Would Romney dare choose a Female VP?
I assume Romney’s gonna win the GOP nomination. Currently, some of the other candidates are playing populist cards to try to paint Romney as a “vulture capitalist,” and the rest of the GOP is folding in on itself, wondering whatever happened to the party that supported laissez-faire capitalism.
Meanwhile, evangelicals are coming to terms with what seems an inevitable nomination. As Texas pastor Robert Jeffress (who a few months ago called Mormonism a “cult”) has put it:
It’s probably better to embrace a non-Christian like Romney, who embraces biblical values like the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage, rather than a professing Christian like President Obama, who embraces unbiblical positions.
Meanwhile, I took some interest in this Vanity Fair article detailing Romney’s relations with women in the Church (starting at the bottom of page 2). It’s mixed. On the one hand, as stake president, Romney was open to a meeting where suggestions were made to better include women in the life of the Church. But on the other hand, as bishop, he threatened excommunication on a pregnant single woman who refused to give her child up for adoption when it was born. Another pregnant woman had a serious blood clot in her pelvis, and the child had a 50% chance of survival. Romney simply couldn’t fathom how the stake president (who was a doctor) had recommended an abortion. The woman writes:
Here Ia baptized, endowed, dedicated worker, and tithe-payer in the churchlay helpless, hurt, and frightened, trying to maintain my psychological equilibrium, and his concern was for the eight-week possibility in my uterusnot for me!
To get to the title of this post, I don’t think Romney will choose a female VP. Even if he has to pick an evangelical in hopes of securing the conservative base just like McCain did in 2008, I don’t think he’ll pick a female evangelical (who would he pick?). It just wouldn’t be the Mormon way of doing things. (A Mormon man inviting a woman into a position of great power? *gasp of unthinkability*)
Unlike evangelicals, Mormons blend the secular and the religious more when it comes to gender roles. While most evangelical churches still refuse to ordain women, it’s my understanding that there’s not so much of an emphasis on women necessarily becoming stay-at-home moms.
If indeed part of the reasoning behind McCain choosing Palin was to close a gender gap among swing voters, Romney’s religious background insisting women are “made” to become stay-at-home moms is going to be an issue even among evangelicals. With role models like Palin and Bachmann, when Romney picks a male running mate later this year, women evangelicals are sure to feel some disappointment. How deep that disappointment will run is unclear.
(Edit: here’s an article on female voters supporting Romney more this time around and why)
I have to disagree! I’m not a Romney supporter, although I think he’s the best of the Republican candidates. He’s a pragmatist to the core, and has shown himself to work very well with powerful women in Massachusetts. His lieutenant governor in Massachusetts was a woman. His cabinet was almost 50% female, and the women were scattered throughout the offices, not concentrated in education and health care and other traditionally feminine offices. When he appointed judges, he didn’t consider party affiliation and in fact appointed more democrats than republicans, including several women. Not to say that Mormonism isn’t full of rampant sexism, but I think Romney’s views are as egalitarian as you’ll see among Mormon leadership.
Interesting article here about his changing view of feminism in the church: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/campaigns/in-boston-mitt-romney-evolved-in-mormonleadership-some-churchwomen-say/2011/11/17/gIQAMOoWjN_story.html
Clarification — I *don’t* think he actually will choose a female VP because I don’t think there are any promising candidates. I think he will try to select the most strategic candidate, both to help him win and to help him govern. He may consider whether selecting a woman would get him more or fewer votes, but I don’t think he’ll overlook women based on any reflexive desire for male leadership.
Kristen, thanks for your view and that link. It’s fascinating to read about Romney at the center of Exponent II stuff in 80s and 90s Boston.
I guess I still just scratch my head about the “leap” that powerful Mormon men make in their interactions with powerful non-Mormon women. I think I’ll Ask Mormon Girl (Joanna Brooks) about it. =D