Earl Ofari Hutchinson's take on the politics of the day
The Hutchinson Report
American Urban Radio Network
Al Sharpton Show
Monday 10:00-11:00 AM PST 2:00 to 3:00 EST
Streamed on http://tunein.com/radio/WURD-900-s23419
KPFK Radio Los Angeles 90.7 FM
Saturdays Noon to 1:00 PM PST
Streamed on http://www.kpfk.org/programs/181-hutchinson-report.html
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
There is no surprise in the recent Pew Research survey on Mormonism on one issue. And that’s that Mormons have an overwhelmingly unfavorable view of President Obama. There are three reasons for that. They are Mitt Romney, religious belief, and race. It wouldn’t make much difference who presumed GOP presidential nominee Romney’s Democrat opponent was in 2012. He would still bag the near unanimous votes of Mormons. The Pew survey found that Mormons are the most insular, tight knit, and clannish of all the faiths. They back their own. Romney is a well-ensconced Mormon Bishop, has deep family roots in the church, and scrupulously holds to every quirk and nuance of orthodox Mormon belief up to and including not drinking coffee or tea. Even that’s too much for a lot of Mormons who guzzle their Java and tea.
Romney‘s rock solid Mormon faith and roots is the clincher. But even non-Mormon Romney would still be a runaway hit with Mormon voters. They top the hardest core Christian evangelicals in their impassioned opposition to abortion, homosexuality, alcohol consumption, extra-marital relations, and adherence to church attendance. Mormons poured a king’s ransoms into beating back initiatives on same sex marriage in California and have lobbied hard against similar measures whenever and wherever the issue has come up. Romney’s backing of same sex marriage during his stint as Massachusetts governor was solely a bow to political expediency in the bluest, and most liberal of Democratic states. Since then he’s made it amply clear his views are in lock step with Mormon belief on the gay marriage. Romney has done countless mea culpas on health care and same sex marriage with Christian evangelicals, ultra-conservatives and Tea Party leaders to try and convince them that at heart he’s really one of them.
The racial issue though is touchier for Romney and the Mormons. An online video now making the cyber rounds calls Romney a racist. "Mitt Romney was part of an official racist organization until he was 31 years old," intones the narrator. The organization is, of course, the Mormon church. Mormon leaders claim that they have convincingly junked their racist past. They tout their much-publicized genealogical research on African-American families, their aggressive missions in Africa, and the handful of blacks that serve in the important church body known as the Quorum of the Seventy to prove it. Yet Mormon leaders have also repeatedly rejected calls for the church to apologize for its century plus defense of Biblical touted racism. Romney on occasion has lightly pushed back against any notion that he acquiesced in Mormon quirks about race during his early Mormon years.
In an interview on Meet the Press in 2007, he said that he got teary-eyed when he heard his Mormon church’s ruling that blacks would no longer be barred from the Mormon priesthood. Romney didn’t directly say it, but he strongly hinted that the moment stirred strong emotions in him because he never went along with his church’s decade’s old racial bar.
“I was anxious to see a change in my church,” Romney said. My faith has always told me that, and I had no question that African Americans and blacks generally would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had and that God is no respecter of persons.” He‘s talked race a couple of times in subsequent years but always in the most cautious, and generic terms simply saying that racial discrimination is wrong. That’s not exactly the revelation of the ages to say that since race discrimination is not just wrong but also illegal. In a head to head contest with president Obama, Romney will do what every GOP candidate has done since Reagan and that’s say as little as possible about the racial minefield issues of affirmative action, education and health disparities, and presidential and judicial appointments. He learned from the heat he took on a couple of occasions when he made what he thought were innocuous cracks that some saw as having negative racial overtones. He saw how race came back to bite his GOP opponents Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich when both made what were construed as racially insulting quips about welfare, food stamps, and poverty. He will follow the template of GOP presidential contender John McCain in 2008 and run a totally racially sanitized campaign and make no references to race and President Obama in his campaign to bag the White House.
The Pew survey was solid proof that there isn’t a lot of disagreement between Mormons and ultra conservative and Christian evangelicals in what they belief in and will fight for. Romney knows that too and will do everything he can to make sure they know he’s with them on their (and his) issues. The biggest one is his and their tunnel vision obsession to make Obama a one term president.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on ktym.com podcast on blogtalkradio.com and on thehutchinsonreportnews.com Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson