Framing the Dialogue

My Name is Mitt and I’m a…

I have recently noticed a slick advertising campaign that has been running on television and radio.  They advertisements usually feature “normal” people doing cool activities and end with the catch-phrase, “My name is blank & I’m a Mormon.  One night my daughter asked why the church “advertised” on television.  It always seemed to me that the Church of Later Day Saints (Mormons) had always run some family-oriented ads, but these new ones were quite different and more frequent.  I have even started to see billboards along my commute from work.  Jeff Decker, who is a Mormon and adorns the billboard along the highway near my work, rides his motorcycle sans helmet, sculpts and loves his family.

This new ad campaign seems to be focused on highlighting the “normalcy” of Mormons or perhaps even that being a Mormon is cool or at least there are cool Mormons.  Maybe having Glenn Beck as part of your church hurts the cause (just kidding), but there definately seems to be an effort to update or correct the image of Mormons. 

I am speculating that this new campaign my be an early attempt to pave the way for another Mitt Romney presidential run.  One thing that we know is that mainstream America is suspicious of things that it doesn’t know.  With the glaring exception of our current president whose background should have raised alarms from coast to coast, but I digress.  An issue Mr. Romney had during his 2008 campaign was perceptions regarding his religion.  Mormons are often portrayed as hicks with multiple wives and dozens of children on television shows and this perception would be detrimental to Mr. Romney.  If you look back fifty years it was quite a big deal back then that a Catholic, JFK, was elected president so the prejudice is not unprecedented.

It will be interesting to see if this is an early step by his church to ease the way towards a Romney Republican nomination. In my mind his bigger problem is Massachusetts’ Romneycare which was started while he was governor.  That and the fact that he could not beat John McCain in 2008.  There is little doubt that Romney will run, but I suspect that those of us looking for a stronger conservative leader will look past Mitt Romney.

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