This morning I did something that I’ve never done before — I made a financial contribution to a presidential candidate, Governor Mitt Romney. I was invited to do so by my brother Nate who has signed up to be a fundraiser for Romney, so I did it partly to help Nate reach his goal, but partly because the idea of a good Latter-day Saint in the White House intrigues me. I have admired Romney ever since he worked miracles with the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, turning an embarrassing and scandalous debacle into one of the most successful Winter Games on record. I was also very interested to watch him run for governor of Massachusetts and win as a Republican in a very socially liberal state.
I’m only slightly concerned about accusations of his being a political chameleon, changing his core beliefs (on issues such as abortion and gay rights) to suit his audience. I’m more interested in his ability to lead and make good decisions. He has all the management skills, he’s charismatic and he has a strong moral compass. I think that he would make a great president.
My contribution was small in amount, but significant in statement since I’ve never done it before. I’m not sure whether he will be able to overcome his rivals and make it to the White House, but he’s certainly helping to build bridges of understanding between LDS people and the rest of the world, even if that’s not his stated purpose. Bringing the Church out of obscurity is a very worthy byproduct of his candidacy, and I hope that he is successful. In the end, however, the nomination will go to the candidate that the Republican base believes can beat Hillary. Whether that’s Guilani or McCain with their liberal leanings (according to some) or Mitt Romney with his religious faith that he claims is a non-issue, but may be troubling to the evangelical “right.” It will be interesting to see how that works out. I truly hope that people will judge him by his enormous capacity, his leadership and vision, not by theological differences that may exist.