Mitt Romney and his religion reveal a gaggle of cowards in the press (and elsewhere) who wield religious bigotry to their own ends but seek to hang the “bigot” label around someone else’s neck.

  • dpulliam

    Comments that do not address the point of the original post are being deleted.

  • Eric G

    The main problem I had with the story is that it didn’t do much to substantiate the claim the a disporportionately large amount of Romney’s financial support is coming from Mormons. There was innuendo, to be sure, but not much that would hold up in a court of law.

    The story seems to be making it seem like a big deal that Romney has support from Mormons. The big deal would be if he weren’t, just like it would be if Obama didn’t get black support or Clinton didn’t get women’s support. Many candidates have a natural constituency, it is indeed news if that natural constituency isn’t responding. But if they do, so what?

    I also think the fact that there has been a poll saying that a certain percentage of people say they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon has long been overblown. First, those same polls also say that a large percentage of people wouldn’t vote for a candidate who has been divorced twice — yet that isn’t mentioned in every other article about Giuliani. And, indeed, there are people who say they wouldn’t vote for a woman, but that isn’t mentioned in every other article about Clinton.

    Finally, while I think “bigotry” may be too strong a word, the extent of attention of Romney’s religion seems at least to smack of a bit of prejudice. And there seems to be an unspoken assumption that the LDS church is part of some vast right-wing conspiracy. I have a hard time imagining that if Harry Reid were running for president we’d see the same type of articles.

  • Nathan W.

    I agree with Eric G and I’ll go further to correct dpulliam’s statement of

    “In Romney’s case, a large number of Republican voters have said that they won’t vote for him because he is a Mormon.”

    Wow, can you give us a URL for that exact poll? Because it sounds to me like you’re quoting a nameless “Would you vote for a Mormon” poll and linking that to Romney to support the argument in your post. I’ve never seen any poll that asks Registered Republicans “Would you not vote for Mitt Romney because he’s a Mormon?” Please show us the scientifically based 1000+ sampled poll that asked that question because if you can’t, then don’t make statements like the one above because that’s never been proven.

    Like it was brought up before, California was the state that donated the most to Romney’s campaign. The New York Time’s “Utah gave the most” and your comment seem like unproven assumptions to rile and incite discussion on a non-issue.

  • dpulliam

    Sigh, you guys still won’t read my original post.

    Ben and Nathan W., here is what you were looking for. National Journal poll:

    Lately, Romney has been courting the evangelical vote, key to winning Republican primaries. He knows that some evangelicals regard his religion, Mormonism, as heresy (according to the National Journal, more than a quarter of self-identified evangelicals tell pollsters that they won’t vote for a Mormon).

    And Amy Sullivan:

    But moderate Republicans aren’t the ones who could derail a Romney candidacy. His obstacle is the evangelical base–a voting bloc that now makes up 30 percent of the Republican electorate and that wields particular influence in primary states like South Carolina and Virginia. Just as it is hard to overestimate the importance of evangelicalism in the modern Republican Party, it is nearly impossible to overemphasize the problem evangelicals have with Mormonism. Evangelicals don’t have the same vague anti-LDS prejudice that some Americans do. For them it’s a doctrinal thing, based on very specific theological disputes that can’t be overcome by personality or charm or even shared positions on social issues. Romney’s journalistic boosters either don’t understand these doctrinal issues or try to sidestep them. But ignoring them won’t make them go away. To evangelicals, Mormonism isn’t just another religion. It’s a cult.

    And from the Economist:

    Yet Mr Romney is a devoted Mormon — a former bishop, no less — at a time when religion is playing a growing role in American politics. Opinion polls suggest that anti-Mormon feeling is one of the most enduring religious prejudices in America. An LATimes/Bloomberg poll in June found that 37% of Americans would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate; other polls put the figure at 17%.

