- Lee Harris explains How and Why Romney Bombed
The Mormon church is not Romney's problem; it is Romney's own personal religiosity. On the one hand, Romney is too religious for those who don't like religion in public life—a fact that alienates him from those who could care less about a candidate's religion, so long as the candidate doesn't much care about it himself. On the other hand, Romney offends precisely those Christian evangelicals who agree with him most on the importance of religion in our civic life, many of whom would be his natural supporters if only he was a "real" Christian like them, and not a Mormon instead.
To say that someone is not a real Christian sounds rather insulting, like saying that he is not a good person. But when conservative Christians make this point about Romney, they are talking theology, not morality. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Mormon creed will understand at once why Romney felt little desire to debate its theological niceties with his target audience of Christian evangelicals, many of whom are inclined to see Mormonism not as a bona fide religion, but as a cult. In my state of Georgia, for example, there are Southern Baptist congregations that raise thousands of dollars to send missionaries to convert the Mormons to Christianity.
- In Romney's Terrible Speech Matthew Yglesias explains the theology.
It's hard to see this as anything other than an effort to trick people; the Mormon emphasis on Gethsemane rather than the crucifiction is not a trivial theological difference, nor is the fact that Mormons believe in "another," more important, Testament of Jesus Christ in addition to the Christian Bible. I don't personally have a stake in that quarrel but I paid enough attention in Bible class at Grace Church School to know that this isn't some nothing to be papered over.
Now if Romney had wanted to say that the nature of his beliefs about Jesus are irrelevant to the campaign, fine. Similarly, if he'd actually wanted to avoid discussing Mormon theology, fine. But he didn't stick to it. Instead, what he wanted to do was discuss just enough about Mormon theology to make it seem as similar as possible to orthodox Christianity while underscoring the idea that the nature of his belief in Christ is relevant to the campaign just insofar as his beliefs overlap with those of the Evangelical Protestants whose votes he's courting.
All of this meshes with Romney's disgusting efforts to unite all people of faith under the banner of excluding atheists entirely from his account of virtue. And this, in turn, combines with his ludicrous "say something nice about everyone" paragraph:....
- And this brings us to an all important question: How is it playing in Iowa?. Not too well apparently.
At least not in the most powerful paper in the state, The Des Moines Register.
The arrival of snow here in the heartland as well as the Omaha tragedy has diminished some of the coverage, but The Speech still got considerable attention yesterday and today.
It was above the fold, in the top right corner (the traditional lead story position) of yesterday's paper.
"Romney takes risk with talk on faith," read the headline above David Lightman's syndicated story. The piece included significant skepticism about the political impact of Romney's speech. But worse for Mitt's camp, it included this key right under the story ended on page one: "Learn more about Mormonism" (yes, it was in bold).
On the back of the front section was a list of bullet points under "Beliefs of the Mormon Church." Naturally, included were all the key differences between the LDS church and mainline Christianity.
Friday, December 07, 2007
The Road To Nowhere
Mitt Romney has spent a lot of money to fuel his campaign down the road to nowhere. As you can see in the latest RCP poll average he is in fifth. The general consensus is that after his "Faith In America" address he is still on the same road only going faster. I have discussed this ad nauseum already but there is some good analysis out there tonight you might want to check out.