If You Want To Understand Mitt Romney, read Glenden Brown at OneUtah.org

Also cross posted at Daily Kos, Glenden Brown offers a perspective on Mitt Romney from behind the Zion Curtain.

In Mormon culture, hierarchical status confers respect.  Authority in Mormonism is rarely questioned.  Mormon authorities are bad at explaining why they’re doing what they’re doing because within Mormonism they have the ultimate conversation stopper – “God said so.”  I think Romney is genuinely confused when his public assurances aren’t simply accepted as fact.  Why should people want to see his taxes when he’s said there’s nothing illegal in them?  His odd, robotic public persona is the political version of the Mormon church leader who speaks in a near monotone the “church voice” which is designed to comfort by its very blandness.  The histrionics of the pulpit pounding evangelical are totally alien to the Mormon church.

Haglund’s thesis – that Mormon masculinity gets knocked out equilibrium by the larger culture – can be expanded.  It’s not just Mormon masculinity, it’s the Mormon personality in general.  Mitt Romney is an exemplary Mormon with all that implies.  The  contemporary public square has knocked Mitt out of his equilibrium and he’s wobbling.  The collapsing of boundaries between public and private, the refusal to casually accept his authority, the jostling of different groups, standards and rules all feel anarchic to a good Mormon who is accustomed to the order and tidiness of Mormon life.

Living most of my life in Utah and in the shadow of Mormon culture, I see Mitt’s troubles as a near perfect reflection of what happens when Mormons encounter the wider world.  They feel adrift, lost, unsure and they feel their sense of self wobble; and then return with relief to the orderly and organized world of Mormonism.  Mitt Romney is experiencing this dynamic on the national stage.  His missteps, mistakes, and organizational problems all reflect his personal disequilibrium.

via Mitt Romney: Wobbling From His Carefully Constructed Equilibrium | One Utah

Glenden Brown’s starting point was this essay by Kristine Haglund:

The performance of Mormon masculinity is a difficult balancing act, a tightrope walk between poles established by a brutish, hyper-masculine “natural man” and an effeminate gay man. It is perhaps unsurprising that Mormon patriarchs—as well as Mormon men running for high elected office—wobble from their carefully constructed equilibrium when buffeted by the cultural winds of feminism and the gay rights movement.

Her byline reads Kristine Haglund is the editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. She lives and goes to church in Belmont, MA. She’s a Mormon scholar and an intellectual; a difficult position to hold in the authority-unquestioning culture of Mormonism. So she knows a little something about high wire acts — but she also may know Mitt Romney from church (he was a bishop and then a stake president in Belmont) or she knows people who do. I think for insight Glenden is on the right track as far as parsing “the public vs. private Mitt Romney.”

However, his experience living “in the shadow” in Utah is a lot like mine, and one thing to consider is that Utah Mormon culture is quite different from… I guess you’d call it “outside-Utah Mormon culture.” It’s MUCH more insular, much more frustrating to the “not-Mormon” person who encounters it at school, in the neighborhood, at the store, at work in Utah. Mom used to get so irritated trying to shop at big Salt Lake retail stores, with NO sales people available; invariably she’d look all over for someone to help with a purchase or a question, and find a huddle of men at the back, deep in conversation. What anybody else would call a male “bull session,” like guys at the automotive score discussing sports or whatever, she’d call a “priesthood meeting.”

On the other hand, LDS friends of Mom’s that were Outside Mormons were much more like any other American family. They complained about Utah Mormon culture, too!

Mitt Romney is a rich big shot in a church that has the unquestioned power to look at your financial statement to determine your worthiness to enter their Holy of Holies. In fact, the church probably knows EXACTLY what’s in the last 20 years of Mitt’s tax returns. It’s funny how quiet the hierarchy has been about the tax return issue. Maybe Harry Reid has a friend “on the inside” who has no love for Romney.

If Huntsman had done better in the primaries, I don’t think I’d have as much of a problem. He went to my high school and some of my younger family members knew some of the family. By all accounts he seems to have been a pretty good governor, and he’s fairly moderate (and moderately fair). I’d have been a little weirded out, but not deeply uneasy and worried about some dumb apocalypse.

That Romney has a private vs. public persona, I think is accurate. I’ve known friends with just the same serious demeanor for church, with a goofy and utterly unserious face for “not-church.”

Anyway, his sense of Noblesse NOT Oblige (n’oblige?) probably comes just as much from being wealthy and privileged as it does from being the closest thing to an LDS prince or god-king on earth.

I highly doubt Romney was into “Church Ball” but he seemed to mix it up pretty well with his hair-cutting and teacher-trapping in school. I do agree that he’s completely baffled by the refusal of We the (Little) People to take him at his ever-shifting word.

One last thing – I spent some time Sunday watching some videos shot inside an LDS temple (not all at the Salt Lake Temple, but some of them. They were surprisingly boring and repetitive – the 1:20-long one with the endowment movie is eye-stingingly dull.