    Anti-Mormon feeling is particularly strong among Bible-believing Christians, a vital part of the Republican base. Many evangelicals regard Mormonism as nothing more than a cult: and a cult, moreover, that is based not only on a false theology but also on a willingness to tamper with the inerrant word of God that is the Bible.

    I don’t make this stuff up folks. Now read my post and let me know what you think.

  • Eric G

    Nathan W.: These aren’t the numbers you’re looking for, but they are illuminating. According to the Gallup Poll, here are the percentage of Americans who wouldn’t vote for an otherwise qualified candidate from various groups:

    – 42 percent wouldn’t vote for president for a qualified candidate 72 years old (this includes McCain).

    – 30 percent wouldn’t vote for someone who has been married three times (this includes Giuliani and Gingrich).

    – 24 percent wouldn’t vote for a Mormon (this includes Romney).

    – 12 percent wouldn’t for for a Hispanic (this includes Richardson).

    – 11 percent wouldn’t vote for a woman (this includes Clinton).

    – 5 percent wouldn’t vote for a black (this includes Obama).

    – 4 percent wouldn’t vote for a Catholic (this includes Brownback).

    It looks to me like McCain, Giuliani and Gingrich have bigger political obstacles with who they are than Romney does. So why is it that the media seem to be making a bigger deal out of Romney’s religion than they are about McCain’s age or Giuliani’s marital history?

  • Quin

    So why is it that the media seem to be making a bigger deal out of Romney’s religion than they are about McCain’s age or Giuliani’s marital history?

    The only possible explanation is that the media REALLY does not want Romney to win. That’s not a surprise, given that journalists are admittedly some 80% liberal. Giuliani and McCain are men with rough edges and personal question marks. Obama, Clinton and Edwards could hold their own against either one. But Romney has a record of solid executive and fiscal experience none of the three leading Democrat candidates enjoy. Add to that Romney’s solid fundraising ability, smooth and affable image (contrasted especially with Clinton’s), and lack of personal scandal, and you have a very lopsided contest in ’08 should Romney win the GOP nomination. Pundits and leaders on both sides of the aisle have publicly or privately acknowleged Romney is one formidable campaigner, and can jazz-up and motivate a group like only Obama can. Hence we see the media gunning for Romney while giving the other two GOP candidates a pass … for now.

    The media is also aware of Mormonism’s socially conservative leanings, and has always voiced suspicion and criticism of them. Even before Romney’s candidacy, Mormonism in the media has always been about polygamy and other hot-button issues, and not so much about the actual lives and beliefs of its faithful. After evangelical Christians, the Mormon church has been the media’s second-favorite religious punching bag.

  • Kevin

    There is no proof, only conjecture, that most of the money came from Mormons. I believe it is wrong write such an article without the facts. (The names of the donors are not available yet.) Having worked as a waiter in Salt Lake City I can assure you Mormons are a tightwad, cheap bunch. More likely the money came from his rich non-Mormon business friends, as has been mentioned already.

  • Lowell

    This is perhaps the most interesting (and revealing) part of your post:

    We know that many Americans do not want a Mormon president, and by golly if they wouldn’t want a Mormon president, then they certainly don’t want a bunch of them mobilizing like “dry kindling.” But why would his base add to that opposition? Is it because a presidential candidate’s base typically ends up in his administration in one form or another? Are Americans concerned that Washington will become saturated with Mormons?

    Such writing reminds me of the innuendos of Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello. It reminds me of the way some people used to describe the influence of Jews in business and higher education: “We’re being infested with them! It’s horrible!”

    But you only attribute such views to others; you’re just reporting what’s going on, right? Just like Othello’s observant friend Iago. A suggestion: If you really find the notion of a Mormon president disturbing, have the integrity and courage to come out and say so. Then we can debate the merits of your position. Instead, you seem to insist on being the kind of person Brian Unger describes, saying. “Many people won’t vote for Romney because he’s a Mormon. I don’t feel that way, of course, but is sure is a real problem for him, isn’t it?”

