The presidential primaries are now getting into full swing several months before the primaries even begin. The candidates are well on their way to leaving Lady Liberty quite unsatisfied. I've decided it's time I said something about it.
I have little to say about the Democratic side of things. I like Hillary, Barack, and John (Edwards, that is). Any one of them would make a fine candidate and they all have policy positions that I can respect even though we may disagree a bit.
However, the Republican horserace seems to be disproportionately filled with asses. I don't hate all the candidates equally, but I do have a favorite and a most hated. However, the middle candidates (McCain, Huckabee, Brownstreak, I mean Brownback, Paul, etc.) are really too insignificant to make a difference, so screw 'em.
I happen to agree with the polls on who should be the frontrunner for the nomination (from a Republican point of view): Romney. He's smart, charismatic, relatively experienced (historically, governors make better presidents), white and rich. He just has one problem: he's a Mormon.
Mormons have historically been discriminated against by members of other Christian faiths because of their unique beliefs. Countless media have been produced on this subject, so I won't belabor the point here. This discrimination and stigma still exists today. Romney's presidential run has brought over a century's worth of feelings about Mormons to the forefront of public discourse. In both an effort to combat this stigma and seizing a great opportunity to increase dialogue about their faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) is going to release a number of ads aimed at calming others' worries about the religion.
Having a personal stake in how the LDS Church is perceived in the media, I actually look forward to opportunities to change other's negative stereotypes about Mormons. However, this must be done carefully in order to avoid a negative impact on the LDS Church.
The stated position of the LDS Church is one of political neutrality. It does not endorse candidates or parties, and as much as possible tries to stay out of government activities, while encouraging members to participate on an individual basis. In my opinion (look out!), this position is both prudent (to avoid losing tax-exempt status) and doctrinally sound (there is more than one way to promote Christianity and obeying the commandments). My concern is that unless the Church is careful about how and where it strikes at ignorance, it may appear that the LDS Church is endorsing the candidacy of Mitt Romney. If the Church only runs ads in states or areas where Romney needs a little boost, that could be perceived as an endorsement. Or, if he wins the primary and the Church steps up its ad campaign it could also appear that the LDS Church is implicitly endorsing Romney.
I hope that during this election and, [ugh] the possible Romney presidency to follow, the Church can handle its public relations in such a way that it can avoid such negative perceptions. Failure to do so could cause serious damage to the reputation of the Church, and call into question the individuality of its members. Reasonable people can differ about how to apply their beliefs in their own lives, and I don't want other people thinking that I only think what my church tells me to think.
I said that I had both a favorite and a least favorite candidate for the Republican nomination. It's clear that my favorite is Romney (heaven forbid we should live in the days of the Brownback Crusades), but my least favorite is Giuliani.
Do I want to live in Rudy Giuliani's America? I'd rather be raped by an entire herd of buffalo than endure one second of listening to that horse's ass.