The issue of potential LDS support for Obama continues to bubble around the bloggernacle; see for example here and here for opposing views. I will note for the record that I haven’t on this blog stated that I would support Obama or that I thought other Latter-day Saints should. What I have stated, repeatedly, is that with the right pro-active outreach from Obama himself, he could well win over Utah against a McCain/Huckabee or even a McCain/not-Huckabee ticket.
Here’s the interesting part. I’m in Utah this week, visiting relatives (kids, grandkids, in-laws, etc.), but I made some time today to have lunch with an old friend/colleague whom I’ve known since I taught at BYU some 20+ years ago. We exchange e-mails a few times a year, but it’s probably been a decade since we’ve actually seen each other face to face.
Anyway, we’re sitting at lunch today, and out of the blue, my friend — I’ll call him Bill — starts to raise the issue of the upcoming election. I’ll note for the record that he has never read this blog and he hasn’t read my other blog for a few months. Also, this is the issue he chose to raise; I had said absolutely nothing about politics or the election. And yet he proceeds to explain his feelings regarding the Republican primary race, particularly regarding the anti-Mormon aspect to it, then tells me that he’s been reading Obama’s book (The Audacity of Hope), which he says is actually quite rational and even-handed (his words). The upshot: he tells me that he’s voted a straight Republican party ticket for 25+ years, but he’s seriously considering voting for Obama in the fall, particularly if Huckabee is on the Republican ticket, but even if it’s just McCain plus someone else.
As I said elsewhere, the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’. But it was startling to have Bill bring this up out of the blue and — with no input or prompting from me, and as I said, never having read this blog — recite to me almost exactly the same decision-making process that I’ve been describing here and that others have described elsewhere. This is a self-described staunch LDS conservative, well-educated (PhD) and established in his profession, with a large family at home. Yet he’s ready to vote for Obama for all the reasons that we’ve been kicking around.
For what it’s worth. ..bruce..
P.S. If you are interested in my personal political thinking, see this post on my other blog.