  • Chris Bolinger

    Some of you people should visit this blog a little more often or make even a halfhearted attempt to read the “Why We Are Here” post before responding. Or you might try actually reading Daniel’s post, and then reading it again.

  • dpulliam

    Chris you just made my day. Thanks for that. I need to do a better job screening those more interested in discussing Othello than the media’s coverage of religion.

  • Lowell

    Dear Chris Bolinger: I may be wrong, but I have not seen a single post on this blog that casts Mitt Romney in a favorable light. The consistent meme from Mr. Pulliam is: Romney’s religion is a problem for him, and it’s therefore a legitimate issue. A lot of serious people think that’s simply wrong, but we don’t see anything about their writing here. That, plus the well-advertised membership of all the writers here in creedal Christian churches, makes educated Mormon readers a little suspicious. The suspicions could easily be dispelled, but Mr. Pulliam is nothing if not consistent in his failure to do so.

  • dpulliam


    What do you want me to do, right a post about how Romney’s stance on abortion, gay rights and tax policy endear him to voters? Or how his Mormon faith gives him the family values that make conservatives want to support his candidacy? Sorry, but that’s not news to anyone out there.

  • Lowell


    In this earlier post you wrote:

    Reporters should not be expected to ignore this aspect of Romney’s campaign [Romney’s Mormon faith]. In fact, until Romney addresses the subject and explains how his faith affects or does not affect his policies, reporters will continue to write about the confusion, the flip-flops and the shifting positions.

    In his recently-published book, A Mormon in the White House? 10 Things Every American Should Know About Mitt Romney,I think Romney does what you ask, on pp. 208-209:

    “Look,” Romney told me when I raised the issue of belief in the founding narrative of the Mormon faith. “I believe my faith. I love my faith. And I would in no way shape, or form try to distance myself from my faith or the fundamental beliefs of my faith.

    “But what I can say is this,” he added. “To understand my faith, people should look at me and my home and how we live. . . . I am a better person that what I would have been. I am far from perfect and if you spend some time looking into my present and past, you’ll find I’m no saint. I have my own weaknesses as did my dad. We’re not about to be taken into Heaven for our righteousness. But we’re better people—I’m a better person, my kids are better people—than we would have been without our faith. So judge my faith not by how different the theology may be on one point or another, but whether it made me and my family and perhaps others in my faith better people.”

    Later, on p. 222, Romney adds this:

    “Would you ever expect a call from [LDS Church] President Hinckley or his successor?” I asked.

    “No,” he emphatically replied. “Absolutely not. And I’d also note that when you take the oath of office, that is your highest oath and first responsibility. That’s true when you become governor, it’s certainly true for anyone who becomes president. When I placed my hand on . . . the Bible . . . when I was sworn in as governor . . . my highest and first responsibility was to honor my oath of office and follow the Constitution and protect the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For those sworn into national office, their highest obligation is to the nation. It would be inappropriate for Church officials to contact me and it would be less than appropriate for me to take guidance from any institution other than caring first for the oath of office.”

    To me, it seems that he has explained “how his faith affects or does not affect his policies,” as you suggest he must do. My question is, do you think that is enough? If not, what more does he need to say?

    Thanks for the response. I appreciate the intelligence of your posts. I simply think they flirt with crossing a line that we have not crossed in this country, when it comes to candidates’ religious beliefs.


  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    What amazes me is that here in heavily Catholic Mass. Romney has had little trouble from being a Mormon. It is the liberals and seularists who seem all juiced up and hysterical about a Mormon candidate for president.Maybe that is really because he would make a good candidate for a few traditional values some Democrats have built careers on trashing.

  • Lowell

    Oops, the book I quoted from is Hugh Hewitt’s, not Romney’s. I left some key words out! My apologies.