My Tammy Duckworth Yard Signs Look Great! @Tammy4Congress #IL08 #itsmybirthday

UPDATE: Fixed my dumb typo in the title. Also too, added the latest poll for the district:
Joe Walsh, Flailing in the Polls, Sticks it to the 47 Percent

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) probably could have picked a better time to come rushing to the defense of Mitt Romney. On Tuesday, a new survey from Public Policy Polling showed the first-term tea partier trailing Democratic challenger and Iraq war vet Tammy Duckworth by 14 points (52–38) in his Chicagoland district. Just 35 percent of voters said they approved of his job performance.

Oooh, BURN. What a delicious update.

Flickr

Hee!! I forgot that I’d emailed her campaign office with our address asking for these, they came by and put them up like magic. AND it’s my birthday. Thank you, campaign workers!

We’re on a corner, so there’s that. ;)

Via: Flickr
Title: My Tammy Duckworth Yard Signs Look Great! @Tammy4Duckworth #IL08 #itsmybirthday
By: GinnyRED57
Originally uploaded: 24 Sep ’12, 6.47pm CDT

Turned Off Auto-Posts To Facebook For Now

I’ve turned off a couple of auto-post features for now, at least through the end of the political season.

The Twitter Tools plugin has a “create daily or weekly post from tweets” feature, I’ve turned off the weekly tweets posts as my usage has spiked, probably to an annoying degree, on my main account. I’ll migrate the political and topical news commentary and reaction to a different account, and pare my “follows” back to more personal topics on the main account.

I’d rather not irritate my real-life friends and acquaintances further with my current interest with the political process. It’s only going to get signal-to-noisier.

The Facebook Connect plugin has a “publish to Facebook” feature that I’ve turned off, but I can kick it off manually on individual posts. If you want to read everything I post, which lately isn’t that much since I got into Twitter, read it here or via the feed.

According to my comments archives my only readers are spammers and bots anyway, so nobody is likely to be affected by these changes. ;)

At The End of Mitt Romney’s Worst Day Ever: Did He Profit From 9/11?

The opportunity for Equity Specialty Holdings was simple. Its management could invest in insurers that badly needed to cover losses due to 9/11, and reap enormous benefit from the increased fees that the surviving insurance companies could then charge. The results were astounding: “Over the next nine months, the company generated a net income of $63.5 million. By the end of 2003, the company was reporting net income of $263.4 million.”The Romney family disavows any knowledge or responsibility for this investment, saying that their money is in a blind trust. Famously, Romney dismissed Ted Kennedy’s identical response in 1994, ridiculing blind trusts as an “age-old ruse.”

via The National Memo » How Bain Capital And Mitt Romney Profited From The 9/11 Tragedy

Romneybot2012 Does Not Understand Why The Gays Want Families They Refuse To Have The Godly Way

Mitt Romney In Mom Jeans Dancing Awkwardly

This lack of empathy is one of the creepy-chilling things about Romney, and is an insight into the way he would interact with the kinds of people he is not programmed to understand.

Romneybot2012 understands “family” to mean man-woman-children. Romneybot2012 has no comprehension of why anyone would choose not to follow this plan, which comes from God and must not be rejected.

No matter how they try to make Romney appear to be a warm, caring human being they will never succeed in changing his core program. He’s a political-advantage calculator in Mom Jeans.

I’ve read the account of what happened in his office when the LGBT activists confronted him about the Massachusets gay marriage law. What he said was… unconscionable. And he is incapable of seeing why it’s so very offensive and disrespectful.

Does this post demonize Romney? It certainly mocks his socially awkward image, and it criticizes his socially backward worldview. But demonize? Please – try Googling “Moochelle” or any similar right wing racist nut job nickname for President Obama, and then try complaining about “demonization.” Ann Romney gets no sympathy from me.

Image and original link from “Christ, What An Asshole” at Accordion Guy.

“I looked him in the eye as we were leaving,” recalls Goodridge. “And I said, ‘Governor Romney, tell me — what would you suggest I say to my 8 year-old daughter about why her mommy and her ma can’t get married because you, the governor of her state, are going to block our marriage?’”

His response, according to Goodridge: “I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.

Romney’s retort enraged a speechless Goodridge; he didn’t care, and by referring to her biological daughter as “adopted,” it was clear he hadn’t even been listening. By the time she was back in the hallway, she was reduced to tears.

“I really kind of lost it,” says Goodridge. “I’ve never stood before someone who had no capacity for empathy. It went behind flat affect. It was a complete lack of ability or motivation to understand other people.”

While Goodridge cried, Romney brought the press into his office to give his take on the meeting.

He described it as, “Pleasant.”

via Romney a wimp? Not so much, say gays who engaged with him as governor – Boston Spirit Magazine – Boston.com

Eisenhower warns modern #GOP not to be negligible and stupid #FromTheGrave

20120910-154309.jpg

This excellent quote from President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R-Reality) was buried in the comments of the Daily Kos post on the Medicaid issue gaining traction. It would be very interesting to see either Romney or Ryan squirm while attempting to comment on this. Their rigidly imposed frame of reference prevents them from seeing that the GOP is in danger of becoming just such a negligible, stupid party, if it hasn’t already.

