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Terry Eastland calls attention to this Jay Cost post on the Romney campaign’s decision not--at least for the moment--to have him give a speech about his Mormonism. So long as there’s a trickle of evangelicals in his direction, why take the risk? So the thinking goes. I’d add: unless he can give a speech significantly more interesting than the oft-celebrated JFK speech to the Houston ministers, why bother?

This article and this post raise the question of whether HRC is the inevitable Democratic nominee. She’s still ahead, but Obama is closing the gap, more, I think, thanks to her missteps than to his efforts. What happens if she falls behind? Will her charmlessness as a campaigner cause her support to evaporate? Will the HRC campaign pull out all the stops and deploy Bill as a weapon of mass distraction (perhaps helpful in the primaries, but any Republican worth his salt would make it a big issue in the general election)? Will Obama know what hit him? This could get to be a lot of fun.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Since the GOP seems to have built its entire campign stategy around running against Hillary, I suspect that there are a lot of people in GOP-land hoping she pulls through.

I'm sorry that I cannot remember where I heard Mrs. Romney say this (but I'm sure I did). She said that she wished Mitt would address the Mormon issue in a speech. I think that is an interesting thing to note. While I agree with Joe that there is really nothing more to add to what JFK has already said on the question of a candidate's religious views, it pays to remember that a good number of people voting today were not alive when JFK said those things and have no real memory of them. And today, Catholicism is not as foreign to most people as Mormonism is. Simply reminding people that JFK jumped through that hoop because of his Catholicism may not convince people that the question has been laid to rest. Many people view them as apples and oranges. Mrs. Romney apparently believes that it is something that is taking a negative toll on the campaign. You may scoff, but I think a wife usually has a pretty keen sense about the sharpness of the knives aimed at her husband. If I were Romney, I would have done this months ago.

My point about the JFK speech is that he adopted a rather simple-minded separationism, as if his faith made no difference in anything. That's hardly the tack I'd urge anyone to take.

I am sorry to have misread you, Joe. So many people have cited the JFK speech as a reason against Romney needing to deliver anything similar, that I assumed you were merely echoing that point--when, as I read it again, you do hint at some disapproval of JFK's position. About that, I see what you mean about its "simple-minded separationism." Is it mean to suggest that for JFK, the "simple-minded separationism" was probably an accurate description of the impact his religious views had on his life? Be that as it may, JFK's larger (and good) point was that as President he would not be operating under the direct marching orders of the Pope. He would swear an oath of loyalty to the Constitution and that would, of course, come first. Had JFK been a better Catholic and a better reader of the Constitution then I suppose he might have pushed it further and argued that there was nothing within Catholicism (rightly understood) that was inconsistent with the principles of our Constitution (rightly understood). But that is asking a lot of a man. Perhaps Mitt could improve upon JFK's speech by making that case for Mormonism. But again, it is probably asking too much.

The Constitution prohibits a religious test. But that doesn't require Americans to discount religion as a factor in their voting decisions. If a Wiccan were running for the Governorship, what would be wrong taking that into account when making an overall assessment of that person's fitness for office?

The selection of a President has cultural impact. The election of Clinton set off a cultural slide which has yet to slow down. The tone of the late night comedy acts has certainly changed. And all because of the break through caused by the reading of Ken Starr's report. Things banned from the airways had to be covered, because they were part and parcel of the case against the President of the United States.

The Mormons are demanding to be granted the status of Christians. I forgot where it was that Romney, or some of his flacksters tried to tell some Evangelicals that they too, were Christians. Which takes the idea of a big tent and makes a travesty of it. The Evangelicals, to their credit, firmly stated that Romney is a Mormon, ergo NOT Christian, notwithstanding the views of various Mormons on the subject.

It's disturbing that Mormons are trying to elbow their way onto the stage by misrepresenting their creed. I have no problems with a Mormon seeking high office. I find it objectionable however when Mormons suggest Americans are estopped from considering Romney's faith, when reviewing his claim for the nomination.

Mormons extol his "family values" on the one hand, but on the other bar any scrutiny of the details of that faith which leads to such "family values."

Can't have it both ways.

If you're pushing a candidate for his "family values," than that invites scrutiny of the foundations of those "family values."

I'm confident that if Romney were selected, the Dems would make the long campaign one question after another, of the various eccentricities of Mormonism. And thus instead of Romney pushing the GOP agenda, instead of him hitting Hillary, and her unfitness for high office, he would be on the defensive, trying to explain away one feature after another of his faith.

Romney's campaign could actually lead to the very thing Mormons least want to see, a RENEWED antipathy towards Mormons and Mormonism. Romney's Mormonism could make him a laughing stock.

And don't think for half a second that Hillary would hesitate if it meant her gaining The White House. She'll stop at nothing, stoop to anything, wallow in whatever gutter, all to gain power. And if Mormons are derided and mocked, ......... what's that to her?

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