I guess it must have been late summer when “sources” within the White House started talking about the weirdness of Mitt Romney. This talking point was duly reported, and then the pundits decided to discuss the propriety of making such an accusation. What is a shot at Mormons? What it too personal? And what did they really mean when they said the Mitt Romney was weird?
Now, I am very uncomfortable about picking on Mitt Romney’s religious beliefs. I don’t want to say that Romney is weird because his religion is weird. That’s a slippery slope, and I think it’s dirty politics. Nonetheless, Romney’s faith has led him to have some weird experiences. He recently talked about his time in France as a Mormon missionary during an appearance on the Morning Joe show.
Romney recalled five months he spent in one French city, where he said near-constant brush-offs built his resilience:
“We knocked on doors from morning until quite late in the evening,” he said. “We didn’t convert one person in five months. So, you understand the rejection, you know that’s a pretty high level of rejection and you get used to it. You say, ‘okay, what do I believe, what’s important to me,’ and you don’t measure yourself and your success by how other people react, but instead by how you’re doing and how you feel about the things you care about.”
Imagine going to live in a foreign country and knocking on strangers’ doors for twelve hours a day for five straight months without ever getting one positive response. You can talk about his resilience and his commitment and his strong faith. You can take some positives out of that experience. But, it’s just weird. It’s hard not feel sorry for him. It’s a thankless enough job trying to get the French to embrace Christianity. This is a country that briefly dumped the Gregorian calendar because it was tied to the birth of Christ. So, it doesn’t surprise me that Mitt Romney could go five straight months without convincing anyone to take the Book of Mormon seriously.
I don’t think it’s fair to vote against somebody just because they did missionary work, but that doesn’t mean that people can’t sense something a little different about Romney. If Obama has an untypical background with untypical experiences, the same can surely be said about Mitt Romney. And, of course, how many of us were the sons or daughters of the governor?