  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Note: I haven’t yet seen an article based on interviews or polls of Catholics or others in Mass. about how the Mormon issue played here during his runs for public office and his term as governor. There is all this speculation about Romney, the Mormon. So they should be pounding the pavement here to findout the lowdown on what effect it has had on him in public office—if any.

  • Chris Bolinger

    Lowell, I guess you’d better mount a campaign to get political reporters at the Post and other “mainstream” publications to read Hewitt’s book. Keep in mind that Hewitt is a conservative and most political reporters in the MSM, um, aren’t. In the meantime, expect to see more MSM articles that cast Romney’s Mormonism as a liability, and expect to see Daniel and others here commenting on those articles in a relatively neutral fashion. If you will accept only those commentaries that seek to counter what is written in the MSM, then you should look for another blog.

  • Rockstarlet

    Business, Not Mormon Ties, Funding Romney, Experts Say

    ( – The unexpectedly large fundraising total raised by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the first quarter of 2007 had less to do with a “Mormon network” than with the former Massachusetts governor’s business acumen and strong ties with the financial community nationwide, according to political analysts. Despite lagging behind his more well-known top-tier Republican primary challengers in opinion polls, Romney amassed $23 million in the January through March period. By contrast, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani raised about $15 million and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) just over $12 million.

  • Rockstarlet
  • Lowell

    Chris: I think you have missed my point, or I have failed to make it clear. I am not looking for anyone here “to counter what is written in the MSM.” Also, I hope that you are not hoping that when MSM writers repeatedly focus on a particular candidate’s religious beliefs– something no presidential candidate in modern history has had to face– Daniel and the others here will comment “in a relatively neutral fashion.” I would hope they would point out what is happening and question it. As it is, Daniel simply notes what is occurring and claims it is legitimate.

    In his “Why We’re Here” post, Terry Mattingly says:

    There are many fine writers out there — some believe the number is rising — who are doing an amazing job of taking religion news into the mainstream pages of news, entertainment, business and even sports. We want to highlight the good as well as raise some questions about coverage that we believe has some holes in it.

    It seems like the MSM’s Romney coverage will provide this blog a fine opportunity to do just that– “raise some questions about coverage that we believe has some holes in it.” The four who post here are clearly fine journalists and are up to the task. So if that’s what they’ve promised to do, why should I look for another blog?

  • dpulliam

    Lowell, if you would read my post, you would see that I did question the the article in question. Your failure to accurately represent my coverage in your comments is quite disheartening.

  • Rockstarlet

    dpulliam, I have read your post many times and I don’t see where you really questioned anything in the article. It seems like your comments only elaborate and/or validate it.

    The one thing I see you said that might qualify was when you stated: “The problem with the story’s thesis — as outlined in the headline “Mormon Base a Mixed Blessing for Romney” — is that the curse part of it is never really thoroughly explored:” But what you said that followed didn’t expore it either or else I didn’t get it. It is confusing to me.

    Could you please clarify a little more what you bring into question in the article. Seriously, it is unclear to me and I would like to know. Thanks alot.

  • bjalder26

    Man dpulliam, did you ever think you would receive such flack for posting this article? I completely agree that some people will not like that Mitt Romney is receiving money from LDS people. Of course those people are mostly people who hate LDS people and are hell bent on destroying the LDS church and the people who belong to it. Ever since the beginning some Americans have been determined to not let LDS church members gain political power, and have been willing to resort to lies & murder to stop them. For the most part though I think we are past that as a country. The American Government is no longer trying to destroy the church and the church isn’t a threat to slavery anymore (since slavery has been outlawed). There are a few people who hang on to hatred but I think they are a small and obnoxious minority.

  • Lowell

    Daniel, if your primary intention was to “question the article in question,” you might give some thought to how well you accomplished that goal. My biggest gripe is that you close your post with questions that appear nowhere in the article:

    [W]hy would [Romney's] base add to that opposition? Is it because a presidential candidate’s base typically ends up in his administration in one form or another? Are Americans concerned that Washington will become saturated with Mormons?

