Actually, I don't even play one on TV. Some folks may think a storyteller/philosopher is some kind of prophet, but my track record of success in that department probably shows that prophecy is not one of my spiritual gifts.
However, I am reasonably astute at observing and predicting human nature. In that spirit, I have a couple predictions regarding the upcoming presidential election. No, I'm not a political pundit. Merely a political junkie. Some folks hate it when I write about politics. But in an election year, it's just too tempting. And if it's not already obvious, I'll mention again that I'm not an Obama fan. To many my prediction will not seem original in the least. Others have certainly suggested it. But usually, after it's suggested, it's immediately dismissed. I'm not so sure this one should be dismissed:
1. Hillary Clinton will become President Obama's running mate. Whaaat, you say? What about gaffe-prone Joe Biden? What about the bitter fueding between Hillary and Barack that lingers from the 2008 campaign? Trust me. It doesn't matter. Barack made her his Secretary of State, for crimminy's sake! We sometimes forget how quickly political infighting evaporates. Heck, Newt Gingritch is already campaigning for Mitt! Who'd a thunk!? And NO ONE is better positioned to claim the mantle for the Democratic Party five years from now than Hillary Clinton--especially if she becomes the VP. I personally wonder if this strategy has been in the works all along, discussed in back rooms just prior to Hillary's acceptance of the (seemingly) lesser position of Secretary of State. Don't underestimate how the Secretary of State accolade could be viewed in a future bid for the White House. No one could now claim--as they did in 2008--that she has no foreign policy experience. Whether she's done a poor job as Secretary of State--too often interjecting politics into some dicey foreign environments--is another matter. Taking the Secretary of State post was an investment that will have been utterly wasted if it is never cashed in. The pay off (it's hoped) will come as Hilary is announced as the VP for this election--2012. Then comes the optimal payoff--when the 2016 election cycle rolls arounds, and no contender will remotely compare to her in experience and positioning. Only a successful Republican candidacy and presidency can undermine this inevitability. With Romney polling so close to Obama in recent weeks, closing the gap in many swing states, and rising in popularity polls, drafting Hillary to the DNC ticket may be the only trick left up the President's sleeve. The announcement will come at a strategic moment during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Sept 3-6.
A few months ago I looked at footage of Hilary giving a speech overseas. She looked overweight, haggard, and exhausted. Rumors are flying that she's grown weary of politics and may seek the relative tranquility of private life after Obama's first term. Don't believe it. Since that time I've noticed that she's lost weight and seems to be taking better care of herself. Yes, it may seem trivial, but no one would deny that physicality and grooming play a significant role in a candidate's appeal. Continue to watch her appearance improve over the summer. Now the 2nd prediction:
The Democrats will soon exploit and ridicule--in a much BIGGER way--Joseph Smith's famous prophecy that the Latter-day Saints will save the Constitution at a time when it is hanging by a "brittle thread." The vast majority of Americans have never heard of this prophecy--not to mention many Latter-day Saints! The statement is mentioned in numerous journals and recollections by Joseph Smith's contemporaries. The Church has actually come out with a statement distancing itself from an enhanced prophecy written in the journal of certain individuals 50 years after the fact called the "White Horse Prophecy." However, Joseph's statements about the Constitution and the role the Saints will one day play in its rescue are unrelated. His statements on the matter are readily available online for any party interested in gleaning the details. Whether or not the conditions are now ripe for such a "rescue" to take place is an intruguing--but separate--question. There's no doubt that many Americans feel that a loss of Constitutional "purity" is knocking at the door. Our nation's traditional understandings of the founding document, they feel, are EXACTLY what's at stake. Many feel Pres. Obama has trampled the Constitution under foot. Or burned it in effigy. Take a look at this popular painting if you have doubts. It's true that Joseph Smith's statement does not specifically say that one Mormon on a white horse will ride in and rescue the Constitution. His prophecy, as reported by Brigham Young, Eliza R. Snow, and others, declares that the Latter-day Saints as a people will save the Constitution. Can this prophecy be reasonably interpreted to mean that a Latter-day Saint must be at the helm? Perhaps. However, for the purposes of attacking Mitt during this election, I don't think it matters.
Obama surrogates have already attacked the Church in various ways. This effort is very much ongoing. Don't expect Obama himself to engage in such attacks (at least at first), but I believe he holds no grudge if surrogates become extremely aggressive on this front. Here's the point: Publicizing and ridiculing the specific prophesy about Mormons thinking they will save the Constitution seems inevitable, especially if Romney is still leading or tied in the polls in late summer. The fact that Church has distanced itself may not matter. Obama surrogates will publicize it in a last ditch effort to keep their man in power. Any effort to elevate this prophecy in the public discourse would be intended to tell voters (especially Christian voters) that a vote for Romney is an admission that Joseph Smith could be a true prophet. Thus, a vote for Romney may, in fact, be a vote against Christianity! Certain influential Evangelicals have already expressed that they want no part of any vote that might elevate the standing of Joseph Smith or the Church he founded. If Obama publicizes this little-known prophecy of Joseph Smith, preachers and pastors from other faiths might try to persuade their fellow Christians that voting for Mitt would offer a victory for Smith's whacky religion. In short, advocates of Pres. Obama may attempt to convince Americans that a Mitt Romney presidency could damage the foundations of mainstream Christianity. Would you vote for Mitt if you believed such a vote might hurt the cause of Jesus Christ? Sure, folks like Hannity and Limbaugh would attempt to poo-poo this idea. But might the fallout in the short term--so long as this attack is perfectly timed--be just enough to turn the tide of the election?
The Church and its representatives can authoritatively proclaim that there is no particular doctrine in our Church that supports the idea that Mitt Romney fulfills Joseph Smith's prophecy, but will that be enough? I'm really not sure. I find it interesting that only about 85% of Latter-day Saints support a Mitt Romney presidency. Obama actually has 90% support among African American voters. Who'd have thought that race outranked religion in galvanizing supporters? Anyway, those are the current facts of the ground.
So why post a blog about these things? Is it possible that I'm actually giving ideas to the opposition? Trust me, these facts are already being bandied about in various blogs and posts. I'm a firm believer that issues like the two I have just mentioned should come out earlier rather than later. It should be vetted, discussed and--if possible--nullified or rendered impotent before opponents can somehow take advantage of the all-important issue of strategic political timing. Considering the deep-seated prejudices that continue to percolate against the LDS Church, Obama's team may have already decided that a well-timed publicity campaign regarding this prophesy and how it threatens mainstream Christianity is just the ticket for Obama to "keep the ticket."
Now, keep in mind, there's no need to get too uptight about my personal predictions. I could be wrong. I've been totally wrong before. Refer again to my first paragraph of this blog. Nevertheless, it's sometimes a valuable exercise to attempt to think like the opposition.
I welcome any thoughts or comments that others might add on these issues.