Monday, May 18, 2009

Huntsman, Romney, and the Mormon Vote [Bryan]

Interesting commentary on the new Huntsman gig with the Obama administration:

The nomination, yesterday, of Utah Governor Jon Huntsman to be US Ambassador to the People's Republic of China - like Romney, a handsome and articulate boy-wonder billionaire of that faith - has those eyebrows wagging again. It speaks volumes of the outside-the-box tendencies of the President and his team that the thought would even occur to them to appoint such an unexpected envoy, that they would know that Huntsman - a former LDS missionary in Taiwan - speaks Mandarin, and that they'd be able to convince the Governor to switch jobs for a post that is not necessarily a promotion. They must have also had good enough intelligence to sense that Huntsman was bored at his current gig. That they made the sale is a head turner, indeed.

That they announced this shortly after Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele gaffed his way into another controversy, this time regarding the evident anti-Mormon bigotry in Evangelical Christian circles, is nothing less than political poetry. Steele said, on Bill Bennett's radio show, "Remember, it was the base that rejected Mitt because of his switch on pro-life, from pro-choice to pro-life. It was the base that rejected Mitt because it had issues with Mormonism..."

What is a gaffe? Generally it's something that's true but that society doesn't want to admit.

Mitt Romney is technically the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. He's got the money, a national organization, and the on-camera talent and political experience to handle the national spotlight. Ideologically, his positions line up pretty perfectly with the conservative GOP platform. If any Republican "deserves" it for having paid his dues loyally to the party, it's Mitt. And yet it's extremely unlikely that the said GOP base - we're talking mainly white Southern Baptists here - is going to get over its Mormonphobia in just three years enough to make that possible.

The appointment of Huntsman is thus, politically, a slam dunk. When GOP primary voters inevitably reject Romney once again in the 2012 primaries and caucuses outside of the Mountain West, the resentment - already boiling after last year's adventures in presidential politics - among rank-and-file Mormons that the party to whom they've given so much still doesn't really want them in the Master's house rather than the servant's quarters, will sting. Meanwhile, another of their prominent citizens will likely still be Obama's man in Beijing, proof that somebody in American politics isn't dissing the LDS and its members. And in key swing states like Nevada and Colorado, LDS members are legion.

Some said Obama was crazy, back in 2007 and 2008, to reach out to what conventional wisdom thought was an impenetrable GOP base... Crazy, like a fox.

It may be that Huntsman is setting himself up as a picture-perfect, bipartisan-friendly Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Whatever the case, it reinforces the message I've been peddling for a long time now: the base of the Republican party despises Mormons. Why we Mormons want to associate ourselves so closely with that mean-spirited group perplexes me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Rant [Ellie]

I'm pretty sure that I've failed to keep every one of the "my child will never. . ." resolutions I made before I became a parent, and my oldest is only six.

My child will never be the one to hit. (How many two-year-old boys don't? Mine did.)

My child will never be the one with the permanent runny nose. (Pass the Kleenex--from October to April, Baby.)

My child will never run around the house naked. (Oh, I've beat that. I've had--within a period of months--two kids naked in public because I forgot to bring changes of clothing.)

My child will never wear dirty clothes out of the house. (How many times can you change one child's clothing in a day?)

I have no more illusions that I am now or ever will be a perfect mom. I've waved a tearful goodbye to each illusion as it flew out the window and I turned to face the reality of life with my children.

But, this isn't the rant you might expect. I'm not going to tell you how much I hate Mother's Day because I'm not good enough and I feel guilty and why do people idealize mothers, anyway etc., etc., etc. I know many women feel that way. But I, personally, love Mother's Day. My rant is directed to mothers who don't. Here are my "Top Five" reasons they should love Mother's Day, too.

1. You went through 9 months of pregnancy and then hours of excruciating pain during labor just to get the kids here. I think that alone deserves one day of thanks per year.

2. No matter how inadequate you feel, think for a moment about the sacrifices you have made for your children. No mother sacrifices nothing, and most sacrifice many things--sleep; careers; money; free time; being surrounded by clean, beautiful, unbroken things; time alone with their spouse--every day. Let them thank you for it.

3. How do you think your kids feel when you tell them you hate Mother's Day because you don't feel like a good mother? Like they must be lousy since you're so unhappy with how they turned out. That's how.

4. Who doesn't like to be treated well--breakfast in bed, sloppy kid kisses, hand-drawn cards, the obligatory Mother's Day school-made flowerpot complete with wilted flower, dinner made for you--for one day. Just enjoy it!

5. There is no ideal mother. She is imaginary. We are all inadequate to the task. But we give it our all, and that dedication is worth celebrating.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Photos [Bryan]

Stephen is a gloriously fat and generally happy baby.

Andrew at an Easter-egg hunt (one of three)

Happy Stephen again.

Nora showing off her new pink dress.

Dressed for Easter.