Mormon Parenting: Mitt Romney: Too good to be trusted?

Published: Sunday, Dec. 11 2011 4:00 p.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney watches as his son Craig speaks Spanish to a crowd during a campaign stop Nov. 29, 2011, in Medley, Fla.

Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press

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This is a column on families and parenting, so this week, let's talk a little about a presidential candidate and his wife who have raised five outstanding sons and are among the best parents we know. These are our personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.

We have known Mitt and Ann Romney for a very long time, and some of their kids are friends with some of our children. As parents, the Romneys are as committed as they come, and this is only one of many "character qualities" that would make Mitt the kind of president this country needs.

We don't know Jon and Mary Kaye Huntsman nearly as well, but we do know Jon's extraordinary parents, Jon Sr. and Karen, and many of the same things could certainly be said about their family.

Are you as sick and tired as we are of the "anyone but Romney" sentiment? How many more times are we going to have to read, "Romney is a great candidate but just can't seem to connect to voters," or hear from the media things like, "His family is too perfect," or, "You just wonder if you can trust a guy like that"?

Enough already!

The fact is that we live in such a slipping, amoral world that people can't quite believe that someone is as good as Mitt really is. And they can't quite feel comfortable with a candidate who doesn't have a few more obvious flaws and vices. "Anybody who seems that perfect," the logic goes, "must be hiding something."

Here is the reasoning (or lack of it) that we hear so often: "Romney can't really have that good of a marriage and have raised that good a family, can he? Oh yes, he turned around failing companies and a failing Olympics and a failing Massachusetts, making him one of the few Americans in history to be world-class successful in the private sector, the public sector and the nonprofit sector. But can he be that successful in his family, too, and in his church and his personal life? Come on, no one is really that good, are they? So there must be something suspicious about him."

We recently recommended that Mitt and Ann invite a film crew into their family Christmas party later this month and give people a more intimate look at their great relationships with their outstanding sons and their families and give the public a little more of a private look at the more casual Mitt — funny, relaxed and a great singer, along with being a genuinely compassionate person who really cares about others. We're now second guessing that suggestion because it might make him look even better, even more perfect, even more exceptional.

Well darn it, he IS exceptional! And isn't that what we should be looking for in a president?

Everyone says they want change, want something new, want competency and want an outsider/manager rather than an insider/politico. But so many seem to think Romney is just a little bit too new, too different and maybe too good. Thus he makes lots of people a little uncomfortable, a little envious and a little suspicious.

It is a sad commentary on today's society that many have become so cynical and negative that it's easier for them to relate to and vote for someone whose weaknesses make him more like them. And they may find it easier to "trust" a candidate made "real" by his flaws than one who has lived an extraordinarily moral and successful life. In this mind-set, and in this comparison, Newt Gingrich's problems with marriage, fidelity and family, and his various conflicts of interest and notorious nastiness almost begin to work for him by making him more "relatable."

But when we look for a president, shouldn't we be looking for someone we can admire more than someone we can relate to?

And in an increasingly worldly society where the tone is sometimes a little mocking of faith and family, and even of character and excellence, isn't it time to elect a president who can change that tone?

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