    You thus introduce into the discussion a question that can only be characterized as anti-Mormon, a favorite hobby-horse of uninformed observers of this presidential race. I have been following the issue of Romney’s religion very closely for a year (you can read all about it on my blog, which I, a Mormon, co-author with an Evangelical Christian). Believe me, you’ve raised one of the classic anti-Mormon attacks on Romney: He’ll surround himself with a Mormon clique if he becomes president. Perhaps you did not intend to inject that question into the discussion, but that’s what you did.

    The notion is pretty flimsy, by the way; Romney did not have Mormons in his administration while he was governor of Massachusetts, nor did any such over-representation occur in his business career. This has been explored. I’m not sure why you raised it; Alec MacGillis did not.

  • Rathje

    Lowell, I think you’re reaching here.


    I’m not really interested in the question of whether you personally are trying to discredit Romney (as some are implying) or whatever. This blog covers what the media is saying about religion. It doesn’t cover religion and doesn’t claim to. In the process of covering what the MEDIA IS SAYING, you are just automatically going to run the risk of people who are upset that you are dignifying certain media obsessions with your attention.

    In my mind, that can’t really be helped.

    That said, I do think this whole Romney-Mormon thing is a misguided media fishing expedition. I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that the poll of Americans opposing a Mormon candidate originated with the LA Times (we Mormons almost never get positive press from the LA Times by the way). The poll has never been independently validated as far as I know and it never bothered to break down for us how many of those opposing a Mormon candidate were Republicans and how many were Democrats. Yet somehow, the media has made the jump from a poll showing negative bias against Mormons, to repeated hints that this negativity is all coming from right-wing Evangelicals.

    Now what exactly made them think that I wonder?

    I’ve already stated a couple times that opposition from the Christian Right to Mormonism per se (which most certainly does exist) does not readily translate into political opposition to a Mormon candidate among the GOP base. Conservative Christian objections to Mormonism are strictly religious, not political.

    Mormonism is a relatively fast-growing religion that disagrees with mainline/historical Christianity on several key issues, openly rejects the validity of other Christian faiths, and aggressively proselytes the congregations of other Christian faiths. Mormons are a serious threat in the eyes of many a Baptist minister. I would submit that a lot of the hellfire and damnation preached about Mormons in some right-wing Christian circles is more about self-preservation than anything else.

    But that doesn’t mean that these same people would have a real problem with a Mormon CANDIDATE. Even if they do have a bit of residual animosity that carries over into the voting booth, it is entirely possible that it doesn’t amount to half as much as the media thinks it will.

    But why does the media remain so cock-sure that Romney’s Mormonism is a serious liability in Bible-Belt America?

    Well, I’d guess for two reasons:

    1) First off, the hatred spewed against Mormons in the Christian “counter-cult” movement, and by many Evangelicals is well documented and hard to miss. The wife of James Dobson once wouldn’t allow LDS church representatives into a prayer gathering, and Evangelical political activists have been known to refuse to co-operate with Mormons even on common cause issues like opposing abortion. So perhaps the confusion is understandable. After all, what I’ve outlined above is a pretty fine distinction.

    2) Let’s be honest, the media wants to cover this spat. You think the New York Times wouldn’t love to quote slightly deranged-sounding Baptist ministers grandstanding about the “Mormon menace?” Oh yeah, they’d just be tickled pink to see the Christian Right degenerate into a bigoted attack on solely denominational grounds. The left-wing has always been suspicious that the Christian-wing of the GOP has never REALLY been about policy at all, but is merely a thinly veiled attempt to impose their own religion on the rest of us. What better way to out the likes of James Dobson and his ilk than to catch them ragging on a political candidate whose only difference with them, is purely religious?

    You can almost feel the gleeful anticipation in news rooms across America.

    But thus far, the expectations haven’t panned out, and reporters are still waiting expectantly for the impending brouhaha to materialize. But soon we’re going to have to start asking: what if the media threw a war and nobody came?

    In fact, the only real attacks on Romney thus far have hailed from the Left and not the Right. As I’ve said before, the Left has no real reason to like Romney right now (as he bravely tries to seize hold of the Bush legacy) and their concerns most certainly do translate into the voting booth.

    Romney’s numbers remain in the single digits true. But that is partially due to lack of name-recognition and partially due to Romney’s recent deathbed conversion to Right-wing sensibilities. The real concern with Romney among Republicans does not seem to be that he’s a committed Mormon, but that he’s possibly not a committed conservative.

    Still, hope springs eternal in the newsroom. And who knows? Maybe they can catch James Dobson bad-mouthing Romney or Mormons in the near future. Wouldn’t that be nice?

  • Lowell

    Rathje: You may be right; I could be reaching. But I think Daniel should be careful about tossing hand grenades into the discussion of Romney’s religion. There’s a feel about this blog’s discussion of that issue that is unmistakably unfriendly in a way peculiar to creedal Christians who don’t like Mormonism.

    I think your other comments are spot-on, however. Most of the strident conservative religious critics of Romney tend to be anti-Mormon cranks. It’s the left that really disdains him and most religious people, and is willing to devote their energies to that disdain, in otherwise-credible journals. Damon Linker’s New Republic piece and Jacob Weisberg’s Slate piece are perfect examples.

  • stephen

    I gave him $25.00 dollars and I am a New Mexico Latter Day Saint.

  • DLounsbury

    I am interested in seeing whether or not someone has collected any unbiased data on how the AP & UPI have reported on the respective Republican candidates. I agree this post was fair in its content, but the underlying article discussed by MacGillis seems part of a floodgate of negative reporting about Romney. When Dukakis ran all we heard about was his “Massachusetts Miracle”. Romney has achieved even greater economic success during his governorship and yet an overwhelming number of articles about him lack substantive political thought to wit: 1. Last year Romeny’s present campaign manager contributed money to someone who ran a negative ad comparing their opponent to Hitler (I know it is hard to implicate Romeny–but the headline used the word “Romney Camp”); 2. Articles about Religion…so many of them; 3. How Romney is not a lifelong hunter…a Romney aid said Mitt went on two hunting TRIPS. Romney later explained he plinks at varmits but has only been on two formal hunting trips(as a hunter I completely understand his explanation) and 4. Supposed “flip flops” which are typically exaggerated and misrepresented. It looks like he is the candidate most feared by secular progressive media types. Most noteworthy is their blatant misrepresentation of “flip flops”. Romney simply said that while governor he would support the law of the land on the issue of abortion–a women’s right to choose. In a democrat filled house and senate that was a political reality, not his personal belief–which has always been pro-life. Even more misleading are efforts to place his 1992 statements about immigration next to his 2007 statements. I am sorry, but we went from about 3 million illegals to 12 million and 67% of American’s “evolved” to presently believe in a border fence. Heaven forbid Mitt’s position evolve with them. If Romney stubbornly maintained his 1992 immigration position in the face of the dramatically changing facts…he would be accused of being like…President Bush. The fact is Romney is getting a disproportionate amount of attention from the DNC posts. I wonder if it that is generally true of other media. I agree with the first post, Mitt scares the heck out of the liberal types.

  • Adam Greenwood

    Full disclosure: I’m Mormon myself.

    I agree with Lowell that’s coverage of Romney is almost always either neutral or mildly negative.

    This post is an example of that. The article that’s linked in this post gives very little evidence for its thesis that Romney’s campaign is a Mormon affair. But the post doesn’t criticize that aspect at all. Instead, it criticizes the article for not elaborating enough on why Mormon support would be negative for Romney.

  • Cassie

    Lowell’s anti-Mormon sensors are way out of whack and too easily tripped. Its coming to the point that if you disagree with anything Mormon you’re a bigot.