Five Election Truths

Yes, about 90% of Mormons will vote for Mitt Romney.  About 90% of Mormons always vote for a Republican.

Yes, about 90% of blacks will vote for Barack Obama.  About 90% of blacks always vote for a Democrat.

Stop complaining about negative attack ads.  If we didn’t actually respond to them, then campaigns would stop making them.  Blame the voters, not the candidates.

Stop complaining that everybody’s talking about the election.  Huge decisions about the future of our jobs, military, and health care, among other things, hinge on who wins.  I think we can put our favorite sitcoms on the backburner for one more week for that.

Too much political talk on Facebook?  See above.  You have three options: drop all of your friends, don’t check Facebook for a while, or realize that living in a free democracy means being surrounded by citizen debate which you may not like or be interested in.  Deal with it.

Mr. Kettle, Meet President Super Pot

By far my favorite ad in the presidential campaign so far has been this recent Obama commercial.  It’s hilarious.  It slams Romney for, allegedly, racking up a lot of debt and failing to create jobs.

So, um…is the Obama camp saying that if someone doesn’t create jobs and especially if they run up a ton of debt, that person is unfit to be president?  Because…yeah.

Jews, Mitt Romney, and Baptism for the Dead

This week, Nobel prize-winning author of Night Elie Wiesel asked the LDS Church to stop doing proxy baptisms in its temples for Jewish Holocaust victims.  Apparently, an errant church member erroneously entered such a name into our database, though no baptism was actually performed, as that would have violated a church policy that already bars such work for Holocaust victims.

  • Baptism for the dead is being described in some places as an “obscure” practice (such as in this First Thoughts piece here), perhaps in an effort to make something so strange seem less embarrassing to Mormons, or to shield Mitt Romney’s faith from criticism.  On the contrary, baptism for the dead is so mainstream that congregations frequently organize trips for groups of teens to go to the temple to do them.  There’s no reason to hide a belief that’s actually quite wonderful.
  • The Mormon practice of baptizing people on behalf of those who have died is a means of answering the question, “Since Christ said everybody had to be baptized to be saved, what happens to people who died without the opportunity?”  This practice is the world’s only real answer to that: an attempt to offer a chance of salvation to those in the next world who would like it.  No wonder Joseph Smith wrote of baptism for the dead, “It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of” but that it constitutes “a voice of gladness for the living and the dead.”  (Doctrine and Covenants 128:9, 19).

Ron Paul Protest Vote in Nevada Caucus?

The Nevada GOP caucus is Saturday.  Here’s an idea I’ve been toying with:

Mitt Romney will win.  It won’t even be close–he won 51% of the vote here in the 2008 caucus.

Like a lot of conservatives, I’m a little torn between Romney and Paul.  But since it’s a sure thing that Romney will win here, what if we all decided to vote for Ron Paul just to send a message to Romney?

A strong second place showing here for Paul would tell Romney that we’re serious about cutting government size and spending, and that liberal overuse of the military–by both parties–needs to be kept in check.

Could this backfire and actually make Paul win?  Not likely.  How many people will actually see this and respond to it in the next few days?  Besides, even if Paul did win here, Romney would still be by far the most successful candidate nationwide–the nomination’s as good as his.  Like him or not, we all just need to prepare to vote for him in November.

But if we give Ron Paul a strong showing on Saturday, perhaps we could help ensure that Romney governs more conservatively.

NPR’s Fresh Air Praises Mitt Romney’s Faith

The NPR program Fresh Air interviewed the authors of a new book about Mitt Romney a few days ago.  The authors, two reporters for the Boston Globe, did a lot of homework in digging into Romney’s life.  The surprising thing about what they concluded–and how the NPR show presented it–was that it was mostly very positive.

Occasionally, news outlets will follow two young missionaries around for a day and write a story about it.  I’ve seen such stories locally a few times.  As interesting as that might be to non-Mormons, though, I’ve always wished someone would shadow and report on things like Ward Council meetings or family home evening or home teaching.  That’s where the real meat of regular Mormon life is.  A day in the life of a bishop is far more fascinating than a day in the life of a missionary.

