Saturday, June 03, 2006

Not A Headline Of Which To Be Proud

As President's Poll Numbers Fall, Many in Utah Stand by the Man. Only in Utah . . . and Provo of all places. Most disturbing is some of the rational:

"When I watch him, I see a man with his heart in the right place," said Delia Randall, a 22-year-old mother from Provo, the hub of a county that gave Senator John Kerry just 11 percent of the presidential vote in 2004. "I like George Bush because he is God fearing, and that's how a lot of people in this area feel."

The redemptive narrative that Mr. Bush has often told about his life — a frequent drinker who found God and his political purpose in early middle-age — has greater resonance here than in other parts of the country. And people say they are willing to overlook major problems, or not blame Mr. Bush for trouble spots, because they like his personality.

"He's strong, and he doesn't waver," said Jaren Olsen, 18, a freshman at Brigham Young, the nation's largest religiously affiliated private university, who is from Albany. "I like that he is for the family, that marriage should only be between a man and woman. And the war, we need to finish what we started."

Another student at Brigham Young, Danielle Pulsipher, a junior, offered blanket approval of the president. Asked to name which of his actions as president she liked most, she was hard-pressed to answer.

"I'm not sure of anything he's done, but I like that he's religious — that's really important," Ms. Pulsipher said.

"When you get down to almost 50 percent in Utah, that's the canary-in-the-mine-shaft of all warnings for Republicans," said Kelly Patterson, director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young. The walls of Mr. Patterson's office bear a headline from the last time a Democrat won Utah in a presidential race — it was Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1964.

Still, because voters in the state are strongly religious, with a huge majority belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and strongly Republican, the well of support for Mr. Bush is deeper here than in almost any other place in the country.

Religion and political views go hand in hand here, voter surveys show. The state has the nation's highest birth rate and the youngest population. Voters tend to be better educated than in many states, and about 60,000 people a year go on Mormon missions overseas, giving them a different view of the world.

In Provo, a prosperous city of just over 100,000 people built around Brigham Young, about 8 of every 10 voters are registered Republicans. Last year, Provo was rated the most conservative city in America by the nonpartisan Bay Area Center for Voter Research.

"This is a community committed to faith, family and freedom, and that translates to consistent popularity for George Bush," said Mayor Lewis K. Billings of Provo.

"People here like so much of what George Bush has done," Mr. Billings said. "I think he's got support on almost everything — except immigration."

Well, just for the record, this BYU educated, returned Mormon missionary does not now, and has never supported Mr. Bush, regardless of his religious beliefs. I find it disturbing the impression this story may give to the world at large about the core of the LDS population in Provo: That most LDS members, at least there, like and support Mr. Bush because they believe he is a man of faith and God. Even if he were such an individual, his complete and total failure while in the Oval office, and the disastrous path upon which he has placed America is unforgivable. Most of America, even Mr. Bush's more ardent supporters outside the Chuch can see these failures, as reflected in his lowest approval ratings ever, see here and here.


Blogger Brian said...

That's what I love about my good friend Guy Murray, fervent in his convictions. In contrast to opinions felt by Guy, there are many LDS and others who do in fact support our President. Many of us feel that the many choices he made, although we may not agree with all of them, were the right choice, choices that in fact took courage and conviction. Choices that were put upon him, in some cases, because of the do nothing attitude of the prior president. Just today I received a number of emails showing for or asking of our support for our President. I ask those who are so dissatified, would you rather have John Kerry or Al Gore governing or lecturing us today? I pray for our President, I pray for the choices he makes, I pray for those who work to defend those choices and our country. I support our President. I was Guy's roommate at BYU and fulfilled a mission in Argentina next to Guy's. I love his abilities to inform us, stimulate us and give us pause, I just don't agree with him on this. Thanks Guy.

Monday, June 05, 2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Hi Brian, Thanks for stopping by. I am aware many LDS folks don't share my point of view--which was really the point of the NY Times article.

But, the short answer to your question is "governing." Had George Bush not been appointed president by the supreme court, I do not believe America would be mired down in an endless and hopeless conflict in Iraq. Many, many American families would not have felt the heartache of their loved one's deaths fighting that immoral war--same for Iraqi families as well.

I too pray for Mr. Bush. I pray he does not further lead our great nation astray more than he has already done!

Take care Brian, and stop by often!

Monday, June 05, 2006 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you so very much for accurately pointing out that Mr. Bush was appointed by the Supreme Court. As a Floridian who had his vote "nullified" by our illustrious Supreme Court justices and our "impartial" Secretary of State Katherine Harris (who is having an extremely difficult time in her Senate run), I still find it difficult to understand how many of my fellow Saints by into Mr. Rove's slick marketing. There was way more substance and character to President Clinton and John Kerry than there is to Mr. Bush. The first two men had to make their way in the world without help from daddy. I am at a loss as to why people don't recognize the fundamental insecurities that have driven Mr. Bush to start an unnecessary war in Iraq.

Monday, June 05, 2006 1:03:00 PM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Michael, Thanks for stopping by. It is heartening indeed to see today those who abused power long ago now reaping the consequences. Katherine Harris does come to mind. Hopefully when she loses her senate campaign, her days as an elected official will offically be over.

Monday, June 05, 2006 2:02:00 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Well, one might think that the resurrection of the marriage amendment is aimed primarily at shoring up the support of the type of people mentioned in the article--Mormon and non-Mormon--who support the President (and, by extension, the GOP) based on his personal convictions. They appear to be willing to overlook Bush's colossal failures--Iraq, the Katrina response (I live in New Orleans, and Bush has been pathetic), the deficit, etc., because "his heart is in the right place."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 6:24:00 AM  
Blogger nicolaepadigone said...

well said, Guy. I was one of the 9% of the American population who still did not "support" the president after 9/11. I knew what he would do with that political capital and feared for the future of my country. And now it has all come to pass.

I like your blog. Keep up the great posts.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Randy, I'm not sure I even agree with the idea of the "heart being in the right place." He's made so many horrible decisions I can't accept his heart is anywhere close to the right place. I'm very sorry about New Orleans. I loved that town. I hope it survives!

Nic (for short) Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments. I've enjoyed your exchange with J. Todd Ormsbee over on his blog. Interesting comments!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger nicolaepadigone said...


Ha! thanks. When I linked over there from BCC (By Common Consent), I had no idea just what I was to expect. At first glance, his blog looked pretty normal. Little did I know that he was a professor of gay studies and not quite the active Mormon. :p

you've got a great blog here, and I'll check in frequently.

Thursday, June 15, 2006 4:24:00 AM  

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