A Scholarly Look at Romney 2008 and Religion; the Huckster – Noise and Fury Signifying Little; and more…
John and I feel somewhat validated – but not at all surprised – by this report of a scholar’s analysis of Romney and religion in the 2008 presidential election cycle.
The paper, entitled “Mitt Romney’s Religion: A Five Factor Model for Analysis of Media Representation of Mormon Identity,” appeared in the May issue of The Journal of Media and Religion. This paragraph will bring a smile to those who’ve followed this blog for a while:
For many, the combination of Mormonism and Romney’s ‘flip-flops’ on many hot-button issues gave reason to oppose him. Conservative activist Brian Camenker’s report on Romney’s shifting positions gave ammunition to conservatives to withdraw support from Romney. Vanderbilt University researchers found Romney’s flip-flopper label was an easy cover for anti-Mormonism. In the end, it was the rise of Huckabee and the political primaries in the evangelical-dominated South that derailed Romney’s bid for the presidency. For many, Romney’s run represented a misguided attempt to curry the favor of evangelicals.
That almost makes me think Professor Baker is also a regular reader here. (Seriously, with this paper she has moved to the top of my list of “People I’d Like to Have Lunch With.”)
Here is the article abstract from The Journal of Media and Religion (it costs $30 to see the entire piece):
Mitt Romney’s religion accounted for 50% of all religion-related presidential primary campaign stories in 2007, and 30% of Romney’s total media coverage focused on his Mormon faith. This article reviews that coverage and considers it within the larger historical context of the complex relationship between media and Mormonism throughout the 180-year history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A factorial model (the first in the area of Mormon Media Studies) is proposed by which to document and analyze the wider societal influences that are reflected in media representation of Mormon identity. The model’s 5 factors include the media, the Mormons, other religions, secular influences, and politics/government. The model assumes an interrelationship among the five factors. Factor influence and relationships among factors vary according to time, issue, and circumstance. The model relates to informational (not entertainment) media. Suggestions are made for application of the model to academic studies.
As I jokingly note above, we documented and analyzed all of this as it occurred. If you’re interested and want to save $30, be sure to read our “Telling The Story” series for our version of this same tale, minus the Smoot comparisons, which we examined in our five-part series reviewing and commenting on Kathleen Flake’s book “The Politics of American Religious Identity.” You may recall that Flake’s book was about the Smoot seating hearings. You can find our posts about that here - here – here – here and here.
John Jumps On Board…
..Because The Huckabee “boomlet” has become a “Boom?!”
In the words of Jacob McCandles when confronted with rumors of his death: “Not hardly.“ Here’s how this went down. Huckabee did Fox News Sunday last Sunday. If you read the transcript, this is what he says:
I haven’t closed the door. I think that would be foolish on my part, especially when poll after poll shows that there is strong sentiment out there. I end up leading a lot of the polls. I’m the Republican that clearly, at this point, does better against Obama than any other Republican. You know, I’m not totally unaware of that.
At which point the MSM and leftie blogs went ape – The Hill – HuffPo – Politics Daily – The Fix – USAToday – one very right wing outlet sounded the trumpets – News Max. His home town paper was a bit less impressed.
Let’s analyze what’s really happening here. Fox commentator Huckabee appears on FNS in a short segment. That sounds more like a promotional appearance than a serious interview to me. The idea was to generate some heat for Huckabee’s show and based on the coverage, I think they got it. Secondly, Huckabee is prone to exaggerated claims. He still claims to have finished “second” in the 2008 primary race despite the fact the delegate count, and his speaking slot at the convention, clearly indicate to the contrary, even though he stayed in the race far longer than the actual second place finisher – Romney.
Huckabee is a media guy now – he has speaking fees to maintain, and his bread-and-butter constituency is not what it used to be. The Huckster needs the possibility of a run to continue to make a living. And of course, the MSM and non-team players are always willing to stir the pot on our side.
There’s a lot of coverage here, but no meat on the bones. Call me when Huck’s fundraising gets better and he loses at least 60 pounds, until then its all posturing for ratings and fees.
UPDATE (7 hours after initial publication) – Told ya so! I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet…. Back to the initial post.
And Speaking of Lefties Doing Some Pot Stirring…
What do you think Marc Ambinder is up to with this piece? [Lowell interjects: I do not like his suggestion that Iowa and New Hampshire just be allowed to go ahead with their February primaries. Why should those two quirky, small states, whose voting is so easily manipulated, be allowed to set the tone for the entire campaign?]
This is silly, and discriminatory – CNBC covering “Mormon” business. Most business school graduates prefer to hire grads of the same business school, Nothing to see here.
This is just great read. Would that other forms of Christianity were as open minded.
Here’s another one with idiot commenters. Why someone has to turn that story into a religio-political comment is beyond.
General Religion Stuff…
This is so utterly simplistic as to be annoying. (In fact it is self-contradictory, but it is not worth the effort to demonstrate that fully here.) One can judge a candidate’s character, or stance on issues, without reference to religion. Religion does indeed influence those things, but it is not wholly determinative. When you drag religion into it, it indeed starts to get about “us” and “them” instead of about the issues at hand. And that leads to unnecessary conflict.