While the NPR story did spend several minutes on Romney’s mission, it also described his service as a stake president.  It recounted some controversy–objectively–but mostly it dwelled on the Christlike ministration such a calling entails.  One excerpt:

So you’re absolutely right that you will find divergent views of Mitt Romney from the people he led. One of the things I was most surprised in doing the research in this book was to learn how incredibly charitable and generous he has been – he and his family have been – in often very quiet ways, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in large ways. But it’s not something he ever, or that he rarely, I would say, talked about. And I found that sort of fascinating, especially in light of sort of how he’s sort of viewed today.

The whole thing is worth listening to, or you could browse the transcript.

Daily Beast Praises Mormons For Embracing Science

Excellent.  Today, the Daily Beast recognizes Romney and Huntsman’s uniquely pro-science stances in this presidential campaign as reflecting the nature of their faith.

One of many great quotes:

From the very founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its leaders have allowed scientific thought to coexist with their teachings, sometimes in ways that were radical for their time. Modern Mormon scientists, for instance, are quick to quote Brigham Young, who said in 1871, “In these respects we differ from the Christian world, for our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular… whether the Lord found the earth empty and void, whether he made it out of nothing or out of the rude elements; or whether he made it in six days or as many millions of years.”

It’s Just Hitch Being Hitch…

International columnist and atheist advocate Christopher Hitchens has a new syndicated column in Slate, which also ran in my local Las Vegas Review Journal today.  As always, his writing is passionate, clever, and lucid.  And, also like much of his writing, it is very, very wrong. 

Now, I actually agree with his ultimate thesis: that the freedom of religion, like freedom of speech, is not an absolute: speech is limited by not being able to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and religion is limited by, for example, not being able to deny emergency medical care to children (one example that Hitchens uses).  Hitchens discusses this to make his main point in the article: that Islam, as it comes into increased contact with the West, must reform some of its aspects, such as its hostility to criticism.  If it doesn’t happen voluntarily, Hitchens implies (referring to the first half of the article), it must be done by force.   

Well, sure, this is an important conversation to have now, and many others have already said as much.  The general agreement that as new cultures increasingly interact, there must be adaptation, is so common, in fact, that one wonders why Hitch feels compelled to repeat it.  It’s not like him to be unoriginal. 

But the first half of the article is where he shines, and where his heart clearly is.  This article is just a platform for him to do his favorite thing in the world: bash religion. 

However, Hitch reveals his own lazy prejudices when he does this: his evidence and arguments against religion are sloppy, to say the least. 

Consider the religion that takes more heat in the article than any other, even Islam itself: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Yes, Hitch has some opinions about the Mormons.  Continue reading

Sign My Mitt Romney Petition

Several GOP leaders in Nevada have flirted publicly with the idea of running against Harry Reid for his Senate seat next year.  Most of them don’t have nearly enough name recognition or a big enough war chest to win. 

Please go to my petition to draft Mitt Romney to move to Nevada and run against Reid.  It would be a great win-win.  Only 24 people have signed so far.  Please, spread the word!

Petition To Draft Mitt Romney For Nevada Senate Run

Last week, this tantalizing post appeared over at Millennial Star, reporting speculation that Mitt Romney may be considering a run for Harry Reid’s Senate seat in Nevada. 

As a lifelong Nevada resident, I say, yes!

I’ve started a petition for like minded folks to help draft Romney.  It reads:


Dear Governor Romney:

As you won the 2008 Nevada Caucus with 53% of the vote and the nearest competitors only got 13%, and

As Nevada Senator Harry Reid only beat John Ensign in 1998 by a mere 400 votes across the state, and

As a recent poll reported in the Wall Street Journal put Harry Reid’s approval rating at only 38% and disapproval rating at 54%,

We, the undersigned, ask that you establish residency in Nevada and run against Harry Reid for his Senate seat in 2010.


Especially you registered Nevada voters, please sign my petition here.