The original commenter’s blog is called Condemned To Repeat It

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.” -Dwight Eisenhower

via Daily Kos: Democrats pick up Clintons Medicaid call

Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan, Which Is His, Explained and Parsed Too, By Anne Elk (Miss)

I saw this on Digby’s blog and read and re-read it several times today, trying to figure it out.

On NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Romney dodged multiple questions about which deductions or credits he’d target, saying only that he’ll get rid of “some of the loopholes and deductions at the high end” while seeking to “lower the burden on middle income people.”Pressed for one specific example, Romney replied, “Well, the specifics are these which is those principles I described are the heart of my policy.”

via Romney Refuses To Offer Details On His Tax Plan | TPM2012

All will become clear:

Of course! The tax plan will start out small, get big in the middle, and taper off at the far end.

Thank you, Ann Elk (Miss).

Tammy Duckworth To Speak At Convention, Illinois Delegation Will Be At Least A Little Less Corrupt #DNC2012 #IL08 #uppers #nerdland

After seeing a lot of tweets yesterday about Up with Chris Hayes and the Melissa Perry-Harris Show, I finally watched both shows (or most of Up and all of MPH) via TiVo. I’ve never watched political wonk shows before (comedy shows like Jon Stewart and Bill Maher shouldn’t count, but they do), and it was fun!

They’re shown Saturday and Sunday mornings and seem to have an enthusiastic fan base that hang out on Twitter under hashtags #uppers and #nerdland respectively. A lot of dumb sex-link spambots and anti-factists hang out too, so I quickly learned who was reality-based and who had drunk the anti-truth serum.

One thing about this election cycle; the thugs are desperate not to lose to the black man again so my tag line (and the Karl Rove-attributed quote that inspired it) keeps showing up in my newsfeeds. But that’s a whole other blogpost.

Veteran, Congressionalcandidate, double-amputee Tammy Duckworth standing on artificial legs with aid of cane

President Obama’s former protege, Tammy Duckworth, is running against Tea Party extremist Rep. Joe Walsh in the district, and she will speak at the convention again. Good, I hope to volunteer at a phone bank for her. Walsh is useless in office, unreasonable, and famously irrational when confronted by constituents armed with inconvenient facts (see video below).

He’s an embarassmen and a waste of Congressional space. Tammy is rational, calm under fire (hero! hero! Hero! Nyah Nyah Nyah!) and solid on policy and getting the work done. Hope she does well in her speech, which will probably only be seen on C-SPAN by the wonk types. As long as she doesn’t let any cranky old white men offer her an empty chair, she’ll be fine. She may have prosthetic legs (because, HERO) but she stands on her own two feet. And Joe? Keep it classy. You can see Joe’s famous tirade yelling at unhappy constituents at that link, highly recommended.

Oh what the heck, here it is:

Another good development: It’s likely that 2 of the 3 most corrupt Democrats in the Illinois delegation aren’t going. On Up with Chris Hayes, they had several young-ish candidates explaining their positions, and they all struck me as competent, real, and mammalian frontal cortex thinkers.

I know, right?

Most of today’s GOP and Tea Party extremists seem to be reptilian hind-brain thinkers; that’s why the phrase “red-meat Republicans” makes me think of the Tyrannasaurus Rex strips in Calvin and Hobbes. Anyway, all these Bright Young Things were asked to give their Last Word (a regular feature) on what needed to change in Washington.

Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema), Democratic congressional candidate in Arizona’s 9th district, answered succinctly “elect different people.” Not just “get rid of the other team/tribe/faction,” but replace the lot. Presumably you’d clear out the deadwood on both sides and get a do-over on competence.

Illinois’ famously corrupt political “system” (and despite the Right’s best efforts, Obama was not a team player in that game) isn’t quite as influential as it was, since Blago got his orange jumpsuit and Daley has left office. There’s more that need to go, but maybe the Better Government Association will keep working on weeding out corruption, at least at the entry level.

In 2008, the inaugural Obama presidential campaign was so fearful of being associated with the tainted Blagojevich that it denied him a speaking role. This year’s Obama-orchestrated convention will feature speeches by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth. Unlike the Republican convention, where no Illinoisans addressed delegates, Duckworth is making her second consecutive appearance before the Democratic convention audience. A second-time candidate for Congress, Duckworth is challenging tea party-icon freshman Republican Rep. Joe Walsh in a northwest suburban district drawn for her by Democrats. Walsh chose not to attend the GOP convention. Duckworth, a former assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Obama administration, is among several prominent women given a speaking role. Obama and Democrats are attempting to take advantage of the controversy over Missouri Republican Senate nominee Rep. Todd Akin’s remark that victims of “legitimate rape” have an internal body mechanism to prevent pregnancy. Democrats have sought to use the comments to reheat their allegations that Republicans are waging a “war on women.”

Link: Chicago Tribune – Illinois Democrats see changes in convention delegation

2008 Snapshot: McCain Suspends Campaign, Shocks Republicans (Reneges On Joint Statement With Obama) Before Debate #AreYouBetterOff #HELLYES

“It’s my belief that this is exactly the time that the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess,” Obama said. “It’s going to be part of the president’s job to deal with more than one thing at once.”

Link: McCain Suspends Campaign, Shocks Republicans – US News & World Report